Monday, 6 March 2017

Scary Cable Monster


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

Poopy had quite the fright this week as he was confronted by a scary cable monster! A cable was temporarily placed across the veranda and clearly that coaxial cable was a scary monster because Poopy refused to walk or run past the cable. It was almost as if Gandalf himself from Lord of the Rings had laid the cable across the veranda and declared: “You shall not pass!” And Mr Poopy took that message seriously enough that indeed he did not pass the scary cable monster.

Strange Poopy behaviour aside, the important question remains unasked: Why was there a cable temporarily placed across the veranda? The simple answer to that question was that my internet modem abruptly died earlier this week. In a strange coincidence, the modem was supplied on a 24 month plan which had less than a few days left to run its course.

We can deal with adversity here at Fernglade Farm, so one afternoon I jumped onto the train and headed into the big smoke of Melbourne and agreed with the nice internet supplier to accept another 24 month plan. In exchange I received a brand new black, shiny internet modem. We were back on the internet again and all was good with the world. Except for Mr Poopy’s rather strange behaviour about the scary cable monster.

So back to the matter of why there was a cable temporarily placed across the veranda. Now of course the new internet modem is much faster than the old and now deceased internet modem and this is a good thing. However the signal that the new modem transmits throughout the house is much weaker than the old modem used to achieve. So to get around this problem of a weak signal inside the house, I thought to myself that I’d simply move the new modem closer to the computer. However nothing involving computer thingees is ever simple, and so that job required relocating the external internet antenna and running a brand new cable from that antenna to the new modem. Thus the temporary test run of the new cable became the scary cable monster (from Mr Poopy’s point of view). Despite Mr Poopy’s misgivings, at least I could again gain access the internet.
On a dark and misty morn, the external internet antenna was moved earlier this week and a temporary cable run was installed
In order to relocate the internet antenna to its new position, I had to climb onto the roof of the house and undertake some work. Whilst I was on the roof of the house the sun came out and I thought to myself: How nice does the view of the garden look from up here? So for the benefit of the readers of the blog, I climbed back down the ladder, grabbed the camera, and climbed back up again and took a photo (Manual Drone CamTM).

About half of the garden as seen from the roof of the house

I felt very sorry for Mr Poopy’s fears of the scary cable monster on the veranda and to that end, I installed the new cable which runs from the internet antenna, under the house and then to the new internet modem. All was then good with the internet world! In case anyone was interested, Mr Poopy elected to make the following comment for the blog about the scary cable monster situation:
Mr Poopy displays a palpable sense of relief of having endured days of stress in the shadow of the scary cable monster, whilst Scritchy boss dog extraordinaire keeps a close lookout for new incursions
This week has been the first quiet week for me since the beginning of the year and so I threw myself into some serious work around the farm. Hang onto your hats folks as this ride is going to get wild!

Earlier in the week, I fed all three hundred fruit trees on the farm with a goodly dose of manure. What that means in reality is that I threw a crate full of manure in the general direction of every one of the fruit trees. I used the little white Suzuki and bright yellow trailer to drive the manure down into an area more or less close to some parts of the orchard. From that point, I offloaded the manure from the back of the bright yellow trailer into crates, and then used the wheel barrow to take the crates closer to the various fruit trees.
The little white Suzuki and bright yellow trailer is used to take manure down the hill into the orchard
After a while the fruit trees were ever further up the hill from the little white Suzuki. The sun was deadly hot and I had started at the bottom of the orchard and was moving uphill. The effort of pushing the heavily laden wheelbarrow uphill in the hot sun was starting to put a strain on my good mood. To save me from cracking the sads, I simply drove the little white Suzuki a little bit further up the hill and parked at a higher position and recommenced unloading the manure again. Eventually all three hundred fruit trees were enjoying a feed in the hot sun.

We continued recovering rocks to use in various projects around the farm. And occasionally we are able (edit: foolhardy enough) to manually move some very large rocks. Excavators, pah, what are they good for?
Occasionally we are able to manually move very large rocks for use in projects about the place
You may notice in the photo above that I am smiling which means that I am not cracking the sads. The reason for my good cheer was that earlier that day, I received confirmation from the local doctor that an unusual and dark spot on my ear that was removed was not normal skin, but neither was it skin cancer. Did I mention that the sun is very intense in Australia? Observant readers will note that in the photo above my head is covered by a broad brim hat and those hats serve a useful function.

Not cracking the sads is a good thing too, as the editor will no doubt attest, but then so is an all clear from a strange and possibly fatal skin condition. To that end the editor and I headed out that evening to the local pub to celebrate:

The autumn night air was warm and there was not the slightest breath of wind. The editor and I sat outside the pub in the outdoor seating area and I enjoyed a pint of local beer ('chop shop' which is a very hop infused ale) whilst the editor had a pint of the tasty local cloudy cider. The pub was quiet - it being a school night and all – and the sky was full of stars as the cooler evening air surrounded us. Even so local people were coming and going into the pub. The outside tables are heavy timber and constructed to withstand the worst of the winter weather and of course the more usual mess left by the pub crowd. There were even a few kids running around the paddock next to the pub. Another couple had two dogs, one of which had a prosthetic foot. For some reason people always bring dogs along to that pub and they are usually well received by the patrons. And after the final rays of light disappeared from the sky, the night closed in, the stars appeared in the sky above, and a local bloke picked up a guitar and started belting out ballads. It was a really lovely and enjoyable night.

As I wrote that description, other local scenes from this week came to mind which I thought that you the readers, may enjoy sharing:

Earlier in the week Mr Poopy and I snuck off to the local general store, which incidentally operates the local post office and an excellent café. As we arrived at the general store with the ostensible purpose and outstanding cover story of checking the mail, I noticed an empty couple of tables near where several tables full of young children were wearing tiaras accompanied by their parents. I was faced with the difficult situation of throwing Mr Poopy into that volatile mix and decided that it would probably not be a relaxing experience, so I checked the mail and took Mr Poopy home again without stopping for my usual coffee and fruit toast.

The local petrol (gas) station is located on a now bypassed section of the old highway. Despite being located in the middle of nowhere with alternating paddocks and forest surrounding it, the petrol station is heavily used by the locals. The other day whilst I was filling up the little white Suzuki with petrol, I noticed a couple of trucks which had trays full of bee hives and wondered where they were taking them. I also wondered what had become of the poor bees that failed to make it back to the hive before the hive boxes were moved.

The sun has been hot this week. Now that my ear is finally beginning to heal (from the removal of the unusual skin spot) I was able to don the chainsaw helmet which has proper ear muffs and begin cutting firewood again. At one point in that early morning, I took the helmet off and sought relief from the sun in shade provided by the little white Suzuki. As I cooled off in the shade and consumed a drink of water, I looked across the paddock and saw a sea of yellow dandelion flowers dancing above the summer dried grass. But flying to and fro just above the flowers were dozens and dozens of orange butterflies all going about their business.

I almost forgot to mention it, but this week I mowed (by hand) almost two thirds of the farm.
This week I mowed by hand almost two thirds of the farm
Mowing involves walking behind a little red Honda push mower. Backwards and forwards you walk up hill and down dale for hours on end. I covered a bit over two and half to possibly three acres this week. Some people may feel that that is hard work, but I find mowing and walking to be a very relaxing activity. The editor and I once walked 130km (81 miles) over five days on the Great South West Walk. When we started the walk we thought that we would have great insights and profound thoughts. Instead we simply discovered that long distance walking is very much like a form of meditation which is very relaxing for the mind.

When you mow by hand you can get to observe the world around you at a slow pace. I often spot seedling fruit trees during those times. Some of those seedling fruit trees I surround with a steel cage in order to protect them from the voracious wallabies. This week I stumbled across a seedling avocado.
This week I stumbled across a seedling avocado
A couple of nights ago as the editor and I were walking up the road to pick some wild blackberries, by sheer chance, we met a neighbour who offered us the opportunity to pick some apples from his old apple tree. Of course we took up that offer and offered some eggs, zucchini and tomatoes in return. However, I have never before seen an apple tree so heavily laden with fruit. Initially we thought that it must have been an old apple tree but upon reflection, we reckon that the tree is perhaps more than thirty years, but less than forty years old. Anyway, we picked 4 bags of apples, and barely made a dent in the vast collection of apples on that tree.
We picked bags of apples from a neighbours apple tree
Earlier in the day we had been picking apples from local wild apple trees. Of course, if a person is faced with a huge glut of apples, then the best thing to do is to make apple wine and apple cider vinegar. The apples are first blitzed in the food processor:
Apples are blitzed in the food processor
We eventually blitzed one third of the apples and ended up with two 20kg (44 pound) buckets of blitzed apples. The blitzed apples are then placed in the fruit press where they are squeezed mercilessly. The apple juice is then collected:
A fruit press mercilessly squeezes any fruit so that the juices can be collected
Apple wine has water, sugar and champagne yeast added into the mix, whilst apple cider vinegar is apple juice and yeast. This stuff is very easy to make.
A batch of apple wine and apple cider vinegar was produced today
Of course, nothing gets wasted here, and the two solid blitzed apple cakes were removed from the fruit press and fed to some very happy chickens:
The now solid blitzed apple cakes were fed to some very happy chickens
The tomatoes have begun to ripen and every couple of days we are collecting a tub full of tomatoes:
The tomatoes have begun to ripen in quantity
Most techniques for a small holding revolve around the concept of preserving natures bounty when it is in season. Nature, I’ve noticed, is rarely considerate about supplying bounty across all of the seasons and so we have to be clever and learn how to preserve that bounty. This applies to firewood; apples; or tomatoes:
We have begun dehydrating tomatoes for consumption later in the year
Cucumbers and zucchini’s (courgettes) are feral – do not ever turn your back on those plants:
Cucumbers and zucchini’s (courgettes) are feral
Medlars which are an old school fruit that tastes strangely like dates. They are also used here to make an excellent wine and it is exciting that the fruit are starting to swell in size.
Medlars which are an old school fruit that tastes strangely like dates are starting to swell in size
As is the new tradition, I’ll end the blog with some nice flower photos for the enjoyment of people living in the cold Northern hemisphere!
Agapanthus flowers form a colourful – and bee attracting – hedge for the lower driveway
I’ve finally managed to get an Echinacea plant growing
Who doesn’t love salvia’s, geraniums, and lavender?
Some of the geraniums have almost iridescent flowers
But the roses steal the show

The temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is 15’C (59’F). So far this year there has been 85.8mm (3.4 inches) which is the more or less the same as last week’s total of 84.6mm (3.3 inches).

69 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

One day per week can achieve a great deal can't it? Look at the firewood here for example, one day per week and eventually the job is complete. Pacing oneself is a lost art.

I had that pea and ham soup in mind when I was thinking about your comment so I appreciate the fact that you also enjoy the finer side of a ham hock! :-)! Yum!

I don't have children so am unsure about what makes one chatty, whilst the other is quiet so I'll accept your opinion on the matter. Everyone has different modes of communication, although I reckon the more hours of television a person watches, the more they sound the same as other people with that habit. It is unsettling from my point of view.

When I was in Peru I saw one of those mummies. The locals were very happy to display the mummy in all her finery and the body was kept in a refrigerated glass chamber. It was a strange experience. But then I felt equally strange visiting the Củ Chi tunnels in Vietnam. Overseas the editor and I only ever travelled to third world countries and I personally enjoyed having western culture revealed as strange for the locals in those countries. I suffered considerable culture shock upon returning from a trip to India and Nepal and saw my own country through other eyes. Most people I know travel to first world countries and experience travel differently. Have you ever travelled much outside of your trip to Australia?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the detailed explanation about health insurance matters over in the US. It is interesting that you mention the difference between full time employment and part time / casual employment. Under employment is seriously on the rise down here and I find that trend to be a worrying thing. I wonder if the people doing the actual employing concern themselves about their own status of employment? The Golden Rule of "Do unto others" applies in this case very strongly. All of the businesses I deal with are pretty good on that front and they call it as it is, but from what I can see it is usually the much larger businesses that appear to be squeezing employees for the purposes of satisfying the remuneration of the board of directors. It is not a strategy with legs.

Playing dumb is a strategy I fully subscribe too. Respect for also playing that card. It works most times.

Insurers can go broke you know. I was once sold a policy on the afternoon of the day before the collapse of the insurer HIH. I couldn't believe that I was left holding a policy which I had paid for in full that was worth nothing. Such an outcome was unthinkable, until it happened. Anyway, I can pull a swifty too and I foisted the policy certificate of currency off as part of a contract of sale. The policy was never intended to be used, it was in place as a legislative requirement and I would have had to personally resolve any matters relating to that policy for a term of six years anyway. It was in effect a piece of paper that I had to pay for.

Really? Nobody thought to investigate the matter further. That may be an interesting book, but the author appears from your description to have an in built bias towards cyber attacks when plain old fashioned attacks do the job just as well, clearly if not better. I wonder why nobody has been brought to account for that dastardly deed. I saw things as they were before computers were inserted into systems and it didn't seem to be that big a deal to me.

I'd have to suggest that we are spiritually poorer for the lack of that experience. Of course the financial transaction at the end of the process is one part of the transaction, but when that became the central component, well things weren't so good. I have heard people describe the feelings they get after purchasing new vehicles called: "buyers remorse" and I've personally wondered about the matter that you raised in that regard.

Luck perhaps has very little to do with the matter. On the other hand maintaining a dialogue with other people has a whole lot to do with it. The editor was explaining to me about a radio show on triple j called "The hookup" which is about relationships as they are in the current world and all of the problems that are encountered. No stone is left unturned and I find it sometimes painful to listen to. However, basically I reckon the program describes a lot of the tensions that are felt by young people and some of the shows are horrific, but educational at the same time and a whole lot of mental health issues that I never personally had to confront. I had no idea about the troubles brewing just below the surface. Anyway, they had a show about the fine line between being too available and completely unavailable and it was fascinating because no consensus was ever reached, and I reckon you touched on that very subject with your comment about not wanting to make people feel stupid in the book world and thus you flew under the radar with the corporate spies. Other people feel very differently and they have a very abrasive approach to dialogue and I rather suspect that it is because they eat and poo in the same spot and have not yet learned the implications of that strategy. Dunno, you really touched on a complex matter.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Exactly, past dealings set the tone for people, but so to does ego and also I've noticed that many people are comfortable in their beliefs as long as they remain unchallenged. Get in the ring, I say!

Well, the early bloom on the cherry trees is what climate change looks like. I rather suspect that the fruit trees (of course those ones are ornamental cherry trees) will adapt in time as they have such long and adaptive genetics to draw upon. I may be very wrong too.

Windy and cold sounds very unpleasant from the land of now spring (in autumn!)

Beware of girl scouts offering you cookies! You barely escaped with your life my friend! Next they may have triffids in your local shopping centre? Watch out!

No! Tell me it is not true. Artificial bees. Why have we accepted the demise of the humble European honey bee? And how could a robot drone bee be economically viable? Do they not realise that the average hive contains tens of thousands of bees? Good luck with that silly idea.

Just to confuse the grammatical matter, one could use the words: That which... And get both words into one sentence. That'll mess with their heads won't it? :-)! I have never really thought much on the matter of using the words: that; or which, and hope not too again!

Oh yeah, handbags are some very high margin products. Actually I believe they are right up there. Did you notice the bit about hiding the products country of origin? Interesting stuff.

Was Pandora's lunchbox a good read? I'm reading "At home in the world" and it is an interesting, if painful read, but at least the anthropologist is also a poet and he can convey an emotion and feeling at the same time as a concept.

I first heard the term "Sticky Chicken" as it was used by the very well known comedian down under: Wil Anderson. Wil is a clever bloke who has had a hugely successful career and even ran a very successful program on the advertising industry called the Gruen Transfer. It is well worth watching, although I have only seen a few episodes. With the chicken bit, Wil was at the time a breakfast radio DJ on triple J (good luck being funny and getting up at 4am every day – I’d be Mr Grumpy!) and he was referring to his own legs which were very thin, with the comparison being to that of a chickens body which has thin legs compared to the torso. Now in Wil's case at the time of the comment he was actually a reasonably thin looking bloke who has my sort of body shape. Hope that explains that. It was a self deprecatory comment intended to amuse.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bukko,

Hmmm. You got bounced because your comment doesn't fit. If nothing else, I am a benevolent dictator. I left an explanation in the reply to Lewis.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Funny what dogs are afraid of isn't it. It sounds like Poopy is not a dog who gets on with kids. This is pretty understandable as kids, especially those toddler age, can be pretty hard on dogs. Many years ago we decided to get our first dog so off we went to the local shelter. We were pretty flexible except the dog had to be good with children. Our youngest was only 1 and I was doing daycare in our home for 4 other children the same age. Imagine our surprise that the dog they recommended was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier - one of the breeds lumped in as a pit bull. Were they ever right - Caro was amazingly patient while all the kids would pull at her. When she'd had enough she just got up and left. She was tough in all other ways though - having been ripped open twice by the neighbor's very nasty Rottweiler as just one example.

Glad to see the tomatoes are coming in. Your dehydrator looks similar to mine.

Sounds like a very productive week!! A wheelbarrow is very necessary. Just yesterday I used ours to haul a very large raccoon that I caught in our live trap out to the woods. The night before when I went out to close up there was a possum in the coop which luckily was interested in the chicken feed and just ran out when it saw me. Instead of the possum it was the big coon.

The court appearance went well though there's still much to do with Patrick's estate. Many complications and the lawyer's description of all that needed to be done made my head spin.
My sister and I did have a nice lunch afterwards at the Walnut room as planned. I went back into Chicago the next afternoon as my youngest daughter was having a celebration of her 35th birthday. This included dinner at a great Korean BBQ and then it was off to her favorite karaoke establishment. This place has many different size rooms to rent out for as long as you like with separate karaoke equipment. She had quite a crowd of friends and family.

What breed is the chicken in the picture with the large floppy comb? I have a couple like that - brown leghorns that lay white eggs.

Margaret

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Congratulations on the echinacea plant and its beautiful flower! It must have lived through your long winter to be blooming now, a very good sign that it will continue to live for a long time. I think the echinaceas are my favorite flowers. The bees love the flowers and the finches (small seed-eating birds) love the seeds.

I do not blame Poopy one bit for his fear of the scary cable monster, which I imagine appeared to him as a snake. Goodness knows you have snakes to strike fear in the hearts of humans and dogs alike. You were very brave to get that nasty cable monster snake out of there! ;)

Mike tells me that some magnolias and our apricot trees are already blooming back in St. Louis - this is two to three weeks earlier than has become the norm. It'll still be several weeks (late April) before the possibility of a late freeze is no longer a worry. Worse, it's conceivable we could get multiple late freezes after tree leaves break dormancy, which will not be too long from now if the warm weather continues. It seems to be very common for deciduous trees to have a second set of leaf buds ready to go in case the first set of leaves get frozen off by a late freeze, such as last happened to us in early April of 2007. But I don't know if they would have more leaf buds to the ready if a second set of leaves got frozen off. With a warmer than normal March predicted, it may not be a concern; I don't think we'd get more than one freeze in April if we got one at all. But the possibility cannot be discounted.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, now you know how to keep Poopy out of places (or in places). You might want to keep a piece of cable around just for that purpose. Or maybe, there's some strange electronic emanation from the cable that dogs can detect, but are beyond our rather dulled senses? Animal wrangling can be a trial. Beau and Nell often have ideas about where they want to be that run counter to where I think they should be. Nell has discovered that she can run around my overstuffed chair, endlessly, and never be scooped up to be put outside.

Your photos are outstanding. Lush. Your gardens are just approaching peak.

I do feel for the young folks trying to navigate the job world, and find some kind of security. Here, there's a lot of talk lately about the "Gig" economy. Rootless, moving from place to place and position to position. Some seem to like the "freedom" and constant change of scene. I must admit that when I was a temp clerical for the library, I quit liked moving from branch to branch as needed. Other forms of "Gig" are "temps" (temporary workers) and "private contractors." Of the last, there was a lot of wrangling between the government, and business, as to what was a "real" employee, and what was a private contractor. What's a temporary employee? A year? Three years? Five years? It all boils down to how much reporting, taxing, or benefits business wants to provide. These days, as little as possible.

The attack on the electrical substation was executed with military precision. It was clearly "cased." The attackers knew exactly where to stand, to fire at the substation and do maximum damage, without straying into the line of security cameras. They covered their tracks, well. The case is still open, but there are no leads. Of course, the frightening thought is: "Was it a test run?" These were not amateurs.

Hmm. Buyers remorse. I've also heard it attached to houses. Of course, the financial costs, via the credit card has been kind of disconnected from the buying experience. As commerce well knows. By the time the credit card bill rolls in, it's been pretty much disconnected from the item. And now that most credit card bills are on-line ... experiences, you don't even have to actually hold something concrete in your hands. I often see advice to people trying to get their spending under control, to pay cash for everything. It's more "real." Of course, I hear from time to time of places that no longer take cash. Cont.

Jo said...

Ah, so this week you are doing some serious work. Clearly up to now you have just been faffing about moving a couple of rocks and a few sticks of firewood??

Ok, question for the week - when you dehydrate your tomatoes, do you store them in oil, or do you keep them in some other type of container? And if in oil, do you refrigerate them?

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Relationships. What a can of worms. I don't read the Agony Aunts, but occasionally a headline catches my eye and I wonder "What where they thinking" when they got involved with this or that person. A major fallacy seems to be "I thought I could change him (or her.)" Face to face and lots of time seems to be the best way to avoid disasters. But that's not how the world works, these days. Mostly.

Read the part in "Deluxe" about the silk trade and the country of origin boondoggle. Cheapening of brands. Of course, I remember in the 1950s when things from Japan were conceived as "cheap junk." Well, that changed. I must admit that even I (yes, even me!) have thought some brands have "cheapened" their reputations. I used to think quit highly of the Lands End brand and often bought shirts from them, when I had to have a good shirt for work. Then they were bought by Sears, and my perception changed. LL Bean is still privately owned. Eddie Bauer was bought by General Mills, then the Spigel catalog people bought them, went bankrupt and now it's owned by some rather mysterious holding company that also owns chain restaurants and potato farms. I thought that Martha Stewart had "cheapened her brand" when she forged an alliance with K-Mart (which is owned by Sears ... which (that?) is trembling on the edge of bankruptcy.

"Pandora's Lunchbox" is pretty good. I read another couple of chapters and it was about the founding of the Federal Food and Drug Administration and the early pure food acts. The constant tension and watering down of such agencies and laws, due to pressure from business. There was also a pretty good description of the (rather new) occupation of "food scientist." What they do, how they view food. I guess this book falls in the realm of "ain't it awful." Maybe reading these is like getting a yearly shot for the flu. Every once in awhile I need to remind myself that cooking with the basic ingredients is the way to go, if you want to avoid chemicals in your food.

"At Home in the World" sounds interesting. At first I was confused as I didn't think it was another book of the same title that has to do with the very young mistress of a very famous writer's "tell all." :-). You were probably referring to the book by Oxenreider. What a great name! I'll see if my library has it. Speaking of great names, I forgot to mention that the fellow who did my little bronze is named Julian Gotsch-Jordan. :-).

A flurry of snow, yesterday afternoon, and the same, last night. About an hour ago, it really started snowing, but only came down for about a half hour. Followed by a thick carpet of hail. The snow was quit pretty, coming down. This time of the year I always wonder if that will be the last of it, til next year. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I stopped off at the doctors on the way home tonight to get the stitches removed from my ear so all is good, but I'm feeling a little bit tired.

Mr Poopy is mostly good with kids but sometimes he can lose patience with them and so perhaps like most dogs he is probably best treated as unpredictable. However, your Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Caro) was clearly a dog amongst dogs and a paragon of sensible behaviour. I've had dogs like that too and kids can pull their ears, nose and tails and the dogs look at the kids with only love. You can never tell which will be like that until they've proven themselves. How did you come up with that particular name?

The dehydrator is a well known Australian brand, but I believe they imported them from the US, so it probably is the same unit.

Yeah, I keep two wheelbarrows in working order, although one of them is very old now and very beaten around by large rocks. Raccoons are massive and very clever. I wonder if the lure of the chicken feed will bring the raccoon back?

Ha! My job can sometimes make peoples head spin too, although I do try my best not to achieve that result, plus I make a rule of not fee gouging.

I've never had a Korean BBQ, but I reckon it would be pretty tasty.

The breed with the floppy comb is a black leghorn, although they are little bantams. I like bantams as the eggs are almost as big as the normal sized bird, but they eat less. An old timer got me onto bantams with that clever observation.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you and the lovely photos of the Echinacea plants in your garden have been an inspiration to get them established here. I'll keep an eye out for the small birds and the seeds too - thanks for the tip. I'm hoping over the next year or two to get a patch of multi-coloured Russell Lupins established. :-)!

Mr Poopy likes to think so too. And I'd never considered that he thought that the cable was a snake, but no doubts you are correct about that. One day, myself, the editor or one of the dogs will get into trouble on that front. But then a spider bite may take us all out too. It can be a little bit too exciting on that front sometimes.

Things are warming up and changing and it does not surprise me at all to read about your experience. Lewis mentioned above about the ornamental cherry tree blossoms in Washington DC. Apricots down here were so early earlier this season that a late and heavy frost knocked off most of the blossoms and took out the first set of leaves. However, the apricot, nectarine and peach trees all recovered - albeit with no fruit. Apricots are the stone fruit to preserve down here because the flesh is very firm and they don't turn to mush in the preserving processes. Alas, for my winter as we will be enjoying stewed rhubarb as a replacement. I don't know about the second freeze, but I rather suspect the trees are hardier and more adaptable than you may be aware, but don't expect fruit in those conditions.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You know, I really have no idea what Mr Poopy was thinking about with that cable. He was already a year and a half old when I got him and he had had some strange experiences as a pup. He used to wet himself and cower in fear if he was yelled at, so clearly he was and is a bit damaged. I am very gentle and consistent with him, so he's cool.

Animal wrangling - imagine the job of the horse breaker: trying to get into the mind of a recalcitrant and unwilling horse. I guess a difference in size is not a difference in kind, but still it would take a lot of effort to break a horse. Nell is pretty clever and with your winters I wouldn't want to go outside either.

Thank you! I got the stitches in my ear removed tonight and when I got home I just sat in the courtyard and watched the sun set and listened to the sounds of the forest. It was very relaxing, although the dogs were pestering me for biscuits and chunks of muffin.

I enjoy the change of scenery too, but if people have tied themselves down with commitments they may have to work more to afford to pay for those commitments and the "Portfolio Economy" will not work for them. You and I chose to avoid those commitments and so life is easier. It is an option, but apparently people want more than that. When I was young I was told that I could have it all and I should expect it all. That story didn't match up with what I saw of my mums life and so I chose differently, but most other seem to want the other narrative and it is really hard for them to step away from it.

Economists often quip that the basic economic problem is that: Demand is unlimited. Because we are so used to hearing that catchphrase and having positive associations with the word demand, we don't also appreciated that that basic economic problem could just as well have been restated as follows: Greed is unlimited. That sounds different to a persons ears and mind doesn't it? I wonder why they don't express the basic economic problem that way because it means exactly the same as the way they state it?

Down here there are a set of six tests which are applied to a persons employment situation to determine if they are an employee or self employed. There was a lot of abuse in the system before those rules got put in place. Usually it revolved around reducing head count (i.e. number of employees - not people mind you) in an organisation to achieve some sort of key performance indicator which was used to support bonuses for the higher up people in large organisations.

Far out. These things happen and probably have a lot to do with geo-politics which is all over my head. No doubt, the favour was returned.

That is a good point about cash being visceral. Yeah, I suspect you are correct. The same argument could be applied to energy.

Yeah, I have heard old jokes about: Aisle; Altar; Hymn (say it fast enough and you'll get the joke). It is just not funny though. My gut feeling is that perfection is over rated and it is a really bad idea to tell an employer that you are a perfectionist as they will really do a job on you. :-)! Good enough and fit for purpose is fine with me. Not everyone agrees with me in that regard though and expectations of other people can be very high, even if delivery by that person with expectations is rather on the low side... Most of the times the narrative that is pushed smacks into day to day existence and comes unglued. I had the great fortune to suffer from that from a very young age and so the whole thing never floated my boat. What do they say about a rising tide lifts all boats, but a tsunami washes most of them away!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

When things from Japan were conceived as "cheap junk." Yeah, I recall that attitude when I was a kid. Things sure did change on that front didn't they? I try to obtain as much locally made stuff as possible, but manufacturing has reduced from 25% (when the Federal government was calling us a banana republic) to something like 8% nowadays. Did we evolve to that point? ;-)! I don't reckon it had to be that way.

I'd go with the use of the "which", although we could have hours of discussion on that subject. I didn't know that about K-Mart in the US. There is a K-Mart down under but I believe they are not associated. There have been rumours of vast trouble brewing in the retail sector as Amazon has announced intended plans to start down under. From my perspective it looks like a race to the bottom.

Yeah, I dunno whether I have the stomach to read those books as I may start wondering about food and that can take away the enjoyment a little bit. Yeah, making stuff from scratch seems like the way to go.

Who would have thought that so many books shared the same name. And tell all books about reclusive authors would probably be rather dull because they are reclusive. Dunno though. I always feel really bad that I didn't enjoy the book The Catcher in the Rye. I found the story to be rather dull in the same vein that I never understood the film The Graduate either. The characters just seemed unhappy but in a way that completely lacked any direction. I'm ranting, sorry.

Having the name Oxenreider would make you cool, regardless. I'd like to introduce to you Mr Oxenreider, he is a particle physicist. Mr Oxenreider replies: Hey babe, is this party boring you? I'm from another planet. Check out my cool name.

No the book was written by an anthropologist with the rather unfortunate name of Michael Jackson. He is also a poet and the books reads beautifully but it is a painful subject matter.

Thanks for the lovely description of your snow. Lovely stuff. It is going to be around 86'F here for the next few days. It is quite pleasant really.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Ha! Of course, the previous weeks I was just taking it easy. Hehe! This week did sound like a lot even to me when I was writing the blog though, but every week is different. I do sometimes worry that I don't work nearly hard enough.

The Fowlers Vacola unit was picked up second hand on ebay. They clean up really well. Some of the units which look like toaster ovens may not clean up as easily. Just something to be aware of. And the replacement trays for the Fowlers unit are very easy to obtain.

Now to your excellent question: Once the tomatoes are crispy dry, we store them in high quality olive oil. Shake out the air bubbles in the olive oil. The tomato flavour infuses the olive oil really nicely and that gets used for making omelettes and baking fresh bread (the olive oil browns the top and sides of the loaf) during the winter. Tasty and very little waste. I have been told by reliable sources that people consume the tomatoes like chips, but I have no experience with that method and have no idea how the tomatoes were stored. People last year had a panic attack about botulism bacteria with the method I used, but I'm still here alive and kicking. The tomatoes lasted I reckon for about six months and were still perfect although I was little bit apprehensive as you probably should be in your first year of a new food preserving technique.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, Nell doesn't seem to mind the weather. She mostly likes to go outside. So much going on! There's a nice deep front porch for her to shelter on and she has a hidey hole under a bench to take naps. She also likes it under my truck. But sometimes, she likes to take her own sweet time deciding if she wants to go out, or not. That it's her idea, not mine. :-). I have been a bit concerned. She's loosing her fur on her inner back legs and tummy. I did a bit of research online, and it's nothing dire. She's not over grooming and the skin looks fine. No sores. The rest of her coat looks great and her behavior hasn't changed. So, what's the problem? Well, wait for it, she may have developed a sensitivity to grains. My cat is gluten intolerant! Maybe. So, I'm going to try introducing new food to her. Gluten free. Probably be expensive :-(.

I try and buy American made. Not much of that around. There's even a few websites devoted to "Made in America" products. Not much out there, anymore. Socks are about all I can find, local. Since most of my clothes come from opportunity stores, I don't feel too bad. At least I'm not feeding the industry, directly.

So. Now we have 4 books with the same title. The one by the reclusive writer's young mistress, the one by Oxenreider, the one you read, and my library has something of the same title by a contemplative Tibetan monk. Library does not have the one you read. Boo. Books have a copyright, but, apparently that doesn't cover titles. Interesting aside. Way back when AA was just getting off the ground, and The Big Book had been written, they were casting about for a title. "A Way Out" was a leading contender ... until they checked with the Library of Congress to discover that there were something like 15 other books by that title. In the end, they went with The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Referred to, usually, just as The Big Book. I recently saw a listing for a first edition, signed by one of the founders being flogged for $23,000. Wouldn't mind finding that at a boot sale. :-).

Read some more of "Pandora's Lunchbox", last night. There was a bit that pretty well described how the rise of processed food came about, in the early 1900s. People wanted "...products that were attractively packaged, nationally advertised, longer lasting, more convenient and of inferior nutritional value." :-). Well, I think that last bit was a bit tongue in cheek. Cleanliness and hygiene were also high on the list. That was from a chapter called "The Quest for Eternal Cheese." I was relieved to discover that most of that processed cheese I ate growing up was pretty much made with real cheese. Processed cheese. Not so much anymore. Now they fracture milk to make a "cheese product." I usually refer to that stuff as coming in 50 gallon drums. :-).

Another interesting bit of information is that 70-80% of Australian wool goes to China. And one of the byproducts is Vitamin D. Which fortifies all kinds of foods, such as dairy and cereals. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Also read another chapter in "Deluxe." The thinking behind the rise of factory outlet malls. They're thick on the ground, here. We have two in Centralia. Not too many luxury brands, but a few. It's interesting to see how retail has evolved. Department stores, then shopping malls (which are dying). Then factory outlet strips and malls. Which seem to be loosing their edge. And now retail both traditional and clearance seem to be moving onto the web.

I also had a bit of an insight into my own behavior (maybe). I've often wondered about the roots of my own love (lust for) various kinds of tat. Just maybe, it's that I can't afford, say, a restored Arts and Crafts style bungalow (the coterie ... the deluxe) but I can afford the decor (the accessories.) Hmmm. Food for thought.

From news on the tree front, a new survey or census has been done of English oaks, in England. Many more old oaks than previously thought to exist have been discovered. Several around 1,000 years old. Their survival had a lot to do with the culture and social conditions in England from 1066 on. Vast royal hunting parks and strict King's forest laws. Also, the importation of a variety of deer that kept other seedlings cropped, but didn't particularly like oak saplings.

And, from my own State, a retired fellow who likes to try and discover "lost" apple varieties has discovered three in Eastern Washington. Verified by "heirloom apple experts." There's an area south of Spokane called Steptoe Butte that apparently has a plethora of old apple trees. No indication as to how this happened. Old homesteads? He has found three previously thought to be extinct, varieties. Nero, Arkansas Beauty and Dickinson.

That area is very hot and dry in the summer. Given climate change, those apples might be worth preserving. They've been growing merrily away, totally neglected, for maybe 100 years. In very adverse conditions. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The feline mind is rarely bothered by all of the heat escaping out the front door whilst they stand in the doorway surveying their domain for possible threats or prey! It is a complex problem and the dogs do the same thing here in winter. They poke their noses out and you can almost feel the reluctance but fortunately I usually get a boot behind their rears and give them a gentle shove.

Wow! I've never heard of a cat with a gluten intolerance before. I always thought that cats prefer a diet rich in proteins and fats? Dunno really. Dogs seem to be able to eat a diet which is pretty similar to ours - although they really enjoy bones for their teeth. It is funny you mention the cat missing the fur as a long time ago I had a cat with that problem but it was caused by the cat wrapping itself around a heater flue on cold winters nights... Ouch! The cat didn't seem to mind terribly much though. Have you considered cooking up Nell's food? I make all of the dogs feed here so I know what they are consuming - except for the stuff that I don't know about that they source themselves.

Second hand is a very adaptive strategy and I purchase heaps of stuff second hand as the quality is well beyond the new items. Speaking of which I had an offer today for someone to retire some old fruit trees up here and I'm really excited about that offer, although it will be complicated, but manageable. And speaking of crapification, a zipper broke on the suit pants I was wearing yesterday - I mean what's the chance of that happening? Talk about awkward! Of course one has to be cool in such a situation so we all had a laugh about it. Disclosure is a better course of action than having people think the wrong thing.

I didn't know that copyright doesn't extend to titles. Interesting! I wanted to see a film with a very clever title: A street cat named Bob (after a street car named desire) but it is not showing anywhere near to my usual haunts... Ripping of a good title is my specialty and it is nice that others do it too. Incidentally speaking about all things writing, someone trolled me in French! I reckon that has to be some sort of milestone, don't you reckon? I had to laugh when I saw the comment. My French is not so good and perhaps the context was not so well understood, but a troll is a troll... I should thank them for the laughs. However, don't feed the trolls seems to be the order of the day! ;-)! Oh yeah, what an awesome find such a book would be. I'll bet they're out there too. I heard a story once that there is a show over in the US where people purchase lots of items in storage lockers and the people buying the lot don't really know what is in there. I bet they find some gems from time to time?

What do you mean that cheese is not cheese anymore? Is that serious? I reckon you are right about the last item being tongue in cheek. I had to laugh. Did they really write that? The editor is reading up on yoghurt making at the moment as that stuff is more complicated than it looks and we have been a bit hit and miss with our batches of late. In such instances it is best to go back to basics.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I didn't know that about the wool having Vitamin D as a by-product. Way back in the day the wool bales were sent to England for processing. It would be nice if we were too process it into textiles down here, but there you go, tribute goes in one direction.

Ha! Where the plane crashed a few weeks back was a factory outlet complex. It is a big complex too. I can't help but shake the feeling that most of these downward steps are all about maintaining dirt low prices. In my mind it looks like a sort of stair step process and at some point we may reach the landing at the bottom of the stairs.

Hey, those Arts and Craft style buildings were a short period of time, but the buildings are usually very delightful on the eye. There were gardens that were begun in that time too.

A tree that can survive a thousand years in a heavily populated country is a thing to be celebrated - and probably left well alone too. Some of the Huon Pines in Tasmania are double that age, but they made for rot resistant timber used in shipping so they were harvested heavily. You may be interested to know that the oak saplings here are very very hardy and they just do their own thing year after year, but they do seem rather slow growing. I picked up a whole bunch of tree saplings today to plant out whilst the soil is still warm. The trees are nitrogen fixing and very long lived.

That bloke is like an old school plant hunter. Oh yeah, those apple trees really would be worth preserving and I would certainly enjoy a few seeds from those trees - they probably grow mostly true to type too because the genetic pool for them would be so small in that area. The wild apple trees around here are like that too as they survive frost, drought, fire, flood and they just keep growing year after year. I often wonder if it is because they are seedling trees with huge root systems than the more stunted grafted varieties. The grafted apple trees are kept small because the root stock is a deliberate variety with small root systems. Apple trees can be highly variable in their growth patterns.

Hey check this out: Summer heat broke 205 records and more extreme weather is to come, Climate Council of Australia reports. An impressive achievement!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Great work using the Suzuki to assist with feeding your fruit trees, what a sensible and civilised method!

Sorry to hear about your internet woes, finding good quality consumer grade networking equipment has always been troublesome, if not borderline impossible. The specifications that matter (RAM and CPU speed) are never advertised on the box and shortcuts are taken with thermal management and PCB solder quality etc etc. It may be possible to improve your WiFi though, there are different bands it can transmit on (a,b,n,g) and these all have different propagation and reflection characteristics. If you log into your modem and check the WiFi settings, see if you can experiment with switching between N and G. You might be lucky!

Dad arrived in Luang Prabang on the weekend and is starting to find bearings in his new home for the next year (or more). Today we took him out to the still-in-development Buffalo Dairy. Everyone at the embassy is very excited about this dairy as it is a new industry for Laos and promises many benefits in terms of employment, training and earning export dollars. Even the Laos government is interested with many official motorcade visits and important photographs. The owners tell me all of this excitement and official interest has not translated into any actual help, grants or paperwork fast-tracks, indeed it slows them down dropping everything for a day when the ex-president etc. visits.

Dad, in the form of an Australian government funded volunteer is the first concrete assistance they have got. Today he offered sage advice as they begun installation of the vacuum pump and milking lines. Once installed they can milk 12 buffalo at a time instead of 1 as they currently do.

Unfortunately, the owners, who are lovely and great friends, seem to keep (deliberately?) misunderstanding Dads role at the dairy. Thinking he will be there in a farm manager type role every day, putting out fires and managing staff! For the past 6 months we have continuously talked and discussed with them that we are here to train and develop skills of Laos nationals, directly working a private company is actually a big no-no (although this may change in the near future)! Anyway, no doubt it will become clear to them in due course :p

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Glad the stitches are out. A friend of mine is having a growth on her hand removed today that has already been determined to be cancerous - nothing to fool around with.

Hey anyone can lose patience with kids so Poopy has lots of company.

The chicken feed and the cat food definitely lure both raccoons and possums. Raccoons are probably our number one predator and they're very smart and nasty. They are very prolific too so we never feel bad about ridding the world of a few.

At the Korean BBQ they bring out about 20 small dishes of various vegetables, some spicy and some mild. There's enough for everyone to take a small sample. Various marinated meats are available that you BBQ right at the table as well as a large variety of other prepared entrees. It was a very busy restaurant and most of the clientele was Korean.

Ah black leghorns - my brown leghorns have the same large floppy combs. They're not bantams but are definitely on the small size. One of the reasons I included them in the flock is they are pretty predator savy and are great foragers. So far that seems to be the case. However, they easily fly over the fence of the very large pen so they just come and go as they please. They often lay eggs somewhere in the barn instead of the coop too.

Last week Lew mentioned that Chicago is known as the "windy city" and it certainly is that. Sometimes ropes are put out on some of the plazas of the skyscrapers so people can hang on to get themselves into the building. There can be kind of a wind tunnel effect between the buildings at times. Lake Michigan is also a big influence on the weather as well. The last few days have been terribly windy here as well. Some of Doug's hives blew over including the one that made it through the winter. He got it back up and thinks it's going to be OK.

We've got about a week coming up that'll be below normal weather conditions.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

Quite a few years ago we had a dog that had terrible allergies and would scratch himself raw. He had very little hair on his stomach too. The vet said he was allergic to many things like grass and he really suffered during ragweed season. He gave him steroids which really affected his behavior in a negative way. Well somewhere I read that some dogs are allergic to corn and in most dog foods, especially back then, corn was the first ingredient. When I switched to a dog food without corn like lamb and rice his allergies improved drastically. His hair all grew back like we had never seen. He still was allergic to ragweed etc but he was able to go off the medication. I don't know how much grain is in cat food but it'll be interesting to see how Nell does with the change in diet.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

This is bad news about your modem, but perhaps newer is better . . . hmm, crapification . . . Before I continue reading what appears to be an extra delightful post, I will comment that our internet service has just been out for 3 1/2 days and when it returned we had to jump through all sorts of hoops with someone on the phone to make our modem accept that service was back. Our power was out for half a day before that, too. My husband calls these services the Frontier Phone Company and the Frontier Power Company. Ever hear of Hooterville?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I see they've finally picked a captain for the new Star Trek tv series. Jason Isaacs, and English actor. Must be good, or at least easy to get along with, as he seems to have been steadily employed for quit awhile. Most of the time, he's played heavies and villains. Reminds me a bit of Scott Bakula. Little does he know what he's getting into. Well, now that I've got the really important stuff out of the way ... :-)

I don't think I'd attempt to cook Nell's food. What if she turned her nose up at it? I'd be crushed! :-). Speaking of animals not doing what you want them to, I usually put Nell out for about half an hour before bed. Last night, she didn't come when I called. So, I read another chapter, and still no Nell. I went to bed, but I fret. There she was this morning, safe and sound. Probably on the trail of some defenseless creature.

Sorry to hear about your wardrobe malfunction. Well, one would be cool in that situation. Though not exactly in the way you described. :-). Long tails on shirts come in handy in those situations. Or, ask the Ladies. They seem to be better equipped for fashion disasters, and with a bit of rummaging around in purses, can usually come up with a safety pin, or two.

Cheese. Back when processed cheese was made with actual cheese (which was sterilized) it could be labeled "processed cheese food." Then they started cutting it with milk that had been fracked (very much like crude oil). Once actual cheese in the product fell to undetectable levels, by law, it had to be labeled "processed cheese product." Usually in very small print. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Speaking of food, I had an idea. I wonder what it would be like if I took those individual meringues and filled them with pumpkin pie filling, instead of lemon? Hmmm. They'd be gluten free. Hmmm. I'll have to run it by some of the cooks I know, and see what they think.

Dirt low prices and maximum profits. I finished "Deluxe", last night. They touched on people who collect vintage deluxe items. In the tat trade, there are people who specialize in that. One of those areas where you really have to know your stuff and deeply study it. The section on counterfeits was interesting. How do you really know if something is "the real thing" or bogus? Counterfeits and reproductions can really impact the tat trade. They mentioned a Chinese company called AAA that exported, from China, bogus fashion. I don't know if it's the same, but there's a company called AAA Imports that is mostly tat. It's difficult to get one of their catalogues, but, they're an eye opener. Usually, there are ways to tell a reproduction. Sometimes, it's pretty obvious. There's a Weller pottery candlestick in a shop that I wonder about. It's not marked, but that's not unusual for Weller. But the weight seems wrong. And, the feel. I bought a Weller bowl that I feel a little uneasy about. It is marked. I'm pretty sure it's ok. One thing that makes me comfortable is that E-Bay hasn't been flooded with identical pieces. But as they mentioned in the book, the workmanship and quality keeps getting better and better. Roseville pottery has been coming in from China, for years. It used to be downright crude and easy to spot. Still easy to spot, but getting better.

Weather records are falling all over the world, year after year. We had quit a bit of wind on Sunday. Cliff Mass posted why. He was practically wetting his pants "....beautiful hooked shaped cloud..." as we had a mini cyclone off the coast. If it had moed inland, it could have been quit devastating. He didn't mention it, but another Columbus Day Storm? Since I'm ancient, now, and it's been years since that event, I fully expect to see something similar in my life time.

Off to the Little Smoke. Not too many stops, today. It was supposed to snow this morning, but didn't. Good. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

We had a dog named Rex once - a 92 lb. (42kg) chihuahua (the animal shelter where we got him as a puppy said that he was part chihuahua . . .) - who had a deadly fear of snakes, or anything even closely resembling a snake, like a hose. Occasionally he would warn me of a real snake by leaping straight up into the air, no easy feat as he was somewhat portly. So Rex - may he rest in peace - entirely sympathizes with you, Poopy.

The view of the garden from the roof is delightful. So - where did you buy your manual Drone Cam? Ah - online, of course. When the internet is working.

I have to say that the white Suzuki and the little yellow trailer are just plain Cute!

Umm, yes, I was going to suggest that you drive to an uphill spot and wheelbarrow downhill . . . Boy, that is a big rock on your cart! Glad that you did not drop it on your toe!

What's a pub without a dog? Mr. Poopy, you might try to learn to enjoy the affections of children; they drop a lot of food. And they are short, though I guess you are a bit too short yourself to grab much out of their hands? Maybe you can find a baby? They're usually easy marks, though you might get on the wrong side of their mothers.

I wish I'd seen the dandelions and orange butterflies. When we first cleared a bit of land in this forest and built our house, I brought in dandelion seeds and cast them all around. For some reason people thought that was rather odd. Maybe they don't eat dandelions, or enjoy bees and butterflies?

130km is a mighty long walk!

Those are a lot of apples; quite a windfall!

This joke, from you, I have never heard before: "Yeah, I have heard old jokes about: Aisle; Altar; Hymn (say it fast enough and you'll get the joke)." Priceless!

And this from you:"When I was young I was told that I could have it all and I should expect it all." I was told the same thing, but I actually saw people all around me having it all and climbing ever higher. But by my teens it did not match up with what I was experiencing, so I was very confused. It took quite awhile for me to catch on to things. I am not always the sharpest tool in the shed.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Margaret:

My sister had what she called an Amstaff - which I think must be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Falstaff was the sweetest dog ever. I hope that all of your court dealings will be over soon. What a chore!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Claire:

All of our fruit trees - except apples - have been blooming for awhile. We are expected to have lows in the low 20's this weekend. We have many commercial vineyards and orchards here and they are greatly worried because all of the growth is so far ahead of where it usually is. I hope that you can get back home soon.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Lew:

Shame on you for suggesting that a cable snake be kept on hand to threaten poor Poopy! Doesn't he have enough troubles, what with probably being unwelcome at the pub, and all?

What a vision I have of Nell circling your overstuffed chair!

The attacked substation was in California wasn't it? There was very little about it in the news.

You've had a rough winter there. We have been so lucky here. Unless one likes to ski.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, I had to put on new tires on the little white beast as the old ones were, old, and they spun a bit in low range getting back up the hill. Mate, your little Jimny could have done the same thing in low range. Those beasts go anywhere!

The new modem is a Nighthawk M1 mobile router and it already works on dual bands - that was a good suggestion - and I modified the settings to push out the strongest signal that it can. Incidentally the signal loss over the new coax cable has surprised me, so I'm going to move the router again so that it is closer to the Yagi antenna. If I wasn't such a tech nerd from way back this stuff would be a nightmare. Let's celebrate the tech nerds! :-)!

The visits by officials at the Buffalo dairy would be a nightmare. I had to laugh as the last visit here by officialdom was a whole 'nother experience and I was talking to a local bloke about just that story yesterday. You have to fly the flag sometimes and no doubt in time the interest will wane.

Respect to your dad too. I hope the farm has plenty of water? It will be also interesting to see how they manage the hygiene side of the dairy but no doubt things will sort themselves out in time. The old timers used to use deep litter mulch systems in the milking areas. Nowadays they use concrete and a lot of water.

Well, these things take time and will hopefully work out. I have known some people who believe that running a business means that someone else does all of the work and they just reap the rewards. In Australia, that sort of approach is not a recipe for success, but labour is cheaper in different countries.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks - and the tugging of the stitches was more uncomfortable than painful, and I'm glad the wound hasn't popped open (I had the chainsaw helmet on today and was very careful). Glad to read that your friend is not mucking around with the growth as these things are best tackled early. As they say: Go early and go hard. If they're left, they can spread very quickly.

Mr Poopy appreciate the quiet note of support. :-)! He is very hot today as it reached about 88'F and we did another afternoon of splitting firewood (in the shade). It is a good summers job.

If the raccoons are prolific then they are a problem and at your time of year perhaps the available alternative feed is in short supply. As it cools down here (maybe next month) the rats will become a problem again as they fight it out for winter housing.

Any ethnic restaurant which is heavily patronised by the particular ethnic culture means you are going to be fed the real deal stuff. Yum. I'm salivating reading about your BBQ.

It is interesting that you mention that the leg horns are fliers as the little bantams here are not at the top of the pecking order, but they sleep on the highest perches and I have wondered about that. The new silkies are slowly becoming accustomed to the flock and the little grey one is now a full member of the crew, but the other two are still a little bit hen pecked.

Well done to Doug for getting a hive to over winter. Top work. Yeah, the hive will probably be OK as long as all of the straps were tied down firmly, I mean where else are the bees going to go in early spring?

Stay warm and best of luck with the plants. Strangely enough the bees adapt fine to the changeable weather.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Glad to read that you are now back on the air and have sorted out your internet and electricity woes. What a nightmare. Yes, I do dimly recall Petticoat Junction... Cheeky name for the town too.

I reckon Rex may have had a little bit of something else other than a chihuahua. That's a huge dog! Mickey Rourke the US actor once also had a chihuahua which is now deceased as well (Vale Mr Rex) and he has sensibly moved over to the fluffy side of the force and now sports a pomeranian. I'm just saying that there may be a pomeranian in your future? No, well perhaps not then! :-)!

Thanks and that is funny - I put in all of these little jokes and wonder how many get even understood. It keeps me and yourself amused. It was a great view from up on the roof and that is only about half to maybe a bit more than a third of the garden and you can't see any of the orchards from the photo.

The little white Suzuki and bright yellow trailer get respect! Gee, they work hard those two. And I put them to work pulling firewood back up the hill today.

Well, the big rock almost took out the editor and I'm genuinely glad it didn't. Sometimes things can go wrong quickly and without notice. Especially when they are heavy.

Those are excellent suggestions and I will share them with Mr Poopy who will clearly see the benefit in them. Old Fluffy - who RIP in the orchard - used to love children and she was a very licky dog. And she used to love licking visitors and was very patient with children - she lacked patience with other dogs though and had no sense of fear.

Well dandelions are a good choice as they are edible. If you can gather enough flowers they make a very passable dandelion wine too. Plus I believe the root systems are very good at breaking up compacted ground. A very sensible choice.

It was a long walk through some beautiful forest and mostly along a river. It was very quiet in that corner of the state too and the days and days of quiet were pure bliss.

Well, I may be scoring some mature fruit trees too so who knows how they will transplant...

:-)! Glad to entertain you.

I'm not the sharpest tool in the tool shed either as I kept trying up until the point that I could no longer ignore the realities as I was made redundant in a recession and then had to scramble to survive. It was a defining moment. Did you ever have one of those?

Cheers

Chris

Elbows Tucked said...

I am a long time lurker on this blog but a first time commenter. Chris, could you recommend any / comprehensive / do it yourself starter books on solar power? I always look forward to the weekly view of what is flowering in your gardens. I would be very happy if my nasturtiums looked half as lush as yours do.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Damo mentioned that the new Star Trek series was going to have an all new crew and story line every year which sounds rather ambitious. Most of the crews take a year or two to settle into their characters and you can never tell who will shine. Of course Simon Pegg shone as the engineer from the first moment, but mileage can vary in such matters. He has a good face for the role because of course a Starship captain must engage in the occasional hand to hand fight - and I do note that it rarely ends well for Kirk which seems to be a sort of tradition for that role. Thanks for the heads up too as I wouldn't have heard about it otherwise.

Ha! Well, I have an answer for you on Nell's predilections for gourmet cat food: If the dogs here turn their noses up at breakfast, I just starve them out or feed it to Mr Poopy and that quickly changes their minds. Of course their breakfast stuff includes (but is not limited too): rice; oats; peanuts; whatever vegetables I have around; sunflower kernels; apples and bananas. It is good stuff.

Glad to read that Nell returned home in the morning safe and sound. She is a clever cat and surely must have known what she was doing. Did the naughty minx look bashful or was the general feline haughty demeanor on display?

You are ever the pragmatist, and of course that thought passed my mind too. It was a bit embarrassing, but up front disclosure is often the best course of action. I did ask for a safety pin but none were to be found. The dry cleaners down here do an alteration service and they reckon they can fix the zipper so it is all cool. They reckon they may have it back tomorrow, so doubt someone has busily working away on it somewhere around these parts.

Honestly, the concept of a "processed cheese like product" gives me chills. What does the stuff taste like? I'm curious. What sort of cheese do you usually prefer? I tend to enjoy a vintage tasty which has a sharp tangy bite too it.

I reckon your pumpkin pie concept is a goodie.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

In between the last comment and this one, I just nicked out to the pub for dinner. We'd been working on firewood for most of the day and seriously neither the editor or I had the energy to make dinner. Unfortunately there was some sort of mix up in the kitchen at the pub and so the nice people brought out another round of ginger beer to apologise. The food was great too. I had the chicken parmigiana with chips and salad and the editor had a Mexican pizza. Yum! And we make ginger wine, so ginger beer is a natural progression. Unfortunately there was no room for dessert.

Speaking of which - back to the pumpkin pie meringue. I really do believe that will work as your pumpkin pie fillings are sweet. Perhaps your fortune is about to be made with a new taste sensation?

The editor has read elsewhere that with your populations desire to retire to Florida, a lot of vintage tat can be purchased in that part of your country and canny buyers of such things head off there in search of gold. Hope you enjoyed the book too as the sociological implications of the story behind the decline are quite fascinating as well as very relevant to so many industries.

I reckon you touched on a real nightmare as do you tell reproductions from the real deal? I have an idea with antique tools but that is about where it ends. Fortunately most of the things that I purchase with an eye to keep or use are not being reproduced and when I do purchase new tools (for example) I purchase them at the local dealer who I've known for years and that carries some weight.

So how do you know if something is a reproduction or not in the tat trade and have you ever encountered a bit of a shady operator? I reckon they would supply some genuine things and then slowly introduce the reproductions. How do you reckon they'd attempt the bait and switch game?

I know. I shouldn't mention it by the volume of records broken has to be a record in and of itself? This March here has been warm and dry as you would imagine. I looked across the local paddocks today and with the bright blue sky and sharp sun it looked like high summer to me. A storm may roll through Saturday night though. I recall you mentioning the wind. Yeah, there was a cyclone that brewed in the Southern Ocean a few months back and I can't actually recall that happening before - although to be honest there are a lot of circular shaped and rotating weather patterns in this part of the world when they drift down from the north east - which is a very unusual place to drift from as the winds tend to be from the west (either south west or north west too).

Enjoy your trip into the little smoke! It is the Labour Day long weekend here and I'm trying to keep a low profile and not travel anywhere so as to avoid the crowds.
I reckon one more day of firewood will fill up the shed! Yay! And then another day of firewood to fill up the firewood bay… And then it is onto other projects.

Sir Scruffy went to the vet today as he seems to have a sore foot which may have been caused by a grass seed getting caught in his foot. The vet offered the option of very expensive surgery on a very old dog as a possible option. I get tired of that talk as I’m sure in the old days the vet would have cut the foot open with a scalpel and dug out any foreign matter – if it was still even in there – whilst we held the dog and then stitched the foot up again. What is worse is that Sir Scruffy isn’t even remotely bothered by the sore foot. So we are trying a course of anti inflammatories and an anti-biotic and wait and see what happens. I am unsure who sets the standard of care in such matters, and of course things have changed here since people started talking to me a year or two back about pet insurance. What the heck is that? I dunno. Even cutting my strange possibly cancerous ear chunk out recently cost only a quarter of what the vet was asking.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Raccoons have adapted very well to populated areas. They get into garbage cans and often reside in attics. I am not at all fond of them though they are cute.

Bantams are known for roosting high in the rafters if they can. They also are very broody and will hatch out eggs with regularity. Sometimes people who want to raise their own chicks naturally will get some banties just for that purpose.

I mentioned wind in my last comment. Well I think yesterday's wind broke some records. Some parts of downtown were roped off from pedestrians due to falling glass from windows being blown out on some of the skyscrapers. Many trees blown down and power outages so I feel lucky that we were spared that. Now it's thankfully calm - cold but calm.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Elbows Tucked,

Welcome to the discussion.

That is a complicated question because I initially read a book on solar power which was published by the (this is a serious business who were in the solar power game since the 1970's) Rainbow Power Company who are up in Numbin in New South Wales. The book was called Energy from nature. Honestly, the book is all over the shop and is probably not a good read. I know a guy that is an electrical engineer who dabbles in solar and likes to read, so I shall ask him and report back.

Thanks about the gardens and nasturtiums. The ones here get about 10 minutes watering per day but they basically survive year after year in that bed. They do die back over winter and the straw they leave protects and feeds the young seedlings as they grow up in spring. Do you grow them from seeds or seedlings?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Pam,
The accountings are done but it will be months before Patrick's estate is settled. The world of government benefits is confusing to say the least. Illinois is at the bottom as far as funding for the disabled too. Then to top it off laws are always changing. Keeps the lawyers busy and making more money though.

It looks like Michael will be living with us for awhile. There are very few affordable housing opportunities for people in his situation and it will take some time to find something appropriate for him. He's a real sweetie and as long as his mental state is stable he's pretty easy to have around. The retirement home where he lives has been open for 34 years and the closing is a pretty big deal here.

Glad your internet/ power is back up and running.

A few years ago we had a very warm spell in March and all the fruit trees were in bloom. Then, as is forecasted for you, there was a hard freeze so not much fruit that summer. There was fear of that here again recently as we had a pretty long warm spell but it's back to more normal March weather.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Your podcasts are wonderful. You not only write a good story, you are a great raconteur. And I am learning to speak better Australian from them. When we watch footy my husband says "What did they say?" and I am usually able to translate . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - I stopped into the store, today, and took a good long hard look at the different cat foods. I didn't realize so many of them are grain free, these days. So, apparently Nell isn't the only one with that problem. Either that, or the change in cat food is perhaps a reflection of their owners real or imagined gluten sensitivity :-).

I want to do a bit more online research into what's the best brand. And, I may take Chris' suggestion and look into making cat food. What really winds me up is that this is all the result of how grains are processed, these days, and the varieties grown. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I hadn't heard about the sub station attack until I read the book "Lights Out." One reason it wasn't played up much was the Powers That Be really don't want potential terrorists to know how vulnerable the electrical system is ... and where those vulnerabilities are. Same thing with the internet. When we've had huge outages here, usually due to construction, it's really hard to find information on what and where something happened. Apparently, there is an internet "backbone" that runs through Washington and Oregon, north to south. If that is severed, all hell breaks loose. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Beau can be a very licky dog, and I've got to keep my guard up, when I bend over to pick up his dish, otherwise I'm libel to get a big wet one :-). LOL. What was that old Peanuts cartoon? Snoopy gives Lucy a big wet one and she's running around with her hair on fire screaming "Oh, Argh! I've been kissed by a dog!"

A few years back, three raccoons got into the vent system at the Centralia Library ... and died. The stench! The difficulty extracting them! Luckily, I wasn't working at that branch ... much, at that time.

A heads up. Simon Pegg has a new movie on tap. "Fantastic Fear of Everything." I watched a film last night called "Bill." Don't waste you're time. It's British and is a humorous take on Shakespeare's "lost" ten years. I think it was trying to be "Monty Python", but no one can do Python like Python. I kept waiting for those great Python moments, and it didn't deliver. Pity. The premise and plot had real promise.

Nell's attitude the next morning was more like, "What? You didn't stand around in the cold and wait for me to make up my own sweet mind when you called?" She learns a bit and it only took two attempts to get her in, last night. Wonder what it is, out in the dark, that's got her so fascinated, all of a sudden?

How can I tell a reproduction? Gut feeling. Experience. The eye and touch can often reveal what the brain cannot apprehend. I try and keep up with information, online. I really like Staffordshire figures, and if you know what to look for, the repros are pretty easy to spot. Glass is the worst. Molds float around and when an American company goes out of business, the molds may go to China. Sometimes, the only way to tell is that the color was never made by the original company. Or, a greasy feel to the glass. There are some areas of collecting that I just steer away from. Books come out about forgers and I read them.

There was a really fun series quit a few years back. "Lovejoy Mysteries." (BBC) Worth a look. He's in the tat trade and is always trying to expose forgers. And, he's quit a rogue and not above a bit of fiddling, himself. Quit the ladies man. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I also lay low, during the holidays. And try to keep appraised of any spasms of civic hooey that I may stumble on and be inconvenienced by. Car shows, parades, bike rides, marathons or "walks for...". Best stay home and preserve what's left of my sanity.

Poor Sir Scruffy! You might look around on the net for "splinter removal." There are methods you can't even imagine ...

Well. End of an era. OH, NO!!! What will I do without my weekly dose of sanity from the Arch Druid Report? I know all good things must come to an end, but just not now :-). I think what I may do is start at the very beginning of the Well of Who'sit, and read my way through. Spend a bit more time on the Green Wizards site. Maybe get a bit more involved in "From the Ruins." Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I had no idea that raccoons were that clever and they sound as equally adaptable as our rodent friends. I heard of a podcast once where a person was discussing their encounter and subsequent medical dramas with a rabies infected raccoon. The little raccoon sounded worse than any zombie. Rabies is not present down under. The persons later interactions with the medical industry struck fear into my heart.

Your description of the bantams matches almost perfectly with that of the silky chickens (except for perhaps the roosting on high perches bit). You would think that they were at the bottom of the pecking order, but not so. One of the oldest chickens here is a silky cross at almost seven years and she wanders around doing her own thing and not being hassled by the other chickens. Some of the other silkies have formed an alliance with the boss chicken and they stick by her and she in turn looks after them. It is a complex social world in there.

Wow! I'm glad to hear that nobody was hit by falling glass from a height! I recall that cladding once fell off a skyscraper that I worked in. It was not good but fortunately nobody was injured. I often wonder about the longevity of skyscrapers. From all accounts most body corporates that manage them rarely put away funds for their refurbishment. Nice to read that things have calmed down there. It is still hot here. March has been incredibly different from the many summer months leading up to it. Fortunately, this means that I now have several large and developing cantaloupes!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Why thank you and they are fun aren't they? I also chuck in a little bit of extra stuff that just pops into my mind at the time of the recording. Now that you can speak Aussie: "Mate, you're a fair dinkum Aussie!" :-)! Unfortunately in these more sophisticated times one rarely hears people saying such things, which is a bit of a shame.

It is funny that you mention the translation as I once had a lovely lady working for me with a very thick Scottish accent. When the editor used to ring up and ask for me, the poor editor had no idea what was being said. Of course, I was exposed to the accent every working day and so soon figured it all out. The family of the lady back in Scotland used to say that the lady in question had a more Australian accent than a Scottish accent! Funny stuff. Accents can vary from region to region but it is mostly consistent across the continent.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh yeah, beware the kiss of Beau! You really never know what the average canine has been consuming and their dietary choices are a bit scary. I probably made a poor impression on one of the neighbours the other day because as we were speaking I happened to point out that their dog was eating wombat poo. Absolutely no shame whatsoever in the world of canine! That peanuts cartoon brings back memories. Thanks and Snoopy was always cool.

It is still hot here today. Wow, March has been a completely different month to the summer months and every day has lurked around the 30'C / 86'F mark. Mind you, that is reasonably pleasant when considering the alternatives of much hotter weather. The hot weather has been an absolute boon to the tomatoes and I am harvesting a small container of them every single day. And... There are many more cantaloupes growing on the vine, so if it stays warm like this for another couple of weeks, then they may even ripen. We collected seeds from the earlier fruit which was picked too early. Plus, there are peppers growing on the bushes and one of them looks suspiciously like a chili to me, but time will tell. We'll save the seeds from them too.

Dead raccoons in a vent system is not good. I once had a dead rat under the floor of an old terrace house. The rat got the last laugh so to speak. I had to rig up a giant long handled rake to retrieve the body and the stench was powerful.

Thanks for the Simon Pegg film reference: "Tony is not a good serial killer because he is not original" That sounds very wacky! Have you ever seen "Death at a Funeral"? That was quite amusing and had some very surreal moments.

Cats see the world very differently to us don't they? If something has spooked Nell, then it is probably worth being spooked about. Yesterday afternoon, I heard an animal crashing through the forest and it sounded pretty loud so it must have been one of the deer, but I didn't really spot it. I haven't seen them for a while now because as things have dried up in March, the deer are hanging close to the water in farm dams and the creeks (which are still running - honestly I get so much water into the groundwater table rather than letting it run over the surface, that the farms below me should be paying me).

That unfortunately happens. When I saw one factory shutdown I noted that the equipment was not thrown onto the scrap pile, rather it was sold and shipped off to South East Asia. Of course it never even occurred to me that those machines and tools would be used to send product back here. And reproductions of valuable tat is just unthinkable, but there you go.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Late this afternoon, I managed to overheat the inverter by running too many appliances on a hot day. The inverter has a built in protection circuit and the power just disappeared for about five minutes as the unit cooled down. I've got a truck radiator fan which blows cool air from under the house onto it for just such an occasion. It is only the third time since we started this power system that I tripped it. When it first happened, I quickly learned the folly of having an electric roller shutter (a fire requirement) covering the door. That little mess got sorted out pretty quickly and I've always sort of felt that it is a good metaphor for facing many of the practical problems here in that things are good until they are tested by circumstance! :-)! Oh well.

That series sounds like a lot of fun. I've met people like that in my time.

Ha! Yup staying home is the order of the day. The locals have cooked up some rather interesting proposals for the forthcoming leaf turning spectacle. I rather suspect that the local councils coffers will get filled in quick order.

Thanks for the suggestion and I will take a look at them. The editor feels that minor home surgery is probably on the cards. It is not as if we don't have a course of medication to deal with the after affects of that. It is all very civilised.

I know - all good things do come to an end. I'm planning to sit down tomorrow evening and read what seems to be the final ADR. I did send on some suggestions for hosting your own blog to Mr Greer but heard nothing and so no doubts he was inundated with offers of assistance. Oh, I have a rather good quote for him too, but time is running short and the last one should be savoured, don't you think?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

It is always difficult if one falls too far behind, as I have done this week. I had just read through the blog and all the comments yesterday and was poised to comment when the phone rang. My neighbour's wife to say that their machinery had just severed the water pipe. Poor woman, she has to make the phone calls and knows that I call her 'The voice of doom'. I am expecting my son at any moment so will discontinue this if he arrives in the middle.

I am very happy that the ear is okay. Only melanomas really matter, other skin cancers are just removed as they occur and are not particularly serious.

What is this about maybe not working hard enough? You joke of course.

You asked about my travels. In the US, I have been to Florida, Delaware and Oregon. I have crossed Canada by train from Toronto to the extreme West. Have cruised down the Yangtze in China. Have visited St Petersburg. The rest is Europe and it would be easier to say where I haven't been there. I suppose that the one large omission would be Poland. Oh and I have been to Morocco and also Tangier when it was an international city on its own that was in 1951.

Shall continue this comment later on, I hope. Actually 'comment' doesn't sound accurate.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I know that you have had Michael with you before, so I guess all of you will just settle back into a routine, but I know that it is challenging, especially with his issues. We have four adults living in my house and it keeps one on one's toes! And I believe that you said that the owners of the home where he's been living are friends? Two blows dealt at once, as they must feel pretty bad.

Your windy city anecdotes were hair-raising. I didn't know that it got that bad.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

How did you sort out your electric roller shutter? Might I guess that it is now manual? My son has wired our whole basement for 25 lights and numerous outlets and put in an extra breaker box to accommodate it all. It was his first wiring job; he has no training except books and youTube. The county inspector came out yesterday, said: "I can tell that you know what you are doing.", and passed it. I am so impressed!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, the big windstorm we were supposed to have last night, was a nonevent. Maybe further north, or out on the coast. Went to the meeting, last night, and the weather was feral. But nothing really atypical for typical Washington weather. Still had 35 people show up. We're a fairly hardy bunch :-).

Speaking of weather, or climate, Australia in particular. In case you missed it, this every five year Australian climate study. I thought the headline was a bit of a hoot. Feeling ravaged lately? Just around the edges? Well, here's why ...

http://www.alternet.org/environment/irreversible-climate-change-rocks-australia-report

We go through our biannual time lag (like jet lag) tomorrow night. If Mr. Trump wanted to be temporarily wildly popular (at least until his next demented tweet) he'd do away with the Daylight Savings Time nonsense. Hmm. I might e-mail the White House. Strike while the iron is hot.

If "Death at a Funeral" is the film I'm thinking of, then yes, I saw it (both versions) and it was quit good. Peter Dinklage? I say both versions as just a couple of years later, it was remade with a mostly African American cast.

Can't remember the authors or titles, but two books on reproductions stick out in my mind. One was a fellow that made early American furniture and the other who made 20th century artists. They claimed their stuff had made it into very high profile private collections and museums. Then there's the odd duck down south (there's a DVD) who fakes art, but never claims it to be by this or that artist. He's very non committal. Never asks for compensation other than that it be donated in his mother's name. Donates to small regional museums and university collections. Uses many names and occasionally goes disguised as a priest. Someone finally caught on to him, and began tracking down his bequests. As he never asked for money, or claimed his paintings were by this or that artist, the legality of his actions are a bit murky. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Then there's the Norman Rockwell case. :-). An artist friend of Rockwell's had been given four rather large paintings by him. He thought he was going to loose them in a divorce, so, he made four exact copies, and hid the originals behind a false wall in his living room. He eventually died rather unexpectedly, and the copies went to the local Rockwell museum. Years later, his heirs were doing a bit of renovation, and discovered the originals behind the wall. Lots of mud on lots of faces and, of course, lots of people saying things like, "Well, they never seemed quit "right", to me." Yeah, sure. :-).

There was another fellow who did paintings, never signed them or claimed they were by any particular artist. Just slapped them up on E-Bay for auction and let greed run it's course. E-Bay is usually in the clear as they claim to be "just a platform" for commerce. I was in one antique mall and heard the owner of the mall say, at least three times, "I don't know. We just provide a space for dealers to sell their stuff." Is what is stated on the tag accurate? Got him. Auctions, at least the local one's, are also hesitant to identify things unless they're signed or have a label. It's all to avoid liability.

Amazon and E-Bay drive me crazy, sometimes ... or, their seller's do. There's a lot of vague disclaimers, these days. When it come to Amazon books, it's all "MAY have underlining. Book MAY not have all it's parts." etc.. On E-Bay I'm seeing more "Condition: See pictures." I steer clear of those listings.

Oh. I forgot. You asked about what cheese products taste like. I generally try and avoid the stuff. It really does come in 50 gallon drums (well, five gallon buckets), and you'll find it on cheap nachos or cheap pizza. Sometimes it's in squirt bottles right along with mustard and catsup. Usually an orange color, not found in nature. As I remember, it really doesn't taste all that bad. Like a sharp cheddar, only saltier.

My go to cheese is Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese. It's a store brand and comes in 2 pound bricks. No long list of ingredients. Just three, and I recognize them all. I use it in sandwiches, grate it on top of nachos or use it in casseroles. It's really got a rather bland / subtle flavor. Nice "mouth feel." Melts well. If I'm making something "special" and the recipe calls for a particular kind of cheese, I pull out all the stops and damn the expense. Sometime for a treat I'll pick up some "exotic" cheese to try. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

The comments are as much fun as the blog - if not more fun, don't you believe? I would be very grumpy too if someone had cut through my water lines, but it was nice that they called to let you know what was going on. I have heard, but not seen, some people try to pretend that they were somehow not involved in such a problem. I once took out the local power grid (for the neighbours, and not myself being off grid, mind you) and had to fess up to the error. The local power company was nice enough to fix the error at short notice, but wow, they charged me for that job - which is fair enough really.

I assume your son is also affected by the water outage? I hope that they were able to shut off the water flow before there was a serious problem with erosion? To be honest, I'm still smarting from the little landslide here earlier in the summer. How are their earthworks going anyway? I do hope everything is OK?

Exactly, the spot was concerning but not serious, even so it is best to get onto them early.

I appreciate your frank assessment of my sense of humour and that was tongue firmly in cheek, but occasionally I do worry that I don't have enough time to prepare properly before the next wildfire sweeps through the mountain range.

Morocco and Tangier would have been fascinating back in those days. I was speaking with a lovely lady last evening who was recounting a story about visiting Jimmy Hendrix castle in Morocco and apparently it is now gone and replaced by apartment blocks. The Yangtze would have been a fascinating trip too. The train trip across Canada would have been a superb spectacle. I tend to prefer the more wild and back alley places on the planet as cities tend to blend and blur for me and they all look mostly alike.

I look forward to conversing with you.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

The electric roller shutter over the battery room door was a mistake as when the power went out I couldn't get into the battery room to sort out the problem. It all seemed like such a good idea at the time. I simply removed the roller shutter and replaced the timber door with a steel lined door and then placed another door over it with a very strong crimsafe security door. I picked up the security door second hand and modified it to fit over the door cavity and those things are very strong and provide some fire protection. They are surprisingly easy to obtain second hand.

Exactly, manual works best in such a situation.

Well done and respect to your son. That is a handy skill. Down under you have to be licensed to do electrical work over 50V AC or 150V DC and whilst I could have wired up the house here myself, the authorities would never have accepted that work. Plumbing believe it or not is much the same situation down here and you have to get a compliance certificate or it is no good.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Nice to read that you were spared the worst of the windstorm. Too much excitement in terms of the weather can be a very bad thing. And total respect for the people who made the effort to attend the meeting on a feral weather evening. I noticed with all of the community groups that I've been involved in that the attendance waned over the periods of less pleasant weather. Of course AA perhaps overrides such niceties for the members? You people are made of tough stuff. I'm a bit like you in that regard as I don't generally worry too much about inclement or extreme weather. I hear that there are plans afoot for the GW Melbourne group too.

Did I mention that the average temperatures just for this month are hovering around +4'C greater than the long term average? Nobody needs to convince me of climate change, the climate down here is feral and the land is so fragile. The funny thing about the report is that it failed to state the obvious - we could simply use less. Discussions about efficiency was code word for shutting down energy intensive industries. And the focus on political or carbon trading solutions makes my eyes glaze over and my mind wonder onto other things such as... In a really bizarre case of six degrees of separation, the author of that article is I believe - but am not 100% certain - an old school friend of an ex-girlfriend. Yup, how weird is that? Far out it is a small planet.

Oh no! Where did your hour of sleep disappear too? Have you checked behind he couch as it may have fallen there? These are important questions. :-)! Yeah, I fell for you man, and also suffer from jet lag in those circumstances. It is funny that you mention sleep but I was planning to write about that very subject on Monday night. Monday is a public holiday here (Labour Day which celebrates the 8 hour working day). Far out we work hard down here and I remember as a kid we used to get a lot more public holidays. It may sound a little bit whingey, but we give away hard won things and there doesn't seem to be much hue and cry.

I do believe it was Peter Dinklage and he is an outstanding actor and that film was very funny. I never knew there was a US version of the film. Sometimes that doesn't bode well, sorry to say. I recall a really creepy French film titled the Vanishing, and the US version showed the surprise ending in the trailer. Why would anyone do that?

How clever is it using that artists forging skills to donate to his mother and small regional museums and university collections. I'll bet he has a sense of pride about being able to get away with the prank? It makes you wonder just how many original works "out there" are actually fakes. If they are valued by the holder of the collection and the public, does this make them any lesser? I think not, but attitudes will clearly vary. And what about the people that declare them to be original works, are they held responsible for their declarations of validity? It is a morass of trouble isn't it?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Exactly, "yeah sure" is the appropriate response in such a situation.

Well vague disclaimers are a way of life down here in the litigious land. It is feral and perhaps there may be a case that it has been taken too far. There was one defining case recently where a company appears to have taken it too far and I'll see whether I can track it down... ... (that is my thinking noise, by the way) ... ... Check out the text below the heading "Defamation suits suits".

Thanks for the explanation and I'm trying hard to get my head around the 50 gallon drum business, but if you reckon it is OK, then that is OK by me.

Mozzarella is an excellent mild tasting cheese. Plus how good is it on home made pizza's? Yum!

It is humid as here today and it even rained a little tiny bit this afternoon which is a good thing because the soil surface looks very dry right now and dust is everywhere. Apparently a storm will arrive overnight and drop a bit more rain with promised lightning and thunder. I'm trying to work out whether I should bring in more manure to the orchard or fix up the internet antenna. I'll probably add the manure and I'm in the process of planting out some new groves of trees which is always an enjoyable experience.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am sure that no-one would dare to say that the comments are more fun than the blog!

Yes Son's water goes off too and I rang to tell him as the pigs water would be cut off. The other thing that happens of course, is that when you turn your tap on again there is a blast of air and water that goes all over you so one needs to know the necessity of standing away from the line of fire.

Insurers going broke: One of my brother's in law boasted to my husband about his much cheaper car insurance. Not long after the insurer went broke and brother in law had to re-insure his car. My husband was regrettably pleased at his brother's misfortune.

I had never heard of these pretend cheeses, sounds utterly disgusting to me. I don't know if we have them. I eat the strongest cheeses that I can find. Even my son won't touch my favourite which is a blue local cheese.

Forget to say that I have never been to Scotland; how ridiculous is that! I definitely preferred to travel off the beaten track if possible and find that cities have become more and more similar though their museums are interesting.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Pam,
Yes, Michael lived with us for ten years. He is probably the easiest of all the relatives that have lived with us as long as his mental state is stable. He has schizoaffective disorder. He takes lots of medications which have permanent side effects but has been stable for at least ten years (knocking on wood).

The owners of the retirement home are good friends of ours and they do have a lot of mixed feelings about closing but as they're both 67 it's probably time. They also own a low income senior apartment building - maybe similar to what Lew is looking at and they plan to keep that for the time being.

Chicago does live up to the name "The Windy City". You can walk a few blocks west of the lake though and the weather can be very different.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - When I think about it, the meeting I go to is mostly rural people. Fishing boat captains, loggers ... single/women widows, running their own farms.

Well, how's this for 6 degrees of separation. I once worked with a woman at our Centralia library branch who had dated (lived with?) Mr. Greer, back in college :-). Didn't inquire to closely into that situation. Didn't want to know :-).

Our Labor Day is in September. I don't think we have less holidays, here. Some aren't as fiercely observed as they were in the past. They did combine Lincoln and Washington's birthday into "President's Day." But then they added Martin Luther King Day in compensation :-). Now the Romans knew how to do holidays. I think 1/3 of their year was one holiday or another. And the Emperor or rich fellows, angling for support from the masses were always throwing some event or another.

Why do film directors do anything? It seemed like a good idea at the time :-). Do we really need a fourth version of King Kong? I'm still brassed off that they ruined filming "The Orchid Thief". No, I don't want a movie about making a movie of the book. I want a movie of the book. Period.

People who do fakes ... well, there's the money. Quit a few claim that they're neglected genius artists who are striking back against the art "establishment." The gate keepers. I can see that reasoning in some cases. I must admit that finding out something that I admired is a fake takes a bit of the luster off. For me. Don't know why. I mean, it's the same canvas. But, there's some kind of "aura." Maybe the whole history and context? I have a few pieces of tat kicking around that I really wonder if they're "real" or not. What's really maddening is when I have something that's "right", but no once else thinks so. :-)
Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Something that kind of relates to the last, and next topic. I watched a documentary about the artist James McNeil Whistler, the other night. He was an artist who worked in England in the mid 19th century. "Whistler's Mother?" Any-who. He did some pretty abstract things, for his time, and a famous critic (John Ruskin) said it wasn't art. Whistler sued. He won the case, but was only awarded a farthing for his trouble and had to declare bankruptcy.

We've had several cases here where people that posted reviews of goods or services have been sued or fined for leaving bad reviews. Mostly internet stuff. If you read the fine print of all those internet disclaimers (that no one ever reads) it states that if you're unhappy, you can't leave a bad review, and if you do you will be sued. If you're unhappy, it's supposed to go to arbitration, which is a quasi legal thing that is expensive and time consuming. Hence, legal insurance, that everyone is supposed to carry. At least according to the legal insurance people.

Oh, my reference to "50 gallon drums" was a rather oblique joke referencing toxic waste. Seems like every toxic waste story has the stuff in leaking 50 gallon drums.

Thunder and lightening? Dogs under the bed! Be sure and wear your lightening rod hat and rubber soled shoes. A lightening strike may go right through you. Maybe. Lew

Yahoo2 said...

Hi elbows,
anything by Collyn Rivers is a good place to start, I have several copies of solar success that I loan to potential clients that are a bit light on for practical knowledge.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks! They might, you know, and who is to argue with them anyway? :-)!

Oh, I forgot about the pigs requirement for water. That is not good. I hope it is not too warm for the poor pigs? Getting air in water pipes can be quite the interesting problem. The water pumps here trigger on and off by a pressure valve and air in the pipes can present pressure problems, although it is easy to walk around and just run the air out of the pipes. The hydronic heater has that problem too - it was a waste of money to be honest and all it does is suck heat from the hot water system (solar or wood heated).

An excellent example of schadenfreude! Hehe! It happens, I tend to stick to the larger insurers but the diminished yields of late are probably hitting their balance sheets - which is probably why my premiums are going through the roof. And some aspects of life insurance policies (specifically total permanent disability) appear to be very dodgy from my perspective.

You are clearly stronger than I as I'm siding with your son in relation to the blue cheeses. They are an acquired taste.

Scotland would be interesting. Has 44 Scotland Street not stirred your curiosity? The editor loves those books. Oh yeah, some museums are amazing and I really enjoyed some quiet museums in India as they reminded me of what museums were like when I was a wee young lad - and I enjoyed those immensely. Haven't been to the new museum in Melbourne.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Those sound like my kind of people. I'll bet you get some serious characters in the mix? I had an experience the other evening which you would probably laugh at to show me that alcohol has diminishing returns. It was all rather unfortunate.

No way. How funny is that. You know, I've found the best way to find out about things is to feign an air of disinterest. Of course, on money matters, I am actually disinterested being an accountant and all - I've seen wealthy people and people just scraping by and I'm always more interested in how they spend what funds they control than how much they earn. Some people always want more, but their spending increases in line with the new income and they stay at the same place more or less, but the risks gets bigger. I dunno, just human nature, I guess. What we were saying... Oh yeah, disinterest, well, generally if you act like you don't care, people generally tell you. I'm not sure why that is, and honestly I rarely go blabbing about other peoples business as I reckon sooner or later they'll be returning the favour.

Go the Romans! Well done them. I like the sound of that. Down here, they miserly keep banging on about labour productivity. I can recall enjoying many more public holidays as a kid. They used to even have "Show day" for the Melbourne show and that was fun. I tend to head off to rural shows (like the recent one up north) nowadays. And some public holidays that fall on a weekend get converted into a weekend and they disappear. It all seems a bit sordid to me.

I believe I may have seen a poster for something that looked like a new Kong film. Honestly, what more needs be said on that subject? And I hear you, movies about making movies get a little bit narcissistic really. There was one last year about that and I saw the preview and thought that the whole thing was full of in jokes which are lost on the general public. Now why can't they attempt to tell a good story I ask you?

Well some objects have manna don't they, and the possibility that they are faked can mean that you have unwittingly lost mojo. I read once that the lady in the Mona Lisa was a tooth grinder (a symptom of anxiety, by the way) which is why she had such an unusual smile. Who would look at a painting and declare such a thing even if it were true?

Whistler got a bad deal, but having not produced much income from the sale of his abstract art, perhaps he was unable to display to the courts loss. I'm not sure they busy themselves worrying about potential losses. Another silly case I read about was where someones child stayed over at a friends place and was injured by I believe falling out of a bunk bed and the parents of the injured child successfully sued. What a nightmare that one is. I was trying to explain this case to someone who offered to help me and I reckon they thought I was a bit nutty, but the risk is very real and if I don't know the person well enough to know what their reaction will be if they are injured, then that is doubly risky. I may have to take out a policy to cover them, but it is extra expense.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I've never heard of legal insurance, but no doubts it is only a matter of time. Interestingly too I reckon the advent of "pet insurance" may have affected the interactions that people have with their vets. Someone asked me not too long ago whether having a few dogs was expensive because of the insurance and I hadn't heard of that before and just wondered what they were talking about. But, apparently it is a thing. No wonder they want to operate first and ask questions later. No doubts property prices are at the root of that evil.

I took you literally because I am aware that some products like corn syrup or sugar water can be purchased in 1,000 litre plastic containers. I only found out about those things because a mate was into aquaponics. Mind you, radioactive waste is often stored near reactors in those 50 gallon drums. Hope you don't live anywhere near one of those...

Scritchy was definitely pried out from under the bed. But Toothy seems to have been bitten by an ant or stung by a bee and he is very agitated. I slipped him an anti-histamine and he is looking groggy but will probably get on the mend soon. If you can imagine a dog running around with two legs in the air, that's what he looked like!

Public holiday tomorrow and it looks like it will be the coolest day in the next week, so I'm going to plant some groves of trees. I’ve got a mix of blackwood’s, sticky wattles, banksias and callistemon. That'll be nice. And the UV is only High which is even nicer.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve (and elbows),

Many thanks for the excellent solar book suggestion and that book comes highly recommended from many sources and is a good fit for your requirements. Feel free to ask questions too as there are no dumb questions, just unasked ones. I did a series on solar over at the Permaculture website which can be seen through the links on the blog here.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Ouch! My sides hurt! This whole thing is killing me:

"But Toothy seems to have been bitten by an ant or stung by a bee and he is very agitated. I slipped him an anti-histamine and he is looking groggy but will probably get on the mend soon. If you can imagine a dog running around with two legs in the air, that's what he looked like!

Public holiday tomorrow and it looks like it will be the coolest day in the next week, so I'm going to plant some groves of trees. I’ve got a mix of blackwood’s, sticky wattles, banksias and callistemon. That'll be nice. And the UV is only High which is even nicer."

The circus is waiting for you, Toothy! And the tip of a nice cool drink to you, Chris, as the UV is "only High" . . . and on a holiday . . . and "groves", yet . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Hmmm. Blogger is acting up and doing strange things. Yesterday and today the "sign in" strip didn't show up until after a couple of attempts. Today when I went to sign in, I was still signed in from yesterday. Usually, when I close and reset Yahoo, it also automatically closes out my blog sign in. Also, when I opened a second window to check a data point, and came back to the comments, my comment was gone. That's never happened, before. Oh, well. Guess I'll just copy and if necessary, paste when I do that, again. I suppose these are all side effects from tinkering with it and making it "better."

I think your "show days" are like our county and state fairs. They used to have more of an ag slant. Not so much, anymore. As long as I've lived here, I've never been. Too much of a crowd. Touching on what you mentioned, the ticket prices have really gone up .. and the quality of the music acts has really gone down. According to reports, due to increases in liability insurance.

Speaking of movies, I re-watched "Pompeii" last night. I was in the mood for a good disaster flick. Spoilers ahead. I'd forgotten how bogus and historically inaccurate the film was. The sets and costumes were spot on. But the eruption was a bit over the top. Sorry, no tidal waves or boats crashing into the streets of Pompeii. I also found the young lovers rather unappealing. But maybe that's me. Also, in a major change from the book, the male lead isn't a minor functionary in the Roman water department, yearning after the rich man's daughter (out of his class, don't ya know) but is transformed into a barbaric gladiator from northern Britain called, predictably enough, "The Celt." In the book the young couple survive, due to the hero's knowledge of the underground water tunnels. In the movie, the young couple are caught by the pyroclastic flow (which in Pompeii didn't much make it beyond the city walls) in the open countryside. Embraced in a last kiss and turned into one of those lumpy plaster casts. Oh, argh. In future, I'll stick with disaster flicks spun from whole cloth. :-).

Oh, Whistler did ok for himself, in the end. He recouped most of his losses. He kept doing the abstract landscapes, but also took on a round of celebrity and society portraits. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I've heard of pet insurance, here. Along with every other type of insurance you can imagine. I have (by law) auto insurance and I carry a renter's policy. Which doesn't cost too much. I guess I'm a bit pragmatic about my animals. No super human (animal) efforts to keep them going.

No reactors in the immediate area. There was one down on the Columbia River between Longview and Portland. But it was decommissioned, years ago. They were going to build some between here and the coast, but the economy took a turn and the financing fell apart. But now before a lot of people had invested in them and a good part of them were built. The major problem in the state is Hannaford. That's in eastern Washington, on the Columbia River and was a bomb building site. The "clean up" has been going on for years and never seems to get anywhere.

Can I imagine a dog running along on two legs? Sure. But can he tap dance? :-).

Sticky wattles? Sounds like a Monty Python sketch :-).

Daylight savings time started. I feel time lagged. Temporal anomaly? It feels like a good deal of the day is wasted, and it hasn't even started, yet. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Toothy is feeling much better now! He was funny to watch as he was bouncing all over the place and wouldn't settle down.

Well, this evening we shall talk about grief and manure as these two subjects clearly go together! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

No worries, if blogger gives too many hassles, I can just up sticks and transfer the whole lot over to the web domain that I use for the podcast. WordPress can suck in the backup file that blogger uses with all of the text and comments, but to be honest I have no idea what it will end up looking like. Probably not too bad though. There are other options such as Open blogger which is an open source blog program. WordPress is not to everyones taste, but it does work. Sorry to hear that you are having difficulties with the software and I can seriously understand how painful such things can be. Wordpress comments would be easier to post, but I would still moderate the lot as it seems to attract spam. I was looking into further interweb security this morning. Makes my head spin.

I'm not one for the crowds either and the Royal Melbourne show is feral busy. Nowadays it seems to be rides and showbags and far less of an agricultural bent than what it was when I was a kid. Although to be honest they do dog trials and woodchops, but the agricultural animals bit has been on the decline for years.

Thanks for the review, and that sounds like one to miss. How was the book anyway? I thought that we discussed some people that were caught at a villa, but I assume that was closer to the volcano than the town?

Good to hear about Whistler as an artist latching onto a lucrative feed trough and that is probably not a bad idea. Did he continue exploring his abstract works on the side as a personal project?

Vehicle insurance is one of those things that gets cheaper every year as the vehicle gets older and the insured value is much less than the previous year. Third party injury is included as part of the registration costs down here and I've noticed that the police have been doing blitzes on unregistered vehicles of late. They setup cameras on the side of major roads and the data is linked to databases and if you are unregistered or have some sort of driving offense, they pull you over further up the road. It is all very thorough and I'm always amazed how many people get done. A pilot once told me that when airlines get into financial trouble they sometimes take the option of skipping on maintenance - that is not something that you want to hear, but then I don't fly anywhere. I reckon cars are the same, people skip maintenance, registration and insurance, but try to keep the car on the road. It is a gamble.

Nice to hear that you have no reactors anywhere near you. The word "Decommissioned" has a nice ring to it don't you reckon? But in reality, it can mean almost anything and who sets the standard for such things and how are those standards enforced. It seems like a problem to me.

Alas, the tap dance routine is too much for the poor once bitten Toothy! ;-)!

Acacia Howittii (sticky wattle) to be exact! It is a very attractive tree.

You got sucked into a temporal anomaly to be sure. Watch out for tribbles in there! And angry aliens, they seem to be a bit of a drama too.

Gotta run as I'm going to start writing now.

Cheers

Chris