Monday, 29 May 2017

Letting go and moving on



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

My football career ended at an early age during the very early 1980’s. Of course, by football, I mean the game of Australian Rules Football which is played in many corners of this continent. The game may be unfamiliar to many readers overseas, but I wouldn’t worry about that too much as my career ended at an early age and so the finer details of the game are unimportant to the story.

I used to play for the Ormond (a suburb of Melbourne) Blues under 13 (years of age) football team. I was one of the smaller children on the football team and the coach was able to amaze me by propelling the football by hand further than I could kick it. It was not an auspicious start to my football career.

That football team was a bit down on its luck that year too, because they had failed to win a single game. If memory serves me correctly, the team had only won a single game the previous year too (please note that I did not avail the team of my services on that particular winning game!) against the nearby rival team: the Ormond Amateur’s under 13’s. Alert readers may wonder whether there was something in the water in that particular suburb causing the general lack of football success against other suburbs in the district?

The game of Australian Rules Football is played during the winter season, and as such I always ensured that I got covered with at least a bit of mud just to show that I was a team player. And being winter, I have fond memories of purchasing many a lukewarm meat pie after the game. The under 13’s always played their game first, well before the older teams, and so the meat pie warmer really never had a good opportunity to heat the meat pies to a proper temperature. Anyway, a lukewarm pie was probably a good challenge for my immune system and the pies seemed to do me no permanent harm. Anyway a good dump of tomato sauce covered all manner of lukewarm pie sins!

In the year that I played for the Ormond Blues I clearly recall the day that they met their bitter rivals, the Ormond Amateurs. The Blues had to play the game at the Amateurs home ground, and so the opposing team had the home side advantage. And this was probably the only game of the year where my team would have even the remotest chance of winning, thus breaking their losing streak for the year. And so there was much excitement at that possibility of winning that game. Emotions were running high that day (if not pie temperatures)!

In Australian Rules Football, the goals for either team are at either end of the field (like most other football styled games). And from hindsight I can see that the basic strategy employed by my team on that fateful game, was simply to stop the other team from scoring a goal – at any cost. What that meant in practical terms was that my entire team (other than myself) was at one end of the sporting field trying to stop the other team from scoring. And all of the opposing team’s players other than one annoying kid who stuck to me like glue for the entire game, were at their end of the field, trying to score a goal. In terms of general strategy, it was not what I would describe as a recipe for success.

That quiet half of the sporting field was a pretty lonely place to be that day. The other kid was a complete nuisance because he wouldn’t even keep me entertained talking about anything remotely interesting at all, let alone expressing opinions about lukewarm meat pies or mud or even tomato sauce. Very unfair!

The football game continued and it was complete mayhem at the opposition team’s goals. Epic battles were clearly being fought. Way down at my team’s goals, it was pretty relaxed really, and I didn’t even have the opportunity to get any legitimate mud on my woollen football jumper.

Then in a moment of true weirdness, the football launched out of the mayhem at the other end of the the sporting field and sailed through the air in a mighty arc towards myself and the other annoying kid. Such events were unheard of, and I was clearly unprepared for such an eventuality. So, the annoying kid tried to catch the football whilst I did my very best to knock him to the ground unconscious, whilst at the same time making it look like an accident, or better still part of the rules of the game. This was not an easy task, and unfortunately, I did not succeed in knocking the annoying kid to the ground and the even worse, the kid reached for the ball before it hit the ground – and he completely missed the catch.

That forlorn football bounced away from both of us. That football also had the good fortune of bouncing towards my teams goal posts which weren’t too far away from either of us. I saw my moment for true football glory and I ran at that football at full speed with the intention of grabbing the football and scoring a goal for the team.

As I grabbed the football and ran at the goals, I heard the background noise which I had been trying hard to ignore: The noise was the umpires whistle. The umpire had declared that the annoying kid had actually performed a proper catch (the technical term for this catch is a mark) despite him dropping the football. I had to promptly return the football to the annoying kid rather knocking him to the ground unconscious, or scoring a goal for my team.

So it was on that fateful day, the Ormond Blues lost the game to their arch rivals, the Ormond Amateurs. And I didn’t have any mud on me that day to display for all the world to see the passions that were spent by me on that sporting field.

I played out the rest of the season with the team but failed to return to the team the following year despite still being under 13 years of age. The lesson learned that day for me was that sometimes you have to acknowledge that you are no good at something.

However, this can then free you up to do something else with the time that you have not doing the thing that you are bad at.

I did discover on that fateful day that as I ran at full speed towards the goal posts with the football that shall never be mine, that I was actually very good at running, and so after that I took up running as a sport. To be continued.

The other thing that I must be good at is digging! Living on the side of an extinct volcano, you have to know how to dig because, well, to have any flat land at all, means digging into the side of the hill in order to create terraces of flat land. This week we have been creating a new terrace for three raised potato beds (previously placed elsewhere but which need a new home).

Home grown potatoes are so tasty, and the plants are so prolific, that they deserve their own growing space, which will be the new potato terrace.

At the beginning of the week the future potato terrace looked like this:
At the beginning of the week the future potato terrace looked like this
A day of digging clay produced a little bit more flat land.
Sir Scruffy, who is an old dog and appreciates flat land, looks on with approval at more flat land on the future potato terrace
All of the digging here is achieved with the use of an electric (solar powered) jack hammer to break up the clay and rocks. Then hand tools are used to move the clay. Another day of digging extended the potato terrace. This time it was Toothy who looked on with approval at more flat land for the future potato terrace.
Toothy supervises the excavations for the future potato terrace
Observant readers will note that in the photo above, the three steel round raised potato beds are just able to be noticed in the terrace above the current excavations. By the end of that day, even Toothy was looking a little bit freaked out by all of the hard work!
Toothy looks a little bit freaked out by all of the hard work excavating the new potato terrace
Another day of excavations extended the new potato terrace even further. We managed to place a half cubic metre of the local crushed rock with lime so as to provide an all-weather surface to walk upon on the new terrace as well as against the rapidly filling new rock gabion just below the new terrace.
Another day of excavations extended the new potato terrace even further
As we dug into the side of the hill, we unearthed a rich vein of floating rocks. Long time readers will recall that the farm has long since passed Peak Rocks. Peak rocks is the point in time where all of the easy to obtain rocks have long since been utilised in various projects about the farm. Striking a rich vein of rocks was like striking gold or oil for us! The new rock gabion wall was almost one third filled at that point in time.
The new rock gabion retaining wall was almost one third full of rocks liberated from the recent excavations for the new potato terrace
A final day of digging finished the excavations for the new potato terrace.
A final day of digging finished the excavations for the new potato terrace
Observant readers will note in the above photo just how large some of the trees are that surround this farm. However, the most amazing thing about the excavations for the new potato terrace is that the new rock gabion cage is now almost two thirds full of rocks that were liberated from the digging!
The new rock gabion cage is now almost two thirds full of rocks that were liberated from the recent digging for the potato terrace
Some of the medlars had finished the bletting (the fancy name for rotting / fermenting) and we boiled them up in a large pot. The juice from the boiled fruit was then drained and frozen. When all of the medlars have fully bletted and processed, we intend to use the juice to produce medlar jelly and medlar wine – both of which are very tasty!
Some of the medlars had completed bletting and we began processing them this week
Winter is citrus time, and I have a huge variety of citrus trees. It is hard to describe just how productive these fruit trees are and so I thought a few photos would do a better job of explaining that productivity than my words:
A Eureka lemon tree has an open habit and is laden with fruit

A Meyer lemon tree grows more densely than other citrus trees and is also laden with fruit

Winter is almost upon us here at Fernglade farm, but there are still plenty of flowers for everyone to enjoy. Here is a quick sample of them:
An African daisy puts on a solitary blue flower whilst the penstemon shows off
The chrysanthemum flowers are starting to show signs of exposure to cold weather, but are still going strong
The pineapple sage flowers are going from strength to strength
One of the new geranium plants has produced this red aromatic leaved hybrid variety
However, the best flower of all is a Scritchy enjoying herself in front of the new wood fire:
Scritchy enjoys toasting herself in front of the new wood fire
The temperature outside now at about 9.30pm is 6’C (43’F). So far this year there has been 373.4mm (14.7 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 360.2mm (14.2 inches).

62 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, I guess one should develop one's strengths as much as possible and work on any gaps or weaknesses. While walking and chewing gum :-). But, you're right. Sometimes, at some point, you just have to cut your losses and throw in the towel. Or the pie :-). Been a lot of that around here, this year. When I realized that this place isn't the place I moved into, five years ago, and it was time to move on. When after beating my head against the housing market, I realized there was no house in my future and it was time to look at other options. So it goes. Life on life's terms.

Sports. Well, being "the last one always picked for the team", I can't say I'm wound up by any sports. One of my favorite tricks is when someone get's all excited about some football score, I put on a rather blank look and ask if that's basketball. :-).

Oh, I can see getting all excited about the rocks magically appearing in the ground. That was a good score and to fill the new gabion 2/3 full ... well, that's a stroke of luck. I think it's very wise of you, given the slope, to terrace and gabion a good buffer zone between your buildings and any slippage. And it all looks so cool. And useful.

That's quit a nice crop of lemons! It may have been a rough year for tomatoes, but it looks like it was a great year for lemons. I always check back on the previous weeks post to see if there were any late additions. I noticed that last picture of the cosmos. Totally unrelated, I know, but they remind me of the wild roses that are beginning to bloom along all the roadways, here. Open pink flowers. There, the resemblance ends. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The potluck was really great, last night. There was NO blueberry crisp to bring home. Lots of compliments. There was more people and more food at this one. The barbecued ribs were tender and melt in your mouth. I'll have to ask how they prepared the meat. There was the usual mix of store bought and home made tucker. LOL, I quit like the store bought stuff. All the things I wouldn't buy for myself, but will splurge on if it's on offer. I am such a hypocrite :-). Soft chewy sugar biscuits sprinkled with M & M candies :-).

After the meal we trapsed a short way into the woods where they have a fire pit. Had a meeting around a bon fire. I noticed one of the stones in the fire pit had a rather unusual indent in it. Looked like it had been made by a giant chicken. I amused everyone by claiming it was probably a dinosaur track. Who knows what lurks in those woods?

Went home and watched "Wild." Quit good, I thought. Not on my list of things to rewatch, every few years (unlike "Galaxy Quest" or "Paul") but well worth the time spent. I really admire Laura Dern (the mother) as an actress. So that was a pleasure. I did get a bit impatient with the main character. Mummy died and you had to shot the horse. Deal! Get on with it! On the other hand, if hiking the trail was what it took to get her life back on track, more power to her. Whatever works. Another thought I had was that women, on their own, really have it rough. Creepy predatory males. They're thick on the ground. Powerless people trying to snatch a bit of perceived power by terrorizing the vulnerable. Disgusting.

I'm going to the monthly Inmates meeting, tomorrow. Which relates, a bit to the movie. One of the reasons I'm going is because I want the ladies to get a good look at me and know I belong there. I'm still getting startled and frightened looks when I run across some as I'm roaming the hallways. I want everyone to relax. Also, The Warden was at a three day HUD (Housing and Urban Development ... where our subsidy comes from) conference in Seattle. I'm curious as to if there have been any developments, under the new administration. Or, at least, any indication of which way the wind is blowing.

And, I think I've identified the local poop stir-er. And, yes, she was one of the first to approach me and "chat me up." "Guarded" is the watch word when that one is about. :-). Lew

Steve Carrow said...

Your potato terrace- Dedicated to potatoes only? I don't know if you've previously talked about it, but do you rotate garden crops so you minimize pest and disease problems? We have our gardens split into zones, and try to rotate so we don't grow the same thing year after year in the same place. Not sure how much it helps, but many of our references say to do this.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Well it is all rather mysterious naming an oak after a place where it cannot be grown! Anyway, it is too cold here too for those particular oak trees! The epiphytes on the oak trees look great though. Hey, I get mistletoe too on the eucalyptus trees and the seeds for them are distributed far and wide by the mistletoe bird.

Far out it is cold here tonight! Brr! 35'F.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Fair enough. It is probably a bad thing if you are involved with either helicopter in an emergency flight. There is a bloke around these parts that has a helicopter which he lands at a landing pad at his house, but he isn't around much. It is down in the valley and I can hear the thing take off and land, but it may well be that I am more used to the quiet of the forest than I realise. I'd much prefer to hear the sounds of the birds and the breezes than a helicopter.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

It may surprise you, but I rarely have pest or disease problems with the plants. I once recall ants climbing into a single fruit tree and harvesting the sap - which resulted in sooty mould developing on the tree. I had to wash the individual leaves with soapy water and then feed the tree heavily. That seemed to fix that problem. Then there were the slaters / wood lice consuming the tomato seedlings last spring. I'm looking into that problem over the next few weeks (more on the tomatoes in future blogs) and you may be interested in that.

Mate, eventually it will become a problem, but for now it is a long way into the distant future. As you wrote rotation is a good (respect) time honoured practice. Planting green manures and soil fumigants (such as mustards which I grow all over the place) or even letting the land lay fallow and weedy for a few years are all good options too.

But at this point in time I can bring in bulk loads of manures and composts really cheaply. You cannot underestimate the cumulative effect on soil fertility of 550+ cubic metres (715+ cubic yards) of composts, manures and woody mulches. Even today I brought another cubic metre of composted woody mulch up here and spread it around. And very little in the way anything organic leaves this place as everything ends up in the soil. And every year the top soil gets deeper and the diversity of life increases. On the downsides it is a very slow way to grow an orchard as a mono culture orchard will outperform my systems massively.

I know a local bloke who has been growing vegetables in the area for over 30 years and he has consistent problems with rust on his plants. It is a sign that his soils are lacking some mineral or other. Who knows what it is? Even if you compost all of your produce and wastes, if the soil is lacking in some mineral, I reckon it will show in the plants and you don’t know how extensive or diverse the minerals are in an area.

Great question! And top work at your place.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, the animals love their routines and heaven help me if I forget them - or can't deliver on those routines. They let me know about my error! About the cat, well, there is a little bit more to that story than first meets the eye. I have enjoyed the company of many fine felines in the past, but dogs enjoy the odd chunk of carrion. And feline poop falls into the carrion category. Well, wouldn't you know it one day many long years ago, I was enjoying a hot bath after a hard days work and one of the ever thoughtful canines vomited up a feline poop that they'd previously consumed. The smell was interesting and left quite the impression on me. Anyway, I'm not excited about a cat as the dogs would enjoy the company of said cat a little bit too much for my happiness. The dogs may feel that I am a party pooper? Who doesn't love a good groaner?

I can see that you and libraries may share a dangerous passion. They may have groups for that, you know? Anyway, I approve of your library addiction as you always feed me little titbits of knowledge. Did the military bookstore prove to be a successful venture? It is hard for a person to know what to do should they ever decide to exit the big bad world of corporate. I found small business and I love it - especially for the speed at which they can make a decision and move on something. Committees are not for me - we do not play well together. A mate of mine is getting towards the end of his tether with a stressful job. I would appreciate your advice in this matter as because such things verge on the edge of addiction I was wondering if you reckon there was anything I could do to assist my mate? I was considering sharing my story with him, but don’t know whether such things will do more harm than good?

Ouch... The next title: "We Are As Gods" is a big call for such a venture. I'm genuinely fascinated by the fate and fortunes of multiple occupancies (you may call them by the hippy name of communes) so do you recommend that book? From time to time, I have taken the time to visit such places and talk to the people living there and I always leave them feeling as if time and opportunity were slipping away from the people living in those places. Dunno. I have many complex emotions about such places.

Positive feedback for people on questionnaires is a good way for people to stay in employment. Those things are taken seriously. Mind you, the interweb is a bad place for such things if the opportunity for a review is open to anyone and everyone. I have been on the receiving end of such a dastardly act and it took a bit of effort to sort out. Fortunately some of my skills include that I was possibly some form of canine terrier in a past life. Probably a really annoying one that latches onto a bone and refuses to let go if it is economic to do so. :-)! Hehe!

That is really cool that you have a priest who knows something about bees. That sounds very old school monastery like, and you will probably enjoy the persons acquaintance and hopefully can discuss all manner of arcane interests? Maybe?

I have heard that olive oil can be used in lamps, although I have never attempted such a thing as I do not enjoy a surplus of olive oil. Olives grow really easily here. It would not surprise me at all to find seedling feral olive trees in the surrounding forest. One day, I will plant an olive grove as they are very useful and very long lived trees. So many projects. Fat would not burn without rancid smoke. Ah yes, wicker furniture would have been widely used - but as a throne like chair? Interesting.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hang on a second: "a family living in a very haunted ancestoral home up in a small town in New England" sounds an awful lot to me like "The Amityville Horror". Frightening stuff. I once saw a Hammer house of horror story about some parents faking such an experience - and the consequences were not good...

Your pan bread may be our damper? This is a traditional Australian soda bread, historically prepared by swagmen, drovers, stockmen and other travellers. I can attest that it is very tasty stuff, but you never see it anywhere these days.

Go the vanilla bean ice cream - gourmet edition too. OK, I'm salivating - but I also know how this story turns out! Which makes me doubly hungry! Yum!

Good fortune plays a role in all of our lives whether we acknowledge it or not. Don't feel too bad, a blue sponge finish on a table may put me off too. Of course, I can strip the table back to raw timber and then reseal it. On the other hand you make a strong case for retaining the history of the table (the technical term for such a thing is: peacocking). Have you considered a darker blue such as Royal Blue? I once knew a bloke who painted his hallway of an 1890's house that colour and it looked awesome, but I lacked the cojones to replicate such a feat of individuality! Respect for the furniture score!

Thanks for understanding. On many occasions I have found it useful to take a cold hard look at the future and make the decision to cut my losses. Of course, plenty of times I've got it completely wrong, but you know, sometimes you just feel things in your bones and have to make the hard call. Exactly, so it goes, and things could be worse. I've seen worse with my own eyes and I can tell you this: It is worse!

A very nice trick. I have an equally sneaky trick. If people ask me for directions in a rude and condescending manner, I make a point of sending them in the wrong direction. Yes, I am naughty. I am genuinely amazed at how many people who I don't know demand such things from me. Where are manners these days? Clearly if we consider fluffy rule number one: It is your fault not mine; then I would have to suggest that it is their fault.

The rock gabions are so useful, the editor and I have decided to continue maintaining a gabion cage in one form or the other into the immediate future.

Every year brings different results in terms of the harvest. The only sensible way to approach such difficulties is to plant a sheer diversity of plants and just hope that something produces a surplus. Not everyone will agree with such a strategy though. The cosmos flowers are superb and being part of the daisy family, they are real givers. Carl Sagan, whatever, the immediate flowers are far better than distant and unobtainable stars. :-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

You're onto something with your legendary blueberry crisp! Yum! Who worrys about such things. Eat like a rabbit at home and a Lion when on the prowl, seems to be a good rule of thumb. Hey, it is French lentils and fresh garden vegetables for dinner tonight.

The indent was probably an Indian grinding stone - much like a mortar and pestle? Maybe?

There are dinosaur tracks in rocks on the west coast of this continent. The fossilised forests (Petrified wood) always freak me out. The stones for such things today are only small, but still the ancient trees cast a long shadow. Many of the trees on this continent have a long lineage of 200+ million years or more and are still growing. Their species would have seen a thing or two in their time. By sheer chance I was reading about these species the other day.

Well Laura Dern is apparently in the next Star Wars film! She did a great job in that film portraying the ever up beat, and yet down trodden mother character. Everyone deals with loss differently and yeah, whatever works is perhaps a sage bit of advice. The protagonist was very vulnerable too and that was clearly spelled out in the film.

Yup, be part of the scenery, and don't be overly familiar - which is threatening to females. Nothing to see here. People open up slowly and relationships that are worthwhile, take time.

Your sails are blowing with their winds! If there was one thing that I could get through to people considering taking the path that I have chosen it is this: I’ve been on that path for almost two and half decades and it is not a fortnights workshop.

It is funny that you mention that, but feeling out the lay of the land is the way to go in such circumstances. My mum and I will perhaps never get along, but she was right with that useful observation in that particular regard.

Far out it is cold as here tonight. 35'F. There will be a light frost for sure. I moved the potato beds today and fixed the walkway up around them with crushed rock / lime. Plus the garden bed above them was covered in a cubic metre of wood composted mulch. Me tired.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hey everyone!

I forgot to mention that the blog has (or maybe just about too) enjoy its third birthday!

Long live the fluffy republic of Fernglade Farm!

And many thanks to all of the delightful commenters who make this act of writing a true joy!

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I can see so clearly young Chris in his football togs . . . Well, we know that you discovered your true sport early on - that would be the sport of Hard Work. And it truly takes a good sport to play that one . . . As for AFL - I can't remember who we are rooting for this year (it changes every year . . .). Time for some footy snacks! A Four and Twenty Pie anyone?

Glad to see Sir Scruffy still on the job. Hi, toothy! Perhaps we shall say: Chief Scritchy of the Wood Fire. 35F is cold! No wonder Chief Scritchy has fastened himself to the tiles in front of the fire.

I was thinking about your medlars yesterday. I was reflecting on some retting that I had done with some yucca leaves for who knows what (really scratchy sandals?) and I thought of "bletting".

My jaw drops at your citrus trees. And you still have beautiful flowers. A friend sent me some Canterbury Bell seeds and they are now blooming. The are amazingly gorgeous. Do you have any? It's been so cool and wet that we are not seeing any bees, but something is pollinating as we have baby tomatoes and peppers.

You have put up so many great gabion photos that a finally sent some to my son, even though this grasshopper may one day have to enjoy the enlightenment that comes from collecting many stones . . .

A toast to the fluffy republic of Fernglade Farm! Well done, you!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I knew that your town adventures would be exciting! Rather like following a weekly serial. I think that you have come up with a perfect solution for the drop-leaf table.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Three years - congrats!!

The rock gabions are quite amazing. I see so many retaining walls falling down fairly quickly. I imagine these are much more permanent.

I never did much in the way of sports. Of course I was in school before Title IX so girls/womens sports just weren't available that much. I went to a very affluent high school though that provided many different actvities. In PE we had archery, modern dancing, gymnastics and fencing along with many other team sports.

I've always felt that there has been too much emphasis on sports in general though I did see the benefit for some of my "at risk" students. Interestingly if they participated in a sport it often was wrestling. My youngest daughter participated quite a bit in sports while my older daughter did not at all.

The weather is finally getting better. It appears I only have to replace one tomato plants. Now that we've made the commitment to sell the house and downsize I've been trying to get stuff out of here. When you have the room you tend not to get rid of old stuff i.e. clothes when new comes in. Anyway it's keeping me very busy.

Doug has a friend coming to stay for 5 days next week and then my brother and sister-in-law are coming the following weekend. It appears that June will be pretty hectic.

Visited my younger daughter and boyfriend this weekend to see their new apartment which is as big as a house. It's 2400 sq ft with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It's very nice and in a good, safe neighborhood in Chicago across from a huge park that has a weekly farmer's market. We have friends 10 years older than us who instead of downsizing have purchased a huge house where they will live with their daughter and her family. It's interesting to say the least to see people getting bigger places (much more than they need IMHO) while we're feeling the need to downsize.

Well better get moving now.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - All Hail the Fluffy Republic of Fernglade Farm! There must be a flag ... and, an anthem. There should be national holidays. Pie and Pint Night? To be celebrated monthly? Weekly? :-). I seem to remember that you have a fellow, down there, that declared his own kingdom. He has fancy passports. Money? Barter, only!

I don't know the ultimate outcome of the military bookstore. Haven't finished the book, yet! :-). Hmm. As far as your mate and the stressful job, I'd hesitate to advise going into business, for himself. On the other hand, you folks don't have the added burden of worrying about health care. Not advise, but an observation I'd make is that I worked many jobs for long periods of time. 8 years, 12 years. But in between I took a number of jobs of short duration. And, just about anything. Hence, a rather interesting job history. :-). So, if it was a **** job, I'd pack it in and move on and find something else. Sooner or later, I'd settle into something I liked, or, at least was tolerable. Of course, I never had any attachments to worry about. Responsibilities, beyond myself.

From time to time, there is a bit of helicopter traffic, around here. Fort Lewis and an air force base are due north (as the crow flies, so to speak) and sometimes there's a bit of traffic north and south. When we had a lot of fires in the county, year before last, there were firefighting helicopters. They had huge buckets they dragged along and would fill in any convenient body of water, to dump on the fire. Medical flights cost a horrendous amount of money (there's that health insurance thing, again). Even ambulance service. I took an ambulance ride, quit a few years ago, and it was around $800. I hear it's up around $1,200, now. My friends in Idaho, quit a few people where they live pay $100 a year for helicopter insurance.

I'm not very far into the book on the communes of the late 60s/early 70s, but one claim the author makes is that the back to the land movement, then, was pretty spontaneous. A lot of people in a lot of places had the same idea at the same time. The Viet Nam war, etc.. I have another book on my hold list (title escapes me) about the current back to the land movement. ought to be interesting to read them near back to back. As the old school tests used to say, "compare and contrast..." I'm pretty near the top of the hold list, so it should turn up pretty soon. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. As far as feedback and reviews online go, say, on EBay, if a seller has sold a lot of stuff and his positive feedback rating is north of 95%, I'll go with it. Having sold stuff on EBay, a long time ago (and, probably from having worked with the public) I know that there are nut jobs out there who nothing pleases. Some sellers got really wound up about one bad review among hundreds of good reviews. Best ignore them and move on.

Yeah, it will be interesting to get to, perhaps, know the priest. Not an occupation you run across, every day. :-). One of the ladies, told me in an aside, that he's ok, and doesn't try and recruit. :-).

There's a phrase I've run across in a couple of places, lately. Claims to be "an old saying." Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper." As far as eating habits, go. I try and "go light" for my evening meal. Or, at least a lot of veg.

There are places in the United States where they have whole logs of petrified wood. In fact, I think there's a "petrified forest" down in Oregon. State park? National Monument? Something. In our county, I've found occasional small pieces of petrified wood in streams. Occasional good sized chunks. What's really interesting is that on rare occasions, under certain conditions, the wood turns to agate. I've seen some really pretty pieces.

Well, it's off to the Little Smoke. Quit a few stops, today. And, back to town, tomorrow. This moving business is putting the miles on the truck :-). Lew

Yahoo2 said...

Hi Lew, I have found that too much pillow makes the muck in my head and flemm in the neck worse. Last year I injured my shoulders and had to sleep reclined sitting up or flat on my back, without a pillow I was fine on my back, with a pillow I was terrible. I always thought I slept on my sides, obviously I dont 100% of the time. I can now breathe through my nose, that's a first for me.

re compost Chris there is another perspective on this, compost and mulch will only get our soils to a certain point, if you want fertility that lasts longer than 5 years and doesn't need constant "topping up" it requires shifting the focus onto some different techniques and tweaking a couple of things. I am busy goofin off today, I can write something tonight if you are interested. Chow steve

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Totally busted! Yes, you are correct about the sport. This week had quite a lot of hard work didn't it? But flat land is such a rare thing here. Plus who can resist home grown potatoes? OK, how would you know about four and twenty pies? I used to work not too far from where they were baked and the smell in the mornings was all pie. Yum! The major brewery on the other side of town used to smell like yeast to me. The sheep skin tannery was quite a rich smell (Poopy would definitely approve) over in the western suburbs during summer, but I reckon the blood and bone rendering plant took the prize for interesting smells.

Sir Scruffy, Toothy, and Scritchy all return your greetings! And all approve of the wood heater, but Scritchy must take pride of place and all defer to her might.

Don't yucca leaves have some part of the tequila process? Not sure.

The citrus trees are real givers and they receive no additional watering. There is a mulch pit where a drain infiltrates water into the ground and it seems to work well. I have so many lemons nowadays, I trade them with a cafe in Melbourne for their coffee grounds (of course they also chuck in the occasional free lemon and coconut muffin). Everyone has smiles!

Oh my the Canterbury Bell flowers are spectacular. I have never seen them around here, but will keep an eye out for them. European honey bees don't pollinate tomatoes and possibly the peppers either. I believe that job is reserved for the bumble bees, but I note down here that the native blue banded bees also pollinate those flowers. Solanum plants are native down here, so the native bees enjoy the extra feed. You'll have to watch your flowers over time to see who is doing that work. European honey bees can be very lazy if conditions are sub fluffy optimal.

I look forward to reading about your future rock gabions and rock collecting activities! Who would have thought that small rocks were useful? And many thanks to you.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you very much. It has been a lot of fun hasn't it? :-)!

Retaining walls are a complex business aren't they? And yeah I see so many of them falling over. Hopefully these ones make at least 30 years, and I fancy that the clay will eventually infiltrate the rocks over many years and hopefully by the time the steel gives way... Being square cages should assist that process. Maybe. Anyway, the slope is not too steep and we could have made a garden bed, but entropy gets all of us in the end.

Those are all good sports and I can imagine you as a student of archery. It is funny that you mention school sports. More on this next week. Dancing would be a good skill to have but alas I have two left feet and dance like Peter Garret (of Midnight Oil fame). I never really tried to learn that skill. Martial arts is a bit like dancing though.

Well the at risk kids possibly felt like they would learn some valuable skills and they may possibly have been able to blow off a bit of emotional steam in that activity? Inter school sports has bragging rights for the schools from what I saw of it. You can never tell who may or may not be interested in sports and what their skills will show. Later school sports was non optional for me. The editor had never heard of such a thing.

Good to hear about the weather and even better news about only losing the single tomato plant. Good stuff. Oh yeah, that would be a very emotional process, it would almost be like sorting out an estate - which is hard work. I hope you take the time and enjoy the process too? Ha! You will be very busy indeed.

I had to look up what 2400 square foot means in metric. That's a bit over 220 square metres which is pretty big for an apartment. I wonder about the move towards multi generational houses as it is a good idea for everyone, although the ugly problem of dividing the farm and succession planning problems are often ignored - which I'm uncomfortable with. It is a nightmare to negotiate, I can imagine that. It is interesting that down here there has been a lot of talk about downsizing but not a lot of action. Dunno what it means in reality.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve (Yahoo2),

I would really appreciate reading your perspective on this important matter. Of course you are correct that I have things rather easy at the moment due to the sheer availability of cheap organic matter, but I do realise this situation cannot go on forever. It is historically unprecedented. There are losses of fertility here to the surrounding environment due to leaching etc related to very heavy rainfall, but overall I've done pretty well so far to close the loop, so to speak on the flows of organic matter. You have me intrigued.

Enjoy your goofing off! Respect.

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, Monday the 12th June, the republic of Fernglade Farm celebrates the Queen's birthday (as does the rest of the state of Victoria) so there is an actual upcoming public holiday. I wonder if many people down here recall how the state received its name? Actually pie and pint night has a good ring to it. Yum! I hesitate to mention that I had a pint of dessert stout the other week and it was very good - almost as good as often dreamed about, but rarely seen magical Christmas unicorns. Did I mention the rabbit pie I also had recently which is very good? Rabbit is a tasty meat, but it is very bony. Ha! You know, there are a few places dotted around this country that have declared independence. The individuals are officially tolerated as mildly eccentric and amusing characters. They do tend to live in remote spots too. I'm pretty certain they pay their land taxes...

Fair enough about the military bookshop. I would have thought that there would be demand for such a bookshop, but I wasn't quite sure about New York as a location for the shop. Dunno. The television shows and films I have seen about New York are notable for their core and general themes of mental health issues and I do wonder about the lack of access to the natural environment in such locations. I doubt that there are any readers of this blog from New York.

As for my mate, I was more wondering whether anything that I could possibly say would make any difference to the situation? Have you ever directed anyone into the program? Someone once mentioned to me an interesting line when they described someone else as being: "lost in the detail". It was an astute observation, and jobs can be like that with some people. I have made the mistake of caring too much in the way distant past in a job, and well, such errors have more to do with my own perception of my own status being reflected back at me. It is an error to think that way. Dunno.

Your health care costs are akin to our housing costs. I believe that both systems operate to extract excess tokens from the ever inflating money supply which has the effect of reducing inflationary pressures on basic goods and services, but they also, I believe, increase wealth and other forms of inequality. Neither situation will end well.

The huge helicopters are used in bushfire fire fighting here too. One of my videos has them operating in this area. They actually managed to stop a fire from getting into the forest here one year and it was amazing to see and I really appreciate the efforts that went into that day. The ambulance costs about the same down here. You can choose to become a subscriber to the service and then as a member you don't pay for the flight, ambulance etc. You do however pay an annual membership fee. I have always maintained that membership and have never used it (so far, thankfully).

Spontaneous is a big call for such a movement. Out of curiosity, how does such a claim stack up against your memories? And the current movement would be an interesting read too. You know, I'm not seeing it down here at all. I mentioned to the Green Wizards the other day that I'd be happy to run a group on such things, but the pay back from the current economy is yet too strong to provide an appealing alternative to the mainstream narrative. I wonder if the author of the 60's/70's book mentions the effect of the 70's oil crisis?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I use eBay and you are spot on. There are just some people who are not happy under any circumstances - and they will take your review down with them into that pit. Yup. Had one of those. I hear you. It must be common because very few people have 100% feedback. And some people use such feedback mechanisms for their own economic gain. I generally have a sticky beak at the most recent negative feedback as a guide, but take them with a grain of salt (as they say). Cafes have problems with negative reviews - and I have heard anecdotal accounts of review practices that sound an awful lot like extortion to me. A few months back I read of an article of a young mum who changed her babies nappy on a table in the middle of a cafe. I have never seen such a thing, but I once had dinner in a restaurant with people who's young kid had clearly taken a dump in the nappy and they ignored the smell whilst we all sat around and ate and politely pretended nothing happened. One of the parents said something, something about there not being enough wine in the world, and I just sort of felt sorry for them for obvious reasons and avoided them thereafter.

Well if he does try and recruit, you may have additional fun whilst you enjoy the company. It is a tough sell. ;-)!

I have heard that "old saying" ever since I was a kid. They used to do that down here, but I see it reversed nowadays. Dunno. I find I prefer a big breakfast and a smaller dinner. Of course one must make an exception for a pie (although I prefer a chicken schnitzel, chips and salad) and pint. I reckon you are on the money. Are you reading up on food and diets at the moment?

Really, agate petrified wood would look really cool. Pressure, heat and time can do interesting things to organic matter. Hey, I'm reading about welding and metal work at the moment and I'm learning all sorts of interesting things like how to add additional carbon to mild steel to "hard face" it. Yes, the Japanese sword masters would have known a trick or two and produced some superb swords. Metals are very complex things and they have such a long history.

Are you enjoying the moving process?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Congratulations on your 3rd birthday. I think that it is most impressive when someone manages to keep going with a weekly blog.

I will also be interested in what Steve has to say about soil. We are much helped by the fact that Son keeps pigs. The white sow has gone to the slaughterer, as she is getting old, so son will be busy today when she is returned. The meat will be tough so it will be mince, sausages and sausage rolls.

Lovely warm sunny weather but we had 2 nights of Sturm und Drang. It is amazing what rain can do to encourage growth. No matter how well I water, I can't match it.

Am going nuts trying to access details of my American ancestry, everyone that I deal with seems to be as 'thick as two short planks'. Do you have that phrase in Australia?

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I see Four and Twenty Pies advertised on the once-a-week footy game that we get on the satellite TV.

Agave is what is used in making tequila. Yucca and agave look very much alike. Yucca root is used for soap. It is ok for hands; so far I haven't tried it for anything else. I think I have read that it is good for hair.

My, Melbourne had (has?) some interesting industrial activities.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - So. Queen's birthday. Vicky or Liz II? :-). I had another thought about "Wild", I forgot to mention. The hiker stopped at Bridge of the Gods, which is on the Oregon / Washington border. So, she didn't get up to my neck of the woods. I was kind of disappointed :-(.

Hmmm. Have I directed anyone into the program. Hmmm. No one comes to mind. Not directly, as far as I know. Maybe by example? Usually, I'm approached by concerned friends or families. Then I have to break the news that a.) whoever is having the problem needs to want it more than anything else in the world and b.) they have to be doing it for themselves. Not for friends or family.

Yeah, spontaneous is a pretty sweeping term. After things started moving in a country direction, there was the Whole Earth Catalog which probably had some impact. And, the book mentions that the reprinting of Helen and Scott Nearing's "Living the Good Life" had a big impact. It's hard to remember the sequence of events, that far back. I remember that in the late 60s, we referred to shared student digs as a commune. So, the term was floating around. I vaguely knew a few people in the same time period that moved out to actual country communes.

Oh, I'm always reading about food and diet. A lot of skimming. It's kind of like background noise :-). On my trip into the library, I also ran across another Blue Zones book. A bit about the original study ... places in the world that have launched Blue Zone programs. A more nuts and bolts approach. The military bookstore started in NYC in the late 1970s. Things were a lot different in NYC, then. Property availability, etc. But, a lot of my reading is on hold right now, as I'm galloping through Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." Can't say I'm a big fan, but the book is pretty good. He wrote it himself (no ghost writer ... flying without a net) and has a real nice, kind of rollicking venacular (sp?) style. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Am I enjoying the move? Well, it's complicated :-). I hauled down my four boxes of Halloween tat, yesterday. Oh, my. I think an old cupboard or wardrobe is in my future. Sure freed up a lot of room in my front bedroom / storage room.

I went to the monthly resident's meeting. About half the tenants showed up, I'd say. Got next month's schedule of events ... there was talk of the new washer. We're switching to key cards next week. The Warden is a genius at keeping the mob on topic. It's like herding cats. I talked to one little lady after the meeting. She lives up on my floor and has a dog. Apparently he doesn't like men and barks and snaps. I told her about Beau and asked (with her permission) if when I met the dog I could give him a dog biscuit. I usually carry a couple around with me as a friend in the program has a black lab service dog.

Good news, bad news. Apparently, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. No garden bed for me ... this year. I think that what happened is that the Master Gardeners (a force to be reckoned with) claimed the available bed. For demo, or something. I could tuck stuff here or there, but held the line and said I'd wait for an available, intact bed. All or nothing, thanks very much. They were impressed that I'd kept a worm box going for 15 years. They haven't had much luck
:-). There's a place for that. On the good news front, I can replace the light fixture that really bugs me. So it goes. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks! It is funny that you mention that, but for a long time before the blog I used to write semi-regularly anyway, and I enjoy the writing process. The other avenues for my earlier writing couldn't absorb the sheer quantity of my output, and to be honest, I wrote for the love of writing and the art of story telling, rather than the cash. Other activities in my life are perhaps more lucrative. Hehe! And maintaining ongoing dialogue with lovely people such as yourself - even when we disagree - is reward enough in itself. It was a complicated decision for me to discuss my life so publicly though as at heart I am a very private and unassuming person.

Yes, I will also be very interested to read what Steve has to say about soil fertility. There has been no reply, but my take on that matter is that soil fertility is akin to the long term productivity of a fruit tree, in that it can take far longer than a person can ever expect. Of course, we - as humans - can speed that process along, so any hints or tips are well received.

Mince, sausages, and sausage rolls are all excellent foodstuffs! I ate a sausage roll today and it was very good.

Aren't you lovely! I'm always personally troubled when one abstract human tool is elevated beyond its station. It reminds me a lot of the Peter Principle, which provides returns up until the point that it fails. My German is not so good, so I appreciate the history lesson too. :-)! In recent music, the grunge movement in the early 1990's which had some notable beginnings in Australia, used similar keys and tempos in music to express similar emotions. The effect is haunting, but life is in the living and it rarely travels smoothly. I enjoy that sort of music as it reminds me of life itself.

Down here they say: As thick as two bricks. I reckon it rhymes better, what do you feel?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,


Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.


Well spotted too! The brand has been around as long as I can recall and has been associated with football for that long too.

Oh! Thanks for the explanation and tips on how to use the plants. Down here you usually see the agaves growing. It is always interesting how they grow and grow and then eventually fall over. A lot of plants do that trick and that can be one method for moving around the landscape. I've seen yucca plants around although they are not as common.

The industrial activities are probably fairly common to large cities. Maybe? It may be that I noticed them because I worked near to them. The smells on a hot summers day can be quite extraordinary and hard to ignore!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I always wondered why the at risk kids picked wrestling rather than other sports such as football. They had to have passing grades in order to participate and for many it was the only time during the school year that they did.

The modern dance class was individually performed - not couples. A lot of men don't enjoy dancing which is why there's usually more women out on the dance floor. Doug isn't much of a dancer though he does tolerably well. When we were first going out it was during the disco phase and we often went out dancing then.

I have been going through old pictures and keeping the best ones. They do bring back memories for sure. When my mother died and we added on to our house a lot of family items ended up here as we now have the biggest house. I've told other family members that it's time for others to claim some of them or many may go. I have boxes of my great uncle's 16 mm movies that he took. Over the years it's been suggested that they be converted to DVDs but no one has stepped up to volunteer. I don't even know if you can do that anymore.

This weekend is out town's big Milk Day Festival. Our friends who owned the retirement home that Michael lived in are the grand marshals this year. They did manage to sell it after all and a few of the residents stayed on.

The owner of the Christmas tree farm across the road is very interested in the property adjacent to ours owned by our family trust. He's possibly even interested in our house. We had a pretty long conversation yesterday and he wanted to know if owner financing might be a possibility. He had quite a few creative ideas so we'll see.

Michael has his first appointment with the ophthalmologist today to set up the surgery. He keeps thinking that the surgery will be done today.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Nope, it is for Lizzy II as far as I am aware. The Queen is still the head of the Parliament down here and provides Royal assent for every bill. Let's not forget that the Queen's representative sacked the elected federal government in 1975. That is no small power. ;-)! I couldn't imagine how such a thing would go down in the US? It would perhaps be mayhem. We took it pretty well, all things considered.

That is disappointing isn't it? I failed to understand that significance. I did however enjoy the protagonist saying hello to the Oregon cows in their paddocks. A nice literary touch, that particular scene.

Thanks for the explanation and that accords with my opinion and experience of that matter. Unfortunately... A long time ago I had a mate who lived large and talked big, until one day he shocked me completely by telling me he was down to his last fifty five cents. He had to work his way down to that point, I guess. I don’t generally recommend that course of action.

Talk about sweeping generalisations, and that was a classic example. Surely, there must have been motivations or pressures exerting upon the people to act so? I see population pressures down here, and I'll tell ya, those pressures alter my behaviour in all sorts of subtle ways. Oh my, those two moved to Vermont in 1932. Far out. A good choice of destination too. Is the book worth reading?

Did the Blue Zone nuts and bolts approach yield any further insights? I mentioned again to the Green Wizards last weekend that I'll be useful until I'm no longer useful. Of course defining what useful means may be a bit problematic! ;-)!

I had no idea that Bruce Springsteen had even written a book and I am even more impressed that the words were his, rather than a ghost writers.

Complicated is the word isn't it? I'm not much of a fan of moving. But my reason is that I have lived in nineteen different houses that I can recall, and 'ere he says he's not dead yet! It is too often for one person, but on the other hand it lends a certain sort of flexibility to a persons outlook on life. How much Halloween gear does a person require?

Half the tenants is a good show of interest in the meeting. Do you have a shared washing facility? I once lived in a flat with one of those shared facilities and the washer and dryer was in constant use. I can't say that I was a fan, and one day someone removed my stuff, so they could get their stuff done. People can be such a joy and delight.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yeah, dogs like to sniff the back of your proffered hand to get a feel for who you are. You must approach the dog in a way that the dog does not believe that you will whack its head with your hand - i.e. the dog has to come to you and not the other way around. The biscuit idea is sheer genius. I eagerly await a report. Labs are very intelligent, but also very lazy dogs – although owners may see the matter differently and be offended by such observations. Hehe! But it is true…

Bummer about the garden plot. On the other hand kudos for displaying value with the worm farm. Nice work. Many years ago, I once half buried a worm farm directly into a garden bed. The worm juice was able to freely drain into the garden bed and the worms could come and go as they pleased with the weather (hot weather here puts stress on worms in worm farms subjected to ambient air temperatures and so they head deeper into the ground until the soil cools). Anyway, I simply planted the vegetables around the worm farm and the system just worked nicely. Respect to you for maintaining the worm farm for 15 years as that is not an easy feat to achieve.

Interestingly, whilst I'm walking about the place, I have been busy recently relocating useful plants which have self seeded to areas that I want them. I rarely buy plants nowadays as I save the seed, but a lot of vegetables simply turn up about the farm.

It is still cold here today, but at least the sun shone a little tiny bit. I have somehow convinced the editor to spend money on adding two more solar panels to the system. Good fun.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

When we first moved to this property I got hold of "Living the Good Life" and it was such an inspiration. I also have Helen Nearing's cookbook "Simple Food for the Good Life". It is full of anecdotes about their life, at least as many anecdotes as recipes, and I really like the recipes as she was just a throw-everything-together sort of person. Scott lived to be 100, Helen 91. From what I remember, they both worked on the farm till the end of their days. Yo, Chris and editor!

Sorry that you don't have a garden plot to start on this season.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for the lovely comment and I promise to respond tomorrow.

Lewis set me off on an internet journey this evening, where I met some people (who have since passed away) who think along remarkably similar lines to the editor and I: Living The Good Life With Helen and Scott Nearing . The link is to Mother Earth news - which I have never seen before, and it is an 18 page extract from the Nearing's book.

Thanks Lewis! Top Stuff.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

How odd that you celebrate the Queen's birthday, we don't here!

More about worm farms please as I don't know what they are. Is that the same as the fact that my son's pig manure is always full of worms?

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ yahoo2

Nasal clearance: The yoga method of inhaling salt water through the nose and expelling it from the mouth acts as a wonderful clearance. Can also be done in the sea if the water is unpolluted. Note that I am not a member of the medical profession, so at your own risk but it has worked for me.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, letting go and moving on can also apply to frequent moves. Living situations become untenable. You cut your losses and move on ... on your own terms. The first place I lived in Chehalis, back in '82 was pretty nice. Except for a hole that developed in the living room ceiling. You could see blue sky through it. I nagged the landlord for a couple of months, and nothing was done. So, I just went out, found another place to live and gave my notice. The landlord acted surprised. "If I had fixed the hole in the ceiling, would you have stayed?" Well ... Duh!

Insanity is sometimes defined as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

Motivations and pressures for the back to the land movement. Well, there was the whole Viet Nam war. The threat of the military draft, the demonstrations. There was the string of assassinations. Race riots. There was a growing consensus that industrial food was, maybe, bad for you and you were better off growing your own. The "Summer of Love" was grinding down to it's squalid end. There were the ongoing "hair wars". Long hair on men that occasionally descended into violence. The Nixon Watergate debacle. This all happened over a fairly short period of time. Five or six years. People just wanted to get out of the pressure cooker that the cities had become. Take a deep breath and do whatever they wanted to do in a place where people would leave them alone. At least that's my take.

Anything new from the Blue Zones? Eat lots of beans :-) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Hmm. Well, I read the Nearing books, many years ago. So, I really can't remember any impression of the book. But, given it's popularity, it's probably a good read. Ah, I'm surprised you'd never stumbled across Mother Earth News. It's founding date would also be a good indication of when the back to the land thing started ... or gained real critical mass. It began as a real "nuts and bolts" look at living on the land. Later, in the 80s or 90s it got a bit yupped out. Pretty slick, these days. There are a couple of periodicals that are more "in the spirit" of the original Mother Earth News. I understand Bob the Bachelor Farmer had an almost complete run of the magazine. Sad. By now they're probably unreadable. Lack of heat, moisture. "Countryside and Small Stock Journal" is pretty good. "Backwoods Home" can be good. Their right wing political slant and articles about lots of "fire power" can be a bit over the top. But if you can look past that, there's some good information in it. "Countryside" is more small farm or home garden orientated. "Backwoods Home" is more how to set up your doomstead. :-)

Mother Earth News also really bangs the drum (these days) for any bit of energy vaporware that comes down the pike.

How much Halloween gear does a person need? Well, apparently, at least four boxes :-). Yup. There's a shared laundry room with coin operated machines. Different prices for different size loads. Apparently, there's a bit of petty theft that goes on about the place. Well, that's pretty much a given, dealing with so many people. No big woop. Just be aware and keep your eye on your stuff.

Well, I won't be giving biscuits to the lab, anymore. I saw him and his owner, yesterday, and they think the dog has an allergy to chicken. I checked my biscuits, and, yes, that's in the mix.

Haven't got back to it, yet, but one thing mentioned in the book about the military bookstore struck me. Your beloved "Art of War" wasn't translated into English, until recently. Of course, by recently, I mean about a hundred years ago. That surprised me. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

'Thick as two bricks' is better and not just because it rhymes; the thickness is more evident.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

My sister used to send me 'Mother earth news' a long time ago. It was very good but then deteriorated and I stopped having it. Interesting that it is supposed to have improved.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I'm sort of guessing and my gut feeling says that the kids pursued the wrestling option out of self-interest as it may have been a handy skill. I had to learn how to fight which is a strange skill to have to consider and learn, but, peoples experiences can travel in strange directions and my life travelled in strange directions... I was planning to write about that this week.

Dancing is a skill like everything else isn't it? And yeah, girl friends dragged me out to clubs and I knew why I was there, but at the same time I wondered if there was not some better form of entertainment. Plus I was always tired due to part time Uni and full time work. I was always quite partial to disco music, and have fond memories of the Saturday night fever soundtrack, as I listened to the radio from a very young age.

Yes, the photos bring back memories don't they? I worry about them for a bushfire here and the digital ones are OK, but the printed ones may disappear. For your interest, a local mob began a business converting 16mm video into digital. They are apparently in great demand, because not many people do that conversion. They originally began by converting the old super 8mm format and picked up a lot of old equipment. The quality of the old format is amazingly good - and people didn't tend to overdo movies and photos like today with sheer quantity due to the economics.

How is Michael going in his new place of residence? These things happen and when the decision was made, things were far from certain. And who knows how the new people manage the place? Sometimes you have to walk away.

You rarely see owner financing down here, but I have heard that it is a thing in the US. I've heard it called Vendor's terms and some people do it for the return on investment from the property. I have no idea how such things work, but it may work for you.

Apologies, I forget, was the surgery for cataracts? I understand that that is quite a simple procedure, but have no idea really. How is Michael's eyesight anyway?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I hadn't considered that about the choice of wrestling - makes sense.

Regarding photos - nothing's permanent is it really. I've been tossing quite a few of the photos because who needs tons of pics of virtually the same event, person, pet etc. A fire or tornado would take them all out anyway. Some people organize and get them in albums but even that can be overdone. Maybe one of the other family members will take on the task of converting some of the old films but so far no one's stepped up. My uncle took many films of his fishing trips and those don't need to be saved. I know there's one of me as a baby though and one with my parents. They are labeled so perhaps if I pull just a few out someone will do it.

Michael really likes his new place and has a girlfriend - someone he knew from the prior agency he was with. It's more expensive but the new owners of the retirement home were going to raise their rates quite a bit and I think all in all this is a better place for him.

I took him to the ophthalmologist yesterday for his first appointment prior to surgery resulting in six additional appointments two of which are the actual surgeries. I really didn't expect that. He had a terrible time at the appointment - couldn't keep his head placed correctly or his eyes open. Normally one doesn't have general anesthesia for this procedure but he will as the doctor's afraid he won't be able to stay still. This will all be done between next week and July 14th. She said his cataracts are pretty bad. Four years ago I took him to get glasses but he wouldn't wear them claiming his girlfriend laughed at him. I had realized his vision was getting quite bad so he promised he'd wear glasses if we got some new ones. That's when we found out about the cataracts. Michael is not a complainer. Things get to the serious stage before he says anything so I have to remember to check him out regularly.

If I can finance the property it would bring in some income. There's nothing to invest in that's safe anymore with low interest rates.

I find dancing to be great exercise so I can understand why you'd be too tired after a long day.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I had a subscription to "Mother Earth News" (I still have the magazines) in the early '90s. Never having read it before then, I had nothing to compare it to, and I thought it was pretty good. I also happen to have some copies of Fernglade Farm Magazine. When I first started reading your blog about 2 1/2 years ago, all I had at the time was a wonky PC, which I didn't have much time to access. So, I printed out copies of each blog entry and read them when I had more time. I have 5 or 6 months worth. Later, I got a laptop and could read more often, and comment. If I would get on the ball - and spring for a lot of printing ink - I'd copy all of them.

The first house we bought was owner-financed. I'm sorry that I can't remember if the lady who owned it set up that loan through her lawyer or her bank. We did make the payments directly to her.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge, Lewis, Margaret, and Pam,

Today we worked all day in the new fern gully, which is coming along nicely, but no photos for about a week or two - depending on what goes on there with the plantings.

As I was responding to Margaret's comment from yesterday, the editor suggested going to the pub for a pint and feed. Well let's put it this way - I am easily corrupted! So off to the pub we went. Yum!

Thanks for the comments and I promise to reply to your lovely comments tomorrow!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Worm boxes. I got a Rubbermaid plastic storage container (about 2x1x1 1/2'), drilled a couple of holes at one end in the bottom. Some in the lid. LOL, I had to drive a distance to buy some starter worms. I do think they're the same as your Son's, but not having any pigs handy ...

Some people start off with a bit of shredded newspaper, the worms and a bit of kitchen scraps. No meat or dairy should be added. Coffee grounds, tea bags (I pull off the paper tabs, staple and string), and just about anything else. Lots of banana peels, since I eat one a day. I usually cut them up a bit. I keep a double plastic bag in the fridge and when it gets a bit full, add it to the worm box.

I alternate ends to add stuff. I dig out one end, add the scraps and cover it over. If the box looks a bit dry, I sprinkle a bit of water, over the top. The box is on a small 2x4 frame, slightly elevated at one end, and I have a container under the holes at the other end. When it gets a bit full, I pour it into a gallon jug. Worm juice. If I have an ailing plant, I give it a good shake and cut it with 1/2 water. Magic stuff.

I've never had problems with smells, or, luckily any kind of vermin or bugs. Well, once I had a plague of fruit flies, but I got a funny little apple shaped trap. It took care of the problem. It's spent, but I still use it to mark which end of the box I've put stuff in, last.

I've probably left something out, but there's plenty on line if you search "worm boxes." Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - The two houses I've bought in my life were both "on contract" from the owners. No major problems, but the last one was a bit of a hassle as the old guy who sold it was quit elderly by the time I paid it off and running him down to get my finale "deed of fulfillment" was a bit of a hassle. :-).

My friends in Idaho have always had two or three owner contracts going. I really don't know all the details, but I think they usually have a lawyer pound out all the details. Seems they rarely go without a hitch. I think it's as bad a rentals :-). One woman stopped payments and would let the contract get right up to the day of foreclosure, then pay off all the back payments and penalties. This happened several times. Then there was the couple that got a divorce half way through their contract. Complicated. Another fellow who got really sick. But, they've managed to have income, right up to retirement. Now, they're into their daughters rentals.

It's kind of like selling a business, on contract. I had a friend in Portland, years ago, who by default, ended up owning a bar. He'd build up the business, sell it, the new owners would run down the business and default, he'd have to take it back, build up the business again, and resell. It happened several times. He just wanted to get out from under the thing, but there are people that like to sell a house or a business, take it back and do it again. There's usually a good down payment, the payments along the way (until things go bad) and then another down payment, later on.

I think it depends on your temperment (sp?). My Uncle Larry, in Portland, owned a big duplex. For years, he lived in one side and rented out the other, and managed it, himself. He finally had a property management company, manage the other side. After that, the other renters didn't even know he owned the building. Just thought he was another renter. He said it was well worth the 35% fee, to avoid all the hassle. As he put it, "If the toilet's running at 2 in the morning, they don't call me." :-).

I'm more a "cash me out and let me walk away", kind of person. :-). Which is probably why I'm old and poor :-). As our new head of HUD said, last week, "Being poor is a state of mind." :-). Well, whatever. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, finally a day where I don't have to be anywhere or do anything in particular. Oh, I'll probably piddle away at something, later, but nothing is pressing. I actually got a good solid 8 hours of sleep, last night.

I wondered if you "local" had an interesting name? In the Brookenwood Mysteries (set in New Zealand) the local is "Cheetah and Toad." No explanation for that. LOL, maybe just because it's so ... discordant? Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is unusual that we get that public holiday, but I am not complaining, although being self employed I have no benefits whatsoever - if I don't work, I don't get paid.

Interestingly too, I did a quick comparison of your public holidays versus ours and it looks to me like we enjoy two more days public holidays per year than you. Economists would mumble something, something about labour productivity, although I have no idea what they are talking about.

There was a referendum held many years ago now asking the hard question as to whether we should become a republic or not and the vote was overwhelmingly "no". You have to recall that voting is compulsory down here at risk of a fine so it was a reasonably accurate sample of the populations will. I was not a fan of the model presented to the public as the politicians had retained the power to vote for the president and my opinion was that that appears to be a case of job for the boys.

Your sons pig manure - which I assume is used on the garden - is exactly a worm farm. A worm farm is the same thing with higher levels of management, collection and interaction - of course that means that you have the option of directing the outputs of the worm farm to where you actually want to use them.

I have to mention that I have seen one mother earth news but had forgotten about it. And I was surprised that there were advertisements for the tractors just inside the front cover. Mileage varies.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

The whole records problem is a big one. I wonder about the resilience of our records - especially the digital ones. Who knows what may happen.

Yeah, sometimes you can't go back. Things change and we remember them the way they were and not as the are now and it colours our perspectives. Go Michael.

Eye surgery would be a tough business, so there is no judgement on my part. I've known a few people to have eye surgery and it seemed tough on them.

I can't provide advice, but the general and regular expansion of the money supply has had some strange effects and that is certainly one of them. I have heard of property being used as an investment in those circumstances but have no idea of the details.

Oh, I didn't explain myself too well. The clubbing began at 11pm which was after my bedtime and then it continued into the wee hours of the morning. I have no taste for such things.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you, that is lovely to hear. The blog is a lot of fun isn't it? I'm glad to read that you sorted out a laptop so that we can trade witty banter. :-)!

Yeah, thanks for the info as it makes an interesting comparison. As I was writing above, we don't see such transactions down here as everything is pretty much at arms length and the seller rarely meets the buyer.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Too true. Things are tolerable, until they can no longer be tolerated and then we move on. I tell you this: I have had some interesting experiences in share houses over the years. Such experiences are two way though. The people involved lose their rougher edges as do you, so all up it is not a bad experience, just interesting. Dealing with landlords can be hard when they are mums and dads investors and mileage can vary. My gut feeling is that the entire arrangement is problematic for all sorts of reasons. Down here, it is hard to get a domestic lease longer than 12 months so there is a definite lack of permanency for tenants. It is rough as one person views a house as an investment whilst the other party views it as a house to live in. The two views may not be entirely compatible.

Was that quote attributed to Einstein? It is a pretty astute observation.

Thanks for the explanation and that makes a lot of sense. I assume land was cheaper and more readily available way back then too? Most people that I speak too down here complain about the lack of affordability for land and to me it looks expensive relative to incomes. I can only do this farm because the land was very cheap because nobody else wanted it. Then I had to build the house myself because I couldn't afford a builder because the changes to the building standards blew my budget out of the water.

Hey! Speaking of buildings, you may not have seen this: Egypt evacuates toppling 13-floor building in Alexandria. The photos are frightening!

I don't believe that I would have enjoyed the Summer of Love. I had no idea what was meant by that either. My mind keeps bouncing back to the word "turgid", but that may reflect my poor understanding of the English language?

Yup, fibre is good for you! :-)! Speaking of which I had pumpkin soup for lunch. Yum!

I had to correct myself as I had actually seen one copy of mother earth news and to be honest the tractor advertisements just inside the front page (or maybe it was the second or third page) spoke volumes to me. Opinions in that matter may vary widely and tractors are very useful bits of kit. It was the connection which just seemed a bit off to my mind. My expectations were different. Mind you, this was a long time ago.

You know people want to be comforted, I just read the editorial of into the ruins over lunch, and what we are actually speaking about in the short term is a decline in comforts and perquisites because that is how things will play out in the short term. Is it really all that bad? I just don't know.

People seem to want to discuss renewable energy with me, and it is good stuff, but there are some limitations. Hey, I'm in the highway to the danger zone for solar as I'm now within 3 weeks of the winter solstice. The sun has dropped quite low in the sky and it is quite cloudy this winter. I'll add the statistics to the blog.

Shared laundry is a good idea, especially if you have to pay. Not having that payment system can be a real drama. Really, well some of the dearies may have kleptomaniac tendencies...

Really, I'd never heard of anyone or anything having an allergy to chicken. That is a new one to me. Making a good impression does not involve trips to the vet!

Yeah, it was an English officer apparently who was something of a Sinophile. I love the book for its sense of place of strategy and good management. I've read it a few times now just to drum the lessons home. It is not a hard read.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The pig manure combined with straw etc is indeed used on the garden which is why I have noticed all the worms.

Tenancies here are usually 6 months now, which I think is quite ridiculously short.

If the choice is between the monarchy or a president, I'll opt for our monarchy.

Have also never heard of anyone with an allergy to chicken.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I don't know where the insanity quote came from. I hear it around The Program, a lot :-).

Yeah, back in the early 70s, the price of land was still .. sane. With a bit of looking, deals could be found. I don't know. Smaller population, back then? The idea of land as investment, or, for development wasn't quit as widespread? The whole advertising of land has changed. The last little house I bought (owner contract) was a two line classified ad in the local newspaper. Paid $8,500 for it. It was rough, but, to me, livable. 365 square feet and started it's life as a chicken coop, back in the 1920.

That toppling building is really something. Reminds me of my beloved disaster flicks.

The perceived story of The Summer of Love was that the merchants of San Francisco started floating the story that that summer "something cool was happening in San Francisco." There were "underground" newspapers floating around just about every major city, by that time. Thousands of bare foot kids with pretty much just the clothes on their backs descended on the city. There were people and groups who stepped up and tried to keep them clothed, fed, medical care and shelter. They were stretched very thin. As time wore on, exploitation of one sort or another was rife. People like Charlie Manson found it a rich hunting ground.

Mother Earth News, in the early days, was just this side of a mimeographed newsletter. :-). Hand drawn covers of various artistic merit. Black in white sketches, very few photos, to illustrate articles. They weren't much interested in "corporate" advertising ... nor were the big corporations much interested in advertising in what was perceived of as a "hippie" rag.

Yes, I got my "Into the Ruins", too. I've read everything but the fiction, so far. Sigh. My retention is so poor. I'd have to reread the editorial to comment on it.

I finished the book about the military bookstore. The last couple of chapters were pretty sad. It lasted about 25 years. Business started falling off in the mid 1990s. And, steadily accelerated. It was a "perfect storm" of a lot of things. The internet, of course. Things that were perceived of as hard to find ... on the rare side, were discovered as being not quit so rare. Bib box bookstores came in (Barnes & Noble, Crossroads) that had pretty extensive military sections that skimmed he bread and butter titles off the top. Cheap foreign reprints flooded the market. It wasn't mentioned, but another factor, I think, is that the old time collectors started to die off and there were no (or not many) younger collectors to step up and fill the gap. We pretty much see the same thing in the tat racket. Oh, there are still areas of those markets where the prices are holding up, fairly well. But not really enough to support a brick and mortar, business. And a lot of stuff is on offer, but how much of it actually sells? There's an auction in Olympia, today. I'm not going, but this evening I'm going to check the "prices realized." That will be interesting. Lew

Yahoo2 said...

Hi Chris,
scarcity of resources is not the problem, it is the effectiveness of the work that we do. Importing organic matter is not bad however I think it is best reserved for emergency rehab jobs and small areas (like a veg patch) because it is so labour and cost intensive.

Consider what you are already doing with plants in-situ, firstly you get mycorrhizae storing nutrition at depth, out of the higher oxygen decomposition topsoil zone where bacteria can burn it away easily, this is a direct effect of plant root growth, root shedding and root regrowth, we cant recreate this with imported material. When I see a really amazing soil it has a cottage cheese appearance, those little capsules are formed from the dead mycorrhizae filaments and they control water and nutrients like little tea bags and stop your leaching.

Second is the sheer volume of material that is possible. I had to ask a friend who is familiar with growing stuff in your rainfall and temperature. A bit of pencil sucking and calculation of farmer stuff we reckon a multi species winter pasture that has its stem crimped at flowering will yield at least 40 tonnes per hectare of wet green material on the ground. A summer-centric mix would yield better than 60 tonnes in a summer thunderstorm type year. That puts it in the 12 to 20 tonnes of compost per year range (minimum), we have been very conservative with our numbers.

So here is the question, visualize a hectare, 100 metres by 100 metres can you transport and spread 12+ tonne of compost every year at a lower cost with less resources used and less of your own time and effort than growing it on site? its a tough question, it takes quite a bit of mental agility to think of low input strategies that still tick all our other criteria, like fire safety for example.

The third is just my own observation, fertility decreases when soil has no plants, when plants are constantly mowed short or when annuals are allowed to stand and desiccate and perennials go old and woody.

re nasal flushing Thanks Inge, I have seen one of those funny little teapots designed for this but have yet to pluck up the courage to try it.
steve 2

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh yeah! Your garden beds would be like worm central station. All aboard! :-)! Manure and bedding straw is an almost perfect addition to garden beds. I do the same thing with the chickens here. I visited my mates this morning who live on a farm which runs cows, pigs, ducks and chickens and it is an amazing place. They have two sows and the pigs are huge. One of them may be processed next weekend. It is a big job. I'd like to keep pigs, but they are massive and may dig up the side of the hill (beware landslides dead ahead!). I reckon they'd enjoy the dappled shade of the forest though. I should grow some more oaks for the acorns - I was reading about them this morning. Interesting stuff.

6 months is crazy short and it reflects the inherent nature of the houses as investment vehicles rather than something to keep the rain off peoples heads.

Well, they put that to the test down here and the population largely agrees with you. As an interesting side note, the monarchy may have to consider the long view, whilst our politicians don't appear to be able to consider anything beyond the next electoral cycle.

The whole chicken allergy thing is a mystery to me.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I thought that the quote was attributed to Einstein. He seemed like a smart bloke and knew a thing or two about the Universe. ;-)! It is a great quote all the same.

I'm a bit pressed for time tonight as I headed off to my mates place this morning and they are planting out an epic field of tree lucerne (also known as tagasaste) trees. It was all very orderly, but it is a big job. The trees produce a lot of winter fodder as the leaves have a very high protein content at about 17% and other sources of plant matter are a bit thin on the ground at that time of year. They run pigs, cows (dairy), ducks, and chickens and all of the animals make my systems look very simple indeed. Animals are a big job. Oh yeah, I'm planning to write a bit of tomorrows blog tonight. I like having the story written and the photos chosen on a Sunday.

What a cool beginning for a house! When I bought my first place back in the middle ages, the solicitor read the riot act at me about how property isn't a short term thing to do and blah, blah, blah. Mate, I felt like I was 12 years old and being given a "what for?" talk - not that I have ever received one of those, it was just a gut feeling that that would be what they would be like. Anyway, sure enough he was correct as the market went into the toilet during the recession that we had to have and I lost $20,000 on the house despite having spent considerable time and effort fixing the thing up. Who would have thought that house prices could decline? I must have done something bad in a past life to have received so many salient lessons... Oh well, move on etc. etc. nothing to see here... I went to a bank auction (the bank had taken possession of a house) at that time and they were almost begging people to purchase the house.

The photos are even better because apparently they are real. I wonder if there is structural damage to the skyscraper? I wonder how they'll eventually deconstruct skyscrapers? I have seen building demolition using explosives and it was pretty impressive.

Nowadays they describe such marketing as "gorilla marketing". Yes, it was my feeling that predators would have been circling around looking for opportunities. I always tend to recall that not many animals in the forest don't have to forage for their feed.

Well that is interesting. When I was a kid the schools used to use spirit duplicators which produced copies with purple text or drawings. The smell from the copies was very distinctive and I sort of have fond recollections of the smell although it was probably highly toxic but I don't really know? All I do know is that we used far less paper in those days. Advertising is a tough one and it can be navigated, but where does someone draw the line? That is the important question.

My retention is so poor, that I can't even recall what I was writing about in regards to that editorial.

Yeah, book stores down here have suffered a similar fate. Back in the day parallel importing was discouraged, but cheaper prices are apparently good for consumers and who wants to pay the real costs of such things, plus expectations of incomes have grown and the whole thing is a confusing mess of unhappiness and flies and stuff. I sometimes get a mental image of the population sitting atop a vast ship called the Economy. Unfortunately the ship is taking water and the only way to keep it afloat whilst the people enjoy the various perquisites that the ship provides is to throw people off the side. Now nobody has to do the actual throwing of people off the side of the ship. That job takes place via the old Twilight Zone story (not sure about that) of pushing a button and receiving a cash reward and having someone else dropped off. Of course in such a system the button goes to someone else and you never quite know when your lucky numbers will turn up. Of course I may be being a bit melodramatic.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

The importing of organic matter is a pretty straight forward process here as I have had a lot of practice (550+ cubic metres so far), but I understand what you mean by your description and appreciate your point of view. I pursue that strategy because it is akin to turbo charging the soil. I understand it as a long term investment on my part and basically I don't have anything else to do with my time and resources that I would consider to be worthwhile. The extraction of timber from this mountain range would have had a similar impact to what I’m doing, but in reverse.

Exactly. Your description fits my understanding of the matter. It may interest you to know that for that very reason I aim to not dig the soil (and / or expose the soil to the sun) and break up the fungal hyphal network (mycelium) because it takes so many years to establish (2 years at a minimum). I feel that people appear to have forgotten that system. Of course reality intervenes and there are some root vegetables (eg. potatoes) that I have to dig up and get new areas into production, but overall those are a minor part of the total soil systems. The orchard grows better and healthier every year as the soil food web gets established. It is not for people who consider things in the short term.

I can't argue with your back of the envelope calculations in relation to harvests of green matter. Gene Logsdon called: book Holy Shit, provided remarkably similar quantities of manure per hectare. Obviously, I can't import such huge a quantity of organic matter and spread it around as it is not economically feasible.

However, I do know that the fungal networks will move some of those minerals that I do bring in. I also know that the birds, animals and insects will also move the minerals in random patterns about the place. Some of the minerals will disappear into the surrounding forest. I accept that.

And you are spot on too. I have to chop and drop all of the green matter back to just above ground the before New Years day as the threat of arson over high summer makes better management of the herbage an impossible proposition for me. Grass and herbage is naturally long over summer to keep the soil moist and cool, albeit having higher dead and dry parts to reduce transpiration from the leaves. Such an environment stimulates the life in the soil. However it is also a massive fire risk and well, life is full of compromises.

Yes, you are quite right too, it would be far better for the soil to drop all of the herbage during early autumn when the heat in the soil is good enough (and before the herbage gets too woody) to stimulate the life in the soil and the cut (or burnt) herbage can be readily consumed by the soil life.

The other thing we have to do is to balance the exporting of minerals (i.e. selling produce off the farm) versus the ability of the plants to capture sources of minerals and energy. That is not a simple problem.

Cheers and many thanks for the stimulating discussion.

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Lyme disease - carried by ticks - is fairly prevalent here on the east coast of the U.S. One consequence of Lyme disease can be an allergy to beef. I believe the connection was discovered here at the University of Virginia. Dogs, as well as people, can develope that allergy. I have heard of people saying that their dogs (with no connection to Lyme disease) are allergic to chicken. Don't know, but since the beef allergy is real, perhaps a chicken allergy could be, too. I have known people who are sensitive to some protein in eggs.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Thanks for the toppling tower in Egypt. I liked the comment there about the Leaning Tower of Sisi . . .I think I've read that San Francisco, California is having some troubles with their tall buildings. Sinking, perhaps?

Pam

orchidwallis said...

@Steve2

A small addendum to the nasal flushing: I used to just put my face in water, admittedly it's easier in the sea because you can keep a bit more vertical. I should have said that you need to keep the water low in your nasal passages, you don't want it in your sinuses. That noise one makes when trying to expel catarrh into the mouth is appropriate. Sorry everyone!

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I've always been a bit of a monarchist. For the entertainment value, if nothing else :-). A couple of months ago, I read a bio called "Backstairs Billy." About a poor boy who became the favorite servant of the old Queen Mum. The rest of the servants just hated him, because he was "above his station" but a royal favorite. The knives were out at the palace. When the Queen Mum died, he was pretty much kicked to the curb. Although Prince Charlie always visited and made sure he was ok.

Another bit of popcorn reading was "Constant Reader" (Alan Bennett, "Lady in the Van", "History Boys", etc. etc.) It's a very slim fiction volume about how one day the Queen, wanders into a back courtyard at Windsor and discovers a book mobile. Through a series of happenstance, she becomes a voracious reader and whole new worlds open up, for her. It does have it's very subtle, funny moments. Once I get settled, I'll have to look into Bennett, more.

Just between your hounds and chickens, you know how labor intensive animals can be. Maybe best put by for after retirement? You've mentioned the lucerne trees, before, and I think they're fascinating.

Well, I bought my shack in Prehistoric Times :-). I actually pretty much tripled my investment, put it in my tat business and promptly lost it. Oh, well. Water under the bridge. Only money. :-). The whole sale of that place was kind of mysterious. Never met the man who bought it. 6 months later, it had 18" of water in it. He turned around and sold it for the same price he bought it for. I heard. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I think spirit duplicators are the same, or a very close cousin to mimeograph machines. I used to know my way around those things. Before xerox, weather satellites or the Beatles :-). LOL, of course you have fond recollections of the smell. That stuff will get you high. While killing brain and liver cells. Mmm. I remember you had to "cut a stencil". Or, something. Vaguely, somewhere in my checkered past, I seem to remember that I made a few quid doing a weekly church bulletin.

I think that's a very apt description of the economy. Many "someones" get tossed overboard to the sharks. it also launches a few idle thoughts. WARNING!!! Book and movie recommendations, ahead! A book called "Journey to Nowhere" (Maharidge & Williamson). I read it quit a few years ago, but was reminded of it because Bruce Springsteen had a hand in getting it off the ground. It's an on-the-ground look at the diaspora caused by the closing of the factories in what became the rust belt. Families who have lost everything and had to take to the road to, hopefully, find work. Nonfiction, by the way.

Ever see a film called "Life Boat?" Circa 1939, black and white. Might have been directed by Hitchcock. One of the stars was Talulah Bankhead at the height of her career. It's about a liner that gets sunk by a German sub. Too many people in a lifeboat. Just to make things interesting, one of the fellows who they thought was a crewman on the liner, turns out to be the German captain of the U-Boat that sunk the liner. Now, that's drama! :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Sorry to bother, again, but, cosmic coincidence! An article on alternet.org that is an overview / history of the back to the land moement(s). Helen and Scott Nearing figure in.

http://www.alternet.org/food/want-get-back-land-youre-not-alone

And, you are correct, Sir! Einstein was the one who said that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results." Lew

Yahoo2 said...

Spuds are a good example, if you watch a conventional farmer, he tills the soil and mounds the potatoes with earth because he has to control the weeds germinating in bare soils and earth is all he has to cover the plants. He also has to correct for water-logging and acid caused by the tillage, it is a continuous loop of band-aids.

Gardened potatoes are a direct copy of this system. Alternatively if you grow a green manure crop before the spuds and lay it flat when it is just mature, the cover will stop germinating weeds. Then we can place the seed potato on the ground or perhaps kick a little divot, drop the spud in and cover it with a couple of handfuls of compost if the soil is not great, then use straw hay or mulch to mound the spuds. To harvest we dont have to dig, we can peel back the straw. I am sure there are other ideas that will also work.
I reckon I could manage this style of gardening at any age.

If you enjoy the manual work and that is the reason you do something a particular way then fair enough but there is always a part of our nature that craves habit and routine where we will happily trade off physical activity and spending money instead of using our brains.

I guess I should tell a story here, my lightbulb moment.

Back in the early 1980's I was a kid at a boarding school and I used to sneak out to go and see bands play at some local pubs with a couple of mates from other schools.

Just a couple of blocks from my college there was a bus and tram stop where I used to sit and wait for a ride. The unusual thing about this stop was that at night I could see straight through the mirrored glass of a second story women's only gym.

The first time I sat and watched there was a voyeuristic thrill for a testosterone filled teen. However by the third time, sitting there seeing a row of young women endlessly running on treadmills just made me sick in my stomach at the utter futility and pointlessness of their efforts.

Needless to say I soon forgot this lesson and also what I already knew about the importance of good diet. Despite knowing better, eight years later I almost killed myself by stubbornly trying to exercise my way to health.