Monday, 24 April 2017

It costs a lot to live this cheap



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

Naïve. Yes, that is perhaps the correct description for what I was, when long ago, I lived in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. The reason that I considered myself naïve was because I whinged a lot about the unrelenting bills that were sent to me every month by the nice utility companies. Even when the editor and I lived in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne, we used very little of the supplies provided by the nice utility companies. And I may add that I begrudged the nice utility companies every single cent that we had to pay, particularly the service fee component.

Nowadays, I have very few bills. For me, one of the appealing aspects of living in this remote corner of the planet on a property which has absolutely no services connected to it at all is that the nice utility companies can’t levy a charge on my property, because they provide me with no services whatsoever. Take that suckers!

Well, except we do have to pay the compulsory water bill. It is outrageous! The water utility would be very hard pressed to cut off our supply, but they have other means of extracting money for their coffers. The systems on the farm which we have paid for, have to provide all of our own drinking water as well as processes all of our own sewage (returning those nutrients to the soil, no less). And we also have to manage all of the drainage from the sometimes massively heavy rainfall! And despite all that we still get a water bill. Well done them. Unfortunately for us, one of the better connected and much better financed locals took the nice water utility company to court only to find that they still had to pay the water bill. And so we pay the water bill each year. 

The other bill that is compulsory is the council rates, which is a form of land tax paid to the local government.

Anyway, council rates and water bills aside, living here is a reasonably bill free existence. However, I did apply the word “naïve” to myself at the start of this essay. The reason? Because providing and maintaining your own infrastructure is a complex and expensive situation. When the editor and I began this adventure over a decade ago, we had absolutely no idea just how complex and expensive that adventure would be. In contrast to this experience, I can assure the readers that paying bills from the nice utility companies is dirt cheap. A bargain at twice the price in fact!

By now, I expect that some readers may believe that I am chucking an epic internet whinge. No so! This is simply not true at all. The reason that I am writing about this subject at all is that the other day I read an article in the newspaper: The rise of the ‘low-bills’ lifestyle

One thing that sort of annoyed me about the article was that the video footage displayed an off grid commune which looked really unappealing to me. What actually really annoyed me was that not one single person in the article mentioned that pursuing a “low bill lifestyle” would actually improve the quality of their lives. Now I do realise that the article was written for the finance section of the newspaper, so the financial aspect would be a major theme.

However, I have noticed that when people discuss matters such as a “low bill lifestyle” which is usually achieved by providing your own infrastructure, they will inevitably mention "pay back periods" or "feed in tariffs". I am yet to meet anyone who has suggested that they intended to install a solar power system so as to reduce their personal impact on global warming. For me, the matter of quality was far more important than considerations of cost (economics). My resources are limited therefore the supply from own infrastructure is likewise limited. I accept this compromise.

Astute readers of the blog will realise that the editor and I spend most of our time finessing the infrastructure here on the farm. The reason for that time spent is to ensure that the infrastructure simply works in the highly variable conditions experienced here. And also it is important that the infrastructure is productive. A mate of mine has remarked to me on several occasions that he likes this farm because it doesn’t look like his expectations. Those expectations are remarkably similar to the video footage of the off grid commune in the article above. I loved hearing that compliment.

I have been pondering the issue of quality over economics this week. The reason for that pondering is because our yoghurt making process has failed in recent months.

The editor and I have been making yoghurt from scratch for about a decade. For the past several months the yoghurt making process has been failing. The volume of whey (a very watery substance) in each batch has been slowly increasing and the yoghurt has been failing to set. We enjoy eating homemade yoghurt with fruit from the orchard on top of homemade toasted muesli. It has been very distressing to face the prospect of slowly losing yoghurt from our diet!

Of course the editor and I may have been occasionally naïve, but we are no fools. We approached the problem by learning about the yoghurt making process from start to finish through reading the most excellent book by an author: Sandor Katz and his book: The Art of Fermentation. Over the course of the past few months we have adjusted and/or replaced every variable in the fermentation process in a most scientific manner.  We now appear to have identified the problematic factor!

To produce the exact same yoghurt that we previously enjoyed, we now find ourselves having to spend just under $4 per litre (3.8 litres to the gallon) for quality milk. It appears from this experience that in order for producers to maintain low prices for in demand products supplied to us all, I am strongly inclined to believe that there has been a recent shift downwards in terms of quality for some of those products.

As another example, I have estimated that we at Fernglade Farm have to spend an estimated $0.80/kWh to supply our off grid electricity powered by the solar photovoltaic panels and stored in batteries. By contrast the average household pays approximately $0.30/kWh for electricity supplied by the nice utility company. In the state that I live in, for whatever reason, one of the older and very large coal fired power stations was mothballed very recently. That power station produced, I believe, 25% of the states electricity supply. Mothballing the plant put about 900 workers out of a job. I don’t recall reading or hearing any announcements to the affect that because of the closure of that coal fired power station and the now reduced electricity supply, that we’d all have to somehow use less electricity from now on. I may have missed those announcements, it is possible! But I wonder what happens to the people who were using the electricity produced by that now mothballed coal fired power plant? 25% of the supply is no small amount. Surely the electricity produced by that power plant wasn’t all wasted?

So many things appear to me to be like those two examples: The costs are apparently kept down, but the quality is dropping noticeably. And so I say to you the reader: It costs a lot to live with that declining quality.

I now jump off my soap box and will resume the regular programming! 

It has been another wet week here at the farm. Wet weather usually produces a special guest appearance by the small mob of three kangaroos who call this farm home.
Two of the small mob of three kangaroos who live here enjoy a bit of peace and quiet during a recent heavy rain
The plumbers finalised some minor details of the installation of the new wood heater on a very wet day this week. They also stoically installed a garden tap in a garden bed during heavy rain. The garden tap had previously been located in the middle of a garden path which made it very awkward to use both the path and the tap.
The plumbers stoically installed a garden tap in a garden bed during heavy rain
The rock wall around that garden bed was also repaired and all of the smaller rocks were removed and replaced with much larger rocks. Replacement of smaller rocks continued further along the garden beds as those smaller rocks were failing to hold back the soil in the garden beds.
Rock walls constructed using smaller rocks were dismantled and larger rocks were then placed in their stead
All of those smaller rocks which were liberated from the failing rock walls, were used to completely fill the rock gabions behind the firewood shed. And with the second and higher rock gabion now full of rocks we sewed it shut with steel wire.
All of those smaller rocks which were liberated from the failing rock walls were used to completely fill the rock gabions
The deep hole behind the rock gabion was filled with rocks and covered over with local crushed rock that contains a goodly quantity of lime. The surface of crushed rock can be, and is intended to be, walked on as a path which will form part of a future project which will unfold over the next few months.
The deep hole behind the rock gabion was filled with rocks and covered over with local crushed rock that contains a goodly quantity of lime
I also used the local crushed rock with lime to repair the garden path where the plumbers had been working. A treated pine post was also cemented into the garden bed and a green bracket was placed high up on the post from which I intend to hang the 30m / 100ft garden hose (which currently lives on the path like a 30m / 100ft trip hazard).
The local crushed rock with lime to repair the garden path where the plumbers had been working and a post was installed to hang a garden hose from
Readers may be curious to see how the area that was subject to the landslide in January is recovering. The growth in that garden bed has been phenomenal and even Poopy is unsure where the landslide was!
The area subject to the landslide in January has now more or less recovered
Occasionally I mention working in the surrounding forest. Some people have rather unusual feelings when it comes to chainsaws, but they can be put to very good and unexpected uses. In the surrounding forest, I tend to regularly remove older dead growth from the many understory trees using the chainsaw and the results can be quite staggering:
A blanket leaf understory tree has recovered beautifully from a recent pruning combined with a feeding of manure

A small thicket of musk daisy bushes has also recovered beautifully from a recent pruning combined with a feeding of manure

We’re still harvesting tomatoes, although the tomato vines are now looking very sad. The many jars of passata have also all been opened, inspected, re-cooked and preserved using a hot water bath! And because the editor and I needed a pick me up after all of the hard work with the correcting the passata disaster, we baked some yummy cinnamon scrolls.
Tomatoes are still being harvested. The passata disaster has now been corrected and all jars have been processed using a hot water bath. And we baked some yummy cinnamon scrolls
With the coming of winter, the many varieties of citrus fruit are slowly ripening on the trees.
Australian round limes and Eureka lemons are almost ripe
The pomelo tree which is a form of grapefruit has produced even more fruit this season
Chilean guava’s are also ripe and hugely delicious! We have saved the seeds from some of the fruit and hope to grow many more shrubs next year.
Chilean guava’s are also ripe and hugely delicious!
The potato vines have now all died and that is a sure sign that the tubers are almost ready to harvest. My understanding is that once the vines have yellowed and died, you have to leave the tubers in the ground for about three weeks in order that the skins harden and then the tubers can be lifted.
The potato vines have now all died and that is a sure sign that the tubers are ready to harvest
For some reason, this season I have had numerous avocado seedlings grow randomly next to the chicken enclosure where the stones must have escaped with the kitchen scraps fed to the chickens.
Numerous avocado seedlings have grown randomly next to the chickens enclosure this season
The leaf colours are continuing to put on a good show this week:
The leaf colours are continuing to put on a good show this week
And speaking of the changing leaf colours for deciduous trees, I noticed that on one weekend afternoon many of the land owners near to the hugely popular leaf change tourism area that I mentioned last week, appear to have perhaps collectively decided to take advantage of the easing of restrictions on burn offs.
The burn off restrictions in the mountain range have been lifted this week
The nasturtiums are producing a good show of colour and have huge numbers of flowers which the bees adore. The bees are only now making an appearance only when the sun shines strongly (which is now much rarer as we head ever closer to winter).
Nasturtiums are producing a good show of colour and huge numbers of flowers which the bees adore
Many of the herbs are still producing lots of colour in the garden like this rosemary:
Many of the herbs are still producing lots of colour in the garden like this rosemary
But when I look at the shady orchard, I can see that winter is indeed coming!
But when I look at the shady orchard, I can see that winter is indeed coming!
The temperature outside now at about 10.00pm is 14’C (57’F). So far this year there has been 277.4mm (10.9 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 222.4mm (8.8 inches).

83 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

Oh no! I ranted so overly long tonight that I have seriously run out of time to reply to comments. I am a worm! It's just not cricket! Sometimes I disappoint even myself! etc. etc. This ranting business is really hard stuff... Like how do you rant and make coherent sense at the same time? This weeks blog has raised such difficult questions like that for me, to which I guess there are no easy answers. Oh well. Life goes on and we shall speak tomorrow as it is now almost 11pm and bed is calling. Until tomorrow!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I have problems with your rant because I think that it is way, way cheaper to live without public services. It depends on the standard of living that you require. As I am of an age that had very little when young my needs are commensurate with this and when I lived away from all public services my expenditure was tiny.

We donot have to pay for water and sewage services if we don't receive them so I am free of sewage charges. We do have to pay council tax on property, so that is the one unavoidable outgoing all else is choice.

Of course our world grows ever more mad. I had an appointment this morning to open a new savings account. It was obligatory for me to watch 2 videos explaining my rights and duties. I pointed out to the advisor that the first of the videos was incorrect. The response was 'Well spotted, we can't update it until October'!!!

I didn't know that one had to wait a while after the leaves die down before one harvested ones potatoes. I take them up whenever it suits me and haven't noticed any difference.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - LOL. Relax. We'll take your comments, when we can get 'em and be happy with that. We (I) realize you have a much, much larger life beyond this blog. We were all naive, when younger. Those that claim naught, are having memory lapses. :-).

I didn't realize (or missed) that you still have to pay water bills. It just doesn't seem ... fair. But then, some things in life aren't. I think this falls into the classification of: "They get your coming and going." Yeah, don't pay that water bill and they'll either "attach" the property (a lien against the title that will linger until the property changes hands ... perhaps accruing interest, or, they'll just hand it over to a collection agency. And you know about those :-).

Here, if you're buying a property, you can go to the court house and see if there's any liens on the property. But suppose there's something "out there" that doesn't show. So, we have an interesting institution to extract more money from you called a "title insurance company." They do a search to make sure the title is clear. And, if anything pops up in future, they pay for it. In theory. These days, anything with "insurance" in their name, I wonder how straightforward is the process?

I'm sure anytime you think about, or pay your yearly water bill, your blood pressure goes up. Mine would. Council rates sound like they = our property taxes.

Well, as far as your place looking very nice, but on the conventional end of things (as opposed to hippy-dippy, tricked out virtue signaling), besides saving the planet, I suppose some of it is camouflage :-). A cursory glance and everything looks so ... normal. :-). Mostly, I think it's you and the Editor's hard work, attention to detail, and your own sense of aesthetics. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I think the yogurt problems may fall under the heading of "the crapification of everything." But maybe your right. A whole new area of decline. Quality over economics. Rant? You want a rant? Let me tell you about rice and cheese. Well, for years I bought rice out of the bulk bins, at one store. They discontinued their bulk bins. Not cost effective, or something. They kept their most profitable bins. Candy and cookies. Any-who. I started buying the Safeway store brand of long grain brown rice. Now one would think that long grain brown rice is pretty standard? Apparently not. I nuke the rice and with the old rice, never had a problem with boil over. The new stuff? Mess in the microwave every time I cook some up. So, just this last week I bought some more expensive, name brand rice. Just to see if I can avoid the boil over problem.

Cheese. The Safeway store brand of two pound bricks of skim milk mozzarella have disappeared. Who knows why. So, I switched to their jack cheese. I went to slice some, last night. It doesn't slice, it crumbles. What a mess. So, if the mozzarella doesn't come back, I guess I'll be switching to a much higher price brand. Speaking of food, I finished making the corn beef and cabbage (and potatoes) last night. Not bad. But now I've got a gallon + of the stuff, so I'd better freeze some up. I don't think I'll make it through all that before it goes off.

"Gabion ... sewed it shut with steel wire." Did you use the Editor's serger? :-)

Cliff Mass, the weather guy, has been all in a tizzy, his last couple of posts. There is an ocean spanning moisture plume from the Philippines to here. And, the front is 1,000 miles long. Prof. Mass says he's never seen anything like it. It's going to rain for at least a week ... and the grass meeds mowing again. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - From last week. If I lived where you lived, I'd be breaking out the metal detector and digging holes. Lots of holes. But then, that's just me :-). Lew

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

Ooh, hoses and fittings! We´ve had endless problems with the compression fittings blowing out on the hoses. The sprayer ends give out as well. I´d really like a recommendation on some solid, brass connectors and sprayers so we wouldn´t be replacing them every five minutes. And the outside faucet drips. Spent half an hour trying various washers and tape to get the threaded end tight, but when screwed in firmly, the spout ends up at the 1 o´clock position instead of pointing down. Most frustrating.

Indictments handed down this week on a corruption scandal at the water utility in Madrid. Tens of millions sifoned off. There were even political resignations, which never happens. Service fees are a total scam here. But since the Board of Directors for the utility companies is where the political class goes for fat retirement incomes, nothing changes.

And sadly Breo has been diagnosed with a ruptured knee ligament which will almost certainly require surgery and a long recovery period. Aside from the expense, how on earth we´re going to keep him quiet for weeks at a time, I don´t know.

Your new stove looks fab! And thrifty too. Well done.

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Metal detectors have been used around here. How many spent bullet cases does one want? A few coins and a broken Victorian child's toy. Along at the quay musket balls turn up (not from a metal detector of course). I have been given a musket ball, interesting because it has a hole in it; Presumably it was defective.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I hope you are feeling better? It is not much fun to feel unwell.

We are being trained on the message front. Absolutely! I don't believe that it is an inherently harmful circumstance, maybe people are just overwhelmed with choice and don't know which path to take, believing they can take all of the paths? Dunno, what do you reckon about that?

Thanks for the info about scaly leg mite. I've read that the mites live in timber and so timber perches are to be avoided for that reason. Dunno, the mites are far less of a problem in the new chicken enclosure which is all weather. Fortunately for the chickens too as it rained 1.5 inches last night and some of that was very heavy indeed.

Your setup sounds very good, and I have rooster envy! :-)!

4 to 6 weeks for asparagus sounds about right to me. We stop harvesting spears by about Christmas and then simply let the plants grow. They're in seed now...

Yes, I often wonder about the wisdom of off shoring call centre jobs. It just makes no sense whatsoever. Amazon has been threatening to set up shop in Australia and I'm not so sanguine that it is a good move for retailers here.

Really? Sorry to hear about the cataracts. That is not good. I assume Michael really has to keep to his medications otherwise there are other consequences for his physical and mental health?

I hope you had a chance to get your onion plants in the ground? I assume you lift them and store them in a dry area for replanting? I haven't quite thought through the onion arrangements here and it is a bit all over the shop. If only there was more time. Alas!

I scored a massive collection of medlars this evening from a lovely neighbour. We make a very tasty medlar wine. They're an old English fruit which you don't see around much these days. I have a couple of trees growing, but they're nothing like my neighbours old and well established tree. Honestly, I'm in a bit of awe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, permanent sources of water are rare and that makes sense that a small Medieval village at the end of the woods would have become established there. Interesting. The town up at this less fashionable end of the mountain range was eventually abandoned due to lack of water and it never really grew beyond its current size due to lack of water. This is despite the fact that there was work to be had in the saw mills dotted about the forest. They tended to be located near to the water courses too as the mill saws were steam powered. There are a couple of old boilers dotted about the landscape! Water is always on my mind.

Does anyone ever undertake any digs on the site of the small Medieval village at the end of the woods? It would be fascinating, although given that there would have been little in the way of waste, not much would have been left.

A pirate colony! Too cool. Wow. What interesting things may be unearthed in that location. I would have thought that the Royal Navy would have eventually stomped the pirates? Have you ever come across any local references as to the relations between the locals and the pirates? They'd have to eat.

Have you ever tasted medlars? I scored a huge bag of them tonight from a neighbour and have begun the process of letting them blet as they are inedible otherwise. They taste to me exactly like a dried date from a date palm. Very tasty, but rarely seen. I'm always amazed at how large the world of edible plants actually is. Someone once joked to me about hordes of rampaging and hungry people in a far and distant dystopian future, and I replied to them that most people wouldn't know what a fruit tree looked if it fell on them.

Fair enough about the rant. I get that. I follow a similar path in that I have lowered my expectations of output from all of these clever devices so that I am not burdening the devices with unrealistic expectations. I've noted that unrealistic expectations tends to break these clever devices. Better to learn to live with less is my thinking. During the height of the recession in the early 90's my income just met my basic expenditures and I vividly recall the unfortunate necessity of having to save pennies for about three months just so as to purchase a couple of pairs of socks. Sure there was food on the table and a roof over my head, but things were tight. So, yeah I totally understand your point of view. I once remarked on a very wet day to a young lady who was about five years younger than myself at the time that: "It was a poor day to find that you had a hole in your shoe". And I tell you this: She absolutely floored me because she said: "why would you have a hole in your shoe?" How do you explain hardship to folks who only understand it as an abstract concept?

The council tax is the one thing that does not go away. And sometimes property can be sold from under the owners so as to recover the council taxes. This is not lost on me.

Your bank story is funny! Total respect for spotting the error in the video presentation. Well done.

Of course about the potatoes. I was referring to the situation where you were intending to save the seeds for the following season. In that instance down here you need to let the skins harden in the ground for three weeks. But if you were intending to eat them straight away it is not a problem at all. If you eat some and leave some in the ground for later consumption, you are following that process anyway. Do you remove all of the potatoes in one session?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Sorry to hear about your hose problems. Being on tank water and with solar powered pumps, I use the best fittings that I can find. If a join blew out, not only would the water tanks drain, but the pump would deplete the batteries. This is an unfortunate but not irrecoverable situation.

As to water pipes, I use what is known down here as: Rural poly fittings. All of those fittings which are in imperial measurements starting with 0.5 inch and increase in 0.25 inch increments attach to something called black and green agricultural pipe. It is UV stable and comes in huge rolls.

Back to your problem though. It may be that the problem lies with the hose itself. I have noted that not all garden hoses are of the same quality and nowadays I purchase a premium hose which is guaranteed for 30 years and I have not experienced those problems that you mention again. However in the past I have experienced those problems and nowadays use only quality brass fittings. Sorry, but the cheaper stuff is rubbish and the summer sun and UV here is so harsh that the plastic fittings break down in the sun and become brittle.

As to your tap, well I have noticed that some taps do not meet up nicely with the threads in the fittings. This is unfortunate and to address that matter, I simply wrap many more layers of teflon plumbing tape around the thread so as to ensure that the tap end faces downwards. You would think that the manufacturers would take that problem into account, but no... Do not be surprised if you have to wind more than fifteen loops of the plumbing tape to correct the problem. The standard is usually to wind about eight layers of teflon plumbing tape around the thread on the tap end.

Ouch! That corruption scandal hurts. I mean what can you say about such a circumstance?

Poor Breo and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Members of the fluffy collective have also visited the vet on several occasions recently. What can you do?

PS: I enjoyed your seafood blog post, but living inland I rarely see seafood, so I had no idea what to write as a comment. It is rare that I am lost for words, but there you go!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That bank robber from the 1930's was onto something! Funnily enough your comment reminded me about the comment I made to Inge about people not understanding what a fruit tree was even if it fell onto them. Of course, it takes a lot of experience to live in a rural area and see what is going on. I mentioned recently to the Green Wizards (GW) group that when a gang of youths escaped from a juvenile prison in a nearby town, they headed back to what they knew, which was an urban area - and were quickly picked up. I don't believe that the GW group understood exactly what I meant by that, but they're a pretty smart group and may just need time to dwell upon the subject.

Oh by the way, I just wanted to say that my gut feeling about the warming oceans creating a wetter environment has began to be noticed: Warm oceans fuelling late end to big wet season. Sometimes you just have to blow your own trumpet. Of course next summer may be a hideously horrible drought... Time will tell all.

Interesting stuff. I've never known a different form of clapping, but was merely playing around with the idea. Yes, it would certainly set the scene for a "trope". A lovely expression by the way.

Ha! There is a difference between anxious and neurotic, although what it may be I can't quite put a finger on. New York humour often portrays the neurotic end of that scale... Think Woody Allen or Seinfeld. I reckon the environment and population pressures produces that sort of humour.

Who would have thought that exotic dancing would have provided an avenue for immigration? Such a display of values. Fascinating. If you have some time, check out the lyrics for an old song which always brings goosebumps for me:
LAZYBOY LYRICS - "Underwear Goes Inside The Pants"
. It is a great song and really kicks some goals.

Ah yes, worm juice is good for plants. I recently gave all of the citrus trees a good feed. Alas that there is only so much worm juice to go around! Well done you with the tea plants too.

Yup! Flour ain't flour. What can I say. You are onto something with that journey, I can tell you. Sometimes the bread dough for some loaves is made in other countries, then frozen and then transported here. That is not right.

Well done with the Anzac biscuits. It is the 25th April after all. Oh, I'm going to check the book myself. What a thing to miss and it does use the word "complete" in the title. Oh well, the book is weighty with knowledge. The recipe however, is in my old high school home economics text: Cookery the Australian way. Maple syrup is an excellent swap for golden syrup. I make my own vanilla extract too which is very tasty. I could grow the beans inside, but I am not good with indoor plants...

Winnowing will be a very difficult process for you. How much time do you get between acceptance of the invitation to move in and the actual physical move?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Nah, I didn't reckon you were poking fun about the yoghurt. It is just that the situation troubles me in that I have to spend more, on more obscure products, just to remain in the same spot. That may be a useful definition of economic decline?

Ha! That is funny about the vegetarian whipped bean water as a substitute for eggs. You know on Sunday I went to see a comedian "Nick Cody" on the final night of the comedy festival and he is a definite carnivore who enjoys poking fun at vegans. But the thing is, he has a point. Why ape meat dishes when you enjoy a vegan diet? It is an important question and I do wonder about that matter. A vegan diet is really good, but why pretend that the opposite of something is a good thing? Dunno, I'm basically confused about the entire matter from start to finish, but I have respect for vegans as they do it tough. I take a different path and just try to grow what I eat, which is no easy path.

Incidentally, I met a neighbour tonight and scored a huge bag of medlars. They are awesome tasting - but very obscure fruit. The trees are an old English fruit tree and I have two of them growing here, but they were nothing like as old as my neighbours very old and productive tree. Happy days! The secret with them is that you have to let the fruit blet a bit before they are edible and some people may be uncomfortable with that. Fermentation is all the rage at Fernglade Farm! Hehe!!!

Corned beef is one of my favourite ways to enjoy beef. Lovely stuff. Back when I was a kid they used to tie the beef up and then boil it for a long time. Never made it myself but it sure is good and tasty! Did it turn out OK?

I bet they forgot to ask the kids. You know I see kids being used as pawns for their parent/s aspirations and it is very uncomfortable and to be honest it is breeding mental health issues in the kids. I see a lot of that gear and everyone turns a blind eye - well except for Blind Freddy who is endowed with clear sight. :-)!

I saw the poster for that film. It has Viggo in it who is quite a good actor. Unfortunately it is gone from the cinemas now. I'll put it on the "to see" list for when the opportunity arises. It inevitably does. I have no problems with home schooling. I used to until I met a local early teenager who runs a 2,000 head chicken and egg farm and has three employees and is home schooled. Yup, one can't argue with facts on the ground. At that age, I was not capable of meeting those challenges. Respect.

Hehe! Yeah, life can get big sometimes, but I enjoy our conversations and make time for them. It takes a lot of work to look this relaxed! :-)! Hehe! Sometimes I laugh at my own jokes... Well, a lot of the time really. I wouldn't feel relaxed if I didn't work this hard. There is a conundrum in there...

I like that: "they get your coming and going". Yeah, I try to outwit them, but the law plays to their favour, so it is best not to be a large and juicy target and have reasons for them to leave you alone and do what you do. Doesn't always work though. That pesky water bill goes up every year too. I keep telling people that if incomes are flat or only rising slowly, and expenses are increasing faster than that, then you are slowly getting poorer. Unfortunately few people want to entertain that thought, but some hear me. Yes, I do know about debt collection and it tells me: Don't get involved.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

They have a state wide system in place here and all of the authorities have to spill the beans on a purchase prior to settlement and they get their cut out of the sellers share of the proceeds. The land here had a few years of back taxes when we bought it. The owners had apparently lost interest in the land. If a person knew where to search to discover back taxes... Incidentally, I've read anecdotal accounts that arrears of property taxes are on the rise as is mortgages in default. I think the Big Short book covered that story too, but over in the US...

Exactly same, same. And yeah, the blood pressure does rise, but I pay it and try not to dwell upon the matter. What did that dude say about rendering unto Caesar? He was onto something that bloke.

Yes, you are correct, we make the choice not to look hippy dippy. But I also reckon that the media loves a morality tale and object of fear: Look at those people, this is what you'll get if you try anything differently. Honestly, that trick will work up until the point that it no longer works, and I reckon we may be getting closer to that point. Maybe.

Your cheese and rice. Oh, I spoke with the editor who remarked that your new rice is not in fact your old rice. The bubbling over says that it has far more starch (sugars) than the previous rice. You may want to try: Basmati rice as it has a low sugar content and won't boil over as much. Mind you, your new rice would make an excellent sake, given the higher sugar content. Sorry, but that is what it looks like...

Ha! Yeah, that maybe a bit too much corned beef! How is your freezer looking these days?

The editor informs me that a serger is another name for an overlocker! Unfortunately, the steel wire was a manual affair...

Cliff Mass nailed that one: "It is the JAWS of Pacific moisture plumes. And it is now reaching our shores." Love it, although I'd very uncomfortable seeing that much moisture in that short a period of time as it sounds like a total disaster. Who doesn't love a bit of hyberbole? Or though 7 months and 44.67 inches of rain is feral wet. The most I saw in 1 year here was 56.5 inches and that was a crazy amount of rain, but 7 months is something else. I hope it is not too bad...

Incidentally, you've just won the Elephant Stamp for biggest comment reply yet to date! :-!) Don't get huge, get massive! 1650 words. It may snow here tomorrow morning (apparently with a bit of luck).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Haha! One final word (I like to get the last word in). On the Cliff Mass blog you can see the sheer volume of moisture in the atmosphere over the north of the continent. The little finger that dips down and touches the north west corner of this continent is the bit that has been sending me clouds and moisture all summer long as the trade winds drive in a south easterly direction to here from that point. Mate the tropics are huge and getting huger.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Trying not to forget what else I planned to comment on. I have eaten bletted medlars and didn't much care for them. Many years ago a neighbour in a grand house had 2 of the trees. he used to sell the fruit to a local greengrocer. That was a gorgeous house and estate (house designed by the designer of the Crystal Palace). the house and grounds were later demolished to be replaced by a holiday camp.

No there has never been a dig where the Medieval village was, in fact few people know about it. My husband used to own that land but we sold it and the current owner would certainly not permit any adtivity there.

Very little seems to be known about the pirates. There were no roads of any kind to their hideout and it would have been difficult for locals to interact with them. No idea what they fed on.

I plant and dig up potatoes at any old time, no routine to it. Have certainly not noticed any difference in their skins, even if they have hidden underground all winter.

Hah! Plumbing tape. Son and I are all too well acquainted with the necessity for it. Your advice to Coco was spot on.

Flour: Cheapest flour is dreadful, next price up is okay. For bread I use strong flour which I believe is imported from Canada. Conditions here are not suitable for growing it.

Do land/property taxes in Australia remain with the property or the person if there is a debt? I believe that it remains with property in the US, whereas here it remains with the person.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

I meant 'spent cartridges' my knowledge of associated words being poor. The musket shot becomes revealed by the endlessly moving sand bars.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Brilliant title!

I am very thankful for the nice utility company; I think most everyone else is also which is why they always get their way with their rates. And they have trained us well over the years to endure power outages; I am grateful for that, too. I am trying to think of an equivalent here to your compulsory water bill. Can't think of one, but surely they wouldn't have missed a chance somewhere. We do pay council rates on our property and state rates on our vehicles.

Last week there were major power outages in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, all at the same time (haven't finished the comments so someone may have mentioned it). Hmm?

That's a nice spot for a garden tap, much better than in the middle! We have a 100 ft. garden snake, too. So nice to see the rock gabions again, with a path on top to boot. Hi, Toothy - and Scritchy's posterior.

It is as lush as a jungle where the slide was only 3 months ago. And I think you are a skillful pruner with those forest trees. I have some pomelo seeds from a Taiwanese friend, but it makes me feel droopy to think of starting another tropical tree to live in the house in winter. We are crowded with the mango and avocado.

Re the video and article about the "commune": Well, they are quite enthusiastic, perhaps it will carry them through. I'd say that communes never work, but we have one in the next county that has been there for decades. They have a small shop in town that has been there a long time, too (the first "natural foods" shop here). Some people do like living with a bunch of other people.

I have just recalled that you mentioned last week that a little bantam was sick and that her erstwhile silky friend was with her. How is she?

We have had rain for several days now. Hallelujah!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

From last week: I'm sorry you've been sick; bet you are a lot better now. Poor Michael. Is he afraid of doctors? Do you have trouble getting him to go? Best of luck to you with his eye troubles.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

From last week: Fantastic that you are now number 2 in line for your new home! Time to start collecting cardboard boxes from behind the shops.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Coco:

What on earth did Breo do to accomplish something as bad a ruptured knee ligament? Chasing something, I'll bet . . . Best of luck to him for a speedy recovery and to you with trying to keep him cooperative.

We have endless problems with hoses and fittings, too.

@Chris - thank you for the suggestion of using plumbing tape. I could solve a lot with buying better quality hoses, but tape is cheaper . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I think that it is very wise of Chris and the editor to appear normal . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

In your comment to Inge, do I see a theme?

"Water is always on my mind." I have had people look at me like I have two heads when I state that our first requirement of living anywhere is if the place has clean, plentiful water. I guess they think that water from a tap is like milk in a bottle in a grocery store - it just appears ready-made that way.

"Someone once joked to me about hordes of rampaging and hungry people in a far and distant dystopian future, and I replied to them that most people wouldn't know what a fruit tree looked if it fell on them." When my son was living in London, he showed a London-born friend how he could gather fruit from the roadside trees (hopefully, not-sprayed). It had never occurred to his friend.

"why would you have a hole in your shoe?" Well, that is the same as the two above. Beyond the person's personal experience, so not worth imagining.

"It takes a lot of work to look this relaxed! :-)!" So - there is no magic involved . . .?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Happy Anzac Day! A moment of silence. Well, it's pretty much all silence, around here :-). Trying to figure out when to bake the biscuits. Hard to fit into my busy social schedule :-). Think I'll mix up the dough, throw it in the fridge and bake them up when I get home from the men's meeting. The freezer is still fuller than I'd like it to be, at this point. Oh, it will all work out. Of course, I threw four packets of corned beef and cabbage in, last night. Doesn't help matters :-).

The corned beef and cabbage turned out well. Lots of nice stock (?) in the pot. So, last night I decided to have some. Put it in a small bowl and then decided to add some peas. Hmmm. Moved to larger bowl. Added peas and green onions. Wouldn't mushrooms, soy cubes and green onions be nice? Moved to larger bowl. Threw in the last of the broccoli. There was a lot of washing up around my place, last night. Thank the Editor for the observation on the rice. If the name brand long grain brown doesn't work, I'll give the basmati a whirl. Ouch! Expensive stuff!

I'd run across a few references to medlars in writing from the Middle Ages. I never followed up on what they were, exactly. I always figured they were some kind of apple or pear. Blet? I guess the same process, kind of, as to figuring out when quinces are ripe. I didn't have all that many to start with, and a few I let go too long. But, the one's that managed to make it to the pot with syrup, were quit nice.

Saw an interesting article (short) on how climate change is impacting Coral Gables, Florida. Sent it to a friend who lives in Florida.

http://www.dailyimpact.net/2017/04/24/not-with-a-bang-or-a-whimper-a-tink/

Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I watched a couple of Luke McGregor's sketches on YouTube. He IS funny. That strangled, awkward delivery. Reminds me of Bobcat Goldthwait. One wonders how he (his stage persona) winds himself up to get himself out the door, in the morning. A feeling I identify with. :-)

Well, the plan for the move is to transfer the kitchen and bath, right off the bat. Do all that stuff there, sleep and keep winnowing here. I'm really lucky that I can pretty much take my time getting out of this place. Depending on how long I want to keep paying rent here ... but rent here may be "in kind." I've already got a big reduction on next months rent (here) as I swapped some garden tools for the rent reduction, rather than sending them to auction. I have been doing some winnowing and packing. But, not enough.

I feel a bit better about the home schooled, these days. I'd worked with a few of them and found them ... socially inept with huge gaps in their ... cultural literacy. I've kind of changed my mind after reading or seeing, several articles. It seems as if there are two types of home schooling. The religiously inspired and the more secular parents looking for better education for their kids, then what is on offer, locally. There is a bit of tension, between the two groups. But, at least here, home schooling parents have begun to band together and have frequent outings and events to expose the kids to other people, outside their family units. Given the state of public education, here, if I had kids I might home school. All hypothetical, of course :-).

Ohhh. An Elephant Stamp! LOL. One I may not wear proudly, as ... well, I do run on. I'm libel to use up the internet! You should get the Elephant Stamp for your tolerance. LOL. Get big or get out? Oh, yeah. That was applied to farming. :-). I see Amazon is experimenting with opening brick and mortar bookstores. I guess there's one in Seattle and more planned for other cities. Full circle? Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Bullets? I'm more enamored with soft drink pull tabs :-). Last year I watched the two season "Detectorists". It was pretty amusing, in spots. It was about a metal detecting club in a small English village. The politics. The cut throat competition. Every once in awhile, they'd have a "display day" of finds, in an effort to lure in new members. No one ever showed up. But I remember a fellow had a table where he proudly displayed his collection of soft drink pull tabs and bottle caps. He could identify every manufacturer and date of production.

Well, we all have our little manias, I guess. I'm thrilled that I got a bookend in the mail, yesterday, that matches the one I picked up at the flea market. So now I have a pair! Copper plated cast iron. Very art deco. A dancing lady with a cubist look about her. Stamped "Miss Moderne" on the back. Looking around the Web, no one seems to know who made her. But all the listings seem to think she's from the late 1920s. Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

Regarding the power supply, the biggest effect of the missing power station will occur during the times of highest demand. These occur a few hours per year.

It is during those times that people "should" to use less power (ie. switch off the A/C ;-)

Regarding the cost of your power, we pay 32 c/kWh for "GreenPower", and use about 5 kWh/day. We pay 80 c/day connection charge. Hence, the cost of our power is 48 c/kWh (spreading the cost of the connection charge over the consumed energy). In practice, this is partially offset by the 8 c/kWh we are paid for exported solar.
I'm actually quite impressed that the cost of power in your stand-alone system is _only_ 80 c/kWh. Although, I am guessing that refers to all power produced, whether you need to use it or not? What is the daily cost of your system, and how much power do you use at different times of year?

I understand your frustration at water charges for a system you don't use. I know people who built a house that was self-sufficient for water. Years later, the local utility ran a supply pipe past their house (to which they never connected) and started charging them water rates.
Having said that, I reckon the elephant in the room when it comes to infrastructure is roads. In South Australia, few question spending a billion dollars on a road upgrade, but if we spend 1/3 billion on future-proofing the electricity grid that's the End Of The World!! ;-)

Glad all going well with your new wood stove -- I look forward to hearing how it performs over the long term.

Cheers, Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Fair enough about the medlars. The ones here tasted to me exactly like dates except that they had a different texture which was close to that of a paste. Does that match your memory of the taste of the fruit? The ones I received from the neighbour were much larger than the smaller varieties that I grow here (although to be honest the trees here are still quite young at about 4 or maybe 5 years).

Out of curiosity is the holiday camp still in operation? Such things were popular back in the day, but the advent of cheap flights meant that people travelled further abroad. It is a real shame when heritage buildings are demolished because once they're gone, they're gone if you know what I mean. For most of my life, I've lived in older houses (or reproductions that I have constructed) and so I appreciate them and reproduced the construction techniques from an earlier time (except for the roof trusses in this building which was more or less an engineering compromise which I had to cop on the chin with good grace). I would have enjoyed a chat with your husband about building!

Good for the current owner. The remains of the historic saw mills out in the forests here are a matter of local knowledge too and are mostly on private land. Few people visit them.

It does make you wonder what the pirates ate? I have an active imagination and wonder whether they moonlighted as respectable local fisher folk? It would make for a good cover story don't you reckon?

Thank you! Yes, teflon plumbing tape corrects a world of evils - and it is very effective too. In a perfect world the threads would match perfectly and tape would be superfluous. I once had someone wax lyrical to me about the engineering precision of Rolls Royce engines in that regard, although I have no personal experience of that matter.

Very wise! I'm like you in that I avoid the cheapest flour as who knows what is in it. The flour is cheap for a reason. That is crazy about imports from Canada as that is about the same latitude as the UK? Maybe back in the day rye was grown in place of wheat? Those are heavy feeding crops.

I actually don't know about the exact legalities of where the debt for unpaid local council rates is attached too. No doubt the owner is responsible and the property is held as collateral, but I could well be wrong. All I know is that at the settlement of a property, any unpaid amounts are deducted from the sellers share of the funds.

The editor has come to the rescue with an answer to that question: "Unpaid rates are a charge on the rateable land. This means that the law gives councils a form of mortgage over your property to secure unpaid rates, so councils are fairly certain to recover their rates eventually. This means councils are usually prepared to agree to reasonable offers to pay overdue rates by instalments and may be prepared to write off accrued interest if it will alleviate undue hardship." From the NSW Ombudsman's website. There is also considerable evidence that these things rarely go smoothly...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, it was very clever title wasn't it? The original quote is attributed to Dolly Parton who is clearly a very intelligent lady.

That is hysterical about being trained to endure outages. The nice utility company is most polite to address this important aspect of your continuing education. It is very, very thoughtful indeed, of them! Yes, vehicles (and bright yellow trailers) also have to be registered down here and there is an annual fee for that at about $750 per vehicle and about $50 for the bright yellow trailer. In some states owners of vehicles have to also get what is known as a pink slip, which is a certificate from a mechanic stating that the vehicle is more or less roadworthy. Petrol is about $1.30 per litre and there are 3.8 litres per gallon, so we pay about $5 per gallon of fuel, which all things considered is quite cheap given what the stuff can do. Taxes for maintenance of the road system is taken from that fuel charge. Incidentally, most of the freeways leading into town from this unfashionable end of the city are tollways, so there are further charges incurred going into and out of the city. Now that I consider the matter, cars are really expensive beasts! Thankfully I have a small dirt mouse and a slightly larger dirt rat which are both old and cheap to run and maintain. Incidentally I have noticed that with the dirt rat Suzuki, the newer models now are sold without the four wheel drive mechanisms, and so I will stick with an older dirt rat over a more flashy and newer model vehicle which incidentally, I've nicknamed the dirt Antechinus (which is a marsupial rat like creature which lives in the forests here and as such is a bit more sophisticated than the average dirt Rattus rattus!)

Really? Well we appear to be heading in a similar direction. My personal favourite was when there was a major major power outage at the Superbowl. Fancy that! What a statement.

Yes, taps and garden snakes (as long as they don't bite) are very handy critters! :-)! How good are the rock gabions, and they are dead level and solid as. Scritchy is a lady of distinction and it is unfortunate that there are now photos of her on the interweb in compromising positions. Poor Scritchy! I’m blushing for her.

Thanks! The landslide area is slowly healing and those small understory trees in the forest really respond well to a pruning and a feed (which is the same thing in most cases!) An inside mango sounds superb! My mates who live in a shed have a rather large avocado in their shed which has produced fruit. I am rather jealous of that micro climate in this cold corner of an otherwise arid and hot continent! Has your avocado produced any fruit? They do take many years to do so.

Some communes go for decades and some collapse quite quickly. The interesting thing about that particular commune in the video is that the lady wearing the glasses is the owner (I believe) and she is very good at evicting people who have nuisance factor seven. That is sort of like sad dog face number five - which nobody really wants to see. One must remember the reasons for being in such a place, and not be overwhelmed by the complexity of the politics in such a circumstance. I visited a commune once that had been around for decades, but I felt their lack of vision was too much of a problem to surmount and so went off and did something else instead.

The little bantam has not keeled over, and she still survives on borrowed time. Fingers crossed, but past experience has not told me that things will be good.

Well done with the rain! What an excellent time of year for it to arrive.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Ah! You see through me and now know all of my little secrets.

Yes, I have heard it said once in the newspaper someone in the middle east saying, and it made for truly shocking hearing: "If we run out of water, we'll just buy in bottled water". True story.

Really, I'll tell you a funny, but slightly sad story. My neighbour in the inner city used to have a very old apricot tree in their tiny front yard, which produced hundreds of delicious fruit every single year. Now my neighbour could not have been described as nice person, and so I used to wait until they went out and then I ducked in and picked bucket loads of ripe apricots. It was either that or the fruit bats got them. The neighbour used to complain endlessly about the fruit bats, but that same person refused to let me pick the fruit. The inner city here was very weird, but they did tend to vote for the Greens political party so they must have known something I didn't. Anyway, I extracted my revenge, by leaving my washing out to dry in the tiny front yard on warm sunny days on a washing horse. That'll mess with them. Mind you, the neighbours eventually broke me by building a huge second story which over shadowed the backyard for nine months of the year (and for most of the rest of the year too) and so I retreated to a place which has a bit of distance from my thoughtful fellow humans.

Well, I for one do not believe that they could even comprehend that such a problem would occur. By not thinking about it, they bring the problem ever closer to themselves. ;-)!

No magic here, well, maybe a little bit! But clearly you are immune to my magic! Hehe!

Cheers (o astute one!)

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thank you for the kind Anzac day wishes and remembrance and baking Anzac biscuits is a very thoughtful thing to do. How did the biscuits turn out? I made a batch this evening too as I worked quite hard today and didn't have enough time for lunch. Although to be honest, I did drop into a favourite cafe in Melbourne where I picked up a cappuccino and coconut bread (which is very good). Unfortunately that was my lunch, so by the time I got home I was way hungry - and feeling a bit low in the blood sugar levels department. When I got home I made a bee-line to the kitchen cupboard and proceeded to eat all of the remaining Anzac biscuits from the previous batch. I felt much better then, but had to bake another batch of biscuits. It is a sad tale! Alas, the work never stops. :-)! But the biscuits are good...

Your busy social schedule sounds about as busy as mine! :-)! I almost felt like heading off to the pub tonight to get a meal and a pint. It is 3'C / 37'F outside right now so it would have been a cold night to head out. They may get some snow on the higher ridges of the mountain range here too. And today it rained cats and dogs. At one point the rain was so torrential that the sound on the metal roof was deafening. It has been a while since I'd seen rain that heavy. Last night, the filters on the water tanks blocked up because of the detritus and so I had to race out in the rain and clear them of gunk. The gunk is good for the garden I guess. The storm front has drifted north from Antarctica so it has brought a very cold change along with it. Brrr! Tomorrow will be cold too. I'll keep the camera handy in case it snows.

Your freezer would be quite the conundrum to empty. Mind you, I would lose track of what is at the bottom of the freezer. I tend to label everything otherwise I forget what it is. I wonder how they used to do such things in the past?

Yum! I'm totally drooling over the description of the corned beef stew. Yes, washing up is a necessary part of food production. I would hate to see how that operation takes place in a commercial kitchen.

I'll tell you a funny story about the rice. We worked out which variety of rice to select for the sake (which requires a rice with a high sugar content) by checking out which rice to avoid on the heart foundation and diabetes website. ;-)! Let's put it this way, Basmati may be expensive rice, but it is not good for the production of sake... So never fear that you are depriving sake masters of their tools of trade when you purchase basmati rice. :-)!

I don't know which family of fruit the medlar belongs too. What an interesting question. I'll have to go and check Dr Louis Glowinski's complete book of fruit growing in Australia (it is a complete book too and he has a charming way with words)... ... ... He also covers the history of individual fruits and I find that fascinating as it can provide all sorts of information about the plant species... ... ... Ah! You were correct. The tree is closely allied to the pear and quince and was once included in the genus Pyrus (which we all know is Latin for pear). Linnaeus has forever associated this tree with the Germans but in fact it originated from the same area as the other pome fruits, the wooded areas of Asia and Asia Minor that border South Eastern Europe. Wild medlars were found in this area by Vavilov, the Russian geobotanist or plant explorer. It was once unfortunately known as the "open ars tree" which is very unpolite! Chaucer himself referred to the medlar fruit as "openers". My, my, they didn't much bother with political correctness or family friendly in those days did they? :-)!

cont...

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Each state here also decides whether or not a vehicle must be "inspected" and pay a fee. All states have such rules in place, as far as I know. The fee here is really small; much higher in New York state, where my sister lives. You pay higher prices for gasoline/petrol. A converter says that your $5AU = $3.74US. I pay about $2.29US per gallon. It is way higher in some U.S. states. I would expect my country's costs to be less since we extract and refine it here. It seems a fair price to me considering how valuable it is and how difficult and expensive it is to get to the point of use.

My avocado is too young to produce fruit. There are murmurs that Oswald Avocado may be spending next winter out-of-doors. Do you think that an overcoat will suffice?

I tell you! Neighbors! There's always a bad apple in the bunch. Well done us, to put some distance between us and them.

I hear Canada geese heading north for the summer and the deer are circling the fenced-in garden like Indians circling a wagon train in an old western. One of them is very fat. I think we will have a new fawn soon.

My goodness, it's cold there!

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

The Florida situation is not good. I did enjoy the way the article was written, but was totally bowled over when I made it to the 120% figure. Ouch! That sounds like down here. Of course as all thinking people know that such an inflationary outcome is not hyper inflation which is fortunately defined as 50% per month increase in prices. I am genuinely amazed at the effects that the expansion of the money supply has had, it is really quite a grandiose scheme - the downsides of which appear to me to be accelerating. Interestingly enough, sooner or later, someone may decide that some destruction is in order (and necessary) of that expanded money supply and they may find that control over that process gets harder the longer the problem is left. I reckon the word profound may describe the consequences, but no doubts, the circus will attempt another reboot. Dunno really. What fascinating times we live in.

Luke is funny isn't he? I don't believe that he is making it up either, but a friend of mine believes that it is all a character. He was seriously at the top of his game at the comedy festival.

I understand your reticence at the winnowing process and wish you all the best. Hopefully the process is not too emotionally painful for you?

Exactly, the whole home schooling thing is a mixed bag, but then the education process has been exactly that for longer than I care to think about. Is this a good thing? Dunno. The way parents carry on down here, you would believe that there is no substitute for a private school education as they have appear to have a poor perception of the government system. Mind you, most of those parents don't realise that the apple rarely falls far from the tree and often the parents are demanding that the kids perform educational achievements, that they themselves have not achieved. Few call the parents out on that ambition. I don't reckon it is right to ask the kids to attempt that.

Ha! Get big or get out... Far out, that old trope will lead you into a world of debt servitude. Thanks. I'd be curious about how much taxes Amazon pays.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

That's a great article on Coral Gables, Florida. Smart mayor.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Absolutely, peak demand always occurs during heat waves. That inter state connector technology has not worked out so well in recent years with Bass link (Vic and Tas) breaking at about the same time as the interconnector (Vic and SA) got smashed in a storm. The hydro dams in Tasmania got down to 12 or 13% I believe at that time because of the drought. Not good. And you got to experience the SA side of that failure...

Ha! I'd like to see that. It does sound nice in theory.

Of course, I hadn't considered the aspect of your connection fee adding to your usage fee. That makes sense and I'll use those numbers in future if you are OK with that?

Off grid solar doesn't work that way. Total power produced by the photovoltaic panels is an academic number and is not worth considering. The reason for me writing that, is because if you cannot store the electrical energy in the batteries or you cannot use the excess electrical energy, it is lost! Gone. Nowhere to be seen. And batteries do not take in whatever electrical energy that you have available to store. They absorb a charge at an ever slower rate as they slowly fill up. Your lithium batteries will take a quicker charge than mine here, relatively speaking. It is a very different experience to that of a water tank or fuel tank though, which you can fill up as fast as you can deliver the liquids.

Nope, it simply does not work the way that people think (or insist) that it should. So considering a number as to what energy is actually produced by the solar panels is an academic exercise. Hope that makes sense and I am happy to discuss this matter further as it is important. I was once trolled on the ADR about this matter and no matter how many different ways I approached the discussion with the individual they refused to believe me.

You see grid tied systems can absorb any and all of the energy that solar photovoltaic panels produce because the systems are so hideously wasteful. But when the grid is very small, like on Norfolk Island, too much solar power production can simply pop the entire grid (as actually happened!). Grid tied inverters are a very dumb bit of electronics.

That is awful about the people being charged water rates for connection even though they are not connected. Incidentally, if the water authority was ever silly enough to provide town sewerage services up here, I am under a legal obligation to use it, despite the worm farm returning the nutrients to the soil here for the benefit of the wildlife and surrounding forest. Doesn't matter about outcomes.

Yes, I hear you. Mind you those battery storage systems sound massive, but I read that they can only power a town say, the size of Bendigo, for apparently four hours. That doesn't seem that long a period of time to me. But it is an impressive system. I hope it never achieves a thermal runaway due to over charging.

I'm most impressed with the wood heater, and am happy to support your local manufacturing. I'll keep you posted on how it is going as the season progresses. So far, so good though and it uses less firewood than the previous heater. Far out it is cold here tonight at 3'C!!!! Brrrr!!!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I hadn't heard about the power outages in SF, LA and NY. Hmmm. Suppressing the news a bit so as not to "scare the horses?" Or, just general lack of interest? Or, so "new normal" that it's not worth commenting on? Inquiring minds want to know. :-) Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Wow - paying the water utility when they don't even provide the water!! That would have people screaming around here. We have our own well and septic. Of course there is the maintenance of those systems but over the years it's been pretty reasonable. If someone is hooked up to city water and sewer there is a per gallon charge which from what I understand always goes up and sometimes by a lot. As other have said your council rates are like our property taxes which are assessed on the value of your property. Doug's job as township assessor is to determine the value of properties. People think he determines the actual tax but no, the rate is determined by the state by a hard to understand formula and changes every year. Farm land is assessed differently than other land (less) and there are some exemptions available. This year we got the senior exemption (yah for getting old) and our taxes actually dropped!! Supposedly we are one of the highest taxed counties in the country. The schools are the largest percentage of the tax bill by far.

That is too bad about the yogurt but then the quality of just about everything gets worse by the year. I've always used organic whole milk for mine and it costs around $4 per half gallon. I recently purchased a different culture -one that had a greater variety of beneficial bacteria and it was supposed to last for years. To my dismay it failed and after calling the company it was determined that it wouldn't work with ultra-pasteurized milk. That's about all that's available around here. There may be one brand of just pasteurized milk at the store but it's usually very close to the sell by date and as I'm the only one who eats yogurt the milk would probably spoil. I have a culture that works with this milk but I can only get two batches before the yogurt gets too runny.

Things finally dried out but now we're in for chilly weather with lots of rain over the next 5-7 days. I did get the onions planted as well as radishes and beets and hopefully the garden won't flood with all the rain.

Sounds like you got that new heater installed in the nick of time.

I am finally better though never was as sick as Doug and his mom. I had no appetite for days - not even for wine so I knew I was sick :).

Yes, Michael needs to stay on track with his meds as he suffers from auditory hallucinations without them - sometimes quite severe. All the side effects are really tough but the alternative is much worse. Some years ago he was hospitalized three times in six months while the right mix/dosage of meds were adjusted. When this happens someone is just sent to where ever there is a bed so he was in three different hospitals. The staff didn't seem to be too well trained in how to deal with someone with an developmental as well as a mental disability. From what I understand there are hardly any beds in Illinois anymore either. It's really become a dire situation.

I was not familiar with medlars but then there they were in a nursery catalog where we order fruit trees etc from time to time.

The rooster is continuing with his good behavior. He is now eating treats out of my hand. I may even name him. Roosters have always been worse with Doug as he rarely cares for the chickens and I think the male voice seems to be more threatening to them. I've suggested that he visit him daily, give him a treat and get down more to his level. So far he has not followed my advise.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew,

That's great that you're number 2 now and I hope the new place works out well for you. Good luck with the winnowing as well. One of the reasons we drag our feet selling this huge house is the thought of getting rid of so much stuff. I keep working on it whenever I have time.

Btw, I subscribed to "The Daily Impact" after you had linked to it sometime ago and very much enjoy it. Your book and movie recommendations/reviews are also much appreciated. I've added more than a few to my list.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Pam,

Thanks!! I'm better now. Michael isn't afraid of doctors at all. He rarely complains though until something gets to the emergency stage. I knew his vision had gotten a lot worse recently but the last time I got him glasses he refused to wear them so I didn't rush off to get another pair. I imagine when the cataracts get taken care of his vision will improve dramatically. The only thing he's afraid of is going to the psych ward again. He has no fear of the dentist either.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yikes! Your vehicle registration is out of sight. Ours used to be sliding scale, depending on age of vehicle and initial cost. Probably a very complicated calculation. Then a vote of the people set a standard rate of, I think, $35. Right across the board. Every time the State tries to fiddle the rate, a bit, someone takes them to court. You can add another $3, to support the State parks. Optional. Gas here is currently $2.97 a gallon. For the least expensive gas.

The Anzac biscuits turned out good. I threw together the mix, put it in the fridge and baked when I got home from the men's meeting. Since I can't leave a recipe alone and play with my food, I trigged the recipe a bit. I did half white sugar and half brown. I also had the tail end of some dried cranberries and topped off the measure with raisins. (I don't care for coconut). I nuked them with a bit of water. I used the raisin water for that fiddly bit where you bring it to a boil and add baking soda in one pot ... and then add it to the hot butter and syrup mixture. I cut the raisin water measure, just a smidge, as I figured the moist raisins would raise the moisture content. Oh, and I think I mentioned I used maple syrup instead of golden syrup.

I think it's kind of magic the way the biscuits slide off the parchment paper onto the cooling rack ... all gooey and just about falling apart. And then firm up almost immediately. LOL. Well, by then it was pretty late so I also made a dinner of way too many Anzac biscuits and milk. Just to feel righteous and healthy, I topped it off with strawberries and plane, nonfat yogurt. The biscuits turned out softer than the usual Anzac biscuit. Chewy. Nice rich flavor. I'm taking some to my friends at the Club, today. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. It's interesting that so much of our fruit came out of Asia and Asia Minor. I've read a bit about the plant explorers, and seen a few DVDs on their exploration and looting (in a nice way ... seeds and slips) of the area. Plant treasures, still to be found.

Yup. Past writers (Middle Ages, etc.) pretty much called it as they saw it. Lusty and naughty. It's always a bit startling to see a foreign film where they film an old story (say, Chaucer) and film it, as written. All cultural, I suppose. Sophisticated Europeans don't bat an eyelash. Just life as life is. The human comedy.

Off to the Little Smoke. To scatter about a few Anzac biscuits. Lew

margfh said...

Chris and Lew,

I think I've mentioned that my twin granddaughters are home schooled. There are a part of a very large (80 families I think) group so there is plenty of socialization. They have their own girl scout troops at all age levels. The twins are also well liked in their neighborhood too. My daughter always wanted to home school, partially because she didn't fit in too well at school and overall it wasn't a great experience. Many relatives, including my aunt, a retired 2nd grade teacher, were concerned at first but everyone is very supportive now as they've seen the results. They cover all the basic of course but if something really catches their interest they have the flexibility of really exploring in depth. One of the twins was really struggling with basic arithmetic skills and hated math but one day something "clicked" and my daughter couldn't get her to stop doing math. They also learn practical skills like cooking and sewing. That being said though my daughter says there's a huge variance in how the parents teach. Some practice "un-schooling" essentially just letting the kids do what they want. I think there's always been people who've home schooled for religious reasons but there seem to be many more parents who just want to get away from the relentless testing etc. I think the plan is to home school through Jr. High (two more years) and then a mix of high school, college level courses and some on their own activities.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I agree that the medlars had the consistency of paste but don't really remember much taste; bletting seems to me to be another name for rotting. They did remind me of apples that were going off.

The holiday camp was abandoned long ago as you suspected. The land returned to the wild and the swimming pool was also taken over by myriad creatures. It's recent sale was the reason for the large development near me. It now consists of nearly 200 holiday lodges everyone of which was occupied over Easter. Fortunately it is just far enough away not to bother me.

Debt belonging to property is, I believe, a problem in the US where you have to be very careful when buying a property not to discover too late that there is a debt on it. No doubt a good solicitor checks for you. One should always do searches. I never forget a property I was going to buy which turned out to have a public right of way running right through the house. My solicitor kept saying 'Are you sure there isn't a footpath beside it'? Needless to say, I didn't buy.

It is very cold here at present, I need gloves on when I go outside; this is the third day of an icy north wind.

Inge

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

As another Dolly Parton fan, I quite enjoyed your title for this post!

In my own life, I have also found that living cheaply can be more expensive than it seems. For instance, because Mike and I don't have medical insurance, in one way our health care costs are cheaper than most. But in another way they aren't. In order not to need to go to a doctor for a yearly checkup, we have to eat much higher quality food than most people do. That means paying more for the food at a grocery store that stocks higher quality food (and paying to drive the extra miles to those stores, which don't happen to be located in our part of the metro area) or at a farmers market. Or it means growing it myself. Growing it myself means an investment in fencing, garden tools, soil amendments, time to research growing methods and time needed to garden, and so forth. It also means I have to take the time to educate myself on how to eat in a healthy way and what alternatives there are available to treat minor health issues, and pay for those alternatives when they are needed. It's true that adding up the extra cost comes nowhere near what the insurance premium would be for two folks who aren't quite old enough to get Medicare, but it's not that we get to spend all of the avoided premium on whatever we want, either.

I think the one utility that we must have and pay for is sewer usage. The property has a septic tank because it predates when the local sewer utility expanded as far as where we live. The previous owner paid for a connection to the sewer line when it was first put in, although a few houses on the street remain on their septic systems. But I think that now that we are hooked up to the sewer, we are no longer allowed to disconnect and return to the septic tank (much less an alternate like your worm system), nor can houses built on properties with a sewer line running past get permission to put in a septic tank. Someone who is willing to put in a well might be able to avoid paying for water service, but I don't know that for sure. But I have also heard that residences with children had best be hooked up to electricity if it runs past the house, lest the local family services agency remove the children due to the "danger" of being without electricity. No one seems to worry much about the dangers of electricity, like shock and fire.

Mike and I grumble about the fixed charges for all the utilities, which amount to a substantial fraction of the total cost for each since we have put effort into reducing our usage. But I know you are correct: it is much easier to use some utility electricity, water, natural gas, and sewer service than it would be to have to set up systems to supply that same amount of service ourselves. (Inge is right; we'd have to use less under those circumstances.) Still, we have enough alternatives on hand that losing services of all but the sewer for a short period of time would be doable, although depending on the weather, not preferred.

You and Lew were talking about tea camellias recently. I'm happy to report that my two shrubs, planted in the most protected microclimate I have available and mulched heavily with leaves over the winter, have made it through their second winter in good shape. I have no idea if they will ever grow large enough to provide much in the way of tea (they grow slowly for me), but at least they can survive and grow here.

Our low went down to 39F a few days ago, but we should be past the last spring frost by now. A few potato plants have emerged. This week I planted lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and leek seedlings, and seeds of beets, carrots, bok choy, zucchini, and cucumber. I've also been engaged in the annual battle with chickweed in the herb bed (the chickweed is winning, but it makes excellent compost when mixed with saved autumn leaves so it has its uses). It had gotten dry over the past two weeks but it is raining today and is supposed to rain heavily over the weekend.

Claire

Steve Carrow said...

Yoghurt- Our neighbors do a small dairy CSA, and they make yoghurt as part of the deal. Their yoghurt has always been amazing, but a few months ago, the quality was suffering, so we talked about it. Turns out that they had gone in to a joint venture with another small dairy that had better equipment, less labor to milk the cows, and all that, but their cows were a different breed. Our neighbors had Jerseys, and I understand their milk has a higher solids, or butterfat content, and so makes superior yoghurt. The milk was getting mixed in the bulk tank, and resulting in milk that was not making as good yoghurt.

So, it is not so much a quality thing, as the other dairy had good milk, but it just wasn't as good for making yoghurt specifically. Maybe you can chase down a supplier of milk that raises Jerseys?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam, Margaret, Lewis, Inge, Claire, and Steve,

Thanks for the lovely comments but I'm off to the pub tonight for a pint and feed and so will be unable to respond. I promise to respond tomorrow night!

I ended up working down in the forest today with the stump grinder and chainsaw cleaning up the old logging odds and ends that are left way down there. It really is a massive mess down there which is no good for the animals. The hardwood stumps fail to break down although to be honest the termites are doing an OK, but not nearly good enough job of it. I believe that I am cursed with a nature that appreciates a tidy and orderly environment. ;-)! Not really, well, maybe... Anyway, cleaning up the forest makes it easier to maintain in future years and so it is a work now and play later situation. I've mixed coffee grounds and soiled chicken bedding into the saw dust that the stump grinder creates too, so it will be interesting to see how quickly that lot turns into quality soil. Dunno really. The top soil is developing rapidly across the farm, but it is a massive job and an investment in the future.

Lewis - I enjoyed the Anzac biscuit story. How were they reviewed - if any people dared to provide an honest opinion on this most important of matters?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

It is now illegal to put in a septic tank though one can use one that is already in situ.

Neighbour's jacks were all put in upside down, that has now been remedied. I am surprised that it was so difficult to tell which way up they should be but then I haven't seen them.

Son's puppy has been barking at his reflection in one of my greenhouses. He doesn't sound very bright!

The wind has dropped thank goodness and it is a bit warmer today, still no rain.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I don't know about the Anzac biscuits. They took them and ran :-). Baked some bread, last night. Not as successful. My fault. Fooling with the recipe. I found your bread post on YouTube. I'll give it a whirl, and leave it alone. No tweeking!

I watched "Money Monster" last night. Good film, kept me engrossed, but I don't know exactly how I feel about it. There are slime balls in high finance? Ted II on tap for tonight :-).

Tech Rant Alert!!! Read or skip. I've been waiting for the application for the men's retreat in the fall, to go up. Well, it did. So, since my computer has cooties, and I don't want to do anything financial on it, I headed for the library. The library computers would not access the site. Well, maybe it's down. Tried again at home the next day, and the site was fine. Back to the library. No dice. They e-mailed their IT people, but I haven't heard back, yet. If I don't hear by tomorrow morning, I'll go in, sit at one of their computers, and call their IT people.

The last picture of your orchard? It looks so lush. Slightly overblown. Trembling on the edge of ... something. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - There was a very funny episode of "The Detectorists", I think. The details are fuzzy, but a development that the village didn't want was going in, and they discovered an ancient right of way. So, about half the village showed up to the model home at the development site, marched in the front door and out the back. Negotiations ensued and the right of way was preserved. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - I think that's why I've kind of changed my mind about home schooling. It's reached enough "critical mass" that socialization is possible, for the kids. I think if I had kids (purely hypothetical, here) and I didn't home school, even though I'm not Catholic, I might send them to Catholic school. Or, at least give it a whirl. They seem to still have some control over the students and a bit of academic rigor. At least they don't make the newspapers, weekly, with one sort of behavioral horror or another :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Vehicles are an expensive business down here. And added to that expense is that nowadays most people purchase vehicles with debt. Years ago, nobody purchased a vehicle using debt. Then I saw a couple of 3 year loan arrangements. Nowadays most people end up with a five year arrangement, and a residual payment at the end. Such arrangements are self perpetuating for the companies providing the finance. I have no idea what to make about the circumstances as they have changed in such a short period of time - and nobody seems to have noticed... I'd prefer to drive a dirt mouse and dirt rat that nobody notices and enjoy zero status from that choice. Dunno.

The Australian dollar has plummeted for sure along with declining prices for our exports.

As to the most excellent Oswald and the question of keeping him toasty warm over winter. Well, avocados will grow outside over the winter here and are cold hardy to apparently (from an ex avocado farmer - Jackie French) to 16'F / -9'C. The trick is they have to be kept out of any cold winds. I've seen the trees covered with hessian sacks over the winter which would act like a blanket. I reckon it would work. They used a bit of thick steel wire to stop the hessian sacks from breaking the tree. I'll be very curious to hear of your decision in that regard.

Hehe! We are winning on that front, aren't we? Space is a precious thing!

Congrats on the Canada geese and the potential new bambi!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

They were screaming quite loudly here, and the matter even went to the courts. Of course, the locals lost and now we enjoy a water bill, with no water. It is impressive isn't it?

I've never used a well and am always fascinated by them. I'm not sure whether our water bores are the same thing as your wells. My mates have a water bore and the driller had to drill down 120m / 390ft (from memory), but with that water bore they have access to more water than I can comprehend. Of course they have rain water tanks too. I'm not so certain I could power for any length of time, the pump that lifts the water from such a depth.

Doug's job would be complex here because each local council area arrives at a percentage increase each year which is applied to another percentage value and then multiplied by the land valuation as determined by the state governments auditor generals department. Some of the local councils had apparently been levying increases of beyond 5% per year and so the state government placed an upper limit on the amount that rates could be increased by. However, given the crazy property market down here, the property valuations increased and so the local councils apparently got their 5% increase. One big problem that I see with those local councils is that I believe they offer (or have offered in the past) a defined benefit pension scheme. I don't have any particular problem with such things except that an organisation may find itself having to pay for many more employees every single year - and many or some of those employees may not even be working. It is a real problem and those schemes work in an expanding economy, but they become unafordable in a declining economy. I assume that with those schemes they will work up until the point that they do not work and I was curious to see what happened in Detroit's case where the city I believe filed for bankruptcy. Dunno.

Oh my goodness, I have no idea what to make about your yoghurt situation. But like you I am now purchasing quality milk as it seems like the best option and at least the yoghurt looks normal. The amount of whey produced over the past few months was appauling. At least Poopy enjoys the whey! My understanding is that Sandor was keeping the culture at a specific temperature and over half of the yoghurt was used in the production of the next batch. Yes, I have been chasing that multiple batch issue too as it saves money, but we threw out the old rules with the current problems and just tried anything and everything...

Well, hopefully the rain is beneficial for the garden.

The wood heater has been interesting. It works but we have been having ongoing discussions about the best way to run the wood heater and how we should be managing our firewood resource. I honestly tell you that relying on firewood for 100% of your heat is a very complex matter. We have a new moisture meter on its way from Germany... It is a long way from Germany...

Glad to hear that you are feeling better now, and wine may kill off some of the unpleasant bugs? :-)!

That is a dire situation, and from what I hear on the youth radio news, things are bad down here too on that front.

I'll try and chuck in a photo of the medlars and then you may get to see firsthand what Chaucer was going on about!

Clearly you have a very special rooster there. What were you thinking of naming the rooster? I generally look after the chickens too and sometimes they are unfamiliar with the editor even though she is of the more pleasant of the human species. Chickens, like dogs, enjoy their routines and they are easily disturbed so your advice is good.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hello all,

Oh I am a bit late to the comments party this week :p Rest assured I have been keeping up and watching from the shadows!

@Inge
Last week I was fortunate to visit Sri Lanka. In the highlands near the city of Kandy there is a very good botanical gardens which has (to my untrained eyes) a very nice orchid display. I will get some photos up in the near future - I thought they were quite spectacular.

You could also buy very nice buffalo curd in large clay pots for about $3 (including the pot). It tasted delicious!

@Chris
Your compulsory water charge is outrageous! But what can you do? I heard that in my home town of Dorrigo locals have started dumping rubbish off the side of the mountain. This sad state of affairs started when rubbish charges were significantly increased. Apparently some department in Sydney requires money to do something (rent the building maybe?) and all rubbish tip fees across NSW have skyrocketed. Apparently B-Double trucks now take rubbish to QLD in order to avoid the charges...

RE: Internet story for the week
Some may recall my rant a few weeks back about why the internet and computers are inherently insecure and perhaps always will be. This is doubly so for all those IoT devices (security cameras, DVRs, fridges, routers etc.) that seem to insist on internet connectivity. Quite a few recent large-scale internet hacks have used enormous 'swarms' (also called a 'botnet') of these devices to take down large websites and internet services.

Well, apparently some vigilantes have released code onto the internet that discovers these vulnerable devices and erases their firmware rendering them permanently disabled. A good idea? Maybe not for the people who discover their security camera or fridge does not work properly anymore :-) Now, the ante has been upped, and a new vigilante has released code that 'fixes' the device without breaking it:

A vigilante is putting a huge amount of work into infecting IoT devices

At first people thought this guy was some sort of hero. Then it was pointed out that the guy/group still has control of the devices. This is probably a prelude to later selling the botnet to the highest bidder.

Fun times :-)
Damo


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh mate, thanks for the laugh. $35 wouldn't even cover the registration costs on the bright yellow trailer which has its own number plate because it is slightly larger at 7 foot by 5 foot. Under those dimensions (eg. 6 foot by 4 foot), a trailer wouldn't be required to be registered. Well done them for enforcing their legal rights in the courts. Down here, costs go up every single year - it is unrelenting - and we have the opposite problem of people dropping off the radar because they can't or are unwilling to pay. I've noticed in recent times that the roads authority and the police undertake a blitz on vehicles and the things that get caught are amazing. They set up a capture zone for vehicles and there is a number plate reader which connects into the central database and then people are just pulled over and fined. It is like a circus. And drugs and alcohol are the least of the matters (both of which are tested for): Driving with no license; Driving whilst unregistered; Criminal matters; heck even the Sheriffs department turns up to nab anyone with unpaid fines. And cars are impounded. My advice is to keep you nose clean! I heard an account of the US town of Ferguson which has a population of I believe about 20,000 people, but the shocking thing was that there was I believe about 16,000 outstanding warrants. Far out!

Anzac biscuits are very tasty aren't they. You know, I'm tempted to try the maple syrup route to see if there is a significant difference in taste? I have a couple of sugar maples growing here as they are very hardy trees. Out of curiosity, why did you go 50/50 with the white and brown sugar? I always use brown sugar here except for pizza bases or focaccia’s which I add a small tea spoon of dark brown sugar which has molasses. Molasses is very good for you.

Cooling the biscuits is amazing isn't it? I have a stainless steel mesh cooling tray which I use for the Anzac biscuits and dog biscuits, but also I turn bread out onto it to cool too. But the baking paper, I must confess that I use the stuff for as many uses as I can get out of it before it tears. It is amazing stuff. When I was a kid people used butter - and lots of it to achieve the same trick!

The plant explorers would have been an amazing bunch, but the rewards for them would have been huge. I often wonder whether the person that introduced the potato from South America into Ireland back in the day felt any guilt at the unfortunate set of events that they unleashed? Dunno. I have to laugh as someone on the Interweb once suggested to me that the locals in those areas of Asia and Asia minor wouldn't have used the fruit from the wild fruit trees. The person then went on to explain to me that they would not have bred - or selected - the better tasting varieties of fruit trees. It was a very strange interweb conversation to have and they were adamant and very forthright in their views. Of course, the person is totally incorrect. Plant explorers are looting in a nice way! I rather enjoy all of the exotic food stuffs grown here. I tried a local Solanum (nightshade) variety of local fruit recently and my mouth almost popped as the fruit was revolting. Of course details about how the fruit was prepared way back in the day are not at my disposal either...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I like that, the human comedy. What a delightful way to voice it. :-)! I guess what you are saying is that we are all a bit precious as a comparison?

Taking the Anzac biscuits and running is perhaps a good sign? I call that the empty plate test as few if any people speak their minds on such matters. I read a story not that long ago about a person in the UK who established a plant nursery and an attached cafe. The person was apparently well connected and the food quality was outstanding and very local (much of which was grown on site). Unfortunately for them they won a Michelin star and then a whole new breed of customer apparently turned up to out alpha or deride the produce. A very sad tale.

Haha! Well bread has been baked for quite a number of years. You should be aware that the loaf in the video was described originally to me as a Crusty Peasants Loaf. And you know what? I see absolutely no reason to alter that recipe as it just works. Mind you I do make a sweet loaf occasionally for Easter. Yum!

Who would have thought that there were slime balls in high finance? No! The mind boggles! Perhaps the very naughty teddy bear in Ted 2 can deliver a few home truths?

Far out, how hard can an application for a retreat be? You just reminded me of a scene from the BBC show "The Goodies" where the gang set up a nightclub that was so exclusive even Rod Stewart (who at the time was a big name celebrity) reputedly couldn't get. Fans of Rod Stewart would be happy to know that he partnered a year or two back with A$AP Rocky on the song Everyday. It was a very good track.

Incidentally, good luck with the application - and your computer.

I reckon it is the edge of winter? The Snow Pear will be the last deciduous tree to let go of its leaves. I wonder why they called the tree that? I have a snow apple too, but that lets go of its leaves much earlier.

I spent much of today with the stump grinder cleaning up the logging disasters. It looks very nice in that area now, but far out it is hard work. The bolt that holds the flywheel onto the motor fell off too today. What a mess! I must say that all of this practice at making repairs to machines on the go gives good practice at fixing things...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Your observation about bletting being a polite word for "rotting" is quite astute. I prefer to use the word "ferment" in polite company as few people understand what that word means.

Really, what a shame. I was sort of guessing that the holiday camp had been abandoned. 200 lodges sounds like a huge number of people to house over a holiday period. Interestingly some of the country towns infrastructure groans under the sheer weight of people using it during holiday periods. And if the influx of tourists is great enough, I am aware of a few towns that can't field a football / netball team or man the volunteer fire brigade - and the locals who grew up in the area can't afford to live in the town. It is an unpleasant situation.

Exactly, solicitors or conveyancing agents attached to solicitors do all of those checks down here. It is all very orderly. We usually do our own own conveyancing as I see no need to waste money on them, but it is not a job for everyone.

Your weather is a bit like here in that it blows hot and then cold. Stay warm!

That makes sense about the septic tanks, but down here, if the mains sewer ever goes past your property, you are forced to connect up to it, despite whatever former arrangements were in place.

It amuses me that jacks are even used in constructions. But of course, your land shifts a bit more than here - although the land here does move and I see that happening. I used concrete stumps and set the level accordingly, but the concrete stumps sit on massive concrete pads. The day that the delivery of concrete turned up was 36'C which is just shy of 100'F. I didn't feel very well at all at the end of that day and the work was unrelenting.

I dunno about the dog not being too bright. The smartest birds here are the ones that try that particular trick - and to be honest, most of the birds and animals sometimes spend a bit of their day mucking around and getting up to silly antics! Some of the birds land on a whirly gig and they spin around and around (I would feel quite ill after that experience!)

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

Hehe, The Goodies was great. In my mis-spent youth I spent a lot of time watching The Goodies and Dr Who (Tom Baker ofcourse!) after school on the ABC. For some reason The Goodies episode I remember the most was one where their house got covered in concrete for a new development. Similar to 'The Young Ones' episode where they got flooded and Vivian built a submarine from cardboard boxes. Great stuff, although it doesn't sound as funny when I write it down :p

Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Well who can forget the classic Jolene? The very well respected band "The White Stripes" covered that track and the played at a festival in a park not too far from where I used to live in the inner city. Of course, the editor and I and the dogs sat on the grass outside the festival and got to enjoy the best bits. The funny thing was that the lead singer of the band simply ignored the higher notes! Oh well.

The book the Wood burners companion turned up today and I have had my nose stuck into it this evening. Thanks for the reference!

You are spot on too. I have no private health insurance as the premiums are huge, and the public system doesn't seem that bad to me as a comparison. But your larger point is absolutely correct. Preventative health measures also cost a considerable amount - and food is one of those things that people just don't consider. I've said to a lot of people recently that the food that is supplied now doesn't appear to be as good in terms of quality as to what it used to be. Of course, the whole problem is like the metaphor of the frog in the slowly boiling water... Exactly, the savings are absorbed. I just forked out $6k to purchase and install a new wood heater... Firewood is plentiful here, but still it is very slow going to process.

Inge is correct too in that assertion. I have strict resource extraction limits set on me by nature and as far as I can tell, she can't be talked around. But the challenge is the greatest challenge that I have faced. It is like solving a puzzle, a little bit at a time.

Well done with your two tea camellias and you have inspired me to try again. Plenty of things grow slowly here too, especially if they are way outside of their natural range. I read recently of a Bunya nut tree (it is a very close relative of the Monkey Puzzle tree from South America) which had been growing in Tasmania (which is so far outside its ordinary range, that it is not funny) for about 170 years, and it was cut down because the 6kg edible nuts had dropped on a few cars... Far out. I grow a few long shot plants like that one, macadamia nut trees, pecan, white sapote, and some of the more marginal citrus varieties. It is worth it as you are finding out. Out of curiosity, can you describe the micro-climate the tea camellia was grown in?

I predict a good harvest in your future! Chickweed can take over can't it? I pull it out of the raised vegetable beds here and feed it to the chickens who don't seem to enjoy it that much. I hope your garden benefits from the spring rains.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

There seems to be some sort of spell on your greenhouse. First the crashing pheasant, now the attack of the puppy (maybe he is actually really smart).

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for considering the problem and I have no doubts that you have hit upon one of the factors as the dairy industry down under doesn't appear to be in good shape by all accounts. The problem was that I tried a number of different supplies of milk powder and milk to make the yoghurt until I settled on the very expensive variety that just works. We were very systematic in eliminating the uncertainties.

My mates have milking cows, but it is a bit far to go to get supplies and few if any people locally keep cows for milking. Mostly around here cattle are for fattening purposes and they are a different breed again, and I assume the farmers would want the cows to feed the calves for sale.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Now that is odd, Son's chickens adore chickweed; perhaps they are lacking something in their diet and yours are better fed.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ Pam

My greenhouses are bright and clean, hence the good reflections. Son doesn't have this problem because his greenhouse is filthy.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Hmmm. Why did I use 50/50 on the sugar? 'Cause I can't leave a recipe alone? 'Cause I play with my food? :-). Maybe I thought the moisture brown sugar might soften up the Anzacs, a bit. Or, I'm convinced of the myth that brown sugar is healthier. Add another subtle layer of flavor? I've started using baking paper (parchment paper, here), more and more. I resisted for a long time. Fear of change, etc.. Misplaced thrift. Old brown paper bags work ok, but you can't really reuse them.

I watched your bread video, last night. All singing, all dancing, cast of thousands :-). A few questions. What is yeast food? You said that sugar could be used, but what was that stuff you added? Internet search for yeast food didn't seem to yield anything useful. I'll have to look into what pasta dura flour is. I also added "grains of choice". I used a 9 grain cereal mix, but I think I put in too much. Like 1/3 of the total flour volume.

As life is short and getting shorter (at least, for me) I've decided to become more selective about my food reading. Skipping all the high end restaurant stuff. The weird precious foods. The celebrity chefs. I think I know all I want to know about Alice Waters or the French Laundry restaurant. :-). But you're right about how publicity can ruin a good restaurant. The new power of the amateur food bloggers. The foodies connected to social media. Burdain talked a bit about that in his "Medium Raw." Tell me about improving my basic techniques and making food with fewer than 10 ingredients without 20 preparation steps. Oh, and I just have to ask ... ok. The bread recipe. Of course, I could easily convert the temperature ... it's 302F for inquiring minds. But I couldn't find a conversion table for converting Australian time to American time. Is 60 minutes the same down under, as it is here? :-) Cont.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

The microclimate in question is on the east side of our house. More precisely, the wall faces ESE. The house protects the tea plants from the coldest winter winds which come from the northwest and north here. They are far enough away from the house (6ish to 9ish feet or 2-3 meters; it's raining so I'm not going to go outside to measure it more exactly) to be outside of the rain shadow from the house but close enough to receive a little of the house's winter warmth. Two large elderberry shrubs are located somewhat east of the tea plants, which provide some extra wind shelter. The tea plants get morning sun and a little midday sun from the south, but the house blocks them from the hot afternoon sun. We rarely get east winds; when we do, they tend to be cool and moist. So the tea camellias are less exposed to extremes (of heat, cold, or wind) than they would be anywhere else on the property, yet they get rained on. And when it doesn't rain, one of our rain barrels and the municipal water outlet are just a few feet away.

I think the heavy winter mulch is as critical to my success as the microclimate, since it gets down to about 0F at least once each winter. I use oak leaves, packing them into a chickenwire ring that is about 3 feet/ 1 meter tall and about the same diameter that I place around each plant. I dump the leaves into the enclosure until they are 1.5 feet/ 0.5 meters tall or so around the plant, depending on the height of the plant (some of the plant sticks out of the top). Of my two plants, the one that I wasn't as careful about mulching last winter lost most of its existing leaves to the cold, while the better-protected plant retained a larger fraction of its leaves. But both plants are putting out a lot of new leaves as I type.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I ripped off "human comedy" from somewhere. There was a popular book in the 40s, by that title. About the home front during WWII. Done up as a movie, back then with Andy Rooney. Re-filmed, more recently under the title "Ithica", I think. There may even be a reference to Dante, hiding in there. Somewhere. I watched Ted II, last night. Not family friendly. :-). For a sequel, I didn't think it was too bad. It did have a few very funny moments. I did have a few "deep thoughts." :-). Well, if corporations can be human beings, why not Teddy Bears? :-). The courtroom scenes made me think that if we keep bumping along the way we are, sooner or later similar courtroom scenes may be played out for androids. At what point do they become human. Rich grist for plenty of sci-fi. But then again, given the speed of decline and resource use, we'll probably never get to that point.

Yes, most of the traffic stops here seem to yield a lot of driving without a license, driving with a suspended license or, lack of insurance. Outstanding warrants for a variety of things. Yup. If you're poor, you'd best keep your nose clean. Brush up against the law and it's a downward spiral.

I've decided to put off doing battle with the library computers, until next week. I've got to take advantage of the one day's good weather to hit the mowing. And, two pot luck dishes are pending.

Cliff Mass added a note to one of his post from last week that as of 4/22, Seattle had broken the rain record for beginning of October to the end of April. 44.67 inches as of that date. And, it's been raining a lot since then, and, other than today, will rain a lot more before the end of the month. Lew

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

We must be swapping weather. I don't know the facts but this seems to have been one of the driest Aprils that I have known.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Glad to read that the trip to Sri Lanka went well and that botanical garden sounds pretty cool.

Wow! That rubbish story is a sign of the times. I've noticed that dumping of rubbish seems to have picked up around these parts for much the same reasons. I'd prefer to believe that it is not the locals doing the dumping, but you never know. There was a particularly poignant dump of four tyres next to the local school kids bus shelter about a week or so ago. The interesting comparison is that someone had sprayed the words "Love Life" in big bold letters on the bus shelter, whilst someone else was dumping the tyres...

Does IoT refer to the Interweb of Things? A strange concept to be sure. Yeah, I have noticed that data that has been hacked has later been resold to interested parties, so there must be money in there somewhere. Apart from my router nothing here is connected to the interweb - and hopefully it remains that way. I'm impressed that people can wipe the firmware on those IoT devices. I assume the vulnerability relates to the whole requirement to supply firmware upgrades? Dunno, but that seems the obvious entry point. I still fail to understand the benefits of having a refrigerator connected to the web.

Oh yeah, the Goodies were the biz! Very funny stuff. Tom Baker was a good Doctor wasn't he? The daleks scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. The Young Ones were good too? I recall Vivian killing Neal and dumping his body in the compost pile only to discover that multiple Neal's turned up later on. The horror!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I don't know why, but the chickens seem to be fussy eaters. Chickweed will disappear, but they love their grains far more and if I take in a mash of rolled oats and milk (or spoiled yoghurt), they fly up to try and knock the plastic container out of my hand. Everyday, the receive a batch of fresh greens from the garden, and they don't appear overly excited or grateful...

Sorry to read about your dry April. It has been feral wet down here. Almost 201mm (8 inches) so far just for April which is miles past the long term average. I'm glad that I managed to bring the firewood in just before the heavens opened.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, I fall for that myth too and believe that brown sugar (we call it raw sugar) is better for you than white sugar. The dark brown sugar with molasses is clearly superior and perhaps better for you. But on a serious note, I wonder what the difference is? ... ...

The interweb says on this most important of matters: "Raw sugar differs very little from white sugar, except that the crystals of raw sugar are larger and have more color. In spite of trace amounts of minerals in molasses, brown sugar contains only slightly more nutritive value than raw sugar because the amounts added back are so small."

Baking paper is pretty handy and with care it can provide many uses. Back in the day, I recall using paper which had butter slid onto it (not so easy if the butter was kept in the refrigerator) and then the whole thing was smeared onto whatever baking tray or frying pan was going to be used. I recall that an awful lot of butter was used in cooking. Then when I was a kid, for some reason everyone switched over to using margarine instead of butter on the basis that it spread more easily. It didn't taste as good to me as butter, and nowadays due to the apparent high use of palm oil, it tastes very different to me than what I recall. And butter seems to spread more easily these days.

Thanks for taking the time to enjoy the bread video. The basic gist of the video was that it is very easy to make bread loaves by hand in less time that it takes to clean a bread making machine (I don't get them at all, but there must be some reason people use them). The yeast food is also known as Bread Improver and looking at the website I purchase the stuff from they list the contents as: "Ingredients: Soy Flour, Ascorbic Acid, Bread Flour, Enzyme(Amylase)." I have also known suppliers to put warnings about there being egg, milk, propolis and royal jelly. Basically that stuff gives the yeast a feed so that they can go about their yeastie business. When the wheat is milled most of the oils are removed and the flour remaining is perhaps a very inert product which is why the shelf life is so long for the stuff. Most industrial food processes are about preserving the produce for as long as possible and that means making it unappetising to other things that want to eat it. Unfortunately, most of our food historically was a lot more alive than it is nowadays, and that is one reason why cooking managed to make other foodstuffs more palatable to humans.

Hehe! Yeah, one third is perhaps a bit too much. Yes, pour with a deft hand and do not stint, can be taken a little bit too far sometimes!!! :-)!

Life is short for me too. Mate, I hear you. So many things to do... Oh well... The film Chef covered that social media problem and all its ugly consequences. I have heard of anecdotal accounts of people extorting free stuff by threatening to slander establishments. It is not good. I myself have received an unfavourable interweb review once from someone who wasn't even a customer of my business. It was an outrageous abuse of the interweb.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Of course, given that everything is upside down here, you have to use a countdown timer. Or a stopwatch given the overall time conversion situation. It is very complex you know! I'm just glad that we're not falling off the face of the planet as I reckon that would be an unpleasant experience!

Naughty teddy bear! Oh my goodness, deep thoughts? Are you sure you weren't accidentally watching a ted talk on, say, travel to Mars or something equally unlikely to happen? :-)! Oh, I'm bad... Bad Chris...

Thanks for the warning and I heed your excellent advice. Other people seem to believe it will be different for them though. Time will sort that out.

Hey, I went to the Green Wizards meet up today and we had the meet up at a members garden which was largely edibles and local natives, and he did a talk on edible forest gardens. It was very good and I do like poking around other peoples gardens to see what is going on. It is a real journey starting to produce food. I was also really impressed with some of the questions that were asked as they were very searching. I'm not the only one who appears to be taking a cold hard look at things, and that is good. The visit wasn't nearly long enough, but that is probably my fault as I travelled directly there instead of heading into the city and then out again. It was noted too...

Hope the mowing went well and the rain held back for a little bit?

Yes, it has been extremely cloudy here too. I'm feeling it with the solar power...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you so much for the excellent description of the micro-climate: Morning sun; Midday sun; No hot afternoon sun; Additional thermal mass if that is possible; Access to rain fall; Access to water when there is no rain fall; Shelter from cold winds; and Heavy mulching with leaves to keep the pant warm over winter.

Wow, I'm really genuinely impressed as they are from what I understand: a sub tropical plant and getting them through your winters is a real achievement. Respect.

You have given me a lot of variables to consider.

I hope your growing season isn't too wet. Too much water can be as much of a drama as too little water.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I saw this article and thought that you may enjoy it: Sisters still growing popular garden their parents carved from thick Tasmanian bush.

Next time I am in the area, I will definitely visit the gardens.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Back in the "old" days, molasses used to be produced in iron ... and imparted that to the molasses. Some of the better bottled molasses claims to still be made in iron. Same idea as using cast iron cookware to get a bit of iron in your diet. Our brown sugar doesn't pour at all. It's that moist. There is light brown, and dark brown. I don't know what the difference is. More molasses? Wouldn't a tea spoon (table spoon?) of honey, molasses or maple syrup work just as well as the bread improver, to feed the yeasties?

I must have an Australian kitchen timer. It counts down :-). The other night when I was making the Anzacs, my kitchen timer died. What to do, what to do? Besides sitting there and watching the clock on the nuker. Ah, the alarm on my phone ... So, I may not replace the kitchen timer.

Well, the Ted II court scenes were a bit of a snooze, so the odd deep thought surfaced. :-)

I got the front and side yards mowed. Perfect day for it. Overcast, slight breeze. The sun only broke through, once. Took me three goes. I was well fueled with a good breakfast and the occasional Anzac biscuit kept me going :-). Made the peas and swiss for the potluck. Always tastes better the next day. Traditionally, you put in bacon and a diced small onion. Well, I decided to get fancy and bought a small smoked ham. I thought it was a bit bland. So, a sauteed up the ham and the onions. I sauteed the onions, as I use red ones, which can be a little dodgy. A bit of mold. I cut that out or peeled it off, but still thought I'd better cook them, as part of the base is mayo and it might be sitting around for awhile. And, it adds another layer of flavor. Mallard Effect, and all that.

The Tasmanian gardens look well worth the trip. And there may be carmel tarts! I was quit impressed with those blue eyed cats! Well, I'm off to deliver a cement garden bench to the auction. Then home and back to town for the potluck. I'm such a social butterfly :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I've heard of the use of cast iron cookware as a method of gaining a bit of extra iron in peoples diets. Do you believe there is any truth to that? I guess entropy slowly breaks things down and so some of the iron would be lost in the food. Copper sulphate crystals can sometimes be seen in water where copper pipes are being used and I've read that that is a commonplace problem in some corners of the world. Ouch. Your brown sugar is probably what I call dark brown sugar as that is also moist due to the added molasses I believe. Raw sugar pours as easily as white sugar, but it looks a more wholesome colour than white sugar which is frankly strange looking given the other variations of that plant material. I remember the big push for white eggs, and white bread when I was a kid and the eggs I get here look nothing like those uniform white eggs which I used to see when I was a kid. No doubts about it, the whole thing was much deeper than meets the eye. Nowadays, I try not to consume commercial bread, but it still looks and tastes much the same as it historically did - which is like maybe cardboard or paper would be expected to taste? But is cheap! :-)! A good reason to avoid the stuff, if ever there was one needed.

Exactly, honey, molasses, sugar, or maple syrup would all make a perfectly acceptable substitute for bread improver. I generally add a small amount of bread improver to all of the batches of country wines here just to give the yeasties a head start. Seems to work. Once I accidentally added bread yeast instead of champagne yeast, and the batch of wine turned out exactly the same tasting. Of course my kitchen and in fact the orchard and gardens are probably infested with bread and champagne yeast, as well as all of the other wild yeasts. They really are a fascinating subject and we use these lifeforms all the time without thinking too much about it.

Yeah, the countdown timer! Of course, that is the way down here, when one is on the under side of the planet. I wouldn't bother with replacing the kitchen timer either. I'd imagine that back in the day cooks and chefs just had a feel for how long things would take and so probably never needed a timer in the first place. I had to learn that trick when making coffee as I used to rely on a timer and a thermometer, and then had to unlearn using them. The firewood moisture meter will be like that. I'll use it so as to gain an understanding of what dry firewood feels and sounds like (you can listen to the tone that is produced by dry firewood when two pieces are knocked together - apparently anyway).

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Court. Boring. Unless you are unfortunately involved in some way. And court movies are rather dull. Except perhaps you will now inform me of a most excellent court room drama?

Thanks very much for the link to the daily impact. I hadn't been able to check it out until last night and if the subject matter wasn't so tragic, it would be high comedy. I love it, the author approaches serious issues and then skewers the core issues and pokes fun at all the main players. Love it! I added it to the blog list here on the right hand side of the screen.

Good breakfast and proper breaks and snacks is really the way to go. That does sound like the perfect work day. It has been crazy cloudy here this month, even today is again solid cloud. In recent years I've noticed a big build up in the cloud layer, and have been adding extra solar panels to accommodate the changes. There is still one panel to wire into the system and that time is fast approaching where it has to happen.

I'm thinking of heading down into the bush to see whether I can move some very large rocks and produce an epic rock wall for a walnut tree. I figure those trees don't play well with others and so a walnut tree can sit right down at the bottom of the paddock and sulk its socks off whilst harming nothing else. I believe they release a chemical in the ground which inhibits growth of other plants.

Yes, food often tastes better the next day doesn't it? Yum! A small smoked ham would have been a worthy alteration for the potluck. We tend to have brown onions as the mainstay of onions sold down here. You can get white and red onions but they are generally used in salads. Anytime I find an onion with a shoot, I plant the bulb and there are onions all over the place around here. I just forget which is which... Oops!

Oh, I'd never heard of the Maillard Reaction: "is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor." That makes sense. Our education continues apace. You are remarkably well read. :-)!

Good luck with the auction. I assume this is part of the staged withdrawal?

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

That was a very enjoyable article about the sisters and the garden in Tasmania. They sound like a very nice - and humorous - family. Hmm, one of them especially likes building rock walls . . . I see paid garden tours in your future with Anzac biscuits served.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

How on earth did you and I end up with Australian kitchen timers? I am sorry that yours is kaput. I rely on mine a lot, mostly for baked things, but am trying to wean myself from doing so. It means watching the clock pretty constantly.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Yes your water bores sound like our wells. The water had a lot of iron in it and even softened it turns some things orange over time.

I haven't come up with a name for the rooster yet but think I'll recruit my granddaughters for that task as they've come up with some fine names for animals in the past.

We're in the midst of a cold, rainy and windy period. Got an inch of rain yesterday and another inch forecasted for today. A bit too much rain but after Monday the weather will be turning much more pleasant. I can finally got the rest of my starts outside to harden and plant.

We got Michael moved into his new digs yesterday and managed to beat the rain. I'll be making frequent visits for the next few weeks to be sure all is going well. The bed arrived from Amazon (whew) and I was pleasantly surprised that it was all assembled and set up. Michael and I were there on Friday for all the intake paperwork. This is the downside to a facility like that that does get some government funding - all the government regulations. We found out yesterday that they can't give Michael his lactaid for his lactose intolerance until they get a doctor's order so he can't have any dairy products until then. This holds true for any over-the-counter drugs like cough syrup. This was not the case at the retirement home. They are private so I would just supply all his OTC meds. He was able to self administer his own lactaid and cough drops.

I have to say I woke up last night worrying a bit about how he's doing. He seemed anxious for us to leave but also kind of overwhelmed.

Michael is a pretty funny guy though. When we were leaving the retirement home he gave the woman who works there during the day a hug. When she asked if he'd like another one he said, "No, one's enough."

Here in Illinois there are small banks of slot machines now in many bars and restaurants. My daughter's friend and her husband own a dive bar just down the street from the retirement home and Michael frequented it with regularity. He knew all the regulars and was well liked by all. He also would gamble a dollar or two but in a very controlled manner. In fact he would go up to whoever was gambling and ask them if they were winning and if so he was advise them to cash out (which in fact was what he always did). Anyway there isn't gambling like that in Wisconsin which he's aware of. Yesterday one of the staff at his new place asked him what he liked to do and the first thing out of his mouth was "Is there any gambling in Wisconsin?" She looked a little taken aback but I explained. When he went to his new psychiatrist about a year ago he responded about the same to that question. When asked what he liked to do he just said "Gamble" Well as his guardian I sure have some explaining to do in these situations.

Hope the sun has come out and that new wood heater is keeping you warm.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

et al

I must have a built in clock, no kitchen timers for me.

It is raining hurrah, except of course I had washing hanging out and didn't realise what was happening because I was on the phone. Dashed out, to late and now have soaking wet slippers as well.

Inge

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I thought of two other factors that I think help account for my success with the tea camellias. One is I planted older good-sized shrubs, already 1.5-3 feet tall (0.5-1 m). I had tried planting younger shorter ones, less than 1 foot (1/3 m) tall, but according to the author of the book Palms Won't Grow Here and Other Myths, older, taller plants are hardier. My experience corroborates that; the small ones died. The older plants are more expensive to purchase and ship, but for me it was worth the expense. You could buy smaller, cheaper plants and raise them up in pots before planting them out, as long as you bring them inside anytime there is freezing weather.

The second is careful variety choice. I made sure to choose a variety that is rated hardy to my worst winter conditions. It's barely hardy, which is why I mulch the plants so heavily in winter. But the plants do survive and grow. OTOH, this variety may not make great-tasting tea (if the plants ever get tall enough for a small harvest).

We've had flooding rains the past few days. For the 48 hours from 7am Friday to 7am today (Sunday), I measured 5.4 inches (137mm) of rain. It's raining again as I type. We may get another inch (25mm) or more of rain before the system finally moves away from us. We live high up so no problem for us, but the Mississippi River is predicted to go into major flood at St. Louis. That will affect the work I do on a local stream because the MS River will back up into the stream and flood the area where our group is supposed to monitor the water quality in May. Looks like that activity will need to be delayed.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - The timer? Oh, that was just a (very poor) joke. I was pulling Chris' leg. Then I pulled the other one :-). What with all the converting F to C, and feet to meters ... being totally lost as to MPH ... well, time, another measurement must have an Australian form, right? :-). And their seasons are reversed! Or, maybe, they're the standard and it's our seasons that are reversed? (And I've heard a rumor that when you flush their bogs, everything swirls in a counter clockwise direction. Well ... that's just mad!) Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, it was quit a day, yesterday. First I ran the cement garden bench, into the auction. They were having an auction that looked like someone was cleaning out a nursery. With "garden art." So, it seemed like a good time to hump the garden bench in. And, you're right. One less (rather large and heavy) think to worry about. Won't know how much it brought til I get the check.

Then I swung by the library. Had some stuff to pick up and there was an interlibrary loan in that was "library use only." I'd picked up a really nice, cobalt blue glass pastry/sandwich plate. A round plate with a handle in the center. Being totally neurotic about such things, I wanted to know who made it. The clue is in the handle. Glass companies usually had ... standard handles (?). So, if you can identify any piece, with that handle form, it's probably from the same company. So. I saw an auction record with that handle that maybe attributed it to the Central Glass Works. A West Virginia company that went out of business in 1939. So, I ordered a rather obscure book about the company, on interlibrary loan. Yup. There it was in a reproduction of an old glass company catalog page. BUT, the catalogue never listed it as being produced in cobalt blue. In fact, that company didn't use cobalt blue (a more expensive glass to make) for much of anything. So. A bit of a one off? Or, did the mold travel to another company that did use cobalt blue? Besides being neurotic, it's a bit of a value added thing. I discovered years ago, in the tat trade, that if you can identify even a ho-hum piece of glass as to company, pattern name, approximate age, it sells a bit easier and you can maybe get a few more bucks for it. Plus, I like the research. Solving a puzzle.

Home for a power nap, pick up the peas and swiss, and back to town for the meeting and feed. It was the club's anniversary. Over 70 people showed up. Pasta with a good meat sauce, a big green salad and cake were provided by the club. Those who could filled in with salads or deserts. Per usual, about half store bought and half home made. The pea salad moved slow, but there was none to bring home. I made about four quarts of the stuff. But then, some people are philosophically opposed to peas :-) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. My buddy Scott said he quit liked the Anzac biscuits. And, wondered what was in them, as there were (to him) all kinds of subtle flavors. Well, they're really a pretty standard oatmeal biscuit. I mean, there was a dab (less than 1/4 cup) of dried cranberries .... and then the rest raisins to take it to 1 cup. But, plumped and I used the water as the moisture in the cookies.

Then I got a mad idea. This is how my mind works. Withhold judgement til I'm finished :-). I think my mind ran in this direction as I've been doing a lot of sauteing for the peas and swiss. What if I replaced the raisins with sauteed onions? Maybe some Walla Walla sweet onions? Or, saute half raisins and half onions? Yup. Scott thinks I'm mad. So now we have a bit of a challenge ... :-)

Supposedly, you can even make meringue with that whipped bean water, rather than using egg whites. I'm not really interested in following up, on that. Now why not, when I'm willing to throw myself into oatmeal cookies with onions. Got me. :-).

"You are remarkably well read." Yeah, that and a buck will get me a cup of coffee at the 12 Step Club :-). And, since you asked (you did ask, didn't you? :-), the coffee there is ... ok. Nothing to write home about. Pretty standard coffee. But, the way we run through the stuff, it's always really, really fresh.

Excellent court room drams. "Inherit the Wind" (about the Scopes monkey trials) or, "12 Angry Men." I'd read about walnuts not playing nice with other plants, in relation to compost. Not to put them in your compost bin if you want to grow anything with the compost. On the other hand, it suggested that walnut shell mulch was good for weed control. Weeds won't grow, nor will anything else. Mmm. I think you need two walnut trees for nuts? I might be wrong there.

Yeah, I like The Daily Impact, too. Short, smart and punchy. He also moderates the comments, so there's not much nonsense. Yup, crashing two pieces of dry firewood, together, makes a distinctive sound. Kind of a hollow knock. The sound of splitting dry firewood is also distinctive.

Well, it's back to Ballarat. I'm working my way through, an episode or two a night. of the "Doctor Blake Mysteries." I'm also dipping into "King Arthur and Medieval Britain." So far, nothing new or startling, there. Every once in awhile, the History Channel rounds up any number of "themed" programs and boxes them up together. Programs that ran over a number of years. Everything from "Knights and Armor" to "Quest for the Holy Grail." Some of the stock footage gets a bit repeatitive, but that's what the fast forward button, is for :-).

Well, I'm off to a pot luck at The Funny Farm, tonight. There will be pulled pork. There may be a bon fire. The Funny Farm is kind of a half-way house for people in recovery. It's not far from my usual meeting, so I've gotten to know some of the staff and residents, as they attend pretty regularly. Gotten to know them enough, so that I'm comfortable with giving it a whirl. Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

(Sorry for delay)

Of course you can use the idea :-). Be careful with the numbers though -- the more power someone uses, the lower the cost/kWh (since there are more kWh to spread the supply cost across).

Cheers, Angus