Monday, 17 July 2017

Third filter theory

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

Long term readers will recall my sordid love affair with the coffee beverage. Well, sad times have hit Fernglade farm because today the espresso coffee machine died. This is a total latte disaster. Now in such situations some people may fall into a funk. I am not one of those people. Instead I say, let’s get funky! And so this week I’ve shamelessly borrowed lyrics from the most excellent English modern soul musical collective band: Jungle, with their song: Busy Earnin'. Without further ado, let’s get funky.

“So you come a long way (Huh, woo-hoo)
But you'll never have me
Never have things for a normal life
It's time to busy earnin'
You can't get enough”

The government run broadcaster in Australia recently aired a three part television series called: “The war on waste”. This particular three part series has been enormously influential and it has certainly captured the imagination of the public. I have been surprised at the sheer number and diversity of people who have discussed this program with me. Of course, I try not to produce any waste at all here as waste appears to me to be a form of wasted income. And who would seriously waste income?

“You think that all your time is used
Too busy earnin'
You can't get enough”

Anyway, the editor and I were at a friends house a few weeks ago and we were all discussing the war on waste series. As part of that discussion an amusing story about an almost electrocution incident involving a vacuum cleaner was told. The vacuum cleaner had apparently suddenly and rather catastrophically failed.

Our friends mentioned that they were now using another machine. Apparently this other machine was no longer performing as well it used to.

Now I know a thing or two about small appliance repairs. And for the record, I too have destroyed a decade old high quality vacuum cleaner. I call the lessons learned from my particular vacuum cleaner incident: The third filter theory.

The third filter theory states that: “for any machine that moves air or fluids, there are always more filters than a reasonable person would expect”.

As an interesting side note, I believe that part of the greater waste problem (which we are now at war with) arises because as a society we fail to maintain the stuff that we actually do have. I am very diligent about maintaining the stuff here because to me waste is wasted income. As a caveat though, I have to be aware that things actually need to be maintained. And sometimes I am blissfully unaware that maintenance is required on an item of stuff here at the farm.

My first brush with the third filter theory was that years ago I had a very high end vacuum cleaner (which I alluded too earlier). I diligently maintained two filters on that machine. I was not aware of the third filter, and after a decade of use of that machine, that third mystery filter was completely blocked. Eventually the motor in the machine overheated due to the blocked filter which caused black smoke and a rather unusual acrid smell to arise from the now very deceased vacuum cleaner. And I had created expensive waste.

So, when my friends told me about problems with their vacuum cleaner, I suavely mentioned my third filter theory and said that I’d be happy to have a look at their machine. Sure enough after a brief inspection of the machine, I discovered a filter which was almost completely blocked. A quick clean of the filter and the machine was working as good as new. That created no waste, except for the rather intriguing gunk in the blocked filter which for health and safety reasons, I didn’t examine too closely!

That was my good deed for the week and I rather felt that the Universe now owed me some bonus points as a result. Apparently not so!

“And I get always
But I bet it won't change, no
Damn, that's a boring life
It's quite busy earnin'
You can't get enough”

A few days ago, I noticed that the espresso coffee machine sounded differently than what I was used to hearing. Then I noticed that the extraction process (that is a fancy term for pushing pressurised water through compressed coffee grounds) was much slower than it had been in the past. I thought to myself, I can do small appliance repairs, and so I took a look at the parts and components diagram supplied with the coffee machine (note that these diagrams are a rare item these days). I noticed that after the water pump there was a part labelled as a “shower head”. Well less abstruse language would possibly describe a shower head by another less technical name which is a: “filter”. Filters of course need to be cleaned from time to time and this machine has been in constant operation for at least a decade without cleaning that filter / shower head.

I removed the filter only to discover this horror (squeamish folks are recommended to move past the photograph immediately below, because serious dirt is coming at you – you were warned!)
The shower head or filter in my coffee machine was thoroughly blocked
I should note that the instructions supplied with the machine implicitly stated that the shower head was to be regularly cleaned. Alas for my poor reading comprehension, because the blockage in the shower head caused the water pump inside the coffee machine to fail. The third filter theory strikes yet again!

Fortunately I have averted creating too much waste because I was able to track down a new water pump today and hopefully I should be able to install the pump within the week. On a less positive note, the editor and I are left bereft without morning coffee for one whole week (and can’t get enough coffee!) – and I for one am most certainly not a morning person!

“You think that all your time is used
Too busy earnin'
You can't get enough”

There must be something in the water (algae?), because this past week I replaced another faulty water pump which was used for garden taps and a bushfire sprinkler. Over the past few years we have been experimenting with water pumps and whilst the third filter theory always applies, my other general observation with water pumps is that you get what you pay for. Cheap water pumps appear to not work for very long without failing without warning, even those that have regularly cleaned filters.
Toothy assists with replacing a faulty water pump used for garden taps and sprinklers
Whilst I was replacing the faulty water pump, I also decided to replace the ¾ inch water pipes leading away from that water pump. The reason for replacing that water pipe is that in recent years I have been ensuring that the infrastructure here is easily inspected, maintained and repaired.

The original water pipe was buried so deeply that if it had leaked anywhere or any join had failed, then I would not be able to easily identify the cause of the failure – and that situation makes things much harder to repair and possibly also creates a lot of waste in the process.
The author lays a new water pipe in a shallow trench. Note that the water pipe is protected by the much larger and stronger pipes
Part of that simplification process also involves moving garden taps and sprinklers away from walking paths where they can by accidentally knocked into. In addition to that, I have been mounting garden taps and bushfire sprinklers on very sturdy treated pine posts which are cemented into the garden beds. The posts are expected to have a very long lifespan in those conditions. I finished the job as the sun set this evening.
The garden tap and bushfire sprinkler prior to relocation into a garden bed
The garden tap and bushfire sprinkler are now anchored to sturdy treated pine posts which are cemented into the garden bed
Observant readers will note that in the above photo the 30m / 100ft garden hose is now hanging from a sturdy steel hanger off the treated pine post instead of laying around on the ground.

Speaking of treated pine posts, this week we cemented into the ground, the many treated pine posts which will be used to hold fencing so that we can increase the size of the tomato enclosure. We plan to use the additional growing space in that tomato enclosure to grow capsicums (peppers), eggplants, and various berries.
Many treated pine posts were cemented into the ground this week so as to begin the process of increasing the size of the tomato enclosure
Other garden taps which currently sit in the paths will be moved over the next few months (or when the pipes fail). Firstly we have to install the treated pine posts which the garden tap and hose hangar will eventually be anchored to.
Another garden tap and hose hangar may eventually be moved to this treated pine post
A mum and bubs pair of kangaroos have more or less adopted us and the farm. The pair have been regular visitors ever since the joey (a fancy name for a baby kangaroo) was in the mums pouch. Kangaroos normally live in mobs (a fancy name for a large-ish number of kangaroos) so there must be a story behind why these two don’t. In the meantime the kangaroos are enjoying the facilities.
A pair of kangaroos have adopted the farm as their own
We are currently enjoying lots of fresh Cape Gooseberries as well as the usual citrus and winter vegetables. Cape Gooseberries are an interesting plant as the fruit grows in little paper lanterns. This plant is several years old now and very productive.
A ripe Cape Gooseberry
Fortunately the flowers here are not subject to either a war on flowers (fancy that!) or the third filter theory. Some of the winter flowers currently here are:
A pink and white salvia shows off
I noticed the first echium flower today. These are awesome bee food and they flower for months
An Irish strawberry tree has produced a few hanging flowers
A purple Pentstemon produces great winter colour
This one is not a flower, but the tips of the leucadendron plant are as attractive as any flower
I reckon we need to get funky one more time, so thanks and respects to the band Jungle and their funky song Busy earnin’ who provided the lyrics used in this weeks blog.

“You think that all your time is used
Too busy earnin'
You can't get enough”

The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 441.2mm (17.4 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 432.0mm (17.0 inches).

73 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The word "lane-way" sounds so much more intriguing and alluring than the word alley. The word alley conjures up mental images of strewn garbage, the occasional overly large and well fed rodent scuttling between one feed spot and the other, and possibly also someone who is out of their head with a history of violence. Not a good image. You may not be aware of it but they have a lane way festival down here. It is quite popular and hosts bands on the zeitgeist. All good stuff. I find the eating spots in the lane ways to be quite charming. I guess as a culture we make a choice about how we use the spaces that we have available to us. Mind you, this culture does not extend beyond the CBD. And also there are lane ways dotted all through the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Way back in the day, people located their outhouse at the very back of their properties and the night soil cart guys used to collect the - let's use the technical name here - poo, and then unceremoniously dump the contents of the horse drawn cart into one of the two local rivers. An unsavoury business. In these enlightened times, we now treat the sewage and then dump the resulting contents into the local waterways and the bay. ;-)!

Interestingly too, I once listened to a podcast about how working as a garbage collector impacted upon a persons dating social life.

Anyway, I rather suspect that in prioritising vehicle traffic over more human scaled endeavours, folks on the west and east coasts are missing out.

Your rodent traps are working harder than Nell. The dogs here are just as bad. Possibly this may be due to the fact that they are all well fed? Dunno.

Your perk pot is an excellent suggestion. Thank you. My friends in the big shed have one of those and it produces a very passable coffee. It is hard thing, and perhaps a personal failing, being a coffee snob you know! We have had to IKEA hack a coffee making process and we now have a complex process involving a saucepan and a beer micro-filter. The hacking produces a reasonable coffee and I can assure you that I have paid for far worse. Incidentally, my gut feel says keep your perk pot as those units are very sturdily constructed.

I'd like to think so too. ;-)! However the literal interpretation - which may not be the original intention of the words - is: "Give us this day our daily bread" and in current English that has a whole different meaning. You have to admit the current English meaning of those words is a little bit expectational? And to be honest that interpretation is at direct odds with the old saying that: "God helps those that help themselves". Not that anyone talks that way anymore in these more enlightened times unless of course they're discussing neo-liberal policies and then that is a whole different story.

As to rights, well, I wonder how people reconcile such thoughts to the lived reality of people in other countries who aren't fairing so well. I travelled to a bit of the third world and it doesn't look so nice to me. What did that dude say about something, something whatever done to the least of me? Dunno, I find it all to be very confusing.

Perhaps I'm a little bit grumpy because when the editor and I travelled into the city last week, I was a little bit astounded at the size of the homeless population who were living rough on the streets. It is funny because I keep telling the Green Wizards folks that when things get tough for people, they head back to what they know for either young or old) - and most often, that is the city and urban areas. I haven't seen much to convince me otherwise, but I could be wrong in that belief.

8 gallons of blueberries is an awesome haul. Yum! Enjoy your unpacking. The rain was torrential here tonight. I wonder where winter has gone with the unending hours of gentle drizzle? I should perhaps look behind the couch.

Cheers

Chris

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Great post. I must admit to being quite slack when it comes to cleaning filters....which has obviously costed me previously...the less said the better...

Do you think the new fancy machines break down more quickly because they are actually much more efficient? But efficient here means more matter collected per unit of throughput and that matter has to go somewhere, so it ends up being collected at a quicker rate in the usual filters and if the user services those usual filters at the same rate as the old machine, then you get faster breakdownage?

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - No cooling corpses, this morning. :-( . When I got home, from The Home early evening, there was no water. That hasn't happened in quit a few months. It came back on around 11 pm. My guess is, given our recent lack of rain, the water table has fallen.

"Let's design in a third filter. It will give Fred (the rather dim brother-in-law) something to do to feel useful." :-). Maintainence (sp?) and manuals are always rather problematic. By design? Two years of grief (and, repair bills) could have been avoided if instead of a rather obscure gentle suggestion, bit bold letters would have been helpful. DO NOT USE CORN ETHONOL IN THIS MACHINE AS IT WILL GUM UP THE WORKS!!! My new DVD player is rather fragile. I treat it with more care than some of my tat. I don't think the manual suggests that it might be a good idea to get a cleaning disc.

You should find a good old perk pot at the opportunity stores. Or maybe an old Melita. They came in different sizes and made a good pot of coffee.

We must be entering the Age of Aquarius. Water, water (liquids, liquids) sloshing everywhere ... Cue up the prancing hippies.

Is there a kangaroo hunting season? Maybe the Mum kangaroo got separated from her mob? There's a story there. Inertia probably keeps her on your spread. Good tucker and humans that leave her alone. Puts me in mind of the turkey that hung about here for a couple of years. I'm pretty sure she blew in on a big storm and never made it back to her flock. And, I suppose, like humans, some usually flocking animals are by nature, solitary. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Now, if I was an old time botanist, I'd assume that the Cape Gooseberry, Tomatella and Chinese Lantern are all related as they all have a paper husk :-). I suppose the name "Chinese Lantern" days are numbered as sooner or later, some terminally PC person will want to change it as some Chinese person, somewhere, at some time, may be offended. :-). I finished the book on the herbalist / alchemist John Parkinson. So. Was the author a direct descendent of John Parkinson? Dunno. He was pretty estranged from his son Richard. Part of it was because John was an "under the radar Catholic" and Richard was an "in your face" Catholic. When the English Civil War started, he fell off the radar. May have fled to Ireland. But since the Dublin Records Office burned down in 1922... At least, the author is probably related. There was quit a tribe of related Parkinsons in the north of England.

If a third world country has national health care, they're better off (in some ways) than we are here. The homeless, in some cases, gravitate to the cities as the services are more plentiful. In our small rural county, it can be pretty hit and miss. There are gaps. LOL, as long as we're slinging around biblical passages, there's also "The poor are always with us."

8 gallons of blue berries safely tucked up in the freezer. Another 10 boxes unpacked and stowed away. I've noticed my semantics have shifted a bit. From The Home and "home" to "the old place" and "the new place." Must mean something :-) Lew

Damo said...

@Lewis
It sounds like you are settling in pretty well in the new place. I look forward to hearing about innovative new garden practises adopted by the natives.

I finished reading Medicus with Mrs Damo (we took it in turns reading aloud to each other, supposed to improve my communication and pronunciation I think). Was pretty good, thank you for the recommendation.

In other news, I resigned from the new job yesterday. Staying on for a little bit to help them out, they took it pretty well and there seems to be no hard feelings. It was a hard decision, especially with nothing lined up to replace it, but it feels like the correct one. Maybe now I will get a chance for those few weeks off I wanted :-)

Mum has decided to sell the house, helping get it ready will probably be my first job when I go back to Brisbane next week. With all the house price bubble talk going mainstream I worry she might be 12 months too late, but then I was saying the same thing 18 months ago so it will probably be fine :-)

Damo

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

So much rain in your part of the country and sadly so little here. We are hoping for rain tomorrow with snow on the higher ground. It's always interesting to see your ongoing investments of time and money into infrastructure.

Your coffee machine woes remind me of friends who travelled up from Melbourne for Easter one year and brought with them their own coffee machine! I was somewhat perplexed but provided the bench space for their machine and stood back while they produced coffes on demand over the next couple of days. Obviously coffee is a vital ingredient in some peoples lives. We do drink coffee but are very low tech and have no more than one a day and we use a plunger for more than two cups or a Greek coffee pot for just the two of us. As I said, it's all very low tech and there is only one filter in the plunger, which is stainless steel so pretty indestructible.

We planted daffodils last year ans none of them have reappeared this year. I suspect furry creatures may have eaten the bulbs because other older plantings have survived. None have been planted this year due to the lack of rain and the rock hardness of much of our ground. We have a new section of our vegetable garden that we can barely get a garden fork into.

Warm Regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

It is amazing how many filters are in various machines. And glad to read that you too have occasionally erred with filter cleaning duties. ;-)! Makes me feel better about it all and of course that means that you are in good company here. :-)! Ah, funny stuff.

Efficient is such a complex and loaded word that I can't really give a you a straight answer. Thanks for your definition too which is very good.

My gut feeling tells me that machines nowadays are manufactured with much lower tolerances on some parts and this perhaps is an area of weakness. The interesting thing about the water pump that failed was that the pump mechanism is very sturdy and appears to have a long lasting construction. The pressure switch that turns the pump on and off as needed doesn't appear to be very hardy at all. I'm considering options to use the water pumps without the switch or work out some sort of better quality pressure switch. It is a complex problem with no easy answer.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, the job situation sounded complex and sometimes things don't work out on that front. And I totally agree with you in that it is a hard decision to make. Who knows what the future will hold in store for us all anyway? A few weeks off to re-adjust to life in Australia is probably not a bad idea given where you have been for the past twelve months. I would feel culture shock in those circumstances and would require time to recover from that - although everyone is different in that regard.

The whole house price thing is just strange and the situation has progressed beyond my understanding. As far as I can tell, the current arrangements relating to increasing house prices require two circumstances which are non negotiable:
1) More people every year in the market so that demand increases. Ponzi schemes share that trait; and
2) An ever expanding money supply. Other labels for that are government debt both here and overseas.

Dunno, what are your thoughts about that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Yeah, one of the reasons that I chose this particular mountain range, despite the very serious bushfire risks, is the historically reliable rainfall. That reliable rainfall does fail here too some summers with catastrophic results. I'm doing my very best to adapt to those risks, but I need time and luck and both of those two elements are not guaranteed and the farm could be swept away in minutes.

I do hope that you get some rain soon. Fingers crossed.

Thank you for understanding that aspect of the blog. Some people fail to understand that aspect. Respect. At the end of the day, in a rural location, it all comes back to the infrastructure that supports you. Hopefully the expansion of the berry enclosure is completed over the next few days. The problem with that is that the potatoes have to be moved from that area, and I am not convinced the risk of frost has passed yet. Thursday morning looks like it will be a doozey. I haven't experienced this much frost before, ever.

Well Melbourne does have a very mature coffee culture which was part of the Italian migration heritage post World War II. On the other hand, outside of Melbourne you can get a pretty decent coffee these days. It is funny that you mention taking their own coffee machine because that is perhaps a little bit of an extreme stance. With coffee, I'm sort of like the mostly vegetarian in that whatever gets served up elsewhere is fine by me. Although to be honest, I do draw the line at pod and instant coffee. The sheer waste of pod coffee machines means that I could not enjoy such a drink. Incidentally, the developer of that machine appears now to have grave regrets over ever releasing such a beast into the wild because of the epic quantities of waste that they generate. There is a podcast story about that and if you are interested I could search out the link for you.

Oh, it is only early days for daffodils and sometimes the bulbs require a bit longer in their first year. Older bulbs appear earlier. And bulbs that have received a solid drink of water appear earlier again. They love drainage channels. I reckon wait and see. From my experience, nothing wants to eat them and they are very drought hardy.

Yes, you have had a very dry year so far. Wait and see what spring holds. You never know how these things will play out. The climate appears to have shifted south.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well that is a bit of a shame. Although it may also mean that the rodent population has declined to a less visible level? Rodents are with us always (! Yes, I do read ahead!) and I only ever set traps when their population has become a bit of a visible nuisance. I sort of feel that such an act is akin to pruning a garden bed.

Wow, it has been weeks and months since the no water blues have struck home again. At least the relief brigade is on the horizon. You know, I'm always nervous about taking water from an aquifer as people on the whole feel that because they cannot see the aquifer, nobody is accountable for the maintenance of that body of water. That doesn’t appear to be working well with the Ogallala aquifer. At least with the water tanks, I can physically see the volume of water stored at any point in time and I manage the resource accordingly. I just fail to understand wells. And any plants exported from that area is also an export of water from that area.

Thank you very much for your suggestion about the baby aspirin with the dogs. I finally tracked down what they are called here. Apparently chemists describe them down here as low dose aspirin which is used for heart medication. And the chemist didn't even flinch when I told him that I was going to give them to my dog. Scritchy and Sir Scruffy are now slightly feral since they've been on those anti-inflammatories. I have to add that things in the fluffy collective were much quieter when those two dogs felt crunchy...

I failed to understand the ethanol story at all. Are you suggesting that ethanol was used instead of the usual gas (petroleum) in the water pump there? A novel idea - with diminishing returns.

Well the manufacturers have an incentive to sell you a replacement unit so who knows what goes through their brains? Manuals appear to me to be getting deep on the legal cautions and shallow on the important bits. I read a really funny warning label the other week (all encompassing).

Thanks for the suggestion about the perk pot and I will keep an eye out for one. It is amazing how many high end wedding presents end up in op-shops. I picked up my pasta maker for about $20 and the machine is beautifully made and completely stainless steel. I'm always careful with presents knowing where they can potentially end up, and so I try to put thought into the gift instead. It is strange how much that thought is appreciated.

What? Isn't the age of Aquarius? Aren't we more evolved somehow? Far out, now I have an ear worm. Thanks for that! Hehe! I was very disappointed with the Hair musical, but that may be because I don't much enjoy musicals. Even the tent reveal scene was a bit of a let down, as my mind hinted dark thoughts telling me that "shock yo momma" value was one of the reasons for the musicals success. On the other hand I loved the musical score for the Graduate, I just didn't much enjoy the film much as the protagonist seemed clueless when he got the younger partner and I felt that he treated Mrs Robinson rather poorly given their relationship.

Pah! Whatever! Hey, you mentioned a week or so ago that someone had misrepresented something to you and I was curious to hear that story, but have been too under the pump this week and last week to politely ask you? The funny thing is that as the editor was reading the story that I wrote a few weeks back about the more English than English school, she casually remarked that it was most likely that my grandfather had paid for the school fees. You know, sometimes people casually say things and little cogs fit into the wheels. That was a doh! moment for me. The thing is that my mum (who was a single mum) made out as if she were paying for the school fees herself and saw no reason to correct my understanding of that matter. It is funny how you eventually wise up to things - as the finances in that situation never made any sense to me. As they sometimes say: It's as clear as mud! ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Nope. No kangaroo hunting season. You have to apply for a permit to the local council to be able to cull the kangaroo population - even on private land. Oh I get that too, and I actively enjoy the quiet times and spaces. You know, I'm starting to believe that quiet and space is something of a luxury item. The editor read an editorial in a recent Vogue living magazine which suggested something along those lines too. Population pressure is starting to become more than a minor nuisance.

Oh yeah, those plants are probably all related in the distant past. I enjoy the taste of those fruits too, although I have heard other people describe them in less favourable terms. Mileage varies. Political correctness can be taken too far, and sometimes it is used to shut down conversations that need to be had and I don't believe that that is a good thing.

Oh no! The author is holding back for sure? Well, maybe not. Sometimes living to fight another day is a good thing. Interestingly too, one of the head honcho Catholics is up on charges of child abuse down here. A very senior person indeed who had to come all the way back from the Vatican to face the charges. Anyway, my gut feeling tells me that it is a show trial and is there to appease the public. The revelations of the Royal Commission into institutional child abuse down here have not been a good look for many institutions who rightly should hang their heads in shame and do serious penance which they should know a thing or three about.

Exactly, mileage may vary in that regard and people flock to what they know in such circumstances. You know, for some strange reason I have never thought kindly of that particular quote and it has always struck me that such a phrase is included as an after-thought many years after the purported events because it became a political compromise between the religious institution and the ruling elite so as to ignore wealth inequalities which may have been pretty brutal. Dunno, I just sort of feel that that particular phrase is at odds with other teachings. Compromise is not a dirty word though, that one on the other hand is a true stand out. Dunno, I'm no expert.

Well done you with changing your semantics. I for one am glad that you are moving as the previous situation would annoy me for sure.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - I'm glad you liked "Medicus." It's a series, you know :-). Not to reveal too much of a spoiler, but the Britannic slave girl he picks up along the way, really comes into her own in later books. The poor medicus really didn't know what he was taking on. :-).

After not reading anything aloud anything in public for quit awhile (how long? Dunno.) I was horrified to discover how much I stumbled around and was a bit mush mouthed. So now, in the privacy of my own home :-), I read aloud my daily meditation. It really helped.

I'd work a Goldilocks job for 8 to 12 years, but there was a lot of strange jobs in between. We're all looking for those Goldilocks jobs :-).

Unless something big happens, you're Mum's probably going to be all right as far as the house goes. There still seems to be a large segment of people who haven't got the memo, yet, that things are beginning to unravel. So, like me, Mum is downsizing? Tell her she really doesn't need two flour sifters. :-). And, the table loom and rock tumbler she's been hauling around for years? Well, if she hasn't developed that hobby by now, it's not going to happen. :-). Those are the kinds of deciding I'm doing. Be firm, but don't make your Mum cry :-). Your a good son to help out. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - There's also a new well that just went into a new home site, just down slope and across the road from my landlords (where our well is). It's not in use yet, but I kind of wondered if maybe it had disturbed some arcane bit of water works.

If the aspirin is coated, you need to crush it between two spoons (I keep a pair of dedicated spoons for the job. Because they fit together :-). Of course, then you have to decide on a delivery system. I buy a pack of cheap wieners and hack off 1/3 of a link, cut it cross wise and slip the crushed aspirin in there. Beau thinks it's quit a treat. I refer to it as his "medicinal wienee." :-)

Just about all our gas is cut with ethanol made from corn. I forget the percentage. There's only one station in town that sells gas with no corn ethanol in it.

I used to know all the lyrics to "Hair". The entire album. On occasion, my friend Scott and I break into the naughty bits at the top of our lungs. :-). Well, how can you go wrong with a sound track (The Graduate) by Simon and Garfunkel? I used to know all the lyrics to all their albums. Playing the devil's advocate, a case could be made for Mrs. Robinson being exploitive. All parties involved were consenting adults .... :-).

Hmmm. Something misrepresented to me? A whole week and a good chunk of move ago? Besides, I'm old and senile :-). Haven't a clue. Moved and unpacked 10 boxes yesterday. I have 11 to go to The New Place, today. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. That is interesting about your school fees. Funny, when you mentioned them awhile back, the same thought had crossed my mind. That your grandfather had paid the fees. In fact, I just assumed such, as from what you've said, he was a lot more well off than your Mum. I had a bit of a shock when my Mum died. The whole time I was growing up, I always thought Dad handled all the finances. Mum was always nattering on about how she had to ask Dad for an increase in her "housekeeping money" as prices were on the rise. Well. When she died, I was horrified to discover that my Dad didn't even know how to deposit his paycheck! Let alone balance a check book. Appearances ....

Yeah, "the poor are always with us" always smacked me as a bit ... mean spirited. Perhaps because I'd mostly seen in in the context of Victorian moralizing. With an overlay of sometimes, hypocritical religiosity. In books and movies. And there was sometimes this subtext that their was the deserving poor, and the undeserving poor. Still a lot of that floating around.
It's always a good excuse to do nothing.

I noticed an article in the newspaper, yesterday, that the Centralia police department called a meeting of all the organizations that provide some service to the homeless. The police often have contact with the homeless and they really didn't have much of a clue as to what was available to refer people to. The article thought the meeting was a good thing, as often the different organizations offering aid, also don't know what other groups are doing. What's available.

NPR had a couple of interesting articles on their website. In their food section, called "The Salt." One article was about Italian coffee culture. The other was about the genetic investigation of sourdough cultures. People are sending in samples from all over the world and the scientists are sequencing the DNA.

Well, I guess I'd better get cracking. But first I must remove a second flour sifter from the move box and put it in the auction pile :-). Both are old and fall into the classification of "useful tat." If the poor rejected sifter had a blue band, instead of yellow, I'd probably keep it. Another thing to consider is that the rejected sifter has a rather complicated mechanism that is very hard to keep clean. All that agony over a flour sifter :-). Lew

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

I suspect you are very correct regarding the lowering of tolerances. I hear from better informed people than myself that a lot of the cheaper parts of even expensive machinery (e.g. cabling, electrical components, etc) are bottom of the range. So quite often it is a cheapo part that has caused the expensive failure, consistent with your dodgy switch.

As it goes, if the incentive is to knock a few cents off the manufacturing cost of a product made in the millions, then by all means, but I feel that the cost of waste gets lost somehow here. Perhaps it gets flushed out to sea?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh no! As you suspect, the entire aquifer system is connected and who knows what impact one change to that system makes on other aspects of the system. It goes without saying that there are upper limits to resource extraction in any system. Funnily enough, I noticed this tidbit today: Melbourne's dwindling water storages could trigger maximum order from desal plant. Sure June has been dry, but the rest of the year looked fairly normal to me. Down here they are adding an additional 100,000 people to the city every year. Dunno.

I hadn't realised that with the aspirin, but I've been cutting them in half and giving them to the two oldie dogs and they eat them with their breakfast so don't really notice. The difference in the behaviour of the dogs has been feral. They'd definitely enjoy weiners though!

Oh my! Down here ethanol is cut 10% into fuels but they are labelled as such at the pump, so you pay higher for no ethanol content. There are also a couple of different higher octane fuels too. Some new cars require those higher octane fuels. They also used to sell an 85% ethanol blend, but that was only usable in some vehicles.

Yes, there were a few naughty bits weren't there? I still didn't enjoy the musical. It is perhaps a personal failing of mine! Hehe! Not really, I just don't like musicals. Hehe! Belting out s fine tune, well that is an enjoyable activity at any time. I'm sometimes tempted to sing the parts of the lyrics I rip on the podcast, but then what if a note was dropped or it went flat. Not good for anyone listening... And who needs their ears full of that gear?

Oh my goodness you have been busy moving boxes. I hope the culling process is not too emotionally difficult. Parting is such sweet sorrow, someone once quipped. Hey, one of the things sold here recently and the purchaser did a no contact and no show. This puts the burden back on me and I'm wondering whether there are purchasing trolls? No doubt there is something weird going on there. Have you seen that in the tat trade? Buyers remorse no doubts.

Well you see the situation more clearly than I did. It is interesting how folks misrepresent situations for their own gain. It shouldn't have surprised me, I just never considered questioning what I was told. It is quite an unusual thing that we can believe something just because somebody tells us that it is so (a lot of times of course). Especially when others involved don't gainsay them. I rather suspect that my mum had a certain level of embarrassment about her situation. It is hardly warranted as I just didn't care one way or another. If you are poor, you generally have no idea that you are poor, it is just life as you live it. I've heard others saying that too. It wasn't as if other kids made a big deal about it. Maybe things are different nowadays and I hear strange stories about that sort of thing.

Ha! Far out. That would have been a surprise for you and him to have to deal with that arrangement and circumstance. Ouch. Appearances can be quite different from the reality can't they? I see a lot of that about the place, but then I am also privy to the realities because of my job. Debt is an interesting indicator of all sorts of things.

Well yeah, the whole concept runs contrary to other teachings. It is just there to justify wealth inequalities and it seems rather unlikely that that dude would have said such things given other reported words. It does seem to be inconsistent. Yeah, I've heard that about deserving versus undeserving. It is a frankly weird belief.

Gotta bounce. Something something about chickens. All will be revealed tomorrow! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

Thanks for the very astute comment. I promise to reply to you tomorrow night.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Damo

Good choice leaving that job. I know too many people who are afraid to make a change and end up miserable and stressed. Of course here in the US health insurance is a huge impediment to making a change. Hope everything turns out well for you. I wish my kids had time to help me get this place ready to sell. At least they are taking most of the stuff they've had stored here for years. The last time we seriously thought about selling was just as the housing bubble here burst. We've recouped some of the value but will still be taking a loss. However, we just feel we can't wait any longer.

@Lew

Thanks for all your book recommendations. I've added many to my list and have read a few as well.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I'm going to have to check out my vacuum cleaner more closely. When I got my first vacuum back in the 70's it lasted for 20 years. Now they seem to last about 3 or so. Instruction books are very bare bones if you even get one at all. Now you have to download them online it seems. Doug has found YouTube to be very helpful when trying to fix something. Of course that's only going to work while we have easily accessible internet.

Wedding was much fun and we all stayed up way too late at the hotel for an after party. Took me two days to recover though.

One week until our trip and there's much to do to get things set up for our house/animal sitters. It will be nice to get out of this heat for a couple of weeks.

We had an appraiser here on Monday for the house. It'll be interesting (and hopefully not depressing) to see how it's valued.

I look at your pictures each week and say to myself "This is winter?".

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The conversation about cheap components jogged something loose from the dark corners of my mind. Probably a bit of ... something, something ... from my Mum's ... classical (as compared to mine or now) education. :-). it runs something like this ... "For want of a nail a horse shoe was lost. For want of a horse shoe a rider was lost. For want of a rider and army was lost. For want of an army a kingdom was lost." The term "cascading failures" comes to mind.

Sounds like Melbourne's water problems all boil down to the topic no one wants to talk about ... over population.

Chris sings! Garbo laughs! Now there's an obscure cultural reference. :-). Garbo was known for always playing very serious rolls. The movie moguls built an entire advertising campaign around the fact that she laughs in one movie. So, if you decide to burst into song, build the anticipation. Any time I belt out a few lyrics, no one asks for an encore. I should take that as a sign :-). Some people don't like musicals because the bits of song are so ... contrived. Kind of shoe horned in at odd spots.


Oh, yes, there are purchasing trolls out there. I've been hearing a lot of stories around things on offer on Craig's list. Seller's left hanging and putting off, maybe, a legitimate buyer due to no shows. Of course, there was even a bit of that about in the era of newspaper classified ads. E-Bay and Amazon don't put up with that kind of nonsense. Do it often enough, and a buyer is banned.

No mice, yesterday. But when I checked the first trap in the laundry room, the bait had been stolen and the trap unsprung! A marvel considering how touchy setting those spring traps are. I always expect to take off a finger, if not a whole arm :-). But when I checked the second trap, mouse had not been as lucky. His luck ran out. Probably a case of over confidence :-).

Ten boxes to go to the new place, this morning. There is a decided dent in my front bedroom and office. Things feel on schedule. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I am just starting to surface. The intensity of visitors on a daily basis has exhausted me. They left on Saturday and I have been catching up on freezing, pickling and washing curtains. Those curtains certainly needed washing.

Am trying to get to grips with the notion that you went without coffee when your machine packed up. I have never had a coffee machine and use filter papers into a jug which has been on the go for nearly 50 years. If desperate one can use kitchen paper to filter. Daughter leaves me with her plunger system which I just store away until her next visit. I think that instant coffee is nasty.

We are being told that there is a shortage of butterflies this year. This kind of info. tends to surprise me. I am seeing more butterflies than ever before, including some that are unknown to me.

@Lew

All those boxes! Are you moving into a mansion?

Inge

Yahoo2 said...

Hi Lewis,
Micheal Pollans quotable saying "eat food, not to much, mostly plants" For myself I would change to "eat real food, animal protein only on special occasions". The problem we have is that as a species, physiologically we are fundamentally 100% herbivore, most, possibly all, of our bodies functions are impaired by animal proteins and oils, it is only our bodies remarkable ability to heal itself given any chance that keeps us going.

Little things like our bodies inability to regulate iron from animal sources, stiffening of the arteries being a disease unique to herbivores that are forced to eat animal protein and oil or the fact that our intestine is twice the length it should be to cope with high energy food.

The list of chronic or lifestyle disease that is a direct result of what we stuff in our mouth is staggering yet we seem to be able to rationalise it as getting old or poor genetics or just bad luck.

Its a problem because we have so much cultural, social and historical baggage that is telling us otherwise, so the idea of moderation is born, "mostly plants" is about all we can stomach and keep our ego intact. All that moderation means is another ten or fifteen years of suffering before the hip operation, Alzheimer diagnosis, diabetes or stroke.

The only way I got around this is by creating a new category in my mind called recreational and party food, all animal protein and oil containing food goes in there and I try to set a time limit. I can only dip into this section minimum 22 days since the last time. This is based on some blood tests for a specific oxide that is made by a gut bacteria that flourishes on eggs and meat, 3 weeks gives me a zero level anything less than that, it shoots way up, that's my personal line in the sand.

I dont normally say much about this as I figure what other people think is none of my business. However there have been a couple of food ads on the television in the last couple of weeks that have used language that is deliberately misleading that has really got under my skin because I have seen peoples thinking change because of them.
cheers Yahoo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

The editor and I went to the cinema last evening and saw the documentary film: "Chicken People" which is all about three protagonists and their journey to breed the best in show chicken. It was a truly delightful film.

Fortunately down here we are serious pragmatists so I tend to look for good enough rather than best in show. :-)!

And speaking of which, yes, the tolerances on a whole lot of machines have been reduced because to do so means that costs can be reduced in the manufacturing process. A long time ago I knew an automotive engineer who told me that the instructions came down from higher up the food chain that 1kg of weight had to be taken off the brake components and it was her job to sort that business out. Just sayin...

Your subtle "flushed out to sea" comment earns you the Elephant Stamp for a very astute observation! Nice work.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Those older vacuum cleaners are pretty good if you can get your hands on one. We have a thirty year old Sanyo model which I use to vacuum up construction dust and also dried leaves out of the roof drains during summer. That machine just keeps going on and on. It is really impressive.

Doug is certainly onto something with videos on the interweb as to how to fix items. I use that source too and some of them are excellent. Over the next month or so I'm planning to fix a broken plastic component on the car and there was a youtube video showing how to remove the item and then another one as to how to repair it. It was very thoughtful of the people to upload such things.

The other thing about such repairs is that you slowly learn how to repair different items. But of course, if the interweb goes down in a ball of flames, it does sort of throw you back on your own resources.

Haha! Sounds like a fun wedding. Recovery gets harder as one gets older doesn't it? I struggle with such things nowadays. Oh for a quiet weekend!

Hope the sitters work well with the animals. They'd be looking to get a good start in the area so possibly you've picked really well. Is it still hot there? I forget as the rain was torrential here today at about 2pm there was even sleet.

Good luck and fingers crossed for the appraisal.

It sure feels cold to me, but I have seen and felt colder so I do realise winters here are a mild affair. The summer sure does make up for it though. I was once at the snowline in the Himalayas many decades ago and that felt pretty cold to me.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I enjoy visitors too, but I also enjoy their absence. We are having a very quiet week on a social front and have committed to only one activity. The past month or so has been feral on that front - and it is too much for my poor brain. :-)! Hope the visitors had a nice time too? Enjoy your curtain washing. I enjoy pottering around the place and I find it to be be quite a meditative thing to do. I took a walk around the orchard tonight and noted signs of spring everywhere despite the sleet today.

Not to stress, we had jerry rigged a proper coffee making process within half an hour of the machine giving up the ghost. And before the hour was out a replacement water pump was sourced and is on its way down here. We are very resourceful you know! Hehe! Plus on a longer term we have been busily observing camellia plants here and will try again with the tea camellia plants. We reckon we've sorted that problem out despite the occasional heavy snowfall and frosts.

No doubts, some areas are suffering a butterfly shortage in your part of the world. Forests tend to be places where there is a reserve of animals and other critters. In the heat people may not leave standing water out for the insects. I do that here and they appreciate it and they repay me in kind.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well the editor and I went to see the "Chicken People" film which you and I had spoken of some time ago. It was a really lovely film and I personally enjoyed seeing the understanding of the species and sheer passion and energy the three protagonists in the film put into their chickens. It was a real pleasure. Someone in the film made a comment that there were probably thousands of people in the US who knew more about chickens than he did, but there were millions more that know far less. An astute observation. Fortunately I have a deep seated fear of the ideal of perfection and so I look for the merely good enough outcome. Phew, makes life easier.

I'd heard that old saying about the for wont of a nail... Yes, it is rather appropriate and I noted the other week when installing the new solar panels that aluminium extrusions used in the racking had had one channel shaved off them in the manufacturing process. I had to modify the joiner so as to be able to connect up the old and new racking. Inflation seeps in via stealth don't you reckon? And I went to the irrigation shop today to pick up some replacement components for the next phase of the water pump project and the bloke asked me why I would use the heavy duty pipes and connectors when it would be so much cheaper using the poly stuff. He has a point, but I said to the guy that I can't really afford to have this stuff go wrong - having little margin for error during the summer. One year we did do something wrong with the water storages and the rain suddenly stopped. That lesson got drummed in: Don't mess around with the water supply. Of course, you would certainly understand my perspective on that matter given the well arrangement?

Well, I don't know what to say because the rains arrived during summer and May was particularly wet. I can't in all honesty say that this year has been a dry year (so far - things may change at short notice without warning). The thing is about desalination of sea water for drinking water is that it is like fracking in that it is just more expensive than other sources of drinking water. I tend to feel that it is a sign that we have moved far past our carrying capacity. And I do recall that the powers that be recently shut down a coal fired power station that contributed 25% of the states electricity supply. Maybe they know something that I don't, but it doesn't look good to me.

Thanks for the reference as I'd never heard of that before. Of course, I knew of who you were speaking of. Hmm, I appreciate the advice.

Oh really, those purchasing trolls are a pest. I had to sell a car once, and the car was a bit unusual and the never ending stream of tire kickers almost made me want to scream. By the end of the process which went on for about six months, I'd had it and just wanted to get rid of the car. Needless to say, I made a huge loss on that car, but at the same time it reduced future commitments and outgoings. I reckon I won that round. I see that problem playing out in the wider society. Mr Kunstler has a saying about the psychology of previous investment and I reckon he's a pretty smart bloke. I'm thinking of reading the world made by hand novels. Have you read them and would you recommend them?

Oh! I got Fire Monks in the post this morning. Yay. The photos show me trees right up to the buildings. Hmm, this will be an interesting read.

The mice adapt, like the Borg collective. They're smart as, and perhaps in some ways they are more clever than us.

Hey, did you see that evidence has now been unearthed that humans were on this continent at about 65,000 years ago?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Yahoo

I understand that we have the teeth of an omnivore. Am I incorrect?

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

It is my job to check all the filters in all the inside taps every 6 weeks, even the hoses that go to the clothes washer; somehow little bits of stuff can get into them. We are on a well, so this is not municipal water. Water pumps have filters? Uh,oh.

I always love how you attach your taps and hoses to posts; so tidy. Ours are all at ground level.

Your Cape Gooseberries look like our tomatillos. Lovely winter flowers.

Pam

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

To help assess the quality of a product, the next time I purchase any electrical goods, I may ask the salesperson whether I could first see their capacitors.

Likewise, before assessing the breed of a chicken, there are likely particular small things to look out for. Taking an example from the human world, if you wanted to look for the best-bred striker (we are talking soccer/football here), you wouldn't just look for the usual things like coordination/speed but also for a low centre of gravity (e.g. Pele/Maradonna/Messi). So my question is, does a well-bred chicken also have a low centre of gravity?

It occurs to me that the disposal of materials in the ocean acts as a physical central bank. An actual central bank holds the bad financial debt while the ocean holds the bad material debt allowing operations to remain profitable on a local level. I haven't thought this one through. Perhaps you could help me out? In my defence, this very post is also claiming that low-centre-of-gravity chickens are the most well bred.

An elephant stamp sounds painful?

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - LOL, not a mansion, but the nicest place I've lived in a long time. I occasionally pinch myself and can't quit believe that I've fallen into such a good deal. Wonder how long it will last ... So far, I've found places for just about everything. I'm downsizing by about half. There's plenty of storage space, and what with my book cases, the second curio cabinet and wardrobe I bought, my enormous dresser ... so far a place for everything, etc.. :-) Lew

@ Yaoo2 - We're pretty much on the same page, as far as food and eating go. Meat is a special occasion food. I've only used olive oil, for years. My old cast iron frying pan keeps my iron levels up. I've been taking a supplement for years. From what I've been reading, I don't know how much use they are. Oh, well. I think I've read all of Pollan's books and seen his films. Even have a few of the books on the shelf. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I'd forgotten about the film "Chicken People". I'll have to see if my library has it.

Sometimes I hear the term "Get my money out" or "Cut my losses" in relationship to selling stuff. "Break even" is another term. The psychology of previous investment is interesting. I see it writ large in my landlords relation to his Mum's old china cupboard. I've never been tempted to make an offer on it, as it has a smell (reek?) that I can't seem to get rid of (always give the interior of any old piece of furniture the sniff test :-). Any-who. Mum paid around $1,200 for it, 20 or so years ago. Well, the Large Old Furniture market (technical term) has collapsed. In the last three years I have seen many identical china cupboards go for a consistent $200. My landlord always looks a bit ill when I mention that fact.

Hmmm. Can I recommend the Kunstler series? Hmmm. Well, I read them all. Some of the plot devices seemed a bit over the top. And, the occasional foray into metaphysics seemed a bit contrived. Irritating. I'd say buy the first one, there ought to be cheap used copies out there. Maybe even a used paperback. See how you like it.

Raining this morning, but it was in the forecast. So only three boxes to move, today. What I can fit in the cab of the truck. If I go dark for a day or two, don't be concerned. I'm working up to moving the computer to the new digs. Poking it with a sharp stick :-).

I saw that report on pushing Australia's inhabiting back further in time. The same thing is happening, here. One of the problems we have here is that migration probably took place (for the most part) down a coastal route. Which is now underwater.

I made two loaves of banana bread, yesterday. They turned out well. One to eat now, and one for the freezer. Why is it whenever I tackle a recipe, even given all the various size pans I have, I never have the right size called for in the recipe? Probably another one of those irritating laws of the universe :-). Lew

Yahoo2 said...

Hi Inge,
I guess if we just look at the shape of teeth in a modern mouth, yeah maybe we could be omnivores. But go back a couple thousand years and there is no overbite, the teeth that look like incisors now sat lower forward and in line with the rest of our spade teeth purely due to the way we ate, very similar to a chimp. Our teeth are not anchored strongly enough, there are too many molars, our jaw is too mobile, the jaw insertion point is very high, our mouth doesn't open very wide, there are plant specific digestive juices in our saliva.It just seems to be to many things that are not quite there. When I was a little kid there was lots of theories about how we needed fat from bone marrow to develop big brain, I think its a pretty long bow. I have seen communities with fit octogenarians that live mostly on sweet potato and meat eaters that are crippled up and dying by 40.

I sometimes wonder if the conventional logic started the other way, assume humans are omnivores therefore these must be omnivores teeth.

There is a lot I dont understand about modern thinking, like blood pressure for example. Why is lowering blood pressure with pills a good thing? I accept that people with lower blood pressure from good diet are healthier and less likely to have heart attacks and strokes etc but the leap of logic that artificially lowering it will do the same thing seems just crazy to me. I have seen trial results that say the stroke risk rises six fold on statin drugs, I guess dead people dont sue drug companies so everything is fine.

I would have thought that blood pressure is high for a reason, our bodies are trying to pump blood faster to fix a problem, if I have high blood pressure it is because I am sick, artificially lowering it will impair my blood flow and make the problem worse.

I didn't understand arteriosclerosis, someone had to spell it out slowly for me for it to sink in. Our arteries are surrounded by a layer of muscle that flexes to contract the artery and control blood flow, there are capillaries inside the artery that supply blood to the muscle. Oils and fats in our blood block the capillaries and acidic oxides injure them until the muscle starves and becomes too weak to function, then our bodies lay down fatty streaks and calcium to stiffen things up so we can regulate our blood flow again, albeit poorly.
When I visited a specialist for my sore creaky joints I was shown an autopsy photo of plaque blocked arteries that lead into the joints in someones back and was shocked to hear the person was a skinny 26 year old that had bad back pain since they was a teenager. When I asked how long he would have had blocked arteries I was told he probably had fatty streaks by the age of five and poor blood flow not long after. He also casually mentioned that 3 months off the painkillers and anti inflammatories and on good diet followed by some light movement and the arteries would clear up, the fluid in the joints would be cycled and cleaned up and the back degeneration would significantly lessen. I guess he meant before the blood clot killed the poor guy.
Anyway, certainly got my attention!
Steve

Yahoo2 said...

Oh, before I forget Chris you can get replacement pressure switches for those little Dc water pumps, the one on the ground is about 15 bucks (40psi)and the one you are working on in this weeks photo is $25. they come with a specific pressure setting, the adjustment screw hasn't got a lot of range so you need to order the right one.

It is the high DC current across the tiny contacts that fries them.

After seeing your winter solar output I think you deserve an award for persistence. I will line up Mckenna all weather haulage to donate the trophy, you guys are obviously visited by the same rain clouds as the great man himself. Its a bit rough when you have to visit someone else's farm to take some photos that have actual shadows.
I think the lowest average winter output I have done on a system is a similar terrain (south east slope of a range and 700+ mm rain). It would average 13.5kwh/day at the same size as your system.

Out on the flat country it is quite easy to make 18-20kwh per day with half reasonable tier 1 panels, good connectors and short cables.
I guess on the upside your house is never going to float away parked on the side of a hill like that.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

You know, huge rainfall storms stir up any collected gunk at the bottom of the water tanks and that gunk then travels from the bottom of the water tank through the water pump and then collects in those fine mesh filters (which you too have to clean) inside the house. Like you, I am amazed at how much gunk gets washed into those mesh filters. Here it is a six month problem rather than a six week problem. There is no winning though, as the inlet filters which allow water to flow into the water tanks are a whole 'nother problem and I have to attend to those every time a huge storm hits. Usually that means running around outside under an umbrella cleaning the two main filters. Sometimes it can rain heavily here at very inconvenient hours! Not fair. :-)! Some people use a first flush device which captures gunk early in the rainfall event, but given the sheer volume of water that flows in those storms, they just would not work here.

Possibly there is no filter at all on your larger pump that bring water up from the well into the house. The main house pump here has no filter and it seems to be more of an issue with smaller pumps. I can't say that there is no filter in that pump for sure though, but most likely there is none.

Thanks. I like the neat and tidy aspect of the taps and hoses here too. I noticed one of the hoses had a kink in it which is a cause of hose failure. I've been testing different types of hoses recently to see which ones are the most durable and longest lasting. There is a huge difference in quality too. Anyway, keeping them off the ground stops me from running over the hoses with a wheelbarrow full of firewood or other stuff – the hoses don’t seem to like that.

Out of curiosity, do you use plastic pipes and risers (with metal garden taps) or do you use copper or steel pipes?

Got the new water pump in the mail today and installed it into the coffee machine tonight and have found that I then had to disassemble further components as there is a blockage in one of the fine water pipes elsewhere. Soon found the blockage and am running some serious descaling chemicals through the machine. Alas, I am unaware of some maintenance issues until something fails. That's life.

Oh my! Those tomatillo's are of the same family as the cape gooseberry. I may track one of those plants down if I can find one. Thanks for the plant alert! Do you eat the fruit off those plants? The cape gooseberry is more of a dessert fruit, although I can detect slight initial tomato overtones, but the flavour is sweet.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

Well if you ask that particular question, you have to be prepared to have store security chuck you out onto the street! I doubt most salespeople would know a capacitor from a resistor. The off grid folks down here that I go to for advice tell me that capacitors are often the first point of failure in a lot of the off grid controllers and inverters. I've long since been wondering whether I should get a complete spare set of replacement capacitors for the inverter here?

Haha! That is a tough question, because I have observed that chicken breeds that have a low centre of gravity appear to be more susceptible to scaly leg mites. Although just to add a bit of confusion and dissensus to that claim, the silky chickens never seem to be bothered at all by scaly leg mites and so the simple answer is that I have no idea. I really have no idea at all, but I do like the silky chickens as they have a sort of compassion for the other breeds of chickens in the flock and some will sit with a broody hen and keep them company, whilst yet other silky chickens will keep sick and dying chickens company - as happened here recently. Once I see a silky chicken sitting with a sick chicken, I know that the sick chickens days are running short. They're kind of sweet natured.

Oh my goodness, we are plumbing depths tonight aren't we? That was a bad ocean pun, just to be entirely clear. ;-)! The central banks seem to have purchased a rather large quantity of toxic debt over the past decade, don't you reckon? Nobody ever wants too much toxic debt, do they? It is like sick chickens and you know that their days are numbered.

My gut feeling is that despite all of the rhetoric, nobody really wants to sink the Titanic because the band is playing really well and it is much more pleasant listening to the band than rowing a lifeboat. Haha! I got another dodgy ocean reference into that mysterious metaphor. We could on like this for weeks!

Some people learn via pain, others by insight. Of course being squooshed (that is the technical term) by an elephant would not be a pleasant experience and would not likely be repeated anytime soon.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I really enjoyed the film. And there was an interesting and possibly unrelated side note by one of the three protagonists who took a rather exacting and detailed approach to breeding chickens. At one point he mentioned that he reckoned in his life he'd hatched about 30,000 chicks. Anyway, he mentioned that as part of his extensive breeding program, some of the chickens were exhibiting what he called grandparent characteristics. My understanding of what he was talking about were that some of the chickens were exhibiting genetic traits that were part of the original chickens expected heritage but have not been seen for some time now (a throw back trait). That provides a lot of food for thought in relation to producing more complex and varied strains of food plants than are currently available today. Nature appears to be quite adaptable. As a society we have lost a lot of the genetic heritage of food plants (not to mention other than food varieties of plants) in only 100 years. It is quite an achievement that loss.

The psychology of previous investment is a tough emotional journey to encounter. Mate, trying to sell anything kicks the stuffing out of that belief from my perspective. The china cupboard in a monetary economy is worth whatever it means to that (or another) person emotionally, or whatever someone else will want to pay for it and nothing more. I have noticed that the emotional expectation is often higher than the cash value and can only suggest that such beliefs are a cause of heartache when the intention is to exchange the item in question for monetary tokens. On the other hand, if a person doesn't want to exchange the item for monetary tokens then the value of that item is of immense value to the individual. It is a complex matter. Pah! I wouldn't want the unusual reek in the household either. The second hand market for large items of furniture down here has crashed too. I once spotted a second hand table made from silver wattle hardwood and it looked beautiful for only a small amount of funds, but before I could gather my nerves and purchase the thing, the transaction was already done. That's life, you win some and you lose more. ;-)!

You know, I'm going to interpret your book review this way: You didn't explicitly write, don't waste your time (as you have previously advised me in other more polite terms!), so I'm going to take that as a thumbs up (with caution) and start down that path. I'll probably purchase the first one brand new as it is always good to send some income to the author - otherwise they stop writing due to lack of funds. Not good.

Three boxes and a delicate computer. Ouch. Stay safe and thanks for the heads up. I hope that you, the boxes and the computer arrive OK at the new digs? I'm not saying that you are now moving into the lap of luxury, but it does sound a bit that way! Hehe! If it means anything to you, I too live with uncertainty and a big fire could wipe the place out in no time at all - and through no fault of my own. Life is complex and uncertain.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I received the new water pump for the coffee machine in the mail this morning. I had about ten minutes of fun installing the pump and then found that pipes further inside the coffee machine were still blocked up. The editor and I then dismantled other components of the machine and eventually discovered the blocked up pipe. I'm running some descaling cleaner through the coffee machine tonight and overnight and hopefully the machine is back to normal tomorrow (although it seems to be working very well now). Apparently the machine has been manufactured to the same specifications for over three decades and looking inside the guts of the machine leads me to believe that it was always intended to be repaired. A real joy to see. I often wonder about the new style of pod coffee machines which appear to create an enormous amount of ongoing plastic waste and I have strong doubts that the machines can be easily and cheaply repaired. I really reckon we as a society could do a whole lot better if only we had the will and tried harder (and demanded less stuff).

Of course, the same happened here with the sites being inundated by the oceans. A changing climate is part of our history don't you reckon? We've certainly faced a fair bit of it in the past. I've never quite understood peoples desire for sameness. I like the changing seasons and everything that they bring. The editor and I walked around the property just enjoying and observing the changing seasons today. I'm quite amazed at just how far our ancestors spread out across the globe - it really says a lot about their fortitude and ability to explore the environment.

Haha! Well, now is your time to pare back a little on the pans and other kitchen items? :-)! I rather suspect that you prefer to follow recipes more loosely than the authors would otherwise demand. That can be the places in between where cooking magic happens!

Hopefully the weather here holds tomorrow as I'm planning to complete the berry bed extension. So many berries, so little time. And I'm having to steel myself to cut back the berries that have taken over the walking path inside the berry enclosure. Oh well. What needs to be done has to be done.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the heads up about the replacement pressure switches and I had not realised that the high DC current would damage the switch, but that makes a lot of sense. I've recently replaced many fuses here with DC circuit breakers and those things are not cheap. Of course DC arcs in a way that AC does not arc and so the extra cost for the DC rated circuit breakers are worth the readies. I can see why AC is commonly used in households (although most appliances convert the supply to DC).

The water pumps are not a loss as I am planning to bypass the pressure switch and use the water pumps as a constant delivery pump with a more durable on/off switch.

Thank you. It has been a long, long, experiment working out how to power the house here through using only firewood, the sun and solar PV electricity. Like everything else here it is a very complex problem. At this stage, I will still add one more solar panel before next winter and then hopefully the system just works and has enough built in fat to cope with the inevitable entropy. Even mountains don't withstand the test of time.

The interesting thing is that I'm not very good at budgeting. Instead I tend to use very little of anything as a general rule, and then measure that use against my potential income (or energy income etc). If I'm not worried about whether some system is working or not (and plenty of them here are) and/or using more than my income, then I consider the system to be working and switch over to maintenance and upgrade thoughts. On the other hand if I am worried, then I have the option to reduce my usage, increase storage, or increase income. It is a complex problem and the response varies according to the economics of the situation. Some situations are simply beyond economic repair - as some may say.

I hope not about the whole floating away business. You haven't heard anything differently to suggest otherwise have you? Of course flat land will produce better solar (and possibly wind) power outcomes. A good observation!

To be honest, I'm not even sure what average means with an off grid system as you can't use most of the energy that you do generate and not many systems record the amount generated and lost versus the amount actually used (mine records amount stored and used). Electricity appears to me to be like trying to store water in a leaky bucket.

Incidentally, these days due to incessant trolling and arm chair theorists, I rarely assist people over the internet with off grid solar stuff, but the other day I noticed somebody suggesting to use polystyrene (I believe that was the material involved) as an insulator in a battery enclosure. Of course that material would work well and be very cheap, if nothing ever went wrong (that stuff is very flammable from my experience). I just didn't know what to say and thought that perhaps helping them out was a good idea.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Thank you for the information on pump filters. Maybe I don't need to worry about adding another filter to check as we only have the main water pump, inside the basement, that pulls up the well water; no other pumps elsewhere that I know of, though now I am wondering how the water gets to the tap on the far side of the house, about 80ft (24m) away from the house. I always assumed that gravity was involved, as the well is uphill from the house. Maybe the water to that tap goes through the pump in the basement first.

We have plastic pipes with brass connectors; there is copper somewhere in the mix, too, as over time blue residue will show up in the sinks and bathtubs (ummm, if the housekeeping falls short . . . ). Outside, any exposed pipes going to the taps are metal; these are right on the side of the house,on two sides (except for the third one, 80ft away). Regular garden hoses run from the two taps to wherever - one on the east side of the house to the garden (with many connectors and hoses coming off of that) and one on the west side for general use over there. We had some black plastic pipes running from the house to the garden (above ground - not buried, eh?)- and through some of the garden, with attached sprinklers - but my son was not happy with the system and has a new plan. He is also going to replace all of the plumbing in the house as the original plumber did a sub fluffy optimal job.

Tomatillos are tart. We make an uncooked sauce that is called salsa verde (green sauce) from them with tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, and salt, all run through a blender. Eaten as a dip or put on food (especially Mexican food).

This year some of our cherry tomatoes are so sweet that they could be called dessert tomatoes.

Pam

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Next time you are visiting the off-grid guys, perhaps you storm in, slap your hands together and exclaim, "right boys, show us your capacitors!" This could be risky behaviour, but is the gag worth it?

Speaking of risky gags, I laid my first comment over on the new archdruid report, and it appears to have completely sailed over his head. There are two possibilities here:
(1) The archdruid is still nose deep in boxes
(2) it was poor satire
Poor satire is always a possibility!

I don't have much experience with chickens, or central banking. I wonder if we could get a few silkies for the apartment here. Although the lease says 'no pets', what about smallholding farm animals?

Banking: I recently saw an interesting article bargain-2-million-homes-in-australia. Obviously, the locations are pretty good, but who has a spare 2 mil, and then to throw it at a dump? Is highly likely purchased with debt. Does the question, 'what is going on?', ever get asked?

margfh said...

@yahoo

Regarding blood pressure, it's now believed that a bit higher blood pressure is recommended for older people than the standard 120/70. I think as long as it's not higher than 140/90 there's not too much concern. I remember JMG once saying that the optimal numbers for blood sugar and blood pressure keep getting lowered so more medication can be sold. As with most things the middle ground is the way to go. In my immediate family we keep a close eye on blood pressure as our mother had a hypertensive crisis in her early 40's and temporarily lost her sight. She was on lots of medication after that. She eventually died of a burst aortal aneurysm or possibly a stroke (she had a relatively minor one less than a year before she died). Our father died of a heart attack at 46. Many of my siblings are on blood pressure medication but low dose.

I too like Michael Pollan's philosophy regarding food. Pretty crazy how people obsess about all the different diets.

Margaret

margfh said...

Chris et al,

Had major rain here the night before last - 3.2 inches (81.28 mm) in about 8 hours. There's now record flooding on two of the large rivers near here with lots of roads closed. Another round of heavy thunderstorms forecasted here tonight. Most days have been very humid but fortunately the temperature has mostly stayed in the mid to high 80's.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am putting out water at present, as everything around has dried up. Insects, birds and squirrels are arriving to drink; yesterday I even saw a fox.

Phonecall from aforementioned neighbour who is trying to grow own food. They have a wheelbarrow of green potatoes, any use for son's pigs? Er no! I looked up solanine and it left me feeling that I should never eat another potato; I then remembered that the Irish survived. How the heck did they manage to get that many green potatoes!! As always, they make me despair.

Sorry Chris, I have encouraged continuity below.

@ Yahoo2/Steve

I could engage with you, on the subject for ever, but don't feel that it would be fair on Chris's blog. To be brief:- while one swallow does not a Summer make, I am a very fit octogenarian who lives on a heavily meat based diet. If you don't accept that this is genetics, what do you think that it is?

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - So the silkies are, kind of like, the nursing sisters of the chicken world? :-). I checked for "Chicken People" and low and behold, according to the on line catalog, there was a copy sitting on the shelf at my local branch. Miracle of miracles. Seems like when I want something, it's in some far flung branch. Sounds good, but when I got to the library, their copy had been stolen or strayed :-(. Oh, well. There's another copy wending it's way from another branch. Probably be here in a day or two.

Re; Grandparent characteristics. I've heard the terms "breeding back" or "throwback" in relation to breeding plants and animals. Sometimes for a "lost" useful trait, sometimes for aesthetics.

Enough rain, yesterday, that I didn't have to water my garden plot. The boxes got moved, but not the computer. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe Sunday. Yes, I'm putting off the task :-).

My coffee machine, not near so elaborate as yours, gets a run through of white vinegar, from time to time. I don't make much coffee, anymore, so not very often. Are replacement hoses available?

Oh, quit a bit of kitchen stuff is in the auction pile. Including pans and tins of one type and another. It was a banana nut bread, but I had an attack of the lazies and substituted sunflower seeds for the cup of chopped walnuts, called for. Quit nice.

Well, I'm off to the antique fest. I did a bit of pre scouting, yesterday. A bit of online research, last night. I didn't see anything that made me go "OH! OH! OH!" and become crazed, but a few items of interest. Another cooling corpse in the laundry room. That's six. Is there no end to the local supply of mice? :-). Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Appliances that quit working irk us. The most recent one was a food processor that Mike's mom gave him several years ago when his 30+ year old food processor quit working. He tried to get it working again but failed. We use the food processor from time to time; it works better than a blender for certain jobs. Thus the replacement.

Last year the replacement quit working. Mike was busy doing something else at the time so we set it aside till he could take a look at it. When he did so a few months back, he realized that the only problem was that the tab on the lid that locks into the rest of the machine had broken off. It was probably my fault; I set dishes to dry on a dish drainer to allow air to do the job, and the lid had fallen off the dish drainer onto the floor, breaking off the tab. Anyway, when the tab locks in, it disconnects a kill switch. Without the tab, the food processor would not turn on. So Mike turned to the Internet in an attempt to buy a replacement bowl and lid, only to find out that the manufacturer considered the item to be obsolete, thus replacements are not available. You probably heard the grumbling from your place. ;) Words I cannot use on a family friendly blog were uttered in the general direction of the manufacturer.

After a few days of grumbling and foul language, Mike decided to open up the machine to see if his electrician skills could fix the problem some other way. To his delight, he found he could cut the kill switch off from the circuit. That defeats a safety mechanism, since the food processor can now be started without the bowl and lid locked in place. So we have to be mindful when we use it. Big deal; we take more risks than that every time we drive or ride in a car. It gave us a lot of pleasure to say "Take that!" and make rude gestures in the general direction of whoever decided that the food processor is obsolete after so few years of service.

The weather has turned seriously hot on us. We were under a heat advisory for four days last week and an excessive heat warning (that's worse) since Tuesday of this week. Saints do not live in this house; we turned the air conditioner on for the duration of last week's heat advisory and it's been on since it got hot around noon on Tuesday. High temperatures have been 100-102F (around 38C) the last two days and it's already that today with the hottest part of the afternoon still ahead. But the AC is not set that cold, just to 80F/27C, so we can sleep but we don't lose our heat acclimation.

The garden is getting into high summer production, including zucchini (I will be making zucchini bread tomorrow), cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. A few pears escaped squirrel feeding and are ripening on a shelf. I see a few small pole beans forming. Elderberries are starting to ripen; have to remember to harvest what is there later this afternoon.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, you are probably fine with that large well pump which most likely won't have a filter. Anyway, given that it is a long way underground, this is probably a good thing. The main pump here for the house does not have a filter either. As to other water pumps, far out, they are all over the place here:
- Solar hot water;
- Main house pump;
- Hydronic radiators;
- A large transfer pump to move water from the reserve water tank; and
- 3 x separate 12V pumps for the garden taps and bushfire sprinklers.

Not to mention the coffee machine (who would have thunk it?)

As you can see from the above, given the sheer number of these things I'm trying to get my head around what is going to work on a long term basis. I'm not sure yet as to the answer to that question, but I am in the process of making the entire system simpler. You can usually tell a gravity fed system as it will produce about 10L (2.6 gallons) per minute via a one inch pipe. As the pipe gets smaller friction sets in and slows the flow of water but that flow rate is a good guide. My understanding is that normal house pressure requires a fall in elevation for water of something around 70m (230ft). Of course this may explain why drinking water reservoirs are usually located at elevation in mountainous regions! :-)!

Who knows what pipes and pumps are involved in your own water systems? Sometimes these things can be quite the mystery and I have known people to be rather surprised at how rural properties are set up in that regard.

Ha! Not to stress, I enjoy the blue copper sulphate crystals from the copper pipes in the hot water system too, although to be honest it is in a very small quantity (and I hear you about the house work!) But let's ignore all that messy housework business. Hehe! Thanks for the detailed information. The metal risers are interesting as they can attract calcium deposits - only if those minerals are present in the water to begin with and you can usually taste calcium in water. I have a mix of both metal and plastic risers (that is the fancy name for the solid pipe that joins into the plastic pipes and usually ends up with a garden tap or sprinkler).

Of course, the black plastic pipes down here are known as poly pipe and your son is onto something as I'm not convinced as to the longevity and resilience of those pipes. Instead I use a thicker pipe known down here as "rural" pipe and it is supplied with either a blue stripe along the length or a green stripe. The blue stripe is able to handle higher pressures than the green stripe - I use the green stripe in the garden system and the blue stripe for the drinking water in the house.

After having repaired the coffee machine (yay!), I can only report that sub fluffy optimal is a condition that is worthwhile putting some brain cells towards correcting! :-)! Would you believe that I discovered yet another filter in that coffee machine yesterday and the third filter theory struck yet again. Fortunately the dismantling process proved our woeful housekeeping skills (it was feral dirty and blocked up inside that machine!).

Oh! I spotted that salsa verde was a common Mexican dish for those fruits and I really appreciate your feedback. Who doesn't love salsa? Yum! It is also mildly fermented too.

Out of curiosity, I've noted that the tomatoes are sweeter in drier and warmer years when the sugars are concentrated in the fruit. Does that accord with your experience?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

I've got a little secret to share with you about them: With the occasional exception, they're kind of very serious which makes them slightly dull. Of course, I have been corresponding with some of them for years and those people are the exceptions. Would they get the joke? I don't really know... The funny thing about off grid solar PV was that at first, I never quite understood that it was a bit of a "thing" and people can be very strange about things that are "things".

Well, I read your comment and you are probably correct as to the first option. On the other hand, possibly you and I are both guilty of over subtlety in our humour! I understood where you were coming from. I write jokes into the blog here for my own amusement and that of the editor, knowing full well that it may pass over the heads of other people. The ongoing coffee story for example is an ongoing joke between the editor and I. As a mild suggestion, I'd suggest that you pitch your humour for the intended audience because we write so that we can communicate with others and well, some people see the written word differently. ;-)!

That's funny! Don't laugh but, there were people on the "Chicken People" film that had developed diapers for their inside chickens. Fancy that? My take on farm animals is that they would make for poor company inside a house. On the other hand, didn't the US actor George Clooney have a pig for a companion? Or am I mistaken? Pigs are very intelligent and clean creatures.

Yup. Sad stuff. I'm planning to write about houses tomorrow night. With a bit of help from Talking Heads. They penned lyrics along the lines of (for a brief moment, I thought that you had read my mind with your comment):

"And you may say to yourself
My God!...What have I done?!"


Just sayin... 2 mil is not worth what it used to be worth...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Far out that is a huge amount of rain in a short period of time. I hope everything was OK with your family and the animals? I find that the chickens here hate the really wet years. It is good to read that the temperatures have not been too high.

It is not usually windy here, but today, the winds have howled whilst the sun has shone. It is quite unnerving to be anywhere near a tall eucalyptus tree which is swaying around in the strong winds.

Stay safe and keep out of flooded roads.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Your summer is starting to sound like the sort of summers that I have here. Incidentally if you are leaving water out for the wildlife (which I do all over the place during summer), then that may be why you are seeing so many butterflies at your place this year. The butterflies all turn up here for a regular drink during summer and sometimes at certain points in the day, the air can be thick with them. I really applaud you for leaving water out for the wildlife in such a season.

Noooo! Well, I guess they'll learn sooner or later - and hopefully they don't consume the green potatoes themselves? The poor potatoes were probably just about to produce some flowers and seeds... The funny thing is that we are harvesting potatoes here now (today actually) and we picked a huge bucket of the tubers. You know it takes years to learn the cycles of all of the plants. Oh well, I hear you. Far out, potatoes are enormously productive plants. Speaking of all things diets I once accidentally mentioned to a person of Irish descent that consuming a diet of predominantly potatoes is possibly a very bad idea - I tell ya, I copped an earful and won't repeat that mistake again.

I suspect that your neighbours may not have planted the tubers deeply enough. If the tubers have sunlight falling onto their skin, they end up being green and inedible.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is a miracle that they had the film on the records, but did not have the film in reality. Is this perhaps a ghost film? Does that happen much? Of course, chicken peoples may possibly be to blame in such a situation? You never know as they seem to be a quirky bunch of folks! Hehe! A day or two wait is not bad to obtain a replacement copy of the film. Down here at the bottom of the world things can take an inordinate amount of time to arrive. Books can take over a month. Fortunately this was not the case with the replacement water pump for the coffee machine which was installed last night (I may have mentioned this most important matter yesterday?)

Anyway, believe it or not, on dismantling the coffee machine, the editor and I discovered an entirely new filter. The third or fourth (turning?) filter theory struck yet again! I could not believe that there would be yet another filter in that machine. It is kind of impressive, but given that the design of the machine was very old school, we were able to replace the water pump and clean the guts of the machine and now all is good. I can report that a decent coffee was enjoyed this afternoon after a long day of work outside.

Speaking of outside, the wind is howling here today and I feel fortunate that no large trees have yet fallen over (the day still has a ways to go yet). I don’t actually mind a good storm. We finished the extension of the berry enclosure and will plant it out tomorrow. You'd never know that the original berry enclosure was somewhat smaller than it is now. Hopefully given that most bramble berries fruit on second year canes, we should enjoy quite the harvest this summer. Some of the cheeky blackberry canes were sneaking away into the surrounding garden beds – the cheeky scamps. I call that free plants!

And in extending that berry enclosure we cleared one of the potato beds which we'd been harvesting from for at least two months and came away with a bucket of fresh potatoes. Yum! Home grown potatoes are the best tasting. Have you ever grown potatoes and do you find them to be good tasting?

Yeah, they use the term "throw back" down here too for that outcome. I reckon it is a good thing that nature can correct itself - given a lot of time and care. On the other hand, the chicken people were looking for aesthetic characteristics that were part of an old book called: "The standard of perfection" or something like that. The title alone makes me nervous as I'm not a purist and I shy away from such concepts. Incidentally the motley collection of chickens here produced five eggs today which is a sure sign that spring with its longer and warmer days is almost here. The almonds look about set to produce leaves too.

Mate, I hear you about the computer. The first rule of fluffy is: It's not my fault, surely it is yours? And the second rule of fluffy is: If the computer is working, don't mess around with it, and certainly don't attempt to move it. Good luck! Stay brave and remember that you are not a fluffy so possibly you will have a good outcome with the computer move! ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I discussed the white vinegar concept with the editor and we put some of the metal components in a cleaning fluid of white vinegar and that cut a lot of the coffee oils off the metals. Thanks for mentioning that tip. The hoses are actually made from silicone and they look as good today as the day they came out of the factory. On the other hand I do keep various spare hoses for all sorts of plumbing things so something could be worked out on that front. Working out what spares to keep is a fascinating and ongoing process. Generally I work backwards from the most crucial systems to the ones that you can more or less live without. Still, I get things wrong from time to time - and you never know when that is going to occur at short notice and without warning.

I hear you about the chopped walnuts and would do the same. Cracking walnuts is a pain as I use a set of pliers setup for that purpose and they shatter chunks of shell all over the place. And sunflowers are just one of those plants that I'm going to have to set an area aside for in the future. The next stop will be the extension of the tomato enclosure next week, then the walnut rock bed, and then the new strawberry terrace. I just never know how much time we have and where best to spend our energies, so instead of worrying about any of that, we just pick projects and hope for the best, but expect the worst.

Interestingly, I'm not sure how you are with almonds, but last year, we harvested our first crop of almonds and those nuts were far tastier than walnuts, which frankly taste as though they have a slightly bitter after taste to me. Of course, the almonds here are sun ripened, grown in deep organic soils, and had nothing sprayed on them, so they are possibly a different experience than what people are used to with such nuts. I have read about people having allergies to almonds and I do wonder about that. Do you know anyone with an almond allergy?

The supply of rodents will eventually slow down. They're a bit like zombies though as there always seems to be more of them lurking about in the shadows. Incidentally I forgot to mention that Mr George Romero died last week. Vale, Mr Romero.

I'm hopefully getting more of those treated pine posts in the ground tomorrow. Good luck with the antique fest and I hope you nab yourself some serious mad bargains! Did you score any bargains?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Yeah, they irk me too. Incidentally, older food processors were very well made. We have one from about 25 years ago which still works, although there is a slight ozone smell from the motor when the machine is under serious load. I don't generally recommend products, but about a year ago I bought a Breville food processor which has a 2,000W motor which comes with a 25 year guarantee, and that machine is the biz (it is their biggest and baddest model I believe). I use a food processor all of the time to help me make the dog food and dog biscuits as it chops the materials up quite finely which suits the dogs.

I try to repair items too as much as possible, and sometimes it surprises me that the guts of the machine just needs a thoroughly good clean to get the machine back in working condition. Of course as Mike found, some machines are just beyond repair.

And that constant modifying of machines so that they are no longer repairable is a real pain. Sometimes, the older machines can be found for sale on the interweb second hand and you can then gut them for replacement parts. It is interesting that you mention repairing plastic components, but over the next month or so, I'm planning to repair a cracked plastic component on the little dirt mouse Suzuki. You may find the method of repair to be quite interesting as it uses a heat gun and a stainless steel staple device - which I've never used before so hopefully it works (maybe?). It has to be better than throwing out an otherwise good but cracked plastic component.

Haha! Well, outside of the blog, I too can swear it up with the best of the potty mouthed collective and sometimes those are the only words to fit the situation very nicely. ;-)! Usually accountants can be heard saying something along the lines of: "what the f#$%!" It seems to be a common refrain. :-)!

Yeah, those kill switches can be removed - as long as people are careful with the device. Incidentally the problem with the water pump is not dissimilar as the on / off pressure switch is the failure point and not the pump itself in that situation. Like Mike, I intend to just use a simple on / off switch instead.

Not to worry, I'm not judging you and that is hot weather. Are the nights cooler, or does the heat remain overnight? I won't mention that yesterday morning it was 1'C / 34'F outside. Brr! The weather station in the kitchen is reporting that it currently feels like 2'C / 36'F outside right now because of the wind chill from the strong winds. Sometimes the side of the house feels like it has been blasted by air and the winds make a roaring sound. I don't mind a good storm - as long as no trees fall over.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge and Steve (Yahoo2),

I have been enjoying your discussion about diet and whilst I can't add anything meaningful to that discussion, I do know something about blood pressure (which was mentioned).

The editor has a blood pressure measuring device and we have noticed a number of unusual observations regarding blood pressure which you too may find to be interesting:

- Blood pressure is not constant in people and it can vary from day to day and season to season;
- Which brings me too this general observation: Blood pressure is higher in winter and lower in summer;
- Stress increases blood pressure;
- Exercise during the day or even taking a long walk before taking a blood pressure reading generally produces a lower reading;
- And believe it or not - enjoying a pint of beer, a few laughs and a solid feed at the local pub consistently produces a lower reading than would otherwise be expected! Imagine getting that advice from your doctor...
- An increased heart rate produces a lower blood pressure reading and vice versa.

That's about it. Hope you find the results interesting!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

It is indeed hot as and drier than; that might account for the dessert tomatoes, though not all varieties that we have are tasting sweeter. Then again, every year the varieties change as they have cross-pollinated the year before. Boy, is it hot! Boy, is it dry! This has been a long stretch. We are watering every day. More animals, like squirrels and chipmunks, are climbing into the garden to eat tomatoes; I assume that they are thirsty, though I keep a bowl of water outside of the garden for them - which the yellow jackets are monopolizing, so that's rather discouraging. And our groundhog has become so determined that very little is deterring him.

Our well is not very much above the house, so gravity must not be in play. Sheesh, no wonder you have developed a third filter theory. The way things are going, it may have to become a fourth or fifth filter theory.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Oh, boy - Talking Heads!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I hadn't read your comment - I see that we are both thinking of the wild things.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Your blood pressure comments are fascinating, but I am in reverse of your results. My blood pressure goes down when I am stressed. I spent most of my life with a very low blood pressure and therefore was prone to fainting. Old age has caused it to rise to a rate which would be regarded as extremely healthy for my age. Whoopee! I am now less prone to fainting. When pregnant, it dropped so low that I was threatened with hospital. We are far more individual than the medical profession allows for.

Neighbours won't be eating those potatoes, I scared them off them.

It is raining heavily.

Inge

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Very interesting. I believe the technical term for those that are a bit funny about their particular 'thing' are called 'hipsters'. Are your off-grid guys hipsters? Or merely geeks?

The small-scale jokes are actually the funniest. We enjoy your dog jokes the most. And indeed all references to the canine crew (but let's not blow too much wind up their skirts).

But I have decided we are all amateurs compared with the Andalusians, who are legendary wits. For example, here is a piece from Elizabeth Drayson's recent "The Moor's Last Stand", where the last Sultan of Granada, under extreme siege from the Catholics, is negotiating the terms of surrender, and the dissolution of their glorious dynasty:

"The sultan's personal stipulations related to money, land, and people. He requested 30,000 castellanos [gold coins] for himself, plus 10,000 castellanos each for his aides.....the details of these stipulations were set out in a long document to the Christian rulers by al-Mulih, who was even able to add a touch of humour in asking for some mules, one of which, he wrote, should be tall and broad in order to accommodate Aben Comixa, who must have been a man of generous proportions."

LOL. So even under these extreme conditions, they are still looking to insert gags into the negotiation.

And you mention pigs. It is unfortunate, but there is a chance the most clever animals also taste the best: Jamon Jamon. To wit, apparently humans taste rubbish.

I look forward to your take on the housing situation. But you are likely correct about the value of 2 mil. Would you agree that the value of money is incredibly non-linear? It is probably the most wildly non-linear, situational, disjointed and time-varying relationship in the universe. Good thing we don't base all decision making on it.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I see by the computer that "Chicken People" is waiting for me at the library. It must have come by one of the more direct transfer routes. I substituted in the courier department a few times. The flow of books among the 27 branches is quit complicated. Books sloshing about from one end of five counties to the other :-).

Keep an eye on those blackberries. Blackberries never sleep. When they send up a long stalk which will root where ever it touches the ground ... it's all kind of Triffid like. :-). I grew potatoes twice, out here. And, you're right. A potato pretty much right from the ground is wonderful.

I don't worry about moving the computer, so much. It's the printer. When I moved out here, the printer quit working. About three months later, there was the miracle of the spontaneous healing, and it began working again. Who knows why? I keep a gallon of white vinegar under the sink. A little dish soap and a splash of vinegar cuts any particularly oily plate. A little vinegar, soap and warm water (allowed to soak for awhile) cleans up glass baking dishes, the Pyrex. Burnt on cheese. I also use it for general wiping down around the kitchen.

Almonds are quit nice but expensive. I usually only use them if a recipe calls for them. Yeah, the banana bread called for a cup of walnuts, so I just substituted a cup of unsalted sunflower seeds. Gave the bread a slight crunch. Usually, I just see the term "nut allergies", which seems to cover the waterfront.

No mice in the traps, this morning. Yes, I saw George Remero had died. Simon Pegg is probably in deep mourning. I saw a humming bird, this morning. Even though I have the feeders up, they haven't been much in evidence, this year. Probably richer pickings, somewhere else.

The antique fest was ok. I picked up 6 items. I'm glad I scouted and slept on it. Crossed quit a few items off my "of interest" list. Two Fenton Glass fairy lamps (night lights). One's got blue roses painted on a light blue satin glass base and the other isn't someting I've seen, before. Cobalt glass and a painted on circus tent, ferris wheel and fire works. Lots of gold trim. And a Fenton paperweight in a star shape and etched flag design. Another dancing lady to join the choirs line in my china cabinet. I've also wanted to start collecting cast lead farm figures. Found a clutch of them that weren't there when I was on my scout. But they were $25 per, which I thought was nuts. I held off, checked E-Bay when I got home. I can get them from $4 to $12. I'm glad I didn't get carried away :-).

Garlic also lowers blood pressure. I try and slip two or three cloves into something, every day. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

It's hot at night too; more so in the city proper, a little less so where we are because the lots are much bigger so less asphalt and more trees. Yesterday the official high (at the airport, which is not quite as hot as downtown but is hotter than at our house) was 104F/40C and the low was 85F/29C. This morning's low at our house was 77F/25C. The current temperature here and at the official station is 104F/40C. It's midafternoon now so it probably won't get much hotter, but we'll see. Fortunately by Monday it's supposed to drop back to normal summer temperatures.

I harvested 12lbs/5.5kg of cabbage today - three heads - and Mike is making sauerkraut as I type. He just commented favorably on the juiciness of the cabbage. I also harvested a large head of broccoli, the fourth in the last two weeks. Interestingly, instead of being dome-shaped like heads in the store, the broccoli florets presented at uneven heights in my heads. They taste fine. Now I'm curious as to what the farmers do, or don't do, to get those dome-shaped broccoli heads.

Talking Heads is one of my favorite bands too!

@ Margaret - I heard about your rains, hope all is OK at your place and elsewhere. We will be traveling through IL on I-39 within the next couple of weeks to visit friends. You live fairly close to there if I understand correctly. I'll wave to you as we drive by. ;-)

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Your summer sounds like one out of nightmares. I hope that some rain falls soon. The animals descend on the farm here during summer too. They don't always play nicely with the garden do they? Your tomatoes are also getting better adapted to the local climate, watering regime, and soils, so that is a good thing.

Exactly, who would ever have thought that a component in the machine which is described as a group head, is actually yet another filter? Far out! Giving the coffee machine a more thorough cleaning every quarter has been added to the maintenance list and we'll just have to see how it goes from there.

Happy days. Look I never understood Talking Heads but they sure did make some great music and the depth of the lyrics is superb. I have to write this evening, so I hope I do them justice.

The whole idea popped into my head because Mr Greer wrote about David Brin. And I thought to myself, what problem could David Byrne possibly have with Mr Greer? Of course, I'd swapped David's in my mind and the other David appears to have some rather unusual beliefs! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No worries at all. The human condition and lived experience provides for a hugely diverse set of experiences. I always understood that what was true for you may not have reflected Steve's (or the editors) lived experience. The world is a remarkably complex and diverse place - which is how it should be. :-)! I'm glad to read that you are not subject to feinting either.

I've only feinted twice in my life and it is an unnerving experience. You can hear the blood pressure in your ears as a roar. Not good. Best advice is to sit down.

Well done for scaring the neighbours about the toxic green potatoes. They'll learn soon enough and it is nice that you pointed them in the right direction. It is a funny time of year in your part of the world to be harvesting potatoes (based on my experience – they’d be in flower right now if the seasons were upside down).

Yay! Glad to read that the rain is falling. A big storm swept through here today too. There was even a bit of hail and the dogs had to abandon their bone wars. I like how everything looks crisp and clear after a big storm. Do you see that in your part of the world?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

You know, I've known quite a few people living off grid and not one of them resembles a hipster. They are a remarkably eclectic bunch and I can't really pin down any particular trait that they may share. Hipsters may talk about going off grid, but that is about as far as that goes.

Yes, let's not over inflate the fluffy collective's egos. You know, today I set off another round of Bone Wars and alas for the usually mild mannered and well behaved Sir Scruffy because it is his kryptonite. As the hail fell this afternoon I had to yell at Scritchy to get out of the rain... We all have our weaknesses.

That is funny isn't it? And it is a pleasure to read of such grace under fire. I reckon a few people need to get that particular memo. It is interesting that you mention such things, but I have been trying to cultivate good grace as a reflexive habit of late. Such is one of the arts of diplomacy don't you reckon?

Not so. You must check out the thoughts of: Alexander Pearce as he had something to say about that particular matter. I of course cannot confirm his opinions.

Oh my! I have to begin writing this evening. Alas report cards at school would have said something along the lines of: "Chris is a good student, but is easily distracted". I hope you enjoy my take on the world. Incidentally the value of monetary tokens in exchange for real wealth appears to me to be a confidence game.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

How good is your library system? I am astounded by its efficiencies. I hope you enjoy the film as it was a really nice documentary and a rather intimate look into the lives of three protagonists who set themselves the goal of competing in a challenge. That alone makes the individuals interesting and the film covers their back stories too. Your substitution in the courier department would have given you an intimate understanding of all of the back office goings on in a library. Not many people want to expose themselves to such an introduction. And it is interesting to add that I enjoyed travelling up the career ladder from the lowest of the lows to the airy heights, that is of course until I encountered the Peter Principle. Everyone gets promoted one step beyond their competency in their lives. A long time ago I had a mate who was fond of saying that the only people who knew where the cliff was were the ones that had fallen off it.

You are not wrong about the blackberries. I went through both orchards today and extracted thirty thornless blackberry cultivars which had become established underneath fruit trees. I used all of those cultivars to fill up the growing spaces in the berry enclosure. Who needs to buy plants as they are total givers if you know how to propagate them. In future years I intend to remove the thorny blackberry canes and concentrate on thornless varieties. No doubts the plants will have other ideas. On the other hand, blackberry jams, fruits, and wine is very tasty.

Home grown potatoes are awesome tasting compared to the shop bought ones. Fortunately in this part of the world there are also farm gate sales of potatoes.

Modern printers are fickle beasts aren't they? I keep a permanent dust cloth over the two printers in use here. They attract dust like nothing else and the little rubber paper take up wheels suffer from dust as it causes them to dry out. Then there are imaging units and/or ink printer heads. I recall the days before all of these fancy printers and we got by fine and just sort of wrote things down or typed them up on a typewriter. It is not as if anyone noticed the difference back then.

My taste preference is for white vinegar, but from all accounts it is a complex liquid to produce. Apple cider vinegar and rice wine vinegar will have to do instead. They don't taste as nice, and white vinegar on hot chips with salt is a taste sensation. Yum!

That was a clever substitution with the sunflower kernels instead of the walnuts. And incidentally down here, walnuts are about 50% more expensive than sunflower kernels. Yeah, I see that "nut allergy" story on the back of all sorts of products as it seems to me to be a sort of catch all legal disclaimer.

Far out, I had to perform minor eye surgery on myself this evening. An apple tree had grown past the need for a wallaby proof steel heavy duty gauge chicken wire cage. I removed the steel cage from around the fruit tree, but at one point a chunk of dirt flicked and hit me fully in the eye. When I got inside the house the chunk of dirt could be readily seen, but I couldn't flush it out of my eye as it was lodged. I then took a pointy knife and flicked the chunk of dirt off my eye and then flushed it off the eyeball. Home surgery 101. Yuk! Anyway, I feel that I am coming down with a minor cold. It is an occupational hazard as I meet so many different people in my paid work. Oh well, I don't believe I'm seeing anyone (other than the editor) this week and at least the coffee machine is working well.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yeah, Simon Pegg was a fan wasn't he. I enjoyed the films, but never took them too seriously and understood the underlying social commentary. John Carpenters version of Dawn of the Dead on the other hand was horrific as it really rammed home the unrelenting nature and sheer futility. In that scenario perhaps zombies were the latest in human evolution?

I spotted a few galahs this morning and took a photo. As an interesting side note, we have an old saying down under which is: Don't be a galah - substitute the technical term: idiot and you'll get the flavour of the comment. Galah's muck around a lot, but it seems very disrespectful to the species.

You dodged a bullet by holding back at the antique fest. Out of curiosity, do you ever spot people at such events fixated on their mobile phones checking out the details of every item for sale? Your choirs line will be looking most impressive after the recent acquisitions.

I have heard that about garlic and no doubt you are right. It also delivers a massive vitamin C hit. I have never harvested the garlic here and the patch of the bulbs just gets bigger every year. Years ago I took part in a garlic trial and there is a huge diversity of varieties happily growing in the garden beds. A lot of the bulbs are starting to slowly show new signs of growth. Spring is here.

Mind you, a huge storm swept over the farm this afternoon and I could see the rain sweeping up from the south west over the valley. I have a bit of enjoyment of the big storms as they always put a good show on. I took some photos, and we'd only just finished planting the last of the blackberry canes...

I must write tonight!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for sharing your experience. Sometimes in the depths of winter it is easy to forget that built up cities can experience the heat island effect. 85'F is a very uncomfortable low temperature. Even 75'F would be a very hot summers night here. Wow! I hope the air temperature cools down for you soon.

Vegetables and other plants love the heat - as long as they have access to water. I've never made sauerkraut. Respect to Mike as sauerkraut is a very tasty preserved and mildly fermented vegetable dish. I have fond memories of consuming sauerkraut with bratwurst sausages at the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show. Yum!

The War on Waste series has been attacking the cosmetic standards that the supermarkets demand. It is the outcome of a not very hungry society that. Oh yeah, no produce here would meet those cosmetic standards and I frankly have no idea how farms actually achieve those.

They really were a great band and had a lot of things to say.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

If about to faint, lie down flat fast, sitting is not enough. That has been my experience anyhow. Head between the knees didn't work for me either. If anyone likes details, my pregnancy blood pressure would go down to 80 over 60.

Our potatoes will flower at this time of year also, though I always pick off flowers. One can plant a whole new lot at this time. I don't know whether that would work further north.

Here in the woods, everything tends to look crisp and clean whether it is wet or dry.

Son's dog has had 7 puppies, that should not have happened as he wanted her to have a two year gap. The male dog broke down barriers to get to her. There were 8 puppies but one was dead.

Inge

margfh said...

@Claire,

I-39 is about 30 minutes west of us and is the preferred route to central Illinois. We received an additional 2.5 inches of rain Friday night which brings us up to 8 inches for July on top of over 6 inches in June. No major problems here except for mosquitoes, rapidly growing weeds and garden issues. Some of my plants are suffering from too much water.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Poor Chris - a bad eye and a cold in the head; you will overcome this quickly, I hope. Perhaps some of Lew's garlic is in order? Lemons, for sure.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@thecrowandsheep:

The sultan's surrender was wonderful. I hope that the sultan's antagonist appreciated the humor and that the sultan got what he asked for.

Pam

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Looking forward to the grainy images of the bone wars.

Grace under fire would be something good to cultivate. The last sultan did though eventually crack the sads

Well there we have it, it looks like Alexander Pearce has proven that humans are clever after all. When I read,
"Within a year, Pearce escaped a second time, joined by a young convict named Thomas Cox.", I thought 'NOOOO, don't do it Tommy!' Alas.

Eating human flesh has got to raise the blood pressure.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I watched "Chicken People", last night. I really enjoyed it. There are some VERY weird looking chickens, out there in the world. :-). Dog shows, cat shows ... chicken shows. In general, all pretty much the same. I did wonder if anyone had any fun? Oh, I suppose there are people who participate with their tongues firmly in cheeks. Well, I guess we all have our manias. I certainly have mine :-). I found the woman interesting who took up chickens after she stopped drinking. Or, maybe, took up chickens to stop drinking. She sure did take wonderful bird photos.

Nothing is a good as fish and chips malt vinegar on, well, fish and chips. If I go to a restaurant that doesn't have fish and chips as a specialty, I always ask if they have a bottle. Usually, they can come up with a dusty bottle from somewhere. :-).

Ohhhh. That eye surgery sounds dicey. You're a better man than me, McDuff. :-). I wouldn't attempt it. Over the past couple of years I've been suffering from "crude in the eye" (technical term). No-see-ums that float around and are generally irritating. I keep a bottle of eye drops on hand. To try and flush them out. Sometimes it works, sometimes, not. For some reason, that put me in mind of the time I bought the cheap Q-tips (cotton on a stick) and lost the cotton end in my ear. It involved lots of dancing around, very strange gyrations and trying to employ the force of gravity to get the darn thing out. No more cheap Q-tips. And now I gently tug on the cotton end to make sure it's secure before putting it in my ear. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Saw a DVD "extra" somewhere where Simon Pegg and his side kick got to be extras in one of Romero's zombie movies. They were thrilled. :-).

Yeah, I see people on their mobiles in antique malls and at auctions, all the time. There's also an ap that will scan bar codes on books and produce the "sell for" prices from online sources. Not so simple if the book is older and has no bar code :-). Generally, they move slow and get in the way. There was a woman taking photos of stuff in a display case at the antique fest and I had to say "excuse me", a couple of times, before I could get her to shift herself.

O.K. Why don't you harvest your own garlic? Inquiring minds want to know :-). I think it was Margaret that mentioned a Time magazine article on diet. Our library had it. Basically, all diets work for some people. And scientists don't really know why they work for some people, but not for others. Probably, lots of reasons.

It was 86F (30C) here, yesterday. Nell was screeching around the place at 6am, for no good reason. I finally got up to let her out and she made a bee line for her food dish ... which was full. In my 6am world, you either go out or keep quit and stay in. She was unceromoniously chucked out the door. I noticed it was raining. Still overcast. But more high temps and sunny weather forecast for the next week.

I'm moving the computer and printer, this afternoon. I'll give the printer a good vacuum. Funny they don't provide you with a dust cover when you buy the things. Would probably cut into their market, if they did. Lew