Monday, 1 May 2017

Always Someone Cooler Than You


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

“Smile
Like you've got nothing to prove
No matter what you might do
There's always someone out there cooler than you”

Spare a thought for the poor editor who has the unfortunate task of stoically enduring my rather juvenile sense of humour.

Back in 1998, I’d completed my undergraduate degree only the prior year, with honours, and on an entirely part time basis. That part time degree had been a long haul. However, ever since leaving home at a very young age I’d also been working full time, renovating houses on weekends and at nights, catching up with friends, and ensuring that the editor was a happy lady. Honestly, at that time, I was perhaps a bit too busy. Back in 1998, I felt like the Chris batteries needed a bit of a recharge.

So one day, the editor and I quit our jobs, we chucked a tent, some sleeping gear and a few bags of clothes into a small hatchback and set off to see this huge country. It is always best not to put too much thought into those sorts of adventures because otherwise, you won’t do them! Of course the downside of not giving the whole adventure too much thought meant heading off during the middle of a cold winter to the obvious first destination which was: the island state of Tasmania. We were cool and the weather was also a bit cool!

“I know that's hard to believe
But there are people you meet
They're into something that is too big to be
Expressed
Through their clothes
And they'll put up with all the poses you throw”
  
The capital of the island state of Tasmania is the city of Hobart at the southern end of the island. And the editor and I pitched our tent at a caravan park right on the shores of the River Derwent. Nobody else in their right minds pitched a tent on the shore of the River Derwent over the middle of winter. So we had a beautiful and private shoreline all to ourselves.

The Chris and Editor batteries slowly recharged because we slept solidly in that tent for about twelve hours per night, every night for a couple of weeks. There was absolutely nobody around and the only sounds were the gentle sounds of the lapping waves against the shoreline.
  
At night we headed out to eat at the beautiful wharf area in the city of Hobart which is full of charming old sandstone buildings containing cafes and restaurants. During the day, we travelled around and visited the tourist sites and the nearby National Parks where we walked around for hours and hours. It was a blissful time.

“And you won't
Even know
That they're not sizing you up
They know your mom f**ked you up
Or maybe let you watch too much TV”

Nowadays that glorious camping site is the location of the fascinating Museum Of New and old Art (MONA) where exhibitions such as the upcoming: Dark Mofo (whatever that means) attempts to outrage the young and old alike! As a charming side story, the art critic Michael Connor of the conservative literary and cultural magazine Quadrant reputedly said that "MONA is the art of the exhausted, of a decaying civilisation. Display lights and taste and stunning effects illuminate moral bankruptcy. What is highlighted melds perfectly with contemporary high fashion, design, architecture, cinema. It is expensive and tense decay." How cool is that!!! As such, it is the number one tourist destination in the state of Tasmania.

Regular readers will know by now that I am always banging on about manure. So too are the good folk at Mona who have a working: cloaca poop machine. That's cool!

Eventually, the editor and I (and the hatchback) boarded the ferry leaving the island state of Tasmania behind us as we returned to the dock in Melbourne. From Melbourne we roared (as fast as a little hatchback can do, anyway) out of the state of Victoria and headed west into South Australia, and eventually north up the only main road (the Stuart Highway) that cuts north-south (2,834 km or 1,761 miles) right through the middle of this continent. It is a very impressive bit of infrastructure and during WWII with the Japanese bombing the northern Australian city of Darwin, a 492 km (306-mile) section of that highway was built in under than 90 days. In one week, 18 km (11 miles) was constructed, which was claimed to be a world record. And all of it was constructed to withstand heavy military traffic.

One of the towns in South Australia along that Stuart Highway is Cobber Pedy. The town is a hot and dry place, as is much of that part of South Australia. In fact there was so little going on in that part of the world that during the 1950’s the British used to test nuclear weapons at a site a few hundred kilometres to the west of it. Anyway, the town of Cobber Pedy exists because opals are mined there. The locals are quite clever because they live in beautiful underground houses. It is much cooler living underground in those climactic conditions, but there is also the chance of discovering opals during the excavations of the house! Back in the day, the locals told me that if you wanted to construct an underground house, you had the choice to either: pay for the excavations and keep the opals; or have someone perform the excavations at a minimal cost, but you had to sign over the rights to the opals discovered during the excavations to them. What a conundrum!

The editor and I just had to stay in an underground house for the night, and so we did. It was quiet and very dark at night there!

The US punk band that I borrowed the lyrics from for this week’s blog is the: Ben Folds Five. That US punk band had its debut hit in 1996 which was titled “Underground” and the very catchy chorus had words to the effect that: “Everything is heavy underground”. Anyway, because I have a juvenile sense of humour (spare another thought for the poor editor) I wrote in the guest book of that underground house in Cobber Pedy: Everything is heavy underground! Thus proving that I was never cool. However, in a strange twist of fate, many years later in about 2004, the lead singer of that US punk band lived for a while in the Australian city of Adelaide which is the capital of South Australia which is not that far from the remote underground town. Perhaps my little joke was a premonition?

“But they'll still look in your eyes
To find the human inside
You know there's always something in there to see
Beneath
The veneer
Not everybody made the list this year
Have a beer”

Jokes aside, as a young adult, I wasn’t really cool. To start with, I got married to the equally uncool editor at a young-ish age and we moved to a small house in a gritty inner city industrial area where we spent much of our time repairing old houses. The gritty inner city industrial area was perhaps very unappealing, as not many people were that excited to visit us. Instead I headed off to the nicer and greener suburbs where most of my friends rented. My friends were cool. Sometimes, they’d swan into parties looking and acting very cool, as perhaps they were. The editor and I in comparison, were like the little ducklings at the edge of the pond but we were truly comfortable with that and just got on about our own lives and business.

The funny thing is that after all of these years, some of my oldest friends are not so cool now! In comparison, the little ducklings that is the editor and I, just kept determinedly going about our own activities without regard for what is and what isn’t cool, and maybe that is cool?

“Make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall
But there's always someone cooler than you
Yeah, you're the shit
But you won't be it for long
Oh, there's always someone cooler than you
Yeah, there's always someone cooler than you”

It has been another epic wet and cloudy week here. Seriously the off grid solar power system is only just – and sometimes not even – covering our usage. And there is still a month to go before the sun is low enough in the sky that power generation via the solar photo voltaic panels becomes a very serious problem. That is not a cool situation.

The legal restrictions on land owners in this corner of the planet to be able to conduct burn offs have been lifted for the winter. I have been taking advantage of this to clean up some of the surrounding forest which is full of detritus from the logging activities which went on here for about a century. Random tree stumps are one form of detritus which was thoughtfully left behind by the loggers. The reason they left the tree stumps behind is because being massively hard timber, the tree stumps are enormously hard to remove. Nature has a huge amount of trouble breaking down the tree stumps into soil too and the next photo shows a typical tree stump showing charring from the most recent bushfire which swept through this property in January 1983.
A typical tree stump left behind from logging activities of yore. Note the charring from the Ash Wednesday bushfires in January 1983
Even really tough and gnarly fungi makes only the merest of dents into timber of the remaining tree stumps.
This tough and gnarly fungi is making an effort of consuming the dry hardwood on this tree stump
Clearing up the random tree stumps makes maintaining the property easier and improves the top soil and diversity of plant and animal life. The process that I use to clear up the tree stumps also generates a lot of sawdust which is converted by the life in the soil within a year or two into rich top soil. The first step in removing an old tree stump is to cut the tree stump to just above ground level using my chainsaw. The amazing thing is that usually the cut sections look pristine and unaffected by time. I put those chunks aside where they are split later into firewood sized chunks for use in future years.
The tree stumps are cut to just above ground level and usually the timber looks pristine
The next stage involves using my stump grinding machine to grind the remaining timber into sawdust. The stump grinding machine can only lower the tree stump so that it is below ground level. It can take anywhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours to completely grind a tree stump to below ground level.
The author uses the stump grinding machine to lower old tree stumps so that they are below ground level
Observant readers will note that the stump grinding machine produces an enormous quantity of sawdust. A closer photo shows that the spinning head of the stump grinding machine rips into a tree stump.
A closer photo shows that the spinning head of the stump grinding machine rips into a tree stump
Eventually the tree stump is reduced so that it sits below ground level.
Eventually the tree stump is reduced so that it sits below ground level
Over the top of that tree stump, I add some of the sawdust, soiled chicken bedding, and coffee grounds (and Toothy). I expect that within a year, the soil in that location will be deep, rich, and full of life.
The completed product which is a combination of: sawdust; soiled chicken bedding; and coffee grounds. Within a year I expect this soil to be full of life
The massive Eucalyptus Obliqua (messmate) trees which surround the orchards are the second tallest flowering trees on the planet. They are also extremely hardy and out-compete most other plants by exuding germination and growth inhibitors from their leaves and root systems. Even the old tree stumps inhibit surrounding plant growth. The fancy word for that process is: Allelopathy. I have been slowly building the top soil underneath these tall eucalyptus trees by a process of chopping and dropping the vegetation underneath the tall eucalyptus trees using my little push mower. This process of chopping and dropping the vegetation mimics the regular burn offs that the Aboriginals used to perform in the forest – without all of the smoke and ash and stuff!
Massive Eucalyptus Obliqua (messmate) trees surround the orchard
Very observant readers will note in the photo above that there is a very solid demarcation line between the orchard and the drip line of the tall eucalyptus trees.

I have also been beginning preparations for a huge rock wall for the planting of a walnut tree or two. Walnut trees are another tree that does not play well with others and so these trees will be well away from the orchard. The huge rock wall will make use of some massive rocks that I have previously wondered what to do with. And all of them will be moved by hand using steel house wrecking bars as levers.
Massive rocks are maneuvered and waiting to be used in a huge rock garden feature
One of the wallabies has learned a new trick which involves pulling young apple trees over so as to gain access to the leaves. I have had to brace this particular young apple tree using steel stakes.
This young apple tree has been carefully staked so that it is unable to be pulled over by the wallabies
Oh, just quickly, the other morning I impressed even myself at the sheer quantity of cooking that was going on in the kitchen that morning. The cooking included: Blackberry jam; Blackberry wine; Toasted muesli; Shola-e Ghorbandi; Anzac biscuits; Two loaves of bread; and Dog Biscuits. Cooking from scratch is not only a cool activity, it will save you heaps of mad cash!
Cool mojo is to be found in the kitchen
“Life is wonderful
Life is beautiful
We're all children of
One big universe
So you don't have to be
A chump”

The temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 330.8mm (13.0 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 277.4mm (10.9 inches).

With the greatest respect for Ben Folds and the Ben Folds Five for their excellent contribution to the sphere of music! The 1999 album Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner is total genius.

88 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Just to let you know that I enjoyed reading this week's blog but had no further relevant comment to make.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the laughs! You are cheeky! Love it.

You know, I was mucking around with the story this week by seeing just how many fascinating side stories I could work into a single story and still maintain some sort of coherent thread! :-)! It was really fun stuff to write.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Thought spared for the editor . . . poor editor.

“Smile
Like you've got nothing to prove
No matter what you might do
There's always someone out there cooler than you”

A very wise thing to keep in mind. Ben Folds - now flying solo - was here in Charlottesville in April. Sold out, of course.

"MONA is the art of the exhausted, of a decaying civilisation. Display lights and taste and stunning effects illuminate moral bankruptcy. What is highlighted melds perfectly with contemporary high fashion, design, architecture, cinema. It is expensive and tense decay."

That IS cool - and prophetic. Best to listen to the prophets. Even the ones in overalls.

What an idyllic trip. How wonderful that you and the editor made - and took - that opportunity. The lessons learned can never be duplicated - or taken away from you. What a fascinating story about the opal cave dwellers.

What are you using with the present solar output? The oven and a few lights and the computers? Forget the lights and oven. Computers.

There was some talk last week about walnuts being detrimental to the growth of other plants and you have mentioned them again. We have always made sure that there are no wild walnuts near our garden, so I cannot say if they do actually retard growth. Whenever squirrel-planted walnuts sprout in the garden I transplant them to the other side of the property. One came up by the side of the driveway that now overhangs the cars and as soon as it starts to fruit it will have to be cut down ( the nuts would be like hail raining down). I figured the wood would be useful for something. I didn't know that you have the same problem with eucalyptus. Supposedly our tulip poplars are a problem, too. Since the poplar roots can run 40 or more feet (12m) from the tree I find them running through the garden. I can't tell that there is a problem. A friend who is an axeman as a sideline was cutting down some big poplars on a neighbors property last weekend and asked if we wanted the logs. My husband and son unfortunately had to say "No way!" as we still have tons of wood to cut up from our own felled poplars - and no more covered space to store wood (we have half a barn full). The friend was very sad as these were massive trees and he and his brother Bubba had to haul all this wood away themselves.

What a feast! I reckon it must be the feast of the Banishing of the Stump? A regular holy day, perhaps?

You are so cool it hurts!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Happy May Day!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Road trip! Youth and Happy Motoring. Goes together like jam and bread :-). Cosmic! Just heard a report on the radio, the other day, about the MONA poop machine. NPR did a report on a science program about the stomach and digestion. That was interesting that a bad critic review apparently made MONA the number one tourist destination. Perhaps illustrates the old saw, "There's no such thing as a bad review." I don't quit believe that is true in all cases, but at times, it can be.

Interesting about your military road. Here, they threw together the Alaska-Yukon Highway, during WWII. "Cause the Japanese were going to invade Alaska, or something. Actually, the Japanese did get a fair way up the Aleutian Islands. Roads and the military. During the 1800s, there were military roads all over the place. One ran from Ft. Vancouver (down near Portland) up to the southernmost point of Puget Sound. There's still a stretch in our county, out toward the little town of Winlock called, wait for it, Military Road :-). Of course, the good ol' Romans built their roads, mainly, as military roads. Before Hadrian's Wall, there was an east/west military road. First the road, then the wall.

Our weather here has still been pretty wet. And, I thought I saw a bit of frost the other morning. Guess I was right, as people have been talking about it. Not enough to hurt plants, but, there. Cliff Mass had an article a couple of weeks ago about how you could get frost at ground level, say, up about 6 feet, but the reported temperatures would be higher ... as the weather stations are set higher than the phenomenon. All very complicated. Made my head hurt. :-) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The pristine cross section of timber? Give it a good polish, slap some varnish, slap some legs on it and flog it at the next local art fair. :-). Probably more useful as firewood. I hope Toothy lifted the leg and gave the tree stump a good squirt of liquid nitrogen. Give the whole break down process a good start. "Take THAT, you irritating, unsightly tree stump!"

When I stopped by the library on Saturday, I discovered that the IT department had not gotten back to the library worker that e-mailed them about the blocked site of the retreat I want to go to. But, there was an actual on-line form I could fill out. Why didn't they let me know about that, last week? They've got my e-mail and phone number. Perhaps I'll hear from them today? Tomorrow?

Another good courtroom movie (how could I forget?) "To Kill a Mockingbird." Of course, there are all the old Perry Mason tv shows. My Uncle Larry was addicted to those.

I went to the potluck / meeting at The Funny Farm, last night. It's a ranch style house that's been added to, and added to. So it feels quit homey. Out in the country. I guess there are quit a few exotic animals, about. Llamas and such. I didn't get a tour, but I did see an Emu. :-). The bon fire didn't happen as it was pretty cold and rain threatened. The pulled pork was pretty good. That's shreded pork with barbecue sauce on a bun. Lots of salads, some commercial, some home made. Two potato salads. I don't know about there, but here there seem to be dozens of recipes for potato salad. My pea salad went over well.

Besides the residents, there were people from the larger recovery community. Some I knew, some I didn't know. For a small community, it's interesting how we all get in our little ruts and you can go years before meeting someone that's been around for years. I'm always surprised when I discover that someone I know, doesn't know someone else I know.

I think I'll bake some muffins today. I found a recipe for something called "healthy" muffins. Probably because they've got berries and yogurt in them and use whole wheat flour and brown sugar. Whatever. No onions will be sacrificed in the making of these muffins :-). Lew P.S. I asked my friends in Idaho what they thought about onions in cookies. They called me mad. A mad scientist, in fact. :-). Years ago I had room mates who would cast a jaundiced eye on some of my kitchen creations and inquire if I had been dipping into the Edgar Alan Poe cookbook, again. :-).

Morgenfrue said...

Fantastic story of your travels. And the blackberry wine looks delicious.

Also a funny comment from Inge, I feel bad for not chiming in the same way, so I will just say that I read all your posts, but don't always have a comment. And no flowers this week! But our flowers are coming out here, too bad I do not have a blog so I can share in reverse.

I put in my potatoes yesterday. Today it was 10 C here, too, but with a pretty steady wind of 10 m/s, so it was not exactly lounging weather.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Hehe! I wonder if rock gardens attract paying tourists? :-)! Or maybe it is the Anzac biscuits? Who knows? They seemed like lovely people didn't they, and full of passion for their garden. I reckon we may have visited that garden, but alas at the time I would not have understood what I was looking at. How many things are like that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks, as I was never sure, and for some reason every time I hear the word well, I have a mental image of a round brick wall with a little wind up handle and a bucket on a long rope. The truth is perhaps a bit more pragmatic than that mental image!

I had a pretty rotten day today. On Sunday one of my favourite black Silky chickens was attacked by one of the Isa Brown chickens which left her raw and bloodied. She was a bit of a mess. The Isa Brown was basically stripping the flesh off her and consuming it. It was one of the most revolting things that I have yet experienced in the chicken collective. Now the little black Silky was neurotic and I try not to anthromorphise chickens because in some ways they are similar to us but in other ways they are totally alien. I unfortunately had to despatch my little black Silky. I was very unhappy about the situation but gave the Isa Brown the benefit of the doubt as perhaps there was something wrong with the Silky, who to be honest was a bit odd, and the Isa Brown was just keeping the gene pool strong. Birds can be quite vicious in that regard. Anyway, today I discovered the Isa Brown pecking feathers off the other birds and consuming them. She had to go and in front of the other chickens. The other birds were running in terror from her. It was a truly revolting experience and one I am not keen to repeat. Needless to say after that, the chickens seem a bit more settled this afternoon. There have been no eggs today though. A very strange experience. Have you ever heard of that sort of thing going on before? I've known roosters who are just mean and can kill some of the smaller birds, but this was the whole next level. The birds get plenty of protein via full cream organic milk and oats every couple of days and none of the other birds are displaying this tendency.

Your idea for picking the name by leaving it to the kids is a good one.

Hardening off seedlings in those conditions is a very difficult job. Does your local weather service provide any long term forecasts (i.e. Is it going to be a damp and cool summer?)

Glad to read that Michael has settled into the new facility and that the bed was delivered in time. I sort of understand the whole getting the paperwork right for meds because, well you know, some people get a bit litigious when things go wrong and it is a real risk for them. One's enough! That's funny, the lady read Michael like a book! :-)!

Yup, explaining that situation would be very difficult. And clearly Michael has an internal program of self restraint, but other people automatically get the wrong idea when that word is used. I've noticed that people recently are communicating by occasionally stringing words together so as to convey an emotion as a replacement for a concept or an idea. I heard an absolutely shocker the other week, where an entire string of those words were strung together in a way that conveyed many emotions, but at the end of the convoluted sentence I had no idea what they were talking about. Some of the words dropped in together were: "community" followed by "the good life" etc. It was all very strange. Spin can be taken too far.

It is cold as here! :-)! And no sun... Oh well, at least inside the house it is very pleasant.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm with you on the no clock thing. Years ago, I found that I had to kick the wrist watch habit and learn to manage my time well enough so that I understood how to estimate times with a reasonable degree of accuracy, and then program in enough fat in my life so that when things went wrong I wasn’t running around like, well, you know (I don’t really wish to use the term headless chicken for obvious reasons).

The kitchen timer is the same problem don’t you reckon, in that you have to learn how to cook well enough that you have an inbuilt feel for what the food is doing. Of course running a commercial kitchen would be a whole different matter.

Oh no! At least you are receiving some good rain. Do you hang the washing on a line, or use washing horses? We use washing horses and they can be moved into the sun and all around the place (including in front of the wood heater).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for the suggestions. I never would have considered that having larger shrubs would have made for more hardy and cold tolerant plants. Would you recommend that book about the Palms and other myths? I've started reading the wood burners companion and it is a very well written and clear book. The author clearly wants to share the knowledge that he has accumulated and it shows in every page. It is a joy to read.

The variety choice is an interesting one isn't it? Avocadoes have that problem here too. Sometimes I feel that many of the fruits grown in large monoculture orchards don't really have that great a genetic diversity anyway, and the seedlings grown from those fruits will grow reasonably true to type. I'm experimenting with that because I have the land to grow full sized fruit trees and don't necessarily want the dwarfing properties that come with grafted fruit trees (why put fruit trees within reach of the wallabies). You have to start somewhere, I guess.

Far out, that is a lot of rain in a short period of time. I am glad to read that you live on higher ground. There is something to be said about that. Floods tend to murky up the water, so would that affect your water quality monitoring anyway?

The water tanks are all full here, which is crazy early in the season.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Brr. It is cold out today 41'F, but inside it is toasty warm at 68'F which feels quite nice when one is sitting on their backside typing away on a keyboard. I had a bit of a chicken drama over the past few days. I wrote about it above in the comment to Margaret. Mate, they're brutal, but they're chickens and I try my best not to anthromorphise their actions, but still... Have you ever heard of such a thing happening? The worst part about it was that I had finish off the victim who was the little black Silky chicken. That wasn't deserved. Oh well. It may have been my fault for housing too many chickens in too small an area. A New Zealand bloke by the name of Te Radar once quipped that if you have livestock, then sooner or later you'll have dead stock. True words.

I hope you did well with the sale of the garden bench at the auction. It seemed like an appropriate inclusion given the other things being auctioned. Was it very heavy?

Researching your tat is a very clever idea. No doubts the moulds were sold off at the end of the companies lifespan. I'm amazed that the company survived the Great Depression only to get wiped out by WWII - those days were a truly rough time for everyone. When I was involved in factory shut downs (which was a very distressing job) most of the moulds and machines and tools were often shipped off overseas, so you don't have to convince me that some other company used the same moulds at a later time period. I guess people want some certainty with their tat purchase. I'm a bit dubious about claims as to authenticity in such cases and take them with a grain of salt. Do sellers in the trade get known as to their integrity?

Puzzles are good things to solve, as long as they're solvable.

Cont...

orchidwallis said...

hello again

My washing goes out on a line. I do have what we call a 'clothes horse' but the wind knocks it over outside so I only use it indoors placed near a radiator.

The unknown orchids (3 of them together) have each produced a bud, I am truly excited to see what the flowers are like.

The sun is shining and there are only a few clouds in the sky.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

All we are saying is give peas a chance. Of course, some people may feel very differently about that food related matter. 70 people is quite the turn out for the pot luck. Cranberries in the Anzac biscuit recipe is a good idea, they’d work although I find them a bit on the savoury side. I reckon they would make a superb country wine, much like the black and red currants do. Cranberries are not often seen in this corner of the world as they require damper soil to grow in, than is usually found on this dry continent. Instead we use the sweeter sultana's which are a variety of sun dried table grape. They're very nice and were always available even when I was a kid, where they used to be supplied in little cardboard lunch boxes. Do you have sultana's in your part of the world? We see them even more commonly than raisins or prunes.

Who knows how your culinary adventures will eventually turn out and I wish you the best of luck. Speaking of culinary adventures, that bean water business just doesn't float my boat (bad pun!) But given that people were previously chucking the stuff down the drain, it is nice to see something productive being made of something that was considered a waste product. You have to admit that there is a certain cleverness to the use of the bean water?

I appreciate conversing with your well-read intellect. Hmmm. Instant coffee, huh? My coffee snobbery heckles are slowly rising, and I now slowly slide away from this idea of instant coffee... I've had instant coffee once...

I've seen 12 angry men, and the film was clearly trying to insert some concepts into the collective mind. I've read to Kill a Mockingbird. Wasn't the sequel released recently? Have you read it, or am I imagining that a sequel was released? Confusion reigns here on that subject. Ah, I had not heard of the Scopes Monkey Trials. Thanks for the reference. Literally minded people are rather dull, and they bore me silly, and I usually go off and do something else when they open their mouths.

It is smart and punchy and the author calls it as he sees it. Careful moderation is an important part of a quality blog. Some of the things said on the interweb make me blush, and nobody would say such a thing to my face. I have bounced comments here from people that I have known outside of this digital world, because, well, the rules have to be enforced, otherwise the rules become meaningless and then everyone stretches them one way or the other because that is what humans do. Do they apologise? Nope, and that lack of contrition or remorse for their own actions is pretty telling. They can go and sulk their socks off elsewhere.

When I was in the big smoke the other day, I noticed a poster for a new King Arthur film. I wonder if they have disneyfied it? Have you seen a trailer for the film? It seems to me that the good folks over at disneystuff place have strange effects on films. The most recent instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise (a polite word that the industry uses) outsold the most recent instalment of the Star Wars franchise. I’ve seen franchisors and franchisees do naughty things in the real world. Not good.

Pulled pork is very yummy! Especially when it is slow cooked. Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Thanks, and thanks also for the interpretation!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

The editor received your thought and appreciated it! In a strange coincidence, she was just asking me whether anyone had spared her a thought. Long suffering, but amused at the same time. It's complex! :-)!

Ben Folds is a very talented musician and songwriter. He still pops up in gigs down under too. I've never seen him live, but have heard recordings of his live gigs on the radio and both Ben Folds as a solo artist and the band are very good. The album "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner" reminded me a lot of Dire Straits album "Love over gold" in that both bands clearly wrote the albums for the joy of creating fine art.

It was an awesome critique. I have no idea whether it was even real or not. Such fine word-smithing is a pleasure to read as it makes me laugh. The American author Jack Vance could string such sentences together. Alas for us, in that we live in a time of decay of the language! ;-)!

The trip was fun and the interesting thing is that the editor and I met no Australians on the road younger than about 60. On the other hand, most of the foreign tourists were of a similar age to the editor and I at the time, and so the entire trip had this sort of exotic feel to it. The young here head off overseas for some reason. Dunno, there is something in it though. Perhaps unstated cultural cringe?

Ha! The solar is all directed first to pumps. Electric pumps are good and one of the best uses for electrical energy. Next refrigeration. Then lighting. Then cooking. Then computers. Depending on what the sun provides, I alter my activities accordingly. Mind you, it has been cloudy for weeks now. The winters here seem to be getting cloudier.

Well established walnuts do very well down here and I have seen plenty of very large examples. The difficulty is getting them through their first few summers. I have no experience with the chemicals secreted from the walnut plant, but no doubt that it is as nasty as the eucalyptus chemicals. That maybe so about the root systems from the poplars. There is a very large specimen of a tree a long way to the south east of here. I can't remember whether I remember it correctly, but I believe the sign said that the root system extended for the very large tree over an area of around five acres. Here it is: Ada Tree Image. It's big!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I don't so much enjoy the road bit of the trip as much as the arriving at the destination. Some people love sitting in vehicles for long periods of time, and a lot of people do it, so who am I to argue, but nowadays if the drive is over an hour, I feel that it is a long distance away. My horizons have shrunk over the years. Is this a good thing or a useful adaptation, I don't know?

Yes, the cloaca poop machine really does produce all of the goods, and I mean all of the goods. I have not seen it in the flesh, but know plenty of people who have and they refer to the powerful odour and interesting noises produced by the machine. Speaking of the science of digestion, a German scientist was out here recently promoting her book about the gut. Many people swear by the book, and I heard the lady speak and she makes a strong case. Have you read the book?

Sometimes, bad reviews can actively promote a thing, whatever it may be, or whether it is good, bad, or indifferent. The first rule in marketing is don't talk about the opposition. Yours and our politicians would do well to heed that simple lesson.

I thought that you'd enjoy the history of that road. There are plenty of sign posts pointing to WWII relics and locations of field hospitals and airforce bases etc. In fact along the northern and eastern coast (near to the Coral Sea) there are plenty of old and very sturdy looking bunkers where AA guns were manned during WWII. It was serious business down here, and after the fall of Singapore, well, it was the US and Allied soldiers here that kept the Japanese at bay and then forced them back in the Pacific. The Japanese from my understanding had seriously over stretched their resources, but they sure made up for that with determination and sheer bloody mindedness.

Of course, the road must precede the construction of the wall. I assume that you have a road along the Mexican border, with all that talk of walls being constructed down there? Walls are rarely effective and they are usually implemented when there is a lack of willpower in the population to adequately repel an invader. They just don't want to commit or risk the man power.

I checked out Cliff Mass's excellent weather blog. He really is an excellent communicator. Would that be a late frost? We can get frost at anytime of the year, which makes growing things difficult...

Pah! Nothing of the sort. Few people want quality furniture these days. Toothy was lifting his leg on those rather large rocks. He gives the rocks: What for?

I hope the IT form gremlins sort themselves out. I feel that a weekend retreat would be a good thing. I assume you'll know plenty of the people there and so won't be too anxious?

An Emu? No way! Are you kidding me? They are very tasty birds, although they tend to live in warmer and drier parts of this continent. I've seen a pair of camels living on a block of land to the south of here, and although it is warmer and drier there, camels tend to do better in the arid country. Incidentally, there are heaps of feral camels in the outback of the continent.

Healthy muffins sound pretty tasty to me. Yum! The yoghurt would be a similar base to the sour cream base. Yum! You've started me thinking about muffins... Edgar Alan Poe had a charming way with words. We have a book of some a selection of his works. I probably should read it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Morgenfrue,

Well that makes two of you whom are very cheeky! :-)!

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the stories and i felt like a proper digression this week. Who doesn't love a related story digression? That is where the interesting things happen.

Alas, there are still flowers around, but with winter approaching there are less of them. The bees have finally given up pretending to even poke around the garden and it is pretty quiet on an insect front too now. Not to stress, as even though there are no flowers, the comments here brighten my day as much as a good flower! :-)!

Cold and windy. Yup, that sure is potato planting weather. Not much fun though is it?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Fair enough. I'll tell you a funny story about the clothes horse. Sometimes on very breezy days, the clothes actually lift off and fly away from the clothes horses and scatter about the place. So generally we only put the clothes horses outside on a still day, but can leave it with the sun streaming in the window which seems to work well too. Yeah, we have ours in front of the wood heater or hydronic radiator too. With the new wood heater, those hydronic radiators are now working which is great as the old wood box was never able to heat more than one or two at a time. I was almost on the verge of pulling the radiators out and selling them. That would have been a bit of a waste.

I'll be interested to hear what variety of orchids eventually grow. You get used to the plants that grow in your area and when a new one turns up it is always interesting.

Enjoy your sun!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Geez - maybe the Isa Brown picked up a poisonous mushroom out in the orchard? Or a bug with psychotropic properties? That's horrible.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Really enjoyed this. How interesting about the underground houses/opals. Just for the record I think you're pretty cool. Funny that you described your road trip. Doug and I are seriously considering selling the house (well we've been considering that for some time) buying a used motor home and traveling the country for eight months or so. After that we would find a new property more suited for a couple our age. I've always wanted to do something like this but it never seemed possible with all the family responsibilities. It does kind of seem like the stereotypical baby boomer thing to do though. Doug's parents did quite a bit of traveling for some years and very much enjoyed it.

Your cloudy weather must be somewhat worrisome. Hope you get some sun soon. Long range forecasts seen fairly close to normal but we'll see. We've had 3.5 inches of rain in the last six days. Too much but not nearly as bad as Claire. It's also been pretty chilly so garden growth has been pretty much at a stand still except the grass from the paths which continues to invade the beds. It's too wet to plant anything or even weed. Conditions look like they'll improve starting tomorrow though.

What a terrible story about your chickens. I've had hens really pick on others but nothing like what you describe. I do have a very large coop and a huge outdoor run so that may help. With all your rain lately maybe the hens aren't getting the space they're used to. No surprise they're not laying as anything stressful will effect their production.

I visited Michael yesterday and he seems to be doing pretty well. The other residents are showing him the ropes. The gambling here in Illinois is just crazy. Every place has the five slot machines allowed. To have gambling you have to have a liquor license so even this little diner that only serves breakfast and lunch now has some bottles of liquor behind the counter. Apparently it must be a money maker though I can't see how the market hasn't become over saturated. The state has it's hefty percentage too which is why they allow it in the first place.

Margaret

margfh said...

Just wanted to give a shout out to Damo who walked me through the steps to crack the password on my laptop. I did wait until my daughter's boyfriend who's in IT was here for moral support to complete the last steps but it was successful. I am most appreciative.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I also put the clothes horse in front of a sunny window, sometimes.

Oh goodness, I frequently think about the editor too but restrain myself from commenting on the vicissitudes of living with you as she wishes to remain anonymous. I am sure that she is in all our thoughts.

I mentioned the problem, with your cockerel, to my son. He says that he would not have killed it but he would have segregated it as aggression is allied to fertility. He reckons that the silkie may have had an accident. One spot of blood on a chicken and it will be attacked.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, that was a terrible chicken drama. I feel more for you, than the chickens. The only thing close to that was when I discovered what the coyotes had left behind, when they killed all my chickens, save one. What a horror show. Maybe the Isa Brown had a brain tumor? When I was coming back from town (same trip when I heard about the MONA poop machine) they had an interview about Mike the Headless Chicken. I had heard of Mike, even seen a picture. This was an interview with the grandson of the man who owned Mike. He never knew about his grandfather and Mike, until really late in the old guys life. He never talked about the experience. The basics of the story are that the grandfather was slaughtering chickens and one rooster, well, it just didn't die after being beheaded. Apparently, enough of the lower brain stem was left to keep him functioning. He lived a day ... and then another day ... and then another day. Soon, Mike and the Grandfather were traveling around the country, working the side show circuit.

Here I thought Brother Bob the Bachelor Farmer had come up with that saying about livestock and dead stock. I suppose it's a truism that circulates widely, in the rural community.

Yeah, the garden bench was pretty heavy. Luckily, in three parts. Still, darned near blew out a kidney :-). My buddy Scott was going to help me, and then he stuck his finger with a thorn and had a bad reaction. Lots of swelling and he's on antibiotics. Generally, I could get my truck close to wherever the bench was. In the truck at the back of the house ... move it to the front and get it cleaned up. Loading it into the truck the morning of the auction. At least at the auction, one of the runners helped me get it unloaded and set up. I'm glad I do my stretching, daily. And I kept in mind, "Bend the knees! Bend the knees! :-).

Glass molds were expensive and tended to float around from company to company. Sometimes. The new company might add their logo, to the mold. Or, make the new pieces in different finishes or colors, from the original. Change the pattern in the mold, slightly. One of my favorite stories is about Frank Fenton (Fenton Glass) rolling up his suit pants and wading into the flooded Verlay glass company plant. Feeling around with his feet in the murky water and hauling up Verlay molds. Some real classics that became Fenton classics. All Fenton marked. A lot of the glass and pottery companies collapsed after WWII. Trade barriers were removed, for both former friends and foes. Cheaper foreign imports came in. So it goes ... Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Oh, yes. There are dried sultana's, about. Usually more expensive. I really can't detect a difference enough in the flavor to justify the expense. The Club doesn't use instant coffee. It's real grounds and a drip machine. Fresh as it is, nothing to write home about, but a good serviceable cuppa. I can't get very excited about the bean water, either. But the waste aspect does appeal. I'm rationalizing, I know, but bean water down the drain, here, feeds the beasties in the septic tank :-).

The "To Kill a Mockingbird" book sequel was actually written before Mockingbird ... and rejected by publishers. It was found in the author's papers, and republished. I really don't have an urge to read it. Don't know why. I guess the lawyer/father isn't quit as sympathetic and saintly as in Mockingbird. Speaking of saints, I often give the mysterious and very private editor a thought. Usually the phrase, "She has the patience of a saint," comes to mind. Sometimes, "better half." :-).

Yup. I'd heard about the new King Arthur movie. It's not out on DVD, yet, but I'm watching the library catalog and hope they order it. By the way, "The Daughter" that you mentioned, hit the catalog, this morning. I got a hold on it before the number of copies ordered, exceeded number of holds. So, I should get it fairly soon. No joy from the library IT people. Nope. Don't know anyone going to the retreat. But, they're my "tribe." :-). I really don't know why I feel so "moved" to attend this thing. It's a mystery, to me. But if the IT people don't get their act together, it's going to be moot. There's only 100 spaces.

There are several WWII bunkers along the Oregon coast. Close to the mouth of the Columbia. I visited a few, when I was a kid. Probably why I like ruins :-). Walls are interesting things. There's some ... speculation as to the purpose of Hadrian's Wall. Keep the barbarians out? Show of force? Trade and customs barrier? There was quit an extensive Roman wall system in Germany called "The Limes." Not as well known, as they were built of more perishable material, and the remains aren't so ... there.

Poe is, in some ways, the grandaddy of horror. You should give him a look. Pick a dark and stormy night :-). Remember the old Vincent Price horror movies? A lot of those were adapted from Poe stories.

The Warden from The Home called yesterday. There's (probably) an apartment coming open the end of the month. They need to clean and paint, so, mid June I can occupy. I'm to stop by on Thursday and start the paperwork. Let the games begin! :-) Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

What a lovely idea the traveling is. I hope that you and Doug get to do at least a bit of it.

I am shocked at the Illinois gambling. Virginia is always last in line to adopt such stuff (thank God), but we eventually get around to it if everyone else has succumbed.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

"Oh goodness, I frequently think about the editor too but restrain myself from commenting on the vicissitudes of living with you as she wishes to remain anonymous. I am sure that she is in all our thoughts."

Thank you for the early-morning humor!

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam, Margaret, Inge and Lewis,

Thanks for the delightful comments. Unfortunately I will be unable to reply this evening, but promise to reply tomorrow. Until then! :-)!

Inge - I intended to ask you if you could ask your son about the chicken disaster to obtain a further opinion, but ran out of time with all of the replying last evening. As a bit of a minor correction in your understanding of the matter, it was not a cockerel, but another hen. And the hen had flayed the flesh on the back of the smaller black Silky chicken. It may have been possible that the silky had had an accident, but it was just as likely not. I killed the hen responsible for the situation after I caught her terrorising the other hens and stealing feathers off their backs. I suspect that she was just a bad egg (please excuse the pun), but I do not really know why it happened. I have never known a hen to take that action and it mystifies me a bit.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

This was just sent to me re Australia's natural gas exports, and resulting shortages. Doodoo deeper than at the MONA:

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/australia-restrict-energy-exports-face-looming-natural-gas-20419

Pam

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

If you want to grow subtropical and tropical plants outside in temperate climate zones, then Palms Won't Grow Here and Other Myths by David A. Francko is the book you want to have. I suggest buying a used copy, in which the photos will be in color, rather than the new print-on-demand version, which is a B&W photocopy of the original. Besides losing the color, the photos in the POD version seem to have lost detail. But if all you can get is the POD version, it's still worth having if you are serious about growing these kinds of plants outside their usual range. Here's a line from the book that exemplifies the sort of person who likes pushing plant hardiness: He [Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina] considers a type of plant hardy until he has personally killed it three times. That describes me too ;).

I wasn't, and am still not, cool. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the word to describe me would have been square. These days I think I just puzzle people. They tend to give Mike and I what we call the bird eye: they tilt their heads to look at us with just one eye, with a quizzical expression on their faces. The parakeets we've had all did this, which is how we coined the expression. Do chickens do this?

We ended up receiving a total of 6.3"/160mm of rain from last Friday through last Sunday. It's raining again as I type (around 3pm Wednesday), starting this morning, and it's supposed to rain through tomorrow. We could get another 3"/76mm of rain out of this system before it's through with us, which will exacerbate the flooding on the Meramec River, which forms the border between St. Louis County and Jefferson County, the next county south. The rainstorm last weekend did its worst over the Meramec River basin; many locations on the river are experiencing near-record or record flooding. As you might expect, there are many people who live in one county but work in the other, crossing one of the several bridges over the Meramec in the metro area. However, as of this afternoon, only two of those bridges remain open and they are both narrow two-lane roads. All the larger bridges are closed, in whole or in part, and the one partially closed (I-55, for those in the US) is supposed to close the northbound lanes later today. At this point, Jefferson County is almost cut off from the rest of the metro area. While it would be possible to cross over the Mississippi River into Illinois, drive north through Illinois, and then back west into St. Louis over one of the bridges north of the Meramec, the first Mississippi River bridge south of the Meramec River is in Cape Girardeau, a two hour drive south. Not exactly practical.

@Lew: congratulations on the news that you'll be moving soon! Hope the move goes smoothly! My mom just accepted an offer for the sale of her condo and expects to move into her apartment in her version of The Home later this month. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law moved into her version of The Home, a 15 minute walk from our house, about three weeks ago. Lots of moving going on.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I made the "healthy" blueberry muffins, last night. I thought they were a little bland, but my buddy Scott said they were good. I think next time, I'll put just a drop or two of vanilla in the glaze. Maybe a dash of nutmeg in the batter. I was out of milk and had to substitute buttermilk. Glad I consulted my good old Betty Crocker cookbook. If you do that, apparently you have to add a 1/4 tsp. of baking soda. Chemical, something or other.

I presented them to Scott with the disclaimer: "No onions were sacrificed in the production of these muffins." :-).

I caught the Lennon reference, by the way. Give peas a chance ... really. Sheesh! Proud member of the Pea Liberation Front, here. We have a manifesto, and everything. T-shirts. Coffee mugs ... :-) Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Whatever else can be said about the episode, the Isa Brown chicken had become psychotic. Maybe I can write a story about it called: "Hannibal Chicken"?

We pay a lot for energy down here. Mind you, our government has a very poor opinion of the populations intellect. ;-)! Another point of view on that matter may be that there is an amount of geo-politics going on and something, something, to do with China and North Korea and applying indirect pressure on energy import markets.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you, and I do but try my best.

The underground houses are very cool - and smart given the awful climate above the ground (well I wouldn't be very comfortable in that climate). Road trips can be fun and there is certainly an appeal to heading off into the wild blue yonder to see what is around the next corner. But home is nice too. I don't travel much because, I feel very attached to where I live - it is hard to explain. The motor home sounds like fun and I see them motoring around the place. Of course, driving a proper truck like vehicle can be challenging. Sometimes, I even see them towing along little Suzuki dirt rats behind them.

Glad to hear that you are up for a normal summer. There was finally some sun today, so your nice thoughts achieved good things. The batteries are full tonight! Yay! That is a very useful amount of rain, and Claire has most certainly been experiencing a huge deluge. Too much rain is harder than when you are trying to grow things than too little rain.

Thanks for the feedback as I have not seen such a response before either. The chicken had a psychotic episode as she basically stripped the flesh off the little black silky and exposed the bone. Unfortunately I had to get the editor involved as I wanted a second opinion, but we did not let her suffer anymore indignities than had already been suffered. The experience was outside my experience. The editor and I have agreed not to increase stocking rates beyond the present numbers. They resumed laying eggs today and things seem calmer in the enclosure.

I wonder about those slot (we call them pokie) machines too. My understanding of statistics is that the gambler faces the serious problem of diminishing returns. Of course there is always the occasional halo model, but most people lose. I believe Hemingway wrote: "We went broke slowly at first, and then very fast" or something along those lines.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, the washing horse in the sunny window just works doesn't it? Sometimes when the wind blows the clothes off the washing horse here, the dogs make dogs nests out of the clothes... Not good.

Thanks for yet again improving my vocabulary. Vicissitudes indeed. :-)! As a bit of an explanation, the editor is far more motivated than I am on the many projects here - and to be honest, I do occasionally pass her work off as if I had done the work myself. This situation arises because the editor wishes to remain anonymous (for her own reasons which I have never thought to ask her about because I respect her wishes in that regard). In order to gratify your curiosity though, I will tell you a minor tidbit or two about the editor: During the recession of the early 90's when there was very high unemployment down here, and I found myself redundant and had to work at debt collection for four years, the editor on the other hand found herself being doubly redundant. This means that she was unable to find work for just under a year which is no laughing matter. The editor has far better education and work credentials than myself too. You see the ugly truth that we both learned during those days was that during such times young males become disposable, but they are employed at whatever work is to be offered, and they are given preference over that of young females. It was hard for us to draw different conclusions given the experience. And a lot can be inferred from that particular experience. We also both understand the meaning of the word redundant from different perspectives including: sociological; ecological; and economic. Such experiences breed a certain sort of survival instinct and pragmatism.

I disagree with your son in regards to aggression. Co-operation is a far more valuable tool in the long term. Aggression may produce favourable short term benefits, but as a strategy it fails in the longer term - generally because of the golden rule of do unto others. I come across plenty of people who have only one tool in their mental toolbox and it is often aggression, but there are better ways to go about solving problems, although sometimes aggression is highly useful. It is a complex problem. What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thank you for your understanding about the chickens. I had to get a second opinion from the editor about the poor little black Silky and we agreed as to what had to be done. Once that decision has been made, you then have to do the deed. I keep a very sharp and heavy knife (as a side story, I call the very heavy and sharp knife Excalibur as a little personal joke) for such duties. The naughty chicken that appeared to be having a psychotic episode was given the benefit of the doubt. I then had to watch her for about half an hour two days later just to see what she was going to do, and to be honest, the naughty chicken didn't disappoint me. The chicken was a psychotic Virago as she terrorised the remaining chickens. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and when she started getting stuck into one of my other favourite chickens (nicknamed: Fluffy head, for hair related issues). Well, she had to go and no time seemed better than at that present. The other chickens were a little bit alarmed at my actions and went off the lay for two days, but the - is there a word for the psychic aura? - anyway, whatever you call it, the chickens were far calmer as if a boil had been lanced. I don't regret the action either.

I reckon the whole situation may be my fault because we introduced too many chickens into the chicken enclosure and have now discovered the upper limits as to the number of chickens which can be kept in a certain sized enclosure. There was once a famous (or infamous) experiment whereby additional rats kept being added to a cage until they all turned on each other. Commercial chickens are usually debeaked in order to stop such an outcome and don't believe the hype about how chickens can live in cramped conditions. Of course the psychotic chicken may just have been a bad egg...

Your coyote chicken massacre would have been a similarily unpleasant situation. Not good. And horror show is the correct description.

Wow. Mike the headless chicken. Far out. He's even got his own wikipedia page with photos. I hope Mr Olsen was not tempted to create another, although the clotting in the main artery would have been a freak thing which would have been very chancy. Both chickens here were quite dead, although I felt more unhappy about the little black silky than the psychotic chicken. There was a rock band from New Zealand called the Headless Chickens (true story).

It is funny about rural truisms. We have mentioned a few of those before where they resonate both here and in your part of the world. I wonder if their origins are far older than we know? There is a bit of wisdom in those sayings.

What sort of thorn can require a course of antibiotics? That is one to watch out for. Do you have poison ivy in your part of the world? Whilst many plants down here are quite toxic, you have to ingest them to get that sort of a reaction - it is all of the small biting and stinging insects and snakes that will get you down here. Incidentally, I saw a swath of grass today and the light from the setting sun was shining on such an angle that I could see that the ground was covered completely in spiders webs (golden orb webs at a guess) and the slight breeze meant that it looked as though a shiny reflective sparkling coat of spiders webs was gently rippling across the surface of the grass. An amazing thing to see. There must have been tens of thousands of spiders in the grass to have completely covered ever inch of this huge expanse of lawn with webs.

Yup, bend the knees and keep the spine straight and symmetrical and you can lift mountains. Do otherwise, and eventually you may not be able to lift a single sheet of paper. ;-)!

The pottery companies down here lasted a bit longer than WWII, but by the early to mid 80's they were falling like a house of cards. Many politicians were rather excited about lowering tariffs and I guess they must have known what they were doing. Maybe?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Sultana's are cheap down here and the other dried berries are the expensive ones. Interesting. Well fresh coffee is good to hear, but standards must be maintained. ;-)! Alas for my one weakness. Should I say: My way of coffee is non negotiable? Hmm, it doesn't read quite so well. The septic beasties do require the occasional feed. I assume that yours gets pumped out every now and then? Sometimes it can be years between that job from what I've heard but I have no experience in that matter. The worm farm is really strange in that it builds up and then decreases in mass in accordance with the ground temperature.

I had heard that opinion about the sequel which is why I asked your opinion and whether you read the book. People were generally disappointed from my understanding. As to the editor, I added to the small facts known, in my reply to Inge above.

The King Arthur film hasn't shown down here yet. The Daughter film is a dark drama which is very unusual for an Australian film. Of course sensibilities were stretched a bit too far for my liking with the final situation, but I enjoyed the story too. People get hung up on matters of genetics and perhaps because I've seen in that play out in my mum's household as a small kid, I don't get as fussed. Other people seem a bit more overly sensitive and easily upset. Oh well.

Really, I didn't know about the uncertainty regarding Hadrian's wall. I thought that such knowledge had not been lost - especially given the huge undertaking that it was. I guess things get lost in time. Incidentally have they found any shoes this year in the digs?

Yes, I do recall Vincent Price. He had an excellent laugh from memory in that it was very chilling.

Well done and congratulations. I wish you the best for your impending move to the new digs. Do you know which apartment you'll get?

I use vanilla extract in the Anzac biscuits and would definitely recommend adding it to the muffins. And nutmeg and cinnamon are superb for tasty desserts. I have to admit that I'm not overly fond of baking soda and I avoid using it because I can taste it. The thing I note with it is that if it is used in biscuit recipes, the biscuits don't rise, they flatten out.

I'm glad that no onions were hurt in the cooking of those muffins, but well, you should give it a go and see how they turn out as you never know the outcome? It may be a taste sensation? It is not like they don't have savoury muffins - usually served with a goulash.

Pea Liberation Front! Endure my friends and fight the good fight! Glad you noted my little joke. What fun we have here!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks very much for the advice about the "print on demand" versions of the book as I would never have known about that limitation otherwise and to be honest I was on the verge of purchasing a copy yesterday and hesitated only because it was late, I was tired and bed was calling.

The author clearly has a good sense of humour and I enjoy that in a book as too much seriousness can make for rather dull reading.

I hear you and well, to be honest, the most interesting people I know are those that try and do anything other than the dominant narrative - and that is usually the geeks and nerds of the world. It is really hard to do anything outside of that dominant narrative as there are pressures applied in all sorts of ways. It is unrelenting really and so if you fly under the radar as a geek or nerd, nobody really notices you as the dominant narrative demands adherence to status seeking. Dunno. It is a complex matter.

Chickens are inquisitive creatures and they are forever exploring their environment. Generally, I more or less feel that they simply tolerate me because I feed them and clean their enclosure every day and that is about the extent of our relationship. Is this a bad thing? Dunno. Some people have chickens that will tolerate a cuddle, but my lot don't wish to be picked up for any reason - usually when that has happened things are not good for the chickens involved.

Wow! That is a huge amount of rain. Has the river peaked yet? And I hope that the infrastructure isn't damaged too badly during the floods? And yeah, two hour detours are out of the question in my books. Did you end up getting the additional rainfall? Stay safe.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Just in case you missed the discussion between Lewis and I about peas. I mentioned a line I read once which was graffitied on a wall (can't remember where): Give peas a chance!

Nuff said really!

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I will tell my son that it was a hen that became psychotic and not a rooster, when I next see him. Overcrowding does sound like the probable explanation.

Both Son and I would totally agree with you on the subject of aggression; we definitely don't approve of it. It should only be used as a last resort in a survival situation.

I always assumed that the editor was very keen on the way that you both live. From what I have seen here, success in living off grid or in any unusual way, depends on the enthusiasm of the woman. People never stay around here for long if the woman isn't the prime mover.

Inge

PatOrmsby said...

I enjoy seeing what you are doing, and must add a word of thanks toward David Trammel who posted a reminder of your blog over at Green Wizards. We live in a picturesque town near Mt. Fuji, but our place is not picturesque (a rented tin shack), or I'd try posting up a blog every now and then like yours.
Tasmania is about the only part of Australia we never made it to, but about 15 years ago my husband and I invited my mother to join us on a trip around Australia. Her parents had lived in Melbourne during the 60s and 70s, but she'd never had the chance to visit. Well, it turned out that not my mother, but my father was dying to see Australia, so much that he overcame his phobia of flying temporarily. My mother huffily claimed I was always favoring my father, and stayed home. Oh well. We toured together for a month from Sydney up past Brisbane then across to Darwin. We spent a day in Coober Pedy, saw a friend in Adelaide and swung back through Melbourne to Sydney. We had fun. The memories come back as clear as the bell miners in the trees.

margfh said...

Chris & Pam,

Well we'll see if and when this road trip really happens. The first job is to sell this place. It's something we really need to do so maybe the thought of a trip will get us motivated to make it happen.

Chris, I am pretty content to stay home but have never traveled much at all and when we did they were always short trips due to jobs, family responsibilities etc. I have mixed feelings as I think tourism overall is very energy intensive.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I forget who mentioned 'The Daily Impact' but thanks, I have added it to blogs that I read. Am always grateful when alerted to a blog that I will like, it is usually just pure chance if I alight on one.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I, too, remembered Mr. Lennon's words. Funny you should mention peas. Some Thing has been biting into the tips of my pea vines just enough that about 5 in. of the ends die - the parts with the blossoms. I can discover no insect. And I had just begun picking ripe peas.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - There was some chat about gambling. Here in Washington State, we have a State lotto and scratch cards that you can buy .... everywhere. Funds go to education, I think. Other forms of gambling ... slot machines, poker, roulette ... are limited to the Indian reservations. Many of the tribes have quite elaborate resorts and gambling dens :-). It's the ... restitution (?) for treating them so badly in the early days. My Dad used to ride the "old people's gambling bus" up to just north of Centralia, once a week. I'd go out and chat with him while he played the slots and then we'd have a very substantial (and cheap) buffet lunch. That's where I trigged to the peas and swiss.

I (think) I understand The Editor. I think I've mentioned that I'm also leery of someone stalking me with a camera. Usually, I throw up an arm and declare that it would compromise my witness protection program :-). There's so little privacy left that any little patch you can stake out ...

As to the psychotic chicken being a bad egg .. well, that was a groaner. :-). The Ladies are so touchy. That's why I found mine a new home. Between the logging road and Bullwhip boy, they were pretty much off the lay. And, I had that dental surgery coming up.

The interviewer asked about intentionally trying to create another Mike. The grandson of the owner said, no. But that it's always in the back of the mind when "processing" chickens.

My friend Scott stuck himself with the thorn of something called a "Jesus Tree." Crown of thorns, and all that. I haven't had a chance to look up the identity of the plant. I guess the thorn went right through his glove and caught in in a knuckle. He's finished with the antibiotics, but it still doesn't look good. Might be a small piece, still embedded. Surgery? Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yes. if the conditions are just right, the lawn is full of spider webs with dew sparkling in the sun. Quit a sight. I've considered myself quit lucky that I haven't had to pump the septic since I've been here. I'm VERY careful with what goes down there. And, I put "The Stuff" down the bog, on the 15th of the month, religiously. It might be my imagination, but I think the septic and drain field might be, maybe, collapsing in spots. I noticed when I was mowing.

This year's shoe count, up on Hadrian's Wall is north of 40 and still growing. :-).

If I get the apartment that The Warden seems to think I'm going to get, it's on the third (top) floor and faces west. Sweeping view of Chehalis, the freeway and Chehalis valley. Coastal hills. Probably spectacular sunsets. I think I'd rather the park side, but I'll take what I can get :-). I wonder about the air conditioning costs in the summer. But then, will probably use less heat in the winter. 6 or 1, half dozen of another. I've been pulling together paperwork, this morning. Coughing up paper balls. I'm sure there will be more. I have an appointment with The Warden, at one. Saw my landlord, yesterday, and outlined the (tentative) schedule. Shooting for being out of here by the end of July.

Stopped by the library, yesterday. Retreat site is still not accessible. BUT, I can probably sign up through there Face Book site. Boooo! I DO have a Facebook account, that I set up when I was looking for a rooster (didn't pan out), but I never use it. So, since I didn't have the sign in with me, I'll have to go back this afternoon and give it another go.

There was an article on NPR that here in Washington State the apple growers are ripping out all their Red Delicious apples and replacing them with a new variety called Cosmic Crisp. Thousands of trees. Only limited, so far, to Washington State, as it was developed at one of our universities. I guess it's a bit of a gamble. Will the new variety hold up? Will the consumers like it?

Hawaii had a cold snap and snow (!). Phoenix, Arizona had it's first 100+F day of the year. I don't know how unusual that all is, but Cliff Mass commented on it. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

An amazing survival story! I expect that you or Lew can track it down. I heard the full interview on radio 5. 22 year old swept 13 miles out to sea on his surfboard off the Scottish coast. He survived 32 hours before being spotted by a helicopter.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I was thinking about your chicken incident and agree with others regarding too many chickens for space. How many square feet do you provide per chicken? When I teach the chicken classes I suggest a minimum of 3sq ft per bird (of course different with metric) but suggest more. If they have a big outdoor run they could get away with less space inside. Some of the pre constructed coops for a small backyard flock seem so small if they can't get out of the run.

I guess it depends how much time you spend with chickens and how they interact with you. I have a picture of my 3 yr old nephew holding one of his chickens. Both he and his brother spent a lot of time with their backyard flock so they became very friendly. I have one chicken that will let me pick her up if she's in the mood. I've been hand feeding the rooster a snack of crackers once a day and now some of the hens are eating out of my hand as well.

Thank you for the glimpse of the mysterious editor. It's certainly hard to have any privacy now.

Remains colder than normal but very little rain in the forecast and a fair amount of sun so we should start drying out.

Doug has a bumper sticker, "Give bees a chance."

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, I have known unpleasant roosters that were rather rough with their hens, but this situation with the psychotic hen was the whole next level. It was revolting as she was consuming the little black Silky. And I am most likely responsible for that outcome as I accidentally have discovered the upper limits of chicken numbers in the chicken enclosure. Sometimes until you break something, you can remain blissfully unaware that there is an impending doom. Also it is worth noting that in the absence of a rooster, hens have been known to take up the role of a rooster in a flock.

Exactly, that tool of aggression is overused in our culture and sadly that then follows a path of escalation. There is truth in the old saying that those who live by the sword, die by the sword. My take on that is that you can only be at the top of your game for so long.

Thanks for understanding and the editor is indeed a very willing and very involved participant here. You know, the same thing happens in this little corner of the world, and an old timer once remarked to me that: If they last two years, then they'll probably around for the long haul. I don't actually understand how people can live in this area but not take advantage of the benefits which can provide for a certain amount of disintermediation. Do you see that in your part of the world?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Patricia,

Greetings again and welcome to the discussion. :-)!

Thank you and the discussion over at the Green Wizards website was brought to my attention and I really appreciate the kind and thoughtful words. It is a lot of fun here!

Yes, I recall Melbourne in the 1970's and it would have been an interesting time for your mothers parents to have lived here. Oh well indeed! It sounds as if you had a lovely journey with your father and perhaps your mother simply was enjoying some quiet time? ;-)! Glad to read that you had a fun road trip. This country is big as.

It is a pleasure to share the memory with you, and I love the calls of the bell miners in the forest. There is an audio file of them at the bottom of the Wikipedia page: Bell miner.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Just to let you know that all is quiet and calm on the chicken front. And strangely enough, the black leg horn bantam chicken appears to be recovering from her recent bout of illness. Tonight she went out into the orchard with the rest of the chicken collective and scratched around and enjoyed the green pick and took herself off to bed at the appropriate time.

It is emotionally hard selling a place that you have lived in and so I understand about wanting the motivation to act. And eventually, you do have to downsize. Has anyone in your family expressed interest in the place? (Of course you don't have to answer that question if it is in the too hard basket). I often wonder what is to become of this place after we get older. Dunno. I'm pretty certain something will happen though.

I understand that and life is hard and full of compromise. I get that. There is no right way to go through life either and just being alive has far reaching impacts. Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge (again!),

Lewis brought that most excellent website to our attention, and I for one also look forward to the sharp tongued observations from its author.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, it was a fine jest that one! Ah well, you are miles ahead of me with that plant as the only peas I have yet to able to grow are the snow peas. To be honest, I've struggled with the watering regime for peas during high summer and have only addressed that problem in the past year or so.

Ouch! Honestly, that is a tough situation. Are you certain that no insects are climbing the plants at night? The wood lice / pill bugs that destroyed my tomato seedlings were active at night but completely absent during the day. Do any of your neighbours grow peas as they may be able to provide more clues?

The insects are now virtually absent here with the exception of the occasional European wasp which are buzzing around the place. I'm surprised that they are flying around given what a wet April it was (their hives are usually in the ground and they die when inundated with water).

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Have told Son that it was a hen and not a rooster. He said that that made much more sense as roosters usually only attack each other. Too many chickens in the allotted space does make sense.

You have taught me a new word 'disintermediation', were you trying to? I shall now have to find out what it means.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Your gambling situation sounds like what it used to be like here. Way back in the day there used to be a state based lotto drawn weekly plus the horse races, and that was about it. Of course, like your reservation casino's, people used to get on bus tours and head into the state to the north of this one. Now the state here and the one to the north, are separated by the Murray River and the towns to the north all had pokie (slot) machines in clubs and bars. I reckon the people used to enjoy the bus outing up north and across the border. It was probably very social for them.

Of course, my understanding was that there were also - during those days - illegal gambling dens and SP bookmakers etc. etc. And to stop the flow of funds from this state to the one to the north (and also the flow of money into the criminal world), pokie (slot) machines were introduced in this state. They appear in some pubs and some clubs. In addition to that they opened a casino just on the outskirts of the city which is humungous. The last I heard was that - I believe - 18 employees of that casino had been detained in China on charges (although for what I have no idea). If you wanted to use a bad pun you could say that such businesses are: High stakes? Sorry for the poor joke. I don't visit any of them because I understand what is meant by: diminishing returns and entropy eats enough without me accelerating losses. Other people feel differently and I have heard them describe the experience as: Buying entertainment time. They may be correct in that assertion, who knows? Yes, I too have noted that the restaurants attached to such venues seem to provide above average fare. I'm unsure whether the word subsidised is appropriate?

I've never really understood the editors reticence, but she has a very small interweb footprint and would like to keep it that way, but as Alfred Lord Tennyson is quoted as saying: "Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die." Yes, privacy is one of those things in rather short supply these days and of course that just proves that the opposite of a bad idea, is simply another bad idea. Hehe!

If a groaner is worth doing, it is worth doing well. And laughing about the revolting situation is a good way to accommodate it. You know the little black Silky chicken who was the real victim in this disaster, when I knifed her, I ended up getting a spray of blood on my arm, and I was just thinking to myself: Could this day possibly get any worse? She was a lovely natured - if mildly neurotic - chicken. Oh well...

Mate, I hear you, as chickens can be very easily disturbed and some situations you can't win. Incidentally, how is your jaw feeling these days? I would have offloaded responsibilities too during that time, and I was impressed that your comments remained coherent throughout. You have set the bar high for such situations.

Of course, it is nice that the owner of Mike decided not to attempt the same trick twice.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Did I mention that the other night I saw another Poopy dog except that it was fully white and very puppy like. The editor and I heard the rather distinctive bark at about the same time and I won't mention what the editor actually disparagingly said about the dog, as it wasn't particularly family friendly. The background to that is that when that breed of dog is young, they can be a bit of a handful, or what I tend to feel can be summed up as a: Free Independent Canine Thinker.

Perhaps at a guess it may have been a honey locust tree? I hope Scott is OK as that sounds unpleasant and if it is infected, he may have some of the thorn still in his knuckle which is soft cartilage and can retain small amount of thorns. It is a serious problem and I hope he can get it checked out. I have had to occasionally home surgery splinters and all manner of things that get lodged under the skin. Usually I use a sharp knife or a sewing needle. Ouch, but better out than in as Shrek noted.

The spiders webs were an amazing sight and I wasn't aware as to the extent of the webs.

You are remarkably careful with your septic and it is commendable. Oh yeah, they will collapse and become less effective over time as the plant roots seek out an easy feed. It isn't really your problem though, rather it is the landlords. I have heard of that happening down here, and the leach fields have to be re-dug.

40 shoes is a good score - although it is early days yet. I assume that the digs are funded and not amateur unfunded digs?

Yeah, you have to take what is available, but once you are in the system, you may be able to swap to a more preferable apartment? Maybe? West facing would be nice in your part of the world, but the summers here would make that apartment quite warm to very hot in summer. The view sounds excellent. Coughing up paper balls sounds a lot like coughing up a fur ball? Nobody wants that and our feline companions appear to be quite handy at that trick!

Oh no! I hear you about the Facebook account. An unpleasant business to be sure. I do hope you eventually manage to submit a form for the retreat. Haven't they heard of paper forms - I realise it is a bit old school, but still... :-)!

You got a thunderstorm and lightning! Cool, I love a good thunderstorm as long as the lightning strikes aren't too close (a nearby hit destroyed a modem many years ago). Did you see or hear any of the storm?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for considering the problem and it does appear to be the main culprit and I agree with your analysis of the situation. I'll take some measurements over the next day or so and see what I come back with. And you are totally correct that some of the pre-constructed coops are a bit small to my mind too.

I'm reasonably perfunctory with the chickens, although I do spend about an hour per day in the orchard supervising them. But to be honest, the chickens have other activities on their minds when they get let out into the orchard and they use me as another tool to keep an eye on the local predator birds. Speaking of which, there are foxes here at night, but I've never seen one during the daylight. The fox eyes are particularly spooky at night as you get a feel for the intelligence behind the eyes by the way they dart about the place.

No worries and I am glad you appreciate the glimpse. To be honest, it took a lot of internal consideration before commencing this blog, and the lovely comments and ongoing dialogue make it very worthwhile.

Glad to read that your land is starting to dry out a bit and that you'll get a bit of sun.

Doug's on the money with that sticker. I hope his hive that over wintered is doing well and got off to an early head start on the other hives? My lot have now gone into slumber mode for the winter.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for asking and the opinions in this matter seem to be aligning and adding up. A mate of mine once said to me the only people who know where the unseen cliff is, are those that have fallen off. True words from many different perspectives.

Maybe! ;-)! Mr Greer taught me that particular word. It is a goodie and I suspect that it may appeal to you. Our vocabularies keep expanding!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Disintermediation. Taking out the middle man. Letting the customer do the work :-). Cash machines (ATMs) would be a form of disintermediation. Any self check out, libraries or stores, also. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Monsoon. :-). I got wet to the skin, twice yesterday, just traversing the few feet between truck and porch. When I went to town, it was quit nice and probably the warmest day we've had yet. Coming home, the black clouds had rolled in and their was a lot of lightening. Not the usual namby-pamby "light up the clouds" that we usually get, but honest to gosh bolts and forked lightening. When I went to the meeting, last night, the rain on the roof and lightening directly overhead made it impossible to hear some of the people speaking. Not that that's a bad thing, in some cases :-). "Please limit your talk to 3 to 5 minutes, so that other's can share." One fellow who does tend to run on (never happens here :-) was brought up short by a particularly tooth rattling crash of thunder. Maybe he thought God, Odin, or whoever was sending him a sign to wind it up. :-) I took it slow, going home, as the roads were awash with water.

Sometimes (rarely) sick chickens do get better. I had one that I really thought was a goner. She staggered out of the henhouse and plopped in a sunny spot in the morning. She didn't seem to be in any pain, so, I put a dish of water within easy reach. She just sat in the sun, all day. At dusk, she staggered back into the henhouse. I really expected to find her worse, or dead the next morning. She had a bit more perk the next day and back to normal, the day after. I never had to put down a sick chicken. But, once or twice found one dead for no apparent reason. Mysteries of the animal world.

One of the recent Dr. Blake Mysteries revolved around some illegal gambling. A floating "two-up" game? Something to do with a little paddle with two big read dots on the top. Nothing that's known here. But it looked just like floating dice games or "coin lagging." Coin lagging is who can pitch a coin against a wall and the coin closest to the wall wins. I know myself well enough to steer clear of all forms of gambling. One 12 Step program, is enough, thanks. :-).

Some day, you'll probably discover that The Editor is a secret agent, retired, in deep cover. But, someday, due to rare and special skills, she'll be called out of retirement to save Australia from terrorists or rescue the children of some politician from kidnappers. You'll go along on the caper, and have a heck of a good time ... if you survive. Well, that's the premise of dozens of movie scripts. :-)

My jaw seems fine, other than the odd twinge, from time to time. Got a post card from the oral surgeon. Have decided to ignore same. Sleeping dogs, and all that. Speaking of which, had I stayed here, I was moving towards getting a black lab. Which I understand are hell on wheels, there first two years. And then, they just mellow out. In some ways, Nell was the same. The first year, she was into EVERYTHING. In some ways (not many) I miss the ... kittenish aspects of her personality. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Sometimes, you can get a splinter out by using a good piece of really sticky tape. If you Google "splinter removal" there's all kinds of novel ways for dealing with splinters that one would never have thought of. Wrapping the digit in a banana skin? Who knew? :-).

A lot of digs take on (well supervised) volunteers. In England, they have a program where injured and shell shocked vets are matched up with digs. If you look on line or in archaeology publications, there's always calls for volunteers at various sites. The details differ. Sometimes, the dig provides food and board, but the volunteer has to cover transportation and other expenses. it just varies. Years ago, I knew a couple, who's yearly vacation was to go to England and help excavate Roman villas.

It was a very GOOD trip to town, yesterday. Basically, I signed a lot of paperwork at The Home, to give permission to poke around among my financials. I produced various documents from my current landlord as to my character, etc. etc.. Documentation on our water problems to indicate substandard housing. Etc. Etc.. I got the key pad code to the front door, so I guess I'm in. Stopped by the library. The retreat website popped right up and I didn't have to resort to Face Book. I got an email from Jon, the library IT guy, this morning. I don't think he remembers me, but I remember him. The best of the lot. Calm, knowledgeable. He didn't elaborate, but said the site was a tough nut to crack. More than the usual. I also ran into a woman who used to work at my branch (she now has a better job at the community college library) who is interested in buying my truck, if the time comes.

The King Arthur movie is going to open at my local theatre, this week. I think I'll wait til the library gets the DVD. 2 hours!

I was reading this essay and that in "Best Food Writing 2007" (it's a yearly publication) and a fellow named John Thorne had one titled "Simple Cooking, Then and Now." Not much on Mr. Thorne, other than that he puts out a newsletter called "Simple Cooking." But he did have one observation that jumped out at me. "Times of scarcity produce generalists: times of abundance, specialists." I also heard just a bit of a news report on the radio that 1/3 of the Kenyan tea crop failed due to drought. Hence the jump in tea prices. Haven't followed up on it, but also heard that a great number of cattle died in Colorado, due to an unexpected cold snap. Stranger and stranger. Lew

Damo said...

@Marg

No problem with the password cracking, it was my pleasure and I am glad it worked :-)

Damo said...

@Chris

I noticed the peas reference as well and thought it was a quote from Homer Simpson in the submarine movie spoof episode (years and years ago when The Simpsons were still entertaining). No doubt The Simpsons were referencing something else that my uncultured brain did not recognise!

Damo said...

@All

Some of the privacy related comments reminded me of an article I read today about smart phones listening to advertisements on TV and sending back statistics for tracking and follow up advertisement purposes. Currently there are only 250 apps known to do this, and only on android devices (Apple probably does not as it isn't an advertising company) but it could be a very scary insight into future trends.

It works by listening for high pitched audio 'watermarks' deliberately placed in TV advertisements that humans cannot easily hear.
Android apps listen for audio beacons

People who grow up with this stuff don't seem to care, but I wonder at what point significant push back begins?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Speaking of intermediation, the big Amazon company appears to be making threats to enter the Australian market. I read an article declaring in breathless excitement that it is an exciting time to be in retail. To me such pronouncements read more like a car crash for the existing retailers. Our markets down here seem way too open to my mind and from what I can tell many of the new comers are not operating on a level playing field as they are exercising some serious advantages over the locals. There are anecdotal reports that some of these new comers are guilty of not paying any local taxes – and some of them are just downright mysterious. I'm considering writing about economics for the next blog.

I suspect that you are not overstating the description of your monsoonal weather. Cliff Mass wrote that it came from Hawaii. Yes, monsoons have become a feature down here too, and they are just odd for a location so far south (or north as in your case). I noted that Tom Lewis appears to have written about Florida today. I'm rather enjoying his sharp and witty observations.

Welcome to a proper lightning storm. I sort of enjoy them, as long as the lightning strikes aren't too close. The thunder claps are something else aren't they when they are more or less directly over head? Yeah, I hear you about people talking overly long who need to be cut short. I'm very subtle about that cutting short process and I use my powers for good and not evil. I recently did exactly that at the most recent Green Wizards meeting. You need a few old hands (and I include you in that description!) for such acts of kindness. It always comes back to Monty Python, and I do recall a scene in the Search for the Holy Grail film, where King Arthur pulls the priest up short nicely by saying: "Skip a bit please, brother". Nicely put. Incidentally, I'm concerned that no feelings were hurt in the process of the storm putting an end to the overly long “talk at” fest? Hehe! Probably not... :-)!

Chickens never cease to surprise and also delight me. The little black leg horn chicken seems much better today although her comb looks a little bit grey-ish and dodgy. But overall she looks perky, so I have no idea what was going on. Maybe the now deceased psychotic chicken was giving the leg horn a hard time? It is possible. Unfortunately I have had to put down a sick chicken in the past. I do agree with you that when they go, they go fast and there is no mucking around, but one sick chicken was getting stomped long ago on by the other chickens and I had to give her the coup de grâce which was an act of mercy. Yup, life is clearly full of mystery. Oh yeah.

Two up is an old coin game which has its roots way back in the very early days of the colony. It was enormously popular with the soldiers in WWI and WWII and amusingly exceptions in the criminal code were made for the game on Anzac day. Yes, no doubts you understand your own psyche well enough to know when danger rears its ugly head. For what it is worth I avoid gambling too as my brain flashes me warning signs of impending doom, and I thoughtfully go off and do something else with my time. I understand that such things are a business and they tend to prevail over the customers.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I do hope not. That would be very inconvenient to discover that the editor was a secret agent. As a funny side note, at one point she did consider applying for an analyst job at ASIO but for personal reasons decided against it. Imagine if I was to do such a job. I'd provide some clear analysis and it would be an embarrassment to all involved, and then there would be requests for re-writes and I'd crack the sads and say something that was a career limiting move (I use the acronym CLM for such things) like: You are all a bunch of numpty's (I may include some choice not family friendly expletives in the process!). Feathers would be ruffled and I'd probably be made rapidly redundant. Thus would go my short career in the intelligence world! :-)! Incidentally, I have fond feelings towards Len Deighton's epic series of nine books which began with game, set, match, or it may have been hook, line, and sinker, or the even the final books faith, hope and charity? Which is the first series, I dunno but they are clever titles. The wife character was the better of the two spies (although less central to the story). In such a story I would just hope that there is a toilet available somewhere and that the exotic food doesn't make sick! Small pleasures, my friend!

We've descended into the land of silly again.

Glad to read that your jaw is feeling better and that you now only suffer small twinges. I hope the post card from the oral surgeon was hand written? What could it possibly say: Hi Lewis. I'm missing your fees and if we look a little bit harder, it may help pay off my Maserati? Lease payments are not cheap, you know. Cheers. Oral surgeon. Far out. I hope you avoid their gentle ministrations in the future...

Hmmm. Labradors are some of the more intelligent and less excitable of the species. I see people training seeing eye dogs as puppies and they do seem a little bit like hard work.

Kittenish aspects of personalities can also be expressed as: I like your old songs better than your new songs. Well, we all seem to be on an inverted bell shape curve - even Nell. One day in the far future, you'll put in a review on the interweb somewhere saying this blog has jumped the shark! Everyone jumps the shark sooner or later. One of the things I respect about Mr Greer is that he decided to do something different at the height of his audience. Not many people can recognise that point as most hang on overly long. There is a very well renowned English rock band by the name of Blur and they had a huge string of hits. Massive. Anyway, one day, the creative genius behind the band started a side project, ditched Blur and then went on to even bigger success with the band the Gorillaz. There is a point in time when you may have to let go of something in order to move forward and that is a hard moment to face.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Well about splinters, back in the day, they also used drawing cremes. They work too. I once had a chunk of silver wattle lodged in my arm and the drawing creme made the skin soft enough that I could remove the offending splinter which to be honest was rather large and causing an infection.

That is a nice thing taking on the ex-vets as from what I have heard, they lose their structure, support, and a sort of family and friends when they leave the service so such volunteer work on digs can be healthy for their mental health.

That is a good trip into town isn't it? Well done and congratulations. You'll shortly be in the lap of luxury in your new digs. Hope you stake out a garden bed or three? I reckon your character is good, well we won' tell them about the dodgy bits! Hehe! Too funny. Nice to read that you finally got access to the retreat form. What a carry on that was, and it is nice to find IT people who aren't overly mysterious or overly excitable.

Fair enough, I get that and to be honest I do wonder what new comments they could make on that legend? The editor wants to go and see the film Snatched which sounds very amusing.

Ouch about the Kenyan drought. Apparently the rains have been quite good in Zimbabwe and they have had bumper crops. Yup, climate change means a very variable weather pattern. I deal with that every year and to be honest, it is rather stressful and makes agriculture rather difficult. I saw the Colorado cattle deaths news item too, and yup, such things go on down here too, when there is a sudden shift to very cold weather on an otherwise hot day. Yup. I am rather unsure why people want this outcome? I live with such a climate and it is complex.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

Sorry for the late reply, this week has been pretty busy with a friend visiting (and the unrelated spike in BeerLao consumption) along with an increase in tempo at work. We leave on the 19th and there is a long list of things to do before we go.

IoT does indeed refer to the Internet of Things and seems like a fairly pointless idea at best, and a horrible expensive mistake at worst. I used to be a reasonably excited Internet fanboy back in the day. Now I am just another old cynic who can't see the point of most of it. Will everyone else follow my path as time goes on, or will the latest app craze and technology fads keep the world entertained till the universe collapses in on itself. Who can know!

Damo

Damo said...

@Inge

I mentioned a week back the orchids I saw in Sri Lanka. No doubt you have been on the edge of your seat waiting for the photos :-p I know nothing about orchids, except I think they look pretty. My mother loves them so I hope she likes some of the photos.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Sri Lanka

Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Ha! That is funny, and the Simpsons have covered a lot of ground. However, I have never watched the show either, but understand the general gist of the show. The quote was I believe written as graffiti on a wall in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. I've noted that in that location there is a poster promoting veganism with the caption "time is running out". I'm pretty certain time is running out, but perhaps not as they imagine the situation. I've noticed a vegan supermarket was established in that area but have only ever passed it at night when it is closed. I respect anyone who can do a vegan diet as it is some hard yards.

Wow. Only 250 apps huh? Far out. I don't have a smart phone, but I'm told that they can sometimes be loaded with hidden apps and who knows what information is being sent. Have you noticed that in Google searches for business websites, the search now returns how long on average a person spends in such a shop. I am uncomfortable with that, but don't participate in it either.

Oh yeah, about growing with the stuff. I heard a security guy being interviewed once on Triple J's Hack news program about employers partners, and stalkers loading secret apps onto smart phones. And nobody complained about the hidden apps being loaded by the employers who provided the free phones to employees. Far out.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

The Ben Folds are great. I think their popularity peak coincided with my final HSC exams (1998 or so). Their album with Brick on it was played a lot in our home room at High School.

I never knew the MONA facility was built on top of old camp grounds. That would have been a great spot to camp. I lived on the other side of the river a little closer to the Derwent Bridge. Unfortunately the house faced south so was very cold, but we had terrific views and as students were resigned to being in slightly uncomfortable houses anyway :p

I can proudly say I have entered the famous halls of MONA and seen with my own eyes the incredible poop machine. It smells.....as expected.

Cheers,
Damo

Damo said...

In other news, I have now had two phone interviews with the Christchurch company in New Zealand. They both lasted over an hour and I feel it went well, but how do you really know? I guess if I get the job that will be a clue.

Apparently they currently have 4 contractors in a team of 14. In my mind, at least one of them will surely also be applying and would have to be a stronger contender? As such, I remain optimistic, but with low expectations. He says I should know by Wednesday. As a backup plan I applied for another job in the Coffs Harbour region.

Our time in Laos ends on May the 21st. Mrs Damo has begun the long process of sorting items for packing. There is a disaster in the making however as our return luggage allowance is 14kg less than what we arrived with (7kg each). I cannot complain too much as we got 10kg for free on the way over, but now they will only give us a 5kg bonus. *Something something* limits :p In theory things can be posted, but that can be tricky here. I suspect a lot of our Lao friends will be getting some falung clothes and tat.

Cheers,
Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for the explanation, and I have no idea either. Enjoy your beer lao! As a funny side story, I still have my distinctive beer lao t-shirt which is now sadly torn and used only for work activities around the farm.

Where are you heading off to from there anyway? The 19th will be here before you know it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, Brick was cool, although the content was rather dark for such a well played song. That was the bands biggest hit, but I reckon other songs were better.

Yes, the old camp grounds were very delightful, and under utilised in the middle of winter - we were literally on the shore line and it was great and very quiet. I've never been to MONA myself but have total respect for the endeavour. And yeah, a little bit of share house living tends to round the rough edges off people. Families will tolerate behaviours that strangers never will! :-)!

I have heard that the smell from the poop machine is a profound experience!

Ah, we're talking almost in real time here. Who can tell, but Christchurch is a lovely part of the world. I do hope that both yourself and Mrs Damo are braced for a cold winter if you end up down there. Mate, it is cold here, but... Hehe!!! Coffs Harbour is a nice part of the world too.

Fuel usage in planes is directly related to weight and so limits are in place. Of course - and I have never seen this as I have not flown for many long years - but apparently people can be very silly about carry on luggage nowadays. At least you are not flying United: Jimmy Kimmel on Passenger Dragged Off United Flight. Just sayin...

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

I found Brick a bit dark for my liking as well. The rest of the album was great though! Our high school year room also got a lot of Powderfinger, early Metallica and Pearl Jam. Such was the music of my youth :-)

By the time I was in Hobart it was way past share house living. Mrs Damo and I don't play well with others it seems, or perhaps I just like walking around without pants :p Unfortunately this means a decrease in house quality. Some of our friends thought it a bit quaint but to be honest it was one of my favourite houses, steep driveway and all. Can't complain with this view:
Most certainly not a cat picture

Cold winters will be great, we didn't mind them in Hobart even with the zero insulation or sun house. Maybe I will eat my words though, we could be spoiled by the constant heat in Laos and are now incapable of living in a sensible climate!

Yep, carry on bags on planes are getting stupid, some of the suitcases people bring into the cabin are massive. Most carriers now seriously police carry on limits and reduced the limit from 9kg to 7kg. I will not miss flying, although I fear a few of the jobs I am applying for require at least some.

Damo

Damo said...

@Chris

This reminds me, I still have not acquired a BeerLao t-shirt! Baggage limits or not, I should probably rectify this serious error before I leave.

Vegans, yeah I have respect but no interest. I like to eat a lot of vegetarian but feel cutting out eggs and cheese is a bit much and perhaps makes life harder than it should be. My chooks seemed happy, I don't really see a problem.

On the 19th we fly to Vientiane for two nights to catch-up with our country manager, then we head straight to Brisbane. We will stay with family and friends until such time I find a job somewhere that isn't a capital city or has very hot summers :-) If possible, I will sneak a drive down to NSW and spend some time at Wooli, maybe catch a flathead or two. I am slightly concerned a suitable job will appear before I have relaxed enough, but that is a luxury that shouldn't be complained about (I can grumble inside my mind though!).

Damo

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

It is a fact that lapphunds can be FICT.

I forgot to count the Toothies this week - 4.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I found a couple of little articles about the Colorado blizzard. Down in the SE corner, near Oklahoma. Hundreds of cattle died. Maybe, thousands. They are still counting. Their wheat crop also took a big hit. Nothing in the articles as to if this is unusual, unseasonable, has happened before, etc.. There were some pictures of downed power poles, from the wind. Those pictures of the black skies, over at Cliff Mass. Yup. That's what it looked like, here. Very ominous, but nothing we haven't seen, before. Starting tomorrow, the weather is supposed to get nicer.

Yes. The whole Amazon, E-bay ... well, general on-line selling and taxes (state and federal) are quit a can of worms. There's what the governments say (wishful thinking) and what the sites do, or do not say. There's also what the sellers tell each other on the chat boards. Last time I looked, Amazon was saying that for small sellers (yearly gross, less than $20,000) that they wouldn't be reporting sales to the Federal Internal Revenue Service.

I'll have to look into "drawing cream." Never heard of it, before.

Oh, yes. The Curse of the Terminally Verbose. :-). I can remember being cornered by customer's when I worked retail. I'd run the gamut from praying for the phone to ring to "Please. Just kill me." :-). I think it's worse for my generation. Raised with manners and to be polite, and all that. I remember, every once in awhile, the home office would send out something usually titled "Breaking Away From The Customer." Can't remember they were particularly useful. Phrases that DID NOT come from the home office ... "Skip to the end," "Cut to the chase," And the bottom line is?". Probably not, "Talk to the hand." :-) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Nope, just a printed out post card from the oral surgeon. They probably crank them out by the hundreds. I realize that James Kunstler's blog can be problematic, but his rant yesterday was on our health care system. I usually read his post, the first dozen comments, and call it good.

I understand that MONO has distilled an essence of the Poop Machine into a cologne. It's on offer in their gift shop. :-). How's that for descending into The Land of Silly? :-). The Land of Silly. Sounds like the title of a Maxfield Parrish print.

I'm off to the Little Smoke. I need to slide some paperwork under The Warden's door, swing by the library to pick up some holds and might as well gas up. Then home and do ... something. Lew

orchidwallis said...

@ Damo

I loved the orchid photos. Usually I am not very interested in flowers (except for the wild ones in the woods here) but orchids grab me, I don't know why.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris again

I still haven't finished reading the comments and will scream if my phone rings again. It has been one of those utterly hopelessly busy days. Here I live in isolated solitude and yet can be bugged all day by the human race. Shall come back again tomorrow.

Not just people, I stopped in the middle of my thanks to Damo, to put out a large spider which was scuttling across the floor.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Ah yes, Powderfinger. An excellent band and how good was Odyssey Number 5 as an album? Funnily enough, I was considering using the lyrics to "These Days" for the blog tomorrow night. The moons have aligned! But alas, I couldn't make heads or tails of the lyrics outside of the chorus. Oh well.

Did you get any Rage against the machine in your musical diet? Killing in the Name is still the angriest song that I can recall, but opinions may vary.

Thanks for the photo and how relaxed are those two cats? Incidentally you can see the missing part of the Tasman bridge where the ship hit it... Not good. All fixed now though. The camp ground was to the right of that photo and you may have been able to see it if Mona wasn't there?

Yup, your concerns about your adaption to the Laos climate are certainly warranted!!! Anyway, it is easier to adapt to cold than heat.

The whole carry on bags thing has become something of a joke.

You must repair this lack of a Beer Lao t-shirt! :-)! It is a serious error.

Your chickens looked pretty happy in the photos and chickens lay eggs even if people refused to eat them. Still, I respect the vegans philosophy whilst understanding that I feel differently.

Grumble away. I hear you. I do hope that you get to enjoy some quiet time to decompress from the SE Asian experience. It takes time to adapt to the quieter local conditions. Well, at least I found that. I always had a bit of culture shock after travels in SE Asia.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Hmmm, does the acronym FICT mean: Fluffy Individuals are Cute but Tough? We could go on for hours like this! :-)! Alright, what does FICT stand for?

It's Toothy time this week. Hehe! He seriously will pose for photos. It's uncanny.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

The chicken enclosure is 7 feet by 20 feet which makes for an area of 140 square feet. With previously 19 chickens that provided a space of 7.3 square feet per chicken. Now with 17 chickens it works out to be 8.2 square feet per chicken. How does that compare?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

I saw Captain Fantastic based on your recommendation and must say that I really enjoyed the story. From my perspective, the protagonists were at complete extremes. I did enjoy the old school initiation / coming of age test in the first couple of scenes. But the story was about how our society looks to other people, and the results are in and it is not good. I particularly enjoyed the contrast of the related parents lying to their children at the dinner table in order to spare them pain. Doesn't work. Nuff said. And I also rather enjoyed the celebration of a persons life who had passed away over the rather sad church setting. Blind Freddy can see that if there are such great benefits to be had in the afterlife that all that depressing black mourning sort of gear would be technically out of place. Somewhere there is a discongruity of sorts going on! And I do not know whether you noticed that the family eventually settled on a less extreme version of their lives at the very end of the film which to be honest didn't look that different from what goes on here. The main problem with being on the margin is that you become vulnerable to the machinations of the system and there is only so far you can escape from that system before it reels you back.

No, I don't have any problems with Jim Kunstlers blog and I rather enjoy the free reign that he takes with the English language. It is just that I write to the little stories and not the big horror show which he addresses. For that is what it is.

Aren't they clever. I hope they continue to outrage the young and old alike for many years to come. I quite enjoyed the Maxfield Parrish print images on the interweb as they seemed full of life.

Make sure you dot your i's and cross your t's with that paperwork!

I've gotta bounce too and write tomorrows blog. My report card may have read: Chris is easily distracted... ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No worries and best wishes for a quiet phone! :-)!

Oh yeas, large spiders inside the house require immediate attention. The large huntsman spiders here are quite fast and if not noted and dealt with, they can disappear, but you know they never disappear for too long. Fortunately a few years ago I introduced smaller, but more deadly spiders inside the house and huntsman spiders are now very rare. The smaller spiders are quite deadly, but harmless to humans and they turn up everywhere. Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well that certainly sounds like plenty of room for the chickens. Mine have about 10 ft each but that's just the inside. The outside pen is huge - never have measured it. They still think I should let them out for a few hours at the end of the day- just never satisfied haha. As soon as they see me they all congregate by the gate.

The pigs arrived yesterday and one got out under the gate. Luckily he was anxious to get back with his buddies so was easy to get back in. We were having a birthday party for my MIL who turned 91 so this provided great entertainment for everyone. In fact she was the one who spotted the escapee.

Doug's hive that overwintered isn't going to make it unless he gets another queen. Right now that hive only has a laying worker bee. The other five packages of bees are installed and are doing well. This year they came in plastic containers rather than wood much to our dismay. Before one would put a deposit down on the wood container and return it. They don't take back the plastic ones.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

FICT is also known as: Fully Into Committing Trouble.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. From what I've heard about air travel, these days, I'm glad I'm not among the flying classes. :-). As we know, some people push the limits or just don't think any rules apply to them. So, they show up with 19 pieces of luggage, or one piece that's so enormous that it's a hazard. But, I'm sure the airlines are also aware of less luggage = more seats.

I'm glad you liked "Captain Fantastic". Did you see our Uncle Sam sign? Our K-Mart? Our factory outlet stores? :-). Yup. I noticed the nifty little house at the end. But I wondered. How did they afford the vast tract of land, in the beginning of the movie? And, that nifty little house at the end? I suppose mum's estate was on the lavish side. And, I think Grand Dad kicked in a bit, as long as Dad made some compromises. I'll probably watch "The Daughter", tonight.

Well, I meant that Kunstler is problematic in that it's not family friendly. And, he doesn't moderate his comments near as well as Mr. Greer or you. He does do interesting things with the English language. There's always a "zinger" or two, worth remembering.

I picked up a book from the library. "Itty Bitty Kitchen Handbook: Everything You Need to know About Setting Up & Cooking in the Most Ridiculously Small Kitchen in the World - Your Own." (Spring, 2006). I figure if I pick up even two or three good ideas, it's worth a look in.

And, from the wonderful world of Archaeology, something you might find interesting. They've uncovered a funeral garden from 2,000 BCE, in Thebes (Luxor), Egypt. They knew they existed, from paintings and writings. But they've never found one to excavate. Not a king's tomb. Just someone well off. A courtyard, funeral chapel and the tomb. In the courtyard is a raised bed, about 2 x 3 meters. It is divided into squares, each square holding a different plant. There was also, probably, a couple of small trees or bushes. They're busy analyzing seeds, pollen, root holes. They think it will reveal a whole new aspect of ancient Egyptian custom and thought.

From the view of adulthood, report cards are such a hoot. Often referenced by comedians. "Plays well with others? Not!" Lew