Monday, 13 November 2017

Decline of Western Civilization, Part I: Dishwashers

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

A couple of decades ago some mates owned a rather amusingly titled video: The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II: The Metal Years. The film was apparently a documentary about heavy metal music. I never watched the film, or even discovered what Part I was all about. However, the amusing title, of an otherwise serious documentary video about heavy metal music caught my imagination.
Back in those days, there was no Internet. Therefore you couldn't just type a question into an internet search engine and get a reply from a database. Nope, before the internet, a person was left with mysteries such as: What was The Decline of Western Civilization, Part I; all about? It seems like a rather important question to be left hanging in the air all uncertain and stuff. Back then, people learned to live their lives carrying around these little mysteries.

Anyway, for all I know, Part I of the documentary series, may have been a serious documentary about the banking industry. The documentary may have explored the darker sides of Collateralized Debt Obligation's (financial instruments employed by the banking industry and which had such a large role to play in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis). 

Given that Part II covered the topic of heavy metal music, then perhaps Part I of the series was most likely to have had a music theme. On a positive note for the film makers, they neatly avoided the complexities of thinking about CDO's and the darker sides of the banking industry.

Hmm. Music theme. Well if I had to vote for a particular style of music that may positively point towards the Decline of Western Civilization, then I feel compelled to vote for the genre of "Progressive Rock". It is not that I have any particular issue with that genre, it is just that the other day I was in the local supermarket. Over the audio system, someone had decided to play a recording from the progressive rock band The Alan Parson's Project. The band were singing their hit from the 1970's: "Eye in sky". I imagine that management felt that such songs were soothing? Anyway, I didn't feel particularly soothed. Frankly I was left wondering whether the song was a subtle reference to the many hidden cameras on the ceiling of the establishment? Who knows. I'd be much more comfortable if management decided to play, say, Sydney metal-core band: Polaris; with their song Dusk to Day, which is a lyrical account (heavy metal style of course) about one of the band members painful struggles with insomnia. Insomnia being a more relevant concern to a lot of people these days than  eye's in the sky (although drones are becoming cheaper and more available).

From time to time, I amuse myself with attempts to imagine the most absurd title for the unknown Part I of the documentary series. It is a fun game and can keep me amused for hours. As an amusing offering, I nominate: dishwashers (the automatic machine type, not the grumpy human type).

A while back someone asked me why I don't have a dishwasher. Being a bit of a smarty pants, I replied, we do have a dishwasher - It is called Chris. That reply did not appear to satisfy the persons curiosity, so I pulled out "fluffy non-dishwasher-machine owning excuse, number six" and said: "Look mate. It's just the solar power system here can't run one. And it's a bit of hassle, but, you know, we live with that hassle". And that was that, excuse number six is a very big gun and it always brings positive results as the questions stop, and people sort of feel sorry for the editor and I.

Now, of course the solar power system can run a dishwasher. I just don't want to install and run a dishwasher. To me those machines appear to be an inordinately expensive and polluting way to do a really simple task. Plus you can't put crystal etc in the dishwasher. To quote the disaster film Sharknado: Nuff Said!

Here is a batch of dishes that I washed up by hand in the kitchen sink this morning:
Washing up this lot by hand must have taken me at least two minutes
I've been washing up (and cooking and cleaning) since about the age of twelve. You see, my mum was a single mum, and so she was pretty busy. At that young age, one sad evening I casually sauntered into the kitchen and perhaps arrogantly dumped my soiled plates on the kitchen bench after dinner. It was at that point that I made the serious "fluffy error" of not being fast enough on my exit strategy. I got nabbed by my mum and frogmarched back towards the kitchen sink. Then after a very brief lesson, I found myself thenceforth washing dishes.

I've heard stories about being too busy to wash up dishes by hand, but as you can see in the story of my younger self above, that simply doesn't match my own experience.

Back in those days, actual soap was used in the dish washing process. A normal bar of soap was placed in a wire cage with a steel handle. To create froth in the hot water, the cage was vigorously shaken for only a few moments. Alert readers will realise that this is a form of exercise! Anyway, in no time at all the water was full to bursting with bubbles and froth. With the hot soapy water available, I got to the task at hand of washing the evenings dishes and have never looked back.

In millennia to come, learned people may ponder the various reasons for the Decline of Western Civilisation and maybe one of those learned people may remark to their peers: "Here are the words of some gentleman, who writes that something called dishwashers were responsible". And if they're really smart then someone else may reply: "What is this dreaded dishwasher thing?"

It has been a hot and humid week and on some mornings fog has completely filled the valley
The weather has been hot and humid this week. The heat combined with the high humidity has meant that the orchard has grown a lot in only a single week. Late spring is always an exciting time of the year for plant growth.
The view of the house and the sunny orchard from the bottom of the paddock
The many rhododendrons surrounding the shady orchard are producing a beautiful mass display of flowers
The editor and I set ourselves the task this week of completing the excavations and structure for the new strawberry terrace. We didn't quite achieve that goal, but the strawberry enclosure and terrace is looking really good and over the next few days we'll begin the task of planting out another maybe 140 strawberry runners. Have I mentioned that we really like strawberries?

The first days excavations created another 4m (13.2ft) of terrace into the side of the hill.
The first days excavations created another 4m (13.2ft) of terrace into the side of the hill
The second day of excavations completed that part of the job as we created a further 3m (9.9ft) of terrace.
The second day of excavations completed that part of the job as we created a further 3m (9.9ft) of terrace
Observant readers will note in the above photo that our trusty timber stair-making-form-work makes a special guest appearance. Also, you should be able to see that the soil which was excavated over the couple of days has been used to create the beginnings of yet another terrace above this strawberry terrace. We hope to plant table grape vines on that terrace sometime in late autumn next year.

Later that afternoon, we excavated soil for the path and stair form-work, and then poured the first  concrete step.
The existing path was widened and the first of two concrete steps was poured
After yet another days of hot work, the remaining seven treated pine fence posts for the strawberry enclosure were cemented into the ground. And, the second step leading up to that terrace was also poured. It is looking pretty good. Oh yeah, the door to the enclosure was also hung on one of the posts. The door came from the local tip shop. Why anyone would throw out perfectly good security doors is a mystery to me.
The second concrete step was poured and the remaining seven posts for the strawberry enclosure were set in the ground
In the photo above, you can see that the series of terraces are in a very good location because the plant growth in the more established blackberry enclosure and terrace has been explosive in the past few weeks!

In the photos above, it is hard to see how the excavated soil from the strawberry terrace was used to begin the process of constructing yet another future terrace for table grapes above the strawberry terrace. So the next photo gives a clear idea of just how much soil has been moved by hand and compacted by foot over this past week.
Even Mr Poopy approves of the beginning stages of construction for the future table grape terrace
As an unrelated side note, Mr Poopy is now on a serious diet which involves controlling his intake of food. His love of all things food was finally beginning to take a toll on his health. Putting him on a diet is not an easy task for a dog that is an expert forager, but hopefully forcing him to forage for his additional snacks will increase the amount of activity that he does. He is a very nice, but exceptionally lazy dog.

The serious increase in heat this week has brought out the insects. During the day, the hum and buzz from the gardens and orchard is quite loud and I have for the moment deftly avoided being stung. At night the various insects sing their night time summer chorus. All that life is a very soothing sound.

The air about the farm is full of moths and butterflies during both the night and the day:
The nighttime is ruled by the Bogong moths which are attracted to the house lights and gardens. They are one meaty moth (and edible too, although I have not tried this as apparently they taste like 'moth')!
During the day, moths and butterflies enjoy the many flowers
The editor rediscovered a forgotten experiment involving Japanese maple seeds! We had placed a few seeds for those plants into one of the raised vegetable beds, and then simply forgot about them. Then the other day, the editor discovered about a dozen seedlings all happily growing without any assistance - or watering - on our part!
A dozen forgotten Japanese maple seedlings were discovered in a raised garden bed
It is really hard to know this week where to start with the late spring flower photos, however below is a small sample:
Gazania's are really hardy and cheery!
A purple Granny's Bonnet is found deep in among a Southern Wormwood and Elderberry
This bush rose smells even more beautiful than it looks
Californian poppies with a background of Catmint
More Gazania's and Geraniums
Nasturtiums are very hardy to heat - and a toothy salad vegetable

The temperature outside now at about 8.45pm is 19’C (66’F). So far this year there has been 761.2mm (30.0 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 755.2mm (29.7 inches).

50 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Your week's work left me feeling utterly exhausted. The washing up looked exactly like my washing up though you seemed to have excess suds in your sink. Like you, I did the washing up as a child. In my time children were expected to be useful.

It is very cold here at the moment, down below freezing at night.

@ Claire

Hase is hare, so the recipe appears to be for peppered hare. Rabbits are Kaninchen.
I would assume that hare has a stronger taste than rabbit, though maybe not if it is a hunted rabbit.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris:

I find dishwashing by hand to literally be more efficient than using a dishwasher. We have a dishwasher, but I think it has been about 15 years since I've used it. Washing up from the daily cooking for 4 adults is really no problem as long as I just wash up as I go along. Even when I cooked for 5 dogs and a cat as well, it was doable.

The strawberry enclosure and terrace is looking brilliant. We are luckier than you in that our strawberry beds happen to be on one of the rare level (mostly) spots. I love your high-tech stair form. Hi, Toothy! Hi, Scritchy! Hi, Toothy! That's a nice security door. When our neighbor moved he gave us his back door (a rather unusual going-away gift . . .), which has a doggie door set in it that a bear could walk through. He has a very large dog. I wonder what we will do with it?

Hi, Mr. Poopy, the Pom Pommed Lapphund (ha! I didn't say "Pomeranian", even though it was alliterative)). Poor Mr. Poopy. That soil has to be moved uphill, of course.

I always wanted to see a Bogong moth. It's one of the are meats that doesn't "taste like chicken", then.

What lovely little Japanese maple trees. Granny's bonnet is a charming flower and your catmint is so much purpler than ours.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chis - Most of life’s little mysteries can be solved by looking behind the couch :-). Back in the early days of the internet, when I worked in libraries, occasionally I’d get a reference question and discover a ... hole in the net. The one I remember best is someone wanted a product rating for different kinds of hot tubs.

I vaguely remember liking something that the Alan Parson’s Project did. At this late date, haven’t a clue as to what it was. Probably something early, before they got all experimental and angsty. Ah, supermarket music. Very similar to (or, identical to) “elevator music” or the dreaded “easy listening.” Take something a bit edgy, add a lot of strings and take out the guts. Don’t want to scare the pedestrians.

That’s really a fun game. The Fall of Western Civilization, Part 1: ......? My off the cuff vote goes to “Banana 10 Smarty Pants.” My Dad would have said, “Not getting up before the crack of dawn.” Hmmm. Or maybe TFOWC P1: Not Doing the Dishes? I’m never grumpy about doing the dishes. Seeing them all clean and tidy in the drying rack gives me a small feel of accomplishment. SOMETHING is under control.
I’d think since you recycle rain water, that the amount a dishwasher uses would also be an issue. Now that I’m living where water use isn’t really an issue (but I find I still conserve. Habit.) I often think of you all at Fernglade if I get a little overboard with water usage.

Strawberry terrace, grape terrace. Where are you going to put the rice terrace? :-). Are you going to build a grape arbor? Someplace to hide out in the shade on a hot afternoon? A place to entertain a small group of friends? It’s almost a cliche. The laden table in the grape arbor. Friends gathered around.

What! The Bongong doesn’t taste like chicken? :-). The night sounds are very different here at night, than out in the country. But I did think, perhaps, I heard a coyote, last night. And, it was a wild night. Heckofalotta rain and high wind. Mostly, gusts in the 20s, but one gust of 37mph. High wind warning through 9pm, tonight. But, really sunny, right now.

Ever thought about doing a market stall, every once in awhile? A few potted up Japanese maples might bring in a few bucks. They’re expensive, at least here. Cont.

Joel Caris said...

Ah yes, dishwashers. I've never really understood the infernal contraptions. My experience with them is that, when you have them, they just remain full of dishes. Sometimes they're dirty, sometimes they're clean, but they're always there. And of course, you have to have lots of dishes to use them, as you need to fill them first, which means you need lots of multiples--unless you're a large family. They are unduly loud and take forever, and I'm pretty sure that despite cries to the contrary, they are not nearly so efficient as simply using a tub and being mindful of your rinsing water. (Admittedly, I'm not always as mindful as I should be.)

I actually quite enjoy doing dishes and I have a deal with the wife, which is that I basically do almost all the dishes. On the other hand, she does a majority of the cooking (I do breakfast on weekdays). On the other other hand, she's a much better cook (though I'm not that bad!) so it's good for both of us, especially since she doesn't much care to do dishes.

We do have a dishwasher in our apartment. I wasn't thrilled about it, but it's worked out quite well as a drying rack, which keeps us from having to take up our very limited and precious counter space on the same. Every once in awhile we run it after a dinner party or some other occasion that has allowed us to build up a good amount of dishes. This is just to clear the old water that drips off the drying dishes, as it otherwise collects in the trap. Every time I run it, it amazes me how long it takes, how loud it is, and how completely unnecessary such a contraption is.

I have similar feelings about clothes dryers.

I don't know why we love to make everything so complicated in this society. Even evaporation must be intermediated!

Joel

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I watched a new documentary, last night, called "Polyfaces: A World of Many Choices." A film about Joe Salatin's Polyface Farm. The film was done by an Australian film maker, and his family. Apparently they spend at least 6 months a year, for at least 3 years, at Polyface farm. Michael Pollan (one of my favorite food writers) also did a bit of commentary.

A few things jumped out at me. There were quit a few interview bits with Joe's mother (apparently, his Dad has passed on). They bought the farm and moved there when Joe was about 4. They were outsiders, in a rural area. She commented in a quit off hand way that they weren't accepted, at all, until, minimally, when Joe married his high school sweet heart. "Teresa is from one of the old families."

But, 50 years on, if I read the movie right, only one of Joe's neighbors has picked up his methods of farming. LOL, I could kind of imagine all these old traditional farmers, saying, "Well, they probably won't last a year." Every year for 50 years. :-).

Joe ruminated on the whole question of interns. "Oh, he has all this free labor." Well, Joe put that idea to rest, with examples. I'd say interns are a loosing proposition, money wise, or at best a break even. I wasn't to clear on the details, but I also got the idea that Polyface Farm also might support a network of tenant farmers or sharecroppers. I'm a bit vague on that.

Sharecropping and tenant farmers have a kind of ... bad connotation in my head. Due, I suppose, to the exploitive stories I've heard. Or, even the ups and downs that our friend, Tripp, as outlined over at the old ADR. On the other hand, I suppose if you have a ... moral and upright person, or family running the show, it might be a really viable thing.

I might be wrong, but it seems like some of the interns, and maybe just determined people work leased or rented farms for Polyface. They learn and have resources to learn ... and some of them seem to transition to places of their own.

Anyway. I thought it was a good movie, and well worth a look. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

It is funny that you mention food prices going up, because the other day I heard a news report which sounded a lot like grocery chains explaining that food prices had not indeed gone up and don't blame them (or something an awful lot like that). And yet, food prices look like they're going up to me - mind you, the increase in those costs are not as fast as other items.

From a very big perspective, claims that things are done for your benefit may have a grain of truth to them. What those claims fail to discuss is who is this person (or group of people) going by the description of "your" in the claim? Dunno. Beats me.

A sneezer is a marketing term. According to the website "webopedia", a sneezer is: "An online marketing slang term coined by Charles Nicholls, founder of SeeWhy, to describe any customer that spreads your offers and promotions through social networks. Social networking sites make it incredibly easy for your "sneezer" customer to share promotions and positive word-of-mouth marketing about your business in a single click with his or her network of friends."

You can see this tool used in real estate advertisements where there may be a case study comprising a person or couple who are buying into a particular development. I see that tool used quite a lot. Have you ever noticed it being used? It is an extension of the concept of guerrilla marketing.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Our dishwasher decided to stop washing just as the inlaws arrived for a 2 week stay back in August. It drains, and fills, and then stops with the light blinking as the actual wash cycle is supposed to start. I suppose we could call a tech to look at it, but that would cost about half what the dishwasher did, or what a new one would cost. We could watch youtube videos and try replacing the motor, but neither of us is really up for the task. We could carry on hand washing, but being a small, petty person, washing up as well as shopping, cooking and serving makes me resentful. I always liked the fact that a dishwasher gives you a place to hide the dirty dishes rather than filling the sink. Maybe I need a better work ethic.

Temperatures are getting down to frosty at night. I´ve harvested most of the squashes, and now have to find space to store them inside.

I understand the why of it, but excavating up hill must not be much fun.

Your flowers are, as always, gorgeous.

Cheers

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Oh, that is uncanny about the issue of raising seeds inside the house. Exactly, the insides of the house start to smell a little bit like soil on hot days too. I'm not sure that I'm into that smell at all. I appreciate you sharing your experiences too, and it may interest you that I'm wondering now whether the peppers and eggplants are just really slow growing and that may explain a thing or two. I don't see them volunteering outside either, but the other volunteers are miles ahead outside than the inside ones.

I'll keep you posted on the eggcrate idea with the peppers and eggplants because so far they are looking good. The tomatoes were a disaster zone as they failed to harden off.

Timing the weather is everything with that task, so I hear you! I'm going to pick up some additional cucumber and zucchini (courgette) seedlings over the next few days and hopefully everything gets planted out either Saturday or Sunday (not sure yet). It looks like an epic rainfall storm will hit here tomorrow... It is hot and humid as today.

We can have hours of fun making up new words. Like Scritchier which explains the sensation felt by Mr Toothy as he is being told off by the boss dog! ;-)!

Glad to read that your son didn't squash the house. Top work! The editor assist with the chocks on such tasks and that helps a great deal as trees can be a very dangerous business. Those sharpening tools are pretty good. Years ago, I spent two days in the forest with a crusty old forestry dude who taught me how to use and look after a chainsaw. I use a hand file to sharpen the rounded tooth as that doesn't remove too much metal. On the other hand I use an angle grinder to cut down the height of the dog tooth which is the little metal bit in front of the rounded cutting tooth. The old forestry dude would kill me if he saw me using the angle grinder as he was a hand tools all the way kind of bloke when it came to sharpening.

The tarp is an excellent idea. Thanks!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

You are coming up to Thanksgiving Day, so it is nice that a meaty bird is waiting patiently in the freezer for a proper roasting. Turkey is a tasty meat and I hope some potatoes get chucked into the roast? Are you missing your other chest freezers at the old digs? Did Nell ever turn up again?

Those are pretty funny observations from Ops the Penguin! Uselessness is definitely the word. The whole edifice provides such rich pickings - sometimes it is almost as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. I wonder how much of our more rubbish products will even be in use in 100 years time. I've lived in a house that was over one hundred years old and the houses that were left from that era were built to last.

The Banana 10 Smartypants Phone! That's is hysterical. I saw a huge advertisement for the namesake for that device and I don't have much understanding of the different models and stuff, but I thought that the last one was number seven or was it perhaps eight? Dunno, anyway I wondered what happened to devices eight and/or nine? It is a mystery! I read an article suggesting that the makers were wondering what new hardware functionality they could pack into device X...

Maybe, no doubt you are correct about the hidden devices. As a disclaimer, I have never indulged on that front largely because I do not wish to be that contactable. I enjoy my quiet time. Other peoples needs differ.

Ray Bradbury is an excellent author. Thanks for the book tip! :-)!

Human interactions are very different in less populated areas aren't they? I see that all of the time and have to walk between the two worlds. It is really noticeable to me that people in densely packed urban areas often use their screens to hide from other people. I witnessed a person almost get squashed by a vehicle this evening because they were walking with a screen held out in front of them - and they were immersed and lost to the actual world around them. Not good! Fortunately the driver of the vehicle was focused and not looking at a screen like I see some folks trying to do. And yes, they are very tense and distracted.

Another politician fell on their sword today. That makes it eight so far who held dual citizenship. The one today was a bit sad because she was a straight talking person and whilst I don't agree with everything she stands for, I respect her ability to cut through the fluff and get to the heart of the matter.

Thanks for explaining to me about the blood sugar levels. My concern was for Mr Poopy, believe it or not, as he is displaying some early signs of type II diabetes. He is a lovely dog, but far out if he could choose to sleep on the bean bag or chase off deer, he'd pick the bean bag every single time. I've never known a dog with that attitude before.

Who says graffiti is a new concept? It is a good form of quality control because when things go wrong, fingers can be pointed accurately.

Another two excellent book reviews. You haven't lost your touch with reviews! :-)! I have heard mention of the brightsided book before and will have to get my hands on a copy.

It looks as though the storm currently hovering over central Australia - yeah that arid bit of the continent which is not quite a desert - is pulling moisture down from the tropics and tomorrow evening, some of that will be dumped here. I hope nothing gets washed away... I'm busy refilling the water tank on the strawberry terrace this evening as that tank doesn't have a catchment roof. I still can't understand why people would get weird about drinking rainwater. That is a real mystery to me! Rainfall: Forecast Rainfall. It's big!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I checked out Cliff Mass blogspot and was wondering how you went with the wind storm? Hope everything was OK?

You are a braver man than I as I have not steeled myself to trying almond milk. Not for any good reason, other than I just haven't tried it. A dash of vanilla improves everything. They sell the orchids down here, but they definitely will not grow outside at this latitude.

It is a good name and I'll have to re-read the Daily Impact to see the Conan reference.

I don't see why people can't pick and choose what technology they want to purchase because it is no business of other folks to do policing on such minor matters. Other people feel very differently though. Usually it is all about them!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire, Inge, Pam, Lewis, and Joel,

Thanks for the lovely comments however I am unable to reply tonight. With the storm tomorrow, I should have plenty of free time to reply. We shall speak then!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes, clever! You are quite correct. Who indeed is the your in 'for your benefit'.

I will see sneezers everywhere now.

Son has just turned up with a box of fruit and veg for me. He was phoned by the wife of a friend who is in hospital in the final stages of motor neurone disease. This friend used to keep pigs also and it appears that a local business that is probably the equivalent of US summer camps for children, used to give him all the leftovers when they closed down. Son had no idea that there would be so much, it filled his truck and he began to wonder whether he needed his trailer. He gave stuff to neighbours who he passed on the way home.

This will now be an annual event. There are so many oranges that he is going to make orange wine which he has done before. I received apples, tomatoes, cauliflowers and some green leaves which I don't recognise. 'What are they' I ask 'Greens' says my son. How that irritates pedantic me.

Funny, He has just this minute rung me to tell me that they are Spanish Cos lettuce. They are certainly at the extreme end of dark and fibrous. I bet that the holiday kids didn't like them.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - At least, reports from Australia claim lost things cam be found behind the couch :-). Hmmm. You know, I don't think there's ever been a children's book on strange new worlds to be found behind the couch. Wardrobes, sundials, coins ... can't think of a single couch.

Further thoughts on dishwashers. All that pre washing seemed to defeat the purpose. And, seemed silly to me. And, used a lot of water. I really think the whole craze began due to over active imaginations and a crazed desire for sanitation. But Joel's right, they're marvelous for storage. I had one at my old place and seldom used it. Sometimes, it made a little sense if I had a lot of greasy stuff. Or, a lot of things that were REALLY dusty. My Uncle Larry had a microwave he never used. He kept mail that needed to be attended too and his check book, envelopes and stamps in it. :-).

So far, I haven't felt "cramped" by having a smaller freezer, plus the freezer in the fridge. It's a seasonal, thing, too. Right now, it's pretty crammed. 10 gallon bags of blueberries, etc.. What is exasperating, sometimes, is that the main fridge unit is smaller than my old one. But, I'm getting used to it. The freezer top is an unintended bonus. Best work space I have. Like a three sided kitchen island. No Nell sightings. Julia swears she's still there and cites a cat she had that she didn't see for two years.

Another thought I had about Polyface farm. They use an awful lot of electricity and gasoline. Or, diesel. They do seem to drive their cattle from one place to another on foot. But moving around pigs, chickens, etc. seems to be mechanized. I didn't see any evidence of horses. But if things unraveled or fuel prices got too high, they could probably make the shift. Maybe partially to begin with.

Potatoes baked with the turkey doesn't seem to be much in evidence here in the US. At least, not among the people I was raised with, or this part of the country. My mom and grandma did have mashed potatoes on the table on turkey day, with turkey gravy. But the potatoes were boiled and then mashed. Later, potato flakes out of a box. They really had an over the top number of courses. Me, four. Maybe five. That's it. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The wind and rain were quit wild, yesterday. A few large fir limbs came down in the park behind The Home. I'll have to check sustained winds and gust speeds for yesterday. The things I'm asked to do. :-). The ladies asked me to get down the flag as it was being ripped to shreds. Catching the wind and really bending the pole. So, I bundled up and out I went. Lucky, easy to get unattached. Repairing it will give the sewing group something to do. I told them they could make like Betsey Ross. A cultural reference. Betsey Ross was the supposed sewer of the first American flag. There's probably a Currier and Ives print :-). Being on the top floor, the wind howls under the eaves. And, in the elevator shaft. If it rains I can hear it striking the cap on the stove exhaust fan. None of those sounds bother me. Nature in action.

Besides stories about people wandering into traffic while engrossed in their screens, there's also wandering into fountains, falling off cliffs and being eaten by bears or gored by buffalo. It suggests at least a short sci-fi story. Technological inovation begins to grind to a halt, because electronic technological interest is partially genetically based. Early adaptors, and all that. So many are lost through Darwinian selection that the business models just begin to unravel. :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

I wasn't aware of the limit of the minimum daylight hours with vegetables. Interesting and I'll keep an eye out for that during next winter. That is really way cold. Out of curiosity, does the covered in porch assist with extending the growing season (a little bit at least) or does the limit of the daylight hours set a hard line under the plant growth? I'm amazed at how cold hardy a lot of vegetables as well as other plants are. I mean the citrus here survives minor frost and snow. Mind you, I have discovered that oranges will not survive here.

Thanks for considering that matter and sharing your experience. It is really hard learning the various stories of all of the different plants and then having the experience to know how to best work with them during the very variable seasons. Your growing season really is a lot shorter than here and I'm impressed at how you adapt to that. It may interest you that being at altitude, I have about two months less growing season than Melbourne and they can grow plants - like bananas if they thought to do so - that I couldn't even dream about.

Absolutely. You are totally spot on - the plants outgrew their feed supply. The tomatoes in particular got off to a very strong start - and then not much. It was a good experiment to run because if you don't muck things up, you may not understand why things are done a certain way. Mind you, next year I plan to start the tomato seeds outside as I see no reason at all to begin them inside. Of course the more cold sensitive plants like peppers and eggplants will have to be started inside. I'm particularly curious about the melons though.

Ouch! Guilty. 4 hours in the shade the first day, but it was breezy which caused damage to the young stems. Yeah, the egg crates were probably about half that minimum volume that you recommended.

I plan to thin the happily growing self seeded tomato plants over the next few days. Fortunately, there are hundreds of them, although I'm a bit foggy on the particular varieties so that may be a bit of a lucky dip. Not to worry, next season will be easier (hopefully) as a lot of the major infrastructure projects are starting to bear fruit (that is my version of an amusing metaphor). There is so much to learn, sometimes it is hard to know where to start.

That stew sounds pretty tasty. According to Wikipedia: "Hase is German for "hare" and Pfeffer is German for "pepper",[2] although the culinary context refers generically to the spices and seasonings in the dish overall". The editors dad (native speaker) and uncle (just one of those people who make us all look bad – the polymath!) is/was fluent in German too, but alas they never took the time to hand over the language skills. To be honest, there was probably some cultural cringe involved in that. Maybe, dunno, I'm just guessing at that as they didn’t seem keen to transfer the skills?

Interestingly some of the recipes also suggest adding wine to the marinade. Did the meat turn out gamey? Vinegar is a very tasty marinade base. Yum! I'm salivating reading and thinking about your tasty rabbit recipe. Have you ever raised rabbits?

The storm hasn’t arrived here yet, but the temperature has dropped a bit. The past few days have been around 35'C (90’F), but at least the nights are cool. Summer has arrived with a thud!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Hehe! I aim to exhaust everyone - it seems like a good strategy to me - to get across the point that starting earlier is far easier than trying to so this stuff in a rush. ;-)! And also you may not find anything here of interest – other than hard work.

Of course you are correct and the bubbles were for effect. Have you noticed that people demand lots of bubbles in washing up water? I've read somewhere or other that the bubbles are a more of a comforting visual thing rather than for any cleaning benefit. The old soap bar shakers used to produce plenty of bubbles too, but proper soap (we make an olive oil soap which is quite good and not drying) readily forms bubbles.

Exactly, I have a deep suspicion that people relate to their kids the way people relate to pets. Of course there is a middle ground in these things, not that it is hard to find. I just never knew anything different as a kid, and I have observed that kids are interested in being involved in activities about the place, certainly visitors kids seem very curious about all of the goings on about the farm.

Below freezing! Brr! It is shorts and t-shirt weather here and the past few days have been far warmer than I prefer. A big storm looks as though it is approaching here. Apparently some parts of the state along the west coast are due for between two and four inches of rain. Up my way it looks like maybe about one to two inches is forecast which is really good for the orchard.

Thanks for saying that. I've been working on not trying to assume that I understand what particular words mean in certain contexts and it is yielding some slow results. It is an interesting game to play.

Oh yeah, whenever you see the case study for something that is being sold, you may catch the elusive sneezer.

What an excellent score with those vegetables. Your son is using the laconic mode of speech. It can be both equally amusing and annoying. It is more often heard in the country than the city which is a bit of a shame.

I've never eaten a dark and fibrous lettuce. It sounds intriguing, but perhaps best avoided! Lettuce wont grow here over summer as it bolts to seed so readily. Oh well. People see it in summer salads and assume it is a summer vegetable, but not so! That is down here at least.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Washing up as you go along is a very clever strategy and one that I follow too. It just isn't that hard and I've always had the deep suspicion that the machines promise far more than they deliver in reality. Hey, do you do your cooking that way too? A bit here and a bit there rather than in one huge session? Sometimes I find myself doing all sorts of different activities in the kitchen and that can extend over a couple of hours, but it involves a huge number of food items. Dunno how other people manage that. None of it is particularly problematic though, it just takes time and is quite an enjoyable task. Exactly, it is doable! :-)!

Flat land envy alert! Hehe! A strawberry patch is a great idea. Nice. Do you thin the runners or older plants out every year or so? Those stairs are great and they really help when you live on the side of a hill. The place is just easier to live with because of the stairs.

Doggies say hi to you too! It is an unusual departing gift but no doubts it was given in good faith. Who knows? Hmmm. How about a climbing structure for peas?

Poor Mr Poopy. Yeah, I feel for him as he has begun to take food very seriously indeed. His relationship to food and activity is not good and he needs to do more work about the farm. I spotted him hunting rats and mice last night. I tolerate his quirks up until the point that his health issues affect me - and we have reached that point. His days of lounging around are now done.

Yeah, always uphill for some reason. I've done something bad in a past life. Still, the terrace above the strawberry terrace is beginning to take shape!

Too funny! It always comes back to chicken for some reason, doesn't it? Hehe! I have the moth taste on good authority too.

Fancy finding a dozen of the maples. Good stuff. There is a garden in the valley below me that has hundreds of different shades of the Granny's Bonnets. It looks really good.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I have it on good authority that under the stairs is also the equivalent of behind the couch when it comes time to looking for lost items. I found a red back spider under one of the outdoor stairs the other day and that is not good. I'd prefer to find my lost youth, but alas, deadly poisonous spiders it is!

Alright, did the person in question elucidate further on the matter of why they wanted a review of hot tubs? Were they serious or just mucking around? Did libraries even have such articles in days of yore? I remember down here they had - and still have a publication - called Choice magazine which provides that sort of service. They used to be quoted in the media a lot in the past. It is a subscription service.

No judgement about the music, mate, my music taste would be intolerable to the majority of the population! It is quite eclectic. Oh yeah, the easy listening stuff is an abomination on the ears. Well, that is my take on the matter. I prefer to be engaged and sometimes challenged by my music...

It is a fun game isn't it? We could have hours of fun with that one. Your choice for the smartypants phone clearly wins as it has fatal consequences for some folks - you can check out the results on YouTube... Nobody has ever been killed by a dishwasher - although if one fell on you, it would really hurt and possibly fatally.

I sincerely dispute the whole getting up before the crack of dawn thing. Just not into that thought! Family unfriendly thoughts cannot be expressed here! Hehe!

I prefer the kitchen being clean - so maybe control expresses itself that way in your kitchen too? Dunno.

Actually the chemicals into the worm farm would be no laughing matter and possibly cause harm to the little critters that work so hard in there. I know someone who killed off a similar system with too much bleach. It was an easy system to get restarted though, but you can make things too toxic.

Master Fukuoka had dryland rice. I may have to check out what he was up too as the stuff will probably grow well here. Where do you start as there is just so much to learn...

No. I've seen those grape arbors too. Down here most pergolas look very unloved to me, so it is probably one of those things that seems like a good idea at the time, but then reality kicks in. Nup, the next terrace will be a proper grape terrace.

Hehe! Why does it always come back to chicken? Who knows... Coyotes can move in and out of towns when the weather suits them and they readily cross breed with domestic dogs. I heard on the news yesterday that a council way up north has offered a bounty on feral cats and I can see that that may help a bit.

Nope. Much better to build up the natural capital than sell it off. All of the life here benefits and well, it accelerates so if you take from it, the acceleration slows down and it may reverse.

There is a funny story to that film. I believe the folks that put it together are locals to here. They're over on the elevated plains below the western end of the mountain range and a lot of years ago they brought Joel Salatin out to their farm to promote the farms products. Honestly, he was a passionate speaker and I was impressed with all of their systems. Of course restraining the pigs in a system that moves around requires electric fencing and netting. Pigs are forest creatures and so they got to enjoy some of the forest around that part of the world. It was all good and the products are sold in a town nearby to that part of the range. It was also on scale which was really good to see.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Unfortunately it is not local because to get to that town it is a 50km (31 mile) return journey from here.

I'm hardly surprised by the lack of interest from his neighbours. I see that here too as nobody local appears to be even remotely interested in all of the things going on here. I just feel that the economy offers too many incentives to ignore basic small holding practices. They'll get there in time, but not today and that is cool with me. As a society we don't pay enough for food products to reflect the actual costs of regenerative agriculture.

Oh yeah, opinions are way fixed...

Tripp appears onto that business, but I can't comment on it because I have no experience with that other than my experience of human nature. It could be viable, but there has to be some benefit for the people providing the land too and I don't see that - yet...

I will check the film out and many thanks for the reference.

Australia has spoken today as the national survey on same sex marriage was released. Good stuff, and I feel uncomfortable that so many people are poking their noses into peoples bedrooms for moral and religious reasons. Main stream religions have a very tortured relationship to that aspect of human life and in the past - as well as today - I feel that it is a control mechanism. I have gay friends and it is difficult enjoying a perquisite that was denied to them.

I hear thunder !

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am cooking that dreadful fibrous lettuce, it seems to work out okay.

Meanwhile my landline phone has stopped working for the umpteenth time and I shall be spending wasted time on my mobile, trying to get something done about it.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

One of the things we'll really miss when we move (of course someone actually has to come look at the house first) is the industrial size double sink in our back room. Doug does a lot of the week's cooking (well meat that is) on Sunday afternoon. All the pots and pans end up in that sink often waiting for Monday morning. It's a great place to stash dishes/pots when entertaining as well. He also cooks up vats of broth from saved bones for the dogs. Now we do have a dishwasher but only use it once a week or so. The one we have is pretty new and it quite quiet compared to what we've had in the past. When the last one broke I lobbied to not replace it which we didn't for many months but figured it would probably be a must-have for a typical purchaser of this house so there you go.

Always enjoy your pictures of flowers especially now that it's pretty gray and dreary around here. Supposedly it's going to be a La Nina winter meaning more precipitation. I'm concerned about driving up to see Michael as the entire way is open roads just waiting to be blown over with snow. Michael had another incident of rapid heartbeat (174/min.) two days ago but no other symptoms so he just had to go to cardiologist yesterday who increased his meds a bit. The cardiologist is pretty certain he has sleep apnea which will make the treatment of a fib more complicated. He knows Michael couldn't really tolerate a C Pap machine.

I sure don't remember sleep apnea being so prevalent years ago. Now it seems like half the population has it. Same thing for shingles.

Thank you for your recommendation (and others) of the book, "Aurora". I was able to get it from the library and very much enjoyed it.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I have no cooking strategy other than cooking whatever needs to be cooked, whenever I can fit it in. More often than not that will be several hours at a time as I try to cook a couple of days worth of food at a time. My choice is to do it in bits and pieces, though.

I used to have flat land envy, but after this many years as a mountain goat it is hard to imagine living on flat ground; in fact, it sounds rather boring - where's the challenge in that? Anyway, ask me in 20 years . . .

I didn't know there was dryland rice. That's an intriguing idea.

The red back spider is bad news. Possibly it might be more bad news for the dogs than for you, as they are smaller? Maybe that doesn't matter.

My son used to warn me about letting the dogs get too lazy and, by golly, he was right. After a certain point they just didn't seem so thrilled about "work", except for "guarding" the house while lying on the front porch. Poor old doggies . . . Sometimes I wonder if his philosophy may apply to people . . . better get back to my calisthenics. Poor old Pam . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - You mentioned to Inge about the wire cage soap swisher ... Australia seems to have held onto useful things, longer than here. I don’t remember seeing those in action, any time in my life. But they pop up in “antique” stores. But not too often.

Some kids want to help. Sometimes, to impress and curry favor from the grownups. “Show up” their younger siblings. There were bits about the children around Polyface farm, in the film. How they picked up little interests and grew them into small businesses. One little fellow has a flock of geese and explains in a very serious and scholarly manner, as he collects eggs, that duck eggs can be used by people who are allergic to chicken eggs. :-).

Under stair closets can also be places of terror. Harry Potter, volume one has poor Harry locked in there by his evil uncle.

Oh, it was a serious inquiry, about the hot tub. They were quit a fad here, for awhile. There were many brands. There was / is a magazine here, called Consumer Report (there was also another one ... name escapes me) that took no advertising and was unbiased. It was pretty much of a cultural meme. Of course, now there are all kinds of ratings and reviews, on line. But those can be a little “iffy.”

Joe Salatin probably doesn’t endure himself to some other farmers, as he makes no bones about thinking a lot of the modern farmers are pretty lazy. :-). Hard work, indeed.

Yesterday, there wasn’t as much rain, but the wind was still pretty feral. I walked over to a meeting, last night, and even wearing my heavy coat it felt like it blew right through it. Raining now. I can hear it in the kitchen stove vent :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Joel,

Welcome to the discussion (or welcome back - it's been a while)! I’m enjoying Into the Ruins too and look forward to receiving it in the mail.

And, not to dodge the most important thing of all - in the interim you have become married. Well done! I hope everything is working out nicely and you are enjoying married life. :-)! A wife that can cook is a thing to be treasured, as cooking is a real skill that very few people these days seem interested in learning. I know people who are proud of not being able to cook – that would be a torture for me. Haha! If your wife is a better cook than yourself, then of course the dishes must fall to you - only fair.

That is funny about the intermediation of evaporation. Yeah, clothes dryers are much the same, but I must confess to having access to a lot of firewood and so use washing horses (I don't actually own a clothes dryer). The sun does a good job of drying clothes too, but people can get a bit strange about seeing washing hanging about in the sun. I don't much buy into their vision of the world, but fair enough if that is how they feel about clothes drying in the sun. Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

I hope the rain has returned to your sunny part of the world? It sure has rained here today.

No worries at all. I have seen plenty of people use their dishwashers for storage cabinets - or a possible extension of the kitchen. To be honest, I'm not a purist at all and wouldn't want to be pointing fingers at anyone, if for no other reason than it is pretty easy to point a finger at me and say I do this bad thing such as bringing huge quantities of organic matter up here (it is a hobby of mine! Hehe!)using fossil fuels.

And I have seen the photos of your place and so I must say that the lady doth protest too much, because I reckon your work ethic is pretty good. :-)!

Yeah, I know, it is always uphill isn't it? The soil from the next and higher grape terrace may move along the contour though. We’ll see next autumn.

Thank you very much for saying so and it is a pleasure to share the photos with people who appreciate them.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I know a local author who made heaps of mad cash writing children's books. It seems like a sound business plan especially if you can tap into parents fears that their kids may be missing out on some sort of educational experience. Then I'd probably do something stupid like teaching the kids clear thinking and then the parents would kill me... Oh well.

You are absolutely correct about the pre-washing of dishwashers, and in my research into the beasties I discovered that the cheaper washing tablets use sand as an abrasive material in the mix. I recall the old timers used to wash plates in fresh water with sand, but perhaps the dishwashing machine uses the material a little bit differently than how the old timers used it?

No worries at all, I'm not a purist and so I don't sweat any of that stuff - or judge others. There seems to be an awful lot of folks that can do that, so it is probably not a bad idea to try something different on that front.

I'm really salivating thinking about your blueberries. Total yummo! They're really expensive down here. Over the next few days, I'm planning to setup the watering system for the blueberries as well as all of the other plants in the huge tomato enclosure (it's big). I'm even going to try some corn this year. The variety is a heritage variety that is open pollinated so should grow true to type. It has both white and yellow cobs which should be interesting.

I reckon they're pretty switched on to that fossil fuel issue, but I have no idea, it is more of a gut feel thing. The thing that most people don't seem to get is that if you take away tractors, then far out, you're suddenly going to lose a whole lot of productive land to feed for horses. I don't see any way out of that equation. I try to set up everything so that it is simple. Pumps are the one thing that I rely on, but buckets can make do just as well, albeit a lot more work. Plus maybe down the track I have to sink a proper and lined well. There does not seem to be any way around that one.

Wow! Roast potatoes are a thing with roast meats down here (chicken is especially good). We mustn't lose the essential pan juices must we? And potatoes bake beautifully in roast meat juices. Your fortune may be made?

I've consumed Deb (potato flakes from a box and rehydrated). I'm not convinced its the same stuff, but tastes vary... Hehe! Boiled and mashed is how it goes here too with mashed potatoes. Sometimes they mix butter into the mash (very tasty).

Glad to read that you retrieved the flag before the wind shredded it. Far out the wind must have been feral. Cliff Mass indicated that at the time I read the blog, the worst was yet to come. The calm before the storm as they like to suggest.

The sci-fi story is a ripper. What did the business eventually die from: Lack of customers. What a good story!

The editor and I went to the films last night and watched Brad's Status. Far out, what a film. The actor Ben Stiller who has been around the traps for a very long time, nailed the role. The character was so dislikeable in every sense of the word. Horrid. He suffered from the sin of Envy and it was ugly to watch, but at the same time riveting. What a mirror to hold up to the population. At the end of the film, the audience (which admittedly was small maybe 30 people - it was a small cinema), just sat there stunned and nobody moved. The credits rolled on and people still sat there. I have to admit to feeling a bit soiled to have been in such a mind, but it was a good film from many respects as I don't experience that mindset and it helps empathise with such folk. To be honest there were a couple of points in the film I thought the lead character would bump himself off, but no, he hung around being a miserable sack of horse doodoo. Speaking of which I discovered that there is a town named Duneedoo in the next state to the north of here. What an amusing name - shame about the coal mine.

Cheers

Chris

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

I've got great memories of washing dishes as a kid with my sister -- we'd sing together every night. Good times.

While I agree that a dishwasher is a symbol of decadence, I'm not convinced it is the environmental nasty it's often said to be. I reckon that, while a properly-used dishwasher probably uses more resources than a frugal hand-washer, the difference is probably not that significant over a 10 year period.

According to this site (https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/stories/life-cycle-analysis-doesnt-budge-outcome-of-the-great-dishwasher-debate) a dishwasher has 340 kWh embodied energy. That's equivalent to about 30 L of petrol, or 1/2 a tank for many cars.

In other words, don't worry about having or not having a dishwasher -- just drive less! ;-)

Cheers, Angus

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Phone back on thank goodness. I lost the internet connection for a short while as well. All good now.

@ Lew

I mentioned a cake that I disliked which was beloved by my husband, but could only remember that it had seeds. Memory has returned; it was called seedy cake and contained caraway seeds. One never seems to hear of it now.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I think blueberries (and most food) is expensive here. But that's just me. :-). If the prices keep going up, it will be more blackberries (which I can pick for free) and less blueberries. Having them here at the Home, helped a bit. But I still bought a 20 pound flat. Which was almost $40. And they're grown local! One of the ladies let slip that she made some jelly out of a current bush, which is lurking about, somewhere. This may take some very delicate negotiation ...

Potatoes and carrots get chucked in with beef roast. Not with turkey or chicken. It ... just isn't done :-). Silly, I know, but in my experience, not.

Couldn't you find something pleasant to watch? Maybe a little Disney? :-). Funny, I haven't heard a thing about "Brad's Status", over here. I know those kinds of movies where you feel like you need a shower, after. These days, for me, I think I'll take a pass. Time's short.

Gratitude banquet / potluck, tonight. The banana muffins are off to a rocky start. I had some over ripe bananas and read several places that you could just chuck them in the freezer and use them for baking. So, I did. Took them out yesterday to thaw. Ever seen a banana leak? There was no way I was putting that glop in my muffins. So, it was off to the store and onto the net to see how to ripen up a banana, with dispatch. Wouldn't you know I couldn't find anything close to an over ripe banana. Apparently, the microwave will do the job. Finger's crossed. Lew

SLClaire said...

@ Inge - thanks for the translation! The German cookbook (in English translation) calls hasenpfeffer "jugged hare".

According to my copy of The Wild Mammals of Missouri, rabbits and hares are in the same family but in different genuses. Hares have much longer ears and back legs, in proportion to their body length, than rabbits do. That may be an adaptation for dryland life because they are found only rarely in Missouri and then only in the southwestern corner (they are found primarily in the Great Plains and West in the US). Ours was a rabbit rather than a hare. I don't know if a hare would be stronger tasting than a rabbit and doubt I'll have an opportunity to find out.

Claire

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I do the dishes by hand and have for the 15 years we've lived in the house, but I've used dishwashers as well. Mike and I had an under-the-sink dishwasher installed in the house prior to this one when we had the kitchen remodeled (we had more income then). Mike cooks most of the food most of the time, so I am the one who washes dishes. I admit that I liked having a dishwasher, as washing dishes isn't a favorite chore of mine. I'd wait till it was filled to run it, which usually took two or three days, and I wouldn't run the drying part of the cycle since the dishes would dry on their own by the time I was ready to empty the dishwasher, thus minimizing the energy, water, and detergent needed.

Our kitchen here didn't have a dishwasher when we moved in because there is so little space under the very short counters, and it is too small for a portable dishwasher. In order to install an under the sink dishwasher, we would have had to replace the double sink with a shallower one (as you would expect, the sink must be quite shallow if you are to put a dishwasher under it). This wasn't something we cared to spend our money on, then or now, so I do the dishes once a day, generally after dinner (twice if we have people over, which generates more dishes). The whole process takes between a half hour to an hour, and I'm not drying the dishes, rather loading them into a drying rack next to the sink so they will air-dry, a trick I learned in grad school, the last time I hadn't had a dishwasher. Doing dishes isn't my favorite part of the day, but it makes more sense than a dishwasher does in this house.

We do have a clothes dryer but I dry most of our clothes on a rack that I put up on the back porch or in the house. Sometimes I'll use the clothes dryer but I know it comes at a cost, so I strive to minimize its use.

Forgot to mention that I eventually weighed the sweet potato crop (a bushel is a volume measurement of old). We got about 40 lbs/ 18 kg of sweet potatoes, after the voles had their way with them. After I finish another writing project I'll get back to the blog with a full report on the garden year, generally a successful one.

In one sense the front porch extends the growing season, because it makes it possible for me to start plants like peppers, tomatoes, and lettuce sooner than I could do so successfully outdoors and grow them more easily than in a cold frame, plus I can sit on the porch on a sunny day and warm up. I can start all three at the beginning of March, when the soil outside is still frozen most years, and have good-sized plants ready to be planted in mid April (for lettuce) and early May (for the others). Then the lettuce matures before the real summer heat sets in, while the tomatoes and peppers start producing in July instead of September. Starting fall greens inside lets them avoid pests and heat waves during high summer and allows me to plant them in August so they are ready to grow fast as soon as it starts to cool down in late summer and mature before it gets too cold and we hit the daylight issue I mentioned.

The rabbit meat wasn't a bit gamey. I hesitate to say it, but yes, it did taste rather like chicken ;), as opposed to squirrel, which tastes rather like beef to me. We were just gifted with venison (wild deer meat) by our next door neighbors who have a weekend place in northern Missouri and enjoyed success last weekend, the opening weekend of deer season. Mike will cook that tonight. I haven't raised rabbits but it is one of those things in the back of my mind to do later on if/when times get tighter. We certainly have the space to do so.

Claire

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Glad that the dreadful fibrous lettuce seems to be working out OK, as to be honest it sounds a little bit unappealing from your description - which was quite amusing to read!

Out of curiosity, is your landline of the copper underground or above ground variety? Intermittent problems can be the very worst of all problems to correct. The internet connection here is over the mobile phone network and it is usually very good, but like the little girl, who had a little curl, sometimes it is also horrid!

There was so much rain, all hope of work was given up on, and so the editor and I went to the beach instead! 2.44 inches of rain to be exact!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh yeah, I'd miss that double bowl sink too. The volume of food preparation and preserving when you consume your own raised meat is phenomenal. My mates processed a 160kg (350 pound) sow a month or so back, and then spent three consecutive weekends processing and preserving the meat. It was epic from all accounts, and they have a commercial refrigerator and a very large smoking unit (which produces tasty stuff) to boot.

Entertaining can be hard with hand washing and yeah, as a comparison we try to have everything done up front so we are not in the kitchen whilst guests are otherwise enjoying themselves. A lot of people do the exact opposite and enjoy their time in the kitchen, but no disrespect to them, as that is what they enjoy.

You know I've done that too in houses that I've repaired and fixed up for resale. People expect a dishwasher and so, that is what I give them. Mind you, they get the machine in an unused and brand new state which they are probably very excited about, so I hear you. It doesn't matter as the purchasers would have put one in anyway and it is less of a problem and waste to install the plumbing and electrical wiring up front.

Thank you. I visited a seedling farm today and picked up a huge quantity of plant tube stocks. What do they say about: Lead me not into temptation!!! Hehe! So, hopefully if bushfires stay away I can deliver more flower photos for the rest of the summer - until yours are budding!

I really hope the docs get Michael's meds in order and he stabilises. And it rained 2.44 inches here which sure looks like a La Nina to me. It was epic. The water tanks are all full and going into summer that is a great thing. I'm unsure what a C pap machine is?

Funny that you mention that, but I do know a few people with sleep apnoea. And in my former days of being Mr Boss, I sent people home who had shingles - and they fought me all the way. I was firm. Get out! Other bosses are different in that regard.

It was a good book wasn't it? Freya delivered a Mike Tyson epithet (is that the correct word?) at the conference. Clearly there were strong feelings!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Exactly, that is the same strategy that I also follow with cooking. You and I clearly understand what is meant by the term, "efficiency" in the kitchen. To be honest, I've read a bit on how that task used to be done back in the day and that is how they did it. No point re-inventing the wheel, I reckon! :-)! Mind you, I just bought a more high tech electric yoghurt maker (with finer heat control) as that product has been driving me bananas for about two years now. Something changed in that time and I'm absolutely lost as to what it might be. Dunno. I've been eliminating variables one at a time. Probably I’ll have to get my own cow, goat or sheep, but far out they're big and a lot of hassle.

Haha! Funny stuff, yes, let's leave that flat land easy gear to the flat-landers! Of course in twenty years I may also be feeling somewhat different from now! Until then, let us celebrate our steep slopes and well drained orchards, berry and vegetable patches! I spotted the first unripe raspberry today. Yummo!

It is an intriguing idea. Yeah Master Fukuoka worked out how to grow dry land rice and it is an idea that is worth looking into. He grew one of the native nitrogen fixing plants from around these parts so there is a possibility that it may also work here... Dunno. A future project!

They're really lethal. I have no idea why the fauna around here needs to be so deadly. It is just not cricket!

Your son may be onto something with that idea. We must reach for the middle ground in this matter, don't you reckon? Mr Poopy is at my feet right now and after several weeks of the new regime, I can see some ribs, and he is less squirty and thirsty so hopefully damage is not permanent!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

You know I've noticed that creep of progress occurs in different countries and locations at different rates and times. I've seen that in action within Australia and in other countries (New Zealand was a notable contrast to here). We often forget that standards of living as they are generally understood in one pocket of the world, can vary quite greatly and it is not linear at all. I have no idea if anyone even tracks that difference? Dunno.

The soap wire cages were used into about the mid-eighties from memory and then liquids took over. I recall the concerted marketing campaign at the time to convince people to use the soap liquids. The campaign went along the lines of promising that the liquids would be easier on your skin than soaps. What nobody may have noticed was that soaps were no longer the simple product that they once were. A lot of soaps irritate my skin and that is a good incentive for anyone to make their own soap. It is pretty easy to make, anyway. We took an introductory look into the world of cheese making this evening and may give a basic cheese a bit of a go over the next few weeks. It looks like milk and lemon juice are the two main ingredients. Easy enough.

The Polyface kid is a marketing genius to work out an angle to sell duck eggs. Marketers call that the Unique Selling Proposition! I never knew that aspect of duck eggs. Eggs are one of my main sources of protein. Kitchen gadget alert! I picked up an electric yoghurt maker. Basically the unit can finely tune the temperature for a thermos and then hold the temperature for a programmed number of hours. Mate, we have had so many problems with yoghurt making in the past two years, that something has changed and there are so many variables, we are eliminating them all one at a time. The editor has a degree in industrial microbiology and it is time to put that learning to some additional good use! Not all batches have failed over that time, and that is the interesting thing about the problem. Once we get the basics sorted and consistently working, we'll begin growing our own culture. Far out, decline rears its head in sometimes very strange ways, and this is one of them.

You are a better man than I, reading Harry Potter! For some reason the cover art put me off reading the book and then how do you shake that deep suspicion when it comes to watching the films? So the serious question then becomes: Do you recommend reading the books? They certainly captured the public's imagination.

Good to hear that the hot tub enquiry was a serious one. You know, Internet reviews are a tough gig, because every voice gets an opinion these days and some of those are expressed anonymously whilst others are paid for, which is a bit scary. In some respects, it teaches people who want to learn, how to skim over the dross and get a "feel" for the opinions so expressed. Of course, confirmation bias swings into play and well, I mean what can you do about that? Sometimes, I just go with my gut feeling, and there are hits and misses... It is really hard to know what is what these days.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Oh! I had a good idea. Marketing folk like to insert doubt into a discussion. Well, rather than countering that doubt, it is best to insert doubt about the doubtful opinion. It works! :-)! Dunno, that idea floated into my mind this morning.

Ouch. I met the guy and even spoke with him, albeit briefly, and Joel Salatin seems like the real deal to me. Whatever anyone else says about the guy, he is on the right track from what I can understand of matters. You know, I'm reading a philosophy text at the moment: Guide for the Perplexed, and somewhere in there I just feel something is not quite right, but I can't quite put my finger on it, and it has to do with that agriculture business. I'll have to ponder it a bit longer. Time will sort out who is right and who is a bit off the mark, anyway.

Long heavy coats can make a person feel like a proper Darth Vader! Of course, Darth Vader never appeared to be hassled by strong feral winds on the way to a meeting. Stay safe.

Down here it rained 2.44 inches which meant that the work around the farm was a total washout. We went to the beach instead. I love watching the storms as they hit the coast. Nature is amazing.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Angus,

Thanks for sharing the memories. That sounds like a lot of fun. I usually keep the radio tuned to Triple J whilst I'm working about the farm and the music helps make short work of it.

Fair enough, I ain't arguing with you. I was mostly concerned about the pollutants and the additional complexity side of the equation for a task that people have done ever since there were dishes to be washed.

Thanks for the link and I'll check it out.

Hope your lovely garden scored some of that rain? 62mm down here. It is way humid...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

It is nice when these systems work! They seemed to have fixed the problem quite rapidly.

I realise your comment was intended for Lewis, but I was wondering whether you meant poppy seed cake, which I still see about the place. A cafe I know bakes an excellent orange and poppy seed muffin (it's good!)

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

continuing from above. I had to take a short intermission to attend to the chickens in the orchard. Whilst I was in the orchard, I happened to notice two deer eating my almond trees. Of course the deer felt differently about the matter of ownership, but at least had the foresight to scamper off into the forest after I ran and shouted at them like a crazy person. What will the neighbours think of such behaviour?

Anyway, at that time there was also the biggest wombat I have ever seen happily munching away at the grass. The deer may have scampered, but the wombat gave me a look that said: "You better not try that trick on me, matey boy". Of course being a sensible marsupial, the wombat then went back to munching. It is so huge, I reckon a couple of more generations consuming compost fed herbage and we'll be re-breeding the now lost marsupial mega-fauna! I don't fancy having a huge bunyip roaming through the orchard at night - squashing plants and trees at will!

Oh yeah - INTERMISSION... :-)! Hehe!

After the short break, we now resume the regular program!

The problem with inflation is that you can remember times in the past when things don't cost as much as they do today...

The last time I bought local blueberries they set me back about $10/kg, which is about $4.50/pound. That is what I call incentive to grow the plants. Hey, I went to a seedling farm today. Oh, it was so good! Part of the haul were three blueberry plants. There was also a lot of lavender which I'm planning on planting out over the next day or so along the edge of the new strawberry terrace.

And currants make superb jam, but I'll share a little secret. If you find the plant, take a hardwood cutting and poke it into the ground (1/3rd down, 2/3rds up) right now and it will grow come spring. Mate, those plants are the easiest to propagate. Look for something that looks like a gooseberry bush. I substitute black currants for cranberries as they taste fairly similar.

Ah yes of course there is always tradition which is terribly hard to break. One must not mix potatoes with turkey and/or chicken. Got it! ;-)! Hehe!

That is funny. Not sure I've watched a Disney film since, I dunno... Oh. I believe Disney purchased the Shrek franchise and released the third film. Given the first two films were taking the Mickey out of Disney films... Shrek was hysterical and a very funny send up.

No worries, the excuse was that the rain was pouring out of the sky and so a walk was out of the question. That film was showing at the right time at the right place. Sometimes I enjoy being challenged by films, and that one certainly did. The film Mother made me feel ill due to the shaky camera work and that isn't a challenge that a person would ordinarily call enjoyable. I see Close Encounters of the Third Kind has been remastered, but I'm unsure whether I understood the first film. The editor refuses to watch the new Blade Runner film and honestly Mr Kunstler's review of the film was not good. What is with the ramen in that film, that is what I wanted to know? On a challenging film front I read that even the actors of the film "Killing of a sacred deer" didn't understand what the film was about... Not sure I'll see that one. So, what have you seen recently?

Far out, leaky bananas... Not good! Hehe! What a mental image you've left me with! I've seen someone try that microwave trick with an avocado - again, not good!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Sorry, just a little observation from down here. There are hares here at lower elevations in the mountain range, and they are quite distinctive as they are much larger than normal rabbits and can run much faster. The rabbits tend to live around the creeks and rivers, whilst hares venture further away from those water sources. Neither makes it up this high and survives for long. The foxes tend to eat the rabbits.

Fair enough and your description of usage of the dish-washer back when you did use it sounds very efficient. Respect for washing by hand too. One of my main concerns about them is the economics of the machines – that is only if you have the time to do the chore manually. Washing up is not that much of a fun chore, so yeah I hear you about that. I assume you use a dish rack to allow the dishes and cutlery etc. to air dry? Did you know that in some parts of Europe the dish rack also serves as the cupboard and the bottom of the cupboard has a drain which allows the dripping water to drain away. It is a very old school design from what I recall of the description. A neat idea though?

You know, I never knew that there was such a machine as a portable dishwashing machine. I have never heard of such a thing and will have to look that up afterwards...

As cooking duties are split about 50/50 here, whomever cooks, also washes up. This accounts for cooks (i.e. the editor) who may otherwise be more messy than if someone else (i.e. me) was washing up. Now having said that, there is not much advantage to be gained in that strategy because, then a person has to cook! It is complex this work business.

Fair enough too about the clothes dryer. Honestly, different areas of the world have different complexities when it comes to drying clothes - and I'll tell ya, the high humidity over winter makes drying clothes here hard, because not only is it cold, there is not much sun to speak of, but the humidity... At least the washing horses work well in front of the wood fire, but it takes a few days. We sometimes throw a sheet over the drying clothes on the washing horse to concentrate the heat from the wood heater.

What an excellent harvest of sweet potatoes. From my experience here they keep really well in cold winter conditions too and don't go soft or sprout until spring. Hey, I went to a seedling farm today. Oh wow! There were so many temptations. Over the next two days I should begin planting out most of the summer vegetables. And I look forward to reading about your summer harvest.

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with utilising your front porch on which you start the summer and fall seedlings. Interesting. I'm chucking around ideas about how I should be doing things down here and all of the information from everyone here really helps clarify that process.

Stop it! Hehe! You're making me laugh saying that the rabbit tastes like chicken! I realise you are being serious though. A local pub does an excellent rabbit pie and it is very good and I have quite the soft spot for the meat. I hope the venison turns out well - no doubts it should. There were two deer eating one of my almond trees tonight. Deer are huge. I'm told that the return on raising rabbits is quite good - especially given you have a larger garden and can feed them from that garden outside of winter.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

My phone line is the underground copper version.

No, not poppy seeds; I like them. As you can see, I have updated to caraway seeds.

The fact that I may address a comment to a particular person does not mean that it isn't meant for all. I read all the comments apart ahem from those dealing with caterwauling music and films. Having said that however, I shall now add that the Harry potter books are way better than the films. The first films are okay because Rowling oversaw them but I find the later ones unwatchable.

@ Claire (and anyone else)

We have hares as well though it is a while since I have seen one. I am told that their long hind legs meant that they can run very fast uphill.

I always thought that tame rabbit tasted like chicken but that wild rabbit is gamier.

Inge

Angus Wallace said...


Hi Chris,

I hear you, and I don't strongly disagree. I considered long and hard whether we should get a dishwasher, whether it was worth it. In the end, we bought a second-hand one. I still don't know if it was worth it (my kids love singing too, so I'm unsure if I want to deprive them of the opportunity to wash dishes and sing together ;-)

We've had about 13 mm of rain this week, which has been great. Had our first heatwave last week, several days in the mid 30s and it's great to be back to low 20s. The garden's going really well. My new (12 month) plums and citrus are doing very well, putting on lots of new growth. So are the stone fruit I grew from seed (2 apricots, and 4 peaches/nectarines -- unsure which just yet). You've very lucky when it comes to rain -- I still find it amazing that you can plant trees and they'll (mostly) just survive on rain!

We've just put in an order for a 6 kW solar system (in addition to the 2 kW we have). We won't use much of its power, but can export to the neighbours. It was funny, I suggested a neighbour might like to get a joint quote with me, and they got all twitchy. I think they thought I'd be getting a cut! It's a shame, because they have a beautiful unshaded North facing roof...

I had the happy discovery of two boxes of preserved plums under the bed. There was a small celebration in my house that night ;-)

Cheers, Angus

Joel Caris said...

Hi Chris,

Is a washing horse the same as a wooden drying rack? So far as I can gather, I believe that's what you're talking about. Assuming so, that's what I have, as well, at least or the wet and rainy days. I position it in front of our wall-mounted gas heater, so that the warm dry air blasts the clothes whenever it comes on. Back in my more rural, wood stove days, I set the rack up next to that. If you're going to heat the house, might as well do double duty.

I also have a couple clothes lines strung up in the back yard for when it's sunny, as that works far better than the drying rack--especially if it's a bit breezy, as well! The indoor drying seems to take a few days, so this past week the rack hasn't been put away yet. We do have a clothes dryer downstairs and make use of it on occasion, but my goal is to leave it dormant as much as possible. It just strikes me as a particular waste.

Indeed, I have gone and gotten myself married. Consider me a fan--both of the institution and my wife. It's funny to correspond with you about it here on the blog, considering some of our much past discussions. It seems like I'm perpetually amazed at what my life was like a few years ago compared to what it is the day I'm thinking of it. I imagine that'll be true again three years hence. And yes, the fact that she is such a damn good cook is quite nice. If I gave the impression that I am not a good cook, I would like to rectify that. I think I actually have quite a decent amount of skill in that area. It's just that she has quite a bit more skill, and is far better at working on the fly with what's on hand and still putting together a dish thoughtfully composed. Which I do indeed treasure!

I've never understood those who are offended by laundry hanging in the sun. I'm far more offended by rumbling clothes dryers. I always smile when I see hanging laundry, because it's a mark of sanity too rarely found in our modern world.

Joel

P.S. Glad you're enjoying the magazine! The new issue is launching any day now, though it'll probably be awhile before it makes it down to you. Still, I think it's a particularly good one.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ah, progress in different parts of the world. There's a book ... :-). "Material World: A Global Family Portrait." I love this book! Even found a used copy, really cheap, and so, have my own copy. It's a photographic book. The authors traveled the world. First, they would figure out a countries ... demographics (?). Determine what an average family would look like. Number of members, income, etc. Then they went out and found a willing family that fit the demographics. Then they hauled everything out of the house, arranged it in an artful manner, and photographed it. 30 countries. I just had an idea ... nope. No Australia :-(.

Giving simple cheese a whirl is on my (very long) list of "things to give a whirl. Do look into vegetable rennets. Might as well be as self sustaining as possible, right from the get go. Cardoons, I think.

"Unique selling proposition". Maybe the same, or similar to what we call here, "value added." Of course, the trick with value added is that it shouldn't cost much to add ... if anything at all. And, of course, if it costs anything at all, will it give you enough of an edge over your competitors, or, make a customer more likely to buy? Drum roll! Trot out the Cost Benefit Analysis :-).

On again, off again (cause I can't spell intermintant) yogurt problems. Like the old classic jokes and cartoons about cars that only squeak or make off noises when they're NOT at the mechanics. It's a classic.

I only read the first Harry Potter book. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It sure did light a fire under a lot of non-readers. Which I saw as a good thing. I don't care what they read, as long as they read. It was all about (more or less) the whole orphan thing. Orphan train books were also big at the time. The idea that those horrible people you live with are not you're REAL family, and that you're real family will show up (either blood or chosen) to rescue you. A bit of a tangent, but I often say "The rock star and the super model who are your REAL parents are not going to show up. Ed McMann is not coming to your door. (the last is a fellow who flogs impossible odds sweepstakes contests.) The movies? Oh, they were ok. But I got a bit lost and can't tell you if I've seen all of them, or not. And at this point, really don't care. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Oh, I think Joe Salatin is the real deal. I have great admiration, for him and what he's doing. He talks the talk AND walks the walk.

Re: Giant wombats. You're ahead of the cultural curve. Saw a trailer, this morning, for a film coming out next year. Can't remember the name but it stars Bruce Johnson and involves genetic experiments gone awry with giant gorillas, wolves and alligators. Oh, yeah. Bring back the mega fauna. What could possibly go wrong? It seemed like a good idea, at the time. :-).

That's a good thing to know about current bushes. I still haven't explored the park / woods up behind The Home. No room for currents, here, but maybe a bit of gorilla gardening?

Hmm. Good movies I've seen, lately. Not much. I've got a couple of documentary on tap. Something about the guy who wrote "The Anarchist's Cookbooks" (the bane of my existence when I was in the book biz) and one ("Erasing David") about a fellow who tries to drop off the radar. That may come in handy, later. But mostly, it's the series season. The shows from last year are beginning to show up as whole seasons on DVD. I just finished season 6, part 2 of "Teen Wolf." The final season. Tonight I may begin to watch "Supernatural." Season 12 ... See what the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean are up to. I can't remember which cliff hanger they trotted out at the end of season 11. Usually, it's either The Gates of Hell are about to open, or, the Apocalypse is about to launch.

The nuked bananas turned out ok. They tasted a bit "funny", out of the oven, but that wore off after a couple of hours. Now, someone tells me that the best way to freeze over ripe bananas is to take them out of the skin, throw them in a plastic bag and THEN freeze them. The banquet turned out well. My buddy Scott was the speaker. I told him my roll for the evening was to be the auriga. They guy who stands behind the emperor or general in a Roman triumph and keeps reminding him, "Remember, you are only a man." I also told him that he really used too many big words with too many syllables. And for god sake, he even through in some poetry! Doesn't he know where he is? :-).

There was well over 100 people and the tables fairly groaned with food. Half deserts, half home made and half store bought. My muffins did not make a good showing. I brought home quit a few. I really think that's due to the rather plane jane (apologies to any Janes reading this) nature of banana muffins. Not very flashy. The competition was stiff. At least 4 pumpkin pies, 3 pumpkin cheese cakes, various other cheese cakes, brownies, cookies, etc. etc.. Oh, well. Working my way through banana muffins....

Saw the fellow who is going to maybe (depends on his foot injury) climb a mountain in Australia, next year. He still couldn't remember the name, but said it was the highest peak in Australia. No wonder he couldn't remember it. Mt. Kosciuszko? Unpronounceable. All those consonants .... Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Interesting. As a comparison, there are copper cables on the road here for phones, but the charge to cut in the trench and then connect up to the house is exorbitant. Plus being a long way from the exchange means that the connection is not so good (or so I am told). Mobile phone and internet it is. I've noticed that the reception towers around here have very large diesel generators attached to them. Has any explanation been provided to you regarding the intermittent issues with the copper cables?

I'm curious about poppy plants as they grow like weeds here. It is such an unassuming plant until it produces a spectacular and brightly coloured flower - and I have no idea what colours will pop up as they appear to readily hybridise. I often wonder at the complexities of collecting seeds from the plants. Do you grow poppies and have you ever attempted to collect the seeds?

Thank you for the book review, and you have piqued my interest. I just finished the second in Mr Kunstler's, World made by Hand series and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am now slogging my way through E.F. Schumacher’s: A guide for the perplexed. I have to admit that I wasn't perplexed to begin with, and am struggling a bit with the finer points of philosophy. The last chunk of text left me feeling as if Saint Thomas Aquinas had pulled a shifty (otherwise known as a fast one) by attempting to re-direct the cultural focus, and I'm not greatly excited by attempts to control other folks thoughts, but philosophy seems full of that gear. Oh well. Have you read much on philosophy?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Angus,

Second hand items and machines are worth their weight! It always astounds me that an item gets manufactured and then disposed of. Mind you, I have seen more than my fair share of rubbish products, but if they're any good - and I have no use for them - I chuck them on eBay. And if I'm looking for some item, and am unsure about it, I always look for second hand examples first. And the really sad thing is that sometimes the older goods were far better manufactured. That isn't always the case, but it is a good reliability indicator.

Seriously, don't deprive the kids of those memories. I mean, the memories left an impression on you.

Thanks for the garden update. Yup, I've noticed that the citrus here is also producing new leaves on what I believed were dead shoots. You can grow oranges in your warmer climate too! Did you plant any of those? Citrus is enormously hardy once they are established. Hopefully the stone fruit will grow true to type, and a couple of days ago I saw an old nectarine tree which had self seeded from a neighbours even older tree and it was producing heaps of unripe fruit. I'm trying a few self seeded peaches and nectarines and it is a bit of a lucky dip. You know, we may have our fortunes made if the trees turn out good fruit? You'll have to think up a name for the tree variety! Did you know that there used to be 7,000 varieties of apples?

It is a bit wetter and cooler than where you are, but first and foremost, I feed the soil. Every cubic metre of topsoil you produce holds more ground water - and there is my strategy. If in doubt feed the soil with any old organic matter you can get your hands on.

Well done you! Even if all you get is $0.06/kWh it is an excellent thing for the environment. The energy returned on energy invested for solar is low, but it isn't negative and that is a very good thing.

When I suggest services in my professional capacity I always disclose that I receive no benefit for doing so. The main problem is that our culture is littered with conflicts of interest and you came face to face with the downsides of that aspect.

A cause for celebration!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Joel,

Absolutely, the wooden drying rack (or washing horse as we call them) is an indispensable item during winter and summer. We had them outside today drying clothes in the hot late autumn sunshine. They just work. Exactly! Extracting the maximum number of uses for heat that you produce is a fine art. Respect! To be honest, I miss my wood oven, and it was a serious pain in the wallet and backside to upgrade the solar electric to accommodate the loss but that's life.

Any use of electricity to heat things up or cool them down will most certainly use a lot of juice. Oh, converting electricity to mechanical motion takes a lot of energy too. Most other uses not so much - unless you decide to purchase a plasma cutter!!! I applaud your respect for the environment.

Haha! I'm really chuffed to read that you are enjoying being married. I've always enjoyed our discussions and look forward to future discussions. :-)! Hopefully your wife will challenge you to become an even better cook.

Mate, I had no idea that drying clothes in the sun was even a social faux pas until an older neighbour who was a well-known sculptor told me (he was serious too and not being sarcastic) how much he enjoyed the fact that the editor and I used to dry our clothes in the front yard on a summers day. The area had been gentrified during the time that we were there, but did it stop us? Nope! Hehe! Talk about freaking out the neighbourhood! :-)! It could stand some freaking out!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

What a lovely idea for a book. Missing out on Australia is a bit of a minor omission from my perspective, but I get that, because after all, we are down at the bottom of the planet, and it is a long way here in anyone's terms. You know I saw a lot of that in my travels as I never went to first world countries. After a while it was a bit hard to ignore just how good we had it - relatively speaking of course. Travel back then was perhaps less risky than these days if only because the differences in wealth are greater (and thus the opportunity for mischief that much more rewarding). The monks in the monasteries in the middle ages understood that their lives depended on that matter, but most people forget those hard won lessons. Oh well.

I will do the cheese gear, but I first have to get my head around why the yoghurt batches are failing. Oh, I have to check today's batch...It tastes like thickened cream, but hasn't set firmly yet. I'll leave it in the refrigerator overnight and see how it is tomorrow morning. The editor and I were discussing the problem and we'll possibly try cooking it a bit more tomorrow. We have also been discussing making our own starter culture. I’m beginning to feel that something has changed in the pasteurising process over the past two years.

Well yeah, I looked at some more complex cheese recipes and to be honest they contained an awful lot of chemicals. Now, as far as I understand things back in the day, they would not have had access to those chemicals, so the question then becomes: how the heck did they do this task? Home brew was exactly the same, and people swore that you needed this chemical and that chemical and everything had to be cleaned in toxic gear, but eventually we worked out that none of that stuff was actually necessary and we get very consistent results. It really annoys me that people try to complicate these processes as it is such a waste of time to reverse engineer the process. Oh well, I did choose these activities, so I must remember to not grumble! :-)!

Haha! You are onto something with the cost benefit analysis and to be honest I've seen my fair share of requests for investment containing models which were served up to higher powers. The thing is, nobody ever checks to see whether down the road, the model reflected reality. A lot of them became merely a formal process that someone thought would be a good idea to put together. I'll bet you've seen a few of those?

Fair enough about the books and film because I have no opinion of either, other than my distaste for the cover art. Some of the cover art on my pulp novels from back in the day bring a smile to my face. And the whole blood relationships being better meme, really didn't stack up so well in my own case. I reckon the meme arose out of the obsession with stranger danger from way back in the 70's. To be honest I've always suspected that the meme is useful as a divide and conquer strategy and it has served to break up community groups and foment discord in the community. As far as I understand the statistics, a person is far more likely to come to harm from someone they know closely. But people believe what they will and divided communities are far easier to plunder.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

He's a good bloke that one. I'm sure if and when things unwind, he'll merely adapt - and possibly be grateful for the less intrusive legislative oversight on his farm.

Hehe! Funny! I had no idea, and yes, what could possibly go wrong when good intentions and genetic engineering are involved!!! Perhaps it is good for consumers? Or consumers demanded the new and improved genes! :-)!

I like where you are going with the gorilla gardening concept for the currants. They really are that simple and it always amazes me to see them happily sprouting new leaves in the spring. Speaking of gardening, I placed about 2/3rds of a cubic metre (0.86 cubic yards) of compost into the strawberry terrace today and fixed up the fencing around the structure. The fencing takes ages as I'm reusing all of the old chicken wire which used to protect young fruit trees from the wallabies, so it all has to be looped together. Hopefully tomorrow I'll plant out the enclosure with about maybe 130 runners - and about 25 lavender plants. It became so hot during the middle of the day we had to take a break inside and go back to the work later. It was nice as a thunderstorm rolled along the valley (and missed here) and put on quite the show.

Ah yes, the celebrity cookbook. Those books are often in the best sellers lists and I'm frankly uncertain whether peoples cooking skills are improving as a result! Mind you, my foodie friends have a huge collection of cookbooks, but they actually are excellent cooks, so maybe some of the cooking mojo rubs off? What do you reckon?

Dropping off the radar is almost impossible in a world that demands your life in coin. Was Teen Wolf based on the Michael J Fox film of the same name? Turning into a werewolf would definitely have unforseen consequences.

Thanks for the banana tip because I'd never even considered freezing a banana. Not for any good reason though - I just never thought of it.

I'd never heard of the Roman concept of Auriga before, but when you think about it, sometimes it is better to be second best and live to fight another day, than be the best and have everyone expend energy to bring you low. That is funny about the big words and the poetry. So how did the audience respond to the speech?

Enjoy your banana muffins and I am rather curious - and you did dodge this rather important point - but did you indulge in the pumpkin desserts?

The walk up Kosciusko is not particularly challenging. The height above sea level is barely above 2,200 metres (7,260 ft.) It is a flat continent after all. And don't mention to him that there is a chair lift which operates even over summer to take you part of the way up. The view is good though, and the alpine hotels are reasonably priced over summer. Over winter, the weather can be pretty feral and the snow can be quite deep but I have not experienced that...

Cheers

Chris