Monday, 12 December 2016

Living on the razer's edge

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

“Got a letter from Davie just the other day
Said livin in Queensland was not OK
Can't find the money just to pay the rent
'nd the food and the herb -
Well they're just heaven sent”

Fatso the wombat is a regular evening visitor to the farm. Fatso earned her name because she is one big wombat! She does have a visible bite mark on her bottom which looks suspiciously to me like the bite from another wombat and, well, to be polite about a rather delicate marsupial matter, wombat mating rituals are as rough as guts – if the sounds of that activity are any indicator.

Say hello to Fatso the wombat:
Fatso the wombat
In the above photo Fatso the wombat was enjoying the feed so much the other night, that she simply plopped down in the paddock and started munching. Fatso is in a very good paddock as you can see in that photo and she can pick and choose from her choice of clover, pea, a couple of varieties of grass, and dandelions. What more could a wombat possibly ask for from any paddock?

Fatso is not the defenceless little lady wombat that you may imagine. Her bottom and back has a very hard internal plate with which she can crush opponents and predators. If a fox was stupid enough to be cornered by a wombat in her burrow, then the fox may find itself crushed by the wombat against the wall or ceiling of the wombat burrow. That would be a very unpleasant but almost certain ending for a fox.

Wombats are like the armoured personnel carriers of the marsupial world! And apart from humans and their vehicles, wombats don’t have any natural predators. However, wombats are unlike Tribbles (a fictional alien from Star Trek that breeds like crazy in a frighteningly exponential manner!) because they are not in danger of taking over the planet (unlike Tribbles)! Wombats live in burrows in the forest, but they eat the grass and herbage which is to be found in paddocks and clearings in and around the forest. The wombat population is therefore limited by the availability of the food that the wombat population has easy access too.

Let’s have another look at Fatso the wombat:
Fatso the wombat is on the move through the grass and herbage
Fatso is a good looking wombat. But don’t be fooled by her charming behaviour and deceptively good looks. Fatso is one tough customer, because she has free access to the grass and herbage here whilst other lesser wombats are nervous in her presence. And Fatso in turn has to continually fight all of those other lesser wombats who want access to her feed.

The feed is never constant in this part of the world because some years there are drought years and the pickings become very slim for the average wombat.

“She's been livin' on the Razor's edge
Tryin' to touch the sun
She won't fall for that same old trick again”

In drought years, the worm farm sewerage system, which processes the household’s waste water, produces the most reliable green grass and herbage in the area. And Fatso the wombat has sole wombat access to that reliable source of feed. That access is a serious advantage for Fatso because drought years are normally very tough years for wombats. In those years, Fatso additionally has almost complete access to the garden and she can pick and choose whatever plants appeal to her taste buds.

That wombat is no fool either, because Fatso the wombat knows that the garden beds and paddock have been fed with huge quantities of compost and so the plants that she does eat from those areas contain far more minerals than the equivalent plants in the surrounding forest or other clearings in the area. Yup, Fatso the wombat is nobody’s fool.

But for Fatso the wombat to be nobody’s fool, she has to continually fight off all of the other lesser wombats. You see when Fatso the wombat is not around the farm enjoying the spoils, the lesser and slightly smaller wombats sneak into her clearly marked territory and consume the grass and herbage in the paddock. Thus the first, second, and third rule of Cherokee Wombat Fight Club could be expressed as follows: “Don’t get caught stealing Fatso the wombats feed!”

“Cathy's alright. She just gets lonely everyday
She's livin' with a dream-world of yesterday
And there she is but here she'll stay
"Well it just never works out," she said, "Anyway!"

The paddocks, orchard and garden beds on the farm support more wildlife than just one huge wombat. In fact, the paddocks support several wombats, a couple of wallabies, and some kangaroos. A decade ago those paddocks barely supported a single little wombat, let alone all of the life that now exists here at the farm. It has occurred to me over the past year or so that carrying capacity (the number of people, animals, or crops which a region can support without environmental degradation) is not a fixed concept. But by not being a fixed concept it is not implied that carrying capacity is unlimited.

Over the past decade, I estimate that I have brought about 550 cubic metres (about 700 cubic yards) of mulch and compost onto the farm. In addition to that I have increased the number, area and diversity of plants growing at the farm. Plus water is now available all year around for the animals, reptiles, insects and birds that call this place home. And every year that I have done so, the sheer diversity and volume of life here at the farm increases. And it has not surprised me at all that over the past few weeks, I have had to consider taking actions to prevent the wildlife from consuming some parts of the farm which I have an interest in consuming. Regular readers will recall that the Slaters (which are an insect here) were in such large numbers that they had consumed all of my tomato seedlings – even after several complete rounds of replanting. However this week in a totally unexpected turn of events, I disturbed a pair of deer enjoying the rich pickings in the paddock below the house:
A pair of deer were enjoying the rich pickings in the paddock below the house
It may be that one day that I’m comfortable with and have made allowances for the deer to co-exist in the paddocks and orchards. However in previous years, the deer have not made a favourable impression on me, because they have consumed the bark of several apple trees which makes those trees more prone to disease and/or kills them. On this occasion, I was thankful for the services of Poopy the Pomeranian (who everyone knows is actually a Swedish Lapphund) and Sir Scruffy who worked together to chase the deer off into the depths of the forest.

“Don't go livin' on a Razor's edge
Or tryin' to touch the sun
'Cause you'll just fall for that same old trick again - (that's what they tell ya')”

The difference between the deer and the wombats is that after many years, I understand what Fatso the wombat and her marsupial mates are capable of in the orchard and garden beds, whilst the deer are an unknown quantity.

Earlier in the week, all sensible wombats were safe and snug in their burrows because a huge storm dropped an inch and half of rain in only a few hours. The night before the storm, the weather station was predicting heavy rain, but the sunset predicted the storm as well:
The sunset put on a good show the night before a heavy storm hit the farm
The day following the storm was quite cool and we decided to undertake a job that had not been done for years. It has been many years since the local council mowed the sides of the road here and the road was in danger of turning into the forest. And on that road side there were more than twenty, but perhaps less than thirty old tree stumps (honestly, I lost count during the day and somehow managed to also burst a blood vessel in my eye I worked so hard). So in one day the editor and I mowed all 400m (about a quarter mile) of road sides and removed the old tree stumps. Chopping and dropping all of the overgrown vegetation along the side of the roads will provide more food for the local wombats!
Many old tree stumps were removed from the roadside this week
It is amazing what turns up in unexpected locations in the forest because in the process of that maintenance, we uncovered an old coke bottle and some very heavy duty car headlight glass, both of which were buried. The coke bottle was old enough that the glass had begun to slump and run. Wombats are unable to eat glass!
An old coke bottle and some very heavy duty glass was unearthed in the clean-up of the roadside this week
Speaking of glass bottles, we had dinner at the local pub last week and I happened to spot a most unusual and intriguing drink called: Gingerbread Maniac. Long time readers will note that I do not endorse products and/or services and I mention this bottle because the label caught my eye as it depicted a maniacal gingerbread dude wielding a gingerbread chainsaw. Who comes up with these ideas?
Gingerbread maniac – Nuff said
The outer layer of the house below the veranda had become slightly loose recently. That outer layer acts as a fire rated wall and so it is sort of important to maintain! This week I used about 100 heavy duty hex head screws to anchor the outer layer of that fire rated wall to the frame of the house.
About 100 heavy duty hex head screws were used to anchor the outer layer of the fire rated wall below the veranda to the frame of the house
The replica antique Chinese cabinet which I reduced in size last week (not by using a gingerbread chainsaw!) has now had its doors reattached and the cabinet is sitting in pride of place in the living room.
The now modified replica antique Chinese cabinet has had its doors reattached and the cabinet is now in its final location
We have begun clearing the winter and spring vegetables from the many raised garden beds in preparation for planting with summer and autumn vegetables. The chickens have had a massive feed of these many vegetables. The seeds for those summer and autumn vegetables were planted today.
Some of the remaining winter and spring vegetables were removed today from the raised beds and fed to the chickens
The spare ground in the tomato enclosure was planted out with capsicum (pepper), eggplant, and melons today too. The many tomato seedlings planted over the past week or so have all survived.
Capsicum (pepper), eggplant, and melons were planted in the tomato enclosure today
The large and ancient daisy bushes (Musk Daisy Bush – Olearia Argophylla) which form part of the forest understory have recently begun to produce flowers. They’re quite impressive.
The large and ancient daisy bushes (Musk Daisy Bush – Olearia Argophylla) have recently begun to produce flowers
The nasturtiums which I grow in a permanent bed have also begun to flower over the past fortnight. The entire plant is edible and they thrive in the sort of extreme UV and hot conditions that is a normal summer here.
The nasturtiums which I grow in a permanent bed have also begun to flower over the past fortnight
Broad beans are also producing huge quantities of pods this week. Some of the seeds in those pods will be dried for replanting next season.

There is still a huge quantity of salad greens to pick from!
There is still a huge quantity of salad greens to pick from!
At this time of year, if you watched them long enough, you can almost see the many herbs growing and the herb garden looks feral / delightful.
At this time of year you can almost see the many herbs growing
The flower beds around the courtyard are attracting enormous quantities of bees and on a sunny day, you can hear the buzzing as the many bees harvest pollen and nectar.
The flower beds around the courtyard are attracting enormous quantities of bees on sunny day’s
Apples are starting to slowly swell and gain size on the many apple trees here. I’ve forgotten exactly how many apple trees there are, but I do recall that there are at least 26 different varieties.
The apples are starting to slowly swell and gain size
But this week, the strawberry patch is producing a handful of ripe strawberry fruit every day.
The strawberry patch is producing a handful of ripe strawberry fruit every day
“Well the heart says 'Go' 'nd the head says 'Stay'
'nd the big wheels just keep turnin' everyday...”

Fatso the wombat says: Stay!

With respects to the band Goanna for their 1983 song Razor’s edge.

The temperature outside now at about 7.45pm is 26’C (79’F). So far this year there has been 1,180.6mm (46.5 inches) which is the same as last week’s total of 1,142.0mm (45.0 inches).

74 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for checking with your son about flat roofs. Well, they do use fibreglass down here with some water tanks, but the UV is perhaps more extreme here as the fibreglass looks brittle after a few years. Not that those water tanks leak, but they look brittle.

Did you get your rain? Hope you liked the wombat story?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yeah, how good would it be to harness some of that wasted energy in that sort of bike riding? I reckon we might be able to harness that energy to bring rocks back up the hill! That'll make them sweat. :-)! They do bike races here on the mountain, but generally the road is closed off and the locals have plenty of warning about that. Because of the dirt roads the bike riders rarely come up this side of the mountain range. Yup, big tyres are the way to go on dirt roads and yeah some of the cars travel very fast up here too. It is a complex problem, no doubts about it.

10 inches of snow! Full on! Did it happen? I hope both you, your family and the dogs stay safe in those wintery conditions. I saw an article in the newspaper down here about your polar vortex. Brr! I won't tell you that it got to well beyond 86'F here in the shade today. The powers that be have moved the city thermometer to a much cooler place in parkland close to a river so, the official readings can not be trusted.

Cheers

Chris

Jo said...

Chris, your garden is looking amazing, as well as delightfully feral:) Fingers crossed for the new tomato seedlings. I have planted tomatoes in January before and still got a crop, so here's hoping. I have also been experimenting with extreme watering for new seedlings - 2 to 3 times a day for new seedlings for a week or so. I saw how well new plants do when it rains all day after planting, and decided to replicate those conditions, so water now even if the ground is still wet, and the baby plants just love it, and settle in beautifully:)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, the Grid song had a banjo which they played very well, but perhaps the robots were a little bit of a stretch to consider it Cajun music. Thanks for the correction and I'll check out the link that you provided.

I've heard that term "a real toe-tapper" before, but alas like so much of our language, it is slowly disappearing - to be replaced with words like: "Banger". There was a very amusing song by a group called: Odd mob, which described in detail what a "Banger" was. The lyrics were provided by a US comedian. It is very amusing.

Thanks for the explanation. They hire out chains to vehicles travelling into the alpine areas over winter, but other than that you never see them. Oh yeah, those chains would rip up any road. I reckon the sales dude was spot on the money for you too about worrying about rain rather than snow in your part of the world. I rarely read that you have been snowed in for days on end. Relative to your parents part of the world which they were brought up, it might be suggested that your winters are relatively mild. That Pacific Ocean is a sweet thing! :-)!

Out of curiosity, do your roads need to be remade in the early Spring due to the use of chains over the winter? The roads here seem to be graded about once or twice per year usually because they become massively full of potholes. Like Suzuki swallowing potholes and the car crashes over and into them...

Nice to read that the snow plough made it up your way. I won't mention that it reached well over 86'F here today. The official weather station for the city was moved a few years back to a park next to a river, and now who knows what the actual temperature is. I'm genuinely feeling cold reading your reply! Brrr! Actually, the real story is that I had to close the door to the outside world because tiny little insects were getting past the stainless steel mesh and they were buzzing around the computer screen. And I reckon the mosquitoes were eating me alive as I recorded the podcast out in the orchard with the chickens tonight. Ah, but the show must roll on don't you reckon? :-)! Break a leg, get eaten by mosquitoes, dive bombed by the local magpie birds etc...

You are absolutely correct, they were made of copper weren't they, and they came with a very long wooden handle. Back when I was a kid they had rubber hot water bottles and they performed the same function. Did you notice that the hot water bottle formed part of the storyline in the film: Hunt for the Wilder People? Burrow in is the order of the day down here too. And I tell ya what, you know it is a cold night here when you have to have four woollen blankets on just to keep warm. The Aboriginals used to have a saying for a cold night: A three dog night! Brr! That is one cold night. Exactly, the electric system just would not cope at that time of year. Fortunately in such situations there is wool and firewood.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I didn't know that about the Safrole compound and curiously, Wikipedia is now blocked on my browser... Thanks for the necessary correction to my understanding of that plant. You know a similar test occurred with Borage and/or Comfrey plants. Well of course if ate only those plants in huge concentrations then it is obvious that a person would get very ill. Far out man.

Yeah, I reckon resiliency in the human population is an expression of our environment and the sort of stresses that the population is exposed. You know, the stresses that kids get exposed too nowadays is just so very wrong. I feel for them.

Fair enough about the radishes. Well, there are some beets in there too (red, yellow and sugar). I'm very curious to see how the sugar beets end up. The radishes interestingly enough were the first to produce harvestable roots. Interesting! They probably have the lowest sugars too.

You know, those temperatures are still way cold! Brrr! Down here they are calling it a Polar Vortex. Do you reckon that it an accurate description? What is Cliff Mass saying? He'd certainly have some opinions in the matter! What? No opinion seems a bit suspicious... Hehe!!! What weather cams? Do you have weather cams? They have them up in the alpine areas here during snow season but that is about it.

Good luck with the computer. Mate this month the computers here have done my head and wallet in... And here was just the start of the problems! I used to recall a time before computers when the paper based systems just worked beautifully. Oh well, I'm as guilty as most of them for ditching those systems. Still, I could implement one any time I was required to do so. Who knows what the future holds in store for us. Well, smarter brains than ours have put many brain cells into that particular problem and well, it ain't good, let's just put it that way! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Oh my goodness! Four inches of snow here and the entire mountain range would come to a halt. As it is when a huge dump of rain of over an inch or two falls in the city in a short period of time (say half an hour), there are a lot of problems. I recall once as a young adult, I had to walk out of the city due to the extreme flooding from a super cell storm which shut down the transport network. Once I was on my push bike and riding home from the city was like travelling through the zombie apocalypse as the roads and streets were empty and trees were down across the roads and water was everywhere. It was a surreal experience. I cannot even imagine what 25 inches of snow would be like to live through! I have seen 10 inches of rain over 5 days and that was amazing to see as the whole area down below flooded.

I have always wondered what happens to all of that salt applied to the roads and I appreciate your explanation and will check out the monitoring link website. Well done you as that is a very important issue.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Thank you! It is delightfully feral isn't it? I have to watch out for those hidden Triffids though...

I reckon your extreme watering for new seedlings is a very good idea to get them established. The ones here get watered twice per day, once in the morning and another time at night, although if it reaches past 40'C I may water them at lunchtime before the really hot weather kicks in. Seedlings grown from feral seeds are actually much hardier to drought and heat than plants that were originally transplanted too. Dunno why?

Once they're established, watering once per day seems to do the trick. And the sprayer hoses seem to be the best of the lot that I've tested so far. They're really good and Nylex makes the best of the lot too. The ends fell off the cheaper ones...

You have a very sharp eye to have noticed how well seedlings grow after heavy or consistent rain! Yup, those are the conditions to replicate. Have you noticed how well the seedlings germinate in those conditions too?

Your garden is looking awesome too! Nice work.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

The temperature went down to 28F and is now on the up again. It is warm, raining and very grey.

I am loving all wombat stories. They look so cuddly though I realise that they aren't. Do children in Australia have toy wombats like teddy bears?

Your fruit and veg photos make my saliva run, they really do.

I hope that the blood vessel in your eye recovers soon. That happened to me just once a few years ago, I had no idea why.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

We ended up with about 8 inches and another storm is in the forecast for Friday. I'm thinking everyone will be getting tired of winter quickly this year. As Lew said people forget how to drive in the snow - even here where we get it every winter. The people in their big SUVs and trucks like to ride your tail which is very unnerving. I don't worry about myself too much - rather it's the other drivers. I take my time and drive at the speed I feel comfortable. My car is not 4-wheel drive and is pretty small though the tires are quite new. I heard on the news that we've already gotten more snow than all of last winter which was extremely mild. Salt is really poured on the roads now. The truck came down our little dead end road 3 times this morning and at least twice last night - just a bit excessive. When we first moved here only sand was applied on our road and just at the bottom of hills and on curves. Even though people don't use chains here the salt and plows do a lot of damage to the roads causing numerous potholes. The saying here is that there are two seasons - winter and road construction. Out here in the open areas even if it isn't snowing there's a lot of blowing and drifting. I've got quite a bit of driving this week but at least not during a storm unless the forecast changes.

86 sounds quite nice just about now. I shovel an area for the chickens even when it's fairly cold but later in the week it'll be too cold to let them out. They will not like being "cooped up" haha.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ooops! So it's Grandmother Wombat. Wouldn't want to offend the old lady. Maybe if she lost the mustache ...

Deer aren't an unknown quantity. They'll eat everything in sight! Good you have your Guard Dog Patrol. The deer here have figured out that Beau doesn't get out of his fence. They just waltz around the place.

Mmm. The coke bottle has a twist top. It appears. Still, glass instead of plastic or cans. It must have some age on it. There's quit a lively tat niche here for "anything coke." From tin serving trays to ... well, just about anything you can slap the logo on. It's a lively and lucrative enough niche that there are quit a few reproductions floating around. I wondered what those pretty pieces of glass were, before I read your text. Auto glass! Who knew? What's the most interesting thing you've found along the road?

You've jointed a cult! I noticed the label on the bottle that it was from "Brew Cult." Will you need to be deprogrammed? :-). The gingerbread man with chain saw would probably go over well in the east part of our county. Up where the loggers live. The logo reminded me of the time I made anatomically correct gingerbread men and women, for the holidays. Probably won't do that again. Too labor intensive. They were rather a hit ... but then it was a rather louche party. :-).

Dad used to ruminate on moving back to Nebraska, when he got old. He'd usually complete the thought with "... but those winters." He never did. Put Nell out for a piddle (hopefully) before heading to bed. Big huge flakes were coming down! That was unexpected. A quick check of the local temp said 39F. It quit by the time she came back in. All gone, this morning. They're forecasting maybe some tonight (as the cold snap moves in) and maybe more on Thursday. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Seems like they're always repaving one road or another, all summer long. I have a sheet and three heavy blankets on the bed. And, keep another heavy spare handy, in case the cold wakes me up. I turn off all the heat when I hit the sack. Cuddle up with whatever shirt I'm wearing the next morning, so it's toasty warm when I put it on. I keep a space heater near the bed. I can reach out of my burrow and kick it on. So, when I finally throw back the covers, I've got this little bubble of warmth so the shock isn't too great. And, I did notice the hot water bottle in Hunt for the Wilder People. And that was a sad little scene after Aunt Bella died, and the kid is looking at the bed and there's no hot water bottle. Way back when, there were also stone ware bottles that served the same purpose.

Three Dog Night was an old rock group. Had a few hits.

Turning sugar beets into sugar is a pretty involved heavy duty industrial process. But I have a nagging memory that they can be made into a sugar syrup, at home. Dad told stories about how during the Great Depression, the family kept it together by hiring out to thin sugar beets.

I guess our coming cold is part of the Polar Vortex. But here they describe it as an "outbreak from the Frazier River Valley" up in Canada. Maybe if our new president want to build a wall, he should consider the northern border, rather than the southern. :-). Oh, there's lots of weather cams around. Most of them, or a lot of them, from the highway department. There's also a live cam inside the crater of the Mt. St. Helens volcano. That's pretty interesting. And, very pretty this time of year.

Mystery solved. I'm still plowing through "Why Did The Chicken Cross the World." It's not so much a how to, more of a cultural history. There was even a chicken bubble in the 1840s in England and the US. Collapsed in 1855. Chickens may have spread across the world (partially) due to cock fighting. And, they were always associated with whatever sun god was going, wherever. In some places, they were used more for religion, magic, medicine ... rather than strictly for eggs and meat. But the mystery ... the two yolked egg. In 1844 the Berkshire Chronicle reported that a Dorking hen and a Cochin China cock produced double yolker eggs, consistently. So, they brought one to hatch. It produced a Cochin cock and a Dorking hen. This was reported by James Walter who was the royal poultry keeper for Victoria and Albert. Sounds like a pretty good source? Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Hello, Fatso! Nice to see that you are in such splendid form!

That is so wonderful, your 550 cubic meters of mulch/compost. And it's so crucial to all of the life around Fernglade that the water be collected and retained by the vastly improved soil conditions; their continued prosperity depends upon it. And no wonder a certain amount of skirmishing goes on - each wants to be lord (or lady) of the manor. Lady Fatso, Duchess of Fernglade.

Lately, I have had a hard time keeping unfrozen water available for the wildlife here (though it is WAY warmer today). The easiest thing that I can figure to do is just keep duplicate bowls and shallow dishes, and when one is frozen, take it in to thaw out while replacing it with a different bowl of water. Our water barrels/tanks have been frozen and the outside faucets are turned off at their source inside the basement, so I have to carry water out from the house.

I have been waiting to hear what kind of deer you have.

And they say hard work never hurt anyone! What are you doing for your eye?

The Chinese cabinet is even more stunning than I realized. Really - it's gorgeous.

It is rather dizzying that you are already clearing out the spring veg and moving on with more summer, and some autumn, plantings. It seems like you just started! One nice thing is that it means that here we are just that much closer to the next season ourselves.

I love those daisy bushes. They sort of remind me of our magnolia trees, which are broad-leaved evergreens. The wild ones have a growth habit sort of like your daisy bushes. Most are cultivated as ornamentals, though.

I always grow nasturtiums. I find it hard to save the seeds as they always seem to fall off when green, to ripen on the ground and somebody eats them.

I think that seeds saved from feral plants are hardier because their parents' genes are actually hardier, having acquired DNA that helps them to adapt to their particular environment. So each generation is just that more hardy. Survival of the fittest? I wish I understood genetics.

I had to eat up all that was left of the fall lettuce before the really freezing weather hit. The kale and collards were still doing pretty well, though.

What a charming courtyard you have made. A lovely place to have tea!

I am currently using 4 blankets - one of very heavy wool - and a comforter. And my red rubber hot water bottle is handy.

What a spectacular collection of photos. Thanks!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

You are having nasty weather - take care! How do you keep your chicken water unfrozen? I think that you may have explained that once.

@ Lew:

That's a fascinating chicken story. I have never heard of such a thing.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I don't think that there are any useful ideas for your road hogs problem in this "vanpackers tourists" article, but it's from your part of the world and is rather interesting on its own:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-38061424

Pam

Coco said...

Coming out of lurker mode. You´re trying to make me jealous with these gorgeous summery shots, but here it´s still an unseasonable 20C or 80ishF, so I´m not. I would take a fresh strawberry, though.

¨Fatso¨ seems a little unkind for an female wombat of a certain age. Plump? Zaftig? Rubanesque? Curvalicious? Ms. Large-and-in-Charge.

Going to use the ¨winter¨ months to plan new projects. Thinking about a well and water storage. And since you´re my solar/water storage guru, I´ll ask: What are your thoughts about solar water pumps? And do you have recommendations on storage tanks, materials, sizes, installation, etc?

Also - lovely work on the cabinet!

Thanks.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Brrr! Gray skies and cold days sounds an awful lot like winter to me. It was hot here today, but overcast and it feels as if there is a change in the air. Do you get that immanent sense of a storm building in your part of the world? The weather bureau says that it will be a fizzer here but with much heavier rainfall to the north.

The wombats are cuddly, although they seem to have a poor disposition! :-)! What a great question too. You know, you rarely see stuffed wombat toys, although they can be found in the markets. People tend to go for the Koala Bears instead.

I do my best! Hehe! Glad you are enjoying the bounty. Wait until mid January when there are a plethora of berries. I spotted an unripe raspberry on the cane yesterday and that is the first that I have ever grown. The others were all eaten by the wallabies...

It is an awful thing to happen isn't it? Did your eye take long to recover?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

8 inches to me is a phenomenal amount of snow - I wouldn't know the first thing about coping in those conditions. I take my hat off to everyone who is experiencing a full on old school winter (you seem to be following our lead of earlier this year).

Tail-gaters are a nuisance and those rotten bright white lights they put in cars these days... I tend to pull over and let people over take me on country roads. There is too much chance of wiping out your car on wildlife and nobody wins that one. Yeah, that is pretty good service although I worry about the salt concentrations in the soil. That must cost a fortune too.

Stay safe in the conditions.

It is nice. I tell you a funny thing though. With the storm threatening tonight, the chickens refused to leave their hen house. No doubt that Scritchy will try and sleep under the bed. She hates thunderstorms.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I don't get any sense of impending storms but I do sense when it is going to rain, a strange feeling that I can't explain.

Sorry, I don't remember how long it took my eye to recover. Curiously it seems to cause little problem apart from the appearance. It made me very self conscious as I didn't like looking at someone else so afflicted and therefore had to assume that no-one would like to look at me.

I forgot to compliment you on the superb work that you have done on that Chinese cupboard, beautiful.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

There is a huge storm brewing over the state, but it looks like it will run north and far inland of here. But the sunset. Wow! It looks really cool. Scritchy will no doubt want to sleep under the bed for fear of the thunder giants!

You are naughty! :-)! I doubt that Fatso the wombat would much care for either of our good opinions. She seems rather indifferent. Hehe!

Oh! Is it that serious with the deer? I sent Poopy and Sir Scruffy out on boundary patrol check a little while back. They earn their feed those two. Mind you, the dogs chased off two wallabies into the forest, but the wallabies know the dogs pretty well and the wallabies are both now back in the orchard. There are no fences here so I was grateful that Poopy chased the deer deep into the forest. The deer knew the tracks well though which is a worry.

My millions are now assured! ;-)! I reckon that bottle has been buried in the soil for at least twenty or more years. It was surreal finding the thing and it sort of gave me a sneak preview of what archaeologists of the future may feel like upon discovering some ancient bit of tat. I'll bet archaeologists love finding a good and well used ancient rubbish pit? Do they?

The most interesting thing that I've found along the roadside is a couple of dumped computers and laptops. That was mildly surreal. On the block itself, there was a burnt out 1950's-ish car. An old timers hut which had clearly been burnt out in the 1983 bushfires. There have been logging cables and steel in the strangest of locations. What a mess, and people make me laugh when they say how pristine the forest is here. Plus lots of animal bones which I reckon are either sheep or wallabies, but I’m not sure. And a neighbour the other week was showing me photos of an old timber mill site out in the forest below mine and his blocks. The clever timber millers had dammed the creek and constructed a collecting pond – which still works - for the old steam boiler. And wouldn't you know it, but the old boiler is still sitting out there alone in the forest. You could see the mounds which collected the saw dust too.

You have very sharp eyes to have noticed that. It adds to the amusement does it not? Yes, perhaps I do need to be deprogrammed - they took me into the basement of the pub and I was no longer the same. There was lots of white light and people looked like they were different somehow... Hehe!!!! I like the idea of the anatomically correct gingerbread people (note the use of the non gender specific!). I spotted an anatomically correct reindeer light the other day - and the editor nudged me and said: is that what I think it is? Those naughty Christmas light people! I'll bet they were laughing to themselves.

Brrr! All this talk of polar vortexes and snow is making me feel cold. Your dad would be a tough customer to head back to Nebraska after living in your part of the world.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

It is weird how the cold air temperatures can wake you up in the middle of the night? And then you know another blanket is the order of the night. The hot water bottle scene was quite poignant and it really drove home the fact that most of the time in life it is the little things that can create the biggest impression on people.

Really, who is this Three Dog Night that you speak of? Hehe! Yeah, they were pretty good. :-)!

You have said that before about the sugar beets and it has left me feeling a little weary and nervous about the process - which I know nothing about. On the topic of sugar though. Over the past few years due to my inept beekeeping skills, I have populated the surrounding forest with quite a number of feral hives which are enjoying the pollen and nectar here. What is really fascinating about that is that the worker bees are bigger than the worker bees in my hive. I read a long while back that the size of the cell used in standard hive frames is an average one size fits all cell, but that if given the chance, the bees will normally produce larger sized cells and worker bees. And here it is right in front of me. I'll try and get a photo with the two different sized worker bees in them. We humans do the bees a serious disservice.

Well it will be interesting to see whether the southern wall was all talk. It sounds like a big call. I wonder how your northern neighbours would enjoy a wall? It would be a very interesting engineering problem given the prevailing weather conditions. Maybe a dingo and rabbit proof fence would do the trick? ;-)!

A chicken bubble in 1840 sounds an awful lot like a South Sea or tulip bubble. We sure do love our bubbles! Thanks for looking into that double egg mystery and no doubts, Mr Walter was as reliable a source as any. Of course he may have been chasing notoriety too?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Fatso sends greetings! She is a superb looking wombat is she not? She sometimes looks at me with a look that says: "You may admire me now!" Hehe!

That is very perceptive to have realised. Nice work. Yes, it is mostly about water retention and infiltration into the ground water. The people who have dammed up the creek below here should be thanking me, but alas... The point about the holding onto territory is that it is not a fixed concept but more of a slow constant struggle.

That is a really nice thing to do for your wildlife with the water. It can get strangely dry in really cold times, although here the winters are usually exceptionally humid and damp for months on end. Wow, your polar vortex is incredibly cold. Stay safe and warm in those conditions.

Out of curiosity, if you can identify the type of deer? Although the photo is very small. The deer look to me like they have been in a good paddock this season.

Ha! I reckon they lied about that hard work saying. I'm using a gel to help keep the eye lubricated, but other than that, I'm not really sure. Time should fix it, I hope so anyway. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks! It was a real bargain that cabinet. Isn't it funny that people think that things like that are fixed, when they can be easily de-constructed. It came up pretty well in the end, I reckon! :-)!

Time flies doesn't it. I have to keep up that succession planting so that there is something to eat most of the time. We're sort of doing this by feel and experience with the seasons and we learn more with each year. Your winter is already 1/6th over is it not?

Magnolias are beautiful trees and I encourage the daisy bushes as much as possible and they love the attention.

Oh! That is interesting. Here, the nasturtiums die off over winter and leave a sort of pea straw like covering over the bed which the seeds drop into. The new plants grow in the spring in the shade and protection of the straw. They're like a semi perennial plant - like sweet pea which does a similar thing (but isn't edible unlike the nasturtium).

I wish I understood that side of things better too. It is hard to be across many different areas and so muddling through seems like the best approach to me. But I reckon you are spot on with the description of the hardiness. I'm trying to breed for drought and heat resistance - which was why I was so upset about the tomatoes. It is only five years of breeding efforts after all. Oh well, back to the drawing board...

That was very clever, they wouldn't do well with the defrosting process... A little bit squooshy might be a good description?

Haha! We enjoy a coffee in that courtyard most evenings. And sometimes on a warm summer evening when a storm is threatening it is a good place to watch the lightening on the horizon.

Go the hot water bottle! Brrr! That is so cold... Four blankets sounds about right.

I shall attempt to share the summer with you all! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

I have a heated base that is placed under the waterer. It's about 4 inches high and thermostatically controlled. Without it I'd be hauling water in and out numerous times a day. I like to bring out food scraps for the girls but now I only bring out a little at a time as they freeze so quickly.

We are having pretty extreme weather especially for this early in December. Usually the worst weather starts after the lst of the year.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I do the same thing that you do when being tailgated - I pull over and let them pass. Besides which, on the road into town yesterday I passed the carcasses of four deer (all in different spots) hit by cars. They were being much enjoyed by vultures and ravens and such. I am so thankful that none of my family has had a vehicle encounter with them this year. I can't see the deer in your photo well enough to try and match them up with online photos. They do look like they are up to no good, though . . .

Your recounting of things lost in the forest was so interesting - especially the timber mill and the boiler. That is so neat. And so is your bee information. That is a wonderful example of how ineptness/inefficiency (aren't we all?) can be of great benefit in certain circumstances. You get to learn something and your immediate surroundings gain something good - new pollinators!

I don't have any suggestions for your eye. I think that time will indeed heal it. It sounds like the equivalent of a bruise.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Our cold snap seems to be sidling in. In town temperature was 36F (2.22C) overnight. Out here in the boonies, I don't think it was much colder. Beau's water dish had just a skiff of ice on it. Supposed to be more snow, Wednesday night through Friday. We'll see. Supposed to get down to 26F (-3.33C) tonight.

Got the tree decorated. Looks nice. Mostly old ornaments. And my one little package, under it :-). Set up my Barclay lead winter figures in interesting tableaus in one of the china cabinets. They take up three shelves now. While doing all this, I was watching a couple of episodes of season two of "Indian Summers". interesting, given all the end of Empire talk over at ADR. Takes place in the 1930s in an Indian Hill Station. Basically a soap opera set amongst the tea plantations. The move to independence is very much in the air.

Bloodshot eye? People will think Chris has been into the very elegant Chinese liquor cabinet, again. :-). Seriously, though, I don't think much to be concerned about. Might have the old blood pressure checked.

Archaeologists love old rubbish pits. And wells. And privy pits. Dense well packed stratas of dateable tat.

it's always so ... mysterious to stumble on stuff in the forest. You're going along feeling like no one has ever set foot here before, and then you stumble across something like an enormous boiler. Well, just so that the only bones you find are animal. Seems like every couple of years, here in this county, someone turns up "scattered skeletal remains." Then the forensics boys and girls are off and running. Dental records are consulted. Usually turns out to be a long lost hunter or a discarded working girl.

Well, you may say you're inept at beekeeping, but I don't think those hives in the surrounding forest are a bad thing. Sure, you've been done out of a bit of honey and wax, but probably have a lot more pollinators around your oasis then you would, normally. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. The Great Chicken Bubble of the 1840s was just like Tulip Mania. And all kicked off by Victoria and Albert. Someone gifted them with some exotic chickens. And, they were off and running. Built a true chicken palace on one of their estates. Pretty lavish from the description. No pictures. I guess it was kind of a place where they could get away from "the burdens of State" and unwind. Let down the front, a bit, and unwind. Al would read Vickie scholarly works on chickens.

Oh Walter was probably on the up and up. And, Al was a pretty scientifically minded guy. I don't think much got past him. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for the article link. I had to laugh when I read: "All we need is for everyone to be reasonable. But people who want to camp for free in streets with million-dollar views are not being reasonable." That is the funniest thing I've read for quite a while.

You know, dudes in vans and tents turn up regularly at the local picnic ground where there are flush toilets. I'm not sure how many are itinerant or how many are tourists. They're mostly OK except for the rubbish dumping.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Nice to see you out of lurker mode! :-)! Your weather sounds really nice and sort of like the weather here today. It is still early days for your winter though. Hehe! The strawberries are good.

Haha! That is funny because Fatso is in charge of all things marsupial. She is a force to be reckoned with. But to be honest, I actually thought that she was a he - and the name just stuck. It was the bite that was a giveaway. We don't have to do political correctness here! Hehe! Oh no, we've descended into the land of silly again...

Ah, I'm considering a well in the long term so I'm unable to help you with that problem. There are plenty of low voltage pumps that will lift water from a depth, but I'm not sure how far you are talking about? Have you considered the depth of the well? The higher that the water has to be lifted by the pump, the more electrical energy that the pump requires. Mind you, my little 12V pumps can lift a huge amount of water at reasonable pressure at least 20m above the pump.

As to water tanks, get as big a water tank as you can place. I reckon polyethylene are the way to go. Concrete water tanks crack and steel water tanks are good but expensive.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the explanation. That is a useful thing to be able to predict. Sometimes you can smell the rain here before it arrives. The storm didn't eventuate here and travelled much further north where it dumped a lot of rainfall.

Oh. Fair enough. It feels a bit scratchy to me, but other than that, it is a minor annoyance. It is unsightly though, so I hear you. I once had to visit a client after being stung on the side of my face by a bee, and I swelled up on one half of my face like a puffer fish. People who knew me seemed more curious rather than scared, although I could see that obviously didn't want that to happen to them! Hehe! Oh well...

Thanks very much for writing that. The cabinet was the editors idea, and she was supportive even when I took the circular saw to the cabinet. The doors on the cabinet were beautifully made too and they make the cabinet. It really was too big and I'm not sure why they make them that big, but it must be a cultural thing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, it is a good idea to pull over and I'm usually not in a hurry either which helps. It is a bit unnerving though when being tail gated by much larger vehicles which there do seem to be a lot of on the road these days. We nickname the car a dirt mouse or sometimes even a dirt rat! Driving a 1 litre (61 cubic inches) Suzuki Sierra 4 speed cured me forever of wanting to drive anywhere fast! Hehe. It did not do fast... Sorry, I digress...

Four deer carcasses. They're very large animals. Ouch. You know, I often see kangaroos and wallabies and the occasional wombat carcass on the side of the road. You just can't drive fast at night here. It is good that the carcasses are being consumed by the vultures and ravens. They don't last long here either, but the wildlife people usually check the pouches for little ones and then they spray a cross on the carcass to let the council people know that they've checked the carcass. Those wildlife people do a very tough job.

No worries and thanks for looking at the deer. They just wanted a feed and if they stayed off the apple tree bark I would care too much about their activities, alas mischief seems to be on their minds.

Glad you enjoyed the strange stuff in the forest here. People have a strange belief that this is somehow a pristine forest. The photos from the early 20th century show huge paddocks in the mountain range. I should put some on the blog, like a before and after photo?

Yeah, it is really good for the bees. The worker bees are huge compared to the normal sized ones and I've read that before but never seen it with my own eyes. I'd imagine larger bees are much more resilient to all sorts of things and we have been artificially making the species smaller. It is a worry. The thing I like about the feral colonies is the genetic diversity that brings to the bee population here. I can smell their hive in the forest as it smells of honey. Seriously. And I plant more area to hardy flowers every year.

Thanks. It is like a bruise isn't it? Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hope you are staying warm? I've never heard that phrase before "sidling in". Does that mean that the cold snap is sneaking in in a quiet or secretive way? Not sure really. Far out that is cold as. Brrr! Yeah, I see that skiff of ice on the dogs water sometimes over winter. That is a cold morning that one. I hope Beau is enjoying the facilities of the toasty warm laundry?

Oh my! I've forgotten to put up the tree... Ooops! Glad to read that your tree is looking nice. We don't really give presents for Christmas, but instead I donate money to the Lost Dogs Home. They need the stuff more than I do. The surprise package under the tree? Nice stuff. Hey the figurines are really cool, I've never seen them before. Cool. I'm a bit scared to ask what an interesting tableau actually means? But being brave, well, maybe not... Go on, tell us more!

The English loved their Hill Stations and I can almost see one of those tea plantations in the low country of Northern India in my mind. There are a few historic hill stations over in the more fashionable western end of the mountain range. They're very attractive.

Oh what a good idea to convert the Chinese cabinet into a liquor cabinet. I like how your mind works! Hehe! Nah, it is already full of stuff which is actually my FM radio. The cabinet sits over the top of all that stuff. It is a nice radio which I picked up second hand a few years ago. It is right up there with some of the best ever made, but it was not worth anything. The situation is very weird. I'm constantly amazed at some of the stuff that is almost disposed of and has no value. The blood pressure is good, but I worked too hard that day and got too close to the burn off later in the day. I usually wear protective glasses, but not that time. At least I know what happens now...

Oh yeah, humans have been walking all over this mountain range for at least 40 and possibly as many as 60 thousand years. Firsts for humans are a long way in the past, unless that is of course the size and extent of economic bubbles... Damage to the environment seems to be quite extensive too.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Don't laugh, but it does make you wonder if the authorities would be upset if I got them to do a bit of excavating. Like I thought I saw a body buried, right where I need a farm dam dug! Who would have thought that was a coincidence? Yeah, they'd probably get upset...

People get lost up in the forest and to be honest, I'm actually surprised that I've never found anything really unusual given how long humans have been on the continent. I don't reckon we'll leave much for the distant future to find in remote spots out of towns. Do they ever find any archaeological digs in strange places? I mean the Roman empire was quite well settled across Europe and it is not as if the place wasn't already full of people before that time.

Thanks for writing that. It is a bit lemons to lemonade isn't it? I actually appreciate the genetic diversity that all of those other hives out in the forest provide. I'm going to have to continue planting flower beds though. To be honest, I have not had much wax or honey from the beekeeping adventures merely because I recognise that if I harvest that stuff, then the bees go hungry.

You know, I have a hard time trying to imagine Royals letting their hair down way back in the day. Decorum must be maintained at all times! We are not at all amused and all of that business. No doubts that they got down and dirty with the best of them. My they must have struggled with the modern media! Oh well, benefits rarely come with no costs attached.

Thanks for the tip and honest character assessment. Honesty is a good thing.

I delivered some sound advice to a person today who was in need of it - in a cafe of all places. I told them what I saw about their character as they were in a bad place. Generally I keep my trap shut as it doesn't really benefit people, but sometimes some patterns in people can be self defeating. It is very hard to know when to discuss such matters with people as the future for that individual is very uncertain. A lot of issues with people are bad patterns of behaviour. What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

I'm just about finished with the same book. Found it very interesting and gleaned some more historical facts for my chicken workshops. The chicken bubbles sure were crazy. I'm on a couple of facebook groups focused on chickens and the fancier show breeds are quite expensive for my standards. With how common chicken losses from predators are I sure wouldn't want to loose any of those. There are quite a variety of chickens at the county fairs but I would think the experience would quite stressful for the birds as they are confined to a small wire cage for days. We used to show goats at just our county fair but I came to the conclusion that the shows just are too hard on the animals. They usually picked up some respiratory ailment.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The cabinet is lovely. How are you planning to use it? Thanks for the wombat info and pictures. I really didn't know much about them before reading your blog.

We have white tailed deer here and they can be pretty destructive especially during harsh winters. They do a lot of damage in the Christmas tree farm as well rubbing their antlers on the trucks of the trees. We haven't had them damaging bark (knocking on wood) on our fruit trees but they do a number on any low hanging branches. The young trees are fairly tall now so they should be OK. Last year with the very mild winter we had no damage at all as they had plenty to eat in the hay fields but now everything's snow covered so all bets are off.

As far as the weather forecast - it's below zero now at 5:30 AM. We're expecting yet another snow storm on Friday of 6 - 8 inches. On Sunday the high will be -6 and low -17 (F). This is what usually happens after a storm - it warms up during the storm and then we get the double whammy of frigid temps. At least it hasn't been windy during the storms so there's been minimal drifting.

As far as pulling over when being tail-gated, when it's snowing it's kind of dangerous to do that as there's even more snow on the side of the road - especially if they've already been through once with the plow. If there's any chance of them passing I'll slow down even more so they can do so.

The whole gift giving think at Christmas really stresses me out as there's so many expectations from different family members (the curse of a large family) and it's hard to find compromises. We manage to wheedle it down more and more but there's still too much - and then there's the wrapping though I mostly re use gift bags now. My granddaughters, as most kids, like to open many gifts but are very satisfied with small items.

Yesterday was my monthly jail visitation at the immigration jail which is a very grounding experience. After hearing the stories of what these people have been and are going through little annoyances like the weather and Christmas madness are really nothing. There seem to be more people trying to gain asylum lately many from Africa. They get to the southern part of South America and travel all the way to the border by foot sometimes not eating for days and then get picked up at the border to end up in jail for months on end. Of course for many of those jail is a better place to be.

"Overshoot" is a great book. I do have it on my shelf and you've reminded me to re read it this winter when I'm stuck inside.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

52F and the sun is shining.

I am slightly concerned at the fact that your eye feels scratchy, mine didn't; have you had it looked at?

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I had forgotten about marsupials and that the road-killed ones might still have babies in their pouches. The only marsupial in the U.S. is the opossum and I do see them lying in the road, but they are usually well squushed. I have read that some scientists think that marsupials originated in South America and not Australia.

Before and after photos would be really neat, but it seems like it might be pretty hard to track down the "befores".

We found an arrowhead when were leveling the basement foundation by hand. It is so neat. I have kept my eyes pealed (peeled? - no, that's Chris's eye . . .) ever since, but have never found another, even with all the constant garden work in various spots around the property.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Is that base made especially for chicken waterers? Is it battery-powered? It would be too far for me to run an extension cord.

Our weather is strange. A couple of days with highs in the 40s and 50s followed by a couple of days with highs below freezing - back and forth. And not one snowflake yet, but rain during the warmer days. I never know what to wear!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

"Al would read Vickie scholarly works on chickens." What a wonderful vision! I doubt I will ever lose it.

@ Inge:

The low pressure involved in a storm front usually gives me a sinus headache, often 24-36 hours ahead - it depends on how fast the front is moving.

Pam

Damo said...

Hmm, we are officially in winter here in Laos. I don't think many people reading this blog would recognise it though :p For what its worth, the other day I felt the need to put clothes* on and at night I sleep under a single sheet instead of on top. In all seriousness though, every year quite a few villagers die in the occasional cold snap. Little bamboo huts and few clothes means that even overnight temps in the ~5 degree C (~41 F) range can be fatal.

In unrelated news, I finished a book that I think was suggested by someone on ADR. "The Collapse of Complex Societies" by Joseph Tainter. He analyses the collapse of 20+ civilisations and tries to tease out a common theme. Fascinating stuff and it was very interesting to read case studies on civilisations I had never heard of before. One quote from Roman times circa 3rd-4th century, "The people desire disorder". It struck me as poignant and relevant to todays political climate.

Great photos of the wombats - when I visited Maria Island in Tasmania you could pat some of them. They seemed to be only interested in the grass!

*I can't be the only one who wanders the house in underpants? :-)

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - A steady 32F ( 0C) at the local weather station, all night. Not getting much warmer, today. Very frosty out. Not looking forward to my trip to town. Will go later than usual. The owls and woodpeckers overwinter. Have never seen an owl, but hear them at night.

Sidling. Not straight forward. Not head on. Kind of oozes in from the side.

LOL. "Interesting tableaus." Oh, pretty tame. Santa on skis leading a troop of people on skis. A mirror lake with skaters and an old couple on a park bench at the edge. Horse and sleigh with sleders, behind. All against a background of bottle brush trees, some decorated, some not. With teeny tiny little wrapped packages underneath. Occasionally, the teddy bears are another matter. Naughty bears! :-)

Archaeology digs in strange places? Hmmm. Well, Richard the III under a parking lot? Roman villa in the front garden? Military camp under a flat field? Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, Al and Vic must have got the occasional "me" time. They had a whole batch of children. :-).

Finished off "Why Did The Chicken Cross the World?" A good read. Chickens have a right brain and a left brain, just like us. They have memory. They can recognize faces. A few odd interesting bits: From a "Chicken Activist." "I dream of a society where a chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned." :-)

"Chickens arrived on the human scene as humans began to grow and eat grain. But most grains like corn lack important nutrients, particularly amino acids such as lysine and threonine. Chicken meat and eggs are rich in these essential amino acids. "This feature of chicken metabolism - the ability of the hens to lay down in her egg amino acids that man cannot synthesize - has played an important role in the evolution of both species," two academics write. "The presence of only the occasional egg in the diet could well change the marginal meal into one that is nutritionally satisfactory." Go chickens! :-).

Volunteering personal observations is always dicey. If asked for, that's one thing. Unsolicited is another. There's always the "It's none of my business but..." or "My entirely unsolicited opinion is ..." Of course, it's all kind of pointless as most people run off and do what they've already decided to do. :-). In 12 Step Programs it's usually stated that "these are suggestions." The people who are successful at giving direction usually start off with "This is what I did ..." Or "This is what worked for me". The really basic principal is to tell "what it was like, what happened and what it is like now." There's also a bit that says "Take what you can use and leave the rest."

Well, I guess I had better pull myself together and head for town. Oh, argh. Overcast, so the sun's not out banishing the frost. Oh, well. What happens, happens. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Well, I must be a soft touch because I hit the agricultural shows early and pick-up (that sounds a little bit wrong?) the best in show of the birds. And then they end up here, but they don't generally enjoy the ride back in a small dark cardboard box. Oh well, they live a nice life once in the enclosure.

Ah, that cabinet was used to contain my little ode to one of my favourite hobbies which is music. A year or two back I set out to purchase a quality FM radio and after a little bit of searching ended up finding an old Kenwood radio which is apparently right up there with some of the best ever made and nobody seemed to want the old beast - even the old owner didn't want it. I sort of felt sad for the sheer engineering that went into designing and constructing it. The question remains though: Does it sound good after thirty years of life? Absolutely, the thing is amazing and it is worth nothing. I felt that it was a good metaphor for our society.

She is a delightful wombat with a commanding presence is she not?

Oh no! I'd never considered rubbing their antlers on the trunks of trees. Hmm, that makes sense. The apple trees here are too young to withstand that sort of damage. There is plenty for the deer to eat here in winter, although by late winter the greens may lack adequate proteins which is to be expected. Yes, touch wood is the correct response! Yes, and all bets are off for you this year. I 100% agree and evasive actions possibly need to be taken in those circumstances.

Brr! That is feral cold. At least the wind hasn't increased the feeling of that cold. Winters here can be gusty windy which adds to the feeling of the cold. Brrr!

Yeah, of course, driving has to change with the conditions and you have to appreciate that I have never seen the sort of snow that you are - and everyone else here - seems to be experiencing. Generally the road sides here can be seen and the risk judged clearly.

Yup! I salute you for working out a middle ground and compromise as it is a difficult thing to achieve with gift giving. I spent a couple of hours this afternoon hand writing Christmas cards. It is a really old school thing to do but at the same time people appreciate it. It is hard to know what to do.

Absolutely, that is a grounding experience. Total respect. Those people are talking about an ecological reality for them, which is a sad thing to say.

It is a tough book to read so make sure you are in a good place when or if you do so.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

How funny is this but it was 59'F and sunny here today. Your day would feel spectacular after all of the recent cold and damp weather. It is nice having a bit of weather variability though, don't you think? Up north in the tropics, it is hot one day and then hot the next, but occasionally just warm...

Thank you, but no my eye was dry from spending too long looking at screens intently. It does not do an eye any good. Fortunately, I got to enjoy a good coffee at the end of it all and "The Dom" at a favourite Cajun restaurant. That is basically slow cooked beef with gravy and mustard on a bed of chips. It's good! I can do veg any night...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

It is sadly common that the bubs survive in the pouch. The wildlife rescue people are fighting an uphill and never ending fight. I wish it weren't so.

That is possibly so and South America was connected to Australia way back in the day. The bunya nut tree looks very similar to a monkey puzzle tree and they are of the same plant family. And the marsupials here are much larger. Try confronting a 7 foot tall kangaroo and you'll know pretty quickly who is the boss!

Strangely enough the possums here are - nervous of owls! - but they are herbivores and a little bit unlike your lot. We have brush tail and ring tail possums and it is very easy to tell who is who. Your lot have nasty little bitey tooths! :-)! Watch out for your fingers!

Yeah, before and after photos are cool. Some weeks, I sadly have to cull many photos from the blog. It is tempting to go overboard.

Very funny! Hehe! Well done with that find. No, apart from the canoe tree here, there are no traces and if I ever point the canoe tree out to people, they shout me down, so I keep my mouth shut. But it is a canoe tree.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, I'm feeling your pain. I know, I know! Laos is very different to the west coast of Tasmania. Even northern NSW is different again. Are you adapting to the heat and humidity? Incidentally, it is nice that you recovered from your illness. And I hope that you can enjoy some top notch Beer Lao again? Did you enjoy the Gingerbread Maniac bottle? How cool was it?

I rather suspect - but would appreciate a correction - that the people desired a disorder because the order that was being implemented came at too high a cost to the general populace?

Yeah, the wildlife gets more accustomed to us every year, and sometimes they just ignore us altogether.

Possibly! We must not reveal our secrets! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Your Arctic vortex sounds almost of epic proportions to me. Far out, in these softer climes I wouldn't have a clue how to respond to those sorts of conditions. But then it does get a little bit hotter here than you are perhaps used to.

Going later on your trip into town is a very good idea. I did not go anywhere at all today and have enjoyed a day potter around doing work that needed to be done (mostly for clients) and some household stuff. It is quite pleasant doing that stuff. Hope your trip into town was OK? In your conditions, I'd be housebound...

Oh, how good is that? Yes, many things ooze in from the sides - of course it happens when one least expects it.

Thanks. Well fair enough, I just thought that perhaps the spirit of the gingerbread people lived on in the scenes? Dunno why? Well, it is good that the naughty teddy bears made up for the lack of social offence! Occasionally things need to be shaken up - alas a lot of art follows that well worn and oft repeated meme. If only they read their histories and tried something different instead?

OK. Richard the III under a car park is pretty exceptional. You know under the car park at the Queen Victoria market here there is a pioneer mass grave and the authorities know about it and are forever trying to come up with new ideas as to how to develop over the top of it. They have not seen Poltergeist have they? That was nightmare central!

That is very funny. People tell me how much they are after a bit of quiet time and I hear them. Usually, I don't share how much of that I enjoy because it gets them offside. Obviously, you too enjoy quiet reflection time. How else can one enjoy a good book? People try to do too much because they believe they have to do too much and the things they are doing aren't the things they should be doing. A bit of a shame really.

Go the chickens! Yup I totally agree. They are my main source of protein.

Hmmm, I'll have a think about the volunteering opinions over the next day. It is important and should not be rushed.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@Lew

Thanks for that comment on volunteering opinions. I shall think about it as it is one of my faults. I apologised the other day for nagging a friend.

@Margaret

I also gave small presents to the children at Christmas so that there was plenty of unwrapping. A large item would be kept for birthdays.

Inge

Damo said...

You will be happy to hear I can now drink BeerLao again Chris - although I must be honest and admit to sneaking a few different beers across the border when I came back from Vietnam. One does need variety!

That Gingerbread man stout looks fantastic, and I am glad to see the 8% ABV. Stout shouldn't be mucking about I reckon!

You are right re: The people desire disorder. The costs of a large, complex society had outweighed the benefits, especially for those outside of the big cities. Sounds familiar I think. Apparently, many peasant folk actively welcomed the 'invaders' or at best, offered no real resistance. It probably helped that the Germanic Kings mostly ran the former provinces on Roman lines, just with a lower tax burden.

Damo

margfh said...

Hi Pam,
No, the base is electric. We put electric in the barn when it was built. I've never heard of any battery powered bases. We also have a round heating element that can be used in metal buckets. This was used for the goats but now it's for the cats who spend all their time in the barn. I'm thankful to have electric out there as with temperatures this cold the water would freeze right away. I'm going out three times a day with a small amount of greens and scraps. They freeze right away too. We have quite a bit of beef suet in the freezer that I feed to the birds but on the worst of the days I'll cut up some for the chickens - they love it!!

Fortunately the real severe cold will be today and then Sunday with warmer temperatures in between. The animals deal with the cold fairly well if it doesn't last too long.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I think you may have something there in your reply to Damo's quote that "The people desire disorder". I just couldn't think why anyone would seriously desire disorder - other than for nefarious purposes - but you said: "I rather suspect - but would appreciate a correction - that the people desired a disorder because the order that was being implemented came at too high a cost to the general populace?" and that does make sense.

Well, I had to google "canoe tree". I never would have, in 10,000 years, guessed that's what one is. Lucky you!

Having been on the receiving end of what happens when one disturbs a sacred grave site - in this case Native American - I learned that one does so at one's own risk.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - A steady 32F (0C) all night. A light dusting of snow. Probably 1/2" or so. All melting off, now. Supposed to be 24F
(-4.44C) tonight. Trip to town was ok (ie, I didn't land in a ditch). Remembered I had a 50 pound bag of sand kicking around. Threw that in the back. Once I got down to the highway to town, it was clear sailing. But I was darned near T-boned in town by the veg store. Some old bugger shot across the road. I slammed on my breaks so hard everything slid off the seat onto the floor.

Trying to decide if to go to the meeting, tonight. Will take a look at the temperature and roads. Missed last week, due to snow. Lord knows what those people are up to behind my back! :-).

A bit of deer lore shook out of my brain. Deer and elk shed their antlers, every year (like chickens molt?) The new horn is called, "in velvet". Kind of a fuzzy layer that has to be rubbed off on any convenient tree. And, sharpened up for their exotic mating rituals. Each time they shed their horn, and they grow back, there's another "point" on the "rack". you can kind of estimate how old they are by the number of points. Hunters bang on about how many points were on the deer they killed.

Bull elk and deer fight for females. The point is to build up as large a harem, as possible. There are "tags" given out for hunting season. More "cow" tags than "bull." There are separate hunting seasons for black powder guns or bow hunting. If you make a kill, you'd better have your tag attached to the animal. In case the game warden shows up. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Yup, that was a cool book. "A good read" as we said in the trade :-). I doubt the exotic show birds get anywhere near a predator. Probably kept in air conditioned and heated chicken palaces. Probably guarded by ex-Navy SEALS with automatic weapons :-).

Which reminds me of another "good read." "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean. Book was great, movie was rubbish. Lew

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Another lovely post. I enjoy seeing the fruits of yours and the editor's labour. We've seen very few wombats here but the numbers are increasing. I'm not sure why. Several of our neighbours find them a nuisance, which, sadly, seems to be their knee-jerk reaction to a lot of native wildlife.

We've been travelling again to meet our newest grandson. Essential bonding time was spent and enjoyed immensely.

I am very partial to Chineses antique furniture. That is a good looking cabinet, Chris. It takes courage to fit furniture to our needs and this looks like a lovely job. For years there was a shop in Newcastle that specialised in Chinese furniture and it's been a favourite haunt of ours. Over time we have looked at many beautiful antiques but kids music lessons and food on the table always won out. At this stage of our lives we could afford to buy more but hold off while we get the farm in order. And then there is the eventual dreaded downsizing when old age forces us off the farm. I like the lines of some modern furniture too but a mix is fine by me as long as utility and comfort are part of that mix.

It's raining here today and quite cool. A lovely seasonal gift. With so much new planting to care for not having to water for a few days will be a boon. Christmas/Yule here is pretty simple. Lots of lovely food treats, family and friends and an embargo on junk/stuff for presents. I enjoy our summer festive season even when it's extremely hot. Habit and culture no doubt. It's hard to think of a cold, snowy Christmas.

Warm Regards, Helen









SLClaire said...

@ Lew, re the snowplows: you may well be right about the drivers enjoying the chance to drive them. My husband Mike probably would be among them if he were ever offered the chance to drive a snowplow. As it is, he's found plenty of videos of enormous snowplows, usually Russian, on the 'net that he really enjoys watching. Something about the way they throw the snow around, apparently. I don't seem to have that gene. ;)

Hi Chris,

Thanks for all the info on wombats! Fascinating that sitting on intruders is their secret weapon. Go Fatso!

And also, thank you for the lovely flower photos. I could look at them all day. Plus they inspire me to do some sort of a garden around the new back porch. We can already see and enjoy my herb garden from there, but there is room for more.

We saw a few snowflakes flying on Tuesday morning, but the ground was too warm and they were too sparse to stick. Today is the coldest it's been so far this winter: 24F at 2:24 PM as I write this. But it'll be much colder by Sunday, with the lows Sunday and Monday morning supposed to be in the single digits F and Sunday's high not leaving the teens. And that's if we don't get snow on Saturday as the next cold front passes through. It is supposed to warm up to near-normal temperatures by mid next week, however.

We are burning wood in the wood stove again. Now that we have been burning different types of wood, it's easy to notice how much faster the softer woods burn. All the wood we're burning was collected so we have what we were able to collect. We are gaining an appreciation of why hard woods are in such demand for firewood. We are also getting an idea of how much wood it will take to get through a winter ... more than I wish, and that's with a house tight enough that we have to open a window for the fire to burn properly. But as compensation, I learned that just as the front porch collects heat from the sun that we can let into the house, the heat from the wood stove will flow out to it. By doing so today its temperature rose from 30F to 46F (it's cloudy so the temperature would not have changed otherwise). The citrus trees can stay out there instead of my needing to drag them into the house.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Exactly, variety is a good thing with beer. ;-)! The local pub - which I'm quite fond of, sells local craft beers on tap, most of which are excellent. Well done for availing yourself of the Vietnamese brews, they were very good too. And glad to read that you are feeling better.

Yeah, there was no mucking around with that stout. I was sort of reminded of the the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster with the brick wrapped in a lemon reference...

I recall that in the past Lewis was discussing Alaric I and how the people in Rome just opened the gates to him and his merry band of marauders. Things must have been massively parasitical for that to happen. My understanding is that people in the Middle Ages worked less hours than we do. Certainly it is my opinion that the plants mostly look after themselves, but the infrastructure is the real time sink.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, I reckon Mr Greer was writing about that issue in the fictional book Retrotopia when the settlers arrived in the Lakeland Republic by train. The sense of relief would have been palpable. And honestly, I can see how it would happen too. The local council here puts its rates (property taxes) up every year by 5%. It is only going to take at that increase rate about 15 years before the rates double the cost that they are now, and I can't see incomes rising that fast.

Hey, check this out! I just did a Google search for a photo of the canoe tree here and found this image: Canoe tree. It is an old tree which probably pre-dates European settlement.

Oh my! The ramifications of doing that would have been not good. I hope that everyone was OK in the end? I can't imagine that anybody was happy with the disturbance? I don't actually know how the Aboriginals dealt with their recently deceased.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hitchhikers was great. From memory even the recent(ish) movie was ok, although by that stage I knew all the jokes from memory and prose can never quite make the jump to the screen.

My understanding is the Roman peasants had being under quite intense pressure for a century or more and were essentially slaves. In Tainters book, he makes the interesting comment that this was not enough for a revolution or uprising, it took an alliance with someone who had an army and political capital for them to switch sides. Apparently this is true throughout history, although normally the alliance is with disaffected elites already part of the system.

I heard bad news about the new Star Trek show, Bryan Fuller has moved on and the show is now being managed by some nobody. Not good news, although the casting has been interesting and obviously it still might be good. Fingers crossed!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

An apology is necessary... Last night I was in the middle of replying to your comment when the editor who had previously voiced plans to enjoy a meal of Mung beans suggested that we go to the pub instead. It wasn't really a suggestion. The kitchen at the pub closes for orders at 8.30pm sharp. And so unfortunately I had to drop everything and we raced out to the pub where an enjoyable time was had by all. We got the order in to the kitchen with about 5 minutes to spare. It is fortunately not far at all.

And, I am not making this up, can’t blame it on the beer, or even hallucinating it, but there were magical Christmas unicorns too which is exceedingly hard to explain, but there you go. I promise to tell the full story next week!

This is a very weird coincidence, but we have a t-shirt here with that saying about: "I dream of a society where a chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned." It was purchased because a party we went to a month or so back was a themed t-shirt party which is unusual. I had a t-shirt that said: "I like you but if zombies approach I'm going to trip you up". I'm not a slogan t-shirt kind of guy, and many years ago I did have a friend that expressed himself and his personality through his t-shirt. How did that work out for him? Well, he spends most of his time overseas now working for oil companies as he guides drill heads in horizontal drilling processes. His wife had a baby whilst they were overseas and the last time I saw him - which is many years ago now - I asked him how his life was going and he replied: "Complex". That sort of sums it all up really.

Exactly! Go the chickens. They are definitely working hard for team fluffy here. And you know eggs are probably my main source of protein. I find it to be very strange that the local shops can sell a roast chicken for under $10 as I can't even purchase a live bird for that sort of price. Of course, the chicken farms purchase their chickens from hatcheries, but still those birds lead a tough and short life.

Thanks for the excellent guidance with providing opinions. Look to be brutally honest I did ask the guy if he was interested in learning something about himself, but I phrased the question that way because most people can't resist that offer. But I have known the guy for quite a long while and he was in a bad place and I saw no down side in sharing what I saw. But other than that I see a whole lot but usually keep my trap shut. The world is a noisy place for me.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

The twelve step approach seems quite wise as it implies a certain form of leadership from a position of experience? But your remarks also suggest a very non-dogmatic approach to individuals which is very wise really. Nothing annoys me more than dogma and pedantry, but a person just smiles and gets on with their life.

You know, we discussed this issue a few weeks back and I still can't help shaking the feeling that we – both you and I – are where we are meant to be - and nowhere else. Dunno.

Far out man, your winter is going to be a cold one. I feel uncomfortable mentioning this, but you do seem to be following our lead. The past winter down here was way cold and way long. And the summer before that was way hot and way long. Dunno.

You dodged a bullet with that almost t-bar incident. Don't you reckon that people get very angsty in the lead up to Christmas? It is a very stressful time of year for some. I’m not so sure I enjoy the expectations that people have at that time of year.

Yes, you don't know what they are up to behind your back? Hehe! Hopefully, they stick to the plan? Maybe? I've seen groups degenerate which is a real pain. Did you end up going to the meeting?

Thanks for the deer lore. The two deer that turned up here were unaccompanied does so I wonder what that means? I have startled the occasional stag and they are awesome. The small herds that I've occasionally startled seem to run as a single entity which amazed me to see because all of the marsupials hang in mobs but most of the time they seem to be about their own business and there is little in the way of co-operation and sense of the herd as a unit. Dunno.

We ended up digging all day today and that is my penance for going to the pub last night. I actually enjoy the slow pace that the projects here tick along at. I could actually get an excavator in and do all of the digging for me, but where is the fun in that I ask you?

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

>>>>>
Look to be brutally honest I did ask the guy if he was interested in learning something about himself, but I phrased the question that way because most people can't resist that offer.
>>>>>

I like that approach, I may perhaps use it in the future. Usually I keep my mouth shut and stay silent, but as I get older and wiser/crankier I feel old inhibitions slip away.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,
Thanks and we are picking strawberries right now as I write this reply (the editor is), although the way we have arranged the strawberry plants combined with the very wet winter and spring has encouraged leeches into that area. I have never seen them anywhere near here before and no doubts that they came in with the wallabies last year when they broke into the strawberry enclosure. I’m planning to redo an entirely new strawberry enclosure next year which should avoid all of those problems. There are however lots of strawberries right now though! Yum!

I reckon perhaps your wet winter and spring has given the wombat population a boost. A very long time ago when we crossed the Nullarbor plain I saw signs indicating that wombats lived in that area so I have no doubts that they are very hardy creatures. Well, I’m not sure why but people seem to think that the wombats are competing for the grass with whatever creatures humans want to put in the paddocks. The wombats actually are competing but fenced off paddocks are an artificial environment anyway. I reckon all of the birds insects and animals serve the purpose of moving soil fertility back up the hills? Dunno.

Well done and congratulations on the grandson.

Thanks, it is a nice cabinet. I don’t quite understand why they are mostly made to such cabinet depths but it is easily fixed. I hear you about that and you do have to pick and choose among the many choices that we are all confronted with. There is a good second hand market for the furniture though which is worth checking out. Of course being close to Melbourne makes that a bit easier for me. That would be a fun store to visit with lots of interesting bits and pieces. I’m not fussed by that sort of thing either, but I generally leave the editor to make those decisions. Just for your info, one thing I tend to look for when assessing items is how will this item look in 20 years time?

You are very lucky to get all of that rain – as did the outback too! What a great year for the country it has been with all of that rain. The rain mostly missed here, but there was a very light drizzle this afternoon and as we were digging today I could see a huge amount of groundwater so things are OK for this time of year.

Well done with the thoughtful embargo! :-)!

Yeah it is crazy isn’t it? Last year it was 35’C on Christmas day and by the end of it I felt knocked out due to the heat.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,
Thank you and I am glad to read that you are enjoying the stories on the wildlife. Wombats are very grumpy, but they are actually very sweet creatures to have running around an orchard at night. Yup, you do not mess with their business though!

I love the flowers here too and they bring so much life to the farm. The honeyeaters dart in and out of the flowers all day long, whilst the little fairy wrens flit from one plant and garden bed to another chasing all of the many insects. But the sounds of the buzzing from the insects when the sun shines is quite amazing to hear. I may record a podcast from next to a garden bed one day so that you can hear it all yourselves. You may be interested to know that I plan to grow many more flowers around the tomato beds over the next year or so. The reason for that is because it provides shade and housing for the many skinks (which are a form of gecko) and frogs which will hopefully eat all of the bugs in that enclosure. I hope it works.

Herbs are very good for attracting insects into your garden too and many of those are very hardy plants.

Far out that is cold. As a comparison, I’m writing this in the orchard as the sun sets and I’m wearing jeans and t-shirt because it is a warm-ish evening. I wouldn’t even know how to cope with single digit temperatures (Fahrenheit that is) and so I take my hat off to all of you living in those cold climates.

Yeah, the soft woods burn very quickly as the timber is not very dense and the grain is not very fine. It is a surface area thing, I believe. Hardwoods make a huge world of difference to the speed of the combustion, although the softwoods will burn quite hot, but just so very quickly. They may also damage the steel of your fire box too from what people tell me but I am unsure why? At a guess it may be because of higher combustion temperatures but I’m not really sure.

It is a whole lot of wood to get through a winter isn’t it? En masse, it is not a sustainable resource but for homes here and there it is a very good resource. I’m balancing planting as much as I use and that is not as easy a calculation as you would think. It is only this year that I’ve quantified just how much firewood we used. I should write about that issue over the next few weeks as we start to bring the firewood in again for the winter. That is a summer job.

Absolutely, your closed in porch will give your seedlings and any plants in there that are over wintering a serious advantage and you have multiplied the use of your energy with which you were using to heat the house. Elephant stamp for you! Seriously well done.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Do you know what a really, really terrible thing is? Getting a splinter from the firewood in one's thermonuclear underwear, taking off all those layers of clothes to find it, then putting then all back on and realizing that it's still there . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - 28F (-2.22C) last night. Supposed to be 19F (-7.22) tonight. Maybe snow, tomorrow. I saw a hummingbird, yesterday! Poor little fellow. I thought about throwing up a feeder for him, but he was long gone ... and the feeder would just freeze, anyway. Guess he didn't get the memo ... Power was out for three hours, yesterday. PUD said they were replacing a damaged electric pole. Someone probably slid into it. Hope it was the guy that almost T-boned me. Since it was nap time, I just crawled into the sack and stayed warm. :-). Didn't go to the meeting, last night. After being in a tizzy for quit awhile trying to decide. House too cold for a shower, anyway. Probably good I didn't go. The frost slammed down about the time I would have been heading home.

Speaking of sci-fi series, I saw a little blurb that "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" is on tap for TV. Didn't notice the break in the narrative. Mung beans and a good brew trump blogging, any day :-). Are you sure it was a magic unicorn? Unless it is pooping rainbows, not magic. Just a garden variety unicorn. Run of the mill. Ho, hum :-).

I always feel a little consumer "pull" when I see a cleaver t-shirt. The BBC catalog is full of them. The urge is easily tamped down when I remind myself that I don't wear t-shirts, anyway. Dad wore T's, but Mum just never bought them for "us boys." Don't know why. So I wasn't raised with them.

Speaking of Oriental furniture, I've always wanted a tansu. A nice piece of Japanese dual purpose furniture. Storage AND a stairway. Some were made in Korea and cost a lot less. Oh, well. Next life. I do have a bit of oriental tat. I'm quit partial to Hakata figures. I have four. A lot of them were made for the GIs on leave from the Korean war, sold in the Japanese PXs. They're bisque, so hard to find in good shape. And, a lot of them are occupational and have lost the added bits that signify their occupation. I have a wood carver, a rope mender, an old guy getting into a saki bottle and and old fellow grinding something. They still make them, but the new ones are pretty twee. Hello Kitty, and all that. I'd like to find the old lady feeding chickens. Or, the seamstress lamp where she's threading a needle.

http://www.chrisdamitio.com/tag/hakata-urasaki-dolls/

Some of the old ones are a bit on the crude side, but some of the have the most wonderful faces. Nicely modeled. Very calm but with an air of intense concentration to detail of whatever they're doing. Lew

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

No strawberries for us this year but we do have raspberries ripening. Leeches, along with ticks, are some of my least favourite beings. We've had them in our creek and dams in the past so sitting in a creek pool in summer can be a dicey proposition. We haven't seen leeches for some time but it's possible they'll be back with the wet year. Wallabies are certainly carriers of a variety of other species.

A good pub is a fine thing. I don't think we have one in our nearest town. The food is hard to negotiate but that's true of most eating places. The last time I had a tofu curry I found a large piece of lamb meat in it. I was amazingly calm and just set it aside. No point in making waves but I might be reluctant to return to that particular place. Not sure as it has very tasty vegetarian options.

The humidity in our new garden structure seems to be encouraging sucking insects but there also seems to be ladybirds and small wasps so I'm hoping they carry out a good battle and not too much damage will be done. Everything is growing strongly.

Warm Regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I just had to reinstall Firefox as somehow the certificates had become corrupted... Grrr! It was like a circular problem with no end in sight. Computers are good when they work!

Yeah, Hitchhikers was a good film, but to be honest it wasn't much better than the BBC made for television series which I recall seeing as a kid, but as you say the books are much deeper and far more funny again. Have you ever watched Game of Thrones? I've read the books and just can't see how they would translate well at all.

Ah, of course the disaffected elites sell out their betters. Of course that would make sense. That reminds me that I was speaking with the editor today about how car leases have gotten people onto a perpetual cycle of indebtedness and the purchase of new vehicles every five years. It is a terrible thing I reckon and I have never had a lease, I'd much rather deal with an old well maintained small vehicle. A decade ago nobody had a car lease and they are attractive now because people can't afford to purchase the car in the first place.

You know, looking up the wikipedia page for the new Star Trek was what caused all of the Firefox dramas. For some strange reason the software had become corrupt and one hour later... I'll check out the story later, but everyone has to get a start so you never know it might be pretty good? Did they mention when the first episode will be released?

That approach is foolproof. It works every single time because people want to hear it and as Sun Tzu wisely says it provides them with an option out of the conversation rather than backing them into a corner.

Ha! Welcome to my nightmare!!!! Yeah, we're all getting older aren't we?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Ouch! That definitely wins the most horrid situation of the week award! Wool seems to attract splinters don't you think? I find when I'm using the chainsaw some splinter (usually huge numbers of) or chip of wood gets into my shoes and that produces the same effect. You can't win that battle...

Your plight does sound a little bit like the story of the Little Mermaid, and not the dumbed down disney-fied version of the story, but the original story.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Far out that is so cold. I wonder what Damo thinks about your winter? I'll have to ask him. I won't tell you that it was a sunny and warm day today (oops, I broke that rule!). I don't know what to say about your weather because you seem to be having one feral old school winter. Brrr!

Oh the poor little hummingbird. You know I reckon the birds, insects and animals do random things and acts as in other seasons and years it may be a successful strategy to expand that species range and fill a new niche? Dunno. That does seem to happen here though.

Yeah, you know there are days to venture out and there are days where it is not cool to venture out and perhaps your day just past was one of those? People get slightly strange and a little bit edgy in the lead up to Christmas. It would be nice if they acknowledged that but generally they don't tend to do so. I've often wondered about that. It would make a fascinating study - which would also probably seriously annoy people at the same time.

Hey, will you watch the new Star Trek series? Curious minds want to know the answer!!!

It will be interesting to see whether the wit translates from the book to the screen with that story? Dunno. It is a bit like Stephen King stories translating onto the screen as it is a bit hit or miss really. Sometimes that author has trouble winding up a story.

Oh no indeed! It was a magical Christmas unicorn. Unfortunately I did miss the rainbow poops. A bit of a shame really as that would have been interesting to see. Hehe! No, there was no promise of rainbows with that unicorn.

Oh, I had wind it up rapidly rather than the more normal meandering style. I do like a digression in a conversation!

Fair enough. No slogan t-shirts for me, but that is probably because I prefer to blend in and stick to the background.

Well fortunately I can look at wikipedia now that the software glitches are fixed up. Ah Tansu's are a fine bit of furniture making and the workmanship in the images that I saw looks superb. The Japanese rooms during that era were beautifully presented.

It is interesting but I made a hardwood chest many years ago which we still use for storing the linen. The editor wanted to buy a similar item that was made using recycled timber. But it looked flimsy to me so I offered to make a more substantial and thus longer lasting item. It is of a Tansu size, but uses spotted gum for the hardwood frame and lid and corrugated iron for the sides. It is very heavy, but very solid.

The hakata dolls are amazing in the level of detail and I do note that the older dolls look a little bit more stylised but have finer craftsmanship in their construction and finish.

Started constructing some gabion walls over the past day or so because one slope in particular required an engineered solution rather than my more usual set it up so that nature sorts it all out! This whole peak rock business is a real nuisance...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Nice to read about the raspberries and well, there is always next year for the strawberries. Out of curiosity, is your raspberry patch large and does it require much in the way of water during the summer? This is my first year with raspberries so I'm interested to see how they grow. There are some green fruit on the canes at this stage.

Oh yeah, ticks and leeches are a real pain and I hear you about sensitive they are to the presence of humans and other animals...

Fair enough about the lack of a good pub in your area. The one here was closed for a very long time and has only been open for about a year or so. I went there once in its old incarnation and the menu was very much fine dining and the place was empty. The pub in this incarnation does local brew and good basic pub fare which is more than anyone could ask for.

Places are very sloppy with vegetarian food. I totally agree, and I'm like you when out and about the place in that I just eat whatever is put in front of me. Or put it to one side as you so wisely did.

Mosquitoes have been feral this year speaking of sucking insects. But yeah your ladybirds are working very hard in the garden. I've noticed that the ladybirds particularly seem to enjoy the tansy this year although I don't really know why.

Nice to read that everything is growing strongly. The fruit trees are putting on huge amounts of growth this year.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

Thanks for the recommendation - it's on the ever growing list. Good luck with your winter travels. Driving in snow is the worst!!

Hi Chris,

in the same vein as schools not teaching cursive, I was enlightened by some high school students recently about some other disturbing trends. Apparently multiplication facts, and math facts in general, are no longer being taught much or emphasized in school either. Rather the students just use a calculator. The high school students are members of the National Honor Society so are probably "the best and brightest" of their respective schools. Members are required to do community service which is why they were at the recycling drive that I work at monthly. One of them tutors younger students and she said they can't even do simple math i.e. 21 + 7.

Tomorrow is going to be bitterly cold - -4 (-20C) and -16 (-26.7C) for the low. Today we have our third weekend snow storm (about 8 inches). We rescheduled Christmas #1 from today to tomorrow. This Christmas included my daughters,daughters' significant others, granddaughters and mother-in-law. As my MIL really can't travel far this is the only time she sees everyone so it's a big deal for her. Will be challenging to get her here from the care center which is just in town but doable. We all decided cold was a better option for traveling than a snowstorm as everyone else is almost 2 hours away.

I'd like to thank you for the blogs you list on the right side of yours. I very much enjoy reading all of them.

Margaret

Damo said...

@Lew

Your winter sounds like a proper winter too me! Although even in Tasmania it rarely gets below freezing unless you are in the interior. To be honest, I have no experience of a real winter. Tasmania is cold and even dangerous by Australian standards but it is still very mild compared to Europe or North America. And in my opinion Laos doesn't even have seasons - sure it can be wet, dry or smoky. But barring a few sweet weeks in December and Jan it is just different versions of hot! :-p

Those Japanese dolls look very interesting. By unrelated coincidence I will be in Tokyo next month. If you know of any good antique shops/districts maybe I can do a sneaky "Fernglade Investigation" and report back with photos!

Damo said...

@Chris

Your certificate problem sounds horrible - and unfamiliar. Normally you get certificate errors when the date/time on your computer is wrong. Hopefully it did not suck up too much of your time!

Yeah, I have read the Game of Thrones books and watched the TV show. I can rant at length on the vice and virtues of both, but the short version is overall disappointment at the TV series. There is some impressive stuff, but they have lost the plot (hah - pun) quite a few times and 6 seasons in, have only just started to develop the rich history of Westeros via flashback sequences. Too little, too late I think. However it is wildly successful and seems to be all the rage for internet and watercooler talk. What did you think of the two last books?

The new Star Trek series is still 6 months away, May 2017. There is still not much known about it, except they say it will be a different crew/ship/time period every season and this time it will be shown from the perspective of mid-ranking officers and crew. I am interested as one of my fondly remembered TNG episodes is 'Lower Decks' which was a 'day in the life of' type story with low ranking crew members trying to figure out what was actually happening and why certain decisions were made. It was pretty good I thought!

Right now, I am watching the Danish show 'Borgen' about a centrist female prime minister trying to do the right thing and deal with vested interests etc etc. It is very good and worth a look if you don't mind sub-titles. I am learning a lot about the Danish political system as well - good knowledge to have I am sure!

Damo

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Late today. Frozen pipe. Quit the fire drill involving heat guns, garden clippers, lots of blackberries, cardboard, juggling dog and cat, snow flurries, garden hoses, etc. etc.. Water is back and I don't care if I do run the well dry, I'm going to run more water through the pipes, tonight. 21F (-6.111) last night. But, it's supposed to be 10 degrees warmer, tonight, and in a few days our overnight lows are going to be in the low 40s.

Cabin Fever. :-). When you can't or shouldn't get out. I think it all boils down to that old bugaboo, limits. Try and tell someone that they really could get along without that quart of milk. At least for a day or two until the weather gets better. Or even sillier things.

Oh, of course I'll watch the new Star Trek series. Just as soon as the library gets the first season. :-).

E-Bay has a lot of Hakata figures on offer. Fun to see what's out there. If you type "Hakata" in the search engine, click on "Hakata Urasaki" on the drop down menu. I've never bought any off of E-Bay. I think they'd be really hard to ship, they're so fragile. I wait til I run across one in my travels ... and then go over it very carefully to look for damage.

I ordered one of the Great Courses, "Food: A Cultural Culinary History." Watched the first couple of episodes, last night. "Hunters and Gatherers" and "Early Agriculture." The prof. did a bit of a demonstration of the whole acorn grinding shtick. I guess there will be small demos and recipes along the way. While working on the pipe, I found a well frozen possum in Beau's yard. Maybe I should have saved it for that "gathering" part? Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret, Damo, and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments. I ended up writing tomorrow's blog tonight and so will be unable to reply to you all this evening. I promise to reply tomorrow night! Hope you enjoy the unicorns? Alas for me...

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Water still on, this morning. Left the taps running a bit more and the temperature only got down to 27F (-2.78C). Supposed to be 0C, tonight. Then low 40s, over night, for a week. Clear sailing. For at least a week :-).

Watched a bio of John James Audubon, last night. My, he led an eventful life. His father was a well to do merchant in Haiti. There was a slave revolt in 1791 and they just managed to escape to France ... into the jaws of the French Revolution Reign of Terror. Off to America where they did quit well. Audubon was banging along quit well, had two stores on the frontier, playing at his bird paintings. Wondered if they'd mention he was an eye witness to the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811. The film didn't. Then came the Year Without a Summer, 1816, there were several bank collapses, and the Audubons lost everything. Quit a life.

Noticed your comment at the ADR, "Everybody gets something but nobody is happy." When I was in the tat business, sometimes a customer would ask if I'd take an offer. I'd usually say, "What would make you happy ... but not deleriously (sp?) happy?" When my landlord had his mantique tat shop, I noticed something about the guys that gathered there, around the campfire. If they sold something, they'd lose sleep wondering if they sold for too little. If they bought something, they lost sleep wondering if they had paid too much. It seemed kind of pointless. Lew