Sunday, 24 December 2017

A very Scruffy Christmas tail - with zombies

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

Sir Scruffy, I want you to write this week's blog!

I can only do my best, he replied. What do you want me to write about?

I dunno, you'll figure it out. After last nights beers and talking rubbish whilst sitting around the brazier, I feel like a zombie.

Do you mean, you want me to write about zombies? Sir Scruffy asked.

That's the spirit, you're a true natural at this Sir Scruffy. Incidentally, this is why you are the favourite and most charming dog on the farm. Just write whatever comes to your mind, even if it means talking about zombies.

OK boss.

I'll leave you to it Sir Scruffy. Despite feeling like a zombie, I have to now go and dig soil. Go hard or go home, my friend!
----

Hi Everyone! And a very Merry Christmas to you all, wherever this missive may find you.

My name is Sir Scruffy, the Charming!
Sir Scruffy, the Charming - romping through the paddock on boundary patrol duties
The boss said to write about zombies. I'm not sure I really know much about zombies as they seem a rather boring and fixated lot. Mind you, Scritchy the boss dog, who is one mean piece of work, is also a little bit fixated. Maybe she is a zombie?
Scritchy and Poopy complaining about some rubbish or other
I encountered Scritchy and Poopy complaining today about how I was so named: The Charming. It seems all very unsavoury to have them question my bona-fides, because, well, they are not charming. In the above photo they are demanding to know just why they are not considered charming. For the record, I replied to those two lesser creatures that: "It is not in my nature to be mysterious but, I can't tell them, and they shouldn't ask!" Oh, the howls of unfairness that ensued. Anyway, they're not charming, but as I mentioned before, they may be zombies?

Hmm, zombies. Ah yes. That reminds me of the story of the zombie chicken. Who doesn't like chickens? I like chickens. I like to look at the chickens. Last night I ate some roast chicken, which was very tasty. And I enjoy their eggs in my breakfast. Chickens are good. However, zombie chickens are not good.

Earlier last year, the boss and the editor, brought home a couple of commercial egg-laying breed of chickens. I overheard them saying that they were an Eyes Are Brown (sic) variety, whatever that means. Scrawny looking things they were, with no meat at all for me to chew on. I kept a close eye on them anyway as I said to the boss and the editor: Them chickens' not right! I knew straight away that one of them was a zombie chicken, but did they listen to me? No...
February 16 - Two zombie chickens arrive at the farm
It was a relief when earlier this year one of those two chickens died of natural causes. But that still left one zombie chicken...

Sure enough my unheeded warning proved to be a disaster for a small and timid black Silky chicken. She got done in, by the zombie chicken, who then began eating her. Boss, boss! I called. There's a disturbance with the chickens! The boss is made of less stern stuff than I, and he recoiled at the frightful scene in the chicken enclosure. I on the other hand was enjoying the smell of blood. And as all right thinking people know, when dealing with zombies you always separate the head from the body because you never know with them tricksy lot. You don't want them coming back for more.

After the deed was done, calm once more prevailed in the chicken collective. And I noticed in my close observations of the chickens over the next week or so that many of the chickens began regrowing their tail feathers which were clearly being plucked and eaten by the recently departed zombie chicken. I reckon that puts a new spin on: Shake your tail-feather!

Hmm, what else do I know about zombies? Oh yeah! Well, that dog, Darth Poopy Fox-bane (well that is what the arrogant fluffy has been calling himself this week), has proven that perhaps it is a really bad idea to eat carnivores. After killing a fox cub last week and scoring a huge number of beef jerky treats as a reward (and not sharing them), the boss placed the fox carcass into the worm farm.

What an epic stink emanated from the worm farm for a couple of days after the worms got hold of the carcass. Fortunately the worm farm is now smelling lucious and juicy again. The strange thing is that the boss has previously chucked in chickens and the occasional dead possum into the worm farm and those herbivores produced very little smell. As an intelligent dog, I can only assume that the lesson learned here is that blessed are the vegetarians, for their meat is less likely to make you sick! I'd also have to suggest that the health of the average zombie, which doesn't appear to be too good anyways, may markedly improve if they target the vegetarians and vegans! Just sayin...

Hopefully the boss and the editor never turn into zombies as that may make for unpleasant company for me. It would also be very hard to be charming - even for a canine such as I - in the presence of zombies!

Scritchy the charmless boss dog was again hiding under the bed this week as a powerful but very brief storm rolled over the mountain range. The rain was torrential, but the sunset was heavenly.
A powerful but brief storm brought torrential rain and a stunning sunset
The humans were unfazed by the storm, despite running around in the rain like headless zombie chickens. They make me tired. Whenever they are out working in the intense midday sun, I slink off to find a cool and shady spot for a nap. Thus confirming that I am not a mad dog!

They always seem to be digging somewhere about the place. What is with that? This week they were digging behind one of the two wood sheds.
Excavations commenced behind the wood shed so as to extend the rock gabion retaining wall
A huge drain pipe was set into the ground near the citrus trees in the shady orchard. The boss said something to the editor about obtaining the pipe on the cheap locally as it was sold as an off cut length. I'm unsure what that means, but it doesn't sound to me as if zombies were involved.
A huge drain pipe was set into the ground near to the citrus trees in the shady orchard
Then we all went a-rock-a-huntin'! The most recent rock gabion was filled.
The most recent rock gabion was filled with gleaned rocks
Excavations were completed after two half days of digging and another rock gabion cage can be eventually be installed in that spot. Those humans make me tired. Fortunately there are lots of shady spots to sleep the day away.
Excavations were completed and another rock gabion cage can soon be installed
All that soil from the excavations had to go somewhere and I watched the boss (from a suitably shady spot) use a wheelbarrow to move loads of soil over to the shady orchard.

What are they doing over there? I eventually got up from my shady spot and went over to have a look and see what they are doing. Well, blow me down! They're building a flat and wide path to the chicken and wood sheds! Nice work humans, and just the thing for an arthritic, but charming old canine, like me, to make it easier to toddle over to the chickens and check up on any zombie situation there!
Construction for a new flat and wide path began this week
Speaking of situations narrowly avoided. The boss and the editor narrowly avoided being subjected to carol singers at a street in a nearby town which puts on an epic display of Christmas lights each year!
Carol singers were narrowly avoided
In previous years I have noted that the blog always includes any displays of Christmas Australiana. So when I looked through the photos that were left for me, I couldn't help think to myself that nothing could be more Australian than a Christmas Koala:
A Christmas Koala
Some of the light displays were epic, and I couldn't quite tell whether there was a house under all those lights, but apparently there was!
Carla Views, Sunbury. Awesome!
Of course as I looked through the photos I noticed that in the more fashionable end of the mountain range, and far removed from the nearby town, the light displays are much bigger and less colourfull.
We do things bigger here up in the mountains!
The photo above also shows the local pub which I'm told is as charming as I am. I have not seen any invites to that establishment, but I am told by reliable sources that dogs may sometimes be seen there.

Canine activities here are always calling for my attention. On my frequent boundary checks, the magpies often make fun of me. They are not charming, but are way too fast for me to ever do anything about them.
A family of magpies live on the farm and are a constant presence in the orchard
I saw the humans harvest the triffid like plant, zucchini (courgette), this week. Triffids are not zombies. Blessed are the vegetables.
Early zucchini (courgettes) were harvested this week
As a sophisticated canine. I love eating berries, and it's berry season. Yay for berry season! Blessed are the berries that look like mini brains for zombies to eat.
Raspberries
Blueberries are almost ripe
It is going to be  huge blackberry season
Marionberries or Loganberries are very tasty!
Black currants ripened this week
Well, that about wraps it up for the week. Thanks for reading and hopefully I'll get to write next week!

What do you mean I have to do the flower bit? OK, well then, here's the flowers...
The many Elderberry bushes are growing fast. This one frames a path to the courtyard (with the brazier)
The lavender planted around the new strawberry enclosure are thriving in the heat
The intriguing flower award this week goes to a smoke bush
Bush roses are stunners!
A garden bed of poppies
A hydrangea grows in a dense patch of gernanium and elderberry
The temperature outside now at about 9.15pm is 10’C (77’F). So far this year there has been 913.8mm (36.0 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 896.6mm (35.3 inches).

84 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

No doubt that it is only a matter of time. Inge also mentioned this unpleasant incident and I put a a link in the reply to her below this one to an interesting article written by a favourite crime reporter –John Silvester on the social media backlash he reported on the incident. The reporter is also an author who has written many books on the crime scene down here, and he always has a very common sense approach to these matters.

The miniatures are very cool! Thanks for the link and I hope you had a lovey visit there with your sister.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

A very happy winter solstice and Christmas to you too! No chance of snow here, but I certainly hope you get some tomorrow and that it sticks on the ground for Christmas. At least tomorrow will be nice and cool 72’F unlike recent Christmases which have been over 100’F and felt like an oven.

Thanks for the response. During droughts around here, ponds, farm dams, and lakes are a good indicator of what may be going on below the ground but can remain unseen. Most dams leak into the surrounding soil and/or may be being used faster than they are being replenished – and it is a good indicator.

No drama’s at all, but I am always really curious as to your thoughts on soil minerals and I always learn things from your analysis. I’m a bit slapdash in these matters as I have no access to affordable soil testing.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The water pump is a sheer nuisance as the unit is sucking air into the mechanism from the casing and this could be a simple matter, but also an opportunity to fix the mess with quantities of silicone. I had some friends for dinner last night and the guy is a trained fitter. I’d originally planned to ask him to help me with the water pump, but far out, he looked tired and so we ate food, drank beer, lit the brazier in the courtyard and sat outside and talked rubbish as the sun set. The ladies stayed inside drinking wine and talking rubbish. I was a bit naughty because I dodged the washing up and thought that I had gotten away with that win. Nope. Oh well!

Thanks for the Cold Comfort Farm reference. I honestly had not heard of it and will track a copy down. However, in a strange coincidence, not too far from here, there is actually a farm named “Cold Comfort Farm” and I was always taken with the name, although it does sound a bit ominous, don’t you reckon? The thing I always found interesting (if that is an appropriate way to phrase it – possibly not) about The Great Depression is that the rural areas were pumped dry of wealth, the rural banks folded, an epic drought knocked the stuffing out of the remainder and then the contagion spread into the areas that had previously enjoyed the wealth pump. Now the thing is, the rural population actually increased during that time, and I read an estimate that in the US the increase was something like a million people. I guess the general understanding was that farm families could at least feed themselves.

It is a bit of terraforming isn’t it? You know, my not so secret goal is that this place should get easier to live in and more productive as time goes on. Time is marching rapidly on and I’m not getting any younger. Speaking of which, we completed the excavations today for the extension of the rock gabion wall and extended the new path to the chicken enclosure and other wood shed!

Exactly, new isn’t always better. Too true. One of my pet hates which I wished motor vehicle manufacturers had prevaricated on (nice segue huh? :-)!) are automatic high beams. Far out, I have had those jokers blinking at me in there dysfunctional state and it is blinding for other people. Like how lazy do you have to be to not be able to flick a switch? And people pay extra for that dysfunction – and they’re told it’s somehow safer (although they never said for whom it is safer)…

That is an outrageous philosophy, so I get your anger. Mate, I wonder about all these software upgrades that get piled onto already complex systems… Joseph Tainter had something to say about that matter.

Go the rain! It was really cool and mild down here today. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have adapted to hot conditions and today it only reached 64’F and I was thinking to myself how chilly it was. Not to stress by Wednesday it should be back up around 100’F and I’ll have something else to grumble and whine about! Hehe! You know, they say the same thing about down here, although I reckon Melbourne may have inspired the Crowded House song: Four Seasons in One Day. A beautiful song from the NZ / Australian band. Anyway, that is another saying they use!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Well done with the sale of the Pyrex bowls. Good stuff! I’m surprised that a lot of money was sloshing around and was wondering whether you saw any new trends or folks at the auctions? Dunno. Mate, you and me both about them facilities as they are elusive to hold on to! Hehe!

The editor was a Seinfeld fan, although strangely enough although I haven’t watched many of the episodes, I can recall how many of them introduced concepts that entered the popular mind. The editor explained many of them to me at the time, and they just stuck. A few years back I thought that I might watch the series and you know it just didn’t click. Mind you, it wasn’t as bad as the film Caddyshack – the years have not been kind! Happy Christmas stuff and things! Hehe!

Exactly too. I reckon sometimes we need some rough times and experiences to bring out the best (and sometimes the worst) in people. I put a link in the reply to Inge below this one to a thoughtful article by an experienced and very good crime journalist and author about the social media backlash the author received after writing an article about the recent tragedy in Melbourne. You may find it to be interesting.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

And a happy Christmas and Solstice to you too!

We discussed the recent tragedy in Melbourne a few days ago and I spotted an article by a very thoughtful and common sense laden journalist and author on the topic. I thought you might be interested: My comments on the Flinders Street attack managed to offend those of the left and right . The internet social media can be very un-social!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris and everybody!

Merry Christmas!

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

So you haven't read Stella Gibbons' 'Cold Comfort Farm'. Does that apply to the Editor as well? It's a long time since I read it but I loved it. Was told that she was taking off D.H. Lawrence; don't know whether that is true or not.

As more and more people use vehicles to mow people down, I consider that the media becomes a problem by putting such an easy idea into a sick person's head.

I am in trouble because I thought that Son's dog's name was Wren. The name is Ren. Son is thinking of having him castrated. Normally he is against this but Ren persists in challenging Flynn the boss dog. Flynn is a much bigger dog and the result is that Ren is acquiring more and more injuries.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

And a Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

Keep a close eye out for Christmas zombies! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

No, neither of us had heard about the book before, but it is on the "to get" list. The editor reckons that D.H. Lawrence could use a bit of a send up. And Lady Chatterly's Lover was of the "shock your momma" variety of literature - the editor was far from impressed! Oh well, different times and the book would have indeed been shocking back in its day.

That is true, but the media is also under an obligation to inform the public of risks. It is a complex matter to be sure. And I feel that we have not seen the worst of it yet. It certainly is a case of mental health issues and disengagement that is for sure.

Ah yes, Ren may learn the hard way and it is a hard lesson to learn that one and possibly a fatal one. He sounds very much like Poopy who could be the boss dog, but he lacks the inclination and direction of personality. Perhaps over time he'll get there, what does your son reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Congrats with the White Christmas! Nice! Glad to read you survived the winter roads. And yeah, we drive small vehicles and so that is a problem here too. Generally we get out of there way.

A long time ago I read a witty comment from a very cheeky wag who wrote: Driving down the road to debt in an oversized four wheel drive (SUV)! Very cheeky huh!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - IT'S SNOWING!!! On this afternoon of Christmas Eve. I'd say we have about 2", so far. And, it's still coming down. Just beginning to stick in the streets. On one hand, I feel sorry for people who have to travel. On the other, do they "have" to? In another entry from our "6 or 1, Half a Dozen of Another" Department, I was missing my old place, a bit. There's probably 6 inches of snow, out there. Pretty. Silent. But here, at least there's water and no frozen pipes.

As Cliff Mass often says, forecasting lowland snow is the hardest thing. Even our National Weather Service, in today's Winter Weather Advisory says "Uncertainty with timing, location and snow amounts exists." To paraphrase and old un-friendly family saying, "No poop, Sherlock." Hmmm. Loses a lot of impact when you lose the alliteration. That word "uncertainty" jumped out at me. We humans don't deal with that very well, do we? I do not envy Mr. Greer or Mr. Kunstler when they attempt general predictions. Everyone wants a date, and, ideally a time. "Western Civilization will collapse on September 23, at 3pm. If you said "give or take a few minutes", someone would demand to know how many minutes and in which direction. "Is that earlier or later than 3pm?"

Speaking of predictions, both Mr. Greer and Mr. Kunstler were banging on about the collapse of Byte coins, over the last few weeks. And, here it is. I suppose an argument could be made that their very disparagement (among many others) helped cause the collapse of Byte coins. The physics of "all that rises, must descend" doesn't seem to play into it.

Sir Scruffy's riff on zombie chickens was quit amusing. Now, a zombie kangaroo (the big fellows) would be truly terrifying. In a world where we have sharknadoos in play, can they be far off?

Well, I hope Gibbon's book is as good as the movie. I think it was also a send up of "The Gothic." Or, maybe even 1920s and 30s mystery novels. I think I'm getting interested in reading more of that "arch" type of writing from the 20s. Rather than just watching the films and series. Gibbons and Waugh. The lyrics of Noel Coward. And I also want to find out more about the authors. I just put in a hold at our library for a biography of Waugh. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The gabions are great. Besides holding up the slope, they make everything look so neat and tidy. Visually pleasing. I bet when they're wet, the colors are really nice.

Why there was so much money sloshing around at the auction. About half the people there are dealers from the flea market that's in the same building. I'd say they had a good December. A little more jingle in their pockets. There were people from out of town. Probably people home for the holidays that were looking for a bit of different and "free" entertainment. Also, when I was in the tat business, December could be pretty quiet, and things started picking up around now, through the first two week of January. For several reasons. "I've done everything for everyone else, it's done, now, something for me." Collectors often get money for Christmas, as no one really understands what they collect and it's easier to just give them cash and send them out to get something (that they really want) for themselves.

And, depending on which part of the media you pay attention to, "Happy Days Are Here, Again." Most (fiddled with) economic indicators are up. Why pay attention to those rumblings on the horizon? Can't we talk about something more pleasant? :-).

The comments to the reporter were pretty standard, for the Net. Why I don't go near social media. Why I remind myself I don't have to comment on everything I see, or that gets my back up.

The snow is still coming down. We may have a white Christmas, after all. The pictures of the Christmas lights in Australia are something. I noticed that the house you could see from outer space? The three wise guys look like they're actually trudging up a hill. So. A merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Go the snow and the white Christmas! Yay! Oh yeah, every benefit has a hidden cost and during winter here, I too am thankful for a good supply of firewood and running water. We can't really expect more and the basics are pretty good really. Did any of the residents get out and about in the snow?

The sun is shining here, but the air is very cool and for that I am thankful.

I read an article by a senior meteorologist who remarked that he could train farmers in about half a day to become better at predicting the weather and climate. In the future it may get to that! Who knows?

Speaking of the future, I'm looking into yours and a warning flashes into my mind: Beware of zombies disguised as carol singers! You never know... Other than that, predictions of the future are beyond me. At least those two acknowledge when they get things wrong and that makes them better at the task at hand. It is a complex beast that one and I leave it to better brains than I.

Well every economic bubble in history has popped sooner or later, so I reckon that is a safe prediction. I wouldn't dare want to suggest that this time it is different. Although the easy money policies have to allow inflation to bubble and crackle and pop into some asset class, otherwise food starts getting expensive - rapidly.

Oh! Roo-nado... Nuff said! Cool. That would be frightening. Big Daddy roo headed into the forest yesterday and I was able to go and check up on the walnut, which is going gangbusters. I'd written it off so it is nice to see that nature can pack a punch.

I'll be curious to read of your opinion of the biography and life of the author. And the book is on the "to get" and "must read" list. Yup, things can be pretty funny up in the country.

Cheers and Christmas wishes to you!

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Sir Scruffy!

Oh, Sir Scruffy - ye knight of olde -or was that Prince Charming? Look at that Scritchy and Poopy, scurvy knaves . . . knavess . . . there's a pair of zombies, if I ever saw some. Scary! Ye must vanquish them!

Eyes-are-brown. Oh my. Something amiss there, forsooth.

Perhaps it is just as well that you are not in charge of the chickens, Sir S. One can tell how zealous you might be and what if, in your wisdom, you decided that all chickens were zombies? It bears not thinking of. Mr. Poopy, on the other hand - being a zombie himself (as you have established with your photo) - might yet develop a rapport with the fowls.

You have obviously supervised the most recent rock gabion construction as they look superb. A job well done!

You have also done an excellent job with the Christmas decoration photos. Thank you. What interesting things will those humans think of next? Thanks for the flowers, too - it is well below freezing here. The smoke bush is really unusual; I like it a lot.

Ah - hail, Sir Toothy!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - We got rain, overnight. There's plenty of snow left around, but it's lawns and roofs. Pavements look pretty good and the snow is off the trees. Which is the prettiest part :-(. Oh, a few of The Inmates, here at The Home, got out to take a look. But a lot of them have gone here or there to be with family. So, it's pretty quiet around here.

I started reading (and, stayed up way to late) "Radio Free Vermont" by Bill McKibben (2017). His first novel. A slim little volume about the State of Vermont becoming independent from the U.S.. Quit good, and very funny, in parts. What I found interesting is that there's the drip, drip, drip of climate change, in the background. McKibben (and his main character) are older and have lived their lives in Vermont. Over the course of a lifetime, they see and mourn the climate they once knew.

As I'm a similar age to Mr. McKibben, and have pretty much lived in the same State for most of my life, I had to see if that applied to me. Not really. But then, this area is projected to be one of the more climate stable areas, for quit awhile. It won't impact us as heavily as other parts of the States. Looking back, I can think of a few climate ups and downs. But nothing like Vermont.

Well, I'm up early enough to whip up my turkey / rice whatever and head off to The Club. I'd better get to it. Lew

Coco said...

Happy Christmas to Chris, the Editor, Sir Scruffy and the rest of the fluffy brigade!

Wow, Australians do love their light displays don´t they? Impressive.

And what a stunning sunset! Raining here, which is good, so no sunsets for the next week or so. Have to find inside projects to do, like cleaning.

I now have 25 bare root roses on order, and I blame Chris. Wait until I´m digging 25 new planting holes and I´ll really be blaming him.

Best wishes for a zombie-free 2018!

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam (from the Sir Scruffy the charming),

Deep bark of greetings and salutations, my fair lady!

It is beneath my contempt to even consider the overheated outpourings of those two scurvy knaves. The noises they make are an outrage upon the good peace of the county of Fernglade.

Mind you, that Darth Poopy, Rat and Fox Bane, is a handy fellow in a fight when he can find the time to dismount from his trusty beanbag steed. The marsupial enemy grows ever more fearless with their continuing pogrom against all fruit trees of good repute. Only united shall we prevail against their dastardly acts!

Thank you for the correction, forsooth! The usual author (and my underling) informs me that the chicken breed is an Isa Brown.

I concede your point about the zombie chickens, and it would be a very unfair act to wrongly identify a healthy chicken as a zombie chicken. Still, one must keep a close eye on the chickens because what has occurred once, may occur again in the future. Of course, you are correct and I had not considered that Darth Poopy may align himself with the zombie chickens. Ah, the indignity of my erstwhile companion in battle turning on me in my hour of need against the ever vigilant marsupials! Quelle horreur!

It was a pleasure to read that my work supervising the rock gabion and excavations did not go unnoticed. The peasants are hard working, but I am indulgent upon them and enjoy their company.

Yes, the humans are very clever and the annual light show never fails to amaze and entertain me. This year, I also noted that green lasers were in use and they were very impressive. What ever will these clever humans come up with next?

The humans insisted on the flower photos and I did previously mention that I indulge their whims. Stay warm, and as an old dog I can recommend nothing better than retiring near to a wood heater on a cold and freezing winters day!

Toothy, he's just this dog you know! Is he charming, well, opinions differ in that regard!

Cheers

Sir Scruffy!

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The rain really puts a dampener on the snow, but it is nice that some is sticking to the grass and roofs. A few years ago I came across photos of houses in (it may have been) Vermont and they had no guttering along the roof. I couldn't quite understand why, until I understood about the heavy snowfalls which weigh the roof down and can pull the guttering away from the building. That scenario had never even occurred to me! It is interesting all of the different adaptions buildings have to allow for in the various climates that they find themselves constructed in.

You know, when I was renting in the project house in an outer suburban lot whilst constructing this house, I got to experience life in the outer suburbs. The editor and I freaked out people by walking around the suburb at night with the dogs and there were many strange experiences during that time and some areas we learned to avoid (the recreation reserve was one of those places). But the housing stock was so poorly fit for purpose it just gobsmacked me. You have to understand that prior to that experience I'd only ever lived in very old houses and the experience was a real shock for me, I can tell you.

Snow on the trees is really very pretty! You would be in early days for snow. Has Cliff Mass written anything about the low land snow? My gut feeling is that early February will be your big snow month? Dunno, but someone once explained to me that that is a result of thermal inertia.

Bill McKibben is an interesting bloke and thanks for the book reference (you are a bad influence! And I mean that as a compliment!) And the Adirondack Mountains are a truly beautiful and outstanding part of the world. Wow! They remind me of the central highlands of Tasmania as the climate is very rugged. I can see that too about the slow drip of climate change. The Nearings lived in Vermont back in the 1930's and I'd imagine that the climate has shifted markedly since even those days. You know, when forests are logged, the minerals that formed the soils of those sorts of forests disappear with the saw logs. What is then left of the soils? That is the real question with such places. Here is like that. I reckon the soil lives above ground in the trees in such temperate forests and rainforests. Twenty years ago, experts declared that citrus was impossible to grow here, but well, I have a lot of different varieties of citrus. And I won't mention the two Macadamia trees that have survived minor frosts and snowfalls...

I assume Vermont is getting drier? Getting rainfall and snow melt into the ground water is the way to go in such places. However, if the top soil is elsewhere, that may not be possible.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

You are fortunate to live in a stable climate. Things are turning tropical here, of course, when they're not in a drought. Tomorrow will reach 100'F, however a tropical cyclone is forming over the north west coast of the continent. The tail end of that may reach here about Thursday and/or Friday. I looked at the forecast for later in the week this morning and so spent most of today outside in the summer heat digging in an overflow pipe for a water tank and then cleaning out a main drain which has become blocked with organic matter. That blockage is bad enough that it is a job for the plumbers next year when they are back at work.

The other thing I did today was take a whole lot of organic matter up to the fern gully and then spread it around. It is really looking good up there and it is a joy to me to walk around in. I reckon during the middle of the year, I'll take a trip up to the mountain range to the south and east of here, where there is a fern nursery and I'll buy up big and chuck in even more ferns into the gully. Best to get the soil going today though. I added bags and bags of coffee grounds and husks as well as composted woody mulch. To be honest with all of the awesome food I ate yesterday at my foodie mates place I enjoyed working it off today. They served up chunks of their own sow and it was superb! Yum!

It is nice that the Club gets together at this time of year as my gut feeling tells me that that is a crucial time for folks. Did you get many in attendance? And importantly was there any of your famous blueberry crisp?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

The Fluffy's send you and your family Christmas greetings too! :-)!

Yeah, that street is feral as for light displays, and most houses on the street put on a good show. What is hard to see in that photograph is that the houses are on an elevated hill and they have distant city views in the background, so they have a light show all year around.

The brief storm was pretty epic and it always amazes me to see clouds of mist rising from the mountains and forest after such a tropical downpour. Glad to read that you are getting some decent rain as you have had an unfortunately very dry summer. Cleaning is a tough gig. Stay strong! Stay true! Hehe! We did a big clean up before friends turned up for dinner Saturday night. I even vacuumed and mopped the floors and I personally blame the dogs for the mess on the floors!

Well, my shoulders are big enough to accept that blame! Hehe! Nice try with that blame too! Hehe! Roses grow so well in your part of the world and they look really beautiful.

A sound bit of advice that! Yes, watch for zombies in 2018! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I was taken aback by the silence here on Christmas day. I assume that it is always quiet in the woods but no, it isn't. There are aeroplanes, helicopters, distant vehicles, boats,shouts, barks etc. But yesterday there was nothing at all not even a breath of wind, it actually felt strange. After dark, the wind got up and I heard an owl and a dog.

Unless there is an accident, Ren has no chance of becoming top dog. Flynn, his father is still a young dog and as said before, is quite a bit larger.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Sir S:

Thank you!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Chris:

"a job for the plumbers next year when they are back at work" - blimey! Next year is next week!

Sorry to hear about the blockage problem, too.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, gutters and snow and ice can be a problem. "Ice dams" can form. If your roof isn't in tip top shape, it can flood the attic, and house.

Yup. Walking in the suburbs can be weird. And, suspect. :-). I think I mentioned Ray Bradbury's short story, "The Pedestrian." I think it can be read on-line. There's even an animated version.

Now, I've never been to Vermont. But, judging by the book, "Radio Free Vermont", it's not dryer. Just a lot less snow, which now falls as rain. And, warmer winter temperatures. From what I understand, not much topsoil in parts of Vermont. I though it was "The Granite State", but that's New Hampshire, which is right next door. Farming was a hard row as the ground is very stoney. You can clear a field of rocks, and the next year, your at it again, due to "frost heave." Through some magical alchemical process, rocks are forced to the surface, year after year. Keep at it for about 20 years, and you might have a rock free field. They do make some marvelous dry stone walls, back in that part of the world.

Then, there are the "glacial erratics." Where the glaciers dropped enormous rocks. We have a bit of that between here and Olympia, as that was the southernmost point the glaciers came. They melted and dropped whatever rocks they had scooped up along the way. There are places back east where you can actually see where the glaciers (the rocks inside) have scored deep grooves in the rocks. So endeth our geological lesson, for today. :-) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. So, basically, the trick at your place is to catch as much water as you can. Unless you have "an event." Then the trick is to move water through your farm as quick as possible. Juggle much? :-).

The feed at the Club was pretty good. Turned out between 75-100 people. Usually, there are a lot of deserts (us ex-drunks and druggies do like our sugar!) so I took a turkey/rice something or other. No recipe found in any cookbook. I cooked the rice in turkey stock, and added turkey, shitaki mushrooms, peas and garlic. And, a mix of "secret" herbs and spices. Much to my surprise, it tasted pretty much like fried rice you'd get in a run of the mill Chinese restaurant. Probably because I put a cap of soy sauce in the peas. And, one of those "secret" herbs and spices was a bit of ginger powder. Who knew?

The snow is pretty much gone, but I went out late today as freezing fog and black ice was forecast. Roads are fine, now. Lew

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Sorry, I don't know the tomato variety, some sort of full size tomato! Mrs Damo just gets the rejected seedlings from the bargain rack in Bunnings and Mitre 10. Cheap, and it normally only takes a couple of days for them to come back on. Growing from seed saves even more money - and maybe half or more of our plants this year were from seed, but it is hard to resist large potted seedlings for under a $1. I am about to head into town now and try to buy a reasonable quality hoe and fork. I want to dig up some new garden plants and get some more vege's in - no plans, will just buy whatever is on the bargain rack and see how they go. I must confess to hoping there are some eggplants about though!

It sounds like your Christmas went well. Things were good here - just the three of us (friend is still with us, seems happy enough) and my first attempt at a roast ham turned out pretty good. Pineapple and brown sugar glaze. Next time, I want to try a slow cooked one! Did you and the editor put on a big lunch?

Our freight has arrived (I can see the ship docked in the distance from our balcony), but there are now numerous procedures and traditions which must be adhered to before it can be delivered to us. I am informed in all likelihood it wont be for another week. Oh well, in the long run it matters not.

Your social media / terror attack link seems pretty symptomatic of most 'issues' these days. Nothing sells (or generates clicks) like a good controversy, especially ones that fit to peoples per-conceived notions. Even better, most controversies can be generated on the cheap with a few twitter or facebook posts. No need for expensive investigative reporting here! I reckon your journalist from that article would have some choice words to say on the whole matter if he could be talked to offline and off the record after a few drinks.

Cheers,
Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Did you enjoy the quiet of Christmas day? The same thing happens here too and whilst it can be very quiet, it is never really quiet. The distant sounds of engines can be heard faintly. Occasionally I can even hear the sound of a steam train whistle or the deep rumble of a freight train. Hearing an owl is a good sign of a healthy ecosystem as they take a lot of feeding. Did you get any snow over Christmas?

Oh well, Ren will possibly end up being a very special personality and his quirks may mean that he might surprise you and your son at some point in the future. Hopefully the surprise is a good surprise because bad surprises are, kind of bad! :-)!

The local cherry farm opened its farm gate to locals a couple of days ago, and I have been enjoying their fresh cherries. The cherries here on the farm are done for he season, so I’m guessing that the cherries are coming from the coldstore? Dunno. They’re good though and they have a huge number of varieties. Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Sir Scruffy sends a friendly tail wag and bark!

Yeah, it is a bit scary how fast time moves along. Could that possibly be called: A crisp pace?

When things go wrong like the drain, well, the upside is that I then learn to maintain them. Usually the maintenance is easier and cheaper than the repairs... Oh well!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, I never... And there is a Wikipedia page on the subject of: Ice dam (roof). You know, it may be because I'm reading the fourth book in the World Made by Hand series - and I suspected that little Sarah was going to experience the unpleasant side of tetanus the moment she trod on the rusty nail. That made for uncomfortable breakfast reading this morning - but, yeah if maintenance isn't kept up (even on relatively new houses) then those sorts of weather events will trash a house pretty quickly. When the roof goes, that usually means game over for the rest of the structure. The maintenance list gets longer with each year, but from experience maintenance is quicker and cheaper than repairs... People believe new houses don’t require maintenance…

I dunno whether I mentioned it here, but the opposite problem with roofs occurs here. Under the metal roof there is a fire blanket sitting over thick flooring plywood. The plywood gives the blanket rigidity that it otherwise wouldn't have. Then at all entry points there is steel flashing with mineral rock wool. Heat and fire is a real problem. It is pretty toasty outside right now, but apparently some rain will fall tomorrow evening. The garden still looks really green.

What a short story that is! Good stuff, but he is so correct that in a world where you are expected to spend night after night in front of a screen, walking around can seem like a subversive activity. I didn't really explain the recreation reserve, but folks used to walk their dogs from their cars. Seriously, I'm not making that up. They used to put the car into four wheel drive, hang an arm and lead out the window and then drive around the reserve with the dog outside. I have seen some strange things in my life, but doing that in parkland just left me speechless and at peril of being run over.

That makes sense about the lack of topsoil in Vermont as the Nearings wrote about that aspect of it and I did wonder about why they were moving truck loads of the stuff from nearby sources. And they did seem to have an awful lot of rocks with which to construct some very solid looking buildings. All that thermal mass would not work well here as it would hold the heat in summer (unless shaded with deep verandas), and then radiate the cold in winter. Some houses up here are constructed of double brick and not much can heat them over winter.

Incidentally, granitic soils can be astoundingly fertile. Soil food is basically a collection of minerals. I sometimes add quarry dust to the soils here (a waste product for the quarries). And those dry stone walls are beautiful constructions which will outlast all of us here!

Frost heave is a curious phenomenon. Even minor frosts down here can crack and splinter large rocks and I take advantage of that, being at the sad stage of Peak Rocks and all. No rock goes to waste here. I had to laugh about the Nearings propensity for scrounging rocks! Top work. Just for your interest, rocks float here and it may be due more to the movement of ground water and the flexing of the volcanic clay, but the same effect occurs and the ground regularly spits out rocks where before there were none. Of course, erosion and vegetation also plays a part in that story. The ground shifts if anyone ever cares to take the time to notice it.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Yeah, glaciers are awesome beasts of rock moving and crushing awesomeness! Thanks for the lesson. I'm unsure whether there were any glaciers down under during the last Ice Age. I recall previously reading somewhere that there were none, but I could be wrong. All things considered, it is pretty flat down here! Thanks for the lesson, I have an interest in geology as it gives a sense of the ages as well as the changeability of the planet.

Sort of. Even in an "event" which happens fairly regularly, I try to capture every single drop of water for storage and later re-use in the water tanks. All the rest of the water, I capture into the ground. The reason for that is because it is less likely to evaporate, and for some reason here the groundwater moves at a very slow rate. And the more top soil I encourage, the more water is available for the plants near to the soil surface level. One question I often field and people just don't believe my response, is that I don't have to water the orchards. It takes a very hot and dry year for me to have to do that and even then each tree will get a bucket or so just to keep them alive until the rains return. Most people in agriculture prefer to set up systems that use huge quantities of water just because water is much cheaper than organic matter used to build top soil. The difference in cost is huge, and people end up thinking that is the only way to approach the matter. You may find in your raised garden beds next summer that they will require less water and grow better vegetation than your peers. Of course getting quality top soil going takes about three years from what I've observed. Of course some people can accelerate that, but I have to factor in the economics of the situation.

Juggling! Far out, I have a few balls in the air at any one time! Most work but some don't and some things are easy and others are unexpectedly hard. And everything takes more time than you have allowed for! :-)! Oh well. What's your experience with those points?

That is a good turn out for a post Christmas meeting. Sugar is good! Your turkey/rice Chinese fusion dish (that is the technical term don't you reckon?) sounds pretty tasty. But you are teasing me with hints and secrets as to the "secret" herbs and spices. A good cook never shares their secrets. Oh, well, Kentucky Fried used to pull that line too, so I guess it is not a hard and fast rule? Hehe! I like your approach of just chucking in whatever using general guidelines and seeing how it turns out.

Stay safe and be careful of that black ice. We get some of that gear from time to time and it is an interesting experience. Some of the bridges down this way have bridge heaters in them...

I may go out later this evening and dismantle the failing water pump and see whether I can spot where the air is getting into the casing. A good dab of silicone as an additional gasket shouldn't fail to assist that problem. Other than that I may have to replace it and keep this one for repair parts. A bit of a shame that.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Oh! Have you got Bunnings and Mitre 10 in NZ? Well there you go. Their plants are usually pretty good to be honest and with tomatoes they do sell some of the Diggers Club variety which is a good thing as they are often open pollinated varieties. The get ‘this lot of plants away from our sight’ table is often where the bargains can be found. Mostly I find those plants have outgrown their pots and just need a good feed and some soil - which is what you're finding.

It might be a bit late for eggplants, but then you have to be in it to win it! Some of those tools are amazing quality for not much extra coin. Far out stainless steel is cheap for what it is...

Good to hear that you and Mrs Damo had a nice Christmas and that your friend is doing well. Pineapple does go pretty well with ham. Yum! Hey, how are the pineapples in NZ? This far south they are transported from a long way away and usually picked very unripe I guess to avoid bruising, but I don't touch pineapples because they are very different now to what they used to be like. I'd imagine given where you grew up, you'd have some thoughts on that matter?

Nope. I was very lazy actually and enjoyed the efforts of other folks cooking and cleaning up. They're foodies and they can cook far better than either the editor or I. There was a lot of food and they ended with a very good pavlova which I helped myself to two servings of.

He's an excellent author that John Silvester and I believe his dad was a senior policeman. He is the guy that wrote the Underbelly series - you may have heard of that? Oh yeah, I'll bet he could tell some tales.

I look forward to reading further instalments on your boat building.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I got a chance to read the short story and the house was used as a comparative tool in the story, but it is also a metaphor for the author himself. What a sad, dead, dreary, and unusually aggressive world the protagonist lived in.

Nature can be inexplicably rough and challenging, but that is impersonal. The world in the story was a deliberate creation and that made it all the more shocking.

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

RE: Glaciers - I am not sure about the mainland, but Tasmania definitely had glaciers during the last ice age. There are some excellent short walks not far from Hobart where you walk along a plateau dotted with dozens of tiny lakes bored by the action of slow moving glaciers. Often it takes an aerial view to appreciate what is happening on such a massive scale.

RE: Bunnings
Yep, the bunnings juggernaut is here as well. Mitre 10 seems to be putting up a good fight though - although they both default to the huge warehouse layout. My search for a fork and hoe went well, they had units from $10, but a $44 unit was at least twice as heavy and had a one piece steel handle. I am hopeful it will outlast me, but time will tell. You were right on the eggplants, no idea where the ones in the supermarket come from, but it isn't local! We ended up getting silverbeet, two types of cabbage, parsley and a few marigolds and lobelias.

I don't want to know where the pineapple here comes from - not close would be an understatement. I just get the canned stuff - at least it was canned fresh and it is better on pizzas! The other day I tried to get Australian canned pineapple and it didn't exist. I could choose Indonesia, Philippines or China. If the label says China, or 'made from local and imported ingredients', I stay away. Some might call me racist, but I saw first hand in Laos how the Chinese farm and it is not pretty. Then there is the whole baby poisoning incidents etc. etc. Sometimes just going without is the correct response.

No progress on the boat today, trying to stay in the spirit of a holiday and limit how much I fit into each day ;-p

Cheers,
Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for the correction as I was only considering the mainland and apologies to the readers from the beautiful island of Tasmania. Yeah, I have seen a few tarns and lakes in improbable spots in the Tasmanian highlands. It is a beautiful and very rugged island. Did you know that it was originally a chunk of Antarctica that floated north with the mainland?

Bunnings is my dirty little secret. I know they're part of the evil empire and all, but I have such a soft spot for that business. It's an unnatural love, and for that I apologise. You know back in the day I (and the editor) had some pretty rough experiences with Mitre 10 and I do recall the days when it was among one of the fastest growing companies in the land... In those days it was not a female friendly place to purchase hardware and the editor was particularly annoyed by her experience. Of course times have changed, but the unpleasant memories linger.

Nice choice with the seedlings! NZ has I believe a free trade agreement in place with China. Many agricultural products I also believe, come to Australia via NZ and are relabelled as domestic produce. The apple industry here has been dealt a harsh blow by the WTO and some apple diseases are not present here. I digress...

Ouch, who could forget the (I believe the product was) melamine incident? Justice was swift and I believe people also got shot for their efforts in that substitution. The incident had strange impacts upon the availability and quality of diary down under. Still memories remain and trust is a hard thing to re-establish!

Fair enough, holidays are holidays as far as I'm concerned!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No snow, just wild wind and rain. The quiet on Christmas day was strange, usually I love the quiet but this was over and above anything that I have experienced before.

A Russian cargo ship is listing in the Solent, they were trying to get it into Southampton yesterday; I can't see whether it is still out there or not.

Son says that his ferrets have worms, this has not happened before and he reckons that they may have arrived with them. It appears that one has to give them powder designed for cats. Dog pills have a different action and won't work for them. He did say 'imagine trying to give a pill to a ferret, you could get your finger in but you would have to get it out again!).

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

We had an ice dam form on the roof on the back of the house twenty-some years ago. It was the Year of the Big Ice when an ice storm came in and just kept depositing layers of ice until everything - house, trees, ground - literally everything - was coated in about 2 inches of ice. And it stayed below freezing for days and the ice didn't start to melt for week. We were locked in here, especially living on this slope. We had a horse at the time and I had to actually crawl part of the way to get to the barn and take care of her. I hope I never see such a thing again.

We also have the rock migration problem that you mentioned. Years later, I still remove bunches of stones, small and large, from the garden every time I dig, even in spots that have been cultivated for years.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

I also avoid Chinese produce or food products. I am probably overdoing it, but it makes me uneasy, having heard so many unsavory anecdotes.

I can't believe that you are building a boat. It sounds so difficult.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - From our "It Could Be Worse", department. :-). I just watched season 2 (pt 1) of "800 Words." Recent widower moves with two teen-age children to a small, quirky New Zealand seaside town. I had forgotten that among other moving disasters (bought the wrong house, on-line, etc.), the container containing all their worldly possessions, slid off the container ship and sank to the bottom of the sea.

Yes! Pineapple on pizza! My go to flavor is pineapple pizza with some kind of pork product. What's funny is, I really don't care for pineapple in any other form. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I think some people put in some kind of heated wire, or coil to prevent ice dams. Some places around here have steep metal roofs with no gutters. My old place had steep metal roof, but once, an abundance of snow slid off and ripped a section of gutter right off the house.

Well, when we had black ice, yesterday, I just waited til later in the day to travel. I went out early to the Safeway this morning (the holiday is well and truly over. The parking lot was deserted.) but checked the local weather before stirring out. Well above freezing. Low humidity, didn't even have to scrape the windows. But that wind! Bitter cold. I was out talking to one of the ladies, last night, and the sky spit a bit of snow. Just for a few minutes. We may get more tonight. But most of the last go around is gone.

Walking your dog out of your car window? That truly is the height of ... something or other. Crumbling Western Civilization? Of course, if you're rich, you hire a dog walker. Or, send the servants out with the hounds. Here at the local end of the economic scale, most of the ladies at The Home who have dogs, walk there own. And, value the work out. I noticed Princess got a smart new heavy canvas jumper for her trips out, for Christmas. :-)

I guess Vermont was really a sheep state, in the early days. Then the forests came back, with a lot of dairy in the lowlands. I've seen a few pictures of ghostly dry stone walls meandering out through forest land. Quit pretty. Vermont has always had an independent streak. See: Ethan Allen or Green Mountain Boys. It's also had a long history of a Town Meeting form of government. Some town meetings have been going for almost 250 years. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The other day I pulled some green onions out of my plot, and they weren't cooperating. So I had to really get down and dig into the soil to pry them out. I was quit pleased and surprised at how ... loamy the soil has become. Light and fluffy with a lot of organic material in it. I've been scrambling to scrounge coffee grounds from the Club to work into the new garden plot. Along with some leaf mulch. And, I hit on a nefarious plan to ensure I get the two garden spots I want. I was brushing up on my Soil Science, all those carbon based leaves need a shot of nitrogen to break down. And, it occurred to me that I have quit a bit of self produced nitrogen, sloshing around, so to speak. If you get my drift. :-). So I'll very carefully float the story of where my nitrogen comes from, and I think that will cut any competition for the garden space, considerably. Probably keep them off my veg, too!

Juggling. Ah, yes. Although, in my case, being unemployed and unencumbered by family or too many friends. Well. Life is good and I LOVE being retired. But, you're right. I still run into situations where whatever task always takes way longer than planned for.

I finished "The Tastemakers." Interesting food trends. Ethnic trends. Food trucks. The rise of the cronut. Bacon mania. And, the death (kind of) of a trend. The fondue pot. But many past trends are always perking in the background, and to quote Stephen King, who may have been quoting the Bible, "Once in every generation, a plague falls upon them." :-).

I watched the end of "American Horror Story: Roanoke", last night. Not family friendly or for the faint of heart. Buckets of blood splashed on the walls. Lots of paranormal stuff with a side order of cannibal hillbillies. Many meat cleavers flash in the light of The Blood Moon. Each season, is a completely different story, but they have a kind of ensemble cast that plays different parts, each year. Kathy Bates has done quit a few. Angela Bassett. It's been running for five years, or so. American Horror Story ... Hotel / Coven / Insane Asylum, etc. I think my favorite was "Freak Show." Next year? AHS: Culdesac (sp?). Suburbia. What could go wrong? Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Do you get a lot of background noises from the forest surrounding your place? I sat quietly today to listen here (for research purposes of course) and as a comparison I could hear: frogs; insects; and birds. During winter the drone of the insects is absent, but the frogs and birds still make plenty of noise. Sometimes when I'm in Melbourne the only thing I can hear is manmade sounds. I mentioned before that there has been a significant drop in insect and bird life in Melbourne, but I could well be wrong and may just have acclimatised my senses to up here? Dunno.

You don't often see ships listing these days. The reports reckon that there is no immediate danger. I'll be there is a story to that incident which will hopefully be investigated.

Does your son enjoy the Ferrets? I'm told that they are very clever creatures, but the teeth are wickedly sharp. Stay safe! Incidentally, how did your son know that the ferrets had worms? Sometimes such things are hard to tell.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The Wikipedia page on ice dams mentioned that some people heat their roofs to prevent that possibility. Too bad if the power goes out. But I can understand how a big dump of snow on a roof could pull off the guttering. The funny thing about our housing stock is that a lot of it is constructed to be mechanically heated and cooled - and I guess those sorts of roof adaptions fall into that category. I really try hard to ensure that the systems here work with very little, if any, intervention, but sometimes that is not so easy to achieve.

Far out it is hot here today. The cool change has just arrived and looking over the valley there appears to be an epic thunderstorm over the nearby township. Up here it is just a few drops of rain. A helicopter just flew overhead to avoid the storm. I can hear a big chunk of thunder in the distance! I love a good storm.

Sorry, I digress. Infrastructure. We sewed up the full rock gabion and constructed a new rock gabion cage which is sitting in place where we excavated last week. The job was completed by late afternoon and I was just hot and so sat in a cold bath to cool off and get clean.

The storm bypassed us, but I can see and hear it from here. Oh well. Scritchy storm detective seem very unfussed by the storm. Tomorrow promises more rain and then a cooler week!

Do your stores get a big drop off in patronage after the Christmas splurge? They're crazy for Boxing Day sales down here.

Nice work dodging the black ice on the roads. :-)! Your winters have such low humidity. I reckon the dry and cold air would suck the very moisture from your skin. At least it keeps your firewood drier than it would otherwise be if the temperatures were warmer and the humidity was higher.

Oh yeah, Decline of Western Civilisation, walking the dog from the car years! I reckon it is a weird activity. Watch out for Princess as she is a fluffy. Just sayin... I went to pat a miniature Pomeranian that was being walked on a lead in the big smoke about a decade ago and the little blighter full on bit me. The owner seemed very unperturbed about the incident. I tend to leave them alone when I encounter them now. Of course, Princess probably knows you by now and may take a softer line?

Ah. I had not realised that the time for tapping Sugar Maples had been so reduced due to the shifting climate in Vermont and the invasive plants and diseases. Our plants really can walk across the landscape if they are given enough incentive to do so – that happens more often than we may realise. Ouch! Interesting, and yeah, the histories of Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys reads as if they ran that state for a while and were a force to be reckoned with.

I thoroughly approve of your nefarious soil enrichment plan. A good idea, but you do run the real risk that the ladies may take up the same strategy, except that they may begin scrounging wood ash and mixing that into the soil too? It could get very competitive you know! :-)! The description of your soil sounds spot on to me. People can be rather strange about their relationship to their excretions, which are really food for the soil anyway. I dunno, but you are onto something. How did you go about brushing up on soil science?

Good for you and nice to read! It is nice to have time to contemplate things and indulge in a good spot of reading.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Yeah, food trucks are getting to be bigger businesses. I guess that is a direct result of the high costs of commercial leases. And it is a wise adaption too. I understand that electricity prices may be going up again down here from 1st January. Ouch. I view that as a situation where supply was restricted by decommissioning old power plants without replacing them, and prices can rise in response. Dunno. Is that occurring in your part of the world? I call that drawing down on our capital.

I'd never heard of a cronut before. It looks wicked and I may pass on that particular delicacy!

You know I would have thought that them hillbillies be scary enough without having to add cannibalism into the mix in that story? I mean, I saw the film Deliverance (and read the book). Scary stuff. Don't go around messing with their business is perhaps the lesson from that story? Dunno. I do recall that the Oil Price and Supply Shocks of the 1970's were woven into that story.

Yes, the suburban cul-de-sac. Yup I heard a song years ago by the Australian band, The Beasts of Bourbon. They released a very dark and disturbing album full of covers titled 'The Low Road'. It was so dark, but the lyrics in one of the songs always filled me with a certain sense of foreboding and dread. Now where is it... ... ... Oh, here it is. I chucked in the opening stanza (and it doesn't get better from there):

I live out in yobs-ville
10 miles out of town
Sitting on a bench
In a deserted playground
Asbestos house's all around
Clicking insects the only sound
Nowhere could be as normal
As this place pretends to be


For your lexicon! A yob is a UK slang word describing someone as: "a loutish, uncultured person", although in Australia and New Zealand, the word yobbo is more frequently used, with a similar although slightly less negative meaning. Well, that cleared that up! I've met a few yobs in my time and always treated them respectfully... You don't really hear that word used anymore, I guess we must be getting more sophisticated and cultured?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

28F this morning, sun shining from a completely blue sky, no wind and the ground is white with frost.

Noises within the woods:- birds all the year round, insects in summer, stealthy movements which, apart from animals, come from some birds which move around at ground level. There are many, many shrubs and their branches rub against each other in the slightest of breezes and the birds dart in and out of them.

Son is assuming the worms because the ferrets are far too thin and yet eating masses.

Inge

margfh said...

Nice job on the weekly blog posting, Sir Scruffy. Good of you to give Chris a break. He and the editor never seem to stop.

While you are hot we are freezing here in Northern Illinois but we can't to complain too much as we could have five feet of snow as they do in Pennsylvania. Leo and Salve are getting quite antsy as it's too cold for long outings outside. They did enjoy the company on Christmas Day however as well as all the goodies left over from dinner. They did not enjoy being left alone for many hours on Christmas Eve though when we went to our family's annual party. The party this year was small - only about 30 and there were less gifts. My daughter beat me once again in the Christmas card contest though she didn't win - came in 2nd. The prior two years she beat me in the ornament contest too. The first year she won with a hastily put together ornament (put together at the party) which she made by biting off corners of a large cracker, making a small hole and using some ribbon as a hanger. There is clearly no taste in my family.

Did I mention how cold it's been? Well it's been hovering around zero (F) for four days though today it's supposed to be a balmy 17 degrees. It's back to the real frigid weather on Saturday until the end of next week. I went to visit my daughter, granddaughters and son-in-law yesterday as I hadn't seen their decorations for several years. It takes two trains to get to her home in a suburb north of Chicago. The train station in downtown Chicago was freezing as well. I had almost an hour wait between the two trains so had a cup of coffee but never took off my coat.

Anyway another Christmas (postponed due to illness) on Saturday and a quiet New Year's Eve with friends and that'll do it for this year's holiday festivities.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Really sorry to hear about the water pump - must be so frustrating. Rocks always turn up in the farm fields with all the freezing and thawing. It would be fun to make a rock wall out of them. Sounds like you had a good Christmas and nice you didn't have to do the cooking. We have way too many sweets around here. My daughter and her boyfriend brought all kinds of unusual food from the Asian Market that'll be interesting to try. Michael put them on the spot a couple of times as he always says just what comes into his mind. At dinner he asked them when they were going to "tie the knot?" The next day he asked my daughter's boyfriend if he was deeply in love with her. Of course asked similar questions of other relatives.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Inge

There are times here when it's absolutely silent - usually on a Sunday morning with the wind coming from the north as there are no major roads to the north of us. I was walking in the Christmas tree farm the other morning after we had about an inch of snow. It was silent except for three great horned owls. Most planes are high enough that we don't hear them much either.

@Pam

Two inches of ice - how awful!! Did you lose power as well? As the climate changes it's expected that we'll have more ice storms here.

Margaret

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

It is c-o-l-d here. As in a low of -2F / -19C and a high of 12F / -11C yesterday. It's a bit less cold today, but only a bit. The temperature has been below freezing since sometime on the 23rd. Maybe it'll get as high as freezing tomorrow (Friday) for a brief period. But then the bottom drops out again on Saturday, with the same kind of temperatures as yesterday through next Tuesday at least. The soil finally froze. With the temperatures this cold for this long, I brought the citrus trees from the front porch into the house since I cannot keep the front porch above freezing without using an electric heater. It's a little crowded but we'll all make do.

We had a white Christmas; in fact we had snow last Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. Not much, but as cold as it's been, it has stayed around. We might have a little snow or freezing drizzle this coming Saturday.

Since it's too cold to work outside, I'm analyzing garden data and reading the seed catalogs as they arrive. Have to admit that it's hard to imagine the warmth of summer now. But it's just as hard to imagine the cold of winter during the summer.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, infrastructure is only as good as it's weakness. Gutter heaters, electric pellet stoves, freezers ... All "good" ideas til the power goes out. But then, you resort to a generator. And, hope it works and you've got good fuel, on hand. Actually, low humidity days in winter is the rarity, here. Seems like I'm always scraping ice or wiping off rain or fog from the windows. This time of the year, it's a rare day when I can walk out to the truck and the windows are clear.

Oh, the day after Christmas can be pretty wild. My mum always used to go out and buy her cards and wrap for the next year. But yesterday, I think I mentioned, the Safeway was empty. Later, I stopped by the veg store, and was the only one in there.

Oh, Princess is a dream dog. But, I always approach her slow and offer the back of my hand. She falls into an orgy of licking. Probably salt seeking, or, maybe it's the amount of garlic I eat :-).

Brushing up on soil science. Well, I looked up a few things on the internet. But, it's mostly my book collection. About the best thing I've got is "Rodale Organic Gardening Basics: Soil." I'll have to look into the rest of the series. It's only about 100 pages long, but it's got great clear photos and graphics.

I got it wrong. The next season of "American Horror Story" is "Cult." No paranormal stuff. Sounds like it's going to be more of a psychological thriller (with, buckets of blood.). And, it's going to be more reflecting our current political situation. Red vs Blue, and all that.

I'd heard the term "yob", before. No surprise there, as deeply steeped as I am in the BBC and British lit. Australian films and lit. But it's not a term I've heard used, at all, here in the US. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - We don't get ice storms, too often, up here. But Portland? Big time. They come blasting out of the Columbia River gorge and glaze every surface. The only time in my life I've ever had frost bite was waiting for a bus in Portland. And, it was a light case. Couldn't feel the side of my head or the tip of one ear for almost a year. A very strange feeling. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Nice! I really enjoy how a frost early in the morning wipes out all of the colours in the landscape and turns everything into a black and white film. And the blue sky would create such a strong contrast.

About half an inch of rain just fell in another tropical storm (the tail end of the cyclone that formed over the north west coast of Western Australia). Summer rain is a real bonus for the land and the fruit trees. I noticed that my apricots have just started to put some bright red blush on, but they are still a week or two from ripening. They need the heat.

When the trees rub against each other it sounds to me as if the trees are talking among themselves! That often happens in the thicker parts of the forest where regrowth from the 1983 fires compete with each other for light, space, and nutrients. I'm not sure whether you've ever heard the wind whistling through the rigging on yachts moored in a harbour? It is a mournful, but also an exciting sound all at the same time with the winds promise of travel by sail.

Fair enough and that makes sense and I'd probably come to the same conclusion.

I picked up a box of apricots from an orchard to the north of here and we are currently bottling them. Yum! The orchard is very good and they allow the fruit to sun ripen and develop some sugars - which is not always the case.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Sir Scruffy sends greetings to you and yours (including special canine greetings to Leo and Salve) and also a friendly bark and tail wag!

Five feet of snow in Pennsylvania! I wouldn't have the faintest clue what that would feel like as it is outside my experience. I mean, how do they get anything at all done in those conditions? And I hope that not many folks there lost the power... Stay warm in your part of the world! And the dogs would not at all enjoy cold paws on frozen ground, would they? I assume that the garden is now quiet for the season?

A tropical storm just dumped half an inch of rain which is a true summer gift. It is very warm and humid though, which honestly I feel guilty about even mentioning...

Your daughter shows excellent adaption to circumstances with that cracker ornament! Well done her! Out of curiosity, what is the Christmas card contest all about? You don't see too many of those any more down here, although I do make a continuing effort along those lines.

I believe you did mention how cold it was. Not to stir you up, but after the rain the outside temperature here briefly dropped to 65'F before rising again and I started thinking to myself that it was a bit chilly! Although that is probably quite hot compared to what you are experiencing, which to my summer soft ears, sounds horrendously cold. Brr! I had to look up what zero F actually meant and it is way beyond my experience. Keep the wood fire stoked in those conditions! Brr!

Is the Chicago train station covered over, or only the platforms? Other than Southern Cross station in Melbourne which is completely covered over with a wavy roof which must have been an engineering and plumbing nightmare but looks pretty cool, most train platforms are covered to a greater or lesser extent, and the further you get from the city, the less coverage you can expect! The local station here looks unchanged (well not exactly unchanged as renovations have been sympathetic) and it would probably be recognised by folks from a hundred years ago. Apart from the ticket machines which might freak them out (as it does to a lot of tourists). The ticket machines charge a card with an RFID chip which keeps a balance and paper tickets can only be purchased from the station master (the elusive first class paper ticket is not so easy to purchase these days). Getting a card with an RFID chip is not so easy…

That is no good about the illness and I wish them a speedy recovery. New Years is always a fizzer these days so we don't bother. Many long years ago some friends who were real party monsters could put on a good bash, but these days... Not so much!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

cont... Yes, the ongoing water pump issues have left me with much to do and even more to ponder. Water is the key here and it was one of the reasons that the initial township of Cherokee was originally abandoned. Not that many folks consider the historical perspective these days. Farm steads here were largely sparse and highly independent back in the day, but the soils meant that it was a good berry and potato area so an income was not out of the question. Making money in agriculture is a tough school and I met a young farmer today who looked as if he had a case of deer in the headlight syndrome. He was distracted enough that I felt that he was young enough to bounce back from shocks and learn any lessons that he needed to learn.

Rocks are useful items - and we have learned how to make every single rock earn its keep here. I had to laugh about the Nearing's experience with rocks as it matched our own. Christmas was good and I just enjoyed other peoples cooking and company. To be honest I was a bit half hearted with offers of assistance with cleaning up and made a token gesture along those lines. Some folks enjoy company by producing good food and then cleaning up afterwards, I'm a story teller and talker. Don't you reckon it is best to stick with your strengths and keep out of the kitchen if better equipped folks want to look after that side of things?

Michael is clearly astute enough to ask the question that was on your mind! Well done him. Some folks lack social filters and there is a place for those folks too!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Oh my! Your weather is even colder than where Margaret is! Far out, I have no idea what to say as such weather is beyond my experience. Honestly, I live in a very temperate part of the world where the coldest I have ever seen is 30'F (-1'C) and the hottest is 111'F (44'C). Yes, I am soft, whilst you are doing the hard yards! :-)! I assume that that is it for the garden for the season?

No worries at all about the citrus. The wealthy old timers in Europe used to have a room where they brought all of the citrus plants inside during their harsh cold winters. Of course that required the plants to be in pots and the use of trolleys. In one of the very old Victorian era hill station gardens in the more fashionable end of the mountain range, I spotted a heated glassed in greenhouse and it looked beautiful. The old timers used to grow pineapples in there for some historic reason that is now lost to me. My understanding is that citrus won't tolerate less than about 16'F... Most of the frost damage on them here regrows with the summer heat, so I have a lot of trouble working out which branches are dead and need to be removed. Your trees may keep each other warm in the crowded conditions so it may work out better than you imagine? Dunno.

Awesome! Great to read that you had a white Christmas. The Christmas winter imagery here is just so weird. Imagine images of polar bears and penguins when the temperature hits 100'F! What is with that?

Enjoy the seed catalogues and promises of a future summer, and in the meantime I'll keep throwing in weekly photos of the summer from here. It may sound a bit dodgy from your perspective, but I have the door open right now letting in the cooler evening breezes...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh yeah, that is so true about infrastructure. Unfortunately, I have also seen folks run out of fuel with those generators, and that was a real wake up call for me after the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009. The devices are pretty good, but they use so much fuel that few people remember just how much fuel they need to keep them going for any length of time. And the fuel goes off too if not used. I'll tell ya an interesting story: the local farm machine repair bloke repaired my mower recently and remarked to me that the problem with my mower was that fuel these days is no longer the fuel that used to be supplied and deposits are forming in carburettors. He then told me to run the fuel tank completely dry before leaving the machine for more than a month or two, and then before I could elucidate further upon that discussion the phone rang and the moment was lost.

Ah, of course you are on the north west coast and so subject to the Pacific Ocean weather, which I'm a bit subject too as well. I forget all the little details of the different areas. I'd prefer a warmer more humid winter if it means anything to you. I mean the chances of growing anything in that climate is far higher than a frigid, freezing and dry winter where nothing will be possible. I'm reading book four of the Harrows of Spring and that story being set in New England and all, does not inspire me with confidence for that time of year in that part of the world. I told you that the character little Sarah would cark it from tetanus! Mind you, the summers are cooler and more productive and the soils there even now would be more fertile than anything that I could imagine, so there are benefits and pitfalls. The books are like a primer for anyone even remotely curious about the shape of a de-industrial future and I recommend them highly.

Dogs are sensitive creatures and they don't mind a bit of garlic. You obviously are aware of just how good that plant is for human health? I should be harvesting the bulbs here, but I just let them spread around and enjoy themselves. Some dogs incessantly lick because they have problems with their teeth and gums due to their diet and it is an irritation relief for them, whilst other dogs experience the world through their tongues. Mr Poopy is not well and his glaucoma which is a breed problem is pretty bad and this week he has taken a turn for the worst. I feel that him and I may be parting company soon as he is very distressed at his new circumstances.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

The Rodale books are very good aren't they? I have their herb book here as I have an interest in culinary and medicinal herbs and grow a big collection of them. The book is an old hardback edition which I picked up at a grotty and dusty (but also very well stocked) second hand bookshop. Did your book mention a mix of scattered wood ash and urine? That really works! But nothing beats organic matter of any and all stripes. Oh, I forget, of course there is always rock dust and some gardening places sell bags containing a mix of fine and diverse minerals. The local Diggers Club sells a bag containing almost 90 different minerals. I thoroughly recommend an addition of such a collection for your patch! The fungi, I believe will handle the details.

Well that is a bit different than a cul-de-sac! The 'Cult' were a good rock band too. If I recall correctly one of the band members went by the horrid name 'Rat Scabies' which seems a rather unsavoury Monika to me! ;-)! The whole Red versus Blue thing is a bit lost on me because down here we are interested in apathy, and efforts to stir the population into concerns about religious and political dogma are a bit lost on the population at large. I recall efforts to ‘out’ a previous Prime Minister elect for having gone to a strip club only increased his popularity! Do you reckon that 'cult' is an appropriate term to describe the political affections of the population in your part of the world? I dunno at all.

Went today to visit an orchardist that I have been purchasing fruit from for maybe a bit under a decade. They're north of us so they have about two additional months of growing season and as such their fruit is about a month ahead of the fruit here. I picked up a box of sun ripened apricots to bottle this afternoon, and may get another box over the next week or so. Also I picked up a box of mixed stone fruit and it will be a real pleasure to chow into those over the next week or so. Yum! Interestingly, the owners have leased their orchard to a young bloke to run. I met the guy and he was very distracted and I wanted to say more, but the opportunity disappeared. They run grafting courses during winter and I will have to do one next year. I tried to get one of the Green Wizards folks to do one last year, but they found something else to do with their time. Sometimes I feel as if I am backed into a corner as there is just so much to learn, but not only learn, but to know. And there is a difference.

On another data point, the local farm gate supplier of hoop house tomatoes who has supplied me for more years than I can recall shut up shop and we now have to wait until late January / early February before we have fresh local (and tasty) tomatoes.

Making money in agriculture is a hard school!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

You have the funniest family; a cracker Christmas ornament! And Michael is great,though I know I am saying that from a very long distance . . . But he is just what some people need to keep them on their toes. I also know that most people wouldn't appreciate that.

Yes, our power went out in that ice incident and it stayed out for a week or so as everyone's power was out and the power company couldn't even get out to the lines anyway. That was way before we had a generator. Which is why I am one of those (et tu, Chris) who feels that plenty of firewood is like money in the bank. Money was of no use to us in that situation.

It is funny, but I thought when we moved to Virginia that we would be in the Old South, climate-wise, anyway. I think of us as North Dixie.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I love to listen to the trees talk. On our property it seems to be mostly the pine trees that do so, as they rub against each other in the wind. Talking trees makes me think of Helen . . .

Here is an article which shows just how hard commercial farming is here in the U.S. It is quite long, but just reading a bit gives a very good picture of the scope of government regulations. The apple pickers can't even touch the rungs of the ladders, only the rails, as the rungs might be "dirty". Hope it's not behind a paywall.

http://latestnews7.com/2017/12/27/when-picking-apples-%D0%BEn-a-farm-with-5000-rules-watch-out-f%D0%BEr-the-ladders/

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The most snow I can remember here was around 30 inches. We had to shovel my mother's barn roof as it would have caved in under the weight. The piles from the roof were so tall that you just had to step down on one to walk down from the roof. Getting out the door can also be a problem. Doug and I had just gotten married that year and lived in a pretty large apartment complex. That winter had so much snow and was so frigid that we put blankets over the engines of our cars in the parking lot and then took turns getting up at 2 AM to take off the blankets and run the cars for about 15-20 minutes so they would start in the morning. The plowed piles were so high that when you wanted to pull out onto a road you had to inch out as there was no way to know if someone was coming. The snow in Pennsylvania was lake effect snow from Lake Erie. Anywhere near Lake Michigan around here gets lake effect snow. We are too far west of the Lake to experience that.

My daughter will never let me forget that cracker ornament. In fact there was a reference to it in her otherwise lovely poem she wrote for her card this year. The Christmas cards could be purchased or hand made and tasteful or with sick humor. Mine was homemade and illustrated the theme of the Bob River's song "Yellow Snow". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4nkqK_bS2U

The Chicago train station (one of two major ones downtown) is entirely enclosed with restaurants, bars and shops and three stories tall which was why I was surprised it was as cold as it was throughout. The trains disembark outside and it's understandable that it would be quite cold near all the revolving doors. There are a lot of windows though. I've always wondered how shopped at the menswear store there.

https://www.google.com/search?q=ogilvie+transportation+center&rlz=1C1QJDB_enUS615US657&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwif8pjsh7DYAhVJ0YMKHVRnBGIQ_AUIDCgD&biw=1280&bih=615#imgrc=FbI69b9n8WJgQM:

This cold weather is getting old quickly. Not much relief for at least a week.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

It may help your lawn mower to run it on ethanol-free fuel. A certain amount of ethanol is mandated here in the gasoline/petrol that is sold, but - if you know where to go - you can buy some and we do that for our generator and chainsaw (I think) and lawn mower. It is more expensive, so I can only put in my old pickup truck occasionally and, besides, the station that carries it is only open at odd hours.

I just read your comment about Mr. Poopy. Is it more than just glaucoma? Is that what is distressing him? I have known several blind dogs who adjusted well to their changed circumstances. His surroundings are very familiar to him and he has companions all around him who can clue him in to what's going on.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. Just another one of those things that's hard to remember. The little details. The mower. Current gas is laced with corn ethinol. (sp?) Which, eventually gums up the engine. We have one station here that sells non-corn gas. Always a line up when the weather gets nice.

Even with the frost and snow, my peas and onions are still banging along. The pea pods look pretty grim, but the leaf and vine looks fine. Some of the garlic is poking up, mostly the elephant. Seems to do fine with the weather. Yup. I slip two or three cloves of garlic into what ever I'm cooking, per day. I'm lucky in that I seem to process it well, and on one's ever complained that I reek of garlic. Helps with blood pressure and a few other blood things.

Poor Mr. Poopy! I think we had a conversation, recently, about how when you take on friends, or, animals companions, sooner or later, grief is built in. I'm still mulling over getting something, besides me, alive in this apartment. I discovered yesterday that one of my neighbors has a Chinchilla cat? A really striking animal. I guess she's a retired Show Girl :-).

Rodale Press has been around for a long time. 1920s & 30s? They published the magazine Organic Gardener, from way back. It was always kind of ... out there. Really niche and limped along for quit awhile. Then, came the Hippies and the back to the land movement. There was even a book club, for quiet awhile. Still may be one. The result of all that is the second hand book market for Rodale is quit robust. Glancing at my gardening / alternative medicine / herbal book shelves I can see, without too much effort, the Rodale logo on the spine of at least 6 books. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, in a way, politics here ARE rather cult like. "True Believer", Eric Hoffer, etc.. And, many people see it as a kind of "holy" war. Frightening? Yes. I suppose the directors and writers of "American Horror Story" are trying to make the connection. When I watch it, about this time next year, I'll give you a full report :-).

Well, leaves will just have to stand in for wood ash :-). As I have free and easy access to leaves, but not so much for wood ash. I'll be interested to see what the soil tests in the spring look like. Minor tweaks will probably have to be made. Or, not. I had a lively crop of all kinds of fungi popping up in my garden space. I took that as a good sign and left them alone to do their thing.

Well, it's gray and rainy, so I'm hitting the books and dvds. I started watching another Great Course, that I got on Interlibrary Loan. "The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction." A survey, an overview. Poe kicked it off with the first identifiable detective / private eye, with his "Murder in the Rue Morgue." A few weeks ago, I watched a bio on Poe, "Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive." It turns out, a lot of things we "think" we know about Poe, aren't true. His literary executor, and first biographer was a literary and romantic rival. So, even though he had a bit of admiration (envy) for Poe's literature, he pretty much trashed his private life. Sure, he had problems, but his biographer tended to magnify them. But I digress ... :-).

I'm reading "Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World." (Spinney, 2017). Yup. There's a few new things. The flu affected the color cones in the eye and for months after recovery, the world looked pretty bleak. Washed of most color. Probably contributed to the well documented post flu depression that effected a lot of people. But, I still have a bit of a problem figuring out why it's considered such a disaster. It killed 2.5 - 5% of the worlds population. That's really not much of a mortality rate. Maybe, it's because it hit in such a short period of time, usually, just a couple of months in most places. Some places had very high mortality, some places, very low. The author promises to tell us why that is so, later.

My latest intellectual mania is to explore the authors who created "The Bright Young Things" of the 1930s. I got a bio on Evelyn Waugh from the library cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Whoops! Got a phone call. An event, around here :-).

I think the last thing I was going to say is, I ordered a bio (the only one, as far as I can tell) of Stella Gibbons. The "Cold Comfort Farm" author. Didn't want to wait for it on Interlibrary Loan, and, since there probably isn't much of a demand for bios of Stella Gibbons, it was pretty cheap. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Firewood is money in the bank! I can't really guarantee much here, but winter warmth is a nice thing to have on a cold winters night. Although with what you are all experiencing, you'd probably call my winters: shorts and t-shirt weather! Hehe! Probably not though, as 30'F day after day is pretty cold all the same. Speaking of which we are in the process of cutting a wide and flat path across the orchard to the second firewood shed and got about half way today. Yay! My mind is turning to thoughts about firewood. That shed was originally the chicken shed, but the concrete floor requires repairs, but first I have to cut a path so that I can get the concrete mixer and loads of firewood across the orchard. Have you ever heard the story about swallowing a spider to catch a fly? Sometimes that is how it rolls…

Firstly, for firewood one must have talking trees!

Such regulations ensure that agriculture does not make money and during the middle of the harvest too. Well done them. I reckon some folks would be horrified to know that vegetables grow in the dirt! The shock, the horror. And people wonder why I do not sell produce from here... Thanks for the link, it is terrifying!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thirty inches of snow sounds horrific! Thanks for sharing your experience. I was curious though whether people in the area took it easier on each other during those conditions, and were a bit more understanding with each other than is usual? I mean you couldn't help but be late to work in those conditions.

Yellow snow is hilarious - and yes it is very wise to avoid! The dog images were great too. :-)! The fluffy collective had not even considered that more practical side of very cold and snowy weather!

The Chicago station sounds and looks pretty cool. Train stations are cold places during winter and it is pretty hard to get around the practicalities of the design. Thanks for the images of the station and they remind me of a really old school steel and glass greenhouse. I wonder about those questions too, and when I was a kid at the other main train station (Flinders Street) there used to be a specialty hat shop in a basement which eventually closed down. It hung on well into the 1980's, but now I find myself frequenting a specialty hat shop a bit further out of town... Life can be quite circular don't you reckon?

I get that and feel that way about prolonged heatwaves. It takes me about two months to tire of winter, but the first heatwave, I'm done with summer... I hear you!

I just wanted to brace you because Mr Poopy's glaucoma is not good at all and we're all learning how to live with that, and I hope he can adapt because the alternative for him is not so good.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Ah yes, our national airline Qantas announced that it would use 400,000ha or 1,000,000 acres so as to grow mustard which will supply: "200 million litres of bio-jetfuel every year. The airline used 4.8 billion litres of conventional jet fuel last year."

Now my maths is not so good mostly because I sat next to the school bully in year 9, but 200m / 4.8bn looks to me like it may be a bit over 4% for, what was that in farmland again? Oh that's right 1m acres. That sure is a lot of mustard. I like mustard and grow it all year around! Mustard is tasty...

Qantas to operate first biofuel flight to US under mustard power

Yup, them renewable stuff is good, but well, there is no cigar!

Yeah, Mr Poopy is legally blind and should not be driving a vehicle. Pam, I'm really sorry to say he is as blind as a bat. You know I never realised why he had such trouble with stairs before, but now I have to lift him up and then lift him down again. He's doing OK, and we are all just trying to accommodate his new circumstances and hoping he is not too distressed. I mentioned this because I'm trying to slowly introduce the idea that things are not so good for him now and if he is too distressed and can't adapt or injures himself which is a serious possibility... He reminds me of life's little vicissitudes that will eventually visit us all. I feel sad for him and really want him to adapt.

His companions vary in temperament from understanding and gentle to, well, payback time could be one way to describe the situation. Dogs can be quite mean with each other, but that is their way.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Exactly! The details do go AWOL from time to time and life gets in the way and so things go wrong. Of course it goes without saying that the details may have fallen behind the couch, and I didn't really think to look there! We keep a maintenance list, but far out, the list keeps getting longer, whilst there are only so many hours in the day. I suspect that you are correct as ethanol (we source that I believe from sugar cane) is the culprit as it was indeed deposits in the innards of the engine. Incidentally, they used a blast from an ultra sound cleaner to break up the deposits. A mate of mine who knows about such things recommended to run the first fuel tank of the season with a bit of two stroke oil and he reckons that will help matters.

Yeah, I reckon your winters are more bearable than the east coast winters which would knock me around for sure. It is good that some produce is still kicking along in the garden. Garlic really is good for you and like meat I consume it off the property, but to be honest I have had too much garlic for one short lifespan. Years ago I had a mate that grew up on a farm and he detested mushrooms for the same reason. And the mate that gave me the advice about the two stroke oil has a thing about broad beans, which I unwittingly served up once...

Vicissitude is the correct word for Mr Poopy's declining eye-sight. On the other hand he is doing OK, although he is at risk of a major injury (falling most likely), and I just took him out with me to attend to the chickens in the orchard. He might not be able to see the chickens, but I suspect his other senses help him to identify exactly where all of the chickens were.

A Chinchilla cat's eyes are the window into their souls! They are a striking looking cat aren't they? They are definitely in the category of fluffies and would fit into the fluffy collective. Although Mr Poopy does not appear to be rapidly re-growing his fur like he usually does. That is not a good sign.

The Rodale books are very well written, and I'll keep an eye out for their book on soil health. Second hand bookshops are places of temptation! :-)! Do you reckon that a back to the land movement may re-sprout (no pun intended) if there is a serious correction in property prices and a sharp rise in unemployment? My gut feeling says: yes, but who really knows?

I look forward to reading your future report on the series. It is frightening that people see things that way. I wonder whether they are actually getting something out of that state of mind? Mr Kunstler voiced some of my concerns about tax give-aways without a reduction in the cost of government. My maths is not so good and such policies such as 5 - 2 = 6 seem beyond me. I dunno... Economists will differ and bang on about all sorts of theories usually involving boats. I noted that Damo (a commenter here) appears to be in the process of constructing a boat.

Thanks for the reminder and correction! Yeah, the leaves will already include those minerals, I mean how could they not? Yes, I will be interested to hear how your soil test go and what they identify. I have no access to such tests and have to enjoy yours vicariously. I always learn something and it is a very complex business.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

The first time I spotted fungi in my garden (this was years ago in the inner city when I first learned how freakishly complex agriculture was) I thought that it was a bad thing and used a mattock to break up all the hyphae which the fungi had constructed. I was an idiot. :-)! Oh well, you learn! Nowadays I discover white truffles, but generally leave them well alone as I have no idea how toxic they are (probably very toxic). You were wise to leave the fungi alone and let them get on with their job of breaking down cellulose. Fungi do a lot of heavy lifting in the environment.

Jack Vance mentioned that Edgar Allen Poe was one of his literary heroes and by all accounts he has a silky style of story telling. Ah yes, everyone has problems and off days, but some people's end up in the papers! Far out, you know the technical term for that first biographer tactic is: Trash talking. I can't remember where I heard it, but I recall someone wisely telling me that: If someone throws enough mud, some of it will stick. Best not to be involved in such a situation.

I read about the Spanish Flu and one thing that I noted was that it took out the healthy, and that made it stand out from previous epidemics. Is my understanding of that correct? Or was it some other factor. I'd be curious to learn why some areas had low mortality?

How did you end up reading about "The Bright Young Things" of the 1930s and Evelyn Waugh? I sense a story there. :-)!

Books can be ridiculously cheap these days, and it is not a reflection of the contents...

Off for a nighttime stroll! :-)! I dug soil again today and walking helps stretch me!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

58F today, the water table has reached the surface so walking is a squishy business.

I understood that that flu epidemic took out the young. It appears that the elderly may have had residual resistance from previous flu attacks. The cruellest thing was that it took out many of the soldiers who had survived the war.

I am rat infested outside. It is so bad that I may have to desist from growing vegetables for a year. Fortunately I have another site further away which they haven't discovered yet. Mild winter's and the extreme developments around have caused this. The laws re poisoning have changed and it will no longer be possible for Son to deal with this. More and more planning applications for development are going in with others waiting in the wings. One day this area will be wrecked but hopefully not in my time. Son may not be so lucky.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I grow mustard, too, and it is tasty, but no way should a million acres of farmland be put into the production of mustard to run aircraft. I read the article, thanks; I am accepting your 4% as my maths are worse than yours, but even if it was 100% I am leery. More land lost to food production, more water needed than ever (that completely boggles my mind), and you can bet more pesticides and herbicides used. I would like to guess than Monsanto is one of those promoting this.

It is good that you no longer let Mr. Poopy drive. I guess he'll need a chauffeur to the pub; I nominate Mr. Toothy. You all are wise to watch Mr. Poopy closely. I suspect that he has been adapting for a long time. It may well be that his nose and ears have already taken over many of the duties of his eyes. Does he seem to be enjoying his chicken guarding job? Having a task and a purpose can keep him feeling useful and I would think that he actually could be useful in that capacity, as a fox will not know that Mr. Poopy is blind and yet Mr. Poopy's nose will tell him that there is a fox to bark at. But his distress levels are something to watch. But do watch out that you are not reading his behavior as "distress, because I am blind" when it might actually just be part of his normal personal behavior.

We had a bit of snow this morning (thank goodness, we were at a fire-danger level of dryness) and Charlene the White Squirrel was playing "You Can't See Me in the Snow" with two grey squirrels.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - One can never have too much garlic :-). I don't have much patience with people's food foibles, but I keep my mouth shut. I have a few of my own ...

Winters here are pretty mild, compared to other parts of the country. But we do have our moments. The occasional snow fall that is measured in feet. The occasional cold snap where the temperatures dip below 20F ... for weeks. But, when it happens, we just soldier on. Stiff upper lip ('cause it's froze), and all that.

We're all "Pulling for Mr. Poopy." Soon to be seen on bumper stickers. There will be demonstrations in support. The Twitter-verce will Tweet. Seriously, though, I really hope he adapts. Animals can be remarkably resilient when it comes to disabilities. I had a room mate once who had a small three legged dog. Didn't slow down his mobility, at all. But sight is a whole different thing. I occasionally wonder how I'd do if I lost my sight. Muddle through, I suppose.

I get the feeling that there's a bit of a "back to the land" movement going on. But without the cheap, available land that was around in the 1960's and early 70's, it's where and when they can. Luck. Adaptability.

Hmmm. The state of mind of a True Believer. Well, they don't have to think very much. Makes the head hurt, don't ya know :-)
Things are very black and white. No ambiguity. Things are very "yes" or "no." Not much "either", "or." There's a self righteousness to True Believers. They're right, and anyone else who doesn't believe as they do is wrong. Possibly, "evil." Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup, the 1918 flu was a bit different as instead of the young and old, it took a lot of people in their 20s and 30s. Why? That probably had to do with the strain, rather than any external forces. I'm reading the bit about quarantine, right now. Usually doesn't work for a lot of reasons. Social and individual. Business. It's interesting, there were three waves of flu. The author mentioned that Australia avoided the second wave (the most lethal) by strict quarantine. So, got off rather lightly. New Zealand? Not so much. Really depends on how much of a hard line you'd take. Would you shot people to maintain quarantine? Some places banned all public gatherings. But the national government can order that, but how well enforced is it on the local level? Are there exceptions? If there are, might as well not even bother ...

Oh, I've always been mildly interested in "The Bright Young Things." But I think it's the mention of "Cold Comfort Farm" that set me off, again. And, perhaps it's my recent (last couple of years) interest in Art Deco. Films about the BYT's came out over a period of time, and are hard to get. I think the literature, for me, is more accessible ... and less expensive.

Yup. Books are ridiculously cheap, these days. Unless it's something I want :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

58'F sounds to me like a very pleasant winters day! It is a bit unfortunate about the high water table. I'm surprised that it has risen so quickly given the dry summer that you have just experienced. Down here they say: It never rains, but it pours!

Spanish flu sure was doubly cruel with that trick. The odds of surviving the WWI front-line action was not good for the average soldier. Infected people as well as injured people from WWI also travelled in the same trains as returning troops and that would have been a fertile breeding ground for the virus.

Rats often live in burrows in the ground, so maybe their burrows may have been flooded out by the rising water table? What do you think about that theory? I've also seen them live in hollows in trees and they are amazing climbers. Over the years several people have told me that rats can climb vertical corrugated steel sheet walls, but I have never observed that.

Yeah, your son may not be so lucky, and if he were to sell up, the question then becomes: where does he then go? I could sell up here and walk away from here with a tidy sum of cash, but cash does not keep the rain off your head and food on the table and I'd have to then start all over again somewhere else - but much more remote. Has your son ever expressed any concerns about such matters?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Oh yeah, the water requirements for such a large scale mono-culture crop is so far beyond my understanding that I cannot even begin to imagine how the process would work. But then if tractors and farm machinery are being used to produce that bio-fuel. I wonder if the reporter even thought to ask the hard question: How much oil is consumed to produce that bio-fuel crop and then convert it into usable fuel? Plus the loss of soil fertility... It is a story that makes no sense to me at all. Maybe I am just a buzz-kill? Mind you, I reckon I should probably get a still at some point in the future as higher alcohol products are exceptionally useful at wound cleaning. Hmm...

You protest too much! Hehe! We should have a maths-off competition one day to work out just how rubbish we both are! :-)! At least we both know that 2 + 2 does not equal 5, despite what more clever folks than us try to tell us! ;-)! Oh, we have descended into the land of silly!

I'm going to write about that Mr Poopy story tonight (published tomorrow night) so I appreciate your thoughts on the subject. Yes, he does enjoy being a chicken watch dog. What is interesting is that the other dogs have become jealous of the amount of attention that he is getting. Go figure that one out. And Mr Poopy has used his disability to his advantage today as I discovered him in a no-go area and he knew that he shouldn't be in there...

Yay for the snow for you! Especially given what a dry summer that you have just experienced. Charlene the White Squirrel sounds as charming as Sir Scruffy. Perhaps her name may actually be Lady Charlene the White Squirrel?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Food foibles got to prove what complex people we all are. Mind you, I reckon if ever we were subjected to true hunger, them food foibles would be ditched quicker than we could even say: Who moi? :-)!

Hey, I spotted an interesting article on the weather extremes of 2017 on our local news service: From America's hurricanes to Portugal's fires, ABC Weather looks back at 2017's deadly extremes. What is interesting is that some of those received very little media coverage, and I still wonder about what is going on in Puerto Rico. They have been dragged kicking and screaming back into the Victorian era – without the skills to live that way. It is like a media darkness that story.

Yes, stiff upper lip ol' chap! Did you notice that about a year or so ago, old WWII posters began appearing with the caption: "Keep calm and carry on". Sage words don't you reckon? That weather gear goes on here too and I spotted that next week a 102'F day is forecast... Fortunately the forecast that day does not look to be too windy and it looks like it will be the harbinger of another tropical storm.

Thank you for saying that about Mr Poopy and I'm planning to write more on that topic later this evening. Oh, happy New Year’s Eve and all that, although we will probably get there first given the machinations and complexities of time. It is heavy, living in the future! And honestly, I have no idea how I would cope with that blind scenario too. There is a bit of "do unto others" in my approach to Mr Poopy, but the Universe is under no obligation to return favours and life can be quite harsh and complex from time to time... All I can say is the future ain’t what it used to be (an excellent rip off don’t you reckon?)

Luck and adaptability is part of the current "back to the land" movement, but an off farm income sure does help when nobody wants to pay the full price for produce. That is also a topic for tonight's blog essay, but more on that tomorrow when it is published. I reckon that problem may be self-correcting, but don’t really know.

Oh no! I'd never considered that perspective before. Ouch! True believers are saved from the effort of having to think as they enjoy a narrow worldview where things that do not conform are labelled as 'evil'. I don't like that story much at all. As a young adult I learned that the world is very grey and the view point can shift very much depending on circumstances. On the other hand, I can see the appeal in black and white thinking, but it is a dead end and inevitably fails in the face of reality. Thanks for the insight.

Quarantine in Australia is taken pretty seriously. There was an overblown example of that recently. I trust that you have heard of a Magic Pudding? Perhaps not, but this quarantine breaching incident had it all and is worth reading: Barnaby Joyce Threatened 'Dipstick' Johnny Depp With Perjury Over Pistol And Boo Saga. As an interesting side note, Barnaby Joyce was kicked out of Parliament in the dual citizenship saga, but later re-elected! What strange times we live in.

Did I mention that a copy of that Penguin Classic's book (Cold Comfort Farm) is on its way here. Your stories and references have intrigued me.

Oh yeah, some books are out of my price range. The recent reprint of Mr Vance's books in original editions (excluding removing the heavy handed editing) come in at well over $1,000 and that is outside my price range, but not my wants... This is a complex problem to deal with.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon repairing the electric jack hammer as one of the three cables inside the heavy duty electric cable had broken. I just had to keep cutting the cable shorter and shorter and then testing the connections, until I had eliminated the break. I tell you this - Things aren't made like they used to be made. Fortunately I am getting better at small appliance repair, but the ones with digital circuits are beyond me if something basic has not failed. Efficient is not necessarily better!

Happy New Years and all that! I'm off to bed early tonight, but before that time hope to write tomorrow's story...

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Very sorry to hear about Poopy but I suppose it's been gradual so he's adjusting. How old is he? Seems we spend a lot more on the dogs at the vet now than we used to. Before we just got the required rabies shots and took them in if something came up which rarely happened. Now heartworm and Lyme disease is more prevalent and we feel guilted into getting those tests/vaccinations as well. Doug just took Leo in and the vet said there were bumps on his gums that should be removed and could be pre-cancerous. We think we'll just pass on that. Leo is ten now and the vet thinks he should have a check-up every six months as he's considered geriatric now.

Nothing in the garden at all. There are still some greens at the farmer's market from producers that have high tunnels.

We tried boots on Leo a few years back but he wanted no part of them. The dogs that run in the Iditarod wear boots.

Glad you enjoyed the song and pictures of the train station. It's nice that there are some places to hang out if you have to wait between trains or miss a train which I've done a few times. The trains that run out to our town only run every two hours except for rush hour so if you miss one there's quite a long wait.

Had one last Christmas here with Doug's mother and our kids and granddaughters. I think I'm done with holiday celebrations for now though it was a nice time. Some other family members came out to go to our BIL's restaurant so we met them there after our party and taking Doug's mom back to the care center. Ended up staying 3 hours. It appears the restaurant is doing pretty well so far.

Going to remain very cold here for another week but no snow in the forecast at least. There was some blowing snow yesterday from our one inch snowfall the other day and quite a bad accident north of town.

Seems you have a lot of repairs lately.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Pam

Did you have any problems with freezing water pipes during that outage? That's the biggest worry if power is out for any length of time in the winter. Burst pipes can cause a lot of damage. There are times when it's just so cold for so long pipes freeze if they're not well insulated. If that's a concern you leave a few faucets running very slow all the time.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

A still is a wonderful idea.

I refuse to participate in a maths-off competition with you. You have the editor. You might cheat.

Mr. Poopy is actually one smart cookie.

How could someone who was thrown out for having dual citizenship, then be re-elected? He dropped the non-Australian citizenship? What a cad; who would vote for him?

What a hilarious story about Mr. Depp; I enjoyed it so much. The author, Josh Butler, did a fantastic job, but then he had great material to work with. Now there is a book to own:
"The Magic Pudding: Being The Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum and his friends Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff".

Happy 2018!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

That is really bad news about the rats. Perhaps your son would like to own a dachshund or a Jack Russell Terrier? Of course, sometimes even they turn out to be couch potatoes (we shall have to ask Mr. Toothy). Since poison is not an option, someone needs to start a rodent extermination business involving ferrets - but that is probably illegal, too.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Some of our local power company workers to help in Puerto Rico:

http://www.nbc29.com/story/37151855/82-dominion-energy-workers-among-1500-headed-to-puerto-rico

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. 2017, another year of weather extremes, never mind the hurricanes and fires. I picked up a couple of weeks old Time magazine, down in the lobby. It had an article, with a lot of pictures, of the plight of the Italian alps. Not much snow and the ski industry is suffering. Most of the runs and lodges are depending on snow making machines. LOL, speaking of keeping up machinery, quit a bit of the article was about the history of those machines, and their current state of development.

Well, Puerto Rico, has pretty much dropped out of the main stream media. But, the alternative press still has an article now and again. "40% of Puerto Rico Still Without Power." etc.. Mostly finger shaking at the administration.

If I can get good local produce, I'm willing to pay more for it. But, I'm in the minority. I'm often urged to dip into the food bank and commodity stuff we get here at The Home. I politely say that as long as I can afford to buy my own food, I'd rather not deprive someone else who really needs it. Actually, I think a lot of the stuff is pretty ghastly. My food foibles :-). Right now, I'm on the hunt for a good, dependable source of organic, free range, eggs. You'd think in a rural area ...

I had seen an article or two about the Depp curfuffle (sp?), but, as with most celebrity news, didn't bother to go much beyond the headline. Magic pudding. The gift that keeps on giving :-). I think I stole that from the article.

I ventured out into the huge flea market in the same building as the 12 Step Club. I'm not a DVD collector, but thought I'd check out a couple of vendors who had DVDs. Maybe see if I could find a copy of "Cold Comfort Farm". My. The space with DVDs had thousands of them. But, in no particular order. Just shelves and bins deep. All a buck, a piece. I found a couple of little gems, but no "CCF." LOL, as with so many of those spaces, you've got to track down the old guy that runs it, to pay. But, next time, I'll realize that he's got an "honor" box. Trusting soul. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I read some more of the flu book, last night. Great parts of the world were effected by the War. Other parts of the world were still pretty primitive, as far as transportation and medical aid were concerned. There are three theories as to where the flu got started. China, Kansas or France.

A virus was theorized, at that time (any virus), but no one had seen one, as the technology to see and identify them hadn't been developed yet. Apparently, there are flu that are bacteria based. Those could be seen and identified. There was a Haemophilus influenzae bacteria that was detected in a lot of the fatalities ... but not all. Just to complicate things, there were a lot of other respiratory bugs floating around. TB, strep, staph, pneumonia. Lots of typhus and cholera. And, plague.

The author finally go around to discussing why some places were so hard hit, and others, not. Sort of. New York City got off rather lightly. Mostly because they had the beginnings of an organized public health system, in place. And, they'd been working to eradicate TB for 20 years. So there was a kind of halo effect. Also, the first wave of flu wasn't very lethal. And, if you got it, you had some immunity to the second more lethal wave. So, areas that were hit hard by the first wave, didn't have as much mortality in the second.

Right now is the morning of the eve of New Year's. I've decided not to go to the auction, tomorrow, as there's only a couple of things I'm interested in. But, I think I'll run check out the preview and maybe leave a couple of absentee bids. They're having some kind of a party, here at The Home, but I'll probably pass. Get to bed early and hit the garden, tomorrow. Y'all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!! Lew

orchidwallis said...

A HAPPY NEW YEAR to all

Inge