Monday, 5 March 2018

OJ, Blue ladies, and other curious circumstances

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

I didn't do it. But if I did do it, it would have been heaps better.

In the final decade of the previous century, the editor and I purchased our first house in a gritty Industrial suburb. There was some serious industry in that suburb, including a fuel tank farm, a bikie club house, and occasionally the air used to reek from unidentified industrial smells from the nearby wool scour. On a hot day, with the wind blowing in the right direction, the air would be redolent with the warmly sour smells of lanolin, which dusted the insides of your mouth and nose. And because of all of the heavy industry, the trucks up and down the main roads were unrelenting at all hours of the night and day.

In those days, I worked at a transport company and one of the blokes there used to have a second job keeping the bar at nights and weekends at the local pub (which I didn't frequent). He used to joke to me that: "You don't pick someone else's fight at the (name withheld due to legal concerns) Hotel". Except, I was never really sure whether he was joking around or not. Because of the gritty location, my family refused to visit us, and friends always looked for an excuse not to visit.

But it was our first house, and so whatever, we were happy to be there. The area was even then ever so slowly gentrifying, and as they say - things were looking on the up! At some point the local traders decided to throw a local festival celebrating 'I don't really know'. Anyway, it was a good idea, and the local strip shops around the railway station also had an old Art Deco cinema which had been abandoned for many years, but was only recently (then) restored by someone who made money by repairing and manufacturing curtains for other cinemas. The owner of the cinema used to close off the street during the festival and hold an outdoor screening of a film for everyone in the area to enjoy free of charge. The street was jam packed with people and we really loved it.

The local post office, which also doubled as the local lotto outlet, had a window display of art by local artists for sale during the festival. The editor and I used to walk the dogs at night all around the suburb, and one of the paintings (The Blue Lady) caught our eye.

As an interesting side story, way back in those days you could walk around the suburb at night and not see another living soul. Well, except once for the creepy old drunk bloke who took a fancy to the old boss dog: "The Fat" and offered us two thousand dollars for her then and there. It was a strange incident, and we were frankly dubious about the offer, despite any goodwill which may or may not have been instilled by local festivals. We politely declined the generous offer.

Returning to the main story. The art work! Ah yes, we decided to purchase the art work and got in contact with the artist. The art work, which is a charcoal drawing, could not be released from the display until the festival had run its course, and so we arranged to meet the artist and both pay for and pick up The Blue Lady on a Saturday afternoon.

Alas, artists by their very nature are creative people and skip to their own beat and she was late. Accountant's are perhaps not so creative, and thus they were on time. So mid afternoon, the editor and I were found loitering in and around the post office waiting for the artist to turn up.

These were the days before the mobile phone and we ducked inside the post office to check whether the creative, but also tardy, artist had contacted the nice people at the post office to advise them about being late. Nope, there had been no such phone call.

And it was about that time that two blokes ran into the post office wearing balaclavas and shouting. As I was deep inside the post office at the time, I thought to myself that this was an unfortunate turn of events, and wondered what it all meant. The blokes stormed the counter and demanded the afternoons takings from the lotto business, which was duly handed over by the two surprised clerks working the counter.

The editor, who frankly is perhaps more alert and clearly has more self preservation skills than I, and more importantly was standing near to the front door at the time, ducked out of the front door and ran into a nearby cafe and got them to call the police. Near to me was a rather frightened looking lady with her child and during the incident, I unobtrusively moved closer to her to be helpful in case further trouble ensued. Getting out of the shop for us was not an option. And I had a pocket full of mad cash with which I was intending to pay for the art work...

With all of that going on, I happened to take a closer look at the two numpty's robbing the shop. One of them was holding what looked to me like an engineering hammer, whilst the other was holding a large screwdriver. Both of those weapons could do unpleasant personal damage, I guess. Then they left the shop as fast as they entered, fortunately neglecting to alleviate me of my mad cash. Maybe it was the adrenaline, but after they left, I gave the lady standing next to me a friendly tap on the arm and said: "That wasn't so bad, was it?" Not my finest words, but it summed the situation up nicely. Naturally we didn't become fast friends.

The police arrived really quickly as the station was very close, and the two blokes were caught getting into their getaway vehicle which was a VW Beetle (the old air cooled type - artistic but slow). All in all it was all a very strange day, and the local cafe put on free coffees for everyone involved in the hold up. From memory, the editor was quite jittery, but I suspect that was perhaps due to the three free coffees that she had consumed in short succession.

After we consumed heaps of coffee and assisted the detectives with their inquiries (a delightful turn of phrase) we recalled that we were actually there to meet the artist (who had been late) and pay for the art work. And out the front of the post office sitting with her daughter watching all of the action, was the artist who seemed rather untroubled about being late. Such is the life of the artist!

I give you, The Blue Lady:
The Blue Lady
Nowadays whenever I look at that painting I recall how important it is to be punctual, but also the maxim that three coffees in quick succession is not good for the nerves!

It has been a dry couple of summer weeks here. Such weather produces the best sunsets!
Dry summer days produce the most spectacular of sunsets
Work doesn't stop here just because the weather is a little bit hot and dry. Two of the many garden beds scored a massive feed of a 50/50 mix of mushroom compost and composted woody mulch. A massive feed is the technical term for 2 cubic metres (2.6 cubic yards) of the stuff. It is always worth recalling how quickly we have learned to manually move those volumes of stuff from the bright yellow trailer and onto the garden beds. We simply push it off the back of the trailer into crates and then move the full crates using a wheelbarrow. That much material takes about 3 hours to move and place with a single person, and about half that time if two people are involved in the task.
An old garden rake is used to remove bulk organic materials from the bright yellow trailer
We also brought back to the farm a trailer load of mixed sand and aggregate (the fancy name for small rocks). That material, when added to general purpose cement powder is used to produce concrete, which is a very long lasting and sturdy material.
A trailer load of sand and aggregate mix which will be used to produce concrete structures
We love the concrete staircases that we have produced over the years and they get used all of the time. Living on a steep slope makes the staircases an invaluable addition to the place. Unfortunately, one or two (or maybe more) of the staircases were finished slightly short of where they should have - and at the time it seemed as if the staircases were complete and finished. This week, we began the process of adding the occasional extra step to some of the existing concrete staircases.
The author mixes a batch of cement so as to construct an additional concrete step on this staircase

Another concrete step and hindsight is such a wonderful thing!
The tomato harvest is a massive amount of work. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you. On the other hand, we get to enjoy tomatoes in one form or another for the entire year. We dehydrate tomatoes:
The Fowlers Vacola tomato dehydrator is going feral
The dehydrated tomato chips are stored in olive oil for our enjoyment. The tomatoes have to be completely dry before being stored in olive oil otherwise they will go rancid and most likely poison you should you choose to eat them. It is not hard to tell when the tomatoes are completely dry because they look and feel like potato crisps, but taste 1000% better!
Dehydrated tomatoes in olive oil are stored next to the years supply of pickled cucumbers
We are also half way through the production of a years supply of passata. Passata is the fancy name for tomato sauce. With that stuff we cook up tomatoes and other vegetables and then sterilise and seal them using a hot water bath.
Glass jars of passata being boiled in a hot water bath
And just to make people in the cold northern hemisphere totally 100% jealous! Here is a sample of some of the harvest and home cooked food here from down in the land of summer:
A sample of this weeks harvest
This week seems to be the week of massive vegetables, although I don't really know what that means:
The first eggplant of the season was harvested. Yummo!
There are so many cucumbers that the chickens are eating (and enjoying) at least two per day
Triffid alert! The marrows are truly feral
Late summer / early autumn is a really busy time of the year. The garden paths have to be kept open and every week we pick a path and cut it back. The cuttings get thrown into new garden beds as a form of fertiliser.
Every week, the rampant growth spewing into the many of the garden paths gets cut back hard
I've also replaced all of the hose hangers. The hot summer sun caused most of the existing hose hangers to bend and fail because of the rubbish steel used in their construction. The oldest example of this product did not fail, and as I'd purchased the same hose hangers over a number of years, the process looked to me like witnessing the decline in quality of manufactured goods. Anyway, out with the old, and in with the new.
New and better quality hose hangers were installed this week
In breaking Ollie news: Ollie the alleged cattle dog, who is actually a cuddle dog, is yet too young and too stupid to realise that winter is coming, because he has used his woollen blankets as a toy:
Ollie has destroyed his winter bedding (Breaking Bed!)
Many second hand items are ridiculously cheap, and this week I received a replacement 100mm to 300mm lens for the digital camera that is used to take most of the photos in this blog. It cost $45. How is that possible I ask you? Anyway, the replacement lens produces superb photographs such as this Kookaburra sitting on the old worm farm sewage system ventilation pipe:
Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree, err sorry, ventilation pipe for the worm farm sewage system
I have banged on so much that I'm now running massively late this evening, but we cannot forget to add at least a few flower photos from about the farm:
Passionfruit are sadly very late in the season, but they put on such a good show
The ever faithful geraniums are going gang busters
The temperature outside now at about 10.00pm is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 109.8mm (4.3 inches) which is the same as last week's total of 109.8mm (4.3 inches).

65 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Re: The Editor and You wandering around your abandoned suburb at night. Ray Bradbury, "The Pedestrian." But, we've gassed about that, before. Re: The Robbery. Well, in hindsight, that was exciting. "An adventure is a disaster that turns out O.K." (c Lew). I'd have been polishing the floor tiles with my nose.

The Blue Lady, is, well, blue :-). Quit nice, really. Reminds me of some of the Picasso "blue period" paintings. Artists get away with a lot. All part of the persona, I guess. What they don't seem to realize (and, there is plenty of advice around) is that most of the successful artists get up at some ungodly hour, hit the studio by 8am, and keep their ... nether regions stuck to the chair, save, maybe a break for lunch, until 5pm. Had you been a different kind of a customer, one who maybe cut 10 or 15 minutes slack, it would have been "lost sale."

The sunset picture is worthy of this year's Fernglade Farm Calendar. Along with the eggplant. Massive veg usually means, "fall is on the way." :-). Pulling your leg by pointing out the obvious. Camera lenses may be cheap as so many digital cameras have hit the scrap heap. As every phone takes pictures, these days. I sent my old Polaroid Land Camera to auction. Alas! A day late and a dollar short. They used to be quit pricey, even on the second hand market. No more. But I did notice some of the attachments brought a small amount. According to the book on the revenge of analog, someone is making the film, again. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. It becomes clear now. Your adding whole steps, to extend the "run". Not adjusting tread hight. Got it. Wonder how long it will take the color of new and old to match?

A question about the passata? What kind of a sealing system are you using? We do a ring and metal lid. Which I've seen on some of your other produce (I think).

Breaking Bed? Was that a bad pun / cultural reference to "Breaking Bad"? Better check out behind the wood shed and see if Ollie's got a meth lab, set up. :-). More pop cultural drift. As far as I know I haven't even seen a snipit of film from that series. Or, read a single article about it. So, how do I know the basics of the plot? Wonder how many people made the connection between our sad health care system, and the main character's need to enter the drug business?

The Koocaburra looks like he's been rousted out of bed waaaay to early. :-). (Cont. onto review of "The Square.")

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, I watched "The Square" last night. I think I picked it up as it had to do with an art museum director. It's a Swedish film, I think. Well, at least is wasn't Bergman :-). I found myself fast forwarding through large chunks. Then skipping large chunks. I couldn't seem to settle on what it was about. And, after awhile, I didn't really care.

There was a lot of that inane babble about "Art." It might have been about the ennui and pointlessness of some parts of modern society. Or, maybe it was about the homeless? Lots of shots of people sleeping rough. Or, maybe immigrants? How media makers are often kind of silly? The way some people drag their screaming babies/pets/husbands with Tourette's (sp) into work situations and expecting everyone to be "cool" with that, as to not be "cool" with that, wouldn't be politically correct. Maybe the film was trying to point out the irony of all those situations. But, if you're fairly thoughtful (as all of us here are), you've seen the irony in all that, years ago. Had I seen it in a theatre, I would have demanded my money back. Lew

Jo said...

Well, you know how they say buying local always comes with a story... that is some story attached to that particular local purchase!

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - I'll probably take a troll through Jerry Baker's gardening books and see if he's got any gardening "secrets" when it comes time to transfer the tomatoes. I wonder if he mentions eggshells. But I'll go heavy on them, around the tomatoes. I usually same my eggshells in a bowl, tucked out of sight in a cabinet (after giving them a little wash). When the bowl is full, I zap them in the microwave for about 1 1/4 minutes. Then I toss them into a sack and give it a couple of good whacks.

I also shudder when contemplating uncomplicated replacements. Does everything HAVE to have a computer chip? GPS locator? Seems like every time we got an "upgraded" copying machine at the library, it was more and more complicated. Ifinally realized they must be buying surplus off the Star Ship Enterprise :-). Same with what we so quaintly call "cash registers," these days. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam & Inge - Sometimes (often) you can find the missing appliance manuals, on line. Sometimes, even the original company that made the appliance has them on their websites. Avoid the websites that want to sell you the manuals. They're usually out there, somewhere, for free. Or, you could try Googling. Your probably not the first person to face this problem. Something like "Wizz Bang Washer model xyz, door wont open?"

Or, you could try just beating on the top with your fists while screaming "Give me back my clothes!" Sometimes works :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Visitors on the weekend raised issues relating to education too and it is a complex topic. Plus at that time in my life, I was rather arrogant but also very naive which makes for a poor combination. I sort of feel that there is also a narrative that says that education stops at a certain point in your life, but that is not how it works in reality as far as I can understand the matter. Motivation is also a complex matter, I sometimes say that such and such a person is not hungry enough but to me it is an outward expression of their self motivation. I've always been self motivated which is possibly due to my upbringing?

Exactly too. A great observation and it is really hard to explain that people can have aspects of this and some aspects of that, but not all of either, as it is just not possible. I reckon at that point you are challenging the stories they have running in their minds and how that relates to the perception of theirs and your status. You know, we pick fruit by the country roadsides if there are feral plants to be had, and well intentioned friends always suggest to us to sell the fruit. What I reckon they are suggesting is that consuming the fruit is a low status activity compared to making money. It is sort of like a moral judgement.

It is nice that your MIL can be comfortable and looked after, and nobody really knows how things will turn out for her or anyone else for that matter. It is really a best guess based on past experience.

Stay warm in the cold change. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that the blossoms don't get knocked off the trees. I lost an entire apricot crop on one very frosty morning two years ago.

The final commercial breed (Isa Brown) chicken died this afternoon. The experience with those birds tells me that the genetic stocks for that particular breed are very poor indeed. I've been thinking about such matters as we consumed the first of the corn cobs yesterday and we're planning on massively expanding production of corn later this year. We do have to worry about the genetics though...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Hehe! Thanks for the explanation. What do you do? I'll tell ya, I get the abject horror experience too, when people contemplate the sheer amount of work involved when they are confronted with it in the flesh when they visit the place. You know, I'm starting to come around to point of view that the fear that people express of manual labour as an indicator of low social status is beginning to have serious real world impacts. I'd always considered that it was a quaint, but mostly erroneous view of the world, but a thought bubble popped into my head this morning that that viewpoint has real world implications. What do you reckon about that? And I'm wondering if economics ever takes that into consideration? I believe that school of thought has recently discovered that humans are not as rational as they first believed...

Was anything faulty discovered by the electrician? To be honest, the rats and mice worry me on that front as they are more than capable of chewing through insulation around cables.

Well, I am usually a gentleman and whilst I may occasional stomp people, I am very polite whilst doing so. I did not enter that conversation because, well, there were a lot of comments to respond too and it was not directed towards myself... I have the belief that the soils here may well be briefly knocked back by the addition of the coffee grounds. But the coffee grounds contain useful amounts of: Phosphate; Potassium; Manganese; and Copper. The soils here are completely deficient in phosphate as they are right across the continent. So, I suspect that the little soil critters will grab every chunk of those minerals that they can. I take the approach that any old organic matter will have some value for the soil, and to simply let the soil life deal with the occasional bout of excessive mineral supplies. You have to understand that I have never had the experience of access to very fertile soils in which to garden.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

That makes sense. Did the work crews get the power restored to your area? How long have you been without power? A little off grid solar power system would do wonders in such a circumstance.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Jo,

Oh yeah, what a crazy day that was. I was glad that both of us survived the day unscathed and came away with a good story and the beautiful artwork. Some days are just complex and you never quite know when you'll encounter one of those. Mr Greer astutely wrote that your will operates in the realm of other wills, and that clearly makes for complex interactions.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The coffee grounds are an interesting item if only because they supply a few minerals which are sadly lacking here, but at the same time they are thoughtfully being methodically extracted from the magical place of elsewhere – and then previously chucked into landfill. I have observed that the soil life can accept most forms of organic waste and deal with them readily. If I chuck coffee grounds onto the ground and spread them around, they're usually gone within the week. It would be nice to have a time lapse camera to watch what is going on close up, but funds are limited...

I try to look at all of the manual methods first for any system and the corn has sparked my curiosity as the kernels were exceptional tasting. We are planning an entire terrace devoted to the grain for next summer. That may be several hundred plants, but time will tell. The block planting method seems to have worked well.

Fair enough about The Eagles. Exactly too, Jerry Springer appears to have his own demons to exorcise and he chose an unusual vehicle and medium with which to do so. Do you reckon the old school side shows have a place in the larger scheme of things today? I sort of feel that they do. I once went to see the 'Jim Rose Circus Show' when they were in town for the annual comedy festival. To be honest, I quite enjoyed the show, and I could feel or perceive that the performers gave their all. Even more ironic was that I saw the show at the Melbourne Town Hall, which used to be ironically described in the media as the Clown Hall...

Good to read that you make your dips from the raw ingredients - which always makes for a tastier dip. We call garbanzo beans by another name down here: chick peas. My mates with the big shed grew a patch of those beans, but I ran out of opportunity to ask them how they grew there. I reckon those beans contain more protein than chicken and a vast majority of the human population in the world consumes such foodstuffs rather than chicken! ;-)!

I had a sad moment this evening. The last commercial egg laying chicken of the Isa Brown breed died of unknown causes. I am genuinely unimpressed with that breeds hardiness as most of them have survived less than two years. They may lay a lot of eggs, but to my mind they look to be a brightly burning candle that gets snuffed out pretty quickly. I suspect that they are a largely inbred lot. I wonder if commercial breeders are even remotely concerned with that aspect of the breed? Dunno.

It is a real problem in the world of agriculture about that diminishing of genetic diversity because I was contemplating today about how to go about running a complete terrace of corn without encountering the same inbreeding problem. It is not a simple task, and the more I learn about agriculture, the more complex the subject and practice becomes.

I'll be very curious to hear how your plot of beans grows later this summer?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Petty crims rarely have access to guns down here. Hard core crims generally do. I have a sneaking suspicion that that situation may be unofficially tolerated because one group monitors and limits the activities of the other. The authorities usually get involved when bystanders are harmed or feuds become too public. That is all a guess, but that is sort of how it plays out. The two idiots that robbed the post office were indeed numpty's and of course they may have been violent offenders with hair trigger animal responses, but they were keen to make an exit and ignored me. I had a pocketful of mad cash that day and they could have fleeced me. Mr Greer wrote this week about feudal leaders having to concern themselves with projectile weapons held by peasants. That seems appropriate don’t you reckon?

Thanks, and we both liked the painting the moment we spotted it in the window of that post office. You are very correct too in that aspiring artists of whatever form, need to put in an awful lot of hard work in order to make a living from their art. I totally 100% agree with you, but then both the editor and I are self motivated. The real problem that we have had with fossil fuels is that people expect unearned income, and when per capita energy declines, pollution increases, resource depletion speeds full steam ahead, well there is just less to go around and on average people have to work harder just to stay where they are. I have seen that in action my entire life. Mind you, things are still pretty good all things considered.

Cool! The recent dry February (something which may be celebrated by the Temperance League?) has caused more and more top soil to rise into the atmosphere and we get lovely sunsets. What a good maxim about the epic vegetables and also very amusing. We ate the first capsicum / courgette this evening and that was also really tasty. At the moment I can bring in industrial quantities of organic matter, but eventually the realities of crop rotation will rear its head. I'm still a bit frightened of the jalapenos. I used to have regular dinners with a neighbour who was a bit of a foodie and also an aficionado of chili's and he would have made for a good test subject. Alas, he moved on so I will have to be like one of those old school scientists who used to consume toxins to discover their impact on health…

Polaroid cameras were mentioned in a huge hit song a few years back. It was Outkast and their very catchy song "Hey Ya". Possibly not to your taste, but I quit enjoyed the song. The manufacturers of Polaroid had to make a statement that it was not a good idea to shake the developing film.

Concrete is an unusual material and the colour not only depends on the time left to cure and exposure to the sun and wear and tear, but it also depends upon the quantity of cement powder used in the mix. I tend to over engineer things and I always add more cement powder which makes for a darker grey finish and also a more water tight and stronger material. Like everything, such a choice costs a little bit extra, but provides for many more years of life for the finished material.

double secret cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Yes, the larger bottles we use to preserve fruit have the rubber ring and stainless steel lid, and those are really good. With the passata we are using ex-jam jars and we have a huge batch of new and used lids which have a raised plastic seal. So far they have operated well for many years, but any rings or lids that have failed, get disposed of.

Elephant stamp for you because not only did you get the joke, you have also not watched that show. I watched a few seasons and it was one of the last shows that I watched. The storyline revolved around the concept of poor decision making and escalation. I mean every single decision the characters made was the exact opposite of what I would have done and I found it to be very frustrating and also mildly distressing to watch. I feel that the messages that you take into your consciousness can seriously impact upon your mental health. Exactly too, the main character was basically highly educated, excluded, ripped off, and then backed into a corner. That is a total disaster of a social arrangement.

The bird has been there a lot of late. I suspect the Kookaburra is looking to eat the field mice.

Thanks for the outstanding review. Well that about settles it! I feel like I've just dodged a bullet. You know when I was watching the trailer, it had a 'shock your momma' vibe and I wondered what the point of the story was. Sometimes acclaimed can mean that the critics are speaking to the jaded? Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Lew

I was glad you mentioned saving egg shells as I hadn't started yet. Now that I don't have the laying hens we're using a lot less legs much to Salve and Leo's dismay. With the house on the market I'll have a much smaller garden this year so won't need as many. I also use them with pepper transplants for the same reason.

I find it really annoying that you can only access manuals online now.

@Pam

Are you going to be impacted by the latest storm too? We have dodged the bullet here with terrible weather northwest and now another storm east. Supposedly the little snow we got is part of the same system.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The picture of Ollie's blanket is the same scenario we've seen here frequently. For at least a year Salve would shred anything we put in her crate. Now she just nibbles on it so the latest rug while getting pretty tattered has lasted some time.

Thanks for the interesting and rather scary story. Knocking on wood but I've never experienced anything quite like that. One time when I was working in Chicago a guy behind me on the stairs to the el had his hand in my purse but I was able to pull away and get up on the platform. I am pretty careful now in Chicago even in the fancy tourist areas as anyone looking at all vulnerable is getting targeted now.

Sorry to hear about your chicken but I'm not surprised. Those hybrids are bred for great egg laying performance for a couple years but they wear out pretty fast.

Too many have making money as their main motivation for doing anything sadly.

We were expected to get decent grades by our parents - especially my mother. That being said my grades in the first two years of college left a lot to be desired. I had to do so much babysitting and other household work that my social life left much to be desired so those first two years of college I enjoyed the freedom to just have fun. Luckily I wised up pretty quickly. It's very important to be a life long learner I think.

I think my MIL gets such good care because the nursing home she's in is located in a small town, is small itself and the staff is pretty local and there's not too much turnover. My sister's MIL was in a nursing home run by Northwestern Hospital which has an excellent reputation in Chicago. Staff stole her personal items - even pencils. She was very fearful there. The care there seems to be very personalized though it can vary a bit depending on how full they are. About half of the facility is for people in rehab from the hospital.

Hey it looks like you have quite a bit of powdery mildew. I have a big problem with that as well.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The coffee grounds I get, I also have to contend with the paper coffee filters. Which are fine things that the worms eventually break down. And, provide a bit of "roughage" for the soil. But, I can't just scatter them around on the ground top. Looks like heck. Living here, a certain amount of aesthetics have to be taken into consideration :-).

Nothing as good a fresh corn on the cob. Yeah, corn should be planted in clumps or blocks, as they are pretty much fertilized by the wind. I didn't know there were concerns with genetic diversity, and corn? Kind of on the same topic, I'm sorry you're Isa Brown bit the dust. One gets attached to old hens who have been around awhile. Apparently, that breed were bread for production, not longevity. As some veg and fruit are bread for shipping and appearance, not flavor. It's a sad state of affairs.

Bad traits get intensified and past on. Applies to animals, too. As far as crop rotation goes, in a very informal way, I usually don't plant an annual vegetable in the same place, two years running. I try and move them around, a bit. I've heard it also improves the chances of heading off plant diseases. As a small experiment in plant genetics, I like blue and white bachelor buttons (aka corn flowers). But, most of the seed packets come in pink, white and blue. So, I pinch off the flower heads of the pink ones, just before they open, and save the seed from the blue and white. Seems to work.

I don't think Jerry Springer is so much fighting his demons, as chasing after money and celebrity. One guys opinion. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I didn't know the Kookaburra bird was a raptor :-).

"Average people have to work harder, just to maintain." Ain't that the truth. I've read several places that people no longer expect to do as well as their parents. People working two or three jobs just to keep their heads (barely) above water. More and more sliding over the edge. Could happen to me. One of The Ladies asked me, the other day, if I was rich. :-). I think, because of the tat I buy and babble about. I wasn't offended, as it's someone here I talk to, quit a bit. But I had to think about that. I think a major factor, as to why I appear to do a bit better than some of the others here, is that I think quit a few of them "help out" kids and grandkids. And, of course there's the never ending parade of Christmas, birthdays, graduations, etc.. I think I'm lucky to be an "orphan with no issue." :-). Gee, that could be a new sociological concept. I'm also lucky to be in good health. AND, I practice all kinds of small economies, that taken together, add up. Cleaned up (most) of my bad habits that cost money. But I consider myself more lucky, than wise.

Well, just like "art babble" I think there's "movie babble." :-). Think that was a blistering review? Now I'll tell you how I REALLY feel. :-). I watched another movie, last night, that I liked. Not over the top liked, but it was engrossing and interesting. "My Old Lady" with Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith. I'd guess it was, maybe, marketed as a rom-com, but really, wasn't. Kline is a down on his luck American who inherits and apartment in Paris. It turns out there are kind of squatters, there, an elderly English lady and her daughter. Through a quirk in the French law, which is much to complicated to explain, they are legal squatters. Sort of. But it's more a family drama, with a few pretty intense dramatic moments. Worth a look.

Speaking of Paris, I just happen to be reading a pretty good book, right now. "The Gourmands' Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy." (Spring, 2017). Good writer, interesting topic (to me). I've never been to Paris (heck, I've never been much of anywhere) and really don't have a burning desire to go. But, I find the country and city, fascinating. And, of course, the food and cooking. Not so much the haute cuisine stuff, but more the country cooking.

I received my mason bee box, this morning. Silly me. I thought it would have bees in it. Nope. It's just the optimum set up to ATTRACT the bees. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

That sounded like a really terrifying experience to me, you must have nerves of steel.

A glorious sunset photo, absolutely stunning. I am not particularly taken with the blue lady.

I agree that coffee grounds are very useful, I was simply quoting an article that said that they should first be composted.

Very strange that physical work is so looked down on; I have always loved doing things physical, far better than sitting at a desk. Didn't the Chinese grow those incredibly long finger nails to demonstrate that they were way above having to do anything so mundane as manual labour.

The electrician isn't coming until Saturday and I am considering cancelling him. I haven't had any further problem and am wondering whether the terrible weather had anything to do with it. Have to admit to almost complete ignorance where electricity is concerned.

The fates are still gunning for me. I discovered today that the shed where I keep hundreds of books, needs the roof re-felting. The rain is coming in. Shall delight my poor son with the news tomorrow.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret, Lewis, and Inge,

Thanks for the lovely comments but I am having my sometimes Wednesday night off. We went to see a film at the cinema this evening, "I, Tonya". I quite enjoyed the film and it contained a lot of dark humour. Ultimately the film flew closer to reality which is complex, rather than the hoped for redemption tale. Who needs redemption tales anyway?

Lewis - The recycling story is getting to be bigger and biggerer every day! I told you it was interesting and nobody has yet faced up to the ultimate conclusion that the only way forwards ... is backwards. Not that the powers that be or the community in general can break their addiction. Anyway, recycling bins are no longer picked up here in this council area. I reckon that rubbish dumping in the forest won't be too far away...

No bin collections for thousands as recycling crisis intensifies.

Regarding the used coffee grounds which I spread around the orchard (a similar story to the above one), someone who I've known for years and years said that there is often a lot of competing interest in them, but so far I'm the only one who converts words into action. I took that to be high praise and I was pretty chuffed to hear it.

Gotta bounce as it is bed time!

Cheers

Chris


Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Ok, where does OJ fit into the picture?

The gritty neighborhood where we bought the before-mentioned house had no commercial area, I so we were spared the issues with that, but it would have been more interesting. Some of the nice memories I do have, though, are of the parties. That was a Mexican neighborhood and they did love their parties. And since we were friendly sorts - and my husband spoke fluent Spanish, having grown up in El Paso, Texas on the Mexican border (and I understood quite a bit) - we fit in well enough. And real Mexican food is the best in the world. We have videos of our sons' birthday parties with all the pinatas and festivities.

I'm sorry, but before I got into the rest of your terrifying experience, I was laughing about the "numptys with a hammer and screwdriver". Worthy of any comedy show - unless one was there. I'm glad you didn't lose your head.

The Blue Lady is a lovely painting.

What a peaceful sunset. Your steps - everywhere - are so amazing. How do you get the wheel- barrow up and down the steps? One thinks of those little rope pulls on modest ski slopes, an idea that we toyed with when we used to ski on our property.

I am jealous of that horde of tomatoes, which is not nice of me, as you have earned them and I will have some of my own eventually. Which may not be true of cherries as, if the below-freezing temps every night don't get them, Frederick the squirrel will. I have caught him several times actually eating the cherry blossoms. I rap on the window at him and I go out and tell him off, and does it work? Only for long enough for him to go over to the pear trees and see if they are blooming yet (they are not). I had planned last week to hang Christmas lights in the cherry tree to try and keep the frost at bay, but when the power went out for three days, I kind of lost the will.

What a completely perfect eggplant. I'll bet the chickens really appreciate a pile of cucumbers on a hot day; I know I do. Your pathways look so cool and peaceful and no-one on this planet has nicer hose hangers than you.

OLLIE - you'd better ask Scritchy about eating blankets 'cause she may not share hers with you and winter is closer than you think.

Kookaburras are so handsome - and sort of kooky.

I have ever faithful geraniums blooming inside the house. They should be able to go outside for sunbaths soon.

I'm sorry about the Isa Brown. I remember one of the dogs making a joke about her once . . .

About solar for a power outage here: It ain't gonna happen, as this north slope in the forest only gets 3 to 3 1/2 hours of sun even in mid summer and our winters are cloudy. There are solar set-ups where it is suitable in our area, however.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

They have just closed the very large recycling plant near us. I doubt if there is any place else to take up the slack (besides the landfill). My son is suppose to take our recycling today into the center in the city. It has been awhile (it does pile up here sometimes . . .) and I will be interested to hear if they have made any changes.

In one of Gene Logsdon's older books - "Two Acre Eden" (I think it might have been his first) - he suggested that one could bury one's "tin" cans into a sort of running trench. I would be doing that, but they are all lined with plastic now. Paper goods we can burn. Cans, I don't know, I'm thinking on that. I need to cook more dried beans, as way too often I grab a can to add to stuff. Ditto for corn. And I've got to figure out how to at least buy my dried beans without having them in plastic bags; we just can't grow enough. Bottling tomatoes and peppers at home has kept us from buying those. Anyhow, plastic is the bugbear. Oh - and glass? Maybe the people who lived next to our property in the way past used to bury their glass bottles, as we have found quite a few of them. And some crockery. Not much left of the cans, though :) .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ah! You'd mentioned the "I, Tonya" movie and I forgot to comment. Ms. Harding was from my home town, Portland. I didn't follow the story, too closely. It all just seemed so ... sleazy and sordid. Her husband was quit the piece of work.

Interesting articles on the recycling. I found the bit about "...the situation was 'extremely disappointing to the residents" to be, Hmm, not exactly amusing. Ironic? It sounds like the residents have fallen into a deep depression and anti-depressant drugs will be administered at any time. Or, perhaps put in the water. One of the comments mentioned "true costs." Something that will surface in a lot of areas as we descend. I also read the linked article "Addicted to Cheap Trash."

The common room at The Home has a coffee maker. Some of The Ladies go two falls out of three to get at the spent grounds. I stay well out of that dust up. I went on the Great Mushroom Compost Hunt of 2018, yesterday. Inquired at 5 places before I had any luck. $5 a bag. A good sized bag. I know because I moved them about at this end :-).

In one of those coincidences that seems to fall into my lap, the book I'm reading about French food had a small footnote explaining the odd French real estate quirk that was the basis for the film, "My Old Lady." "A viager is a French business agreement whereby the owner of a property sells it on a reverse annuity basis, receiving both a lump sum and a yearly stipend from the buyer which continues until the seller's death." It's like gambling that whoever you bought a property from, won't hang around on this plain for too long. There are stories of seller's outliving buyers by quit a few years. There's an amusing scene where Kline's character drops in on the elderly ladies doctor to try and determine how good her health is :-). The doctor knows what Kline is about, and takes great pleasure in telling him that the lady is in fine health and will probably live for more years. Maybe, even decades. :-). Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

We aren't suppose to have trouble with the next storm. I just see some rain, maybe a touch of snow, forecast with a high of 40F, back up to 50F the next day. Are you in for something?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew and Inge:

I do still have the manual for my clothes washer; I had not thought to look at it. I did and there is nothing under "troubleshooting" that offers help for "what to do when the door won't unlock in a power outage". Apparently, they don't have power outages wherever it is manufactured. But - thanks to you all for mentioning the manual - when I was looking at it I discovered how to turn off the horrible beeps that it makes whenever a button is pushed. Thanks for that!

@ Lew:

Thanks for the ammonia and vinegar advice. It's funny, but I have long added Windex (with ammonia) to a stinky wash, though not straight ammonia, and will give vinegar another whirl.

@ Inge:

It would be a shed with books, not something like canning jars.

Pam

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Yes, the dogs are very naughty to have destroyed their bedding. And wool too... Fortunately, I have today discovered a source of hessian sacks and I'll use those for bedding until he learns to do otherwise. Salve may be extorting bones out of you by chewing on things…

That day was really strange, but I sized up the situation fairly quickly and thought that there wasn't too much to worry about. From my perspective the two blokes barely noticed my presence, but if they had, it may have been a different story. Yup, you can't be too careful these days, and it is worth remembering that no social system is perfect and even the first peoples down here used to engage in inter tribal warfare. To be honest, the fancy tourist areas are probably targets for such activities.

Wearing out pretty fast seems to be the way of it. Two years is about what those birds seem to achieve - and the social and behavioural problems are not good either. The recent psycho chicken was one of those birds. It is not a good sign for the commercial breeders, not that they'd notice that because I feel that they may not allow them to live that long anyway. I'm thinking I may stick with the Plymouth Rocks, Wyandotte's, or the Araucanas for egg laying and general breed hardiness. What is your experience with chicken breeds?

Yah! What do you do? Mr Logsdon wrote that nature had never heard of interest.

Ouch. Yes, such an experience would make it hard to keep up good grades. I wasn't the best student for the first half of Uni either, but I met the editor half way in and she taught me how to study more effectively and like you, I turned the grades around - even topped a subject.

No way. Stealing personal affects is not good, but I have heard worse stories from down here. I really do hope that she gets good care in the smaller hospice.

The pumpkins, melons, cucumbers all die off because of the powdery mildew. When the fruit is growing in size, the plants don't seem to suffer at all from the fungi. I have always thought that it is part of the natural cycle of the plants? Dunno. I do water the leaves too. Maybe the extreme UV keeps the fungi at bay during the growing season? Dunno. My mates in the big shed grew pumpkins inside the shed and the powdery mildew covered a fair chunk of the inside of the building. A good pressure wash appears to have fixed that problem.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I get all sorts of unusual items in the coffee grounds too! Paper filters wouldn't be too much of a drama because they will break down, but I hear you about maintaining appearances and I keep this place very neat for that reason. Messy places probably tend to attract complaints and I have known of some people down here that have scored clean up orders by the local council. Nobody wants the local council sniffing around on a fishing expedition. I really wonder about their finances because the reports are saying that they can't afford the recycling costs - which is really a stop gap for storing the stuff before it gets chucked into landfill. I wonder if they ever thought that maybe they should take a pay cut as they are offering less services now?

Yeah, the taste of the corn was amazing. Really very different from what I have previously tasted and much sweeter. I suspect that growers harvest the corn later than what I picked it at because the kernels become tougher and the cobs store and travel better. Dunno. I went to the Queen Victoria Market today to do a big shop up and I spotted the corn variety that I grew for sale at about $2 per cob. The hybrid all yellow corn was about $1 a cob. I quite like the market and took today as a major sourcing day and picked up all of the stuff that I'd be planning to collect over the past few weeks. Lists are awesome things! Had a scrambled eggs on toast with mushrooms for lunch and it was awesome (they have egg laying chickens onsite).

From what I was reading, corn hybridises readily, but the seed saving manual said to keep kernels for seed from about 50 cobs. Obviously, you only have to take some of the kernels from each cob, but what the book was suggesting was that your variety will become inbred if you don't keep up that diversity and eventually the corn will develop later and later, unless you bring in new stock. In Mexico, they apparently plant the wild original variety of grass the stuff comes from and that appears to boost the vigour of the plants. Not good, but such is the way of the world.

You are onto something with the rotation. At the moment I can get away with it because I bring in huge amounts of organic matter. Of course there is the pest issue to consider too, but many problems are expressions of mineral deficiencies in the soil. I like the corn flowers too and they are remarkably hardy. Selecting for plants is an interesting topic. Like today, we processed another batch of tomatoes in the dehydrator and I saved all of the seed that was left on the chopping board because it came from a huge diversity of fruit, rather than just one or two plants. ;-)!

Fair enough too about your opinion. I don't much go in for such sensationalism anyway, it is more of an extreme cultural bit of strangeness.

Kookaburra's are awesome and they seem to get along well with the magpies that live here. I find that strange because they both eat the same diet, but Kookaburra's have a very large and powerful beak and I have read that they can catch and kill snakes, but I've never seen that. I have seen them eat a snake though.

Not do as well as their parents. Far out. My mum retired in her mid 50's. I do not believe that that is a possibility for either myself or the editor. You might have noticed that we work hard to account for that difference in situation! Hehe! Oh well, no point crying about spilled milk or something like that. The Green Wizards are discussing money and property on the next session and I'll be leading that discussion. It should be interesting and I may even record it. Never discount the possibility, and try and formulate a plan B just in case. If it doesn't happen, then that is cool.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Absolutely too. A lot of people of means are assisting their kids and I wonder if deep down they understand what that means. I got shown the door and told to sink or swim, but everyone has different experiences. I reckon what you may be circling around is that it is possible to do a few things, even now, but not everything and a person has to more or less discard the stories that aren't working for them. Now that might take a bit more clarity of thought than gets used in society, but it is worth the effort!

Haha! Funny. Your review confirmed my worst suspicions. The 'I Tonya' film was actually very good, but perhaps it takes an Australian director and actor (both of whom reside in the US) to tell a dark tale about a life in the US? Dunno. The editor and I were discussing the film today and we sort of feel that as an individual social climbing is possible, but eventually you hit the limits of your social intelligence and that is about as high as you can climb. Of course there are some exceptions, but by and large the games that people play get ever more complex and people make themselves known through the slightest hint of inability to play the game. The Tonya character appeared to be technically superior to the other competitors, but that isn't enough and she required social graces which she was ill equipped with. I'd suggest that was a failure of herself as well as her coach. You may recall that I mentioned 'horse breaking' and the dogs, well I don't feel that we are as free as we may think.

Gotta run. Off to the pub!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I asked my son if he saw any changes at the small recycling center in town yesterday. He said not, though it is closing for a week next week for maintenance. And he said that what he had read about the large regional recycling company was that they were shutting down their single-stream recycling program - where they were recycling certain items out of the unsorted trash collected from each household - not the whole operation.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I did my weekly shop up at our local veg store and Safeway. Not near as interesting as the Victoria Market, I'm sure :-). LOL. That $2 corn. It's always a kick in the pants when you see something you got for "free" off your patch, selling for a high price. Of course, the things you grow are not "free." There's all those true and hidden costs to figure in. But what is the value of the flavor of fresh from the field corn? The shear joy of coaxing something from the earth with your two hands?

But you know that. We've talked (I think) about something maybe not making sense in a strict dollars and sense way, but it's the intangibles that make it worth it. Never mind small carbon footprints, knowing exactly what has been sprayed on your food and, being more resilient.

Hit the limits of your social intelligence. I think what you're saying (maybe) is that it's all wrapped up in class, education, what part of town you were raised in, etc.. And, does it bother a person? Does a person have the insight, into their (them?) selves enough to not be bothered by all that nonsense? Does it thwart their ambitions? Are there ways around barriers (besides trying to break someone's leg?) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Social dynamics? We certainly have enough of it, around The Home. LOL. It was great fun the first time I ran across The Rev/Chaplin of this place. Of course, we're both guys, so there's the ritual circling around, trying to get a "fix" ... to peg one another. Sigh. He was at first so hopeful, then so disappointed. You see, I was raised in the same denomination that he touts, but left it behind long ago. And, now, practice, well, nothing identifiable as organized. I'm sure he and his little group "pray" for me :-).

I think the final corker was when he warned me that there were weird, may weird people here at The Home. And, I told him, "Oh, good. I need a bit of weird. Makes life interesting." So, I'm pretty much beyond the pale. Oh, we're polite when we run across one another. But that's about it. As I find out more about his personal life, he's managed to drive all his children away (some joined less rigid sects of the same denomination ... Lutherans come in many flavors) and one child is gay. I think he's a bitter and disappointed little man. But those people must be watched. Given a bit of power, they can be dangerous.

Well, that was quit a riff! What I meant to explore is that The Ladies ... well, some of them try and maintain appearances. A genteel poverty. They look down their noses at those who either had a bohemian streak, all along, or have just decided, "I'm old. That stuff isn't important, anymore." LOL. I'm the fly in the ointment. I travel freely between all groups and have "friends" in both camps. They don't understand that. Sometimes. I think, maybe, I'm just dismissed as, "He's a guy. He doesn't "get" it." Which is fine. I live easily with that. And, use it to my advantage. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Yes, when looking at manuals or seeking computer help, I often think (knowing it isn't true) "Apparently, I'm the only one in the world that's had this problem."

Thank goodness (sometimes) for the internet. It's kind of like when my cat had problems .. loosing her fur on the insides of her back legs and tummy. Not over-grooming, no sores or discomfort. So, I did an internet search and discovered, without too much problem that it is a.) common and b.) could be fixed with a slight dietary tweak.

Or, for the longest time, my e-mail accounts kept throwing up a request for the number of my mobile device. Apparently vital for them to have in case I lost my password. It never seemed to occur to them that a.) I didn't have a mobile device at that time or b.) I write my passwords down (in a little book I call 'my brains'). Now I have a mobile device (the cheapest, most simple flip phone I could find), but still won't give them the number, as I figure I'd be getting all kinds of calls to inform me of "things I would want to know." Again. They assume and it never crosses their minds (apparently) that I'm quit happy with things as they stand and that my e-mail accounts "do" everything I desire.

Oh, and (am I ranting?) I heard an interview with two fellows who were singing about driverless cars. The interviewer asked about the random pedestrian that might wander into the path of such car. Oh, well, the car would detect the mobile device that every stray pedestrian must carry and avoid collision. And, those that don't carry such devices? So sad. Such a pity. Maybe it's Darwin at work? Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Petty crims rarely have guns down here, but you never know how a situation will turn out. The thing on that day was that the two numpty's displayed absolutely no interest in the customers and that was obvious to me at the time. They were in and out again and the whole thing was over and done with in the matter of a minute or two. I follow the crime news on the off chance that any patterns emerge from the muck, and I noted a few months back when a veteran crime reporter observed that the petty crims were unable to drive a vehicle with a manual gearbox. You never know what little titbits of information emerge from that particular swamp. You may also have noticed that whilst things look neat and attractive here, they are also very undesirable. Both vehicles are now over ten years old. I read a story about a crim turned author many years ago and he said that he targeted wealthy folks as the return on investment was higher.

Glad you enjoyed the sunset photos. The hot and dry weather produces the most amazing sunsets. At night now, the air is much cooler and drier and the star field is spectacular and the strip of the Milky Way is clearly seen as well as the greater Andromeda blob. Fair enough about the blue lady, as we all experience art differently.

In small gardens that is probably the case, but I have so much area to spread them around that the coffee grounds disappear within a week or two at the most. Broad-acre farmers pay for some of those minerals and I'm bringing back well over a hundred pounds per week - for free. It is an arrangement that everyone seems happy with, and the fruit trees have grown a lot this year and have easily put on at least four to five feet of growth this summer. All I need now is a three legged ladder which I'll have to make over the winter when things are quieter, otherwise I can no longer reach the highest fruit. Harvest time is very busy for people who have to also work in the monetary economy. I plan to write about that in two weeks time.

Yeah, the long fingernail thing is very much an Asian affectation. Mind you, all of the policies that we are pursuing as a civilisation are pointing our species into the dominant occupation of subsistence farmer...

Electricity I reckon is unknowable, but we can learn to enjoy some of the benefits of it.

Ouch. I am almost a bit uncomfortable asking as to how the books in the shed survived the sudden influx of rain. How did the books survive the rain?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Superb Roman villa discovered by subway construction workers in Rome.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Good question. Down here we have a law which prohibits folks from making profits from criminal acts, however things are different elsewhere and I noted recently that an alleged criminal in your country was about to have a publicity spree. The opening quote in this weeks blog was a play on one of the quotes that I'd heard in relation to that. I feel that satire is probably one of the few ways that we can safely discuss such abhorrent actions and how they affect us all.

Commercial areas are quite handy and I'm unsure about your story from that time, but the houses were largely constructed during the Victorian era and turn of the 20th century and so they were all small and the suburb was very walkable - so the commercial area survived. What also helped it survive was that the commercial area was adjacent to the railway station. Thanks for sharing the memories of those parties and piñatas are heaps of fun for the kids.

I was pretty pleased that the outcome was not worse too! You know the episode was a bit key stone cops, but with the tables turned. The detective asked me to drop by the shop and say hello and check and see whether they were OK. I did just that and to my surprise, the people in the shop looked surprised and asked me whether I was OK. Far out! People get a bit weird down here about mental health issues…

The blue lady is lovely and I always recall the eventful day where we met the artist whenever I look at her. Some objects achieve a level of significance beyond their mere substance, don't you reckon?

The cold winter winds will be blowing here and the overnight lows will bring frosts and I shall warm myself before the winter fire and bask in the warm glow of stories of your tomato harvest! The birds here thief off with cherries, before I even get around to wondering whether I should possibly net the trees. Please keep your squirrels as they sound very intelligent and would enjoy living down here! Frederick is very naughty and should be chastised immediately! Hehe! Good luck with that as I suspect Frederick is very fast and immune to your consultations. ;-)!

Yum! I picked some very ripe Asian nashi pears this evening. Total 100% yummo! Good luck with the late frost. Two years ago we lost the blossoms for the entire apricot and cherry crop because of a late frost.

So many cucumbers... We pickled some more cucumbers recently and they are very tasty. The chickens are getting spoiled though at this time of year and I take a full bucket of all sorts of tasty garden treats every single day.

We may make a new path above the house shortly. Flat paths and concrete steps are just the thing for steep land. Fingers crossed the new hose hangers survive the conditions. The old hangers failed in the hot summer sun and the edges of the hanger began marking the apparently 30 year lifespan hoses. That annoyed me more than the metal failing!

Ollie is oblivious to the hardships of winter and every time I mention them to him, he says to me that surely you must be joking for the sun is warm and nice today. Ah, the naiveté of youth.

cont..

Fernglade Farm said...

Funny! I hope you have heard the laughing song of the Kookaburra? It is very distinctive and no other bird makes a sound quite like it.

No doubts your geranium will soon be enjoying some outside time - like the chooks did this evening. Ollie is confused about his role as chook guardian. Such youthful antics make me feel sad for the loss of the poor departed Sir Poopy.

No worries at all about the Isa Brown. Her mate (psycho chicken – done to talking Heads Psycho Killer) took out my favourite chicken - the little black silky - and such things are not soon forgiven. I suspect that she was off the lay too because the egg count has not changed one little bit. Of course the older chickens here enjoy a delightful life in retirement and the chicken 'silky mum' is now about eight years old and going strong.

Fair enough about the solar power. Cloud cover kills solar and reduces the output of panels to about 20% of their rated capacity. Winters here can be a bit touch and go if I'm not careful with consumption.

Hmm. Yup. The recycling story has become more and more interesting. The farm here is right on the very outskirts and then beyond some of Melbourne. Services are disappearing from the periphery, I guess, and anyway, I'll write more on this subject next week. ;-)!

Mr Logsdon is no doubts correct about burying metals as they will break down into their constituent components eventually. We use glass now as fill behind the rock gabions, metal has recycling value, and everything else gets returned to the soil. The small amount of plastic we are left with each week is a nuisance... I hear you!

There is a powerful owl outside and I can hear its distinctive call. Scritchy can’t go to the toilet unsupervised…

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I ran out of time to complete replying to you yesterday as the pub was calling and the kitchen closes at 8.30pm sharp. Anyway, it was all in a good cause, or something like that! The manager there knows we enjoy a good dark ale and last evening he mentioned that he was down to the final dregs of a dark ale and there were one or two pints left in the keg. I sort of pithily replied that although the brew was a bit of a lightweight, we'd take a bullet for the team and drink that! Funny stuff, and we all had a bit of a laugh. Sometimes my brain does not come up with such amusing lines, but it is nice when it works. Alas, I am not as quick footed with sharp replies as I was when I was in my youth. Possibly my brain is full of agricultural stories and other cares which may be the case? Dunno. How about you, do you have clever retorts readily to hand?

I've never been to Europe or France either. Most of our travel was either in this country or in third world countries in South East Asia. Plus we once went to Peru, which was very nice although the jet lag killed me. You know, I read a few books about food in France which were written by the English author Peter Mayle who wrote the enormously popular children's sex education books: "Where did I come from". I had to do a Google search to recall the authors name and no doubt that question possibly returned some unusual answers if I chose to look further... What were we talking about, that's right, France and food. Peter Mayle wrote some delightful books about his food adventures in France and most of those were about the high quality food that the locals were eating. There is something to be said about such food, and most of what we specialise in cooking here would be considered 'peasant food' but it always enjoys rave reviews. The bread loaf I bake is a crusty peasant loaf recipe and every scrap of it gets consumed by visitors. Speaking of which I picked up some wheat at the Queen Vic Market and will try grinding and baking it. Mr Logsdon has inspired me to up my game!

Yeah, the insect hotels they supply down here do the same thing. Most of the native bees here live in either small family units or are independent thinkers and possibly don't play well with others... Oh, I may have just been writing about myself!!! Hehe! I really do hope that your shelter box attracts some mason bees. I reckon it will.

Yeah, the guy in the film was not a nice guy at all. Strangely enough, despite that, I quite enjoyed the story. We spoke about social climbing and social intelligence and the difficulties the central character had with being technically superior and socially inferior – and that both aspects were judged. The thing is that way back in the day, there were such things as 'finishing schools' which would have filled that particular niche. Much like horse breaking. To be honest, I often wonder whether if the character was better rounded would she have been able to be as technically advanced relative to the other competitors? Dunno. Certainly if some folks focus on a single ability or area of their lives they may achieve a high degree of specialisation? Dunno. Again, I rather vividly recall my mate almost killing me in a car in the local area because he drove at a kangaroo without slowing down whilst I was having a bit of a freak out in the passenger seat. Apparently because he had a PhD in a completely unrelated area, he pronounced himself an expert in all things kangaroo, and then went on to explain that he knew that it would bounce off the road. I was very unimpressed.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Yes, true costs is a forgotten issue. It is hard for people to even recall that they are living high on the hog. Jo who is an occasional commenter here wrote a thoughtful blog post about it today in her blog "All the Blue Day". Anyway, externalities are completely unknown to the average person. I dunno, I just do the best I can. But yeah, we will hear more and more about that particular issue. Absolutely 100%.

A very wise move too. Yup, I would run from that dust up over the coffee grounds. Mate, I am incredibly gracious about the coffee grounds and ensure that it is absolutely no hassle for them whatsoever. I bring back such a huge treasure trove of crucial minerals every single week and nobody realises. In fact to them it is a cost to be borne as it really costs them dollars to get rid of the stuff. What a strange world we live in, but I've always said that any society that does not return their manures back into the soil - and then some (green manures, fallow land etc.) is living on borrowed time. The present conditions in relation to food production cannot be sustained as it is just not possible. Still, nobody wants to hear that either, and so I simply get on with the job at hand.

Good for you getting the mushroom compost. That stuff is really good for leafy greens and grains. It's the A-bomb of soil additives for leafy greens. You may want to not put too much around nitrogen fixers such as peas and beans as they don't really need it and may do better without it. And tomatoes enjoy a bit more woody compost as well as the mushroom compost. Mix it in too because stable manure sometimes has anti-worming agents in it which they seem to want to feed to horses which don't have a lot of access to fresh grazing paddocks.

The 'viager' agreements are interesting, and many years ago there was a lot of talk about reverse mortgages for the elderly, so they are around, or maybe they were at one point in time. The thing about them that the banks wouldn't like is the personal nature of the risk, and that means that the banks would have trouble rolling the debt into bonds to flog off to unsuspecting suckers and they would be hard to get off their books.

Thanks for the film review too! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis (again - oops! The system has gone completely awry!),

The Queen Victoria Market is a wonderful place, and hopefully the long since deceased Queen is amused by the antics there. :-)! Exactly too, none of the produce here is free, in fact I was discussing this very issue with someone last weekend who had troubles with the concept that in fact it is more expensive for me to produce my own produce. Price signals are completely wacky nowadays for good reasons, and purchased produce is not same for same with the stuff that I do produce here. It is a complex story that I probably should write about and I can confuse everyone here too. :-)!

However, I reckon you well know that story already. Hehe! Yup it is the intangibles. But you'd be very surprised at how few understand it. I'm disturbed that so many people try to bring things back to a monetary values anyway and it says a lot about their worldviews.

Yeah, breaking peoples legs has never really been a recipe for success. Hehe! They tend to get a bit grumpy and some may even start plotting their revenge. But it also depends on whether that person challenging the system can get a group within or without the system to champion their cause. Tonya had none of those advantages and never sought them, except at the very end where she had allegedly set in motion some very stupid people.

Ha! Much good that will do. I hope they pray for themselves as that might be a smarter move. What is it with attempting to subdue others wills anyway? Gods with ledgers seem to be a rather pedantic lot - just sayin. And would they seek the growth model I ask you? And there seems to be an awful lot of flexibility in interpretation of the severity of one bit of badness against another bit of badness. Isn't it all just badness? Anyway, I have different thoughts on the matter which are basically incompatible with them. I prefer a few flaws and have no expectations of perfections or utopias or whatever.

Exactly too! I prefer a diversity of people and personalities. Imagine how dull things would be if we were all the same? Yeah, those two personality traits are not a good combination and it is best not to give people with those an edge on your life.

You are wise to do so, and I likewise speak to people across all sections of the community because there are so many interesting stories around and I don't feel even vaguely superior to any of them. I have personally known poverty and also known extraordinarily wealthy folks and I remember having a strange thought many years ago whilst travelling in the back blocks of Asia: 'Most people are fairly the same and just want to get on with life as they see it'. Of course there are some seriously bad folks out there too, but we have our fair share of those and I believe something like two women die at the hands of their partners every single week down here.

I noticed your conversation with Pam about email and mobile phone confirmations. Google has recently begun asking me whether I want my own URL for this blog. This is a new thing and we may have to transition to the podcast domain sooner or later. Nothing is free for very long even on the internet. I already pay for the other domain so it is no drama at all – apart from the work involved.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Pam

No we only got a few inches of wet snow and now it's quite cold - was in the teens last night. Still most of the snow has melted. Looks like the end of next week will bring the 50's. One advantage of the cold temperatures though is no muddy dog feet.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I think all those breeds are good as well as Barred Rocks, Delawares and other older breeds. I like Orpingtons for their disposition but they tend to go broody. I really liked the Brown Leghorns I had last year as they were very predator savvy and great foragers but as yours aren't free ranging as much as mine were they probably wouldn't be the best for you. They did lay big white eggs and quite a few. They are pretty flighty as well.

Logsdon's last book I believe is "Gene Everlasting: A Contrary Farmer's Thoughts on Living Forever".

Sometimes the powdery mildew kills the plants before the produce is ready - particularly winter squash. We have a lot of humidity during the summer which doesn't help.

I wanted to tell you about Mirai sweet corn which is a variety that was developed by a farm here. http://twingardensinc.com/harvardsown/

For quite some time only Twin Gardens sold it but now it's offered by other farmers. The smallest amount you can buy from them is a half dozen and it's packaged in mesh bags. It's also significantly more expensive than other sweet corn. Now when I tasted it when it was first developed I remember it being sweeter than it is now. When I buy sweet corn now I don't buy Mirai but rather just 3 ears of another type - a lot cheaper. WGN radio, one of the major radio stations in Chicago, publicized it when it was first available and people came out here in droves - it was crazy!! We were having dinner with a couple from the family who owns and manages the farm a few years ago and the guy said they ship quite a bit - a dozen ears for $50.

I would have liked to see "I, Tonya" but it's no longer at the theaters around us. I remember when it happened.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew

I had to laugh when I read about your chaplain. My mother-in-law is either atheist or agnostic depending on the day you ask. When Doug and his mom were meeting with Hospice last week they asked if she'd like to see their chaplain and she adamantly replied No!! Each Sunday a different church comes in the afternoon to do a service of some kind which of course she has no interest in. In fact she had me come in to visit at that time as her room mate would be out of the room. One of my old principals who is prominent in his church is often there and comes in her room while we're drinking our wine to see if we'd like to join them. The last time he dropped off a valentine with some scripture. When he left my MIL said "You know where this is going", looking at the wastebasket.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, sometimes I have a clever retort. Sometimes I come up empty. Sometimes, I just steal them. :-). The bon mot. The twist of phrase. But then there's those, what the French call, 'staircase moments.' Things that come to mind when you're on your way back to your flat. "I wish I would have said..." LOL. I had an ACTUAL staircase moment, yesterday. Well, a good retort that happened in the actual stairwell, here at The Home. Now, given the delicacy of this blog (keeping it family friendly, etc.) I can't say exactly what I said. No bad language was used, but it was the concept. Steve, the great shambling blockish dude that lives here and I were on our way back to our apartments, discussing the electric bills we had just received. And, I made a very blockish comment. I thought Steve was going to fall down the stairs! I think he even blushed. We take our fun where we find it.

Oh, I remember Mayle's book, very well. I was in the book trade, at that time, and we sold those little hummers, hand over fist. Couldn't keep them in stock. I think the timing was just right for that kind of book, and, the illustrations were great fun. He also did one for adolescents called "What's Happening to Me." But I didn't know he had written books on France.

French food. Well, there seems to be peasant/country food which can be very regional. Thrifty and inventive. The, as I understand it, there's Bourgeoisus cooking that's rather ... codified. Reflecting the discomfort of the middle class. Appearances, etc.. Then there's haute cuisines. Which was an outgrowth of cooking for royalty. And, finally, some well known French foodie (Simone Beck?) said about attempting haute cuisines cooking at home, well, her first response was "Mad" and her second was "Why?" Which may be the dirty little secret of all those Americans pushing French food.

Finishing schools. Back in the greedy 80s, when cocaine fueled fortunes were being made on Wall Street, I read that some of the young wonder kinder barbarians being shoveled out of business schools had a decided lack of ... 'grace.' Companies either set up instruction in house, or sent them out to a kind of finishing school. Basic table manners, etc.. In our blue collar, mostly, neighborhood during our 7th and 8th grade years (around 12 years old) , just about all the kids went to a 'dancing school.' Not only were the 'classic' formal dance moves taught, but also the basics of manners in mixed company. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Thanks for the compost tips. The Master Gardener that shows up here has touched on side dressing, with this or that, for maximum health and yield. He's showing up tomorrow to do a seminar on blueberries. Pruning. Fertilization. As I take such advantage of our bushes, I'd better go.

Oh, and a stray thought I had about the finishing schools. Some people are very good at reinventing themselves through observation. Some need a bit of direction.

And, to get back to food (why not?) I've just put a book on hold from the library. "The Greedy Queen: Eating With Victoria." (Gray, 2017). But judging from a review, it's a bit more than that. "...a look at the changing nature of cooking and eating in the Victorian Era." I do know, during that era, the quantity, quality and variety of food, for the common folk, improved.

Thrift, quality, or intangibles. That seems to be it, in a nutshell, as far as food goes.

I played Bingo for Blood, last night. The computerized version, failed, so, we had to drag out what The Ladies call The Meat Grinder. One of those rotating cages the spits out wooden balls (which, being the most spry, I had to chase around the room a time or two.) I am now only $2.15 in the hole. Down from a -6.85. I won the black out ... but had to share it with two other people :-(. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - I saw a short report, on that. As it was found hard by a set of barracks, they think it might be a military commanders house. Perhaps even the digs of the Emperor's Praetorian Guard. If so, quit a bit of history happened in that building. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I was feeling too utterly fed up to check out the books carefully. I don't think that there has been any damage that really matters. Son has put a tarp over the roof until he can get around to the job. He'll need dry weather anyhow. At the moment we are getting a tremendous amount of rain. He works full time plus dealing with his livestock.

A breakdown of comparative costs between growing ones own food and buying it, would be very interesting. No contest if one includes the charge of ones own labour. Chemical free is certainly worth something plus the extreme freshness if one picks and immediately cooks. The physical exercise involved is great too.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Frosts there - and it's only early March!

Only part of Sir Poopy is gone . . .

Is Scritchy small enough to be owl bait or is it the owl's welfare that you are worried about?

I don't know about 3-legged ladders. I would be interested to hear about that. There is a lot of fruit (when there's fruit) that I can't reach.

I have some of Peter Mayle's food books. They are so much fun.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

You are killing me! So sad for the Neanderthal pedestrian who meets a driverless car!

I can rant about the intrusiveness when signing into an email account, too. Every now and then they ask for my phone number, also, before they will let me sign in. I do an end run around that and sign in through another place until they give up.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Electrics have just been checked. It appears that they are stunningly good and there is no explanation for the 2 occasions when it tripped. The assumption is that it could have been ice/condensation during the ghastly weather.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks very much for the chicken experience. There is a poultry auction in these parts to be held soon, so you have given me a bit to think about. The auction process is apparently very old school and no doubts I'll probably love it, but to be honest I have no idea what to do and so will rely on friends to walk me through the process. No doubts I'll get ripped off. :-)! Out of curiosity how did you purchase chickens?

Was that a recommendation for his last book? Poor Scritchy has eaten too many pork bones today which may have been a bit rich for her. She is not feeling well at all.

Ouch, humid summers can often be very hard on vegetables and fruit trees. Far out, I notice that a lot of productive edible plants are grown in hot and dry locations, and that is cool as long as they have access to water which is always the main problem in such places. The extreme UV is hard on plants, but it is also hard on fungi.

A dozen ears for $50! Ouch. They perhaps should have called their variety 'mortgage lifter' like the famous tomato. I'm going old school open pollinated varieties with the corn. I suspect I planted at the correct spacings, but planted the rows too closely together. Oh well, as they say, there is always next year.

I sort of feel that Tonya paid a high price for her minor part with the lifetime ban. Personally, if I were her, I would have left the country for another country that would have taken me in and continued with her sport. The new start would perhaps have broken some of her poor decision making processes too. Dunno, fortunately I'm not faced with such disasters...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh yeah! The best ideas are sometimes other peoples. And who can lay claim to the best lines given the long and ever evolving history of our language? Anyway, there are always smarter people around so I don't worry about such things. On a serious note, I haven't noticed that people with really high IQ's are better adapted for this thing that we call society. What do you reckon about that? Of course that may come across as sour grapes, and there may be a small element of that, but regardless, I don't see great outcomes for those folks, and sometimes they're just outright difficult. It does come back to the discussion we were having about the narrow areas of specialty that our society seems to encourage. It doesn't make much sense to me, but then who am I to gainsay that experiment? Perhaps someone may mention that the technology for specialities is getting better all of the time... Far out, I get sick of hearing that rhetorical trick. I should retort that extraordinary claims about vapourware require extraordinary evidence! Haha! Take that! Is flummoxed the correct word in that instance? Hehe!

Oh yeah, that was a standard text book down here in the maybe early 1980's. It was very sweet and was perhaps as you say written for the times. Yeah, his early book on his experience in France was like an upmarket version of the Annie Hawes series of books. It may have been that by the third book he was having a lot of trouble with people just dropping by, and they were absolute strangers too. I would go absolutely bonkers if people thought that was OK here. I saw an old guy all dressed up in lycra this morning on his push bike riding up the dirt road. Is it an outlier or an enemy scout? So many questions left unanswered. Hopefully the awful conditions of the dirt road dissuaded him from venturing up this way again.

Hmm. I can see that social class in action with the food. The Europeans are far less uncomfortable about such matters. I'm not much of a fan of high end food. People I know are occasionally trying to rope me into going with them to high end restaurants, but the people I know that are genuine foodies don't eat there and they don't make such a fuss about such places. I did a work favour for a very wealthy dude once and I guess he repaid the favour by taking me to lunch at a high end restaurant and whilst I know how to conduct myself at such places, it is uncomfortable for me as such places are not for I. It is hard to explain really, but I just don't feel that the food is worth the hype - it is good, but it is not that good and rarely do I feel that it is it worth the price. But that is simply an opinion and other people feel differently.

Such schools are not a bad idea, especially if the wunderkind have to schmooze with the wealthy, and the kids have to interact with the other gender. Far out, nowadays we have this strange experiment where no one is taught how to interact with other people and what a surprise it all ends badly. I see that playing out and I don't much like it. The other thing is if both parents work just to pay a mortgage and the other debt, how the heck do they get the time to teach kids to interact with other kids so that they don't kill each other? I dunno. The saddest thing I saw over the past week was a table of people, and it may have been at a restaurant or a café, I can't quite remember, but a very young child was strapped into a high chair and the parents dumped a screen in front of the kid. Now the child was under a year and I was uncomfortable seeing that gear going on.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Cool! Did you learn much from the Master Gardener? I love watching such people in action and mucking around with the soil and plants. And you never quite know what you'll learn in the process. Oh, are you meant to prune blueberries? I didn’t know that. The ones here seem to have had a growth spurt this summer, so hopefully next year they may put on even more growth.

Hey, I was trying to explain to my neighbour today that pulling water from their well (we call them water bores) would have an impact on the surrounding forest because those trees would have less water to drink. The wells here are sunk deep but they can be drained pretty quickly if thoughtlessly used. Anyway, he is a well intentioned bloke but he looked a bit annoyed by my observation. What do you do? Such actions drain water from my property too. I guess the energy required to lift the water is pretty high so maybe it is just a moment in time.

Exactly about the reinvention too. Sometimes a person has to walk away from a situation and use what they've learned and set up shop again elsewhere. Mate, I moved from the city to the bush, so I could hardly claim otherwise! :-)! We all move around I guess. I suspect in the deep future we will do a whole lot less of that gear.

Yeah, I guess that did happen. For many decades during that Queens reign many colonies were effectively giant off shore farms. Many farming activities down under during those days strip mined the soils. It happens.

I reckon the quality of the ingredients is a key thing with food, but also, cooking is like learning a language where you have to learn that some words go together, whilst others don't. Flavours and ingredients are a lot like that. You with your style of cooking push those boundaries and I respect that, because that too is another way that we learn and extend the language. Hope that all makes sense?

Hang on a minute. So, you went old school style bingo for blood and started recouping your past losses. Hmm. I have a deeply suspicious mind! Hehe! Good luck, it is all for fun anyway, and sometimes cheating in games can be part of the fun. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Your son has done well to get a tarp over a buildings roof during a storm. That is no small thing, and it is also a thoughtful short term solution. Oh my, that is a full load so respect to your son for managing it. If I had to work full time, I would really struggle extending the infrastructure here. Everything is a compromise don't you reckon?

Hmm. The cost of food is a strange topic indeed. You're absolutely correct too about the intangibles as it is not possible to convert them into money. Sometimes I suspect that people tell me about ways I could convert the produce here into money because that medium defines relationships for them outside of their primary relationships of family and friends. Dunno. I've been dwelling upon that topic for quite a while and clarity is not quite there. Does anyone ever suggest to you that you or your son should sell some of your produce?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Oops! Sorry, I meant frosts up in your part of the world. Possibly late May or early June will see the earliest frost. The nights are getting cooler here.

Yes, the poopyquat (thanks for that because that is the name we use to describe that tree) is doing very well. I may have to lift the thule cover off it shortly so that the leaves can harden before winter arrives.

Scritchy could possibly be taken by an owl, and almost certainly by an eagle. Fortunately she always keeps larger and very handy friends around so she is not at risk. She would be very grumpy about the incident and she may bite the bird.

The three legged ladders are an old school item for climbing high into fruit trees. The work insurance means that they are no longer used on commercial orchards as I believe workers are not allowed to climb more than two treads on a ladder. Although they looked deadly serious when they told me that, but still it sort of sounds wrong to me. Oh well.

His books are fun aren't they, and he has such a love of French culture and food. And the dramas he had getting the house repaired and the interactions were very entertaining.

I fell asleep on the floor this afternoon. Sir Scruffy fell asleep beside me. Before too long Ollie joined in and pushed my head slightly off the pillow. Then Toothy got in on the action, and finally Scritchy piled on. And I slept through the whole thing...

Scritchy has eaten too many pork bones today but appears to be feeling better now after having deposited the contents of her guts on the floor. Dogs...

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I got my chickens from a variety of sources. Some were from hatcheries,Black Javas were from one of those demonstrations farms that raise heritage breeds and demonstrate old time skills and quite a few were introduced to me by our neighbor who is active in The Livestock Conservancy.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Hmm, when to compromise and when not to; an interesting question.

We use all the veg and fruit that we grow or forage. Meat and eggs have been sold sometimes. Very few people actually know how we live so we don't receive suggestions.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Re: The Chicken Auction. Watch a couple of "lots" and see how the auctioneer handles the bidding and works the room. Here, the auctioneer may start the budding on a lot at $100. Just to see if there are any rubes in the room. No bids. So, he may drop it to $20. Still no bids. Then he hits $5 .... and the real bidding begins. / You have to register, before hand. You'll probably be issued something with a number on it. Now, I'm old and adipated and can't keep up with all the up and down of the bidding. It moves VERY fast and after loosing out on a couple of lots, when the bidding really gets going, I just hold my number up until I win, or, it hits a level I don't want to pay, and I put my number down. It's maybe considered an "amateur" move, but I don't give a fig. I think, maybe, I'm known enough now that it is realized that when I go for something, I'm going to get it. And, I will pay more than the dealers will. It probably helps to look a bit crazed and determined :-). / Fees. There will be additional fees added to what your winning bid is. Taxes, maybe. Also, probably a "buyer's fee" or "premium". A percentage of the sale. Method of payment also effects the final cost. Maybe. Here, if you use a credit card (and, you might have to register a card, before the auction when you get your number. I let them know I'm going to pay cash, but they want the number, anyway. A lower percentage is charged for cash. In Chehalis, cash and checks are the same. In Olympia, credit cards and checks are charged at the higher rate. When you get your receipt, make sure you got the cash rate. Whew! You are now prepared to go to an auction :-).

Richard Olney's digs in Provence reminded me of Hawes. Broken down old farmhouse with terraces of olive trees ... bought for a song. There was a lot of talk last week, over at Ecosophia about moving to other countries an fitting in. I still think the most effective way is to marry into an old family. :-).

Fans can be quit odd and intrusive. Salanger finally fled to the boonies, after a few rather frightening interactions with fans. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Maybe the old biker dude was just lost? Being a bloke, he wouldn't stop and ask for directions. He's just soldier on until he was un-lost. :-).

I haven't eaten in any high end restaurants in a number of years. But always felt a bit "out of my league." Chain restaurants leave me a bit cold, but, they can have their occasional charms. Maybe that's why I like ethnic restaurants, so much. Not often part of a chain. Family owned. And, small town coffee shops / cafes with good ol' "Merican food. A big of home made or regional items. That "Taste of Alaska" place that my mate Scott and I went to was very much of the mold.

The blueberry seminar is this morning. I'll fill you in, tomorrow. I got my mason bee box up, yesterday. The Master Gardener seems very confident that "if you build it, they will come." Fingers crossed.

I've had a creepy feeling since the beginning that the computerized bingo isn't as random as it's let on, to be. But that might just be a bit of tech paranoia on my part. Then again, did you read that Amazon's Alexi, the ... talking whatever that is taking over a lot of homes (butler? household manager?) has developed a tendency to break out in maniacal laughter? A bug they can't quit run down. Or are the AIs waking up? Becoming conscious?

I might have gotten the spelling wrong on French middle class cooking. Cuisine bourgeoise is correct. I'm making Spanish rice for the potluck, tomorrow. Made up the rice (brown) and the sausage (veg), last night. It's a Betty Crocker recipe, probably from the Fab Fifties. Don't know if it made it's way, down there. I don't see it in Stephane Alexander. The above with diced green pepper, onions and canned tomatoes.

Off to the seminar to learn about all things blueberry. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

That is really fascinating about the chickens. I've never dealt with a hatchery before, but I have a suspicion that some of the members from the poultry club where I have long been purchasing chickens, well, I reckon they raise some of the more commercial breeds which are possibly sourced from hatcheries. Interesting. Demonstration farms and livestock conservancy groups are two ideas that I have never heard of before. You are very fortunate to have had that link into the heritage breeds. One of my worries is that I know that sooner or later I'm going to have to get off my backside and start a local group going. I'm just not ready for such things yet, and there is so much infrastructure to do here still. Looking into the future, I can see the time for such things, but it is not here yet.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

It is an interesting question isn't it? A simple answer might possibly be: It depends!

Glad that your electrics have checked out as being OK. I've never experienced those weather conditions, so I have absolutely no idea how the technology performs when exposed to them. I do know that solar panels produce no electricity when covered in a layer of snow! I mentioned to the neighbours yesterday about why we chose to use very old school technology with the solar power system. The old school components are locally designed and manufactured, and as such they can handle local conditions - such as the occasional day or week of extreme heat - and still continue to work, whilst having some additional tolerances to cope with even worse conditions. People have troubles recognising such qualities.

Fair enough. If it means anything to you, most folks who know how we utilise this land believe that we are very poor because we do so. I do understand their point of view, but sometimes it completely exasperates me as to why those people consider living in rural areas and bringing with them an attitude that if any part of their land was to be productive then that is a sign of poverty. Far out, as far as I understand the historical context for that belief, it was an affectation of the very wealthy and even then, behind the scenes they employed folks that kept food on the table for them - even up here in the very old hill station gardens. Apologies, I am ranting...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I tell ya, we've had an interesting week or two recently. The harvest and processing of all of the various foodstuffs has brought all thoughts of infrastructure to an abrupt halt. That is probably how it used to roll in the days of yore, and most of the plant varieties we grow here have a long period of time when they ripen too. I can't even begin to imagine the effort involved in crops that were selected to ripen all at once. Some thoughtful people have asked me why we use an electric food dehydrator to dehydrate food, and the simple answer is that whilst some days are cloudy, the batteries on the other hand provide reliable and constant energy. I recall seeing locals in Peru drying their harvests in the hot summer sun and it was hard to ignore the implications of that process.

Today was a reasonably slack day as we began another round of tomatoes in the dehydrator and got that going. Then a few of the raised garden beds had to be cleared of the remains of the summer vegetables because, well, a certain ruthlessness has to be employed in maintaining a flow of produce from those garden beds. Back in the days when we were softer with plants, we used to let the vegetables run their complete cycle, but eventually at some point in time, that vegetable bed becomes unproductive and then it becomes too late to plant out the next crop. And we also have to leave some beds go to seed so we can collect the seeds from those plants and replant them the following spring. It is an enormously complex cycle and the learning experience takes many, many years. Nothing makes me laugh more than hearing some silly prepper types talking about "nitrogen packed seeds" as if that is an end point. Far out.

Jason Happenstall wrote a thoughtful blog a few days ago about his experience with the recent storms in the UK and I was intrigued to read about the food supply issues.

Anyway, the upshot of my rambling thoughts was that we had a quieter day today which was nice. Some friends dropped by late this afternoon and that was a lot of laughs. I even enjoyed a rare siesta this afternoon. We had a picnic lunch at a higher elevation in the mountain range near an old lake which had been constructed for a TB sanatorium. That area was blocked off as environmental works were in process. The works involved cutting out a lot of the broad-leaved trees which had naturalised there. I was a bit sad about that because it was those shady trees that made the picnic ground so nice in the first place. Oh well...

Thanks for the tips and tactics with surviving an auction process. Interesting. I will give you a full report on the days activities. No doubts about it, I fully expect to be ripped off, but it should be both fun and beyond my comprehension all at the same time. Anyway here is a link to the group: Kyneton & District Poultry Club Auctions. Kyneton is a rural commercial town a bit further to the north of this mountain range.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Absolutely 100%, marrying into an old established farming family is still the way to go in a rural area. Anything else, and you and your third descendants are nothing other than 'Johnny come lately's'. One of the things I enjoy so much about rural areas is that stripes have to be earned. An old school farmer from around these parts once paid me a compliment by saying that his dad way back in the day undertook similar work to the land that the editor and I had been doing at that time. I'd never heard of Richard Olney, but came across a delightful article of which I thoroughly approve: A tiny Frenchwoman has had a huge impact on food in America. Awesome, and the sentence: 'And Olney wished to teach us how cooking could be a path to well-being, a blessed pagan state of sensual, aesthetic and intellectual fulfillment' won me completely over. An excellent aim. I picked up a copy of the book for my foodie mates as a present.

Alas, last week, I read a lot of the replies at Ecosophia, but the harvest is killing us for free time...
Salanger, hmm, yeah, well, we have discussed him before and I just didn't like the book at all. For some reason I wanted to put Holden Caulfield out of his sad misery and spare me from having to listen to his further disaffections.

Ha! Well we can only hope that the lone push bike rider was not scouting out new territories to conquer and the brag about on the internet. The editor would be very unhappy to discover hordes of bike riders in this area. Hordes of Orcs or zombies we could deal with, the push bike brigade is a whole different story.

Speaking of asking for directions, I always get annoyed by people who simply demand me to furnish them with directions. Have their mothers not taught them any forms of common courtesy? Anyway, I usually send such types in the wrong direction with a completely blank face...

Totally 100% with you. Yup, high end restaurants leave me feeling dissatisfied and we all know what might happen to Holden Caulfield types whining about this unfair world and the fact that they were ever born! Apologies, the Catcher in the Rye was a high school text and it just really did my head in. ;-)!

Fingers crossed, and hopefully he is correct. Certainly wildlife needs every bit of help it can get.

Haha! Well, I'm not suggesting that the computer bingo is rigged, but it would be fun if it was! Anyway, the enjoyment is in the game itself and the companionship and it may give you some solid insights into the controllers of the game. People often have this unshaken belief that naughty young folk somehow always mature with age and become un-naughty. I'm not entirely convinced about that myself.

Spanish rice is known down here as Paella and it is an absolute favourite of the editors. Total 100% yummo!

Hope the blueberry seminar was good. I noticed that those plants do not enjoy the competition they were getting from the tomatoes in prior years. I have been ruthless in removing the competition this year and the blueberries have thrived.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Poverty is always assumed to be the case when one lives as I do; this is no bad thing.

Son has got my washing machine and dryer out this morning. A ghastly job as there is so little space. At one point he did say 'Why don't you live in a bigger house?' A rhetorical question actually. He said that the washing machine felt as though it had crampons on underneath and he kept expecting the floor to open up like the Red sea. I had spent the previous evening clearing the route out which involved carrying armfuls of books. Son had to move some of the furniture and shift a sliding door. He is going to alter the position of the water inlet to make things easier.

@ Chris and Lew

True randomization is not possible but only a top notch mathemation (can't spell) could explain why and one wouldn't understand the explanation anyhow.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Some hatcheries have the advantage of a very large variety of breeds. However, I wonder how robust they are. Here's why - I purchased several breeds of chickens from Stromberg's (a large hatchery in the US). Some of the chickens were Black Australorp. Some time later I purchased two Australorp hens and a rooster at a farm swap. Those were much bigger than the ones from the hatchery that I raised. Here's a link from the farm http://www.garfieldfarm.org/ and here's one from the Livestock Conservancy https://livestockconservancy.org/

Regarding the spacing of corn - the varieties of feed corn grown here in abundance are now spaced so close together that you can't walk between rows which a few decades ago it was easy to do.

Yesterday was the recycling drive and it was just a zoo. There hadn't been one for a three months and I guess everyone just collected all their stuff. We had two lines of cars going through and still the traffic was backed up a long way down the road (much to the dismay of the people who were not going to the drive I imagine). I had to leave an hour before the end of the drive and the only way to get out was to sit in the line going through which was about 15 minutes. We had lots of volunteers but there was no rest for anyone. It's particularly disturbing to see all the styrofoam. Frankly it was lucky that no one got hit by a car.

Thought I'd chime in regarding selling the produce you raise. When I left my teaching job I thought I could make some real money selling produce at the farmer's market and chickens as well. I had some of my brothers to help me and my sister came out from Chicago once a week to help. She would refer to herself as a migrant farmer. Well it was an interesting learning experience to say the least. I possibly broke even if I didn't take into account all the free labor and it sure was a ton of work. I did enjoy the social aspect of the farmer's market and took Michael along with to help which he very much enjoyed. Well this all lasted for two years. From then on we just sell excess pigs, chickens, eggs and sometimes produce to friends and family. The pigs and turkeys especially would cover the cost of our meat anyway. We had the same people purchasing all the time.

Still below average temperatures here but very little wind and sunny so all in all pretty good.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I'll have to take a look at Jason's blog. Sunday is "once a week" things to look at on the Internet. Corrals in my usage.

That's interesting about the Poultry Club auction. I found their "rules and regs" for the auction. $2 fee and that's it. Cash only. Otherwise, transaction is just between the buyer and seller. LOL. They only provide a sales platform. Where have we heard that, before? But, I see they "vet" the chickens to make sure of their health. Not a bad thing. We have a poultry auction, here. I've never gone, so I don't know the ins and outs.

The article about Miss Lulu was interesting. I see she's mentioned in the index of "The Gourmands' Way" and I'll have to pay attention to mention of her. "Gourmand's Way" is a bit of a "warts and all" look at these food figures. Without being sensationalistic. We're getting enough distance from these people to do a bit of a more balanced assessment of their lives and contributions. I'm a bit confused. Which book did you get for your food friends?

I managed to escape "Catcher in the Rye". The Cannon is so vast that I wasn't subjected to it. I think I gave it a whirl, just because it was referenced so often, in popular culture. I don't think I read too much of it before throwing it down. But I am familiar with that kind of school experience. In one high school English class I took, we spent the ENTIRE school year, dissecting Dickens "Great Expectations." Took me years to get over the slight twitch that would happen at the mention of Dickens name. I wanted to shove Miss Haversham's face into her mouldering wedding cake! Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I got the Mason Bee houses for Julia, yesterday, and the Master Gardener Guy also brought a couple of blocks with bees hold up in them. The blueberry seminar was good. About 30-40 people showed up. Only the Garden Goddess and I from The Home. The rest were either home gardeners or, I think, maybe a few people looking to get into commercially growing blueberries. They're quit the rage here, and, the market is good. It was interesting to hear that 25% of this State's blueberry crop is grown on this side of the mountains ... the rest on the Dry Side.

Circling back to your comments about drowning in the harvest, the blueberries have early, middle and late ripening varieties. So things can be stretched out, a bit.

LOL. Our "Spanish Rice" is probably nothing so elevated and grand as Paella. There's really no skill to it, at all. Precooked rice and all done in one skillet. I did find a Betty Crocker baked version, on line. Which is how I did it. We'll see how it goes over, later today. Lew