Monday, 8 January 2018

Wish you were here

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

The house is now quiet. There are no more large trip hazards in the kitchen. And there are certainly no flooring stomping and attention grabbing sounds from under the dining room table as we eat our lunch. The chickens are no longer protected by a patrolling dog, and the foxes are rejoicing. An era has ended, because on Saturday morning, the editor and I took Sir Poopy Fox and Rat bane to the local veterinary to have him put to sleep.

Sir Poopy, the Swedish Lapphund had been ill for many months now. His eyesight was rapidly deteriorating and he was incontinent. Despite those conditions, he was full of excitement for the world. I have never before experienced the company of a dog so full of joy. As a blind dog, he learned to climb up and down stairs and even continue performing boundary patrol duties on his own. He was a useful and valued member of the household. Two weeks ago he even killed and returned to us a fox cub who foolishly underestimated him.

Alas, last week, he began suffering painful seizures. He would scream and scream and then be disoriented afterwards. The seizures were becoming more frequent and so we gave Sir Poopy a gentle exit out. The night before he died, he and I sat in the orchard and supervised the chickens. He was for the first time in his life, depressed, and all he wanted then and there was a sit and a pat and shared companionship. And I knew what had to be done to my little mate.

"So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell"

He lived life to the full that dog and I will always fondly remember our trips to the local cafe (in the absence of the editor). Sir Poopy would happily sit and enjoy the occasional chunk of fruit toast which was sneakily thrown in his direction. He knew better than to outrage the local notables by being caught eating at a dignified table.

Indeed, he was outraged by the acts of the local marsupials who shared his domain. It was like a scene from the old Warner Brothers cartoon with: Ralph E. Wolf and Sam Sheepdog; as Mr (at that time) Poopy would clock off as the sun set and the marsupials would then clock on. I'm pretty certain Fatso the wombat used to remark to Sir Poopy, "evenin' Poopy!" to which he'd reply: "evenin' Fatso!" Mr Poopy would retire to his beanbag which was convenient to the wood heater.

The birds still sing, and the cicada's roar their summer songs, but Sir Poopy is now quiet. We buried him up above the courtyard where his spirit has a magnificent view over the surrounding valley and planted a Cumquat (Kumquat) tree over his grave. Rest in Peace little matey, it was a real treat knowing you.

Sir Poopy the Swedish Lapphund Fox and Rat Bane
A C/Kumquat tree planted on hot summer's day over Sir Poopy's grave
"Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?"

Saturday was no day for planting trees, or burying dogs, but what has to be done, has to be done. The previous night the sunset was full of colour:
Friday night, the sunset was full of colour
On Saturday, at one short moment in the late afternoon, the outside thermometer displayed 42'C / 107.6'F. Here are some temperature readings throughout the long day. The blue square in the next photo displays the outside temperature and humidity, whilst the yellow square displays the same information for the inside of the house.
Some temperature readings throughout the hot day
We have no air conditioning in the house and I reckon the thick insulation in the walls, floor and roof, works pretty well. The inside of the house began the day at 23'C / 73'F and peaked at 29'C / 84'F. At that point, we opened the doors and windows to the night air which cooled the house.
The sun sets after a very hot day and the smoke from nearby fires
Earlier in the week, we repaired the concrete floor in the second firewood shed. That shed was originally the old chicken shed, and it had a very dodgy concrete floor. The problem with the dodgy old floor was that if any water from storms managed to get into the firewood shed, it would pool at the low point in the middle of shed, and the firewood would begin to break down and convert into soil!
A new concrete floor was poured into the secondary firewood shed
The new wide and flat path between the house and the secondary firewood shed is now complete. I reckon it looks pretty good, and it will make life much easier during the damp winter months.
The new wide and flat path between the house and the secondary firewood shed is now complete
We had been putting off a repair job to the plastic bumper bar of the little dirt mouse Suzuki. The editor unfortunately had a minor incident a long time ago which cracked the thin plastic on the bumper bar. I recall the days when these things were made from steel...
We began repairing a minor crack in the plastic bumper bar on the dirt mouse Suzuki
The time to hesitate was now through, and so we just got on with the repair job. After a very good YouTube video and some mucking around, we removed the plastic bumper bar from the dirt mouse.
Sir Scruffy the Charming is impressed by our vehicle dismantling skills
We then used a stainless steel plastic stapler repair tool to shore up the broken plastic. The first step was to melt in some stainless steel staples so that the break held together:
Stainless steel staples are melted into the broken plastic
Then the plastic seam welder was used to heat and smooth the area (at the rear of the bumper bar panel - not the painted surface) and the join is as good as new(ish):
A plastic seam welder heats and joins all of the plastic in the repaired area
That day we discovered the hugest stick insect on the underside of the wheelbarrow:
A huge stick insect enjoys this quiet spot underneath the old wheelbarrow
The fruit and vegetables are doing really well despite the crazy hot day. On Saturday the prize for the most wilted plant in the heat of the summer afternoon goes to: Zucchini's (courgette)

The most wilted plant on that really hot day were the zucchini (courgette)
The next day, you'd never know that they'd wilted in the heat. And the plants are full of fruit!
Triffid alert: Zucchini (courgette) are full of yummy fruit
I've been tempting the local Crimson Rosella's (parrots) with the huge haul of almost ripe apricots. It is a fine balancing act between us harvesting the fruit after letting it ripen just that little bit longer on the tree, or having and the birds harvesting the fruit when we aren't looking.
Apricots ripen in the hot summer sun
Apples are continuing to swell and ripen and the summer sun is providing the fruit some blush:
Apples are swelling and ripening and you can see the direction of the sun by the blush on the fruit
Blackberries are almost ripe and it looks set to be a huge harvest. Most of that fruit will be made into jam and wine:
Blackberries are almost ripe and ready to pick
The tomatoes, melons, corn, eggplant, and capsicum (peppers) grew strongly this week:
The tomatoes, melons, corn, eggplant, and capsicum (peppers) grew strongly this week
Our most reliable heat hardy summer greens are the perennial rocket. We pick huge quantities of this summer green and it is very tasty. The bees love the flowers and the plants happily self-seed:
Our most summer heat hardy fresh green: Perennial Rocket
Most of the garden shrugged off the extreme heat of Saturday and there are still plenty of flowers:
California Poppies scream bring on the heat! As does the nearby Catmint.
Densely planted garden beds are very heat hardy. It was almost 40'C / 100'F when these two photos were taken
Feverfew flowers in profusion in this hedge
Agapanthus is just beginning to flower. Mr Toothy is depressed at the loss of his mate
Two pink Poppies flower in among the Lamb's tongue
This Fennel flower has attracted a local wasp
The Hydrangea's bounced back after the hot day
This mauve Salvia enjoys a commanding view
The final word should go to Pink Floyd who are responsible for the lyrics that were included in this week's blog. Not only are they outstanding musicians, the 1975 song Wish you were here is among my all time favourite songs. I hope you enjoyed it too. And Vale, Sir Poopy, you'll be sorely missed.

"How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here."

The temperature outside now at about 6.45pm is 18’C (64’F). So far this year there has been 0.0mm (0.0 inches) which is not much rain at all!

79 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh! Are there other chemicals other than salt in the mix they spread onto the roads? Down here salt is best kept out of the water table as it is a toxic brew as there is enough in the ground already. As an interesting side story, I read somewhere a while back that they reckon the salt got into the ground water here not by being at the bottom of a sea, but through just really long term accumulation from the rainfall because the land is reasonably geologically stable. Dunno. It is funny that you mention plastic car components as we fixed one of them up on the dirt mouse Suzuki this week!

Good for them that they are more relaxed. Have you noticed that some folks don't handle retirement very well? My grandfather who clearly defined himself by his business persona, well, I reckon he willed himself to death as he died months prior to his retirement. He once confessed to me that that was his major fear and he scoffed at his mates who had retired and their concerns – even as a kid I wondered about that. I dunno, it could take some adjustment for some folks. Personally, I'd be happy to potter around here all day long, day in and day out - the money is a tough challenge though!

Stress is best avoided. Stress is a strange brew and if experienced for protracted periods, it works differently on people, but overall, long term stress is not good at all.

No problems and I'm glad for Michael, and by all accounts both of your experiences sounds like an excellent middle ground to me. He probably wants his own space too.

Thanks for sharing your story about the animal shelters. Some days I feel like I've woken up from a deep sleep and suddenly everything about me is all different! The expectations here are now exactly as you describe them, but the cost is between $400 and $500. To be honest, I'm leaning towards a breeder as I really couldn't imagine the fallout from taking the fluffy collective to a shelter to meet a new buddy. It wouldn't be good. Scritchy would attempt a bout of out alpha-ing and that is what dogs do, and who knows the dogs might think that I'm dumping them there...

Back in the day, I could visit an animal shelter and then just purchase whatever dog was there. I enjoyed sailing with the winds, because I have no idea what the outcome will be.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Well I was curious as to your sons opinion, and we are of a like mind! As I mentioned to Margaret, sometimes I feel as if I have woken up from a deep sleep and find that the world around me is strikingly different. I have read that animal shelters may have been captured by people with an ideological bent, but to be exposed to it first hand is complex for me. And I don’t wish to pull the: “you know I donate money to you lot” card, because it is distasteful.

Dogs are dogs and that makes them special. People are people and that makes them special. The two accept each other, but they are not the same.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Your working knowledge of pumps is beyond most peoples given your comment. ;-)! Given how cold it gets in your part of the world, the basement is a pretty good location for a pump.

Wow, well that is a tough call. Any weather extreme is an unpleasant situation. I reckon I neatly dodged your question though! If anything I cope better with cooler weather, but to be honest I do also adapt to such hot weather. It is complex but I'd have to suggest that we are very adaptable creatures!

Yeah, you are spot on about dogs being pack creatures. As an interesting observation for you, Scritchy the boss dog has been gathering the troops over the past few days and has been working far harder than normal at keeping them constantly entertained. I have to take my hat off to the old fox terrier because she knows a thing or two. She sat with the editor and I for a while in remembrance of Sir Poopy on Saturday and she knew full well what had just transpired.

Yup, I'm now considering a breeder which is a really strange choice for me given I've never dealt with one before, but will keep you posted. I was hoping that side of things would be easy... Not so!

Love it and thank you for the tree name! There is also a Fat-emon (Lemon) and a Fluff-emon (Lemon).

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The situation appears to be a little over the top to me. I am struggling trying to come to terms with taking Scritchy the boss dog and her cohorts to an animal shelter. I don't feel that they'd enjoy the experience given what they just saw happen to the now deceased Sir Poopy... Of course the head honcho boss dog will take a chunk out of any introduced dog with her pack mates around, what do they think will happen? (censor some very naughty words!). The thing is, I have no idea what their criteria for assessing me is and that seems somewhat arbitrary and also it smells to me like a waste of the charities funds. I just do not know what it all means, but my gut feeling tells me that it is not good.

Yeah, you know, I deal with the pointy end of business arrangements and whilst I cannot advise people on wills as it is a legal matter, well let's just put it this way: A lot of people don't have their ducks lined up. A few months ago, I listened to a youth news radio program on farm succession planning. What a hornets nest that lot is. My gut feeling is that some folks don't want to rock the boat, but I tell ya, over the years I have seen a few - predominantly males – who want to tip the entire boat over and leave a disaster zone behind them after they depart. I prefer neat.

Mate, we don't hear about landslides down here nowadays also. The last one that I can recall backfired as ideological issues were pushed through and the backlash from the electorate (compulsory voting) was pretty big (i.e. The standing Prime Minister lost his seat during the election). The thing is, as diminishing resources get spread over an expanding population, any policy choice is bound to impact upon some groups wealth. That situation does not look good to me.

The illuminations were a good idea. They sound to me like little gentle prods of reminders, rather than a massive plonk over the head reminder of what folks should be doing. To be honest, I generally sow the seeds of an idea with people and then ever so slowly work on growing that seed. Nothing else works as far as I can tell. A bit of a shame that, but life and time moves on.

I reckon workflow management is a really massive issue for businesses and it is one of the things I focus on. I don't know what you reckon, and I'd be interested to read your thoughts, but I have noticed that some people don't easily say the two letter word: "No". Other people take advantage of that inability from what I can see. Dunno. Anyway, that is a major problem in workflow management these days.

Mixed metaphors. I was a bit distressed yesterday because I had to write the blog about Sir Poopy, and I skipped over the mixed metaphor fun that you mentioned. You know, for some strange reason, I read your comment about: "It's not rocket surgery"; as "It's not rocket stoogery!" Maybe that is a reflection of my mind, who knows? What was your favourite mixed metaphor? It is rather charming and engaging for the commenters to distract and focus them with that gear. Nothing wrong at all with the land of silly. I like silly!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Ouch! That is not good. Are the stores closing due to competition or a lack of profitability? Most, but not all, retail does it really tough these days due to high lease or purchase costs and ongoing bureaucracy. Strip shops are among the safest havens for retail, I reckon, but even then it is risky – at least the landlords can’t demand a businesses financials.

That is a bit of a shame about the lack of some serious volcanic action for Mt St Helens. Mind you, I live on the side of an apparently extinct volcano and well, I wouldn't wish that gear on anyone. The Earth is very much alive and kicking... There is an active volcano north of this continent: PNG volcano: Tsunami warning for communities living near erupting Kadovar Island. It is awful, but the photos look awesome.

A tiny bit of rain fell today and it is quite cool outside tonight. Even so the cicadas are singing their summer song as the sun is setting on another day and it is quite nice.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Well, you earned it! I've never considered constructing a boat from scratch and I reckon that is a good idea, and the dodgy tech setup really appealed to me. I may rip your idea as I do have a spare car radio floating around. Have you had any experience with outdoor speakers?

You know, what do they say about "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". Yup... Dunno what to think about the situation.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

I´m so sorry to read about Sir Poopy. My condolences to you and the Editor. May he be welcomed into Hound-Valhalla by his ancestors as the valiant guard dog he was. As hard as it was, given his condition, you did the right thing.

Still wet here, the water is ankle deep up in the veg patch, and more rain in the forecast. Next year I have to remember to do a fall clean up and prep, because it could take months to dry out at this rate. This past weekend brought a freak snow storm that stranded a bunch of travelers on the highway getting home from the holidays, the Spanish celebrate through Epiphany or Jan. 6th, when they exchange gifts. We´re glad to be hunkered down at home.

Jo said...

Ah, Chris, that is the end of an era, indeed. It is a privilege to know some dogs, and Sir Poopy sounds like one of that company. You and the Editor were good friends to him until the end. Sending loving thoughts to you both..

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris:

What a wonderful tribute you have written to Mr. Poopy.

How interesting is this? At some point in time this weekend there was a 100F degree difference in your temperatures and mine. Your fruits and veg must be ripening at an unusually fast rate. I have never tasted rocket, but am always looking for greens that stand up to a lot of heat and that's a lot of heat.

Boy, the last thing anyone wants in a firewood shed is damp, much less a pool. That new, flat (flat? What is that?) is SO long!

I have never heard of a stainless steel plastic stapler. That's fascinating. I have passed on that intriguing tool idea to our mechanic, our son.

Hi, Mr. Toothy! And Sir Scruffy the Charming and Scritchy, and thank you Scritchy for keeping everyone in order. My condolences to you all. You may be about to get a big surprise . . .

Pam

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

I gave the dodgy speaker setup in the shed a test run last night. I needed to adjust and repair our old push-style rotary mower and a little bit of Dark Side of the Moon seemed to go pretty well with a shed at dusk. I will give credit to the British - they have some good bands and make good speakers. Those little speakers - which are really bookshelf speakers, are top quality and had no trouble filling the shed with a suitable volume.

My dad used to make 'barrel radios' using old car stereos. A 20 litre plastic barrel, car stereo and pair of suitable speakers gives you a damn good portable boom box. If you wanted to be really good, pull apart one of those portable car jump kits for parts. They have a little 12V battery and AC adapter for charging.

I spoke to Mrs Damo about your animal shelter experiences. She used to volunteer at a large shelter in Brisbane about 15 years ago. What you describe was pretty common back then as well. Her opinion is that it was absolutely necessary to prevent dogs being returned within 12 months. In short, most people are very neglectful and ignorant of what owning a dog entails, thus shelters are somewhat forced to go to such lengths. I am not sure how I feel about it, but completely understand. If I spent all my time looking after rescue dogs, most from very bad homes, the last thing I would want to do is send them to another bad place. Have you looked on Gumtree for dogs that need re-homing? Dealing directly with the previous owner would give you insights into the dogs behavior I would imagine!

Cheers,
Damo

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - That was a very moving memorial to Sir Poopy. Will you do mine? In my case, you can throw in a lot more humor. :-)

Your weather is, hot as. Not willing to swap, thanks! Here, it's been rainy, but the temps, night and day are in the 40sF. Last night, our National Weather Service was forecasting a big wind storm for Thursday night. We'll see. A bit out there for an accurate forecast. I'll see what Cliff Mass has to say.

Your path is quit nice. Unlike your, sometimes, calendar shots of your place, it really shows the "casual beauty" of your surroundings. Are you sure you had a stick insect and not a, well, stick? :-). That little (big) fellow has the art of blending in, down to a science.

That's an interesting fix for the grill. Back during the "deep incident" Frank the mechanic found me a grill off a wreck. Less than $40 including shipping. Of course, my grill was shattered. No bailing wire and bubble gum or staples would have fixed it. Duct tape, however ... "Duct tape. The handyman's friend!" Back in Victorian times, china was occasionally repaired using glue and metal staples. I run across and example, every once in awhile.

Wow. Your zucchini has great "bounce back." I'm sure several of your plants have adapted to your climate. On my way to the Club, yesterday morning, even though there was a bit of a drizzle, I decided to stop at the leaf collecting place. I got three plastic bags full, and didn't get too damp. I noticed that, from the last time to this, that the leaves are beginning to molder nicely, into the earth. I think I've got enough. They look like they won't be around much longer.

So, you're baiting the Crimson Rosella? I hear they taste like chicken :-). And apricot stuffed? Yummy! Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The dog adoption weirdness is just too much. Just out of curiosity, I checked on-line and it looks like you have a pretty lively Craigslist, down there. Just Google "Craigslist Melbourne." Much to my surprise, there were only 9 listings for dogs, and three of them seemed to be from the same person. Other possible searches might be "Dogs for adoption, Melbourne" or, even better, "dogs for free, Melbourne. I still think your best bet might be asking around your local. Besides, gives you an excuse to make an extra visit or two. :-). Not that you need an excuse beyond the good tucker.

As the Books of Hours were mostly an upper class thing, perhaps it was a reminder to the grand folk to get out of the castle and make sure the serfs and minions were on track? Speaking of grand folk, I started watching "Dance to the Music of Time", last night. (BBC, 1997). Starts by following a group of public school fellows, around the time of WWI. It's from a 12 volume (!) cycle of books by Anthony Powell. Who I know nothing about. I'm beginning to think that the happiest people are the one's who just stand back, and observe all the nonsense. The ones who opt out of all the social jockying and social climbing. As much as possible.

The Art of No and work flow. Well, the crazy woman I worked for out at the Yelm Library was always piling it on. And, on occasion, I said no. She was caught a bit flat footed, and really didn't know what to do. Of course, she always got back come the yearly employee review. Which ultimately, just went into a file somewhere. I always approached those meeting with elaborate displays of boredom, I had better things to do. Like work. I once left her gasping when I pulled out of my hat, "You know. When all around you don't measure up, perhaps it's time to check your yardstick." But as far as day to day stuff goes, I've often suggested to people that they get up in the morning, look in the mirror and practice saying "No." There are people I know who get quit overwrought organizing things (say, a potluck) and I suggest to them that now they've got all the ducks in a row, that they LET IT GO!!! You've organized and delegated, so allow other people to either succeed or fail. Mostly, they succeed. Maybe not in the way they see success, but if everyone has a good time, gets fed and there is clean up, well, that's a success, isn't it?

For about the last three years, Sears and KMart has been having a round of closures, about every six months. I always took a look at the lists and knew that sooner or later. And, later is here. Were I an employee, I think (hope) I'd started "looking around" for other employment, long ago. Of course, they've offered the employees the option of relocating. But why relocate just to be uprooted again, in the next round. Unless one is, perhaps, very close to being invested in a retirement scheme. Competition or lack of profitability? All of the above.

I went to the Sunday potluck, here at The Home. My first in a couple of months. Now that we're done with all the holiday nonsense ... It was a pretty good turn out, and the tucker seemed a bit more "healthy" than on previous occasions. I made my Turkey Rice Surprise. It was ... well, it tasted like it was missing "something." I had a bit before I went to bed and it was quit nice. I guess it was one of those things that need a bit of mellowing. Note to self: Make it the day before and warm it up. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

Thanks for your kind words. I really miss my little mate and I especially enjoyed reading the words: "May he be welcomed into Hound-Valhalla". Lovely!

What? Wow! Well, after the dry summer you've just experienced it is extraordinary that you should be experiencing such a wet winter. To be honest, it does sound a lot like here, where the bulk of rain falls over the winter months. Down here they say: "It never rains, but it pours!" ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Jo,

Thank you. And also thanks to you for the Ruth Park book reference as I read that her father remarked before himself dying that he'd: "known some good people, and some even better dogs"! It is a bit cheeky, but the thought stuck.

It sure is quiet here without Sir Poopy. He added a lot of colour and life to the house and was always underfoot in the kitchen. A real trip hazard, of course he was just waiting for me to drop something…

Hope you had a nice Christmas and New Years.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Many thanks for your kind words. It was emotionally hard for me to write that story as it is a bit raw still, but getting easier with time and the lovely comments have really helped a lot.

That is a huge temperature difference, and that day was pretty warm down here. They're doing it even tougher in Sydney though. Sydney is the capital city of the state to the north of Victoria (where I am in). Check out this dubious heat record for Sunday: Was Penrith the hottest place on Earth on Sunday?. Penrith is a suburb of Sydney and 47.3'C is 117'F. Far out that would have been unpleasant.

Yes, if the plants have water and the UV is not too Extreme (like more Extreme than the usual Extreme - if that makes sense?) then they grow. Some fruit trees in the orchard have grown about three to four feet this year, and a few have done far better than that.

Rocket is an interesting plant. In the cooler months, I grow the broad leaf annual rocket, but in the really hot months, I grow the small thin leaf perennial (or wild) rocket. They are very different plants but more or less taste the same. Nasturtium is indestructible in the heat, as is horseradish, Sweet Basil, Vietnamese mint, but most other greens bolt to seed at the first sign of a crazy hot day. Not that lot though. Tough as old boots, as they say! Plenty of herbs enjoy the summer sun too, and we eat lots of those: Lemon thyme is notable as a good and tasty herb addition to salads. Oregano is of the mint family and again, they are very heat hardy.

Oh yeah, that path is about 100ft / 30m long. I sometimes forget about the scale of this place as there is plenty of space and I wonder what we can get up to in a certain area of the farm. I discovered today a whole bunch of oak trees that grew from acorns I chucked around over two years ago. I plant a lot of oak trees.

Damp firewood, I'll tell you a little secret. I once was running more late than usual with seasonal tasks and we harvested firewood as late as May... Well, after about four weeks in the (then new) firewood shed, the entire shed sprouted mushrooms of so many different (and most likely toxic) varieties! Possibly that was one reason the old firebox burnt out as damp wood produces very acidic and corrosive smoke...

The tool is a little ripper and can be used on any plastic. I read about them in relation to plastic fairings on motorbikes. The kits usually come with a huge bunch of different staples. I avoided the cheapest kit as they looked a bit too cheap to me.

Scritchy is working overtime to keep the fluffy collective entertained and distracted. I'm quite proud of her efforts. She sat with us as we buried Sir Poopy and she knew full well what had just occurred. Dogs are quite amazing.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Dark Side of the Moon, is a truly awesome album and one worthy of testing out second hand old school studio monitors! The British people do turn out some great artists. I never really understood the Oasis song "Wonder wall", but that sure did strike a chord with the punters. But then there is: Blur (and of course the Gorillas); dare I mention U2 in this crowd?; Arctic Monkeys; Placebo etc. etc. And they're still pumping them out. One of my favourites at the moment is Wolf Alice and they're well worth a listen too. I digress. I do hope that you didn't upset the neighbours too much with the music? You've got me hearing ear-worms from the song Time: "Taking away the moments that make up the dark days"...

I'd never thought about using one of those little lithium ion jump starter kits for a power source for a barrel radio. I tell ya, the best ideas are other peoples and that is one of the reasons I enjoy writing here and all of the ongoing dialogue! Thanks for that idea!

Respect to Mrs Damo for working in an animal shelter. Well, that situation is entirely new to me and I was a bit taken aback, but from that perspective it makes a lot of sense.

Yes, Gumtree seems to be the way to go to get in contact with dog breeders. It would be nice if they responded to email enquiries as there are no phone numbers... I feel that I have entered into a strange new world with that lot. I rang a mate of mine to discuss the dilemma and he also told me about Gumtree and confirmed my worst fears: I'm being interviewed by the dog breeders... So be it!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for writing that, I really appreciate your kind words. Well, who knows, I rather suspect that delivering such a speech via Skype (or some other medium) would lack the emotional delivery required for such an event! :-)! Many long years ago, there was an English film: "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and the delivery of speeches in the film was superb. It is a great film too. On reflection one speech was deliberately messed up so as to provide a nice contrast to the other well delivered speeches. I warn you though with these two words... "rom com"! Just sayin! :-)! You know, I reckon humour is a good tool for such occasions. I'm rather fond of the concept of the wake where a life is celebrated, rather than a more dour approach and I've been to a few of those. It isn't a criticism, but just a personal preference and everyone gets something different out of such situations. I'm really appreciating the kind words here and they mean a lot to me.

Actually the weather here can change between pleasant to crazy hot without warning. I'm not much of a fan of the crazy hot days. Mind you, up in Sydney (in New South Wales), they're doing it tougher: Was Penrith the hottest place on Earth on Sunday?. That day was 117'F in your measurements and for a suburb in a major city... Ouch!

Thanks, we try hard to blend aesthetics into functional infrastructure here. I have to be honest, it looks casual, but we put a bit of thought into such things before commencing. A mate once remarked that we tended to be overly precise and geometric with our constructions and we took that criticism on board and now we include sort of more organic shapes and lines into infrastructure. Plus there are some basic rules to human pleasing architecture and relationships to roof height to wall height ratios, floor space etc. That path will make a huge difference as one end of it, and you can't see it, but there is a huge soil bridge built over a drain. Previously, the path used to drop in height and then rapidly climb again - like a big dipper ride, but only painful for us to use especially in winter!

We began hauling, splitting and storing the winter firewood today. Good stuff, and dry firewood is better than money in the bank!

Duct tape is an awesome repair material and I use a bit of that, especially when transporting steel which for some reason, no matter how tightly held down it is, can slide around. The stapler (and glue and staple for damaged china) is a very old school repair technique. I do a similar thing with metal repairs and add in a plate or rod and then weld it to the primary metal. Fixes a multitude of sins. Hehe. The glues they used for damaged china back in the day would have been interesting. Epoxy resins are tough as.

Yeah, I reckon you are spot on about the leaf collecting as that would be it for here too. It really is a good idea for your garden and I can't wait to see what results you have in the summer.

The plants do get better with each season. Mostly at the moment, I'm growing all of them for the future and if I harvest anything, I'm pretty content with that. I'll be very interested to collect some of the corn seeds from this harvest as the plants are growing fast like bamboo!

Baiting the parrots! Very funny, more like teasing them and using their observations to learn when the various fruit and nuts are ready to pick. I wish they'd wait until the fruit is ripe though.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I checked the local newspapers and the local community notice boards too for dogs and there is nothing. Down here, Damo mentioned that something called: "Gumtree" is used. I've never looked at either that or Craigslist, but have slowly began contacting dog breeders. It would be nice if they replied...

Well, that makes sense. I guess if notables are out of touch, then they may not remember the details that go into running an estate. It is probably a bad idea to be "out of touch" in such a circumstance...

Yup, I call opting out of all the social jockying and social climbing: "a loop hole lifestyle" It has a nice ring about it don't you reckon? Mind you, I don't meet too many folks who are interested in such a thing, but that may be the folks I encounter more than the reality? Dunno. I mean if you win, what exactly do you win?

Hmm. Elaborate displays of boredom are what I call "parsnip face" in which I concentrate on the idea of parsnips. As a vegetable, they're OK, just, but they're not a taste to get excited about and as such are a good focus for the mind on affecting a bored look. Some folks just ask and ask, and they're very good at it. Of course, those same folks are not much good at actually managing a situation from what I've noticed, and yeah, appraisals into a filing cabinet sounds about right for such a person. I don't often wheel out the "no" response, but as you say it is quite effective. Another warning sign is managers who suffer from high turnover. That is always a warning sign. And also, I get a bit nervous about folks who regularly describe everyone else as an idiot. Of course, there are some people who genuinely are idiots, but there aren't as many of them as some may claim. Most people can wheel out a good dose of rat cunning when they need it.

Mate, that story about letting go is so true. I used to as a manager "give people enough rope to hang themselves" if they chose to go their own path with something. Some people just need to experience failure first hand. It is usually a positive experience for everyone.

Ouch. That is what the times look like to me too with those shops.

The pot luck sounds like a good thing to attend! I find that too about such food tasting better the next day. Yum!

Cheers

Chris

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

My condolences to you, the editor and the fluffy collective. Fanstastic view for Poopy. But I've had a closer look at the exact type of Cumquat tree you planted. Is that not a Pomeranian Cumquat?

Cheers

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Inundated with work and visitors, I haven't read much yet. But a quick skim of the comments meant the essential following:-

@ Lew

Please don't cook rice and then warm up the next day, this has the potential to make people quite ill.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

That was a beautiful tribute to Sir Poopy. I will miss the pictures of him as well as the description of his escapades. Hopefully he will meet up with some of our dogs, Caro, Ubu, Crowley and Mercedes. I'm sure they'll enjoy sharing stories of their humans.

It has warmed up here into the 30's and even warmer Wednesday and Thursday. It's great to get back outside for the daily walk in the tree farm. This morning was 25F(3.9C) with no wind. It felt balmly.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I saw 4 Weddings / 1 Funeral, years ago. Can't remember much about it, except I enjoyed it. Hmmm. Maybe it's just American rom-coms that I don't like? Here, we're big on "memorial services" and "celebrations of life." In general, I don't "do" funerals. I have no qualms in saying, he or she was a bad person and won't be missed.

Maybe it's just that the world is so "connected" these days, but 117F temperatures seem to be getting more and more common. I think we had some temps like that in our American SW (Arizona), last year.

When it comes to landscaping, I think I like casual better. Or, maybe it's better to describe it as places that have "bones" ... and underlying structure, but it isn't obvious? From what I've read about the history of gardens, it was a big shift in the 1700s from very formal layouts to a more natural (romantic?) look. I think I like a bit of both. You don't want the place looking like an office park :-). I think (might be wrong) but it was the Golden Mean that was the balance and perspectives, in which humans felt most comfortable. You can play with it and evoke different emotions. Or, maybe, I'm just gassing through my hat.

Well, don't overdo it on the firewood project. You've got plenty of time to "play the weather." You only have to do it once, and there will be an end to it. For this year :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. "Duct Tape. The handyman's friend!" was the catch phrase of a Canadian comedy show, years ago. Still very popular on DVD. "The Red Green(e?) Show." Very low budget. Very much a "bloke's" comedy show, but very family friendly, as I remember. Red Green and his mates always getting into one scrape or another due to hair (hare?) brained scheme after another. Usually involving power tools. And, duct tape. The one I remember best was a how-to turn a plastic patio table with umbrella into a wind surfing board. It involved chain saws and duct tape. I bet Damo would like it, too. There's probably a few short clips on YouTube, just so you could get the flavor of the thing.

I finished the Waugh bio, last night. Pretty good. I picked up a new term. "Castle crawlers." Similar genera to the social climber. Only people who generally sucked up to the nobility. Families can be so weird. Waugh's parents clearly favored his older brother, and weren't very subtle about it. Then wondered why he didn't treat them very well, when he grew older. The phrase, "You reap what you sow" occurred to me. Of course, as often happens, he didn't treat some of his children very well, either. One thing taht puzzled me is that in several places, he used the tern "bright young people" instead of "bright young things." I'll have to get that sorted. Otherwise, I won't be able to sleep. Speaking of sleep, the other night I slept 10 hours! I have no idea of what that was all about. I feel fine physically and mentally.

The Gibbons bio has not yet arrived. I got a bit concerned, checked Amazon, and discovered the projected date of delivery is January 20-something. Must be coming from England.

Odd you mentioned parsnips. Cosmic. The lady who's garden space I'm taking over still has a small patch of carrots and .. parsnips. I can't say I've ever met a parsnip, up close and personal. I'll have to check my cookbooks and see if there's any exciting parsnip recipes. She says she fries them up in butter.

I wonder if your friends, soon to make an appearance on "Grand Designs - Australia" will end up on YouTube? There are some episodes, there. I'll have to keep an eye out. Lew

Steve Carrow said...

Giving pet companions a good departure is always a serious and attention focusing thing. While we sometimes need a sounding board, and consult with veterinarians, at some point the decision has to be made by us. Thanks for sharing the tough event with us.

I saw news that the heat wave is so bad there that fruit bats are falling dead out of the trees. Yikes!

Your new wood shed path looks great, as do all the other improvements you two have been doing over the years. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder that I shouldn't let my workmanship standards slip.

Cathy McGuire said...

Oh, so sorry to hear about Sir Poopy!! But you did the right thing... I'm sure he didn't want to be suffering. I hope your heart will remember the good times rather than the sadness.

Oh, and try to keep cool... that's outrageous weather!

foodnstuff said...

Sorry to hear about Sir Poopy Chris, Always hard to lose a friend who's been a part of your life for so long.

Damo said...

@Chris
At the laneway Christmas party several neighbours commented on how quiet we were, being Australians and all that, I think they were expecting more. I won't say I see that as a challenge, after all none can say I don't know which side of the bread to butter! But, I do say there will be some extra noise in my street at certain, polite and civilised times of day. In truth, I like the speakers more for quality than loudness (although the new lounge-room system is *very* loud).

Can't say I was ever an Oasis fan either, although you are right - the punters loved them, and the brotherly feud! Thank you for the Wolf Alice suggestion, I will check them out. I have enjoyed listening to the latest album from "Gang of Youths'. It is one of those proper older style albums that needs to be listened to in one sitting with a story across all the tracks, good lyrics too!

@Lewis
I will check that show out - some of the youtube descriptions sounds pretty entertaining!

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi crowandsheep, Inge, Margaret, Lewis, Steve, Cathy, foodnstuff, and Damo (note the use of the Oxford comma!),

Thanks for all of the lovely comments and they really have meant a lot to me. I noted this evening that even Mr Toothy is looking slightly less depressed

I worked in the Big Smoke today and got home late after stopping off to get a coffee and cake and also some excellent Vietnamese street food. Yum! Best spring rolls in Melbourne. Anyway, the upshot is that I got home too late this evening to be able to respond to all of the lovely comments here and promise to reply tomorrow.

Lewis - A link to the episode can be found here: Daylesford Long House, Vic - Series 7 - Episode 10. The link to the description text is just wrong as it describes somewhere else altogether! I hope the episode guide is correct. Oh well.

Did I ever mention my ongoing battle with a ticket vending machine? I have to use this beast of a machine, and every time I have interactions with it, the machine does something unexpected. It is in league with lucifer! hehe! I may write about that story this week as sometimes technology can be total and complete rubbish. Talk about progress... I actually want to kick the dratted machine.

I like the reference to castle crawlers too. It seems very apt! Plus we've all met a few of those. Sometimes I wonder why people play such games, because it is akin to trying to game the casino. The house rules are stacked against you, so one valid option is not to play. I reckon it gets down to the stories people have running in their heads.

Well, I'm not talking up parsnips, but you may enjoy them? Maybe?

No doubts the episode will turn up around the traps. The show follows a familiar formula: Excitement and trepidation + Host analysis of the situation + Frustration + Sad music + Happy ending. I quite enjoy the formula as it works.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Thanks for the hot weather greens ideas. We already grow horseradish, but I forgot that one could eat the greens, too. Our perpetual spinach chard did very well in the heat as well, but it does not get as hot here as it does where you are. It also keeps growing in the winter a bit.

I knew that Death Valley was hot, but I would have bet that the record would have gone to the Sahara or someplace in the Middle East. I wonder how that Death Valley "heat bowl" affects the weather in the rest of the U.S., especially since Death Valley covers a pretty large area?

That is wonderful news about the oak trees. So you just toss them on the ground? A pretty easy planting job!

That would seem strange about the mushrooms growing on your firewood except that is exactly what my son has done with his reishis - specially cut logs arranged in a short tower and "planted" with reishi plugs. This was almost a year ago and they were beginning to grow before this super freeze, so we will see. I have noticed that firewood that has lichen on it smells really good when it is burned. I think that lichen is a component in some perfumes or some sort of scents.

My son liked your plastic bumper fix and I think he is going to try it on my other son's bumper, which has a crack just like the editor's.

A salute to Captain Scritchy!

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again (sort of)

I am still running way behind and have just got home after being out all morning. Hope to read properly later on. Meanwhile...

@ Lew

Roast parsnips are wonderful.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Thrown over for street food? Works for me :-). Watch that sun. What's that old bit of doggrel about "mad dogs and Englishmen?" Might apply, second hand, to Australians? Two falls out of three with the vending machine? Thanks for the link, I'll check it out this afternoon.

I finished watching "Dance to the Music of Time", last night. From WWI to the early 60s. They were boiling down a 12 volume opus into a 4 disc miniseries, that made for a few odd distortions of time. (Temporal rift?). Seems like every episode had quite a few people keeling over, suddenly, from the dissipation of too much smoking and drink. With the odd secret mission gone wrong, war or revolution thrown in. Don't know why those people and the period suddenly interest me so. I'll figure it out sooner or later.

I guess the flu is really bad in California. 70 people have died, so far. 10 times more than this same time, last year. I guess emergency rooms and doctor's offices are overwhelmed. The flu medicine (which only knocks a day or two off a go around) is in short supply. Depending on who you read, this year's shot is only 40% (or less) effective. Not much up this way, yet. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - I'd never heard that about rice, before. For years, I've always kept a bowl going in the fridge, for this and that. Usually, I cook up two cups dry and use it in all sorts of "creative" ways. Maybe I've been lucky as I always tend to re-heat it (in whatever I put it in) to blazing hot, or, fry it. I also have my fridge set very low. Just slightly above freezing.

Or, maybe I've just stayed on the right side of the Chinese kitchen god. :-). I've been looking for one of those, for years. In brass. There's plenty on line, but I think the prices are mad. Usually, well north of $100. I keep hoping i'll stumble on one at a jumble sale, or at an opportunity store.

Thank you for the alert. I'll be extra careful in future. No rice in cold salads with mayo. Not unless someone runs afoul of me and I want to bump them off :-). Lew

Damo said...

I saw an interesting article today in the local paper which the group might want to check out: Worker Exploitation on Organic Farm

It seems the powers that be are looking to crack down on WOOFER's, or maybe it is a rogue official? Notice how the article tries to frame them as exploitative by mentioning the 'supermarket waste food' aspect. As an occasional supermarket bin diver in my student days I just have to laugh at that, but they have a picture to paint...

I must say I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, using essentially free labour to compete with fully 'compliant' businesses is a little underhanded. On the other hand, these smallholder organic farms in NZ and Australia are hardly raking in the money, and I think are pretty open with the 'workers' about the deal. Perhaps what a lot of people don't realise is that for a young person, food+board and a $100 cash a week is actually pretty close to what you get living in the city, assuming you have a job.

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi crowandsheep,

Thank you for your kind thoughts and condolences. It is again 35'C / 95'F today, and the cumquat tree is looking pretty healthy, although we did have to drape a cloth over it to prevent the leaves from burning. The spirit of Sir Poopy enjoys a delightful vista over the valley.

I enjoyed the Pomeranian Cumquat name! Good stuff.

Hope the winter has not been too cold for you?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

No problems at all, and thanks for taking the time to drop by. Your son would be amazed by the treatment I received at the dog shelter charity that I have been donating to for years and years and have adopted three dogs from over those long years. I really do get annoyed by organisations missing out on the social aspects of relationships. Do they somehow believe that support is a one way street? Dunno. I see a lot of that, but I may be old fashioned. What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you and I too miss my little Poopy mate. The tree is doing well in the heat. The other dogs are positively sedate in comparison, and the escapades! Who can forget the "Three Rings to Rule the All Suckers" arrogance from his blog entry a year or two back.

I hope he meets up with Caro, Ubu, Crowley and Mercedes too and enjoy a good sniff and tail wag - and the occasional bark! Incidentally any dog named Mercedes must have had a regal bearing and no doubts would have turned her nose up at a pungent wombat poo! :-)!

Glad to hear that things have warmed up. I read about the epic rains and mud slides in California... Big rains after a big dry, do a lot of damage.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The film is pretty good and I'm glad that you recall it fondly. The thing with "memorial services" and "celebrations of life" is that they're a bit too sunny side up. Life is a mixed bag after all, and Sir Poopy like most creatures caused his far share of headaches and the editor and I shared a glass or two that evening and talked about the good and the bad, and just generally saluted a life lived well. It is a complex business don't you reckon? I reckon you nailed it a bit when you remarked about precious little snow flakes...

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

And speaking of which, the editor and I went to a strays dog shelter in Melbourne today to see if any dogs were available. To be honest, I'm unfussy about dogs as they are all individuals and have something going for them - anyway, at least that is how things have played out in the past, although I acknowledge their may be a black swan. So, apparently I have to take Scritchy into Melbourne to meet and greet any potential dogs and there is no guarantees. Now I said to them that that would be a cruelty to her as she is old and the shelter is a very stressful place to take a dog that has no place being there. Anyway, they stuck to their guns and said, we're really sorry, but this is the process. So I pulled out the big guns and said that (truthfully) I'd regularly donated money to them for more years than I can recall, there is a bequest in my will to them, and I have had history with three dogs from them in the past with no problems. Apparently all that social currency was worth the paper it was written on. Sometimes I get really annoyed with organisations that are happy to take the money, but then when I need help in return, far out. Pedantry just moves me into the anger phase of grief. There was a good dog there too, who would have worked out fine here, and she is now missing out on good wombat poo opportunities.

Yesterday, the Bureau of Meteorology down here reported that last year was the third hottest in recorded history, oh yeah, and the ocean temperatures had increased markedly too. They also said something about back to back coral bleaching, whatever that means.

I have to bounce as there is a certain television show calling for my attentions! I do actually apologise for that as this will be the only time in our long time and ongoing communications that I have to call it short because of a television show... It seems a bit weird don't you reckon, as I don't watch television! Oh well... I hope you can track down a copy of the show, and I should have plenty of time tomorrow to reply!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Forgive the briefness and I'll reply tomorrow (television calls - true story!).

Oh yeah, horseradish leaves are edible as, and they even have a slight zingy fire to them.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Sir Poopy's final resting place has a great view.

Your new path looks great and wow! all that gorgeous fruit. Getting it before the birds strip the trees is very difficult; I remember seeing a wild service tree awash with reachable fruit (usually they are way out of reach). I went the next day to pick it and the birds were there, nothing much was left.

I reckon that many organisations and individuals think that support is a one way business. Probably because life is too easy these days (don't anyone yell at me). It was different when survival and interdependence were linked.

Son grew a giant pumpkin this year (amongst others) and was waiting for me to want some before he hacked into it. The day came and he asked me how much I wanted. I said 'a half', he said 'er no, it is huge'. So I said 'a quarter then'. The quarter arrived. Ye gods, it is vast and spent a morning leering at me. I have now cut up and frozen about three quarters of it which will later go into stews. The rest is still waiting,

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Bacillus cereus, you can look it up. Son agrees with you, he has never had trouble. I however have been made ill from someone else's cooking, so simply won't do it.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Time to revise your will. Then send them a copy of the original, and, the revision. Then walk away and don't look back. I still think you haven't exploited your social network, enough. But that's just me. Also, don't go at it so hard. The Universe will provide. :-). "Don't push the river" and other assorted woo-woo ca-ca from the 1980s. Ignore my unsolicited opinions. My bad. :-).

I expect your round of TV viewing is "Grand Designs?" You get Papal dispensation on that one. They ARE your friends, after all. I gave the link a whirl, and no luck. I'll give it another go in a couple of days. Maybe on a different machine. My problem may be the dreaded"software will not support." And, I'm sure it will pop up on YouTube, sooner or later. I did find a, supposed, Australian series 7, episode 10, but it just turned out to be the presenters "top 10 I've liked best."

I finished the Waugh bio. And, just in time, the Stella Gibbons bio showed up yesterday. Written in the late 90s by her nephew. Read the intro. Might be good. Speaking of TV, I started watching an Australian series, last night. "Heart Guy." About a big city surgeon, who's a very naughty boy, and is exiled back to his small town for a year of penance. It's taken me a few episodes to get into it, and the jury is still out as to if I'll wait with breath held for a second season. The little town's name is "Whyhope", which I think is rather clever.

Think I'll go play Bingo for Blood, tonight. Haven't been since before Thanksgiving. Good excuse to give myself a shave and I'm in need of a good haircut. Besides, I'm $2.85 down, and want it back! Lew

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

I think the last cold European winter was 2010? But it is not the cold that gets you, it is the sheer ugliness of industrial-era cities stripped of their greenery. I am trying to correlate this with the Emperor's new clothes...

Keep the flowers coming please (must be getting old...)!!!

Cheers

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi everyone,

After a few minor interruptions, we now resume regular programming...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I'm with you about gardens looking better if they have some underlying bones, but with also an element of informality about the plantings. One mustn't be too neat, don't you believe? And winter displays the bones for all to see.

Incidentally, you are the more knowledgeable wordsmith, so I have to ask a very hard question! Which is grammatically correct: Don't you think? or Don't you believe? Of course I am asking that question in the context of the previous paragraph. My preference is to use the word "reckon", because to me the use of the word "think" in the above sentence could also be misconstrued as an insult, although the general usage of that particular word doesn't generally work that way these days. Dunno.

The Golden Mean is an interesting concept and I was aware of its use in architecture, where I knew it as the Golden Ratio, but that clever bloke Aristotle (truly a giant thinker if ever there was one. His shoulders are way big!) chucked his thoughts into the ring yet again! An interesting and true concept. It is funny how people fail to see that option these days... Oh well!

I hope so with the weather and the firewood. My gut feel tells me to have the firewood in before the end of this March. Your spring is just around the corner after all. It rained here tonight and the farm is now socked in by thick fog. Summer can have some crazy weather down here, but to be honest so far this year has been very pleasant, despite being warmer than on average. I keep my eyes on the extended forecast though.

Thanks for the reference to: "The Red Green(e?) Show and I'll check that out after replying tonight! Speaking of television, we went to my mates place yesterday to see the screening of Grand Designs. It was a lot of fun to see people you know on television and they really came across well and the place looked great. I'll see if I can track down a link to the show. I spent about half an hour this afternoon on that attempt and like you, I also failed! I may have to call in some help from a mate who is a specialist. It is handy to know people who know stuff. :-)! I'll keep you updated if there are any changes to the situation.

Good for you for getting some solid sleep. I can't honestly say that I know too many people who sleep well. I value deep sleep, and I have a sneaking suspicion that people have greater clarity of thought after deeper sleep. How did you feel after a 10 hour extravaganza of sleep? I reckon also, your body knows when rest is required. I have long since wondered whether people are able to draw down on internal reserves (possibly to their detriment - maybe) when they struggle with sleep. You can tell that this is an active interest of mine! I also have a feeling that deep sleep is a learned pattern, as much as insomnia is. Dunno, but I'd be very interested to learn your thoughts on this matter?

It is strange, but most books that I purchase now, even from those purporting to be local suppliers, arrive from England. I do not understand the economics of this arrangement as it makes little sense to me. Anyway, I received in the mail this morning: The Trees; and Small Grain Growing. Here's for good books! At the moment I'm reading: "Year of the Unicorn" which was recommended by Mr Greer (that was an actual local supply) and I'm quite enjoying the story, but it took a little while for my internal reading ear to adjust to the English used because it is different (somehow). Have you read books like that?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Butter makes everything taste better, including parsnips! Two words: Good luck! Hehe!!! Honestly, you may enjoy them. I prefer them roasted as they have a vaguely nutty flavour. As a kid, people used to boil them, but then people committed atrocious acts of cooking with vegetables in those days. It is nice to live in Enlightened times, but mind you, I treat vegetables with a level of delicacy that is lost on some folks.

Ah yes, the Vietnamese street food was excellent and I did not mention the Singapore noodles (which are amazingly easy to cook) and salt and pepper squid. After finishing the meal, I was full up to my eyeballs, which is a nice feeling as we walked off that funk in the gritty (but way expensive) streets of inner Melbourne. I'm always amazed at the sheer volume of homeless people, colourful characters, and the addicted, who form a small core of the people found on the streets there. Obviously, that is an expression of the sheer wealth inequality and complexities of our culture, but it never ceases to amaze me. I do tend to gravitate to the gritty corners of Melbourne as I'd feel a bit like an impostor in the more polished areas - and there are quite a few of those.

Who knows why that period of time has become a sudden interest for you? Possibly, it may be relevant to today as conditions are somewhat similar? I sort of feel that the 1920's where the aftermath of peak coal, but I may be wrong as that is more of a gut feeling thing.

The flu last winter was pretty bad down here too (relatively speaking compared to the 1919 Spanish flu outbreak).

I went to a local animal shelter (another new word for a pound) today and picked up a red Australian cattle dog. This story must be like Steve (Yahoo2, the irregular commenter's, dream dog for here!) He's bigger than any other dog that I have had experience with, but there is a keen intelligence behind the eyes and he is a quick student. Honestly, the dog is learning fast, but the secret kryptonite is that the dog has separation anxiety and that is going to be painful to resolve in any meaningful sense of those words. Oh well, nothing is without costs. He looks like I'd imagine Beau looked, but a little bit leaner and with red colouring, but otherwise same, same. New dogs are a drama, especially one that is less than a year old. I may write a blog post from the new dog in two weeks.

double secret continue...

Fernglade Farm said...

In other breaking dog news, Scritchy was bitten by an ant (or bee) today and she rapidly puffed up like a puffer fish. I fed her a small chunk of anti-histamine and she slept away a few hours and now looks and acts much better.

Perhaps, I did ignore your unsolicited opinion, because I did go to a local dog shelter yesterday. The story is very unfussy, as I met a few dogs and looked at one and went, you'll do fine, mate. Is it what I wanted, well not really, but I have noticed that the Universe does not provide according to ones wishes. You could say that the selection criteria I employed is not that expansive and I have this little feeling that the Universe will provide as long as you don't expect too much! One problem that I encounter today in a lot of people is that their expectations exceed reality and therein lies the path to anxiety (which is not my bag, man!) and stress.

Well, my mates said that the editor and I were in the previews for the episode, but we got cut in the final show. Honestly, it was no big deal, as there was so much to look at and the show was only an hour and could only focus on a few themes. The show was remarkably positive as the house is like no other - anywhere. Anyway, such focus is the main reason I have never watched Game of Thrones. As I mentioned, I will ask around and also keep a close look out for the episode.

Whyhope is a good town name. There are a few places like that down here! The editor and I visited Snowtown, when the bodies where in the barrels. It seemed like a dodgy corner of the planet.

Yes, go hard or go home with the Bingo for Blood. Best wishes and remember: Take no prisoners! :-)! But remember to be pleasant and nice to the ladies, or they may not invite you back! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for the link. I can't really speak for the situation, but the article did mention that the business was for "landscaping and gardening services" . I'd have to suggest that it is a bit of a stretch of the imagination to describe them as Willing Workers on Organic Farms, although that may be what has actually happened. I reckon you have to read all of the reviews for those sorts of placements before committing your time and energy.

I'd personally struggle with managing WOOFers, but that is my feelings on the matter. I just feel that I'd prefer a longer relationship with people than the WOOFer system provides, but that is just me. Have you ever worked as a WOOFer?

That picture gets painted anytime some other arrangement is hauled out. Have a look at any article on people living off grid and honestly, the media paints them out to be feral's. That drives me bananas! ;-)! Not really, but I just don't appreciate those stories and the photos. The media certainly don’t travel up here to get a solid reality talk! I’d quite enjoy that. Hehe!

It is hard for people on low wages and also organic farms to make money. I hear you!

Mate, as far as I can understand matters, it appears to me to the whole mess began down here with the financialisation of the economy over that of the production of actual goods and services. If memory serves me correctly, it all kicked off with the recession that we had to have and I enjoyed that experience (not really) but had a ringside seat from which to watch the changes. It really was different, and not even that long ago.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you for writing that as I thought his body and spirit was placed in such a spot that he has a great view too! I will really miss that dog as he had such an independent and complex spirit. Of course that also meant that he was a free and independent thinker, which comes with its own complexities. Dare I enquire as to Mr Ren and his most recent activities? I picked up an Australian red cattle dog this morning and he seems to be fitting in well, but has been allowed to go feral by the previous owners. Structure, boundaries, limits, and purpose will serve him well, but it is a long journey to go…

The interdependence was one of the themes in Mr Kunstler's series of books that I so enjoyed. Of course we can't live like islands, but the monetisation of relationships has meant that most people consider that the exchange of notes is the end of most relationships. Other people abuse that disparity. The thing is I had serious history with that charitable lot and it counted for nada. Nothing at all, and I had no desire to thrown down my cards, but in the end, I wanted to understand the situation in full. That really hurt me. The editor is rancid angry about the situation, and it forces us to have to respond to it. Fortunately I am an adherent of Mr Sun Tzu, and who knows what form a response will take. I may have some fun with it.

Thanks for the funny story about your sons pumpkin! Love it! Hehe! Yes, beware of monster pumpkins bearing gifts! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi crowandsheep,

Oh! Unfortunately, I can only concentrate on the local weather extreme at a time and as such European winters are beyond me. To be honest, I'm a bit summer soft and if the winter weather here gets to freezing (which it does), well, it feels a bit shocking! I cannot understand how it even feels to live through a really deep freeze.

As a strange coincidence, 2010 was the wettest year in recorded history for this mountain range. 56.5 inches that year. I'd never experienced such rainfall before! There was water everywhere. Even the local river flooded and blocked off the road out of that side of the mountain range.

I appreciated your analogy too! :-)!

Aren't we all, well at least that is what the local plant nursery bloke assures me? Hehe!!! I picked a couple of kilograms of sun-ripened apricots today. Over the next few days I'll begin harvesting the blackberries which are only now becoming ripe. Yummo! I like the flower photos too. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Well I wouldn't call Mercedes regal as one of her greatest pleasures was rolling in poultry poop of any kind haha.

Congrats on the new addition. I looked up the breed and it appears that they have some excellent attributes. Salve had serious separation anxiety which is why, I imagine, that she chewed up so much stuff when we left. We knew nothing about her background which is more challenging. Do you have any background information on your new dog? Looking forward to hearing more about him. Poor Scritchy. Leo likes to catch bees and of course gets stung - still doesn't deter him.

As crowandsheep said above, cities are especially ugly in winter. The snow becomes filthy in no time along with everything else. At least if you're near the lake in Chicago the ice formations can be quite beautiful. Yesterday it was in the mid 50's and rainy so the car got a good washing. Now it's down in the teens (F) again and will be around 0 tonight.

So many are sick right now with either the flu, a particularly bad cold or stomach bug. Nothing here so far (knocking on wood).

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

That's pretty exciting about your friends' Grand Designs episode. Too bad that we won't be seeing you there.

Congratulations on the acquisition of an Australian red cattle dog. Is that the same as a Kelpie? My neighbors have one and she is the smartest dog, with a delightful personality, but SO bossy! She is the one that our Bob the Tailless taught to talk. She has a black coat with a red cast.

I'm sorry to laugh Scritchy, but the thought of you as a puffer fish is overwhelming. Poor Scritchy; I hope you deflate soon.

My goodness, you had a lot of rain last year - well done!

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Ren appears to have quietened down and taken his proper place in the hierarchy. A relief as he won't need to be castrated. Son is a very laid back human being and this seems to result in his dogs becoming the same (laid back not human).

When I first visited Australia 32 years ago, I fell utterly in love with Magnetic Island. Every now and then, I check it on the internet. I guess that it must be 3 or 4 years since I looked. I knew that developers had moved in and gather that the property market there, is in trouble. There are 295 properties for sale. I bet that there were only about that number standing all those years ago.

I then read that so many people had defaulted on their mortgages that banks were no longer prepared to give mortgages for properties on the islands and it did use the plural. Do you know anything about this?

Another question I have is that in the US, people can walk away from the house and the debt; this can't be done in the UK. What is the case in Australia?

Inge

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

yeah it is hard enough working out the local weather in complex terrain. On flat terrain away from the coast...take 1 pound of climatology and add water when necessary.

How old is the nursery bloke? You can tell him he doesn't look old at all, not a bit! Man cannot live on bread alone, but he sure could live on apricots.

It was more sheep than crow today Chris. Fans of Schadenfreude will be delighted to hear thecrowandsheep was repairing his bike, thought he had completely buggered something with the crank, turns out just required a bit of muscle by someone not nearly as thick as thecrowandsheep, so easy the mechanic didn't even charge me, but looked on me with pity/contempt. Ahh well, Chris, these are the pampered lives of the on-gridders :-(

Cheers

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Not so much of a wordsmith, here. More of a "if it looks right, and sounds right." I think I would have lopped off the "don't you believe" from the end of the sentence and done something more like "Do you believe one shouldn't be so neat?" Back when I was writing stuff for more public consumption, I'd occasionally tear a sentence apart and put it back together, numerous times. Until it "flowed." :-). Sometimes, a block of flats (the paragraph) needed a total rebuild and I'd just chuck the whole thing and start over.

Oh, there were a few pirate sites where I could have probably watched the episode. But they can be virus ridden and I steer clear. I'll just be patient and it will pop up on YouTube, sooner or later. "The face on the cutting room floor." I think that was the title of a book or movie, a long time ago.

Well, after that long sleep, I checked my mental state (seems, aok) and didn't seem to have any more of a problem than usual getting the old bones moving. Did the same thing, last night. But, I didn't check the time I headed off to bed (didn't want to know ... was reading the Gibbons bio, way to late), so I don't know how long I slept, last night. But as I didn't wake up til 2pm, I'd say it was a long lay in. Even though I participated as little as possible, maybe it's just relief that we're finally done with all the holiday nonsense.

Same thing here, with books. Sometimes, I can't tell if they're imported. I need to pay more attention to the "expected delivery date." That would be a clue. It smells like it's been on a long sea voyage :-). I want to wash my hands, every time I read it.

I watched a few episodes of "Heart Guy" and, it is interesting, in parts. But I think I'm getting tired of men behaving badly and acting like naughty little boys. There's another new Australian series called "Rake". About a lawyer who behaves badly. I can't even get up enough interest to check it out. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Congrats on the new member of the family (mob?). Yup. I see Australian red cattle dogs are called "red heelers" and Beau was mostly blue heeler. But his ears weren't erect. More like a border collies ears. Floppy. But his coat wasn't like a collie's. It was rougher. More course. Less silky. The Font of All Wisdom (the internet) had a bit about red heeler temperament. "Cautious, loyal, obedient, protective, energetic, and brave. Sounds like an astrological reading. :-).

Here, it's the "animal shelter." Used to be "the pound," which I think was an abbreviation of "impound." I thought of a good comedy riff for a sit-com or book. Our hero trots in his whole dog mob to the rescue people. With Editor. AND entire flock of chickens. Hilarity ensures. If your going to tell a good story, embroider it a bit.

Then again, I have to be careful what I say around here, as some of the ladies take me literally. There were only 8 of us playing Bingo for Blood. So, the pots were rather small. One go around, 4 of us won and had to split a pot of 80 cents. So that was 20 cents, per. Don't spend it all in one place. The ladies think it's odd that I keep track. They asked where I was with all that at the end of the evening, and I told them I'd have to check the accounting ledger, flow charts and spread sheets. Several offered to help ... When I entered the community room, I said "I thought we were dressing for dinner. I was so looking forward to seeing the ladies tiaras." I think I've been reading way too much about Waugh and Gibbons.

There was snow in the Sahara, the other day. Not unheard of, but a foot deep in some places. Didn't last long. Here, the weather yesterday was feral. But, better today. And, we're supposed to get a bit of sun, tomorrow afternoon and Sunday. We;ll see. I had two bananas behaving badly, so I made banana muffins. Since they were just for me, I didn't bother with the topping. Just split three or four, a little butter, nuke for one minute. With fruit and a bit of dark chocolate, makes a fine lunch. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Oh, no! Your son killed The Great Pumpkin! (see Charlie Brown comics for reference.) Did he take a chain saw to it, or an ax? Inquiring minds want to know :-). I'd always heard that the one's grown for size are either tasteless or taste "off." I'll be interested to see how yours goes. But in rich soups and stews, probably, no problem. In one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, I think "Farmer Boy" there's a story about a milk fed pumpkin. Can't remember all the details, but it had to do with a bowl of milk and wicks. Maybe a folk tale. Or, a story embroidered to entertain.

I know what you mean about being put off foods due to bad experience. I apparently have a bit of a sensitivity to oysters. Had two bad experiences, early on. To this day, when I pass a display of canned oysters at the store, my stomach still does a slight roll. No problems with other shell fish. Oyster stew (New England style) is one of my favorites.

Here, if you do any kind of food service, you have to take a class in food safety (and, in some places, repeat it yearly). Carry around a card, in case the food inspector shows up. I'm neurotic enough that I can get pretty over the top when it comes to cooking. Even for myself. Say, I use a fork to whip up eggs, rice and veg for a patty, I don't use that fork to eat it with. In the sink it goes and a fresh fork comes out of the drawer. I don't go through the bleach route (lost too many good shirts) but I do slop around a lot of soap and white vinegar. Any kind of food to be sold to the public has to be done in a "commercial kitchen". I do think the layers of regulation, over the years, have reached the over the top, stage. Squashes small endeavors.

Yes, people do walk away from their homes, here. But there are serious drawbacks. Say, you can't make your payments anymore, and the bank is going to foreclose. Rather than waiting for the sheriff to show up and put all your worldly possessions out on the curb, you turn your keys into the bank and leave. Your credit rating is ruined, for years. A lot of things will cost you a lot more. Utility companies demand huge deposits. Your car insurance will go up. You may not even be able to find a place to rent. Hence, a lot of the homelessness we're seeing now. Some people were very foolish, others just had really bad luck. Lew

Damo said...

@Inge
Hi Inge, I went to Magnetic Island some 10 years back (and had lived for a while a little bit further south in 1999) and it is definitely a nice place. Unfortunately, when I went all the fringing coral reefs had recently died which was quite sad. I had a few days to check out all the bays, but except for a few scattered remnants it was all dead. My suspicions was on the nearby shipping channel for coal (or iron ore?) freighters, it had being recently expanded and water visibility was now pretty much a constant 1-2m from the constant stirring up of silt :-(

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Mercedes is in good company as the fluffy collective enjoy rolling in and consuming poultry poo. Dogs will be dogs! :-)!

I discovered little Scritchy sitting next to the Poopy-quat tree munching on a bone that I had given her to distract her from her grief. It was very sweet. She was bitten by an ant yesterday so is feeling a little bit off-colour which doesn’t help, so I placed her on her bean bag and chucked my woollen jumper on top of her. She looks more content.

Thanks, and the shelter said that all they could tell me was what pound he came from which is next to no information. Clearly he has been indulged which is not a clever thing to do for such a bright dog. I had him out with me for most of the day, but every time I moved away even for a few moments, he started keening. By late afternoon, I'd had had enough because he could see me, but was still keening. That looks like a lifestyle choice for him, so I went Sun Tzu on him and plonked a muzzle on him to assist him with concentrating on the complexities for making such a racket when he could still clearly see me. He was surprised by this outcome and rather abashed. He then went Sun Tzu on me and unlatched his lead and came over to greet the editor... He is one intelligent dog, so I guess he decided he didn't need to be on the lead, and so we have allowed him greater latitude to run around freely on the farm. Mostly he follows us.

There is a whole back and forwards thing with new dogs don't you reckon? They check out the new digs and rules, and we check out their bad habits and willingness to co-operate. This dog appears to be one of the smartest dogs I have ever come across. It makes training easy for me, and at least there is a lot here to keep him interested. I'll try the chickens probably tomorrow night, a storm has been rolling over the farm today and I have no desire to get drenched by the rain. I managed to repair a section on the trailer today, but welding in the rain is a bad idea for ones continued good health!

Leo is one tough dog to mess around with bees. All of the dogs here (and the marsupials and foxes) rightly ignore the bees. Some of the smarter birds hunt the bees for an easy feed, but then a colony can have tens of thousands of workers so it is a drop in the ocean (as long as they don't take out a queen on a mating flight).

Eat well, and avoid stress. I've often wondered whether the increased incidence in the recent severity of flu's maybe due to the industrial food system? Dunno, I do find it hard to believe that it would not be a factor. Stay warm too! Next Thursday is predicted to be over 100’F, but right now outside it looks like winter.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Well, the editor and I were with our friends at the local agricultural show in the previews for the episode! Don't you reckon that there is a bit of irony in people who don't watch television, being on television? Anyway, we got axed in the final cut. As they rightly say: whatever! Honestly, the show is not about us, so it matters not, and I'm really happy for my mates. I will try and track down a copy of the show and do something for the commenters here, but it may take a little while. In the meantime, bear with me! :-)!

Yeah. He is exactly like a Kelpie, but with the colouring of a Red Heeler. Honestly, the dogs are all of the same bloodlines and that includes a chunk of dingo, which you know as a coyote. The dog is smarter than I am, so it will be a challenge, but so far I am doing alright. Someone in the past taught him to be ultra-smoochie and that is a strange thing in such a medium sized dog. On his first day, he learned to: Not jump up on humans; His name; How to sit; Come when called; Don't rummage through the groceries in the back of the car; and respect Scritchy. Not a bad effort for a dog on its first day!

My respects for the clearly ultra intelligent Sir Bob the Tailless.

Poor Scritchy (the puffer fish boss dog). I plonked her on the bean bag an hour or so ago and put one of my woollen jumpers over her and she is now content. She has had a rough couple of weeks, but is not doing too bad for a seventeen year old boss dog.

Yesterday and today the weather has been feral here and it looks like winter outside right now. Certainly too cold and wet to venture into the orchard to let the chickens out.

Thank you and so far the weather has been slightly warmer than average, but also slightly wetter than average, so overall I'd have to suggest that (so far) conditions this summer have been fluffy optimal. All of the surrounding forest trees are displaying a healthy canopy. How are things with you after the recent snow, ice, and freeze?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Ren is clearly a smart, if somewhat quirky and individual, dog. You know, I reckon that those can sometimes be the most interesting canine personalities that a person can encounter. Has your son accommodated to Ren's personality or is it the other way around? The dogs here are generally laid back too, although they do jostle for their place in the hierarchy from time to time. The new dog appears to have taken a laid back attitude on-board, but I have to remember that he is only six months old and it has been a long time since I have been exposed to the machinations of a puppy with a fertile mind. Perhaps I have become a bit sluggish and complacent? Dunno.

Magnetic Island is a lovely place. I hear you. The editor and I once spent a pleasant day there puttering around the island utilising a Mini Moke, but that was last century and things may have changed in the meantime. It was a very sleepy island in those days. When did you visit the island? So much changes, and I for one am unsure whether the changes are good. I witnessed the effects of population pressure on the local facilities again over the Christmas and early New Years and I'm unsure whether I like it.

No, I have not heard anything about those property problems. What I can tell you from my own experience is that during the recession in the early 90's, the rural property market did not fare so well, and people were desperately trying to offload rural property for whatever they could get for it. It was a bloodbath. I’d have to suggest that eventually retiring to a rural area will make absolutely no sense unless you are in a small town and have skills, or you work the land. Honestly the skills can be providing accommodation for out of towners, but still…The Great Depression had a similar trajectory as the economic contraction began in the rural areas and eventually spread to the cities. The interesting thing was though, that I believe the population in the rural areas increased substantially during the Great Depression because most people back then realised that at least farm families could eat.

Yes, the US has what is technically known as a "non recourse borrowing agreements". Not all mortgages in the US are written that way though and that should be remembered. In the UK and Australia, most mortgages are "recourse" mortgages, which means that the owners can be pursued for the balance by the lenders even without the title. It is an ugly business that, but it also lends a little bit of stability as people cannot simply plonk the keys in the mail in a letter to the lenders. Of course that opinion does not express legal advice and is merely an opinion.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi crowandsheep,

It is funny you mention that, but: Want a better forecast? Leading climatologist encourages farmers to largely 'do it yourself'.

Home baked bread is quite tasty. Do you bake your own bread? The moons have clearly aligned as I picked the apricots today and now the kitchen is full of them. Cue, eerie music possibly from the X Files soundtrack! I'll let them soften over the next few days and then bottle them all for winter. It sounds a bit strange, but I have too much fresh fruit to hand right now. Summer to Autumn is a huge harvest time.

Haha! Thanks for the story, and you employed the old engineers trick when machines are stuck... Hit the machine hard with whatever is to hand (preferably a heavy wrench).

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris et al

Am not separating you all out.

I think that it was Jan. 1985 when I first went to Magnetic Island and I made 2 further visits in later years. It was changing a lot. I would have liked to live there, but might not think so much of it now, who knows. The old hippy colony at West Point appears to still be without main services so that area might be interesting.

Son would not tell me (I think) if he had made adjustments to Ren; I would only be told about Ren adjusting.

The Great Pumpkin is known in the UK. Son's pumpkin is fine inside, I am already enjoying it.

There are rigid food safety laws here also and Ahem! it was Australia where I fell afoul of re-heated rice. I gather that the ready meals sold in Supermarkets, contain rice that has been heated to a level that one can't achieve at home and that is why it is safe to re-heat.

Have I forgotten anything?

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The new dog was hassling me for a fresh cherry just then as I was enjoying a small cup of the fruit. So he takes the cherry and then toddles out into the hallway and pretends to consume it, but actually he spat it out and sneakily rolled it away from his body. Then he looked at me as if to say: "ain't mine, buddy. Don't know where that came from". Far out, today and yesterday have been long and exhausting days.

The tail gate off the bright yellow trailer finally rusted through and fell off the other week. I spent the day constructing a brand new tailgate and even managed to attach it to the trailer. Then the rain began to fall, and it has been coming in waves ever since. I was unable to weld the tailgate to the trailer as I didn't want to risk being electrocuted by the welder, and although the voltage is low, it still would have packed a punch. This time, the weather has been arriving from the south west so that means the Southern Ocean, and as strange as this sounds, it is so cold outside right now that I have the wood fire burning tonight. I left the house open to the outside air for most of the day, and it just didn't get warm at all. It looks like winter outside right now. Summers here can be very strange experiences.

Are you suggesting by the "if it looks right, and sounds right" answer that language is a concept learned through usage? I have always felt that way and I struggle with recalling the layer of structure that has been placed over the evolved construct. Do you feel that a lot of reading provides that sort of learned knowledge inherent in your astute observation? And yes, the way that you structured the question did sound better to me too. Mate, the editor provides that service to me, but the thing is, the more I write, the less I get edited. Is this an example of learning by doing? Maybe?

Exactly, the episodes are shown on YouTube, but so far only the previous episode from many months ago is shown in the available to watch list. Time will sort this little problem out and until then we shall wait to see.

The holiday nonsense is pretty intense isn't it? I've noticed strange patterns with social catch ups in that during mid spring and mid autumn, the social calendar is chock full of events. Then Christmas and New Years is feral. The other times, things are quiet on that front. There is always something going on, but they lack the intensity that those other three times seems to bring to the fore. No doubts at all that something very deep is going on.

A deep sleep is worth its weight in gold! :-)! I have a funny feeling that good food, some exercise, regular deep sleep, and a lack of stress will most certainly prolong ones lifespan. What do the blue zones say about such factors?

Haha! Well, some of the books that arrive here, free of freight charges mind you, arrive by air freight. I have absolutely no idea how that makes any sort of financial sense as I really don't understand how that can be. I have a general rule in such situations that if things don't appear to make sense, it is possible that they do not make sense. I still am having troubles with Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles as I thought that I was very clever with my PO Box (to Post Office Box) ruse. Not so.

Fair enough about the Men Behaving Badly meme in stories. Perhaps there may have been a few too many men playing that story out in the real world recently?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

The average Chinese herbalist would have a field day with the new dog! He did five poos yesterday and all of them smelled far from fresh and like rotten cheap dog food. What the heck were they feeding the dog? His guts are slowly getting inoculated with goodies from here and today's poos seemed a little bit more solid than yesterdays efforts, but far out. I mention this because he just let rip an epic fart. Everyone enjoys a fart joke!

That does sound like an astrological reading doesn't it? Nice one. Apparently he rates as the tenth most intelligent dog breed, and wind problems aside, he picks up commands readily. That sure does make life easy for me. The separation anxiety thing is annoying and I went Sun Tzu on him this afternoon and put a muzzle on him. Honestly, he could see me and I was 30ft away and he was whining very loudly and I had just had enough. He looked defeated, but at least he was quiet. And just to show me he could pull a Sun Tzu on me, he unlatched his lead and just wandered over to the editor, all happy as. I don't bother with the lead now as we have given up all pretences as to the necessity. He is possibly smarter than I am, so I can use the help here. I'll try him with the chickens tomorrow night.

Did you know that Blue and Red Heelers have a percentage of dingo in their DNA? They were originally bred from dingoes that had been captured and tamed. A dingo is the equivalent of a coyote.

Your story is quite amusing and I'm giggling to myself about it. What could possibly go wrong with such an amusing scenario? :-)!

Haha! Your sense of humour may be confusing the ladies? You reminded me of a time I helped the sister of a good friend of the editors move a mattress using the trailer and the dirt rat Suzuki. All was going well with the move and I was speaking to the sister's husband who remarked to me that: "he liked the dirt rat and it was really handy that it could easily move the mattress, but he would get a better brand". I looked into his eyes for any ill intent, but there was none. He just wasn't that switched on and actually meant the comment in its literal meaning. Some people see the world that way, and that's cool. I try not to poke them, and just sort of take them for how they are. Sun Tzu would recommend taking an adaptable approach to the problem! Hehe!

double secret cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Sometimes I find that what I'm reading affects my communication with others too. And I'll let you in on a little secret, and this one got under my skin. When I was recently reading the World Made by Hand series of books, I started to pickup some of the communication mannerisms of the people in the book. And the laconic style of communication that the author used in the story, really suits life around here. It was funny, because I found I didn't have to say much in conversations, and then could just blurt out some smart-alec line delivered at a measured pace and cadence. Far out. We are like little sponges sometimes! Hehe! Oh well.

I did read that about the snow in the Sahara. It is not unknown, but it is uncommon by all accounts. They had snow and ice down in Tasmania yesterday, or was it today? I'll take a look at the news... ... ... Here goes: Hail and ice an 'unusual' summer surprise for Tasmanians in January. I've experienced snowfall in really remote and much higher alpine locations to the far east of here at this time of year. I told you tonight was cold here! I have the wood heater burning happily burning. And spare a thought for poor Scritchy who was sitting out in the rain this afternoon chewing a bone that I had given her, next to Poopy's grave. It was very sad and I sat with her for a while in silent companionship. Then I brought her inside and towelled her down to dry her off. I had a cat once years ago that died of a broken heart after his dog foster mum (the old boss dog, The Fat) died. It was really hard on everyone in the household.

Yes! Do not under any circumstances put up with bananas behaving badly. Turn them into banana muffins quick smart and that will put an end to that poor behaviour! Yummo, your banana muffins taste as yummy as the Anzac biscuits that I enjoy with an afternoon coffee. An excellent way to mark the end of a work day. We sat on the veranda this evening doing just that and watching the storm rolling in over the valley. I'll tell ya, the house was buffeted in the strong wind when it arrived.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Good luck with the chicken training. If he's as smart as you say he should do well. Both Leo and Salve had to be trained with chickens as Leo thought that chasing them was great fun and we caught Salve with one in her mouth. Fortunately those ideas didn't last long.

You are probably right about the flu. My youngest daughter thinks she has it now but then she is a bit of a hypochondriac. Any little symptom that pops up and she's on the internet and ends up thinking the worst. I think a person can talk themselves into feeling worse. I got quite a laugh when her boyfriend said, "It's a good day when Carla doesn't think she has cancer." It does seem to be a particularly bad year for various bugs though. Doug will be off visiting his friend for five days over Superbowl weekend so I'm planning my ladies overnight (or two) and am hoping everyone stays healthy or gets over it before then. As there's a good chance this big place could be sold it could be the last one. The house has been off the market since mid-December but we'll put it back on in mid-February.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I am very interested to hear how Mr. New Dog behaves around the chickens; being a herding canine he may actually try to herd them. We had an Australian Shepherd who used to try to herd our five cats. There is a reason that they say "like trying to herd cats". Scritchy is absolutely amazing. She deserves the biggest elephant stamp of all time.

For 2 or 3 days the temperatures shot up (68F-20C yesterday). It was so delightful and we had a lot of rain, too. Now it's back to winter.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Any idea how old the new dog is? No name yet, but it's early days. And, one mustn't rush the christening. :-). Fingers crossed that he'll be good with chickens.

It sounds like it's ups and downs with your weather. We're getting a bit of sun, today, and it's supposed to be nice, tomorrow. I've got some minor garden stuff planned for today, and some major stuff, tomorrow.

Yup. I think we pick up language through usage. And, a life time of being corrected (mostly, gently) here and there. I agree, I think a lot of reading, helps. I pick up spoken dialects, pretty easily. Which came in handy when I was doing a bit of theatre. I'm always surprised when I watch an interview with an actor, and they revert to their natural dialect. LOL, reading the Waugh and Gibbons, bios ... and, I started watching "The Crown." I'll probably come off quit "plumy" for awhile. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yes, as I remember a good amount of sleep was mentioned in the Blue Zone books. But a major component of longevity was found to be "social connection." Doesn't make any difference if it's a bowling league or a church community. Just as long as there's some connection to a wider social network.

I usually keep a sharp eye on The Ladies, and if I've gotten a bit to opaque (or, used a cultural reference that just goes over their heads) I usually say, "It's a joke." Or, not. :-).

The Gibbons biography is pretty good. Written by a nephew who was pretty close to her the last 20 years of her life. He's an actor, who did the Eton / Oxford route. He has an interesting opening quote about families. And, there are several little good nuggets about how she felt about writing. I'll pass some of those on when we hit a "slow news day." :-). That was a joke :-).

"Cold Comfort Farm" was a take off / parody of a rather turgid genre of writing that had peaked in the 20s. Sometimes called "rural romances." Not all of them were bad, but some were abysmal. Gibbons felt that here book came along at just the right time, when the public was getting a bit fed up with them, and a parody was timely. The types of people she sent up were easily recognizable. She went on to write 20 more novels, but none were as successful as "Cold Comfort Farm." Most were respectably successful, and had a bit of humor running through them, but none as over the top.

Successful first or early novels can be, I think, hard on authors. Du Maurier was pretty tired of "Rebecca" always being dredged up. When she'd written so many other, some better, books. And, it always made her a bit grumpy when it was referred to as a gothic romance. I think her publisher was very astute when he said that the critics would never forgive her, as her books were "popular." Can't possibly be great if the general public takes to them. Which is, I suppose, another form of snobbery. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Hopefully the new dog lives up to expectations. What do they say about not counting your chickens until they are hatched? The now deceased Sir Poopy likewise also caught and killed a chicken, but with a lot of training he did get there in the end. Far out, puppies are hard work, and the pup here sends tail wag greetings to Salve and Leo!

I don't really know, but I do know enough to be concerned about the industrial food system and it must have an impact because we are what we eat. Oh no, Dr Google can be a good resource, but like every resource, things can be taken too far. I'm unsure of your opinion on the subject but I feel that hypochondria is an expression of anxiety, but don't really know. A very long time ago I had a girlfriend who appeared to display some signs of hypochondria and I had a lot of trouble empathising with her fears.

Yeah, nothing sells here over winter either, and mid-spring is usually the time that properties begin to sell.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Let's put it this way: The experience of the new pup interacting with the chickens will be interesting. You know, I have a sort of make do attitude and just try and work the situation out so that the new pup will be good enough. He's already attempted to herd the fluffy collective, and Scritchy in particular is very angry and intolerant of such antics. On the other hand he is breathing new energy into the fluffies and Mr Toothy in particular has taken an interest.

Your felines would have kept that dog entertained for many hours! Thanks for the mental image of your past dog attempting to perform that impossible task.

Scritchy has taken the loss of Sir Poopy pretty hard. She was able to boss Sir Poopy around and was happy to use him as her personal mobile heater (she only has a thin coat of hair), but this new one is a handful for her.

68'F sounds like a really pleasant winter’s day. Spring is just around the corner, but like here, we first have to make it through February (coldest for you and hottest for us)! There is another 100'F day forecast for Thursday.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The new pup is six months old apparently. I'm not much of a fan of puppies (you may have noticed), but he was there at the animal shelter at the same time we were. It really is that simple. Of course, I don't know what sort of impact he will have on the household, but so far he seems to be doing OK. I'll try him out in polite society tomorrow and see how he goes. He prefers the company of humans to the other dogs, which is interesting. I've never taken a dog back, but there is always a first time for some things so I shouldn't put the kiss of death on myself. I hope he works out with the chickens as he seems smart enough for the job. He harassed the chickens this morning, and fortunately I had a bowl of water ready to hand. For some reason he thought that I wouldn't throw the water on him. Dunno why he would think such things? He stopped harassing the chickens after that.

Garden plans! Good stuff. Have you made any spring and summer selections from your seed catalogues? I spotted some Chilean Guava's ripening on the bush today.

Some teachers are far from gentle! You reminded me of a story that was recounted to me a long time back by a guitar teacher (he nicknamed himself Mr Dave Cool Bananas, and he was cool). He said that when he was a kid, he used to get piano lessons from a nun who used to occasionally beat his fingers with a cane if he played the wrong chords. Needless to say he had no love for either the piano or the church! Oh well. I too reckon that a lot of reading helps, I see that people who do not read that much, tend to have troubles expressing their thoughts in a coherent narrative form. Basically, I see that playing out in that they can be a bit all over the shop. Mind you, I feel that the written form of English is a slightly different language than the spoken form. That may be a contentious thought, and I'd be curious to learn your opinion of that? It makes my mind boggle at the complexities of turning a book into a screenplay (have I mentioned that I have not watched Game of Thrones?)

Well, if I chance to notice any serious affectations on your part, I shall inform you of the slip, my good Sir! :-)! Have we descended into the land of silly yet?

I reckon the social connection part is true, but I have noticed that a lot of people cut out their social connections when they feel pressures in other parts of their lives. I see a lot of that and try to keep up a solid social life, which is not always an easy thing to do at my age. Fortunately I have a number of quirky friends. I reckon having a sense of purpose is quite important too.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Fair enough, you clearly know yourself well. You know, I reckon from time to time everyone says stupid things. I did that last year and I was so shocked at myself, that I was dumbstruck and lost for words (not a usual situation for me!) Anyway, I waited a while and then just apologised because the words just didn't come out quite right, but what I did say was quite stupid... Oh well, fortunately I don't expect perfection and in turn nobody demands it of me.

What, a slow news day? Does such a thing ever occur? Hehe! Maybe not, but I would be very interested to learn (at your discretion of course) about the several little good nuggets about how she felt about writing.

Ah yes, such "rural romances" genre made a come-back a while ago. Some cheeky wag labelled the entire genre "chook lit". Very amusing! Parodies can really hit a nerve in the population, but not often, and I for one fondly recall the parody film "Airport" which spoofed many disaster films. And who can forget: “Sean of the Dead”?

Authors, and indeed anyone in the creative fields can peak too early and that is one tough row. I sort of feel sorry for those people too who experience that, because the ramifications can be just hard. People’s expectations can exceed reality and even an excellent delivery can fall flat. In the music industry that is possibly known as the second album conundrum. Led Zepplin possibly did not respond so well to the critics.

Better get writing! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Sorry, I almost forgot your comment which was higher up the list. I shall rectify this oversight.

I enjoy your straight talking and to the point attitude, and I suspect that it serves you well. :-)!

Oh my! I visited Magnetic Island in the late 90's and it was far different than today. It was a bit of a shock for me too, to see the images on the interweb...

Fair enough about Ren, some blokes are like that. I prefer to talk about what does not work as much as what does work, because in doing so I admit to failing and then hopefully learn from the experience. Everyone is different on that matter and they have their own reasons for that. Sir Poopy (the deceased) was a dog that I had to come to an accommodation with because he was just so wilful. In doing so, in the end it saved both him and I, a lot of drama. I was told once to be thankful for small mercies and that seems appropriate in this context! :-)!

I have no idea what a Great Pumpkin is, but I have read references to it in Charlie Brown cartoons. Do they have a Great Pumpkin in the UK?

Sorry to read that you had a bad experience with food down here. Over the years I have experienced the occasional bout of what we describe down here as food poisoning. It is an unpleasant experience and one I am keen to not repeat. I don't know anything about pre-prepared industrial food, other than it needs to be very biologically dead in order to survive the transportation and storage system. I reheat rice quite often and have not noticed any ill effects. Mind you, I also prepare the rice from scratch…

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Ah - Mr. New Dog is actually Mr. New Puppy. An adolescent, in fact. Good, he is at an age when you can mold him. Squish, squash - that's Chris fitting him into a mold. Oops! There is something sticking out . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - So, the new dog is still a puppy, but well within the "old enough to train" age. I had a dog once that was within 24 hours of being returned to the puppy farm as being unable to be housebroken. I even gave him his final bath. My fault. No one told me that, generally, dogs won't house break til 12 weeks old. Of course, I HAD to have an 8 week old dog. So cute, you know. Did the Late Lamented Sir Poopy (or, any of your other mob) ever sigh? Beau used to give these long, world weary sighs. As if he was expressing, "Oh, it's all just too much." :-).

Got an email, yesterday, that the seed company I like best has sent out their new catalogues. I wait with baited (?) breath.

Yup, I think spoken and written English is a bit different. Spoken English is more ... shorthand? Maybe because it has facial expressions and gestures to go along with it? When I get up in the morning, I like to read a bit. Anything. Just to reestablish the habit of putting words together into sentences and getting my brain moving in a linear fashion. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Not a writing gem, but Gibbons had a pretty horrid early family life. Despot father and all that. But from very early, she trigged to the fact that all the drama, upset and scenes were pretty much stage sets. That many members of her family enoyed that kind of thing. She didn't say it in so many words, but I've often thought that sort of thing is all about power and control. People manipulate other people. And, she was pretty good at exposing that kind of behavior in her characters. Oh, most of her later books sold pretty well and got good reviews. Her publisher's warehouse took a bomb during WWII, and all the stuff she wrote before then was lost. And, none of that was republished except for Cold Comfort Farm. But, she wrote a lot of good things after WWII.

And, in news of the world ... As of yesterday afternoon, the California mudslides death toll is 18 confirmed and 7 still missing. All together, a 30 square mile section of land, moved. In places, from far inland, all the way to the ocean. There were two cars on the beach that were so mangled that you couldn't even figure out the brand.

I finally saw an article about this year's flu that clarified why I keep seeing so many differing percentages of how effective this year's vaccine is. The vaccine covers 4 strains of this years flu. On one strain it is only 10% effective. On the other three strains, 70% or more. You can get more than one strain of the flu at a time. I just keep washing my hands and hoping for the best. Lew

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the link. Do-it-yourself Science and much more fun than using supercomputers to produce Colorful Funny Diagrams.

Haven't baked much bread since a fine little bakery opened up around the corner...unless I want pumpkin bread. What self-respecting bakery doesn't sell pumpkin bread!

Do you know a good apricot liqueur recipe? Good luck with the new family member :-)

Cheers