Monday, 13 February 2017

Yeah, Nah


This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au
 
There are times when I blame the online computer game World of Warcraft. However, I know that blame is misplaced. The blame, I reckon can be placed on decline, pure and simple. You see, when I was a younger man, I used to be one small part of a much larger social group. I was introduced to that larger social group by a friend I had known since primary school. I also introduced friends to that larger social group too and for many years we had a lot of fun times. But slowly over time, the winds of change swept through the social arrangements and after many years of entropy the binds that held the large social group together failed and people were scattered to the many distant corners of the city.

Strangely enough I was one of the first to move to a distant part of the city. After many years of dating appealing young ladies, I met the editor and I knew I was onto a good thing. We promptly got married and wanted to purchase a house to live together and the only house that we could afford was a small early 20th century workers cottage in a very gritty industrial suburb of Melbourne. The fascinating smells emanating from the nearby refinery competed with the sounds of the heavy truck traffic all hours of the night. At night we used to walk the dogs around the suburb and the editor, the dogs and I were the only signs of life anywhere. In a strange coincidence I used to work with a guy that also worked evening shifts at the local pub and he advised me: Not to pick anyone else’s fight at that particular pub (which shall remain nameless). The other pub in the suburb opposite the heavy industries had fallen on hard times and resorted to attracting the nearby student population with local live music as well as hosting the very eccentric and hilarious drag queen revue night.

Back in those days, that suburb was very dark and gritty and after the editor and I moved to that very unfashionable place some people complained to me that they would not want to cross the Westgate bridge and put one foot in that industrial suburb. It was almost as if they would catch some sort of disease! As an interesting side note, not wanting to cross the Westgate bridge as an excuse has some minor credibility as the bridge had actually fallen down during construction killing umpteen people and if you have ever had the uncanny experience of being stopped on a motorbike on a ten lane bridge 55m (181ft) above the water level whilst the bridge deck bounces up and down you’ll appreciate what I’m talking about when I describe the rather queasy feeling that I get deep down in my guts. However, I rather suspect that my friends and family were cheekily casting judgement upon my supposed poor life choices.

Me, being me, I didn’t really let that judgement by both friends and family bother me, and I chose instead to simply visit them instead. And so I visited those friends regularly for at least the next dozen years. As time wore on, those friends met partners and wanted to purchase a house of their own or they were simply and reluctantly pushed ever further out of the city in all directions. The drive for that push were the forces of economics. In Melbourne the price of houses rose faster than incomes year in and year out and still do, so my friends were scattered all over the city and they ended up living in mostly in very far and remote corners. I on the other hand by this stage was living close enough to the city that I could – and did – walk there every single day for work. My friends kept in contact with each other through the game World of Warcraft where they would meet to battle mighty boss creatures for virtual rewards. Other friends started families and they disappeared into those families rarely to be seen again. Some of those friends even had time to start second families.

Eventually tensions came to a head and after many years of waiting around to see whether the situation would change there was an explosion of emotion and a fight occurred between two competing power blocs of friends. It was a make or break moment and unsurprisingly it broke the large social group.

Having had no hand in that explosion matter, I found that my group of friends had dwindled to not much more than a quiet whimper and there was not much to be salvaged from the wreckage. I chose to sulk my socks off for a few months whilst I contemplated the situation. At the end of the prolonged socks sulking off session, I chose to obtain new friends. The unfortunate thing was that over the years I had been asked by several people if I would like to be their friend and because I had such a large group of friends I always replied: “Yeah, nah” and as such all my eggs were in one basket.

One advantage that I did have with making new friends was that the editor and I had not hung around waiting for the inevitable explosion as we had moved to a rural area and set about constructing our own house. Rural areas traditionally have strong community networks and groups and this area was no exception and I enjoyed them immensely.

However, after a few years, many of those community groups imploded too. Those implosions seemed really weird to me and I always had a sort of rabbit in the headlights feeling as they occurred one after the other. The experience of those community group implosions reminded me of nothing so much as my experience with the disappearing act of socialising with work people in the early 1990’s. Before the Australian recession of the early 90's, drinks on Friday night with work friends was a massive event. In fact there were many Friday lunchtimes we struggled even getting back to work after a few drinks and drunken convivial conversation. Along came the recession and these drinks sessions were the first casualty. I have fond memories of returning to work on Friday afternoons and on several occasions I was instructed by my boss (in a friendly way, of course): “Sit down and shut up for the rest of the afternoon”. To which I always replied: “Yes, boss” which was probably just as well because I didn’t have anything sensible to say in my alcohol addled state!

I sometimes have the strangest feeling that I have seen the end of certain social arrangements. With many of those social arrangements I saw just enough to tantalise me and know that we as a society can do better, but alas, now that we are apparently wealthier, I rather suspect that a certain meanness of spirit has crept into our social lives and so most people have turned inwards. The thing is though, without community, it goes without saying that there is no community.

Did I mention that it has been hot and humid here this week? Thursday morning was the sort of morning you take the chainsaw along with you to the local café.The chainsaw was not required for settling scores like Jason AKA Friday the Thirteenth, but for the more pragmatic reason that the wind gusts blew strongly that morning and in such conditions trees are wont to fall down across the road. I once could not get home in such conditions and had to call a neighbour to come and rescue me. The neighbour, who is a good bloke, brought overalls and gloves that day for me to wear and I spent the next couple of hours hauling fallen timber off the roads whilst trees were crashing around us.
Thursday's temperatures were hot
The humidity only seemed to increase as a band of rain rolled in from across the valley. At least the rain brought a small amount of relief from the heat.
The humidity increased that day as a band of rain rolled in from across the valley
The next day was still hot, but firewood does not put itself in the firewood shed. The editor and I spent about 5 hours that hot day cutting, splitting and stacking firewood in the heat. We use an electric (solar powered) log splitter to assist with the task of splitting the large rounds but even so it is still hot and heavy work. Fortunately for the editor and I we had a little helper that day who was busily consuming all of the insects which fell out of the various chunks of firewood. By the end of that day the little reptile was very chunky! We had to be very careful at all times not to squash/squish/splat this highly active and hungry assistant.
A little reptile assisted us by eating all of the many insects that fell out of the split logs
The firewood shed is really starting to fill up. This year we have stacked the firewood a lot higher than in the previous year and we suspect that this firewood shed, when full, will be more than enough firewood for the cold parts of the year.
The firewood shed is really starting to fill up
Observant readers will note that we are nothing if not neat! Speaking of neat, I thought that it might be useful for readers to see just how deep the deep litter mulch actually is in the chicken enclosure. Every day the chickens scratch the accumulated pile of used bedding straw and manure down to ground level. It takes me only a minute or two of work to build the pile back up again.
Observant readers will note just how deep the deep litter mulch in the chicken enclosure is
The zucchini (courgette) monsters have produced a few zucchinis and we harvested them before they grew any bigger. And the next photo below also shows a huge harvest of basil and rocket which is to be turned into the most delicious pesto.
Zucchini (courgette) monsters were harvested before they grew any bigger along with a good harvest of basil which is turned into yummy pesto
The blackberries have just begun to ripen. Nuff said!
Blackberries have just begun to ripen. Nuff said!
Tomato cam shows a thick – but well contained – jungle of tomato vines.
Tomato cam shows a thick – but well contained – jungle of tomato vines
And the first ripe tomato was harvested on Saturday. Yum!
The first ripe tomato was harvested on Saturday
The many capsicums (peppers) which we are trialing this summer have begun to produce flowers and the first signs of fruit. I hope that there is enough summer left for them to ripen fully. Time will tell.
The many capsicums (peppers) which we are trialling this summer have begun to produce flowers
The most reliable stone fruit this season has been the plums and the D’Agen variety are only a few weeks away from harvesting.
The D’Agen variety of plums are only a few weeks away from harvesting
The mysterious melon has doubled in size this week! Observant readers will note in the next photo below that the other melon variety flower has pollinated and now has tiny little melons on the sprawling vines.
The mysterious melon has doubled in size this week and the other melon varieties have produced tiny melons
Earlier in the summer I planted out a dozen or so gooseberry cuttings and most of them have taken and are now producing a lot of new growth. Next summer I will definitely try and get more cuttings of this plant to strike.
Most of the dozen or so gooseberry cuttings planted out in early summer have taken and are showing signs of new growth
And I like to finish the blog at this time of year with a few flower photos from about the farm:
This is a proper looking meadow
Who doesn’t love cornflowers?
A yellow yarrow flower mixes it up with a mysterious white flowered plant from the mint family
Tansy looks very happy in this corner of the garden and it grows back every single year
The various salvias love the heat of the summer
Tri-coloured sage (salvia) sits happily among the lavender, gotu kola, and maidens tears

White flowered yarrow and the soapwort enjoy the high heat and humidity
The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 13’C (55’F). So far this year there has been 84.4mm (3.3 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 68.6mm (2.7 inches).

74 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Just for your interest, stomach ulcers were found to be a bacterial infection and apparently now are easily treatable, so perhaps...?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Ah yes birds of a feather and all of that! Thanks for the well wishes and time will see on both of those fronts.

I'm with you too about the ghosts. Like if they're hanging around with unfinished business and all of that how do you know that you may not end up as collateral damage in some dastardly scheme? The pub is very charming and dates back from the 1850's gold rush where it was a stop along the main route between Melbourne and the Bendigo goldfields. The train has a station there too and the pub is surrounded by only a few houses and the station - and then just paddocks. The perfect place for a ghost or two to hide out!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, it is drizzling out here with the chickens and the laptop is getting rather damp... Hope it is up for that treatment? But perhaps not. The chickens don't seem to mind the drizzle in the least. And I looked up into the treetops a few minutes ago and spotted... tada!... Flowers in the tall eucalyptus trees. I took the big lens out on the camera and hopefully some of the photos turn out. It is unfortunately breezy and cold and keeping one's hand still whilst focusing on a distant and very small set of flowers is not as easily said as done. I would have made a rubbish surgeon.

Oh yeah, those cloves are tasty as and added to nutmeg. Yum! The crucial ingredients - as you say in a pumpkin pie, but also in fruit bread (which you toast and eat with melted butter). Just the thing for a cold morning in a remote mountain spot! The funny thing is that Poopy has cottoned on to just how tasty the fruit toast is too. I have absolutely no doubts in my mind that he would enjoy pumpkin pie! Yum!

Wow, well you know that analysis sounds about right to me. The other thing about the whole diet thing (OMG I'm going to be trolled for this one! :-)!) is that certain diets are a reflection of peoples wealth and vocal adherence to the diet is an ostentatious display of wealth. I've heard strange claims about caveman diets as if they ran around eating meat all of the time. Of course they would not have eaten meat all of the time because their tribe would have rapidly run out of things to eat if that was their only source of sustenance. The Aboriginals set strict quotas on certain game and they adjusted those quotas with each season and someone in the tribe was charged with the responsibility for allocating those resources. And that person treated those specific animals as if they were on the same basis as themselves. They saw no difference between humans and animals as they smart enough to realise that without one you don't have the other.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Phew, I'm now inside where the wind is not blowing and the rain is not drizzling. It is an early autumn down here and I'm having to consider pulling out all stops to bring in the firewood before the weather shuts me down. I have to purchase a set of new tyres for the Suzuki dirt rat this week which will be expensive. And following on from that - and your discussions about food - plants are the only thing that generates a surplus as all else takes from the surrounding environment and has costs. The reason for that surplus is that plants enjoy an energy source that is not from this environment, but even then the surplus is tiny. I'm starting to consider doubling my efforts with laying down the manure once the firewood has been brought in for the year.

Up in the state north of here, the heatwave and fires yesterday have produced an unpleasant outcome: NSW fires: Uarbry residents find homes destroyed as blaze continues near Dunedoo. Ouch, and those houses look like they were taken out by ember attack. There but for the grace...

Well, you and I don't seem to be showing signs of crankiness, although to be honest I deliberately wrote a darker tale this week because I'd received a number of comments that people were feeling a sort of, I dunno, maybe fatigue is the correct word? Dunno. Anyway, my gut feeling tells me that we are in a sort of hang time. And that is cool. Time to regroup and rest the troops and not wear them out on day to day activities - as was suggested by Sun Tzu - a wise bloke that one.

Mr Salt used to write differently or I may be wrong in that regard? I sort of feel sorry for Mr Brand. And it is interesting that Mr Monbiot apparently also suggested nuclear power even given the lack of desire to pursue permanent solutions for the waste and don't mention how limited that mineral isotope actually is. I tend to feel that we should maintain what we have in place as a rear guard action more than anything else. But then we don't seem to have the capacity or desire to want to pay for that and I'm personally confused as to the why of that story.

Gruel, life is too short for gruel, but then if there is nothing else, gruel looks pretty good to me! ;-)! Hehe! My dinner tonight is Ratatouille, so I know a thing or two about gruel.

Oh yeah, the building is definitely 100% pure granite as it was constructed in the 1850's as a stop over on the Cobb and Co coach line which travelled from Melbourne to the goldfields in Bendigo. The Cobb and Co coaches used to somehow also travel over this mountain range on the main road through this part. I'd hate to thing what those coach wheels did to the roads during the winter.

Oh no! What a horror story. And the cougars, well there is something that I wouldn't have considered. That dog would be worth its weight in gold for protecting its injured human. No more discussions about just how much beef jerky that dog had consumed for the day! :-)! Quad bikes here seem to attract serious spinal injuries down under. I wouldn't use one on the slope here, but plenty of people seem to believe otherwise.

No, that is the fun thing working out what euphemism can be inserted in a comment as a replacement for the more base reactions people have today. There doesn't seem to be a lot of ingenuity with the use of the English language nowadays. I grew up watching a lot of silly British shows that talked around subjects...

I heard about the whales too. It is sad.

Don't laugh but the local community centre runs a men's yoga group and I know the bloke that co-ordinates the group. He's a good bloke and not at all the sort of person that you would see in the city promoting yoga. They use the stretching exercises here because it saves their back due to the heavy manual labour that is involved with living around these parts.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I can hear a chain saw, perhaps Son is doing something useful for me! It was interesting that the first part of this week's blog was totally alien to me. As a loner from early childhood I knew nothing of this. Mind you, people have always liked my company, perhaps because I make no demands of this kind.

There was great disapproval though of my choice of husband. I was accused of marrying beneath my station! Would such a suggestion even exist these days? We were married for 44 years till he died, so I got that right.

I knew about the discovery re. stomach ulcers, I don't think that there is a connection.

Wow! that is neat firewood stacking, I commend you both. Fruit and veg. is fabulous too.

Inge

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I'm at my mother's place in Florida. When we started here I thought I'd make the usual several day's visit and then head back home, but it turns out my mom (she's 83) is not in a good state to be by herself. Mike is back home but I won't be back home for perhaps several weeks, till my mom can handle living by herself again. It's not that she doesn't have a community of good friends here (to tie this ever so loosely to one of the topics of your post). If anything, she has more friends than I do, and she calls them and they call her. But she wasn't aware that she was feeling as depressed as she is, and so she didn't know how to talk with them about that, so we didn't pick up on it till about the time I arrived. It's a good thing I'm retired so I can stay with her for awhile - my three siblings all work full time. It would be easier if we lived near each other, but we are scattered over the eastern US. That itself might be another sign of the lessening of community and family ties, which makes for more difficulties in decline.

I don't know if you are aware of the Lake Oroville dam in California that is in the news here. California, which had been in severe drought, has gotten an overload of rain this winter. They've had snow too, which shouldn't be melting yet, but it's been warm so the snow is melting early. The combined effect of too much rain and melting snow made the lake rise to the point of using its main spillway to dump excess water. But the spillway became damaged from too much water passing over it. So the dam authorities opened the emergency spillway - but that is failing now, necessitating evacuations and (hopefully) quick repair work. The dam is the tallest dam in the US; at least the dam itself is sound. You'll have to search for the story; I'm not having success with copying a link on this unfamiliar computer.

It's hard for me to imagine summer being so short that you are just picking your first tomato, though I remember your having frost in December (that would be June for me, an unheard of late date for frost in my area). By this point in my summer, which would be mid-August, the tomatoes would be finished with their first and heaviest harvest, which begins in July. And I'd be picking ripe peppers. I know you've mentioned your sense that autumn is coming early. My sense here is that spring is going to be early. Florida has been warmer than normal, as has St. Louis - in fact, I think most if not all of the US east of the Rockies has been warmer than normal this winter.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I must say I'm ripping through this week's ADR comment at record speed :-). Because I'm just not very interested. But at least it's comforting to know I can contribute a bit of something. Book recommendations, and such.

Ghosts either have unfinished business, or, just don't know they're dead. I've been looking into sage smudging. When I move into the home ... a place where a lot of people have died for the past 20 years ... it might come in handy. I'll have to be careful to not set off the smoke detectors or sprinklers. Would not be a good introduction to my new digs. No date yet, still on the wait list. Well, if I can't smudge, I have noticed a priest around the place, a couple of times. It's a Catholic facility, but you don't have to be Catholic to live there. Luckily. He might not do a full blown exorcism (passe, you know) but would probably be up for a "blessing of a new abode." Or, something. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - High acid foods can cause cankers. Tomatoes are notorious. When I moved to S. California, in the early 70s, I moved into a house with two room mates, also from northern climes. One room mate planted just three tomato plants in the back yard. The next thing we knew, we had a tomato jungle. Not being used to such bounty (and flavor!) we really overdid it. Multiple canker sours and much misery, all around. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, I think the falling off of social groups has a lot to do with technology. Over my life I've noticed friends seem to slew off at certain points. When long distance phoning became cheap, letters fell into disuse. A great divide developed between those who still used the phone, and those who e-mailed. Now the shake out between those who e-mail and those who text. The author who wrote "Bowling Alone" seems to attribute the lack of civic participation to television. The proliferation of multiple channels. At home video and dvd.

Back in the day when I first started into recovery, there was "the meeting, after the meeting." Usually retire to a coffee shop and gas for hours. That seems to have entirely fallen out of use. Might still happen in the cities, where late night cafes with bottomless cups of coffee, might still exist. Harder to find out here in the boonies, but it did happen early on. Now everyone rushes off ... somewhere. To do ... something.

Your bridge story was horrifying. I'd have messed my pants. High bridges always give me a bit of the willies. But I suppose we'll see more and more infrastructure failing as the decline continues. I suppose you've heard about the dam failure in California, and the thousands of people evacuated.

Little Reptiles eating bugs is probably a good thing. Tiny wonders of nature are always ... wonder filled :-). Saw the first bunny I've seen in a long time, in the side yard, yesterday. Later on, I saw Nell stalking it. She should be careful. It was almost as big as she is. I've seen the neighbor cats take down baby bunnies. Distressing, but necessary. Unless we want to be overrun. Beau was sure wound up about something, last night. Out in the dark.

Looks like you're getting bumper crops, of some things. And the flowers, as always, are very pretty. I always laugh a bit at the tansy, as it's classed as a noxious weed, here. Get too many on your property, and the government weed people are likely to show up and tell you to clean up your act. So far, our cinnabar moths seem to be keeping enough of a lid on them. I wonder how they'll do, this year? Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. So, what kind of flowers were growing high in the eucalyptus? My father used to have a climbing red rose, in his back yard. The neighbor had a cedar tree, close to the fence. The rose climbed the fence and into the cedar tree and their were rose blossoms 40 or 50 feet up the tree. It was quit pretty.

Oh, as you've probably gathered, I try and eat well, but don't expect to live forever. But I hope to remain healthy and active for as long as possible. I'm trying to knock off some pounds. So, no cookies or ice cream. And, I've cut back by half on bread and cheese. No late night snacking unless it's a bowl of fruit with plain non-fat yogurt. More veg for dinner. Seems to be working. Knocked off a few pounds, last week. And, of course, with spring just around the corner, I've been working in the yard more.

Hang time. Reminded me of "the Phony War." That time, before WWI and WWII where not much happened, for months. But once things kicked off, events moved very fast. I've been thinking I should probably pick up some potassium iodine tablets to add to my medicine chest. Those are the tablets that can mitigate some forms of radioactivity in the body. When the Fukushima reactor blew, the supply here dried up.

We had a light frost, last night. Beautiful weather today, but the rain is supposed to be back, tomorrow. But, warm rain. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Our first house was in the section of a large city (Dallas, Texas) that had seen "white flight" and had become a mostly Hispanic area. It was all that we could afford and still be close to my grandmother, whom I was caring for. We had rented an apartment the first two years of our marriage, but found it hard to bear that money going down the drain each month instead of building equity in a house. That old house was a huge mess. We renovated it while living in it - I believe that was your usual method, too? That is so hard to do, especially when one has a baby and a toddler. When our oldest son was nearing school age, we had to take some things into consideration. First, we hated being in a city, and the climate was horrible; second, the neighborhood school had become pretty dodgy, and dangerous as well. Luckily, my brother came to stay with my grandmother, so we had the option to leave and we moved here to the Charlottesville, Virginia area and built our house in the country.

Strange things happen in community groups. No matter how sincere in the beginning, the meddlers always take over and want to turn everything their way. It must be a common human trait that when given a chance, a given number of people will go power-mad. It doesn't seem to matter what the focus of the group is. I've seen it, too many times, happen even in churches. A case in point is that we have a road maintenance fund that everyone on our small neighborhood, non-government-maintained road pays into once a year. It used to be simple; it had been agreed by the first couple of "settlers" here how much was needed and new people moving in always - as we did - agreed to pay the nominal amount into it. It was reasonable. Now, newcomers have gotten the other relatively new people stirred up and they have decided that the fund needs lots more money to make marvelous improvements (unneeded as far as we can tell). So, they sent out a letter proclaiming this and stating how much more each of us should feel obligated to pay. Our response was just to send in the same amount as last year's (which was already an increase) and should they complain, just tell them that that is what we consider fair. My husband and son already do a lot of work along the road such as keeping drain pipes clear of leaves and debris. Baby dictators?

Sometimes I wish that we had a bitty chainsaw (my size!) to just leave in the back of the 4-wheel drive truck (that's the one that I drive!) for what ever fallen-tree emergency comes up. Would the editor like to have her own chainsaw? Though I might be sorry should I actually be called upon to use it . . .

I love storm pictures. That's a really neat one that you put up.

It seems unusually late to me that you are just getting your first ripe tomato. Surely they ripened earlier there the last couple of years? I guess that they are going to go crazy and all ripen at once.

That's a Five-Lined Skink! He looks just like the ones here. I love it when they get all pooched out with bugs. Some of the bugs seem to have filled up his tail, too. We saw our first snake sunning himself in the garden the other day. He watched us the whole time we were working out there. It just shows how warm it has been. And the chipmunks, who are normally quite shy, have spring fever. There were two playing a game on our front porch while I was standing there reading the thermometer and one sat on my shoe for a few seconds.

The chicken bedding is wonderfully deep! Isn't it great how they stand on the pile and look out the "windows"?

I am so glad that you at least have some plums after the stone fruit debacle. That melon sure looks like a watermelon.

I still say the unknown white flower is catnip. Perhaps you can borrow a cat and find out? I wonder if wildcats are attracted to catnip?

Umm, was your grandmother a barbequed chicken?

Pam

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

Friendship is something I’ve thought about a lot over the years. What I didn’t realise as a young man was what a large effect friends have on you — even if you’re aware of their problems, they can still negatively affect you. As I’ve got older, I’ve become more careful who I let into my life.

I’m interested in your weather system. I see a large 26 on it — was that the maximum temperature inside your house? Did it get hotter than that?
I’ve done a reasonable amount of work at my place now to improve thermal performance. This week we had (I think) 5 days over 37, and two over 42. The inside of my place got to about 27 or 28, but we ran our reverse-cycle split system during the day (when our solar was producing). I usually run that on a set temp of 24 or 25 (depending on the internal and external temp).
The cool change reached us on Sat, so I flung open all the doors and windows and was pleasantly surprised how quickly the house cooled down. I think my 3-room exhaust system helped there too.

After a few hot days, we get significant heat coming through the double-brick walls. I will investigate cavity insulation for them sometime.

Cheers, Angus

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

A blessing on your new abode couldn't hurt and - who knows - it might help.

I keep kelp tablets on hand because I wasn't sure if one can get potassium iodide over the counter. We are only 50 miles from a nuclear power plant. I had no idea it was there when we bought this property or I would have gone further south.

Once you move into town perhaps you may be able to walk to a lot of places? Or-hey!-a bike!
Those are a good way to lose weight.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Bad news - you may have mentioned this. I thought the problem was mostly in the north; this is not so very far from you?

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/11/unprecedented-fire-danger-for-nsw-as-heatwaves-continues-across-south-east

Pam

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Interesting post this week with some interesting comments. Community is something that waxes and wanes according to the events occurring and the context?

Social groups seem to have fairly predictable trajectories or perhaps a lifespan? When we arrived in our university town we were invited to one social event in the first year by work colleagues. Fortunately we had friends already living in town (academics follow the jobs and run into each other in various locations over the years). My husband had a PhD in an area where it was not common almost 30 years ago and he was ostracized and sneered at. This was hilarious because he started his work life as a telephone technician and is a practical, kind, down to earth person who just happens to also be capable of working at the level of theory. Other colleagues told us very seriously that they wouldn't be inviting us to dinner because they already had a strong circle of friends that would not accommodate newcomers. We watched over the years as those very people lost their friends. Death, redundancy, career relocations, divorce and just simply falling out with each other all operated there. It was perplexing to us and sometimes very hurtful but educational on lots of levels.

We've been picking tomatoes since mid January and the numbers are increasing daily but the heat means we really must keep the root runs damp and that's what we're doing. I think our soil needs a lot more organic matter and we are building more compost bins and gathering materials for those new bins.... Always some new project on the go.

No firewood work yet. Too much of a fire risk even driving the farm truck anywhere on the farm where there is dry grass. There are no signs of Autumn here yet apart from the shortening of the days. We had another run of mid 40C here with those horrifying hot winds that signal bushfire. We were in an area that was advised to head to town but in fact we are on the edge of the area that is experiencing bushfire. It was an anxious few days and there are more to come.

We are in Melbourne this weekend but thankfully we have house sitters who are visiting their daughter and are happy to keep an eye on things. BeeGee does get a holiday at the local kennels though because people find it hard to accept her neuroses.... We lost her for three days last time we left her here being cared for by a neighbour who left her on their verandah when a storm rolled in and she took off in terror. She can't even stand the noise of the fire pump.

Warm regards,

Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Alien, yeah I can see that and that makes sense to me. I was trying to get across a sense that things were different because in fact they were different. I enjoy my own company too and could quite happily go for days without seeing anyone. The editor is more social than I in some respects and like you I make few demands on other people - but they may also be a factor of my fierce sense of independence. Not everyone feels that way though and they seem unhappy outside of large groups of people which I do find to be a bit of a strain.

I've heard those sorts of stories too and my own mother considered the editor beneath my station and was not afraid of sharing her opinions - which were largely unwelcome and ignored in my hearing. You did well!

I don't frankly know enough about such matters to be able to form a coherent opinion and only mentioned it because there seemed to be a bit of correlation.

Hehe! The firewood is stacked in different directions so that the seven foot high stacks are self supporting. How nice is dry and seasoned firewood on a cold winters day? I assume your son heats with firewood?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Just as an interesting side story about Florida, I have read several accounts that due to its generally low elevation above sea level that the land there faces a very uncertain future. Out of sheer curiosity, and feel free to ignore my curiosity, but do the locals ever discuss the possibility of rising sea levels or is it all a bit unreal? The same thing happens here with bushfires. The editor and I are constantly preparing the land for that eventuality, but I don't see a lot of other people doing that, or even talking about the eventuality. Dunno, I'm rather curious about peoples responses to such things.

The black dog is felt hard by many people and it can be very debilitating from what I've seen, although to be honest I have never felt despair at a situation, and I've been in some tough times, as I always prefer action to inaction but everyone experiences the world differently. You both have my sympathies.

The dispersal of community is a real worry. Divided communities rarely function well and they can't respond effectively to any changes. If it means anything I'm seeing more examples of younger people not buying into this experiment that is society and the incidence of that seems to be on the rise. At least it is down here.

Billy Joel had a great song called "Allentown" and I recall when it was released. Some of the lyrics included the lines:

"Well we're waiting here in Allentown
For the Pennsylvania we never found
For the promises our teachers gave
If we worked hard
If we behaved"


And that sort of sums that up pretty nicely...

Oh yeah, that dam has been all over our news. We don't have any large cities in this state outside of the main city of Melbourne with populations that large. Anyway, the article is here: Crumbling California dam spillway prompts urgent evacuation calls; authorities remain on alert. That article is so frightening, I have absolutely no idea what to say about it.

I heard Joel Salatin talk at a local farm a few years back and he was as surprised by you by the likelihood of frost at any time of the year. And yeah, it has been a remarkably short summer. Climate change here expresses itself as extreme variability and the farm here can have hugely long summers as well as very shortened summers like this one. Alas for people who do not understand the precariousness of our food growing difficulties down here.

Yes, Mr Greer has mentioned that the east coast has been suffering from a very mild winter. It is not possible to feed large populations from farms suffering from the sort of climate variability that I experience. One of the reasons I blog about this stuff is in the hope that at least some people begin challenging the food foundations of our society and start growing some stuff.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Good luck with the sage smudging! Who would have thought that smoke detectors have down sides like that - and nobody wants the bill for the accidental call out of the local fire brigade. Mind you a bit of fast thinking may have you identifying the nearest dementia patient. They won't know - they've got dementia - and as an incidental bonus for them, the attention may be good for them. Who knows?

I've never known anybody to suffer from too much acidity with tomatoes. Those guys sure must have eaten a lot of them in only a few sittings?

Oh yeah, emails only seem to be used for business communications nowadays. And sadly SMS text messaging seems to have replaced phone calls. And a few weeks someone really annoyed me by sending me several emails requesting me to call them urgently despite the fact they had my phone number. I made a point of ringing them up and telling them how stupid that was and instructing them in no uncertain terms that they were to call me in future. The problem was that the emails were also being used by them to blame me for their own slackness. I was rancid about it. A few days after that someone again emailed me requesting me to call them. I rang them back and said: "Do you know how weird it sounds to me you emailing me requesting me to call you". Fortunately both know the errors of their ways, but alas this is a reguard action in the Decline of the West: The Communication Years...

I've had people claim that they were busy, and they were only watching television... Nuff said really. I am losing that battle.

I'm ranting! At least it is better than melting! :-)! Anyway, your meeting after the meeting reminded me of the time the editor and I organised a dinner at the local pub for the local fire brigade members and the editor was later told off (I was not around) and I had to deal with that. After that I acknowledged that if you associate in groups where the leader turns on members then sooner or later your lucky numbers will come up.

Oh yeah, the feeling deep down in your guts as the bridge deck bounces up and down Not good. I mean you can't even ignore that it hadn't already fallen down during construction. Apparently the story goes that the construction team kept loosening the bridge deck so that the two ends of the bridge met properly at the join. The death toll was quite high because the lunch room for the workers was underneath the bridge at the time.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hehe! That was well said about the reptile. The little critter enjoyed a solid feed that day. The skinks live in the rock walls around the garden.

Rabbits face a precarious existence down here too as everything wants to eat them. Rabbits perhaps suffer from anxiety about their continuing existence for good reason. The creatures in your part of the world would scare me silly. They want to eat you - if not rip a few chunks off for their dinner.

The production this year has been a mixed bag and summer has been rather short, which from some respects is a good thing. Yeah, I wonder about your tansy too as we really sort of need a greater diversity of plants, not a diminished diversity.

Well the flowers are from the second tallest flowering tree on the planet. The tallest flowering trees are higher up the mountain range. If I'm lucky, the entire forest will bloom with flowers. I didn't know that the climbing roses could grow that high!

Yeah, the guy in the cape with the scythe comes for all of us in the end. Mileage may vary and diets can help a bit with that. Veg seems to be a good thing. Mr Logsdon made some rather interesting observations about vegetables requiring animals to produce manure to feed the soil so as to maintain soil fertility, otherwise... I have been contemplating that.

That is my thinking given what I'm seeing of peoples reactions. They're really looking for easy answers when there are none, so they keep spinning the same rituals and hoping for a different outcome. It is not all dysfunctional but the rituals are subject to diminishing returns and there is no way of getting around that.

I didn't know about the potassium iodine. The threat of nuclear fall out from either war or failed systems has not ever been on my list of things to concern myself with for some reason.

Warm rain is a bit of a worry for this time of year. I saw a report that more rain is expected for the failing spillway in California. Ouch!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for sharing your story. It is interesting but the areas around the inner city were once considered unfashionable because of similar reasons and the old workers cottages were generally settled by immigrants and bohemian types. Yes, like you we lived in the houses whilst they were in a state of disrepair. I'm not joking when I write that one house had only a single floor in one room and one power point and water tap. It was pretty grungy and dirty and some of the neighbours hated my guts for the noise created by me repairing the houses back to a habitable condition. Others used to appreciate the old places being fixed up and that lot used to bring me yummy food. I generally constructed them to be better than they ever were originally and fixed the problems that caused them to deteriorate to such a state. A child would be a real drama in that situation and I take my hat off to you for achieving that. And yes, some of the dogs fell into various holes from time to time - especially a large dachshund/corgi cross affectionately nicknamed the "fat" because she loved her food so much that she starved the other dogs until we put a stop to that bad habit. I don't trust dogs not to starve their mates now!

Interesting the school I later went to in High School had a very aggressive male only culture and that was how it was. Fights were very common and woe betide those who did not turn up to attend one.

It is weird the meddlers in the community groups. They prowl around and around looking for wedge issues and then they complain endlessly. My personal hate is the community group that has meetings for the sake of having meetings... I don't get that at all. Meetings are endlessly dull for me and when there is incessant bickering... Grumpy, grumpy, grump! :-)!

Ouch. Perhaps your road pains are bored and looking to make their mark? I've seen that one too and you have my sympathies. You know I rather suspect that in the end the maintenance fund will be stopped along with the maintenance. You never know what peoples end game is and I've seen people make things unpleasant just to put an end to a system. Dunno.

Hey, those little mini boss Sthil chainsaws are very handy - as long as they are sharp. The editor is usually good with tools but the chainsaw I have is probably too big for her to wield easily and I want to avoid the expense of owning two chainsaws. The editor mucks in with the firewood though and is strong enough to lift the same rounds that I lift. The trees here are crazy big so everything is much harder than it should otherwise be. Enjoy not being called upon to use the chainsaw. That is no bad thing.

Thanks, I get a great view across the valley and it was interesting that when the fire brigade did a talk up here (at the end of the road) to all of the neighbours they mentioned that view was an asset to the locals - although it has annoyed some neighbours.

Ah, last year was a lot hotter than this year. Last year there were 10 days above 40'C / 104'F and this year there has not been one. A couple of 39'C days though... This year is a very short summer and I'm exposed to extreme climate variability. I worry what might happen if that happens in other parts of the world more used to reliable climates.

Yup, the skink really enjoyed itself that day! Wow, I wouldn't expect to see a snake in August (your February). It really must be hot for the snake to be out sunning itself.

Chickens are pretty smart for what they need to be and they are very curious about their surroundings. They also tease the dogs mercilessly.

The melon does look like a watermelon. The sweet Siberian melon tasted like watermelon too.

I'll check out the catnip after I finish replying.

Hehe! I hope not! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Oh yeah, that is very true and we can be impacted by the state of emotions of the people around us without even knowing it. I regularly practice a state of mind that assists with maintaining the sort of detatchment that is required by someone of my profession. It is useful to be aware of other peoples emotional states too and sometimes call them out on it. What a thorny business you have raised!

Exactly, 26'C was as hot as it got inside that day. Last year, you may recall the string of consecutive 40'C+ days. Well the inside temperature on the third day got to 29'C which is as hot as I've seen. The house really is like an esky and there is no air conditioning of any sort. The roof has a double layer of insulation (under the zinc sheets and on top of the ceiling plaster). The under side of the floor is insulated and the 200mm timber walls are more than twice the thickness as standard and are full of thick batts.

Exactly! Capture the evening and nighttime cool air and store it for the next day. I have crimsafe shutters on all doors and windows and can sleep soundly with the doors and windows wide opened letting in the cool night forest air.

Brick veneer houses with tiled roofs take a huge amount of energy to cool due to the thermal mass. It doesn't work well in our climate. The gap between the two bricks is only 10mm from my understanding and even that air gap may help. I would consider timber stud walls inside and I know it sounds weird, but on the outside of the house would work even better as it stops the sun and air from heating the bricks. Shade is good too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks and it is bad up there (see Talking Trees / Helen comment). It is a couple of hundred kilometres (miles) north of here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Exactly it waxes and wanes in accordance with need. And access to a lot of resources means that the need right now is low.

Thanks for sharing your story and that would have been hard. Acceptance in a community is a fickle thing isn't it? And you would think that the PhD would have opened social doors, but then people can get pretty funny about that can't they? I respect people for undertaking such an education as it is no small feat to write a thesis.

Honestly, I'm a bit guilty of knocking back offers of friendship too long ago, but most of those people were not in my sphere and it would have been difficult to have friendships with them. Once the descent into the computer games occurred with the larger social group, I saw that as a sign to move on. I guess I was sort of voicing a form of regret for that is what it is. And perhaps it was a cautionary tale? But like you I have tried and the doors either closed soon after I saw what was behind them (in a metaphorical sense) or were slammed shut in my face. You're right though, we do learn from these experiences.

Yes, if you do nothing else get more organic matter and then when you think you are finished, get some more. I currently have a large bucket of used coffee grounds in the back of the car, but may go feral with trailer loads of manure once the firewood is done.

Oh yeah, in your circumstances I would delay bringing in the firewood too for exactly that reason of not wanting to have too much fuel close to the house during a major event. Please stay safe and alert (as I'm certain you both are) and know that I understand what you are going through. I get it as it visits me too.

Poor BeeGee, but yeah a kennel sounds like the way to go. A neighbour lost one of my dogs too once. The neighbour was distraught but honestly, I found the dog in minutes as it had escaped into another neighbours house (who had somehow found a new dog!) Nobody had thought to check whether the new dog was in fact the missing dog. It was all a bit keystone cops really... And I never asked them again.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Hot and humid is no fun. Don´t envy you there. The wood store is looking impressive. We ordered another couple of m2 and brought some in to dry, as the supply is dwindling. Not really cold here, but damp and chilly which almost seems worse in the evenings.

Spring is in the air, though. I think the hyacinths are coming up. I ordered myself some more roses for Valentine´s day. Must get some more beds dug out for them.

All the talk here lately is of a potato plague. Apparently some fly/larvae, originating in Guatemala, eventually spread throughout South America and somehow crossed over to the Canary Islands and from there to Galicia. Now it´s spreading across the north coast and everyone is in a tizzy about what should be done which results in no action at all.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Thank you and having the store of firewood is a real joy when the cold and very humid weather hits here. I'm giving some considerable thought to changing part of the heating system over the next few months, but alas that involves the plumbers and expense...

Yes, keeping firewood dry in humid winter conditions is not as easy to do as it sounds. Even in the shed the firewood absorbs some moisture in the very depths of winter.

Hyacinths are delightful aren't they and so prolific and hardy to boot! Well done for ordering the roses. I look forward to the photos of the roses during the winter here. :-)!

As to the plague, perhaps serious additions of compost may assist those difficulties. It is worthwhile making the attempt.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Helen:

My goodness, you are doing it tough! Isn't there a footy saying (don't know if you are an ARF fan):

"When the going gets tough, the tough get rough."

Get rough, eh?

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Lots to comment on this week. Interesting how friends come and go from your life as you go through school, jobs or moves. My mother once said that you only have a few real friends in your life and I suspect that's mostly true though some people seem to hang onto friends through the years. I have one sister like that as well as my youngest daughter. Then there's the distinction between friends and good acquaintances. I've known people who I would have thought would be lifelong friends often through work but when one of you leaves that particular job the connection is lost and you drift apart.

In my Jr. High retired teachers group there are some who grew up in this town and then worked their entire career at the Jr. High and it's obvious that they are real life long friends. I don't think this is a common situation anymore.

For myself I consider some of my family members to be my best friends as I've had a life long connection with them. Even though they can be annoying and there's plenty of dysfunction I know they've got my back if necessary and vice versa. It also helps that we all live pretty close geographically. I know that many aren't that fortunate.

Doug did a lot of log splitting and stacking this weekend. There was a weasel in one of the stacks of wood much to my dismay as they can really decimate a flock of chickens. The dogs treed it and hopefully it has moved on. It was one of the variety of weasels that turns white in the winter - something we had never seen.

Speaking of the deep litter method for chickens, yours seems so dry from the picture. The manure under the roosts can really become quite damp as it piles up. As the chickens only do a half way job scratching it up (probably because they're out most of the day) I end up turning it every few days. When it stays below freezing it's not a problem but this winter the temperature has fluctuated between cold and fairly warm so sometimes it's pretty damp though odor wise it's OK.

Saw your comment on ADR about kids being little animals and had to laugh. In many regards that's true. The cruelty that some bestow on others is very disturbing. It's probably one of the most difficult part of being a parent when your child is the object of that cruelty.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I know about Joel Salatin. He lives a hop over the mountains in the county west of us. He is one smart fellow, especially if one needs to know anything about integrated livestock raising.

Pam

margfh said...

Lew,

I was thrilled when yoga classes were finally offered in town. I couldn't justify an hour round trip to take classes in the next town over. Anyway I've taken classes there for two years, mainly for flexibility and balance and find it very beneficial. On the news last night new guidelines for dealing with back pain were announced - yoga, tai chi, massage and acupuncture first - duh!! I take class once a week and practice two more times during the week. As the studio is small the class is very small and individualized. As most of us are over 60 and have some physical issues (for me it's my back) it works out very well. Btw I ordered the stretching book you mentioned a few weeks ago. Thank you.


Margaret

margfh said...

Claire,

Very sorry to hear about your mother. Depression is pretty common in elderly people. As I mentioned to Chris my family all lives in the Chicago area so we can usually help each other out when needed. However Doug's two brothers do not live nearby so it's been mostly up to us with both his parents and now just his mother. I hope your mother improves soon.

Margaret

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

As far as I can tell, no one in coastal southwest Florida is talking about sea level rise at all, much less doing anything about it. But how can they? My mom lives at about 20 feet or less above sea level, and that's about the highest point in the city in which she lives. When she is ready to or has to move to a place with graduated care availability, the one she likes is at sea level, on the harbor. So much of the infrastructure - residences, commercial buildings, all the tourist places on which the economy of this area depends, the water plant, and more - will not withstand even a few feet of sea level rise that it can't be dealt with using the resources they have available. Already Miami, on the other side of the state, has water on the streets during the highest tides. From what I understand, even there, with the evidence literally at their feet, no one talks about it, because it can't be defended against. And people continue to retire to Florida ... my sister wants to retire here. It's no use for me to mention the sea and what it will do to this place. She can't hear it. For my mom, she may be lucky enough to live out the rest of her life here with minimal disruption, but I don't believe my sister will be as lucky if she chooses to come here.

You mentioned Billy Joel's song "Allentown." It so happens I graduated from a college located in Allentown, spending four years of my life there. Joel's a native son, and the song is on target; it's what he experienced growing up in Allentown and what I saw when I lived there. The song is haunting, one of his best, in my opinion.

Yes, I noticed too that California is to get more rain in the watershed of Lake Oroville. Efforts to shore up the spillway continue. I saw in an article in the paper this morning - I think it was USA Today, if anyone can look it up - that three groups had sued in 2005 because of their concerns that the emergency spillway for the dam is not in good shape and might not work should it need to be used. Apparently shortcuts were taken in its construction, such as not enough concrete being used in critical areas. The review and action the groups wanted was not undertaken. So now here we are, with close to 200,000 people evacuated and a frantic effort to do a makeshift shore-up underway. And all we have to look forward to are more nasty surprises down the line with other infrastructure. Catabolic collapse in action.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Oh, yeah. I'll be doing a lot of walking when I move. The Home is halfway between the grocery store I use, and the library. A very do-able brisk walk. There's also a large forested park, behind The Home. Plenty of trails.

I've heard stories of home owners being startled by cougars rolling in their catnip.

Thanks for the tip on kelp tablets. I'll look into that. I'd rather take something a bit closer to nature, rather than out of a lab :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Come to think of it, now that the trees are gone out my back view, my view looks like yours. Down slope and then hills ... and higher hills in the distance. My hills have a bit of snow on them. :-).

The rain coming in ... the storm line reminded me of a print I picked up recently. Done in the late 1930's by Curry. He's the guy that did the tornado with the family heading for the storm cellar. Usually, they're pretty pricey, but this one has a bit of damage to a corner. So I got it cheap. But, properly matted and framed, it won't show and I can live with it.

https://listoffigures.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/john-steuart-curry-line-storm.jpg

It was done with a new (at the time) printing process called Gelatone. What's interesting is that the black and white version ... well, those are numbered and signed. And bring big bucks. $2,500 to $3,000.

http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=6093

So endeth our art history lesson for today :-).

Just about sunset last night, I noticed a bunny in Beau's yard. So did he, but apparently, bunnies don't bother him. I've never found a dead bunny in his yard. Possums, he kills on sight. About the same time, I noticed 4 or 5 elk off in the distance. Beau was wound up again, last night. I wonder if it's the elk that are setting him off?

You might want to think about adding iodine tablets to your med kit. What with India and Pakistan in the southern hemisphere, glaring at each other across their borders with nukes to hand. Re-watch the film "On The Beach" (either version, but the original is the best) and then decide. :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Lucky you for having the mountains with the snow on them. I've seen that once here and it is always awe inspiring. In fact on the west coast of the south island of New Zealand you can stand in what looks to me like sub tropical forest on one side and the blue ocean on the other side but far off in the distant south there are huge glacier covered mountains. The whole scene has a surreal beauty about it. The local wildlife has done very well out of the heavily compost fed clearing here. It will be interesting in the Chinese meaning of that word if I'm faced with a summer like New South Wales is facing... It takes a huge amount of effort to correct many of the human conspired (!) problems with the forest here. Of course nature could repair that damage without my intervention, unfortunately nature faces other human actions in the form of arson and who can forget the ever present - but largely ignored - global warming. Yup, the forest here faces some serious tough times ahead.

Nice work with the Curry print. Yeah, who hasn't seen that tornado? Curry Tornado over Kansas. The interesting thing I see in that painting is just how calm the peoples faces are. I read this morning in Gene Logsdon book about the old outdoor privy! "Most people today must think that life on the farm at that time was savage and intolerable. How could anyone live happily with a lifestyle that might choose between constipation (having to head out into the cold night air was a minor problem) over frostbite? The truth is, and you must believe me, there was little hardship and no unhappiness involved because that's all we knew". Sums it up nicely. You made do, because well, you made do. :-)! How much we have forgotten as a society is a bit of a worry.

Thank you for the art history lesson. I always learn quite a lot from you. Mr Logsdon also mentioned the unmentionable thing that old farmers actually ran out of sons and daughters as that lot went to seek their fortunes elsewhere. I wonder how it turned out for them?

Dogs can be strange about who they tolerate and who they won't tolerate. Mind you, bunnies are pretty fast and Beau is an elder gentleman. Poopy is the only one here to stick it to the deer when that needs doing. As the summer has warmed up, I've noticed the deer sticking to the creek and not venturing this far up the mountain (the creek is at the bottom of my property).

I reckon Poopy would have trouble with a small herd of Elk! Yikes! Maybe like Beau he would launch a salvo of barks in their general direction. Maybe?

Thank you and I appreciate your second instruction and will get onto it. Out of curiosity, where do you buy them up your way? I can't imagine chemists stock them?

Going to head out and pick blackberries tonight so may not get to all of the comments. The berries don't wait and we will produce blackberry wines and jams over the next few days...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret, Pam, and Claire,

Apologies I will be unable to respond to your comments tonight and promise to reply tomorrow. The editor and I are heading out to pick blackberries - enough for the years supply of blackberry wines and jams. Yum! Blackberry jam is my favourite, and is better than strawberry jam. This season has been a crazy shortened summer, so make hay whilst the sun shines seems to be the order of the day. At least today is warm but the weather will turn towards the weekend below the mid 60'sF which is so weird for this time of year... I should be complaining about how hot it is... Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

TalkingTrees said...

Hi Pam

I can imagine such a saying and we've braved a lot of circumstances over the years on the farm but I think our strength are persistence and becoming adaptable. It's funny (paradoxical) but with age I feel a lot more relaxed about so many things yet there are still urgent things to do. Thanks for your words.

Warm regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

Well I tried to catch the train into the city later this afternoon and it had been derailed further up the line because some moron appears to have gotten his car stuck on the line and a train hit the car. I can't for the life of me imagine what the guy was doing driving the car across the train line at that point. Apparently once the car got stuck he ran off to get help. Only minor injuries all around apparently: Bendigo train, car collide near Kangaroo Flat. Fortunately a bus replacement service was put in place.

It must have been a squoosh day for the trains because another moron on the Ballarat line narrowly escaped when his dirt bike seemed to get caught on the tracks: Biker narrowly escapes speeding train.

The trains are travelling at high speed too. What is wrong with these people? Oh that's right: Dumb Ways to Die song

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Mama mia! You are so in, Chris:

"Many of our best commenters, including Cherokee Organics, have come from Down Under."

2/13/17, 2:52 PM Armata @ ADR

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Zing! Scotlyn, too:

"Chris, I think you are my favourite barbarian..."

2/14/17, 7:03 AM ADR

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I've got a friend in Florida that I occasionally talk to on the phone, or e-mail. Anytime I mention climate change and rising ocean levels, she either doesn't pick up on the opening, or has a "we'll deal with it when it happens," attitude. Another thought I had about moving on in life and leaving friends behind ... there seems to be a big gap between single people, and when their friends get married ... and then another gap between the married who have children, and those that do not. Both situations are often grist for the mill of movie plots.

I'm certainly seeing a lot of beautiful New Zealand, right now. I got that series "800 Words." About the family whose mum dies and they move to a small New Zealand coastal town. Culture shock, etc. It's fairly good. A dramedy.

Well, Mr. Logsdon was fudging a bit about the privy and hiking out in the dead of winter. He probably walked 7 miles to school, barefoot through the snow, uphill both ways :-). But I'm teasing. I really DO like what he writes. But what he didn't mention is the good old chamber pot. The thunder mug :-). Under most beds, even in the poorest abodes. Plane white stoneware was pretty cheap. There's a very old joke in the tat trade about the city lady who rhapsodizes at her very fancy dinner party about the soup tureen she found for a song ... but she just doesn't understand why it only has one handle ... :-)
Thunder mugs could also make a political statement. During the Revolutionary War, you could get one with a picture of George III in the bottom. On the other hand, in England you could get one with George Washington or Benjamin Franklin in the bottom. Both often made by the same company. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Pretty common tale. Son or daughter runs off to the big city (or, if a surplus of sons and daughters, sent) to work or make their fortunes. I've read population figures as to at what point city dwellers outnumbered rural dwellers. More grist for the movie plot mill. The child who comes back. ("The Dressmaker" ... "Way Down East"...) The tension between city and country ... town ad gown ... which we still see, today.

What I find interesting about the two Curry prints is that, in some ways, the black and white version has more "impact" than the color version. To me.

Kelp tablets can probably be found in "Natural Food" or "Health" stores. Here, we even have outlets that sell just vitamins and supplements. I was reading about kelp tablets online, and there can be some side effects. There's also an impartial online site that rates different vitamin companies as to the purity of their products. Not at my fingertips.

I'm off to the Little Smoke, today. Lots of stops. See if I can run down The Warden at The Home. Beau is almost out of his healthy dog biscuits, so it's a stop at the feed store. A scouting expedition to the local antique mall. The President's Day Sale starts on Friday. So it goes. Lew

SLClaire said...

@Chris and @Margaret,

Thank you for your understanding comments. Chris - I hadn't heard of referring to depression as the black dog, but it is a good metaphor for it.

I have had a few bouts with depression, fortunately all short term, in my life. That helps me to understand with my mom is going through. The main thing for me is to avoid catching her emotional state, so that I can be a help to her. So far OK there, which shows I have learned something. In my younger years I would have been much more likely to catch the state.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

It is a lively discussion isn't it? Your mother is quite correct, but I also believe that perhaps people move around too often nowadays for relationships to last. Mind you, I reckon there are downsides to that situation as well. And yeah, good acquaintances are an interesting thing too. It may surprise you that because a lot of guys my age tend to withdraw from the wider world, I tend to get a lot of social interactions through acquaintances but that is a reflection of the times really and I sort of just roll with it.

Oh yeah, I sort of feel that we as a society are not very good at handling the downsides of relationships when I read that comment. Dunno, what do you reckon? Sometimes I sort of feel that people can build up social capital - and I was having that very conversation today with an interesting dude from Chile - but then there are others who take advantage of that arrangement (usually before moving on too) and I suspect proper long term relationships wont arise again until we stop moving around so much and have to rely on each other a bit more than we do today. My gut feeling (and again I hesitate to talk in absolute terms) is that we have somehow replaced social capital with monetary exchanges. It is a really complex subject.

Weasels are amazing creatures and far better hunters than cats don't you reckon? You rarely see them down here and they are usually even then only kept as pets. I'm amazed that your firewood is dry enough to split and store during winter. The winters here are very wet and damp and firewood outside would be soaked through even in a drought year.

The deep litter is dry - which is a good thing - because there is a steel corrugated sheet roof over the chicken run. I collect water on that roof into a water tank. You have to remember that the winters here are cold, but not freezing, but they are really, really damp and the chickens health is unfortunately affected by those sorts of conditions. Since I moved the chickens to the new enclosure I've had less health troubles and I may not even purchase any new chickens this year as a result.

The deep litter extends into the bedding straw in the hen house (which has a concrete floor) and the used bedding straw absorbs all of the chicken manure. Would you like to see a photo of the laying boxes as there is no build up of manure anywhere? Mr Logsdon enthuses about the use of bedding straw to absorb any and all manures and I just sort of lucked onto the concept. The chickens are about a 5 minute per day job (16 chickens), although the original chicken house and run was a much bigger job because I got so many things wrong.

It was like Lord of the Flies as it was such an unusual social arrangement. Honestly there are good parents of bad kids too and what a dilemma that would be. I had to rely on my own wits and resources to navigate that morass of social chaos, and I have often wondered as to the why of it all as it must be a known thing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh yeah, Joel Salatin is a pretty clever guy and what a public speaker too. He really manages to communicate his passion for the subject of farming and best of all he has dirt under his fingernails. Have you ever visited his farm? So he is inland of you? I have absolute respect for the guy and a local farm implemented many of his systems.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Fair enough, nobody talks about it here either - even when buildings in expensive areas are getting washed into the sea. I find that to be a very strange thing and I really wonder at the why of it all. Mind you, the same thing happens up here with bushfires and few people have grasped the reality that there will be more extreme weather days in the near future. I have a strange feeling that ritual has much to do with that matter of belief.

The interesting thing too about it all is exactly as you point out in that there are very few people who are willing to pay for the response to the inevitability and because of that small matter the bill will be a whole lot bigger when it comes due. I dunno and I'd like to be wrong.

Really? Wow. I had absolutely no idea that you of all people would have actually been in Allentown. You know, at the time that the song was released I was a small kid and I recall the kerfuffle when even the mayor of Allentown had to make a statement on the subject decrying Billy Joel's lyrics. I wonder how time has challenged that statement? It is a haunting song isn't it? What a great description of the song and I am saving that particular song for October later this year when I believe General Motors and also Toyota cease manufacturing vehicles in this city. The song always haunted me too and I was a fan of his music even as a small kid and bought most of the albums.

Yes, that is so true as we have failed to invest in our infrastructure despite promoting increases in the population and I see that here too. It is a bit sad and I honestly don't know what to make of it other than it makes me feel a bit more precarious if you know what I mean. This is our news of the ongoing situation: Oroville Dam: Californian officials rush to drain lake as fresh wave of powerful storms roll in

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

It is nice to be recognised for one's good works isn't it? I was rather concerned to heal the rift between the misguided left and right commenters before the matter escalated any further. They have far more in common that they realise. :-)! Happy days!

Oh and by the way I believe it is rather appropriate to now utter a proper - as is rightfully expected of a barbarian: UGG! :-)!

You know I reckon you are programmed to concentrate on the differences, but in most of my travels in the third world I saw that people mostly wanted to be left in peace to get on with their lives and they cared not a whit for such belief systems. Of course some people want more too and that is a complex problem.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Really? I guess if people don't talk about it, it isn't going to happen and then that saves them the trouble of addressing any personal matters that may be contributing to the problem. Mileage of course may vary on that matter.

Hey, this is freaky. The tall eucalyptus trees surrounding the farm here are producing flowers but not many other trees further afield are... I'm looking closely too at the surrounding forest as this is really interesting opportunity for me to learn about the trees here. And when I walk out of the door I can smell honey in the air. The bees are most excited too although I don't believe the flowering is wide spread enough to split the existing hive into two smaller hives.

Yes that gap is real and I could not quite understand why friends kept asking me after the editor and I got married as to when we were going to have children as if one activity leads to the other. I believe I gave them all a stunned mullet face to that question but it was asked often enough that I started wondering about it. So anyway, yeah that gap is real, but I always made time for my single friends and never judged them in any way shape or form - or worse tried to talk them out of their situation: Come join us... Haha! (Evil genius chuckle etc.) The thing is at the time, I never realised that my actions would never be reciprocated and that is really where I became confused about the whole messy business. From hindsight I believe that I was incorrect to do as I did.

Glad to hear that you are enjoying 800 words. New Zealand really is a stunning country. Mr Catton once resided there for a few years and he wrote rather fondly about the place. Culture shock is quite a real thing.

Haha! Yeah that is probably true about Mr Logsdon as he wrote in little snippets of his life of growing up on a farm during the Depression. The funny thing is that those snippets had the ring of truth about them and they sounded spot on to me. I rather believe that hardship is an underrated experience and I am in the middle of an involved discussion on that very subject with a certain green wizard, although to be honest it is a hard sell. I try to make it look as if we are having fun here, and don't tell anyone, but we actually are having a whole lot of fun even when things look like hard work. Tomorrow will be a very pleasant and enjoyable day too (more on this tomorrow) which I'm looking forward too.

I still reckon that plants are the only thing that produce a surplus - especially when I had a new set of tyres put on the dirt rat today, as you may recall getting back up the hill has been an unnecessarily slippery experience this year. And the electric log splitter is closer to being repaired too. Seriously the things that you own end up owning you purely because of the cost of maintenance. And I really don’t have or keep a lot of stuff.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

That story about the chamber pots was hysterical and the company was quite enterprising to sit (!) on both sides of that fence. Sorry for the bad pun. :-)! I reckon many things are around now (or will be in the future) where people will be scratching their heads and asking the hard questions as to what was this thing used for?

That trend can reverse and I read that despite the financial hardships in rural areas during the Great Depression, the population of rural areas in the US increased by over a million people because despite it all farm families generally have something to eat. That is not lost on me. The unfortunate thing is just how poor the soils have been allowed to get in the years since. The soils here are a pet project of mine but people have allowed some sort of disconnect enter their lives between food producers and food consumers. It is interesting that Mr Logsdon is also writing about just how hard it is to make a buck on a large scale farm and also just how much those farmers rely on subsidies. He is an excellent and very clear author isn't he? And he understands the rural mindset and avoids judgement of everyone, whilst also retaining the knack of making dissenters look very silly (respect to him!).

So that is what they are called? I have noted those tablets and will begin a search for them. It shouldn't be too hard to find (maybe)?

How did your trip into the Little Smoke go? My trip into the Big Smoke was quite eventful because I expected a train to meet me at the station and found instead a bus. They seemed to have repaired the mess and the trains are running today.

No green wizards this month too. I shall make appropriate inquiries although I may be somewhat responsible inadvertently for this situation (maybe, probably hopefully not though).

Oh, and I found the most beautiful bright red apples in the orchard tonight. Yum. I'll get a photo tomorrow night when the light is perfect for photography. It is a bit bright here during the day because of the extreme UV. Interestingly too, this Saturday marks the shift in UV from extreme (which is very unpleasant) too very high (which to be honest is still mildly unpleasant).

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I enjoyed your thoughts on friendships though I'm not sure what comment you were referring to.

The build up of droppings is under the perches which is inside. Winter is very dry here though this winter and last there have been periods of time when it's been warmer and rainy and it's then that the litter seems so damp. As the odor is fine I just keep adding some dry to the top so it's getting quite deep. I use mostly straw but also dry leaves (which I collect in the fall), a little old hay and shavings.

Trapped a possum that had killed one of our chickens the other night when we were out after dark. At least it was one of the older ones that was pretty much done laying anyway.

Glad you're enjoying the poop book. He also wrote a book "Gene Everlasting", his thoughts on dying.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Glad you enjoyed the metaphor. Depression is one of those things that has been acknowledged down here in recent decades. An ex state premier, Jeff Kennett, setup a useful charity called Beyond Blue which has done a lot to bring the condition into the public awareness. Incidentally that ex premier lost the apparently un-losable election after almost a decade in office, so perhaps there may have been a bit of personal experience?

The thing is that like you I am reasonably empathic to other peoples emotional states and that is one of the reasons I enjoy living in a remote spot and I manage my life around that constant noise. The question I have for you is: How do you know that what you are ever feeling is a series of second hand emotions? And I'm not sure of the answer to that question. On the other hand it is a useful tool as I have a sort of sixth sense which lets me know when other people mean me harm and that gives a person a bit of an edge. Like everything there are costs and benefits. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, you don't own your stuff, your stuff owns you. :-). It's why I hesitate to fire up a batch of sourdough. It would be like having another pet :-). Even my worm box gets occasionally neglected (I think) but, they seem to perk along just fine.

Speaking of life passages, and all that, oddly enough, I just got an invite to my 50th high school reunion. I'm surprised they managed to run me down. The internet, I suppose. It's rather tentative ... "Is this the same...?" Turns out one of the organizers lives in my area. Well. It's like this. Even though my Dad had the same phone number for years (decades) and was listed "in the book", not a single one of those people has ever bothered to look me up, over the years. So, go to their reunion? I think not.

Back when my landlord had his tat store, mostly "guy" stuff including a lot of tools, every once in awhile someone would show up with "The Mystery Tool." It would be passed around any everyone would make educated (or uneducated) guesses. Usually, someone would eventually figure it out. I have a couple of books for identifying old kitchen tat. Some are quit ingenious.

I've read a few articles about economically depressed counties (Greece, Italy, Spain) where the young folk are returning to the old family villages. I'm sure we'll see more and more of that as time goes on. Returns, not through choice, but through necessity. I don't hear much about that, here, but that's probably more in the line that that shouldn't happen here, given we're the supposed "Land of Opportunity." There's a bit of grumbling here, from time to time about how Big Ag gets all the subsidies and some of it should go to smaller farmers and family farms. Probably not going to happen. One of the agricultural secretaries (under Reagan? Sounds right.) was quoted as saying, re farms, "Get big or get out." Oh, I'm sure sooner or later, due to The Decline, that the subsidies will end. Or, be greatly reduced. And, for awhile, Big Ag will try and take the lost wealth out of consumers, their workers or, the land. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. On vitamins. Well. I just happened to pick a documentary up at the library, yesterday. "Supplements & Safety: The Hidden Dangers of Vitamins & Supplements." Pretty frightening stuff. Due to industry pressure, there's very little oversight, here. A lot of the supplements are adulterated, sometimes with dangerous stuff. Often, what is supposedly in the tablets (various herbs or plants) are not in evidence. I'm concerned enough that I'm taking a look at the multiple and extra C I take, everyday. And, will be doing a bit of research before I set off in search of kelp tablets. There are resources.

"In addition to ConsumberLab.com, you can get information about supplements on www.naturaldatabase.com and on the NIH's website."

LOL. Sounds like the Australian trains may not run on time, but the buses do :-). Same here when the trains are blocked by a wreck or landslide. Buses are provided.

Stopped by The Home, yesterday. Sigh. I moved up one spot to number nine. I thought there would be more movement after the holidays. And, The Warden told me that most of the folks further up the queue are pretty solid. They recently did a sort out. Oh, well. More time to get organized here. I think I can start thinking about planting stuff and maybe having the apple trees pruned, one more time. My friends in Idaho are taking over their daughters rentals. They offered to sell me one. I told them they'd probably "get a wild hair" and run off to Arizona (where it looks like she'll be living for awhile) and I'd be abandoned to the rattlesnakes and politically conservative. :-)

Did a scout of the major "antique" mall in preparation for the President's Day sale. Only found a couple of items that interest me. The inventory is getting a bit ... stale. I did come to a firm decision about a flow blue, Wedgewood syrup pitcher I've been oggling for about two years. I think I'd rather splurge a bit on a piece of Weller art pottery. So, not both, but either or. Some restraint must be shown. :-). Maybe I'll find something that really "winds my clock" when I check out the other tat shops in town. And, I think I'm going to an auction in Olympia on Saturday. That will be quit an adventure, along with the usual stress of going somewhere I've never been before.

The weather was pretty wild, last night. Lots of rain and wind gusts to 33mph. Surprised we didn't loose power and all the trees still appear to be upright. Lew

Steve Carrow said...

Chris: You thoughts on friendships, connections, little communities and "tribes" is something I think about also. We've moved around a bit with my "career", and so ties get broken, and then one hesitates to create deep ties, knowing you might be leaving sooner than you think. Americans are especially fragmented, what with our myth of rugged individualism and our nomadic job chasing pattern.

Now that we've settled down for keeps, and also knowing how important it will be to relocalize and find like minded community in the coming future we didn't order, I am actively working to make ties, make friends, and help neighbors. There is a balance there to achieve, were one has to acknowledge that you will find no one that thinks exactly like you do, and has the frailties we all have, but at some point, the compromise is too much, and one must steer in another direction. Tricky business sometimes.

And then, I have always been part introvert, part extrovert, and the moods swing back and forth at unpredictable times.

These on line communities are informative and fun, but good old face to face social primate interaction is irreplaceable.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Ah yes, we are travelling across vast intellectual landscapes this week! The specific comment I was referring to of yours was: "My mother once said that you only have a few real friends in your life and I suspect that's mostly true though some people seem to hang onto friends through the years." Hope that makes sense? Maybe? My brain has been rather full over the past month or so with a huge and unanticipated work project and too much accounting can make me feel rather dull! Only kidding, but the sheer detail involved in the project has meant that my thinking elsewhere hasn't been quite as clear as I normally enjoy. But then it might be that I'm just getting on in years too! :-)! Oh well.

Hey, we went to the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo today and had a great old time. And you know, I promised not to buy any more chickens and we are now the owners of three silky-cross chickens (grey, black and brown). Alas for broken promises. The Silkies are a moderating influence in the chicken collective, good mothers if we ever decide to breed chicks, and they provide a lot of manure and eggs out of season. Silkies are a bad ratio of chicken/eggs to feed though but we're not always practical.

Yes, I expect that your winters will become more like ours here in that the slight increase in ambient temperature leads to more humid conditions. It really is 90%+ humidity here for months on end over winter and that is quite a challenge. Even this morning it was 99% humidity outside. If you are interested I'll write about that and how we adapt to it over winter. But July and August are very challenging for firewood.

Dry leaves are a great idea and one that Mr Logsdon suggested. I mostly use sugar cane mulch which is very finely chopped straw. I don't know about your straw but the oaten and/or lucerne straw here gets kicked around by the chickens because of the larger length of individual pieces when compared to the much shorter mulched sugar cane. How do you find the chickens deal with your straw?

Are you going to feed the possum to the chickens? The owls absolutely destroy the possums here but they are herbivores and would leave the chickens alone. I find it amazing that marsupials have worked their way north from South America which was once part of Gondwana land. We share many plant species with South America too, although their plant species seem more productive on an edible food front.

That would be an interesting book as he certainly led a full life. I may also track down a copy of his grain growing book as that would contain many pearls of wisdom too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Exactly! Everything ends up owning you and not the other way around. We went to the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo today and I'm sad to report that I'm suffering from a mild form of covetousness. And for that I feel shame... Not really! Just kidding, well maybe not... Actually we spotted a four wheel drive, low centre of gravity ride on mower that can do slopes of up to 30 degrees on contour and it tows up to 200kg (about 440 pounds) of stuff in a trailer. And then realisation set in and I realised that it would consume 3 months of salary for a job to pay for the equipment that I can do by hand with existing equipment in 3 days and that is before taking into account the ongoing maintenance costs. The mower just makes no financial sense whatsoever.

On the other hand we spotted the most beautiful tiny little houses constructed on trailers and they were really awesome. Now I have personal objections to caravans because over winter or summer they do not work as there is no insulation in the construction, but these tiny little houses built on trailers were things of beauty. Mind you, I could build something similar with little effort and I have forwarded this suggestion onto a person I know that could make good use of the idea on a rural block. We had a lovely chat this afternoon too and hopefully, well, you never know. I'll see if I can rustle up some images: Hollyburton studio trucks. It is not often that I am impressed with a new idea and they even constructed what looked like little rocket stoves which are constructed from what looks to me like 150mmx150mm RHS. Impressive stuff and an outstanding practical response to the overly complicated permit system.

Yeah, those reunions are strange affairs. You know, I received a 30 year invitation recently and decided - like you - against going. I mean what would you have to say to them? No doubt that a lot of bragging would be involved by others, but I have found that it is very hard to explain why anyone would go off and do something different from the dominant narrative and to be really honest, not many people want to hear that opinion as it calls their own opinions into question - and then the subject becomes about them and not you and it serves no productive purpose. That is what I call a bullet dodged on your part.

That would have been a lot of fun trying to work out what a particular ingenious antique tool would possibly have been used for. Opinions may vary wildly! I saw a funny thing on the way to the expo today too. There was a food truck for sale which I'd noticed perhaps also for sale on the two previous trips to the expo. I started getting a hankering to re-watch the film Chef. Mind you, the food van was in such a remote spot that I'll probably get the same hankering next year too.

Well, I sort of followed that path too out of a gut feeling that told me that it would be better to be fed quality food in a world of declining food quality than to enjoy consuming soylent green. I seriously doubt that small producers will see any subsidies, but mind you, in a sane world I would not be able to purchase trailer loads of composted animal manure to spread around the paddocks either.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

The problem with the get big or get out meme is that a farmer hands over their farm to the bank in order to be able to afford to get big in the first place - and banks are notoriously useless in the role of a farmer. What do they know? As far as I can see, the only long term sustainable farm is a small farm where the surplus is not that great because the only surplus to be traded in the long run is that which is provided by the harvesting of sunlight by the plants. All else is draw down of local resources. It is possible to do better, but so many people seem to want to flush their fertiliser into the ocean and we are missing the opportunity to build the organic matter in the soils with the fossil fuels that we use up. We do so, because we can - at this stage of the game.

I don't believe that the situation with supplements is any better here. Mind you, plenty of people seem to be buying the stuff here and sending it home overseas, so my thinking is that perhaps things must be worse elsewhere? Dunno? I grow oregano here and it is the perfect herb for a homemade pizza. Now last year I read accounts in the newspaper that dried oregano herb sold was in many cases dried olive leaves. Supplements are subject to diminishing quality too, maybe?

The buses aren't too bad really and they are slower to get into the city, but then I am rarely in a hurry when I take the train so it doesn't bother me. The interesting thing is that the motion of the trains put me to sleep, but the buses don't seem to have that affect. Dunno really?

Oh my, that would be an unfortunate situation moving and being left by your mates. Yes, I would be reluctant to embark on that journey too. Well number nine is better than number ten? When I was on the bus, I was subjected to a political conversation from the people behind me who were laughing and saying that people should be required to get a license before they can vote and after a while of that sort of talk, I turned around and gave them a significant and rather searching look. Fortunately they got the message and then went on to talk about other matters. They did not appear to be the sort to engage in a free roaming discussion.

Ha! Restraint. Well let's just say that I now own three new Silky chickens which rather than a “flow blue colour”, they are grey, brown and black. They're very pleasant personalities although on their first day in school they are having a tough time of it. I'm just about to head outside and check that they are OK. Good luck with the auction, I reckon those events are a lot of fun as you never quite know how they will turn out.

That is some strong winds. Stay safe in those conditions. I won't mention that today here was an almost perfect summers day in that it was not too hot and not too cold and the sun shone in a bright blue sky. Firewood again tomorrow...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Glad to hear that you are considering these thorny issues too - as I do and for much the same reasons that you mentioned. The nomadic job chasing paradigm is not as heavily entrenched here and people don't seem to move as far. But on the other hand they do move often nowadays within the same city. When I was younger people used to move houses on average every seven years, but I believe this is now down to perhaps three or four years, which is quite often. And too often for people to form coherent communities.

Oh yeah, I hear you as it is a tricky business navigating the local social scene.

I'm with you as I enjoy face to face time too, but I also rather enjoy the quiet times of living in the country. There is something to be said for that feeling.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for clarification about the comment. Most people probably give up on a relationship if it gets a bit messy.

The expo sounds great. I don't believe there are any of those around here but I went to one in another state some years ago. It was there that I got the plans for our present chicken tractor. This particular expo lasted several days and had quite a few speakers.

Watch out for promises you might not be able to keep :). When it comes to chickens I have to be careful in that regard but then I make no promises. I hope they settle in well. We don't always have to be practical - what's the fun in that?

My straw is oat or wheat straw which is all that's available around here. It's quite long and course so doesn't break down as well so mixing it with the leaves and some wood shavings help.

I didn't feed the possum to the chickens and have to admit I didn't even think of that. I wouldn't want to leave the carcass out too long though as it would attract coyotes which are abundant around here. Your possums are different than ours. I never seen an owl get one but then the owls generally aren't near the house preferring the woods behind our property.

The lack of humidity is really annoying inside. I have two humidifiers but when it's really cold they can't keep the humidity even up to 30% which is the minimum for comfort at least for me.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Repeat after me: "We admitted we had become powerless over (the lust) for chickens, and our lives had become unmanageable." There's a 12 Step Program .... :-).

So, Tiny Houses have come to Australia. They've been on the rise, here, for the past couple of years. There are web sites, magazines, dvds, books. I've read a couple of the books and watched a couple of the dvds. I get the same kind of feeling when I look at them, as I get when I look at Japanese interiors. A "Ah, the simplicity," feeling. You've got some real cuties, down under.

Food trucks are a big deal, here. Besides "Chef" I just happened to remember that "The Station Agent" has an isolated food truck that plays a major role. Speaking of film ...

Continuing the First Annual Chehalis International Australian Film Festival, I watched "Light Between Oceans", last night. A pretty good movie. Interesting to read on Wikipedia, where all in Australia it was filmed. I don't know if you've seen it. So, I'll just say it's about a WWI vet who in 1918 needs a bit of "me" time and moves out to an isolated light house. He acquires a wife. Things get gothic. Beyond that .... spoilers. :-).

Caught a headline, yesterday. "Giant Machines to Refreeze Arctic." My first thought was, "What could possibly go wrong?" and my second was "It seemed like a good idea, at the time." :-) Or, as a friend of mine used to say, "Some one is leading a rich and varied fantasy life."

I heard the first of the year chorus of frogs, last night! And, the daffodils are peaking out of the ground! Discovered an enormous spider in the kitchen sink! It was huge! A good three inches across. Have no idea what variety it was. Dispatched with a shudder.

Well, I'm off to the little smoke in search of the willy Rareus Tatus. Hunt and gather. :-). Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

It was a series of moves precipitated by my father's employer, my desiring to go to a small private college after graduating from a high school with about 1050 others in my graduating class, and my interest in getting a good education in chemistry that led me to college in Allentown. My father followed the classic upwardly mobile path of the 1960s: start as a salesman and move from there into management ranks. While I spent all of elementary school (ages 5 through 12) in the same school and the same house in Ann Arbor, Michigan (not far from Detroit), my dad was transferred to another company facility in Raleigh, North Carolina as he moved into management when I was 14 and beginning high school. Two years later, when I was halfway through high school, he was transferred to the company headquarters in suburban Philadelphia. We lived in a different suburb. Allentown is 70ish miles/150ish km north of where we lived, and the college fit my description of what I wanted in a college. It's been in existence since the 1860s and looks the way I think a college should look - old red brick buildings, tall trees and green grass and flowering shrubs. It felt like the right place to go to college. That's what led me to Allentown.

When Bill Joel was growing up - he's a few years older than I am, so that would have been the 1950s and 1960s - Allentown and its neighboring cities, Bethlehem and Easton, were prosperous. Coal mines nearby had led to steel mills locating there, like Bethlehem Steel, and the steel mills supported other manufacturers. Mack Truck was headquartered in Allentown and had a plant there, as did Allen Products, which produced Alpo dog food. Air Products, an industrial gas manufacturer, was located less than 15 miles away, and Rodale, the famous proponent of organic farming and gardening in the US, is about 10 miles away in a different direction. That meant plenty of good paying blue collar jobs in the area. Joel sings about going to the New Jersey shore, a two hour drive east, in the summer in those years, one of the things that working class families could afford to do then.

Then the long depression that started with the 1973 energy crisis hit. The coal mines laid off people first, as the coal seams played out of accessible coal. Then the manufacturing jobs began to go away. The process was still in its early stages when I was in Allentown in the second half of the 1970s but accelerated after I left. When Joel wrote his song, in the 1980s, the dreams of prosperity, the long summer days at the shore, had gone away for a lot of people. It hasn't improved since.

I'm thinking about your question and will respond later.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret, Lewis, and Claire,

Thanks for the lovely comments. I spent today hauling, cutting, splitting and stacking firewood and am now exhausted and have decided to have a very quiet night tonight. I promise to reply tomorrow night.

I realise that the volume of firewood being stacked here seems a lot, but after so many years we just don't know that particular system well enough and to be honest, staying warm during the winter is a bit of a priority and firewood is the only way we have to do that without just accepting the ambient inside of the house temperature. And most of our processes for this task are very manual and it takes a long time to finesse such a system - in fact it takes many years. At the expo yesterday I spotted a firewood processing machine which looked very impressive and could process 10 cubic metres (13 cubic yards) per hour, but at a cost of $39,000 and then that machine would require a front end loader, a huge forest to support the machine, somewhere to store the split firewood logs, trucks to move the firewood etc. etc. - I think you get the idea. We play a different game whereby we try and see how these tasks and materials can be done as cheaply as possible. The reality is that just is not possible to produce commercial quantities that way on a small scale.

There is a story in there somewhere.

Hey Lewis, I do hope that you discovered a rich vein of that ever elusive Rareus Tatus? They’re having an annual flea market up this way next Saturday.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Just to say that I am still here and reading the comments. I am having a job to keep up and ADR is not helping.

My second neighbour has just got his planning permission and will be pulling down the old dwelling (part built by my husband) next week.

Son had a terrible day yesterday when all the dogs vanished. This included a puppy that he was looking after for someone else. Fortunately he found that one because it was yapping in the woods. No sign of the others though he searched all morning. Then the mother returned okay and considerably later and soaking wet his puppy. Nice to know that it found its way back on its own. The father dog wasn't worrying him but the puppies were a concern.

@Lew
I didn't know that tomatoes could be a problem where cankers are concerned and I do eat a lot of them. Thanks for the info.

Inge





LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Carried away by the tech of a $39,000 firewood processing machine? :-). Guys and their toys :-). I suppose if you decided to ditch the accounting and become a full time firewood maven ... A firewood baron? So, what was the source of power, for this beast? Was it computerized? Around here, a guy with a pick up truck and a chain saw can make a pretty good living (or, at least make a few extra bucks) selling firewood. I'd guess it's mostly "gray economy".

The tat hunt went well. I didn't go overboard and got the couple of things I really wanted. I guess the big score of the day was a pair of Roseville pottery bookends. Siam temple dancer heads in a flat black glaze. I've been keeping an eye on them for about two years. I thought the price was a bit outrageous. Well, they finally migrated to a dusty lower shelf. I made an offer and got them for 1/3 of the asking price. Found a Fenton glass, light blue satin finish bell. With a blue rose painted on it. Matches my tattoo. :-). $12. Any piece of Fenton for that price is worth taking a second look at.

Off to an auction in Olympia, this morning. Stressful. Going somewhere I've never been, before. And, driving on the freeway, which I seldom do. Oh, well. I'll take the scenic route, home. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yup, that is true too about the giving up. It happens. Life is messy from time to time and I don't reckon that is avoidable.

The Expo is fun, although it may have been rather wet and cold there today. It is usually very hot and sunny in that part of the country. The speakers at your event would have been interesting to hear. They had some demonstrations down here but the Expo is primarily funded by flogging products and services, which I'm happy to see as there are a lot of good ideas on display - and some not so practical ones (like the $39,000 commercial firewood processing machine, which even had a conveyor belt - watch out for your fingers!) Plus there are people displaying various animal species for sale from their farms - and they're often heritage varieties. I saw a really lovely Highland cattle breed which are a slightly smaller than the usual breed and have no horns.

The new silkies are doing OK, but a few of the older birds are giving them a hard time. I'm going to have to let them all out in the orchard this evening, but weather conditions are very sub fluffy optimal as it is only 46'F out in the orchard right now and it has rained and rained today. It is an unappealing prospect. The silkies add the right touch of colour to the motley collection of chickens. :-)!

The wood shavings and leaves is a good idea for the bedding straw otherwise I can see that the chickens would kick the larger material all over the place. I tried pea straw one year and now sweet inedible peas grow all over the place.

Fair enough, I forget about all of the larger predators that you have up in your part of the world. I wouldn't want them around either as foxes can do some serious damage in a short period of time and they are the largest (excluding the odd feral dog - which can be a neighbours roaming hunting dog - which has happened).

Yeah, the humidifiers are a good idea. I rather suspect that with a bit more global warming, you will be facing milder and more humid winters (but with extreme cold patches thrown in for good measure). The rain today has convinced me that I was right not to leave the firewood for much longer - and there is still about 5 days work to go.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

How good is the 12 step program for those addicted to purchasing new chickens? "Yes, We admitted we had become powerless over (the lust) for chickens, and our lives had become unmanageable." :-)! Thanks for the assistance in my hour of need. Still, the silkies are brown, grey, and black and I mean who could possibly walk past that trio? "We admitted we had become powerless..." On a serious note, chookflation is an ever escalating problem down here and I may have to eventually consider building an entirely new chicken enclosure in which to breed replacement chickens. But that also means owning more than a few roosters... What to do... We really outsource our arrangements these days. Oh well.

The tiny houses are an elegant solution to a massive problem for rural people. I'm not sure how they'd go in an urban area - I mean what would the neighbours think for a start? Yes, the Japanese houses are beautiful in their simplicity. I could build a tiny house pretty rapidly if I had to and I sometimes imagine the interesting challenge that would be converting an existing suburban house into its various materials and then reconstructing something smaller and more elegant. It is definitely possible but I would need access to perhaps cement, lime and sand. It is like the $6m dollar man, we can rebuild this... :-)! Most people generally send a lot of the materials to landfill in such enlightened times as these. The tiny houses are not that different from the sort of sheds that I build here. Just sayin...

Food trucks are not that big a deal here, but they are around and usually in the inner city. A food truck selling Indian food sometimes turns up in the more fashionable end of the mountain range and the food is very good. Thanks for the film reference too. :-)! Love food films. Hey, when I was at the Expo I had the most awesome and tasty souvlaki for lunch and words cannot express the excellence that was that lunch. The meat was slow cooked on a rotating spit and it was just superb. Yum! I'm enjoying graphic souvlaki flashbacks. :-)!

The film the Light Between Oceans has a most complex storyline. Strangely enough, I'd never heard of it. A lot of it was filmed in Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand (I have a mate who grew up there) and then Stanley in Tasmania. Both of those places are stunning, although as to climate I probably would prefer Stanley in Tasmania as it would be a bit warmer...

I have to head out into the orchard to let the chickens free roam, but seriously I'm looking out the window and there is what looks like a solid wall of water fast approaching. I have enjoyed this cooler than usual summer and I reckon I'm right to have begun bringing in the firewood so early this year. About an hour or so ago, a water bird that looked to me like some sort of egret flew circles around the house - yup, it has been that wet this year. And I ran the wood heater on a low cycle for most of the day today and apparently it is meant to be summer here. Someone might have mentioned something about that. I can't even begin to imagine what a year with no summer would be like in your part of the world.

Your friend is on the money with that particular observation. :-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Nice to read that the frogs are making a special guest appearance (the frogs are loving the summer here) - and your daffodils are running at about the same stage as they would here if the seasons were turned upside down. Some spiders are nicer than others and I'm not sure I mentioned it before but I introduced a species of spider here inside the house that hunts out all of the other spiders (which they enjoy for dinner) and they clean up all of the various insects that get in from time to time. They're quite harmless to humans too, although I'm sure if they could, they would consume me.

Such a firewood machine would eat the forest here. The funny thing is that the forests probably benefit in the immediate future because there are few if anyone around who knows how to harness and drive a team of oxen. And it will be a very long time before anyone gets around to figuring that one out. The controls on the machine looked pretty basic but the sheer number of machines required to keep that processing machine running at full speed makes absolutely no financial sense. On the other hand I spotted a clearance on a 4 inch milling machine from a renowned local manufacturer for $4,000.

The Siam temple dancers would have been very interesting. Well done with the glass and book ends. Happy days!

I hope the trip back via the scenic road was nice. Did you score any interesting tat?

I believe I'm going to write tonight and another wall of water looks like it will roll in from across the valley.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for sharing your story and like you I moved around a lot as a child too. One upside for that is that you become rather experienced at adapting to new places and social circumstances, although to be honest you arrive in any new situation as the under dog and have to feel the lay of the land. The transition between sales person and manager is not always as smooth as other peoples expectations would allow for - and I've noted that they are very different skill sets. But in the distant past expectations of employees were lower than they are today. The old red buildings set among tall trees, grass and flowering shrubs painted a beautiful picture and it does feel like a solid representation of what a college should be like doesn't it?

Well his first album was titled "Cold Spring Harbour" which I always assumed was a reference to Long Island which is not that far from New Jersey and it was a dark album written at about the time of the energy crisis too. I rather suspect that people don't understand what was lost between then and now and so I appreciate your words - a lot. I recall different days too and it disturbs me that so many people are so lost in the detail of today that they can't form valid comparisons - or for some reason they just don't want to. And I sort of understand why they would want to do that, but I saw the very tail end of things as they were and I felt the winds of change and those winds brushed me aside in no uncertain terms. Dunno.

It is an interesting question isn't it? The truth is that I do not know the answer to that question, but I have been given a period of quiet tranquility down here to contemplate it and the world is a very noisy place.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm glad to read that you are still here, and the ADR comments this week are a bit beyond my understanding.

I am actually sorry to read that a building that your husband had constructed is due to be demolished. I hope they make good use of the recovered materials from that building? And I also hope that the replacement building sits well in its country.

The disappearance of the puppies is a concern. Hmm, Toothy the long haired dachshund pulls a similar trick if given the chance. Fortunately all of the other dogs are too clever to go off into the forest for an adventure and he is too fearful to go without backup. However, if a new dog were to arrive no doubts Toothy would encourage them to go a wandering at least once before they discovered that there were consequences to such an action... Did the father of the dogs return home?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Oh yes, the father of the dogs returned home, that was a given.

I am doing no better with the ADR comments. This should be surprising as I had 3 philosophy papers in my final uni. exams. What the heck is meant by 'will' in this context.

It is sad to see my husband's work pulled down and my son had later re-roofed the place. The worst was seeing a property pulled down (built also by him) where my first child was born. There is still an old cottage nearby with a magnificent stone extention that husband built.

Saw my first primrose of the year 3 days ago and daffodils are in bud.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Doug bought a log splitter a couple years ago when he started having a lot of pain in his elbow. I don't recall the cost but don't think it was too high as it was second hand.

There's no way to heat this entire house with wood but we do have fire nightly and most of the day on the weekends. We keep the temp fairly low so it's pretty chilly when you're not moving around.

The humidifiers help but cost in terms of filters and electricity. When we remodeled we should have connected a humidifier to the furnace (whole house humidifier) which would have entailed hooking up more plumbing. In the long run we might have made up much of the cost.

The comments at ADR are a bit challenging. When I was in college many years ago there were two required courses that had a reputation of high rates of failure - "American Government" and "Introductory Philosophy". I wisely waited to take the two dreaded courses until my senior year when I had matured enough, figured out how to successfully study and had gotten the partying out of my system. I aced the American Government class but only received a "C" in the Philosophy class. I waited until my last semester to take it (along with other seniors). As much of our grade was dependent on the final exam we weren't even sure we would receive our diploma. At the graduation ceremony we all checked to be sure there actually was a diploma in the cover.

The weather has been amazingly warm here. Since Friday it's been sunny and in the 60's (F) and forecast to remain well above normal all through the week. One of my nephews said "I'm happy but not sure I should be."

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Yup. Tomatoes can be a problem due to the high acid content. But, they're soooo good! The only other food that comes to mind that can be a problem is pineapple. Oh, and grapefruit. I should just Google "high acid foods." Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "... building an entirely new chicken enclosure..." That way lies madness. :-).

A lot of the tiny houses that I see are built on wheels so they can be moved around, if necessary. One woman who wrote a book about her tiny house built it in Portland (in the yard of her own house, which she then sold) moved it to Olympia (into the backyard of a friend) and then to Seattle (onto a small lot she bought) I think. Over several years. And, here, I hear about a lot of urban tiny houses. Some cities encourage them due to the pressures of urban density. Some even go that route for housing for the homeless. Things seem to be changing. Not that long ago, "mother-in-law" apartments or small cottages could be a zoning problem. Depending on area (and, how many younger people are in the zoning department) things seem to be loosening up.

"Station Agent" isn't really a food film. The food cart just seems to be a point of interaction between the (very) interesting characters. It was the first time I became aware of Peter Dinklage, a very fine actor. Speaking of food, my friend Scott and I are going out for Chinese on Tuesday. My Idaho friend has been nattering on about Chinese food and I've got a craving. Of course, I also have a craving for pizza and fish and chips :-).

We really don't have egrets in this part of the country. But we do have various cranes and herons. Rare enough that they always make me feel "lucky." A good day to buy a lottery ticket, if I did such things :-). In the midwest, Nebraska, there's huge migrations of Sand Hill Cranes. Along the Platt River. Not far from where my Dad grew up. I've never seen them, but National Geographic has done a lot of articles, pictures and films. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. A house spider? Don't think I want to go there. In fact, I think I may have a spider bite on the back of my hand. It itches like heck and doesn't want to heal up, very well. But, I just keep dosing it with alcohol and keep from rubbing it. So far, small and not doing anything outrageous. Quit a few Romans kept a "house snake." Probably to keep the rodent population down, and I think they had some kind of religious connotation. There are often wall paintings of them, usually close to the household shrine. Speaking of such things, Nell caught a mouse in the laundry room, last night. I didn't let her in the house, until I was sure it was quit dead. When I checked back 10 minutes later, there was naught left but the tail and a few choice (or, to her, not so choice) internal organs. Oh, argh.

I now have a burlesque show going on in my china cabinet :-). The trip to Olympia wasn't too bad. Raining, but not too rainy. Heavy traffic, but not too heavy. So, I managed to stay the freeway course until I got to downtown Olympia. The auction house is in a huge old warehouse, close to the waterfront. Olympia is the southern most terminus of Puget Sound. The beam structure holding up the ceiling was quit remarkable.

I won 4 out of 7 lots I was interested in. Some had two items, so I ended up with 6 ladies. Now I'll have to decide which one's to try and flog in Longview. Which to keep. White slavery in the tat world? I think I'm ok, as long as I don't transport them across state lines for immoral purposes :-). I paid a bit more than I wanted to, but only feel bad about one lot I let go by. The price just got a little crazy.

I took the scenic route home, which is the pre-freeway old highway that used to run between Seattle and Portland. Now just a two lane country road that winds from little town, to little town. Before hitting the countryside, the road goes right past our State Capitol, which is one of those huge old domed buildings, modeled on the capitol building in Washington, D.C.. Most states opted for that form of building for state capitols. Oregon doesn't. They had one of the domed jobs until it burnt down in 1935. They rebuilt in some trendy (at the time) architectural style that's pretty ugly on the outside. But I remember from school field trips that it was quit impressive on the inside.

I passed through a little town just north of Centralia called Tenino. Well known for it's sandstone quarry's. There's quit a few interesting sandstone buildings and sculptures scattered around the town. I worked in their library branch, quit often. I noticed there are 3 or 4 antique / junk shops there that I'll have to check out, in future. By then I was just knackered and wanted to get home. Did stop by the Club for a reviving cuppa. Unexpectedly ran into my friend Scott, so was able to regale him with tales of the hunt. And, so on, home. "Home is the hunter, home from the hill." :-) Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: A picture of a mosaic from a Roman villa on the Isle of Wight. The logical outcome of chookflation!

http://www.britainexpress.com/images/attractions/editor/Brading-Roman-Villa-1926.jpg