Monday, 18 December 2017

Fox Collective 1 - Team Fluffy 1

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

Editor says: "No more Pomeranian's!" I have to confess to having a soft spot for that dog species. I once had a dream which involved owning five Pomeranian's, however the dream could rapidly turn into a nightmare because every right thinking person knows that any canine species related to Pomeranian's are wilful. And a wilful dog is a very complex beast.

Years ago, I was introduced to the Pomeranian breed via the now deceased dog: Old Fluffy. Old Fluffy was a Spitz and as such was slightly larger than the sort of Pomeranian that is commonly kept as a lap dog. She was a force to be reckoned with, and as boss dog she ruled the Fluffy Collective (i.e. the other dogs in the household at the time) with an iron paw.

As a younger dog, Old Fluffy was a nightmare, because she basically did not trust our judgement in any matter. Instead she preferred to do her own thing, which was usually mischievous. That behaviour is a pretty good definition of the word: "wilful".

After about six years of determined and unrelenting wilfulness, the editor and I finally broke her spirit. Old Fluffy then decided that perhaps it might not be a bad idea to occasionally respond to a few commands. Thereafter, and just to prove what a difficult species the Spitz family of dogs are, she became the best dog that I have ever known. I have great respect for people that can break horses and I cannot begin to imagine what complexities that must involve!

A few lines may be appropriate, from the most excellent lo-fi noise-folk band based in Melbourne: Tiny Little Houses, and their outstanding song: Entitled Generation:


"I'm 25 and still not living out of home
Got two degrees and I'm stuck working on the phone
So, damn our entitled generation
Damn our entitled generation"

As an interesting side story (and who doesn't love a proper digression?) I noted a few months ago that the very talented actor Peter Dinklage, of Game of Thrones fame, was campaigning to stop people from buying Huskies and Malamutes. Apparently the dogs were getting dumped at animal shelters across the country because they are a dog species that have special needs and are basically problematic. It is unfortunate for those species of dogs that they resemble a Direwolf, which is a character in the aforementioned series. However, that perhaps explains their current popularity. Did I mention that those dog species are also part of the Spitz family of dogs - with all the drama that that brings. Wilful (and large).


"I hear inflation keeps on going through the roof
But baby boomers got two condos left to spruce
So, damn our entitled generation
Damn our entitled generation"

Mr Poopy the Pomeranian (who must be outed as being a Swedish Lappund) is also of the Spitz family. Like most of them, he is naturally wilful, and does as he pleases without regard for my concerns. Unfortunately, he is also one of the laziest dogs that I have ever known. Wilful, combined with lazy, is not a good look. He would prefer to spend his days lying at his leisure on the bean bag enjoying the view and the general goings on in the outside world.

But every now and then, Mr Poopy performs acts of sheer greatness. He becomes worth his breakfast and dinner.

Mr Poopy entered my life in about 2008. I saw an advertisement for a Pomeranian "free to a good home" at the local bakery. There was a strange line in the advertisement: "Just because he hasn't retrieved his first ball, doesn't mean that he isn't trying". I was also told by the owner that Mr Poopy had joined three new households before being unceremoniously returned three times. We were also given the option to return him. Peter Dinklage may have something to say about that! I can assure concerned readers that Mr Poopy was most certainly not trying, simply because he couldn't give a toss about retrieving balls.

The editor and I were the fourth new household for that dog, and we had no idea what we were getting into with him (we did have commitment though). But perhaps there was also the realisation that it was us or the little green injection of finality for that dog. So we took him on and he was true to the fluffy form - wilful. However, he also added in the new and unexpected dimension of laziness. Old Fluffy was never lazy. If another dog of any size or demeanour at all needed dealing too, she dealt with that business: Godfather style; and went for the throat or eyes. She was indeed a force to be reckoned with. Mr Poopy is of a different sort. He does have his interests and skills though.


"The living wage is slipping, but the budget's spent
I'm firing words; don't worry, there's no ill intent
I can't keep sitting here, but like Mark Twain once said
Don't vote for politicians, that only encourages them"

Recently a fox attacked and killed one of my chickens whilst it was free-roaming through the orchard in the early evening. I'd always known that foxes were present on the farm, but I never really took the threat of foxes seriously, until Chloe the Australorp chicken was killed. I managed to stop the fox from taking Chloe, but the deed was done and she died soon after in my care.

After this fox - chicken encounter I have been training the wilful Mr Poopy to accompany me supervising the chickens as they free roam around the orchard. Remember the word "wilful", because Mr Poopy wants to eat the chickens and is totally fascinated by them, but he does restrain himself in my presence, on a lead.


"These worried kids you made, you made us who we are
Age of participation trophies and gold stars
Damn our entitled generation
Damn our entitled generation

Dosed up on Ritalin, so we could hardly speak
Our folks would fight over who had us for that week
Oh, damn our entitled generation
Damn our entitled generation"

Saturday evening was a fine evening. I took Saturday as a day off, which meant that I had been working for most of the day on all sorts of small tasks in the household and around the farm. By the time late afternoon rolled around, I could not be bothered taking Mr Poopy out with me in the orchard. Instead, I took the laptop over to the chicken enclosure, let the chickens out, and began replying to various comments on last weeks blog.

Whilst looking at the screen on the laptop and replying, the chickens called out their predator alert. Chickens are very talkative among themselves, and they usually let each other know what is going on that may require attention. I immediately abandoned the laptop because I spotted a fox within striking distance of Fluffy Head the Australorp - Silky cross chicken.

The fox lunged at Fluffy Head, who had the good common sense to fly away. I in turn roared something that can't be repeated on this blog, and immediately ran at the fox. Fluffy head narrowly avoided the fox, by again flying away and that was a feat she repeated three times. The fox had no success this time and I eventually chased it off into the surrounding forest. I then rounded up the chickens and put them safely to bed.

For concerned readers, Fluffy Head seems OK today, which is a testament to her strength and resilience.


"The moral code is slipping, in our own defence
They killed off romance when they birthed the Internet
It feels this legacy is one unholy mess
There's an old saying that goes, 'What you plant is what you get'

Damn our entitled generation
Damn our entitled generation"

As the editor and I walked back to the house, the magpies were calling out their alert call on the other side of the farm. Even the Kookaburra's were calling out alert calls. I went over to investigate, but could not see anything, and so returned to the house. The birds are rarely wrong, so I let lazy Mr Poopy run free around the farm in the dying light. He immediately disappeared, and returned about after maybe twenty minutes. His expression said: Nothing to see here, I'm for a quick kip on the bean bag.

The next morning, we discovered that Mr Poopy had indeed been busy, as he had killed a fox cub.
Mr Poopy killed a fox cub
He occasionally performs acts of sheer greatness which justifies his breakfasts and dinners. I'm not sure what the lesson is here, but perhaps if we all took a larger world view I could say: Perhaps it might not be a bad idea to stop loading the kids / Spitz's up with expectations and rubbish stories, start giving them some responsibility, and they may just surprise us all. Plus, don't be lazy.

The days have been really pleasant this week and the nights have been cool. It is a beautiful time of year. The sunset on Saturday evening was particularly nice:
The sunset on Saturday evening was particularly splendid

Mowing has continued this week and 90% of the farm has now been mowed. Hopefully this job is finished over the next week as we have to get onto the task of drying, splitting, and storing the winter firewood. The plant growth has been so strong this year that some parts of the farm require a second round of cutting. We have also had to trim back plant growth on several paths this week for a second time in as many weeks. The Elderberry in particular has been rapidly growing.

Upgrades to the water infrastructure for the garden are continuing and I have now installed the largest 12V water pump that I could get my hands on. This water pump is a true beast and can pump 26L (7 gallons) per minute at 60psi. After many years of trial and error with 12V pumps, I can recommend that the Seaflo brand is the best that I have yet tried in terms of longevity and just sheer grunt.
The water pump on the left hand side of this arrangement is the biggest 12V pump that I can find
The previous water pump was quite good too. However, we discovered during a minor emergency, that the previous pump had a twenty minute operational / duty cycle. After twenty minutes of use, the water pump pressure slowly died away. I was filthy angry to discover that little feature during an emergency use of the water pump, but no harm was caused. The old water pump was retired to less exacting uses!

The editor has been busy today making Elderberry flower wine. The first time that I tasted that flavour of wine, I was not impressed. Mind you, the wine had not yet matured (the fancy name for sitting around for months and months) and now at nine months, the wine is excellent tasting. If you are not making Elderberry flower wine, the question I have for you is this: Why not?
Stewed pears, Elderberry wine, and a batch of Anzac biscuit mix are ready to be processed
Red currants are producing huge quantities of berries now. The plants are so easy to propagate, you don't have to have any skill at all. Just take a cutting of one of the stems and bang it in the ground in mid to late autumn. Too easy! But the biggest surprise this week are the raspberries, and they are really very tasty. For those in the cooler wintery Northern hemisphere, prepare to salivate - NOW!
Red currants and sun ripened raspberries. YUM!
It is interesting that the single surviving zucchini which was grown from last seasons saved seed is out-competing the zucchinis seedlings purchased to increase our stock of plants. Triffid alert!
Triffid alert! The zucchini are going gangbusters!
The editor felt that the readers of the blog may enjoy a new series of photos taken from the various windows in the house. The next photo below is the view from the kitchen window looking into the courtyard and across the dog enclosure. The steel fencing in the dog enclosure is mostly grown over with flowering plants. The steel was purchased from a road construction crew and had been used in the past to stop cars from crashing into construction workers along roadsides. That steel is strong enough to stop Mr Poopy from escaping from the dog enclosure - no other previous fencing material survived his loving ministrations! Enjoy!
View from the kitchen window looking across the dog enclosure into the courtyard
Whilst we are in the courtyard, the flowers in the various garden beds surrounding it are going feral in the warmer weather.
The flowers in the courtyard above this park bench are going feral
A close up of the flowers shows a huge diversity of plants in that garden bed. The wormwood in there is Southern wood and it tastes like cola flavour to me:
A close up image of the flowers above the courtyard
On the garden bed downhill and below the courtyard, the herbs and flowers are even more feral!
On the downhill garden bed below the courtyard, the herbs and flowers are even more feral!
A close up of the rose in the bottom left hand side of the above photo shows a strikingly beautiful flower:
This rose is strikingly beautiful and making me want to plant more roses
Poppies are a favourite of mine too and I once purchased a huge, and also hugely expensive bag of poppy seeds. There was so much poppy seed that I threw them randomly about the gardens and now they are everywhere and in a huge variety of colours!
Poppies are everywhere and in a huge variety of colours at this time of year
The geraniums are not to be outdone and we grow a huge variety of those plants too. These are all taken from cuttings from assorted gardens around Melbourne. Thanks plant owners! They flower all summer long, and some of them flower for almost the entire year. The bees adore the flowers and they are all over them. The buzz is audible and I am occasionally nervous stepping into the garden beds - I must remember to not upset the bees!
Geraniums produce a spectacular range of flowers at the farm
The editor and I have also been slowly expanding our collection of Salvia's as they are some of the heat hardiest and toughest plants around.
A blue / purple flowering Salvia
But the Californian poppies steal the show for massed flowering displays:
Californian poppies steal the show when it comes to masses of flowers
Many thanks again to the excellent Melbourne band Tiny Houses who I ripped the lyrics from their song "Entitled Generation". Vote for them in the Triple J hot 100. I reckon their song "Garbage Bin" is the more likely candidate to get into the countdown. Do it! Vote! You know you want too...

The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 25’C (77’F). So far this year there has been 896.6mm (35.3 inches) which is the same as last week’s total of 896.6mm (35.3 inches).

65 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I do recall the days of yore when it was considered sporty to hang a fox tail from the aerial on a vehicle. My mind tells me that the word "panache" is an appropriate one to use for those fox tails. Speaking of which, Mr Poopy this week provided an amusing conundrum and trap for the morally superior folks in the audience. I'll watch closely for any yelling and respond appropriately. The problem is never really solved is it? I'm just learning how to live with the problem.

You know, it strikes me that it is the same problem with birds, wallabies, deer, and fruit trees. I could actually bop all of them with impunity and no human could say squat about the matter, but then I know others will move back in over time, I'll get complacent and the situation repeats. I'm actually trying something completely different with that lot and their interactions: Acceptance and adaptation. I'm not sure how it will all go, but I am heartened to see much older fruit trees (than the ones here at least) by the sides of the roads chock full of fruit. There is no way the old-timers were able to net their fruit trees, and I suspect that they just grew a lot of fruit trees and did their best. We tend to value efficiency and expect large hauls from only a few fruit trees, and that story doesn't really make a lot of sense in the real world.

Yes! We have a lot of fun, circling around the more colourful aspects of the English language. And I reckon that that is more fun than just using words that are already over used.

Nope, I don't believe we have spoken about that series of books before by Conrad Richter, but I may be having a seniors moment. The details of some things escape me. Sometimes my mind is like a steel trap, but occasionally it is like a sieve and stuff falls through the cracks in the steel. You piqued my interest and a copy is wending its way here. I'm glad that the fictional character eventually realised that trees are necessary aspects of a forest and an ecology. That is lost on a lot of folks and to be honest most people swing from one extreme (do nothing) to the other extreme (clear fell) and there is a lot of ground in between. Either extreme points of view do the forest no service at all. It is a bit sad that those are the two choices presented to us and it sells the forest and humanity a bit short. I usually enjoy your book references and I had a flashback this morning about "Empire Falls" which also won a Pulitzer prize.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

It is funny that you mentioned "The Revenge of Analog", but I used to enjoy the physical act of making (and sharing among friends) a mixed tape, recorded from the radio, which I listened too on my portable tape player whilst I was on my latter paper rounds. Those old school walkmans were not cheap! I started thinking about the physical acts involved in listening too and handling analogue recordings because I had about ten minutes in the big smoke earlier today where I was able to observe people walking around with their heads bowed down to little tiny screens.

The editor loved Sex and the City. I accompanied her as an indulgent spouse to watch the two films which to be honest were quite good actually as they were made for a female audience. Then I like rom-coms so have a soft spot for these things. A lot of guys hate that show because it is a show about relationships, sex is a minor theme, and I've always rather suspected that males do not want to see how they are viewed by the opposite sex as they have abstract notions of themselves which might not hold up too well under close scrutiny. I reckon I was the only guy in the audience at the film. I'll tell ya what, all those guys worrying about game, all they have to do is to enjoy the company of women and possibly try to relate to them as people and not objects. It is not hard, but try telling them that... Of course I have a not so secret special weapon in that my dad nicked off when I was very young and I grew up as the only male in an otherwise all female household - and they were all older than I, and put up with no nonsense from me. It was an interesting upbringing and I just eventually ended up doing my own thing and thinking my own thoughts - that of course may make me a fluffy (wilful), but I can do bloke talk too and had to wheel that trick out today to resolve a minor problem for a client.

I've always considered that tulips were a strange investment vehicle for a speculative bubble. I read about that craze and apparently some families were gambling the value of their houses on individual tulips. Have they not heard of self-regenerating-assets (that is the technical description). Very crazy, but then I don't believe that the South Sea Company ever traded...

Yup bitcoin, him toast. It is not a matter of if, it becomes a matter of when!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hey everyone!

Listen up! :-)! I should introduce you to a mate of mine from the Green Wizards of Melbourne. Say hello (if you get the chance) to Simon of the Green Wizards fame, and his property:

Living Design Process Part 1

Living Design Process Part 2

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi everyone!

At the serious risk of starting a flow of cute animal videos, I thought you might all enjoy this article about the worlds oldest wombat. Wombats are residents of Fernglade Farm, although they are a bit more shy and secretive than this little social media wombat who just turned 31 today! Winnie the wombat: Australia's oldest wombat celebrates 31 years.

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

This is where I get kicked off your blog. I love foxes and felt upset at the sight of the dead cub. I prefer any wild animal to a domesticated one. Have never had and never would have a pet. Of course Son's dogs also kill foxes.

I lost my mother's wedding ring when out shopping this morning, it slipped off my ice cold finger somewhere. Have just this minute had a phone call telling me that it has been found. I had never expected to see it again but rang a friend who works for the police. Out of loving friendship, he went into every store that I had visited and one of them found it. Wow!

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well Mr. Poopy did earn his dinner this time. Some that don't have experience with predators would think this is terrible as some around here do when you shoot a coyote or when Salve catches a weasel. It's one thing to just go out and kill potential predators and another to have to remove one that's killing your livestock. There are more than a few around here that just go out and kill coyotes for sport. If I've read correctly the litters of coyotes will change in size depending on their population so it's not really going to make much difference in the population. There are a lot of coyotes (but not foxes) around here but it's only occasionally that one oversteps its bounds.

Is Poopy the only willful dog in the fluffy collective? I'd call Leo willful. He really could care less if he pleased us while Salve on the other hand is quite the opposite.

Yesterday my daughter and I took the dogs for a leashed walk through the tree farm (it was their last day open). We came upon Santa and Salve was quite taken aback - barking quite ferociously with hair standing on end. Leo, however, loved him. It was quite funny.

Christmas #1 did not end up taking place as one of our granddaughters was up the night before with a bad case of the stomach flu. Luckily we were able to postpone for a couple weeks. Our younger daughter was already here and we ended up having quite a nice day anyway. Her boyfriend came in on the train as planned and we picked up my MIL for lunch at my BIL's new restaurant he just opened in town. I may not have mentioned anything about the restaurant.

The song you shared certainly is timely. How familiar I am with participation trophies and kids on Ritalin.

Margaret

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Been busy here with various things, but I have been enjoying reading your blog and the comments (hi everyone!). Oh my, the flowers are so gorgeous! No flowers here, not even on the indoor plants, as we are getting into the coldest part of the year. Not that it's been especially cold most of the time so far. It has been very dry; because it's winter and plants are dormant, it's not obvious that we are in a severe drought, but in fact the Drought Monitor has put us in that category. We had a red flag warning for fire weather conditions one or two days in the past week or so. Nothing happened for us, I'm glad to say, and the wind has died back down here, but that Thomas fire in California is still burning and is threatening some celebrities' houses according to what I've read.

Thanks for the song lyrics; they told it like it is from the viewpoint of the people who are suffering from the excesses of my generation.

Congratulations to Mr. Poopy on his hunting success! I have no qualms with anything he's done. The foxes might be more cautious after this.

Speaking of flowers, it is time to sow native perennial flower seed, as most of their seeds need to go through winter conditions to germinate the following spring. Evolution has selected for seeds that stay dormant over the winter or need winter weather to break down germination inhibitors, so that when seedlings appear they can grow on in favorable spring and summer weather. I had a tree service remove the large brush pile, aka rabbit resort, during the autumn, leaving a weed-free area of soil mixed with composted bark where the brush had been. Last Friday, noticing that the weather forecast was calling for some rain on Sunday, I sowed a mix of native flower and grass seeds appropriate for our soil, anticipating that it would rain on them. However, it did no such thing. There was rain all around the St. Louis metro area, but just a trace within it. Hope the seeds don't get eaten by seed-eating birds before we get some rain to splash some soil up over them. We have a lot of seed-eating birds that shelter and forage in the yard during the winter: the bamboo patch is excellent bird shelter, and I leave the dead flower stems and their seeds in place most of the winter as a natural bird feeder. We have a tiny pond that the birds can get water from as well; I'm keeping it topped up with collected rainwater till it gets cold enough to freeze the water.

Claire

akl said...

The tale of Fluffy and the Fox (good band name, incidentally) reminds me of events on our farm earlier this year: We have livestock in ever-increasing quantity whilst also being surrounded by a veritable ark worth of large predators. After losing several sheep and a few poultry we located a puppy to serve as a guard for them. Supposedly he is an Anatolian Shepherd crossed with Akbash, but he certainly has no documented pedigree. He came to us quite cheaply by virtue of having killed a newborn goat at his previous household, under unclear circumstances, and before that was purchased out of the back of a truck from a feed store. I am nothing if not a consummate gambler with truckloads of optimism however, so we gave it a shot!

At a year of age, he 60 kg of strong-willed puppy. If not sufficiently exercised he will play with the sheep when unsupervised, dragging them around the paddock by the rump. Somehow he has managed to avoid injuring any while doing this. He has chased many chickens and eaten at least one that we know about, though admittedly we have a population that is largely feral so accurate counts are challenging. He eats like a horse, and can be selectively deaf when it suits him. At this point I am still optimistic!

One dark and stormy evening we came back to the farm after a long day of work in town to find a rather distressed mother duck missing four of her ten ducklings. After a brief search no trace of them was found and assuming the worst (side note --
as a farmer you get very skilled at assuming the worst) we went about the rest of the evening chores. While feeding the guard dog up in his pen, I heard the faintest of peeps, and then another. That big white poultry-murdering oaf was lying protectively next to his watering trough, inside which were four lost and quite unharmed ducklings. A few feet away was a very deceased weasel. The ducklings were returned to their mother and the dog was heavily rewarded. Even the most troublesome pup can on occasion surprise you and earn their keep. Like I said, I'm optimistic!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - My neighbor Princess is part pom, and she's all sweetness and light :-). Of course, when I see her, she's usually "playing to the audience." According to her owner, she has her moments of willful and naughty. But, not too often. I really think dogs (and cats) go through an adolescence when they can be hell on wheels. Just like their human counterparts. My cat Nell was always up to something. But a handy squirt bottle and advancing age seemed to sort that out. At about one year of age, she just... mellowed out. Sometimes, I missed some bits of her more kittenish aspects.

I have no problems with dispatching predators, as long as it is done as humanly as possible. And, it's funny where people draw the line. I had no problems calling my neighbor to come down an "pop" a possum I had caught in a trap. I'd have done it myself, but had no gun. Now my friend Julia, hauls possums miles down the road and releases them. Raccoons are another matter. Mostly, because they have a habit of "going for you" when you release them from traps. Unlike possums. You still may have to call on the services of a crusty old trapper / hunter guy, as there's a den, somewhere.

LOL. But the phrase "broke her spirit" makes me queasy. You've used it a couple of times. Unless it's an Australian linguistic quirk, wouldn't "trained her up" be better? Trying to tell you how to write! Bring me to heel, quickly! :-).

Yup. Here it seems to be a cycle. An animals (everything from miniature pigs to sugar gliders) becomes fashionable, becomes not so fashionable, and the next thing you know dedicated shelters and rescue missions pop up everywhere. I've never taken on an animals without long, hard thought. I saw a silent film clip, the other night, of a very fashionable lady with a Russian Wolfhound. The dog breed du jour in the 1920s. The appearance of a Wolfhound screams Art Deco. I've got a quit large crystal Wolfhound in my display cabinet, from that time period.

"Plant currents in mid to late autumn." Climate autumn or calendar autumn? I get so confused ... :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Your place is a "riot of color." Pretty gray, around here, this time of year. There are a few roses, hanging on. And, quit a few camellias, which are pretty cold hearty. Looks like something is munching down on your roses. But, as you pointed out, plant enough of them... We don't seem to have anything that actually EATS roses, in this part of the world. Aphids can be a problem, but a good spritz of soap water seems to take care of that problem.

Did you get the trilogy in one volume, or just spring for the first one, "The Trees"? It was also done as a TV miniseries in 1978, with Hal Holbrook, Elizabeth Montgomery and a very young Jane Seymour. Quit good, as I remember. But I think it was the first historical drama that made me think that everyone and everything looked a bit too clean for the time period. LOL, I also thought, today, that it's a bit like a "Little House on the Prairie." For adults.

I think analog engages more of the senses, and more of the mind than digital. And we instinctively miss that when it's not there. Just the tactile difference between e-readers and books comes to mind. I read the section in "Tastemakers", last night about the roll of farmers in creating trends. A course that can be fraught with peril, given the iffy-ness of crops and market tastes. Anson Mills made another appearance. They pop up a lot in the books I've been reading about food. They're mission seems to be bringing back "lost" grains. They often give away, quit a bit of seed, just to "Spread the Gospel."

I made a big blackberry crisp, last night. A bit sloppy, and I've got to note in the recipe to increase the amount of corn starch. But, it's just for me, so no harm done. Quit nice warm, with a bit of almond milk. Two waves of caterwauling inundated The Home, last night. Christmas carolers roaming the hallways and tapping on doors. I ignored the whole thing. Less than a week and it will all be over and we can get back to normal. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - So lucky to have found your ring! I've got an old rose gold "keeper" ring, with a lot of sentimental value, that I've worn since I was 12 or 13. I've lost it a time or two and had to pawn it, once. I finally moved it to my middle finger, where it takes liquid soap and a bit of pulling to get it off. According to the hall marks, it was made by William Merritt, Birmingham, England, in the 1830s.

Every year on my sobriety birthday, I buy myself a brass coin, with the new year count on it. At this point, it's more a supersiition thing, rather than anything else. It's always in my pocket. A time or two I've lost them, but they've always turned up, usually in pants of changed out of, or in the chair cushions. But I always feel so "incomplete" when one strays.

I watched a bit of a history of film series, last night. They mentioned an outfit that Alfred Hitchcock worked for, in England, in the 1920s and 30s. It had American roots and I wondered if it was the one your father worked for. They mentioned story editors and buying film properties for the American market. They didn't mention the name of the company, and I couldn't read the name on the building. Maddening. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Your brother in law owns a restaurant? Tell all! :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

No worries at all, I appreciate that people see the world differently than I, and that they have different values. It is only when people tell me that solar panels work under a coating of snow which defies my experienced reality that I take issue! It is all good. I once saw the dark side of that equation as a long time friend became visibly upset when I mentioned jokingly that the dogs were vegetarians. Far out, what a stink that was!

The Aboriginals concept of the Dreamtime incorporates everything found in the world, including all the unpleasant things and I guess different points of view are all part of that story. In point of fact, your property and all of the things in it - even the incorporeal things – are possibly part of your dreaming. Some folks dreaming, I recently read, is money, which is an amusing and accurate assessment of the situation for those people.

Glad to read that your mother's wedding ring was found and your experience is one of the great things about living in a small community where you are known.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

He did earn his dinner with that kill too. What do they say about: all's fair in love and war? I'm genuinely pleased with is the sheer diversity of opinions expressed in the comments here on that matter. You know, if the foxes choose to hunt here, they have to expect that the situation may be fluid and unpredictable. That's life isn't it when you raise livestock? The sheer complexity of all of the interactions among all the living things here increases as time goes on. It is a little bit mind boggling in all its messy interactions.

Go Salve, weasel bane! Exactly too, anything that is alive here is attempting to expand its range and for every action - like your Coyotes overstepping previous boundaries - there are consequences, responses, and repercussions. The rats went feral a few years back with the chickens until I put an end to that with the new chicken enclosure, but the game is long and any weakness gets quickly exploited. Do the weasels operate at night? I’ve seen a feral weasel once, but it had escaped an animal lab. I can't really let Mr Poopy out at night because he can be a nuisance to the other animals that are welcome here. The past few nights there has been the biggest forest Kangaroo I reckon I've ever seen. Well above 6 foot, and probably closer to 7 foot and he has a huge chest. The dogs steer well clear of him, thankfully, because he is trouble for them.

Yeah, the other dogs are fine and exercise independence of action, but will also rein it in a bit and follow some commands. Mr Poopy, is the whole next level. Yup, Mr Leo is clearly cut from the same cloth. Do you reckon he'll get better with age and experience?

That is pretty funny about Santa. Far out, it reached 100'F here today (a cool change just came through, thankfully) and can you imagine dressing up in a Santa suit in that sort of weather? Salve may have been upset that Santa failed to bring him some beef jerky treats! Forget about the reindeers, what about the canines? Far out…

So sorry for your granddaughter's stomach flu. Not good, I hope she takes it easy? Go the BIL and best wishes for his restaurant venture. What sort of cuisine does he produce?

Oh my goodness, I completely forgot about your school experience with that story! Oops! You are a better person than I to have faced that challenge. The song was pretty good and I'm pleased to note that there are at least a few songs of protest on the airwaves. Music is one of the few legitimised modes of protest these days.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

A pleasure to have your company here! Thanks for writing that about the flowers and they are a real pleasure. I'm having to face up to picking all of the citrus because the trees have to lose their fruit before they'll set another round of flowers. I can only eat so many grapefruit and limes - and the chickens enjoy half a dozen lemons per day (cut up into small pieces for them).

Oh, that's not good about the severe drought category. Out of curiosity, how are the various bodies of above ground water looking in your part of the world? Have they receded much and the shorelines may possibly be expanding? The news for the Californian fires died back a week or two ago down here and nothing much has been reported on them. I only realised recently that plastic siding was used on dwellings in the US and that material would not resist flames or radiant heat at all. I never knew such a cladding product existed. Even timber siding would be preferable to plastic.

No worries and I'm glad you appreciated the lyrics. Not to stress though, they would have done no differently. I used to get grumpy about the scenario, but the simple fact is that any society that heavily uses finite fossil fuels to produce food and doesn't bother to recycle the manure into the soils - well, it is basically toast. We could have built our soils as a buffer against depleting fossil fuels, but well, we kind of did other things. Oh well.

Thank you and I do hope that the foxes are more cautious next time and avoid the farm as bad news. I haven't yet let the chickens out into the orchard again, but will do so over the next few days. They've been enjoying huge bunches of fresh comfrey leaves each day.

Well done with your seed sowing endeavours. Did you know that down here a lot of the understory shrubs and trees flower over the winter and set seed in early spring? They're waiting for a fire to germinate them, but even without the influence of fire, plenty of them germinate anyway. That is a mystery that I haven't got my head around yet. I suspect that there is a level of adaptability to conditions in plants that may surprise all of us.

That is a really nice thing to do with the bird water and natural seed feeder. The birds would bring a lot of fertility into your garden with that too.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi akl,

Thanks for the fun title! When the book is published, you'll get the credit for that chapter (I'm joking, there is no book!) :-)! Exactly too, the greater the diversity of livestock, the more complex the property gets. But then the fertility goes up because of all the manure which gets endlessly recycled, and then the predators circle around. It is mind bendingly complex. Wow, that mix is a good looking dog, albeit of uncertain parentage! The Akbash in particular have a very good reputation as livestock friendly canines and they look a lot like the Maremma's that people use down here. I've indirectly known a few Maremma's and they are lovely natured dogs.

Well done for being a consummate gambler with truckloads of optimism, because you never know with dogs what qualities they'll bring to the table. Every dog that I have had the pleasure of knowing has a completely different personality relative to its peers and even different temperaments in different situations, so throwing the dice and seeing what happens is a good option. Of course, the dice may fall on the "dud" side and well, then you just make the best of the situation, don't you? :-)! Most of the time it is a pleasant surprise though.

cont...

Coco said...

Yum to raspberries and currants, indeed! And your flowers are just beautiful. The rose catalogues are calling me with their siren song again. Happens every year.

I made elderberry cordial once, which was ok except for the ¨used sock¨ aftertaste. Someone told me it depends on the tree.

Breo killed a couple of rabbits before his knee troubles, but what he would dearly like to get his jaws around are the 2 new neighborhood cats, who like to tempt fate by draping themselves over our car and drink from his water bowl. It´ll be a few weeks before he´s off leash, though. We´re thinking about getting a second dog in the spring to keep him company and give him some exercise. Trying to decide between a puppy or an adult, since adult dogs are much harder to place, but puppies are puppies.

The unseasonal cold snap has zapped our baby lemons. I´m most disappointed. We don´t usually see frosty temperatures until January, but there you go.

Happy Holidays to you and the editor and all your lovely commentariat!!

Fernglade Farm said...

Ah yes, some dogs can trouble sheep from what I've read, although I have no practical experience with sheep. For your interest, we seriously considered Dorpers as they naturally shed their fleece and are a good meat sheep. Dogs are fascinated by chickens and you never know whether they bond with the flock or not. Smaller dogs like Scritchy the fox terrier fail to understand the difference between farm animals and any other animal - to them it is all the same, but that obsessiveness can be a bonus too when it comes to rodents, so it is all swings and roundabouts (as they say).

Selective deafness most certainly puts him in Fluffy land (i.e. wilful)!

Thanks for sharing the most excellent tail (sic)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Well that was exciting! A huge and very brief storm wooshed over the mountain range and we were a direct hit. It began with lightning and cracking thunder then the rain began slowly but with big heavy drops. The wind picked up, and before you knew it, the editor and I were racing around the house closing all of the open windows. The rain was torrential and we scored just under an inch in about 15 minutes. That is a lot of rain in a short period of time. And initially the wind swirled around and around smashing into the trees and shaking them up good and proper. It felt like a mini tornado had slammed into the house (yet again). I haven't read any reports about such things, but we're in a pretty remote spot. I did have to go outside during the rain with an umbrella which kept trying to blow away, and continuously clean the stainless steel mesh filters on the water inlets for the water tanks. The equivalent of about 6,000 litres (1,580 gallons) of rain water was collected in those two water tanks in about 15 minutes, so you can sort of imagine how much water was flowing around the place. Nothing else failed and other than two mid sized branches which are now on the ground, all the trees seem OK.

Other parts of the state did not fare so well: Victoria weather: Buildings damaged, thousands lose power as severe storms hit. The power is still on here, and the nearby town seems to have power as I can see lights on there. It got to about 100'F today too... The storm brought much cooler weather and it has all calmed down now and is quite still. This part of the world is prone to these sorts of storms because of the interactions of the hot (centre of the continent and tropics) and cold (Antarctic and the Southern Ocean) air streams. Fun stuff!

Princess has a dark side to her sweetness and light, don’t be fooled by the ruggedly cute looks! Hehe! She's probably a lovely dog. Exactly too, and I'm sure we were all nuisances when we were adolescents. I sure was, and I bet you were too! The things I'm grateful for is: that nobody could afford to film or record any of the crazy goings on; there was no such thing as anti-social media and the interweb; and we all survived the crazy days! Those are no small things to be grateful for, don't you reckon? You know, sometimes and very occasionally I accidentally say very stupid things and there is no ill intent on my part, the words just come out wrong. Fortunately most people are reasonably understanding and forgiving.

Have you thought about getting another cat?

Everything dies and everything gets eaten by something else, so I hear you. The worms are chowing down on the fox carcass right now. It is a frightful stink! Mr Poopy had no intention of eating the fox, or playing with it, and he clearly dispatched the fox cub in a thorough and professional manner (throat). It would have been quick.

Releasing animals into new territory is a fraught problem for the animal as the territory is rarely unoccupied, but conditions can be different elsewhere. Raccoons are feral, I have seen a few videos and I once listened to a podcast from a woman telling her story about how she was attacked by a rabid raccoon. Far out, talk about zombies ahead, run for your lives! The treatment in the medical system almost did her in too. Pray you never encounter a rabid animal.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

No worries at all. I'm unsure what that phrase means in the US, but I use that phrase in the same way that a horse-breaker would use it. As a bit of background, Old Fluffy was out of control and had been indulged in every whim with no boundaries whatsoever, and then unceremoniously dumped by her previous owners before we picked her up. So, the breaking part involved an unswerving structured routine, along with strict boundaries, but also treats and rewards for good behaviour and also regular companionship and meaning (i.e. walks and work). I know of a few people who would benefit from such a program. Basically we worked one on one with her for a few years until she finally had had enough and got with the team fluffy program. We could relax a bit with her after that. We don't muck around with dogs.
The wolfhound really is a bit leggy and Art Deco-ish! It did seem to be a theme or motif didn't it? Everything seem stretched in two directions (up and down), whereas the reality would have been far different. It may be an unobtainable icon or style which leaves people scrambling around trying to emulate, but failing? Dunno?

Climate autumn! I have no idea what autumn actually is as it is a very brief window now and can be done in two weeks, which is hardly what the traditional depictions sort of depict. You didn't get much of an autumn this year either. I wonder if this is a trend or is autumn a misunderstood concept? Have you ever read anything along those lines, or am I imagining this concept?

Thanks for writing that. We do our best and some parts of the garden are a riot. Not for the purists who enjoy working much harder than I! I never really had a taste for the formal garden style, but I enjoy all of the informal elements here like rock walls, concrete steps and paths. There doesn't seem to be a hermit though! Where are the hermits when you need one? Times are probably too good for such things.

I didn't spot the completed volume and sprung for the first book. Bummer! Exactly, Monty Python summed that up: How do you know he's the King? Well, he hasn't got poo all over him! Hehe!

I reckon you're onto something about the tactile nature of the analogue recording medium and you know many years ago I remember hearing some local hip hop artists lamenting the fun side of the recordings in that they weren't easily available and subsequent copies were lower in quality, but they were still treasured and handed around. About twenty five years ago I had a work mate in another state and we used to swap mixed tapes back and forth and it was always interesting to see what would turn up in the mail. One song surprised me: href=" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaNII5aLiOM"> Roger Glover (Feat. Ronnie James Dio) - Love Is All (The Butterfly Ball) (1974). A blast from the past man! :-)!

Oh no! Another double secret cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Bringing back the lost grains is an awesome idea and I'm considering grain projects in future years and how best to go about doing that. If you ever come across a basic book on home grown grains, please let me know? At least they won't necessarily be on a terrace which I have to dig out of the side of the mountain! I might do a bit of that over the next week or so as we're planning to build a staircase up to the next terrace. The staircase should have a gentle curve in it to match the soil there.

A few years back I entertained folks for a day at the local sustainability festival with stories of onions and they really listened and took it in. Before the short story, I handed them some bulbils for them to plant for free. It works.

Blackberry crisp! Yum! Hey, did you harvest those berries yourself? We experiment with food all the time too as you just have to sort of get a feel for it as to what may work. It looks like Christmas Day here will finally be a cool one... 75'F. I get a bir tired of 100'F Christmas Days... I look forward to a return to normal too. Down here a lot of businesses close there doors for a few weeks after Christmas. It is summer after all. Over in your part of the world, I understand the holiday is only for a few days?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

Many thanks! Seed and seedling catalogues are a temptation to be enjoyed! I hope you get some more roses too as they look great and grow well too at your place. Give in to temptation!!!

Actually, I mentioned that the Elderberry wine had to age for about nine months before it lost that unusual after taste. On the other hand, I have had a tasty cordial, so who knows which variety does what? Dunno.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Mr Breo and his dodgy knee. A second dog is probably not a bad idea as dogs are very social creatures and can get up to lots of mischief if left alone by themselves. Dogs act differently around humans too when there are a few of them, but two is no drama at all.

Sorry to hear about the loss of your lemons. Frosts are a nightmare, so I hear you! I find the citrus trees recover any frost damaged growth once the summer kicks in in earnest.

Thank you and happy holidays to you, V and Breo! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

My father worked for Metro Goldwyn Meyer as their man in Europe.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - That was quit a storm that blew through your place. Storms are great as long as they don't do too much damage. Speaking of disasters, I don't know if you heard about the train that fell off the overpass and onto I-5. Our major north/south arterial. What a mess and at least 3 people killed. I haven't looked at the news this morning, but as of yesterday, no idea what caused it. It happened just north of our State Capitol, which isn't too far north of here. Happened during Monday morning rush hour.

Oh, I think about getting a cat, or, another pet, all the time. But the rigors of apartment living... I've just kind of decided, at least as far as a dog or cat is concerned to see what the universe tosses up. If anything. Maybe a goldfish? I'll call him Cedric. :-). Don't know where that came from.

One night I was out talking to one of the wheel chair ladies, and a raccoon came staggering out of the rose bushes. Now when I see her out at night, I joke that I thought I'd better check on her to make sure a tribe of rabid raccoons haven't carried her off. It's our running small joke. Very small. :-).

Greyhounds were also a big Art Deco motif. I suppose anything fast and sleek. Jaguars and panthers. Though the big cats were seldom kept as pets. Not never. Just not seldom :-).

Oh, we had a bit of an autumn. Just not as "sharp" as it usually is. It was kind of long and gradual, this year. It's nice to live in a place that has four seasons. I often hear people complain, that live in sunnier climes that they miss "real" seasons. Some places have just two seasons. Drought and Deluge. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I think you have to place adverts for hermits. At least that's what the English did, back in the 18th century. There were a few examples in the book on garden hermits. In fact, I think it was the ads that gave the author a sense of how widespread they were.

I always appreciate at least a stab at historical accuracy, in movies. When I saw "The Lion in Winter" I really appreciated the scene where the king and queen enter the palace courtyard to greet someone, and have to dodge the horse poo and kick the chickens out of the way. :-).

I'll see what's out there, as far as small scale grain growing goes. Book-wise. Somethings nagging at my memory that one of the farm / philosopher dudes did a book on small scale grains. Wendall Berry? Maybe.

Yup. They were blackberries I picked myself. I think I'm down to 3 gallons or so. Still plenty of blueberries, on ice. And, cranberries. I'll have to find another place to pick blackberries. Ought not be too hard. I just need to look around.

The Christmas season seems to go on forever. It starts gearing up, right after Halloween.

I've been watching that series on film, "The Story of Film." A bit of a different take on the history of film. The presenter thinks Hollywood is a "bright shinny bobble" (imagery of a single Christmas ornament, hanging from a tree with Hollywood in the background. Or, smashing on rocks, trotted out WAY too often.) that is only concerned with entertainment and romance. And movies like "Casablanca", aren't really "classics" as they aren't "innovative." The REAL classics are gritty little movies done in Egypt, in the 1950s, that no one's ever heard of. But I notice he keeps circling back to Hollywood. Of course, when he does, he usually kicks off the section with bleak little shots of the underbelly of LA.

I must admit, when I moved to LA in the early 70s, I went up to Hollywood to visit a friend who had moved down there a few months before me. And, I was shocked that Hollywood actually has some pretty slum areas. But that wore off pretty quickly. The famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine was an ongoing freak show. You know. Real life. I thought it would be an interesting experience to take a room, one flight up for about a week, and hang out the window and just watch it all pass by. So, maybe, my sensibilities are a bit like the presenter's. But not in such a heavy handed way. Oh, well, whatever floats his boat. The series is interesting as I'm finding out about films and directors I've never heard of. And, a few times he picks out bits of business in films I have seen, that I hadn't considered from a particular angle, before.

It's raining puppies and kittens, here, today. With a lot of wind. But, we're supposed to get a few sunny days around Thursday. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Oh, dear. I may have lost the second part of my post? Usually, the message is "Held for blog holder's approval." Instead, I'm getting "Required field must not be blank. It wasn't. Oh, well. I'll find out, tomorrow if it vanished into a black hole. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

You're not wrong, and the preparations that we did for the previous storm a few weeks back that weirdly dumped more rain, but at a much slower rate, proved to be time well spent. A lot of silt and organic material was moved very quickly yesterday and I have plans to correct that tomorrow. I also finally convinced the editor to add some cement powder to the limestone toppings used in the main drain. If a repair job gets done more than once after normal use, then clearly something needs doing. At least that is how I see the world. Torrential summer storms seems to me to be the new norm. Winter is nice because it brings some respite from those storms and the rain falls more gently.

That train accident was reported down here. It didn't look too good and I was sorry to read that there had been some deaths during the incident. The train was apparently on its maiden voyage? Down here it was reported that the train had jumped its tacks. That doesn't sound good and I assume that there will be an investigation. Sometimes I wonder about the media and its ability to assess risk. A few weeks ago I heard an interview with a marine scientist about deaths related to shark attacks. The statistic she gave was two deaths annual. She then went on to compare those deaths to drownings of which there were apparently 280 per year. One of those unfortunate events receives far more media coverage than the other...

Speaking of unfortunate events I read a strange article the other day: Filming an emergency on your phone or camera? Know your rights before you press record. I suppose you could say that Mr Poopy put on a spectacle for us all this week?

That makes a lot of sense about the pet. Fish can be quite high maintenance. As a kid I kept fish, although I'm not sure why now. Dunno. It is hard to get the water balance just right in an aquarium, and you could say that it was my first occasion where the concept of "fouling your own nest" and pollution became hard for me to ignore. I've seen some good aquaponics set ups over the years and I have a mate who knows heaps about them, but the potential for error is huge with those systems and you have to be onto everything with them. Mind you, they do work. The other concern I had with them was where was the feedstock for the fish coming from? I wasn't too sure about that side of things. Cedric is an excellent and amusing name for a fish.

Running jokes are fun! It sounds as if you bring a lot of joy or companionship to the people around you. Hey, about this: raccnado! What about raccswarm? Attack of the killer raccoons? Racc Wars? :-)!

You know, everyone has an off day from time to time, but I feel that a big cat like a Panther or Jaguar having an off day could be very problematic for the handler. I'll bet a few circus lion tamers were mauled by their handlers over the years. I'm feeling rather uncomfortable that there could be such a thing as a wilful Big Cat?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

It is funny you mention that, but I've known a few folks who moved south from Queensland and they say that the changeable seasons down here in the south (upside down at the bottom of the world remember) provide a break in the insect cycle. I've never lived in a tropical area but I understand that the insects and heat can be unrelenting.

Did the author mention what social stratum the hermits belonged too? Do you reckon they had days off, or was it a lifestyle choice? And here is the zinger, were there ever hermit families living on estates?

Oh yeah, just like the proverbial squeak, every scrap of land inside a castle or settlement would have been utilised. It is only nowadays that we are wasteful. One day, I should write a blog entry about all the little details that were part of the editors childhood home. There were even root vegetable storage bins in the outside laundry - and I saw those too. Nowadays we are much more clever because we tear down those outbuildings and construct overly large living rooms...

If your memory clarifies on an approachable book for the dummy on grains, I'd certainly appreciate it. :-)!

Yum! The blackberries here need a few more weeks. It looks set to be a good season for them. It is a bit of a shame I have to set an area aside for them because I'm a bit dodge on the councils herbicide spraying program. That incidentally appears to me to be the biggest waste of ratepayers money, because the blackberries simply grow back.

That happens here too with the Christmas season. Fortunately I tend to avoid or ignore those displays.

I wonder if the author(s) of that documentary series on the story of film have a love-hate relationship going on with Hollywood? The obscure Egyptian "real deal" film angle seems to be a bit spurious to me, but I'm no expert. That week of observation of the gritty real life going on at Hollywood and Vine would be interesting, but does the observer become part of the show? Dunno. The editor and I regularly eat out the grittier part of inner Melbourne and we really enjoy the procession of folks promenading along the footpaths and also hanging out of gritty looking bars. It reminds me a bit of the hippies though as I never quite know how much of the colour and vibe is for show and whether they trundle off to well paying IT jobs during the day?

It is nice to get some rain combined with sunny weather. Don’t storms let us know who the boss really is?

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Lewis,

Were you thinking of Gene Logsdon?

https://www.amazon.com/Small-Scale-Grain-Raising-Processing-Nutritious/dp/1603580778

margfh said...

@Lew

My BIL's restaurant is primarily Italian. He also owns a carry out pizza place in another town but this is his first experience with a sit down restaurant. So far it's doing pretty well. They were mobbed the first week - new place in town you know... Now it's settled down some and the kinks are being worked out. His patrons, however, will mostly be from town and there's already a long established Italian restaurant here. One of the few things of some value on Facebook is the page for our town. There has been much discussion of his restaurant and comparisons and it's been mostly positive so far. Our family was pretty surprised and skeptical when he purchased it but we're all pulling for him. All the family members from closer into the city are coming out next week to try it out.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Leo is ten so I don't think he's going to change much. He whines and cries more as he gets older though. Salve is quite the hunter. She does a better job than the cats and also consumes what she catches. I can't imagine how the dogs would react to a Kangaroo.

The participation trophies go along with the whole "self esteem" thing. I couldn't believe how many kids were on medication. As with most areas a middle ground is best. There are always those kids that need a little boost in the self esteem area but there are ways to do that without rewarding everyone for doing just what's expected. Same with medication - some kids really do need some help in that area or they just can't function. I had one student that they put into the after school tutoring program that I taught after school. His mother refused medication but he was one that really needed something. He made my life miserable (after a full school day too) and prevented the other kids from accomplishing much. There was a small bank of computers at the back of the room primarily for writing papers or reports. The particular student pulled the plug on the computer of the kid next to him causing him to lose all his work. He tried that more than once. One child like that can really hurt the entire class. Often though there's more than just hyperactivity. The worst cases also had pretty bad home lives as well.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Those spitz breeds do have a mind of their own - and they are usually really intelligent, too. My parents always had Siberian Huskies and besides being intelligent and willful, they are too big and strong to wrestle with like the smaller dogs. I had to make games out of my wishes to get them to cooperate. At least, they thought they were playing a game . . .

Good old Fluffy Head! And good job you, Mr. Poopy. You are the hero! I like foxes as much as chickens, but one does have to protect one's own first. And I suspect there are plenty of rodents and such on your farm for the fox family; they just wanted some variety and an easy knosh. I think I have figured out Mr. Poopy's apparent laziness - it's not laziness, he's just saving his energy for the important things in life: Eating and fox cubs.

Ah, ha! Another Poopy Priority - escape from the dog enclosure! Add that to his list of energy-saving excuses. I swear that there is a dog bowl in the photo that looks like it is held up by an iron goat.

What a beautiful sunset; what a neat line across the horizon. The flowers around the garden bench are just heavenly - what a place to sit and relax. Your place is just all flowers - and zucchini.

Seven gallons of water per minute is astonishing. I don't think we get anything near that.

The lyrics were great. I would vote for them in the Triple J Hot 100.

You know when you were talking about warnings when you got your new washing machine? Well, I am not much for regarding warnings, but I disregarded a bunch of them the other day and suffered for it. Some relatives sent us a lovely box of uncooked steaks and chops and burgers for Christmas. After I pulled out all the meat, I grabbed a plastic bag out of the bottom, and it was dry ice and all my fingertips turned white, like frostbite. It was so scary, but warm water fixed them up pretty quickly. I checked and sure enough, the box was plastered inside and out with large red warnings . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Your mother's wedding ring, of all things! What a miracle that it was found and what a wonderful friend.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Simon - should you be out there -

I thoroughly enjoyed - and learned from - your Living Design Process posts. I will be reading more posts on your blog. Thanks!

And thanks, Chris, for posting them here.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

What a wonderful old, grey-haired girl is "Winnie the wombat: Australia's oldest wombat celebrates 31 years". So I sent it to 4 other people . . . cute.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - First things, first. Books on small scale grain raising: "Small Scale Grain Raising" by Gene Logsdon. 2 ed.. That's the bloke I was trying to think of. I have examined none of these books, but the reviews are pretty high on all of them. I have read some of Logsdon's books (can't remember which ones) and he knows what he's about. As a writer, he's up there with Wendall Barry. Take a look at his other books, on Amazon.

"Homegrown Whole Grains" by Sara Pitzer. "Organic Grain Grower" by Jack Lazor. 2d ed. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, the train wreck is really something. Was doing 80 in a 30mph zone. There was a curve, right before the overpass. As of last night, they still don't know when it will all be cleaned up. Maybe not before the Christmas weekend. The geography of that area is a problem. There are very few detour routes, and they're mostly 2 lane blacktop. The I-5 corridor and train tracks are smooshed between McCord Air Force Base / Ft. Lewis and Puget Sound.

Oh, yeah. You always hear about some poor zoo keeper who gets mauled by one of the big cats, from time to time. Even that long time Las Vegas act, Sigfrid and Roy ... one of them was badly mauled a few years back by their tigers.

Yup. Our cool damp winters tend to knock back quit a few bug populations. But with with climate change, that's becoming less and less dependable. Spruce Beatles. Thousands of square miles of forest destroyed as they march northward. Used to be that winter knocked back their population every winter to manageable levels. Not any more.

I'd guess a lot of the 18th century hermits were impoverished scholars. As, you figure (or, I figure) that they'd at least have to be able to read to take advantage of the ads. I don't remember reading about any family groups.

I watched a bit more of "The Story of Film", last night. I'd say the presenter is a pretentious intellectual :-). But, my, he certainly has seen a lot of films. There's "best director ever" or "best film ever". Which seems singular, but he ascribes those values to a heck of a lot of directors and films. And there's a lot of " ...this is where film studio X was." (Long lingering black and white look at a car park.) "...this is where the house of Director X was." (Long lingering black and white look at a traffic circle.) He takes shots at Hollywood every chance he gets as being too entertaining and romantic. No rom-coms for this boy! :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, I was out early this morning to hit a store, early, before the madness begins. I usually avoid that area of town as it's where the big box stores are and traffic, even on a good day, is a nightmare. The store is one of those outfits that buy up surplus and have very good prices. But, you can never depend on finding a particular item. I'll hit the Safeway, for the last time before Christmas, tomorrow, early am.

On the way back, I stopped for leaves. To mulch my garden. Mostly maple, unlike the oak around here. Which tends to take a long time to break down. Any-who, I noticed quit a pile on the road between Chehalis and Centralia on a bit of waste ground. A good place to park. The leaves were pretty dry on top and already getting mulchy further down. Nice stuff. I got three plastic bags full. LOL. Of course, I wonder, in this small place, who saw me and will inquire as to what I was doing. Well, I suppose it's not everyday you see a reasonably well dressed old gent busy stuffing leaves in a plastic sack. Maybe I'll just put on my sphinx face and say, "It's a secret." I do wish I could just go about my business without having to explain myself, to everyone.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, to the Garden Goddess, my plan to mulch with leaves. She began nattering on about bringing in strange insects or diseases. I just nodded and smiled. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

Thanks for the book reference. He is an excellent and entertaining author.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Lew
Your story about explaining yourself when collecting leaves rings true for me as well. A few weeks back I needed to collect some GPS data when on a road trip a few hours north of here. This involves setting up an bright yellow tripod with an expensive looking plastic dome on top somewhere for a couple of hours. Ideally, you want to be in the open with no trees or nearby buildings. Anyway, after 30 minutes of driving around trying to find somewhere with a nice open space I finally settled on a small park with some childrens playground equipment to one side. I quietly setup the gear, opened my laptop on the nearby picnic table and settled in for an hour or two. Well...within 30 minutes a concerned looking council ranger appeared asking me if I knew anything about the strange contraption in the middle of the clearing. Long story short, 3 people had already called concerned about the device. I dunno, the whole thing bemused me - it strikes me as more brow-beaten, slightly frightened populace than helpful community to my mind - but maybe I am just old and cynical now!

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Perhaps as Leo ages beyond ten, he will learn wisdom? Possibly not, but it may slow him down a little bit! The really huge forest kangaroos are left alone by the dogs. Those kangaroos could take out the dogs, and they all probably know that. A local dog was killed by a kangaroo a few years ago, but mind you, the same dog used to chase cars and had a very obsessive temperament. I felt that the dog was bored out of its mind.

What a story, but having sat next to the school bully in year nine maths class, I can only agree with you. The middle ground is always the best bet, but it can be hard for most people to find - mostly because they don't realise it is there and they often don't want to alter the circumstances which led to all of the troubles because they are more or less comfortable (or uncomfortable, but resigned) to them.

I sort of feel that the story of participation trophy's is a complex problem, because such things cease upon the kids becoming adults. Dunno. Adults generally don’t receive participation trophy’s do they?

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

Well done on the fox catch! I wonder at what pressures the fox was under to come so close to a human whilst still daylight. I always found them to be pretty cautious around humans - but then in my area humans tended to be a source of bullets rather then food! When I was 12, I forgot to lock up the chooks one night (it was a 15 minute round trip to walk from the house to the chook shed and back). The next morning was not a pretty sight with at least one poor chicken gone! Needless to say an important lesson was imprinted on my mind.

Then later, in Tasmania, we had quolls, foxes, tasmanian devils and wedge-tail eagles. Yet none came into our yard and the chickens were never accosted. We did have pretty hardy, sensible Tasmania bush chickens though - they were descended from a long line of a benignly neglected flock in the high country and I suspect only the cleverest and most resourceful hens survived!

The sheep butchering did not happen due to scheduling conflicts. Apparently the farmer will call me next time, but I wonder if a good dose of rain this week changed his mind? I was not really looking forward to it, but wanted to learn at least a few of the skills.

Garden update: tomatoes are fruiting well. Zucchini is going gangbusters as it tends to - and what I think is a pumpkin has now taken over a significant portion of the backyard. We have too much green leafy stuff to eat - I quite like beetroot leaves in salad. I might pickle or relish the roots?

This morning I woke up at 6am and tried to walk to the summit of the hills behind our house. I didn't make it to the top (we lost the trail and ended up in a sheep paddock 50 metres below it) but I did get a nice photo. Anyone interested can have a look here:

Hills behind Governors Bay, New Zealand

Cheers,
Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Ah, you have considerable experience in the way of the Fluffy! The path is indeed complex and full of tribulations and pitfalls, and one must exercise intelligence and sheer rat cunning when dealing with the fluffy collective. Games are a great idea, because it engages them. Commands are to be only considered by the average fluffy as they may bring your wisdom into question. Beef jerky is a necessary distraction for the very worst of the worst fluffies! Stay strong! :-)!

Fluffy Head the chicken appears to be largely unscathed from her fox adventure. I'm keeping a close eye on her though. I thought that it was a good sign that she immediately went back to eating after the attempted assassination by the fox. She is made of tough stuff. You know I reckon we pick and choose such matters whether they are unconscious thoughts or otherwise. It is a bit like the story that I was told when I was a kid that I could do anything. Clearly that is a lie, because the fox made the choice to attempt to consume the chicken and so the fox is an independent actor in the unfolding drama of the farm. But then so is Mr Poopy. And thus a certain balance may arise? Have we just dipped our toes into the philosophical waters? My head is spinning...

Mr Poopy did well and he exercised his will in that action. He is still pretty slack though and would prefer the bean bag!

The water bowl is a metallic dog with a stainless steel bowl insert! It is pretty cool. Mr Poopy proved to me that he could chew through very heavy duty gauge chicken wire in the fence surrounding the original dog enclosure. It is an impressive feat and does not appear to have damaged the enamel on his very sharp looking teeth. He is a sucker for bones and his greatest exercise moment is in his jaw action!

Thanks! We really love the flowers too and we plant more and more with each passing year. It is a bit of a riot, within the confines of the ever expanding garden beds. I imagine the Californian Poppies grow well in your part of the world in really hot and dry summers? On the other hand, they're not much of a fan of the shade.

It is a good water pump and I tried a lot of brands before settling on that particular brand. The pump also uses very little energy so that is a good thing too. The water pressure now knocks over the worm farm bucket when I try to clean it out. Does the system have too much water pressure now? Maybe? But the bushfire sprinkler that is attached to the pump is really pumping the water a huge distance and that is a good thing.

Yeah, the band really hit some home runs with those lyrics. It is nice to see some protest songs, because the kids have a lot to protest about. Although to be honest, I feel that they may be largely unaware of that little problem…

Ouch. I hope the burns on your skin from the dry ice were not too bad? The main issues I have with signage is: when do you know that there is enough signage? Sometimes I observe the sheer volume of signs in the big smoke and I reckon that there are so many signs that they have become superfluous and people begin ignoring them. I suspect we may have passed peak signage? Maybe? It appears to me to be an artifice of the legal system rather than a useful response.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Important business first: You now also have a 'double secret cont...' These things are catching!

Thank you very much for the book reference and I really appreciate that. I read the author's book, "Holy Shit (his words)" and appreciated his no nonsense and old school style of techniques and writing. That book is wending its way here and should arrive by late January. Another year is about to depart to somewhere else! Eee gaks! Wherever has the time gone? This time I checked behind the couch and it wasn't there... I'm a bit worried that I may not have enough time, but that worry is a common problem. Oh well. Do you have any thoughts on that matter?

Hey, tomorrow is the summer solstice and all! Should be nice weather for it too, and there is light in the sky (albeit in miniscule quantities) until about 10pm. The hot weather here generally arrives after the solstice, as does the cold weather in your part of the world. Someone once explained to me that this was due to thermal inertia and it accords with observations so... Hopefully your Christmas craziness is not too crazy? I went out on a material sourcing day today and scored a huge plastic pipe on the cheap as it was an off-cut length. The traffic was feral for the quantity and the sheer number on unexpected crazy actions, although it flowed well, but I was glad to arrive back at the farm with the materials hanging off the back of the bright yellow trailer.

The Goblin proofing book arrived this morning at the post office, as did Mr Greer's recommendation of "Year of the Unicorn". Lots of enjoyable summer reading awaits! I just finished the third book of the World Made by Hand Series this morning and the next book on the "to read" list is the "Harrows of Spring". I often forget that in colder climates Spring is a tough time historically. Down here there is usually plenty to eat as the winter vegetables start to slowly bolt to seed then. On the other hand, I have been ferreting away bulk supplies for the Christmas summer shut down.

The fox carcass has set up quite a stink in the worm farm and the flies got at the carcass so there are maggots in the worm farm! The worm farm is usually very earthy smelling, but far out! I've chucked in road kill and chickens before, but this has taken things to 11 on the dial. As a Christmas present to you, I may write the next blog about the dangers of zombies consuming other carnivores (how is this for a title: Blessed are the Vegetarians?) That should most certainly annoy people! I may post a day early this week too.

Thanks too as I already have the Sara Pitzer book and recommend it highly. The Adelaide botanical garden a few years back did an experiment on how to produce enough grains for a years supply of bread for an average sized family. Then the following year they attempted beer making from the same perspective. Alas, Adelaide is a fair way away from here. I appreciate having a few different sources as some authors miss basic chunks of information and that can make things harder than they need be. I am mildly concerned that nobody around these parts is even remotely interested in learning any of this stuff. Oh well, time will perhaps resolve that problem.

That is not good about the train and also for the people involved in the incident. 80mph is about the top speed that the country trains do here. The Titanic had a similar problem before its eventual demise. The area can't really be cleared before it is first thoroughly investigated because it is a crime scene and a work accident after all.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Ouch! Siegfried & Roy were OK until the incident... Critical injuries from a big cat... Ouch!

Oh my! The spruce beetles are 'attracted strongly to blowdowns, cull logs, and freshly-cut logs'. I'd have to suggest that the beetles manage to breed up a good population in largely unmanaged forest environment as strongly growing trees seem to be resistant to the beetles loving ministrations. But fallen logs which are basically huge chunks of cellulose which present a major breeding opportunity for the beetles. The extent of the loss to the beetle is pretty epic. Mind you, the beetles will also be producing a huge quantity of manure and I'm pretty certain something else will be feasting on that. I'd be curious as to whether other plants are taking advantage of that rich soil medium?

Really? Cool. I'd never considered that aspect of the ability to read an advertisement being a prerequisite for a hermit in the 18th century. Interesting. I guess they may have known exactly what their role entailed and who the employing folks were and perhaps even part of their histories?

Beware the pretentious intellectual riding a hobby horse. Most likely it wasn't a horse but a donkey (a noble beast to be sure, but not as esteemed as a horse)! Perhaps the singular awards gifted to the many may be a form of a participation trophy? Every director and film wins a prize? :-)! Well my ire was provoked because of the no rom-com bizness (sic)! The 2003 film: Love, Actually; is a superb film - and one of my all time favourites (best ever perhaps?) A nice Christmas film too, which I did note was playing at an independent cinema in the big smoke recently.

That happens down here with the oak leaves too! I note people piling huge bags of them into their vehicles. The avenues of honour are a rich source of oak leaves which make a great addition to the garden. Honestly, I'm always slightly nervous that other folks may cotton on to these sources of free organic matter. I have a very good thing going with the cafe in Melbourne and I am reluctant (as are they as I save them waste costs and take a problem away) to rock the boat.

I look at the huge dividing strips on freeways and think to myself about how they have almost perfect drainage (down here at least) and the authorities have gone to considerable efforts to chop and drop the vegetation on an ongoing basis for so many, many years. They would have some excellent top soil in those long strips of land after all these years.

I'll share a little secret. If anyone annoys me with too many questions, I tell them that I'm going to a funeral that afternoon, and that puts an end to most of the pesky behaviour on their part. Of course you can't over use that technique.

Haha! The proof will be in the pudding as they say. You know the best vegetables I grow are in the least disturbed soil. I just add more gunk on top of that soil and then plant into it. It just works and I reckon you are onto something with those leaves. Plant diseases and pests are just a way of nature converting organic matter more rapidly into soil additives in stressed environments. It is a form of negative feedback as far as I can tell. But again, I'll be interested to learn how your garden grows in summer.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Have just heard, on our news, about the car rampage in Melbourne. Absolutely terrible. There are more and more of these incidents because it is just too easy. How on earth can one stop them!

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Merry Festivus! Happy Winter Solstice! Merry Christmas! (Now that we've got that out of the way...).

Sure, adults get participation trophies. Employee (most valued, etc) of the month. When I worked for the library, we had a yearly all staff day. Awards, flowed. Certificates, mostly, in nifty oak frames. Well, I used the certificates for scratch paper and kept the frames. At least they were useful. Then they shifted to, mostly useless "stuff." I picked the most salable and sold it on E-Bay. Bucks! I want bucks! :-). I skipped bingo, here at The Home, last week, as, instead of the usual Bingo for Blood (money), it was "stuff." I have no idea what. But, I figured I didn't need more "stuff" in my apartment. Check out YouTube for George Carlin's rant on "stuff."

"...may not have enough time." Just wait til you're MY age (68). You start tossing out long term projects. Someone gave me a pile of jeans, that mostly fit. I thought, "Hmmm. I'll probably never have to buy jeans, again." :-).

Well, here, the days will finally start getting longer. Never mind that our coldest days are ahead. It got down to 27F (-2.77C) last night. Cold and clear. I hit the Safeway, early this morning, and had to scrape ice off the truck.

I think I might hit the auction, tonight. There's a box of Fenton glass. But, only one item in it I really want. But, it will probably come up on the block, early, given it's position in "the ring." So I won't have to stay til the bitter end. Pictures have finally started going up for the New Years Day auction. Rather disappointing, so far. Nothing that makes me nuts. :-). A really nice blue and white Chinese rug. But, I don't need a rug :-(. A nice pair of old bookends of Notre Dame cathedral. But, in the pic, they look a bit corroded. Other than that ... Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Ohhh! Italian! How cool. Top chef, here he comes. At least your brother-in-law has some experience in the food business. When I lived in downtown Centralia, there was a cafe that had 7 owners in 15 years. Every time a new owner would show up I'd drop in and just casually ask, "Ever been in the food business, before?" Not a one, had. What always ran thorough my mind was, "Doomed ... doomed..."

I'm reading "The Tastemakers" (Sax, 2014). It's pretty interesting. All about the food industry, how trends start, where they go. And the author can be quit humorous, at times. Makes for a good read. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - I suppose you could have said "aliens." Or, "terrorists". The last being not much of a joke, these days. But that was probably what a lot of the concern was about. When I went to the store, this morning, I heard that Melbourne had had an "incident." I do hope Chris and the Editor were well out of harms way. Yes, I know. What are the chances? But then, I'm sure everyone on that train that wrecked thought "What are the chances?" Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Yeah, the incident was not good. The police are apparently saying that the driver had a history of 'mental health issues and drug use, but that there was no evidence to suggest he had any links to terrorism.' There is also: 'Noori is known to police, and they said his prior criminal history related to a "minor assault" from 2010.'

The latest on the incident can be read here: Flinders Street attack: Here's what we know about how it unfolded.

It looks to me like a criminal act. I'd have to suggest that there are a few folks that are dropping off the ship. The most recent budget of about a week ago appears to have added another wait year before migrants can access social security (from 2 to 3 years).

Is any snow forecast for your Christmas?

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

And a Merry Solstice and Christmas to you too! :-)! It is quite sunny and warm here today which is really nice!

I had to laugh about the adult participation trophies as I honestly can't recall ever receiving one, but then that may also mean that I am not worthy of such things. It is funny you mentioned those things, but I recall the days when Christmas bonuses were handed out to staff, but you know I never worked anywhere that did such things. However, I am old enough to recall other people receiving them and being enthralled by the stories. Those dollars are pretty handy bits of kit, so yeah I hear you! On the other hand it may be like Magical Christmas Unicorns, which were frankly better in the past!

Speaking of these things, the water pump that I was singing the praises of last week has sprung an air leak somewhere on the casing. This afternoon, I sang a different tune about that water pump and it included some naughty words. Tomorrow I plan to pull the entire contraption apart and poke around in its mysterious innards and see if I can spot a broken gasket or housing which may be letting air in. These things happen...

We got up early this morning. Have I mentioned that I am not a fan of summer for this very reason? We began excavating behind the eastern wood shed so that we can position a new rock gabion cage there over the next few days (16ft now and soon to be 24ft long!). All that soil had to go somewhere, so I moved it by wheelbarrow over into the eastern side of the farm and have begun to construct a flat and wide path leading to the other wood shed. The massive water pipe purchased yesterday was used to make a bridge so that water doesn't pool against the now raised and flat path. That job may take a few days... The previous path was so dodgy that the electric log splitter fell onto its side last year, and a few more naughty words ensued! Falling onto its side is a bad thing for hydraulic mechanisms.

You must be careful of taking on more "stuff" because you never know what obligations that stuff has on you! You were wise to dodge the stuff game. I'll check out the rant later this evening.

Haha! That's funny. Mate, you have plenty of years left, so don't go throwing them jeans out unnecessarily! Hehe! Jeans caused me a minor existential crisis the other month. True story! For more years than I can remember I've always purchased a specific cut and size of jeans, but unbeknownst to me, the manufacturer stopped making them, so I went into the shop and the friendly shop people were telling me that this here new style is apparently the same as that old style. So me, being me, I asked the hard and very obvious question: How come ya changed? I like to keep such questions to the bare minimum of words during those encounters, as too many words encourages evasive answers. Well the nice shop folk did what can only be described by the rather technical term: prevaricate! Fortunately, I could snap up a few pairs on eBay before they are a distant memory. I genuinely wonder what the future will hold in store for clothes because from everything I can see, quality is a distant memory - and don't get too close to an open flame with the current stuff! ;-)!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Far out that is cold! I assume that things will only get colder in the next month or so? Things are warming up here for sure. The afternoon sun is a killer.

Did I mention that the dirt mouse was finally repaired today? The mechanic went over and beyond the call of duty and fixed it late this afternoon which is the last weekday before Christmas. A top effort and I appreciated that.

How did you go with the auction? Staying until the end is always a difficult ask in such a situation. Did many bidders turn up for the auction, and did they look like professional buyers?

During the excavations today, we unearthed a huge number of small rocks ( a rich seam) and so were using them to fill up the old rock gabion cage which is about 80% full now. We may head out tomorrow a rock huntin'! That should be interesting.

Thanks for your thoughts about the incident in Melbourne. I thought about you and the train too. Between you and I, I am easily startled, and so do my best to stay alert and keep out of harms way by looking for differences in the general background. That is part of living here, as today a huge chunk of tree just fell nearby for no apparent reason that I could see. We had a moments notice, and that is sometimes all you get up here. I posted a news link to the incident in my reply to Inge above.

The storm last week dropped a huge number of branches from very old Elm trees in Avenues of Honour. I was startled to see so many dropped branches.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

I'm unsure that the fox is under pressure as there is a fox here most nights and has been for quite a while. The foxes are dazzled by strong torchlight and for some reason they check me out and everything that is going on when I have the torch out. I reckon they know my business better than I do! Mind you, it is only in recent times that a fox has dared make a strike on the chickens during daylight. Foxes are very clever and adaptable creatures though and both times they approached from different angles.

Ouch! Well sometimes we all learn by completely stuffing things up. It happens. There are a surprising number of guns in the area, but the wildlife gets a fairly easy go of things, most likely because there is not that much of it. The forest provides housing for the wildlife, but not much in the way of food or water. That is why meadows in forests tend to attract wildlife by the score.

Quolls would be a tough adversary. I recall listening to an interview with the very excellent Australian band "Holy Holy" (whom I thoroughly recommend - check out their song Darwinism) and one of the members had a connection to Tasmania and they were lamenting the lack of a quoll proof chicken enclosure. A had won lesson and I guess a future concern. Mate, the rats freaked me out in the original chicken enclosure and I was gobsmacked by how many of them I ended up feeding for a few years until I had the time to counter their business.

Oh yeah, I wouldn't look forward to that lesson with the sheep either. On the other hand, it is a useful lesson to know. Sometimes life is like that.

Wow! The tomatoes are now in flower here, with no sign of fruit yet (late January – early February at the earliest). Do you know the variety that you are growing, and are they tasty? Full size, mid, or cherry? Zucchini is an old standard and favourite here too! We ate the first zucchini at lunch today. Yummo! Beetroot leaves are pretty good tasting aren't they? The beets are excellent tasting too and they already taste to me as if they have been pickled.

Thanks for the image! Awesome!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Lew

Well time will tell how the restaurant goes. My BIL already admitted he had the menus printed too soon. So far, so good though. One issue is the building itself - high ceilings and hard surfaces which can make it pretty noisy. The book sounds entertaining. Yesterday while in downtown Chicago we passed by a cupcake truck. My sister and I went to a pretty popular restaurant and I had a kale and squash salad. My stomach is happier when I don't eat products with gluten so that often means the choices are limited. The salad was a bit of a disappointment though. Kale in salad is better if it's massaged first - kind of breaks it down but this wasn't done for my salad. I make a much better kale salad here at home. Even Doug likes it and he's not a kale fan at all.

Festivus - I forgot about that. A couple of years ago one of my sisters and I toyed with the idea of bringing a Festivus pole to our family's Christmas Eve gathering - maybe next year. I think the "airing of grievances" would be particularly fun.



Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I heard about the incident while in downtown Chicago yesterday with my sister. I suppose it's just a matter of time here. My sister lives in the city and sometime during the Christmas season we get together with no particular plans for a day long outing in the city. We started at the Chriskindl market but just walked though. It's very crowded and we weren't in need of any of the merchandise for sale. Then it was lunch, the Chicago Cultural Museum, a viewing of the Christmas tree in the Walnut Room at Macy's and finally the Art Institute. My sister is a member of the Art Institute so we often visit their member's lounge with free coffee and tea and then check out one area of the Museum. Yesterday it was the Thorne Miniature Rooms http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/thorne

Margaret

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

A very happy summer solstice and Christmas to you and the editor!

You had asked if levels of water in lakes or ponds around here have lowered. There is only one pond that I have seen recently and yes, I noticed that the water level has dropped significantly in that pond. Maybe it will start to fill back up a little because we are supposed to get some snow tonight (Friday) and tomorrow morning and maybe on Sunday as well. Whether enough would stick to call it a white Christmas remains to be seen, as it will take some time for the ground to cool enough to not melt snow on contact. But there is some indication of a bigger winter storm to come around next Thursday, which will stick if it occurs as it's supposed to be quite cold next week.

I have received results from this autumn's soil test and will soon analyze it and this year's garden data. Eventually that info will make it into my blog and get me started on it again. I didn't intend to go this long without posting, but that's how 2017 went.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, that's sad about the water pump. Here's hoping it's just something minor and can live up to it's initial promise.

LOL. "The eastern woodshed" just sounds so posh. :-). Kind of like, "Jeeves! Put them in the east wing." But in a ... darn, what was the name of that 30's book? That was made into a very funny movie. Something "Farm". A "bright young thing" falls on hard times and has to go live with these rather backward and primitive relatives. There's a dotty old bedridden grandmother who's always going on about having seen something nasty, in the woodshed, when she was just a wee girl. It's a very clever send up of the gothic story. It just dawned on me that you're terraforming your place. I'll recommend you to Mr. Musk. Next stop, Mars! Then you'll have a whole planet to play with. :-).

Oh, "prevaricate" is such a nice word! One of those words that I just like the sound of. One of the points that the author of "The Revenge of Analogue" made was that "new" isn't necessarily better. Not that I didn't know that, but it's nice to see that that idea is getting "out" there and into circulation. He speculated that more formerly tech adopting people are catching on to that. Of course, sometimes "new" IS better. It's a pity that it's so hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. One motto he saw emblazoned on a wall at a tech company was: "If it works, it's obsolete." For some reason, that made me very angry. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The weather here is warmer, today. "Cause the rain is back! :-). So it goes in this part of the world in winter.

Well, the auction really surprised me. A lot of people showed up and there was a lot of money sloshing around. For me, a good and a bad thing. The lot that I wanted shot right up and I dropped out at $60. Heck, I only wanted one piece out of that box. They sell on E-Bay for $10-$15. But they want $10 or more for shipping, which I think is outrageous. On the plus side, there was some of my stuff in this auction. Two Pyrex bowls went for $25 and a clutch of 4 Pyrex pieces went for $65! I'll be getting a good check from the auction house.

The other thing that made it worth the trip was information. Before the auction, I saw the couple who own one of the antique malls. All away across the crowded and noisy auction hall I heard her say: "...new dealer... Art Deco." Some of my other facilities may be gong, but I guess my hearing is still sharp. :-). So, I button holed her and, yes, they have a new dealer in the antique mall, he has a lot of Art Deco. And, his prices aren't bad. When I finish up here, I'm headed there. Maybe find something for me, for Christmas :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Ah, Ha! Got it. "Cold Comfort Farm." As a book, a satire from the 1920s. Done for the BBC in the 80s, I think, and then as a movie, later. I don't know if it would hold up, on second viewing, but I thought the movie was screamingly funny, on first viewing. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret, Claire and, Lewis,

Happy solstice and Christmas to you all! Thanks for the lovely comments, but I am unable to reply this evening.

Lewis - Finished the rock gabion today! We were a happy rock huntin!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

To all

I wish you a happy Christmas and Solstice.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - The Thorne Miniature room sounds fascinating! As I tend to like anything miniature. :-). I did a little "retail therapy" at the local antique mall, yesterday. I found a miniature Chinese cloisonne bird cage with a tiny bird inside! For $12! I am thrilled. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris and The Editor - Happy day before, the day before Christmas! At least on this side of the date line :-). And, to guild the lilly, it's Festivus!

Yesterday the weather was pretty much rain. "Thick" rain. Big drops with ice crystals in them. Today? Glorious sunshine. There's another saying in this part of the world. "Don't like the weather? Give it 5 minutes. It will change.

Harrowing tales in the local newspaper about the train wreck. It being the first run of a new route, there were a lot of train buffs on board. And, inspiring tales, too. Being rush hour, and near Ft. Lewis, before the wreckage even stopped bouncing, soldiers in uniform, on their way to work were leaping out of their cars, swarming over the train and pulling people out. Doctor's and nurses traveling on the freeway, waded in in business attire, snapping on latex gloves and pulling on their stethascopes. I'd say the fast, overall response contributed to the low fatality figures. Sometimes, humans really rise above and are inspiring. Lew

margfh said...

@Lew

You would really like the Thorne houses. On many there is a room off to the side as well and others have outdoor landscaping through the windows. Congrats on the bird cage score. Merry Christmas!!

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Snowing here so it'll be a white Christmas after all which is very pretty but not so fun to drive in. Just got back from picking up Michael who'll be staying here for two days through all the festivities. Luckily there was no wind so roads weren't too bad and amazingly no jerky drivers - the ones in the big SUV's or trucks that ride right up on your tail because you're not going fast enough for them. Hope you and the editor have a Happy Christmas and it's not too hot.

Margaret