Monday, 31 October 2016

Why don’t you have?

This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au

Sometimes I find it hard to know who is trying to subvert whom. You see, I was in Melbourne last week, and my travels into the big smoke generally come with a long list of things to do! One of those items on the to do list was to enjoy a quality coffee and muffin and take a few quiet moments to enjoy a couple of pages in the latest book that I’m reading. The café in question sources some of their coffee beans from a family run farm and they then roast their own coffee beans at the back of the café. Oh, the coffee is good and the muffins are to kill for!

Anyway, another stop on the to do list was to get my hair cut. In recent weeks I had begun to look a bit scruffy, well that is what the editor was telling me anyway, and so I booked in an appointment at a business that I have been frequenting for more than a decade. Getting ones haircut is always a complex issue for the male of the species. As a delaying tactic, I tell the editor that if I was to get my haircut, I would definitely lose mojo. And I mean, who wants to lose mojo? You see, when I was in my late teens to about my mid-twenties I had long flowing locks and a pony tail, but alas time moves on and so too does the male hairline – and thus time stole some of my mojo. So I dither and prevaricate and generally put off getting my haircut until the editor stamps her foot (as an interesting side story, the editor cannot stamp her feet this week as a cheeky ant bit one of her feet and her big toe has swollen to beyond its usual foot stamping capacities!) and – correctly too – tells me that enough is enough. At that point in time, I book an appointment to get my haircut.

Don’t let the editor know this next bit but, it is kind of fun getting one’s haircut. This month there was a new guy and for about three quarters of an hour we just talked bloke stuff and he told me stuff about himself and I shared many funny stories from here. There was lots of laughs and sheer silliness. The new guy did a pretty good haircut too and the editor – in an ultimately fruitless attempt to get me to cut my hair more often – told me that I had actually gained mojo through a particularly good haircut. Surely this was a new strategy on behalf of the editor?

At some point during the haircut, the new guy asked me whether I’d seen a particular show on television. That particular question is a surprisingly common question. And I replied that I don’t actually watch much television. As a disclosure, regular readers will recall that I am something of a fan-boy of the very long running television show: Grand Designs UK. But other than that show, I just don’t watch television and haven’t done so for a very long time. So as the new guy and I were chatting away, at the back of my mind I began wondering whether the question that he asked was an attempt to subvert me to his world view or whether my reply was me trying to subvert him to my worldview. It is a fascinating question isn’t it?

The word subversion, from which the verb subvert is derived, is defined as: seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution. I like the sound of that definition as it sounds a bit “Fight Club” to me! But then my mojo was left behind on the floor with my discarded hair, and then as the hours and days went on whilst I was enjoying my new haircut, I continued thinking about who was trying to subvert whom? And I’m not really sure of the answer to that question.

You see I don’t have a desire to obtain a lot of stuff that other people aspire to owning. How about that big screen television? No way! What about the dishwasher, or the smart phone? Nope, none of those items are for me. And I certainly don’t want to go into debt just to own a large SUV because I require a prop for my phallus! There are just so many material things that I don’t desire, that sometimes I feel that it is mildly subversive to deliberately turn your back upon the world of plenty.

In return for not pursuing those material things, I get to enjoy both a quiet environment and the time to enjoy it. I still have to work hard here, however I can define how I spend my time. If for example the weather conditions are less than optimal, I can do something else that doesn’t require me to be outside. Our ancestors had that freedom, so it is not a new thing at all. I still have to participate in the economy and earn a living, it is just that by not desiring the usual material things, I can participate less in that economy than many other people do.

There are both costs and benefits for either of these paths. I did tell you that this was a complex question!

Last week all of the tomato seedlings planted died in a late frost. Perhaps it could be said that the tomato seedlings had lost their mojo? A few days ago, the editor and I planted out about half of the remaining tomato seedlings and then we crossed out fingers and hoped that the light frost was not repeated!
The tomato seedlings prior to being replanted a few days ago
Round 2 of the tomato seedlings in their neat rows in the tomato enclosure
Observant readers will note that to the right of the above photo an entire row of gooseberry cuttings has been planted directly into the rich soil of the tomato enclosure.

Speaking of working hard… Sometimes one has to work a little bit harder to regain lost mojo, and so it was that this week that I decided to clean up a bit more of the old logging detritus which is dotted about the farm in the most unlikely of spots.
The author commenced cleaning up this old tree stump which had been left over from the days of the loggers
Logging in this mountain range has been going on since about 1860. In this part of the mountain range, it did stop many decades ago. That doesn’t mean that the detritus has broken down into quality soil, and the above photo shows a blackened tree stump sticking out of the ground. However, the tree stump is completely upside down and covered in compacted soil. How the tree stumps ended up like that is well beyond me! There have been quite a few of them which I have cleared up over the past decade, so I have been getting better at removing them. The first step in that process is digging away all of the soil from the tree stump. Observant readers will note that the tree stump had been burnt at some stage in the far distant past as it shows blackened scorch marks.
The author then dug away all of the soil from on top of and also surrounding the blackened tree stump
The tree stump weighed far more than I do and so I used a very large steel house wrecking bar to lever the tree stump from the hole that I had dug. Once the tree stump was mostly clear of the soil, I was then able to cut up the tree stump into smaller pieces using the chainsaw and then burn it off. The tree stump was unfortunately far too wet to be able to be burnt as firewood.
The tree stump was then cut up and relocated to a nearby fire where it was burned off
The hole that was left over from removing the tree stump was then back filled with the soil which had been surrounding the hole. Over that newly flattened soil surface, I spread chicken manure and soiled chicken bedding. In another years time, that area will look green and lush and the native wallabies, wombats and kangaroos will enjoy the extra feed. Surely that good deed will earn me some additional mojo?
The hole where the tree stump was removed from has now been remediated
There is no shortage of firewood here as the big trees are constantly shedding huge branches and last evening this monster branch fell into the edge of the orchard. Note the previously fallen tree branch in the background of the photo below.
A huge eucalyptus tree dropped this massive branch which narrowly missed squashing a few trees in the orchard
Please don’t get the incorrect impression that I’m some sort of luddite! Some of the manufactured products that are available to purchase just amazes me. And they are usually far cheaper than a big screen television too! This week, I finally received delivery of a couple of grinding discs which have the most beautiful pattern of industrial diamonds on their surface. The discs are going to be used to sharpen carbide steel tools. You have to use industrial diamonds to sharpen carbide steel as that steel is just so crazy hard that few other products will actually cut it. Imagine trying to explain to an emperor two thousand years ago, that we can purchase a cutting disc which is covered in diamonds and is sold by traders for the price of a few coffees plus a couple of very tasty muffins and a haircut!
The cutting disc which is to be used to sharpen tools with carbide steel cutting edges
Long term readers will recall the many hassles that I have had recently with the watering system for all of the garden taps. This week, I upgraded the water pump which is the heart of the system to a slightly larger and better made water pump. The money spent on that water pump is not even close to being the equivalent of a big screen television, but that water pump is a very important piece of infrastructure for the plants, so it just has to work.
A new and bigger fourth generation water pump was installed this week. That is the pump on the left hand side. The older pump can be seen disconnected from the water pipes
Poopy also lost his mojo this week and clearly the editor has had a major hair offensive campaign brewing for a while! Sir Scruffy survives intact - currently!
Poopy shows off his summer haircut alongside his good mate, Sir Scruffy
Speaking of dogs, I have been experimenting with the dogs breakfast meal and I have discovered that the dogs enjoy blitzed seasonal vegetables with basmati rice!
The most recent dog food experiments have concluded that the dogs enjoy blitzed seasonal vegetables with rice
I spotted the very first small green cherry this week. It would be nice to harvest some cherries before the local parrots do.
I spotted the very first small green cherry this week
The recent rains have caused the almonds to swell to even larger sizes this week.
The recent rains have caused the almonds to swell to even larger sizes this week
Despite losing most of the apricot fruit this season to both heavy rainfall and the occasional light frost, I spotted about a dozen apricot fruit still slowly swelling on the dozen apricot trees. What a bumper harvest it will be!
I spotted about a dozen apricot fruit slowly swelling on the dozen apricot trees
The apples and pears are far more sensible fruit trees as they flower and fruit much later in the season, and they are all producing huge quantities of blossoms this week.
The apples and pears are producing huge quantities of blossoms this week
There has been a bit of sun this week and I noticed that many of the sub-tropical fruit trees which are a very long way outside their normal growing range went deciduous over the cold winter, but this week they have produced a few leaves:
This pecan which went deciduous over the cold winter has produced some leaves this week
This white sapote which also went deciduous over the cold winter has produced some leaves this week
And I just thought that it would be nice (and perhaps I may gain a bit of extra mojo by doing so?) to share a photo of the spring sunshine sparkling off some of the younger fruit trees in the more sunny orchard. It just looks nice!
The spring sunshine sparkles off the leaves of the many young fruit trees in the more sunny orchard
When the sun shines, the air is full of the buzzing of insects. It is really great to listen to them all and see them go about their business.
European honey bees and a butterfly enjoy the lavender
The butterflies are out in force and I spotted them enjoying the Echium flowers in the spring sunshine
There is so much going on in the farm with the warmer spring conditions, that I wouldn’t have time to watch a big screen television, even if I wanted one! Which I don't.

The temperature outside now at about 9.30pm is 7.3’C (45.1’F). So far this year there has been 1,066.4mm (42.0 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 1,060.8mm (41.8 inches).

51 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

The news has just informed me that Melbourne has had snow. Did that reach you? If so, heaven help your planted tomatoes etc. I hope that all is well.

It is sometimes difficult to know who to address when commenting. I reckon that any comment is for everyone. I am fascinated by the explanation, that you mentioned, for the obsession habit in Aspergers. I am not convinced that it ever changes to another one. My Aspergers acquaintance uses his rail obsession to communicate with me. His parents can be irritated with him so he begins by saying 'This will interest Inge'. Sometimes he is correct, sometimes not.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Happy Halloween-ie, to all! "Come goulies and ghosties and long legged beasties; and things that go BUMP! in the night...." Got my Halloween tat up, yesterday. Late I know, but I'll probably leave it up til close to Thanksgiving. No one sees it but me, anyway. I have season 5 of Grimm to watch and a bit of pumpkin ice cream to eat. I'm set.

I think older men who have lost all their hair on top and have a big pony tail look ... silly. I'm surprised you haven't invested in the hair cutters I mentioned. They'll pay for themselves in just a couple of applications. Pop in the 1/4" guard and keep hacking away at it til the hair stops falling on the floor. At least you have the editor to help out. Me, I've got to do the back by touch. Guess it's ok. No one has recoiled in horror. But, perhaps it's like me and the pony tail guys. I keep my thoughts to myself.

The stomping the food comment launched an odd train of thought. There was a child star in the late 30's and 40's named Margaret O'Brien. I've always maintained that at some point, in every one of her films, she stomps her little foot and proclaims, "I hate you! I hate you!" There may also be a bit of fist waving :-).

"Stuff", acquisition and ostentatious display. Hmmm. I'm always a little startled when someone describes me as "thrifty." Well, yeah, I'm on a limited income, but do spend a bit on tat and books. But when I think about it, I think it's because people look right past what's important to me. I don't display the usual markers of the status quo. No big screen tvs, fancy trucks or mobile devices. Which reminds me that I heard a couple of guys on the radio talking about the coming glories of driverless cars. They will avoid pedestrians by communicating with the I-whatevers that "everybody" carries in their pockets. So, I guess if we don't join the pod people, we'll be run down in the street. It's kind of like when my e-mail account keeps nagging me for my mobile number (for my convenience in case I lose my password). For the longest time, I didn't have a mobile. It just irked me that they assumed that "everyone" had a mobile. Besides, i don't lightly give out my phone number. Landslides of spam are bad enough.... But, I rant.

The crashing trees picture. You're still a bit bundled up. I thought you'd be past that by now. And fess up. What were you holding to get Poopy and Sir Scruffy to look so adoringly and intently into the camera? Bribery must have been involved. The little blue flowers around the pecan tree? Forget Me Nots?

Off to the Little Smoke to retrieve my cabinet. Will offer my friend Scott gas money for the help .... or, lunch. So, maybe a bit of Chinese food is in the offing? We'll see .... Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

OK, I see that you plant your tomato seedlings at a much younger age than I plant mine, which explains why you had another 100 or so seedlings left and why you can keep so many seedlings in front of limited window space. My seedlings are normally almost 2 months old, each living in its own 2 inch by 2 inch pot, and sometimes flowering by the time I plant them.

I enjoy your photos of the changing spring landscape very much.

Mike feels much like you when it comes to getting his hair cut. He only allows me to cut it once a year, generally prior to Mother's Day in early May, when we are are in late spring and in no more danger of frost. He says the long hair helps keep his head warm in winter. Also it's part of his Mother's Day gift to his mother, who much prefers his hair short. I've asked him what he'll do after she dies, because while I don't mind his hair on the longish side, I get like the editor after a point. He claims he'll still allow me to cut it once a year. I'll believe it when it happens.

Claire

Jo said...

Sunshine, bees, spring - all such magic words, aren't they? Glad you have kept the tomatoes alive second time round. I have been glued to the forecast in case tomato-covering action is required, but here in town we have been good for a couple of weeks now.

I was once quite wedded to the idea of a house in the country, but not having to dig stumps out of the ground is one of the reasons I love the suburbs:)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the information about oaks in your part of the world. The oak tree lying on its side would be a real haven for all sorts of forest dwelling critters. It would be like a fast food outlet for them! You may be interested to know that when the eucalyptus trees fall over here they tend to die, but they have very large root systems - and usually a tap root too if they are not located in a flood plain. What is interesting though is that the very old and ancient rain-forest species that linger on here can continue to grow exactly like your oak trees after they fall over. There is something in that.

Don't believe the hype! There was snow, and the weather has turned back to the colder Antarctic air patterns, but the snow fell in the alpine areas of the state. It is a beautiful part of the country and I enjoy it particularly as there are no people at all living up there. It is very quiet and remote and also massively wild.

Of course, I totally agree with you about that and I use that particular character trait as an indicator. Out of curiosity, do you happen to know why they are unable to understand that they are not connecting? I have wondered about that as to my eyes it looks like a form of colour blindness or tone deaf, or something like that.

I tasted the very first batch of black currant wine which is about 8 months old now tonight and it is almost impossible to distinguish the taste from a good red wine... I may be onto something with that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

It is a bit eerie to think that Thomas Jefferson would have seen that particular oak. Trees are amazing things aren't they? The trees here are not quite as long lived, but they don't tend to fall over as they have very strong tap roots. Instead they tend to drop branches and/or the extremities when they are drought or disease stressed. And thanks very much for the information about the oaks in your area. Yes, closer examination may reveal the causes? That sounds a bit CSI doesn't it? ;-)! That was one of the other shows I used to watch which has now finished... It may be a coincidence, but you never know? Plant diseases are transported around the planet like nobodies business and the trees struggle to stay ahead of all of our shenanigans. Mark my words though, they will adapt in time.

Oh, I have heard of those osage orange trees and they seem to be very hardy and very thorny which is almost perfect for a hedge/fence. Out of curiosity did you start them from seed? 180 rings is a very old tree.

Yeah, the tomatoes mark 2 have not done so well, but the strike rate has been much better than mark 1. This year here is much colder than I have adapted too, but the thing is, the temperature is about spot on for the long term average. I have become accustomed to an additional two months growing season! Oh yeah, gooseberries are very tasty. They remind me of the taste of sultana grapes.

Total respect for the Upper Valley Wrecking Crew and may the chrome on your pick up trucks shine on! :-)! I read a story once about a bar tender at one of the events down here and a memorable comment from him during an event was: "get back, ya filthy mongrels!". :-)! Well let's just say that I've adopted that slang! It paints a picture. The good thing about youth is that mostly you can get messy and have good times. :-)!

Oh, that story is really sweet. Thanks.

Well, we shall see how the deal turns out. Hopefully the guy is not a give an inch and take a mile kind of a bloke. I'm usually a good judge of character, but you never know, and if that is the case, I will have to deal with him. I do hope that the guy is respectful, he did look sheepish, as well he should. Time will sort that problem out.

I mowed today. Lots. I'm starting to feel a bit tired... A couple of acres by hand push mower is a big task. Fortunately it is only once per year.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Keggers is an appropriate name too. I have only seen photos of those events but you would think that a keg would be the ideal medium for delivery of the necessary brew? Speaking of which, I tasted the very first batch of black currant wine which has aged for about eight months and the strange thing is that it tastes like a full on red wine. It is mildly uncanny... At least I know what to substitute into the next batch of Sangria which will be fed to guests. ;-)!

Yeah, you know the whole SUV thing where they never go off road is just weird. When I bought the Suzuki the sales dude said to me: "Give me a call if you ever take it off road". And because he said such a stupid thing, I never replied. I mean what do you say to that? I absolutely agree with you in your assessment of the situation. Lot's of people use them down here for ferrying the kids around, but I do suspect that there is an underlying feeling of having more steel around them makes them feel safe. Mind you, if they hit my little Suzuki, I'd probably be toast. From a big picture point of view the additional emissions and higher fuel usage, makes them ultimately less safe – you would think that that would be obvious? The really sad thing about it is that we sort of had some minor advances in engine technologies and efficiencies of those motors and so instead of keeping vehicles smaller, the manufacturers loaded them up with all sorts of bling so that nowadays vehicles weigh a huge amount. When I was a kid, vehicles were very light and very basic. I reckon there may be a market for such a vehicle again in the future?

Ha! Everything old is new again! I will be very interested to read your take on that plant communication book. Honestly, over the past few months I have come across - or been told of - many references to that book. It surprises me that people would think that trees of a species don't work in co-operation. The eucalyptus trees here are master strategists that would make Sun Tzu proud.

Oh no! Well it is nice to read that your initial gluttony has now been sated! Hehe! Hey, enjoy the ice cream. Yum! I believe chick peas are on the dinner menu here tonight.

Really, I wasn't aware of that and appreciate the cautions about making deals at a cross road. Ouch. Time will tell how that deal will play out. And I may have to deal with the dude again. It gets back to what you said once about knowing: "One's people". That really resonated with me for some strange reason and I don't know why?

I must confess that at open gardens I often also poke my head into the utility areas to see just how they do things. You never know what you might learn!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I assume that the text of the Roman comedies has been lost, but the titles remain? I was reading recently about an Irish university which survived into the 5th century (?) but was taken out by the Vikings as it was located along a river for the ease of passage of the students. Apparently the University was free as there were land grants where I assume the Uni students had to work to provide sustenance and donations from wealthy patrons. Those Viking ships must have had an interesting design to be able to navigate open oceans as well as shallow rivers.

Yeah, I heard about that Bram Stoker biography too (sheer coincidence) and well that illustrator would be rather dull. All aboard the good train Dracula! Hehe!

Well done you for your auction success. Hey, that credit card charge is quite huge. Down here merchants usually charge between 1.5% and 3%. Such a large charge indicates many fascinating things to my brain! ;-)! Were the items in good condition?

Thomas Fenton appears to have had tickets on himself if he was cheeky enough to sign some of the glass pieces. I'll bet he had a stamp made up just for that purpose? I have seen those blue China patterns as they were quite common down here when I was a kid. Strangely enough, you don't see them much anymore. That was very clever to have thought ahead to the Christmas and Birthday presents. Respect!

OK, what does Elk sausage taste like?

Yeah, as you realise I pick up older items and I have noticed the depressed prices too. But the quality on that lot is so much higher. I dunno what it means but perhaps it is not so good. I finally put the doors on the side board cupboard today and it looks good. I have to admit though, sometimes the older furniture is less than square and that made it an absolute pain to hang the doors so that everything lines up and looked good.

Well, you can't eliminate options. And that sounds like a fair option, although the summers... It gives them security too so everyone wins in such an arrangement.

Happy Halloween to you too! The ones that go bump in the night are particularly unpleasant companions. Just sayin... You definitely sound set for a good night in. I'm totally jealous about that ice cream, it sounds awesome. I don't seem to have convinced you to watch Grand Designs UK. That show can be a nightmare sometimes!!! ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I do use clippers for the beard, but if I have the clippers to use on the hair then perhaps mojo will be lost on a more regular basis and that is possibly not a good thing. I'm sure you don't horrify people with a buzz cut. Mind you, I knew a plumber once that let his wife cut his hair with clippers and she didn't understand that you had to put the guard on the cutting edge. Well, after a solid chunk of hair was cut off his head! Let's put it this way, he looked like he'd just had urgent brain surgery... You would think that a normal person would match up the clear felled patch of hair? But no...

Fortunately the editor doesn't really stomp her foot. That part of the story was a little bit of embellishment and there were discussions about it during the editing process. :-)! No foot stomping though.

No. It was a fine rant and I am totally with you! And people think the same thing about me. Apparently I am a curiosity for some folk because of that stance. Anyway, the whole driver-less car thing is a boondoggle. The developers are struggling with the ethics of the machine and there is no answer. Unfortunately our legal system is such that...

It was way cold that night and I'll tell ya what. Earlier that day I was wearing sunscreen and a t-shirt and fending off the voracious insects that are part of a wet year down here. The temperature changed over the course of an hour. It was not much past freezing when we took that photo. The weather here is very strange and subject to change at short notice.

Oh! Did you get the Chinese lunch? Yum! That was an unfortunate yum-cha joke...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Glad to provide the information about the tomato seedlings and I appreciate your comparative information. The interesting thing that I'm finding with my method is that last year it was 2'C degrees on average above the long term average temperatures, so it was much warmer day and night. This year is a much colder year and my system is not working so well. There has been a die back of about one third of all seedlings now for the second planting as one nighttime temperature got as low as 3'C degrees. Your methods would work much better in these conditions. I may direct sow the seeds next year too? Dunno. You really have to be flexible as conditions change.

Thank you! I enjoy the change in the seasons too. And I will provide plenty of flower photos for you when the cold of winter is biting in your part of the world.

Please convey my respects to Mike for his most excellent hair strategy. I hear you, bro! :-)! Mothers do tend to prefer that their boys have short hair. There is certainly something cultural in that, although it is beyond my brain? What do the Asians say? That's right: Talk does not cook the rice! Hehe! Go Mike!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Thanks for the well wishes and the weather has been a bit touch and go with the tomato seedlings this year hasn't it? Last year and the year before was so hot that it made it all look too easy... In recent years, I have rarely had to deal with any frosts, but this year has been a bit, shall we say, special on that front? At least there is plenty of water in the ground so that all of the plants are getting a healthy drink.

I must also add that I was very impressed with your efforts for your new garden path. It looks really good.

Yeah, it is a lot of work to live in the bush and digging stumps out of the ground is no simple task. How that stump ended in the ground upside down is well beyond me. I just don't get it at all as it would have taken more effort to do that than simply leave it where it was removed. Very strange. Actually if the infrastructure was well setup, living here would probably not be too much like hard work.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Have you considered floating row covers for your seedlings? I use them quite a bit in the spring when there's a chance of frost - well in fall too. They also give some protection from wind. My tomato starts are usually six to eight inches tall. I put them outside for a week or so to harden them off for cooler temps and wind. I collected metal coffee cans back when they were still used and cut off bottoms of larger plastic plant pots - both are used to protect the young transplants. I don't plant nearly as many as you so I can easily throw a row cover on or if they have the cans I can pop a plastic bag over them for the night.

That is quite a lovely haircut Poopy has. Do you do it yourself?

Nice that your barber didn't press you on your lack of television viewing. I've had the same hairdresser for 25 years and she is quite the gabber. I think that's a requirement for the job. My husband also goes to her as does my mother in law. Well now that my mother in law is in the care center Pat goes to the care center to cut her hair and another gentleman's as well.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

In the 28 years we lived here we've had only one family come here to trick or treat - just not enough houses on the road. Most of us outside of town dropped our kids off in town to trick or treat. Finally gave up on the Halloween decorations after the kids were grown. Unfortunately I haven't found any pumpkin ice cream.

Margaret

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Some of our tomatoes are in and covered against frost. It is supposed to be 2C tonight and it is certainly a cold starry night just perfect for frost. It smells like frost too. Hopefully we can continue to protect the plants until danger passes. Our central garden beds are under poly pipe hoops with shade cloth over the top. Another layer of shade cloth is currently directly over the tomato beds.... I have a feeling this is going to be a tricky year for tender plants. We're using potatoes to clear a border area in the garden this year and the whole process is taking longer than usual due to the prolific growth of grasses and weeds. My dad had a rotary hoe for such work when I was a child and I sometimes think wistfully about having such a machine to do the hardest digging. Hopefully the work we're doing now can be built upon for our very old age!

It's too late in the season here for bonfires without a permit. The fire season begins from October. It seems strange this year because of the amount off rain we have had but on Monday there were a couple of fires that were the result of arson in NSW and one turned into a bushfire. The news report said it was thought to be the action of a 60 year old man. Strange to imagine but always there as a probable cause of fire.

Haircuts are few here. I stopped having my haircut in 2007. It was a piece of magical thinking. I decided not to have my haircut until I finished a major piece of work. Could this have been a version of 'mojo' thinking? I finished it but still have only had two or three small amounts cut off. Consequently I have very very long hair. A bonus of this has been that unless I am with my husband acquaintances don't recognise me. Makes doing the grocery shopping faster, less prone to being caught up in 'village life'.

Warm regards, Helen



Steve Carrow said...

Pecans! I love them, but this is north of their range. I planted several pecan-hickory hybrids that local nursery has been breeding, but it will be quite a while before I get any nuts from those trees.

Here is what I use for choosing tomato planting dates:
http://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/#b
I like it because I can choose how much risk I want to take.

Maybe you have a similar resource down under?

I've been meaning to ask for a while, but I see a lot of comments/responses that seem to be follow ons from previous posts. Why is that? Have you mentioned that some time in the past? I'll admit I can't keep up with all the comments here, so I might have missed it.

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I've been thinking about a comment you made, last week. I didn't really get much education, as far as the Romans go, either. Mostly, just about the great and the good. Or, the abysmally bad and very naughty. :-).

Luckily (I think), over the past two decades, or so, more attention is being paid in archaeology and history to the common folk. Thanks to Prof. Mary Beard (Meet the Romans) and other people like her. And that seems to apply to most cultures, across history. An example that comes to mind is Egypt. It was kind of like "Well, we've excavated the pyramids, so let's take a look at the village of the people who built and decorated the pyramids. So, you've got this village where the people in that trade, lived for generations. They weren't slaves (as had been popularly thought) and some of their pay was in beer. They had a union of sorts, and when the wage didn't show up in a timely manner, tended to go out on strike.

Some rather interesting things were found under an apartment block in Pompeii, in the sewer. People tended to dump (or loose) all manner of things, down the loo. Microscopic analysis gives us a pretty good picture of the diet of the working folks. But then you run across things like the bones from a haunch of giraffe .... Probably something from some animal "games" from the local stadium. It just occurred to me. I wonder if it was maybe a raffle door prize? Or, maybe one of the guys who worked cleaning up at the stadium just thought "Hmmm. Not letting that go to waste." Questions we'll never have answers too, but they're fun to speculate on. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I saw a little car the other day I've been curious about. Apparently, it's called a "Smart Car." Reminds me a bit of the old VW bugs. Or, a roller skate :-). Novel, but without much flash.

I just happened to read something, recently, about Viking ships. They had very shallow drafts. But, on rebuilding them, it has been discovered that they were good for ocean voyaging as they were also very flexible. They were built with a lot of "give" in them. But would then flex back to their original form.

As I mentioned to someone else, the Stoker book's author goes down a lot of rabbit holes. And, never met a rabbit hole he didn't like :-). Never happens to me :-). When I was going through my Halloween tat, I ran across something I had forgot I had. The Count! He's about 16" tall and made by Fitz & Floyd porcelain. I got him at a fraction of the price that they go for on E-Bay. Sometimes, it pays to live in a small obscure place, have off beat tastes in tat and to buy in the off season. :-). He's really not very threatening. Rather cartoonish. But he's got so much detail. His cloak ripples wide. There's a pumpkin or two and autumn leaves scattered about. And a small pile of garlic next to one foot :-). I have him looming over my small clutch of Fenton glass animals who are dressed for tricker treating.

Well, you have to be a bit careful at auctions. Everything is sold "as-seen". There's usually an hour preview, before hand. If the auctioneer notices damage, they will mention it in the listing. But they deal with such a volume of "stuff" .... The only thing I got a bit stung on was 3 pieces of cut glass and the Lenox hummingbird. Which was what I was really after. And, it was going very cheaply. Well, on getting them home, two pieces of the cut glass have damage. But the cut glass bowl is perfect, and I'll probably be able to flog it for what I paid for that lot.

My friend Scott and I got the cupboard home without incident. Even though it was made in the 1920s or 30s, it's a pretty tight piece. Old furniture tends to expand or shrink, depending on whatever the micro climate it lives in. I've had old pieces that were so loose in the joints that I had to gently knock them apart with a rubber mallet. Then you clean up the joint or dowel and resort to a "cloth joint." You take a small bit of cheese cloth or old sheeting and apply wood glue to both sides. You apply it around the joint or dowel and tap it back in place. Let dry and you have a tight joint, again. While drying, everything would be kept square and level. This method will also work, sometimes, for stripped screws. Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Speaking of Scott, he keeps his head shaved. Too much maintenance, for me. I can generally get away with giving myself a haircut, once a month. With a weekly beard touch up and a shave under my chin. The Chinese restaurant was closed, so we hit a Mexican place I like. They have shrimp nachos! There's a whole Mexican coastal cuisine that we don't see much of, here. out in the hinterlands ... the provinces :-). Mexican, Chinese, Italian. It's not very "authentic". You may find some of that in the big cities, where people tend to be more adventuresome. Elk sausage tastes like, well, elk sausage :-). Maybe slightly "gamey". A bit of a tang. Because it's so lean, my friends cut the ground elk and sausage with a bit of beef fat.

I'll see if the library carries Grand Designs. I can't remember seeing it in the catalog, but then, I wasn't looking for it.

Interesting weather stuff from Cliff Mass. Several areas around Washington State had the wettest October on record. Seattle, Olympia, Hoquium. Spokane had the wettest October in 135 years of record keeping. Mr. Mass marveled at the fact that E. Washington, "the Dry Side", also broke records. I guess the drought in N. California is over. According to Mr. Mass, this has been caused by "...a strong negative anomaly (low pressure) just off the NW coast. This feature has brought clouds and precipitation. Why is it there? I can't provide an explanation." I think it's interesting that it's in the same spot as The Blob, from last year. That was warm water. I also think it's interesting that even with all the rain, there hasn't been any major flooding.

Mr. Mass also made a tentative forecast for this winter. La Nina = a healthy mountain snow pack. El Nino = poor snow pack. Neutral years = average snow pack. (Except when it doesn't. My observation :-). We are now in a weak La Nina mode.

And, from the news ... For the second time in two months, an auto gas pipeline in Alabama has been cut. A back hoe. There was an explosion. One killed and five injured. There will be problems with gas delivery in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. Some pumps will be empty and prices will rise. Our infrastructure, in many areas, is so fragile. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

The floating cover is a great idea. I'm also watering the seedlings a lot which should keep them warm too in the case of frost. Thanks, the seedlings are a bit small aren't they? Every season is very different and I have become accustomed to warmer weather...

Poopy thanks you for the feedback on his new do! No, I have been taking Poopy to get his haircut with a lovely lady for many years now.

Exactly, that is so true because after a number of years there becomes a relationship and it is really lovely when other people go out of their way to help. That is really nice.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Fingers crossed for your tomatoes too. The other morning was 3'C here and it killed off some of the second planting. This year has just been so cold compared to the previous few. Your feelings about it being a tricky year for tender plants matches mine too. Speaking of grasses, I started the whole process of hand mowing here yesterday... The growth has been feral this year.

That is a great observation and hope for your infrastructure as it is there to help - in the future. That's my understanding of the matter too because we just don't know what the future holds.

Oh my, that ain't good... Yes, arsonists are a real problem here too. Someone - who is now in jail - set off a big fire south of here on Christmas day.

Good for you! You clearly have superior mojo! Goals are good things to focus the mind and provide for will - and mojo!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

I'll be very interested to read how your pecan hybrid trees grow. Oh yeah, nut trees are the slowest of the slow when it comes to produce. I have two macadamia trees here which seem to be growing still despite snow, so you never really know what the actual range of a plant is until you try it.

Thanks for the link. The old timers used to say get tomatoes in the ground by Melbourne Cup day (the first Tuesday in November) which was yesterday.

Yup, I don't respond to older blog entries. It is a pragmatism thing more than anything else. With the final comments from the previous blog post, I respond in the following blog post. Hope that makes sense?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, I've seen a few of those Smart cars over the years. They have a lot of composite materials built into them too so as to keep the weight lower. I don't know anybody that actually owns one and to be honest they seem rather expensive for a small quantity of materials. That in itself makes me wonder whether the vehicles are a status vehicle and sold at higher margins than other small city cars? Dunno. The brand is owned by Mercedes Benz from what I understand.

The funny thing is that I'm often reminded of the hybrid vehicles which cost double what I paid for my little Suzuki (new prices) and I wonder at the sheer level of complexity in those vehicles simply in order to save a small quantity of fuel. Dunno. The issue confuses me and I just don't understand it.

A flexible hull. Wow. I wonder how often they had to caulk up the hull on a voyage so as to keep the ships free of leaks. It would be a tough gig that one.

That is funny! We all enjoy the occasional digression, but perhaps it can be taken a bit too far and thus the enjoyment vanishes? I for one am glad that the Count is not a threatening beastie - or the stuff of nightmares. So does the biographer believe that the reclusive Bram Stokes received a hard time as an author?

As seen is a solid basis for an auction. I mean there's risk and I've been done on auctions before. Hey, they auction houses down here. It is all public and out in the open and usually they draw quite the crowd. It is an unsettling and stressful experience to have to bid at one of those. Generally that is how houses are sold in the city down here. In the bush a house is generally put up for sale - and it usually takes about 12 months from start to finish. Caveat emptor - isn't that what they say?

Thanks for the awesome insider fixer upper tip with the wood glue. A tidy fix and an easy clean too. Having dealt with old houses, I'm used to seeing things that are not square or not even close to being square and then having to make it look as if it is. It is a bit more art than science. Have you ever seen furniture like that? Hey, some building contractor apparently illegally knocked over an old 1857 pub down here a couple of weeks ago. Apparently the site value doubled after that particular activity. There has been a bit of community outrage over it and the fines don't appear to be very large.

Shaving is certainly an option and once the hairline recedes far enough, well it is an option that is on the table. Shrimp nachos sound very tasty. Yum! The hinterlands are a fun place to be - less oversight perhaps? Yeah, there is authentic Chinese food to be found in the big smoke here too. Chinatown has been around and active for almost as long as the colony was settled.

There are about 17 series, so if you are after any recommendations and you have some possible choices, feel free to ask. It is basically the same story over and over, but the devil is in the details.

I have to bounce unfortunately and have run out of time to reply tonight. I promise to reply tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris


orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Very cold this morning and glorious colours outside; we are having a dry and beautiful autumn.

My Asperger's friend avoids eye contact when talking to me, he will make quick glances but not when talking. I read that people with Aspergers are unable to talk and look at the same time. If that is true it explains a lot as one would get no feedback from body language which is how one understands whether someone is listening to one with interest or not.

I read that Patrick Leigh Fermor and John Betjeman competed to discover terrible line of verse. The winner was Australian 'And lo! The sward was pocked with wombats' holes!' The versifier was not named.

My tomato plants also go out when about 6/8 inches tall.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Mmmm. Stoker really wasn't that reclusive. He just didn't write very much about himself ... or, perhaps his wife burned all the "good" stuff. He grew up and was educated (Trinity) in Dublin. He followed in his father's footsteps and was a minor civil servant, for awhile. But, he wrote theatre reviews on the side. He fell under the spell of a famous actor of the time, Henry Irving. Irving had a talent for pulling people into his orbit that were useful to him. And, he kept them just off balance enough to keep them catering to his every whim.

Irving bought the lease on a theatre in London and Stoker became his house manager, advertising manager and advance man. For over 20 years. He generally stood at the top of the stairs, into the auditorium, and greeted the Great and the Good. He wrote several novels, mostly well received but not big sellers. Then he hit it pretty big with Dracula. I may have to get around to rereading the book. The author of the bio makes the point that no theatre or film version has really followed the text. It's really one of those things that reflects whatever time it is performed.

Yeah, the auctions can get pretty wild. I lost out on a couple of things at auction, a few years back. I'd get confused if I upped and downed my auction ticket number and actually tried to follow the bidding. It's so fast. So, what I do is decide what I want to bid on and how much I want to pay. The auctioneer might start the bidding at $100. If no interest, then drop it to $50. And, sometimes even lower. I wait until an actual starting price is established ... the first bid. Then I just hold up my number and keep it up, until I either win the item, or, it hits the amount that I'm willing to pay, exceeds it, and I drop out. I think my method spooks some of the other bidders :-).

The library doesn't have any of the Grand Designs series on DVD. So it goes. They don't have any of the "Great Britain Bakes", series, either. Which I wished they'd get. But, they do have the book that goes with that series, on order.

Well, time for me to shuffle off to the Little Smoke. Rainy and windy, this morning. Just generally nasty. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is funny that you mention the wettest October on record because I sort of thought that La Nina here meant drier winters and summers in your part of the world and that it was El Nino that gave you the very wet years (but a total disaster of a year here)? Hope that makes sense? I reckon we are heading into a warmer and wetter world - for some parts. Other parts will be just warmer and drier. Yeah, I'm surprised too that the eastern part of Washington recorded its wettest October on record too as there are a whole lot of quite big mountains (not like the little things here) between that spot and the coast. I hope they have a good apple harvest next summer.

Yeah, if the rain falls as a persistent rain rather than massive tropical and temperate downpours the land has the ability - well at least here it does and I'm assuming your hydro geology works the same - to absorb the water. It should perform wonders for your poor and misused ground water tables. Unfortunately the big winter rains here have produced a bumper crop of mosquitoes - at dusk the air is thick with them and of course there are the inevitable Ross River fevers and Barmah Forest fevers up north of here. Hey, coming to a place near you soon! That wasn't really that funny. Do you get outbreaks of mosquitoes during wet summers? My gut feel says that it is a weak La Nina too as conditions changed abruptly a week or two back. You can sort of smell and feel the change in the air but I don't know how otherwise to describe it.

Sorry to read that and my condolences for the people involved in that unfortunate accident. They have a dial before you dig service here which I have had to use from time to time when I was in the big smoke. They get a bit legal down here after that sort of an incident which is very unfortunate. Our infrastructure is very brittle.

The powers that be down here announced the closure of the Hazelwood power station today. Few people yet understand what that means and I find it curiously interesting that it came on the back of the closure of the car manufacturing industry. That power station burnt brown coal which is reasonably plentiful down here, but it is enormously inefficient, but that makes electricity very cheap. 900 people are now apparently without a job as the plant will close in March. Infrastructure appears to be withdrawn first from the provinces. I bet Rome had some parallels to that? One day many years into the future, we'll be welcoming Alaric IV (I made that number up) into the city gates... Hey, I'm reading a fascinating tale on the New Zealand bush during the Great Depression and the people in the hinterlands also supported the bush-rangers just like here. I have to blame the author Douglas Adams because I keep his rather endearing and also rather silly comment at the back of my mind as I read the tale: "Back then, men were real men. Women were real women. And small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri". I'm not sure what that says about me... ;-)! But back then there was also a lot of bone headed stubbornness which seemed misplaced to me, but the characters read as if they were larger than life. Perhaps they were? Who is to now know?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

A photo of Bram Stoker appears on the Wikipedia page for Trinity College. In a rather unusual and slightly bizarre twist to your story Bram looks an awful lot like the actor from the film: Kenny who has actually moved into this mountain range. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up. It is uncanny. Anyway, that film is about a philosopher plumber who rents out portable toilets for events. It is an excellent film too. This is quite the relevant "six degrees of separation" incident as we have just had the Melbourne Cup horse race for which we receive a public holiday. I do recall that my grandmother once told me that public holidays were given for the Saints days and have always wondered whether the name was a bit of an alteration of the English language to remove the original intent of that word? Dunno.

Auctions are a mixed bag aren't they? Your auction strategy is very wise and it would be unnerving. I once spent $30k more on an auction for a house than I was comfortable with because someone else tried your strategy and from my end it was very unnerving to experience. They were like zombies as they kept coming back for more with a new bid and in the end we just had to stomp the daylights out of them. When I finally moved into that total dump of a house it had one power point and a floor in only a single room (because I had constructed that floor at night after work). There were rooms where the only thing I could find of the timber which had been used to construct the house was a blackened line in the clay. I reckon the floors in some rooms were only held up by the four layers of carpet which had a surprising amount of spring in them like a trampoline! It was that particular auction which told me just how crazy things were down here in relation to house prices. I certainly didn't need another exposure to that process. Anyway your method really does spook people! :-)!

Oh no! I'd never heard of the Great British Bake Off show before. Fascinating stuff. I love a good home made bread loaf or other bakery product if it is well made. I have some foodie friends visiting on Saturday and they have very exacting standards, which they usually deliver upon at their place. I'm in a state of total nerves! Hehe! Not really, as they will be involved in the cooking and so it should all go well - hopefully anyway?

I'm not sure why, but people start visiting here in Spring and so the editor and I have been busy with a major Spring clean today. I can see the benefits of a ritual spring cleaning. Anyway, it's a big job...

Ha! Your autumn weather is kicking in. Rain and cold weather is great for sitting in front of the heater and enjoying a nice cup of tea and a good book. Hope the trip into the little smoke was pleasant?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Autumn is a beautiful time isn't it? :-)! Crisp mornings, cool and sunny days added to the smells of life from the forest are really something else. Do you find that autumn is like a mini-spring in your part of the world? It is here. And it is nice that you are able to enjoy a drier autumn too and no doubt your trees would appreciate that.

It is nice that you maintain the relationship with your Asperger's friend as not everyone is that tolerant. Yes, I too have noticed the lack of eye contact and your explanation makes a whole lot of sense. The eyes really are the window to the soul. Even with photographs, I get prickly feelings and insights into people from the set of their eyes. You know the interesting thing is that I recall as a child, I was actively discouraged from making eye contact with adults. Somehow they felt that this was a bad thing. The other day I visited an open garden and a young child took the editor and I on a tour of their poultry setup and I was quite amazed at how well-spoken the kid was and the contrast between what I was encouraged to be like and what that kid was actually like, was very stark. The thing is about it, is that I don't believe that bluster and confidence is enough for adults to get by and I wonder about the sort of resilience and ingenuity those individuals have? Honestly, I don't know at all.

Ha! Thank you very much for that new word. Ah, your command of the English language is far superior to mine and I appreciate the titbits that you slowly feed me as part of our ongoing dialogue. It was a very funny word too. Nowadays they call that: "light-weight"; although I must observe that who are "they" to judge? Hehe! :-)! If I were a younger lad, I'd suggest that the judges could: "blame it, but not name it"! Hehe! Fortunately, I have a degree of age and respectability on my side nowadays and can only report that wombats do indeed dig holes in swards! Hehe!!!! Thanks for the laughs. The author got it wrong as the Echidna's are far worse for that sort of random digging activity! ;-)!

Thanks too for the tomato guidance and I have to acknowledge that your method is indeed superior to my much more slack methods.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Well done to the Cub's for breaking their longtime curse. Go forth and celebrate! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Thank you though I was sensibly watching the game from home and up 3 hours past my usual bedtime. It appears that all my family members who live in Chicago were out in the midst of the celebration. Fireworks going off even out here in the exurbs of Chicago. There are going to be a lot of tired people this morning. I'm glad it's over - well it'll be over after the big home-coming parade in Chicago.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris:

That was one bad ant. I hope that the editor's toe is much better, whether she wishes to stomp it or not (your disclaimer noted). I like her strategy a la the haircuts. As a side note - mojo does not come from hair . . . Your dishwasher, smart phone, and um, etc. had me choking . . .

That was a strange upside-down tree stump. One thing I wondered was whether the tree itself burned before it was cut or was the stump burned afterward?

My, goodness - in the photo by the huge fallen branch you look like you're off to Antarctica. Then I saw your comment about the sudden temperature change.

What do you sharpen with the grinding discs? Maybe we need some. I sure do like that water pump.

I can see it in Poopy's eyes: "I'm gonna kill that Sir Scruffy for getting to keep his mojo while SHE takes mine away. I'll get even with both of them . . .". Cue in: "Get back, ya filthy mongrels!" in a Monty Pythonesque voice.

How hard are almonds to crack open? Or do they open by themselves when ripe?

The spring sunshine on the orchard does look so nice.

I did start the osage orange from seed from a tree down the road. The seeds have to go through a process over the winter before they will sprout.

Thanks for mentioning chick peas. It must be time for hummus (I did make some).

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The mosquitoes aren't overwhelming, here. Being on a windy ridge ... the bats, frogs and birds keep them down. I'm always on the lookout for any standing water. I wake up with the occasional bite, but it's rare. There's only been a case or two in this State, so no need to panic, yet. But, I expect before the end of my time I'll be sleeping under mosquito netting. Available on Amazon :-).

We have a coal fired steam plant here. Used to be a plant and coal mine. About 10 years ago, they closed the coal mine ... right before Christmas. Close to 400 out of work. It really hit the town, hard. Closed due to Green pressure. The steam plant, itself, will probably be fazed out in the 2020s. They now haul in cleaner (supposedly) coal by rail. They installed scrubbers. No matter what they do, it's just not good enough for the Green faction. The coal ash goes into local cement. Another local plant whose days are numbered. There's a story (probably apocryphal) that when the coal mine closure was announced, at least three wives of miners showed up at the local bank, cleaned out the accounts and took to their heels.

I think it was Mr. Greer, or, perhaps Mr. Kunstler, who predicted that the hinterlands infrastructure would be like a film in reverse. I'd say we're already seeing it as far as telacommunications, go. They still keep the roads up, pretty much, in this county. But, a major county road down the hill from me has had work slated ... for at least 5 years. It's been put off, year after year as other roads in the county are more pressing. They've done a lot of the initial surveying and impact studies ... but the "boots on the ground" have yet to appear. I think our electric service will be ok, for awhile. Since our power is from a Public Utility District. It's not some for profit corporation.

You have Kenny, we have Larry the Cable Guy :-). Heck, big burly gingers are thick on the ground, at this point in history. The Fed-Ex guy who delivered a package for my neighbors, yesterday, also bore a startling resemblance to Stoker. :-).

I can see where people would be about more, down under, this time of year. Your spring. Getting out from under winter's case of cabin fever. And, you have the holidays coming up. I don't do too bad, for a bachelor (I don't think.) But, I knew that Scott would be helping me haul the cabinet into the house, so I did descend into a little frenzy of cleaning. Nothing too over the top. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Kavetch, rant and complain, ahead :-). I think I mentioned that our new library circulation system ... well, it used to be that when you had a hold, when it was finally in transit, you knew what was actually "on the way." Made planning trips to town more productive. With the new system, all holds are "pending". You never know what's going to arrive until it's actually in your local branch. Luckily, they are still running the old system in tandem, with the new.

Well, I've finally trigged to the changes in the postal tracking system. Used to be you could track a package through all the hubs. And, it told you, early in the morning, if a package was "out for delivery." Now it's just "left point of origin" and then it arrives in your box. There's an estimated date of arrival, but it's always wrong. So my point is (there is a point) it seems like with every technological advance, there is less and less useful information. So, I've been hanging about the box, this week, waiting for the postal lady to show up. So far, no dice. But it throws off any trip planning.

I have to make another trip to town, today. Sigh. LOL. Due to a perfect storm of when my retirement check hits the bank (today), and electric bill that needs to be paid and a deep discount coupon for a big bag of Beau's food that wasn't on sale yesterday, but is, today. And, the weather was feral, yesterday, but it's nice this afternoon, so I have half a chance of getting said bag of dog food home in a dry condition. Sometimes, my very simple life seems really complicated :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

May your people enjoy their sore and tired heads whilst they bask in the glories of the historic win. Sensible is an under statement! Nice one. It must have been some serious celebrations.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, the naughty ant was never brought to justice for its toe crimes. The ants here are really vicious but the mosquitoes this year are unrelenting and so they are almost as unpleasant... The toe seems better now. It usually takes about four to five days for the swelling and itching to recede. Where does mojo come from then? That is the question! :-)!

That is a great question and we have wondered that too. I suspect that the stumps were piled up and given a cursory burn. The minor burns to the timber seems to assist with the preservation. These stump piles (is that the correct description?) appear to be in clumps and trees are growing around them too.

The temperature dropped almost 20'C that day within an hour. It is a real drama for livestock as the shock for them can be quite extreme. It is hard to believe it but underneath all that sheep (!) I had sunscreen and insect repellent from earlier in the day.

The grinding discs can sharpen any carbide steel which you'll find in a lot of high speed cutting tools. In particular it is perfect for stump grinder teeth, but plenty of other tools use that steel. You can see it in circular saw cutting teeth.

Thanks! That pump is the forth in a progression of test pumps. This one is certainly the best that I have used so far and it has a soft start function so there is no water hammer. Pretty clever huh?

Poopy loves getting his hair cut as he overheats from spring to autumn. And I believe that the comment would have fit the Holy Grail Monty Python film. That's an offensive weapon that is...

The parrots and cockatoos can crack the almond nuts with their beaks so I suspect that they are not too hard. Yes, when the green fuzzy outer layer splits, the nut and shell are ready to harvest.

Thanks for the information on the osage orange tree and I will check that out. A lot of the plants down here have to go through that over wintering process too. There is a technical name for it, but it escapes me right now.

Hummus! Yum. Had some yesterday with fresh baked bread. Yum! Enjoy!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Lucky you for the lack of mosquitoes. They really are a pest this year here. I was mowing today and squashed one an huge chunk of blood oozed out of the insect. One would think that it was already full and had no need to snack on me? A lot of the people in the world have to sleep under mosquito netting. I have screens on the windows and doors, but they do get into the house from time to time and they buzz around your head whilst you are trying to sleep. No doubts that you are correct, it really is stagnant water that allow the mosquitoes to breed, and this year here there is a bit of it around the landscape, not to mention peoples dams which probably don't have fish in them which would otherwise eat the insects. And neglected pools are plentiful around here. It is usually too cold to swim in them.

Just before Christmas is a dog act. It surprises me how often that happens. So they use diesel to bring in black coal and then burn that? With your rainfall in your part of the world, you probably have brown coal too. There is a seam of black coal not too far from here and it is exported... The problem with those sorts of changes is that the pain is rarely shared evenly. People accept misfortunes and declines as long as the pain is shared - and to be honest I don't see a lot of that happening.

I don't read Kunstler, although he is an excellent author and I have enjoyed some of his podcasts (I just had to draw the line somewhere) and I believe I heard or read Mr Greer saying exactly that. People don't realise that they already talking brown outs here and the first time I became aware of those was in my travels in the Third World. There but for the grace...

It is mildly uncanny. Hey, what is with the whole ginger thing? For some reason they get a bad rap and I don't really know why? There may be some sort of historical thing for this situation? 10% of the population in Scotland have red hair.

Thanks for the new word as I'd never heard of that one before. It is a fine word and haven't we all come across one of those before? Honestly, I avoid them... Life is short... :-)! You on the other hand are hardly complaining that much! Ah! You got hit by a system improvement. I bet that improvement means that the library staff will be inundated with queries from people who have things on hold. Perhaps this is a downward pushing of costs. I see a lot of that.

Oh, that's not good about the delivery system. I won't mention that that particular setup was introduced here recently. The cheeky sods send me an SMS text to let me know that a package has arrived and it is before my wake up time. Poor people who work shifts. I can live with a bit of mystery thanks very much.

Good luck with the cheapie dog food. Definitely worth a trip into town.

I mowed a couple of acres today by hand and I believe that I may have cooked my head a bit in the strong spring sunshine. It was 28'C (82.4'F) here today and I walked for many hours back and forwards, forwards and backwards. Still it is cheaper than a tractor and you have to do something with your life. :-)!

I also replanted the tomatoes this afternoon. Fingers crossed. This time, I fed them, talked to them nicely, and watered them a lot.

Cheers

Chris





orchidwallis said...

@ Pam

I never buy almonds in their shells as I am incapable of extracting them.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well the celebration goes on and on and on..... Enough already :) The big parade and rally in Chicago is today (Friday) so hopefully things will calm down. I seriously think people are using it as a distraction from the election. I really feel sorry for the people who are commuting into the city today for work.

That must have been some ant!! Hope the editor is doing better.

Last week I had out of town company and spent quite a bit of time cleaning the house. The evening they arrived Doug took the dogs down the driveway for the last walk of the night and both dogs got skunked. Luckily the guests (sister and good friend) took it in stride even though the entire house and garage (where they got washed down) reeked. It still smells a week later. Doug said he's convincing himself that he likes the smell of skunk.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I always keep a couple of cans of chick peas (aka, garbanzos) on hand. Good for three (to five) bean salad. Next week I'm going to a potluck and taking tabouli, so, garbanzos, for that. I make a hummus without the tahini. Expensive stuff. I mash the beans with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. A diced clove of garlic or two. Then a quarter and core a few tomatoes. Dice them up and mix them in. Maybe some diced green onions. Then I fold in plane non fat yogurt ... makes it spread, or, dip-able. Also gives it a bit of zing. Will keep two or three days in the fridge.

I read Kunstler's weekly post. Maybe the first dozen or so comments. And, that's it for the week. I follow Mr. Greer, pretty closely. And, Joel Crais. Here, of course. That's about it.

I've always found gingers a bit on the mesmerizing side. I often joke that it's because I was exposed to the film "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" at too young and impressionable an age :-). One of my best mates in high school was a ginger. As was all his rather large family. I was pretty close to the lot. I suppose in the deep past, it was because gingers were such a rarity. As far as the bad reputations ginger's have in some quarters, I think a lot of that is self for filling prophecy. I think I read somewhere where the gene for red hair comes from our Neanderthal brethren.

Oh, I don't think the "new" circ system gives the library staff too many fits. It's been running in tandem with the old catalog for about two years, now. The howls will come when the old system finally goes away. The new system's search function isn't near as "forgiving" as the old system. You have to get the spelling and punctuation exactly right to get an accurate return.

Good luck with the tomatoes. Can't have a tomato jungle without tomato seedlings. At some point along the way :-).

Oh, Beau doesn't get the cheapest dog food available. It's probably a cut above average. The coupon was for 10% off anything in the store and there was another coupon for another 5% off any dog or cat food. And, the bags they had had an extra five pounds of food. LOL ... lugging pounds of dog food into the house just about did me in. Otherwise, the trip to town was ok. Everything that needed to get done, got done. And, I won't have to go in again til next Wednesday.

But, I think I'm going to Longview, today, which is about 4(five) (darn. My "5" key stopped working. Now it's back. Odd. Any-who ... I'm taking a large box of tat that I'm not very much attached to, to see if I can flog it. He'll probably want to go for a trade, rather than cash. Oh, well. If I can turn a large box of tat into one small item that I like, I guess I'm still ahead. It's a really nice day for a small road trip. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Oops. Forgot. For all you home bakers, out there (or, in here.) An article about sour dough. A new study is being done to delve into the genetics of sourdough. Interesting stuff .... Lew

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/10/28/499363379/discovering-the-science-secrets-of-sourdough-you-can-help

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Hehe! Clearly there was some built up tension in the fans after, what was it, 108 years? And for there to be a curse in place too which was finally lifted and everyone could breathe a sigh of relief. No doubts that you are correct in that it is a distraction from the ongoing election. I'm constantly amazed at how long your campaign cycles are. I mean, how does the incumbent do their job during such an unrelenting and grueling time. The last Federal campaign down here went for about 13 weeks, and that was considered to be too long and I wondered whether we should even be paying for the sitting politicians during that period as they couldn't possibly be doing their jobs. There was a bit of a backlash against the sitting government which was returned (just) and possibly that was one strike (no pun intended!) against them? I hear you about the commuters. Has there been any talk about an impromptu public holiday?

Yes, the ants are a real pain here - they spray the skin with formic acid and just for good measure inject a bit of it into the skin too. The result is general like a chemical burn. Do you have ants or insects like that up in your part of the world?

Ha! Those naughty dogs. Well that skunk story sure puts problems with ant bites into perspective. Wombat scat is pretty funky smelling, but at least it can be washed off the dogs coats, although they rarely enjoy the process as to be honest I warm soapy water - with nice floral fragrances! - to wash off the worst of it and then spray that lot off with the cold water from the hose. The dogs don't tend to repeat their error - until the next year. But skunk stink is taking it to 11! Wow.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the new word: Garbanzos! It sounds very Italian in origin? Ah, that is interesting too as I tend to purchase the chickpeas dried and then have to rehydrate them overnight before use. Cans is an interesting idea. Your potluck recipients are scoring very well with your choice of tabbouleh (yum) as well as hummus (yum). I'm salivating reading about all this good food.

Hey, I went to two open gardens to the north of here and met the loveliest people who had similar gardens to this place - except they had at least a decade of growth more. It was nice to see and just chat with them for a while. One of couples was off grid and we spoke about all of the fun side of that particular choice. I also got a chance to check out their wood fired oven which does their hot water as well. You know after 12 years their unit was looking really good. They were nice enough to let me poke my head into the combustion chamber and see how it looked! So I noted the brand and will check into it at a later stage.

Well, I for one am glad to have you here as I enjoy our chats. :-)!

Oh, I didn't know that. Well, I have Scottish on both parents sides and so perhaps there is some sort of natural affinity for red hair? Dunno.

Yeah, that is what I was thinking too. When the old system gets switched off, chaos and uncertainty will ensue! And nobody really wants that. What kind of search facility is that? A good one of those has to be a bit forgiving. Well that is the theory anyway. My profession is getting a lot of administration pushed off onto it by the government and your library system sounds a lot like that to me. I wonder if books will be lost en-route from source to destination? Dunno

It looks like about half of the ones I planted yesterday actually took. It is a real pain as yesterday was warm and the seedlings looked great, and today it is very cold and they don't look so nice.

Beau is a lucky dog! That coupon sounds very useful. I like coupons too, but you rarely see them here - hopefully that doesn't set up some sort of mass inundation of spam which would be a real pain. The comments section here gets about one chunk of spam per week and I just delete it. Some of them almost sound like real comments, but alas for them, their command of the English language is not so good, and the transparent nature of their thoughts is a bit sad.

Nice to read that you didn't die of dog food overload. That would be an unfortunate experience and honestly, would it get mentioned in a eulogy? Is that even tasteful? Hehe! Some of those feed bags almost kill me too. In my younger days, cement was sold in 40kg bags (88 pounds) and they are heavy to have to move any distance and you can't chop it up like a tree stump can you? Nowadays things are more sensible and you rarely see bags greater than about half that weight.

As a useful suggestion, turn the keyboard upside down and bang it on a table. It is disturbing just how much food scraps are stored among those keys... hey, I had a keyboard and it must have been a cheap one as the 6 key on the keyboard just broke and fell out. The continuing crapification continues apace...

Your trade sounds eminently sensible. How did it go? I hope you scored something nice?

I planted a foxglove today which I picked up on the cheap at a local market. Hopefully the wallabies don't eat it...

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

That hummus recipe sounds great - going to try it.

A question - I inherited a bunch of Hummels from my mother and would like to find the value and sell them. Any suggestions as to how to do that?

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well supposedly 5 million people turned out for the parade/rally. The population of Chicago is 2.7 million. The commutes, as expected, were a nightmare. I think employers were quite forgiving overall. Our town is the first stop on the train line and the parking lots were filled in no time so people parked anywhere they could find the spot. Police wrote out tons of $25 parking tickets. The local news has been only Cubs except for the weather forecast but that gets tied in as well. Now that all the hoopla is over maybe they'll get back to the usual (not that it's much better).

I don't think the politicians that are running for re-election are doing their jobs much of the time. Limiting the campaign cycle and getting all the special interest money out of the elections should be a priority but I'm sure not holding my breath. We get tons of mailings too for local races which go right into the recycling bin.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

We have had a terrible mosquito problem in this drought. I guess the problem might be the pond behind us, plus the small amounts of rain have been just enough to leave water in the hollow tree stumps, etc.

I was cutting up and canning jalapeno peppers yesterday (they are loving this dry, warmer weather) and decided that I didn't need to wear my disposable latex gloves to finish them off and, boy, was I sorry. Luckily, I was using only my right hand to stuff them into the jars, but I got such a chemical burn that I couldn't use my hand for about 10 hours; had to mostly keep it in a bowl of cold water. The pain was horrible. It is fine now. So - I am still sympathizing with the editor and her ant.

@ Lew:

Thanks for the sourdough link.

@ Margaret:

We had one dog (the others never got sprayed) who just would not leave skunks alone. Maybe his sense of smell wasn't so good. We always rubbed tomato soup (not juice - the thick soup stays on better and there are really cheap store brands) all over him and left him outside for awhile (actually, a long while) and then washed it out with soap and water. He was a white dog and stayed rather pink for some time.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Garbanzo. Wikipedia has a pretty extensive etymology of the word. And, chick pea, too. Garbanzo is Spanish, by way of Greek or Basque. Cicer or ciche in French. Also called Gram, Bengal gram, Egyptian pea, ceci, cece, chana or Kabuli chana. That little bean got around. According to reports, it was one of the earliest domesticated crops.

Canned beans are pretty cheap here, especially the store brands. Well under a dollar for a pound. They even do a low sodium version. Usually, I drain and wash the beans and then zap them with a bit of water for a few minutes. Sure, they're cooked in the can, but can be a little dente. And, I think a small part of my brain doesn't quit believe they're cooked :-). I'll take a big bowl of Tabouli and a big apple / raisin crisp to the pot luck.

Be careful popping your head into ovens. What came to mind was, "...and then they pushed her in and slammed the door!" Hansel and Gretel. :-). No matter what the topic, it's always fun, interesting and informative to run across other folks with the same interests or ways of living, as you.

As far as administration pushed off on the government, more likely pushed off onto some private company to line the pockets of the politicians, or their friends and relatives. At least that's what seems to be happening here, and no one much seems to notice.

In transit books don't seem to be lost, much. But, it happens. There's a book that's been "in transit" to me for over a week and I wonder if it's gone astray. I'll give it until next week before the complain about it. I worked the courier section of the library, for awhile. It's really a wonder that it doesn't happen more often. There are really a lot of books sloshing around among the 27 branches and service center.

No frost yet. My friends in idaho have had several. I'll have to get out the last couple of years of calendars and see when the frost arrived. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Spam is funny stuff. I usually try to browse around the Net with my stealth or private mode, on. But sometimes I forget. And then, sometimes, the spam rains down. Here, six months ago, all of a sudden I was getting around 50 a day. It's a nuscience, as I feel like I at least have to check the subject lines to make sure nothing important slipped from in box, to spam. But now it's dwindled down to only one or two a day. I figure the "white hat hackers" have taken them down. I'm sure they're as irritated with spam as the rest of us, but they have the .... talent to take the spam crankers, down.

Fox glove = digitalis, the heart medicine. As I'm sure you know. Of course, the active ingredients have been filtered through a lab and come in pills, now. On the other hand, from what I've read, dealing with the herb can be very tricky, as far as doses and processing. Who cares. Even without their medicinal uses, they're still quit stately and pretty.

Though the rain is coming down so hard, right now, that I can't even work up the courage to check the mail, yesterday the weather was glorious. The fall colors along the freeway were spectacular. I don't drive on the freeway, much, so it always makes me nervous. Going down, a lot of truck traffic. Coming back, not so much. I thought I got good prices for what the dealer did buy, and was surprised by what he didn't buy. But then, he knows his market. Judging from a couple of comments he made, he got a glut, or backlog of stuff. They were burglarized, not long ago. A real smash and grab in the middle of the night. Smashed in the front door, broke a few cases and made off with a lot of stirling silver. Yes, they have an alarm but the crooks were in and out in less than a minute. Other than that, a good chat about the biz and tat.

Now, I have to ask about something you said over at the ADR. I'm trying to wrap my head around it ... and it's causing my head to hurt :-). You feel that "living in the moment" is a bad thing, and I can get what your driving at. But how does that differ from the Buddhist concept of "mindfulness?" Of being present in each moment and activity. No automatic pilot! :-). I understand there's a difference, and that one is not so good, and the other, better. That they're different but sound the same. But I can't quit verbalize it, to myself. Please expound. LOL, in 25 words or less, using words of two syllables or less :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

-2C outside this morning with frost, brr.

I also had problems with your objection to 'living in the moment' so am emboldened by Lew to add my request.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret, Pam, Lewis and Inge,

Hope you are all well. There must be something in the air because I became inspired and wrote tomorrow nights blog, tonight. Plus we went to the local pub for dinner. They serve local beers and ciders and plus I had a very yummy chicken parma (a standard pub choice down here) with chips and veg. It was a lot of fun. Anyway, the blog is written, but not yet published and time has gotten away from me. To cut an overly long story short, I promise to reply tomorrow, especially since all I have to do is click on the publish button (that is the plan, anyway).

Lewis and Inge, well we don't always have to agree and this is a healthy thing, but I do have my reasons and will expound upon them tomorrow. Of course, feel free to tell me that I'm talking total rubbish - which is again a healthy thing. I'm good with that. Til then!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

" No matter what the topic, it's always fun, interesting and informative to run across other folks with the same interests or ways of living, as you." - that is what this is all about!

"Now, I have to ask about something you said over at the ADR. I'm trying to wrap my head around it ... and it's causing my head to hurt :-). You feel that "living in the moment" is a bad thing, and I can get what your driving at. But how does that differ from the Buddhist concept of "mindfulness?" Of being present in each moment and activity. No automatic pilot! :-). I understand there's a difference, and that one is not so good, and the other, better. That they're different but sound the same. But I can't quit verbalize it, to myself." - that was rather on my mind to ask Chris, too. I'm glad that you did.

I was looking at a recipe to make vada pan yesterday and it called for gram flour. So, I thought, do they mean "graham" (strange thought for an Indian dish)? I had to look it up. It is what you said above - chick pea flour.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Sorry to break the news, but due to the Internet, the Hummel's market (along with a lot of other things) has pretty much collapsed. At that auction I went to, there were two Hummels from the American Occupation era, that went for $5 for the two.

If you go to E-Bay and type "Hummel Figurines" in the search box, you'll get about 30,000+ listings. Then look for the box on the left hand side that says "Completed Auctions" and click that. You'll get about 42,000+ listings. The prices in green were items that actually sold, and how much they brought. TDK (with a number) means which trademark was used. Hummel changed their trademarks, every few years. So collectors and narrow down the year of production, pretty narrowly. You may see some listings that talk about a trademark with a "bee". I think that's an old trademark identification.

So, you may see a Hummel figure that brought a lot of money, but you Hummel may not, as it depends on the trademark. Google "Hummel marks" to get an overview. But I'm guessing you really don't want to immerse yourself in the whacky world of "serious" Hummel collectors.

Well, you can look around (or, ask around) for a good auction. The auction here cranks through a lot of "junk", but once a month or so they have an "antiques" auction. Or, maybe you can find an auction that is "all antiques, all the time". You'll get better prices, late spring, or summer. Try to get your stuff in an auction that is earlier in the month. More money floating around. Pray for good weather :-). Do not go to the auction where you stuff is coming up for sale. It's too heartbreaking. The auction house will also charge a "sellers premium". It can be steep. Any damage, no matter how small, really impacts price.

Or, you can look around for a dealer to sell them to. Look around for a slightly higher end shop. Maybe one that already has Hummels. A dealer will give you the least ... and auction, will bring in, maybe, slightly more. A Hummel collector, who maybe buys and sells on the side? There may be Hummel collectors groups in the Chicago metro area.

Also, check out jewelry stores. Hummel's used to be sold through a lot of fine jewelry stores. And some of them still buy and sell the older ones. Any-who. This will get you started, and if you have any more questions, just ask. Lew



LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I think the DNA analysis of sourdough is going to be pretty interesting. They're also going to look into which "strains" have the best rise. And, best flavor.

@ Chris - Well, Daylight Savings Time, changed last night. Booo. I must say that picking up an extra hour of sleep in the fall isn't as bad as loosing one in the spring ... but I still feel out of sorts for days. And, of course, this afternoon the sun will set at 4:30.

I watched a new film called "Ithaca", last night. It's based on the book "Human Comedy" by William Saroyan. Somehow, an author I missed along the way. It takes place during WWII in a small town. A 14 year old boy has become a telegraph messenger. His father is dead, his brother has gone away to the Army. So, it's his mother, sister and little brother. Being war time, some of the messages he carries have VERY bad news.

The dialogue was a bit off. A bit stilted. I think they lifted a lot of it from the narration in the book. Narration to dialogue, sometimes, does not translate, very well. What I found interesting was that the film had a very Norman Rockwell look to it. But, Rockwell pretty much stuck to humor or sentiment. This looks like Rockwell, but with much darker tones. Another thing that struck me was how much less "stuff" people had back then. Worth a look if you happen to run across it. Lew