Monday, 10 July 2017

Weekly notes from a very impressive shed

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

Black truffles are a mysterious black fungus which grow symbiotically with infected oak trees. They’re a high end delicacy and growing them is a big, although secretive, business. About a decade ago the editor and I attended a truffle day held by a local agricultural society. The truffle day involved a talk about the complexities relating to growing black truffles in our area. After the talk, the group retired to a local pub for a lunch, which I feel is always a good addition to an agricultural day. The lunch itself contained black truffles in its many guises. I’m not convinced that I’m much of a fan of that mysterious black fungus, but tastes apparently vary.

Anyway, the lunch was held in a local pub which was being restored. It is a beautiful old timber Victorian era pub which had unfortunately succumbed to a fire at some stage in its history and the building had long been derelict. The restoration works on the pub were nowhere near complete at that time, and so lunch was held in the old stables. The fungi infused food was prepared in a separate food van, whilst the insides of the stables were dark and quite cold. It was almost a medieval scene as the winter cold radiated from the floor and the lights along the walls sat in sconces. Long tables were lined in cloth and benches were provided to sit upon.

The editor and I knew nobody at the truffle day, and so we chose an empty bench and table to sit at. The dining hall soon filled up with hungry people. Two gentleman eventually sat opposite the editor and I. Introductions were made and pleasantries were exchanged. And we have been good friends ever since.

In a strange coincidence, our new friends were also beginning to set up a small holding not too far away from where we are. However, to this day I am in absolute awe of what they have achieved. Their vision is nothing short of epic. And their house is a truly original design.

Last weekend the editor and I visited their farm and assisted with planting 150 (of 240) tree lucerne (Tagasaste) plants. Our friends intend to use the trees as cattle fodder in future years. This is a good thing as that tree is one of the richest sources of protein in the plant world. More importantly, that tree will provide green feed during a hot summer when the paddock forage is yellow and dry. I’d never planted more than 30 trees before on a single day before. It was an epic challenge.

The editor and I are both used to a hard day of physical work, but after six hours of drilling planting holes and hammering in metal stakes (we call them star pickets) I was exhausted. I jokingly (maybe!) remarked to one of the gentleman that: “Mate. I don’t work this hard for myself!” Of course that is not entirely true as long term readers will be aware. Eventually the 150 trees were planted and the sun had yet to set. The neat rows of new trees looked fantastic in the setting sun.
The neat rows of the many tree lucerne plants that we’d planted last week looked great
Of course, the job was made particularly difficult as the new seedlings had to be protected from the local population of rabbits and kangaroos, both of which require different types of tree protection. A closer photo shows the various tree guards placed around every single tree.
A slightly closer photo shows the various types of tree guards placed around every single tree
I almost forgot to mention it, but our friends live in a shed. The word shed is perhaps a misnomer as the shed in question is not just any old shed. The shed is the size of an aircraft hangar, except maybe bigger. It really is an impressive shed and it has a footprint of about 1,000 square metres or 10,760 square feet. And they live in a beautiful home created at one end of that immense shed.
The sun sets over the very impressive shed
Inside the shed are all weather growing spaces that I can only dream about. The rate of growth for the plants grown inside that shed is at least five times what I observe here.
A view of about two thirds of the inside of the shed from a high vantage point
Observant readers will note in the photo above, that to the immediate left of the view, there is a rather large avocado tree which was planted at about the same time as the avocado tree here, but is about five times as large as the one here!

There are many beautiful and thoughtful places inside that shed too which makes a delightful place to while away a few hours drinking wine and talking rubbish with good friends. Some of those places are also used to store their produce.
There are many beautiful and thoughtful places inside that shed and it makes a delightful place to while away a few hours drinking wine and talking rubbish
The location of that farm on top of an extinct volcano ensures that they receive more winter sunlight than the farm here. The extensive vegetable parterre soaks up that additional sunlight and I have to add that their vegetables – like here – also enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside.
The extensive vegetable parterre also enjoys a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside
The farm has a diverse collection of farm animals and that means lots of animal manure and the vegetables in those garden beds reflect the good soil health.
The vegetables in those garden beds reflect good soil health from extensive applications of diverse animal manures
The cauliflowers in particular were huge and I witnessed the cows greedily munching away on a particularly choice bit of cauliflower.
The cauliflowers in particular were huge
Surrounding that vegetable garden is a large number of mature olive trees that were rescued from an olive grove. I used the word rescued because the owner was intending to rip out all of the olive trees. I’m impressed at how many of those relocated olive trees actually survived the process.
Surrounding the vegetable garden are a large number of relocated mature olive trees
Of course, they have to grow a lot more vegetables than I am used to seeing because they raise and process a lot of their own meat. They recently added ducks to the menagerie.
Ducks were a recent addition to the farm
At the other end of the shed away from the house, live milking cows and chickens. The cows are surprisingly inquisitive creatures and they are always checking out everything that goes on about the place.
At the other end of the shed away from the house, live milking cows and chickens
Both cows have bred calves.
Both cows have bred calves
However, the award for the most inquisitive farm animal there has to go to the pigs. The two sows are huge and pigs have a sort of suction cup face which snuffles anything and everything. Nothing is left un-snuffled by those suction cup faces. In the next photo you can see the two sows enjoying left over whey from the most recent round of cheese making.
Two sows enjoy left over whey from the most recent round of cheese making
It is a relief to see that their canine collection is as motley a collection of canines as my lot here. Of course that description excludes the working maremma farm dog which earns its keep and avoids most of the sillier canine activities.
It is a relief to see that their canine collection is as motley a collection of canines as my lot here
I hope you all enjoyed the brief trip away from Fernglade Farm!

Also many thanks to our friends for allowing me to write about their lovely farm.

Now back to Fernglade Farm…

Just in case anyone was unaware of what a five year old tree lucerne plant looks like, here is one of the species behind the chicken enclosure - look for the tallish tree with white winter flowers:
A five year old tree lucerne plant is located just behind the entrance to the chicken enclosure here
This week I began upgrading the small 12 Volt off grid solar power system (we’ll call it the 12V system from here on). I originally set up that small 12V system so as to test the feasibility of solar power at this farm. The system seemed to work, and nowadays that 12V system runs garden lights and water pumps for part of the garden.

The upgrade came about because when I went to the solar stuff shop the other week, I noticed that they had a special clearance on 12V solar panels. I thought that I would help myself to one of those ultra cheap 12V solar panels. Unfortunately, once you purchase a solar panel, you sort of have to then do something with it because solar panels are not small and I am not allowed to stockpile stuff.

With that in mind, the editor and I constructed a custom made solar panel racking so as to hold three 12V solar panels on the wood shed roof. That wood shed roof faces west which is not optimal for solar in the southern hemisphere. Of course, a west facing roof is not a problem for us clever types who can construct their own customised racking for the three solar panels. A prototype of the racking was constructed.
A custom rack to hold three 12V solar panels on a west facing roof was constructed
The custom rack was then mounted onto the roof of that west facing wood shed. The solar panels were lifted onto the racking and then bolted into place.
The custom rack was then mounted onto the roof of that west facing wood shed and the panels were bolted into place
Then we watched the sun move across the panels and discovered to our absolute horror, that each solar panel threw shade over the solar panel behind them. Any shading at all on a solar panel will stop the panel from producing useful electricity. So, as well as being not so clever as I thought - and you can ask the editor about this - I was apparently very grumpy to boot. The whole construction had to be pulled apart and the solar panels again lowered to the ground.

After a huge amount of hours, the racking was then adapted so that the three 12V solar panels now faced west. This means that they will only charge with the afternoon sun. I don’t believe that this will be a problem for the 12V system which requires very little electricity to operate, but time may inform me otherwise.
The racking was modified and the three solar panels now face west for the afternoon sun
As usual, I then had to dig a trench in which to lay the cables connecting up the solar panels to the batteries. For some strange reason, I always seem to be digging somewhere about the farm.
A trench had to be dug so as to connect up the 12V solar panels and the battery
As you can see in the photo below, the sun was shining strongly that day and even though it is only less than three weeks past the winter solstice, those 12V solar panels were producing plenty of power!
Less than three weeks out from the winter solstice and the 12V solar panels were producing plenty of power
Best of all, the house solar panels that same day produced their best ever July winter output of 11.4kWh for that day. That result is the culmination of seven years of trial and error testing and a huge amount of work every single year. And you know what? Over winter there will be days that won't achieve even 10% of that result. Solar power is a very sobering energy source.
The house solar panels that same day produced their best ever July winter output of 11.4kWh for that day
And I would like to finish the blog with some flower photos:
This penstemon flower was sheltering from the frost underneath a pungent mint geranium
The African daisy's are enjoying the occasional rain storm
Chrysanthemum's look like the sort of flower that an alien would develop
The shade loving hellebore's are about to produce their winter flowers
The temperature outside now at about 10.00pm is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 432.0mm (17.0 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 401.6mm (15.8 inches).

62 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

An excellent suggestion, but alas, I found myself stumbling over the words... After the first go round... Hehe! Oh well. Isn't it funny how there are just some words that a person can get a mental block about and then they never come out of your mouth correctly. Do you have any words like that?

I once had an acquaintance who had a serious stutter - but far out, he could swear like a trooper when he needed too though. I asked him about why he could swear without stuttering, but he stumbled over all sorts of other words. To be honest he looked rather offended by my question, so I never really had an answer for that. Interestingly too I am aware of two singers who apparently stutter, but you'd never know it listening to them sing. Perhaps singing uses a different part of their brains than talking? Singing is a one way form of communication. I wonder if anyone has studied that?

Oh yeah, I'd never considered that aspect about moving up the inheritance ladder. Old Europe was quite heavily populated before the plague given the resources and technology base, and the plague would have cut quite a random swath through the social arrangements. Given that nobody apparently understood the origins of the plague at the time, it would have hit all social strata's of that society. Have you ever read that anybody at the time deduced the carrier of the plague bacteria? Someone must have noticed the movement of the rats and the increase in plague cases, and I wonder whether the seasonal decline in the rat population over the very cold winters up there would have caused a reduction in plague cases?

Did the Parkinson author in question disclose any familial ties to the historic herbalist in question? Out of curiosity, was there any mention that the herbalist in question stepped beyond their post and engaged in political activism? For some reason the historical figure of Rasputin bounced into my mind. Dunno why. He certainly seems to have overstepped his role and dabbled in politics.

I worked late this evening.

That Douglas Adams book never felt as fresh to me as The Hitchhikers Guide series did. Who doesn't like Marvin the paranoid android? I read the first book of that detective series and then put it down and never went back to it. Some books are like that. It would be very hard to follow up on a story series as fun as Hitchhikers. Enigmatic can be good, but if overdone... Beware the blue. I shall say no more on the subject. ;-)!

It helps knowing what is going on. I was involved in an unfortunate discussion about student debt today and it was uncomfortable. It is a deeply unfair system. Yes, no driving after dark until that lot is fixed. Stay safe with that. Is the bloke next to the club going to sort out the repairs? Out of curiosity is the club closer to the home? That would be a good thing.

Reading about unpacking 17 boxes makes me feel more tired that I already do feel. You win. I defer to you. You are lucky to have mellow friends. For some reason I attract energetic folks around me. Dunno why.

I didn't know that about fawns as I rarely see deer around these parts - let alone fawns. It makes sense though as they are particularly concerned with scents and territory. The wildlife and I have an understanding in that they leave me alone and I leave them alone and every gets along well together. Of course, there are some plants that have to be fenced regardless.

Enjoy your relaxed day, and don't worry about me having to dig trenches and working long hours as I must have done something particularly unpleasant in a past life! ;-)! Your priest seems to be a canny fox to have cottoned onto that trick. Very astute.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Glad to be of service. Your goals are very sound and they do you credit.

Oh yeah, heating with solar power is a definite non starter. Well unless of course it means opening the window on a warm summers day. ;-)! Now that is what I call solar heating.

Nothing beats firewood for a sustainable heating fuel.

Incidentally, I hope you will be as impressed with solar hot water as I am. Make sure that the unit can survive the occasional frost as in Melbourne a few weeks back, plumbers were apparently kept busy as some solar hot water panels burst in the unusual frost.

I've read anecdotal accounts that electricity prices have gone up by 20% in some states as of 1st July. Ouch. That hurts.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

That was an incredible set up that you visited. How many people are working there, surely not just two?

Your blue daisy is gorgeous.

I believe that stutterers are sometimes taught to sing their speech, have no idea why this works. I still remember a tree surgeon who could barely get a word out except when he shouted an urgent instruction from the top of a tree. All very strange.

Our weather is still glorious and a ghastly smell, that I was enduring, has gone. I assume that whatever has died underneath the building, is now desiccated by the hot, dry weather.

The visiting daughter spent over 2 years living and working in Melbourne and she found it cold. Tonight she is cooking a meal for me, great.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Sounds like your reaction to black truffles are similar to mine to sushi. I can eat it, but there are so many other pleasant things I'd rather eat. :-).

Those lucerne trees are really something. And, do I detect a slight case of farm envy? (not to be confused with another similarly named psychological condition :-). With you, more likely appreciation, admiration and maybe an idea or two for your own place.

So you're solar panels, on the first go around, threw shade. :-). Threw shade or throwing shade is a slang term here for a "put down." You don't hear the term much, but it is out there, in the wild. The African Daisy is a stunner.

Victorian Slum House hit the library catalog. Hold in place. Stumbling over words. During the beginning of our meetings, bit's of the opening (Preembel (sp?), 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, Promises, daily meditation ... the magic part) are passed around for whoever to read. I hadn't read in quit awhile and once I did, really made a hash of it. Mush mouthed. So, now I read something aloud, every day, and that seems to have cleared up. Use it or loose it, I guess. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yes, I have had a friend or two in the past with a stutter. I'd just be patient. I had to be really patient with the friend who not only stuttered, but also digressed. :-). I think I vaguely remember reading something about stutter and singing. But I don't think anyone (that I've heard of) looked into swearing. Someone, somewhere is probably doing a study ...

I don't think anyone ever made a connection between rats and plague. It was noticed that rats stumbled out into the daylight streets and died, in great numbers, but that was more seen as an omen. Speaking of plagues, I'm seeing mice in parts of the house where they weren't, before. One ran into my office, last night (where I don't let Nell go). So, I set a trap, but no takers. Probably because there isn't much tasty left in the kitchen to attract them (him?). I'm not sure if I'm dealing with one or two mice, or multitudes. I'm sitting here at the computer with my boots on. Having one run across my feet would be just too much.

The author of the book on the herbalist is withholding if she is related to said herbalist. All will be revealed, in the end ... :-).
Hmm. Politics. Lots of religious politics (given the era) and guild politics.

The Home is a short bus ride from The Club. As far as meetings go, the weekly men's meeting is a couple of blocks, away.

LOL. My friends may be mellow, but they're hard workers. Even though "retired" they're taking care of and renovating their daughters three rentals. Lunch turned out ok, they like my place and find it better than expected. They went shopping in the afternoon and then took me out to dinner, last night. They're not to adventuresome when it comes to food. So, a locally owned steak house. I had nachos :-). They were fine. The peanut butter cream pie for desert was wonderful :-). I'm going to see them, this morning, before they go back. Today, I think I'll just deal with left overs (lots to freeze) and work on my garden bit. Lew

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

I'm laughing here at 'not allowed to stockpile'. I wish I'd issued a similar edict here. You know we have a yurt on our shearing shed floor? I don't know if it will ever get rebuilt. My husband bought it for $500 several years ago. He's famous for saying 'I don't know what they are but I've got two of them'. I find his acquisition of things humorous but if it tipped over into hoarding I don't think I'd be quite so amused. I'm the reverse, of course. I dislike buying or acquiring things, partly because I'm driven to research and be a conscientious consumer (that reads as an oxymoron?) but I just might lack the imagination to work out a use for stuff?

Your friends' shed is such a clever use of the structure and the space. I recall you showing other parts of it previously? Christmas lunch, perhaps? We had tagasaste growing in our house yard that I'd grown from seed and our sheep had no taste for it at all. That section of trees was, sadly, bulldozed when our current house was built. We've grown and planted many hundreds of trees over the years and it's all hard work but satisfying. On this farm the regrowth is wonderful to see and a lots of it is now beyond the browsers.

We have a small roadside lay by about half a kilometer from our farm gate used by the council for road repair gravel and I see someone has dumped rubbish there. Such infuriating behaviour. I presume that people see our road as isolated so their actions are invisible. Do you find this on your road?

It was -1.9C and the first frost of the night by 9 o'clock last night! Fog and frost is the order of the mornings here.

Warm Regards, Helen

Coco said...

What a stunning set up your friends have! And I´m so glad they saved the olive trees. I understand it´s a business here, ripping out ancient olive trees for landscaping. Someone made a movie about it.

Sorry about the solar panel racks snafu. But I admit I feel better about my trial-and-error approach, now.

A cow got loose and wandered down the lane last evening. Breo nearly burst something barking to defend the property. Fortunately, the neighbor and his father were available to shoo her back to her pasture and mates.

Cheers

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is an amazing set up and idea isn't it? And yes, the property is run by only two people. Such is life on farms these days. This is why the editor and I and another person assisted them with the tree planting. They do have accommodation for several woofers but I'm not sure that they are ready yet to venture into that particular world.

The trees will be excellent fodder producing trees in a few years.

I have a few of those African daisies and they are really beautiful and hardy plants. The funny thing about the flower garden beds now is that I'm considering cutting some plants back so as to create room for others to grow. That is an interesting learning experience. Have you had to do that? I guess it is sort of like maintaining a hedge row.

Hope your forest is growing well in the sunshine? Ouch! Unidentified decomposition smells are an interesting problem. It is a good thing that there is warm weather to desiccate the remains. I have experienced a rat under the floor of a house and the smell was quite pungent.

Thanks for asking. Yes, of course, that would be the general consensus. Of course up here in the mountains north of Melbourne it is much colder again. I guess it is what you get used to. I would feel that Coffs Harbour is too warm and humid for my liking. I went there once about two decades ago. It is a nice part of the world.

Cheers

Chris

Jo said...

Ooh, your friends' farm is so beautiful. You both of you have a very developed farm aesthetic, and you both have vegie gardens to die for. I feel like I need to get cracking to keep up.. and oh, those pigs! They are so very handsome.

Thanks for sharing photos. I love edible garden landscaping. I am very inspired now..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

At the risk of offending you, I feel it is necessary to out myself as a person who enjoys Japanese cuisine. I can see what you are saying about sushi given the taste and texture though, but I am a fan. Plus there is the inevitable enjoyable brain pain from the wasabi (which is actually dyed green horseradish). Truffles just didn't float my boat though, but a dash of truffle oil can add something to a pasta meal. The largest truffle find last year worldwide was not too far from here (1.5kg which is massive). Interestingly, the oak trees that are inoculated with the fungi require basic soil and so the farmers have to add a lot of lime to increase the pH. Once we found out about that side of things, well all I can say is that you can't fight city hall and the soil here is acidic. There are heaps of pleasant things to eat, aren't there? Do you get authentic Mexican food in your part of the world?

I do have a little bit of farm envy! Hehe! The milk from the cows alone would make heading our on a cold morning to milk the cows a good thing. It is such a good idea that house inside a shed. And it works. The interesting thing about the whole exercise is that in the inner Melbourne suburbs, a timber two bedroom 19th century workers cottage can set a person back over $1m now. Clearly, $1m ain't worth what it used to be worth is what I take away from that. But if people were willing to consider other options for housing, there are a whole lot of different choices to consider. Unfortunately, many folks use certain parts of their anatomy to make choices about such things and opportunities go by the wayside. Alas for them. The livestock choices I have made dictate the types of fodder plants that I grow. With the chickens I have hundreds upon hundreds of borage species plants which are excellent chicken feed. The chickens will consume the tree lucerne leaves. The bees enjoy the flowers. And the dogs can eat pretty much anything we eat. The makeup of the plant community is really dictated by the livestock that people keep. An old timer farmer once remarked that: "you keep ten sheep, when you can feed ten sheep". The interesting thing about my mates place is that the soil in their paddocks is improving at a rate that I find astounding due to the sheer volume and diversity of livestock.

Haha! Whatever may be the case, it is a pleasure to know people who have decided to try something different with their lives and their farms. And I have nothing but admiration for their efforts. Their farm and house has attracted quite a lot of wider attention too and I will provide a link to more video footage when it becomes available in about a year (or maybe less).

Oh! Well, I'd never heard of that colloquialism before. From the sounds of the words, it has an unfortunate historical background. Such things mean nothing at all down here. After all we began colonial history as a penal colony. You know, that history wasn't discussed or acknowledged much until only recent times. I'm sure my lot were part of the clearances and it was better down here than in the ongoing misery in the old country.

The African daisy is a superb flowering plant. The wattles (Acacia sp.) are flowering now too. Smart plants to flower at this time of year, and I can only imagine that they are wind pollinated as there are few if any insects about the place.

I'd be curious to learn of your opinion of the Victorian slum house series?

Well, I did mention to you that people can disappear into the forest up in this part of the world. It is a serious risk which has to be taken into consideration. Stumbling over words is part of that deal. I enjoy speaking with all sorts of people so I'm not really at risk of that, but I must say that after 20 minutes of continual talking for the podcast for this blog, my mouth feels as if it has worked hard. Is this a good thing? Anyway, the upshot is, yes I agree with you in that practice makes perfect! :-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I reckon the brain is a bit like that too and you have to keep working that pudgy grey stuff otherwise entropy sets in. Who wants entropy in their brain?

You are clearly a better person than I because I used to razz that person up about being able to swear perfectly, but stutter at other times. And the person in question had a very colourful vocabulary when it came to swearing. You might call them a swear bear (after an amusing Moravian swear bear of many decades ago - I'm showing my age now)! Of course, that also means that they no longer speak with me, but we were never other than acquaintances.

Well, that is news to me. I never realised that the rats themselves died from the flea infected bites. It is a rather strange bacteria that kills its host, but clearly it was effective as it spread right throughout Europe and Asia. Not good.

Mice are a nuisance because they are really fast. From time to time they also break into the house here and the dogs just look at the mouse running across open space. By the time they stir themselves into action, the mouse is already gone. Fortunately there is little for the mice to eat inside the house and they are a short term nuisance at best. However, boundaries get pushed and it is unwise to assume that boundaries remain in place. You know cupboard doors in kitchens are in place to keep mice and rats out of the contents? Few people would understand that nowadays. They possibly believe the doors are there for appearances.

Yes, the herbalist grand finale will reveal all. My money is on: related. I could be wrong though. What do you reckon?

That is way too good about the location of the home and the club. You have clearly organised yourself well. Nice work!

My mate who lived over in the US for a couple of years remarked that food is not a very adventurous pastime there and so that is hardly surprising. Food adventures await for the brave! ;-)! Peanut butter cream pie sounds pretty awesome. A traditional winter dessert down here would be sticky date pudding. Total 100% yummo! And of course nachos are always good.

Strangely enough, it felt like spring today and the sun had warmth behind it that I haven't felt for a month or so. I reckon we have six seasons down here rather than the traditional four (which don't fit very well). Mind you it is quite cold outside right now. Brr!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

It is a pleasure to amuse you, and it is totally true! We stockpile only the needful things. ;-)! There is a local bloke living on a block of land in a yurt. I mentioned that option to a friend who bemoans the cost of rural property and well, I reckon he thought that I was joking around. I wasn't though... Oh well. Many, many, long years ago I knew a lady that was married to a bloke who collected crane trucks on a rural property north of here. Whatever they were doing with the crane trucks was beyond me. Haha! As I have often remarked - things could always get worse!!! Hehe!

Well the editor who is not easily lead by sentimental arguments would possibly define the term: "useful" by taking a very cold hard female look at whether it could actually be put to: "use"! Such is how it goes here!

You have a very good memory indeed and as such you are correct. I have only ever previously shown hints of that place. I'm impressed. Sheep enjoy plant roots in their tucker so they may just be finicky eaters and stick to herbage. I don't have enough experience with that species, so who knows? The chickens adore the tree lucerne leaves but they won't touch the stems at all which is fair enough really. I suspect goats would be very happy with tree lucerne leaves.

Just interacting with nature has consequences and who ever gets their farm set out perfectly first time around? A mythical beast that one! I enjoy tree planting too and creating an interesting forest. How are the deer going during winter? And yes, I too am happy when a tree finally grows beyond the clutches of the local wallabies - the little vandals. ;-)!

Yes, people dump rubbish along the roadsides here which is a real nuisance. And as the local tip fees go up, more rubbish ends up here. We clean it up straight away because of the broken window theory which tends to suggest that rubbish breeds more rubbish.

Oh, I can't complain (much!) as it is 4'C outside right now. Brr! Frosts have been quite a regular part of this winter. Today felt like spring though, or at least the season changed into something else.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Many thanks. It really is an awesome setup that place. And such an original idea.

You know, I'd read that about olive trees in Europe and to be honest, I felt a little bit of envy at the concept as I would have brought a few of the olive trees back here. They are a very hardy tree to survive relocation.

Trial and error is a great way to learn isn't it? I've long since suspected that few people know or wish to recall how to live a more productive rural life on a small holding. It certainly seems to be a lost art down here, but you may have more local knowledge up in your part of the world?

I hope Breo is behaving himself and doing his physiotherapy and rehabilitation exercises? Just as a gut feeling thing, I don't believe that herding cows is part of that strict regime, but I could be wrong. :-)! Cows are huge and honestly unless they are properly fenced into paddocks, they go where they will and do what they want!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Many thanks for that. And yes, their place is a delight and it gets better every single year. No doubt in time, your garden will look as delightful! :-)!

They have to produce a lot more vegetable matter than we do just to keep their many different animals fed. Inside that shed is an enormously prolific and productive garden and they have fresh tomatoes on the vine for maybe six to eight months of the year. And the roof space catches a humungous quantity of water from even the smallest of rain showers. It is all very clever really and I wanted to show in the blog a completely different style of house because everyone has a belief that houses should look a certain way. The place should be on TV in the next year, so I'll give you a shout when it is on.

The pigs are great aren't they. Such intelligent and social creatures. My friends are counting the different cuts though and such is life on a farm.

Glad to have inspired you! Go forth and plant! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Like Helen, I was amused by the stockpiling comment. I think there has been some of that around here. When you have a house as big as ours with many closets and a dry, lit and cemented crawlspace there's no end to what you can keep "just in case". Other people (i.e. children) think it's the perfect place to store their excess stuff as well. The local environmental group that holds the big recycling drives is having a garage sale later this week. Doug brought in a truckload of clothes and other misc stuff.

Thank you for sharing the pictures of your friends' place. Really quite amazing. Building soil is much easier if you have some livestock. When we had dairy goats we fed the extra milk to the pigs which they loved. The goats would have loved the leaves of lucerne tree. Whenever a tree limb came down it was a feast for them.

People search for Morel mushrooms around here and if they find any they keep the spot secret. Two years ago Doug cleared out a lot of invasive brush in a section of our tree line. Last year he found some morels there and this year there were even more. This is not a spot where they would typically grow. I had never had them and found that they didn't do much for me either.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I'll see your decomposing rat under the floor and raise you three decomposing raccoons in the air ducts at the Centralia library. Every once in awhile I run across a dead possum in Beau's yard. That can get pretty wiffy, this time of year.
Tin bread boxes and pie safes were used to keep the mice off. Now they're seen as mostly decorative. It was a bit disappointing checking my mouse trap, trap line, this morning. Until I checked the laundry room ... one less very fat mouse in the world.

Do we have authentic Mexican food? Hmmm. Probably not. There's an ongoing lively conversation in the foodie community as to what's authentic. What does authentic mean? Don't cuisines evolve over time, even in their native countries? I think it was the food writer Michael Pollan who wondered how authentic foods remain, when they're identified as authentic.

As a kind of side issue, there's been a lot of throwing around of the term "cultural appropriation", over here, of late. The topic hadn't quit reached critical mass, by the time Mr. Greer took his break. I'd be interested in his opinion. I think people should respect one another (if respect is in order) but some folks just take it over the top. My friends from Idaho and I often wonder (and poke a bit of fun at) the state of the world. I was explaining to them "virtue signaling", "safe spaces", "trigger warnings" and "micro aggressions." She thought they needed to "get out more." :-) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. That is an interesting thought about plant communities on different farms reflecting the kind of animals kept on that farm. An angle I hadn't considered, before. Other than in a vague way. I do like that old saying about keeping 10 sheep when you can feed 10 sheep. Farm / country thrift in action.

My money is also on the herbalist being related. I read a bit more of the book eating lunch, yesterday. Lot's of "isn't that interesting" bits. Tulips, from seed, take 4 or 5 years to flower. And, like apple trees, don't breed "true." Who knew? :-). I'm getting a clearer picture of the politics. John Parkinson was born right about the time Henry VIII was destroying the monasteries. If I remember this right, his mother's brother was an herbalist monk. When John Parkinson went to London, he had a hard time of it, being from the Catholic north and having an accent. BUT, he had a lot going for him. He had a knack for Latin which was the lingua franka of what passed for the science community at that time. Through family connections, he managed to get himself apprenticed to a London druggist. He was very much in tune with the new direction that science was taking ... that only things that were experimented with, or observed should be given credit.

I wouldn't say I'm so well organized ... just more of the falling face down in good fortune. Had coffee with my friends, before they headed back to Idaho. Then I started organizing all the left overs from lunch. Froze up the bean salad and meat loaf. It really felt like kind of a slack day. Which I needed. Weeded my plot and inserted the first inoculation of worms. Dug a hole, dumped in a good sized sack of kitchen scraps, a good helping of worms from my box on top, lightly cover with soil. I'll do another, today. I hope they "take." I also did away with 4 of the 8 pumpkin vines that have sprouted. The mystery vine (cucumber?) is sporting it's first flower. Hmmm. I'll have to remember to pinch off any flowers when the pumpkin starts blooming. Don't want to get any weird cross pollination.

Well, back at it, today. Nose to the grindstone and all that. Oh! I almost forgot. They found another catch of documents at Vindolanda. No translations, yet, but they appear to be personal letters, lists and a soldiers request for leave. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I am so impressed by yours and the editor's tree planting prowess and your friends' "shed". Really it is much more grand than a shed, and practical and beautiful, to boot. The monstrous stones on the parterre are really something. I sure do wish we could grow cauliflower . . . The animals look exceptionally healthy - and happy. Their canines do indeed appear to be on a par with your canines; what an interesting event that would be, if the two packs ever should meet! It was very kind of your friends to let us have a tour of their homestead.

Thanks for the closeup of your lucerne tree. Is it a legume like true lucerne is?

So sad about your solar set-up troubles. It's always something . . . but, then - what isn't?

As for singing being one-way - what about duets?

Boy, do I know why cupboard doors were invented. Yuk.

Pam

TalkingTrees said...

Hello again Chris

It's -6.4C as I write this at 7AM so I suspect the overnight temperature was lower. The frost outside looks like snow. We have a band of established, sometimes very old, Macrocarpa trees along the banks of our creek, which extend into a couple of woodland patches and their leaves are white with frost. This is the coldest winter we have experienced in several years. I suspect the lack of seasonal rain has an impact.

The deer have not been sighted for several weeks. We suspect our hunter neighbours have been busy but it may be that there is a seasonal pattern to their movements. Time will tell. We do have a young wombat that's moved into an area just above our creek. It seems to have two tunnels a few metres apart and I'm wondering if that's usual? You are right about sheep being finicky eaters, they will, however, eat poisonous to them plants and shrubs or plants that send them crazy. And I have to say they love apple trees.

Like most people my memory is very idiosyncratic! I recall what interests me and that shed conversion is ingenious. Such images always make me wonder why we are so conventional in our dwelling styles. Christmas is also a thing for me - not always positive but part of a potential story where 'what happened next?' is the order of the day. So two things linked in my memory....

You know, we have planted at least seven olive trees here and they have all turned up their toes. Puzzling and frustrating.

Warm Regards, Helen



Steve Carrow said...

Your friend's place reminds us how challenging it will be to transition our food systems to permaculture at scale. Protecting trees until they can fend for themselves is a big cost and chore, and weaving all the plant and animal diversity together and still manage efficient harvest and upkeep is a puzzle I am slowly working through.

I have planted thousands of hazels now, and they are tough, pushing on up past the grasses with minimal help, and with no protection from deer or rabbits, but the chestnuts are another story. I have been going back and adding protection to them, for some reason they are especially tasty to the deer here.

Can't wait till everything is tall enough to begin silvopasture or similar.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yes, well experience varies in that regard doesn't it? Hehe! The editor is most strict about keeping a neat and tidy ship and who am I to argue with such thinking. It saves a lot of trouble. Incidentally the desire to keep the place neat and tidy is driven by the serious bushfire risk. I see people storing all sorts of flammable stuff (including firewood) along the sides and underneath their houses. It may not be that smart a move in a fire prone area.

Nice work with getting your stuff back into society. Most stuff breaks down quite quickly. I assume the clean out is part of the impending move?

Exactly, about the soil building. Keeping a diverse range of animals means that pretty much everything gets eaten and converted into manure to feed the soil. The two exceptions I make to that is when animals are over stocked or for sheep which are known to exist on less arable fields because they can consume the root systems of plants. Browsing is one thing, but eating plants down to the root systems will kill them.

Like you morels don't do anything for me. I'm also quite nervous about consuming wild mushrooms as the consequences for getting it wrong down here are pretty serious. Not worth the risk as the local varieties look a lot like the edible ones and my skills are not good enough to tell which is which. A few years ago I ate some slippery jack fungi and the texture was not good.

In unfortunate news the little leg horn who became sick and then made a full recovery, is again looking a bit under the weather. It is a bit of a mystery that one but whatever is causing the illness hardly seems contagious otherwise they'd all be sick.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

What an image you have just conjured! And a profound epic stench would have been in that library. Did anyone wonder how three raccoons manage to become stuck and die in an air vent in a library? Certainly there is a little bit of a need for some investigative gear to go on. My thinking is that if such an event had occurred once, well, it most likely will occur again. Maybe the raccoons had had an epic fight in the air vent and it didn't end up well for anybody? What about the possibility that one raccoon became stuck in the air vent and the others also died after attempting a rescue mission which failed? So many questions left unanswered, so little time to ponder that mystery. Incidentally, you definitely took that decomposition story to 11 on the dial. Yuk! Out of curiosity, I assume someone was called in to remove the poor raccoons from the air vents? What a job. How would you even quote on that job? I would get the call and pretend to ponder the situation for a brief moment and then respond in my best drawl: "Yeah mate, we can do that. Gonna be expensive though."

Summer and insects can be pretty hard on such things. I'm impressed that Beau can take out a possum as your possums are frightening marsupials unlike the herbivores down here.

Go the mouse trap. Those traps are surprisingly effective at their job. I have long since suspected that people opt for other sorts of high tech traps as they are uncomfortable with the hands on side of cleaning up after the trap has done its business? Dunno though.

Oh, I'd never considered that the term "authentic" was possibly a corruption of a concept and that the label could then impact the original concept. Interesting. I wonder whether Mr Pollan would consider industrial foodstuffs to be somehow more evolved? ;-)! Possibly not, but still, I know of a lot of people who suffer from gut health conditions and I have wondered whether that is a direct result of the types of food that they eat nowadays. When I was a kid, nobody complained about gut health problems that I can recall. Mate, they should try pumpkin soup for a good fibre hit. Far out, that stuff is like a pipe cleaner.

What is cultural appropriation? Oh. Oh my! Apparently the short form definition of that concept is: " is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. ... Cultural elements which may have deep meaning to the original culture may be reduced to "exotic" fashion or toys by those from the dominant culture."

To be honest, I'm oblivious to such things, but in a strange coincidence, I heard a discussion on the radio about tourism to South America for gringo tourists to partake in Ayahuasca ceremonies and consumption. I am uncomfortable about that sort of tourism, but other peoples opinions differ.

On the other hand, I rather suspect that culture is subtly influenced by the environment. And as such, cultural practices that were functional in the UK, become dysfunctional when transported to another location such as Australia. I mean look at our relationship to the land here which seems a little bit weird given how fragile the country is.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

And I rather suspect that as the ability to project a dominant culture winds back, ever so slowly, new cultures will emerge and they will be made up of whatever works in that area based on whatever people know at the time. And if those ideas are pinched from other cultures, then that may form whatever works.

Anyway, who says a certain culture owns a certain idea? And also we filter all this stuff through our own frame of reference and who the heck knows what that looks like?

Phooey to it all! Hehe!

Some cultural appropriation is not so functional. Look at your own cultures fascination with Russia. From down here it looks kind of strange to me and I fail to understand the obsession. Mind you, the front pages of our papers are full of the latest Trump this and Trump that business and that looks pretty dysfunctional to me. Dunno, it is kind of weird though. All the other things that you mentioned are the results of a society in stress that is not allowed to discuss certain topics and issues. Generally my understanding is that that ends in a giant outbreak of catharsis. Probably not pretty or nice.

The idea about the plant communities just popped into my head, but is probably a result of considering the contrast between the two farms. We grow what we eat. They grow what the animals and themselves eat. Small holdings are a good area in which dissensus can shine as there doesn't seem to be any formal way to go, rather a mix of systems that more or less work given the fertility, rainfall and outlook of the proprietors.

The authors name was a dead giveaway wasn't it? All will be revealed at the end of the book. :-)! John Parkinson was a pretty switched on dude to only give credit for the things that were of interest to the people who dictate such memes. I wonder how he learned that particular skill? Did the book mention that he conducted investigations into areas that were outside that approved understanding?

We've all fallen face down in good fortune, given where we all live. I've travelled to the third world and you don't have to tell me how good we have got it! Alas other people have forgotten to absorb that memo. Oh well.

Had an interesting idea about managing resources this morning and I may write about that next week. Interestingly it corresponds to the war on waste which has everyone up in arms down here (well maybe a few people are interested in the sheer waste going on).

Slack days are good for the soul. I doubt people can work continuously hard all of the time. That concept doesn't fly.

Go the Vindolanda archaeologists and other assorted folks. How funny that one of the soldiers letters is a request for leave. No doubt things were not going so well at home. It makes you wonder whether the soldier actually had the leave approved before the barracks were abandoned? Given the Romans had time to bury nails for future use they probably weren't in a hurry to leave and it was an orderly retreat. The tribes would have simply waited them out whilst giving them reason to leave. A sound strategy.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you and it was an awful lot of trees in one day. By the time the sun was setting I reckon we finished the job through exercising sheer force of personalities! Good fun, but hard work. That shed is a really cool idea and worth replicating as the growing spaces they enjoy is huge and the growing season is very long. Much better than a poly tunnel as there is better air flow inside the shed.

Yeah, I haven't tried cauliflower either. The florets were huge. And the cows really did eat one. I had no idea that cows would enjoy that as feed.

Hehe! Glad you enjoyed my humour about the canines. Those three are definitely a motley collection and one of them has no shame about munching on unmentionable canine foodstuffs and then attempting to lick you... No shame at all! :-)!

It was very nice of them to OK me writing about their place. I haven't yet sent them a link to the blog. I better get onto that small matter today. Oops!

Cytisus proliferus, tagasaste or tree lucerne, is a small spreading evergreen tree that grows 3-4m high. It is a well known fertilizer tree. It is a member of the Fabaceae (pea) family. Well done you for figuring that one out. The plants harvest nitrogen from the atmosphere. Great plants.

I sort of figure if you get things right the first time around then you may not notice that you got them right. Hard lessons would not be won would they?

Do you reckon duets are communicating to each other? I cite: Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson in the song Candy. I rest my case! Hehe! Of course, you may be able to prove otherwise as I'm on shaky intellectual ground.

I hear you about the cupboard doors. All very functional. Some of them are pretty basic nowadays and I wonder how long they'll last.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

It feels like spring today as it was so warm at 15'C. The sun was shining and the air was still. On the other hand I began feeling cold reading about your frosts and cold air temperatures. It has been a very notable winter for frosts hasn't it? And yeah it has been dry this winter. Very wrong and I hope some solid rain falls in spring and summer. Fingers crossed for that.

Thanks for sharing the description of the frost too. The same thing happened here this morning and the frost was hanging off the leaves of the eucalyptus trees which may or may not be sensitive to frost. Last year on this day, it snowed heavily, but overall this year it has been cold enough to snow, but the dry has meant frost, frost and more frost. Very unusual.

A nearby farmer has had a similar impact on the deer here too. But like you I have no idea whether it may also be part of their roaming strategy. Water is not a problem for the deer up here in the higher reaches of the mountain range at this stage of the year. As summer kicks in they move closer to the creek and standing water sources.

Thanks for the info about sheep and apple trees. Yes, the apple trees seem to be the most grazed of any of the fruit trees.

The shed is a pretty clever use of materials isn't it? Well Christmas, like weddings and funerals can bring out the best and worst in people. I hear you.

You know that olive trees are wild in the Adelaide Hills which is hotter and drier than either of our parts of the country. I have noticed that they enjoy a very good feed of manure, but other than that I haven't seen any die off.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Mate, well said! We don't have the slightest chance of doing that at scale. I just can't see it happening. It is interesting that you mention that concept as I was considering writing about managing resources next week in a round about sort of way.

Protecting trees from predation as they grow is a real problem. Once they're past about 4m (13ft), they seem able to look after themselves. Getting there is a tough call though. I use round heavy duty chicken wire to protect the trees and then reuse that on other trees after a couple of years.

Out of curiosity, did you propagate up the hazelnuts? I grow a few of them here and they do seem to be fairly hardy, although they enjoy a good feed. You wouldn't enjoy the company of wallabies as they find hazels to be quite tasty - which is a nuisance. Interestingly too, I have a nectarine tree that has not gone deciduous this year. I can't imagine what that means as it is well fed and watered? Dunno.

Chestnuts and English walnuts are very hard trees to get started. Oh yeah. Tough as. I started the chestnuts in the shade and they seem to do better than the ones I planted in the sun. They might grow as under story trees in the wild. Who knows?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

'Falling face down in good fortune' is a superb phrase, never to be forgotten.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Iggy Pop, Kate Pierson, Candy - I call you, and raise you, with Sonny and Cher - "I Got You Babe".

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

"Anyway, who says a certain culture owns a certain idea?"

One of my sons - both of whom are "Caucasian" - has worn his hair in dreads for many, many years. The other has large, full-color tattoos in a Japanese art theme. Presumably they chose these forms of expression to identify with and reveal themselves to like-minded people; I am not sure. Once I read somebody's reply to a person who had complained that white people should not wear dreads as it was not culturally correct. The white fellow with dreads replied: "Well, the Chinese invented pants (note: I do not know for sure who invented pants . . .); should you not be wearing pants?"

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Oh, I think some mushrooms are quit tasty. But I had a thought, this morning. I wonder if all the ... enthusiasm for foraging, given the taste of some of the stuff is the result of a.) you need a certain amount of skill not to poison yourself and b.) it's free! :-). On stockpiling stuff: another law of the Universe - "Junk expands to fill the space allowed." (c. Lew) :-)

@ Inge - I'd like to think I came up with the "falling face down in good fortune" quip, but, since there's so little new under the sun, I figure it's probably scratched on a wall somewhere. In Latin. :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Speaking of deer. When I was at The Home, yesterday, the buzz was that there was deer damage in the gardens. My plot was fine. I was coming down the stairwell, early evening, glanced out the window of the landing, and there was a deep strutting her stuff behind the building. I gave a sharp rap on the window with my keys. Deer didn't even glance my way. Opened the window and yelled at her. If deer could shrug ... So, besides 8 boxes of stuff to haul down, today, I also have star posts and chicken wire ...

As luck would have it, I was working in other branches during the raccoon incident, so, a few of the details are sketchy. But I was in and out to pick up books. The city employees usually took care of that building's maintenance. But, I believe they had to call in experts with rebreathers to take care of the problem. Also armed with industrial deodorizers. A wire grill (put in in the 1960s) over an air intake had failed. Probably with help from an inquisitive raccoon. A slight stench lingered in the building for weeks.

Well, Pollan is not a fan of industrial foods. One of his "three rules" is to eat food. By which he means things your great grannie would recognize as food. I really think a lot of the current health problems are caused by the way we mill foods and the techniques now used to process foodstuffs. I'm shifting slightly on my feelings about GMOs. In and of themselves, maybe the plants aren't so bad. But they're developed, sometimes, to take large applications of weed killers. And, there is residue. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Kunstler had something rather interesting to say in his last blog post. "Virtue signaling is just a new term for self-righteousness." I think he's onto something.

Parkinson also grew things "for beauty." Which ran a bit counter to the general concept of the time to grow only "useful" plants. Ah, politics. Reading over lunch, yesterday, I got into the bit where the druggists were an extension of the grocers guild. There was quit a wrangle to shake out the guilds (for a lot of complicated reasons). But in the end, there were grocers, druggists, barber surgeons and physicians. Everyone had vested interests. Nobles were in play for one side or another. The Court was involved. The King was involved (James I). I'd say Parkinson was a "sport" in the botanical sense :-).

The soldier asking for leave has been mentioned in other documents. But I haven't seen anything as to how it all "hangs together." Prof. Mary Beard did a bit where she followed one official, all over the Roman Empire, due to inscriptions here and there. I think it's interesting how we're becoming able to "flesh out" individual Roman citizens. And not just the great and the good. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments however I am unable to reply this evening. I promise to reply tomorrow night.

The pub may not be considered an excuse by some, but it is excuse enough for me! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Enjoy! Me, I'll just move, deal with freezing blueberries, wrestle chicken wire, walk and chew gum :-).

The local blueberries are in. I bought 20 pounds. The price is up. $30 for 10 pounds. I can't remember what they cost last year, but I think that's about a 1/3 rise. I got about half my veg plot wired against deer. The toughest part is getting the roll of chicken wire started, wrestling it into a fairly flat condition and avoiding putting out my eye with the pointy bits :-). I'll finish it up, today.

I forgot to mention the mouse traps I use are the cheap-o spring traps. Less than $2 for 4. I lay newspaper down, and if the demise isn't too messy, can reuse that. Otherwise, I just wrap the whole thing up and dispose of it. If not too messy, I shovel it up and utilize my shovel / catapult to fling them into the thicket, across the road. A young lady at the club, who happens to be an animal vet has asked me to freeze any mice for her pet snake. Not going to happen :-(.

The weather here had been pretty boring, in it's consistency. Overcast in the morning. 75 - 80F (23.88 - 26.66C) during the day and 50F (10C) at night. Forecast is the same for at least the next week.

Well, I'd better jump. As someone, somewhere, once said: "Time and blueberries wait for no man (or, woman)" :-) Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Sonny and Cher were definitely onto something with that song. It has ear worm potential!

How about Meatloaf's song: Paradise by the dashboard light? The Bat out of Hell album was massive down here way back in the day, selling 1.7 million copies despite our small population. The song was quite silly, but also very sweet at the same time and it maps some of the potential difficulties of human relations.

Then, who could possibly forget the English synthpop band: The Human League; and their song: Don't you want me? Such sorrow in the words...

Exactly, we absorb culture and see what fits well. Of course, that good fit may be pants. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

One would suspect that the deer in question realised that it had nothing to fear from you rapping on the window? I wouldn't worry about it too much as the deer ignore me too. Funnily enough, the deer don't ignore a certain Mr Poopy who can send a goodly sized herd scuttling off into the forest. Mr Poopy the Pomeranian is very careful to avoid the stag, but he knows how to get in behind the herd and send them on their way. Dogs earn their keep. Perhaps the Home needs the services of a Maremma Sheepdog? It couldn't hurt and the residents would enjoy the canine company.

Star posts and chicken wire are effective deer deterrents. On the other hand, the wallabies somehow managed to crush a section of chicken wire and then proceeded to consume all of the leaves off several new Blackwood (Acacia Melanoxylon) trees within the past few weeks. At least the trees will bounce back and I checked this evening and new growth is emerging.

I reckon spring has arrived early this year. Despite the fact that winter has yet to run its course and the occasional snowfall usually arrives in August. Well, all the same, there are signs of spring everywhere here. I noticed that some of the fig trees are producing buds which is very early, as there is still a significant frost risk. I may even plant out all of the seedling potatoes over the next week or so. Adapt, you must young Jedi! Ah, sorry for the bad Star Wars joke... What are you meant to do?

You got lucky avoiding that epic library meets dead raccoon drama. Noses would have been put out of joint and sensibilities would have been outraged at the raccoon drama! Yes, environmental suits would have done the trick in such a circumstance. I reckon people who clean up crime scenes for a living earn their wages, and you know what? They can charge what they will, anyway that is what I reckon. I once read an account of people doing that particular job where they recounted having to remove a couch that contained an awful lot of human fluids from a decomposing body and the absolute horror when some of those fluids splashed onto the poor souls who were removing the couch. Not nice and it paints a rather memorable picture.

I reckon Mr Pollan is correct in his assertion. You know, if I was to harvest foodstuffs from the garden here and not preserve them somehow, then because those foodstuffs are also quite biologically active, well they break back down into stuff that the soil life can consume pretty quickly. We have lost touch with our food preserving techniques relying on industrial processes, anyway that is what I reckon. And then, we forget that our bodies take up some of those various soil life forms with the food (well, some of them anyway as cooking is a good way to make foodstuff less risky to our health). My understanding, and I could be wrong in this belief, is that we are comprised of a huge number of other organisms working symbiotically alongside of "us" (whatever that is). And who knows what other life forms we need to operate in that symbiotic relationship merely so as to take up various minerals and compounds? I doubt we know that much about our own diets in that much detail.

I sort of view GMO's as a rear guard action to try and maintain yields. Like any other activity, such things are subject to diminishing returns and I rather suspect that simple plant breeding and selection techniques may possibly trump GMO's in the long run. Of course all of that is simply opinion and speculation, but my basis for that thinking is that one technique depends on a few people, whereas I'm not the sharpest tool in the toolbox, but even I can do plant breeding and selection and nature takes care of the details. Anyway, industrial agriculture looks to me like a system which seeks to make complex systems simpler and that option takes an awful lot of energy.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, Mr Kunstler is onto something with that observation. I'm rather enjoying reading his very well written and rather colourful blog. However, I've also taken on board your advice and only peruse the first few comments and then go off and do something else. On the other hand, I'm in awe of the sheer number of comments on that blog. I wonder how the thoughtful comments manage to get a look in in such an environment? Dunno, it may not matter. I have to admit to feeling a little bit uncomfortable whenever anyone mentions the term "self righteous" because many long years ago, someone took to calling me by that moniker and I never really knew whether it was a put down or a compliment or something else altogether? Dunno really, what is your take on that human display?

Mr Parkinson sounds like a top bloke. Did you know that even to this day people get a little bit weird about the concepts of productive versus ornamental gardens and they can't seem to find any middle ground. Some of the old hill station gardens around here have productive elements, but they really are hidden down the back area out of sight. Of course, back in the day (19th century) all those wealthy folk would have had an orchard, vegetable and herb patch, but in these enlightened times...

Interestingly, I learned a new word today! “Inquorate”, which is defined as "(of an assembly) unable to proceed effectively because not enough members are present to make up a quorum." (from Google search). Anyway, dark mutterings of unhappiness are going on at the CPA and members seem to be stirring from their recent years of political slumbering. Of course recent shenanigans appear to have affected their brand reputation in the media no less and perhaps more importantly in their hip pockets through various means. Hopefully some member pirates sail the wide accountant-seas and undertake a hostile take over of the apparently passive executive. Maybe? We'll see, and I am watching the proceedings with interest. Mr Greer once mentioned something about "when common garden corruption becomes hard to ignore" and he may well be onto something with that assertion. Of course I have noticed that over obsession with abstractions leads to passivity.

To be able to flesh out individuals lives from over two millennia ago without descending into myth (which I do not believe is a problem in itself) is a truly impressive achievement. Yes, it will be interesting to see how that turns out and what the new papers shed light on.

Ha! You are a better man than I because my efforts are limited to one activity at a time. I am impressed with your ability to multi-task! ;-)! Hehe! It is akin to using a mobile phone whilst driving. I can do one task, or the other task, but not both at the same time. And how do people send text messages as they drive a vehicle? Neither task gets done well from what I've observed, but they are clearly better specimens of the human condition than poor limited I! Hehe!!!

Oh my, your talk of blueberry purchases is making my head spin. So I had to work backwards. 10 pounds is the equivalent of 4.5kg, so you are paying $6.67/kg. OK, that seems very cheap to me compared to what I have to pay down here which would work out to be $45 for 10 pounds and it may be up to double that. Interestingly too I saw a blueberry plant in a nursery selling for $16 today and it was quite small.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ouch, yes eyes are sort of important. Be careful. I tend to wear eye protection whilst working for that reason. Even then, small chunks of dirt can get under the protective glasses. I once had to visit an eye specialist to remove a small chunk of metal from an eye and he did that job with a needle. I felt very queasy after that doctor visit... Now hold still and don't blink... My head was fortunately in a brace for that job. Yuk!

Did you end up installing all of the chicken wire?

Fair enough. We use those traps too and they have to be located out of reach of the dogs - for obvious reasons. We tend to wash the traps down and reuse them. The mice don't seem to mind too much. Haha! Yup, I know a bloke that keeps pet pythons and yup, he buys frozen rats for the pythons to eat. Nope, the chickens are way too happy with dead mice and rats for me to consider giving away such poultry delights. ;-)!

Boring weather is pretty nice really. Today down here it has rained quite a bit, although the rain was quite heavy at times, rather than the usual winter drizzle which seems to be absent without leave this year.

The editor and I stayed in the big smoke over night to go to an early meeting this morning. All good, and I do rather enjoy being a tourist in my own town. The hotel was a charming old 19th century hotel opposite the state parliament house. We like old buildings and the hotel was old enough that everything was most proper and the establishment fit its skin well. Glass and chrome buildings are for others... I hope they are still operating the establishment in another millennia. How cool would that be? We had breakfast at: Royal arcade laneway Melbourne images. The Victorian era architecture has really left a strong influence on the city and we really enjoy it.

We parked an hours walk out of the city and simply walked in one afternoon and then out again the next day. It was all a very civilised experience and at sedate pace. We don't travel much and so the whole thing was like a little mini holiday. Interestingly too, I'm glad for once that we did not take the trains because... Melbourne suffers peak-hour train delays after computer fault. Apparently the whole system shut down for a few hours yesterday afternoon. At least the country trains have toilets on them... The suburban trains do not. The trams looked feral busy too and the editor and I slowly sauntered past them wondering what was going on.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

There are few better excuses for, umm, dereliction of duty than a nice pub . . .

I never much appreciated Meatloaf; he was so hard on the eyes. I do remember "Don't You Want Me", though not the band.

Pomeranians look like little herd dogs; presumably Poopy is heeding the call of his ancestors.

I am so glad that you are seeing signs of spring already. And I certainly like your thinking on GMOs and industrial agriculture.

What a lovely opportunity you had staying overnight in the big smoke; I am glad that you took advantage of it - and also that you did not ride the train!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Blimey - I was just working in the garden and stepped into an ant colony wearing just my sneakers and no socks, and they swarmed into my shoes and in running over to the hose - while tearing off my shoes - I tripped over a rock and sprained my ankle (sort of), and I already had a headache . . . I could use one of your pubs . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

O.k. That does it. I went back outside - in my bare feet as I didn't trust my shoes - to try and finish something and a yellow jacket stung my toe, on the foot that wasn't sprained. I believe I'll call in sick for the rest of the day . . . Yes, I have already taped a piece of onion to the afflicted toe.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Have to be careful about commenting on "boring" weather. I was hauling 11 boxes to The Home, yesterday, when it began to rain! Nothing in any forecast I saw. Heavy enough I had to resort to the window wipers in spots. So, a rather tense trip. But, no harm done. A bit of mopping up with a paper towel and lay them out to dry a bit. Oh, well. The rain sure smelled nice and freshened up the air, a bit. Cliff Mass has a recent post on the impacts of climate change on the Pacific Northwest. Not so bad, except that some rain "events" will be 35-40% more intense, hence, flooding. Several commenters speculated on being overrun by climate refugees.

I had forgotten about a method to deter deer. But, I was talking to a guy yesterday and he says it works a charm. You don't put up fence, you lay down fence. Deer do not like the uneven feel of cyclone fencing on the ground. He said it was a hassle when it was time to mow. Still ... Wallabies do not seem to be a problem, here :-). Cont.

margfh said...

@Lew

One of my sisters had raccoons in her ceiling. They had done a lot of damage. A neighbor of ours has raccoons trying to get in his attic on a regular basis.

There's a U-pick blueberry farm near here and I used to pick about 20lbs each summer. They did go up in price each year. Now I've gotten lazy and get a 10 lb box from one of the vendors at the farmer's market. Blueberries aren't too easy to grow around here. I've tried twice and never have gotten the soil acidic enough for them to do too well so finally gave up.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. There's just so much we don't know about food and how it works in our bodies. So many different foods: so many different bodies. Vested interests. Dodgy studies. I must say I was really impressed with the fellow who told me about deer fencing. He's diabetic, but turned down the insulin and controls it completely through diet. I knew it could be done, but he's the first person I've met who has actually pulled it off.

I think most people who throw around the term "self righteous" are flinging it about from a defensive position. Not all the time, but enough to notice. I wouldn't put much stock in it, unless it was a person whose opinion you valued. Then it might require a bit of reflection. And even then, even people you think highly of can be wrong :-).

Melbourne's Victorian architecture is quit spectacular. I got a look at a lot of it watching the Miss Fisher Mysteries. I've been cracking the sads, a bit, every time I go down to the Public Utility District for one reason and another. There's a small block of shops across the street that is slated for demolition. They're a dark brick with just enough 1920s style to be notable. But, apparently not notable enough for a hue and cry to be raised to save them.

I've never been a big Meatloaf (the musician ... had some of the other, last night :-) but I thought he did quit a star turn in the Rocky Horror Picture show.

Well, off to The Home. Not hauling anything today, even though the sun is shinning. There are 25 boxes at the other end that need sorting through. And, 2/3ds of the blueberries to deal with. A nice lot. Not a bad one in the bunch I've processed, so far. My garden spot is looking pretty good. I keep working in kitchen scraps and worms, here and there. Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Every time I'm ready to comment it seems my internet connection stops. There were torrential rains in part of the Chicago area a couple days ago. We were spared the worst of it but only 25 miles east of us they had 7-8 inches of rain overnight with some pretty disastrous flooding. The rivers aren't expected to peak until tomorrow I think.

Been fairly hot and very humid lately though there's a break today so I'm just about to go out and do some catch-up outside. The Japanese beetles are the worst I've ever seen. Last Sunday I emptied the traps 3 times in 8 hours where it's usually every other day. I really don't like to spray the fruit trees but I had to finally as the damage was getting too severe. The chickens have been enjoying them though.

Family wedding tomorrow so I'll be gone most of the weekend as Michael and I will stay overnight as it's 1 1/2 hours away and will be going late. Michael's second cataract surgery was postponed due to his recent ER visit and diagnosis of bronchitis. Probably a good think as I would have had to administer all his drops 4 times a day and put on the eye shield at night while at the wedding. Has to wait until after we get back from our trip though which I can't believe is just 12 days away.

I have to say I'm very jealous of your flowers in winter. It's so gray here in winter. The only color is the evergreen trees.

Margart

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, I'd like to think so too! The local pub is very charming and they have a beer wall! The beer wall is a matrix which lists all of the different brews that they have on tap and their related alcohol percentage. It is written in a deliberately confused style. All of the runs are short runs supplied by local small brewers. A few months ago for Star Wars day, some cheeky wag brewed up a batch of fine hops infused ale and called it the Millenium Falcon. Such things happen...

Fair enough, he was in the original Rocky Horror Picture Show, although I'm not a fan of musicals. Musicals are a tough school for my brain, although I really enjoyed an Irish film called The Commitments which was excellent and of course there was also The Blues Brothers. Who could forget that?

I'll tell ya what, Swedish Lapphund’s were bred to herd Reindeer. Nuff said really. Mr Poopy would go feral angry if he had to exist in an urban environment.

Thank you for writing that. And yeah, the policies we are pursuing as a society seem to be leading us all in the direction of organic small holders. It is not a bad option really, although opinions may vary. :-)!

Melbourne has some lovely lane-way restaurants, cafes and bars. I'm particularly fond of an authentic Italian cafe in the city by the name of Pelligrini's. The decor is the real deal and hasn't changed in I reckon at least forty years and the cakes are made on site. Yum! It is not to everyone's taste though.

Ouch! Do your ants bite? I really hope not as the one's here inject and spray wounds with formic acid. Nasty little critters. They can bite through socks too. Anti-inflammatories and anti-histamines are the best way to go after that sort of an ant attack. Sorry to hear about your sprained ankle. I hope you are feeling OK and that you didn't have too much planned?

Oh no, the total rotters! We hates yellow jackets forever! Hope you are feeling better after a day off? They are called European wasps down here and they seem to thrive after a particularly dry and warm summer. Their hives are in the ground and if you can find them a goodly quantity of water sets them packing...

With sympathies.

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yes, we did sort of encourage that sort of weather with all of our careless and loose talk about "boring" weather. Now that you mention it, I planned to do some cement pouring tomorrow and continue replacing the faulty water pump (which wasn't finished today). We went off to visit one of my preferred honey suppliers to pick up a goodly quantity of the stuff this morning, and of course, gourmet pies were consumed at a way stop along the road back to the farm.

Interestingly too, we picked up a huge box of seconds apples, which to be honest are probably fourths. The thing is that nobody wants these seconds apples and they are really good quality and tasting because the fruit hasn't travelled far from the orchard. They're classed as seconds because of aesthetic concerns which is how a lot of fruit is graded. In the meantime, we stewed up a batch of apples and pears to add to the breakfast toasted muesli during the week. Plus we also eat fresh apples, as do the dogs and chickens. Good stuff. I hope nobody wakes up to how good that stuff is as that may drive the prices up.

Oh no! I hope there were not many books in those boxes impacted by the deluge? Towels to dry out the contents of those wet boxes is a good idea. Yeah, the rain here over the past week looked more intense than I would expect for this time of year, and that is one of the reasons I'm calling an early spring. Intense rainfall can be a real problem for flooding - it is not as if we didn't get a landslide in January. Far out. We're planning to begin doing preventative works next week (or maybe the one after) given that is a possibility on the table during heavy summer rains. Of course there will be climate refugees and I personally wonder what will become of people in low lying areas such as Florida. Ground water will be a problem there for sure. Well, people assume that transport will be available and that a warm welcome will be given in new locations. It is a big call.

The idea of laying down a fence to ward off deer is a good one. And yeah, mowing would be a hassle once grass had woven itself through the chicken wire (espaliered grass anyone?). Wallabies would ignore that impediment and simply bounce onto and then over the fence. They're right little vandals. I could possibly lend you a few of them if you'd like? Hehe! ;-)! That would be the gift that keeps on giving.

I'm unsure how much interest people have in food. Of course there is a lot of talk, but how many people take the time to learn the food system from start to finish. You have to admit that it is a pretty massive undertaking? And it all begins with the soil and goes on from there. It really is a huge undertaking. Did that bloke offer to discuss with you the finer points of how he goes about managing diabetes without resorting to insulin? My gut feeling is that such a thing is possible for sure. My understanding is that the type 2 problem will eventually sort itself out once people become more physically active. There is a sort of mindset that says that the world should bend itself to a persons will, whereas other people look at the prevailing conditions and ask: How best can I exist with the conditions that are presenting themselves to me? It is a fine distinction, but a world of difference.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Thanks! I didn't really much value their opinion in that regard and I understood they had motivations which involved general criticism (as a lifestyle choice!) I guess in saying that it, it made them feel better, but I have long pondered whether there was any truth to the matter. Dunno really. Being wrong is a good experience as it proves how fallible we all are. Mate, I'm wrong all of the time. But also right too a lot of the time. It is a complex business and you may feel and experience the same? Today I encountered another iteration of the "third filter" problem. There is always a story, and years ago I burned out a hugely expensive dyson vacuum cleaner because I had failed to take note of the third filter. The other two filters were clean as, but not the third filter. Anyway after a decade of regular use, the motor finally packed it in and sort of started emitting black smoke. Not good. Anyway, as you probably know by now I love my espresso machine and this morning the pump sounded a little bit weird. This evening the editor and I cracked open the manual and looked at the technical details and discovered to our horror that there was a third filter in that machine (although being Italian it was called a shower head - go figure). Anyway, we undertook mechanical surgery on the espresso machine and the third filter was almost completely blocked up with the accumulated detritus of almost a decades continual use. I took a photo! It is a credit to the machines longevity that the pump didn't produce the magic smoke! A bit of cleaning with steel wool and, voila! The machine is almost as good as new again. I reckon a lot of machines get dumped and junked because of the third filter theory. Has that ever happened to you?

Ouch. Yes, the editor and I noted as we walked amongst the Victorian era architecture, that once something was gone, it was gone. And I wouldn't personally vouch for the longevity of the replacements. The 1920's produced some beautiful art deco architecture and the interesting thing is that the buildings themselves were generally very well constructed due to the economics of that era. The Californian bungalows during the 1930's onwards were not as well constructed relatively speaking, again due to the economics of the times. It is worth cracking the sads over, but if people don't value the buildings enough, then you yourself can't place higher value over them than the people involved in the demolition. It is a real shame that.

Enjoy your meatloaf! Hehe! Very funny! He certainly owned that role didn't he, and he could belt out a note way back in the day.

Nice work getting the kitchen scraps into the garden plot (hopefully without being noticed). My prediction is that after a year or so you will have the prize winning vegetables and others will come around to watch your style! 25 boxes is making me feel tired... Yeah, some seasons produce excellent berries don't they? It is when the conditions are just right and as a gardener you can't influence that much.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I didn't end up getting the replacement water pump completely installed this afternoon, but then it leaves me time to consider various options for improving the setup. I reckon this new water pump will be a step up on the previous water pumps tested. Interestingly, the best of those was purchased from the US, but the imbalance in the exchange rates has taken that option off the table. I was also marvelling at how deep I had managed to bury one of the original water pipes and I couldn’t figure out a good enough reason as to why I had done so. Oh well…

Oh, I thought you might like this. Remember long ago I mentioned a local kid who was home schooled by his PhD mum and he ran a chicken farm. Josh's eggsellent free range adventure turns pocket money into big business. I have nothing short of admiration for that kids efforts and vision. It is epic and beyond anything I have achieved. Total respect.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Sorry to hear about your intermittent internet troubles. Ouch.

And that rain is an epic amount of rain to receive overnight. I hope everyone was safe in the subsequent flooding? It takes quite a while for the water to collect and yeah, the rivers peak long after the rainfall has finished. Heavy summer rain though reduces fire risk though and that can be a good thing.

Those Japanese beetles sound like something out of a horror film. I just had a read up on those beetles and the leaf damage is extensive. I really feel for you having to deal with those. I wonder what normally consumes the beetles in their original habitat? Do the local birds consume the beetles? The local magpies and kookaburras here would certainly enjoy the beetles, but could they keep up with the volume? Dunno. The larvae look disturbingly similar to the local moth larvae.

Hope you get some cooler weather. It is 3'C / 37'F outside here right now and today I had to get rugged up to work on the water pump. For some stupid reason I had buried one of the original water pipes, almost two foot deep and that meant excavating the water pipe so as to get at the connector which I unfortunately didn't have a spare one of. I'm running a lot of the waterlines for the garden above ground now so that I can easily visually check them for trouble and repair when necessary. I just don't have the spare water to muck around with the pipes leaking into the ground during summers.

I hope the family wedding is an enjoyable occasion and that Michael's health improves for the trip. 12 days will be here before you know it! What an exciting part of the world that you are intending to travel to.

Thanks and we appreciate the flowers too, although it is nowhere near as prolific as summer. I've never experienced a winter such as you describe. Melbourne is about a month ahead of the farm here, and during the walk the other day we past a Daphne in full flower and the scent was superb.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Pam

Wow - you did have a day. I've run into ant hills when weeding the garden on many occasion and they are really nasty. I don't have much fear of stinging insects except yellow jackets and they do seem to sting for no reason unlike bees or wasps. They usually don't turn up in numbers until fall when they hang out around fruit, food and garbage. When I was teaching there were always a number of kids that got stung on the playground. Unfortunately too many people think they're bees giving bees a much undeserved reputation. Hope you recover quickly.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew

My sister-in-law drastically improved her blood sugar by diet as well. She's on an extremely low carb diet (Keto diet) but it did get her off most medications including blood pressure meds at all. There was recently an article in "Time" magazine about different diets and what I took from that was that there is no "one size fits all" diet. You have to figure out what works best for you.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I think we lucked out because we had very little rain overnight - just some heavy downpours in the morning while just a little east of us they had much more. The biggest danger is flash flooding of roads where the water rises in a matter of minutes and people are stranded in their cars and sometimes swept away.

The chickens really love the Japanese beetles but they are too high for them. Their run isn't near the orchard where the bulk of the beetles hang out and lay their eggs. The chickens if they were in the right place could take out a lot of the grubs in the spring and cut down the number I imagine. Some think that using the traps attract more of them but I feel placing them downwind helps keep them off their favorite plants.

The wedding should be fun as all our family weddings tend to be. We tend to be a rowdy group. My niece is on to us though and instead of having a DJ she is having a tribute band (name of group I forget as being old I didn't recognize it). This will prevent us from requesting songs from Blues Brothers - especially rawhide where we grab belts and swing them around our heads like whips - always a crowd pleaser. She has also informed us that we cannot bring a luggage cart into the reception as we did for her brother's wedding (with his approval I might add). She has arranged for one in a room where we are apparently having cocktails and hor d'oeuvres for photo opportunities. Apparently she thinks this will appease us.

Good luck with the water pump. The description of all your projects makes me tired.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Somehow, this part of the world is just about perfect for all kinds of berries. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries. There's several blueberry bushes around The Home. They're loaded, this year. I'll keep an eye on them, as I don't want them to go to waste ... but I want the other tenants to get first shot at them.

Next time I'm in the library, I'll look for that Time article. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - What's a lane-way? Clean up on aisle 4! Corpse removal in the laundry room. Another mouse bites the dust. :-).

We really didn't get into the fine points of diabetes management ... other than low carb, smaller, more frequent meals. And monitoring. We went to the same pot luck, and I noticed he carries along his own food for those kinds of things. I'd say I eat "healthy" about 85% of the time. Maybe 90%. Over the years I've developed a kind of knee jerk reaction when offered highly processed goodies. "No thank you, I've just eaten." Works, most of the time.

Actually, a couple of the ladies were pretty fascinated when I was working in the worms. They didn't flinch when I dumped the bag of slimy kitchen scraps into the hole. Right now, my plot is booming along and I'm having trouble finding spots to work in the worms. Yesterday, I trowled some of the worm box soil around the major plants. When I thinned out the pumpkins, I cut them off at ground level (let the roots rot in place), dug a small hole and buried the leaves. In one of my "Duh" moments, I suddenly realized that they produce a heck of a lot of coffee grounds at The Club. Into a plastic bag lined bucket. Hmmm. Will have to look in at that. Cont.

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Oops, I called Poopy a Pomeranian; please forgive me Poopy - I will be in your debt forever.

I am trying to remember the funny Christmas brew you had. Was it a reindeer of some sort? A unicorn?

Ouch, me feets still hurt - but they are getting better. I walk like something between a duck and a rabbit. Our yellow jackets live in "nests" in the ground, too. I know where two of these nests are. Their social structure is very much like bees, with a queen and drones, etc. There can be thousands in a nest; this is a really big year for them. Yes, our ants bite.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Thank you for the well-wishes; am well on the way to recovery.

I hope that you and Michael have a lovely time at the wedding, and I can't believe your trip is so close!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. When people babble nonsense, I don't bother to argue. I just move on. Mostly. In my case, life's short :-).

I generally use a little "Dust Buster" that I've been dragging around for years. I don't "dust". Just moves the stuff from one place to another. I want it sucked up and gone. I used it to clean up that bathroom shelf unit, last night. But for carpets ... I'm stealing one of the uprights from here to take along. When I moved in, there were THREE upright vacuums. All supposedly broken. I picked one at random, replaced the filters (after your story, I'm going on line to see if I can find a manual), replaced the bag (full) and cleared the hose of any obstructions. I had to cut some filament from around the beater / brush bar. Anyway. Works fine.

I've noticed the landlord's wife does the same thing with computers. Doesn't work? Buy a new one. I don't know how many she's run through since I moved out here. Quit a few. And I'm sure the "broken" ones are piling up ... somewhere.

Josh's egg business reminds me of "Truffle Boy." Young business men who have drive, the right moves and a bit of luck. There's a (very) young fellow I see at some of the farmer's markets. Has his own bread making business. Don't know much about him.

No rain damage to the load, yesterday. Most of the boxes had tight fitting lids (held on by bungie cords). When I worked at the library, there were a lot of boxes that reams of paper came in. I'd pick them up and reinforce the joints with good tape. They are wizard for moving stuff and storing stuff. Slightly too heavy if packed with books, but half books and the rest lighter stuff? Perfect. I suppose after this move, most of them will go to recycle. No space to store them, now. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Planning to write this evening so I have to be brief. :-)! That happens all of the time down here where people cross roads that are flooded. When the local river rose and flooded I couldn't even see where the road was let alone contemplate driving through it. I saw a station wagon caught in the floodwater further in and I just couldn't do anything for them. They were OK, they just had some electrical problems and became stuck.

Of course, chickens don't enjoy flying, although some of my lot will give it a go from time to time. It stresses the other chickens out.

Rowdy groups make for fun times!

They make me feel tired too and I worked outside until dark this evening. The water pump is in now and working. Yay!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Lane ways were put in place for the night soil carts. Not a subject for pleasant company. Fortunately we are not pleasant company and today the lane ways are used for cafes and restaurants (no vehicle traffic as a bonus): Melbourne hardware lane images. Some are streets which are cut off to vehicle traffic. The city is full of them.

Nice shot with the rodent. Pesky creatures who may be smarter than us humans!

Yeah, that processed stuff is best avoided. If you can't work out what a food stuff is, then you probably can't work out what the food stuff is. Best avoided in that case.

Well done with the worm demonstration. Soon there will be high demand for all of the kitchen scraps? Worms can travel pretty deep into the soil especially to avoid hot days, so just dig deeper. You may be able to lift the existing plants and bury the food scraps underneath them. The organic matter has to get further down into your soil anyway.

Used coffee grounds are a resource. Shh! Don't tell anybody as they may want them. I have two large buckets with lids which I carry with me to the cafe. Speaking of coffee, the espresso machine broke today. A very sad tale indeed. I'll speak more once my shattered emotions have settled down and include a photo in the blog. I'm meant to be writing this evening so I'll have to be brief! :-)!

That is a sound personal philosophy and it should definitely smooth relations along nicely. It took me years to learn that sometimes you can just pretend nothing was said and nobody seems to know how to respond to such an act. It is quite strange really. Incidentally, on a related side issue, I've noticed that the most demanding people that you come across are far less likely to be able to manage any situation than people who are far less demanding. Coincidence? Me thinks not! ;-)!

Yeah, the vacuum story is quite amusing in a disturbing sort of way, but oh yeah. I must write this evening! Hehe! Yup, and I've already ordered a replacement water pump for the coffee machine after investigating why it no longer works. You get better at small appliance repairs as time goes on.

Well done him! Bread is a high margin product because it uses quite a bit of energy to produces loaves. I've always rather suspected that the whole: "give us this day our daily bread" is a reference to the Roman's predelictions for providing bread and circuses - until they couldn't. It always seemed mildly demanding to my sensibilities as making bread takes effort - demanding bread be delivered, not so much.

Bungie cords are very handy aren't they? I also swear by the heavy duty ratchet tie down straps. Those things are amazing at securing a load. Mind you I once lost a load of timber off the back of the trailer. It was rather unfortunate because the timber was smooth finished kiln dried pine and the whole lot was very slippery. And on a dirt road, the timber fell off the back of the trailer. Fortunately the road was quiet, but I guy who knew me, flew past in his car and smiled and waved at me.

Got the replacement water pump in today and finished the job as the sun set. That is a relief.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Mr Poopy has a thick skin and is not easily offended! I try not to mention his long and noble lineage as he may get an over inflated ego, so you have been consistent with my policies in relation to Poopy-ness.

Oh yeah: Magical Christmas Unicorns. Best brew ever. Nuff said. ;-)!

Sorry to read about your feets. I am feeling sympathetic pain for your suffering. Yup, the yellow jackets enjoy nothing better than a hot and dry year. Their populations around here rise and fall with those conditions. Something around here seems to keep them more in check than in the more fashionable end of the mountain range where they can be a nuisance. Get well soon!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Hmm. Here, lane ways are alleys. In urban areas, used for deliveries and a place to put the garbage bins. In residential areas, access to a garage and ... garbage bins. :-). Come to think of it, on the east coast I've heard of them being used for other things ... if the area is old enough that their were substantial stables. Now converted to housing or shops. But I've never seen that on the west coast, even in the large cities.

There was a double tragedy in the laundry room, last night. The body count is up to four.

Back when I was drinking coffee, I always had a small back up perk pot that could be fired up on the stove. In case the drip machine broke down. It's in the small "auction or keep?" pile. I should probably keep it. Doesn't take up much space. In a pinch, it could be used over a camp fire.

I'd always thought the "give us our day" bit was more like, give us an opportunity to work for our bread. Either grubbing in the dirt or working for coin to purchase it. :-). That's probably an old echo of some Sunday school lesson, way back. Some people just need a temporary leg up, when they fall on hard times. For others, it becomes a way of life. There's been a bit of banging on in the media here that now that more people have had a taste of affordable health care, that the general feeling is that affordable health care is a "right."

Well, the last of the blueberries are on trays in the freezer. Looks like I'll have about 8 gallons. I'd feel better with 10. We'll see. I might get some more. Unpacked another clutch of boxes. I'll finish those up (the one's that have been moved) today. Lew