Monday, 8 May 2017

Eyes wide open

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

“So this is the end of the story,
Everything we had, everything we did,
Is buried in dust,
And this dust is all that's left of us.
But only a few ever worried.”

The computer room at the University during the 1970’s was an amazing place. I visited the computer room with my mum one weekend afternoon. I can still vividly recall the image of that room in my mind. My mother was there because she was studying an undergraduate degree and I was perhaps a bit too young to be left unattended. The computer room was full of keyboards and black screens with their little green characters. And then there were the huge platters of gold coloured discs which were occasional being dropped into something that looked like to me like a top loading washing machine. The room stunk of industriousness and ultra high tech gear and I felt as if I was in the engineering room of the Starship Enterprise.

It was quite amazing that my mother was even able to attend University because she was a single mother with three children and she also had to work full time. Back then University courses were free of charge. Of course being free of charge does not make them free of work and my mother would have been a rather busy lady.

One of the advantages of my mum being so busy was that I was left to think my own thoughts and become my own person. However, a downside to living with a single mum who worked full time and studied part time, was that there was never much money floating around for us kids. This wasn't too much of a problem for me because I was a self confessed little capitalist who sometimes worked up to three jobs just so that I had enough mad cash to burn on important kid investments such as Space Invaders and pin ball games. I even distinctly recall that one point in time, my mother had to borrow money from me for some reason or other. I was of course happy to offer an unsecured loan at interest with fixed terms to accommodate this need.

The mercenary relationship was a two way street, because when I scored my first full time job as an adult, my mother levied me a regular charge for board which was over half of my take home pay. To be honest, it was financially cheaper moving out of home and in with friends into a share house of five people.

I soon found myself working full time with aspirations of achieving a University degree. This meant that I had to study part time at night whilst working full time. I’d seen firsthand that such an eventuality was a feasible option, and so I just got on with the job at hand.

The very first year of my part time experience at University also miraculously coincided with the re-introduction of course fees for students. I discovered to my horror that I was rapidly accruing a student debt with every single class that I attended.

“Well the signs were clear, they had no idea.
You just get used to living in fear,
Or give up when you can't even picture your future.
We walk the plank with our eyes wide open.”

In Australia student debt is held by the Federal government and repaid through the tax system depending on a persons taxable income. If your income falls below a certain threshold, you don’t have to make any repayments. However, this week the Federal government announced that it would seek to increase University fees by 8%, whilst at the same time reducing the income threshold for repayments for people with student debt from about $54,000 to I believe about $42,000.

Many people who have not attended or have no intentions of ever attending University make the correct claim: Why should they subsidise University courses with their taxes? I am comfortable with this claim. However, that claim also assumes that there is an underlying fairness and equality to government policy, and I am aware that many people who received free University education in the now distant past pay no taxes on their pension income. And I am uncomfortable with such inequalities in policy which are breeding wealth inequality in the community. I for one don’t believe the kids are alright.

“Some people offered up answers.
We made out like we heard, they were only words.
They didn't add up to a change in the way we were living,
And the saddest thing is all of it could have been avoided.”

Today, for some strange reason I was considering the issue of wealth inequality and I recalled a story from my past which highlighted how I felt about the issue of wealth inequality as a very young man.

My girlfriends parents at that time were refreshingly candid about my future prospects in that they didn’t believe I would amount to much. As such it was clear that they felt that their daughter and I were an unsuitable match. I politely ignored them, acted in a surly manner, and simply went about my business. My girlfriend was lucky enough to have been presented with a brand new vehicle by her parents. As a contrast, I had a little very old and very used white Suzuki Sierra four speed vehicle. That Suzuki Sierra was barely reliable and I was forever maintaining it or replacing failing parts.

My girlfriends parents also owned a holiday house on the coast. One weekend the girlfriend invited me to spend the weekend with her at the holiday house which would have been fun. However, that time was also the recession of the very early 1990’s and even though in my youth I was a budding capitalist, I had barely enough income to match my fixed outgoings. And that meant that I did not have the $40 petrol (gas) money to make it down the coast and then back again. You see, my girlfriend had thoughtlessly just driven down in advance in her paid-for vehicle and just assumed that I would follow down later in my little white Suzuki Sierra. Not so! The phone conversation that ensued was less than pleasant as I pointed out these gritty realities in a less than gentlemanly tone.

That evening, instead of travelling down the coast, I ended up visiting some friends who lived only 15 minutes away. Needless to say the girlfriend and I broke up not too long after that incident. Angry on one side of that equation and thoughtless and indifferent on the other, and that to me is how the gritty realities of wealth inequality play out.

“But it was like to stop consuming's to stop being human,
And why would I make a change if you won't?
We're all in the same boat, staying afloat for the moment.”

As an interesting side story: The editor on the other hand owned a large and old poo-brown Chrysler Valiant Safari station wagon that was unable to be driven in reverse. In that poo brown station wagon was often to be found a rather fat brown dog who jumped around the insides barking for the sheer joy of the experience in between chewing the seats. I knew I’d found the right girl (and dog) for me.

It has been another wet and cold week here at the farm. One evening I noticed that the outside temperature had dropped to as low as 3’C (37’F). Even Poopy the Pomeranian (who as everyone now knows is a sophisticated Swedish Lapphund) was feeling a little bit chilly even though he has a double layered dog coat.
The night time outside temperatures plummeted this week to temperatures not seen for six months
At least the new wood heater is keeping the inside of the house toasty warm. Best of all, the new wood heater – which through diligent research I now know is described by the fancy name of "wood boiler" – uses far less firewood than the previous wood heater despite heating a bigger space. Heating a home with firewood is a very complex matter and even after seven years of living with this energy source, we are still learning.

During the installation of the new wood heater we moved one of the hydronic radiators. The repairs to that wall where the radiator used to be are now almost complete. In another week, nobody will ever know that there even was a hydronic radiator in that location.
Repairs to the wall where the hydronic radiator was removed from have continued and now only painting is required to complete the repairs
Sometimes we get things right the very first time that we try a new activity. Other times, we have the opportunity to go back and re-work a project using the experience that we have learned in the intervening time. This latter option has been the case this week. A hardwood table which we had purchased for a song and had been repaired last year was subject to one of our experiments. Unfortunately during those repairs we’d experimented with a particular timber finish. The result that the timber finish produced was not good (ie: the stain was orange in colour). This week, we sanded the table back to the raw timber:
One of the tables from the Table Bunch blog post was sanded back this week as the finish was very poor
Then we went back and used the old faithful timber finish of: Tung Oil, which provides a beautiful glossy and very hard wearing surface for timber. We have applied one coat of Tung Oil and there are another five coats yet to be applied:
A coat of Tung Oil was applied to the table which was sanded this week. Five more coats of Tung Oil to go!
Along the road above the house, we planted a series of bottlebrush native plants. The fancy name for these trees are: Callistemon and Banksia species. They are called bottlebrush plants because the flowers look exactly like bottlebrushes, and I must add that the local honeyeater birds adore the flowers for their nectar.
A hedge of bottlebrush (Callistemon and Banksia species) plants were planted along the road above the house
I almost lost a beautiful apricot coloured rose which was unfortunately planted in a dense herb bed. The growth in that herb bed was so thick and rampant that I could no longer see the rose. This week, I took a very sharp brush hook to the rampant growth in that herb bed and rescued the little apricot coloured rose. Once I discovered where the rose actually was, I relocated the rose to a spot where it would be unlikely to be out-competed by the other plants.
An apricot coloured rose was rescued and relocated from a very dense herb garden bed
Earlier in the week I had brought a huge load of mushroom compost onto the farm. Unfortunately I’d purchased far more mushroom compost (the curse of Cherokee!) than I could reasonably handle and so the extra mushroom compost was used to top up some of the newer garden beds.
Mushroom compost was applied to some of the newer garden beds
Another grove of blackwoods (Acacia Melanoxylon) and sticky wattles (Acacia Howitti) was also planted out this week near to the very ancient canoe tree.
A grove of of blackwoods (Acacia Melanoxylon) and sticky wattles (Acacia Howitti) were also planted out this week
Nowadays I spend more time cutting back rampant plant growth than planting new plants. None of that cut organic matter goes to waste because I dump it in a new garden bed which is near the chicken enclosure. Over time, that organic matter will break down into very rich soil.

One of the strangest things that I have seen in urban areas was people hauling organic matter or cut grass off to the local landfill. I use the fancy word “strange” to describe that activity because they are actively sending their soil fertility to a landfill!
All prunings and plant cuttings end up in the new garden bed near to the chicken enclosure
The rain and change of soil temperatures has produced copious quantities of mushrooms in the orchard:
The rain and change of soil temperatures has produced copious quantities of mushrooms in the orchard
The leaf change is continuing to put on a good show here (and in the valley below) and Japanese maples are one of my favourite plants. It is also a pleasure to not have to deal with the pesky tourists!
The leaf change is continuing to put on a good show here and Japanese maples are one of my favourite plants
Despite the cold and wet weather, there are still plenty of Autumn flowers here:
Pineapple sage looks great and the honeyeaters love the nectar
Succulents enjoy the occasional burst of Autumn sunshine
Chrysanthemum flowers are a harbinger of colder weather (and mothers day)
The many Pentstemon’s are also producing a good display of flowers
“With our eyes wide open, we walk the plank, we walk the plank.
That was the end of the story.”

The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 8’C (46’F). So far this year there has been 339.0mm (13.3 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 330.8mm (13.0 inches).

A special shout out to the exceptionally talented local artist Gotye for his song “Eyes wide open” which was ripped blindly in this weeks blog. Some may know him for his famous song “Somebody that I used to know”. His back catalogue of works are outstanding.

76 comments:

Damo said...

Ohh, pineapple sage. I seem to remember eating the nectar from similar looking flowers when I was younger! :-)

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ah, yes. Income inequalities. The rich ARE different. And, often thoughtless. I've noticed there's a whole genre of books and stories. The genre doesn't have a name, as far as I know. But now I know it, when I see (read) it. I trigged to it about the time I ran across it, for the third time. Three's a collection, right? Or, a genre :-). There's "Brideshead Revisited", "Line (Curve?) of Beauty" (won the booker prize) and a third I can't quit put my mental finger on.

it usually runs like this. Poor but honest young man is taken up by a very rich family. Usually through being friends with the son. There's usually an appealing and/or crazy daughter, involved. There's usually a matriarch, who set like a spider at the center of the web. Young man thinks he's been taken into the family, but, in the end, is betrayed in one way or another and kicked to the curb. Young man is sadder, wiser and a bit damaged. Hmmm. Almost got the third one. Picture of a sparrow chained to a perch on the cover. Upper East Side, New York. Young scholarship boy is orphaned and taken in by the family of one of his classmates. "The Finch?" Maybe. Hmmm. So, what's the message here? Don't get above your station?

The table is shaping up really nice. Tung oil. Good choice. I can remember when I did a lot of furniture refinishing that occasionally, old finishes would come off with a decided orange color. From what looked like a brown or oak piece. I think the thinking might have been that it added a "warmness" to the stain. But if it's a noticeable orange ... not so nice.

Roses are a lot more tough then we give them credit. Once they're established. I've mentioned the old roses that I freed from a solid over story of blackberries. Then there was a coral rose that was growing underneath a corner of the deck. I didn't even know it was there until it sent up one lone blossom, that I noticed. Shooting up a flare. A cry for help.

Can you ever have enough mushroom compost? I think what applies here is something related to that old saw, "measure twice, cut once." You might have someone out that knows a lot about mushrooms to teach you a bit about what grows on your place. You might be missing out on some real good eating. Listen for the words, "This tastes really good and nothing else even looks like it." Why I feel comfortable harvesting chantreles. Puff balls are pretty safe, but I always find myself asking the question, "Is it a puff ball, or a just emerging Destroying Angel? :-) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I watched "The Daughter", last night. One of THE most unsatisfying endings I've seen in a long time. I actually sat through the credits, straining to hear if the respirator kept on ticking, or if she flat lined. I've decided that the girl recovered, couldn't remember anything about the last week and her parents will just keep the secret and carry on as before. If she asked why she tried to commit suicide, well, she was just depressed 'cause the boyfriend left. Works for me. I had to fast forward through some of the more emotional scenes. A couple of observations. When the father and boyfriend were talking at the beginning of the movie, that was a fine example of "bloke talk." :-). I found the saw mill interesting. Small crew, lots of automation. The film was also another example of "the rich are different." The loathsome alcoholic son? Well, spoiled little rich boy who just couldn't stand it if other people were happy. Well. If he was serious about getting sober, just a few observations. Firstly, he should have done if for himself, not get sober for someone else, ie: his wife. When he got back home, he should have rooted around and found where the local AA meetings were. Or, found out before he even went home. Should have called his sponsor. Should have HAD a sponsor. Over all, glad I watched it. Glad I don't have to watch it again. Glad it was taken from Ibsen's "Wild Ducks" and now I don't have to subject myself to Ibsen :-).

One thought I had when I went to The Home and was given the key pad code. What if the power goes down? What if the key pad just malfunctions? Hope it also functions with a key. A regular old put it in your pocket, key.

Well, I made a hash of the hash, last night. I got two recipes confused. Regular old hash and Texas hash. So, there were not enough onions for the Texas hash and potatoes for the regular hash that are not required for the Texas hash. Two potatoes just starring at me. They have eyes, you know. :-). I didn't really have enough corned beef, but had the but end of the smoked ham I used for the pea salad. So, to make up for the lack of onions, I threw in a bunch of green onions and a lot of garlic. The potatoes went in. Green pepper. Must have been an old recipe as it called for a one pound can of tomatoes. Canned tomatoes have now shrunk to 14oz. Oh, well, Rounded that out with fresh tomatoes. And threw in a couple of other things you don't want to know about :-). I may have overdone the chili flakes, a bit. So, I ended up with a hybrid Texas hash. From the sample I had last night, I think it's ok.

But, I was interested in my reaction. I was really upset that things weren't going to plan. Apparently, when I plan to not leave a recipe alone / play with my food, that's ok. But if a recipe falls apart and runs in it's own direction, well that's not ok. I actually said, out loud, "Don't know why you're getting so wound up." :-). So. I figured that out after the fact. But, the next time a recipe puts on it's dancing shoes and steps out the door, I'll just go with it. And, relax. First thought that popped into my head when I woke up this morning was, "That stuff needs to be sloped on cornbread. I just pulled it out of the oven. Smells really good. Lunch (probably, quit a few lunches) is taken care of. Lew

Jo said...

I went to uni the very first year that HECS came in. I have never earned enough to pay any of it back, and after all these years it is starting to add up. Right now, since selling my old house, I have enough spare to pay it back, and I am wondering whether this would be a good idea. I don't like to think that maybe in 20 years some govt will decide that clawing back unpaid HECS would be a good plan. Or have it taken out of my estate.. hmm, not sure about that one..

You are planting up a storm! Those callistemons along the driveway will look splendid in spring when they grow up.

Today I am making rosehip syrup, which smells divine, and hopefully will taste good too.

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I seem to recollect from some of your previous articles, that your relationship with your mother is/was complex. However it sounds as though she was quite remarkable under difficult circumstances.

My mother also borrowed money from me when I was a child. It would come from my savings book and I remember feeling aggrieved because I lost the interest on the money while it was absent.

Yes she took rent from me when I started work and I did the same to my children. I am appalled at the parents who don't do this as they are not fitting their children for later life elsewhere.

I do wish that recognising edible fungi was easier. I pick the ones I know but often see others that I am ignorant about and one just daren't.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I thought that the area for the chickens was quite large too. I must confess to having a much larger personal space since I moved to a rural area and I have to actively work at recalling that fact when I'm in the big smoke. If the chickens spy me walking about the place in the late afternoon, they commence banging on the steel door to their enclosure. The chickens seem much calmer since the pyscho chicken was dealt a final blow and interestingly all of the chickens now spend their day in the all weather run. Some of them used to hide in the hen house, so perhaps it was not chicken paradise in the enclosure. The difference is marked.

Happy birthday to the MIL at 91! What a top effort. Yes, the escaping pigs would have provided great entertainment.

Well, sometimes the old queen or the new queen that the hive has raised gets eaten or killed on her annual mating flight. Yes, the colony is in trouble, sorry to say. I assume Doug will order a replacement queen in a queen cage?

They still use the wooden nucleus boxes down here, but I imagine you are simply ahead of the curve. What a waste.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for the explanation. And yes, so true!

I wasn't sure that you didn't actually mean Fluffies into Curious Thinking? That works too, but there really is more trouble than thinking in the world of fluffy.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Far out! Literally in this case: 'Extremely lucky' surfer found after 32 hours in sea. Down here, I reckon a great white shark would have taken him. A couple of tourists were once left stranded out on the Great Barrier Reef, and let's say that the story didn't end so well for them.

Well, yeah, they are I believe a "limited liability partnership" which to be honest I'd never heard of before. And they are reputedly very secretive. Some of their food products taste strange to my taste buds, but that may just be me.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

Of course, Rage Against the Machine was a frequent addition to my musical diet, still good now and perhaps more relevant than ever. Plus they are just fun to listen to in an angry/passionate sort of way!

Yep, the Tasman Bridge damage is very easy to see. Ever since that accident all vessels over a certain size have to be escorted by one or even two tugs with the heavy cables hooked up. Even if there is no wind, which I thought might be a bit excessive. Anyway, I quite enjoyed watching the different large ships float past my balcony, we even got some interesting ice breakers on their way down south as well not to mention fancy looking ferries from the local ship builder. All in all, you could say I quite liked watching things float past on the river :-)
Big boats that Damo saw...

Unfortunately, that house could not quite see the MONA facility. I think house over the ridge behind me probably could though. They got water views (although not as good) and winter sun!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I'm assuming your annual vacation involved many long hours in the car looking out the window? Out of sheer curiosity, were you going anywhere in particular? The editor and I once drove three days to get to the north coast of New South Wales, and it was like torture for me. It was just unrelenting, and we had so little time. Then when we arrived there, I wondered why we were there and if the hippy's in that far distant locale were somehow winning? I suspect they were.

Yeah, we have talked about this before as it relates to how people could live. A sense of purpose is often lost on many people and I have a friend struggling with that issue. Keeping active is a good one too, but interestingly enough, many people believe that the editor and I are very poor because we undertake manual labour for our own benefit. They often offer helpful suggestions as to how we can earn more money from our labours and I personally wonder about those helpful and usually unasked for quaestions. I may write about that one day. How does the title: In defence of Smaug sound to you? ;-)!

Making your own bread is a challenge, but the difference in the end product is profound to the mass produced items.

Yes, bargain shopping brings out the strangest displays of belief that I have seen for a while. I rather suspect that many of those big chains pay no taxes, and one of them was threatening self checkout via a smart phone application. Surely someone has to earn a living so that others can earn theirs? I've never seen a whole foods store, but recall many references to that store in the show Six Feet Under. One of the characters was obsessive about food, despite having little money to spend on luxuries. Now that I consider the matter, they were displaying belief systems too!

Yup, don't mess with United Staff seems to be the rule of the day! Fortunately I do not fly anywhere these days, which is fine by me. Too many compromises for it to be an enjoyable experience.

I did notice all of those stores in the film. They looked like the real deal. Mind you, the characters were none too nice about those stores, the cheeky scamps. As an alert accountant (you yourself would clearly have done well in that profession given you noticed this somewhat glaring error in the story line) who is also curious about such matters, there was a minor explanation at one stage in the film: "The deceased wife had sold her legal practice". Legal practices must be lucrative gigs to fund a pristine tract of forest, and then an idyllic looking farm house. The farm house at the end of the film looked so well setup and clearly not much time had passed, that it was a vacuous story. This stuff is very, very hard and not done in a few months.

I do enjoy hearing Mr Kunstler interviewed as he is as sharp as tack.

Have you commenced reading the small kitchen book?

The funeral garden sounds fascinating and I would be particularly interested in the types of plants grown during those times. My gut feeling says that the raised garden bed was largely symbolic, but still the choice of plants would be very telling. As our resident expert on all things Roman Empire, did that civilisation deplete their top soils? I'm personally curious as to that because I'm left wondering how even a huge slave population could produce such an agricultural surplus that so many people pursued other activities outside of agriculture. You have to admit that it is an interesting question to ponder?

Haha! Yes, did you ever get the utterly predictable: Lewis is a good student, but he is easily distracted?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah!!! The nectar is held at the bottom of the flower. You rip the flower from the plant and that enables you to suck the nectar from the bottom of the flower. It tastes very good doesn't it? The honeyeaters have huge beaks which they poke into the flower to get access to the nectar. Ever since I started planting salvia's, the honeyeaters have begun turning up in force.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Jo

I am in a similar position and will rudely offer my unsolicited thoughts (NOT ADVICE!!) on HECS/HELP :-p

1) If you can earn more with your savings than the annual HELP debt increase, then I think it makes sense to not pay the debt back. E.g. 6 month term deposits pay 3.0 or even 3.5% interest. A new hot water system or solar panel system may pay you back even more via realised savings!!

2) Like you, I think it likely in the future the repayment threshold will be lowered, or even eliminated, at which point you can simply pay it back easily if step 1) has worked out.

3) You might be lucky and the debts get eliminated or forgiven, or the threshold is kept high etc. This may sound unlikely with the current government in power, but stranger things have happened in the past. Even a return to normal interest rates is not out of the question (imagine earning 6-7% on a term deposit whilst the annual HELP increase is only 2-3%).

In short, unless your savings are in a normal low interest bank account you should be profiting at least *slightly* by not paying the debt. This is probably the only debt which normal people like us can get that works this way, I plan to take advantage of it until the option is removed.

Despite my rant above, I will still feel better when I eventually pay the loans back. For now I try to approach it rationally and only think about it when needed. :-)

Cheers,
Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thoughtless and indifferent are the words that I used because they seem appropriate. I've seen people ranting about such matters elsewhere and they just don't understand the general level of apathy directed at that particular problem.

Yes, you and I have been skirting around the concept of salad days of late. :-)! The other book that can be chucked into the genre is perhaps: Atonement (film). You virtually wrote the general plot line in your rather astute analysis. It even had the pesky daughter who caused mischief for the prodigal poor bloke taken under the wealthy families wing in order to train to become a doctor. Are you certain you didn't write that book? Hehe! The whole Brideshead Revisited thing was a massive cultural influence when I was very young and I recall my older sisters having a party with that theme. They were quite taken with the story. I have never seen it.

What is the message? That's what I was left wondering too. Maybe the message is don't get tangled up in wealthy folks social arrangements because they may bite? Dunno. I've known wealthy folk and they're a mixed bag really. The Chinese have a saying the gist of which is that wealth rarely survives three generations. I've seen that play out.

So true. It was orange. How that happened is well beyond our understanding, but orange furniture is not so good on the eye.

Roses are as tough as old boots. This plant in particular wasn't dead, it was just struggling to get some light. It'll do much better in the new location. Are you considering taking any of the roses to the new place?

What? No! Of course not. Oh my goodness. I reckon the mushroom compost is one of the best investments I've made and we have brought an unconscionable quantity of the stuff up here. Mind you, the top soil is also slowly deepening where the chop and drop activities are occurring. A lot of people up here burn off their leaves and I don't get that because the trees spent a huge amount of energy just bringing all of those minerals to the surface. Once eucalyptus leaves are chopped up, the break up much more quickly than if left to their own devices. And soil life begets soil life.

Nobody thought to ask the Aboriginals which mushrooms were edible and which weren't and so pretty much nobody really knows down here. I avoid them all like the plague.

Your analysis of the alternate ending of that film seems quite probable. I was left wondering what happened too. What a pest! It was anything but neat, but that can be charming too. Yes, bloke talk is very common down here and it took me a while to learn how to speak it. Don't believe for one second that there is not also the female version which may possibly be described as: Chick talk! ;-)! The son was a pest, who is just mean spirited, and oh, the overly emotional reactions about something that doesn't matter as much as people would think. You are so spot on about the sponsor. Anyway, far out, I reckon they had bigger problems being out of a job and all with no future prospects for a job in the town... What? You're not planning to read the book? Outrageous. :-)! Loved the review.

Ouch, well lets hope the power doesn't go out. Is this a case of starting with the classic assumption: Let's assume nothing goes wrong. Hopefully, there'll be someone on the other side of the door wanting to get out?

I've gotta bounce as I worked late today and my head is spinning far out in the wide and choppy accountant-sea! Alas for me.

As a little side note, you could perhaps chilli (chill!) if things are not going according to plan? ;-)! Bad, Chris, bad joke! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Ah yes, HECS / HELP debts are indexed unfortunately. My understanding about HECS is that when you die, if your income in that year exceeds the threshold, you pay that years liability, otherwise, the remaining debt then extinguishes with your death and as such you'd have to assume that it is not extracted from the estate. I have not seen that course of events in action. I can't offer you advice in that regard, but you wouldn't be the only person in that situation, and you never quite know what the future holds in store.

Callistemons are beautiful flowering shrubs and given the rain of recent days, they're getting off to a good start in life. I plant more trees each year than I harvest for firewood.

Speaking of which, I'm reading up on firewood at the moment. I reckon you may have to run you wood fire hot so that the exhaust burns cleanly and you don't annoy the neighbours with lots of wood smoke. This means having dry firewood with a low moisture content and using the air control to allow more oxygen into the combustion chamber. Plus, I'd probably start the fire earlier in the day when they're not about! ;-)! The trick then is to not let the fire run too hot, and you probably won't get overnight burns which usually generate a huge amount of wood smoke. I'm happy to discuss this matter as it is very complex.

Go the rosehip syrup and I look forward to reading about the results of the recipe.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh yeah, my mothers life would have been massively complex and very stressful. How she managed all of those different obligations without going bananas is well beyond my understanding. Well, that explains a few things! We were never close because so many other concerns were at her feet and my older sister went way, way off the rails. The problem with constantly fighting fires is that you can occasionally forget that there are some nice locations about the place and they may be thoroughly ignored because they're not a fire. It is still complex today, because she is basically indifferent and some people can carry a sense of pride to their grave, because maybe that is all they have to hold onto and maybe if they meditate upon their actions it may bring their previous decisions into question and that would truly be uncomfortable. My thoughts on that matter is that sometimes you have to let go of things. I read that somewhere described as the psychology of previous investment (it may have been Mr Kunstler).

Haha! Yes, self-confessed young capitalists of the world unite! Hehe! Respect. :-)!

It is also a wealth transferal activity from the parents to the children by not charging board to adult working children and many people nowadays pursue that strategy because they have a deep seated but rarely spoken discomfit at the out of control property market down under. Mind you, I have suggested alternative courses of action to many people which addresses this problem, but they are uncomfortable with my suggestions. I can but only try.

It is virtually impossible to detect which fungi here are edible unless they are in a pine forest and then they are introduced varieties. The animals consume all of the fungi fruiting bodies so they must know what they are doing. Like you, I dare not because the consequences for getting it wrong are horrendous.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Arghhhh! "I even distinctly recall that one point in time, my mother had to borrow money from me for some reason or other. I was of course happy to offer an unsecured loan at interest with fixed terms to accommodate this need." Putting the bite on your own mother, you shark! In actuality, your reasoning was probably sound.

That's rough, Australia's current program of student debt repayment, but I think that it is equally bad here. I know people in their forties who are still trying to pay off their student loans. One thing that we hammered into our sons' heads was to NEVER take out a loan to go to university.

That wonderful tung oil.

The bottlebrush hedge is going to be gorgeous in bloom. The same goes for the acacia. Look out - your Japanese maple is on fire! I have pineapple sage; it is not blooming yet. You and Damo mentioned that one can drink its flower nectar. I never knew that. We do that with our honeysuckle (clever name). That would be the lonicera species. What a fantastic succulent. Ours have to come in for the winter. What a weird chrysanthemum; I believe it came from outer space.

Enough! What could top "Fluffies into Curious Thinking"?!

Around here, many companies are LLC - Limited Liability Companies. I think that it keeps the personal assets of the owner/owners from being taken if the company gets into debt. Only the actual company assets can be touched. I think.

I think that you mentioned last week having some trouble growing peas? We do well with sugar snap peas. They are a cross between snow peas and "English" peas and can be used whole or shelled. The ones I planted last fall are producing well; we did have an unusual winter, though, so I'll have to see if that works again this coming winter. The ones planted this spring are just now blooming, so we were several weeks ahead harvesting from our fall-planted ones.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I very much like your "thoughts" to Jo about HELP repayment, but I understand that uneasy feeling about having any debt.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

"It is also a wealth transferal activity from the parents to the children by not charging board to adult working children and many people nowadays pursue that strategy because they have a deep seated but rarely spoken discomfit at the out of control property market down under"

I think it is fair for adult children living at home to contribute non-monetarily (at least as far as rent goes) through their labor, as in upkeep to the "homestead" (it's easier if one does have a homestead). Times are hard; sometimes that's the only way they can save money. It is working out well here. Everyone's back on the farm. I believe it has worked in Greece, too . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Dad got three weeks vacation, a year. Two were for the yearly family outing, one he saved for hunting in the fall. We alternated years to visit family in Nebraska (and, once onto Minnesota), or down to California. The folks weren't gamblers, much, but we always swung through Reno, Nevada, on our return trip so they could gamble. The trips were kind of brutal. We'd leave Portland at 3 on Friday afternoon and arrive in Nebraska on Sunday afternoon. Dad would get restless after two or three days and it was onto the next stop ... Montana. When we were forced to seek a motel, it was in and out of a lot of places, looking for the lowest rate. We'd beg for a motel with a pool ... what were all those YMCA swimming lessons about? ... but it never happened. Forget "roadside attractions. :-). Usually, either my brother, me, or both of us would get ill, somewhere along the way. Flu like symptoms. The last vacation we took, Mum put her foot down and we got to see Mt. Rushmore, Devil's Post Pile (See 'Close Encounters, 3d kind), Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, the Mormon Pioneer Museum in Salt Lake City..

When I was a young adult, on my own, I took more leisurely trips, either on my own or road trips with pals. Now, trips out of county are .. daunting. Longview. I should get a new computer but the idea of driving up to Olympia ...

Yeah, someone's always suggesting, or doesn't "get it" when you want to do something in a more labor intensive way. "It would be so much easier if..." Can't quit pull up the exact quote but somewhere in the AA literature there's a riff about "trying an easier softer way..." and that that doesn't work out. Then there's the whole concept of doing things an old way. A more resilient way. Maybe not much glitz and glamour, maybe it's not "modern" ... but maybe it's got all kinds of side benefits that aren't apparent. To the lazy and uninformed :-).

Ah, bargain shopping. I have a script "Walmart's destroy main streets" and my friends in Idaho have a script "We were so poor we didn't have a choice." LOL. It's just one of those areas we don't bring up. Speaking of Idaho, lots of drama, over there, this week. The daughter is back from Arizona to drop the "D" word on the husband. Divorce. She's also feeling bad that her folks moved over to be closer to her, and now she's running off. They're talking about moving somewhere else when they hit 70. I observed that I'm glad I didn't move to idaho, as I'd eventually be stranded in Council. So it goes ...

Airline employees have to put up with some pretty bizarre behavior from the public. I think sometimes is spills over onto the innocent.

Kunstler is sharp. Of course, he comes from that whole school of New Journalism. Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, et all. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Hmm. Land around the Med. Yup. They played out the farmland soil. That was a problem. But even worse was the deforestation. Erosion, big time. Greece, Italy, the Middle East coastal areas, Crete .... all used to be heavily forested. Most of that went. Charcoal, metal working, glass making ... it all required huge amounts of wood. And, the climate was different. Until 4 or 500 AD, North Africa was a garden. Lots of grain grown. Orchards and vineyards. Mostly gone.

I really can't remember the comments on my report cards. I got good grades, but think some of the comments were things like "Doesn't pay attention in class." Because I was reading :-). I could usually knock of a book a day ... juvenile literature. I'd developed the talent of when a teacher would try and trip me up, and call on me, I could pretty much parrot back whatever they were nattering on about. :-).

One wonders. Back when I was in high school and having problems at home, I was offered to be taken in by one of my best friends family. Wealthy, landed, Catholic. I said no. Or, no thank you :-). Looking back, there's been quit a few times in my life when something was on offer, and I said no. Had I said yes, my life would have been very different. I've always ... avoided obligation as I have a wide streak of "going my own way." Different drummer, and all that :-).

I won't be taking roses, with me. The patch that's "mine" will be mostly used for food production. I'm taking rhubarb, horseradish and fennel. Rosemary. I may slip in a bit of Love in the Mist and periwinkle, here and there :-). The grounds of The Home are nicely landscaped and there's plenty of roses. The library has a long established rose garden. it will be interesting to see what the forest / park up behind The Home, is like. If there's opportunity to do a bit of foraging, or even a bit of gorilla gardening :-).

Well, if I hadn't put in the potatoes, the hash could have gone in a chili direction. There's something about the idea of potatoes and beans that just doesn't sit well. In my mind, it's either / or. Even though I put a lot of "interesting" foods together, every once in awhile, I run into something that just doesn't seem ... right. When I made the blueberry muffins, I thought about a maple syrup icing. But something about that just made me wrinkle my nose and squint my eyes. So, I went with just a plain sugar frosting, which was fine. I can't explain a lot of why I do what I do in the kitchen. Gut feeling? That's almost a pun :-). Sometimes, I refer to the way I cook as "Vibration Cooking." Catching the vibe. It's the vibe man, it's the vibe :-).

I think I'll catch the men's meeting, tonight. Talk about ... bloke talk :-). And, the noise level! 30 guys crammed in a small room in a church basement. Luckily, everyone's personal hygiene is up to snuff. Or, sniff :-). Lew

Yahoo2 said...

The comments last week about vegan food prompted me to try an easy challenge, or so I thought.
Three cooked meals (minimum six dishes) with a bit of wow factor made with whole food not processed, must be plant based and low oil and fat, no peeking at a recipe and no shopping. Standing in the kitchen my mind was surprisingly blank, like Homer Simpson with an echo blank.
Eventually I got it together and knocked up some pretty tasty food but none of them was a real knockout, I am disappointed because I know I can do a whole lot better. At one point I almost reached of some butter to cover up for some faulty technique. Of course in the days since I have thought of twenty or so choices that would have been really good but it is to late, the challenge was a fail, no master chef trophy for me.

Taking a hard look at what I have been eating lately about 10% of my meals would fit the true criteria for a plant based meal. For someone who prides themselves on having a varied diet that is just appalling I have got myself into a bit of a rut.

Re the Alpha Amylase in the bread, I am surprised that you need to use it, perhaps its the super quick rise time and the dry yeast that requires it.

The bread wheat varieties that we grow are tested with a falling numbers machine at the delivery point specifically for Amylase levels and we get downgraded to animal feed if we fall below a set level. I would be very annoyed if the amylase is being milled out.
As a bit of background about modern bread wheats, they are designed to be high protein specifically to help retain both crumble and chewyness with the commercial high speed dough mixing machines. For home baking with hand kneading or no knead long prove times the high protein flours can be way overkill. Adding some lower protein flour, leaving out the extra amylase and going for a longer slower cooler prove to let the yeast do its thing SHOULD give the bread a lot more natural flavours and a softer lighter loaf. This means we dont need as many toasted seeds to tart up the taste and hide the uncooked flour notes. My opinion only, food for thought I guess.
cheers Yahoo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

That band really gets the blood pumping and I reckon Killing in the Name is the angriest song that I have ever heard. Plus the ending has an excellent use of some colourful chunks of potty mouth! Ah, the rage!!!! :-)!

Oh, I didn't realise that there were big ships still going under the Tasman bridge. The space between the pylons was rather narrow. That would have been quite the site to see. Interestingly the captain of the ship that hit the bridge had his certification suspended for six months. The photos of the cars hanging over the precipice are a bit frightening to contemplate.

Winter sun is a commodity in short supply. Thanks for the link. How cool is the sailing ship - which looks tiny compared to some of the monsters.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo and Jo,

Sorry to have to tell you this, but: Debt is debt no matter how you dress it up. The sheer evasiveness of our financial industry is part of the problem with peoples understanding of money matters.

Don't take that as a judgement on my part of your own activities because it is purely an observation. I'm not troubled one bit what either of you do in that regard.

I use to worry that I didn't understand all of the many financial instruments in the market until I realised that they are sort of similar and have several main concepts and the many and varied names are intended to confuse us. It is a deliberate policy.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

RE: Debt and so forth

Just waiting for a large backup to complete (I am working I swear!)...

I am a little bit confused by your reply Chris, I think everyone is in agreement that debt is not good, representing, as it does, a future obligation. Beyond that observation however I think people do need a framework for rationally comparing options. There is always a trade-off to any decision.

Difficult!

Cheers,
Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

You do realise that sharks have lots of teeth, so that must make me a Toothy? I'm not really toothy and putting the bite on people, they do well enough at that activity themselves.

Yes, I totally 100% agree with you. Taking on the student debt should be considered an investment of your future resources and your present and future time. And if that investment doesn't yield a return (i.e. a job or a decent wage) then forget about it. Your son received wise counsel. There are currently 1.4 million students at University I believe down here (although I may be wrong), are there jobs waiting for them? I may have mentioned this before but there are apparently more students studying journalism than there are even jobs in the entire country. Labour is not immune to the laws of supply and demand.

Thank you. I love that Tung oil. Great stuff and the table is looking glossier and less orange.

The trees and hedges will look really nice and the birds will love them. Hmm, the honeysuckle has a fascinating name - although to be honest I never really thought about the name before, but it does seem obvious when you think about it. :-)!

Close Encounters of the Chrysanthemum kind - the flower years. Sorry for the bad joke! Hehe!

We could keep going on you know. Fluffies Into Contemplating Trees? ;-)!

Oh yeah, down here we call those things Pty Ltd which refers to the Proprietary Limited. The thing was that one example I referred to was apparently a limited liability partnership which is perhaps a whole different legal animal.

Thanks for the suggestion and I'll see if I can track down some seeds.

It is a gamble really and at the moment Jo is ahead on that gamble, but the rules relating to that game are subject to change as they did recently. But in her situation, I would probably play that card too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Ah yes of course, you are correct and that is the basis of the historical home economy. I'm unsure how many actually take that option though. I don't see a lot of that going on.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate. Thanks for sharing those trip notes as they were brutal. I'm trying hard to keep it family friendly so I can't actually type what I actually said out load upon reading your travel story. Ouch. Mate, that's halfway across the country in only a couple of days. What an ordeal. Devil's post pile. Yeah. How cool was that film? I had no idea what was going on. What did the aliens want to do at the end of the film? Perhaps they intended to have a concert? It seemed like a good place. And those blocks in the images of the National Park would make awesome building blocks. We have a very similar geological formation not too far from where I live called the: Organ Pipes National Park.

Travel is meant to be enjoyed and I respect your later choice of slower more leisurely trips. Well your old computer is still working. More or less...

They are and I have no idea why. But it happens all of the time. It reminds me of some sort of normalising process and to be honest, I feel that the comments whilst directed at myself are usually reflect upon the people making the comments. Perhaps they are looking for an excuse themselves as to why things are a certain way and the harder and more expensive they make projects or activities, the less likely they have to face them. Of course, the easy path is indeed the hard path and I have no doubts about that. Maybe you're onto something about the status seeking? Certainly that has something to do with the comments. Dunno.

You were close to moving there so you carefully dodged a bullet. You know, it is hard to tell when such things happen as people rarely let you in to the insides of their lives. I have friends who are now divorced and they seemed superficially happy at the time, but I rather suspect that that is not enough. I read a charming quote about stacking firewood in a wood fire being like a good marriage - close enough to feel the heat, but with enough distance to allow some breathing space for air.

Oh yeah, anyone who faces the public has to deal with some strange gear. The customer may be right, but they may just as easily be wrong. Try collecting debts for a living and you'll soon hear it all. Of course it sharpens the mind to tall tales. Ha! The innocent are collateral damage in those circumstances.

Kunstler is sharp. He has a good eye and ear for the human condition.

Thanks for the explanation. Of course, the deforestation also probably accelerated or exacerbated the warming of north Africa. Trees are massive water pumps after all and they release some of that water vapour into the atmosphere. That loss of grain perhaps would have made sustaining a complex civilisation very difficult. I note that Kansas has had a wheat busting snow storm which will affect the wheat crop in the US.

Clearly you were an alert student. Multi tasking is hard for me.

The offer by the wealthy family may have been a double edged sword which would cut deeply. I wonder whether the families introduced the newcomers to act in the role of a foil. Occasionally both the editor and I have been asked to attend other families Christmas parties and that would be very awkward and we dodged the offer, although it may well have been kind. You dodged a bullet I reckon and going your own way is a sign of strength.

Nice choices and very easy to grow and start from cuttings. Oh you have park up behind the home? Cool. I reckon you'll enjoy some walks through there.

Potatoes and beans seem OK to me, but fair enough. Plain sugar icing would be very tasty on the muffins. Yum! I'm catching the vibe, man! Hehe. Love it! I'll never think of experimental cooking the same way again.

Grunt. Bloke stuff talk. Grunt. Ugg! Grunt.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Damo and Jo

My apologies in advance for the following. No debt ever ever for any reason at all. Too many people at university now; if you have to get into debt to go then don't go. If you are stunningly brilliant there are ways of getting grants if you are sufficiently wanted. Freedom always and debt is not freedom.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

It seems the psycho hen was the problem. Glad things are settling down.

Regarding people who never intend going to college funding them through their taxes, we hear the same argument about property taxes. The majority of our property taxes fund the public schools and seniors or people without children say the same thing not realizing the benefit of an educated population to society as a whole. Still some reduction might be something to consider. Seniors do get an exemption which lowers the taxes a bit.

When you become an adult most people realize that their parents are just people with their own strengths and weaknesses and hopefully come to some understanding about them. My mother was not the maternal type - should have had a career but had eight children. In her lecture about birth control she said "..and nothing works!!" I was resentful and angry that I had to do so much caring for my siblings but she did admit she was wrong and I understand more who she was. I was a single mother but of just one for awhile after I divorced my first husband and was working more than full time and taking accounting classes at night. It wasn't easy. I sure wouldn't have the energy to do it now.

If my daughters were to move back I would definitely charge rent.

We were fortunate that between scholarships and two separate modest inheritances we were able to pay for both girls' education. Our youngest (not the one that earned scholarships) went to the community college for a few years which is a huge savings and then to one of the state universities which was pretty reasonable. Her last semester she had an internship and didn't want to work during it. As we felt we had paid enough and it had taken her longer to get her degree we said she either had to work or get a lone so she chose to take a $5,000 loan in her name. I believe she was able to defer it for awhile while of course accruing interest. I imagine it's larger now but that's her choice. At least it's not these horrendous amounts I've been hearing about.

The tables and plants look great!!

I could go on but it's a busier than normal week though I'm not sure what's normal anymore. Have to prepare the bed for tomatoes as it's finally getting warmer. I'll be gone most of the weekend for yet another shower and then staying over at oldest daughters to see the twins in a play on Sunday.

Rooster still on his good behavior even with strangers visiting the coop this weekend.
Talked to Michael yesterday and the first words out of his mouth were "I really like this place!!" which is a big relief to me. Taking him to a "meet and greet" appointment with his new doctor this afternoon.

Margaret


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I heard a radio report that when you add student acquired debt to the debt that parents have taken out to fund their precious little snow flakes education ... well, it far exceeds the total consumer debt in the US. Which is huge. The bubble expands... Yes, people natter on about tax deductions. But, even in my highest earning years, keeping track of everything I could deduct, I never had a high enough deduction pile to claim them. And, yes, I had a bit of student debt. But I always dropped my yearly tax refunds on them, and the first windfall I got, I paid it off. Sweet relief. :-)

What did the aliens want to do at the end of the film? I think probes were involved :-). Oh, I quit liked the film. I think the aliens just wanted to take the guy away, to get to know humans better and establish more contact. Organ Pipes does look a lot like Devil's Post Pile. Geological formations can be so fascinating. As are the folk tales attached to them. There was probably a natural bridge over the Columbia River, at one point. Some of the Native American tales about it, and it's fall, are fascinating. See: Bridge of the Gods.

I used to be really good at multi-tasking when young. Not so much, anymore. Lost, due to age, wear and tear and general abuse. :-)

Yup. There's a rather large park / forest behind The Home. Let's see if I can set the scene. There's a ridge of hills that run on the east side of both Centralia and Chehalis. Over in Centralia, there is a similar park, called Seminary Hill. There was a well known local fellow (Rufus Kaiser) who was very outdoorsey. Boy Scout leader, for years, etc. He spear headed turning Seminary Hill into a preserved area. He also published a little book (which I have) which describes the plants you might see, month by month. I think that would also apply to the park, behind The Home. It's only a few miles south of Seminary Hill. It will be interesting to see if his plant observations, for each month, still hold true. I would guess that given the distance of 60 odd years, everything has shifted back, a month or two. Given climate change. Maybe? Rufus Kaiser lived to a ripe old age. They found him, back against a tree, gazing out over the forest he had helped preserve. Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. When I went to the meeting, last night, I got to talking with a new fellow. He recommended a web site that might help "heal" my computer. Now when I Google something like that, I always wonder if I'm actually seeing the "real" site ... or, something bogus set to entrap me. My solution? There's a Wikipedia entry with a link to the site. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable. Looks like it might help, but I think my software might be too old. But, I'll give it a whirl. Advance Systems Care.

Ah, the mystery as to why we don't have world's fairs anymore is solved. There's a French agency called "Bureau International des Espositions" that oversees such things. Back in 2001, Congress wouldn't renew the $33,000 yearly fee to belong. The article made it sound like it was not renewed, due to miss-placed thrift. I don't think so. At just about that time, there was a lot of feelings against the French, as they weren't very enthusiastic about joining us in our little adventure in the Middle East. Sillyness was rampant in some quarters. "French Fries" (chips?) were re-dubbed "Freedom Fries." You were an Enemy of the State if you didn't refer to French Toast, as Freedom Toast. Well, I said it was all pretty silly :-). Any-who. Minnesota wants to throw a world's fair in 2023, so, the US is going to sign onto the Bureau, again.

In other news you might not have seen, there's been a nuclear leak at Hanaford. Hanaford was a site in SE Washington State that was part of the Manhattan Project, back in WWII. They had something like 9 reactors, there, to make the fuel for the bombs. It's the biggest clean up site in the US. It's right on the Columbia River. Prevailing winds are to the east, so, no worries here. But I hope my friends in Idaho are taking their iodine tablets ...

There's a big problem in South Carolina. Apparently, a Google server farm wants to use 1.5 million gallons of water to cool their servers (per day? per week? per month?). Hmmmm. Can't they recycle the water? Cool it down a bit and reuse it? I understand that there are huge server farms down on the Columbia River (close to Hanaford. What could go wrong?) That uses water out of the Columbia, and then returns it. Doesn't seem to be a problem. I've always been curious about server farms. Wonder what the security is like?

Off to the Little Smoke. Shop. Gas with my friend Scott. Slop down some of that wonderful club coffee :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

In the interests of improving financial literacy, I now propose a test for those brave enough to take up the challenge.

The test should take under a minute.

The test is as follows:

1) Click on the link to this Australian government website and read the text which relates to student loans; and then

Study Assist

2) Provide me with a simple yes or no response as to whether you believe interest is applied to student debts in Australia.

It is a very simple test and I'd be very interested as to your responses.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

You can justify your answer if you so desire.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

Where do you get your trees? A favorite nursery? So far one almond is a dead stick, one of the oaks I planted is very iffy, the others have variously leafed out or leafed out initially and are now bare. Some buds still swelling though.

And, back in January, I got a two for one pair of japanese maple shrubs which were crispy from neglect at the big box store that only just started showing leaves this week. I was convinced they were well and truly dead.

This week finished Wendell Berry´s ¨Unsettling of America¨ which was very good. Made me feel better about doing things the slow, ¨hard¨ way. Astonishing that he wrote it in the 70´s and we´re still dealing with the same industrial policy crap. Anyone heard anything from the ADR?

I managed to fit a career high of 8 sacks of horse poo in the car yesterday, and they gave it to me free for shoveling it myself. Go me!

Damo said...

@Finance and Debt

Yes

Don't even need to click the link :-p Interest is applied to student debt at a variable rate year to year, in line with the CPI. Did someone claim it is not?

PS: I have now clicked the link out of interest. They are calling it something else, but it is still an interest rate. My original response stands!

Cheers,
Damo

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I am already biased as I am convinced that interest is charged, but I love the use of the word 'indexation'; very sneaky.

We still have our incredibly dry weather which provides the bonus of no mosquitos.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Work has begun on erecting my neighbour's home. A giant crane is there ( which may have to come down if we get a threatened thunder storm). The lorries have driven from Latvia and should have arrived in correct sequence, what could go wrong? We reckon that the loading men ignored their computer instructions and just chucked the stuff on the lorries. The result is that the stuff is not arriving in the sequence in which it has to be built. Due to limited space they are having a nightmare trying to decide where the heck to place the stuff as they wait for the ground floor to arrive. I am invited to come and watch whenever I wish.

Inge

Jo said...

Well, thank you all for weighing in on this debate. I must confess to leaning on the side of 'paying off debt' as debt of any kind makes me nervous - purely from a philosophical standpoint I feel like I am not truly free until I don't owe anyone anything. On the other hand, that is also a very modern and individualistic viewpoint - of course, none of us is an island and we all owe each other everything.

I think also that our society forces debt on many of us at vulnerable time in our lives when we feel we have no other options eg student loans and Damo's example of loans pressed on vulnerable people who don't understand what they are letting themselves in for. I would absolutely support all sorts of repudiation-of-debt movements, from IMF loans to developing countries, to protesting against the type of revolting behaviour of banks over sub-prime mortgage scams.. er, schemes.

Now, to Chris' question of indexation versus interest. I would come down on the side of Not Interest IF indexation is truly linked to the cost of living. That would mean that my debt in 1992 would have the exact same value as my debt today, just with different numbers. My brief research has revealed that a loaf of bread in 1992 cost $1.37 whilst the average cost of a loaf of bread today is $2.61 (not any bread that I buy, I might add.. that would be fairly nasty bread..). So the cost of living has nearly doubled, and so has my HECS/HELP debt, but its value has remained the same..

Interest has to make money lending profitable, so it has to be above indexation.

But, Mr Accountant, here is my question - is indexation applied in a compound manner? You know, increasing like compound interest on the new value of the debt? Or is indexation applied always to the original amount of debt, ie the percentage of value increase over time since 1992 (in my case..). I am imagining the latter, otherwise I think my debt would be much more..

btw Damo, yes, I absolutely appreciate the return on investment of things like solar and rainwater tanks! Much more valuable in their return (and reliable) than the stock market..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo, Margaret, Lewis, Inge, and Coco,

Thanks for the lovely comments and I mustn't lie because rather than responding to comments this evening, I'm off to the pub for a pint and a feed. I promise to reply to your comments tomorrow evening.

Inge and Damo - ;-)! Well done and it is perhaps at best a very dishonest claim and at worst it could be very misleading. But there in lies the main point which I'll write about tomorrow evening in a more thorough reply.

Lewis - Mate, I went into the big smoke today. And it was smoky today as there are all sorts of burn offs going on. In fact this morning when I stepped outside the door, I could smell burnt vegetation and the air is thick with grey smoke haze.

Anyway, very, very occasionally I will splash out and purchase an artisanal product. Today I went to a very old school hat shop and purchased a beautiful rabbit pelt felted hat. I'd been considering getting a new hat for a while now as my old fedora was dead in the water due to overuse during summer. I felt like the character Mr Carr in Mr Greer's Retrotopia book as the very cool guy that ran the store measured my head and then selected a choice of hats that may be appropriate for my head. I reckon I spent about 45 minutes in the shop just talking with the guy about hats. Who knew that they could be repaired or even re-molded? It was a real pleasure.

I had a huge number of errands to run, and well it is the jobs that are not done that take the longest to do as they say.

Anyway, I gotta bounce and head off to the pub.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Coco:

The last comment at The Well of Galabes is by Mr. Greer and he says that his new site is up and running and that we should be able to view it by the Solstice.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

You deserve an elephant stamp for purchasing such a hat! Well done!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

"There is no interest charged on HELP debts."

Should I not believe that?

In other words - I have no idea.

Pam

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I suppose technically speaking indexation is not interest, though if the CPI is increasing it will act similarly in increasing the amount that students owe to the government for their educations. But to understand the effect of using indexation rather than interest to determine the amount to be paid back on student loans, we have to look at the consumer price index or CPI and ask ourselves what is included in that? If, say, average mortgage payments are included in the CPI, then if the average mortgage payment goes up, the CPI goes up, and the amount I owe on my student loan goes up. That's acceptable, I suppose, if my paycheck is also moving up along with the index; in that case, relatively speaking, I'd owe the same amount on my student loan as before. But suppose it isn't, which it might not be if I'm paid a wage rather than a salary, or if I'm self-employed and I cannot increase my working hours or what I charge per hour of work, or if I'm out of work and not receiving a benefit or the benefit isn't increasing with the CPI. Then I am, as we liked to say in the 1970s in the US, shafted. More generally, the use of indexation rather than interest would tend to benefit those whose income goes up with the CPI but penalize those whose income does not. It seems to me it gives quite an incentive to the government to find a way to make the CPI increase as rapidly as possible, so as to bring in more money from those paying off loans (if they can). I can imagine doing that by juggling what is included in the basket of goods that makes up the CPI so that things which are increasing rapidly in price are included in the CPI while things which increase more slowly or even decrease are dropped out of it. I'll be interested in hearing your take on the issue.

It eventually stopped raining and warmed up for a few days. I got started on preparing the bed in which I'll plant tomatoes and peppers, since we are past the last frost. Because I didn't start seedlings this year I had to buy them, which presented a choice. Should I buy the cheaper seedlings carried by nurseries nearest me or go farther afield so I could buy at least some of the same varieties I was planning to grow from seed? I settled on the latter because a nursery about 20 miles / 30ish km away carries two of the four tomato varieties I planned to grow from seed, including my favorite, 'Arkansas Traveler'. But it came at a price: $96 to be exact for a total of 38 tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings plus two lavender plants and 3 small pots with multiple basil seedlings in one pot and multiple parsley seedlings in the other two. As long as the plants produce I'll still be money ahead, but it reminded me of one of the reasons I go to a lot of trouble to grow good seedlings.

Speaking of the plants producing, despite the fence around the garden I have found rabbits in the garden inside the fence. By chasing them out I observed that they were jumping a little more than half the height of the fence so they could get out through the 4" x 4" (10cm x 10cm) openings at that height and up to the top. It seemed reasonable to assume that they get in the same way they got out. After pondering on the problem I realized that I could attach upside-down fencing to the existing fencing to block the larger openings at the top with the smaller openings at the bottom. It happened that I had four rolls of fence waiting to be recycled which would be sufficient to cover the four rolls of fence currently being used. While the unused fence rolls are rusting, they are good enough to serve as blocks. So I spent several hours attaching the fence to up the probability that the rabbits will stay out of the garden and not eat the seedlings when I plant them. I hope this works.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Burn offs. Tis the season :-). On nice days, here, there's a bit of burning, about. Still green and damp enough that there's little fire danger.

Ohhh. A new hat! Pictures! Pictures! The hats I've tried on just don't look right on me. Can't really pull them off. Except for the standard baseball / feed store hat. Even those ... it's hard to find a good one. They're either themed with hunting and fishing (I don't do either), sports teams (could care less), or some political statement (let's not go there.) Also, several brands of liquor. Might be interesting to wear one of those to an AA meeting :-). So, I've managed to find two feed store caps. One is beat to heck, and I wear it out in the yard. Then there's the "going to town" cap. LOL. So. When he was measuring your head did he detect any swelling? :-).

We hear Sunbirds (a local kind of department store) has been bought with Arab money (I suppose they've got to put the oil money, somewhere). And, Yardbirds (an old building ... once all kinds of small businesses ... now flea market, auction, grocery store, 12 Step Club) is being looked over by a Chinese delegation (I suppose they've got to put all that Walmart money, somewhere.) Hmmm. Both buildings have flooded, several times. There's a rumor of toxic waste under the Yardbirds building. The Chinese rumor is they're going to knock it down a build a fancy mall. Bad move. Can't be seen from the freeway. Another shopping mall is not far away, on the other side of a swamp. It's what brought me here. Used to be a vibrant little mall with bookstore, record shop, shoe stores, drug store, etc. etc. Nothing left now but a dying Sears and multi-screen theatre. But, I suppose "it will be different this time" and "we have a better idea" are not limited by nationality.

Cliff Mass has a post about the homeless in Seattle. Horrendous pictures. Interesting comments. Interesting because it reveals what a can of worms the whole homeless question raises. Raining puppies and kitties. Inside day. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I'm very glad that the chickens are settling down too. I wonder if the psycho chicken had a brain injury or some other problem like a tumour. I've read accounts that suggest that some peoples personalities can change markedly after either of those brain events. How is your new gentlemanly rooster settling in?

They're applying the same argument to the same problem really. It is a tough argument to face and I feel for Doug having to field those sorts of arguments. My take on the core of the problem - and it is a wild guess more than anything else - is that because we lack a coherent vision about what we want society to look like (as do we down here), there is this never ending merry go round of squabbling about the details. Dunno, that thought just popped into my head. Infrastructure - like schools etc. - are just one of those things that nobody seems to be able to agree upon.

That is so true about becoming an adult and recognising that your parents (or parent in my case) have foibles and weaknesses. There is a certain amount of re-balancing of relationships with parents as a person becomes an adult and that is a difficult time fraught with complexities. But overall, I reckon there is a little bit of letting go, and some just don't want to do that. Yes, your situation would have been mind bogglingly hard and I sympathise with you and salute your efforts of getting through that tough time. Part time study nowadays. Ouch. Tired... There'd be a blog but no ongoing dialogue, that's for sure.

Charge away! Mr Greer once quoted another writer who remarked that: "There is no such thing as a free lunch!" I did enjoy a free lunch this week though... :-)!

Congratulations on both your daughters achieving scholarships. A truly commendable effort on all of you. I know of people in their mid twenties with student debts in the order of around $50k. It is a great deal of money.

Thank you, and the final coat of Tung oil was applied yesterday. Yay for the lack of tung oil stink in the house!

Enjoy your mini break and I hope the soil is warm enough to get the tomato seedlings in the ground.

That is excellent news with Michael and that must have been a relief for yourself?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The whole education bubble thing is a blip in time to my mind. As we as a society head into decline the education system will revert back to where it used to be way back in the day. Way back in High School I read a book which was published in 1964 by the author George Johnson called My Brother Jack. The book is a story which chronicles the demise of the masculine archetype in this country. At one point in the story, the narrator mentions that another character achieved a Bachelor of Arts and then added the rather unflattering opinion that the undergraduate degree was awarded back in the day when they were "worth something". That pithy observation struck a chord with me, whether it was true or not. Despite earning honours I don't recall anyone at University teaching me how to use critical thinking skills and I was always mildly disappointed by the experience.

I read a long time ago that whomever controls the debt controls the asset, so sweet relief is a good feeling.

Aren't those aliens a bit naughty with their probes and all. It is uncalled for! Something should be done about it. Yeah, I sort of felt that they were there to expedite contact with a Moog synthesizer. Fancy having one of those beasties in your garden shed! Of course the shed may also be a 40ft long container!

Imagine damming the Columbia River. Well at least for a little while... There may be a lesson in there somewhere about being wary of beautiful maidens who your brother may also covet and be prepared to go to war over.

My brain is not so good nowadays at multi-tasking. On the other hand my brain provides me with better options based on experience when events go wrong, as they occasionally do. ;-)! It is a trade off I guess.

The friends of Seminary Hill have a Facebook page and the photos looked entrancing. You are in for a serious treat having access to that place. Well, I wouldn't ask for a better ending to a life well lived. Places need people to ward off the ill effects of other people - that's life for us as a species.

How did the system clean up go? I do hope your computer is feeling better? I do all of the IT stuff here and computers drive me bonkers. I like them when they work, but when they don't they can be painful.

Well we all seemed to have kissed and made up with the French! Did I ever mention the incident of the: Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. I'd call that a hands on response and I recall the backlash here against anything French. It is all forgotten nowadays and we all move on.

Hanaford, well who am I to argue, but nuclear waste hangs around a long, long time. I don't even know what to say. And a National Park as well... Yes, iodine tablets may provide some relief.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Who knows about server farms. They are a mystery to me. Plenty of power stations use cooling towers to recover water, and I know of a gas fired power station which is also a popular fishing spot due to the abundance of toasty warm water. With infrastructure here I try really hard to stack functions so that the output or waste from one system becomes the input for another system. Life sort of works that way, us humans seem to be intent on creating waste. It wasn't always that way.

Hope the meeting was good?

There is little fire danger here at the moment. I spent the hour tonight with the chickens out collecting kindling for the wood fire. There is a never ending supply of the stuff here. It reminds me of a game of whack a mole where you have no chance of winning.

Standard baseball / feed store hats have there place. I don't like the ones with the hard peaks at the front of the hat as I feel like a walking advertisement for whatever is displayed on the cap. When I went to the pub, the guy behind the bar said that it was a very cool hat, and that must mean something because I thought he was wearing a cool hat (which I remarked upon). The hat bloke told me that it was an Irish style wool cap, but I also picked up the rabbit pelt felted hat - which is a shade of blue! True story. The shop was lovely and everything that you would expect. Some guy walked in at one point and I swear he looked like Keith Richards in his pirate gear. Yes, one cannot leave the farm with the working farm hat can they? What would the locals say? Decorum must be preserved!

Hmmm, I'm not sure, but I reckon it is a form of economic warfare. Render unto Caesar and all that business. Dunno really.

Thanks, I will check out that Cliff Mass post as the conditions would be horrendous.

Incidentally, for all sorts of pragmatic reasons, I'm considering setting up a blog site code of conduct and rules for commenters. There has been a significant upshift in readers this week and problems are best nipped in the bud. Do you have any thoughts in relation to this matter?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Almonds tend to break dormancy very early. Your dry spring may be the culprit as the trees needed more water than was available to their shallow root systems. How are the larger more established trees looking in your area? They may give some signs as to the available groundwater. Some trees can go into shock in those conditions and lose their leaves. You'll know if the wood is dead if it is brittle and snaps off. Bending wood tends to indicate that their is at least a life left. They need water.

I purchase trees from a couple of sources who I have known personally for many years. Less dwarfing root-stock will also produce trees better adapted to the occasional dry. The reason the trees are dwarf varieties is that the root systems are small. The tree can't outgrow its root systems. ;-)!

Well done with the Japanese maples - those trees are very tough and hardy and they can survive the extreme hot days here without skipping a beat. They will self seed though if you have enough of them and the seedlings are always worth harvesting and replanting as they are even better adapted to your conditions.

Thanks for the book reference and review. There is something to be said about doing things the slow and gentle way. Pam had a note about the ADR in the comments!

Well done and you totally deserve getting the manure for free! I'm enjoying the bins of coffee grounds which I've been chucking all around the place. Of course the coffee grounds have been costing me lemons and thankfully I have a huge supply of them!

Best of luck with your trees. Sometimes they die in adverse conditions.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

You made me laugh with the crane story and the lightning. What a show that would have put on. Did the storm eventually arrive? The idea of purchasing materials for a building from a supplier based in Latvia is just really odd to me (given I live on an island continent). The thing is that I've seen just that happen on Grand Designs UK shows and it always amazes me. What could possibly go wrong indeed! Oh, I hope that the land holds together and nothing bad happens. Not being in a hurry during a construction is a real blessing. I mean you are always under pressure for time on a build, but when products are coming from another country... I used to use the little bright yellow trailer to head off and pick up materials when I was building. Mind you, the truck that delivered the roof trusses was unable to get back up the hill again for lack traction and we had to reload the truck before it could work its way back up the hill again...

I hope you are enjoying the show there from time to time?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

The whole debt serfdom thing is a very old game and you made some very astute points. And my take on the whole self sufficiency ideal is that it is simply not possible. You can do a lot, but you can't do everything.

Marketing is about creating desires so that goods and services can be sold. This happens on an individual scale, but also on a national and international scale. It is definitely a tool to be wary of. There is a long running Canadian podcast on the subject which may interest you (if you are interested) called: Under the Influence. It is very good.

If you borrowed money from the bank, would that debt be increased by a link to the cost of living index?

Your next question was very astute and I'll cover that next. I'm not sure I know the answer myself - and maybe that is the answer.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

It is very good, and best of all it is blue! Glad to hear that you appreciate hats too. :-)! The sun is harsh here during summer.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Excellent analysis. And you know, what I see is that incomes are flat, declining or only rising slowly whilst costs are increasing at a regular rate. Now that observation is a generalisation and some people who work for very large organisations are doing quite well and that is another story. As the gap between incomes and costs decrease, we are slowly getting poorer. I'm genuinely unsure how the cost of rent and mortgage payments are incorporated into the cpi number as house prices in Melbourne and Sydney have risen at a what appears to me to be an unsustainable rate for many years now. Yet the cpi does not reflect that increase despite the costs being a huge chunk of a persons costs. I am uncomfortable with that.

There is certainly a conflict of interest in that arrangement.

Congrats on the seedlings and to be honest, that price sounds like the sort of price you pay here if you went to a seedling farm which was open to the public. Nurseries are generally more expensive again. That sounds like an excellent choice of seedlings and I love basil for use in pesto. Have you grown that from seedling before as I collected seed from the best tasting plant this year and was considering growing a full raised bed of basil for next summer?

The rabbits would be creatures of habit and although they can easily burrow under fences, given they jumped into the gap in your fence, I agree with your observation that they know the area pretty well. It may amuse you that I joke to people that the wombats and wallabies know this garden better than I do. Certainly the parrots know their perquisites. You may be consuming trapped rabbit? Given they are consuming your garden, they're probably quite tasty. I'm a mostly vegetarian, but I do confess to consuming the occasional rabbit pie in my travels. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you too, but there is always the rabbit pie option?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo, Inge, Jo, Pam, and Claire.

The truth is that I do not know the answer to the question. I rather suspect that the use of indexation is an alternative to interest that produces a more or less similar result. It sounds nice saying that no interest is applied to the debts and from a legal point of view it is indeed a correct assertion. But what does that say to you?

And what does that also say when the same entity which controls the index figure that applies to the debts. That was a rhetorical question which I don't expect an response to. There may be a conflict of interest inherent in that arrangement but I cannot be sure as I'm not privy to the details.

And then Jo pointed out the other unspoken question, is the amount indexed to the original principal of the debt or is it compounded upon the debt at the current time? Again, I have no idea at all and I am unsure whether we are even provided with the calculations with which to verify the question.

And the main point that I was trying hard to express was that so much of the financial investment world is like that.

Accounting is all about people and so many people express beliefs about financial products or schemes and to be honest, I even find the literature so full of jargon that it is occasionally very hard for me to follow - and from my further reading into the financial industry, it is intended to be that way for marketing and promotion purposes, plus in all honesty some of the schemes are very inherently complex...

And when I read comments here from intelligent people saying that things are a certain way, my alarm bells start ringing. I rarely speak my mind about such matters and even then I am only able to discuss things in very general terms and I will not provide advice in such matters. It pains me but that is the way things are.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

Just a bit of blog administration that I was hoping that you could all assist me with?

There has been a recent increase in the number of visitors reading this blog. I am very aware that this is a public forum and as such we have to maintain the usual legal and social requirements. I would also like to maintain the cosy and intimate dialogue that we all enjoy here.

To that end, I was considering compiling a blog Code of Conduct for this blog which would be binding on all of us who comment (and write!) here. The code is as much for your protection as it is for mine.

I have recently become aware of a practice in relation to all forms of social media which looks distinctly predatory to me and I intend to swim away from these sharks as best as we can and this code of conduct is a few swimming strokes in the right direction. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Yahoo2 said...

Hi Chris,
This blog is a platform for your current observations and opinions, we are here by invitation I dont think you should be feel accountable for every word you write or even have to justify it, it is only a moment in time. I think it is a mistake to react to or second guess others reactions. if rule need to be enforced and comments cut, then make it happen with no remorse and move on.
I follow Robert Llewellyn's Fully charged show and it irritates me that he seems to be correcting his off the cuff and largely innocuous remarks in his to the camera pieces in response to criticism in the comments.

I dont agree with you about quite a bit of stuff, that is one of the reasons I read your blog that and the exquisite plant photos, I never get tired of them.

Sometimes I am conflicted, like the time you mentioned a getting cattledog would be great. Part of me was sucking air through gritted teeth and furrowing my brow and muttering "A cattledog Oh Dear! I should say something" and another part of me is thinking this will be the greatest blog in the universe if Chris gets a proper bonkers heeler, it will be mayhem every week. WoooHooo!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris (tip of the hat to Pam) - Hooray! The return of Mr. Greer. Summer solstice is June 21. Mark you're calendar!

LOL. Oh, that was good. Almost spit tea on the computer. "Expediate contact with a Moog synthesizer." Rich.

Multnomah (sp?) Falls is, according to tales, the trailing hair of the Indian maiden who was the point of contention. My mates and I used to hike to the top, every once in awhile. Sometimes young ladies and picnics were involved. :-). LOL. No hanky panky. Everyone was so exhausted by the time we got to the top. I don't think I could make it, these days.

My attempted system clean up didn't go well. Onslaught of popups ... well, I can't tell what's bogus and what's not. Oh, well. Whack a mole til I pull it together and get a new computer. Marvelous for hand eye coordination!

Once, a long time ago, I was visiting the twin cities (gosh, I can't remember what their names are. Can't remember when or why I was there) and I was in a store and a siren went off. Like an air raid siren. Everyone in the store froze, for a moment. It was a test of their radioactive warning system. There's a military reserve on the other side of the Columbia (the Oregon side) where they store old munitions and chemical weapons. You can see them from the freeway. They have problems, there, too. You hear about it, every once in awhile. Leaking 50 gallon drums of who knows what ...

Down in Florida, when they have a cold snap, manatees cluster around the toasty warm water outflows from power plants. I've seen aerial photos. It's really quit something. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The Meeting went well, but, again, a few times the rain on the roof was so loud you couldn't hear people speak. Everyone is talking about what a wet spring we're having.

Someone gave me the name of a hat store, not long ago. I checked what they had on offer, on line. Old family firm that's been around for a couple of hundred years. But, mostly, in the big cities. I don't think I'd be comfortable buying a hat on line. You really need to try them on. And, in my case, I think I'd round up an impartial friend to take along. For a second opinion.

Your blog, your rules. The only thing that comes to mind is the couple of times I thought I was being cleaver by using slang, that, much to my embarrassment, is either more toxic or loaded in other parts of the world. Deleted posts because I've stuck my foot in it, do me no more harm than a lot of contrition and a very red face. :-).

New finds from Vindolanda, and it ain't shoes :-). The head of a very nice Roman spear, a pilum. With a bit of the wood shaft still attached. A goat skin tent panel. And a really nice pair of wooden wheel chocks ... so your chariot doesn't roll away. This season, one of the teams is excavation what they think might be the living quarters of the fellow who led the calvary troop. That may (or may not) be interesting. It really hadn't sunk in until recently that Vindolanda is ... in complicated layers. The fort expands. Buildings are knocked down and built over ... sometimes with different uses. Oh, and they found a bread oven, last week.

The last sunny day we had, the horses and mules were really kicking up their heels. Racing from one end of the pasture to the other, chasing each other about. There's seven of them, now. Except for the old, blind mule, they're all big, brown magnificent beasties. Later in the day, five deer rabbited across the pasture and down the hill. Can deer, rabbit? :-). I don't know what spooked them, but they sure were moving! Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Back again with a "you might want to save your money" tip off. NPR.org has a review of "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword." It sounds ... pretty awful. I might even give it a miss when it comes out on DVD. Your money might be better invested in a nice pint and a rabbit pie :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The ground floor walls are up. It is looking more and more like a weird 'grand designs', I am wincing. It is clearly going to be over insulated and neighbour's wife reckons that she will have to keep windows open. Do modern designers realise that we are creatures needing fresh air?

With regard to your 'code of conduct': by all means just chuck anything out if necessary. Lew makes an interesting comment about different meanings in different countries; it is very easy to be misunderstood across cultures. In particular when being humorous.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

You make some very salient points and I agree with you. Unfortunately, the laws of defamation are being used against some people who utilise social media platforms who express opinions that are allegedly actionable under defamation laws and as such we have to be very careful about what we say. You have to recall that in such an action, if you lose, there is no upper limit on the costs that can be brought against you in Australia. The proposed code of conduct for this blog is a form of minor protection and a general reminder to both myself and the people that comment here that there are now limits on what can and can't be said here and perhaps those limits apply to other social media platforms as well. The code that will apply here is in effect a legal response to a legal problem, which appears to be escalating. I feel that nobody here has made defamatory comments so far, however a little bit of additional protection is not a bad idea. It is a sign of the times and my understanding of the matter is that there is apparently little will with the law makers to address this practice, but I am no expert in such matters. Once the code is in place here it will be enforced.

You may be interested to know that I run my own race and set my own goals which are largely independent of the dominant narrative. However, this does not mean that I run around with my head in the sand crying for justice in an environment where justice may have left the building.

I respect the fact that you do not agree with everything that I write or do here. Real community is built upon learning how to live with people that you largely disagree with and may possibly not even like, but you have to live with them all the same. I plan to give a talk about just that subject later this month. It should be fun!

As to the future cattle dog, I can't quite work out whether I should call that project: Operation Mayhem; or Operation Unleash the Beast? I reckon the second option has a nice ring to it. What do you reckon? :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yes, I am looking forward to the return of Mr Greer's writing too (and also respect to Pam for spotting the announcement of impending blogdom!)

It was pretty funny wasn't it? And who could forget the classic: Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Fanfare For The Common Man? I'm not 100% sure, but I believe there is a moog in the background of that film clip. Transport and logistics was apparently a bit of a problem for the band - who would have thought that could be a problem? :-)! Far out, it looks cold in that video too! There are even a few flakes of snow drifting down.

Anyway, I have to fess up to be something of a dork because when I was young, my mates were trading football cards whilst I had my nose buried deep into magazines such as Electronics Today International which was reporting breathlessly on local developments of the electronic synthesizer. Few nowadays will recall that down here we were quite the leader in the development of these musical instruments and many musical greats of yesteryear were using these locally designed and made beasties. The instrument has a fascinating history and are possibly now sought after items: Fairlight CMI. If you see one for sale in your outings I suggest to pretend disinterest, make an outrageous offer, and then score yourself a bargain!

The Indian maiden in question must have been exceptionally alluring to cause so much drama? Ours is not to question is it? Yes, well, I too have been on treks from a few hours to many days and such things are unknown and beyond my ken in those circumstances too. Walking all day long whilst carrying a heavy pack has that general affect, others may differ though.

Ouch! I hope your computer feels better soon. There is always the re-install from scratch or from the most recent back up / image, options for you to consider?

The firewood moisture meter arrived today in the post. Of course, that also meant enjoying a cappuccino and scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast whilst I perused the mail and newspaper. It is a tough life to be sure. Anyway, when I got back I walked around the place checking various chunks of firewood from the stuff that is stored to the stuff that is curing about the place in the rain. The results are truly fascinating and occasionally very surprising. ;-)!

Yup, your account is certainly what a poisoned planet looks like to me. A lot of people always ask me concerned questions about the purchased compost that I bring up here. And I always remark that of course it possibly contains herbicides, pesticides and anti-worming agents among all sorts of other nasties in whatever minute concentrations. I mean, why wouldn't it? And then I remark to them that that is what a poisoned planet looks like and they inevitably give me blank stares. I mean, I am unsure how you can extricate yourself from such a regime. I just do not know, but you can make the active choice not to add those chemicals to your own patch of land. And even then I am occasionally proven to be a hypocrite, like with the most recent use of Bifenthrin on the wood lice in the tomato enclosure.

That is awesome to see: Manatees Florida power station warm water outlet. Is that power station at sea level? Ouch.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Wet springs make for short growing seasons, but at least it also reduces the bushfire risk (a bit anyway). Yes, I've noticed that the rainfall rate per hour appears to have increased here too. That is where my systems for handling water tend to fail...

Nah, you can't buy a hat online unless it is an adjustable cap. A very sound strategy. The guy actually measured my head and then because my head was between one measurement and the next he fitted a thin leather spacer inside the leather band inside the hat so that the hat was a perfect fit. Yes, I recall the days when salespeople measured your feet for width, length, and arch height before recommending a shoe. It felt exactly like that experience. An impartial friend would have been a good option in this case, but the editor had spotted the hat in the window at the shop a few weeks before and had given me the OK. The editor reads in depth about fashion so I leave such decisions to her as it saves me thinking about it. I tend to wear much the same gear all the time because that frees up my mind to think about other matters.

Actually, the whole code thing is a response to some legal matters that have reared their ugly heads down here. It is a disturbing turn of events, but also a sign of the times. I noticed that the daily impact was writing about how such things play out in your country. There is a full explanation to Steve (Yahoo2) above this comment about the rationale. I’m still curious as to peoples opinions on this matter.

I can't believe they used chocks back in the Roman days. Talk about everything old being new again as I use chocks to stop the bright yellow trailer from rolling backwards into the main water tanks. And I am truly amazed that a goat skin tent would have been dumped at the site. Such an artefact would have been beyond value and repaired endlessly - well until it could no longer be repaired that is. You know, that tablet with the invitation to a birthday party is an awesome find because it shows that despite the millennia, things are sort of the same. The Bloomberg tablets also would have been fascinating for their general ordinariness. It is quite exciting don't you reckon? Go the bread oven. And it may surprise you that if I had to construct a wood fired oven from scratch – which I have no plans to do at this stage, I'd probably place it outdoors. It is not a complex job, although to get the thing to last would be a complex job.

It is lovely watching animals cavorting around the place. I've seen cows and sheep doing the same thing when the conditions are perfect. And to be honest, the dogs do that business all of the time, even when the weather conditions are less than ideal. The past few days have been superb autumn weather and I've been making the most of them. I spotted a Kookaburra bird sitting on top of the whirly gig vent to the worm farm. Birds muck around all of the time down here.

That sounds like a rough review. On a brighter note, rabbit pie is an appealing prospect. It is quite good, although some may doubt its bona-fides (as a side joke and excuse for my bad bone pun: I have not found any rabbit bones in the pies).

I'm still considering writing about dragons for the next blog, but perhaps not as we know them! :-)! hehe. Should be fun.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Ha! That is funny and thanks for the amusing commentary on the build. Yeah, you know when I constructed this place, the firewalls under the floor were so sealed up that condensation formed under the floor. The designers had neglected to include under floor air vents, so I had to add them and then cover the vents with very fine and very strong stainless steel mesh. Air movement is crucial to maintain dry timber under an elevated house, otherwise the termites will eventually have a field day (they appreciate damp timber and cannot consume dry timber).

Interestingly too, I received the firewood moisture meter in the post this morning and some of the driest timber I found was a large log of very old tree which is sitting above the ground. Despite being out in the rain for many long years it had a moisture content of 14% which is very dry. As a comparison, the washing horse which sits in front of the wood heater was 12%. The hardwood dining table which clearly used kiln dried timber was the driest at 11%. Some of the other firewood curing in the rain to be used in latter years was off the scale! Most of my firewood was in the 15% to 16% range, with the very occasional notable exception which has taught me much. What a fascinating device.

It may be worth your while looking at my response to Steve / Yahoo2 above to get an understanding of my desire to / goals for implementing a code.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

It is your blog, so you are responsible for protecting yourself first. If you keep safe, I assume we will all be safe. My - that's rather a burden for you. Keeping up with a blog is a pretty big burden anyway.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

What a wonderful picture of you, running about, inside and out, with your moisture meter!

Pam

Elbows Tucked said...

Your current comment by-line seems sufficient to me.
"All comments are moderated... evil troll!"
It says, "No thrust and parry here!"

The idea of code-of-conduct and moderated used to make my hackles rise until I did a couple of online courses. All the comments there were so gentle and polite and nice and constructive. It was a real eye opener and very pleasant. Now I have come to realise that there are "professional" comments that are added into those comment streams to help set the tone and keep the discussion on course. But this happens in normal face-to-face groups as well. You have people who just by their own nature guide and soften the edges of discussions. Everything is still said, only in a more open and accessible way.

This said, I wish that there was a standard feature on blog comments where all the unacceptable, moderated comments were posted to a seperate parallel comment stream. I sometimes entertain myself by imagining what those streams would look like.

The link below is to the moderation policy of the author Charles Stross.
http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2008/06/moderation-policy.html
The first paragraph rings true for your blog too. It may be useful and it is entertaining.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Moog, and who can forget the etherial (going to get the spelling wrong, here) theromines? The author Augustan Burroughs has a brother who is autistic. He wrote a book about his life, with was pretty interesting. How he figures into this discussion is that he also invented many electronic gizmos for bands. He was a roadie for a famous band or two, in his younger life. Oh, I hear about fabulous finds of early electronics gear. The first Apple computers, built in a garage. Video games. LOL, I can barely keep ahead of sussing out what's valuable in the pottery and glass line. I think my interest in ancient tech ends about with ancient typewriters and sewing machines. :-).

Oh, Chris has a new toy! LOL. But a very useful one. So. What's the moisture content of a chicken? A stray wombat? :-). Yeah, I know. Only works on wood. Just a bit of silliness, there. Well, at least you'll know that the wood going into the stove is REALLY dry. And, with the help of the meter will get a "feel" for what's dry and what isn't. There's a few kitchen gizmos that they'd have to pry out of my cold dead hands. Others, I could probably do without. "The Itty Bitty Kitchen Book" has me reassessing a lot of the kitchen tat.

Yes, a poisoned planet. I was reflecting this morning that some day, the Columbia won't be useful as a river road from the coast, into the interior. You'll have to detour around a huge section of it. And it's not beyond speculation that the whole river might be "hot" from SE Washington, to the sea. Around here, the only chemicals I slop around are wasp spray and ant traps. And, not very much of that. Oh, and some bio fly traps. The wasps are about now, but I only take them on where we directly interact. The mail box. Garbage dumpster. I have to watch it around my truck. Check out the underneath of the handles before putting my fingers, there. Underneath the door rims.

Just about all of southern Florida is not much above sea level. I think that's where we're going to see a lot of climate damage, at least in the Western World, early on. It's already beginning. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Tent getting tatty? Give it a toss and buy a new one :-). I think, at times, the Roman Army had a bit of an attitude, like that. Of course, I think a lot of stuff was sold onto the rag and bone man. Supplying the army. Well, the usual graft and corruption. Kick backs. Sometimes, more frowned upon than at others. Tents were used mostly for marching camps. As time went on, there were more and more forts and fortlets. Things calmed down. Less marching about. Fewer military expeditions. The old hands complained that the youngsters were getting soft. :-). Marching camps mirrored the layout of the forts. Or, maybe the forts mirrored the layout of the marching camps? At the lowest level, you had eight men who were either crammed in a very small living space, in barracks, or, 8 guys to a tent on the road. 10 of these units (I think. Might have been 8) were overseen by a Centurion. A crusty old vet who'd worked his way up through the ranks. But, enough of all this. There's a short animated video over at YouTube that explains the chain of command of a Roman Legion. I've also seen artists reconstructions of how they crammed 8 guys into one unit of a barracks block.

LOL. Glad you clarified, a bit, the new rules and regs. I had a sleepless night. "Oh, gosh, what have I said NOW?" It's all about me, don't cha know. :-). But, yes, now we seem to be in a politically "chilling" period. We're supposed to have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Those seem to be under a bit of an attack, right now. And, of course, there are those who abuse those freedoms. There was an old court case, way back, where it was decided that you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theatre ... that isn't on fire. Someone doing that isn't covered by freedom of speech.

And, I realize that the Australian (and English) libel laws are quit a bit different, than here. There was the libel trial that Whistler, the artist, attempted. He won, but was only awarded a shilling, and had to declare bankruptcy, over the court costs. The Oscar Wilde trial, was basically a libel trial. Didn't turn out well for him, either. There's a newish movie out, called, I believe, "Libel." It's on my list of movies to watch, eventually. Anyway. Your blog, your rules. I think we're living in a time when one needs to stop and think a bit before speaking, or writing something down. Beyond general manners. Perhaps sad, but there it is.

Speaking of poisoned planet, I'm well into my third week of no baked goods, unless I make them myself. Well. I seem to be loosing a bit of weight (bloat?) and in a really unscientific observation, think I feel better and am, perhaps, a bit sharper. Or, maybe not. I made a big blackberry crisp, yesterday. Oh, dear. A bit runny. Because I forgot to put in the table spoon or two of corn starch. :-(. Which isn't in the recipe, but has been added now, as a reminder. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I fully understand your need for a code for your blog.

Am fascinated by your moisture meter for firewood, have never heard of such a thing and shall mention it to Son.

I told Son about neighbour's insulation and Son says that it is required now by building regulations. So not only are the young sitting indoors all day with their gizmos but they are also excessively insulated from the outdoor world. It all becomes increasingly unhealthy.

Glorious sunny day.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for understanding. The laws here are very different in this regard and it is perhaps very unjust that a hobby and wonderful form of dialogue with lovely people such as yourself could be a potential personal threat to myself, but there you go.

The blog is a joy rather than a burden, I just have to ensure that my ducks are all lined up and in order. ;-)!

I'll put some photos of the moisture meter on the next blog. I have learned a huge amount of information from the little meter and am keen to share that knowledge.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Elbows,

Many thanks for the concern and the moderation policy relating to trolls as it stands is pretty thorough and they will not ever see the light of day here.

Exactly, that strategy of maintaining a polite discourse is very effective, and you may be surprised to know that I have used that technique in the real world with work teams which I've led. Although to be honest, given that the communication in that instance was face to face, I encouraged swearing because it helped people let off steam in stressful circumstances and caused nobody any harm as it was never directed at anyone in particular. It was more like scratching an annoying itch for the people.

Trolls can be entertaining from time to time, but it is best that we don't feed the trolls as they are never satisfied.

The rationale for the code of conduct is outlined in my response to Steve above and it has more to do with the laws in this country which I live in. There is no bill of rights here and one must be careful as to what they say.

Thanks for the link, I will definitely check it out.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I for one had forgotten about the theremin as I've never encountered one. On the other hand, I have heard of the musical effect from such a device. It is slightly ethereal isn't it? A bit Frankenstein lives really. Hey, did you notice that it was developed way back in 1928? I remember the old Apple 2 computers and used to enjoy them because there were some really cool games available on them. When I was a kid, computers were all about the games for me, but other than that I couldn't figure out how to use them. The bulletin board systems came along much later and made a bit of a splash on the scene. I sort of figure that in the far future, pen and paper will do just fine because they did in the past. At Uni I was never given notes, I just had to hurredly write copious handwritten notes whilst the lecturer droned on - that was hard to listen to after a days work and you know, sometimes my mind drifted off.

The new toy is good, but now that I have used the toy and have a feel for what the results are telling me, I probably won't use it much in the future. It has been very interesting gaining an understanding of the moisture content of timber. The driest timber was the dining table which is very old and clearly was constructed from kiln dried timber, and that came back with a result of about 11% moisture content. I rather suspect that timber always holds some moisture. Even the washing horse which sits right in front of the wood heater and is older than I am came in at 12%. I have learned a lot though and the firewood that is below par tends to be the termite damaged firewood, which indicates to me that the termite manure tends to hold a lot of moisture.

That sounds like the future to me. There are known risks and there are also some unknown risks and we don't know how it will play out. Mind you, most of the chemicals, compounds and materials are of this planet so over a long enough period of time, the risks will diminish.

Oh, wasps are a nuisance. We have the European wasps down here and they can be quite pesky. I once put my hand on a wild apple only to find that the other side of the apple had about six wasps on it. Fortunately they were too busy eating to sting me. Hey, speaking of which I mowed around the bee hive today and had to take a break from that activity because the bees came out of their hive on a cold day to investigate the disturbance...

Yes, I have read unpleasant accounts of Florida at king tides. Not good.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Thanks for the explanation about the Roman army and its machinations. I assume that when the Roman army was mobile, the costs to maintain the standing army would have been significantly lower than when the forts were established? If you are going to trust anyone, a crusty old Vet would be the way to go. A tree guy once confided to me that the best guys to trust for big tree work were the old fella's because they had survived and learned. I've met a few of them over the years and am always outgunned by them! I'm not worthy... Hehe!

Well over in your neck of the woods you have other problems to worry about, but not this particular one. I'm glad you understand, a cheeky person may claim that it is a precautionary tale? :-)! My take on this matter is that asset protection is good, but avoiding problems in the first instance is even better. No it did not end so well for Mr Wilde. Why he felt impelled to commit himself to a legal action is well beyond my understanding? Different times, I guess. Pride and status is a funny thing. Look, it is sad, but why turn a delightful dialogue such as this into a huge risk for me? Free speech may not be what it used to be...

Well done you, with the baked at home goodies. Nice work. I read somewhere long ago an amusing observation which pointed out that: You are what you eat.

Blackberry crisp, mate I'm totally drooling. Yum! We turned most of the blackberries into wine this year, but left a little bit for jam making and it is a superb jam. I promise to include a photo of all of the medlars that I scored from the neighbour recently. I tasted one the other day, but it was still a bit astringent which is tough on the palate.

Gotta bounce as I'm meant to be writing tomorrows blog story and it is almost 9pm... Oops! Can't be good all the time can we?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, thanks for understanding, and we do share the same legal system. Allegedly Sydney has now taken over London as the libel capital of the world. From my perspective, it appears to be a rather dubious honour.

Well, I shall put some photos in tomorrow nights blog. It is a truly fascinating device and I have learned a lot which I will try and share with you. I had not heard of one of these devices either until only very recently.

Insulation is required by the building codes here too and is usually tucked into the walls and roof cavity. It does work, but a house needs to breathe as well. Ha! You made me laugh as the editor and I have been working hard outside all day long and despite it being only 48'F outside I felt toasty hot because of the physical activity.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Can your moisture meter be brandished like a light saber? Does it have a nifty holster to go on your belt? :-).

Just a couple of idle thoughts about the internet. Early on, a lot of sites (Ebay comes to mind) tried to get away with the "we only provide a platform", defense. Worked in some cases, not in others. When it really gets bad, usually public and media backlash force them (kicking and screaming ... with a bit of additional expense) to clean up their act. Perhaps another example of tossing out any idea of responsibility. Which seems to be widespread. Which is probably why I bang on at times about wanting names named and heads to roll. :-). Everyone (sweeping generalization alert!) runs for cover and things are kept as opaque as possible.

Slate magazine, online, had another review of "King Arthur." Mixed. "...entirely brainless ... totally enjoyable." Sounds to me like a real "bloke" movie. :-). But, don't see it! They're threatening to turn it into a 6 part (!) franchise. Stop them before they film, again! :-). I don't know. Maybe I can (kind of) explain my bad reaction. Last week I brought home "Troy" (Brad Pitt, et all) from the library. Had never seen it. Sometimes I take a look a the extras, before watching the movie. A spoiler or two, doesn't bother me. Well. Troy, in the movie, is about 8 times the size of the probably real Troy. And a mish-mash of architecture from too many time periods and cultures. Anyway. Couldn't bring myself to watch it. Give me "Trojan Women" (Katharine Hepburn, et all) any day.

Saw an article about bank failures. We've already had as many bank failures, this year, as for the total of last year. Taking into consideration assets held and number of branches. The article seemed to think it disquieting. Something to watch.

As far as costs between a standing Roman army and a mobile one? Dunno. Haven't seen the spread sheets ... :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. After Pam's tip off on the future plans of Mr. Greer, I checked The Arch Druid report just to see if there was any additional information. The last post was pretty much a repeat of what he said over at The Well. Summer solstice. So, I did a little searching around to see what he's been up to. The Hermetic Library website had a link to a recent bit he did on "AM America." Something to do with weather spells. You Tube offered up quit a bit of recent stuff. I think I'll skip the two hour discourse on the Masons :-)
But a discussion between Kunstler, Orlov and Mr. Greer looks pretty interesting. Next time I'm working about the office (where the computer is) I'll kick it on and give it a listen.

I watched THE best food film, last night. A Criterion Collection, remaster of a 1985 Japanese film called "Tampopo." A film by Juzo Itami. I watched the extras, after. Added a lot. According to one of the actors, the director wanted something like the western "Shane" ... with ramen :-). The basic story is a young widow with child is trying to run a ramen shop. But she can't cook to save her life. On a dark and stormy night, a cowboy / trucker stumbles into her place and they're off on an adventure to up her game. Ramen espionage is involved. :-). That's the main story, but the director veers off into little side stories. Some related to the main action, some that pretty much stand on their own. But all having to do with food. A couple of the side stories are not family friendly. Just as a look out. Well, food can be very sensuous.

The director used a lot of actors from Japanese television an theatre, circa 1985. So, even the small roles are well done. And, the faces! I think one of the best little bits is when they go to a hobo camp. They're in search of a Ramen Master. The hobos in the camp are all foodies. Some, real food snobs. Overall, the movie takes food seriously, but occasionally pokes fun at people who take food TOO seriously.

There was also a short video essay on the extras that was pretty interesting. Couldn't find it online. "The Amateur and the Craftsperson" by Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos. But it referenced an essay in a book by Michael Chabon called "Manhood for Amateurs." I'll have to see if the library has it. Down the rabbit hole, I go! Most of the extras were filmed, just last year, for this edition of the film. There was also an interview with four different people, here in the US, who opened ramen stores. And what the movie meant to them.

Still raining. We might get a little clearing spot on Tuesday. It's felt rather cold. My friends in Idaho say there was new snow on the lower hills around their place. Lew