Monday, 23 October 2017

Australia Town

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

On Friday, the last mass produced Australian made vehicle rolled off a production line in Adelaide, South Australia. Three years ago the Federal government announced the death blow to the vehicle manufacturing industry in Australia. At that time there were three manufacturers in Australia (Toyota, Ford, and General Motors Holden), all foreign owned. Some folks have argued that withdrawing subsidies for the industry was a coup de grĂ¢ce (a mercy kill)? I on the other hand wonder what the people who were employed on Friday are now doing on this Monday morning (lattes anyone, a delightful way to start the day)? And I can't ignore the ugly reality for the many businesses who previously supplied those vehicle manufacturers and their employees.

“Well we're living here in Allentown
And they're closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they're killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line”

I have previously worked in the manufacturing industries. In fact as a young bloke I once spent a few happy months employed on a production line which made computer floppy disks. I quite enjoyed the work on the production line and felt as if I were part of a larger team producing quality stuff. However, when the standard computer floppy disk changed from 5.25 inch to the smaller 3.5 inch disks, the company shut down the production line rather than re-tooling. The unspoken aspect of the situation was that the imported product was far cheaper than the locally manufactured product.

As an accountant, a long time ago, I worked for a footwear manufacturer. The business used to manufacture leather shoes and boots. After a while, the same (hard to argue against) claim that it was cheaper to import footwear rather than manufacture it locally, reared its head. That business was also wound up. This time, as an accountant, I managed to see some of the machines which were used by people to make shoes being sold off to overseas businesses. It was very thoughtful of those overseas businesses to recall that the population down here still needed to wear shoes. The factory which had previously produced noise, commotion and footwear, became eerily quiet.

Yesterday, I had to contact the technical support phone number for one of the largest companies in Australia. It is a big company and makes a tidy profit, and it was nice that the helpful employees in what I'm guessing was the Philippines were able to cheerfully assist me with my query.

"But the restlessness was handed down
And it's getting very hard to stay"

The main problem with competing against skilled and unskilled labour in other countries is that you can't. Over my working life, tariffs protecting local manufacturing have been removed. The result of that policy is that local manufacturing has to a large extent, been reduced in size and scale, whilst consumer stuff gets cheaper.

It is worth mentioning that unemployment in this country is relatively low, but youth unemployment and under employment has been rising of late. And as far as I understand the employment statistics, you can be employed for one hour per week and not be considered unemployed (this statistic has an international origin too).

"Well we're waiting here in Allentown
For the Pennsylvania we never found
For the promises our teachers gave
If we worked hard
If we behaved"

Economic policy down here appears to be reasonably simple. The policy makers appear to me to be pushing policies that maintain or increase certain asset prices (houses, stocks and bonds) whilst at the same time maintaining or lowering prices for consumer stuff. Of course there is a risk for the policy makers that if too many people become unemployed, or under employed, then asset prices (houses, stocks and bonds) won't be maintained and that in turn will lead to people not being able to afford even the cheap consumer stuff. No single person or group is to blame for this desire, because everyone appears to enjoy cheap stuff. And there is a certain appeal to the concept of unearned wealth that is the result of rising asset prices.

"So the graduations hang on the wall
But they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron and coal
And chromium steel
And we're waiting here in Allentown"

That is all a bit dark isn't it? The thing is, my experience taught me that during the last recession, I still went out drinking with my mates on weekend evenings whilst listening to angsty music that suited those dark times. As an interesting side note, the alcohol of choice for my friends and I at that time was a very dodgy $2 bottle of port, which we had to mix with cola so as to make it even remotely palatable. Some memories from that time are far stronger than others (possible due to the port, known fondly as 'two buck chuck') and I vividly recall a time when I was unable to afford a pair of socks for a couple of months. But then, at that time I also met the editor who had a poo brown 1960's era Valiant station wagon that would only go forward (and didn't appear to be going into reverse anytime soon!) Along with the editor came a fat brown dog who loved nothing more than running around the front bench seat of that behemoth of a car. So, even in dark times, people live, love and laugh and generally just get on with their lives. For some folks those times can hit pretty hard, but mostly people lose access to the plentiful supply of cheap consumer stuff. And from what I've noticed, some of that stuff is total rubbish.

"Well I'm living here in Allentown
And it's hard to keep a good man down
But I won't be getting up today"

Mr Poopy likewise appears to be not getting up for work today
Well, Mr Poopy may have been snoozing away the cloudy and humid the days of the past week, but the editor and I have been as busy as beavers. Earlier in the week I had a phone call from a supplier in Melbourne who advised me that the bee colony that I'd ordered earlier this year was ready to pick up early on Saturday morning. Long term readers will note that I have a revulsion for the concept of early mornings, but that Saturday was different as it found me at the suppliers business taking delivery of a new bee colony. It was lucky for the supplier that I had not yet had a coffee because my brain was slow to react to bee-flation. Bee-flation is an economic term that has remarkable similarities to chook-flation and plant-flation. Of course the official inflation statistics are released by the same government department that is currently handling the marriage equality survey, and those official statistics tell me that official inflation is reasonably low (between 1 to 2%). That low inflation does not explain how a colony of bees which used to cost me $160 per hive, now costs $250. Maybe I expect too much...
The author (darth Chris) returns home with the new bee colony in the back of the white Suzuki dirt rat
It was a relief not to have had a vehicle crash on the way back to the farm. Just imagine for a moment what would happen to a very angry colony of bees who were subjected to a vehicle crash and may have possibly escaped during the incident! Surely there is a horror story in there somewhere?

The new bee colony decamped in a southerly direction towards the custom built bee box
The five new frames of bees were placed into their custom built grand designs home
The weather was less than fluffy optimal for transferring a new bee colony into a new home, but I sort of felt that given that the new digs that the bees were going to enjoy were so good, they just had to deal with the cool and humid weather. Fluffy optimal weather conditions for poking around in bee hives are normally hot and sunny, but given that no such weather conditions appeared on the forecast, I simply got on with the job at hand. The new colony appears to be a very strong and active colony and I did my best to ensure that they were as undisturbed as the situation allowed for.
The original bee colony has now survived three winters and has filled three brood boxes with an exceptionally strong colony
Whilst the editor and I were annoying the new bees, we thought that we'd also check into the status of the original bee colony. As a bit of background, that original bee colony has now survived three winters and is full of three brood boxes. I suspect that the bees may begin the slow process of filling the honey super box (the top fourth box) over the next few months and I may be able to harvest some of their winter food stores.

The strawberry terrace was extended another 2m / 7ft this week. It takes about 4 hours to manually excavate and move that volume of soil. After the excavations, the remainder of the afternoon was spent digging holes for the fence posts. Once the holes were dug, we could mix the cement and then set the treated pine posts firmly in the ground.
The author mixes cement which is used to set treated pine posts for the new strawberry enclosure
Observant readers will note that some of the excavated soil is being used to construct yet another terrace above this one. The editor and I feel that this future terrace will be for vines for table or wine grapes.

Back to the present however - the posts were eventually set into the ground.
The posts for the strawberry enclosure were set into the ground in cement
The next day additional heavy duty steel chicken wire fencing was installed and steel supports were added to the enclosure. The chicken wire is former tree cages which are no longer needed and are being recycled. And additional forty strawberry plants were planted into the enclosure.
Steel fencing was added and an additional forty strawberry plants were planted in the new strawberry enclosure
Spring produces all sorts of interesting harvests and this week we harvested a small quantity of very tasty sugar beets (there are many more yet to harvest):
A small quantity of sugar beets were harvested
The asparagus has gone feral and the spears are reaching heights that I have to look upwards at!
The second year asparagus bed is feral
A few commenters mentioned their concerns about the recent seed germination experiment using cardboard egg crates. The cardboard egg crates have produced an enormous amount of moulds and the capsicum seeds have failed to germinate, but far out everything else is going feral.
Zucchini seeds have germinated in the egg crates and the root systems have all pushed through the holes in the bottom of the crates. Most importantly, the soil surrounding the seeds has not been disturbed
Zucchini seedlings were planted outside this week
Many of the early berries such as currants and jostaberries are also going feral!
Currants and Jostaberries are also going feral
It looks as if it will be an excellent apricot harvest this year.
The apricots are producing strongly this year
The almonds have almost doubled in size over the past week too.

Despite the many technical problems that I have endured with internet connections over the past couple of days, I bring you the Fernglade Farm spring flower collection (it is not really a complete collection, but more of a sampler):
Rhododendrons are the biggest show offs - next to the camellias
Some rhododendrons are a bit more subtle like this one
Crab apples produce an enormous quantity of flowers
These may be zinnias or gerbras
Daisies in the foreground and bluebells in the background!
Clumps of Ixia bulbs are just starting to bloom
This quince didn't want to be outdone by the smaller flowering plants
Colourful geraniums always put on a good show and the bees love them. There is an alkanet in the background
I don't recall planting a white echium, but then again I don't recall planting the pink form either!
The temperature outside now at about 9.30pm is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 715.2mm (28.2 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 711.4mm (28.0 inches).

Total respect to Billy Joel who is the most excellent artist from which the lyrics were ripped for this weeks story. Yes, yes, I was a fan and I saw him live in concert in 1986 or 87.

62 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

We have something called a 'zero hours contract' here. As near as I understand it, you may get some hours work in a week or you may get none, varying from week to week. But aha, you are employed; no doubt good for the statistics.

What I have most hated about the off shoring of manufacturing is the horrendous decline in quality.

@ Margaret

My family has always done a snow scene at Christmas, usually on a mantelpiece. You may not want to give Marty ideas, but one year my sister created a snow mountain. She built it with books which created ledges for the objects. All covered in cotton wool as usual. One could have a mountain railway in addition to whatever else one wanted. At least it goes up rather than spreading across the floor.

Inge

Dennis Mitchell said...

Tasty sugar beets? For the past century we have had a local sugar beet plant and I had never heard of anyone eating them. Guess I need to google....

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Ah, Billy Joel again, singing about Allentown, where I went to college. I know we spoke of the changes there in the nearly 40 years since I graduated. So appropriate for this week; the manufacturing plants left Allentown long ago, and the Big Three automakers, who all had plants in the greater St. Louis area when I moved here in 1984, closed each one of them in the first decade or two after my arrival. Nor were they the only companies that closed down local manufacturing facilities. GE used to have a light bulb factory in the region; Mike worked there for 14 years till he left it to work at the local water utility. Sometime around 2005, if memory serves me correctly, the light bulb factory was shut down. And on it goes ... what can't they import? Water? Sewer service? Hospitals? Sometimes I wonder if even they could be moved elsewhere.

It looks like we will experience our first frost of the autumn this coming weekend, if not a freeze. Time for me to head out and harvest the ginger and sweet potatoes.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Odds and ends before I comment on this weeks post. Thanks for the Springsteen, by the way! Talked to my friends in Idaho, last night. They had their first snowfall. Covered the ground, but didn’t stick. About a month earlier than last year. Ron is going to go deer hunting, next week. Deer are in scant evidence, as last year’s horrendous weather created a deer kill that was probably in the thousands. In Idaho. Looking at the maps Cliff Mass put up, we had 24 hour rainfalls of 2.3-3.4 inches. Up in the hills to our east, 5.27.

Oaks. I don’t know what kind they are, but we have many oaks behind The Home and on into the park. There are many around the library. The squirrel population seems to have exploded, this year. Or maybe it’s that I just notice them, in town. But people have commented on it. Centralia lost power, yesterday. A fried squirrel may have been involved :-). There didn’t seem to be any squirrels, out at my old place. Not your favorite animal, right now, I know, but my friend Julia saw a silver fox out by her place. A rarity. I also never saw any foxes out at my old place. Whew!

To your post. Yup. We all like our cheap consumer goods. Not only do we vote against our own economic interests, but we also BUY against our own economic interests. And quality and durability don’t seem to figure in, anywhere. It won’t be pleasant, but that overseas skilled and unskilled labor is going to become less and less of a factor as transportation costs, rise. There’s another area that shows huge inflation. The little box of garlic I got from Oregon states it’s 3 lbs. Shipping was $6. “Handling” was $4.95. Hmmmm.

The whole postal thing is kind of interesting, right now. The post office is providing standardized boxes (for “free”). it’s pretty clear they’d prefer you to use them. But if you dig around on their website, you discover if you use your own boxes, the rates are quit a bit lower. “Handling” has always been around, but it seems more and more excessive. A bit of an income source flow? A profit center?

Was it called $2 chuck because, to finish the thought, it was $2 chuck it up? :-). Something similar, here, is (or was?) “Mad Dog” or “20/20 Red Rocket.”

Years ago, I remember someone must have dropped a hive on the back loading dock at the Centralia post office...

Your sampler of flowers is really stunning. I am also stunned by my sampler of garlic. 6 different varieties. The packages have a bit of background information on where they come from. All over the world. One Chinese variety (Shangdong) comes to us via Australia. :-). So, I have those 6 to plant, plus the elephant garlic AND the mystery ... garlic like something with the spicy seed heads.

I watched another couple of lectures on King Arthur. Sir Thomas Mallory pulled it all together and most of the modern iterations of Arthur all spring from Mallory. Mallory also introduced a few new elements. And, the old question pops up. Did he think them up himself, or were they something that were inspired by now lost source documents? For a long time, our earliest Mallory versions were Caxton printings. Which were done about 30 years after the manuscript was written. Then, in the 1930s, a manuscript turned up. Earlier than the Caxton, and bits were edited and changed. The manuscript MAY even be the one Caxton was working from. I had an odd thought, last night. Like Science Fiction, the Arthur stories really reflect the times in which they were written. Who the author was catering to. The politics of the times. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Claire - LOL. I promise not to buy up all the blue iris :-). Can't possibly. I'm working with such limited space. But, you're right. I'm a day late and a dollar short. :-). Now that I'm moved and settled (more or less) planning ought to go smoother, next year. I've started my garden notebook, for this place. Reminders of what I want to plant, next year. And when.

Since I'm buying the Dutch iris from one of the big companies, I expect I'll start seeing catalogues from them, and, lots of other nurseries. Those mailing lists seem to get passed around ... Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Oh. I assume that the shared road access is an official easement of some sort? They show up on the titles down here and are presumably crown land. I once rented a house that dated from the 19th century and at some time in the past there was an easement along the side of the house. The local council in its wisdom had sold the narrow strip of land (originally a night cart lane, I presume) to the neighbour who had no access to the strip of land, whilst the property I rented had a garage at the end of it. To be honest, common sense says that the strip of land belonged to the house that I rented, but no. And the neighbour cracked the sads every single time the editor and I used the strip of land to access the garage. I suspect that we were a hobby for the neighbour. Unfortunately, we bite back. The editor in particular used some choice and very un-lady-like words to communicate with the pedantic neighbour and the entire situation ended up being some sort of joke. Anyway, about three years after we moved out of that rented house (six months renting there was too much!), we spotted that the new tennant had parked a bus in the strip of land and at the rear window of the bus facing the street was a huge pirate flag. Far out, we laughed about that!

Out of curiosity, do you know how the neighbours arrange for maintenance of the shared road? The neighbours and I seem to have come up with a loose arrangement relating to the maintenance of the local strip of land adjoining the shared road and it does seem to work and everyone appears happy with the result. Dunno.

Wow, getting pushed around by the wind is a sure sign that a wind turbine would produce useful amounts of electricity. Anything less than that force is a waste of time. I'm sort of grateful to be out of the wind. How do you feel about the wind? I sometimes wonder whether the wind is natures pruning tool.

Winter sure is moving in, in your part of the world.

I don't even know what to say about such a contract. It seems rather unreasonable. I often wonder how people manage the competing interests that arise in the gig economy. I sort of have to make many compromises in regards to that, and mostly they are not in my favour, but being cheap has some advantages too. Unless of course one needs lots of tokens. Do you hear much about those sorts of contracts? I wonder how people make ends meet in those arrangements?

Exactly. Totally 100% with you. I spent a few hours yesterday trying to sort out the mess with the internet modem. You know, there are many things I'd happily pay far more for just to have more resilient technology. I don't believe we have as much choice as people would believe in relation to technology.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Yes, the post was a bit like the old days wasn't it! Good fun, and who doesn't love exploring and fleshing out ideas. I often felt that Mr Greer was onto something with his methodology of utilising the comment section to explore ideas, build ideas and fact check. It is a pretty clever strategy and you never really know where the discussion will proceed. There are some real gems in there.

Thanks again for the book referral. Yup, 3 or 4 re-reads is the sign of an excellent book. The slave history has cast a long shadow. When I was a kid, the whole convict thing was an unmentionable topic, but nowadays most folks couldn't care less and in fact they probably have a bit of quiet pride if there were some recidivists in their family history. I'm trying to get my head around how such a system would work on a starship? Certainly co-operation seems as if it would produce more likely outcomes. I reckon folks under-rate co-operation, but then I reckon they fear being vulnerable and suffering losses to others in that system.

No, please digress away. It's a gift! Hehe! Oh no, we've descended into the land of silly again. The explanation of "because" works sometimes because (there is that word again) our culture may not be able to understand the motivations of people in the past. I certainly feel that our present motivations will be incomprehensible to people in the distant future who have to face up to the implications and realities of our current choices. We'll never know though.

What do you reckon the monks of Glastonbury would have done to the tomb or burial place of Arthur?

The editor would probably enjoy that recipe. Limits are good though and rituals are definitely a good way to re-enforce limits. Yeah, I found out a year or so ago when I baked some vegan biscuits for a lovely vegan lady, that use of bananas. I like bananas but I have a preference for butter and eggs in my Anzac biscuits.

Hey, we make our own vanilla extract (essence is some sort of wood or cellulose derived flavouring). It is really easy to make, but perhaps it may not be for you. A lot of tinctures use the same chemicals to produce them. They work as a preserving agent.

I have no idea at all how the iris market works in your part of the world, but down here they are sold up until Mothers day which is the 13th of May (I believe). Even after that it is not too late to plant them out and I see them for sale until late winter. Your winters are much colder than here though and do you reckon that will have any effect on the plants? Dunno. Did the order bounce?

Far out, I saw the Cliff Mass blog. You have the most awesome streams of moist air. Huge. Epic. And the rain quantities on the western slopes... Maybe with a bit of global warming...

Wow, your Idaho friends have had snow already. I would struggle with their winters, maybe with a bit of cracking the sads and sulking the socks off. Although losing the socks in that weather is a serious problem. Ouch, I hope he takes care to know how much to bag? Anyone trying to consume the local meat up here would go very hungry, very quickly. The forest houses animals, but it does not feed them.

Oaks hybridise as readily as the eucalyptus species so they're sort of hard to keep track of. You'd imagine that the squirrel may regret those actions on the powerlines? I don't blame the fox at all, the fox was just doing what foxes do. The fox took a huge risk and didn't get anything other than the taste of blood. I thought the silver fox thing was an urban or rural myth?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Ah yes, we know not what we do with our choices. Of course we are trained from a very young age to ignore consequences and larger perspectives. A bit of a shame that and it doesn't really need to be that way. Oh well.

Ha! Mate, I hear you. The postal service down here split off the package deliveries from the letter deliveries and then made the ingenuous claim that whilst package deliveries made profits, the letter business was a loser. Now if the two were combined again and taken back to where they were... I can't seem to figure at what point in time, the meme was inserted into our narrative that government services had to make a profit. What do they reckon taxes and service costs are for?

Hehe! That would be about it. The stuff was rough, and I appreciate the other names and may use them next time I face the awful prospect of an unpalatable dark ale. What a disaster that would be. ;-)!

What a naughty person to use a hive that way. I too have used the hives to clear away unwanted folks and thus made sure they had a reason to go elsewhere rather rapidly. Bees are very effective.

Thanks. The garlic trial I was involved in a few years ago left me with about 40 different varieties. I had no idea there were that many of them. There is a good book on garlic from Penny Woodard: Garlic and Friends. They may be having troubles with garlic, but I do believe that over the past few years a group may have reproduced garlic successfully from seed. An impressive achievement of reverse engineering. Mystery plants can be serious winners.

Such stories do get evolved to reflect the times. Back in the day folks may have required a patron. But why the edits and changes? There is an interesting question in there.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Sorry to hear about the glasses and people tell me that reading text on computer screens with the incorrect glasses can be quite painful for the eyes and brain. Ouch. I hope you find a solution. A mate had the laser eye surgery and it worked well for a while, but they're now back on the glasses, so I'd be curious to hear of your opinion, but it sounds as if prescription glasses are the way to go.

They are lovely trees the pin oaks, aren't they? And I believe they may be the floral emblem of this mountain range as there is an avenue of honour in the more fashionable western end: Mt Macedon Avenue of Honour. Masses of people turn up to see the leaf turn in late autumn… Thanks for the growing information for the trees. I also have English Oaks growing here, and they are also hardy, but very slow growing. Do you have any other varieties of oaks growing in your part of the world?

Thank you. The fox was probably surprised that this dull witted human thing was catching up on it as it scampered off into the forest with its kill. Cloey died unnecessarily and she was a lovely natured bird too. Totally 100% my fault. I spotted the fox again lurking about tonight and Mr Poopy and I gave the fox a good chase. Mr Poopy did all the chasing and I was busy distributing the huge quantities of used coffee grounds I get to throw around the orchard. That stuff really disappears into the soil and within a week or two there is no sign of the organic matter. The smell of used coffee grounds doesn't appear to be affecting the wildlife. Speaking of the marsupials, the grass is growing faster than they can consume it, so over the next week or so I'm going to have to go for a walk for a few days...

Yeah, killing four of the English walnuts is a sure sign that the conditions are just not right for the trees here. You can't fight nature. Thanks for mentioning the black walnuts and I'll keep my eyes out for one of the trees as that is a massive growing range. I got the seeds for the US custard apple too last week and they are safely in the refrigerator. Just for your interest, I am finding that the almonds grown here are far superior tasting than any walnuts I have ever purchased, they are just that good. They taste similar to walnuts but without the bitter after taste.

I look forward to reading your report on the rabbit stew. Go Mike! I have not ever processed a rabbit and that is probably a good skill to learn. Most of my foodie and growie mates seem to focus on meat, so I’m sort of hoping that one day they give me a lesson! They don’t seem to be as interested in plants as I am, but dissensus is always a good outcome don’t you reckon?

It was an appropriate song and thank you very much for saying so. Your experiences have in a lot of ways mirrored my own, and there is a certain sort of bittersweet taste to seeing the final years prior to the demise of something big. From what I understand the justice system has mopped up a fair few of the employees. There are government incentives for employers to place the redundant workers and that only shifts the pain onto others who may have been vying for those same jobs.

Would it be too much to ask to chuck in a photo of your ginger? I'm really impressed that you have grown that plant as an annual - and it is a very clever response to your weather conditions. I’m hoping to replicate what you have learned with ginger. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Steve,

No worries at all, and travelling is part of the human experience and blogs don't pay the bills. If it means anything to you, I'm impressed at the sheer scale of the plantings of fruit trees at your place. :-)!

Exactly. Your description of the accumulator tanks is exactly how they work, and you may be interested to learn that I ditched the smaller accumulator pressure tanks in favour of larger steel accumulator tanks. They just work better and it is a case of the larger, the better. The smaller tanks caused the water pump to cycle which means switching off and on again at a fast rate, and that is not good for the pump or the pressure switch on the pump. Basically, what I've learned is that if I had to do the whole thing over again, I would spend more money on sourcing a variable speed pump. The ability of the pumps control mechanism to vary the speed of the electric motor cannot be replicated by cheaper pumps. The extra cost is offset by the far longer operating lifespan of the pump. Hard won knowledge...

And again your supposition is absolutely correct. A larger pump and better quality pump is always worth the extra money because it will have a far longer lifespan. And you got to the core of the problem: Those cheaper accumulator pressure tanks held a far larger volume of water which in turn smoothed the flow of water from the pump. Top work and that earns you the Elephant Stamp! ;-)!

If you look around, you may notice that there are some very clever solar regulator controllers that can regulate the voltage from the solar panels for the purposes of pumping water. Such a system can avoid the cost of a battery. Solar panel - Regulator / Solar controller - timer (?) - water pump - pump water from low level tank to high level tank. Then you can simply gravity feed from the high level tank. #justsayin

That is one application of that technology.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

All this talk of blue Irises! Our wild iris, called 'gladdons', are blue; are they the same thing?

The right of way to the 2 properties belongs to my neighbour but he does not have to maintain it. It is legally written in stone that those 2 properties are responsible. I know because my husband set it up legally. It is a very steep access and if not kept in a fair condition access to those properties would cease to be possible by vehicle. Actually lorries delivering to them, have had to be hauled out in the past as they have been unable to make it back up the hill. There is one parking place at the bottom for each property. One of the properties has further parking places within their curtilage, the other hasn't.

Not properties that I would be keen to buy but because they own the beach in front, they are worth a great deal.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Dennis,

Welcome to the discussion!

Out of curiosity, what are the sugar beets in your area used for? I'm assuming that they're grown for animal feed - FYI, I add them to the dogs and chickens feed as well and they've all got a sweet tooth.

Depending on the variety, they may contain 20% sugar which is far higher than apples. At the very least they can be converted into a cider. To me they taste like a very sweet beetroot. As a comparison, honey is 80% sugar.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

The irises I grow here look a lot like your gladdons. The English language is not very good when it comes to describing colours, but my blue irises look a little bit mauve too. The simple answer is that I just don't know.

The orchids appear to be just about ready to flower again. I'm always a bit nervous about mentioning the orchids as collectors were historically a bit of a problem. The knowledge is safe with you though due to the sheer logistical problems of collection! Hehe!

Yes, deliveries can be a problem for steep access roads and I too would not want those sorts of problems. On the other hand it is nice that somebody has had the - absence of fear - to tackle living on such a property. So many assumptions are made about the future on such a place. Being on the side of a hilly ridge, but perhaps not quite so steep as what you describe, I watch how the drainage works like an eagle.

On a recent Grand Designs UK episode I saw an excavator being used to push out a lorry. Incidentally, the Bureau of Meteorology has pronounced a La Nina for this summer. Interesting.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

La Nina watch declared by Bureau of Meteorology but widespread rainfall not on the outlook.

Interesting times. The last proper La Nina saw 10 inches of rain over 5 days. I had never seen so much water before. It was OK here, but down below it was not so good.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Lew

My mother always had a large village under her tree so I'm guessing that's where Marty developed his interest. He and Patrick were/are particularly invested in putting up massive amounts of decorations. In addition to Marty's tree (well actually there's two) and village lights are strung all over the apartment and on his balcony. Patrick probably 100 strings of lights draped through every room of his apartment as well. His roommate was very tolerant I have to say. When he lived with us the electric bill was noticeably higher over the Christmas holidays.

@Inge

I don't think Marty needs anymore ideas. One of my sisters also has a huge village. In fact she just doesn't have a tree but rather a small forest now. It's really quite pretty.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Bee-flation - we've sure seen that here as well. Every year the cost of packages goes up and since so many hives are lost just about everyone needs at least some replacements.

Re: two buck chuck. Here the Charles Shaw brand of wine at Trader Joe's is referred to as "two buck chuck" though it's really $3 now. It is drinkable and they sell a lot of it. In college if we wanted to drink on the cheap we often got Cold Duck, a sparkling red wine.

Margaret

Steve Carrow said...

Woohoo, and elephant stamp- that will go in the trophy case.

Regarding black walnuts, should you ever try adding them to your very wide ranging assortment of plantings.

Two things- first, they take a long time before bearing any nuts, though in your milder climate, maybe quicker than what happens in Wisconsin, and second- be aware that they exude an allelopathic compound that stunts some other plants. As long as you plant them with compatible plants, or give them elbow room, they are a fine addition to your holding.

(Though since you can actually grow almonds there, may be no real reason to add black walnuts)

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Duh! Got my Billy Joel and Springsteen, confused. A lot of those types of songs came out of the 80s. Wonder if there’s a name for that kind of music. Rust Belt Revival? It’s influenced, I’m sure, by a lot of the “folk” music, during the Depression. Woody Guthrie, et all.

Re: the starship, slave ship. I don’t know if you saw it, but a couple of years ago, there was a movie called “Snow Piercer.’ Most of the world is ice bound and there’s a perpetual train that runs around the world and it’s about all that’s left of humanity. Where you are on the train indicates your station in life. The closer to the engine, the more comfortable and lavish is your life. The review of the book referenced that movie.

One of the “because” explanations in the Arthur lectures is something called “The Custom of the Castle.” Rather pointless or mysterious things are done at particular castles. Why? Because. :-). Mallory was writing for an audience of nobles. Caxton was printing for an upwardly mobile merchant class. So, Caxton was more concerned with entertainment, and less with instruction in knightly virtue.

According to reports, it wasn’t much of a tomb at Glastonbury. A hollow log with the remains of a man and a woman. Moved to a chapel, later destroyed by fire. Also, an iron cross with inscriptions. Also, now lost.

So far, looks like the iris is on the way. I didn’t get the garlic in the ground, yesterday. Clearing out the tomatillas took longer than expected. Where have I heard that before? :-). Got a two gallon bucket full. And, I’d harvested some before. There is something afoot and it looks like I might get more space, next year. Nothing for sure, yet. It’s complicated. Like most land deals :-).

All that rain we had. It really didn’t seem much out of the ordinary. I suppose it’s what your used to. Darn. I forgot to look at the link to the La Nina story. Tomorrow.

At least with your bees, you don’t have to put up with bear raids. :-). I never saw a bear out my way, but noticed that the hives in the neighborhood had electric fence around them. They were there. Just rather reclusive.

We also have a native iris of some kind. More of a purple color. I tried once to transfer a bit out of the woods and into the yard. Didn’t take. I hope I have better luck with the scarlet columbine. Also a native. I saved a bit of seed. Before I fooled with the native plants, I checked to make sure they weren’t endangered. In that case, I would have left them alone. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - I think a lot of Christmas decor is rooted in nostalgia. LOL, sometimes, more imagined than real. A kind of Norman Rockwell (or, these days, Martha Stewart) ideal of Christmas. My Uncle Larry used to go really over the top. And, it was all a bit ... tacky. I never quit knew how much was serious, and how much was irony.

I used to avoid Christmas tat. But as I've grown older ..... Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. Looks like a La Nina year. Cliff Mass had a post, maybe a month ago. I can't quit remember the details. Warmer and dryer? Colder and dryer? But, if we have rain events, they could be quit spectacular. What with the Whacked Weather (tm), I'm not putting much stock in any forecast.

My father used to tell a story about my grandmother's weather predicting prowess. "Grandma would go outside with a rag. If the rag was wet, it was raining. If the rag was dry, it was sunny. If the rag was ripped out of her hand by the wind, a tornado was coming." :-) Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

It is a bit of a worry isn't it? Thus the experiments towards getting the colonies to over winter here. The next experiment may be seeing how much honey I can harvest from the honey super and then what impacts that has on the colony. Dunno, really. One can only act from the dark and see what happens. At $250 for a colony (a reasonably strong colony, mind you) excluding the frames and boxes etc. I'd have to harvest 25kg (55 pounds) of honey just to break even. What do you reckon my best bet is just establishing colonies in the surrounding forest? Clearly, I'll have to learn more about getting my hands on freebie (unwanted) colonies. I read somewhere that some local councils encourage hobbyists to collect swarms - which are usually feared by people and are called into the councils. I hope Doug doesn’t miss the beekeeping if and when you move?

Did you just suggest that there is such a thing as: chuck-flation? Hehe! The sparkling red is a tidy choice. I recall the ladies enjoyed some sort of cask wine (which may be an Australian thing - imagine a cardboard box with a bladder and tap. The bladder held a bit over a gallon!) which was most likely clean skin white wine mixed with sugar and tropical fruit juice. It was very sweet but a better choice than the $2 port and cola which to be honest was a bit rough! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Steve,

No problems at all, enjoy your prize! ;-)! It might earn you a slice of pizza - somewhere, maybe, who knows? Most likely not though.

Thanks for the reminder. The surrounding forest of eucalyptus trees has that affect too. You can see the demarcation line between the root systems and drip lines of the eucalyptus trees as it is quite marked. On the other hand, many of the local species have adapted to the chemicals released by the trees. That may be the case with the walnuts too in that there are some understory trees, shrubs and herbage that have adapted? Dunno.

Yeah, there are chestnuts, hazelnuts and pecans too, so I'm not too worried about the lack, but it would be nice to figure out the problems with the walnuts.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Not a problem at all, and I was too polite to mention the inconsequential matter - and to be honest, it didn't matter in my mind as they both are masters of their trade. Thanks for the Woodie Guthrie reference as I'd never heard of the guy, but had heard his song: This land is your land. He appears to have been an interesting character and went against the grain as a lifestyle choice.

I saw previews for that film but I'd never considered watching it because I thought that it was a special effects extravaganza. Ecologically it sounds like a dodgy concept. I've noticed with disaster films that most tend towards the cold end of the spectrum rather than the overly tropical side of the climate. I read a bit of the Aurora book today, and the occupants consumed their seed banks... Not good. I still reckon the author is writing about us.

No doubts, the nobles in the castles also required entertaining. Those winters from all accounts could be rather long and dull. And the threat of starvation was probably never far from the populations minds. Spring would have been the worst time. The winter is pretty soft here. It does make you wonder what the authors sources were. Oral tradition I reckon morphs with the necessities and the language itself over time. One thing that the Nearing's book did very well was that they included selected quotes at the beginning of each chapter dating as far back as the 1500's. The language was some times closer to the current than at others and that surprised me. No doubts such changes had impacts on the Arthurian tales.

Out of curiosity, did anyone make any reference to the species of tree that the tomb was constructed from? It does sound rather humble, but how does the tomb compare to similar burials of the time? Incidentally, do the archaeologists ever accidentally disturb Roman burial sites near the fortifications? Wasn’t an English King recently exhumed from an unmarked grave?

Nice to see that your iris order may arrive. Someone told me that the bulbs have to be planted in a certain manner which I never bothered about doing. The strappy leaves are also cut back severely from what I can recall. Far out! Thanks for the laugh. Everything takes longer than one would expect!!! Hehe! Too funny. Are you planning to can the tomatillas? I'm feeling that some passata may be in your future? Lewis's dodgy land deals incorporated has a nice ring to it, don't you reckon? Well done you. Sometimes land goes to those that can show that they can use it.

No worries. I reckon the season here looks all very normal so far. By normal, I mean roughly average. It rained heavily a few minutes ago. The rain reminds me that I have to mow soon as the grass has grown faster than the marsupials can eat the stuff.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

No way. Far out! Your bears are total feral tough (TM) if they can break apart a bee hive. I seem to recall a cartoon with a bear consuming a pot of honey... ... If the bears are as smart as the foxes, then they may interrupt beekeepers work when the electric fence is switched off. Has anyone ever written a story about a rabid bear terrorising the local population (usually a small isolated town with an ecologically unfeasible and large population of youths)? The plot sounds very B-grade, but then who would have predicted the success of shark-nado? As a suggestion for the title for the story: Bujo? I may have ripped part of that title from another story! Hehe!

Fair enough. If it is anything like the orchids here then the soil life will be very symbiotic with the plant. I can't be sure, but I once read that David Holmgren took samples of soils and moved them around to inoculate soil life in new locations.

We read that here first! Whacked weather. Very appropriate. Yes, the extremes may get more extremeish! Hey, I forgot to mention that I purchased some organic wheat flour and also some organic spelt flour and I'm going to experiment with them over the next few days. The interesting thing about the organic wheat flour is that it has a heavy feel to it and it is not white, but more of a white-yellow mix combination. This suggests to me that the flour may still contain some of the oils from the seed. I'll let you know how it goes over the next few days as it should be interesting.

Your father's sense of humour was reasonably dry. Very funny. We had half an inch of rain fall and the place is turning into a jungle. Mind you, that may change over the next few months as the weather heats up and the place dries up. The trees are growing massively.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

I have been reading about the car plant closure from across the Tasman. We have been talking about it here (and Macrobusiness) for a few years now, but I was still disappointed to see so little reaction in the media beyond a sort of indifferent acceptance. But who knows Chris, maybe we are wrong and a community (or nation) can produce nothing of value and still be prosperous!

Things have been busy here (hence the lack of updates) but in a good way. I was a bit stressed here and there with work, mostly revolving around working closely with my temporary sales coach (self selected title). We did our first work trip to the South of the island and saw a lot of the countryside. The intensity of agriculture here blows me away, if you do a satellite view on google maps and zoom in on the west coast of the south island you will see what I mean.

Our new garden is pretty good, and in a fit of optimistic mustachian enthusiasm I got a manual push mower for the yard. $5 from the weekend market, made from heavy steel and it took me 15-20 minutes to do the lawn with no fuel required! Our new neighbours were a bit confused and all offered their petrol mowers. I tried to explain a labour saving device seems self-defeating when I need more exercise but I don't think they agreed with me :-) I noted at the op-shop there were a bunch of manual push mowers for sale that were a lot newer than mine. They were made from flimsy light-weight steel and did not cut grass very well.

We have also just planted some zucchinis, pumpkin, tomatoes, beetroot, kale, lettuce and beans. I look forward to summer but hope the young plants can handle a few days without water here and there.

Glad to hear you are enjoying Aurora, I thought it was a great book and plan to re-read soon. I will be interested to hear what you think of the ending.

Damo

Damo said...

@Lew

Thank you for the 800 Words TV show suggestion. While that sort of drama I can take or leave, Mrs Damo is loving it. She finds it amusing how the (Australian produced) show represents most Kiwis as very friendly, but perhaps just a smidgen on the 'slow' side. Other (Kiwi) shows we see here represent Australians as loud, uncouth and a bit fat.

Our new landlords didn't realise we were Australian until we told them and she relayed to her husband, "Oh, its ok. They are quiet Australians"!

Damo

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

We plan to find a place where Doug can still have bees. He has caught several swarms and people often call him to see if he wants to catch a swarm on their property.

I am very familiar with boxed wine haha. It's quite handy for parties or ladies overnights. I make sure to keep my MIL supplied with her boxed wine at the care center. It has to be locked up with the meds though as one has to get a doctor's OK to indulge. She enjoys a glass nightly. Once when the nurses forgot to tell her the wine was running low she emailed me and in the subject line it said "Wine Emergency!!".

Well it has turned quite cold here - just in time for our first voyage in the RV. This will be the one and only until spring. We had to wait this long until all the animals were gone. The pigs are the last to go and today's the day for them. Of course we've had a beautiful, warmer than normal October up until yesterday - just figures.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. Woody Guthrie. And, his son Arlo. Today’s ear worm is “Alice’s Restaurant.” :-)

I finished the Great Corses, “King Arthur: History and Legend.” All 24 lectures. It really was a breif overview. Given the truly staggering mass of material. As the professor pointed out, she could spend 24 lectures just discussing the illustrations in the medieval manuscripts. There’s literature, art, advertising, films and TV, comic books (“Arthur 3000” ... Arthur in outer space! :-). Barbie dolls. I wondered if she’d mention my favorite, the Camulude Chronicles. She did mention the author in a list of “books I wished I had time to discuss.” One of her favorites is the Mary Stewart series. I read that, decades ago.

Arthur’s tomb, wasn’t much of a tomb. A hole in the ground with a log coffin in it. Probably oak. The area has been re-excavated, and, yes, the monks dug “something” up in that area in the correct period. The story goes that a Welsh bard tipped the king at that time (one of the Edwards?) as to the location, and he passed along that little bit of information to the monks. The lead cross that went missing was chucked in on top of the coffin. Luckily, some fairly detailed drawings were done not long after discovery. You can buy replicas ... :-). The current Bonnie Prince Charlie has “Arthur” chucked in, somewhere among his many names. Henry VII named his first born Arthur. Died young, clearing the way for Henry VIII.

Yup, they found Richard III, the Black Prince, the hunchback tucked in under a car park. Originally the site of an old priory. I’ve read a book and watched a couple of DVDs about it. They now on the trail of a few early kings and queens that have strayed or gone missing.

Archaeologists find Roman burials, all the time, all over the place. There’s sometimes a lot of information on the tombstones. And, now with DNA and isotope testing, they an discover quit a lot about the people. They really did come from all over the Roman Empire, to Britain. There’s sometimes a bit of mystery about it all. The 70 some beheaded fellows in York (?). The child buried under the floor of a disused barracks, up on Hadrian’s Wall. Tantalizing clues and mysteries.

Oh, there’s a whole genre of literature and films about rogue bears. A lot of them are of the “is the hunter the hunted?” variety. I don’t think bears are particularly likely to get rabies. But they are VERY territorial.

The garden plot drama continues. I’ve put forward a solution and everyone involved is “thinking” about it. OK by me. I’m patient.

Pretty brisk, this morning. No frost, but pretty cool. I harvested a two gallon bucket of tomatellas. Slipped a couple into an egg and rice fried patty, last night. There’s a flavor, but it hard to put my finger on. Very subtle. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - I'm glad Mrs. Damo likes "800 Words." You may like "The Brokenwood Mysteries." Oh, we have the same kind of shows here, just about anything set outside the big cities. Quirky locals. Simple peasants? Sometimes, things take a sinister tone.

I've been curious. Is "Damo" a common, or not so common knick name, Down Under? Inquiring Minds Want to Know :-).

Australian's loud? Well, the only Australian I know, is Chris. And he's such a quiet fellow. Darn near a shrinking violet :-). Tongue firmly in cheek. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo, Margaret, and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments. I promise to reply this evening.

I worked quite late in the big smoke last night, and when I got home I read a bit of the book Aurora but promptly fell asleep on the couch only to wake up in the dark of night finding myself covered in a blanket with a Scritchy companion. The most likely explanation is that I worked too hard this past week. Not good. Anyway, we shall speak later this evening as we return to our normal schedule! :-)!

Lewis - This morning the fog lifted. It was so heavy yesterday that the batteries failed to get a full charge which means there was less than one hour peak sunlight. Far out. Anyway today the skies are blue and the weather is sweet. Has it stopped raining in your corner of the world?

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I'm as pooped as Mr. Poopy. We do fall cleaning instead of spring cleaning - inside and out. But things do look nice.

Everyone I know is under-employed, even a veterinary biologist and a physicist; I am not making that up. But that's also true for salesmen and grocery store clerks. I work in the home economy, which means that I am unemployed as far as dollars go, but over-employed as far as how much work there is to do. Speaking of past recessions - my husband and I bought our first house in 1982, a couple of years after we were married. It was a broken-down 1930s house. The interest rate on our loan was 18% - dumb, huh? What is even dumber is that we spent a lot of time and a fair amount of money renovating it. When we sold it in 1989 we lost money on it.

We have been watching some episodes of the 1960s show "Lost in Space". It is a really lame show, but it is easy to find things to laugh at. You in your beekeeper's suit were in one episode, I believe . . .

No-one has more gorgeous flowers than you and the editor.

Pam

Damo said...

@lew
Damo is a pretty rare name, short for Damian which has unusual spelling for a not so common name. Perhaps people were put off by the Omen movies?

As new Kiwis, Mrs Damo and I went to see the latest marvel comic superhero 'Thor' movie yesterday. It is directed by a New Zealand drama/comedic director responsible for "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" and "What we do in the Shadows" (a hilarious mockumentary about 4 vampires in a sharehouse). The cinema was packed, and there was a special message from the director at the beginning thanking his (New Zealand) fans. The movie was great, basically a sci-fi/80s comedy mashup with lots of quirky NZ humour. I am not sure how the rest of the world will take it, but it nice to see the occasional great movie from Hollywood every now and then (million monkeys with a million typewriters I guess...).

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

The attitude of indifference is really something else, and I experienced the pointy end of that equation back in the 90's. I reckon the larger aspect of the situation to consider is that of the Golden Rule of: Do Unto Others. By that I mean, whatever you do to others, may be done to you! There is a great Twilight Zone episode where someone is given a box with a button by a mysterious person. The instructions are that they can have the box for a week (this is all from memory, so please correct me if necessary) and if the button is pushed, someone, somewhere else that they do not know will die, but they'll get some mad cash. Now of course for the poor protagonists, circumstances intervene and they push the button and get the mad cash. The mysterious person then retrieves the box with the delivery of that mad cash and makes a final parting remark that the box will be given to someone that they do not know. A good metaphor I reckon!

Well, we actually do sell something that the rest of the world wants: Space (not the above the atmosphere and in total vacuum sort though).

No worries, I always enjoy my chats with you and not to stress, I'm not going anywhere soon - unless you've heard otherwise? Hehe! Yeah, the west coast of the south island is a beautiful place and the coast road is pretty nice, although I was there maybe two decades ago. Things may have changed in that time? Sales skills are an interesting field and I trust you are a quick study? If I may be so bold as to suggest watching the "Wolf of Wall Street" for a fascinating perspective of sales skills - right at the very end of the film. It is a good film too.

Hahahahahahaha! Funny stuff. Ah yes, very clever that title: "mustachian"! I almost spat my rhubarb wine all over the screen and keyboard once I worked out what you were talking about. Top work and using a hand propelled older push mower earns you the much coveted Elephant Stamp. I may have to track one of those machines down myself as the newer sheet steels are not good at all from a longevity perspective. Not to mention that the cutting edges will dull very quickly.

Yeah, the new plants will be fine for a few days without water. I haven't watered much yet this season and have certainly not set up the sprayer hoses. My Kiwi mates tell me that down in the south island the air temperatures may be cool over summer, but the UV from the sun is as fierce as Victoria.

Far out, I went to Bunnings the other day to find a 15m sprayer hose for the strawberry terrace and all they had were hoses with a two year guarantee for that length. The Nylex one which is locally made is guaranteed for five years but was only available in 30m lengths which to be honest is a bit long for that terrace...

I can barely put that book down. Happy days are a good book and an excellent coffee! Although there was a bit of an emergency here this evening and I had to drop the book and race off to deal with the unfolding disaster. Yeah, I usually go with my gut feeling and it is not telling me good things about the story. The ship is currently decelerating into the solar system. I was amused at the lack of concern - or indifference - at the denizens of the solar system. I reckon the ship would have put on a good show in the daytime and night time skies!

Speaking of stories, I hope that you have sent your "Last Farang" story to Joel Carris of "Into the Ruins"? Joel is a good bloke. If not then why is the question? You have a flair for telling rollicking tales.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Good to hear about Doug and the bees. The bees really do need our help. The new colony here appears to have established themselves and I went down earlier today to have a closer look at them. The air was warm and the sun was strong and you could hear the sound of the insects all busily going about their business. Anyway, the bees in the new hive were coming and going on a regular basis so I assume that they have sent out their scouts and they now know the lay of the land. In a lot of ways, the bees are very clever at how they organise their business. Doug may be interested that I'm keeping a close eye out for attacks on the new bee colony by ants. I reckon the last time I introduced a new colony to the farm, ants attacked the hive and killed the Queen. It was very upsetting and I have taken a few precautions this time to ensure that doesn't happen again.

Haha! Nice to hear. You know it never seemed any different from the stuff that arrives in glass bottles – and often it was far better. And yes, parties were its natural hunting grounds! :-)! I for one am glad to learn that your MIL has an excellent perspective on the necessities of life. Incidentally, the more I learn about Italian cooking, the more I can see that wine is one of those necessities. And from what I understand of their culture, once a person is over 70 years of age, then the usual rules (which may have been written by the temperance league) do not apply to them!

Ah yes, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that stuff! I hope that the travel arrangements are good and that you enjoy many delightful adventures. :-)! I assume someone else is processing the meat from the pigs? My mates apparently spent three weekends processing the meat from one sow.

Not to make you jealous, but the weather today here has been superb! Blue sunny skies and 77'F. The garden beds here are full of insects going about their business. I've decided to establish a garden bed that is full of Borage and Comfrey plants with an over story of Japanese maples because the insects (and chickens) love the leafy understory plants so much.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I sort of feel sorry for poor Arlo who perhaps exercised his common sense and ended up with a satirical experience and what would have been a very strange day indeed. It is a fun song! Sometimes life can be very strange. We had a minor emergency here this evening as a small burn off pile got whipped up by unanticipated gusty winds. Fortunately, after a lot of yelling and running around we sorted the mess out and avoided a disaster. I believe victims of pneumonia have to do deep breathing exercises to bring up gunk out of their lungs, well I am sort of experiencing that lung cleaning process now because of all of the running around getting hoses connected up.

I have a note here right in front of me about Mr Whyte's books and am looking forward to reading them. One problem living with in a rural area like this, is that there are no postal services to the street address. I live in a genuine black hole for all sorts of services, but try explaining that fact to some folks. They just fail to believe me that the postal service does not deliver here and it can be something that is a surreal experience for me and them. Of course the postal services deliver to everyone - except when they don't... I have had my eye on the complete six books for a while but for some strange inexplicable reason, they refuse to deliver to PO Boxes. Far out. The complete collection of stories from Robert E Howard's Sailor Steve Costigan turned up at the PO Box this morning. I wonder if Mr Costigan would have anything to say (or do!) about the sort of sellers that don't deliver to PO Boxes... Grrr! Back to the drawing board with Mr Whyte's works. Sometimes living at the bottom of the planet in a remote spot can have its minor practical difficulties.

Arthur's shadow really is huge to have survived over such a length of time. I always wonder how much of his success was due to him, Merlin, the Knights, or the rallying of the population of the time (or all combined)? Did the lectures or books have anything to say about that?

It is fascinating to me that the log was an oak species. Just out of curiosity, what was the significance of the lead cross? And why lead of all metals - apart from its workability.

I read somewhere that the current thinking was that Henry VIII was suffering from diabetes due to some of his more bizarre behaviour. It is hard not to note that he appeared to be a rather portly gentleman. Incidentally, I have read over the past few years that that particular affliction is not due to size, but rather due to lack of exercise. I once knew a doctor who enjoyed walking but for reasons of status, told me that they did not want to be seen walking... Go figure that one out.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

The War of the Roses followed the Hundred Years War. What else could one expect? It was very bloody history that. The Europeans certainly have a taste for blood given their history. It was certainly an ignoble end for Richard III and yes I recall when his skeleton was found and exhumed. Under a car park of all places too. The indignity. The car park under the market in Melbourne was (I believe) knowingly constructed over an old settlers mass grave. It is all a bit Poltergeist for me. But then our remains have to go somewhere. What a morbid thought.

Were the Romans much into capital punishment or do you reckon the fellows in York were killed because of an act of war? Could the bones be carbon dated so as to know the historical background for those times?

Humans are likewise very territorial and as such the bears are to be feared. The thing is that a lot of animals down here are territorial and the animals often leave territory markers for those with eyes (or noses) to see. The wombats in particular have a scent gland and they also mark the edges of their territories with scats. It is a very distinctive smell to say the least and not readily forgotten.

Patience is a virtue and often forgotten about. I hope you get the additional plot because plots should go to those that can utilise them. You know I rather suspect that your energy will catch on in that garden! It happens.

The asparagus has been going feral here, and I'm rather enjoying it. The weather was just so nice here today at 77'F. I took it easy today and just plopped around not doing too much. A perfect day and just what was needed. Enjoy today, for tomorrow we dig! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

The moons have aligned! I too did a bit of spring (as distinct from fall) cleaning today. But yeah, it does Poop you out doesn't it? Mr Poopy did not become involved in the activity, and for a short while he offered to help, but when it looked as if his help was to be accepted, he made a bee line for the bean bag. Now of course, I had to Poop-tip him out of the bean bag so that I could vacuum underneath it. Mr Poopy fears the vacuum because I have been known to occasionally attempt to suck him up into its mechanism (Bad Chris) if he were to be caught loitering around whilst I'm working. Not to fear, he is not in any serious danger. Out of curiosity, is the fall cleaning a tradition for you? The house here gets dusty over winter due to the wood heater which despite all the best care releases some fine dust and ash into the air inside the house. Summer brings dust from the outside – especially the dirt road. I would not wish for a made road for any amount of money as that would bring the never ending stream of push bike riders on weekends.

I have no reason not to believe you, because I too and the editor are under employed and I know plenty of other people in that situation. We like you choose to be under employed and spend a huge amount of the rest of the time on the home economy. Change the years around and that story was mine too. I often suspect that the very high interest rates was a clever ploy to get people to remove investments out of the world of productive activities (such as businesses that make and/or sell stuff) and into the murky world of the financial products. I can't quite recall, but I reckon mortgage rates hit 16% at their worst down here. One loan payment I calculated had only $4 going towards the principle. Yup, and I lost money too. What do they say about people making money thinking that they are geniuses in a bull market! That experience really hit home hard. Did you find that too?

Danger, danger, Will Robinson! And that awful doctor. For some reason the guy in the band the B-52’s always reminded me of that doctor. Dunno why. Yup I remember that. Did you know that show out rated Star Trek way back in the day?

Thank you! The sun was warm and the wind was absent today and the flowers were chock full of insects. They were everywhere and there are so many that there is an audible hum. It is really nice to see the insects enjoying the flowers. The editor and I sure do too. I am amazed at how quickly some of the fruit trees finish their cycle of blossoms. I noticed today that some of the apricots and almonds now have a blush of red on the fruit. Spring is my favourite time of year next to autumn (which tends to be very brief here). Hope you are enjoying your autumn!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. Sounds like your body took a break, weather you wanted to, or not. It happens and it’s best to pay attention. The weather here has turned rather nice. Fog or overcast in the mornings, then it burns off by afternoon. It’s getting pretty brisk, at night. But no frost yet. That last round of rain did cause some minor flooding in our east county, with a few minor landslides. Par for the course.

I’m glad your emergency turned out to be a “minor” emergency. Here, you go online to apply for a “burn permit” (free) and there’s a page of rules for doing the burn. Size of pile, water source at hand, etc.. It also gave the fire department a heads up, as to if to get very excited about a report of smoke in a particular area. Unexpected wind is not something you can plan for. There’s a new film out here, about a doomed fire fighting team down in Arizona. Has “brave” in the title. My friends daughter (who just happens to be a firefighter, and is now in Arizona) went to see it and reports that it was fairly good and they got most of the details right.

I see that “no P.O. boxes” on some ads. Apparently, P.O. boxes allow a certain amount an anonymity for bad guys to be able to rip off companies. Also, some delivery services can’t deliver to PO boxes.

The professor of the Arthur lectures said several times that Arthur must have inspired fierce loyalty, was probably pretty generally “smart” and was probably very good in battle. I’d guess, at the time, he probably gave credit where credit was due or rewarded his men, somehow or another, in a fair way. Recognition? Spoils?

The lead cross has inscriptions on both sides (Darn. I forgot to look but if you Google “Arthur burial cross” the translation can probably be found. You can buy replicas at Glastonbury :-). Maybe they used lead as the burial was a bit swift or hasty? Lead is very easy to work.

I Googled “Headless Romans in York” and got some pretty interesting articles. Also, a 50 minute video on YouTube, that I think I got from the library. But the video was from early on, and more information is available, now. They were probably either gladiators or soldiers. The demographics match a gladiator’s burial ground in the eastern Med. It’s possible they’re soldiers, either a scouting party gone bad (small local uprising?) or a minor mutiny? They’ve analyzed a few of the fellows, and most were from around Britain, one from Holland, and a surprise, one from the Middle East.

If I get the plot I want, I’m going to try a small patch of asparagus, again. Tried 3 times out at my old place and had no luck. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, I had a private showing of "Geostorm", yesterday :-). At 4:00 on a Thursday afternoon, second week of "run" I was the only person in the auditorium. The cinema complex here as about 10 auditoriums. The one employee at the front counter (and, probably the only employee at that time of day) said there were only 5 people in the whole complex, at that time.

"Geostorm" was ok. To me. Great CGI. Hail the size of buses (and, crunching buses) in Tokyo. Intense cold waves freezing beach goers in Rio. Etc.. A lot of it takes place in outer space. Flaming space stations, etc.. Most of the actors I'd never heard of, and will probably never hear of, again. A few cameos by "name" actors. Ed Harris has a small, but rather meaty role. The premiss is, due to climate change, we've managed to pull together and figure out how to control the weather. Seemed like a good idea at the time. What could possibly go wrong? :-).

Another first. I played the bi-weekly bingo with the ladies. Bingo for Blood. :-). I went in with $3 and came out with $2. About 12 ladies showed up. Next stop, Gambler's Anonymous. :-).

Bit swap meet / garage sale, tomorrow. Wonder what I'll find, if anything? Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I think I could say that fall cleaning is a tradition here. I'm looking towards the holiday season, which is a time that I especially want the house to be tidy. There is road dust in the summer and ash and soot in the winter, so spring cleaning really needs to be done, too, but there is all that garden stuff to be attending to - and the house is full of seedlings in the spring, and they are not very well house trained. Like you, no way would I trade our dirt road, dust and all, for a made one.

Well, I wouldn't think that a bull market would be a very good time to buy, but then apparently you and I fell for it, with the ignorance and optimism of youth. Wasn't there something said recently about learning from mistakes . . . ? Then again, if one is smart enough to make money in a bull market, money is money. And you may be right - who knows (somebody . . .)? : "I often suspect that the very high interest rates was a clever ploy to get people to remove investments out of the world of productive activities (such as businesses that make and/or sell stuff) and into the murky world of the financial products."

I can't believe "Lost in Space" out rated "Star Trek", though I remember that all of us little girls loved "Lost in Space" and the boys loved "Star Trek". L in S seemed to me to be the galactic version of "Gilligan's Island", and I loved no show more than "Gilligan's Island". Did you see the article recently about the 2 Hawaiian ladies and their dogs who drifted in their boat in the Pacific and were just picked up after 5 months?

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/10/26/navy-rescues-2-americans-and-their-dogs-who-were-lost-sea-months/803593001/

Autumn is my favorite time of year, too (it has been gorgeous weather here lately), also followed by spring.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - I went to the movies, too. See what I said to Chris, above, about my private screening :-).

I don't know. The whole glut of super hero movies leaves me kind of ... uninterested. Every once in awhile, one catches my fancy, but not too often. Usually, I can't figure out if I've seen one before. Chris tipped me off for "Search for the Wilder People" and I quit like it. Lew

Damo said...

Thank you for the encouragement and reminder Chris, I have submitted the story :-) My OSS story is also progressing well. It already has 6 different sentient species, it is a lot of fun when you are not restricted to silly, outdated notions of 'realism' and the finer details of biology. Hopefully the resulting story is actually good.

I have a love-hate relationship with Bunnings. Such range in one place is great, but gosh it can be hard sorting out the dross from the quality. I need to obtain a variety of wood-working tools soon for an unspecified project (hint, involves lots of timber, ply and this music would not be out place during construction). The local markets seem to have a great range of quality used tools (and rubbish), but they are sold by 'professional' stall-holders and I feel there might be better bargains out there...somewhere. Perhaps I will pop into Bunnings or Mitre10 (Mitre 10 is quite prominent in NZ) and get a prices baseline for middling quality new tools to help guide me.

Ahh, the coveted elephant stamp. Long have I desired this! On a more practical note, can it be redeemed for beer at the local?

RE: Sales.
Well, I reckon I am a quick learner, in my own time at least! I think my real weakness is natural conversation with strangers. It is a skill to be developed, and a useful one at that. Luckily, many surveyors are an introverted lot (like myself) and I think I will get along fine with most of them in the long run. Wolf of Wall St was a good movie, the scene with the pen was great.

Mrs Damo is in Melbourne this weekend, then up-to Brisbane to help with 'the baby'. I am left to my own devices!

Damo said...

@Lew

The super hero movies are mostly dross, yet I end up watching most of then one way or another. Sucker for punishment perhaps? Certainly if you enjoyed Wilderpeople, you will probably enjoy Thor:Ragnarok. It doesn't take itself seriously in any sense and has many of the actors from Wilderpeople!

The other one I recently watched was Blade Runner:2049. One of the best sequels since Aliens I reckon - better in every way than the original, which I *want* to like, but always end up getting bored. Ironically, 2049 is longer but didn't feel like it. Worth seeing on the big screen, especially if you don't mind the scifi-noir genre mashup.

Good luck with asparagus. A local delicacy here is to wrap several stalks in a slice of white bread and cream cheese. Actually pretty nice!

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Yup, break needed and also some time out for reflection. A valuable thing to do and the editor and I have discovered that we are operating to an annual cycle. The problem appears to be that the infrastructure tasks are now competing for attention with the maintenance and planting tasks. There is a story in there...

Those landslides sound horrendous to me. Of course that may well be because I experienced a minor landslide in January... Yup, heavy rain will do that. The sun is shining outside right now and I am planning to go outside and mow later when the sun is a bit lower in the sky and the heat is less intense.

Brave is a subjective term don’t you reckon, but perhaps the film folks may have been required to use that word for the story. These days, crews won’t go into areas where they will be unable to get out of again - so my road that has only one entrance (and a dead end) is not a place that they would go in a serious emergency. We are most definitely on our own, which is why I test the stuff that we do have, for those very conditions and yesterday the water pump failed. After a bit of investigation into why, I discovered that the garden pump is very good, but has a duty cycle of only 20 minutes. We discovered this yesterday as the water pressure dropped away and then came back again. Not good.

A replacement and much larger water pump is now on order. Incidentally, I may have worked out a sneaky work around for the PO Box problem - which I have read has something to do with those boxes being apparently unregulated in your part of the world. Down here they are part of the post office and are very highly regulated. Anyway, instead of putting my address down as PO Box, I simply changed it to "Post Office Box" and that seemed to slip past the digital checking fun-police. Now I'm also hoping that the suppliers English is not so good and the label is attached to the shipping box without any additional thought or scrutiny. So many uncertainties, but life is like that. I shall report back in a month or so when the new pump turns up here (don’t count your pumps they tell me!)

Picked up two new Japanese maples this morning for a song. They were very unloved examples but should be fine. The leaves are red which will look pretty good. I would like to get them in the ground today, but there are a few too many bees in that garden bed right now - it's a bit scary out there!

Sun Tzu advocated those qualities in a leader. I believe Sun Tzu may have come unstuck when the meritocracy he promoted threatened the existing social order, especially in relation to the nobility. They may have some sort of incentive for possibly ignoring such minor matters? Dunno why, but such testing may serve to keep them sharp and away from sharp things.

What a story Arthur's cross and tomb is. I wonder if anyone has thought to put hard questions to the descendants of a certain Mr. William Hughes, Chancellor of Wells? I'll bet they have! The tomb was quite deep from all accounts and such digging work would not have been easy or quick.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I'm genuinely amazed that the Roman's had troops with such diverse origins. I wonder if the troops had any choice in the location of their posting?

Your soils are acidic as far as I can understand the situation. It's acidic here too. Asparagus prefer basic soils, so I plant them in mushroom compost which is a mix of horse poo and soiled bedding straw because that is apparently basic. They do quite well here in that mix. You can also add lime to your current soil? Litmus paper is pretty cheap and it may be worth a test? Killing something three times is about my upper limit for damage! Although sometimes a fourth plant killing may be necessary just to make sure it’s dead. ;-)!

Ouch. There is no way they could be making money in those circumstances. Ouch. A couple of films ago, the editor and I were the only people in the cinema. Fortunately for the indie cinema, they have very small cinemas so I'm guessing their break even point is a bit lower than a multiplex at a shopping mall? Maybe? Interestingly I won't go to that cinema on a Monday night when they do a half price night because the numbers of people are feral. Far out, the movie industry is a tough gig.

Oh no! What could possibly go wrong? Well it sort of reminds me of the situation in relation to back burning operations around here. Apparently people complain that they have their washing out on the line, it's their daughters birthday etc. (these are apparently real complaints that were related to me by an exasperated politician). I did not know that I too should have been complaining to keep up with the Joneses! Out of curiosity, were there any parts of the world that demanded perfect weather all of the time in that film before the weather became ugly and fought back?

Those ladies are possibly bingo sharks and they appear to have stitched you up right and proper! Hehe! Well done them!!!

Did you find anything in the swap sale?

The sun is showing its face now and I may head out and do some mowing (maybe). It looks like it will rain heavily on Monday. Good for the orchard.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Our first really cold night; all my windows were dripping with moisture indoors. This after a glorious day yesterday; a high blue, blue sky. There were white trails up there from the commercial aircraft and lower down, two spitfires passed right overhead. They returned a sort while later. A noisy micro-light went over very high up. Just to add to the noise, the Brent geese (here for the winter) were being very rowdy on the beach.

In the afternoon I walked to the holiday site, visible on the drone flight. They were giving a presentation of their expansion plans. Rabid locals were there to express their angry views.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, winter ash soot and summer road dust sure makes for a lot of cleaning. You know, I don't know about your vacuum cleaner, but the one here (Dyson – Animal) leaves a really fine dust that has to be mopped from the timber hardwood floors once a year. I can see why folks wanted wall to wall carpets which would hide that dust and I recall the days when such luxuries were touted in house ads. Incidentally the summer sun is so harsh here that synthetic carpets fade (synthetics need not apply here!) - even the Tung Oil that is applied to the hardwood boards fades, but at least it can be reapplied. Out of curiosity too, what time of year does the holiday season refer too? Generally businesses close here around the Christmas / New Year period, but I'm usually quite busy in January and everyone wants their stuff attended too before Christmas (that is a form of mantra). And yeah, the seedlings inside the house can smell interesting... Oh well. I spotted the first self-seeded tomato outside today so I know that I am now running one week late.

Exactly money is money and it buys what it does. That observation of course says much and very little doesn't it? Hehe! Being taken, is part of the human experience in our culture because the truth is a relative concept and well, you only know with certainty things and situations that you have experienced. I mean all else is speculation isn’t it, but some of us can learn from others and that is no bad thing. Far out, have we just delved deep into philosophy? ;-)!

I enjoyed Gilligan's Island far more than Lost in Space, and well, to out myself here: I can recall that they did a film about their return to Hawaii with all of the problems that that entailed. If I'm not mistaken the adventurers chose to return to the island? Dunno, my memory fails me. I used to watch the original Star Trek shows as a kid and I always enjoyed them. Yes, I can recall the days when sporting a goatee didn't mean that one worked in IT, it meant that they were a Klingon! I was always disappointed when the IT crowd took on the goatee...

What a naughty website! Apparently the bots demanded that I undertake a survey to continue reading the article. Before that happened I noted that the ladies looked to be in robust health and I wonder about their access to fresh water, but they may have had a desalination system on board and/or collected rain water? Dunno. I didn't get to see the dogs, but dogs being dogs, they would have enjoyed the fish - with gusto!

Autumn is a lovely time of year! I picked up some cheapie red Japanese maples today, but couldn't plant them in the garden bed because the bees were feral. Tell me, why did I get a second colony?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

No worries at all, I am merely acting as your conscience in this matter. And who wants to waste words? Mincing words? Maybe? But wasting them... I dunno! I really enjoy the "Into the Ruins" publication and Joel is a really nice bloke who walks the talk. If you look around the YouTube thingee there is an interview with him and an English bloke who runs the Legalise Freedom Podcast.

Exactly, the author and crim, Chopper Read who you may or may not be aware of (and I have only one or two separate degrees of separation from that guy in my short life in very weird circumstances) once encouraged the population too: Not let the truth get in the way of a good story. And who are we to argue with that logic as he as an author that has outsold both you and I! ;-)! Let the aliens be really alien is what I reckon. My mind keeps drifting back to some sort of Western in a cold desert town on Mars, but I'm not much good at fiction writing.

Yes, me too with that love - hate relationship. I'm not saying anything about the Evil Empire or anything like that, but far out Bunnings is good... It is complex for me as I recall the bad old days of the hardware store when I was made to feel as if I were 12 years old again and had to deal with people working the cashiers who had serious mental health issues because "they wanted to be on the tools". Far out...

Cool as! You know, I'm not saying they look like a Northern European heavy metal band, but far out there are some similarities! That is some seriously intense music and it certainly ups my heart rate. Stirs the blood! Good stuff.

Ah Grasshopper, when you can walk upon this rice paper, then shall you be ready for the coveted Elephant Stamp! Hehe!!! You're worthy....

Everyone takes their own time to learn stuff. And speed of learning is no expression of intelligence from what I've seen. I've known plenty of folks crowing about their admission to Mensa when the average magpie displays more intelligence and common sense. Just sayin...

Yeah, the scene with the pen was an eye opener. No worries at all, introverts are very social animals too and I count myself among their number, but they require more down time and recovery time than most and that is the aspect of life that must be managed.

Mrs Damo scored an almost perfect Melbourne day. My advice to you: Keep out of mischief! Hehe!!!!

Far out the music is intense, but really, really good.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

That happens here too when the humidity is very high and the difference between the inside and outside temperatures is quite extreme. You know, the window frames here are aluminium and I'm not suggesting that they conduct temperature well, but they really conduct temperature well. Timber is a far better insulator for windows, but because of the fire regulations I was unable to utilise them despite the fact that aluminium melts at 600 degrees whilst many local hardwood species only char at those temperatures. Oh well.

Do you usually have a humid winter? For some reason I have assumed that your winter is cold, but humid given the island climate but I don't really know.

The spitfires would have been such a labour of love for the owners and a real treat to see. Very occasionally I'm in a flight path for large aircraft and the roar can be deafening as they have to climb over the mountain ranges main ridge and the airport is not that far away. Sometimes when they are low I remark to the editor that: "I hope they know what they are doing!"

The air ambulance which is a large helicopter often does very low fly overs of the house on its way to the nearby hospital. It is a sound that is not soon forgotten and I feel it in my guts well before I see the aircraft.

You know, sometimes the birds are trying to communicate. Whilst I was out with the chickens this evening, I heard the magpies raise the alarm bird call, and I spotted them swooping low over something that may have been a fox. I ran down to investigate only to see the fox in the middle of the sunny orchard and ran at it shouting and yelling. The fox fled into the forest and the magpies settled in a nearby tree. The bird squawked at me and so I said to the bird "chook chook". The magpie replied: "squawk squawk". At that point I said to myself: "No way". Anyway, I thought I'd test the magpie and then said "chook" and the bird replied "squawk". To be honest I felt chills. A family of magpies has lived here for many years and they work hard on the farm. Those same species of birds swoop people in Melbourne because the humans and birds compete for the same space. We have I guess a collaborative relationship with the birds?

Ah yes, change. It can be unpleasant. I hope the plans were not too distressing for yourself?

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I can see why folks wanted wall-to-wall carpets as soon as the weather turns cold - uncovered wood floors are sadly uninsulated and one's tootsies get pretty cold when up in the middle of the night.

Some of our (non-synthetic) curtains have faded a tiny bit, even with our mild sun, but, then, most of them are 25-30 years old. I am really glad that I made them out of very high quality cotton fabrics since they have lasted well - and, thankfully, we still like the patterns and colors. I wash them once a year and have never put them through a dryer.

The holiday season here refers to just before Thanksgiving (always the 4th Thursday in November), through Christmas, and to New Year's Day.

I think that those poor, dumb castaways Of Gilligan's Island were on a reunion boat tour, some time after being rescued, and got shipwrecked all over again . . .

I'm sorry that you couldn't get to the website. I wondered at the ladies' robust appearance
myself when I saw the photos; the dogs did well, too. The exciting part was that the two ladies had a water purifier and a year's supply of food with them on their boat. What smart ladies!

I kind of wondered why you got a second colony, too. Only Chris knows!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Re: Finding used tools (good or otherwise). I have a word for you (well, three ... maybe more). Auctions, Estate Sales. Pawn shops are also worth a look. The auction and estate sales are where the professional booth holders get their tat. Here, the price of good used tools seems to be falling. We seem to have reached Peak Used Tools.

Actually, what it is, I think, is that all the old guys that used to buy anything that looked like a tool are dying off. And, their hoards are hitting the markets.

It's early in the am (oh, argh). I'm off to the swap meet! Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The plans won't really affect me as their intended site is even further away than the current one. I live on the 'wrong side of the tracks'; those on the right side will find that their very expensive houses may devalue a bit. Actually I don't think that permission will be given when they put their plans in.

It is almost always very humid here because of the sea and the trees. Only dry if we get a drought summer which is very rare. On the whole, warmth and wet go together in the winter, the dryer it is then the colder it is.

I have wooden window frames. I believe that this is not permitted any longer if one replaces ones windows. The only exceptions would be old listed buildings.

I often get low flying helicopters, particularly the coastguard ones.

There are a pair of magpies here, they are very territorial so never more than two except when they have young. They squawk when I appear but I don't know whether that is a greeting or a warning. Probably a warning as they don't like human beings because gamekeepers used to shoot them. They'll fly up if I even twitch a curtain.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The autumn colors are spectacular, here. We have a lot of evergreen trees and mixed in are a lot of maples, etc. So, it’s a dark green background with splashes of gold, yellow and red. Any time I work in the garden, I move slow and go about my business, and so do the bees. If there’s an agitated bee, I just wander off and do something else for awhile. When I was cutting down the tomatillas, I noticed a very fat spider in a web. I didn’t know where she got to, but I noticed she’d moved to one of the deer posts. When I first saw her, her web was empty. A couple of hours later, it was full of various flying insects. Go spider! :-)

You mentioned congestion. I had a problem with that, a few years back and heard about something called a “lung flute.” So, I get online and it’s a little something that looks like a 35 cent piece of plastic. Turns out in this country, you have to have a perscription to order one. Since you live in a much more enlightened country, you can probably buy it over the counter at your local chemist. It breaks up congestion in your lungs with sound waves.

It seemed to be a Roman state policy to ship soldiers all over the empire. I suppose it makes sense that if you have a recently conquered people, it’s better to ship in soldiers who have no emotional or political ties with whoever population they are supervising.

Thanks for the asparagus tips. It was mostly problems with critters eating the asparagus at my old place. Root and tops. I ought to be able to get a little patch started here.

I suppose, eventually, theaters will disappear. Especially small regional ones, out here in the boonies.

I’m back from the big garage sale / swap meet. LOL, I got there at 7:30 (gates open at 8), a little earlier than I wanted. I was first through the gate :-). After I waited about 10 minutes, an old guy showed up who had come down from Gig Harbor (up on Puget Sound). He collected fishing equipment, and sells a bit through a space in a mall up that way. So, we chatted about the general state of the business and I tipped him off to a few sales I knew were coming up. Time went swiftly.

Didn’t do quit as well as last time, but found a few things that wound my clock. Spent less than $50. A really nice Chinese woven bamboo sewing basket from the 1920s. I have four others, and this is the nicest I have. They usually have Chinese coins attached. Also, a kind of glass called Peking glass. Beads and rings. I found a pottery water bottle. Complete with stopper and rustic wooden handle, attached. Pacific Pottery Co. Cobalt blue. 1930s. AND, a Dr. Who, flying police box! Absolute Chinese plastic junk, but I couldn’t resist. And, a small pottery statue of and old Chinese man doing Tai Chi. Again, Chinese junk. But I was talking to the ladies, the other day, and we’d like to find someone to come in and do a yoga or Tai Chi class. I told them we really need to find a yoga or Tai Chi Nazi. Someone, really strict. Maybe with a whip and a chair. Or, a horse whip :-).

The Fenton Glass lady wasn’t there. And, another dealer was going to bring some Hakata figures, but forgot. Oh, well. Disappointing, but not to my wallet. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: Nope. I can't remember any part of the world demanding perfect weather in the film. I think the premise of the weather control system was mostly to "knock the top off" of extreme weather events. The thing that struck me, early on in the film was they have this elaborate space port in Florida and the international space station is just huge and very high tech. And I kept wondering, "And the money comes from where?" Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

I meant to be writing this afternoon so will have to be brief! :-)! The sun is shining nicely here and I spent a few hours this morning mowing - hope I didn't cook my head.

Toastie tootsies are a nice thing on a cold winters night. Yes, the insulation under the timber floor would make a serious difference, but that can be a serious pain to install too I can tell you. Ceramic tiles over a concrete slab in contact with the ground in the middle of winter is no laughing matter either! Those floors radiate the cold... Brrr!

Nice to hear, and you displayed considerable foresight going for the heavy duty quality cotton. Hmm, if they were ten years earlier, they may now be considered garish or perhaps even vintage? The 60's and 70's produced some strange designs. I am fortunate that the editor takes a keen interest in materials and seeks out quality.

Thanks! I didn't know that.

Yes, but it does sound all rather suspicious don't you reckon? Hehe!

They were very clever to have had both of those arrangements on board the boat. I'm not so sure how tasty the meals would be towards the end of the year? Ships biscuits always seemed a bit of a dodgy concept to me. Not to mention the salted meats. And way back in the day, the rats would have been a nuisance.

Who knows? I was worried that a tree may accidentally drop onto one of the hives so the other hive is a form of insurance.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the explanation. And yeah, the planning permit process is a complex legal nightmare. You certainly don't want to be annoying the establishment though as they can pull favours whether you hear about it or not. It is nice to live in the less fashionable end of otherwise nice parts of the world isn’t it? ;-)!

That is the exact same weather pattern here. Seriously. It is usually humid, unless there is a drought summer which can drop humidity to less than 10% on some days which is a bit nerve wracking. Winters are the most humid of the lot though with most days over 90%. It looks like a storm is fast approaching here, although looking out the window at the sunny afternoon it is sort of hard to imagine.

Oh. I wonder why timber windows are no longer allowed? They can still be purchased down here, and there is a school of thought that says that very dense hardwood timber windows perform better in bush fire situation than aluminium. They char rather than burn. Dunno, they have certainly done the tests on those windows, but they are really expensive.

Ah, a necessary evil then. I can't really complain about the air ambulance flying low overhead, but sometimes they are very low.

Interesting. The birds usually call alerts to each other so maybe that is what you are hearing with the squawk? Dunno what do you reckon about that? The magpies here usually ignore me as I do to them, but whenever I'm digging they'll swoop in and take any grubs. I often feed them the grubs so I assume they know that I mean them no harm. I once over fed a kookaburra grubs and the poor bird was so full that it was having trouble taking off again. It eventually flew away.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Are the leaf change tourists to be seen anywhere in your neck of the woods? Your approach to the bees is a sound strategy and they soon forget minor grievances and get on with their activities. And moving slowly and not trying to swat them is a good idea. Anytime an attempt to swat a bee is performed they'll go into attack mode. They can sometimes warn you off by crashing into your head several times. It is a bit unnerving at first until you know to walk away from them - unless they are caught in your hair...

Speaking of leaf turn and maples, I planted the Japanese maples in the maple garden today. I took that job very slowly and carefully because of all the bees. I took some photos, so you can see why I was mildly concerned. There are a huge number of flowers in that garden bed.

The spiders work hard in the garden don't they? It is amazing how much activity goes on underneath our very noses. I only hope that the huge and very fast huntsman spiders keep out of the house. Not always the case with those spiders. They’re more sensitive to storms than Scritchy Storm Detective!

Thanks very much for the suggestion. I have never heard of that implement. It makes sense though as the deep breathing is a good activity to move gunk from the depths of the lungs. I do a lot of deep breathing here just in the day to day activities. This morning I mowed for a few hours. It is a big job by hand, but then four wheel drive tractors are not cheap and so perhaps it is much cheaper pushing the little red Honda all over the farm!

A very clever strategy. The problem with a wealth pump in those circumstances is that it is hard to remove wealth and win over the population at the same time. People get a bit annoyed by that strategy and there are diminishing returns with the wealth removed and the costs to do so.

Yeah, some of your critters are tough as. Nothing eats asparagus here other than humans. But the marsupials may develop a taste for the plant without warning. I doubt the deer would get that close to the house. I'd go for the lime given what you've said about your soil and where you are located. The garden bed probably doesn't even need that much lime. I see farmers spreading lime under their truffle oaks down this way (don't get involved or ever show an interest in someone else's truffle farm!)

You are probably right about that. I have to head into the big smoke if I want to see a film - but at least the trains run from here to there and back again and have done since the days of steam locomotives.

Glad to read that you enjoyed the swap meet, and it is nice to speak with like minded folks. It was very nice too that you tipped him off to the other sales. What do you reckon about the current state of the business? I haven't tried a clearing sale yet, mostly because I'm just keeping my head above the waters in terms of all the stuff I'm trying to get done here. It does get easier though as time marches on.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Well, who can resist a Dr Who flying police box (also blue from memory). I have many fond memories of watching Dr Who a few decades ago. As a kid the daleks and cybermen were a frightening concept.

In the nearby township they run a men’s yoga group which gets a good turnout. If I get crunchy, I will head on down there, but I stretch a lot during the day and for several minutes before bed. Stretching and moving exercises a great idea. How are the ladies about that idea? I hope they go for it as it is a very valuable exercise.

$50 is a good investment for your time and you scored a lot of stuff. Are you still trading some of the items?

Exactly. The recent solar discussion that went nowhere and looks as if it is dead in the water got a response that my explanation that this solar stuff not being economic - and in fact being very expensive relative to other options - was dismissed as an irrelevance. Au contraire to my now quiet and argumentative friend, it is very relevant. There is a meme in the population that says a new direction in relation to energy must be taken at any cost. That is a scary thought to hear expressed, because I tend to concern myself with plan B's. The plan B says, that is a nice idea, thanks for expressing it, but what are you going to do if that doesn't happen - let's talk and plan for that scenario. That's the plan B tool. Shame people don't want to hear about it.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Of course planning can be as corrupt as anything else. They have a problem here though as there are a number of smaller applications on the go here and others are waiting in the wings. I am very curious to see what happens.

For some extraordinary reason it is plastic windows that are replacing the wooden ones. Things just get more and more weird.

I also see the air ambulance helicopters taking people to a mainland hospital when our local one can't cope with something serious. Thanks to the height of the trees that surround me, flights can't come too low.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Dr. Chrislittle! No, I take you seriously with your bird calls and their response. I have a squirrel noise that I make, and I can get a squirrel to go back and forth for a very long time, it's almost a duet. They know it's me; I think they are just having fun - or telling me off. And maybe it's because we know each other. Could I get a squirrel in another place to answer? Probably not.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - We don’t seem to have leaf peppers as an organized activity in the part of the country. Maybe because it’s all around us. We don’t have to travel to a particular destination to see the colors.

Current state of the tat business? Pretty grim. Over all. The old collectors and sellers are dying out and the youngsters are interested in different things. Fashion changes. Life style changes (smaller apartments, more moves). The internet helped bring about the collapse of prices in a lot of collecting areas. Things that were thought to be “rare” turned out not to be so rare. I’m guilty of that, myself. If I buy something, or not, may be effected by E-Bay selling prices (as opposed to listed prices). There’s a dealer that has some lead figures I’m interested in, at one of the local malls. But they want about $30 per, for them. E-Bay? $10 per. I noticed there was a new dealer in with a lot of nice glass at one mall. I mentioned to the mall owner that they had really nice stuff and the prices weren’t bad. She said that’s because he wanted to SELL his stuff. And then kind of muttered under her breath, “unlike some of our other dealers.”

So, is a “clearing sale” the same as an “estate sale?” LOL. Leave it to the grand and la-de-da American’s to refer to someone’s rather meager leavings as “an estate.” :-).

Oh yes, The Doctor’s flying phone box (The Tardis) is blue. I just finished watching season 10, part two. Several episodes covered the origins of the Cybermen. It just occurred to me that as mentioned in a recent article about Star Trek that I read, that the “lore” of Doctor Who is so sprawling, by now, that sometimes story ideas come from just some slight mention of some aspect of their time and space of some detail. This season ended with a doctor regeneration. And, the Dr. Who geek-o-sphere has been going crazy, as the next Doctor Who is to be a woman. They’ve been softening the ground for that, as in the last few seasons, another Time Lord (Time Lady?) has appeared. And the point has been made several times, recently, that a regeneration can turn out to be of either sex. Holy Gender Politics, Bat Man! :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Actually, it was the ladies that mentioned yoga classes. I think they had an class at sometime in the distant past.

There's to be a KFC dinner on Halloween. And, I guess some candy swapping activity, after. The Warden's right hand showed up with a big box of donuts and pastry, the other day, and the ladies were swarming around. I successfully resisted. I couldn't help but thinking (but didn't say) that we complain about our health and then indulge in that sort of stuff. We had two of The Inmates, in hospital, last week. Both for what I'd call food related illness. One really surprised me. She was, I thought, one of our ladies who appeared to be in a lot better shape than some of the others. She's back home with three heart stints, in place.

Fall is Bazaar Season. Just about every church and a lot of organizations throw bazaars as fund raisers. Next week end, The Home is having their's. I guess it's a yearly thing. There's been a lot of activity. People have been donating their cast offs. Some of the ladies bake or can to raise a bit of extra cash, for themselves. The sewing group has been doing projects. I've been helping out, here and there. The Ladies get first crack at whatever comes through. The other day, I hauled a box of a small dinnerware set, up to one ladies apartment. And, a really nice set of cast iron shelving up to another's. That's how you get along around here. Contribute, help out. I don't want to be "on call" as I'm one of the few men in the building. So, I'm not too "available." But enough to fit in. There's really not much pressure to "join in." It's pretty low key.

I haven't really run across much trading stuff, lately. But it's not something I really work at. Just if I fall over something. I see that (finally) a lot of my stuff is going to hit the auction, next week. From when I downsized. The timing is good. My Idaho friend is convinced that an early in the month auction to get rid of stuff is best as more people have money to spend at that time. We'll see. Lew