Monday, 7 August 2017

Big Farmer

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

Early last summer, Sir Scruffy, the scruffy terrier who has a most delightful personality, had an infected foot. Apparently, a very sharp grass seed had become lodged in his foot. A wound then formed on Sir Scruffy foot and he spent about the next week or so licking and opening the wound so that he could remove the grass seed.

If you have ever felt a grass seed, you’ll know that they have tiny barbs along the spines of the seeds which are a cunning adaption for the plant because the seeds become easily lodged in an animals fur. The animals then become the unwitting transport facility for the grass seed which can travel quite a distance from the parent plant.

I tend to allow the animals here enough time to sort out any health related problems themselves. After that period of time I may inflict upon them a visit to the local veterinarian. For simple matters such as a grass seed stuck in a dogs foot, I sort of figure that both the Sir Scruffy breed of terrier, and the grass plants, have been on the planet long enough that they know their own business well enough to remove the grass seed without me needing to intervene.

However, after a period of about a week or so, Sir Scruffy was still licking the open sore on his foot and so I decided that a visit to the veterinarian was possibly the next best option.

The veterinarian examined Sir Scruffy and explained that the dog possibly had a grass seed lodged in his foot. Then the veterinarian explained that surgery was the best option. Because I’m me and I'm not shy about such things, I asked the veterinarian for a quote for the surgery. The veterinarian went away and came back with a quote for $800 for this surgery. The veterinarian then went onto to explain that the surgery came with no guarantees and that on one notable occasion three separate surgeries (at $800 each) had to be undertaken to remove a grass seed from a particular dog. The veterinarian then went onto explain that it was very unlikely that Sir Scruffy would recover without the surgery. The editor and I asked the veterinarian for a few quiet minutes to discuss our options.

Now Sir Scruffy and I share a bond and we are able to communicate and so we had a brief conversation which went something like this:

Chris: Mate, this dude wants $800 to perform surgery on your foot. Now you’re an old dog and that invasive surgery with general anaesthetic is a real risk for you. 

Sir Scruffy: Sure, my foot hurts and I’m an old dog, but far out, I don’t want to die over a grass seed. You do realise there are still plenty more bones in the world yet to chew upon, don’t you?

Chris: I hear you bro and it would be an ignoble end to die over complications relating to surgery which is a possibility for an old dog like you.

Sir Scruffy: Yeah, not cool man. Have you asked the veterinarian dude whether there are any other cheaper and less invasive options?

Chris: I never would have thought about asking him about other cheaper and less invasive options. That’s why you are the smartest dog in the household.

Sir Scruffy: What can I say, I’m the dog!

Chris: You are the dog! I’ll ask the veterinarian.

When the veterinarian came back into the room, I asked them about other alternative cheaper and less invasive options than surgery on Sir Scruffy’s foot. Sure enough, the veterinarian suggested that a course of broad spectrum antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory would help the situation, but that it was very unlikely to correct the problem of the grass seed being lodged in Sir Scruffy’s foot. At that point, I suggested that we would go with that option and wait and see what happens.

Sir Scruffy was put on a course of antibiotics for two weeks and the open wound on his foot completely healed in that time and there is no sign of inflammation or internal swelling from a foreign body (i.e. the grass seed). This is Sir Scruffy today in the rainy orchard happily munching upon a choice bone (he looks like a wet sheep, does he not?):
Sir Scruffy in the rainy orchard today happily munching upon a choice bone
Years ago, I’d allowed Old Fluffy the very formidable Pomeranian and previous boss dog here to undergo surgery when she was about sixteen years of age. The surgery was optional for a health issue that was not bothering her, and Old Fluffy died within two months of that surgery. Old Fluffy never really fully recovered from that surgery and I felt that I had done her a disservice. And so I vowed not to repeat that mistake on an old dog.
Scritchy the boss dog and her side kick Toothy supervise the production of sake on the wood heater
Scritchy the fox terrier is the current boss dog and she is getting on in years too. Lewis, who is a regular commenter at the blog here suggested that she may benefit from a regular dose of something called baby aspirin (an excellent suggestion!). However, there is no such thing as baby aspirin as far as I am aware in Australia, instead we call such an medicine by the fancy name of “low dose aspirin”. I only discovered the different name for what is ostensibly the same product after mentioning to the chemist that I intended to use the medication on my old dog. To the pharmacists absolute credit, he didn’t flinch for even one single moment and simply pointed to the low dose aspirin and made no further comment on the subject.

For the past few weeks, I have been administering one third of a low dose aspirin to Scritchy, with the other two thirds going to the much larger Sir Scruffy. The yearly cost of this treatment for both dogs is about $10 for over 350 tablets. And I have been amazed at the difference in both of the older dogs as they are now much more limber than previously. I have never received that advice from a veterinarian and I’m not disputing their skills, which are considerable, but I do wonder at what point in time they collectively chose to put profits ahead of basic care?

Anyway, as I speak canine, I asked the other dogs for their opinions about the older and recently improved Scritchy boss dog:

Toothy: Scritchy is so much more fun. We run around and around all day long and she bites me. Fun!

Sir Scruffy: Scritchy is OK, I just wish she stopped taking my bones.

Poopy: Scritchy. She one mean kitty.

Before administering the regular low dose asprin, I was of the opinion that Scritchy had mellowed into a lovely older dog who just like to plop around the place, whilst occasionally exerting her authority, but no, Scritchy was just old and crunchy. Scritchy is now back and she means business!

Observant readers will note in the photo above that we have recently constructed two custom cut stainless steel cooling trays to sit on top of the wood heater. On those trays we are cooking all sorts of interesting food stuffs such as: Sake (rice wine); Yoghurt; and raising bread dough. There seems little in point not using the energy that you do have, and more importantly who doesn’t like homemade Sake?

Over the past four days a huge storm rolled up from the Southern Ocean and it has dumped huge quantities of rain. It has rained and then it has rained some more. The water tanks are holding as much water as they can hold.
Water pours into the house water tanks during this most recent storm
The swale below the tomato enclosure was full of water at various times over the past few days. That swale captures any overflow from the house water tanks, as well as capturing any water that collects in front of the house.
The swale below the tomato enclosure was full of water at various times over the past few days
I have been considering adding a bushfire sprinkler down the hill and not far at all from that swale in the above photo . The problem that I have had with that arrangement was that in the event of a bushfire, I would not want to venture that far away from the house, and so I have been wondering how to turn a bushfire sprinkler on or off again at that distant location. The answer was obvious in hindsight and today I added a ¾ inch valve that can turn off the water supply at that distant location. A valve is simply a fancy name for a tap that can switch water flow on or off again using a handle at the top of the valve.
A valve was installed so as to be able to turn water on and off again at a distant location down the hill in the event of a bushfire
I recently installed a few treated pine posts so as to be able to attach garden taps, bushfire sprinklers and hang 30m / 100ft garden hoses upon. In another example of product crapification, two of the hose hangars failed and bent under the weight of the garden hoses. I have used this brand before and have never had any problems with them. The photo speaks for itself though:
A garden hose hangar which was installed recently failed as the steel bent
So as not to waste the steel used in the manufacturing of this garden hose holder, I added a strong bracket underneath so as to support the weight of the hose upon the steel hangar. Problem fixed:
A strong steel bracket was placed underneath the garden hose hangar so as to support the weight of the garden hose
The wallabies have been up to their old tricks of destroying fruit trees and I spotted this classic example of wallaby vandalism on a young plum tree in the orchard:
A wallaby broke this large leading branch on a young plum tree
The deer who are very occasional visitors to the farm have also been up to fruit tree destroying tricks and I spotted some deer damage to this loquat tree:
Deer have stripped this loquat tree of much of its leaves
Both trees will probably be set back a year or two in their growth, but they should eventually recover. Before removing any steel cages which protect the many fruit trees here, I have to take a guess as to whether the fruit trees will survive the damage that the wallabies and deer may inflict upon them. Basically the fruit tree has to be pretty large before the steel cages can be removed.

This week, I removed several fruit trees from their cages and released them into the world! Be free.
A large apricot tree had its cage removed this week
A large European pear tree had its cage removed this week
In the photo above for the European pear tree, the wallabies should prune all of the lower growth which is most likely rootstock anyway, so not all of the wallabies actions are negative on the trees.

There is a mystery nectarine tree next to the chicken enclosure. The tree is a mystery because it never goes fully deciduous. A mystery!
This mystery nectarine tree never goes fully deciduous. You can even see new buds forming on the branches
The chickens have mostly ignored the stormy and rainy weather of the past few days. This is because they enjoy an all-weather run which is protected from the worst of the summer and winter weather.
The chickens enjoy an all-weather run which protects them from the worst of the summer and winter weather
At night the chickens are toasty warm and out of the wind in the hen house which is attached to that all-weather run.
The chickens sleep toasty warm in their hen house which is attached to the all-weather run
Spring is almost upon us and I see signs of it everywhere. The Manchurian Pear is just about to produce leaves:
The Manchurian Pear is just about to produce leaves
The second deciduous trees to produce leaves are the almonds and they are always the first to bloom in spring.
The second deciduous trees to produce leaves are the almonds
And I would like to finish the blog with some flower photos from about the farm:
The tree lucerne near the chook enclosure are producing even more flowers this week
Snow drops are the very first flowering bulbs
The alkanet plants are producing lots of flowers
This rosemary produced pink flowers rather than the usual blue flowers
The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 3’C (37’F). So far this year there has been 519.4mm (20.4 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 471.2mm (18.6 inches).

56 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh my goodness! Yes, scary is the word when it comes to pressure cookers. I'm not worthy... :-)!

I do the same trick with the acids and a hot water bath for canning (although we call it bottling - same, same, but different). Until the dodgy batch of passata earlier this year, nothing had ever gone wrong with preserving processes here. I was personally amazed at just how acidic that stuff needed to be, and we didn't get across that preserving line. A lesson learned.

Of course, thanks for the explanation about the bread in the gazpacho. Of course, the bread would not preserve well. A very tasty sounding dish by the way.

A 20 year old pear tree should produce quite well, until a late frost freezes off all of the blossoms. Yes, that is an unpleasant problem because the fruit tree happily grows well without producing any fruit that year. Apricots were not to be had for love or money last summer because of that same problem. You may be interested to know that I have observed that the continual frosts here during the winter have managed to kill some of the herbage in the orchard and this has had a positive impact on the fruit trees which are growing like crazy in response. The fruit trees are still deciduous but the sap is most certainly rising and the trees are growing rapidly. You can see the colour change in the bark.

Arnie clearly has every reason to be cagey doesn't he? Groundhog day was a fun movie, but there are considerable down sides to being stuck in a temporal anomaly. Nobody really wants that. I'd get bored for starters, and that would be the least of the problems. There are clearly downsides to hedonism as that film proved so well. I have always wondered though whether the hippies are winning? That question has troubled me for well over a decade.

Forgive my ignorance, but how do you know when the melons are just about ripe? I watch the millipedes to see what they're up to, but there must be a better way.

Please forgive Mr Toothy from his impolite act in the photo. He's very naughty that dachshund!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Cliff Mass is a top bloke. There, I've said it. You know, the five reasons he gave for the smoky/warm period in his most recent blog post are as applicable down here as up in your corner of the world. I do my absolute best to address those issues here on the farm and in the surrounding forest, but there are just two of us - and nobody else seems interested. It is a lot of work, which is why nobody is interested, basically because they are busy doing other things which they consider to be important. I worry for the wombats, wallabies and kangaroos as it is all very unnecessary. It is quite scary really and the consequences will be epic and inevitable, although it doesn't need to be that way.

After I hit publish on the blog, I headed outside into the dark night to distribute a huge load of coffee grounds in the orchard. I got my hands on the coffee grounds today and they'd built up quite the collection because of my recent flu. Hopefully, all being well, I'll grab some more over the next few days. I find it amazing that the soil life is consuming that stuff almost as quickly as I can apply it. And the fruit trees are growing very fast this year, which I also wonder whether the recent heavy frosts which killed some of the herbage in the orchard has also had an effect on. Not to get into too many technical details, but if plants die, then their root systems also die back and then those minerals in the root systems become available for the soil life to consume. Basically, the frosts have meant that the soil life has been in party central for a month or so and it really shows in the growth in the fruit trees - which are just taking advantage of the additional minerals. It is a complex process, but I never expected to see this surge in growth.

Ha! That film was at the cinemas a while back here. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it and it is impressive that there was something left to say about Mr Godzilla, oops sorry, I mean Mr Kong. I am curious as to how they took out King Kong in the end, because he is huge. Far out, I just checked out the trailer for Geostorm and it looks epic, shame about the lack of the manned space program. We couldn't do any better though. There is always this underlying story in things that somehow we can control events, but I don't know anything about that. I did enjoy the reference to: From the makers of Independence Day which was an epic extravaganza of complete and total destruction and thus very enjoyable. The film looks like it will be a lot of fun. Where is the rom-com though, that is what I want to know? :-)!

Oh yeah, my brain is full as. What can I say, sometimes bits ooze out. It is not nice for people around me! :-)! On a serious note, you can only do so much and as an individual you kind have to pick and choose what that will be. If I could get one idea across in the blog, that would be it. Of course, other people will dismiss me outright and that is how the world works. What can you do?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hey, I noticed that there has been an over supply of recycled items down here and the resulting impact is that we are poisoning our own nests. Let's see: Recycling companies stockpiling thousands of tonnes of glass as cheap imports leave market in crisis. I have known deep down for a long while that if we had to pay the full costs of our lifestyles, then few if anyone would make a profit. It is a complex situation.

That was hysterical! Awesome! It also goes to prove that as much as things change, they're still the same: Tom Lehrer: Be Prepared (concert live) (1960) . Almost 57 years ago too... Our vices have not changed in that time overly much.

To be honest, I was rather expecting some sort of horrid encounter with you and the evil step son and his cohorts. And I must add that I am rather impressed that you escaped that fate with your skin intact and your mind unfazed. The description of a trashed apartment in your new digs reminds me of the outcome from a rather frenetic frat party. I know nothing of frats, but I have been to some epic parties and it would have been nice if I could recall the details of those parties, but for some strange reason the memory is rather hazy. I always hope that my body did nothing unpleasant when it was on auto-pilot. Anyway, nobody seems to have been complaining and my friends were such that they would have revelled in such sordid disclosures. Anyway, such memory experiences are a good reason to moderate alcohol intake as there seemed little point in partying if you can't recall the details. I worked so hard back in those days that I was probably asleep by midnight anyway...

What is this spare time business? Hehe! Enjoy your spare time and know that I am happy for you to be in a nicer place with more reliable water.

Worms are mysterious beasties and as long as you feed them, they'll be fine. Fortunately, there is so much waste to go around in our society that the worms won't be starving any time soon.

Alas, snow is elsewhere this year. However, the cold snap over the past few days brought a huge dump of snow in the alpine regions far to the east of here (at higher elevation): Australian snowfields rejoice after 'Blizzard of Oz' turns slopes into winter wonderland. The photos are pretty cool!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

The Gatcombe Church is a beautiful building. I was wondering though whether the crenulations on the 15th century tower were for practical archery purposes or for aesthetic considerations? The stained glass windows are amazing: Medieval stained glass in the Gatcombe Church. To be honest I'm quite a fan of the works and doctrine of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Did you enjoy their work on display?

Dogs running off into the surrounding forest on an adventure are a real nuisance. Mr Poopy and Mr Toothy ordinarily dislike each others company, but if ever they are allowed to head off on an adventure then off they go without a care in the world. Incidentally, they never get that chance. The last time it happened, Mr Poopy arrived back looking as if he had had a grand old time of the day. Mr Toothy, on the other hand arrived home in the middle of the night, clearly shaken by his adventures. I suspect Mr Toothy was cornered by a wombat and was unable to flee.

So yeah, I can see that the Father dog well knew what he was up to, which is why he returned to your decking and there enjoyed a good sleep in the sunshine. I call that the calm before the storm! ;-)! I hope your son was not too angry with Father dog?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

The stained glass windows were terrific but it was the tower that I really loved, wonderful stone blocks. I don't know whether it was archery or aesthetics, perhaps both.

Son has never been able to discover where the heck the dog goes when he runs off. He would love to have a tracker on his collar. I am fascinated by the way in which the dog knows that he has done wrong. He walked home obediently behind my son who said 'I am not going to carry you'. Son did check at intervals to see if the dog was managing to keep up.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The first photo of Sir Scruffy immatating a wet sheep? There’s a chicken peering out of the run, in the background, looking for all the world like she’s thinking, “What’s he about, out there?” :-). Aspirin really is a miracle drug. It wasn’t a vet, it was an Old Dog Guy that told me about it.

Hose / Sprinkler / Valve Management 101. Coming soon to a college near you. Teach the class and pick up a few extra quid?

I talked to a young (from my point of view) couple the other day. I’m moving out of the boonies, and they’re moving into the boonies. We talked critter management. They’re not going to have chickens, so it was mostly garden protection kind of stuff. 8 foot deer fences, etc.

I love the chicken sculpture on your chicken run. It’s a hoot. Or, perhaps a cluck? :-). Must be a coffee grounds kind of a day. I picked up my first two gallon bucket of coffee grounds, yesterday. Will work them into the garden, today. I’ll be using a 5 gallon bucket, next time. So, when you released your fruit trees into the wild, were you bellowing “Born Free” at the top of your lungs? :-). Always a silly temptation in such circumstances. Might do the same when I release the worms.

Not to do spoilers on the Kong movie, there is a bit of a new slant. An ecological slant. Kong, as the apex predator keeps everything in balance. Independence Day was epic. There was a recent sequel. Interesting that I can remember the original, very clearly. The sequel, not so much.

Tom Leher WAS funny! The one that sticks in my mind is “Vatican Rag.” Not to be listened to by Catholics who take their religion seriously and see no humor, in it. Probably sticks in the mind as in tan early 70’s cabaret, I saw a fellow, crossed dressed as a nun, on roller skates, lip sinking the tune. Brought to a rousing finale while doing cart wheels. On roller skates. The crowd went wild :-).

Just out of curiosity (and, concern) I asked a friend what I was like when I was in an alcoholic black out. No change. Interesting.

I went to The Club, yesterday, had coffee and gassed with friends. Felt so odd not to have anything to do or anyplace to be. I also couldn’t remember when I could take a shower, two days in a row :-).

I am also quit fond of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. “Last of England” is one of my favorites. I have a couple of books about them (natch) and the BBC did a fiction miniseries about them, several years ago. It was quit good. Lew

Steve Carrow said...

Balancing ethics, emotions, and pragmatic finances is a task to be thought through carefully with both pets and livestock.

Cats are especially tricky because we find them to be very hard to discern whether they are hurting or not.

For livestock meant for food, I think one has to decide from the start how things will be, and just remember that as a nearby farmer said, we give them a food, shelter, protection, and then they have just one bad day...........

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yeah, the construction looks great in the images. Incidentally, I noticed a similarity with that tower in your neck of the woods to some of the very early Scottish churches down here. There is one that is on the outskirts of town nowadays - but way back in the day it would have been sheep paddocks. Scots Church Campbellfield 1842. The blue stone is a form of local granite.

I have no idea where the two little rascals here get too either. It is a real mystery and a collar mounted camera (or GPS tracker as you suggest) would certainly tell an interesting tale (tail! :-)!) wouldn't it?

They know when they're being naughty, they just like to push the boundaries from time to time. It is interesting isn't it? I sort of feel that many of the rules we place on the animals are very arbitrary from their perspective, but they accept that and incorporate them into their world view.

Your son was wise to check on the Father dog as they are known to dawdle and be easily distracted.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Nice one. The chickens know the dogs and the dogs know the chickens. I'm not really that good at chicken communication - basically because they have not many interesting things to communicate, but my gut feeling is that that bird was wondering if Sir Scruffy would be a tasty treat for the chickens. They're not very nice those chickens.

Passing information on is what we do as a species. Was the Old Dog Guy a bit of a character? I'm sensing a story there. And low dose aspirin really has made a huge difference to the two older dogs here. Winters can be hard on the older dogs for joint pain and inflammation. With the boss dog (two boss dogs back) who was known affectionately as "The Fat" we used to take her to the vet every month as she got older to get an injection of anti-inflammatory agent. They used to charge us about $50 per month for that, but the poor dog used to respond well to the injection at first and then slowly get worse over the month as the effects wore off. Plus they used to say that the injection increased her risk of developing any cancers present in her system. Sure enough, that is what happened after a year or so. The low dose aspirin would have made a huge difference to her life and stopped the cycle of the good and bad times (as the effects of the anti-inflammatory injection wore off).

It may get to that yet! ;-)! You know, I feel that time is running short and events are progressing (!) but I live in a world that seems oblivious to that, so I dunno. I can see that Mr Kunstler feels the same. Honestly, there are things about our financial system that make little to no sense to my brain. Are these animal spirits? Maybe? Your debt ceiling is looming large and I can’t believe for one second that it will not be lifted.

Oh incidentally, speaking of animal spirits. I almost crashed the car this morning on a trip into the big smoke. I must write about our car pooling efforts which ended up being a debacle. Honestly I prefer the trains, but we both travelled in today. Car crash – Seriously! There was a huge billboard across the freeway and lo and behold, there was a Gigantor sized Swedish Lapphund sitting on a couch. It was an advertisement for a furniture sales company. I still haven't recovered from the shock. And then I visited my favourite cafe and picked up a tasty coffee and muffin (and a huge supply of coffee grounds for the orchard) and no way, but a young lady was walking a Swedish Lapphund in the same street. If I was quicker thinking, I would have whipped out the camera and taken a photo of the lady and the dog (with her permission of course). Imagine the blog story: Poopy to the fore! It has a nice ring to it, don't you reckon? Maybe Mr Poopy is on the zeitgeist? I rather suspect a whole lot of that breed will be unceremoniously dumped in six months time at the lost dogs home once people get to experience the joy of his breeds unique and wilful personality! The editor says no more Pomeranian's, but what to do when the potential mother lode of dumped Pomeranian's hits the streets? It is a tough school! Hehe! I always wonder about the whole popular dog breed which are later dumped. French bulldogs were popular about a year or so ago. Weird looking dogs.

I wish the young couple the best - and they are always welcome to join in to the discussion. It is a big journey and like fruit trees, the sooner it is begun, the quicker it bears fruit. Mind you, people get scared when I use the word "decade". It is an awesome word for folks who may not have considered events further ahead than the next week.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Thank you, we love that chicken sculpture. I reckon we nailed that photo too. There is something about the colours and the light in that image which I can't put a finger on. The editor snapped that one. The ante has been upped!

Well done with the coffee grounds. It is good stuff and an excellent waste stream. I always have to remind myself that I'm importing minerals into the orchard from the soils of Indonesia and Africa - which is a really weird concept when you think about it. Like any organic material it will take a little while to break down into rich soil if you put it in in concentrated amounts. On the other hand, I haven't tried that to see what happens, and from all accounts your soil needs more organic matter. Are you finding worms in the plot when you dig in the coffee grounds? I reckon they'll enjoy coffee grounds given how quickly the stuff disappears in the orchard here. Something is eating it.

A nice touch introducing Kong as an apex predator to keep us lesser predators in check. Speaking of which I occasionally have dreams about Aliens of the Alien film franchise and have done so ever since I was dumped in the cinema as a small kid to watch that film - frightening stuff. Last night I had an alien nightmare. Dreams are a bit yin and yang and they're not all nice.

The original Independence day film was a hugely enjoyable romp - nothing at all scary or serious and the mother-ship arrived in a culture in decline which was notable.

Oh thanks. I'm going to check that out. Hard core Catholics can be quite tiresome and there have been some serious cultural issues raised about some sects of theirs in the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse. For some reason they seemed to be named more than other groups (who were also not displayed in a favourable light).

Good to hear. I once drank heavily with my housemates and went to bed forgetting to set the alarm. I woke up at midday and then had to go into work. Fortunately because I was working in two different locations at the time nobody noticed that I was missing as people thought I was elsewhere - which I was, just not where they thought I was. Anyway, a few of those crazy episodes and I decided that I did not mix well with alcohol and from then on I modified my intake. Little real harm done which is nice.

Your new water situation is an excellent outcome. I'm really happy for you that you moved.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood “Last of England" is good isn't it? They captured a sense of realism mixed with whimsy and fantasy which I quite like. Some of the faces are full of complex emotions.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

That is an excellent way to describe the predicament. The skinny guy wearing the hoodie and holding the sharp looking scythe comes for all of us in the end.

There is always middle ground on these matters and the veterinarians are very good at heaping on the guilt as it is good for their business. I don't tend to force the dogs to live past their comfort points and that is a different point for every one of them.

Your nearby farmer is a smart dude and that is a great way to put it.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I also liked the chicken sculpture.

Son was actually checking to make sure that the dog wasn't too injured to keep up.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I only got to meet the Old Dog Guy, once. I was taking care of my friends place when they were running back and forth from Idaho and he stopped by once, to pick something up. He did say that as time went on, they would be less effective. But it’s given Beau 5 good extra years. I’ve noticed he’s been faultering, a bit, of late.

James Kunstler has been predicting the imminent collapse of everything for quit awhile. The Boy Who Cried Wolf, comes to mind. But on the other hand, a clock tells the right time, twice a day. :-). And today is like yesterday ... until it isn’t. Used to be, US budgets were pounded out and good for a few years. Now it’s a months, cycle. Used as a political bargaining chip. Kunstler often refers to all the nonsense in Washington as Kabuki theatre. That’s apt, I think. I read a couple of chapters out of “Al Franken: Giant of the Senate”, last night. He was a writer and comedian on Saturday Night Live and is now a Senator from Minnesota. How’s that for a change of occupations?

Maybe Mr. Poppy has a secret life? Or lives? :-). What he does in his spare time, when you’re not around. Probably piling up a sizable retirement account. Yeah, the whole “dog du jour” thing is crazy and often, very sad. Here, we seem to have crazes for this or that exotic pet. Which often become invasive species.

That’s a stunning concept about the coffee grounds and minerals from Africa. I’d never thought of it that way. So the banana peels I feed my worms are bio mass from Central or South America. I’m gob smacked. The problem with the coffee is the filters. They generally break down, in time. But I need to figure out how to work them into smaller pieces. I haven’t seen any worms around, but am going to check some of the areas where I previously “seeded” them, today. See how they’re doing.

I saw the article about the young man in Australia who ended up with bloody feet, due to an attack of flesh eating sea fleas. More lethal fauna from Australia. :-). Of course, in parts of the US, there’s bacteria in the water that gets in your ears and eats your brain. Maybe I’ll stay inside, today :-). I watched “Before the Flood”, a couple of nights ago. Global warming, and all that. They had an interesting statistic. In 30 years, 50% of the coral has died. As far as the sea fleas go, maybe the ocean is just striking back?

Quit by accident (really!) I watched a Rom-Com, last night. “This Beautiful Fantastic.” 2016. Brit film. About a young lady with Obsession Compulsive Disorder and a horror of the outside and nature (too disorganized) who is threatened with eviction unless she gets her garden into shape. The cranky old guy, next door, happens to be a horticulturalist.

Well, I’d better get to it. Pick some more blueberries and hit the garden. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I am glad that you and Sir Scruffy (Hi, Sir Scruffy!) are able to be so frank with each other. It sure does make life easier. And cheaper. Sir S. looks like a sheep dog. Could he be? Don't the dogs love your new heater! Hi, Toothy! Hi, Scritchy!

The steel cooling trays are wonderful. I wonder how I might come up with something like that? Does Fernglade Farm hold the patent on it?. Your swales appear to be working nicely. What do you do about water running down your driveway? We have a problem with that. Our is gravel. I think your is, too?

What sort of pipe/hose goes to the bushfire sprinkler down the hill? Is it something that won't melt? I am admiring your hose hangers again.

So nice to see the chook palace again.

I am sorry that you are having more deer trouble - as if kangaroos and wallabies weren't enough. Is it the wallabies or the wombats that pull down your fruit trees and ravage them? Because I think our groundhog may be related as he has climbed onto the pots with the baby mulberry trees (though some are 5 feet (1.5m) tall and hangs on them until either the trees break or the pots fall over, and then he eats all the leaves. He has done this to 7 trees and he is just a wee thing yet. And I was watching a squirrel frisking around the other day (aren't they cute . . .) and he ran up the 30 ft (9m)pear tree and came down with a pear. I thought it had no fruit. Silly me - I should have gotten the binoculars out.

Thanks for the flowers, especially the snowdrops.

Oh - and where is Poopy? Hi, Poopy!

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks. Mostly function triumphs over form here, but there are little touches of form all over the place. I'm quite a fan of metal work as art, but alas, my free time is limited at the moment...

Oh, well that makes sense. Yes, dogs can get injured when they head off into the wilds on an adventure. They take on board a considerable risk down here in doing that too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Cool. It is funny how your life can intersect with others in random moments and you never know how those moments will turn out. How are your friends in Idaho going? I hope the summer there is not too extreme. And I do recall you saying something or other about a divorce in the pipeline. A messy time if that is the case.

Oh yeah, everything is subject to diminishing returns and eventually that bony bloke with the dark going out hoodie holding the very sharp scythe comes for all of us. We can but delay entropy for a while. It is quite uncanny considering that some of the things I've done here will be gone in time. I wonder what will replace them?

Dare I say it? It's alarming? ;-)! No!!! I enjoy Mr Kunstler's blog and logic, but the comments are hard for me to read. I hadn't heard of that saying about: "Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day". A frightening observation, and so true. I tend to feel that we will face sudden economic problems one at a time and things and people will get shaken loose. The problem is that I lived through the awfulness of my life falling out from underneath me without any wrong doings during the recession in the early 90's. I can't shake the hard lessons learned during that time and I'm not sure I'd want to slide into obliviousness again. It is a nice place to be, until it isn't nice to be there.

You know comedians are quick witted wordsmiths and have probably suffered enough heckling in their lives that they would probably make quite good politicians. The problem as I see it with our politicians down here is that they have descended into the realms of argument and have lost themselves there. Plus the donation structure encourages corruption even if that is only a perceived corruption. They forget that we employ them to make the hard decisions and we most certainly don't employ them to argue endlessly. It may be entertaining for them, but the tone of the public down here seems to be losing patience with them. We go through a lot of political leaders down here. Compulsory and preferential voting has that interesting side effect.

Mr Poopy clearly has some explaining to do. I hope he doesn't get taxed! :-)! It is probably some cheap imitator who is getting all of the cash... Really, people dump exotic animals? Not good.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Thanks. Imported food literally is minerals from another country. It is a bit of a shame we have a tendency to wash those minerals out to sea. A bit of a wasted opportunity that. I get everything I can into the soil here - very little organic matter leaves the property. I get a bit of wasted food papers with the coffee grounds and I just burn them off. If I leave them around it may attract the rats and there seems little point feeding that lot. If you work out that problem give me a yell!

Oh yeah, that kid got messed up didn't he. I'll bet people think twice before going into that beach in Melbourne's south east at that location. I believe they have a polar bear club that go swimming every day of the year down that way regardless of the weather. I once swam through a jelly fish swarm in the bay and I ended up with rashes. The sea lice were probably hungry, just like the sharks are and I doubt very much whether sea life makes the fine distinction between humans and other animals when it comes to sources of food. Coral bleaching is not good down here, but coral has been around for a very long time on the planet and it may shift south? Dunno. The chugger (charity - mugger) was hassling me about coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Incidentally, I was accosted by one of them recently and I looked at them and pointed and said: "You're a chugger!" and that was that, because they had no reply to such a statement of fact. It was kind of fun. :-)!

Sure, that's what they all say!!! Haha!!! Too funny... There is a romantic soul in you way way deep down! Thanks for the tip too, I'll check that film out. :-)! Did you enjoy it?

I'm totally jealous of your blueberries. Yum! I'll bet the warm summer is giving the berries a bit of extra tasty zing this year. Tales of woe from the recent heavy frosts are starting to surface: Frosts wipe out 80 per cent of Victorian grower's wildflower crop. A lot of the plants are showing frost damage here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Sir Scruffy says hi to you too! Sir Scruffy is a delightful and most pragmatic canine who enjoys his bones, chasing wallabies, and creature comforts. He could be a medium sized sheep dog, he certainly likes herding the wildlife (if he gets the opportunity). His coat is like a magnetic collector of random chunks of organic matter! :-)!

The dogs enjoy the new heater, but they miss the old heater. There is a good reason for that because the new heater has a huge wet back inside the combustion chamber. That wet back heats up water which is used for hot water and the other radiators elsewhere in the house. The house is toasty warm, but less energy gets radiated directly into the room from the wood heater itself. Previously Scritchy and Toothy used to cook their heads in front of the old wood heater. Sometimes Scritchy would be gasping from the heat and her tongue was hanging out of her head and resting on the tiled hearth. It was dirty, so I'm sort of glad that those two can no longer cook their heads - it can't have been good for their brain health.

No please go free with the idea. Bread rises super fast on those cooling trays too. And the production of sake is not something that we would have considered as a winter activity. Yoghurt cooks well on those trays too.

Water running down the driveway gets channelled into the swale. The thing is I have to widen the drainage channel because if it gets blocked up, then it can fail and then water goes anywhere and everywhere. It usually takes a massive storm to do that, but we get massive storms... The drainage channel is lined with rocks on both sides with a clay base. The clay gets eroded over time. A big downpour would wash away gravel from my experience of using that. A neighbour lines their drainage channel with medium sized rocks with higher edges in a clearly defined channel and that works the best of all.

No it will melt if the water stops flowing in it. It is 3/4 inch black and green stripe rural line. If the water flows in it, then the heat energy is carried away by the water and the plastic pipes don't melt. The valve is a measure to address the problem if that pipe does melt - which is a possibility. The hose hangars are good - as long as they don't buckle.

The chickens are very pleased with their new (two years) digs!

The wallabies are the worst of the lot as they break branches rather than just stripping the leaves. They're just doing their job of keeping the forest open - although they don't seem to enjoy eucalyptus leaves... Exactly, like the groundhog they break the branches to get at the leaves. It is disheartening for me when they refuse to then consume the leaves. I leave the branches there for them as a reminder of what the tree tastes like. Squirrels are very much like our possums and yes, they know your business better than you do! ;-)! Fortunately the possums are nervous here due to the owls, who know the possums business pretty well.

Cheers

Chris

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris,

I have now twice lost my comment! Just know that I have tried! Let me paraphrase?

Vets have offered us the 'gold card treatment', open heart surgery for our very old mum of BeeGee. When we said no because we were truly shocked the vet then said it was a painful operation. I'm glad Sir Scruffy has recovered well.

I wasn't aware about the Green Wizards discussion of co-housing. It's interesting to see further current analysis. I find it an interesting proposition and the research I carried out was about social co-housing for people with disabilities and the socially disadvantaged. I also saw a communal block of flats that worked for a period of time when I was quite a bit younger and that's always in the back of my mind..

We've had some rain at last, our tanks are topped up, the ground moist enough to dig.

Warm Regards, Helen

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - My friends in Idaho are doing fine. Except it’s hotter there, and smokier. Yes, there daughter is wending her way toward divorce. So far, everything is pretty amicable. She’s coming home for a bit of an extended working stay, and will be camping out at her folks.

LOL. I mentioned to a couple of people how blown away I was by the concept of minerals (and bio mass) coming from distant climes. No one seems near as impressed by the concept as I am :-(. Let’s get a little excitement going, people! :-). Maybe our resident garden goddess? Grump, grump, grump. No sense of wonder, anymore.

Spent quit a bit of time working on my garden plot, yesterday. With the move, I hadn’t been “riding heard” on it, other than a good water,, every day. I pruned the pumpkin. Can you prune a pumpkin? Haven’t a clue. “Give it a try and see if it works.” I got out the whip and chair and thrashed the cucumber (or, whatever it is) back into it’s cage. The basil produces waves of aroma when I brush up against it. I checked out the areas where I had added worms, two or three weeks ago, and there are happy little worms in the area. The coffee filters will eventually break down. Just takes awhile. Added more worms, kitchen scraps and coffee grounds to some other areas.

I’m looking into mason bees, for next year. There are a couple of mason bee homes around the gardens. More can’t hurt. But when I think of it, something pollinated all those blueberries. They are smaller than the one’s I got from the veg store. But tasty. Sprayed? Don’t know.

We have a vet that works the counter at The Club, once a week. I had a chat with her, yesterday, about aspirin and dogs. I wanted to make sure there where no unexpected side effects. As with some humans. She’s never heard of any kind of allergic reaction. Long term use (which is a relative term, and varies from dog to dog) may cause liver problems. But usually, as it is older dogs that start taking aspirin, something else does them in, not the aspirin. But one should watch for bloated tummy, jaundice and vomiting. it falls in the realm of “rare and possible side effects.” She’s never seen a case. But, I just wanted to give you a heads up. Beau took aspirin for four years, and never had a problem.

Well, my truck finally gets fixed, today. Right next door to The Club, so I can have my usual gas and cuppa with my buddy Scott, while it’s being fixed. So, I’d bette hop. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Your description of the drainage channel for your driveway sounds like just what we need. Thanks! Thanks, also, for the info on the pipes.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Have been asking my son to prune his pumpkins; he ignores me. The wretched things are triffids and have even gone over the top of my fruit cage. It has to be admitted that he has 5 giant pumpkins maturing. I shall be curious to know what pruning does.

There were more than 5 but sheer weight caused them to break off.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Watch out for blogger as it gets hungry sometimes and occasionally my comments are eaten too. I usually copy and paste a comment to Word before clicking on the "Publish Your Comment" button.

Sir Scruffy is doing fine and I get the guilt trips laid on me too at the vet. The problem as I see it is that what is technically possible may not be a desirable outcome and as pet stewards it is our role to choose an appropriate path through that maze. The vet added once that he had a dog that was 20 years old as if to highlight a contrast in the care regime at Fernglade Farm. It was an uncomfortable discussion.

No worries, it was a good talk, but the lack of affordable land of any size in Melbourne caused the group to not build anything. They had some interesting designs. Overall co-housing seems like a good idea.

Good news with the rain up in your part of the country. And topped up water tanks is as good as money in the bank! Did you see that SE Queensland is up for a winter heatwave? 30'C at this time of year. It is reasonably pleasant down here and the ground seems to be quite damp which is what I'd expect for this time of year. I'm planning on digging tomorrow and I spent today getting the area ready for that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I'm glad that the situation is amicable for your friends daughter in Idaho. Weddings, divorces and funerals can evoke some strange reactions in people. Wow, it looks pretty feral for fires in the north of Idaho. Yes, they most would certainly be smoked out. I hadn't realised the extent of the fires until looking at a map of the fires in your part of the world. We haven't had much in the way of media coverage - which is unusual. I wonder whether the lack of coverage has to do with the warm and dry winter down here (it has been warm here, but not appreciably dry – yet). There is meant to be a winter heatwave in South East Queensland over the next week and they're predicting a nasty fire season up in that part of the country for grasslands. I have no idea what this summer holds in store for me down here.

I’m enjoying Fire Monks now that the author has stopped waxing lyrical about how great everyone is. The characters in the story have had to face the difficult decision as to whether to stay and defend or leave and I have rather enjoyed sitting in on their debates. Such is life down here. Interestingly the authorities in your part of the world were critical of the leave early or stay and defend policy in place down here. Evacuations are not mandatory here in this state and you can’t be forced out. However, if you leave, you won’t be allowed back anytime soon until they’ve cleared the area and checked for bodies.

Today I worked a huge day getting ready for a day of excavation tomorrow on the tomato enclosure. A lot of plants in the area had to be pruned back hard as I'm intending to place the soil from the excavation in a nearby garden bed. I just can’t move the excavated soil too far. This was the first day of serious work since the flu and I feel exhausted tonight. Really wiped out. Fortunately I scoffed down five Anzac biscuits. I was going to dig tomorrow so I hope I'm good for that? Dunno.

It is a fascinating insight into global agriculture isn’t it? Nobody notices. You know we really are wasting a huge opportunity to get all that organic matter back into the soil - our systems just aren't set up for that. On the other hand, I have a sneaking suspicion that the oceans don't really need all that organic matter as it will seriously upset the balance in that ecosystem. Just for your interest, I twigged onto that reality when I read an historical account from a surveyor who mentioned that the soils down here held at that time something around 22% organic matter - which is unheard of these days. A lot of that organic matter was historically converted into wool and meat and was shipped back to the UK. Nowadays I understand that 1% organic matter in a soil is a real achievement. If I had lots of money with nothing to do with it, I'd send samples of soil from here off for testing. It would be interesting. Oh well.

Plants look after themselves if the soil is well fed, so a bit of water every day usually does the trick. I haven't tried to prune a pumpkin, but you'd reckon the remaining vine would be fine - and any remaining pumpkins would get a good boost to their growth. Most commercial orchards thin their trees so that the trees produce larger fruit. I get the birds to do that job for me, although sometimes they take more than their fair share. Yes, the mystery cucurbit can be, well, a real mystery! You may end up with a million dollar cucumber? You never know. The whip and chair could be quite handy to ensure the stingers from those triffids don't come into contact with your skin. That would be an unpleasant experience. I can’t remember whether the stingers from the triffids killed the prey or simply knocked them out long enough to eat? Basil! Yum! The leaves from that plant makes a superb pesto - at this time of year I chuck mustards into the pesto mix instead. It is still very good.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Finding worms in your garden plot is an exciting development - especially given how there were none there only a few weeks ago. That is an excellent sign for improving soil health. ;-)! Happy life, happy soil, happy worms!

Wow, native bees. Cool. Hey, did you know that you have a native blueberry bee in your corner of the planet?: Osmia ribifloris.

The native bees seem to be much harder workers than the European bees as they are in the garden on windy and cooler days than their European compatriots will tolerate. Of course the European bees store more honey which means they can stay inside and not venture out on windy and cooler days. I may not have mentioned it, but I committed to purchase another hive of bees yesterday which I should be able to pick up later in the year. Talk about bee-flation, a new colony will set me back $250. I treat the bees very gently. If I was smarter and had more time I'd get known at the local council as someone who would be happy to pick up swarms. Would you believe people call up to the local council to complain about swarms? There are more flowers here all of the time. Mind you, I had to hack back a lot of feral growth today as one garden bed had gotten entirely out of hand. It was total plant mayhem. A kangaroo apple (which is of the nightshade family) had gotten so large that you could cut floorboards out of the plant, and I'd never knew they could grow so large and take over an entire garden bed. I discovered a few olives and a bay tree growing in the shade of that plant. Who would have thought they were there. Those olive trees and bay tree need hardening off so it is good to note that frost appears to be a very remote risk over the next week or so.

Thanks for asking about the aspirin and canine combination. I originally tested higher dose aspirin cut into smaller sizes and then fed those to the dogs to see what would happen. They were too acidic for the dogs and they vomited them up. Thus I went searching further afield for low dose aspirin. I really appreciate the suggestion. I reckon it may be life that does them in (and us all) eventually! ;-)!

How did the repairs on the truck go? I hope it looks as good as new? Or at least passable in the right light (i.e. nighttime!). I ordered a plastic stapler to repair the damaged plastic on the car here about a week ago so the moons are in alignment and it must be vehicle repair time. ;-)!

I saw the film: The Big Sick. It was a very sweet and enjoyable film. The basic premise is Boy meets Girl. Boy loses Girl. Girl gets very ill and ends up in an induced coma. Boy meets Girls parents whilst Girl is in induced coma, and they don’t initially get along. Boy wins over Girls parents. Girl recovers from induced coma and rejects Boy. Boy wins Girl over – eventually. It is based on a true story and Boy is a stand up comic whilst Girl is a psycho therapist. I recommend it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

It is a pleasure to share knowledge! Hey, all being well, I'm hoping to correct part of the drainage channel down to the swale tomorrow as part of a larger excavation job for the tomato enclosure expansion project. I'll try and include some photos for next weeks blog.

I'll share a little secret with you about rocks too: Rocks used in drainage channels are best if they are either large or have a square edges. ;-)! Some of the rocks here are rounded and they tend to roll if water propels them downhill. The square edged rocks tend to stay where they are put and water flows over and around them. And larger rocks are just large, so the water doesn't stand a chance of moving them.

It surprised me about the plastic pipes too, but if the water flows through them, it really does transfer the heat from a potential fire along the length of the pipe. Water must be a good conductor of heat? Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

My mates who live in the very impressive shed once had pumpkins growing up a wall on welded steel mesh. The vines produced a huge quantity of pumpkins, and the vines just climbed and climbed like you wouldn't believe. Then when the vines died back, my mates had to remove the dead vines and clean the surrounding area with a high pressure hose to clear away the sooty mildew which spread outwards from the pumpkin vines. I must ask them whether they grow pumpkins inside or outside nowadays. Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

I thought you may enjoy this little glimpse of snowfall in the otherwise quite hot and dry state of Western Australia. There is a mountain range in the south of that state called the Stirling Ranges and the highest point is 1,099m above sea level - that state is quite flat and some of the rocks are the oldest you'll find on the planet (3 billion years I believe). Anyway in that mountain range there is a spot called Bluff Knoll, and the today snow fell there and the Quokkas (which look to me like slightly smaller and chunkier wallabies) were frolicking in the rare snow fall: Quokkas frolic in snow on Bluff Knoll as cold front blasts southern WA.

One of the photos on that link shows the view from the peak which is pretty awesome.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I also still find it hard to get my head around Chris' thought that all these things we compost are actually minerals from foreign lands. It makes me want to go out and buy an exotic fruit from REALLY far away just so I can say: "Oh yes, my garden has the essence of Kyrgyzstan in it." And when I think of all the banana peels that have gone into it, I feel absolutely tropical.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I enjoyed the quokka. Sooty mildew:- what do you know about it? I had it on my runner beans this year. It didn't really matter as I had already frozen all that I had room for. Interestingly it didn't touch the French beans which I grow with the runners.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

That funny quokka, he does seem to be hopping, not walking. And shall we assume that is a snow quokka, with the carrot?

Thanks for the drainage rocks secret.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - There hasn’t been much in the news, about fires, come to think of it. But then, not having regular cable, my news exposure is pretty spotty. I did see an article about weather in Arizona. As predicted (as to climate change) they’ve actually had less rain fall this year, than average, but more intense downpours. With massive dust storms, in between.

Go or stay. Poop or go blind :-). I think something like 20% (at least here) of people don’t want to evacuate in any given disaster. Hurricanes ... whatever. One of the usual reasons given is that someone might steal their stuff.

I did see an article that this year’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest, recorded. There was record nutrient run off from the Mississippi watershed.

The truck repair went well, I think. Frank, the mechanic, was concerned about the flaws in the used hood. I told him they didn’t bother me. It matches the rest of the truck :-). The odd ding or scratch. Big deal. But then I’m not a vehicle kind of a guy. Didn’t get the gene :-). I do find I’m pretty high strung when I drive. Hang over from hitting the deer, I guess. I keep expecting something to come out from nowhere and get hit again. All the more reason to dump the thing.

Well, you’ve been pretty sick. You know the drill. Hydrate, carb up and take frequent breaks. Slowly build up your stamina again. And if you can’t bring yourself to take an actual break (Chris), do something a bit more stress, for awhile. Rotate high impact and low impact tasks. You know all this. I’m just nagging a bit to remind you.

I used the laundry facilities, here at the home, for the first time. Early evening. No one about. Just read while the wash and dry was a goin’. It’s $1.50 for a wash and $1 for a dry. Pretty good sized machines.

Well, I guess I’d better do another round of blueberries and check out the garden plot. Those pumpkin vines I pruned out should be wilted enough to work into the soil. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Seems like the large pumpkins are not really as tasty as the smaller ones. The big boys are grown for competition, or used for "Halloween" pumpkins.

I'm growing a smallish New England sugar pumpkin. I'm pruning them back as my space is limited. And, I got off to a bit of a late start and want to make sure they mature, before the first frost. Also, hacking back some of the leaves ... well, the blossoms are more apparent to the pollinators ... I hope :-). I just want 4 or 5. Once that many pumpkins are "set", I'll call it good and continue pruning. I've noticed a couple little green balls, but if they're not fertile, they'll fall off.

I read a book about pumpkins, a couple of years ago. The whole history and current industry. I was surprised that the variety they grow for pumpkin pie, don't look much like "Halloween" pumpkins. Not orange ... a kind of beige color. As far as history goes, back in colonial times, pumpkins (and corn) were used mainly as animal feed. Only poor people ate it as a food staple. But then someone invented pumpkin custards, pies and puddings :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Seeing the Quokka's frolicking in the snow in the usually hot and dry state of Western Australia was pretty cool wasn't it! :-)! They remind me of slightly smaller wallabies. I went for a walk around the orchard tonight and startled a wallaby and it casually bounced off into the forest. I reckon they know I mean them no harm. The little kangaroo which lives here seems to have been separated from its mum, so I don't know what that means. Life can be hard for the animals down here in the forest.

Sooty mildew is the natural end point for cucurbits and is a good reason not to grow them in a greenhouse as the sooty mildew will spread from one end of the greenhouse to the other as my mates found out the hard way. They grew a huge number of pumpkins though. It doesn't seem to affect the plants so it most likely is the natural end point for those plants. It will spread to other plants, although I have not noticed that here as all of my plants are outside in the sun, rain and wind. All of my mates animal manures really makes a massive difference to their vegetable beds, plus they get more sun in their location than we do here. The morning sun has to rise above the ridge behind the house so there is not much early morning sun (although that suits my personality!)

The wind has picked up and it looks like it will rain tonight and tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That hopping is such a clever adaption for a lot of the marsupials. They really do bounce around the place - literally. The interesting thing about them is that they all have soft foot pads and so even though they bounce, they do not compact the soil at all in the same way that hard hoofed animals do. The wallabies are like that Quokka, just bigger. And the kangaroos are bigger again. Some kangaroos are huge and those are the red ones which you see in the drier forests to the west of here. The kangaroos here are grey because they're forest kangaroos.

Love the joke about the carrot! Nice one! :-)!

Thanks. We dug all day long today and widened the drainage channel considerably, so hopefully the before and after photos show that? Maybe. Sometimes the light can be tricky for photography.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Thanks for mentioning beige pumpkins; Son has been wondering why his pumpkins aren't turning orange. Drat and drat again, he had only just left me when I read your comment. Next year he is going to grow butternut squash which are his favourite.

I like roast pumpkin.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris again

The runner beans with sooty mildew are growing outside and have had a fair bit of sun. It is the first time that this has happened and Son's runner beans have not been affected.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, given the sheer number of fires I would have expected some media discussion. We tend to know a lot about your President due to the sheer volume of news articles on him - some of which are not very nice or respectful of the office - for some strange reason. Was your cable for internet or television? Just out of curiosity, how is the internet going at the new digs? I hope it is all working nicely. The problems here disappeared after two phone calls, but I have noticed that the service has been slowed marginally. I may have to do something about that and correct the antenna and leads. I suspect that the telco which is Australia's biggest was under some sort of attack that day? Dunno though.

We dug all day long today. Thank you very much for the concern and I paced myself and kept up the fluids and consumed numerous Anzac biscuits. Plus I have to confess to downing a few dog biscuits too. A week or so ago I picked up a huge box of seconds pears. They're brown pears (buerre bosc although I probably spelt that incorrectly), so I've been chucking pears into all sorts of things. And the dog biscuits had so many pears in them that they were too good for the likes of those canines and I scoffed a few of them down - just to keep me going today! I usually put apples into the dog biscuits, but the pears are really good. I really like how seconds pears and apples are available cheaply almost direct from the orchards around this part of the world (if you know where to look).

I'm not sure it is a good time to consider a move to Arizona as things may get ugly there in the future in a warmer and drier climate. I saw something in the news the other day about the Anazi Indians who's climate induced migrations were traced using turkey DNA. Interesting stuff.

Oh that is not good about the Gulf. A little bit of NPK is a good thing, but it becomes a crutch eventually and the soils get played out of other minor minerals that nobody really thinks too much about.

Yeah, I no longer care about cars either. Someone I know well who is a lovely person purchased a new car and then said to me don't you feel like buying a new car? Not really. Did you know that there are serious advantages to being happy with an older and slightly soiled older vehicle. True. Good to hear that the repairs went well. Who cares about a few scratch and dents. In the greater scheme of things it matters not.

Thanks very much for your concern and I followed your advice to the letter and whilst I'm quite tired, I still have enough energy to go the pub and get a pint and a meal! The digging went really well too and the area opened up in many unexpected ways. We were discussing how to go about laying out the various types of plants inside the enclosure. I may try a block of corn again inside that larger enclosure. Wallabies see corn like a giant sugary grass lolly and they are unrelenting in their consumption. It is feral! Some battles you can't win and that is one of them.

Your laundry set up sounds pretty good and shared facilities means that someone else has the responsibility of maintaining the machines. Nice one and the costs sound reasonable. We have laundromats down here which are shops that have washing machines and large tumble driers. They always get a good work out those shops. Our washing machine looks like it may be packing it in. I've never owned a drier, but have used them from time to time at a laundromat. Basically heat energy here from the wood heater is more or less available for free so I chuck the clothes on washing horses in front of the wood heater for them to dry off. Of course, they disappear when visitors turn up. Decorum must be maintained my good Sir! :-)!

I'm totally jealous of your blueberries! Yum! Enjoy your harvest!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

I am glad to hear your puppy dog is responding well to the aspirin. A similar story happened to us a few years back with one of our Siamese cats (sadly no longer with us). There was a distinct increase in personality after a single course of antibiotics. We got the two cats when they were 7 years old and just assumed that was how he was, but turns out he was just not feeling well I guess! Lived for another 7 years before we made the difficult choice to put him down after all sorts of talk of dodgy surgery options.

Unemployment is treating me well! I helped a friend build a custom steel shed last week. I think we must have cut and drilled at least 40 large steel brackets, all from 6mm steel so it was a bit of work! Interesting stuff even if it was just a basic steel frame. Confidence is greatly increased for building my own structures in future, it isn't really that hard (although it is hard work!).

This week, Mrs Damo and I are back in the Clarence Valley house-sitting for my grandparents while they do the cliche 'boomer' cruise down the Rhine in Germany. Hey, who am I to judge it would probably be pretty fun :-) Applied for a few jobs in Christchurch, NZ last night; looking for that goldilocks trifecta of interesting - money - lifestyle. Lets see what I can rustle up :p

Bird watching continues apace, visited some forest near my home town with Mrs Damo -
Dorrigo National Park. Sub-tropical rainforest with around 2000mm of rain a year, nearly walked on 3 different birds along the first 100m of trail. I splurged and got a long lens and SLR camera (2nd hand from ebay) to help ID our finds. Do you know most birds look the same when you try and remember them a few hours later! Might put a few pics up later.

There is some sort of winter heatwave today and this weekend, I nearly went for a surf but didn't want to intrude my embarrassing skills upon the small break that already had a few locals on it. Maybe tomorrow, water is a toasty 18 degrees.

Cheers,
Damo

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - It hit 90F, yesterday. We’re under a air quality health advisory. But, the smoke is supposed to blow away, today. And, we’re probably going to get a bit of rain, Saturday night into Sunday! Another blood red, apocalyptic / end-of-the-world (is that redundant?) sunset last night.

I was fussing over my garden spot, yesterday, and noticed a honey bee headed into a pumpkin blossom! Looked like a plane, landing on an aircraft carrier. And, on another blossom, hundreds of really tiny ants streaming in and out in an orderly fashion. I wonder if they just harvest the sugars or if they do a bit of pollinating?

I think people who move to Arizona and southern Florida and invest are a bit deluded. At some tipping point, population will begin to move out and property values collapse. And I don’t think it’s so far in the future.

“Don’t you feel like buying a new car.” Sounds like someone’s fishing for validation.

Interesting. I’ve put two old clothes drying horses in my for auction storage.

From our “I-Really-Am-A-Horrible-Human-Being”, department. I was quietly reading and minding my own business in the laundry room the other night, when a woman buzzed in. I think she’s a quasi-employee. Maybe gets a bit of a break on her rent due to a few duties. Neurotically checking the door and window locks in the evening. That sort of thing. Our conversation went something like this ...

“I’m Carol. You’r the fellow from 311. My camera was broken, but now it’s fixed. We need your picture for the tenant board, next to the elevator.”

“I don’t let my picture be taken. It would compromise my witness protection program. (a beat ... timing is everything. A straight face also helps.). “It costs the taxpayers lots of money if I have to be moved, again.”

“But your name is on the tenant list, next to the intercom.”

“That’s not my real name.” At that point, she backed off, muttering something about pictures being necessary if the emergency people show up and talking to the Warden, about it. If it comes up again, I’m saving a line for that bit of nonsense. “If there’s a body on the floor of 311, it’s probably me.” Can’t use all the amo, at once. :-). Lew

PS. Wi-fi here is good. Pretty good speeds. I don't know about the security. You have to sign into the system with a password, but it's pretty Mickey Mouse and who knows how long it's been since it's been changed?

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - You could have some fun with that one. If anyone admires your garden, put on your best Thurston Howell III, hoity-toitty voice and say something like "Yes. We import nutrients at great trouble and expense from exotic foreign lands." Be sure and add a deep sigh. Like it's just all too much ... :-). Lew

Damo said...

@Lew

RE:photo
Hilarious, that sort of common sense/stubbornness will be the subject of much concerned muttering and furtive glances I am sure! :-)

I just finished reading, "A Place of Greater Safety" (thank you to the fellow commentator who suggested that one), a historical fiction account of the French revolution centred around Danton, Camille and Robespierre. It was a terrific book and I am interested in reading some more about that time. Can you suggest any notable entries? There must be thousands of books written about it, where does one even start?

Cheers,
Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, Sir Scruffy is fighting fit - for an old dog. I reckon sooner or later anyone who owns a pet goes through those hard decisions as to how much medical intervention you want to inflict on the animal. I’ve been faced with that decision for another human and it is uncomfortable to say the least because the golden rule of do unto others applies. Hey, out of curiosity, was that Siamese cat the same as the one of the two lounging around in the photo overlooking Hobart harbour (from the east bank if I recall correctly). Siamese cats are full of character - as are most cats are don't you reckon?

Good to hear that you are enjoying unemployment. I feel obliged to add that I enjoy under employment as it gives me time to do many of the necessary projects here and I have absolutely no idea how people get anything at all done in their personal lives working a five day week. Certainly that would be a tough ask with a farm. It is a tough school.

6mm steel. Ouch! My arms are aching at the thought of drilling into such thick steel. Do you have a 2hp drill press? Out of curiosity, did you use cobalt bits? A good sharpen of drill bits really brings them back from the dead in the sort of conditions you were facing. Exactly, building a house is not that dissimilar. I'm really impressed that you've constructed a shed and seen how things work and are put together. I make most of the sheds here from scrap or downgraded structural steel - and it is very good stuff to work with.

Well someone has to do it. I have serious doubts about economics of retirement in the not too far distant future. Hey, this is really weird but someone else was talking to me recently about that goldilocks trifecta. I'd never heard of the concept before and then twice in one week. What is going on? Clearly I need to get out more. I hope you get something in Christchurch because a kiwi mate of mine tells me that there is a lot of money sloshing around that part of the country. The trick is not to flaunt it in front of the locals, I guess. It is not a good look.

Wow! What a stunning national park: Images Dorrigo National Park. Wow! Try not to step on the birds - they may get angry... Hey out of curiosity, what sort of camera did you pick up? They're crazy cheap second hand as people keep wanting to upgrade for some strange reason. I picked up a Pentax K-r a few years ago second hand for $300 and it is amazing quality. Have you set up an online account for the photos?

A very wise decision. Surf rage is a real problem, and then there are the sharks... Two words: Good luck! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Damo

Many years ago I accompanied my mother on that Rhine cruise. I won't knock it, it was good. What really struck me was the sheer hard work going on in Germany. The river was heavily in commercial use, the rail that ran alongside had constant goods trains running. It knocked the lackadaisical UK.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That is a complex problem. I tend to grow beans as either a winter or spring crop so I can't really offer any opinions about them over summer. Interestingly enough a while back I knew a local bloke who began suffering from rust (which is a fungi I believe) on some of his vegetable crops. I suggested to him that he needed to feed the soil from an external source as there may have been some mineral or other that was missing in the soil that the plants needed in order to maintain their good health. Well, he dismissed my opinions and for all I know he still has rust affecting his vegetables. Dunno as I lost contact with some locals many years ago. It is a long and painful story where I ended up being the youngest person in a dysfunctional local group who were interested in growing vegetables. The events surrounding that breakup make me feel sad and I don't reckon people are hungry enough yet in any quantity to consider going back to their roots - so to speak. Oh well.

The other thing to consider with your sooty mould is: were there any other plants nearby that were exhibiting that mould in the recent past? Dunno, it is a long shot I have to admit. The cucurbit family always die back from sooty mould here during autumn so it has become part of their lifecycle in my brain, but I have not observed it spreading to nearby plants and that may be of some concern to you. Your sons pig manure may be an excellent addition in that part of the garden? Dunno really. My thinking is that when your son brings in food for the pigs you never know what sort of minerals he is actually importing into an area. I regularly change my chickens and dogs feed for that reason. Back in the day some counties of the UK suffered from various mineral deficiencies in their soils and that problem may be masked nowadays, but it may not have gone away. Dunno really and I'm just guessing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh my! I just checked the cliffmass blog and he mentions the return to a cooler and wetter weather condition. Unfortunately, what I have noticed is that when a high pressure system interacts with a low pressure system, you can expect winds, rain and lightning, although I am not sure of the mechanics of that situation. Last evening the editor and I sat on the veranda enjoying a coffee and Anzac biscuit after a hard day of digging and watched a lightning storm far to the south west of here. I quite enjoy a good storm, although lightning strikes can start the occasional fire and also blow up my internet modem so they are a bit of a worry. However it must be remembered that humans are far greater contributors to fires than lightning strikes are – by a huge margin. The sunsets when there is a huge quantity of particulates in the atmosphere are really spectacular isn't it? Just for your interest, I have noticed that winter seasons following large scale fires tend to be much wetter than normal. I have always put this down to the sheer concentration of particulates in the atmosphere which attracts clouds and it forms a positive feedback loop. The winter after the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 and well into 2010 was epic for rain. I had never before seen so much water fall from the sky. There was something like 56.5 inches that year which would have been a lot even for your part of the world. One evening the road down in the valley below was flooded by the local river and I had to go about half an hour out of my way just to get home and I crossed many swollen creeks which were racing across the roads in unexpected locations.

Go the European bee. You are doing that hard done by species a real favour growing flowers that have not been subjected to all sorts of chemical nasties. You know the bees may not thank you for that flower, but they will most certainly remember where it was. If you watch the bees carefully - and don't annoy them - you can see the pollen being carried back to the hive on the hairs on their bodies. Like a motorcycle I call the pollen - panniers! :-)! Sorry, I rode for many years but gave up after using up all nine of my lives (I have to be careful nowadays as I didn't realise a person only gets nine).

I have noticed that very occasionally ants harvest the sugars from some of the plants here. Interestingly the citrus trees seem to be the most at risk plants for some reason. I do worry about the ants a little bit as they can spread sooty mould onto the citrus and olive trees (forgot to mention that to Inge). But what I observed of that situation many years ago is that sooty mould can be removed with soap and water which is a tedious task to be sure. However, I fed the soil around the trees and then watered them a bit more. Plus I put a band of petroleum jelly around the trunk of the trees which stopped the ants climbing into them. Ants are after the sugars for sure. A colony of ants wiped out a new bee hive a few years back which was struggling to get itself established. No doubt, the ants killed the queen because they seem to know what they are doing. Oh well. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That is what they tell me anyway. I reckon the ants inadvertently pollinate plants so there are side benefits.

Well, I reckon the Arizona and Florida problems will get down to water. Florida will have too much of it and it will be of the wrong sort, whilst Arizona will have too little of it, and it won't be available for love or money. I once recall a person in Israel gloating that if they were ever to run out of water - in that arid part of the world - that they'd just buy more of it in. I could not believe that opinion when I read it. Incidentally I looked into plastic welding machines today - for polyethylene water tank repairs - and I was quite surprised at how much they'd come down in price, but they are still not cheap in anyone’s language.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Exactly, such comments are all about them and have very little to do with me. Social validation is a complex need in people.

Well clothes horses would work very well if they were placed over a floor hot air vent and maybe even had a sheet draped over them. I have used them for decades and they just work. Over summer I chuck them outside if it is not windy. The wind tends to unceremoniously distribute clothes to the four corners of the planet. :-)!

I sort of feel sorry for her lack of a sense of humour. I thought it was a very amusing thing to say and I probably would have countered you by saying: "You idiot! (and then added a friendly chuckle) We really need your photo for the residents board, otherwise some of the other residents may report you to the police for trespass!". Of course, I would probably have just taken your photo then and there just because. You know, some people don't read social cues all that well and that seems to be a good example of one of them. I often wonder what they'd do if something out of the ordinary of any consequence really happens. We don't have a procedure for that so that it must not be happening, I can almost hear them shout. :-)!

My wealthy and long since deceased grandfather used to call me by the affectionate name of (I have had to change the details of the exact description to maintain the family friendly nature of the blog): "pecker head". You know I used to interpret that name as a slight on my good character. The funny thing was that at the funeral one of his huge circle of mates got up to speak and gave a eulogy and he said that he too was referred to by that affectionate name and there was much mirth heard at the recollection. That is what I call a clarifying social ah-ha moment.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. Weather can get pretty wild when it “changes over.” I’ve been keeping an eye on my barometer, but so far it hasn’t budged. When the weather starts changing, I expect it to take a plunge. I did feel a distinct cool breeze, yesterday afternoon around 3:30. it was there, it was gone. Rather odd.

I forgot to mention the picture of the blueberry bee looked exactly like the picture I saw of the Mason bee. Hmmm. I was fiddling about in my garden plot, yesterday morning (working in more worms) and an enormous bumble bee buzzed up to pollinate the mystery vine (cucumber?). I think (maybe) the prunning back I did makes the blossoms more visible to the pollinators.

From the stories you’ve told, your grandfather sounded like quit an interesting character. The Reader’s Digest magazine used to run a monthly feature, something along the lines of “The Most Memorable Person I Ever Met.” There’s an interesting fellow and his wife who have shown up at the 12 Step Club. He’s a big fellow, probably 40 something. But he projects this aura of wonder, innocence and curiosity. He’s fun to talk to. Lew

@ Damo - I wondered where you had gotten to :-). Hmm. French Revolution. Well, kick it off with Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities.” I’ll have to think about it. Can’t say the French Revolution really caught my interest. Except through biographies. Something nibbling at the edges of memory. “Reign of Terror?” Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The images of Dorrigo National park are wonderful. I have been there as it is the stamping ground of my younger Daughter's partner.

Thanks for info. on the sooty stuff. I don't seem to have it anywhere else.

Inge

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Yes, they were the same Siamese cats you saw sunning themselves on a balcony overlooking the Derwent River. They are fondly remembered and were more like dogs than cats, following us outside just to hang out and that sort of thing. Very vocal, but only if they were wanting something!

A 2hp drill press would have been terrific! We had to tough it out with a hand-held drill, I don't think they were cobalt bits :-( We never had a chance to sharpen them as we must have snapped 5! Well, to my credit I didn't snap any, but then I didn't do much drilling on the thinner galvanised C-beam steel which seemed to burr up and tangle the bit in exciting ways.

Dorrigo National Park is great, I still enjoy it even after living 10 minutes away and visiting it often in my mis-spent youth. I shared the better bird photos here:

Bird photos from around the Clarence Valley and nearby areas

The camera I purchased a few weeks ago from eBay for $300, a Nikon D5100. It is a consumer grade SLR from a few years ago. Great condition and less than 2000 shutter movements. Then, I added a 55mm-300mm zoom lens, new unfortunately, but a reasonable $300 (from Harvey Norman of all places, only $30 more than a random eBay seller). We are still quite amateur, pretty much just point and clicking but it helps so much with identifying the birds who rarely stay still long enough for you to look them up the guide book :-p

Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Did you get your cooler change? Interestingly on the cliffmass blog website, a picture is posted of a bushfire going all the way down to quite a reasonably sized river. I have noticed the same thing happening down this way too and fires will go all the way down to any waterline. A moat would be handy in such a circumstance, but alas then a person needs a castle. And who wants to build a castle? Actually there are two castles up in this part of the mountain range. I met the owner of one of them a few years back and they may just have had enough funding to be described as eccentric. They’ve grown a thick cypress hedge too so the castle is quite hard to spot nowadays.

The weather today down here was superb and the sun shone and the air temperature was cool. A perfect winters day. Of course all things are subject to change at short notice and without warning and from Tuesday onwards the heavens look set to rain everyday for the immediate future. Next weekend may be a total wash out. I completed the excavations for the extension of the tomato enclosure late this afternoon and with that forecasted rain in mind, I'm going to dump a huge load of mulch and compost over the excavated area tomorrow. That should help reduce the chance of the whole lot washing away (maybe). Fingers crossed.

Very cool about the mason bees / blueberry bees in your vegetable garden. You know, the better the garden gets, the more bees and other insects you'll see floating around. The trick is knowing which ones will bite or sting you and then learning how not to annoy them. The funny thing is that if the European bees ever die back, then other species will fill their ecological niches, but the unfortunate thing is that we won't be able to harvest much if any honey from those other species.

The bees here were feral this afternoon in the late winter sunshine. I took a photo for tomorrow nights blog. I do my best not to disturb the bees as they can get a bit grumpy.

Having bumble bees in your part of the world is a very good sign. Actually a really good sign. Those bees are huge fat furry bees aren’t they, and they perform all sorts of good pollination works with tomatoes which require a strange vibration pollination. Those bumble bees are all over the place here during the summer, but I have absolutely no idea about their life cycle or even where they live and I just try to provide as much feed as possible for them.

Oh, I watched the film Beautiful Fantastic last night and really enjoyed it, although the story was mildly surreal and the characters all exhibited extreme behaviours. I get the good food bit. Life is short... Who knows what the next meal may contain? :-)!

Yeah, he was an interesting character, but unfortunately I was just a kid with all of the baggage that that comes with and so we never had an adult conversation. On the other hand, he was such a strong personality that I doubt he viewed other people as being on the same level that he was at - and who knows he may have been correct in that opinion? I never quite understood why he was so motivated by money but that was a part of who he was I guess. He once said to me that only people who look ahead, get ahead. At the time I thought he was referring to driving, but as an adult I can see that he was referring to a much larger and greater concept. Oh well.

Lucky you meeting up with interesting people. Yes, those traits make for very interesting people indeed. Out of curiosity, can you tell me anything about their current activities?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Awesome! The images were superb weren't they? And lucky you for having visited the park. I reckon that spot on this continent is one of the sweet spots which enjoy many natural advantages.

No worries at all. This may not apply to your part of the world, but I have seen that black sooty mould take over both a citrus orchard and more commonly olive orchards. I keep a very close eye on the activities of the ants for that reason, and to be honest washing leaves with warm soapy water is not much fun. You get to learn very quickly that fruit trees have a huge number of leaves! As a considered opinion, I'd have to suggest that it is by far easier to feed the soil which surrounds the fruit trees, than to clean the black sooty mould off the individual leaves. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Lew
Heh, didn't even think about Dickens Tale of Two Cities. Hnmm, looks like I can add it to my Kindle for free, done :-)

@Inge
I got the same feeling in Japan. So much industry and activity. Puts everywhere else I have been to shame.

I could have got myself into trouble. We are house-sitting and today decided to do some cleaning as a thankyou. Anyway, I thought the pantry could do with a good clean out and sort. The general consensus on the family chat group is my grandmother will be pretty upset when she gets back. I tried to explain that almost everything is still in the same spot, with only minor variations to keep dry goods / pasta / tins / sauces etc all together but it fell on deaf ears. Oh well, I might be out of the country by the time they return, and the pantry looks *so* much better now :p They will thank me in the long run, unless they really wanted those Liquorice all-sorts covered in mould!

Damo

margfh said...

Hi all,

We're back from our wonderful trip. Had beautiful weather and were able to view all of Denali for our entire 8 hour bus tour. Saw lots of wildlife as well. Now I have a very overgrown garden and 2 1/2 weeks of mail to go through.

@Lew,

Glad to read that your move is now complete. Our last stop was to visit friends near Seattle and so we saw all the smoke from the wildfires. They also had not received any rain in almost two months - very unusual for that area.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - RAIN!!! Started about 9:30, last night. I went out and danced around in it, a bit. It smelled so good. Won’t have to water the garden plot, this morning. :-).

Castles are very cool. But, there is the upkeep. Helps to have a few serfs, laying about the place. :-).

Yeah, I have to remind myself that there are other pollinators around besides the European bees. I mentioned that observing the fennel blossoms, there were 5 or 6 different bees and wasps happily working over the flowers in harmony. Bumble bees (at least some of our varieties) live in holes in the ground. Not in hives. They’re a rather solitary insect. They particularly like crawl spaces, under buildings. Quiet, out of the way ... undisturbed. I think I’ve got my bee moves down. :-). Don’t move too fast or get too excited. Wasps and hornets are a whole ‘nother thing. Aggressive and territorial. And, there territory is where ever they happen to be :-).

Well, the couple I mentioned, I’m not sure what he’s doing, but she just got a good job working for a RV/Mobile home outfit that does repairs and has also produced (invented?) a number of after market aids and gizmos. They are in the process of moving and scrapping together all the stuff they need (beds, fridges, etc.) in a thrifty or free manner.They also do some media things, but I’m not clear on all that.

I started watching a BBC, three part series, last night. “Food: Delicious Science.” “Discover the physics, chemistry, and biology of food in this global adventure.” Two fellows, a medical doctor and a botanist travel the world investigating interesting things about food. Humans crave a 50/50 balance of sugar and fat. And, about the only place that’s found in nature is in ... breast milk. So, from our first meal, we’re pretty much programed to seek out that ratio.

The native people of Peru, who developed all those 100s of varieties of potatoes? I thought they pretty much freeze dried, everything. Actually, it’s mostly one variety, that can ride out just about any frost ... but has the drawback of being the most poisonous. Part of the freeze drying process drives the poison out. At least once a year, they put up a good amount of this potato, just in case of other crops failing. There was a segment about the Maillard Reaction. Which I find pretty interesting (and tasty!). I didn’t realize it was so complex. Hundreds of different molicules are created. Constant recombinations. It would take a whole book to describe them all.

I’ll finish up watching it tonight. Or, maybe a big bowl of popcorn and “Quo Vadis”. The library got some new copies of that old saw (1951). Christians to the lions! :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Glad you're home safe and had a good trip. Yup. We set records for number of days without rain. But, it started raining last night. At the end of my move, I'd neglected my garden plot for about a week and a half. Had to get in there and do some serious pruning and organizing. :-). Lew