Monday, 2 January 2017

Large and not in charge


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

Some weeks nature can give you a gentle reminder just to show who the boss is here. Other weeks nature gives you a solid kick in the rear and stomps the living daylights out of you! This week was of the latter variety and nature definitely stomped around in this corner of the planet wearing massive size nine heavy duty boots. And oh yeah, we got stomped big time! Ouch, stop it, that stomping hurts!

The night before nature stomped here, the setting sun put on a spectacular show. The old timers used to say: Red sky at night, shepherds delight. Well, if this week’s natures stomping was anything to go by those old timers sure got that old saying wrong, so I’m considering changing that old saying to: Red sky at night, accountants warning. The setting sun that evening did make the sky look good though:
The setting sun set the sky on fire the night before the big storm hit
Early the next day, there was a bit of light rain and I remarked to the editor that all this talk in the weather forecast about the risk of heavy rain and localised flooding seemed a bit over the top.

That day had been very hot and humid, as had all of the days and nights since before Christmas day. The editor and I had decided to work that day on the gabion rock walls (see below) and by late afternoon we had finished that work and had packed up our tools. We then sat on the veranda and enjoyed a well deserved coffee and homemade Anzac biscuit.

I’d just managed to scoff an Anzac biscuit down and finish my coffee when we heard a sound approaching as if from a distance. The sound was like a strong wind rustling every single leaf on the huge trees in the surrounding forest, but the sound was much louder and there was no wind to speak of. The sound approached closer from the forest and soon wall of water fell on the house. The editor and I casually remarked that this rain did not bode well. And wow, did it rain that afternoon, or what?

We recorded 85mm (3.3 inches) of rain falling in about 45 minutes. The official weather station which is located on the adjacent mountain and which I defer to, recorded about 65mm (2.6 inches) of rain, but still it is a lot of rain in a very short period of time. There was water everywhere and all of the drains, swales, and hard surfaces soon flooded.
All of the drains, swales, and hard surfaces flooded when the tropical low pressure system hit the farm
For the next 45 minutes, I ran around the place wearing only shorts and thongs (the Australian terminology for flip flops) holding an umbrella and doing my very best to clear obstructions from the water tank filters and drainage channels. For me, it was akin to being in a 45 minute game of “whack a mole” in that I’d clear one obstruction and then whilst I was doing that, another obstruction would form elsewhere. And wearing only shorts was because the rain was so heavy! Nature stomped the living daylights out of us with size nine boots!

By the time the rain had finished falling from the sky, I was exhausted and soaked through to the bone. Yes, I acknowledge that nature is the boss here! I was feeling pretty good though as I’d managed to hold my own during the rain against the overwhelming forces of nature and I’d even scored a few home runs for team fluffy! For example, the water tanks are now all completely full, with very clean filters, which is unprecedented at this stage of the summer.

After the rain had finished and I was busily congratulating myself, the editor and I took a walk around the farm and surveyed the damage. Most of the farm was OK, but oh yeah, nature is the boss alright! Behind the house a huge section of steep garden bed had slipped and fallen. I’d never seen or heard of a landslide in this part of the country before, but there was the landslide right in front of me.
A steep section of garden bed had slipped and fallen in the heavy rain. No Scritchy was harmed in the taking of this photo.
What caused the landslide was that water from the road above the house had over spilled at a low point and then flowed into that garden bed causing that garden bed to slip down the cutting. About a foot of soil and all of the well established plants fell in that landslide.

The first thing that we did after assessing the damage was go to the pub for dinner that night. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and of course regular readers will be very disturbed to know that the Magical Christmas Unicorns were no longer available. The outrage! The bar tender just laughed at me when I enquired as to its availability. Fortunately, here at Fernglade Farm, we are made of tough stuff and have a flexible disposition so when it comes to such product shortages, we simply adapted. So the editor enjoyed her preferred cider and I enjoyed a hops heavy pale ale.

What were we talking about? Oh that’s right, the next day after the pub, sorry I mean the landslide, we spent hours rescuing the plants:
About thirty plants were rescued from the recent landslide debacle
Then it took about eight hours to remove the clay, plant materials and topsoil from that landslide. It was a big job as there was just so much material that we had to remove – using hand tools and wheelbarrow. All that material was taken over to the new garden bed near the chicken enclosure which was about 40m (130ft) away. That new garden bed is looking quite good as it is rapidly getting full of material.
About three quarters of the way into the job of removing the soil and plants from the landslide debacle
After the clay, plant material, and top soil were removed, we were then able to place a new layer of mushroom compost onto the steep garden bed. Into that mushroom compost we planted out all of the rescued plants (which hopefully survive the process). Mushroom compost is great for steep garden beds because warm weather combined with water rapidly produces mushroom hyphae which binds the whole lot together.
The author replanting the steep garden bed that had been subject to the landslide
The rock wall at the base of the steep garden bed was also rebuilt with much larger rocks. Eventually that job was done and Poopy the Pomeranian (who everyone knows is a Swedish Lapphund) can be seen in the photo below approving (in his own special way) of the new garden bed.
Poopy the Pomeranian approves of the repairs to the steep garden bed
That day after nature had won the game of whack a mole and proven who was the boss, the clouds in the valley below looked really strange.
The day after the big storm, the clouds in the valley below looked really strange
Over the next week or so, the editor and I will attempt to correct most of the problems that caused the landslide and flood damage. 

One of the problems was that a large rock in the driveway had caused the water to spread across the entire driveway rather than be channelled into the drains. Today we spent about half of the day cutting and jackhammering a drainage channel into that very large granite rock. We knew that it was a massive rock because the earthmoving bloke that built the driveway couldn’t move the rock even with a twenty tonne excavator. Fortunately the rock was not equal to industrial diamonds and a solar powered jackhammer, but it was still a very hard job to cut a drain channel through that rock.
A drain channel was cut through a very large and buried rock in the driveway
Observant readers will note that in the photo above I am squatting next to a very large chunk of rock which was also removed in today’s activities.

For most of the week, the weather was very hot and very humid, and all of the days leading up to the storm were well over 30’C (86’F). Far out, the humidity made it feel far hotter than it actually was. Anyway, earlier in the week we began filling up the recently constructed rock gabion. Long time readers will recall that we have long since passed Peak Rocks and now have to go ever further afield to find new rocks for the many projects here. And a single large rock gabion requires about six hours of scrounging rocks in order to fill it!
Sir Scruffy approves of the progress of filling the new rock gabion after the first couple of hours of rock scrounging
The next day saw that rock gabion completely filled with rocks and sewn shut with galvanised steel wire

A smaller rock gabion was then built so as to squeeze in to the gap between the larger rock gabion and the concrete staircase. I look very hot and red in the photo below and that is from the heat rather than any sunburn.
A smaller rock gabion was made to squeeze in to the gap between the larger rock gabion and the concrete staircase
The smaller rock gabion was then filled up with scrounged rocks after a couple of hours. This Peak Rock business is a real hassle.
The smaller rock gabion was filled up with scrounged rocks after a couple of hours
We purchased a load of 20mm (0.8 inch) granite road base material to fill in the gaps between the rock gabions and the clay wall.
20mm (0.8 inch) granite road base material was used to fill in the gaps between the rock gabions and the clay wall
That road base material is strong stuff, and it will have to be, because another rock gabion was constructed today and placed on top of the existing rock gabions. Just for people’s interest, it takes about two hours to bend, cut, and sew together a large sized steel rock gabion. Now all we need to do is find more rocks…
Another rock gabion was constructed and placed on top of the existing rock gabions
Despite nature kicking a sized nine boot this way, the paddocks below the house have really enjoyed the huge volumes of water and are full of wildflowers. The soup of marsupials (I just made that up – think of murder of crows, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about) which feast on the rich herbage in that paddocks every night are full up to their eyeballs with quality feed!
The herbage in the paddock below the house is looking very good with all of the recent rains
Observant readers may note in the above photo, the bright yellow flowers from a lovage plant as well as a couple of globe artichokes. Both plants are very tasty!

In other plant news: As part of correcting the landslide this week, the editor and I cut back a huge quantity of vegetation away from a walking path near to that landslide. In cutting back the vegetation we discovered a jostaberry full of fruit happily inter-twinned with a bush rose.
A jostaberry full of fruit was discovered happily inter-twinned with a bush rose
There was a bit of discussion in the comment section last week about the yarrow plant (Hi Pam!). Yarrow is currently in flower here and we grow white flowered varieties as well as a red variety (which is somewhere about the place…) and they look great and self-seed prolifically!
White flowered yarrow self-seeds prolifically and produces huge quantities of flowers
Another two plants that happily self-seed are blue flowered chicory and yellow flowered evening primrose and they are very reliable plants:
Blue flowered chicory and yellow flowered evening primrose grow here and they are very reliable plants
But carrots win the award for the most prolific self-seeding plants. I let one go to seed once a few years ago and now carrots turn up everywhere.
Carrots win the award for the most prolific self-seeding edible plants here
The hot weather combined with the rain has caused the penstemons and salvias to flower this week! And the honeyeaters love both of these plants for their nectar.
The hot weather combined with the rain has caused the penstemons and salvias to flower this week
Even though nature gave me a kick up the backside this week just to remind me who is the boss, it was also very thoughtful of nature to provide the beautiful penstemon and salvia flowers!

The temperature outside now at about 8.15pm is 11’C (52’F). This year there has been 2.4mm (0.1 inches) of rain. Last year there was 1,245.2mm (49.0 inches) which is a pretty wet year in anyone’s language!

80 comments:

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Wow - all that work in the heat and humidity!! Very impressive.

Regarding yarrow, I've found it very useful stopping bleeding. I believe I read that soldiers in the civil war carried it for just that purpose.

I was wondering if your wild carrots are Queen Anne's Lace as they look quite similar in the picture.

Margaret

margfh said...

Happy New Year to all!!

We had my sister, brother-in-law, aunt (of the purchased Kombucha) stay over. Our good friends who own the retirement home where one of my brother resides also came by. They couldn't stay too long as an overnight employee quit on them with no notice. Everyone brought an appetizer - most of which were quite rich but very tasty. We did make it up until New York New Year's at least.

Margaret

margfh said...

Bukko,

I am so sorry to read about your sister. What an awful situation. I believe we're poisoning ourselves in many different ways.

Lew,

I've had quite a few caged birds in my time. The first was a parrot. I had to sell him as when my oldest daughter was born he was so jealous he would screech and crash into the side of the cage every time I walked by with her. We lived in an apartment and he was causing quite a disturbance in the building. Over time I had budgies, finches, cockateils and lovebirds. I've always enjoyed just watching wild birds as well though I don't chase around adding birds to my life list. A favorite book is "What the Robin Knows" by Jon Young which focuses on just sitting and observing the common birds in your area.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

37F here at noon and the sun shining from a clear blue sky. It rained heavily during the night.

That is a glorious sunset. Red sky at night... seems to apply accurately here, perhaps it doesn't work in the southern hemisphere; or perhaps it is in reverse.

Hmm, that was some landslide and I wince at the steepness of the gradient that you are standing next to.

It appears that 3 members of a family have been mauled by their dog when they tried to put him in a Christmas jumper; poor dog. Son said that he would maul anyone who tried to put him in a Christmas jumper.

@ Bukko

That grid story definitely sounds significant even though I reckon that there is a strong genetic connection with regard to susceptibility to cancer. We all know of people who live to a great old age regardless of the most intemperate of lives and vice versa. Fairness is not a concept that I understand, it simply doesn't exist from birth onwards.

Inge

Robert Scott said...

Nice work with the gabions. What do you make the gabions out of and how do you bend them into shape?

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Your driveway looks like the Amazon in flood! That is so much water in such a short time. Our gravel driveway runs down the hill to our house, but makes a turn just - and goes on down the hill - just before it gets to the house. I think that turn is what has kept water damage from ever reaching the house as the water flow goes right past us. The bottom of the drive has become quite level (where it was once pretty steep) just through Mother Nature depositing silt and gravel there. It does take occasional maintenance to fill in the ruts caused by rushing rainwater. Our driveway is very steep.

When I was growing up in Texas we also called flip flops "thongs". Somewhere along the way that term was dropped. Now it only refers to, umm, underwear.

What a sad photo of your landslide. It looks like it's about to swallow up Scritchy. And Toothy! And I'm sorry, but if I were a woodland creature with bad intentions, and I saw Poopy in his present summer incarnation of hairlessness, I am afraid that I might lie down and laugh. And then Poopy would pounce on me and I'd be done for! Ah-ha! It's a Poopy trick to lull the enemy into thinking he's harmless!

Wise folks, you, to fortify yourself by going to the pub first. Sorry the unicorns are gone.

40m is a long way to transfer all that dirt in a wheelbarrow.

I wouldn't have thought it was possible to hack out a channel through granite with the tools you mentioned. That's a great accomplishment.

A gabion needs more rocks than I realized. Building one might well put us at peak rocks. And I hadn't realized that you were building a double-decker one. I would ask where you are scrounging your rocks, but it's probably where I would have to scrounge - here and there. I wondered if you filled in behind it with anything other than soil.

This fall we saved some chickory seed from down the road. It used to grow wild on our property, but disappeared. I hope to get it going again. Thanks for the yarrow photos.

"Soup of marsupials" is brilliant! Maybe even tasty!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Bukko:

I think that you are probably exactly right about the high-voltage power lines and your sister's disease. It's something that you want to avoid. And we were sort of dumb when we did not do all of our homework before we bought this property, and find out that there is a nuclear power plant 50 miles down the road. Not a problem, unless it fails; then we are in the evacuation zone.

Pam

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

That is a huge rainfall event in such a short time period! Such events certainly show up the structural weaknesses in the drainage plans but your remediation work will hopefully hold if the next event is as extreme. I can imagine that years of added mulch and the building of top soil meant that you have a good sponge to soak up as much as possible.

I have to report that we are under sustained deer attack. We had put up a rabbit wire fence around our new vegetable garden and of course we have a new house yard fence. The deer pop over latter and lean over the former. We lost all of our ready to pick lettuces! We also have new fruit trees in small wire frames that we are hurrying to put lids on. I envy you your dog team and their good work. BeeGee has been well trained to 'leave' wildlife and stock so changing that would be a stretch for an old dog not to mention old trainers.

One of the deer also ate the lead on the new restrained and elegant solar fairy lights on the pergola! I wonder what food the lead suggested to the deer?

The next door neighbour's shearing shed is a replica of traditional sheds but I'm not sure if it's a Glenn Murkett style shed.

I wanted to say that passive solar advantage is not necessarily lost in open plan areas in modern houses. It does depend on their design. In our old miners cottage the first things we did were to insulate the ceiling, take out a wall, put in a window and glass doors on the north wall and the house went from winter freezing to manageable. The biggest advantage for me though was the light. Dark winter rooms tend to be linked to depression for me.

Full rain tanks going into the new year are such a boon!

Warm Regards, Helen

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The sunset photo is spectacular! Another entry for the Fern Glade Farm calendar. :-). The sound of that approaching rain must have been very eerie and maybe, even a little frightening. What thoughts ran through your mind? Tornado? Oncoming earthquake? Thundering stampede of dinosaurs? Just a little while ago, there were some loud sounds that I couldn't quit put my finger on. Snow sliding off the roof.

That is some landslide. Any thoughts about putting a gabion at the base of that slope? Back when I was house hunting, the one place I could have probably bought had a similar slope ... and was about as close to the back of the house as your is. Closer actually, I had to squeeze around the one back corner. I finally decided I couldn't live with the tension. I know your thrifty, but it may be time to consider ordering in a dump truck full of good sized rocks. Make a game of it. See how long you can make the pile last, between what you find and what you take off the pile. Life is short and the aggravation ... and need seem to be mounting.

The bush rose is beautiful. We have similar wild and semi wild varieties. They're a really old rose ... as in prehistoric. I also thought your carrots looked a lot like Queen Anne's Lace. We have a lot of that ... and, wild carrot growing around here. You can tell the difference as the Queen Anne's Lace has one little tiny red blossom, right in the middle. I wonder if your carrots will eventually revert back to their wilder (and less tasty) ancestors.

Speaking of seed, I watched a really interesting documentary, last night, called "Seeds of Time". (2014). It's about the fellow who helped establish the seed vault up in northern Norway ... and so much more. It's about seed banks all over the world, and efforts to preserve old varieties. Seed libraries, seed exchanges. Also a bit about how it's important to preserve the old stocks in the face of climate change. Something I knew ... but that made more sense when presented as an animated graphic, was how, commercially, veg and fruit varieties have radically shrunk. In a number of species, there are less than 10% of the varieties that were available 80 years ago. I can remember a pea from my childhood that I haven't seen in years. It was big, tasty and electric green. Haven't seen anything like it in any of the seed catalogues. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. In an odd bit of circumstance, just yesterday I ran across two articles on NPR that had to do with seed. One was about a recent rediscovery of an American squash. Big, orange and tasty. Apparently, it was kept going, by a thread, among some Native American groups. The article also mentioned how many of the Native American reservations now have seed libraries of varieties that had pretty much disappeared.

There was also an article on the peanut. I guess there are two commercial varieties. But there was another variety that was actually brought to America by West African slaves. Smaller but prolific. With a big intense peanut flavor. Well, 40 seeds were found preserved in a university collection. They decided to try growing 20 of them. 12 germinated. And now they're spreading far and wide through seed exchanges. I think one silver lining to the internet is the spread and reestablishment of old varieties. I think there's still near extinct varieties "out there" among the home gardeners.

You touched on did things breaking down have little clocks in them, set for failure. Planned obsolescence. Well, I finished up Stewart's book "Junk: Digging Through America's Love Affair With Stuff (2016), last night, and she has a section on planned obsolescence. An American economist named Bernard London came up with a manifesto in 1932 urging planned obsolescence as a way to end the Great Depression. It was called "Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence." One of the people interviewed for the book (in relation to Apple products) said, "We voted with our wallets and purchased the device despite its built-in death clock."

Looking at the archaeology sites I do, about this time of the year they always trot out lots of pictures of the Roman god Janus. The god of portals, of going out and coming in, of history and the future. He has two faces, one looking back and one looking forward. James Kunstler has his year end wrap up and predictions for the future. Not very family friendly, in spots. Very long. But it's a pretty good overview of how and why we got, where we are. Economically, socially, governmentally. I think some of his predictions might end up being spot on. But, I think they will play out over a much longer period of time. Might be worth a look ... in your spare time :-).

We had a bit more snow, yesterday afternoon. A very fine dusting. The temperature last night was 30F (-1.11C). Tonight it's supposed to get down to 16F (-8.88C). I did quit a bit more insulating, yesterday. it was just warm enough today to melt off some of the snow ... which has refroze. it's pretty crunchy, out there :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Dear Margaret - Oh, I do spend quit a bit of time watching and identifying the local birds. They are endlessly fascinating.

I have had a cockatiel, in the past. He was a delight and I quit enjoyed him. I also had a Quaker Parrot which was a vicious, nasty bird. I think someone gave him to me. I finally gave him to the local college biology department. So they could perform medical experiments on him. :-). Not really. He became sort of a lab mascot. He ultimately escaped. If he ever met up with a lady Quaker parrot, there's probably a small flock of them out there ... somewhere. Not outside the realm of possibility.

Well, I'll be moving to a small apartment, in town, sometime this year. I could have a small dog or cat ... but think it would be cruel keeping them locked up in an apartment. Being an old guy with few friends and no family, I really NEED something in my life to take care of and lavish a bit of affection on. And, perhaps get a bit of affection, back. For my mental health. I don't think fish or a turtle would do it. :-).

At first I thought another cockatiel. But the more I read, the more I'm leaning toward a parakeet. And, if he seems to languish, I'll get another one. The Home forbids bird feeders. Probably due to the mess and possibility of attracting rodents. But once I get established, I'll ask if I can put a post and hangers for a couple of hummingbird feeders in my garden plot. No mess with those. If not, I'll just make sure and plant something to attract them. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Sackerson,

Oh! I thought that you may have written a blurb on why your magazine is a good platform?

Permaculture is more productive per acre than say industrial agriculture. However, most small holdings if managed well, usually are more productive and they produce over a much longer period of time than big ag mainly due to a greater diversity of production. Of course, the concept of a web of life indicates that there are more than just humans turning up to enjoy a feed on a small holding. What do you think about that concept?

Fossil fuels will be around for a long time to come. My understanding is that extraction peaked in 2005, and in recent years the supply rates have been bumped up by fuels from unconventional resources. Fair enough. However, all of those unconventional resources consume far more energy to extract and refine than crude oil straight out of the ground - and as such they are more expensive to supply. My thinking about the future is that oil and its products may be available, you and I just won't be able to afford it. And have you considered just how much oil is used in agriculture today? Do you see me using that much oil to produce edible products here? That is the question for you my friend!

Your question has been answered already. Look what happened in the US during the 70's oil embargo as that is the future.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bucko,

Mate, I feel for both you and your sister and my best hope for the both of you is that she does not suffer too much as her light is extinguished. I'm really sorry, mate.

I'm honestly not sure what fairness actually is. I have to fight just to stand still. And to expand the systems here takes a Herculean effort. When I was a young bloke, I got married in my mid-twenties, kept up seeing my friends, worked a hard-core full time job and studied an undergraduate business degree at University at night. There were some days I felt as if I was a rat on a treadmill and no matter how fast - as a rat - I spun that baby, I was always in the same place. Mate, life is just not fair, and your sister was dealt a more harsh hand than one would reasonably expect.

Honestly, I don't know what to say, other than we live on a very polluted planet. Handling electricity is like trying to store water in a leaky bucket. The stuff pours out everywhere. I'm so sorry for the both of you, mate.

With sympathies,

Chris

Coco said...

Stunning pics, as usual. That sunset is marvelous!

Sorry for your weather troubles. Mother nature always bats last. Good work on cleaning up and solving all the issues around the place.

I´m having a hard time getting motivated again. But I did score 7 more bags of horse manure, for free, yesterday. I think the stable might have been short handed over the holiday and they were glad to see someone shovel it out and take it away.

Now to start digging again and apply it all. Oh, and clean the car. Always something, isn´t it?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh man, 3" of snow is a huge - and possibly a bit more than the average - dusting of snow. You may have to ski into the little smoke if this continues? Can you actually ski? I tried it once up in the alpine country here and it sounded a lot more fun than it actually was.

Who can remember 2008? Oh well, to be honest when the real estate crash hit the US, I was trying to sell my little terrace in the big smoke and I remarked to my offsider where I worked that this was fracking typical (actually I didn't use that word, but it substitutes quite nicely don't you think?). So yeah, 2008 was actually quite memorable. On the other hand the most popular Prime Minister in recent decades sent me $900 cash to go out and spend so as to avoid a recession and that seemed to work nicely. I do have rather fond feelings for the bloke, but he go deposed in a rather unpleasant manner later on. I always joke about our Prime Ministers by saying: "Don't worry about them, we've got plenty more where they came from". One cheeky retail store even announced the Kevin 37. The 37 referred to 37" - unlike your snow - wide television which could be purchased for $900. How good is that?

The seeds of conflict began with the separation of an ear from Jenkins... What an introduction and it just goes to prove that one has to be careful to be in the right place at the right time. Of course Jenkins would have been part of the larger British expansion as the Spanish well knew. It is interesting that the British were able to raise a contingent from North America. They would have been pretty chuffed about that.

As to the 1859 Pig war, all I can add is that: in 1846 there was still some uncertainty about the geography of the region. Mate, seems to me that it was a straightforward grab for cash.

That whirling would have made my guts gurgle too. The Blair Witch project film was like that - all handycam and stuff bouncing around. Not good.

No way! I've seen ransomware in action on a server and it ain't pretty - but the hackers were nice enough to leave messages in several different formats in every single directory... But a TV? Well that is what you get when you buy into the internet of things - which is a stupid idea. I'd like to see them get to smite my TV - good luck with that!

Fair enough about the ancient battery jars being for sacred texts. How do they know that anyway? If it is too close to call, then it may be too close to call... Yeah, the problem is that when the enthusiastic and well meaning tat people dumped the contents of the battery jars, they dumped a perfectly functioning and long lasting battery. I've seen those batteries bubbling away and they are a very attractive and sensible - but not efficient as it is currently understood - technology. That is a shame. But the battery jars do look cool though. Well dried beans are a form of stored sunlight, so I guess that's a good thing? Maybe?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hospitality is an important concept. I may have told you about how rancid I was when a very well financed couple spent the afternoon up here on a guided tour at the behest of a friend. The editor and I gave them a tour and fed them and they arrived with nothing and left with thanks. What was worse though was I stayed home to write the blog and the editor left with them to eat dinner at the local pub and they didn't even think to buy her dinner as a thanks. Far out, guests like that are not welcome, so yeah hospitality is a really important social mechanism with costs and benefits for both parties to that story.

I don't pick fights with house rules, because people only turn up when the house rules are well understood and enforced. Speaking of which a favourite charity of mine has appeared to have been hijacked by professional activists: Charity's protocols go to the dogs as vitriol erupts. If I was cynical, I would say that the activists are seeking to gain access to the charity's income and assets. Certainly I can't consider donating to them again under the present circumstances.

It is a professional hazard of living with birds that are much smarter than I! They're a bit cheeky really.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks as summers here are usually hot and dry events, except when they're not. And how much hotter does it feel when the humidity is over 80%... Yuk!

Ah, thanks for the information regarding yarrow and I'll try it on a cut the next time I have one. It sounds as if it has an anti-coagulant agent in it.

Yeah, those plants are very similar but the ones here are definitely 100% carrots. Of course, the colours vary quite a lot and are usually purple which can freak people out! Hehe! No doubts that purple carrots are better for you to eat than the orange hybrid varieties...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Well that is a bit warmer and the sun and blue skies would be very nice. Is anything edible still growing in your garden? I hear you about the rain and that sort of weather event seems to be on the increase. They described it as a 1 in a 100 year storm, and I can't figure out why I can recall at least five similar events in the past decade or so.

Maybe things are upside down here? That old shepherds rule of thumb just doesn't hold true here at all, unfortunately. The weather station predicted a thumper of a storm as the air pressure fell drastically over a few hours.

Ha! I shouldn't laugh, but Christmas jumpers seem to be a very English concept to the unfortunates living on the underside of the planet. I do recall a rather striking Christmas jumper in the film: Bridget Jones Diary - which I quite enjoyed! Of course the poor dog would maul anyone silly enough to try that trick. Poopy would definitely do the same thing - as all sensible dogs would. OK, did they actually get the jumper on the dog after all of the biting, wailing, and nashing of teeth?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Robert,

Welcome to the discussion.

The rock gabions were made from sheets of 1,200mm x 2,400mm steel welded mesh. The steel wire is 2mm and the holes are 50mm x 50mm.

2mm steel is easily bent by having someone stand on the sheet off the veranda at the preferred bend and then I kick the 90 degree bend into steel. Of course if it was steel plate, I would heat it up first and then tap the bend into the steel. There is a blog that I wrote about that technique quite a long while back.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

I've been in the Amazon and you are 100% spot on as that is what it looks like there too. And the humidity build up before it is unrelentingly oppressive. It is exactly the same.

Having a turn in the driveway is a really smart idea and also saves water from crashing into - and through and under - your house. The only bit of water that got under the house was from the landslide. The turn slows the movement of the water across your land.

I'll tell ya, I spent most of this morning cleaning up all of the failure points on the road above the house. It was a lot of work - and I hear you - that silt really does build up in those sorts of rainfall events.

The marketing people have tried that down here but thongs are actually flip flops here. However, if you asked to purchase a pair of flip flops people would look at you funny like... Reclaim the word as a suggestion - although I don't see that it is worth the effort.

Apologies but I have run out of time and promise to reply to everyone tomorrow morning... Until then...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen, Lewis and Coco,

Thanks for the lovely comments, however I have run out of time to reply and promise to reply tomorrow morning. Holidays are nice aren't they?

Until then, cheers!

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

It is cold outside 23F and a heavy frost, the sun is shining.

I am sure that they never succeeded in dressing that dog as I believe that it inflicted serious injuries on them.

Leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, parsley and sage are still available in the garden.

Am now feeling self conscious about my precis writing style after all the comments on ADR.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, better 3" of snow than the 8" my friends in Idaho got last night :-). According to our local weather station, it got down to 19F (-7.22C), last night. When I went to bed, my rather dodgy old thermometer registered 10F (-12.22C). Supposed to be 17F (-8.33C) tonight. I had a brain storm and put out my fridge thermometer, this morning. I'll see how that works. I still think I'll pick up a good thermometer, tomorrow.

LOL. That's what you get from narrow focus. I'm thinking "2008, weather, weather, weather" and "economy, economy, economy" didn't even cross my mental radar. No, I've never skied, or anything like that. I've sometimes thought that Cliff Mass the weather guy caters a bit to much to the "ski people." They're sort of like spandex bicycle people :-). They constantly harass him about, not, "will we have enough water in the reservoirs to make it through the summer, but if there will be enough snow for skiing, where, the consistency of said snow, and the exact day and time a particular ski area will get snow. It all seems to boil down to "should I buy a ski pass this year, or not."

On prime ministers and colonial troops :-). Put me in mind of the Roman auxiliaries. There was a little bit of film in the WWII series I watched where, when the Japanese were moving in on northern Australia, your prime minister (missed the name) recalled troops from Europe to defend Australia. Churchill was apoplectic. What little footage I saw of your prime minister, at that time ... well, he just seemed like a no nonsense, forceful kind of leader you need in time of war. Didn't strike me as a toff, at all. I have often wondered why Winnie (Churchill) was dumped so unceremoniously at the end of WWII?

One thing I liked about the series was how it emphasized (without going overboard) how international the Allied forces, were. As just one example, sometimes the landings at Normandy are "The Americans took Normandy." Well, no. Besides the Americans there were, of course the British (troops from all over the Empire) Free French, Free Polish. The Canadians particularly had "blood in their eye" as a Canadian passenger ship had been sunk early in the war, with horrendous loss of life. Cont.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

That was a huge amount of rain in far too short a time! I have not experienced that much rain in that short a time period. However, I have experienced having 3+ inches of rain falling on ground that was already saturated from previous rains. The new rain has nowhere to soak into, so it all runs off fast and can cause slides like you had, or slumps, or gullies. I see those along some of the local interstates that run through unconsolidated soils, like the loess soil I have. Peak rock? I have no rock at all. Over a meter (40" or so) of silt loam soil lies on top of bedrock. The soil was blown in when glacial meltwaters flowed down the rivers, filling the channels from bluff to bluff (as much as 20 miles wide in spots!), during the summer. No vegetation could grow. In the winter, when the melting stopped, the prevailing wind blew the bare soil off the floodplains and over the top of the bluffs. Eventually the dust settled out in waves of hills a few miles either side of the rivers to form the soils. Imagine ocean waves frozen in place; that will give you a sense of the landform I live on. I live near the top of one such hill, facing east. Despite our occasional heavy rains, I've never heard of a large destructive landslide. Small slides and slumps do sometimes occur, however.

I wish you fast plant regrowth in the repaired area!

It's getting cold again, though it sounds like it will not be quite as cold as it was in early December. But we may get our first snowfall of any significance for this winter early Thursday morning.

Claire

SLClaire said...

Hi all,

I forgot to include in my earlier comment the link to the US Drought Monitor website. If you want to know more about where drought is and isn't in the US, this is where to find out.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. But, getting back to colonial troops in the 1700s. George Washington's early career is pretty interesting. He was in the Virginia Militia during the French and Indian Wars. Ended up a colonel and commander in chief of the Virginia Regiment, which was the first full time colonial military force in the American colonies. But as with the Romans and their auxiliaries to Churchill's attitude toward colonial troops ... well, the military establishment always looked down their noses at, and didn't treat very well those troops. And, it usually came back sooner or later to bite them in the ... ear. :-).

The sorting out of land claims in this part of the world, the Pacific Northwest was pretty interesting ... and complicated. There were some very early Spanish and Russian claims ... but they never panned out. It came down to the Americans and the British. For the longest time, it was assumed that the eventual boundary would be the Columbia River. Fort Vancouver on the north bank was run by a Hudson's Bay factor named John McLaughlin. By the time American parties staggered into Ft. Vancouver, they were generally sick, starving and out of supplies. McLaughlin was very welcoming, got them back on their feet and urged them to settle south of the Columbia. One very small part of sorting it all out was the Champoeg Meetings ..

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

I wrote an article about a historic house there, when I was a wee small lad. Got it published in a national magazine. Of course, I didn't let on that I was a wee small lad ... :-).

Never saw the Blair Witch film. By then I'd trigged to the whole "found footage" form of film making. Besides the motion sickness, I think they're kind of a cheap and lazy method of film making. Another thing that makes me a bit queasy are those birds eye views of cities so loved for opening credits of movies and tv series. Those moving shots down between the buildings into the canyons of cities. I generally have to look away from the screen until the film makers finish doing ... whatever they're doing.

How many archaeologists (or, historians) and dance on the head of a pin? :-). Academic careers rise and fall and salvos are fired. Sometimes fun to follow, more often rather tedious ... and often boil down to "we'll never know for sure." Who was the child buried under the floor of a barracks block up on Hadrian's Wall? How did he (or she ... even the sex is in contention) come to be buried there? What's the real story on the 80 headless Romans found in York, England? Is St. Peter really buried under St. Peter's in Rome? Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

cont... :-)! It was nice that neither Scritchy nor Toothy were harmed in the taking of that photo of the landslide. They were very happy about the situation, far more so that I. There is a funny story about Poopy. The guys that help me with forest work here dropped by yesterday to see if I had any work for them, which I did - they cut up the huge fallen limb into firewood sized chunks. They're good people and I've known them for years and they seemed to be having a good time working on the giant tree branch and they even looked like they were having an enjoyable lunch off in the forest too. It was a fixed rate job, and I don't hassle them about how long these things take as it is safer not hurrying them. Oh yeah, Poopy. So when they turned up Poopy did this amazing Cujo routine and I quickly hauled him away and into the house. The guys are big burly blokes and they looked a little nervous, so Poopy can turn it on when he needs too, but he is all bark that one. So his other Poopy trick is to out-psych the enemy with his fluffy mind powers...

Alas for us. No unicorns anywhere. Someone did mention that they were a mythical beast, but I've seen them and I want to believe!!! :-)! If you spot a unicorn ranging through your snow, track it down, it's worth it.

It was a long way to move that soil. We try hard to make the output from one activity become an input for another activity, so one has to keeps ones eye open to possibilities for different resources on the farm, no matter what form they take.

Oh yeah, diamond cutting wheels are awesome, but they only cut a little bit at a time and the jackhammer has to break apart the guts of the rock.

Ah, soil compacts so that is the reason for the road base gravel. There is a third rock gabion in the pipeline!

Hmmm, one day chicory roots will be future coffee. It is hardy stuff, but it is less prolific here too as other plants out compete it. It seems to be a pioneering plant and likes a bit of disturbance.

Imagine a wallaby tail soup!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

It was a massive amount of rain in a very short period of time. That sort of thing happens about once every three years here, although I note that a very large tropical low pressure system is currently hovering over the north west and looks as though it is heading south to south east.

Yeah, that volume of water finds every single weakness. It was the road drains that failed this time and overflowed as we just hadn't maintained them properly.

It is only the hard surfaces such as roads and pathways where the water pools and runs. Even that much rain in the orchard just soaks in to the groundwater table. The trees sure enjoyed the watering!

Oh no, I suspect the wet winter and spring has led to an increase in deer numbers. And they do a lot of damage to the fruit trees here. They won't come near the house because of the dogs, and our scents. Perhaps Bee Gee would benefit from another pack member? I wouldn't recommend terriers (as they can be a bit obsessive compulsive and may occasionally lack an understanding of their territory limits). Poopy is good in that he will chase them into the forest and then return to his territory. I would hate to have a beagle or blood hound that just got lost in the scent and chase. This is an issue that I have been contemplating recently, so if you have any suggestions?

Zap! Well, a person can only but hope that the deer received a 9V battery on the tongue sort of feeling? ;-)!

Fair enough. The old shearing sheds are quite good and they were always perched a bit above the ground on stumps so they allowed a bit of air flow.

Of course, it is hard to get a good description of a building in a sentence or less. I love the old miners cottages and they are such simple yet very elegant buildings. Winters here can be a bit on the dark and gloomy side and I enjoy the constant change. It is very sunny and warm here today.

Exactly, it is a massive boon! How is your dam looking?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thoughts about the sound? Well, we knew what it was, but I wasn't kidding when the editor and I conferred and decided that it wasn't going to be good. It took about 10 minutes of that rain before the systems started failing. The water tanks were the main priority as I can't afford to have the rain water undermine them. All else is secondary. The house itself was fine as all of the surfaces deflect water away from it. That landslide though was a brand new event. Yesterday we fixed up the drains on the road above the house where it failed and overflowed. We also built up the mound along the side of the road which acts like a levee bank. It was nice of nature to provide a huge quantity of materials to do that job. It was hot work though.

The rock wall underneath the landslide didn't fail so a gabion would have been a lot of effort for no result. Long term we are going to establish a garden bed and decent rock wall above that cutting to slow any water moving from that direction as well as allowing it infiltrate into the soil. Nature provides the solutions, but we have to put the work in to get it established. That exact system works on the terrace that the house is on - and has been thoroughly tested, so we might as well duplicate what works and is cheap to implement.

Wow, I didn't know that the bush rose was that old a plant, but then the species Rosaceae should be a dead giveaway. Did you know the mighty eucalyptus species fall under that family? No, I checked yesterday and they seem to be wild carrots, although they seem to be increasingly purple - which is their natural colour. This orange colour appeasing royals business, they seem to be a bit susceptible to flattery! Hehe!

Genetic diversity in plants is a huge issue. There used to be something like 7,000 varieties of apples - try finding that many nowadays. And seeds from orchards will most likely grow true to type because of the lack of genetic diversity. The irish discovered that issue during the potato famine as they were only growing two different varieties - out of the hundreds available and both of those were subject to the blight fungus. That plant made up about 90% of their diet before the famine. I'd be more impressed if they were actively growing the seeds rather than storing them for the power to go out or the viability to diminish.

Good for them. That is a great thing for the people on the reservations to do.

Oh yeah, and if gardeners grow a number of different varieties, eventually selection pressures will develop new varieties. I was gutted when we lost the tomato seedlings that we'd be nurturing for the past five years. We've since discovered some feral self seeded tomatoes so those have been transplanted and are receiving a lot of care as well as a good talking too!

Wow. I just don't know what to say about deliberate planned obsolescence. We may just rue that policy one day.

It is a different perspective to people of today who only seem to want to believe forward. That Roman God Janus was a pretty handy dude to look both forwards and backwards. Thanks for letting me know about Kunstler. I really like his writing style and he interviews very well. As to spare time... Dunno about that one. I finally fixed most of the computer gremlins this morning.

Far out it is cold. I won't tell you that it is 28'C (82'F) bright and sunny outside now. I better go and water the new plants in that steep garden bed. The garden bed and rock wall above it will work, trust me on this!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Many thanks and it was a spectacular sunset wasn't it? Although I believe it is the dust in the air that causes the light to refract in that colour. Smoke from large bushfires produce a very orange sunset.

Mother nature does indeed have the final say, and she comes in raining heavy blows in a fight. We're onto the many problems already. Every failure is a good opportunity to learn and adapt your systems.

Well done you for scoring the stable manure. An excellent Christmas present. It really is good stuff, but will take a little time to turn into quality soil. That usually takes between one and two years, but you will eventually see a beautiful rich black sandy loam. And that stuff will grow anything! :-)!

Digging it in is a great way to speed up that process too by a huge factor.

Yes, there is always something isn't there? I usually put manure in the trailer for that reason! Hehe! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Are you sure it is that cold, I'm looking outside right now and it is about 82'F and sunny? ;-)!

I feel sorry for the poor dog. Honestly it must have felt seriously harassed. I can read dogs pretty well and it is not as if they don't tell people to back off and stop overstepping the line. Although some dogs can be free independent thinkers and that is not much good. I have a great respect for horse breakers as they must have to play a game of outwitting their opponents whilst trying to instill trust. Christmas jumpers on a dog does not instill trust in the dog.

Wow, those are hardy plants to have survived the cold. By July, I'm down to lots of greens and plenty of citrus.

Really, well I'm not convinced that there is anything at all to worry about. The litmus test to writing is whether someone else will read and communicate with you, and I believe we are doing quite well on that front.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Sorry, but it doesn't sound like much fun to be in Idaho right now. You made a good choice sticking more or less to the coast. How did the fridge thermometer experiment end up?

No! You cheekily mentioned bicycles again. Well done! ;-)! Mate, I'm starting to feel sorry for Cliff Mass. I'd bet they want a refund too from him if he get's it wrong...

Well, five Prime Ministers served Australia during the period 1939 to 1945. Don't worry about them, we've got plenty more where they came from. WWII was when we collectively made the choice to swap ties with the UK over to the US. The Japanese were bombing the northern city of Darwin, but I wonder whether they had what it took to do anything other than that. Their supply lines were beyond a joke. They were a formidable opponent though, no doubts about that.

Well, Churchill and his ilk sent Australian and New Zealand troops on a foolish expedition into Greece so perhaps he had proven his mettle. Our leaders despite being sometimes quirky mostly seem to get on with the job at hand. I doubt they have much idea as to the historical and ecological forces that they are facing though. Maybe they do though, I dunno.

That story reminds me about George Washington's career reminded me of the old maxim about whatever you do unto the least of me. Of course the seeds of defeat are sown along with the plants, don't you think? Certainly George Washington would have had little to love his masters if that was their attitude towards him.

Thanks for the link about the Champoeg Meetings. It is interesting to read about the land grabs by the different colonial powers. That was a worry down here in the early days too and one of the reasons that Britain forged ahead with the settlement.

Well done you, and I wouldn't have let on about that either as they would have treated you differently and not in a good way.

Do you get motion sick? I don't get that or sea sick, but those films are unsettling. I'll tell ya what, I've been on some pretty rough ferry rides. A car fell off the back of one the other day, although it appears to have been due to the lack of hand brake being used.

Yeah, I guess we'll never know for sure is a fair call. A bit of mystery never hurt anybody, and anyway it is mysterious and as such they'll never know!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Yeah that sort of rain in those conditions has the same effect. Heavy rain can be more damaging than a drought (where you have access to water) I reckon. We tend to swing between one extreme and another down here.

Wow, thanks for the excellent description of your part of the world. Is that material fertile? The glaciers tended to be giant rock breakers and grinders and so they released a huge volume of minerals for the plants to consume once the climate warmed up a bit.

Honestly, I've never seen a landslide here before either.

I better get outside and water them before the sun cooks the new plants! ;-)!

Good luck with the snowfall.

Cheers

Chris

Morgenfrue said...

You definitely met the Danish criteria for skybrud (cloudburst), that is 15 mm of rain or more in 30 minutes. Here it is the local summer weather catastrophe (during the winter we have North Atlantic gales with storm tides) and it definitely makes a mess, especially in cities, where there is little soil to absorb the massive amounts of water, and the storm drains and sewers flood up into the streets and basements. We are having more and more cloudbursts, apparently climate change means it will happen every year instead of just a freak event.
What are the gabions for, is it to hold the embankment in place? Will they be covered or stay as they are?

margfh said...

Hi Inge,

I feel guilty about encouraging the 5 paragraph essay when teaching though I have to say for most students, getting them to write was like pulling teeth.

Often when I send ADR to people they say it's too long or "I wish he would say what he wants to say with less words." Of course that's probably due to the lack of attention span that's becoming so common now. I thought the guy who commented was probably just trying to give his opinion as he's correct that many would just not read JMG essays due to the length when they're used to FB and Twitter.

As Chris said there's many different writing styles.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - A cold one, last night. Could not get the inside of the house any warmer than 62F. When I got up this morning, it was 50. Didn't feel uncomfortable. No chattering teeth :-). The local weather station said 25F, overnight. My fridge thermometer registered 20. So, I think it's about right on. Tonight is supposed to be the coldest night of all ... 14F. And then a slow warming until by Sunday night, it will be over freezing. Cold snaps are such a grind.

Cliff Mass doesn't respond to comments, much. I'm sure he moderates / screens ... but that's about it. Seems to work well, for him.

There was some speculation that George Washington was fairly brassed off that he couldn't seem to get a well paying English commission ... and one of those lovely red coats :-). It may have had a small effect on his throwing in his hat for Independence. They made him Commander in Chief as he had a lot of military experience ... and, knew the English army inside and out. The fellows who signed the Declaration of Independence were really taking a risk. Had things gone wrong, they probably would have all been hung. It's a wonder none of them were captured. There was some lively stepping :-). A lot of Washington studies are pretty speculative. He really didn't leave behind much ... personal writing.

There's been some archaeology at the farm where he was raised, in recent years. A bit .... well off, for the times, but not lavish.

I saw the headline about the car that fell off the back of the ferry. Just read the headline to see if it was something that happened on our extensive Washington State Ferry system, or somewhere else. Sometimes, I'll read an article that's banging on about "Washington" and I have a hard time telling if it's Washington State, or Washington, D.C.. Sometimes (a lot actually) I'll be reading about some archaeological site, and then have to do a search to see where in the heck it is! :-). All news is local?

I had a real problem as a kid getting motion sick when we'd take our yearly car vacations. I seem to have grown out of it, as an adult. Haven't had a problem with land, sea or air :-). But something on a screen ... Makes me want to lay on more ginger tea! :-)

Well, off to the Little Smoke. Roads look pretty good. The cold is just sucking all the moisture out of everything. "Bottleneck" is waiting for me at the library. Also, ST Enterprise, season 1. :-). Since the library got fresh copies of that whole series, I thought I'd take another look. It's been a long time .... Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Morgenfrue,

That sort of cloud burst at that rainfall rate would be a bit of a disaster for Melbourne too - and it also seems to occur about every second or third summer there. That sort of rainfall would be a very common event up here in the mountains north of Melbourne most years and I have to regularly deal with much higher volumes of rain. You know the Danish problem is quite similar to Melbourne in that the city was constructed close to sea level and many of the main roads were once part of the creek systems and it is not as if the rainfall and water no longer wants to flow in that direction. Also major chunks of infrastructure such as near Southern Cross railway station - which is an amazing building by the way - originally was a swamp.

Basements though would be a real challenge to keep dry in those sorts of conditions - if you even could possibly do so. At this stage I would probably avoid living too close to sea level at its present level and move away to higher ground given the noticeable rate of change. I note that plenty of chunks of the coastline down here are getting washed away. Check out the photos from a huge storm and king tide at Sydney earlier last year: Sydney beach collapse images

The rock gabions are there to retain the soil which looms behind the wood shed. It is too steep to be suitable for the usual steep garden bed - and look how one of those worked out! Oh no! And what you may not be aware of is that eventually a path will run at the top of the gabions (after the third level gabion is completed!) and then there will be a new construction cut into the side of the soil face itself! Watch this space... Plans will slowly unfold soon...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I realise you are having a discussion with Inge, but to be honest, I wouldn't feel too guilty as the real problem that teachers face is that they are more or less forced to teach to a standard and there really doesn't seem to be much wiggle room for any other thought process. I've heard other teachers say the same thing. It is a bit scary really, but society reflects that process too, so it is pretty much life as we know it. The kids that are interested will find other sources of inspiration as there is plenty of that out there - somewhere - usually in a library. :-)! Did you know that during the Great Depression libraries became a place of refuge from the world as it was for a lot of young people? At least that is what I read recently.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hey, you are in good company because on the very coldest mornings during winter here the coldest I've ever seen in the house was about 52'F and far out that was cold, however relative to the outside temperature of 30'F it felt positively balmy (I sometimes make the joke about it being shorts and t-shirt weather when Poopy and I enjoy a coffee at the local cafe when outside conditions are sub fluffy optimal over winter - Poopy of course is unable to sit inside for good reasons, so we sit outside in the cold).

Nice to read that your teeth weren't chattering, however I do temporarily feel the cold in my joints on very cold mornings. Yup cold snaps are a grind, I hear you. On the other hand it is 86'F here today in the shade and the editor and I worked up until about 2pm when it became too hot. After lunch we ducked out to pick up an ice coffee (who doesn't enjoy an ice coffee?) and whilst we were enjoying that I noticed that a blokes motorcycle fell over after the asphalt became soft. I helped him pull the substantial old motor bike upright again. That happens if you are not careful in the heat and I've had that happen to me too back in the day.

Yeah, I wouldn't respond to comments given that audience either. I was intrigued and curious about the whole solar back and forth ADR comments last week. The funny thing is that back in the corporate world I used to be able to assist with those sorts of misconceptions but they were face to face and either individually or with groups. They inevitably took a process of understanding the core misunderstandings and then leading people to a more functional outcome and story that matched the reality they faced. The internet on the other hand is a seriously difficult place to achieve that sort of result and I am very reluctant to employ the sort of techniques used by advertising and politicians because I reckon they attract blow back. Have you ever had to work with a seriously dysfunctional team in one of the book shops?

Those red coats would have been... hot in some parts of your country. Who wrote that cheeky quip about the sun, mad dogs and Englishmen? We suffer from that down here too and don't learn to slow down in the heat. I mean it is not as if the English didn't realise what they were losing in that war. I also read that George Washington was quite well off financially for the times? Oh, I hadn't heard about that archaeological dig at his farm. That would have been interesting. No doubts that they did not have much stuff.

Oh, it has just started raining here. What a year this summer has been. Really strange.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Those car vacations were very stuffy experiences and no doubts that would have contributed to the feelings of sickness. I never really went on an annual car vacation as a kid. Later on though as a teenager my grandfather used to take me along with his WWII buddies to a secret spot they'd all constructed by the side of a river way up in the high country - which is all national park these days. The authorities used to occasionally destroy the campsite but my granddad and his buddies just used to rebuild it, but better! It was a lot of fun, although a lot of my time was spent fetching water from the river and firewood from the forest and then I just sort of wandered around the forest and got to know the place. Nobody seemed to be too hassled by my wandering in the forest as long as there was water and firewood!

I've never really enjoyed air travel myself because for some reason I always had at the back of my mind that the aircraft might crash and that would be that. Who knows how that thought got into my head as usually I'm reasonably relaxed about things. I have a hard time sleeping on aircraft too and so it is a miserable experience from my point of view. Yes, definitely reach for the ginger tea. It is very soothing on the guts. Chamomile is quite good too for that purpose. :-)!

I hope the drive into the little smoke was uneventful - one doesn't want too much excitement in their lives! I'll be very interested to read of your opinion of bottleneck - and also Enterprise Season 1. I need to read something a bit fluffy once I get to the end of the re-read of Overshoot. My brain needs a rest from the doom and gloom.

We went to the big smoke last night to see the film: Passengers. It was a film about two passengers prematurely woken out of hibernation aboard an ailing interstellar spaceship destined to die before the ship reached its destination. I enjoyed the film and the leading lady was none other than Jennifer Lawrence who is one of your countries current great character actors.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris and Margaret

I thought that I should mention that I think that ADR's writing style is stunning. What I hate is verbose, confusing and convoluted writing. My style arose out of the weird fact that I have and had a physical problem with the act of writing. I managed to pass exams while writing about a third of what everyone else seemed to write. It has got a lot worse and is becoming difficult for me to even sign my name. I was almost certainly a left hander made to use my right hand.

@ Lew

Oh boy do I get travel sick. In my case this is linked to migraine which I have had since I was 2 years old. The thing I can't avoid which still gets to me, is being driven when the sun is shining and is going flash, flash, flash through trees as we pass.

Enough of my really minor problems in the great scheme of things.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes it is a very good style isn't it? You know, I have sometimes wondered whether some authors write with a Thesaurus readily to hand and try to chuck in as many big words as possible, just to prove how clever they are! Hehe! Seriously, I have seen that writing style and my poor brain is not up for that challenge. ;-)!

Your writing style seems quite clear and coherent to me. Being forced to write with your right hand was an unfortunate - and also very arbitrary - cruelty forced onto children. However, I have noticed that a surprising number of engineers are left handed. It is uncanny. A mate of mine is left handed, but having also been forced to write with his right hand, he is now ambidextrous. Out of curiosity, do you believe that a preference for using the left hand is a genetic thing? It would have had a distinct advantage in a fight as it would possibly have been an unknown advantage.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

When we were looking at retirement communities for my in laws many had parakeets for the residents enjoyment so that's probably a good choice. I found my last cockateil to be the favorite of my avian pets. She would tease one of our dogs by flying back and forth just out of reach. She was very friendly and just enjoyed sitting on your shoulder. She also joined my brother-in-law in the shower once when he was visiting.

This winter the cardinals seem to be missing at the feeder. I usually have several pairs but have only seen one male occasionally which is disturbing.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Somehow I had missed the photo of you on the Very Tall Ladder replanting the Very Steep Bed. Mama mia! That's a grueling job! Nice idea to also build a garden bed and wall above the problem cutting.

The Sydney beach collapse images were a sad thing. One sees similar events on our California coast, and along other coastline cities. I always wonder what on earth they were thinking, as it is a known fact from time immemorial that the sea will claim as much of the land as it can.

That Poopy - he is entirely sure that he IS Cujo and has no clue that he actually looks like a pipsqueak (pupsqueak?). Ummm - I'm not sure that I would let a dog named Poopy into my cafe . . . Ok - exception made!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Do you find it way easier to write with a keyboard, as opposed to handwriting? My father has significant problems with both hands (something genetic that occurs as one ages; we shall see) and now writes almost everything on his computer and prints it out.

I had migraines from age four. Amazingly, once I got into my middle-aged years they started to get much, much better. Darned if I know why, but I surely am grateful.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

As I was looking at the half-moon last night, I remembered how we used to get our pack of five dogs to howl in unison (moon, optional). There was one German Shepherd (Alsatian) mix who was really easy to get started, by us howling. Then the other four would follow, and we the people, also. It was so hilarious. Do you have a howler in your lot?

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Inge,

Very sorry to hear about your difficulties writing. I remember left handed students being pushed to use their right hand.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well the five paragraph essay is a start in encouraging kids to write in some sort of organized manner but its emphasis was/is so stifling. If the student didn't have all the components they would be graded down no matter what the content of the essay. Of course as more and more testing was required the teachers were sort of forced to teach that method.

On the weather front, we're having another cold snap from yesterday through Sunday. It's not as bad as the last one - no sub zero temps but still very cold.

Tomorrow and Saturday we are cleaning out my brother's apartment or rather his belongings as he shared the apartment with a roommate. I'll be staying with my sister in Chicago. His roommate will be gone most of the day tomorrow so we hope to get most of it done then as he reportedly is quite upset about the loss of his roommate. They lived together for five years and while quite opposite personalities got along very well and actually complemented each other.

The memorial or rather, celebration of his life, will be Sunday the 15th. The court date for the annual financial accounting for two of the brothers is also this month. I have completed most of the work for the lawyer's review. One would think under the circumstances she would respond quickly to my questions but no it's the same old wait until the last minute. This seems to be common practice with many lawyers. Every year I get so frustrated that I want to change but in the end she does a good job and is at least $100/hr cheaper than other lawyers in that specialty. Anyway one has to go to court yet again to get a change in lawyer approved - more expense. What a racket!!
Well that's my rant for today.

I was wondering how "Passengers" was as it didn't get great reviews.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am sure that hand preference is a genetic thing. Son is completely ambidextrous and used to hold a pencil in each hand when young. I always put any tool into his right hand simply because right handedness helps re. tools. My left hand is much stronger than my right hand.

Interesting about the engineers. When I worked in an art college library I was surprised at how many of the students signed for a book with their left hand. I started to keep count and reckoned that it was about a third of them.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ anyone

Yahoo is still asking me to change my password but how the heck do I do it?

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, that conversation about solar got pretty lively. Getting to be as bad as the bicycle people :-). I've agreed with you, all along. People really expect way too much out of their solar systems. Maybe because I saw a couple of small systems in action, even before I showed up here ... maybe because I did a little reading about the topic.

Well, George Washington married a rich widow :-). And, as a young man, he was a surveyor. Acquired a lot of land ... sold a lot of land.

I don't like air travel, either. I flew a bit when in my early 20s. Was always terrified. Liquor helped ... til we hit that first air pocket. :-). When I moved back from S. California, I figured that was the last time I'd have to fly. So, I promised Baby Jesus that if he got me back to the Pacific Northwest alive, I'd never fly again. And, haven't. When I write The Great American Novel, they'll have to send me on author tour by train. I'll have it written into the contract :-).

I saw some trailers for "Passengers." Looks interesting. Will probably catch it when the library gets it. Library is getting an Australian / New Zealand series called "800 Words." I put a hold on it.

Got down to 14F (-10C) last night. Pipes froze. No water. Supposed to be 5 degrees warmer tonight, 5 degrees warmer than that on Friday night ... snow on Saturday and back to above freezing temps on Sunday. My inclination is to just let the pipes thaw out on their own. We'll see if the Evil Stepson has a better idea. And, he always has a better idea :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Got a good start on "Bottleneck", last night. So. Does diverse occupations enhance or destroy social cohesion? I'd say it destroys, or weakens cohesion .. and that seems to be the direction the author is heading. What I wondered ... Catton either touched on it lightly or was very oblique about it ... is if some of the diversity, or proliferation of different kinds of jobs has something to do with creating hierarchy. Everybody (sweeping generalization) likes to have someone "under" them. One upsmanship?

I think it was interesting (something I'd never considered) that vice is when we harm ourselves ... and sin is when we hurt others.

I thought the bits about cultural lag were interesting. When I moved here in 1981, I had the feeling / thought that this county was about 10 years behind, culturally. Some of it wasn't so bad. Children were very polite. :-). Then, things began to change. A video store on every corner, "everyone" signed up for cable television and finally, the internet came crashing in. Some attitudes changed ... other people felt threatened and their (sometimes) negative traits fossilized.

Any-who. That's my take, so far. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Those cardinals are very attractive birds. The various descriptions available use the word "territorial" to describe the birds. Has any other bird moved in and dislocated the cardinals? The bird world is a rough place.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

The ladder is very useful for replanting, weeding, or fertilising those very steep garden beds. A half inch of rain fell this afternoon, it was almost like a monsoon in that the dark cloud slowly worked its way up from the valley. We sat on the veranda and watched the show and then grabbed the umbrellas and walked around looking at how all of the repairs were holding up. I'm thinking that the new garden bed may go in sooner rather than later. Alas, this means more rocks are required...

Exactly, the sea claims all in those sorts of situations. It is not a new thing, but an accelerating thing. Where the coastlines are not being washed away, the threat of shark attack is quite high. The sharks are coming in closer to shore because I suspect that they are hungry.

Poopy sends his thanks. You of course are of noble breeding with royal blood and of course you would recognise a kindred spirit! Alas for Poopy in that he was attacked at said cafe by a couple of misbehaving corgis owned by one of the local mountain glitterati and Poopy wisely played it cool by ignoring the rampaging corgis as if they were beneath his contempt. Poopy’s cool!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for sharing that story of the howling. That is a huge amount of fun and I would have enjoyed that too. Well, it is funny that you wrote that but, I generally encourage the fluffy collective to let loose and go crazy at specific times of each and every day. And for the remainder of each day, they are very relaxed, unless of course deer turn up in the orchard, then Poopy is called into action, Sir Scruffy the elder joins the fray and Scritchy issues instructions from a safe distance. Oh, the deer quail in their - is it hooves? Whatever it is those deer know true fear. I do eventually have to get a bigger dog though. The fluffy collective would love howling at the moon. Bad habits are easily learned, good habits, well, not so much. But learning should be fun!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Exactly, it is a good starting point, but clearly the style can be taken too far. To be honest, I'd never heard of the concept before a few days ago, and I do wonder at the reasons for such a thing in the first place. But as a teacher, you have to train your students to address the questions that are asked. It is a predicament really. And perhaps that is the whole point of testing? Dunno. It is a complex matter and there is a bit of middle ground between learning how to answer the question and applying a fixed and very rigid structure to that answer. If I were a teacher, I would teach material and techniques based on blitzing the test as that is the required outcome.

You may be interested to know that it was the editor here who taught me how to parse apart the guts of a question and then respond to that question. That sort of thing is not easily taught. I mean how do you get people to look around at the world as it is? We are inundated with abstract concepts all of the time and told that those are the reality. It is a really complex matter.

Far out your winter is cold! Brrr! Today here was monsoonal in that it was quite hot and sunny and as the afternoon progressed the clouds built up and then it got quite dark and about half an inch of rain fell. How did the tropics move this far south? It is now sunny and warming up and tomorrow it will hit 100'F. It really feels and looks like the Amazon...

Opposites can complement can't they? I'm really so sorry for you for the loss of your brother and I can't even imagine the pain that his roommate would be feeling - as well as the incomprehension at the unfairness and suddenness of it all.

Hmm, from my cynical perspective, the legal profession appear to seek to administer their system, not provide speedy service or provide justice. If you face the legal system with that in mind, it may help? I try to avoid it like the plague.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for your thoughts about the genetics and I agree with you. Being ambidextrous would be quite handy and a lot of tools are actually made for right handed people. And yes, that makes sense about your left hand being stronger than your right. You may be interested to know that mine are about the same strength, although as I'm right handed, my right hand has finer motor skills than my left. Pushing all these rocks around and doing a lot of physical work tends to keep both arms of equal strength.

You'll have to conduct a straw poll of the next batch of engineers that you encounter, but it is uncanny! The art school library student straw poll is fascinating too. There is definitely something in that. Have you ever noticed any other social niches that are overly represented by left handed people?

I've never used Yahoo mail, but a quick "How to ..." interweb search returned this link: Wiki How - How to Change A Password in Yahoo! Mail.

Hope that helps!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, the solar business did get lively didn't it? I use it as an opportunity to see if there is any angle that I missed working on those true believers. Unfortunately this interweb thing doesn't seem to be a useful medium for such activities, unless of course you are pedalling a few basic emotional push buttons and that seems a little bit dirty to me. Of course, that is also why discourse on the interweb can be so unpleasant in some dark corners in that all the people can do is tap into a few basic emotional push buttons . Yes, the bicycle brigade are also rather tiresome. Oh no, we've mentioned the bicycles again! ;-)! What a fine ongoing joke we have going here! :-)! Thanks for the laughs.

You know, two decades ago when the X-Files television show was big stuff, they used to have a large poster promoting the show with a UFO (OMG, I've mentioned UFOs again! :-)!) with a recognisable caption from that show which proclaimed: "I want to believe". Nuff said really. Sorry, broke that rule about nuff said. My thinking is that the solar and bicycle people really want to believe. And that is a little bit frightening because I know they're in for a disappointment.

George Washington seems to have been quite the clever gentleman. Of course rich widows are not in good supply but to be honest it is a strategy. And speculating on land seems to be quite a lucrative activity for some - of course, that is, until it isn't.

Yes, liquor would help in such situations. I hear you! Long haul flights are a trial for me as I am only able to get about four hours maximum sleep on an aircarft because there is so much movement and activity (I’m in good company though as I reckon the fictional character Conan would have only got about a minutes sleep) - and a mate of mine about a year ago had a "flight-mare" when an unattended child was cracking the sads for the entire flight back from Europe to Australia whilst his parents were comfortably further up the plane. No way am I built for that sort of experience.

I look forward to reading your Great American novel and hearing about your train book tour. Trains are a very civilised way to travel. I even preferred the overnight sleeper trains in India to boarding aircraft. It is very astute to get such details into the contract up front. Respect! Incidentally, the editor just finished reading "Empire Falls" and really enjoyed it and so wanted to give you a big thanks for the book referral! :-)! Do you have any more works of fiction that you would recommend?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Passengers was a lovely film. I really enjoyed it! I forgot to respond to Margaret about the film and will do so to both of you in the next comment.

That is so cold that it is completely outside my experience. Do you still keep the barrel of water inside of the house for such emergencies? I hope he doesn't have a better idea, as my gut feeling says that it may not be good...

Ah, diverse occupations destroy social cohesion, at least as far as I am aware. Did not Hagbard Celine state: "Accurate communication is possible only in a non-punishing situation", which basically means that it is usually more in the interests of any worker to tell his boss what he wants to hear, not what is true? Therefore what I understand to be the case is that as human employment niches expand and diversify, then accurate communication becomes less and less likely. My take on it is that people in the Stone Age were probably more equal than the sort of rubbish that Social Justice Warriors (Oh no! We mentioned that lot too!) bang on about because they wouldn't know equality if it was put in front of them. And even then they'd still argue endlessly about it.

That is a great summary of vice versus sin. I’m going to have to think about that for a while. You know, people who suffer from vice tend to be much more popular than those who sin.

Cultural lag is a true observation and I've seen that in action too. I felt it when we travelled to New Zealand many years ago. People may misunderstand that as being a judgement, but it is more of an observation. The cultures change as a response to pressures from their population and the resources it has available to it.

Far out, a monsoon hit here this afternoon. It was quite impressive to watch this slow moving dark cloud move across the valley (rather than along) and it dumped half an inch of rain. Not to worry though as it is now back to 86'F at about 8pm. Seriously, this season is reminding me of my experiences in the tropics. It is mildly surreal. Tomorrow will get to 100’F here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret and Lewis,

Passengers the film was in its most basic premise, a romance film set in deep space. The basic story is that a colony starship travelling between Earth and some other planet carrying a huge number of passengers in hibernation suffers a collision with a big rock 30 years into it 120 year voyage. The big collision causes a slowly cascading series of malfunctions in the starship - one of which is to wake up a passenger 90 years too early. Of course, the passenger will die before the ship arrives at its destination so the passenger goes slowly crazy. After a long period of time, the passenger decides to wake up another passenger for company. What a conundrum! Anyway the story is: boy meets girl (in unusual circumstances); boy lies to girl (about unusual circumstances); girl gets very angry about the lie (note to self, don't lie to girl!); girl gets boy back. With a really lovely ending.

I really enjoyed the film, go see it! Jennifer Lawrence is one of the US's great character actors.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

No, I haven't noticed any other birds moving in. There aren't as many Blue Jays either. A few years ago West Nile took out the Chickadees pretty well but some obviously were able to survive and now there are tons of them at the feeders.

A standardized test is one measure to be sure the now number now administered is mind boggling!! A teacher friend of mine (very dedicated) was teaching her class about perimeter and said "If they only can remember until the test". Of course the students many only knew the steps but not the concept. My oldest daughter was always quite skilled at test taking. There was a high school class, "Consumer Economics" which taught life skills like balancing a checkbook, making a budget etc. Now these skills were not something she had learned much about at age 16 (or wanted to much to my dismay). A student could pass out of the class by taking a test - which she did. I commented to her that this was a class she should take. She homeschools her girls now.

Like you and Lew I do not enjoy flying at all though logically it's safer than driving. I haven't flown in five years but this summer Doug and I are taking what we are calling our "Medicare trip" to Alaska and several flights are involved. We've both always wanted to go there and we only have the funds to do one more big trip so Alaska it is. He still has enough miles from his traveling tickets for the flights there and back. Most of the traveling within the state will be by train though. I imagine unless there's some family reason these could be my last flights. Fortunately almost all the family lives nearby which is kind of unusual now I think.

Well it's off to the train for Chicago shortly. I'm hoping it won't be too difficult going through Patrick's belongings. My sister who for the last five years had been doing much of the day to day care for him - i.e. appointments, checking in on him is taking this very hard to the point of having physical symptoms of the cardiac nature. Our father died at 46 of a heart attack so with that family history we take those symptoms pretty seriously so she will be checking it out even though they're probably due to stress. Her husband is a retired cardiologist and he's pretty much of the same opinion but does want her to have a few tests to be sure.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Thanks, I'll try later on. Have had young visitors this morning who brought their 9 day old baby for me to admire.

@ Pam

I have no trouble at all with a keyboard so thank goodness for the friends who are happy with e-mail. I am told that my father had the same problem but as he died at 50 it hadn't got to bad, mine has been getting worse for over 30 years.

Migraine does seem to lessen with age. I stopped vomiting as an adult but that may have been because I could dictate my diet. I rarely get a headache now but oh the auras! They arrive about 3 times a week, sometimes in my sleep when the flashing light gets into a dream and is there when I wake. Lots of different types of aura. Although I no longer get it, the strangest one is the one that Lewis Carroll used in 'Alice and Wonderland'. Everything in my vision becomes very tiny and distant, I was told that Lewis Carroll had had the same aura.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Cardinals look like really pretty birds. We don't have them out here. It's always disturbing ... you get this weird sense of disease when things change in nature. When I first moved out here, there were a lot of Jays around. They were always stealing Beau's food. Every once in awhile I see one. But not near so many as before. Almost no wooly bear caterpillars, this year. Very little tansy ragwort. Disquieting. Nagging at the edge of your thoughts.

Lawyers are a mixed bag. I think estate lawyers are the worst. I've had to deal with three, in my life. One was just great. The other two were foot dragging morons. Straightforward simple estates dragged out to a year to settle. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Relax. Don't over think it. All you really have to do is change the first letter or number of your current pass word ... or the last. They'll ask you to type it, twice, just so they know they've got it right. Once you've changed your pass word, if they ask for you mobile number (and, you don't have one, or don't want to give it to them) just sign out of Yahoo mail.

They will ask from time to time for that mobile number ... mine did this morning ... again. But I just click on "remind me later" and move on. Hope this helps. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - 50F (10C) inside, this morning. Got down to 15F (-9.94C) here, last night. 20F (-6.66C) at the local weather station. Oh, well ... snow tomorrow and rising temperatures. Pipe still frozen. I did a bit of looking around on the internet and, as there are no burst or bulging pipes, I've decided to just let the system thaw out on it's own. Unless the Evil Stepson shows up with a better idea :-).

I ran a space heater in the basement for awhile. But, it makes me nervous to leave one of those unattended. So, I was doing a lot of back and forth to check on it. I kept hearing this funny squeaking sound. There's a landing off the laundry room ... door to basement and door to shed. I finally spotted a small bat on the floor! He wasn't very active, so I swept him out the shed door.

My Dad was left handed. And, a real do it your selfer. So, all the light switches and taps in the house worked "backwards." :-).

When I started to do some serious writing again ... the book reviews ... I had to go back and refresh my memory as to some of the basics. Such as ... what IS a paragraph? Sounds silly, I know, but over the years, serious brain rot had set in.

I'm so happy The Editor enjoyed "Empire Falls." Hmm. Recommendations for more fiction? As my friend Scott said just yesterday ... "Since you read mostly nonfiction." And, I guess it's true. David Gutterson writes, I think, good fiction. I've liked just about everything that he's done. Fanny Flagg is very good. "Flight Behavior" by Barbara Kingsolver was good. Or, at least I enjoyed it :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. LOL. I have no idea who Hagbard Celine is. Great name, though. Is he a Viking? Funny helmet with horns on it? We're descending into Monty Python territory.

Well, I got pretty excited, last night. Mr. Greer used your word! Crapification! I thought "Chris coined a word!" And, that you'd get citations in the OED and Webster's. Maybe copyright it and collect royalties. I could bask in reflected glory. Sigh. Alas. It's not to be. Without too much trouble, I discovered it's been kicking around since at least 2006 in the Urban Dictionary. Webster's already has it on it's website. Heck, it's even a Twitter hash tag (whatever that is.) So, unless you can come up with something dateable before 2006... :-).

Went to a meeting, last night. Usually a 20 or 30 minute trip. Roads were a bit dicey, coming home. The Jackson Highway and North Fork Road are usually in good shape. But that last little bit of the Centralia Alpha road is always a bit dicey. A bit of a steep grade .... shaded by deep woods on either side. But I made it. No slides. Turning onto my road, everything sparkled like diamonds. Very pretty. Managed to get up the slight slope of my drive way ... still covered with 2 or 3" of snow. Which has thawed a bit and refroze a few times. And, tomorrow we'll get more snow on top of that. But that's ok. Starting Sunday, day and night temps will be over 40F. The cold snap will be over and my water system will thaw out. Oh, and I keep about 30 gallons of water (in gallon jugs) on hand. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh my! West Nile virus is not good. I hadn't heard of its near global reach in tropical and temperate zones or even the virus, and it is a relative newcomer to the US. Isn't globalisation a wonderful thing? ;-)! We've got a special subtype of that virus call Kunjin virus down here which is transmitted from mosquitoes to humans but only in Australia. There are quite a few of those mosquito borne viruses down here, and because of the wet winter mosquito numbers were a real nuisance earlier in the summer - it was hard to be outside in the early evening with the chickens without being bitten. I hope that your local bird populations recover from the loss?

Teaching to a test is hard for everyone. That comment is very revealing too. Have you noticed whether the ability/capacity to retain memories in students has been reduced in recent years? Your daughter is taking a good option with her girls now and those kids will benefit from the experience. I had experience managing millennial people in the corporate world and it was an interesting experience for me and no doubt it was disappointing for them mostly I’m not a believer that people should get a prize just for turning up – they have to earn it when I’m charge and it was confusing for them, but we did get there usually in the end. Although I once had a graduate who used to fall asleep during the day at his desk as he was up all night playing online games. Life skills is a really good idea as a subject.

Driving is a really risky activity and getting on a motorbike is the whole next level! A strong chamomile tea before the flight is probably not a bad idea, I don't generally recommend sedatives to anyone, but on aircraft I just can't relax, I'm like a total ball of tension. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I used to live next door to the pilot that ran a fear of flying program and he was a good guy and a really pleasant neighbour but you know, aircraft... I'd love to see Alaska, it would be an awe inspiring place to visit. It is good that most of your family live close and I get the impression that that isn't sometimes the case in the US? People don't generally move too far from family down here, but property prices seem to be recently (the last decade or so) sending people all over the place. A lot of my friends moved far and wide because of availability of housing and affordability issues - which really are signs of ecological stress down here.

I'm so sorry for you for the loss of Patrick. Going through an estate is an emotionally hard and very difficult task, please look after yourself too, but it can be healing too if you share the task with people who knew him well. Sometimes heart disease does travel in families and that is a very wise precaution for your sister. Stress can be a real problem. Humans seem to be quite good at coping with stress for a short while, but long term stress is not good for anyone’s continuing good health.

Best wishes during this tough time.

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No worries and enjoy your visitors!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam and Inge,

The editor swears by the herb Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) of which a leaf or two is purported to assist with migraines. The plant is a feral weed here so it is remarkably easy to grow and will readily self seed. It is in flower right now and enjoys very hot, but well drained spots in the garden.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I dream of temperatures inside the house of 50'F. Unfortunately, this morning the inside of the house was 70'F and right now outside it is 91'F. Fortunately the inside of the house only climbed to 75'F but apparently tonight is meant to be a very hot night. I'm over summer and it is only early days. Sorry, that is a bit of whingeing especially given the cold temperatures you are seeing. I have no experience of a frozen pipe and so who knows what might happen when the water thaws, although water takes up more physical space when frozen so you’d think that if the pipes had split they would have already done so and there isn’t much anyone can do about it. I once saw a plumber deliberately freeze a pipe so as to be able to implement a fix without having to shut the whole street water mains down - the leak was on the street side of the water meter. Fortunately in the enlightened times here all I have to do to check if there is enough water is to tap the sides of the water tanks to see where the water level is. I have to do that regularly to ensure nothing has gone wrong in the meantime. When you tap the side of the water tank you can hear the difference in sound between air and water in the tank. ;-)! An empty water tank makes a sad sound. I really hope for your water systems sake that the evil step son doesn't get involved. That sort of not getting involved seems sensible don't you reckon?

I had to look up what a space heater was. Those devices are quite useful, but they can be a bit troublesome, so I wouldn't be comfortable leaving one going unattended either. Plus they’d suck the batteries dry quite quickly. I've never seen a basement so was wondering why you wanted to heat that space rather than the house? I'm curious about that matter as I would have thought that the basement - being underground - would have been warmer than the air temperature? I'm assuming that the ground temperature is quite cold now?

Ha! That's funny. Your dad had his “left of centre” revenge! Hehe! I set up the light switches here so that they were left to right. Sometimes I find myself skimming a book I'm considering purchasing from the back cover to the front cover as that feels more natural. That method would make it rather difficult to read though! Of course, some books may benefit from that technique. One that comes to mind is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, in that if you read the book from the final chapter back to the first chapter, the mental health issues would put the interactions between the father and son into better context. Of course other people may want the surprise element of the concluding chapter and that is their choice.

Brain rot is a nasty little worm that infects all of us as time goes on. So what is your take as to what a paragraph should be? The editor here likes ensuring that I stick to one idea or concept per paragraph and I see no reasons to fight that one. Incidentally, I'm always edited every Monday night, but on only two occasions were story ideas completely dumped into the shredder. That was a lot of rewriting at the last minute and I am much more careful in future not to repeat either of those particular errors.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yeah, it was also a good opportunity for the editor and I to discuss the larger meanings of the Empire Falls story. It was a really well told tale. Ha! Well thank you for the recommendations and enjoy your non-fiction. I'm looking forward to reading something a bit lighter/fluffy after completing the book "Overshoot" for the second time. My poor brain needs a break as the brutally clear way that he writes and covers most excuses is quite terrifying but also very beautiful. It is complex. Have you finished the book "Bottleneck" yet?

That is very amusing about the Vikings and those authors were clearly well read. Don't you find it fascinating that the 5th century AD was such a time of myth - given the fall of the Roman Empire? It makes you wonder what the future will look like doesn't it?

Yeah, I know, I saw that and was suitably chuffed. However, I cannot claim any fame to that word as I got it from the editor, who clearly got it from somewhere else. Alas, our respective literary genius is now slightly sullied and a little bit dirty due to recent allegations of plagiarism. Fear not, I have no problems at all ripping off cultural references especially if it can be cited and worked into a good story. Hehe! On a serious note I've got a long list of story ideas but the one that was selected for this week’s blog was a good idea, but mate, the content was so dark that we had to dump the idea. I couldn't do anything with it and the editor agrees, and perhaps that should be the story itself? Hmmm, pondering. Anyway, I'm planning on writing tomorrow night.

Glad that you made the trip safely! Ice can look really cool can't it and the moonlight really does sparkle and dance off it? The following morning when there is a heavy frost all of the colours are washed out of the place and everything looks exactly as if it were a black and white photo. I really enjoy the contrast when that happens as it is usually quite green here. Don't you find the green soothing on the eyes, I do. Sometimes it is a relief to enter the forest again after having been in the big smoke. I met up with another couple who are using off grid solar the other day. They have a very impressive system and it is nice seeing people who are in the early days of their journey - for that is what it is. And also I met a contact today who is a commercial orchardist who said that they wanted to introduce me to someone else, who I was unaware of, but has also set up a small holding around this part of the world. Interesting huh?

Nice to read that you have enough water readily to hand. 30 gallons sounds very manageable for a few weeks if bad becomes the worst. I really do hope the weather warms up for you a bit soon. Scritchy is hiding under the bed again which means that there is a small risk of a thunderstorm - although to be honest her storm sensing abilities extends as far out as 1,000km (620 miles) or perhaps even further. It can be occasionally useful, but in this instance, there is a small white dog under my bed.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris and Lew

I have now succeeded in changing the password. My previous failure was due to extreme stupidity. Thanks for the help. Just for interest you may like to know that my computer denied me access to the wiki how site.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes I knew about feverfew but a lifetime of migraine which I never told anyone about has made it my norm. Nobody had a clue as to what was wrong when I was a child.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Forgive me Lewis, for jumping in with a comment about something which Chris was addressing to you. We have at this very moment the wood stove in our basement going, as it is 16F (-9C) outside, with snow. We have a full basement under the house, cut into the hill on the south side and with the north side fully exposed, with windows and doors. The flooring of our ground-level floor is pine, with a plywood underlayment, no insulation - so the heat from the wood stove goes right up to the rooms above. All of our plumbing runs through the basement also, so it is a good idea to keep that space well above freezing anyway. And I was recently bemoaning that I wasn't getting enough exercise . . .

I have always hated flying, even when airports were simple to maneuver, and when you could still talk to the pilot through the open cockpit door on commuter flights. No matter how much I have studied the physics of the thing, I don't see how those things stay up in the air. I haven't flown, except for family emergencies (and most of the family lives far away), since 2001.

Pam

Bukko Boomeranger said...

All this talk about the dislike of flying... I have spent the past decade flying literally around the world the way that most people drive from state to state. That's what happens when one lives in one hemisphere, has family in the other, and keeps shiny metal things in a vault tended by Swiss gnomes. My most recent Xwife liked to go on holiday to Europe at least once a year, and it didn't matter whether we were reaching the Continent from North America or Australia. (Well, it mattered to her, because she'd whinge extra-pitifully when we made the 27-hour journey from Down Under.) We used to have fun flying between Oz and Yankeeland or Canuckistan by stopping for a few days in Hawaii on each leg of the tran-Pacific journey. So we wouldn't get too jet-lagged, of course! Flying across the breadth of North America? Child's play. It's only four hours. As long as I've got something to read, it's all good. All I'm doing is sitting there! I have great powers of patience. That used to drive X#1 crazy, because she didn't like flying and got aggro when I didn't share her misery. People who are unhappy hate it when someone else isn't.

I don't like to do fly any more because of Greenie guilt about the amount of greenhouse gases I'm responsible for while doing it. I had eschewed intercontinental flights for two years prior to the current crisis. Now I face flying back to Australia after my sister passes, then returning to the U.S. in the Northern Hemisphere spring to organise a sales campaign for her house and land. (One does not sell a horse farm in the dead of winter.) And unless my aged mom, who's sick of life due to debility and seeing her two daughters die before her, carks it conveniently, I've got another round of world-spanning travel ahead of me when she goes. This is crazy. It goes against everything the Archdruid espouses. Ad he's right. Sadly, as long as it's feasible, I will reluctantly get stuck into doing it. I will not be disappointed when The Collapse makes jet journeys impossible for us proles.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, might as well get the weather stuff out of the way :-). Ah! Just got up to get a cuppa, and it's beginning to snow. Any-who ... Overnight low at the weather station was 21F (-6.11C). So, probably colder, here. When I got up this morning, it was 25F (-3.88C) here and 32F (0) at the weather station. It was overcast and snow predicted. And, here it is. The temperature is supposed to rise to 40F (4.44) by 5am. THAT will be a relief.

Saw an article that the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica is getting ready to launch a huge chunk of ice. How huge? Well, all the articles kept banging on about how it was the size of the state of Delaware ... or, in another place if you prefer, 1/4 the size of Wales :-). So, having never been to Delaware (or Wales), and as "inquiring minds want to know", I did a little research. Delaware is 1,982 square miles (5,130km). It is 30 x 96 miles (48 x 154km). But, not to get to excited, that's only 9-12% of the whole ice shelf. If the whole shelf melted, it would raise ocean levels by 10cm. For us metrically challenged, that's just shy of 4 inches. In any event, it will be one of the largest ice bergs ever recorded.

Well, as you know, heat rises and cold air pools in low points or runs downhill. So, given the sieve like quality of the basement, here, cold air tends to puddle in the basement. Even though I did quit a big of insulating around the foundations. But I think more likely, the standard variety garden hose that comes from, who knows where, to bring water to the house is probably the culprit. Even though we put a frost protector on the spigot and foam insulation tubes on the exposed parts .. and chucked a heck of a lot of cardboard underneath and on top of it.

I have brain rot, well, on the brain. Watched a series last week called "Brain Dead." A meteor lands in Russia, is shipped to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and insects come out of it. That crawl into peoples brains through their ears. Either their heads explode or part of the brain is expelled through the ear. They function pretty well, except whatever preconceived beliefs they have are accentuated. Being Washington, D.C., no one much notices. :-). Cancelled after one season. Pity. They were going to follow the bugs through three more seasons ... Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Watched a couple of episodes of Star Trek, Enterprise last night. I've got to say that there aren't many "strong" characters in this series. I've always liked Scott Bakula as an actor and the alien medical doctor is pretty fun. But other than that ... I think I've figured out why I'm attracted to some series, and then lose interest. I like origin stories. So, this particular series takes place about 100 years after first contact with the Vulcans. And, way before the first Star Trek series. Phasers are brand new, the universal translator is still pretty buggy and everyone is pretty leery of the transporter. It is a pretty weak series. But, a quick check of the Wikipedia entry indicates that they really suffered from constant tapering from the studio.

Hmmm. Forget what I finally decided a paragraph was. I know I consulted Strunk and White. I think I finally just decided to relax and not over think it. LOL. I think you're lucky to have The Editor as you're first reader. Stephen King's first reader is his wife Tabitha. Then maybe his kids. The story goes that he tossed a couple chapters of his first big hit, Carrie, in the trash. Tabitha took a look and said something like "You ought to pursue this a bit further. I think you're onto something, here."

Which inspired a thought. Up until after King wrote "The Stand" he didn't have much clout. I fact, he had to cut The Stand by quit a bit. Too long, said the publisher. Well, later on, when he had clout, he demanded it be reissued in it's original form. After that, I don't think the publishers had much input into anything King wanted to do. Nothing succeeds like success. I'd say the people involved in Star Trek Enterprise didn't have much clout.

Giving "Bottleneck" a rest. Will probably tackle another chapter or two, tonight. Oh, I think this period of our history will be pretty Dark Age-y. Given huge chunks of "culture" are recorded on software that gets more and more dodgy as time goes on. That are books are printed and bound in such a manner that they self destruct (unless heroic and expensive measures are taken). I'd say the Dark Ages got pretty myth-y due to a lack of news. Everyone loves a good story, so, in a vacuum you just make it up as you go along. Or, things get garbled. Or, embroidered upon.

Of course, that goes on, even now. When I talked to "the husband" in Idaho after Christmas, he made the comment that if "They just uncapped all those oil wells, things would be fine." Of course, my inclination is to ask: "What wells? Where? Where did you hear this?" But I just let it go. Change the subject. They're banging on again about me moving to Idaho.

I'm happy you're running across people interested in (and practicing) solar. And, other orchardists. Organically networking. Pun intended? :-). It stopped snowing. No measurable accumulation. I'm sure we'll get a bit more, later on. Lew

Jo said...

Hey Chris, bit late to the party, but just wanted to say... please, could you just lie down for a week and quietly read a book or something?? You are making me feel tired just reading!! Even when nature throws boulders in your driveway and tries to send a mountain down in your backyard you just go out in the rain and rebuild.

I must say, I really want you as a neighbour during the next natural disaster:)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge, Pam, Bukko, Lewis, and Jo,

Thanks for the lovely comments. I wrote tomorrow nights blog tonight so have completely run out of time to respond to your comments. All being well, I should be able to respond tomorrow night.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Overnight temp slightly above freezing. On it's way to 40F. It's raining and everything is melting. Maybe my pipes?

Read a few more chapters of "Overshoot", last night. I couldn't help but wonder what the author is ... expecting to happen as a result of this book. Some great awakening?

I thought one bit about "treadmill living" and "moving the merchandise" was kind of interesting. "Workers in a television factory, for instance, may have no further livelihood once every household has been equipped with a satisfactory TV set - unless having multiple sets per household can be made the norm, or new flat screen models can make possession of an old cathode ray tube TV seem demeaning." I looked up the definition of the word "demeaning" as I wanted to see exactly what the author was driving at. Defined as "...lose their dignity or respect of others." Or, "Something that lowers a person's reputation or dignity." To who, I wonder, and why should I be concerned about other person's opinions of me? :-)

Of course, now, in some product sectors, you don't just depend on societal pressures to move product. Now you crank out something "new and improved" that doesn't play nice with whatever came before. Vast chunks of technology that you've spent a lot of time mastering, and money obtaining, become obsolete at an ever dizzying pace.

Catton spends a bit of time discussing a.)Determinism, b.) Fate and c.) Magic (no Oxford comma :-). The bits on magic are interesting as he makes clear the difference in the kind of magic in folk tales ... and the kind that Mr. Greer talks about. "We do not live in a magical universe. or is the course of events in our world sp predestined - so fated - that it is uninfluenced by what we do."

Since you were riffing on "arrogance" over at the ADR, I did run across this. More grist for you mill. :-). One of those quotes at the beginning of chapters. There's a name for those ... escapes me now. Any-who ...

"Typically, arrogance is considered to be the antonym of humility, but I believe arrogance is, rather, a symptom of humility's true opposite - forgetfulness .... Refuge in our knowledge is perhaps our favored species of forgetfulness." Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent, 2006.

You asked awhile back if I had any (I gathered) large scale problems with "my crew" when managing bookstores in the past. Not on a large scale. More problems with management, than workers. There was the store (I was not management ... as I remember) that was attempted to be taken over by a cult. S-l-o-w-l-y the manager, at that time, attempted to replace staff members with members of the cult. The three of us who figured out what was going on decided if we blew the whistle, it would look like some kind of coup de tete. So, we just sat on our hands until the whole thing came crashing down ... It was rather spectacular. Then we went about the business of picking up the pieces, putting them back together and running a decent bookstore. Lew