Monday, 17 April 2017

Nectre of the Gods



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


People living in urban areas enjoy ready access to services such as: electricity; natural gas; made roads; water; and sewerage. I enjoy living on a property which has none of those services and I’m starting to wonder if that means that I'm slightly perverse? The word perverse is defined as: “the quality of being contrary to accepted standards or practice; unreasonableness”. I guess by that definition I must be a bit perverse. Is being perverse a bad thing? Maybe not!

Perverse or not, living in the unfashionable end of the mountain range, there is one service that I am particularly happy not to have access too: a made road (i.e. a Macadamised road). The editor and I have not always agreed about the benefits of living on an unmade dirt road (with downsides of a dirty car and dusty house), however in recent times the editor has come on board with my opinion.

About a decade ago when I lived in the inner city of Melbourne, I returned a high volume water pump which had been loaned to me by a friend who lived on a house on acreage with an orchard. I borrowed the water pump because Melbourne had been hit by a super cell. A super cell is a massive and very localised storm which can dump up to 100mm (4 inches) of rain in an hour. It was an impressive storm to experience. Of course, during that storm - which hit during the middle of the night – I had the unfortunate situation where most of my kitchen was stored in the backyard and it got very wet in the incredibly heavy rain. At that time I was constructing an extension to the house and so the backyard was also full of very deep stump holes which rapidly filled up with water when it flooded – and that water had to be pumped out into the nearest lane-way because it was doing nothing other than breeding mosquitoes for days after the intense rain. As an interesting side note, the extension was replacing the original rear rooms of the house which had been constructed many long years in the past from what looked to me like packing crates. I was impressed that the original buildings, walls and roof were still standing despite their humble origins.

Once I had finished pumping all of the excess water from the flooding rain, I returned the now very clean and fully fuelled pump to the lovely person that had loaned it to me (with a bottle of wine to say thanks, of course). My mate lived in the township of Monbulk which is to the south east of Melbourne in the beautiful Dandenong mountain ranges. It really is a beautiful part of the world, and I once heard a cheeky wag suggest that over there you could put a stick in the ground and it would grow!

Of course, I am a sticky nose and so I also enjoyed a tour of the orchard and my mate was happy to show off the property. However, my mate lived on a made road and during the tour of his property there was a surprising procession of cars, motorbikes and pushbikes swishing past the front gate at unusually high speeds. My mate appeared to me to be resigned to the constant procession of people and vehicles, but I felt that it was a jarring experience.

And at this time of year, I often think about my mate living over there in the Dandenong Ranges.

In the more fashionable western end of this particular mountain range, they are (un)fortunate enough to have made roads. Along some of those made roads, trees were planted in neat orderly rows in remembrance of soldiers from the surrounding areas who had died in WWI and WWII. The avenues of honour are a lovely tradition and the trees are usually oaks or elms and are all now very old. The tree canopies completely cover the road and every autumn, the colours of the leaves turn to beautiful yellows, oranges and reds. It is quite the sight to see the leaf turn in this part of the world especially as the surrounding evergreen eucalyptus forests provide such a strong contrast.

As recently as three years ago, very few people visited the area to see the change in the leaf colour. The trees in those avenues of honour weren’t offended at all if only a few people came to witness their leaf display as the trees simply and gracefully went about the business of being a deciduous tree. I’d seen the occasional bride posing for photos on an empty road under the colourful canopy of the deciduous trees and it always looked great.

This mountain range is a very un-populated and very quiet part of the world. However, a few years ago, something changed and hordes of people began turning up every weekend to witness for themselves the leaves changing colours. This event seemed to be gaining momentum each year and the chaos and mayhem of last year finally spurred some of the more heavyweight locals into taking action. A committee was formed and controls were put into place in the fashionable end of the mountain range!

I was curious to see how all of the traffic control measures which were implemented this year were working. For research purposes for this blog, the editor and I travelled over to the more fashionable end of the mountain range on Sunday (and also availed ourselves of a very excellent award winning vanilla slice on the other side!) and I can report that indeed there were still hordes of people in what is usually a very sleepy location, but that by and large the influx of people seemed better managed than the chaos and mayhem in past years. I must add though that I am used to seeing the area as a sleepy and very quiet part of the world, so for me it was quite the jarring experience.

Over here in the middle of the unfashionable end of the mountain range, both the editor and I are quietly grateful for the unmade roads through the scary forest that separate us from the unrelenting hordes.
The traffic bringing people into the mountain range to witness the leaf change seemed much better managed this year
Honour Avenue had very strict controls placed on the tourists which seemed to work well
This week has been a week for correcting past errors. This week we finally replaced the failing wood heater.

Regular readers will recall that the previous wood heater no longer worked because the damage to the mechanism was such that the wood heater burnt a lot of firewood but produced very little heat. In addition to that lack of heat, the function of the cooking oven was not working either.

Long term readers will recall that two years ago, I had already replaced sections of plate steel inside the combustion chamber of the wood heater, but the damage this time was so extensive that it was beyond my abilities to repair. From hindsight, I can see that much of the damage to the previous wood heater was caused through inappropriate usage of that wood heater by the editor and I. We simply asked more output from that wood heater than it was designed to provide. Incidentally, it is also worth noting that these days, wood heaters are considered to be a disposable item with a lifespan equivalent to that of an average new vehicle (10 years on average)! When first I used a wood heater, I assumed that the sturdy steel construction of the unit would mean that the heater would have a very long lifespan (30-40 years). This is not so! And after much consideration and soul searching, this week we purchased a new wood heater to replace the old and no longer functioning wood heater.
The bright yellow trailer is used to deliver a new wood heater to the farm this week
A considerable amount of thought and energy went into the decision, as to which wood heater would be purchased to replace the no longer functioning wood heater. Over the past few weeks the editor and I have spent many boring hours talking to salespeople and inspecting replacement units. We also had to have the discussion between ourselves as to why the original wood heater became so damaged in the first place. And finally, we have sought many different opinions about wood heaters. To those people who addressed this most important matter in the comment section, you have our thanks and appreciation. The local plumber who installed the original wood heater and hot water system here many years ago provided a recommendation based on his experience and we went with that recommendation.

Of course, nothing is ever simple and that recommended replacement wood heater works very differently to the original wood heater. The new wood heater has a very large 15kW stainless steel hot water jacket inside the combustion chamber. That hot water jacket can be used to either direct heat into the existing hydronic radiator system (which never worked properly with the previous wood heater to the extent that we were thinking of removing part of the radiator system) or into the hot water system (or it can send heat to both systems). In addition to that, the combustion chamber in the new wood heater is almost 50% larger again than the old wood heater. This means that I can insert more firewood than previously – or take a more sensible approach and simply not run the wood heater as hard as we had been doing previously. And the difference between the two wood heaters has been extraordinary - for the same volume of firewood, the new wood heater produces a much greater heat output than I can recall in the past. In addition to this, I was concerned with longevity of the new wood heater and the replaceable steel components in the new heater are almost twice as thick as the previous unit. The lesson learned for us here is that not all wood heaters are the same, and as such they do not (and cannot be expected to) perform the same functions. Firewood is not an energy source for the careless.
The new wood heater takes pride of place in the main room of the house
The new wood heater utilised the existing steel triple skinned 150mm / 6 inch flue (which is the fancy name for the steel chimney) and so that was a savings of sorts. However the existing flue didn’t meet up with the outlet for the new wood heater and the plumbers had to move the flue 80mm / 3.25 inches further into the room. This job involved a lot of cutting of the plaster in the ceiling and also cutting into the 30 minute bushfire rated steel roof.

The editor and I have been cleaning up the hole in the ceiling plaster inside the main room over the past few days. Repairs to plaster always take a few days as the plaster has to dry between various coats. Firstly, I cut a section of marine grade plywood and inserted it behind the plaster (which was done from inside the roof cavity).
The author begins the repair process for the plaster inside the main room due to the flue being relocated
Then I cut a section of plasterboard to fit the hole which left a little gap between the plaster and the steel flue. That section of plasterboard was then screwed onto the plywood.
A section of plasterboard was then screwed onto the plywood leaving a gap between the plaster and the steel flue
Then we began the slow process of joining the two plasterboard sheets using filler.
The two sheets of plasterboard were then joined using filler
The plumbers also moved one of the existing hydronic (i.e. hot water) radiators to a nearby wall. I’ve since begun repairing the timber skirting board and filling the holes in the floorboards.
A radiator was moved and the author has begun repairing the holes in the floor and the skirting board
Observant readers will note that the skirting boards are made from two timber sections, rather than one very large (almost 200mm / 8 inches) section of timber. The reason for doing so is because it is simply cheaper to use two pieces of timber. I learned that trick because I noted that that is how they constructed large skirting boards in 19th century houses which I had owned in the past. In the photo above on the finished wall, no join between the two bits of timber is visible.

We brought in a cubic metre / 1.3 cubic yards of composted woody mulch to feed the many rhododendrons which produce great flower displays in spring. We also brought in another cubic metre of mushroom compost as we began repairing the rock wall around one of the oldest fruit trees on the farm (a 15 year old olive tree).
Toothy inspects the failing rock wall around a mature olive tree
That rock wall was falling over as the original rocks were too small. We had been collecting much bigger rocks over the past few weeks and decided to pull the existing rock wall apart and rebuild it with the much larger rocks.
The rock wall around a mature olive tree was corrected this week by using much larger rocks
It has been a massive week for produce:
The tomatoes are still producing massive quantities of fruit
As an addendum to the passata which we had been making over the past few weeks: One jar of passata which we opened appeared to be contaminated with a mould. We were unsure whether the seal on the lid of the jar had failed or that the recipe was at fault (it has a pH of 3.5). To this end, we started the process of opening all of the remaining jars of passata and re-cooking the contents and then ran the jars through a hot water bath, just to be safe.
The first potatoes were dug, capsicums and eggplants were harvested
Zucchini, heritage round cucumbers and more potatoes were harvested
The first ever ripe cantaloupe was harvested here – and it was very tasty
And, there are plenty of flowers around the farm, but there is also the leaf colour change (tourist free)!
Leaf change for the many deciduous trees are putting on a good show
This Manchurian Pear produces a great display of autumn colour
Nothing quite rivals the rich red of a Crepe Myrtle
The temperature outside now at about 6.30pm is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 222.4mm (8.8 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 214.0mm (8.4 inches).

61 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The tail end of last week, Margaret mentioned people who don't return calls or e-mails. Seems to be an epidemic. Maybe individuals are taking their cues from business and institutions? They seem to not want to deal with their customers, or, the public. At all. When I first heard about The Home, I left an e-mail. Then, another. Then I called and left a voice message. Once more into the breach. At that point, I started showing up, monthly. I never did mention it to The Warden. Didn't want to appear "difficult," right off the bat. But I was still pretty brassed off, when I first met her, and it was an effort to hide my irritation. Now I think she's a rather lovely person, all things considered. I really wonder if the philosophy isn't "Let's see how serious this guy is." :-).

When I opened your blog this morning, for some reason the tag line caught my eye. "...and the realities..." Not that it would do any good, but that bit should be in bold letters ... maybe dancing bold letters. Throw a string of flashing lights around it. Not that any of that would do any good ...

Let's hear it for the unapologetic perverse :-). The eccentric. The folks who hear a different drummer. Makes life a heck of a lot more interesting. As a slight tangent, sometimes I hear the term "prevert" ... which is, I guess, the perverse in training. :-)
Ah, malapropism. Sometimes, the last refuge of a poor comedian. In the hands of masters, stunning.

Sooner or later some wag may drop a tree at either end of the peeping road. The night before. I'd guess that there's been an article (or articles) in a newspaper, magazine or on the internet about the leaves turning. Might even be the "tourist" bureau of your State, county or a local township. The Chamber of Commerce? I don't know when they'll learn that these spasms of civic whatever, nine times out of ten, don't bring and extra dime into the local tills. And may actually hurt business. Drive away those dependable steady customers that spend a little bit ... but consistently. After I got the lay of the land, occasionally, the local boosters would show up to ask if I was going to be open on X holiday. Or for X special event. After awhile, it became clear that it was just a lot of people looking for free entertainment ... who usually wanted to use your bathroom. Cont.

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

No I would not use the term 'perverse' to describe you. You are simply an individual who can think for himself; this seems to be a rare quality. I live without mains gas, mains sewerage or a made up road. Like you, I am very glad that our road is bad; so bad that an ordinary car can't use it. Walkers and cyclists go past but they are outside my hearing or view. Oh how I love isolation!

Your vegetable photos are superb, I am very envious and all those tomatoes.

The accounts of your stove problems are horrendous. I don't really know the details but Son had to replace his wood stove and had a very difficult job as it didn't meet the flue's position and he had some re-building to do.

The fact that various foods contain salicylates is interesting as it doesn't seem to matter. This suggests that quantity is a factor. The serious allergy to aspirin includes nsaids (non steroidal anti-inflammatories) and this was what caught out my son.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. And, some holidays are fraught with baggage. If you open (or not) on Martin Luther King Day or open (or not) on Easter, people perceive as "making a statement" about your politics or religious beliefs. Holiday greetings can be a mine field. I'm glad to be out of all that, and don't have to worry about it, anymore.

The new stove really looks nice. Like it belongs in that spot, and has always belonged in that spot. Just as a suggestion, I'd suggest picking up those "replaceable steel components" now, and salting them away for the future. a.) they won't get any cheaper and b.) in future they may not even be available ... or, the quality won't be the same. I'm selling my wood stove fans to the pruning guy ... we had both thought of it at the same time. After I was singing it's praises, he got one and really likes it. So, I told him I'd check Amazon and sell them to him for half of whatever they're selling for. Well, surprise. The cheapest one's, identical to mine are now twice what I paid.

I'd noticed how old skirting boards, ceiling moldings and fancy door frames were made of lots of components. I speculate that that is perhaps because they're easier to handle. And, if a mistake is made, it's not a loss of a big section, but just a small component. And, it's thrifty. Uses up left over bits and pieces from much larger jobs.

LOL. Toothy has such a dubious look on his face. Kind of "What's he about? Is this trip really necessary? When I lift the leg will the experience be near as satisfying, as with the small rocks?" :-).

That's quit a collection of zucchini. Do we need to run through the list, again, this year as to recipes for zucchini? Sneaky ways of offloading it on friends and strangers? :-)

The cantaloupe looks quit spectacular. Though I must say, I've never been a fan. Don't know why. Just a personal food foible, I guess. At buffets and restaurants I steer clear of all melons. There's been several outbreaks of salmonella, here in the States. All traced to melons.

Nasty weather today. An inside day, I guess. Think I'll bake cornbread. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I hear you about that problem. You know some people leave a missed call and consider that to be a message. I have a general policy of not returning those particular calls unless the person has trained me to understand that this is indeed a message. I must say that in this matter I am very old school indeed. The problem you end up having is that: do you commit to driving the distance to pick up the rooster if the person in question hasn't confirmed that they will in fact be there? It is a complex problem and I yearn for the old days when people simply organised their activities more transparently. There doesn't seem to be much upside to being so mysterious, but then committing oneself means accepting limits on the possible activities that a person could undertake. And people send me emails asking me to call them urgently! Why would I choose to receive emails on the go... And then there are those that refuse to call and talk about anything and they just have a sort of one sided conversation where they seem to be instructing me... Ah, what to do? I really don't know, but it sure isn't good. I reckon we are enjoying a fine rant here! :-)!

The Australorps are a good breed of chicken and your trio sounds like quite the buy. Your method of introduction for the new chickens is far nicer and more gentle than mine and I applaud you. Incidentally those trio of chickens would set you back about $100 here for about 20 week chickens / rooster.

Dunno about the seeds rotting, as I've never experienced that, although to be honest water pooling around seeds for a day or so (or in very damp soil tends to speed up germination here, so you never know? Seedlings may not like those conditions though. I wish you the best of luck with those conditions. Asparagus would love those conditions as they were traditionally swamp loving plants. Do your asparagus plants self seed about the place? Some of mine are producing seed at the moment and I'm wondering if I should do anything to let them spread through the garden beds?

Doug has my sympathies and please convey them. That sounds pretty nasty!

The new wood heater is a little ripper. It heats the huge water jacket and produces more heat than I can possibly use. The hot water is very toasty warm, as good as the hottest solar hot water days (which is very toasty).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yes, as young children the individuals conducting the willow pogrom were frightened by Toad; Mole; Ratty; and the particularly nasty Badger! :-)! The therapy required, what can be done for these poor souls?

Nah, I tend to steer clear of such fine gender distinctions and having grown up as the only male in the household I tend to know my place as the lesser of the species! Hehe! I'm totally cool with such things because if I wasn't the editor wouldn't help me and provide creative input for the many activities around the farm, and what a loss that would be! I see a lot of that gear and I don't buy it. That still leaves the mystery of the male wood heater? Dissecting that mystery would definitely require a seminar or three?

Mate, that running when the gates open. I'll tell you I see that at the agricultural shows and there is pent up demand in the queues to the ticket booths prior to opening the gates. I have to confess to being eager to get in early to purchase the best chickens on show. Of course jostling my fellow humans in the queue would be most ungentlemanly so I'll leave that trick to others. Nobody would dare to jump the queue either on such a day, with a bunch of country folk around to correct their thinking! Some try and pull the shifty trick of acting mildly vague, and that may well be the case, but they still get redirected to the rear of the queue.

I'm not a big fan of the 1940's to 1960's furniture as a lot of it appears to have been constructed to be mass manufactured and widely available, which to my mind sort of undermines the value of it a bit. Maybe I just grew up with anodised aluminium cups in faded - yet bright - colours and it all seems a bit, I dunno, but I don't much like it. And the formica with the trim which always seemed to be falling away from the side of the table top. Still other people like that stuff, so who am I to question their taste?

I love it! Yeah, financing a collecting habit is a lovely way to put it. Of course, if taken too far it could possibly end up in a warehouse situation. You have had a diverse employment history which would make you quite adept at encounters with the stranger side of the population. I prefer to work with people face to face in their businesses as so much can be lost in translation if a person was to sit behind their desk and not leave it.

The guy was just a downer and appeared to be hard work. There was a song by a down under band called Jebediah and he was singing about his lackluster days in share houses. One line went something along the lines of: "when you're around, you just bring us down, we're better off without you". I'm not saying that the guy reminded me of those lyrics, but far out he appeared miserable to me. What's with that? As Douglas Adams quite astutely wrote: Even those with digital watches!

The first step meeting mode is a beautiful way to introduce new people to a new group. I once joined a group which didn't do that because they appeared to be very cliquey and the amount of effort required to break into the existing cliques made it not worth the effort. I'll bet AA would never have gotten off the ground if they tried that particular trick. I reckon the delusion of control is exactly that: a delusion. You can control somethings, at sometimes, but not everything all of the time and that is a hard thing to admit as it means sometimes events run us over and things get away from us. Life is rarely smooth.

Got me with the Google Earth joke! Nice one, I fell straight into it. :-)! On a serious note they have a subscription service for aerial photos called Near Map, and far out the resolution was frightening. Before they put it behind a paywall, I could count the number of roof beams during construction. Very, very invasive and I have a personal dislike of such things.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I responded to Margaret about that matter as it annoys me no end. Social niceties seem to be a lost art these days. One problem with email is that it is an informal form of communication and as such people put little value on it (or so I suspect). Some people converse with me via email, but I always explain to them that I do not respond as quickly or as regularly as here, simply because I don't have access to email as often as this method of dialogue.

Hehe! The realities... Well, it's complicated, and perhaps more complicated than people realise. This does not make for a tale that people want to hear. I was speaking with some people about battery storage today and the expectations frighten me. I hope they have a plan B...

Yes! Hehe! We hear a different drumbeat here and dance accordingly! :-)! It is interesting that that word "pervert" has been thoroughly abducted and subverted. Don't you reckon that is strange? It appears to be a bit Newspeak to me. You are expanding my vocabulary with each passing week.

Unfortunately the local SES (State Emergency Service) would sort the fallen trees out pretty quickly. I said to someone once, that with a minor bit of effort, the mountain could be shut off to vehicle traffic. Who knows how to use a horse these days other than as a pet? Just sayin...

Exactly, when all of the tourists are gone and the weather is near freezing in depths of winter, who will keep the cafe and pub in funds? I reckon they know that too. The problem is that I can no longer visit the historical open gardens as the hordes would ruin it for me. Mate, that story about the bathroom. Wow! Yup, that rings true. The local hardware store suffers when the local market is run as people park in front of the hardware store and go to the market and no customers visit the hardware. Ouch! In those circumstances, you might as well write the market a cheque and stay closed for business for the day as it would be cheaper.

We don't get that whole holiday agitation although I am seeing signs of discontent about celebrating Australia Day on the 26th January (the landing of the first fleet of convicts). Imagine landing in Australia during the summer in the middle of a drought. Far out, what were they thinking?

All excellent suggestions and I will make some enquiries. Thanks for the reminder.

Oh yeah, and the big sections would have come from big trees which were not always readily available and the timber was prone to splitting if dried incorrectly.

I'm feeding the zucchini to the dogs in their dog biscuits and brekkie cereal.

Fair enough about the melons, and the salmonella would have come from inappropriate use of manures. They do take up a lot of water.

Go the cornbread! Yum! Did it turn out nice?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh thanks, what a lovely thing to say. :-)! I reckon you have the ability to think for yourself too and it is an unfortunately rare quality. I guess the payoff for going on auto-pilot is still pretty good at the moment which is a shame because I don't believe that it is a safe time to do so. Oh well.

How good are the scary dirt roads. Walkers and pushbike riders are fine and rarely a hassle. I love the quiet too. Over Easter, the wind was so still that not a leaf moved in the trees and I sat on the veranda and just enjoyed the bird calls. The funny thing was that it was quite pronounced that there were no engine noises and I hadn't quite realised how I'd become used to them as background noise just quietly humming away. Burn off restrictions have been lifted last night and I noticed one large land owner who had set off a huge pile this morning. That's not wasting any time... It will be interesting to see how the tourists cope with the burn offs next weekend and I reckon many land owners may try and smoke them out. I wouldn't have thought of that, but I saw someone doing just that on Sunday.

Thank you! It has been a good season for vegetables and I get a little bit more produce every year. The Chilean Guavas are now ripe too. Yum!

Oh yeah, the wood heater has to have a specific minimum clearance between the steel and the walls so it is a difficult process moving a flue to ensure that the minimum clearances are maintained. I guess the manufacturers are worried that the wood heater may burn the place down if used foolishly (which it possibly could be). Your son sounds like a handy individual. This is a good thing.

Quantity is always a factor with these things. It reminds me of the problems with methanol. Methanol is present in small quantities in most alcoholic drinks, but it is very toxic in quantity and thus the problems with distillation processes if done incorrectly. Incidentally too, methanol is more present in alcohols that are derived from woody source materials - thus its common name wood alcohol (not a good thing to encounter in quantity and recovery from poisoning is a very uncertain procedure.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Yes, the large influx of out-of-towners is always a contentious issue. The same thing happens in Luang Prabang for chinese new year. Many visitors just drive from the nearby border. Unfortunately, driving in China and driving in Laos is not the same thing and there is much gnashing of teeth and shaking of heads at the resulting interactions.

I read an article about pipi collecting on some of the southern Victorian beaches. Apparently a few years ago hordes of visitors started descending on a local beach to collect the small shellfish called pipis. The locals are not happy at this uninvited influx and make claims of over-harvesting and low fish catches. It is probably nothing more than a desire to keep things quiet. Who moves to the country to deal with crowds on a weekend? Pipis: The unassuming shellfish at the heart of a racially fuelled debate at Venus Bay. I guess there is always this risk if you live within a few hours drive of a major metro area. No doubt this will be less of an issue in the decades ahead...

/cont

Damo said...

@Chris
Lyonesse is my favourite Vance novel, maybe equal with Cugels Saga. This could be due to it being my first Vance experience - I found it on the family bookshelf when I was 12 or so and quiet enjoyed it then, it has got better as I aged! The fairies were a highlight, I always laugh at what the rascal fairy did after 7 years of constant itching. The fairy king is just and wise! Lesson: don't make deals with fairies!

@General Rambling
The two days in Bangkok were great. I had some nice food and we went to JJ markets - home of over 8000 stalls and upto 200,000 visitors a day. Mrs Damo found many vintage dresses (c. 30-40 years old at least) which she snapped up for bargain prices. The thing is, they were not a one off - we regularly see such dresses in markets in Thailand and Laos. Leftovers from the colonial days? Someone sent a few shipping containers worth of donations from Europe maybe? How and why those dresses came to be in a Bangkok market would make an interesting tale!

I also got some great collared shirts - for a couple of dollars each from bargain racks in the bottom level of a large shopping centre. They were top quality, brand name used shirts, easily $40+ new in Australia. Later we watched a movie, and I was amused to watch chaos as the completely automated ticket purchasing system broke down. They had no manual counters so no one could buy tickets at all. After 30 minutes the system was working again, but they had a staff member on each terminal helping customers - I fail to understand why such a system was even installed, especially where labour is so cheap.

BTW - the movie was Fast and Furious 8, it was as stupid as the name suggests and great fun. Don't watch it or you will think less of me :-p

Tomorrow we plan to catch a train from Kandy to Ella (Sri Lanka). The reserved seats are sold out - we might be hanging off the back with the locals. Should be interesting!!

Cheers,
Damo

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "Made Road." Not something I hear, here. Dirt road, gravel road ... two lane blacktop. I've mentioned that I live on a loop road, off a county road. Both are two lane blacktop, but the county road has more ruffles and flourishes. More signage .. the occasional guardrail. What gets me (and I find irritating) is the amount of traffic we sometimes get on the loop road. The only people that live along it are my landlord, The Evil Stepson, and me. No good reason to be on the road except idle curiosity or nefarious intent. Either / or, I find disquieting. A couple of years ago, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, a road rally came tearing through. There is the odd cyclist or jogger. Very rare and Beau lets me know when someone like that is around.

I think there's so many kinds of electronic communication around, these days, that some people forget which one's they're on. Some get left behind. Seems like there's always someone about who's bought into some new form of social media, thinks it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, and insists on getting everyone else on board. Early adaptors. They should be hunted down and very bad things done to them :-). I'm very firm when exchanging information that I don't "do" texting and I'm not "on" Facebook. I have e-mail and a phone number, and if that isn't enough ...

I'm sure years of intensive psychotherapy, a go around with a therapist at least three times a week, can cure Wind in the Willows syndrome. :-). So I've been told.

Don't know why, but I've got a soft spot in my heart (head?) for the old formica tables that were in what was called the "cracked" ice pattern. Came in many colors. Maybe because we had a set when I was a kid. Can't say I have a warm fuzzy feeling for any of the other mid century modern, tat. I had wanted a very small, drop leaf formica for my new place. And, actually saw one, with a sold sign on it, at the flea market. But my cooler head tells me to go with a smallish wood drop leaf. We'll see when I get in the place. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Downer ... bummer. Stoner speak from my misspent hippie days :-). A world of meaning in a word. Of course, some of the more serious burn cases couldn't get much beyond that. I think it was Saturday Night Live that had an ongoing character called Debbie Downer. On rare occasions I still hear, "Don't be such a Debbie Downer." Not applied to me, of course :-).

Some AA meetings have greeters. Most don't. But there's just an ... openness. Back in the early days, the 1930s, sometimes the attitude was "Still got your watch? Haven't pawned it for a drink? Well, you'll probably not "get it" because you haven't hit your bottom yet. Your not desperate enough for change." But they got that sorted, and the concept of "high bottoms" and "low bottoms" came along. LOL. We could have fun with that word "bottoms", but we won't go there, will we? :-). it was very much a "boy's club", early on. When unescorted women started showing up, the non-alchoholic wives got their backs up. That got sorted. Minorities. Sorted. For an organization that changes little and moves so slow, a lot got sorted in the first 10 years. And it was finally boiled down into one of the 12 Traditions (different from the 12 Steps.) "The ONLY requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking."

Oh, I quit like our little forays into vocabulary and language. Great fun. I saw a listing for a series of lectures called "The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins." Some of the tag lines in the listing were "Explore English: The Omnivorous Language" and "Get an enlightening and fascinating peek inside our wonderful English tongue with this course that explores the hidden mechanics of language." Sounds interesting and I hope the library has, or can get, it.

Oh, all that holiday agitation. It's just that everything is so politicized now. And, it's an attempt of some people to put other people in neat little boxes. "Are you our kind of people?" So tribal. So closed.

The cornbread turned out well. Good rise. Spiked it with a bit of frozen corn. In the continuing attempt to clean out the freezer, I came across a pack of spaghetti squash. Took a couple of squares of cornbread, split them and put them in a bowl. Arranged some small slices of swiss cheese on top. Heated up the squash with salt, pepper, butter, garlic and a few other herbs and spices. Mushrooms. Broccoli. Poured the whole mess over the cornbread and cheese. I don't know what I'd call it, but it tasted good and had a nice texture. Of course, throw in enough butter, salt and pepper and just about anything tastes good. :-). Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I don't bother to even leave messages for some people (like youngest daughter) as she never listens to them. She does respond to emails and texts though.

I already had two Australorp hens. Interestingly they are noticeably smaller than the two new ones though about the same age. Some people advertise that their birds are not from a hatchery. As my original two were from a large hatchery I wonder if that has something to do with it. We don't have the meat chicks or turkeys yet so the adjacent pen was open. That way of introducing birds works out really well. They are now all together and getting along well. The rooster has been quite the gentleman so far. He's not even much of a crower.

If we've had a lot of rain and it pools in spots I've had seeds rot and not germinate. The kale and spinach is up though and now the forecast is for much less rain - definitely a good thing. My asparagus has never self seeded. We had our first for dinner a couple of days ago.

Doug has mostly recovered though he's pretty miffed about missing two days as he has lots to do right now - oh and there's golfing and fishing.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew and Chris

I wasn't familiar with "made road" either. We live on a dead end road about a mile long with only four full time residential homes. Three others have owners who are only there part time. Lew, we do get a number of "drive bys" too. I always wonder what they're up to as well. Kids sometimes come down to the end of the road to party. Even though there's just a few of us it's a paved road. In fact each year lately they've been repaving part of it and I'm not sure why. The only time we get lots of traffic is during the Christmas tree season and that's only three or four weekends. The dogs know which cars are supposed to be on the road.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo, Lewis, and Margaret,

Far out. Worked late today and got home even later. Must have done something bad in a past life to have to occasionally work so hard? I promise to respond to your lovely comments tomorrow evening.

Anyway, there are often upsides to getting home late into the evening and tonight was a two wombat night! There was a huge wombat and a little bit further along the road at the top of my place there was a mid-sized wombat. The mid-sized wombat looked a bit grumpy about being disturbed during its important wombat business (hint: munching juicy fresh compost fed grass!) and we had a face off and the mid-sized wombat just sort of glared at me in a menacing fashion if you can imagine that. Anyway, the mid-sized wombat dropped its gaze first and trundled off at a sedate pace (not too fast, mind you) off and away into the forest. It was like one of those old western Mexican stand offs and each of us waited to see who would be the first to move. Fortunately, I'm bigger than the mid-sized wombat.

I then had to unpack and make a loaf of bread for lunch tomorrow. It is strangely warm here tonight at around 17'C / 62'F which is mildly surreal for this time of year. Generally by Anzac day (which is next Tuesday the 25th April), the autumn is done for and has no warm weather left to give.

And when I woke this morning, the sun gave a sickly yellow light because the government appears to have gotten off its collective backside and began the process of patchwork burn offs. Better done now than during summer! I could smell the bushfire smoke in the air and it was leaving me with a mild case of hay-fever. Mustn't grumble though, it could be worse.

Lewis and Margaret: The whole "made road" thing might be an Australian-ism? Dunno, but there are a lot of dirt roads down under. And the words "made road" can be a bit of a misnomer as the road network down here is huge, but given the lack of population to pay for it, well, I have read anecdotal accounts that overseas the road surfaces are much nicer by way of comparison and it is apparently a very noticeable thing. Dunno really as I've never seen it for myself.

And Lewis, interestingly I had heard of the term Debbie Downer, usually spoken as: "Don't be a..." but never knew of the derivation of the term. It is not commonly said down here. Saturday Night Live has never been shown down here from what I can recall. Of course the memory is a bit dodgy these days! :-)! Nowadays the kids say: "don't be such a buzz-kill" or "don't kill my vibe". It is interesting that the Debbie Downer refers to another person, but the current versions refer to the affect that the other person is having on the speaker. I've read accounts that this mode of communication is more popular these days as it reflects a general shift in concerns of the population. Dunno. The first time I came across that sort of attitude was a song which must have been in around the early to mid 90's by the band Nada Surf and the song was an ironic take on a book the band had come across. It's quite scary, but here goes: Nada Surf lyrics - Popular. Dunno why I thought about that song, the concept was just a bit scary for my poor brain?

Speaking of my poor brain, I'm going to take it off to bed. We shall speak tomorrow! Until then.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Maybe your daughter doesn't answer voice mail because ... Well, with my little flip phone, I have to call in, enter pass codes and then work my way through a phone tree. Another phone tree to delete the message. The whole routine (seems) to take a long time. I kind of thought it was so elaborate, to keep you on the phone longer, to use up your minutes. But, I pay a flat rate.

Beau, the-dog-that-came-with-the-place always lets me know if a "strange" vehicle pulls in the yard. Other than my landlord, the evil step son or me. And, he really can't see the front yard, so I guess he does it by sound. He doesn't bark at cars that move by at a good clip. But does if they slowly drive by. He'll also bark at joggers or cyclists. Not many of those, out this far. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Can't imagine what a Three Wombat Night, is like. Scary, probably. Alone and surrounded! :-)

Saw and ad for some kind of new app. "Get out. Explore. Download Swarm and live your life more checked in." I just had to look, as there wasn't really a clue to what this app was on about. Turns out it "allows you to share your location with your social network." Just what I've always aspired to. Now my life will be complete :-). Must make life a whole lot easier for stalkers.

We had a 5 minute hail storm yesterday. Not the usual rock salt sized hail. This stuff was pea sized. What a racket!

Speaking of roads, I forget if I mentioned that the biggest asphalt (blacktop) plant in the US is closing. Even though the price of oil is down, I guess they're not getting enough orders for asphalt from towns and counties to cover their fixed costs.

Decided to do peas and swiss cheese salad for the two potlucks I have to go to the end of the month. Easy to throw together. Besides, I have a craving ... :-) Off to the Little Smoke. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

In many cases, being "perverse" is good. You are perfectly suited to head the Contrarian Uncommonly Stubborn Society, aka CUSS.

Occasionally some neighbors along our privately-maintained dirt road (un-made?) clamor to have it paved. Quelle horreur!They already drive on this rock-strewn, winding, blind-curved, and steep road at 25-30 mph (40-48 kph); think of it if it were paved! Luckily, no-one can afford to have the road "improved". That is some traffic viewing your leaf change; lovely colors, though.

Ah - there's the "Nectre", in the box. I thought that you couldn't spell . . .

That is an attractive heater. It looks very sturdy. That's a very tidy ceiling repair, and wall and skirting repair, also. What a great tip about the double-layered skirting. Thanks!

Hi, Toothy! What's with the very large round boulder in the olive rock wall? Or is it concrete?

Good luck with the passata re-do. Boy, that's a lot of work.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I forgot to thank you for the two articles last week about detainees. I appreciate that. What terrible situations these people find themselves in. Truly between a rock and a hard place. So sad.

Pam

margfh said...

@Lew

On my daughter's phone (and mine too) you only need to tap one button to get your voice mail. I don't think many people want to even take the time to listen to the message. They just call back - well sometimes.

Our dogs definitely know the sound of Doug's truck as they get excited before they even see it.

@Pam

You're very welcome. My experience has surely been an eye opener.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yes, the out of towners are a bit of a problem. From my perspective, it is the sheer volume of people. I'm not sure what they came to see? Other people, maybe? The infrastructure up here is just not set up to cater for vast numbers of people and it puts a strain on the local resources, which locals are paying for.

I visited Laos quite a long time ago now and the roads didn't seem particularly busy, but driving was always an exciting process full of startling experiences. I rarely drive overseas as I am easily startled. Chinese New Year can be a very busy time, and I wouldn't have thought that people would drive down from the north to celebrate. Far out.

People living in quiet spots in the country rarely want to be inundated with masses of their fellow humans, and that is more or less why they live quiet lives in un-populated locations. You have to also be aware that some of those people don't play well with others. Most people live in urban areas down under anyway and these things will all sort themselves out in time and I have no doubts about that.

Lyonesse is an awesome story and how good was the protagonist Madouc? I really enjoyed the sharp legalistic dialogue between Madouc and the King, and there was always the suspicion that the King had somehow been duped. Good fun stuff and sharp writing. Don't mess with the fairies business seems like sound advice. Many of the older fairy tales read that way too. It only seems to be in newer tales that people get something for nothing and that I reckon is a sad tale to tell kids.

Far out, the Bangkok markets are awesome aren't they? And I always enjoyed the food in Thailand too. Yum! One can only speculate as to the origin of the vintage clothes and I hope Mrs Damo enjoys her finds in the markets. Good stuff!

Ha! That's funny. You know they don't have automatic ticket dispensers down here in the cinemas. It would be a riot as people poured past and over the broken ticket dispensers, whilst chanting: Too bad, so sad for you dudes! :-)! (or something like that!)

That film did better than the recent Star Wars film and anyway my tastes in film aren't so high brow as you may think. I do high brow, but who doesn't love a fluffy film? The last film I saw was: A Street Cat Named Bob, which was really good and a hint: The cat didn't die, it played itself in the film. Work that one out! I still reckon Tom Hank's film Batchelor Party was sheer genius (despite the actor trying to distance himself from his acting roots)! Pah to that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is very posh to have a two lane blacktop road leading to ones front gate! Nice. Of course the traffic that such a road would bring would lead me to a state of total distraction. I'm glad Beau is perceptive enough to know the difference between locals and others. It is interesting because the fluffy collective understand that too, and you know what? They even know the sounds of the dirt mouse and dirt rat vehicles from a fair distance off - certainly before I ever know that it is returning home. It is quite amazing. I've never once seen a jogger running past, but certainly there have been people out walking and bike riding. Once a local vintage tractor group drove past and I had a lovely chat with them. I met a very distant neighbour recently who spent most of his time talking to me trying to find out whether he could ride his pushbike through the other neighbours property. The sheer self-interest was quite awful to witness and I don't know whether it had occurred to the guy to strike up a relationship with those other neighbours? Dunno what they're thinking, but possibly it isn't good. So many people try to gain benefits without costs and the underlying message I get from that is that resources are scarce.

Anyway, about the influx of tourists here, things could always be worse: Massive iceberg in Canada becomes tourist attraction. Mate, that is feral as!!!!

I reckon you are spot on about the problems of there being so many forms of electronic communication. I have to confess to have at one point feeling a little bit left behind as I refused to join in to the online games and/or Facebook with many people that I knew. I wanted to set strict limits on where I went on the interweb. I mean, I'm just too old fashioned to get involved in such things. What are your thoughts on the blogosphere? I have noticed a distinct drop off in content over the past two months and was wondering whether we'd hit Peak Blog? I have put the drop off down to the loss of the ADR, but also I reckon people are in a slightly worried state of mind because we are in a time of change. Dunno, but I am curious about the situation.

Definitely many years of intensive therapy may possibly get them over their Salixcide. Now we'll just have to lobby to get that mental disease into DSM-IV and then all may be set right again with the waterways down under. :-)! They’ll grow back and of that I have no doubts.

Fair enough, I hear you. The whole formica thing was lost on me, but possibly it may have been that I was eye to eye as a small kid with the aluminium trims which were always falling off the table-tops and I feared for my eyeballs. This is a real fear, you know! Hehe! My gut feel says to go with the timber drop leafed table top. It'll be less desired and better quality, but if the collector instinct is calling then you have your job set for you with that desire. Just sayin...

I tell you a funny story about the word "Downer". At one point our immigration minister was I believe Mr Downer! :-)! Stoner speak strangely gets into your head. When I was much younger, I used to cultivate a stoner attitude as it gave me an excuse not to get overly emotional about things. Nowadays I practice the parsnip expression whereby, I withstand overly emotional situations (not with the editor just in case you were wondering) by concentrating on parsnips. I learned that trick as I accidentally came across it in a Jack Vance tale. Useful stuff! Glad to hear that you are not a Debbie Downer. That could possibly be a burden to the people around you.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

We do have fun with the English language, don't we? It is most certainly full of fluff and blather! :-)! Did the library end up having a copy of that book (or is it even a book because how would that translate into a series of lectures?). Can you imagine a TED talk on the English language with that sort of playful introduction? The first time I saw the reference to TED, I thought that they were referring to a film about a potty mouthed anthropomorphic teddy bear called Ted which was released at that time. I mean what else could they have been talking about? I generally avoid TED talks as they don't speak to my ideology for some strange reason. Have you watched any which you would recommend?

Yes, people can be quite tribal. Unfortunately most people nowadays consider that the word tribal can be represented at most through affectations or wear (fetishes perhaps?). I dunno.

You could possibly call the meal: Lewis's cornbread magic number four! That'll confuse them for sure! ;-)! Your meal sounds awesome.

I don't reckon the wombats would co-operate as they seem like a surly bunch of individuals. It ended up being a three wombat night anyway, as I spotted another rather large wombat enjoying the worm tea fed herbage over the worm farm sewerage trenches. It is funny but you just reminded me, I got a call from them a few months back as they wanted to use the video I made about the system on their website. I was totally cool about it and said that that was OK by me. I know of a local system that was installed because I'd been rabbitting on about how good it was. Anyway it was really lovely and very polite of them to ask. A mate said that one of my snow videos was used on the news service and I was given no credit. I watched the worm video a few nights ago and I looked very earnest and I meant every word I said too. I love that system as it just works. Sometimes I get things right here and I never know when that will happen. Most of the time I have to go through a lot of pain in the learning experiences, but not always.

Beware the swarm. Doesn't that have over tones of insect like hive minds? Yes, join the collective.

Wow. Hail can be very destructive. Global warming will increase the size and severity of that weather event. I had a lovely lady say to me sarcastically that yes global warming was not happening, is it! It is nice to hear such things said that way.

No doubts, production of asphalt will be off-shored to low tax countries. Australia now apparently imports 91% of its refined fuels from, I believe, Singapore. I don't reckon that that is a good thing.

Peas and Swiss cheese sound pretty nice to me. I hope they are appreciated at the pot luck at the end of the month. Where has this year gone? I must look behind the couch just in case it fell there...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I so hear you about the messages. The question I have for you is: Are they training us, or are we training them? Possibly it is us that is being trained... You reminded me that once I left a message on a mates voicemail and he described it as a missed call and seemed genuinely surprised that I would actually left a message. It is nice to see how other people view the world as it can save us a lot of trouble.

Chickens can vary a lot in size. The only downside I've noticed about the Australorps here is that they have rather short legs and seem more prone to scaly leg mite than the other birds (except for the silkies for some strange reason). The chickens with long legs show no sign of mites at all. I usually treat the chickens who show signs of mites with petroleum jelly which does the trick. I know of a lady who used to brush the hardened mite scale with a nail file and that seems a bit hands on for me. Do you get much in the way of scaly leg mite?

Your way of introducing new birds is far superior to mine. Not much of a crower and a gentleman to boot! You have definitely scored well with the new rooster. I'll be very interested to hear how it goes over the next few weeks with the new rooster. I fear that long term I'm going to have to sort something out with roosters. What do you reckon would be a good way to do that?

Kale and spinach. Yum! Glad to hear that the rainfall hasn't affected the germination, but yeah, if it pooled here (which it never would) that outcome would also occur. Hey, out of curiosity, I also harvested the asparagus spears up until about the summer solstice when I then let them grow and put down energy into their root systems. When do you normally cut back on harvesting the spears? They are superb fresh out of the garden aren't they. Yum! I'll keep an eye out for any self seeding spears as I know they do that in some parts and I have both male and female plants and some of those are producing large seeds at the moment. Dunno.

Oh no! Hope Doug is feeling better.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Ooops! Almost missed your extra comment. Yes, sometimes townies from around the area used to park at the dark end of the road and smoke (if you know what I mean). I wouldn't have minded that so much, but they used to chuck their rubbish out onto the road too. I wonder where they reckon the rubbish would end up? Incidentally, I have noticed a big increase in the amount of rubbish dumping about the area over the past twelve month or so. I reckon that is a sign of the health of the economy for sure.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Please, please, please! I wish to take parsnip lessons! It will transform my life!

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Contrarians of the world unite! :-)! I did rather enjoy your little joke too. Fun stuff!

Quelle horreur indeed! Who wants to pay for that, and the ongoing maintenance. Not I! I was once surprised by another driver on the main road pretending that they were on the World Rally Championship and they flew by on the dirt road and I just hoped that nothing went wrong. I drive like a grandma when I'm on the road, but this is because I have used up many of my nine lives already and now must be careful as a result. Improved is like the word "efficiency" in that it is a relative and rather abstract concept. Fortunately it may remain just talk for you. It won't ever happen here, and I reckon I'm pretty certain about that. The local council barely get to grade the road twice a year now, so sealing it would be just weird.

Fortunately the tourist activities are focused on the more fashionable end of the mountain range. This does mean that I have been unable to attend to any of the open gardens in that part of the range during recent times.

Hehe! It was pretty funny that Nectre joke, don't you reckon? :-)! It is a really good heater. Mind you tonight it has been so warm that at about 10pm it is still 16'C / 61'F outside which is way to warm to run the heater. I overheard a young lady saying how cold it was the other morning in that it was only 22'C / 72'F. I don't get that at all.

Yeah, the old timers couldn't produce the large spans of profiled timber without great economic loss and so they made them from components. I did the same trick here, and the lowest ceiling heights are 10 foot, so short skirting boards would have looked strange. Just for your interest, I also installed 7.8 foot / 2.4m doors as standard otherwise things would have looked very strange to me inside the house.

Toothy says hi! No concrete was used in the production of this olive rock wall! Actually that was just a huge boulder which we managed to roll into that location. Alas for Peak Rocks as there are just so many projects requiring rocks. What to do? What to do?

Thanks for mentioning the passata re-work. Well, one good thing when things go wrong is that in re-working the situation, you get to dwell upon the reasons for the erroneous situation.

It appears that it may rain quite heavily here tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

That's one neat iceberg - I think. Imagine the cold breeze off of that thing.

I planted 38 osage orange seeds a year ago, after letting a yucky blob of them sit through one winter 18 months ago to break down the seed coverings. All sprouted. Thirty-six were put to grow on the sheltered, south-facing front porch. Two were inadvertently left behind out in the exposed garden all winter, though I did occasionally water them. The 36 on the porch all died (though tenderly cared for). The 2 in the garden have set down tap roots through their pots and have flourished. I think they are trying to tell me something.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - On my way to town, yesterday, I heard an interesting interview with the author of a new book on language and dictionaries. By an editor at the Webster dictionary. On NPR. One of the (many) interesting points she made was that English is a living language. Changing, ever changing. The library does have her book, but the wait list is long ...

Last week when I was at the Club, my mate Scott and I were gassing and we threw out the word "lugubrious." Another fellow asked what the word meant. Well ... we were both caught kind of flat footed. Yup. Guilty of the high crime of throwing around big words and not really having a definition, at hand. We finally got a kind of (weak) definition of the word. But, Inquiring Minds Want to Know, so I checked it out. Mournful, seemed to be the most "official" definition. The same fellow (and Scott) were at the club yesterday, so we beat it to death. :-). I had the opinion, that in current usage, there's a ... creepy component to the word, that doesn't (as yet) show up in "official" definitions. The examples I used were a.) The Adams family, without the humor or b.) Alfred Hitchcock's opening to his programs. That simple "Good ... evening." Lugubrious and slightly creepy.

The language lecture that I was interested in, is from Great Courses. They either come as DVD lectures (with an accompanying book), an audio version, or a download. They have hundreds in many areas of interest. They can be quit expensive. So, the library doesn't carry them all. And, sometimes, they just order the audio version (less expensive). But I like the dvd lectures. The professors usually trot out a lot of graphics, which don't "come across" on the audio versions. I have a few that I've bought, directly from Great Courses. Sometimes, I'll interlibrary loan one. Recently, they have a new one on utopias and dystopias in literature. It's new, so an interlibrary loan may not be possible. So, I've asked our library to order it for the collection ... the DVD version. Haven't heard back, yet. Cont.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I am glad to learn that the new wood heater was installed successfully and works excellently! Now you are ready for whatever winter might bring you.

My equivalent to living on a non-maintained road is to live in the unfashionable (read poorer) part of the county and on a two block long road that T's into a dead-end road. No one drives down our street unless they live on it or are visiting someone who lives on it, except for the handful of people who live on the dead-end street between the end and where our street intersects it. I like that situation because the road is narrow and thus is not a barrier to visiting with the neighbors on the other side. The county does maintain the asphalt surface of the road, at least so far. No way to know how long that will last.

My mother-in-law got the idea of moving to an apartment in a senior-citizen complex from my mother's recent difficulties. The place my MIL moved into is just a 15 or so minute walk from our house. That makes it easier for us, or at least it will after my husband Mike sells the rest of the stuff she left in her house and then helps her to sell the house.

Because I wasn't home to start seeds in late winter, I bought seedlings of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and leeks earlier this week, to plant once I finish preparing the area for them. I went to a nearby plant nursery that raises seedlings to buy them. Unfortunately the variety isn't noted on anything but the broccoli, and it's a hybrid. So I searched for other area nurseries that might carry heirloom tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings for when I am ready to plant those in about two weeks or so. Turns out those nurseries are in richer parts of the county. Shouldn't surprise me, I suppose. As Mike and I say, they get everything. But I still prefer living in our area.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I've never much cared for the TED talks. The library carries some, and a lot of them are on YouTube. I don't know. They seem to be the kind of people Daddy Greer warned us against. :-). The likes of Elon Musk. The "talk the talk, but not walk the walk" crowd. I don't know about a decline in the blogosphere. Other than here, I really don't have much to do with it. Oh, a couple that are short that I might check once a week. The Daily Impact and Kunstler. Usually don't post.

The Nada Surf song is rad. High school hell in a nutshell. :-). The chorus is great. Self important little prigs who rule the halls.

The icebergs are really something. Rather majestic. To see that much inanimate mass on the move. I'd drive a mile or two to see it. But not much further :-).

I think the DSM is up to 5, now :-). The book I read about compulsions, "Can't. Just. Stop." had quit a bit to say about the short comings and ins and outs of the DSM. Things on the list, off the list, sometimes based on dodgy studies. Sometimes politicized by drug companies pushing this or that pill. A lot of it has to do with the situation that insurance companies won't pay for drugs (not that they really pay much, anyway) unless they're in the DSM.

I think "bummer" may signal disinterest or boredom. I mean it signals sympathy, as pure form, but is really just lip service. "I feel you, man" is, perhaps, another one. Oh, I can be a bit of a downer, but I know enough to keep it to myself :-). But sometimes, negativity is a correct response. Self check out at the library is a bad idea. Self pick up of holds at the library is a bad idea. In the design of this library, is it really such a good idea to not have a clear view of the unsupervised hold pick up shelves, the restrooms and the elevator, from the main desk? By the way, there's a new book out on the history of card catalogues. :-). Our library doesn't have it, and I'm really not interested in getting it on interlibrary loan. I don't think. So many books, so little time. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. LOL. Thanks for reminding me. I think there's a "Ted II". The return of the potty mouthed stuffed bear. Wonder if the library has it? Probably won't be as good as the first one. Sequels rarely are.

Yup. Always nice when things work out the way you think they should. I love my worm box. Just perking along for years. Like magic. I think you should sue for compensation, for the unauthorized use of your snow footage! A well placed letter from your lawyer might shake loose enough of a nuscience / go away payment to cover the new stove :-). Yeah, I know. You're not that kind of a guy and neither am I.

Join the collective. Resistance is futile. :-).

Parsnip expression = poker face?

Hmmm. Peak rocks. Build a few forms (for variety) and make them out of concrete? I'm sure you're up to the task. :-).

Down to my last piece of cornbread. Think I'll split it, throw some swiss cheese on it and throw a fried egg on top. With a dab of plain yogurt. Sunflower seeds? Squirt of mustard? Along with a banana and my medicinal (oh, sure) two squares of dark chocolate a day, sounds like a fine lunch.

Cliff Mass has a couple of interesting articles. Apparently, our soil temperatures are really low for this time of year and it's affecting seed germination. Also, a rather startling article about how our president just signed a very pricey bill for weather forecasting. Not climate study, mind you, but forecasting. Actually, a bi-partisan bill that passed the Senate and House with nary a squeak. And, it's getting no media play, so far. Interesting.

Disquiet at the local grocery store. There hasn't been any two pound bricks of "my" cheese, in the last two weeks. No skim milk mozzarella. No explanation, either, other then "we haven't gotten it in." Decided to splurge on a bit of buttermilk. Only small pints of low fat. Nothing else. Tea has taken a tremendous jump in price. Stash tea used to be, on sale, $2.25 or $2.50 a box. The last two weeks it been "on sale" for $3.59! I checked, and it's a price increase across the brands. Crop failure? I saw an article that restaurant business is really down. From greasy fast food places right up to linen table cloth high end. Looking at the comments, it's due to high prices, poor quality of food and poor service. They all feed into one another. The article also made the point that a lot of working poor restaurant workers are hitting the unemployment line. Which is impacting fast food chains. If your employees can't afford your product ... Bourdain had a whole chapter in his book "Medium Raw" on how the restaurant biz retrenched during the crash of '08. Disquieting times. Lew

Cathy McGuire said...

Hi, Chris! Wow, you've been busy! (as usual)... I feel a twinge of guilt at your discussion of "not returning calls" ... one reason I don't leave comments here (though I do read the posts often) is that I get forgetful and never come back to see what you replied and that feels rude. :-} I also am forgetful with emails - if they slip down off the screen (due to many others), I sometimes forget I'm supposed to reply. There's just too many avenues of contact! (And now I'm on Twitter, but not Facebook - I have limits.) I liked it better when there was letter or house phone (with no msg. machine). But I'm old...

The veggie haul is impressive! As you're heading into your hibernation time, we're just gearing up - it's been so rainy in the PNW that I haven't done most of my spring planting yet. I got a handyman to make 3 raised beds with anti-mole screens at the bottom, but since the last time he worked for me, his back has given out and he just rushed through it - no measuring, too many gaps where dirt will fall out, and screws sticking into the box such that I'm sure to cut myself... sigh... about what I'd be capable of, but this I paid for. :-\ I feel sorry for him, but I doubt I'll hire him again. If I want slapdash, I can hire myself. ;-}

I have been slack in yardwork because I've been writing so much. I just finished a story for Jason Heppenstall's contest (you can see it over at www.cathymcguire.blogspot.com) and I'm also working to get local bookstores to carry my new novel, that Founders House finally published! It's a lot bigger than I thought - you could easily use it to bash bugs! ;-)

The word "perverse" is not the same as "perverted" (though people often confuse them)... perverse is, as you say, not going along with the norm... perverted is twisted sexually or emotionally... they share some root words, but really are different words. So you're fine. :-)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Enjoy your parsnip lessons! I believe the book was Jack Vance: Nightlamp, but could well be incorrect in that memory. It is a pretty funny concept isn't it? But it does have results on the board.

Brrr! It has rained over two inches here today and thoughts of cold air off the back of an iceberg makes me feel colder. Fortunately the wood heater is producing masses of heat. It is a real pleasure when a system finally works as it should and doesn't appear to be stressed by the process.

Wow. Thanks for sharing the story about the osage oranges (I must get one of those, thanks for the reminder). Isn't it funny that sometimes the plant world just knows what it needs. Glad to read that the two seedling trees left out in the rain seem to be doing well. Clearly you were running a scientific test and the two left out in the open were the control samples? It makes for a good story doesn't it? :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Language does change frequently. Some words have very different meanings now than when they did when I was a kid. It is a shame the hold list for that book is quite long, but on the other hand it is nice that you have a lot of avid readers in your part of the world. It is a bit of a good and bad situation!

Lugubrious, well that will perhaps teach yourself and Scott a lesson, but I also have to confess that some words I recall as more of an emotion rather than understanding the specific meaning of the word, and that can make it hard to explain to other people. Were you feeling lugubrious at your lack of understanding of that word? :-)! Ooo, that was cheeky wasn't it? Honestly, I'd heard of the word but had no idea what it meant.

It has rained cats and dogs in your part of the world, and also way down here too today. Over two inches so far. Strangely enough it stopped long enough for the chickens to enjoy a nice run through the orchard. They were feeling far from lugubrious as there were worms aplenty! :-)! Hehe, we could go on like this for days!!! Too funny. I promise to stop it... Maybe... :-)!

Alfred Hitchcock always reminded me of one of those early photos from the late 19th century / early 20th century when everyone had such somber and serious expressions on their faces. I guess the long exposure times were a real problem?

Incidentally, speaking of silly jokes, I have rather warm feelings towards the new fire box... That was a bad one wasn't it?

I watched a few of the TED talks and it reminded me of a forward to a book written by an anthropologist which I read recently who remarked that for some strange reason sociologists and anthropologists were required to finish their books with an uplifting finish. In the real world, I find that sometimes things just go wrong for no good reason at all and there isn't much of an uplifting message in that. People a bit younger than myself have never experienced economic hardship in the form of mass unemployment and recession and I wonder at their ability to understand and incorporate those uncertain and unpleasant endings into their world views. They'll probably be OK, but at the moment down here such thoughts are abstract for many.

Just have to go and check some biscuits in the oven. Hope they're not burnt... ... Not yet anyway! I'll give them another 5 minutes I reckon.

Oh yeah, the song was intended to be understood as ironic, but far out, they nailed a frightening scenario. The editor just interrupted me to show me an interweb photo of a bus full of white Pomeranian dogs. It was very disturbing!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

The iceberg was good wasn't it? Massive. I reckon we are heading towards a warmer and far wetter planet for some parts of the planet. Coping with too much water is perhaps more difficult than too little water, and I reckon this will be a negative feedback loop (or is that a positive feedback loop?).

Is it up to DSM V now? A lot of things are mental health issues. I sometimes listen to a radio program on Triple J called the Hookup on Sunday nights and mate, one of the core themes running through that show is mental health issues. Sometimes I live this quiet life up here in this remote and beautiful corner of the planet, and then there is the outside world. One of the reasons I regularly walk around the city and immerse myself in the ruck and mass is that a person could disappear up in the forest up here and I don't reckon that is a good or wise thing to do.

Oh, sometimes I say: I feel your pain man. Oops! I actually am trying to convey my sympathies... Anyway, I reckon as a society we have become unaccustomed to displaying or conveying sympathies for others in our language. I guess it is a practice thing and we have become unaccustomed to having to interact with people about those issues and on that basis? Time will sort that matter out though, don't you reckon?

Hehe! I never saw Ted II and to be honest, I thought that the actor Mark Wahlberg was a bit old for the role, although that is just my opinion.

Your worm box is a great thing to have. Out of curiosity, how are your tea plants going? Camellia's are difficult here for some reason, but I'm learning with them and may have found the perfect micro-climate for them. Dunno. As to the legal system. Best avoided me thinks.

That was funny about resistance being futile. :-)!

Exactly, it is the same thing but I'm not one for gambling.

Your cornbread sounds lovely. I'm thinking of heading to the pub for a meal tonight. Yum! It is an unofficial long weekend down here due to Anzac day falling on a Tuesday.

I'll check out Cliff Mass's blog. Thanks for the heads up and that sounds an awful lot like the spring I just experienced and look at the dramas with the tomatoes.

It is funny that you mention food and inflation, but down here it is being masked - I believe - by a drop in quality. As you know we have been making yoghurt at home for well over a decade. Recently, it appears that the milk powder which we were using has had the protein count reduced as we have ruled out every other ingredient and method of preparation. The milk powder has been producing fails (and we tried different brands). So we now purchase even more expensive organic milk just to keep the yoghurt going. And it worked first time. Inflation is a pesky thing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you and it is toasty warm in the house right now, and I have learned many valuable lessons. The one that hits hardest is how little firewood the new wood heater uses compared to the old one. It really is quite amazing, and the entire system works on a different basis now as the much larger wood heater basically heats water rather than trying to radiate heat into the house. It is fascinating.

Yes, I believe that you are onto something with that strategy. Did you know that crime rates are always much higher in wealthier and / or gated areas - for the obvious reasons that they have stuff to take. Who knows how long the road maintenance will last? It is a real issue.

You were very lucky to have settled your MIL so close to your home. That is a very good outcome and I wish you well with the move and settling of matters.

Buying seedlings is always a good option and I started that way too. And you may note that the tomato harvest here was only possible for similar outcomes to your situation. It is extraordinarily hard to read the climate in advance. The heirloom garden club down here does mail order of seedlings. That sort of an option might not be a bad thing for you, although it is getting on in your spring.

It is pouring down here today and over two inches of rain has fallen already. The ground outside is well drained, but it is still very wet - and also bizarrely warm too as the storm came down from the Indian Ocean across the continent. I read an account that there have been record breaking rains over the Mallee (and there were even waterfalls on Uluru!). It is turning sub-tropical down here...

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I watched the funniest thing in the grocery store parking lot the other day. I saw a male cardinal light on a side view mirror on a car and proceed to fight the other cardinal in the mirror. Then he flew to the next car and "beat up" the cardinal in that car's mirror! He did this with four vehicles and finally wore himself out. Those cardinals are mean sons-of-guns. Not very bright bulbs either, I imagine.

Yesterday morning I thought I saw an unusually colored squirrel in the yard, but was not sure as there was not much light yet. Later on I saw him playing with two of our usual grey squirrels and, by golly, he is cream colored! Not quite albino white, and his eyes are dark, but a light cream and our squirrels are always a medium grey. I wonder where on earth such a variation came from?

Of the two surviving baby osage oranges, one has thorns and one doesn't. Perhaps they are male and female? But which one has the thorns . . .

Pam

orchidwallis said...

hello again

I could do with some of your rain as it has been dry for a while now and I am having to water the fruit and veg.

Some unknown orchid leaves have arrived, I chanced on them while walking around outside the shack. 3 plants in together. I hope that they flower otherwise I won't have a clue as to what they are; at present I just know what they are not. I become ever more fascinated by orchids.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The interview with the author of the book on dictionaries, thinks that there is spoken English, and written English and that most grammar enforcement happens had the written end. But there is overlap. I suppose that's where parents and teachers correct children's grammar?

Yup. Had to hold quit still for early photos. Sometimes for minutes. I've seen photos of metal contraptions that didn't show in the photo, that helped hold the sitter still. Head braces, and such. Speaking of smiles, I saw a reference to a book on the history of the smile. Apparently, the author thinks that the smile didn't really exist much, before the 1700s. I don't think I believe that. Sounds more like someone's dissertation run amok. :-)

"Warm feelings toward the fire box." Almost sounds like a (bad) pun. :-). My mind is running in a direction that probably isn't family friendly. Nope. Don't need to go there. :-)

I've met a young fellow, with family, who is interested in a career in food. And, was wondering what I thought about that. So, I've been thinking about it. And, oddly, my thoughts are that he should move somewhere with national medicine. For starters. Now that is a bad pun. :-). Getting out in the world (through the internet) I sometimes think about what life would be like without the constant worry about health care. I saw a headline that Australia is tightening up it's citizenship requirements. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Oh, my tea plant is banging along. I really need to do some trimming, but hesitate. Will I kill it? It's that ... apprehension one has when it comes to thinning plants, or pruning them back. I'm over thinking it. I took a look around to see if I could figure out why tea has taken such a jump in price. Well, there is drought in Kenya. There were a few articles about how tea prices (and a lot of other things ... marmite!) have taken a jump in England. Due to Brexit. But it didn't say much about how that would impact American tea prices. Other than some vague references to exchange rates and pounds sterling, which are beyond me.

That's really sad about the milk powder. Just another example of the crapification of everything. A term my friend in Idaho, just loves. I didn't realize I hadn't said it to her before, but in a phone call, last night, it had her in stitches. Of course, I gave credit where credit was due. I've been reading a lot about wheat. Varieties grown, how it's milled. Now that's crapification. And we didn't even notice. Maybe I can gild the lilly and expand the concept to "creeping crapification?"

I won an E-Bay auction, this morning, so I'm pretty happy. I forget if I mentioned that I picked up a single bookend at the flea market. Art Deco. Cast iron plated with copper. Well ... there was a single, up for auction. And, I got it. So, now I have a pair. Simple pleasures :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Re: smilimg. I visited my German relatives when I was 19. My grandmother wrote to my mother later, to ask why I kept laughing at them. They had no concept of the smile. Does Angela Merkel smile, I am not sure?

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Cathy,

No stress it is all good with me! I'm amazed at the sheer volume of people that read the blog and don't leave a comment, and to be honest, if they did all decide to leave a comment I would probably not be able to continue with the many projects here as I would be way to busy responding to comments. It is a complex problem! I'm old school too and would enjoy a return to those two forms of communication.

Ah yes, I only ask people to work for me more than the first time, only if I am certain that they will complete the task to an acceptable level of quality. And if they don't, they never come back again. Yes, it is hard paying for a sub standard job that you yourself could have done. Good luck with the moles and please keep them in your part of the world!

I'll look forward to reading your story for the competition. You really are an excellent author and I enjoy your stories immensely! I have the opposite problem in that I have too much work and not enough time for writing. I was considering a story set in the future about two wombats stumbling across a magic toilet on a road in the middle of the forest. The toilet in question was one of those historic Japanese highway types where the farmers were collecting the humanure. Alas time has gotten away from me!

They are different words aren't they? Such is the English language!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Cardinal birds are so attractive (with slightly angry looking eyes) that they must be excused for their (bad joke alert) flighty behaviour! The magpies do the same thing here with the car mirrors and it keeps us all entertained - At least they have not learned to swoop you... Magpies apparently enjoy that act of swooping and they have both excellent memories and they live for twenty years. I enjoy cordial relations with the magpies here.

How cool is an albino squirrel! Awesome. Some of the marsupials produce albinos every now and then. Those albinos would do very well in far southern or far northern climates. I reckon such a response is hard wired into the genes of animals so that they can adapt when or if the climate shifts. Didn't a massive meteor hit the planet 65 million years ago and wipe out the dinosaurs?

What a mystery those osage oranges have provided. I have absolutely no idea at all which is which. What do you reckon? I went around tonight giving all of the citrus trees a bit of a drink of seaweed solution as the cold weather had turned some of their leaves a little bit yellow. Mind you, there are mandarins, lemons, limes and grapefruits all maturing on the trees right now. Yum! With a little bit of climate change, I reckon you may one day be growing citrus in your part of the world.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm surprised that your spring has been so dry. Of course all of the plants with shallow root systems will be struggling a bit in those conditions. On the other hand, drier conditions where you can supply water, makes for easier growing conditions for vegetables. I've never had enough water to be able to water the orchards in those conditions though, and the fruit trees just have to manage as best they can (which they usually do). Are you observing that the growth on the vegetables is particularly good this season?

Your orchids sound very interesting and who knows what their origins may be. And given that they can survive dormant in the ground just waiting for the perfect season... Out of curiosity was your property lived on by humans in the recent past? I assume given that you have Roman ruins nearby that the area may have been more densely settled in the far past? It is interesting to contemplate, don't you wonder?

There is an old tree here which shows signs of a giant canoe scar. It is impressive to contemplate what that actually means.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The author is really onto something with that assertion. The English language as it is written is a very different beast to the language that is spoken. As far as I am aware, a person has to almost understand the same language from many different perspectives. And I always pitch spoken English to my audience at whatever level appeals to them as it is very easy to alienate people, which is a result which does nobody any good. Someone told me recently that children in schools are no longer expected when using the written language to be able to spell correctly and/or use the expected grammar. I believe that the idea is that everything is cool as long as the kids get their ideas onto paper (if they even use paper…) I'm a little bit uncool about that situation because language is a very powerful tool if used well. I suspect that parents aren't correcting their children's grammar either...

Well, that explains everything doesn't it? I'd be grumpy if I had to stand still for several minutes whilst the camera proceeded to expose the film... Maybe, I might even be cheeky enough to yell out: Are we done yet? Alas, given my unfortunate predilection for bouncing around and not keeping still, there would be few photos indeed, as the camera operator would throw their hands up in disgust and simply give up.

I thought that our simian relatives also smile? And somewhere I heard a theory about smiles being a reassuring gesture which is hard wired in? Dunno. I'm curious about clapping, as I went to a show at the Comedy Festival recently and everyone clapped at the end, but then I started wondering what that all meant. Of course I was clapping too, the comedian deserved the applause after all. It was a fun show from a comedian (Luke McGregor) who has severe social anxieties and I'd seen the bloke in smaller venues in the past. I felt that he was at the top of his game this time. Playing an audience is a really hard won art. He recently did a television show called Luke warm sex about that aspect of his life and his social anxieties. It was a very candid and genuine journey with the comedian.

No we don't need to go there, but it does sound a bit naughty doesn't it?

You may be interested in the contrast that your concerns provide. I have access to national health care and I don't worry about health care at all. Of course, elective things will be expensive down here and you always have to pay something, somewhere, but by and large it just works. Medicines not purchased through the governments central purchasing scheme are expensive and you would not want to be clamouring for those... Going to the hospital is not going to lose you your house though. And such an outcome would produce very different reactions in the population. it is important to note that nobody has yet beat the skinny guy wearing the black hoodie and holding the scythe. We all get acquainted with that character in the end. The dude seems a bit unrelenting and also somewhat effective. ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yeah, regulations surrounding the 457 visa are being changed. The 457 visa is a working visa as far as I can understand it, and with 10% of the workforce here apparently on one, there is a bit of griping from the local population which are perhaps more expensive to employ and perhaps also under employed. Of course, there are many anecdotal accounts that employers are also apparently using those visas to rip people off in what appears to me to be some sort of debt servitude (or is that serfdom?) scam which is apparently enforced through threats of deportation due to non compliance with the visa restrictions. Some of the stories emerging make for poor hearing in a country as wealthy as this one. And often they appear to be perpetrated by people who have contacts with their countries of origin… None of it is good and there have also been reports in the newspapers that some of the wealthiest people in the country also benefit. How much money do these people want?

Your accounts of healthy tea plants encouraged me to look into the tea camellias here this afternoon only to find that they appear to be very deceased... I'm a bad tea camellia owner. I can provide no advice on tea camellias and will have to utilise the following strategy: if at first you don't succeed, try, try, again! And then maybe kill a few more of them. If you learn how the plants are pruned, you will have my complete attention. Camellias are very problematic here for some strange reason and I have no idea why. I have finally got a few growing but it has been a steep (bad tea joke!) learning experience.

Glad to read that your friend in Idaho enjoyed the word. It is a goodie isn't it? And yes, flour is not flour at all. I purchase a form of flour called: Pasta Dura flour in 10kg (22 pound bags) as it is a very high protein variety and I believe the yeasts work on the proteins and so having more proteins is a good thing, but I'm honestly a bit fuzzy on the details. It is more expensive than basic flour though.

The milk powder saga has been very worrying because we have been making yoghurt for almost a decade now and the change has been remarkable. Fortunately, I can still purchase organic milk for just under $4/litre (3.8 litres to the gallon) and that produces excellent yoghurt, it is just that foodflation (I just made that word up!) is starting to (bad food joke alert!) bite hard! Just to be entirely sure that we weren't doing any of the process incorrectly, we went right to basics and read up on Sandor Katz's most excellent book: The Art of Fermentation. Then we just began the methodical process of eliminating variables one by one. I haven't written about that story because it is an ugly story. I mentioned to the Green Wizards group that the food they consume today is from my perspective not the same food in terms of quality that was being consumed not that long ago. But we cast recent history into a poor light, think we are more enlightened and the apparently the decreased quality is then politely ignored. I dunno…

Well done with the eBay auction! Good stuff and an excellent find. I use eBay too, to find unusual stuff like high amp DC din rail circuit breakers that nobody anywhere stocks. And there they are in some obscure shop on the other side of the continent... Exactly, the simple pleasures are the best. Enjoy your matching bookends.

Speaking of which, I have worked many accounting days this week and so are planning to head down into the forest to do some cleaning works tomorrow. I reckon I'll enjoy that. You may be surprised to know that the many oak seedlings dotted in random spots on the farm appear to be doing quite well and have suddenly grown over the past couple of weeks. I have a random strategy with the oaks of collecting vast quantities of acorns and simply throwing them randomly about the farm. I figure that they then grow where they should and where the conditions are best suited for them. It more or less seems to work. I'm aiming for a very bio-diverse forest.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Pam

Adrian Ayres Fisher (Ecological Gardening blog) that Chris links to here wrote about Osage Orange awhile back. I passed it along to some of my restoration friends. Their reaction - "well that's nice but they aren't native...

Funny story about the cardinal. I think it's fairly common that they try to fight themselves but to do it in a parking lot ..

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I was absolutely dumbfounded at the thought that some people might not smile, and perhaps as a cultural norm, too. I ran into a young friend with her 4-month-old baby in the grocery store the other day and commented to her how much the little baby was smiling. So, perhaps, babies being little mirrors, they only smile when others around them smile and if no-one around them ever smiles, they never learn to (perhaps might even be punished for doing so)? There is so much humor in life I would think that the strain of not giving in to expressing one's amusement would just about do one in. Imagine a whole society with such a practice. It's creepy.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

This week's comments are full of wonderful bad jokes!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I saw Adrian's article on osage oranges here. It's one of the things that got me started on growing them. It's a fine blog.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

That was an excellent article and Adrian does some good work.

One of my smaller bantam leghorns appears a little bit sick today. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her recovery, but the odds are not good. And one of the silkies has taken to sharing a nesting box with her. Silkies are pleasant natured birds, but they can usually foretell when one of the other birds is going to keel over and they have what looks to be some sort of vigil over the sick bird. It has happened on many occasions...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Glad to be of service! :-)! And yes, a world without smiles and laughter would be a strange world indeed.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Just noticed this one: A one in a thousand year flood event...

BOM defends itself over complaints it failed to warn Murwillumbah residents about flooding.

I heard similar complaints voiced after the Black Saturday bushfires. Far out, even I knew that was going to be bad... I was surprised at the complaints, but people deal with grief differently.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I do believe we're being trained (regarding messages). I may have to revolt against that.

I do have quite a variety in sizes now. That's interesting about the scaly leg mites. I've only had them once and used the same method to treat. I think I may have used some DE as well. It was quite some time ago. The Buckeyes have short legs as well.

I'm lucky to have that particular set up to introduce new chickens as it works fabulously. So far Mr. Rooster is continuing his good behavior. The hens seem to like him too.

I guess I harvest asparagus between 4 to 6 weeks. I already have quite a bit. Last year I froze the extra. It doesn't freeze well to just eat plain but worked very well for some off season asparagus soup. I imagine I could can it for the same purpose.

Unfortunately I caught the same bug as Doug and while not as severe has lingered. Subsequently I'm pretty behind in the garden especially with everything going on with Michael's move. I took him for an eye exam this week. He had glasses but refused to wear them as he claimed he was being teased and then proceeded to lose them. I've noticed his eyesight really deteriorating though in the last six to eight months. Well he's got cataracts and needs surgery. I did take him to Walmart for his eye exam and it was the same doctor as four years ago. He was very patient with Michael as he's very slow to process and referred him to an excellent, by reputation, doctor who practices here. Fortunately Medicare with cover the procedure. I am not fond of Walmart or Amazon for that matter but when shopping for both Michael and my MIL I have to be careful with costs. Speaking of Amazon, I ordered his new bed from there as well and they will ship it directly to his new place. The new address wasn't accepted online but I actually was able to talk to a real person (in another country) and she was very helpful and solved the problem. As I said I really don't like to shop at Walmart or Amazon but for those I'm responsible for with limited income I often feel I have no choice.

Oh yes, the doctor said the cataracts (he's very young for this condition) were likely caused by all Michael's medications. Michael suffers from hand tremors also due to medications. Amazingly he is not diabetic yet as that is the most common side effect and he is quite overweight as well.

It's early and so far I feel pretty good and am hoping I'm getting over this bug. I have onion plants that need planting.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I don't know whether or not anyone lived on my site in early years. There was a small Medieval village at the end of the woods where there is a stream running down from a spring. It is reasonable to assume that a permanent source of fresh water probably indicates prior inhabitation. Further along the coast at the beach now belonging to Queen Victoria's Osborne House, there was a pirate colony. They preyed on shipping going to Portsmouth.

@ Pam

I guess that smile runs into laughter onto a continuum, so some cultures might interpret an amused smile as laughter and be unaware of a friendly smile.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - If you're getting interested in orchids, the book "The Orchid Thief" is really fun. Susan Orlean. I seem to remember, years ago, a mystery series where the detective was quit devoted to his orchids. Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout (?). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - About wealthier areas having higher crime rates. Some of it may be, that criminals don't want to "foul their own nests." Steal from their neighbors. Another thing that came to mind was an interview done in the 1930s with a bank robber (Dillinger?). He was asked why he robbed banks. "Because that's where the money is." :-)

Somewhere I picked up the idea that some cultures clap differently. It's a real trope in sci-fi and dystopian movies. Crowds are shown clapping in odd ways. Just to let you know it's "another time ... another place." :-)

LOL. I'll have to look into Luke McGregor. Social anxiety? Right up my alley. But often, I just think I'm neurotic. :-).

We have similar work visas, here. And, the problems that go along with them. They're supposed to go to people who have skills that may be in short supply. I think what's really in short supply is people willing to work for smaller wages. There was quit a scandal in Canada, a few years back. Work visas were given to several young ladies from Eastern Europe. Apparently, there was a shortage of Canadian workers who could preform the task of exotic dancing :-). How much money do some people want to acquire? Well, all of it, of course.

RIP tea plants. Mine staggers along, much to my surprise. It flowers, it sets seeds. I think it's the occasional shot of worm juice.

I've been reading a lot about flour, lately. I found a really good chart in "Mastering Pasta" (Vetri). All the different kinds of flour, what their protean percentage is. What they are best used for. On my list of "books to buy." I've also become convinced that rising time should be as long as possible. More flavorful bread, less digestive problems. Modern bread is made in less than three hours. Due to the chemicals they put in it, and the type of flour and yeast they use. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I decided to make Anzac biscuits on Tuesday. So, rather than digging through the little scrap pile of recipes that haven't been committed to 3x5 card yet, I grabbed my doorstop Stephanie Alexander cookbook. Are you sure she's Australian? :-). There was NO recipe for Anzac biscuits. So, it was back to the recipe scrap pile, which needed to be sorted, anyway. And, there it was. But I can't remember the substitutions I used. I think maple syrup for golden syrup. And, I think I used apples instead of coconut. But I think I'll try blueberries, this year. They have more liquid than apples ...so I'll adjust the liquid. LOL. I bet they come out blue!

After three attempts, I finally caught up with The Warden, at The Home. I'm number 2! I got to look at another apartment. Funny the little details I pick up on, each visit. Small electric base board heaters. Which means no furniture against those stretches of wall. I'm glad I can take my time moving, a bit. Winnowing down my stuff by half is going to be interesting.

The book on language is "Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries." by Tapper (if I'm reading my scrawl correctly.) Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret, Inge, and Lewis,

Thanks for all of the lovely comments, however life has intervened this evening and I will be unable to reply. However, I promise to reply tomorrow.

Lewis - Just quickly, I have decided to write about the yoghurt tomorrow but am churning over possible stories in my mind. It is a complex story. Incidentally too, your remark about greed being the basic economic problem - although it would never be written that way for fear of offending economists (!) - I spotted this little gem of an article in the newspaper: Court rules on parents' dispute about sending their children to private schools . Of course, I detect that there is more going on in that story than meets the eye.

It looks like it will rain again here tomorrow...

Congrats on getting to number 2!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Congratulations from me as well for getting to no2. it sure looks for real now. Does this make you nervous?

Thanks for mentioning the orchid book. I really do wonder what makes them so captivating. I found a 'ladies tresses' on the lawn at a previous home and we put a cage around it so that it wasn't accidentally mown.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yogurt. Sounds fascinating :-). Not really poking all that much fun, given the amount of the stuff I slop around, when I cook. Speaking of cooking, I guess the big new thing in the Vegetarian World is whipped bean water. Yup. Someone discovered that the water from canned garbanzo beans can be whipped and used as an egg substitute. You know, that kind of slimy stuff I rinse off the beans, and pour down the drain. Not that I'm looking for an egg substitute, but in the interest of recycling and reducing waster ... Any-who. It's been named "Aquafaba." Soon to be commercialized and found in a dairy case, near you :-)

I cooked up a nice slab of corned beer, last night. Now, onto doing up some corned beef and cabbage. Maybe a sandwich or two. A small batch of corned beef hash?

That was quit an article about the woman aspiring to private school for her children. My initial take (not knowing all the details) is that she should liquidate those assets, pay off her debts and begin life anew, from wherever she's at, at that point. Anybody ask the kids what they want?

Speaking of misguided parents (in some ways, not in others) I watched "Captain Fantastic" last night. It's about a father, raising his 6 kids in the wilds of Washington State. Home schooled, not much contact with what passes for civilization. Mum dies and they're taking their bus on a road trip to the funeral. This is early on in the movie. Right at the part where the Dad quotes Calvin Coolidge and goes on a riff about consumerism, are shots along the freeway of Chehalis and Centralia! Our Uncle Sam sign (search, Chehalis Uncle Sam Sign), our factory outlet malls and big box stores. Our K-Mart! The places that flood :-). Then there's some nice road shots of Portland. A movie worth watching, I think. And not for just the scenery :-). Raises all kinds of interesting questions. One could do a seminar :-). Lew