Monday, 25 September 2017

Surfs Up!

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

From my late teenager years onwards, I worked full time and studied an undergraduate degree at University part time, at night. The necessity of paying the rent, keeping food on the table and a roof over my head during a time of 10% unemployment was no joke thus I was unable to afford to attend Uni full time.

Usually, in those night time University classes I was the youngest person in attendance. I vividly recall an experiment that the University undertook with the objective of producing more well-rounded graduates. The experiment involved all students having to undertake a humanities subject which examined some of the larger social issues facing the country. Given that the subjects were compulsory and couldn’t be avoided, I chose to enrol in the intriguingly named : The Generation and Distribution of Wealth in Australia.

One of the memorable highlights of the subject was when the tutor surveyed the class about their aspirations. The results of that particular survey, was that the vast majority of the class wanted to live in a mansion, on a quarter acre parcel of land within five kilometres (3.1 miles) of the CBD. The fact that such an aspiration was unlikely to ever be realised by anyone in the class may be viewed as an indictment of the education process itself, but that irony was possibly lost on the class…

Anyway, the interesting thing about that subject was that there was a guy in the class who I used to go to high school with. The chances of that happening were infinitesimal, but there he was. At high school we’d never spoken to each other, but at University, things were different. We were small fish in a very big and diverse pond. Of course, the reality may have been that he had nobody else to talk too, and there was always the necessity to do group assignments rather than individual work.

Part time study was a strange beast, because people turned up in an evening, did the work required of them, and then went back home after a long day of work and study. If they were anything like me, they were probably feeling rather tired. As an interesting side note, I always laugh when I see movies depicting College student debauchery because that gear just didn’t happen down here with part time students. Come to think of it, I don’t know of any full time students who lived that sort of hedonistic life either. 'Animal House' it was not!

Whatever may be the case, for a year or two afterwards we used to undertake the same subjects and talk rubbish and generally keep each other up to date on what was going on in our lives. Then one year he just dropped off the radar. I on the other hand had taken on a new job and to my absolute horror (I hate early mornings), the new job expected me to be on the first plane (the red eye) to Sydney once a month to work in that office, and then fly back again.

“Estimated time of arrival 9.30 a.m.
Been up before the sun and now I'm tired before I even begin.
(Now you're flying) I got so much work in front of me,
(Really flying) it stretches out far as the eye can see.
I can see.”

The guy who dropped off the radar had led an interesting life, in the true meaning of the apparent ancient apocryphal Chinese curse, which when translated into English states: "May you live in interesting times". Nobody in their right mind wants to live in interesting times! Anyway, the guy had lost both his parents a few years before and given that trauma, he was surprisingly well balanced. However, he did have a keen sense of the fragility and uncertainty of life. On the other hand the trauma left him exceptionally well financed relative to his peers.

In a strange coincidence a year or two after he dropped off the radar, I met him randomly one day in the street in Melbourne. To be honest, he looked more relaxed than I felt at the time, and perhaps he was. He told me that he’d purchased a caravan park up on the north central coast of New South Wales and spent many of his days surfing the excellent surf breaks up there. He invited me up to visit, but I was so busy working that I never got around to taking up the offer.

“Promised to myself someday I'd take the time and try to make sense
Out of all those opportunities I've lost from trying to sit on the fence
(Now you're flying) But right now I've got no time for yesterday
(Really flying) Yesterday's a thousand miles away.
A thousand miles away.”

I was thinking about that guy this week because at the time, he told me that his girlfriend broke up with him because she had no intention of living in such a remote (but astoundingly beautiful and natural resource rich) part of the country. At the time, I was surprised by that break up because they had been together as a couple for many years. However, what brought all this back to my attention earlier this week was that I read a quote from an 1860 Canadian Settlers Guide (C. P. Traill) which was: “If he be by nature indolent, and in temper desponding, easily daunted by difficulties and of a weak frame of body, such a life would not suit him. If his wife be a weakly woman, destitute of mental energy, unable to bear up under the trials of life, she is not fit for a life of hardship – it would be useless cruelty to expose her to it”.

Bam!

People respond very differently to both my lifestyle and my property here. Some people believe that I am very lucky, and yet others believe that I am selfish for a variety of reasons.  Neither view really sees the full picture of life here. The former tend to see only the beauty and the latter tend not to see the hard work.

How lucky I am that the editor is happy to share this particular adventure with me. Living on a small holding is certainly not for everyone! Ours is a life of balance and there is a mid point which is reached between enjoying the beauty and doing the hard work required to bring that beauty into being.

“Working for yourself sometimes ain't all that it's cracked up to be.
It can be as lonely at the top as at the bottom of that corporate tree
(Now you're flying) I'm told I'm going places - who can say?
(Really flying) I might arrive but I'll be gone the very next day.
I must be on my way
A thousand miles away.”

This week, the weather has been very changeable. One morning fog hung over the valley:
Early morning fog hung over the valley
Some days it was quite cold and the fluffy canine collective were reluctant to chase the wallabies. Instead they dreamed of chasing wallabies:
Sir Scruffy is out cold and dreaming of chasing wallabies
Then on Saturday the September heat records were broken in several locations on the continent: Records smashed under summer-like heat

Hot and cold weather doesn't stop the ongoing work here! This week we added a new 4,020 Litre (1,062 Gallon) water tank to the farm. This new water tank is intended to provide water to a new garden terrace which is currently under construction. A new project!

Fortunately having a bright yellow trailer means that I can pick up the water tank at the supplier in a nearby town. Driving it back to the farm is akin to having a huge sail on the back of the little white Suzuki dirt rat. Driving slowly is the order of the day. Eventually the water tank, dirt rat and trailer made it back to farm without incident. The first thing to do is to push the water tank off the back of the trailer. The the water tank has to be moved out of the wind, because otherwise despite its considerable weight, it may blow away. The local excavator bloke enjoyed sharing many horror stories of empty water tanks ending up other than where they started. Of course such unexpected events provided good work for the excavator bloke...
The new water tank was located out of the prevailing wind as a safety precaution
The water tank was to be located on an 'under construction' terrace for the strawberries. Unfortunately that new terrace is above the house and so the water tank had to be pushed up hill in yet another Sisyphus moment.
The new water tank had to be pushed up hill
In the photo above you can get an idea about how big water tanks are - even a little one like this is quite large and heavy.

A flat spot for the new water tank had to be excavated. We picked a nice spot in among some Musk Daisy bushes (Olearia argophylla).
A nice spot for the new water tank was selected
After a couple of hours of excavations the new - and now flat - spot for the water tank was ready to go. Underneath water tanks I add a quantity of rock crusher dust. Needless to say that stuff is dusty, but it settles beautifully and is a far stronger base than sand.
The new water tank is now in place on a bed of rock crusher dust
As I filled the new water tank with water from the house, I had to empty another existing water tank in a different location. The reason that the existing water tank had to be emptied was because we had inadvertently set it too high. And the only way to lower a heavy tank is to first empty it, otherwise you have no hope of moving it anywhere - even a very strong wind has no chance of moving one full of water!
Another existing water tank had to be emptied so that it could be lowered in height
Then we began excavating the new strawberry terrace.
Breaking Ground - the excavations for the new strawberry terrace began
We use an electric jackhammer with a wide clay spade to dig into the side of the hill. Then a mattock - which is a hand tool used for digging which can be seen in the photo above - to break up the clods of clay. A shovel and rake are used to move the clay so as to cut a flat terrace in the side of the hill.

After a days excavations, about 40% of the new terrace area had been excavated. It is hard work, especially when the sun is shining more strongly than you would expect for this time of year.
Mr Toothy is exhausted after watching so much excavation activities
All that digging unearthed a good quantity of rocks. We love rocks, and every rock has a use on the farm. Mostly! In the photo above you can see just to my right that we unearthed the edge of a huge rock which we cannot move or break. The huge rock has provided us with a corner for the new terrace (and you can't argue location with massive rocks)! However, all of the other unearthed rocks were either: put to one side if they were large enough to be used in a garden bed; or placed in the new rock gabion cage.
A good quantity of rocks were recovered in the process of digging the new strawberry terrace
In breaking wombat news: the wombat removed much of the silt from a concrete drain which the wombat uses as an underground highway. The silt was deposited in last summers heavy rains. If only I could harvest that wombat energy somehow...
A wombat cleared the silt out of this concrete drain which it uses as an underground highway
The wallabies are a bit frisky now that spring is here and the weather is warming. Several male wallabies have been fighting each other in the orchard at night for the attentions of a female wallaby. Needless to say, the female wallaby (like the kangaroos who are also in the orchard) are very nonplussed at the epic wallaby battles.
Male wallabies duke it out for the attentions of a female wallaby

Spare a thought for the poor fruit trees and daffodils who are the real victims here!

One of the two kangaroos who are also in the orchard are completely disregarding the antics of the wallabies
As is my usual wont, I'd like to finish this weeks blog with some flower photos:
An Anzac peach produces huge quantities of pink flowers with a pineapple sage in the foreground
Ornamental cherry tree - Showoff. Nuff said!
A Santa Rosa Plum covered in flowers
The intricate flowers of an Acer Negundo
With special thanks this week to the most excellent band Hoodoo Gurus who provided the song "1,000 miles away" from which I ripped the lyrics to accompany the story. If you've never heard of that band, all I can say is: "Why not?" In my youth I enjoyed many a moshpit whilst being entertained by them. Let's finish the blog with the final lyrics of the outstanding song:

“What was that that you were trying to say ?
I guess I was a thousand miles away.”

The temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 672.4mm (26.5 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 665.8mm (26.2 inches).

68 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Many thanks for the link. It was very nice of you to trap and release the rodents rather than use poison which most people tend to do. Poisons have an unfortunate way of coming back around to bite us, and I don't use them on the rodents as the chickens may unfortunately consume the poisoned rodents and then the thinners enter the food chain via the eggs... I favour the less successful exclusion method for rodents so the population doesn't get a foothold in the first place. It hasn't always worked well in the past.

Nice to read that the sealing worked well! Log cladding is a rarity down here, although I'm not sure why? It may have something to do with the growth of the trees, in that the dominant eucalyptus species rarely provide straight trunks. Dunno. What species of tree do you use in the houses in your part of the world?

Elderberry wine can achieve that outcome too and I prefer it to champagne. Apple cider vinegar is basically: Pressed (or blitzed) apple juice, water, sugar and yeast. It really is that simple. Don't be tempted to use purchased apple juice as the ingredients can be quite unusual and may provide a saccharine flavour.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, pumpkin fibre is the bomb... Like a pipe cleaner, but then a lot of legumes provide that excellent service too. French lentils are unrelenting, let alone Mung beans, split peas etc. Far out, the list goes on. Incidentally, that is quite an unusual spelling (belVita) to have a capitalisation in the middle of a word. Is that a made up word or does it have some sort of cultural history? I may be incorrect, but I feel that there may be some Latin in that name? Dunno.

Ah yes, raw fish. I must confess to an enjoyment of sashimi and sushi. Sometimes I worry that I add too much green horseradish (fake wasabi) to such food stuffs and the brain pain is intense. Hey, like your blue cheese moments, it may explain a thing or two don't you reckon? Hehe! Oh no, we've descended yet again into the land of silly...

Down here, I've haven’t heard of the expression "putting on the dog" for a long while. I did use it in the lyrics I ripped for the Bow River story with acknowledgement to the band Cold Chisel. Perhaps we need to reclaim that excellent saying? Back in the day, they used to call them also by a naughty word which I can't write for fear of breaking my own code of blog conduct. Anyway, it rhymes with the word "banker", but people exchanged the "b" for a "w". Both expressions speak of a much larger story of graspiness!

Ah yes, crumbly cheese can be a nuisance. I have no idea why it would be crumbly, but that can sometimes happen with vintage cheddars - which I quite enjoy the taste of. Bitey would be a good way to describe the taste, of course I for one am glad that we are not discussing zombies and bitey is perhaps another way to describe them...

Exactly. People say there is no inflation and yet my house insurance rises by 18% over the previous year. I guess they must be right and no doubt my brain is not up to the problem?

Interesting, the sweet and savoury thing is very Thai inspired as they use a lot of sweet chilli in the preparation of the dishes. But Chinese food does a bit of sweet and sour too. And dim sum is usually very good. I don't believe I've met any Seventh Day Adventists but they do have a local church and the grounds always look very well mowed, but to be honest I've never noticed any collection of vehicles parked near it. Dunno. Maybe they meet in secret? Ah yes, Archie Bunker was probably in the same category as the English series "On the Buses" which was aired down here, and also the local series "Kingswood Country". A Kingswood is the nameplate of a very successful locally built family car which dominated the 1970's. I once owned a Kingswood ute. Nice car.

I assume that somehow Simon Pegg saved the day for humanity? I would expect no less from the erstwhile engineer of the Starship Enterprise. Glad you enjoyed it. Probably more enjoyable than "Mother". Far out, I really did feel very ill the other night watching that shaky camera action and listening to the very intense audio. Shut your eyes and conjure up a field of protection seems to work.

Great to hear that you have the first autumn fogs. You are clearly handing over the warm weather baton... Hey, how are you finding the autumn in your new digs? Is it as intense now that you are at a lower elevation?

Yup, second hand items are trading very cheaply here too. Perhaps they are included in the official inflation figures? ;-)! There just seems to be little appreciation for the quality inherent in those items. Dunno, but I suspect that it is only a moment in time... Out of curiosity, did you reckon that the sketch was any good? Such things can be total rubbish. Yes, money is very loose in some quarters, but very tight in others. Hang onto your hat on that score!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Great to read that the phone line is now working and that the nice phone company got onto fixing the problem at a crisp pace! I had to laugh as I retold the story - to a neighbour, the other day - of how I accidentally took out the local electricity grid once many long years ago. That was an expensive repair. Ouch! Who would have thought that the nice electricity company would send me a bill for the damage? Lesson learned though.

I reckon your son is spot on about the rat hotel in the decking. The owls stand a good chance of eating the rats if they are attempting to hide in a garden bed. Plus, I was placing loads of mulch above the January landslip location today and it occurred to me that plants provide some of the most long lasting soil retaining functions. Eventually decking will fail and at least plants can reproduce themselves.

Exactly! I'm totally with you. A simpler life certainly does not mean less comfort, although I have trouble explaining that to people. It is one of the ongoing themes in this blog, and no doubts you discovered that truth many long years ago. It is a shame that we are so heavily marketed too as a society, and fail to perceive the truth underneath that. Hope you like the quote in this weeks blog too! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for the excellent description of agriculture. Your location sounds quite good with that quantity of rainfall, especially given your mention of falls in the growing season. That is not always guaranteed here. And the Mississippi, well let's put it this way, too much water can make for a very complex agricultural experience.

15 to 20 inches is a no go for agriculture in my book, sorry to say. The only thing you can do in such a climate is to build the topsoil so that any water you get is held in the soil and then don’t mess with whatever system you can get established. Far out... I can understand alfalfa growing as it has absolutely, phenomenally, huge root systems and can tap into water and minerals very deep in the ground. Someone once mentioned that they noticed a 20m (66 foot) deep root system on a mature plant. They survive drought, heat. Lots of environmental stress.

The problem I have with pumping water from aquifers is that eventually they run dry through over use. And the recharge time for them is on a massive time scale. I dunno. One of the neighbours here has a water bore (I don't know how deep it is), but in the last drought it ran for seven minutes and then dried out. It is probably not a good idea to farm in any scale using artesian water.

Yeah, they use feedlots down here and I occasionally pass one. The smell is pretty intense in hot weather. I wonder about the manure handling in such a facility and have seen trucks pull out of the facility with what I suspect was two trailer loads of manure (probably about 70 cubic metres).

Sometimes the rivers here run dry over summer months when rainfall has been sparse. Often the reason for that is because dams are capturing the running water further upstream and there is not enough to flow further downstream, but sometimes it really is just a lack of water. Sometimes, the water can run underground in these parts and certainly the creek at the bottom of my property does that trick. You saw a very interesting thing with that multiple river crossings and then heading up stream. I have heard that about the Colorado River. Not good.

Nice. It is good having an understanding of the geology and history of an area. The newer mountains also provide good soil surrounding them too (maybe) and I'm not too far from some of the newest soils on the continent. Needless to say they grow potatoes up there, so I guess those plants must be a heavy feeder? Did you notice that the fertility of the area surrounding those newer mountains was better than in other locations further away?

Incidentally, I quite enjoy geology, and this mountain range that I am in was once one of the two largest volcanoes on the planet. I hope they stay dormant... Geologists have been saying for a while now that we are overdue for a volcanic eruption in this corner of the continent. The last one was many millennia ago but still within human memory. How frightening would that have been?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

You looked in serious danger of being crushed by that water tank, it made me shiver.

As said before, I went full time to university when I was 40 and I never saw any student debauchery. I would suggest that it is uncommon but the media picks up on any incident.

Why would someone think that your way of life is selfish? I am called lucky or mad but have never heard selfish. Mind you, lucky irritates me. Do people think that everything just fell into my lap?

Son's comment on putting in or removing velux windows. 'No problem so long as you don't read the instructions'.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I remember back when I was in Uni, there was a bit of a social divide between commuting students and those who lived “on campus.” Either in the dorms or just off campus in the fraternities or sororities. And, there was a social divide between frats and dorm dwellers.

The Canadian Settler’s Guide reminds me that people waste a lot of time and money, trying to tackle things (aspire to?) they’re not suited for. They tend to ignore the nuts and bolts advise on say, small business. They seem to think it doesn’t apply to them, or, they’ll be luckier, etc. etc.. “It will be different, this time.” Must say, I’ve been guilty of that a time or two (or three) in my life.

So. What interesting recycling plans do you have for all that plastic wrapped around the water tank? There must be SOMETHING useful and creative you can do with it.

Well, it was nice of the wombats to clean out your drains. But, yes, you could enslave the wombats, build giant wheels and not have to muck about with all that solar stuff :-). I often say that my truck is the simplest model you can buy that has an engine under the hood, instead of squirrels in a wheel. :-). Speaking of squirrels, I took my daily constitutional up behind The Home. There are oak trees. I suddenly noticed a great mob of squirrels ... and, several jays. The acorns are coming down.

Oh, I’m sure belVita is made up. If it had any basis in any kind of good story, it would be emblazoned all over the box. I picked up a box of pumpkin flavored cheerios, yesterday. I’m not a real boxed cereal eater, but had to give it a whirl. Pumpkin spice flavor is so subtle it’s not worth bothering with. Ditto the Lindt chocolate / pumpkin truffles. I must say the boxed cereal is a notch above the usual fare. Made with oats and has actual pumpkin pulp in it.

You may not have noticed much going on at the Seventh Day Adventist church as you expect to see action on Sunday. They are one of those denominations that believes Saturday is the correct “day of worship.” They also don’t work on Saturday. A few times when I was hiring, I’d run across an Adventist, but they were always pretty up front about that. No work on Saturday, due to religious strictures, but more than happy to work Sundays. It was no big deal to work around that small quirk. I seem to remember that they started out as an apocalyptic, end of the world denomination. Millerites floats up from my memory. After several end of the world dates came and went, they reorganized and became a more ... mainstream church. I think Mr. Greer mentioned them in his series on end of the world dates that didn’t pan out.

SPOILER ALERT!!! (it’s the talking dog that saves humanity. Simon Pegg’s character is clueless.) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Hmmm. I think Edwina Boothe had a proper young Victorian ladies upbringing that included sketching as a genteel art to be cultivated. Don't think she set the art world on fire. More a hobby/Sunday painter. Her father, Edwin Boothe was considered a much better actor than John Wilkes. But, after the assassination, he had trouble finding work. For awhile. Years ago, I skimmed a book that explored the psycho-dynamics of the Boothe family. John Wilkes was the little brother who never quit measured up to the reputation of his father (also a well known actor) and older brother.

Yes, there were a couple of things that sold at auction that were stunning in how little they brought. A rectangular oak table with six chairs and six extender leaves (with holder for leaves) that went for $90. A colonial revival drop front desk (drawers below, glass doored cabinet above. Mahogany? $85. Back in "the good old days" (say, 10-15 years ago) the table set would have brought at least $1,200, the desk at least $850. The kitchen queen, which was about the finest example I've ever seen brought $475. Not long ago, it would have pulled down $1,500, easy.

I watched the first episode of "Chef Sean Connolly's Family Table." So, I have a bit better idea of the format. It's an Australian series. In the first episode, he visited a extended family from the Congo that lives up by Sydney. One of the family members grows the traditional veg ... casaba, etc.. What I found really interesting is that they made a dish that incorporated a lot of pumpkin leaves! I'll have to look into that. When I pruned my pumpkins, they just got mulched. I could have eaten them? Looks a little labor intensive, as you must strip the spines off the stems. There was also a little interesting interaction over some traditional goat stew. The lady added sweet basil to the mix. Something that doesn't grow in the Congo. The woman making it commented that she had discovered basil when she came to Australia, quit liked it, and incorporated it into a traditional dish. Fusion. :-). Connolly commented that it almost made it more of an Italian dish. In the second episode, he's going to visit an Australian Italian family. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I agree that trying to do the kind of agriculture that works in the Corn Belt isn't cut out for the Great Plains. The aquifer that underlies much of the Great Plains, the Ogallala Aquifer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer) is being depleted and polluted. I don't know how long the depletion can go on; it'll be a complex function of how fast the aquifer is depleted, how long cheap fossil fuel remains available for irrigation, how long people are willing to stay in the area to do the work required, and how badly we need the products grown in the area.

As far as whether the fertility of the area near the mountains is higher, I couldn't tell because the beneficial effect of higher rainfall on the western (windward) side of the mountains compared to the very arid eastern (leeward) side was so large. I don't know much geology so I don't know how far east one might look for improvement, but the website I included says that flow down from the mountains had a large role in creating the aquifer. North of the Missouri River, fertility was improved much more recently by the Ice Age glaciation (the Missouri River is about the southern boundary of glaciation in the US).

On this week's subject, you may be interested to know that Mike and I rolled our 500 gallon water tank to its current place on its side, the same way you rolled your water tank. We'd had a freight truck drop it off in back of the garage because the initial plan was to run the garage gutters into it. But that would have required pumping the water uphill to the vegetable garden, so we put it off. After we had the garden shed put in, we realized that feeding the water tank from the shed roof made more sense because the shed is at about the highest point in the yard. However, the difference in elevation in our case is far less than in your case, so our work was much easier.

Claire

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

You have a new - letterhead? And that's a new itsy bitsy photo?

You had a very interesting university career, though probably it was you yourself that made it so. Animal House behavior does happen at universities here in the States. Perhaps you don't have frat boys in Australia? The grapevine says that some of the sororities are behaving pretty badly, too - sometimes.

Hi, Sir Scruffy! It is a little difficult to tell which end of you is which, with all that untamed fur.

What a massive water tank that is behind the photo where the new water tank sits with its plastic jacket. And how tidy the raised metal beds look in that photo, also. It always happens to be uphill when something heavy and unwieldy has to be moved.

The new strawberry terrace is so level. Good work Mr. Toothy!

More great action photos. Someone has really been doing a good job lately.

The amount of fruit tree flowers you have is unbelievable . . .

Our log house is Southern Yellow Pine. I think they mostly stopped using it after our house was built a bit over 25 years ago. I think that most log homes now are of a different kind of pine. Perhaps the yellow pine is slower growing? It becomes as hard as any hardwood once it cures. The second floor is held up by 8" x 8" beams on top of 8" x 12" beams, all yellow pine. It looks very medieval, as they are exposed. Spiders love them.

Thanks for the AC vinegar "recipe".

Pam

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

I think your friend made a great decision getting that caravan park next to some nice surf breaks. It probably would have been a reasonably priced proposition back then as well. Nowadays I think the only thing holding back all the caravan parks getting dozed into holiday flats is council zoning - the land value on some of the east coast beach parks must be huge! I don't even use caravan parks very often(they are always too tightly packed in peak season for my liking) but think it would be a shame to lose them.

Rudely jumping in on your discussion with Lewis RE: used furniture prices, I can report similar bargains here in Christchurch. Mrs Damo has been very busy obtaining everything we need for the new house, keeping a keen eye out for tables, bookshelves, tall boys and other assorted furniture and electrical items. Although now gainfully employed, we feel a used piece of hardwood furniture is a much better proposition than a similar priced new item.

With this principle guiding us, we can report obtaining a dark-stained butterfly table on trolley-like wheels for $100NZD, a 5 drawer tallboy for $75 and a small cupboard/stand for the TV (also obtained 2nd hand for 1/3rd the price of new - and still with warranty!) for $59. Everything is solid, in good condition and beautiful. Similar quality items in Australia would be 2-3X the price. I can offer no theory on the difference except that average incomes are lower in NZ (but not to that extent).

We have also had endless fun obtaining various vintage items for the kitchen in garage sales and op-shops around town. I got a very solid old meat mincer for $25 of which I am especially fond! The only downside is our new house is now almost kitted out only after a bit over a week, but I suppose there will be assorted odd knick knacks I never think of for the next few months.

Cheers,
Damo

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Thank you for the elephant stamp last week. I would be lying if such rapid international relocation and organisation did not come with a little bit of stress, but the upfront pain and effort seems to pay off with increased happiness and lifestyle. So far, we love our new house. It rained pretty solid all last week and everything was dry and warm. The glass enclosed verandah on the front (referred to as a conservatory by the owners) is toasty warm with just a little sun and we can open the house up for free heating.

Our internet was only connected yesterday, so I am behind on episode 2 and 3 of grand designs - but I did catch the 2nd episode of The Orville. Still enjoying it and looking forward to it more than the new Star Trek show, of which I might watch the first episode tonight. An unsolicited review will be forth-coming!

As an aside, a co-worker just purchased a 600m2 'section' (the NZ term for block) of land yesterday for $27K in a remote, but beautiful part of the country. She plans to build a shipping container bach (NZ term for cabin) on it and rent it out for $100 a night. Estimated revenue is ~$10k a year. The chance for such opportunities has me thinking, if only tentative. For now of course, cautious is my watchword until I learn more about NZ.

Cheers,
Damo

Steve Carrow said...

Amen brother- those venturing off the mainstream life path better make sure their partner is of the same mindset. I am extremely lucky to be in that situation, thought I suppose those inclinations were at least hinted at during the get to know you phase, and are part of the reason we pair up the way we do.

For water, I'm planning on a big increase in harvest storage next summer, but have nothing like your setup yet. Your added tank got me to wondering how much water you are currently overflowing to less valuable uses, and what your total storage volume is now up to.

You two are one industrious team.

Jo said...

Lucky you are not by nature indolent, or the editor destitute of mental energy - otherwise you would never get an invitation to Canada! Good to see you are still pushing heavy objects up hill on a regular basis!

I, too, bought crusher dust this week, but I am going to top dress my tomato garden with it. The best tomato plant I ever grew was self seeded between recently laid pavers. A diet of pure crusher dust appeared to grow the biggest and best tomatoes I have ever seen, so I am experimenting with using it for fertiliser this year. Extra minerals can't hurt!

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

That was a danger and thank you for your concern. The water tank weighs maybe about 100kg, maybe less, maybe more, so it may have hurt if it rolled over the top of me... Fortunately it didn't do that, and there was only one minor moment of concern during the journey. Now the largest tank has a diameter of about five metres (probably more) and weighs about 750kg. That water tank frightened me, and the one that is now left was originally a pair, but one of them rolled down the hill due to a delivery error, and I resolved not to purchase such a large tank again. Disposing of so much plastic was a real problem for the supplier.

Our education model follows the UK model rather than the US model and people rarely live on campus. It does happen, but is a very small minority of people. Well done you for going back as a mature student. I reckon you are receptive to learning and are probably better able to incorporate what you are learning into your worldview when you are older. What is your understanding of that?

Well a quote from a couple of weeks ago looked like an accusation of selfishness to me: "Or for living remote so that you need a massively oversized solar/battery system. What if 24 million Aussies try and do that?". Maybe I'm wrong about that interpretation? I have heard that tone used before. Hmm, how did it go? "We can't all live on a farm, can we?". Dunno, and to be honest neither point of view thrills me. Often such comments are more about them than me, but try pointing that out and the conversation goes downhill at an even more rapid pace. I dunno.

Yeah, I get the "lucky" too, and of course some of it is luck, like being in the right place at the right time, but most is just hard work. Plus we accepted serious limits on our lives. I have trouble speaking with people about limits as they don't (or can't) see them. And people want a farm that is ready to go without any hard work for them to put into it.

No, I do not believe that everything just fell in your lap. Some may! Of course, life rarely works that way, although I do see a lot of people expecting that to happen. I'm not sure how that story got into their heads.

As always your conversation plumbs significant depths!

I've used Velux windows too in the roof of a hallway in a past house, and they were quite good. It all gets down to the little details with those windows as they have to be well flashed given where they are located. Hope your son is enjoying the work?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Really, that sort of makes sense given the sort of social animals we all seem to be! I really kept to myself at Uni because it was part time and people were just there to do work. And if they were working full time, had families, and studying part time, then their lives were full up to their eyeballs. I always kept up my social life, but to be honest I do now regret some of the areas of my social life during that time. Like for example, I had a great time with a group of mates for many long years until they became addicted to World of Warcraft. But then on the other hand, it is hard to know where life goes.

Which one were you: the commuter; a dorm person; or I can't imagine a frat dude? I just can't imagine that but you may surprise me. My money is on the commuter, but I could be wrong. I commuted. Some of the lectures finished at 9.30pm and back in those days the night time trains were feral. I used to be glad when I got home without some unusual interaction. One memorable occasion was some other youth wanting to start a fight and I had to talk him down. I was way too tired for that rubbish. The trains are very civilised these days, but that may have something to do with far more people using them which leads to a normalising of behaviours. Far out, have you ever been caught up in such a strange and rapidly descending out of control situation - through no fault of your own? Sometimes people wanted to discuss comparative religions on the train. Generally they'd had a few beers and I can't see why they would have thought that I was interested in that conversation with them.

Exactly, one of the great things of our civilisation is that there are so many different paths for people to pursue. Now whether they attempt less well trod paths is another story... Don't be too hard on yourself, at one time the small business story worked better than it does today. My gut feeling is that the tide will turn on that story, but not until the banks relinquish the death grasp they have on the economy. They will be a victim of their own success I reckon, but that is merely an opinion.

A sad tale. The plastic was like a huge cling wrap which I couldn't cut for fear of damaging the water tank. Nope, that plastic is toast. A shame that. Dexter may have made good use of it?

Speaking of squirrels in a wheel, did you catch the story about the koala in a wheel: Koala Takes Death-Defying Ride In 4WD Wheel Arch. Poor little koala. A tough journey that one. Good to see the squirrels enjoying a solid feed. They harvest them for the winter food stores don't they? The possums here (herbivores - not your carnivorous lot) struggle sometimes when they're in parks with deciduous trees as their population booms and busts. The possums have to come down out of the trees during the winter and eat the grass and the owls clean them up. It is brutal.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

The sun was out today in force and now that the UV is varying from medium to high, the solar hot water is positively toasty as. I reckon that system produces hot water for about eight months of the year. And speaking of all things UV, when it reaches high levels, the fruit trees explode with growth. It is amazing to see the changes in such a short period of time. We get a very long spring here - usually.

You've piqued my curiosity with pumpkin flavoured desserts. It would be a hard sell down here as they are considered primarily a vegetable. Fortunes may be made... :-)! Probably not. I'm quite the fan of European chocolate. Yum! And they have very complex flavours too. We do good chocolate down here, and I have to fess up to visiting the Cadbury factory in Hobart on several occasions. It is feral to see so much chocolate and the factory seconds shop. Yum!

Interesting and many thanks. I'll keep an eye out for them on the Saturday’s. I'm tolerant of peoples quirks too and just sort of work around them as long as they don’t bring aggro to me. It seems less trouble than trying to get other people to modify their behaviours... Yup, I vividly recall the sheer quantity of the End of the World of the Week (I may have misremembered the title) which was drawn from the cleverly titled book: Apocalypse Not.

It is very thoughtful of a talking dog to save humanity. Of course the talking dog may have possibly been also facing obliteration by the aliens? I'd be mildly concerned if the dogs could speak as they can be a little bit obsessive. Mr Poopy would undoubtedly be concerned about the particular timing of his breakfast. Then my lunch may be another concern for him. Then perhaps his biscuit dinner would happen not quite quickly enough. And he would be absolutely beside himself with fear of missing out on my dinner. Then he'd do that routine all over again the next day. It is a bit like people asking obsessively the dreaded question: Are we there yet? What ever happened to a sense of mystery?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Oops. Almost missed your second comment... Too much accounting work today. Oh well.

Oh my, what a family history. Don't you reckon it is funny that some people can't seem to run their own race, and they end up stuck in some awful comparison loop? That story doesn't end well and that example sure didn't.

I mentioned the decline in price for those items to the editor, and she also remarked that the same thing is going on down here. On the other hand it is a good opportunity to purchase very high quality items for personal use which are otherwise ignored. I tend to look for quality and repairability. The thing is, there just is not much of a selling market. What is a kitchen queen?

Oh yeah, food adapts and basil is worth the effort. Good for them. I'll be interested to learn how the Italian family goes with their cooking efforts.

Believe it or not Mr Poopy is hassling me for my dinner. What have we started here?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Did I read Wikipedia correctly? "losses to the aquifer between 2001 and 2011 equated to a third of its cumulative depletion during the entire 20th century" and "The aquifer system supplies drinking water to 82% of the 2.3 million people". Oh my. I have no idea what to say about that and am at a complete loss for words.

Of course, that accords with my understanding too with rainfall down here. In fact I reckon rainfall if not too extreme trumps soil fertility every time. The rainfall here is usually consistent – until it isn’t... The thing I reckon is because soil fertility can be increased rapidly in higher rainfall areas due to greater plant growth, but only if we choose to do so. Oh yeah, did you note the slow pace of replenishment due to the low annual precipitation and high evaporation rates in that aquifer? Not good.

Rolling a tank on its side is a good option and much safer than other methods. On the uphill section I was a bit hard pressed for space so that is why I pushed it uphill instead. A little bit at a time.

Haha! I sense a second water tank in your future... Storing water at the highest point on a property is a very wise way to go. Everything else requires pumps or manual lifting. Of course you may have to pump water up there in the first place or utilise or construct a roof space. I collect a huge volume of water from the roof. Every 1mm of rain equates to 1 Litre of water over every 1 square metre of roof space. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

You are very observant! My marketing people advised that a change in branding would be good at this point in time! Hehe! Only kidding, the earlier photo was from a few years ago, and for some reason, I've aged in between. What's with that? Where is that ring of power when you need it. Pah!

Absolutely correct, the University punishment was self-inflicted for something bad I must have done in a previous life. It is a bit like pushing water tanks uphill don't you reckon? Aren't they naughty that lot? I hope they come through the experience in one piece with their sanity intact? The stories that people run in their heads these days are sometimes quite dysfunctional.

I too thought the same thing about Sir Scruffy. It is pretty funny isn't it? And there is no dignity here for the dogs, even those that have well-earned titles. Anyway, which was the head and which was the tail? What a question we have to answer here. :-)! Your comments always brighten my day.

Oh yeah, that water tank behind the little one is six times larger (at 24,000 Litres). And it has a friend sitting next to it. I take water very seriously here. The biggest tank is 33,500 Litres and that one frightened me being underneath it as it slowly rolled down hill. Those were wise words about the necessity to always push heavy items uphill.

Mr Toothy provided invaluable help and advice in that construction. Of course sometimes it may have appeared that he was asleep enjoying the sun, but he was alert to any minor adjustments that were required and he happily pointed them out.

How feral were the wallabies? Do your deer get up to those sort of antics? Spare a thought for the poor fruit trees.

I have to fess up and tell you that I too am surprised by the sheer volume of flowers on the fruit trees this year. Last summer was a very poor harvest due to a very late and very heavy frost.

It is such a small world sometimes... This specimen of Yellow Pine is in a botanical garden in the next shire to the north of this one. The tree is quite old now and was originally ordered by a very interesting historical character in the plant scene down here: Pinus ponderosa. Far out!

My pleasure and I hope you get good results with the recipe.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo, Steve and Jo,

Thanks for the lovely comments but I have run out of time to reply to them tonight. I promise to reply tomorrow.

Damo - Great to hear that the new job and digs are going well. I hope it doesn't rain too much down there. :-)! However, lots of rain may turn into lots of paid work for you? Hope Mrs Damo is settling in too and I look forward to your review.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am trying to remember what I want to pick up on. The only thing that I think makes learning easier, as one gets older, is that one has more knowledge already to attach it to; if that makes sense. I am learning a lot from 'Liar's Poker' but would need a second reading to get it all, there is just too much there. It is frequently making me laugh. I can see why it failed to act as a warning; so much excitement for youthful testosterone.

Yes, really strong cheddar is crumbly and I also wonder why.

Old good furniture is very cheap here as well. The young don't want it and look at their parents stuff with horror.

Ah yes 'luck'. I am wracking my brains to think of an occasion when I have just struck lucky. I really can't think of one, though it/they must exist. If I have been in the right place at the right time, it is either because I fought to get there or because I gave up something in order to get there. Am beginning to think that I don't believe in luck bad or good for myself. That is weird. I can see it where other people are concerned but might that be because I don't know the whole story? What do you think.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Thanks, Chris.

And thanks for the Pinus Ponderosa. I have seen them growing in Colorado. I send this about the Southern Yellow Pine; it is a different pine. Apparently I was entirely wrong about it being less available. I had heard a few years after building our house that this was so.

http://www.spartanburgforestproducts.com/our-products/southern-pine

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - A Commuter, of course :-). The dorms were expensive and had more stringent rules, back then. I wanted freedom and independence. Early on, I did live in a converted garage apartment, just a block or two off campus. Later, I still lived in the city, but in a cheaper housing part of the city. The Uni had enormous parking lots, but it was quit a hike to get up to the campus proper. University of Washington has a very beautiful campus.

A bit of a comment on your and Inge’s comments :-). When I was working for Timberland library, I took some on line courses from The University of Maine in “library science.” At first I had some vague notion of getting my degree (finally) but later just decided to stick with the nuts and bolts (and fun) stuff. But I noticed a real difference between younger and older students. The following are sweeping generalizations, but it’s what I observed. A lot of the youngsters dropped the class in the first week or two. There was a lot of whining about “fairness” or the amount of work. And, they just didn’t seem to “get” the best way to go about enhancing future job prospects. Some of them seemed to think that you just got the degree and waltzed into being the head of a big library system with a fat pay check. Well, no. “Building a resume” just didn’t seem to be on their radar. Some were horrified when it was suggested that they do ANYTHING to get a bit of experience, even while in school. Even to volunteering. Heck, I volunteered at a Timberland library for 8 months or so, before I managed to land an entry level job. I also think that older students have a bit of an edge just due to that loose concept, “life experience.”

I just don’t think a lot of small business is going to come back. At least, not until we’re a bit further into the Long Decline. And, they’ll be different kinds of business. If I were younger, it would be a bit tempting to warehouse a lot of this cheap furniture and wait for prices to rise, again. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Good old Dexter. Wonder what he’s up to, these days? :-). I did see the article (or headline) about the Koala in the wheel well. I tend to steer clear of those articles as so many of them just turn out to be click bait. I’m surprised I never see squirrels or squirrel damage in the garden areas. Too many cats around?

Well, the pumpkin flavored cereal was a bust. Not enough pumpkin spice flavor. Ditto the Lindt pumpkin spice mile chocolate truffles. A good thing. Those are $3.50 (on “sale”) for only 5 oz. I wonder if my love of “all things pumpkin” isn’t because of the nutmeg in most of the spice mixtures? Nutmeg is mildly psychoactive. And given my history ... :-).

You nailed it. The talking dog was VERY fixated on biscuits. :-).

A kitchen queen was a popular, large piece of furniture from about 1880 into the 1920s. It was like a very handy kitchen storage and work station. They had built in sifters, vermin proof storage bins. Lots of storage jars. And, usually a work surface in zinc or enamel. Google “kitchen queen” or “Hoosier kitchen” and check the images. Maybe they call them something different in Australia? Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - There's two tv series on now, that are filmed and take place in New Zealand, that you might like. "Brookenwood Mysteries" and "800 words." I quit like them both and look forward to the library getting new seasons.

Funky old kitchen tat is soooo "fun." A lot of it I use. Some is just "decor." Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Strangely enough the caravan park would have been an astute investment from many different perspectives. I can't really say for sure whether the guy made the purchase as an investment. Dunno. I spotted this article about one such park up north: Flooded caravan park owner facing ruin after resident's death. I'd have to suggest that possibly not all sharks have fins and some of them are eyeing off that land for alternative uses.

No, jump in, is the general rule! Yeah, it is crazy as, and I don't get that story at all. The dining table which we restored a while back would cost many thousands new and yet some dude got rid of it for $100. Of course it was stained walnut. But a bit of sweat equity can net some real bargains. You scored pretty well and that mincer will be still working in hundred years time. I assume that it is one of the ones that clamp onto a benchtop with a crank handle?

No worries at all, and of course such things are stressful, but then I've seen people stressing out about doing nothing. Doing something is always preferable to doing nothing, but opinions may vary.

Ep 2 was quite good and it is nice to see people who were not moping about and sooking about how they over committed! They were very chipper and I respect that. The staircase was amazing and it is good to see laser cut plate steel being put to good use. And the colour matched the bright yellow trailer! Far out. I've seen that zinc cladding used down here, but the expansion and contraction of the material causes it buckle and warp. It is hotter down here though.

Yup keep an eye out. And yes, I reckon there is quite a bright future in tiny houses, especially if they are of a modular nature.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Steve,

Exactly. How much trouble would you be in if your better half did not have goal congruence? Far out, I have experienced arguments between other couples up here and sometimes I quite bluntly say: You two need to hold it together. Sometimes they use my company as a safe place with which to discuss matters of contention, and life is too short for me to be exposed to their problems.

And that is so true too.

Good luck and such a resource is invaluable. Total water stored here is just shy of 110,000 Litres and it is mostly full now. In a drought year I can still expect to harvest about 210,000 Litres over the course of that year - although it may not be distributed well - eg. You don't require much water during winter and that is when you may get the bulk of your rain. All other water harvested and not used gets stored in the soil as groundwater.

Thanks!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Jo,

Ha! That's funny. Actually I know a few Canadians and they are lovely people. You could do far worse than live there...

Yes, thanks about the Sisyphus recall. I have definitely done something very bad in a past life. Oh well, there's always more rocks, fence posts, and cement to take up there... And maybe some manure too. Fortunately the strawberry runners don't weigh much. :-)!

Absolutely! Top work with the experiment! Those minerals are invaluable and I'm a fan of rock crusher dust for re-mineralising the soil. As a suggestion, and I don't know the answer to this, but the rock dust may improve drainage too? Dunno.

A trailer load of rock crusher dust (half cubic metre) is about the heaviest load that little dirt rat and yellow trailer can bring back up the hill. It's heavy.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

That is an intriguing concept: Knowledge being sticky (attaching to, in your words). It seems to fit as I certainly learn by building upon past knowledge and experience. So yeah, sticky seems to be a good way to describe that. Nice one.

I was surprised that the higher echelon's of that company appeared to not understand the mechanics of what the salespeople were selling. Yes, there is probably more to be gained by a second reading, but other books call for attention and time is short... Oh well. I enjoyed the Big Short much better than Liar’s Poker, but opinions vary. Yes, the youthful antics would have driven me bananas, but others would have found them to be akin to a magnet.

Dunno why either. Next time I see my cheese making friends I may ask them why that is the case. Unfortunately for me, they like producing blue cheeses.

The desire for all new stuff is a strange desire. Doesn't it make you wonder who programmed that desire? Certainly it is not an adaptive desire for people and it is clearly unsustainable over a period of time. Sometimes I mention to people expressing that desire that: Things are only new once.

Yes, I was wondering about luck too. You know I mention to others about the ever rising house price shenanigans. And then I mention to them that before all that kicked into overdrive, I could construct a house for a little bit over $40,000 (the median house price for Melbourne is something around $700k), so the thought is not lost on me that: giveth on one hand, and taketh away on the other. Dunno. Mostly, I often just turned up and put my hand up and jumped into the deep end, and that seems to be an effective strategy. Do you reckon people seek safety and there is a certain amount of letting go sometimes and just seeing how it all plays out? Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you for the correction. There are a lot of pine species aren't there?

Good to see that the tree is making a comeback. Pines are enormously fast growing and they happily self seed here although the species are Radiata Pine and Douglas Fir. They get huge too. Just for your interest, most plantations down this way usually grow Radiata Pine (I believe it is also known as the Monterey Pine). They're very drought hardy, but you don't want to see a fire in one of those plantations...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

No worries at all, there is good value to be gained in being independent. Exactly, the costs and rules would have driven me bananas - a bit like living with your folks plus bills (I paid about $400 per month in board from memory and rent was only about $70 per week in those days. Good incentive to move out early)... Interesting about the parking lots. Generally you don't see that with the Uni's here unless they are in the outlying suburbs. As a comparison the campus I went to was very nondescript and could have been a series of office blocks. Near to that are some union owned brutalist buildings and the other day when I walked past them, I noticed that they were suffering from concrete cancer and some of the steel reinforcement was rusting away and exposed to the air. I don't much appreciate that brutalist architectural style. Interestingly too, I noticed that the new Metro tunnel rail project has a new station next to one of the Uni's in town. There are lots of heavy looking serious machines poking around the ground. I feel very sorry for the poor traders having to put up with that racket for years to come... But then it is complex because I have excavator envy!

No problems at all. Pile onto the conversation. When I was a kid there used to be a game called stacks on, and people just jumped onto a pile of other people to see how high the stack could go before anyone at the bottom of the pile got injured. Far out, imagine parents encouraging that these days? What were we talking about? Oh yeah. Hey, I saw a lot of dropping away as the semester wore on too. It happens. The first lecture you struggle getting a seat, but by the end, the lecturers struggle getting an audience. The system as it stands is unfair and getting worse, but I had a conversation with someone the other week about that very thing. I basically said the same thing, it's not fair and if you want to join into that system, you may have to volunteer as an unpaid intern just to get into that system, let alone get a job. It's an old story. The editor as a kid wanted to get some retail experience, so she just volunteered to work at the local milk bar (think suburban general store) for free just to get a reference. After a short period of time, they paid her - not much mind you, but better than nothing. And then she got a job in a department store in town. I'm not saying that the system is fair, but if you want to swim in those waters, people have to accept that it is not fair and just get on with it. The main problem is that it is not really their fault, it is how they're programmed to function (as I once heard it put).

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Yeah, again it gets down to the timing. I suspect that money will eventually be printed out of its value, but it may take a while. I find the focus on money is really quite strange, I tend to consider: what can I exchange this note for? Exactly, and small business will look different again.

Well apparently the Dexter story is finished. Alas, I rather enjoyed the books and show - which diverged from the story in the book early on. Dexter's brother was an amusing character - who you wouldn't want to annoy, and he lived on right up to the final book. I did note the actor was promoting a film that his new wife was acting in, but I don't know how that all turned out.

Yeah, the koala article stinks of click bait, but it really did happen. Winter may provide a new insight into squirrels and garden interactions? Dunno.

That is a shame about the pumpkin. Oh well. It is worth trying. And I had absolutely no idea about nutmeg! Far out... Run, Lewis, Run! :-)! It does taste nice though. Dare I mention eggnogs?

Haha! Funny stuff. You know, dogs can have very distinct and different personalities. But it is hard to forget the obsessives. Mr Toothy is in disgrace today as he rolled in something unmentionable. I took him outside and hosed him down and then applied a generous quantity of soap. Dogs...

Thanks for that. Yes rodent proof storage bins may be a good future technology... I'm not being sarcastic saying that either. The rats are smarter than me for sure. I spotted one scuttling into a garden bed last night. A job for Mr Poopy rat bane. The kitchen queen images on the web looked like Aga stoves to me. Is that right?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Not sure about people seeking safety though past experience may make it a requirement for some. I suspect that it is just laziness making them settle for the status quo.

Remember that nutmeg is poisonous, I believe that a whole nutmeg can kill a child. I am amused at all these attempts to do something with pumpkin, they are so large and so tasteless. I would settle for soup, roasting and the American sweet pumpkin pie.

I have a tree surgeon coming tomorrow to look at that dratted hanging branch. The same man who took down the oak overhanging my shack.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

But Mr. Toothy only wanted to impress his canine friends . . .

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Thanks for sharing your experiences with higher education. My parents were quite well off so there were no money worries for me though my father died suddenly right after I graduated so that was not the case for my siblings. I went to a all women college that my mother had also attended right on the lake front in Chicago but only an hour away from home. I stayed with my grandmother for the first semester during the week but did talk my parents into living on campus after that. As my mother was very restrictive and I had to babysit for all my siblings I must admit that I pretty much played especially my freshman year. The fact that my mother had me come home almost every weekend to babysit meant that I had to get all my partying in during the week too. My freshman year was also when the Kent State shooting occurred any many colleges went on strike. I think I only had one take home final as the rest of my professors all went on strike too so there were basically no classes. That meant lots of protesting the Vietnam war and enjoying the beach. Needless to say my mother was not pleased. My grades for the first two years were pretty abysmal but I did get my act together for my last two years. The saying "Education is wasted on the young." has some truth to it in many cases. You might think an all women's college might not be too much fun but we were right next door to Loyola University and could take courses there and vice versa. Then there were the frat parties... Also when you don't have any skin in the game financially speaking there's more of a change of not taking it seriously.

Moving that water tank looks very dangerous. I'm so glad you managed without mishap.

Tomorrow the photographer comes to take pictures of the inside of the house so getting it ready has been my main focus. My sister came out to help all day Monday. Two small ladies in their 60's managed to haul a lot of stuff out to the driveway for donation to the Epilepsy Foundation. However, when the truck arrived yesterday it was almost full. The driver asked if I could reschedule but I absolutely couldn't so I offered to help and he managed to get it in but still had five more stops. He said they never told the drivers what they were picking up. I did understand his frustration. I had even called the day before to update regarding how much stuff there was.

We've had record breaking heat here - a stretch of seven days over 90 but at least it wasn't terribly humid. Still no rain either but this year we have a new feature - tons of paper wasps flying around windows wedging themselved between window frames and siding. We've always had a few but this year there were 100's. They really aren't too aggressive especially at this time of year but still rather disconcerting and their favorite spot was right where we have our evening drink together.

Well better get on with the cleaning.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Seen around the web ... :-). Cliff Mass has a new post. “Global warming has played only a minor role in enhancing some of the recent extreme weather events.” One wonders what a major role is going to be like. He also banged on a bit about resilience. Where have we heard about that, before? :-).

So, are you signing up to be an astronaut? I see Australia is going to launch it’s own space agency. Not that Australia hasn’t done space things, before. Launched one of the first satellites, way back when. But, I guess it’s never had an agency for overall planning and development. That article was from NPR.

And then there was an article about muscadine grapes. Also, a related grape called a scuppermong. They sound like they might do well in your part of the world, as they’re a grape that mostly grows in the SE, here. The only native North American grape. Wonder if that’s what the Vikings were banging on about when they named their North American discovery Vinland? There’s a muscadine “mother vine” in North Carolina that has been cultivated for 400 years. It covers 1/4 acre. It made the news as some utility people sprayed it and darned near killed it. The grape has seeds and a rather thick skin. More roundish, too.

The University of Washington campus is quit beautiful. It began as the grounds for the 1905(?) Alaska-Yukon exposition. At that time, the land was far out of town. So, a trolly line was built to connect it and the buildings and grounds built with an eye toward making it a campus later. There were a few buildings left over from the exposition. Most of the were built in the 1920s and 1930s. Before Brutalism took hold. Some buildings cluster around a fountain that has a sweeping view across Lake Washington to Mt. Rainier. Lots of student high jinks in and around that fountain. I seem to remember taking a dip with some seals that had been placed in the fountain ... The trolly line stimulated the creation of trolly suburbs, in the north part of the city, around the University.

There’s a lot of egg nog sloshing about during the holidays. Some of it is pretty tame. There’s even egg nog ice cream. But I have to keep a sharp eye on the contents, due to possible liquor content. Someone in my situation also has to keep a sharp eye on holiday candies (sometimes, liquor fillings) and cakes soaked in brandy or rum. Not that big of a deal. The tame versions of those things are quit nice.

Oh, boo. The best search is “Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet.” Click images. That’s more like it. And, as I thought you might ask, Hoosier is a name for residents of the State of Indiana. The best known company that built the cabinets called their model a “Hoosier” (it even had a little brass plaque, declaring it). But there were several companies in Indiana that built them. “Hoosier” was in general use, for residents of Indiana by the 1840s. No one seems to know where the word comes from. As is usual in most cases, it will probably be claimed that it is some convoluted form of a Native American word. That seems to be the catch all for any linguistic mysteries :-). Hoosier with a small “h” can mean an awkward, unsophisticated person. Especially a rustic (rural.) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. We’re going to have a couple of hot days in the 80sF, and then back to rain by the weekend. I mucked about in my garden space, yesterday. Harvested some basil flower spikes to dry the seed. I have them laid out on some newspaper on top of a bookcase. When I opened my bedroom door, this morning, my apartment reeks of basil. Quit nice. I also scattered a bit of bone meal about. I really think there’s a phosphate deficiency. Other than the tomatillas, “fruiting” seems a bit off. The pumpkins are small, the onions won’t bulb. Not many tomatoes and they’re slow to ripen. I finally got one of the horse radish out of it’s pot and into the ground. There is a volunteer tomato in that pot, and I wonder what it is. It’s getting quit large and is in flower, so I might get a tomato or two before the frost. Maybe. When I dug the hole for the horseradish, worms were very much in evidence. Go worms! Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - I saw a review of the Star Trek Discovery series. Generally, pretty good. But mentioned you really need to watch the first two episodes to get the full effect. That review was at npr.org. Slate.com had an article about how hard it is to keep continuity. Given 50 years and numerous tv series and movies. And, Spock has an adopted human sister who hasn't been mentioned in those 50 years? Well, I suppose given the longevity of Vulcans, having a family member around for 20 odd years is just a blip in the family history arc. Plus, given the ... prejudice over Spock's half human ancestory, maybe she was a bit of a guilty secret?

I breathlessly await your review :-). Lew

Damo said...

@Lew/Chris RE:Star Trek Review

The short version, it has a lot going for it.

In more detail, I think peoples enjoyment will come back to how much they like the reboot-Trek movies. For my self, as you guys know, I *hated* Into Darkness but rather enjoyed the first reboot and Simon Peggs third one. Discovery is very much set in the JJ Abrams timeline (even though it takes place 10 years before the Kelvin incident that starts off the 2009 reboot movie and kicks off a new timeline) and takes its visual and design cues from those movies.

Unfortunately for me, it also takes in the sloppy writing and strange character actions that plagued the 2nd movie with a preference for things that look cool over what makes sense. Hopefully there will be less of that as the series moves forward, indeed at the end of the 2nd episode they showed a little trailer for the rest of the season and, without giving spoilers,it is a *very* different setup from the traditional Trek show and I am cautiously optimistic about where it might go.

As a grumpy old man, I do miss the simple, clean lines of the earlier ships. The new Klingon ships are very busy and cluttered, and even the federation ships are hard to make out with the lens flare and dark shadows. But that is nit-picking :-p

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

There is much in what you say, but also perhaps I used the wrong word. Rather than safety, perhaps certainty is a better way to describe that need. I saw a lot of that over at the ADR back in the day and people seemed to want to know the unanswerable question: "when". And then because the question is unanswerable, the people asking the question acted as if the issues relating to the question were not relevant. Dunno, do you feel that that may be a better word?

Well that makes sense about nutmeg as often poisons can be potent hallucinogens. I have no taste for such things.

On a strange note, I'm out with the chickens in the orchard and just off in the distance is an echidna digging around and getting up to the usual business of echidna's. You have to keep your eyes open when you are out in the forest. I'm sitting with the chickens tonight because I heard a couple of fox cubs yipping off in the distance. I keep more of an ear out for the noises that the chickens are making as they alert each other when predators are nearby.

Queensland Blue pumpkin is the standard down here, followed by Jap or butternut pumpkin and they are both quite tasty - roasted with the skins. Boiled they are not good. Back in the day people used to boil them for some reason.

Good luck with the hanging garden of Wight! ;-)! I hope the hanging branch is resolved without incident. Incidentally, does the name of your island have anything at all to do with the old school wights?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Mr Toothy has questionable taste and his friends well knew what my response would be!!! It was unfortunate that the day was warm and the sun shone strongly because Mr Toothy appeared to have enjoyed his bath and was looking for further grooming...

I'm out in the orchard tonight with the chickens, and an echidna was not far away nosing around looking for ants and insects to grub up. It seems that the wombats and echidnas have been doing more than their fair share of digging in the orchard over the past few weeks! Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for sharing your story too. You know sometimes, the eldest children can carry a much greater burden relative to the younger children in a household. I can't even imagine the reaction the Kent State shooting caused at the time, and it is good to get your view on the ground as it occurred and the aftermath. It would have cast a huge shadow because who would expect such a thing to happen, until it does.

Hey, the results I received in the second half of the degree were far better than my earlier results too, so I hear you about education being wasted on the young. On that note, it may interest you to know that the editor taught me how to approach the learning with a minimum of work and very good results.

Good to hear that you were able to party too! Good stuff. One must live too and life is not all work. You may note that we go to the local pub regularly and certainly don't stint ourselves on the enjoyment front. For some reason I've noticed that a lot of peoples entertainments tend to be very expensive as if they are doing some sort of grand gesture, rather than just the simple fun stuff. Dunno, everyone is different. Sometimes people try to talk me into eating at very high end restaurants and I put my foot down firmly and decline. I know my station and feel uncomfortable in those places.

Thanks. The really big water tanks frighten me as it is like trying to hold back a car on a hill just through brute force and sheer number of people. The plumbers used an excavator and hooked up a sling.

Good for you donating those items. Well, our society seems to have a lot of "stuff" and that is a lot of stuff in action! :-)! Well done you both for moving the stuff too. Working for a charity would be very complex and difficult with all sorts of challenging situations.

Yes, the insects move with the climate. That happens here too and I believe the cane toads are moving south and west. Sorry to hear what a hot summer you are having. I worry about the heat. Yesterday September heat records for the country were broken. Recorded history has been broken. 109.4'F in the state north of this one.

Hope the photos turn out well and the weather stays nice for them.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

You know, I hear that story too and also wonder what a major event will look like. Honestly, I hope I don't get to find out first hand as that would be a distressing thing to experience. I reckon the main problem becomes, if someone in authority calls it as it is, then unfortunately others may start asking hard questions about what do we do about it? So far, people are dodging that aspect of the problem, and is the correct word: Prevaricating?

Hey, on a strange note. I moved the interweb modem a few weeks back and today discovered that I now have a reliable interweb connection from the chicken enclosure. Who would have thought that that was possible? Hope the chickens don't rack up any bills on my PayPal account... The dogs would if they knew how! I can see Toothy urging on Mr Poopy: Go on Poopy just order the beef jerky, they’ll never notice…

Far out, I was so angry about that. I could not believe the news. So here we are a month before the shutdown of two major car manufacturers whom the government no longer wanted to support, but for some strange reason the government wants to set up a space agency. I'm sorry, I'm just grumpy as, about that fit of foolishness. We used to be in that space business way back in the early days and there was a launch facility up in the outback of South Australia (Woomera rings a bell). Mind you the English used to test nuclear weapons out near-ish to there too. Apparently the claim was made that even New Zealand has a space agency… Someone on ecosophia thought that New Zealand was part of Australia last week. I often stir up my NZ friends about that – then they look grumpy. Hehe!

The second "World made by hand" novel turned up this morning at the post office. And we have a public holiday tomorrow for the football finals on Saturday.

It is interesting that you mention grapes, because the editor and I were speaking this morning about planting out some vines next year. You buy them bare rooted over the winter time here. They do live to an enormous age, but I have never seen or heard of one that old. Up in the north east of this state is the oldest grape vine in the country and it is something like 150 years old. It is very impressive and I cannot imagine what one that takes up a quarter acre would look like! Did I imagine it, or is there a giant mushroom somewhere on the planet? From memory, it is pretty massive. Oh, yeah, we're thinking of growing sultana grapes which are a table and drying grape. We eat a lot of them and they are very tasty snacks. Plus I add them to the dog and Anzac biscuits. Yum!

Those exhibitions were quite the thing back in the day weren’t they? Imagine the sense of wonder you would have looking around them way back in the day. There was one of them in Brisbane but I reckon I was too young to go and see it, but I may have misremembered that. We have the Exhibition buildings (1880's) here too which are now heritage listed. Nice work on the domes of those buildings! Scary stuff. Interestingly too, as the Nearings were writing about their stone work on their house, I started wondering about how all of those old stone keeps and castles were constructed... Ah yes, developers caught on to the tram and train lines down here too in the 19th century. They do the same now and those old street-scapes are being replaced by multi story unit developments...

Eggnog icecream. Total yummo! Fair enough too, that is why I put the disclaimer in. Yes, that is part of many recipes. Interestingly too, they often involve raw egg and whilst I'm comfortable with the hygiene of my chickens and their enclosure, well, eggs don't appear to be eggs to me these days. Total respect to you too for placing limits on yourself. Not everyone understands those.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Oh yeah, they had similar arrangements down here too with the Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet, but the ones I have seen generally dated from around the Depression era. You know a lot of them looked home made to me and were cobbled out of whatever materials were to hand at the time. I once uncovered a very old extension on a house which appeared to be constructed of packing crates. It hadn't fallen over in the meantime and sometimes I wonder whether we go to extremes with our building codes...

Ah yes, people love to feel better than others if they get the chance. I was going to post a question about such matters on the open post. Maybe tomorrow as I'll have more time to consider the question.

Far out, your summer sounds like the sort of summer we get here. September temperature records tumbled in the two states to the north of here yesterday. I love the smell of basil as it really is nice. Bone meal is an exceptional additive to soil. I once worked down the road from a producer of that stuff and the summer smell was memorable - although it competed with the sheep tannery. A tough call to pick the most memorable as they both had high points of interest! :-)!

You know it takes two years for good quality soil to get established, but you may find it to be quicker as the plot was already used as a garden plot and there is probably a fair bit of life in there to begin with. It will improve in time. On Saturday I'm planning to move strawberries into fresh compost and they're not going to like it... Go the worms! Like the rats, my money is on the worms too.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for the review. And I appreciate your frank assessment. Those attributes may soften as the characters and writers get more comfortable with their story. It is a very flooded market for media and sometimes heavy handedness can be overused in story lines and CGI. Mate, I watched the film "Mother" a couple of weeks back and as a review I'd have to say that "heavy handedness" would be a bit of an understatement. Jennifer Lawrence nailed the part, but far out, the script and camera work (not to mention the intense audio) was a bit much for my poor brain... I'm not worthy! Hehe!

Well I'm glad to hear that you are cautiously optimistic for the rest of the season and I haven't asked you about your opinion of the Orville, although you did mention it a while back. Have you watched further episodes?

I am intrigued by your mention of the busy looking ships.

Has autumn arrived there in NZ?

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

"I can see Toothy urging on Mr Poopy: Go on Poopy just order the beef jerky, they’ll never notice…". There is going to be an even bigger stink, Mr. Toothy . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

If you are collecting pumpkin recipes, here's something I hadn't heard of: Pumpkin Souffle. It sounds a touch difficult (souffles and I don't mix, so I won't be trying it), but I have tried a lot of Kevin's recipes and they have all turned out well. Tonight I am making his 1960s Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole Pie.

http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2017/09/pumpkin-souffle-gf/

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Yup. Pumpkin can be pretty bland. You need to dress it up and take if for a walk :-). A lot of the pumpkin stuff I seek, at this time of the year, actually has no pumpkin in it. It's all about the spice mix. I did a quick search for "nutrients in pumpkin." Besides a plethora of fiber, it has quit a long list of vitamins and minerals. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The Kent State shootings were really something. I remember the day so clearly. My Dad had been up for a visit and got up well before me. Made coffee, went out for a walk and a newspaper. When I got up, I made him breakfast and sent him on his way. Sat down with the newspaper and there it was splashed all over the front page. Dad hadn’t even mentioned it! It was the first time I felt a feeling, that I have felt again, very few times in my life. It’s like my perception of the world tips, and everything slides into a corner. It’s such an odd feeling. James Michener wrote a slim book about it. Out of keeping for his usual stuff. There was also another mass shooting at an Afro-American college a few days later (Jackson State?) but you don’t hear near as much about that. Margaret is right about classes being cancelled. Between Kent State and protests against the Viet Nam war, there was about three years running where there wasn’t much of a spring quarter.

I saw an article on alternet.org asking the question as to when people will start giving up on coastal areas and migrating inland. The military has done several studies on climate change, but they don’t seem to get much traction. They’re on top of it and planning accordingly. There was an article I saw last week on how involved they were in rescue and recovery during the hurricanes. Extensive involvement that we really didn’t hear much about.

Speaking of space, I finally broke down and watched “The Martian” last night. Not a bad film, but I did fast forward a bit, toward the end. Sigh. I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t find a bit of tat left over from some long lost Martian civilization. You have to remember I came up during the 50’s and 60’s when all things “space” seemed possible. Rationally, I know it’s all a bit silly. And, expensive.

The old exhibitions were quit something. A celebration of technology, industry and exploration. With maybe a bit of art thrown in. :-). Progress. And probably contributed quit a bit to the mindset that got us (somewhat) into the mess we’re in now.

There probably a lot of Hoosier kitchen cabinets that were hand done. Back in the day, the magazines “Popular Mechanics” and “Popular Science” were filled with all kinds of plans for all kinds of household furnishings. Boys built all kinds of things in shop classes. Home workshops were pretty extensive. Every once in awhile I’ll see a piece of old furniture and wonder if it’s factory made or from a school or home shop. The quality in either case can be quit high. It occurred to me that I see quit a few of the old workshops being sold off at auction. A few years ago, the old tools and such brought a bit of money. Not so much, anymore. The old fellows who were interested in those things are all dying off. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I think our agricultural county extension office does soil tests for little or no money. I may have one done, next spring. Well, there were certainly no worms in the soil of my plot. But there was probably all kinds of other dormant things. Adding the organic material and worms seems to have jump started a lot of activity. I'll probably work in a few bags of some kind of compost and I plan to plant a cover crop of some kind of green manure.

We're going to have a hot day, today, and then the weather will turn back to rain, tomorrow. I trimmed back quit a bit of the tomatilla which was storming the deer fencing :-). I cut up the trimmings and threw them on a bit of bare ground in my plot. Bare ground which has coffee grounds, kitchen scraps and all the trimmings from tomatilla, pumpkin and cucumber under it. My earliest San Marano tomato began to blush a bit pink and is now running to red. One of my pumpkins is developing a slight orange stripe.

We get some pretty big mushrooms, but I think what your thinking of is a run of mushroom mycelia down in Oregon. I forget which species of mushroom it is, but they DNA tested the mycelia over several square miles, and it's all from the same organism. Might be the biggest living organism on the planet.

We have a bit of an old grape arbor, here at The Home. The Garden Goddess has been working on it, but, between the deer and birds ... I don't think we'll get much off of it. Two kinds of grapes, a green and a purple.

I watched the Italian episode of that Australian cooking show, last night. The extended family gets together for the tomato harvest. it was pretty interesting. They did Roma tomatoes and put them up in old beer bottles. They reduce it to a seedless paste and put the bottles in 50 gallon drums, in layers, with old clothes in between. So the bottles don't knock together. Boil for an hour and let cool overnight. Everyone has their task and it's quit a production line. I wonder if it's on YouTube? Chef Connelly, "My Family Feast", episode 2. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No nothing to do with 'wights' thank goodness.

Yesterday evening I watched a programme on BBC2 which was far worse than Michael Lewis's books; I am still reeling even though I knew a lot of it already. This was pt 1 of a 3 part series 'Billion dollar deals and how they changed your world'.
This part took a look at the deals struck between health professionals and the pharmaceutical companies. Ye gods! Right down to the companies funding research by someone who told them what the results would be before he had done the research.

'Certainty':- Of course it doesn't exist, sad for those who look for it. Safety is probably just an aspect of it. I have often wondered how JMG stood the pathetic questions that he was,. and still is, asked.

The tree has been looked at and the work will be done within the next 2 weeks.

Inge

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

People have such fixed ideas about what it is acceptable to do. It's ok to garden, but food producing plants in the front yard (in suburbia) are a bit of a no-no. It's ok to do certain kinds of building work (eg. paving, or other decorative stuff), but plumbing should be done by others (yuck!).

I think it ties back in with status (doesn't everything?)

This is why I think that, while many city folk have fantasies of "living on the land", most would end up just living in the bush, and driving to the supermarket every week (and complaining that their internet is too slow ;-).

Thanks for trying to keep it real.

Cheers, Angus

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Yep, the mincer is a benachtop clamp model and very heavy. I bought a small cut of meat to test on it this week. I feel some chili con carne coming!

Far out, EP2 and 3 of Grand Designs were good. The large square box was expensive, but solidly built. I liked they did a little replica of the old cottage. The 'shed' in EP3 might be one of my favourites for a long time. It was a great result and very affordable for the floor area and quality they got. And kudos to him doing so much himself! That cross-laminated timber looks like terrific stuff, have you seen anyone in Australia use it?

The Orville is good, it fills a TNG-shaped hole in my heart! We are lucky to have two Star Trek shows on TV :-p

RE: 'busy' ships, I am talking from an external design point of view. They can add so much more detail these days. But with all the crazy explosions, spinning camera angles and space debris it was hard to make out what the ships actually looked like, maybe it is all a ruse to make me buy a bigger TV?

@Lew
Thank you for the NZ show tips. Mrs Damo remembered hearing about one of them a while back and apparently the word was good! Catching up with some local drama might help us 'assimilate' into this strange culture :-)

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Toothy and the new adventures in manure would make for a dodgy blog title don't you reckon? Funny stuff, I reckon they'd order some beef bones too whilst they're at it...

Cats would order different things, possibly pet mice... :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for sharing your memory of that day. Was your dad the talkative sort? I too have felt the world turn and then things were the same, but not quite the same thereafter. It happens and you never know when such events take place. I recall that feeling after the Challenger disaster. When I was a kid I really loved the idea of space travel, but the loss of the space shuttle - and the causes for the loss - were enough to kick that interest. That morning I was up well before dawn delivering newspapers and got to see the headlines well before most people. It was quite a shock, mostly because I'd considered the machines to be the logical next step for humanity, but to see them fail... I feel there is a lot to be learned in failure if one is brave enough to dig deep. Sometimes failing is actually a form of success, although people may look at it differently at the time.

Yes, the military get wheeled out here too during severe natural disasters - as they should. They are public servants after all. The interesting thing about those folks is that there are enough of them that have to deal with the nitty-gritty details on the ground that they generally can't get lost in abstractions. Navy bases may have some serious problems on their hands with global warming.

Thanks for the review. You know, I haven't seen that film and was curious to learn of your opinion of the subject. There was a rather memorable quote from the film about "sciencing the sh$t out of this"! I rather liked the film "Total Recall" the 1990 version of course as it uncovered a mysterious alien machine and at least touched upon - albeit lightly - the lack of a magnetic field on that planet. How cool would it be to find an alien machine? The thing I never quite understood about the story, was why didn't the aliens set off the machine? Anyway, I'm not much of a fan of Philip K Dick, but credit where credit is due and all that. I noticed that in the same week that a space agency was ordained down here, Mr Musk has been touring around and there was some talk about a rather large battery in South Australia.

Well it would have been like a carnival event don't you reckon? Roll up, roll up, and see the wonders of the world! Of course the wonders of the world are pretty cool, but in such an event they pay for their way in ways that aren't quite the same as in the real world. Interestingly, I heard a song on the radio the other day from local band San Cisco (song - The Distance) and I swear they used a Theremin. It is very cool.

Speaking of popular science. Mate, working in a newsagent as a kid had its advantages! When the paper deliveries where late - which was more often than you'd imagine, I sat in the newsagency in the pre-dawn mirk and read the magazines. One of my favourites was Electronics Australia and they'd have stories on how to make this gizmo or that gizmo and generally the parts were easy to obtain at various local stores about the place. I'll tell ya what, nowadays things are not so simple and the very back to basics stuff are very hard to obtain, although there is a shop in the city which I drop past every few weeks to pick up supplies. Fortunately, online shops can mail directly these days for the more obscure items. It is interesting that you mention such do-it-yourself concepts because I recently ordered an amazingly well constructed blade fuse and distribution box and such things were not around (outside of a car wreckers) only a few years ago. I find that too, that nobody seems to be interested, until of course they are interested... A mates parents once derided a mate of mine for wanting to learn the "old arts" from them and they said "why bother when you can buy the stuff cheaper". Hmmm.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I'd be very interested to hear about your soil test when you get to it. Soil life is so small and complex that we can't know it, but worms are a good indicator and I reckon you are pursuing the right path. It just takes time. The compost is a good idea and I'm planning to bring another trailer load up tomorrow for the strawberries. Far out, seven fence posts in today and more excavations, plus we constructed another concrete stair up to that strawberry terrace (probably five or six stairs to complete that staircase).

Your tomatoes are not that far behind what happens here. When they are outdoors, generally late February (your late August) are the first ripe fruit and then the big haul is in March and April (your September and October). You just got off to a late start this year is all. Hey, I'll chuck a photo of the egg carton tomato germination system on the next blog. About fifty seedlings have popped up so far - in under two weeks... A system that works!

Of course, you are correct and that was the mycelium that I was recalling. It's big that fungi and it covers a hill top and then some.

You are lucky to have a garden goddess busily working away in the garden. I hope that she transfers some of that knowledge too? Yes, I too have been wondering about whether the vines should be in a sealed cage, but I'm not sure about that. I can confirm that strawberries are consumed by every living thing on this side of the mountain range, and as such I am a victim of my own strawberry growing success. Last year I hit my limit when encountering leeches in the strawberry patch. That was too much for me.

That is pretty much how they do it. We follow a similar process but include summer vegetables, tomato skins and the seeds. Oh, and we use a hot water bath of a more manageable size! You know I have no idea why they remove the seeds, but it may be a preference thing - like blackberries for you. There is a kitchen device which performs that trick called a mouli, but I just don't see the value. I save seed from tomatoes and just eat the remains of the fruit... Who knows?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Wights would make for very unpleasant company, wouldn't they? :-)!

Thanks for the heads up about that BBC program and I will try and track it down. No doubts I too will be horrified. Marketing of pharmaceuticals is banned down here, but I have heard of anecdotal accounts of seminars in exotic locations etc... When I was a kid one of the other kids in school may have been a Thalidomide kid as he had hands and no arms. I never thought to ask him about it and his experience, he was just another kid at school.

Mr Greer is apparently made of stern stuff. And if that is the case we should do our best to lift the batting average, don't you reckon? Hehe! We can but try.

Nice to hear about the tree. Such branches can fall without notice - even on still days. In fact, actually I find more trees and limbs fall on still days after heavy rain and wind than during the storm itself. That may be the forests down here though.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Angus,

Yup! You know in the old hill station gardens around here, there are often very good vegetable patches and old orchards, but they are poked away out of sight in distant corners of the property. That sort of distance tells me all I need to know on that subject. The kitchen and herb garden here is adjacent to the kitchen and it is easy to go out and pick herbs and vegetables.

There is also the matter of "professional capture" where a trade gets a monopoly granted through legislation and such is the case with plumbing and electricals. Fortunately I can legally do the low voltage DC electricals involved in the off grid system (up to 120V DC or 50V AC when last I checked) and the rural plumbing. The plumbing was singly the most expensive item here with the house construction, although from hindsight I could have done it cheaper through better design. If the place burns down in a bushfire, I may get that opportunity...

Exactly, everything comes back to status. Humans have constructed their own housing for millennia. Just sayin...

Thank you for understanding the story. It really is not for everyone and you know, the editor and I probably would not like living in a city nowadays. We can go for about six weeks without doing a supermarket or market run. Of course, I do pick up bananas and milk every week, just because I enjoy bananas in breakfast and lattes rather than espresso's. ;-)!

One of the main themes of the blog is that you can do this sort of life, but it is different from living in a city and I try to communicate that such a life is hard work, but there is a lot of fun to be had too.

I got your email and have only had just enough screen time since to be able to reply to the comments here. I am very slow at responding to emails, so apologies.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

They don't make kitchen items like that one these days! Chili con carne is a favourite. It is good alright. Hey, out of curiosity are you the cook or is Mrs Damo the inspired cook? My mum taught me how to cook from about the age of 12 and I enjoy it, but Mrs Chris is quite adept in the kitchen too. We try to ensure that there is not much crossover in who cooks what and that seems to work. The only rule is who cooks, cleans. Far out, I had two older sisters and so the person that cut anything, never got first choice. Nobody is happy in such a circumstance but nobody is cheated either...

I haven't seen ep2 yet, but they showed some previews of ep3 at the end of ep2 and I saw the shed. I liked the replica cottage too and to be honest seeing the rubbish foundations, I would have knocked it over too, but tried to reuse the bricks which looked pretty old. No point paying for new materials to replace ones you've thrown out. Mind you, they looked like they could afford it given their professions but were probably so busy, may not have had two seconds to scratch themselves... Actually my favourite is the woodsmans cottage where some enterprising dude constructed his house out of predominantly the local materials in the forest and he constructed it using old school techniques. It was very cool, it looked good and was very cheap. Just a lot of hard work!

Haven't watched the Orville yet, but it too is lined up for a viewing. Yeah, this is the year to get the ST fix out of one’s system! Hehe! No doubt, there will probably be a film out soon too. :-)! Good times.

Thanks for the explanation, and that series is also up for viewing shortly too. That makes a lot of sense and I didn't understand that from your first comment. They'll probably ease off the CGI in future. Maybe?

What a laugh about the big screen TV. I thought to myself, I'll just look up some Yoda quote, that dude was never short of a pithy saying, but far out, I went to some website that tried to hack my computer. Far out, what a pest. Fortunately, I just bombed the pop up webpage and they don't know that I run Bitdefender which I pay for. Take that ya little pirates, do your worst! Best not tempt them... Anyway Yoda may say something like: Let go of this ambition you must, otherwise the way of the dark side will take over you. Or something like that! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Was Dad talkative? Well, no. I hadn’t thought about that, in awhile. It was always a struggle to find something ... some common ground to talk about. Visits were usually pretty short. He also had the habit of once he got somewhere, he immediately got antsy to return home.

I felt the same way when I was a newsie and Monroe died. The sleeping city...very few people knew at that hour. A bit of awe. A bit of a feeling of power. Our newspapers were delivered to a shack on a bit of waste ground next to a transformer station. Nothing so interesting as a news agent. So, you had 15 or 20 boys, ages 10-12 (average) standing around generally running each other up and telling the kind of jokes boys in that age range, do. Flatulence jokes were high on the list ....

The line I remember best from the Martian is that once they realize he’s alive, they try and micro manage his growing of some food, from earth. And, he comments they don’t seem to realize he’s the best botanist on the planet. Never mind that he’s the ONLY botanist on the planet. :-). Although I kind of wondered why they needed a botanist, on Mars?

Worlds Fairs and Expos also seemed to have a midway or sideshow area. Areas with more exploitive or “adult” entertainment. A more carnival type of atmosphere.

I’m agonizing over which San Marano tomato to save for seed. The earliest tomato ... well, the bush only has that tomato on it. The other bush has multiple tomato, but they showed up late. The Australian / Italian folks had an electric machine (about the only piece of electric tat they seemed to use) that separated the skin and seeds from the pulp. They mentioned that they had previously used a hand driven machine. I’m pretty sure my Foley Food Mill would do the job. But I also would probably keep the skin and seeds. The Italian ladies mentioned that one year they got lazy, left the seeds in and it was bitter. I thought that was an odd observation.

I always try three or four local places before resorting to the internet. But when you need something a bit off beat, it’s the way to go. But I’ve also noticed that more and more, local suppliers of ... whatever ... are carrying less of a variety of items.

I went to the auction, last night. There was one item I was interested in. A white pottery art deco vase that was in a box with 5 other things I wasn’t interested in. It was marked, too. It hit the block about an hour in and much to my happy surprise, I got it for $5! Now, what to do with the five items that came with it that I don’t want? Might donate them to a Bazaar, The Home is having in November .... Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I've been dragging around a souffle dish, for years, and have never attempted one. I'll give a look at the one you linked too. LOL, bacon cheeseburger casserole pie sounds like one of those dodgy 1950s-60s recipes that actually turn out to taste quit good. Taste good but good for you? :-).

I forgot to mention to Chris that we had a very hot day here yesterday, 80sF. Now it's started raining, overnight. That may be the last 80 degree day we see, this year. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Some blokes are like that in that they can't manage small talk. I've met plenty of those in my time and I often wonder - and no disrespect to your dad - whether they actually have anything to say in the first place? I dunno, but you have to wonder about that because it is one possibility. I sometimes suspect that is why guys talk so much about sports - it is grand final day here today. I have noticed of late that there seem to be a lot of people without hobbies and their lives have taken over and become their hobby. Dunno, it is a complex matter. I respect the fact that you have hobbies and interests. Did your dad have any hobbies and/or interests?

Getting antsy is perhaps a control mechanism - at a guess. I have encountered that behaviour before and I find it to be mildly baffling.

Speaking of which we got one of the doors onto the strawberry enclosure today, set another post (next to the door), constructed another stair step, and began installing the chicken wire around the strawberry enclosure. Everything eats strawberries here. Once I even found that the dogs had broken into the old enclosure and were happily eating the ripe berries. That was the final straw (pun intended!)... They're meant to be on our side, but I suspect that they are on the side of team fluffy!

It was fortunate that he was a botanist. I hope they remembered to take some soil along on that Martian trip, otherwise not much will grow. The time lag would provide a good excuse to ignore mission control - sorry, I didn't get that, you're breaking up. :-)! It was a bit like the Matrix (the film), why didn't they just turn it off? It would have saved quite a lot of hassle.

It is funny that you mention that, but I once went to see the Jim Rose Circus. Is that the sort of thing that was going on just out of sight of the grandees? It was quite entertaining, but uncomfortable at the same time. I rather suspect that they were part of an old tradition which may have dated back centuries. Dunno much about that though.

That is a tough call. My gut feeling is to save both and see what happens next season. Or save one from each and eat one of the multiple tomatoes. I tend to pick for flavour and hardiness. I reckon you'll start earlier next year with the seed raising. Wait until you see the ingenious method of seed raising that we came up with. A couple of capsicums (peppers) popped up in the seedling tray today. I have never seen such rapid germination. Clearly something will go wrong in the future, but today it is all looking pretty good!

I've never noticed a bitter flavour either, but some of the tomatoes the Italian / Australians use have very little flavour in the first place. They're usually bred for size and not for fresh eating.

Yes, I notice that down here too. Product lines are being simplified. It is interesting that you mention that, I was thinking about writing about chocolate tomorrow night.

Top score! Hope the heat doesn't continue for much longer for you.

Cheers

Chris
.

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Question - do you ever see an end to your projects/expansions to where you'll just get to the point of maintaining what you have? Just curious.

Been a busy/physical week getting the house ready for pictures but now that's over at least. I finally closed on the farmland next door that was owned by the family trust for support for my brothers. The owner of the Christmas tree farm across the street purchased it. Well actually I'm financing it but he put more than 1/3 of the purchase price down and will be paying 4% interest on the balance so all in all a good deal. The process all began in June and has been very amicable throughout. Our house goes on the market next week. It's not a typical time to purchase a home but we'll see how it goes.

I know you were commenting to Lew about small talk but I think some people just have a gift for it. Doug does but then I hear the same stuff over and over again haha. Barbers and hairdressers also have that skill from what I've observed.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, yeah, Dad had a lot of hobbies and interests. Some were long term, some kind of a flash in the pan. Hunting and fishing were long term. Rock hunting and pigeon raising were short term. Of course, there was always the house to keep up. The yard, the car.

One wonders why you bother with the strawberries. :-). I’m mean, other than the phenomenal taste. The Pacific Northwest is pretty good strawberry growing country. Even with problems with fungus and mold. It would be about the first crop we’d pick after school let out in late May or early June. I made a lot of money (for the time) picking those strawberries. Some of the ladies, here, have small patches of strawberries. But, they take up so much space. But, with the newer ever bearing varieties, that’s not such a problem. I might grow some, but they’re pretty far down the list. I have to take into account a highly scientific bit of figuring. Amount of ground covered in ratio to return (in fruit or veg.) Not so much return on investment as return on ground covered. :-).

Side shows, freak shows, arcades, midway attractions. They’re all a bit ... sinister and a bit creepy. Sleazy . And, they loom large in literature and movies. We have a tv series called “American Horror Story.” Each year it’s a completely different story. They use some of the same actors, but in completely different rolls. Kathy Bates has done quit a few of them. One season was about a haunted hotel. Think, “The Shinning.” The other took place in a haunted insane asylum. But the fourth year was “American Horror Story - Freak Show.” I think it was my favorite, so far. And, yes, they do go back a couple of hundred years. P.T. Barnum was pretty much a side show. Those Currier & ives prints I like? They had several picturing Barnum’s “acts.” I almost bought the Albino Family, once. Decided the condition of the print was too poor.

I finally sat down and read through Mr. Greer’s last blog posting. I kind of got out of the habit when he took his break and I have a bit of trouble with the new format. I think I liked it better when he had two blogs and kept the metaphysics and everything else, separate. Now, if he’d had a third blog for all the philosophy, all would have been right with the world :-). But, his blog, his rules. But I caught your bit about “psychology of previous investment” and insurance. Darn! I can never remember that term when I want to pull it up out of the old memory bank. Maybe now that I’ve written it down a few times? I think it’s an important concept, and applies to many things. I think we’ve talked about it in relation to the collector’s markets. And, I think it really plays a bit part ... or one of the big parts ... in hoarding behavior. Besides money, I think time can be a “previous investment.” Doing a web search, I was surprised that the concept was attributed to Kunstler. That no one had stated it so concisely before. I was also surprised that there seems to be some ... resistance to the concept. Seems pretty concrete, to me. Lew


Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

I don't actually know the answer to your question. Two important matters are raised by your question though:
1) Sooner or later I'll be dead, so that may be a minor problem for the continuing projects! and
2) Sooner or later I'll reach diminishing returns on new projects as the work and resources required to maintain the existing projects equals or exceeds the ability to implement new projects.
What are your thoughts on that subject? Have you ever encountered that predicament?

It is great to hear that the land has gone to a local who knows the area. I hope they make good use of the land and any infrastructure. What an interesting arrangement. Down here we call that "vendors terms and vendors financing". It can sometimes beat an annuity with some distant organisation from your perspective. Rural dwellings and property sell at unusual times of the year, and down here they can take up to a year, so... Good luck and best wishes for the sale.

That's funny and can be very true. :-)! Oh yeah, those two trades require a person to do small talk and also remember vast quantities of social information. I have to remember that too in my line of work.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Your dad sounds as if he led an interesting life, and I for one am pleased to learn that he had hobbies. A lot of people don't nowadays and I worry about that, because they may otherwise be mediated through too much through the medium of television. I can recall my mum sitting in front of that device night after night. It appeared to me to be like some strange measurement of the passing of time... Long ago I decided to do otherwise. I like the term "flash in the pan". There was a band by that name long ago who wrote a rocking sea shanty styled song called "Down among the dead men". It was quite good and had a memorable melody.

Did you ever take up the hunting and fishing bug from your dad? I have assumed that some people enjoy that hobby for the alone time, or just to get out in nature and enjoy it. Yes, rock hunting. Hmm, well I knew a geologist once a long time ago, but now no longer, and I believe they now work as an accountant. I reckon some people see the stories in rocks and others collect for the hobby and enjoyment of collecting. Dunno.

Very funny! Fresh sun ripened berries from the garden are exactly that, phenomenal! Well the climate and soils are perfect here for berries and potatoes, but I have observed that the local wildlife turn their noses up at potatoes, but alas strawberries are in a permanent open season. It really is unrelenting. And the leeches in the strawberry patch last year brought in by the wallabies... Far out, I have to fess up to being afraid to go in there... Those little parasites had a 100% hit rate.

Top idea with selling the wild strawberries in your youth. Very enterprising. Alpine strawberries are feral in this mountain range, but I reckon they taste like cardboard, although I have occasionally had a couple of teaser alpine strawberries that tasted good. I just can't tell which plants produce the tasty variety. Any tips for me on that matter?

The strawberries take up a lot of space, and they are forever expanding their range, so yeah they probably would be a bad idea in your garden plot.

Yes, I believe that is the general effect that the proprietors of those side shows are seeking to cultivate. I had a vague feeling of unease when I saw the show, that the performers were giving 100% too. Interestingly the show was put on at the Melbourne Town Hall, but it may have been part of the annual comedy festival which uses that venue. It was so long ago, my mind forgets those details.

The Shining was pretty horrific. I believe I can still recall Jack Nicholson creepily saying: "Here's Johnny". Not good. PT Barnum was an astute bloke, despite numerous set backs. I read that he lifted himself from debt through a tour series pandering to the temperance league. A very astute move for the time. A shame about the print, there is always next time.

Fair enough, I had a chance to read it in full with the comments on Friday night. The blog covers huge ground and to be honest I'm happy Mr Greer writes what takes his fancy at the time. Writing is an under remunerated business, so there should be some enjoyment in there for the creator. I reckon he'd be able to manage the three blogs too!

Yup, absolutely, the first time I heard that was only recently on a round table podcast and it was spoken by Mr Kunstler. It was a very astute observation on his part and no doubts he would have gotten push back because it calls into question peoples previous and current decision making processes. Also I reckon people have this fixed sense of the world and all I can see is that there is a huge amount of change, even in my short life. And entropy eats everything. It ain't fixed at all.

What do you reckon about that perspective?

Gotta write tonight! That rhymes! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The tree branch has been dealt with. The chap did a superb job. An interesting young man who is ex military. He does what he says he will do and arrives when he says he will; yet he can think for himself, not brainwashed at all. I have met ex military men of this calibre before and wonder whether their excellence is due to having a great character which is somehow enhanced by the military. I just don't know but it interests me as normally I have no time for the military.

People who have no small talk are often very interesting but one does have to dig.

The strawberries that taste the best are the ones which produce over a few weeks and then stop till next year. I also grow the ones that keep going until it gets very cold but they are less sweet.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

I feel exactly the same about JMG's latest blog. I know that Chris does not like the fact that I have reservations about JMG but this latest blog supports my thoughts about his intentions. I continue to love his monumental intelligence but say 'take care'.

@ Chris

Chuck this out if you object to it.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Before I forget, there was an article on alternet.org, yesterday, that would appeal to the coffee affectionado (sp?). “Brewing a Great Cup of Coffee Depends on Chemistry and Physics.” By Christopher Hendon who is a Professor of Computational Materials Chemistry (what?) at the University of Oregon. You might pick up some new moves. :-).

Oh, I didn’t actually sell strawberries. Back in the dark ages, when I was a wee small lad, at the end of the school year you could sign up with a ... labor jobber? Old busses (owned by the farms? the jobber?) would show up in the wee small hours, to haul us out to farms outside of Portland. We’d pick strawberries, get a punch on a card for each flat of berries. At the end of the day we’d turn our cards in for cash. I don’t know when that practice ended (using local school kids to bring in crops). Maybe the interest waned, or the liability got too steep? After strawberries, we could move onto green beans, raspberries or blueberries.

I never really was interested much in hunting or fishing. When I got sober, and had all this time on my hands, I did consider fishing. But the fishing laws are so byzantine, these days ... There’s a good sized book that comes out every year that controls just about all aspects of catching fish. I did do a bit of rock hunting. Anytime I run across a stream with a good gravel bar that’s not fenced or posted (posted: no trespassing signs) I’d poke around. We have quit a range of semi-precious stones in Lewis County. Not that I did anything with them. Other than piling them up in a bowl and admiring them :-).

Oh, Kunstler is probably dismissed by The Powers That Be as he’s not a member of Academia and doesn’t toe the line when it comes to being “politically correct.”

Well, I baked a bit of cornbread for the Sunday potluck, here at The Home. Some nice butter and the last of the cranberry jam to go with it. Also, someone told me that there were pumpkin bagels at the local bakery outlet store. Oh, yes. Quit good. And, pumpkin english muffins, breakfast bread and a sugar wafer (cookie? biscuit?). So, I’m taking a plate with a selection of those. The pumpkin ice cream showed up at the Safeway. But the first brand in did a pumpkin spice latte flavor. Hmmm. Not sure if I like it, or not. Not as well as the plane pumpkin spice with little bits of pie crust :-). The pumpkin M&M candies and belVita pumpkin biscuits have disappeared. No sightings, yet, of the pumpkin Hersey kisses. I hear there’s a pumpkin yogurt, out there, somewhere ... And, perhaps a pumpkin milk shake. Lew