Monday, 15 January 2018

Deus Pox Machina

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

Deus ex machina
is a Latin phrase borrowed from the Ancient Greeks which refers to 'god from the machine'. A few years ago I first became aware of the term when I went to the cinemas to see a film of a similar name. I enjoyed the film and in the story line, the artificial intelligence robot seized an opportunity and dealt humanity, in the form of actor Domhnall Gleeson (who is also in the latest Star Wars franchise instalment), a harsh blow.

That is the thing about artificial intelligence, you never quite know who's side it's on. I was considering this problem the other day, because over the past few months I have had dealings with a semi-intelligent ticket vending machine in a car park. I loathe this particular machine and I hope it gets a pox!

Unfortunately, I know a lot more about car parks than any sane human should. One fun fact about car parks is that they make for boring dinner conversation, so I never talk about car parks. Another thing I noticed about car park owners and operators, is that they always want to make more money from their car park and so there is a temptation to replace human ticket vendors with a machine. What could possibly go wrong?

Every few weeks or so, the editor and I share a car journey into the big smoke. I like car pooling with the editor as we talk about a lot of rubbish (and serious stuff) and generally have a nice time. Sometimes, unfortunately for me, that nice time ends in a car park in a run down inner suburban shopping mall. Even not washing the small Suzuki Swift dirt mouse is no guarantee of a trouble free parking existence there. At a guess I reckon over half the shops in the mall are empty and I pay $16 per day for the privilege of that car spot. The mall has a feeling of decay, which is quite unusual in Melbourne.

Out front of the mall, what appears to me to be groups of junkies, hang around swapping barely coherent words at high volume all the while enjoying the morning summer sun. Into that heady mix of humanity, there are also high stress looking women wearing active wear and pushing prams. Meanwhile, the tolerant old timers who hail from post European WWII immigration, well they push shopping jeeps and form lines outside the banks on pension days. It is a strange mix of people, but the only thing that has given me hassles in that area so far is the loathsome semi-intelligent ticket vending machine.

Machines are meant to obey commands and perform functions. But who really knows what an artificial intelligence will possibly even want, and given my experience, I sure don't want to find out. I'm certain the machine is playing tricks on me because every time I use the thing, it does something different. Sometimes, the machine refuses to accept credit cards and demands cash. I feel as though I am being shaken down for loose change by this machine, which is possibly how it is. Sometimes the machine issues a receipt, and other times it teases me by suggesting that a receipt will be forthcoming, but it never appears. And other times, no receipt is offered. This semi-intelligent machine sure has a complex personality.

The other day was the final straw for me. I couldn't believe it. The machine refused to accept payment by credit card. Indignantly, I fed cash into the machine, and then just to add insult to injury, the nasty piece of work short changed me. I'd kick the machine if I wasn't so concerned about injuring my foot and all of the ubiquitous security cameras that like in a scene from George Orwell's classic book 1984, record all of our goings on.

But of course, it wasn't really the final straw because in the future I know I'm going to have to have interactions with this machine again!

Fortunately, my grumpiness at the machines last insult was short lived because I soothed my shattered nerves with a coffee and a small cake. Now here is the interesting bit. I have known the lovely lady who served me that day at the cafe for more than a decade, but perhaps less than two decades, and without me even mentioning my interactions, she slipped me a free cake for being such a long term and delightful customer. My faith in humanity was restored, my faith in machines, well not so much...

As an interesting side note, I have a secret super power. Everyone does. My secret super power is that for some reason people who serve cakes and other delightful pastry items tend to occasionally provide me with free food. I'm unsure why this is the case, but as the old timers used to say: You must not look a gift cake in the mouth! Wise words and life is too short to go without tasty cakes and pastries!

A couple of good summer storms have rolled over the farm this week. The first storm changed the prevailing weather from very hot summer days to what felt to me like the late days of autumn. The rolling cloud sure looked impressive and there were even a few thunder claps to send a Scritchy the boss dog to hide under the bed (her super power is that she is a storm detective and can predict storms hours in advance. Sometimes the storms are even as far away as interstate).
A thick storm cloud rolled over the farm late this week and turned summer into what felt like late autumn

By the time the second storm rolled over the farm, we were running the wood heater and it felt like early winter. The setting sun as seen through the thick clouds looked awesome.
The storm that followed soon cooled the area further and it soon felt like early winter

The frogs enjoyed the rain and I discovered this frog on the side of the house sheltering from the storm.
Tree frogs seem to be multiplying around here!

Scritchy did not enjoy the rapid change into winter like conditions and I placed a woollen jumper over her so that she kept warm.
Scritchy the boss dog was very cold after the storm, so I draped my woollen jumper over her

At other times, Scritchy was busy monitoring her fluffy collective.
Scritchy monitors the fluffy collective as they enjoy a well earned rest
Scritchy has issues this week as we visited a local animal shelter and purchased a new fluffy. Meet Ollie, the six month old Australian cattle dog:
Ollie enjoys a well earned rest among the fluffy collective
There will be a more thorough update on Ollie next week.

'Tis the season for storing sun dried and seasoned firewood for use over the coming winter. This week we spent two days on that task, and this year we have been moving firewood down hill which is a remarkably easier job than bringing it back up the hill. Who would have thought that? We have been using gravity and simply throwing firewood downhill. The firewood had been cut years ago and has been well seasoned. In between relocating the firewood and storing it, we leave any damp chunks out in the hot summer sun for a few days, before then storing it away.
A huge stack of firewood was thrown down the hill and was then stacked

Another load of cut and split firewood drying in the hot summer sun prior to storing
Who doesn't love the bright yellow trailer? Everywhere I take that trusty old workhorse, blokes tell me how much they like the colour. Of course, they themselves would not dare paint a trailer that colour. But the trailer isn't fussed and it gets a lot of love. Unfortunately, the rear flap succumbed to the dreaded steel worm (a fancy name for rust) and it fell off at an inconvenient moment. Fortunately, like the 'A Team', 'MacGyver', or the 'Six Million Dollar Man' (edit: note the excellent use of the Oxford comma), we have the skills to take a bunch of rubbish chunks of steel and create a brand new rear flap for the bright yellow trailer!
We have the technology, we can rebuild the rear flap for the bright yellow trailer!
Have arc welder, can rebuild! 100% solar powered too. Hello Ollie!
With a bit of fancy cutting, and a lot of hours of work, I turned a whole lot of scrap steel into a brand new rear flap for the bright yellow trailer.

Speaking of scrap steel, we decided to use some scrap aviary steel mesh to temporarily increase the height of the dog fence in their outdoor run. Ollie looks like he may be an escape artist extraordinaire because I tied his lead to a post near to where I was working and he undid the complex latch and came bounding over to tell me about his latest feat of trickery!
Temporary steel aviary mesh was added to the dog enclosure to increase the height of the fencing
Just to prove that it is not all hard work here, we can do stupid too!
The author interacts with Ollie the Australian cattle dog puppy. Ollie is concerned!
I have to get a wriggle on! Fruit, well there is a fair bit of that stuff at the moment. The other day I decided to harvest some of the apricots that looked ripe to me. We may bottle (can) them in a couple of days time.
Lots of yummy apricots fresh from the trees!
The blackberries are just starting to ripen and they are both huge and tasty!
It looks like it may be an excellent blackberry year
I reckon cucumbers are of the Triffid family (that is the fancy scientific name).
Surely cucumbers are of the Triffid family of plants?
In other plant news...
Chilean guavas are swelling in size. This fruit is tasty as!
We made a batch of elderflower wine, but the thousands of berries I am leaving as a gift to the birds
Here are some for the flower enthusiasts (of which I include myself):
A bee and some bugs are enjoying this Balm of Gilead. There is no privacy in bugland.
The bees also enjoy this Cat Mint
This Salvia looks great and produces reliable flowers despite the heat that summer can throw at it
Lavender is another hot weather loving plant
The mint family of plants is as summer hardy as and this Oregano is no exception
If nothing else flowers in a hot summer, the Agapanthus always delivers for the bees
The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 12’C (54’F). So far this year there has been 21.8mm (0.9 inches) which is up from last week's total of 0.0mm (0.0 inches)

59 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Well Ollie has yet to earn the Mr title, but he is getting there. He managed to undo a very complex latch which I'd used to chain him to a post nearby where I was working. After that effort, we decided that perhaps he could roam around unsupervised as he had made up his mind that the lead was an over-rated tool. Talk about escape artistry in action! I met a cow recently who was able to unlatch farm gates using her tongue...

Very funny! I've nicknamed him a "gangle chunk" as there are just legs and tail everywhere and the things sticking out of your mold would be probably legs! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, to be honest I've never had the experience of a puppy before and even old dogs can learn new tricks, if they've got the will to do so. Sometimes, older dogs are stubborn as and set in their ways. This puppy business is a huge handful, but rules, structure, boundaries, and limits seem to work well with puppies, so who knows, he might even turn out OK? Dunno, time will tell. This one is six months, and I have no idea what an 8 week old dog would be like. Probably way high energy? Beau was of an intelligent line of dogs. I haven't seen any of the dogs sigh, but they sure do dob on the other dogs when mischief is afoot or one of them requires a bit of human assistance to stop some extreme behaviours. Scritchy is sticking close to me over the past few days and I back her 100%, but Ollie pushes the boundaries. He gets jealous when attention is focused elsewhere and he also suffers from separation anxiety at night. You really want to know what I think about things - when did spoiled become a good trait? Or even a trait that people were proud of? Nobody wants spoiled fruit. Just sayin. The previous people had spoiled Ollie badly and then they couldn't handle the consequences. I mean what did they expect? Far out, I'm ranting...

Yes, bated breath is the correct term. I actually believed that the word was spelled exactly as you wrote it. Apparently the word 'bate' means restrain. You certainly don't hear that word these days, although sometimes you hear the word 'abated' from which it is derived.

That makes sense about the spoken word being a form of 'shorthand'. It would certainly confuse people if we all spoke the exact same way that words are written. People would think that we had become pretentious! And therein lies a little secret about the spoken word - the way that we use spoken words identifies what tribe we belong too. It always surprises me when I hear people speaking with a very plum accent as I know that it is an affectation. I guess if it makes them feel better about things... Do you hear plum accents spoken in your part of the world?

Honestly, who is clear first thing in the morning? I guess if a person lived as a warrior or soldier, being clear first thing upon waking would be a handy tool, but for everyone else… Dunno. I usually read the comments over breakfast, and I enjoy having the time to formulate a response.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Oh yeah, some people love that sort of drama and they welcome it into their lives - because they just want to feel something. As a little side note, I have heard that self harmers do what they do because of the same reason. I heard an interview with a well known singer / song writer who remarked that they enjoy social chaos as it gives them food for their art. That seems a bit dirty to me, but there you go. But yeah, as you remarked, some people just love exercising control that way too. My grandfather before his demise, requested of me that I work towards fixing many of the problems in the family. I'm not saying that it looked to me from my perspective that he had created many of them, but that is sort of how it looked. It sounds a bit harsh, but I replied that I don't think I'd get around to doing that. Fortunately, there are many more things that can be actually achieved on this planet with one’s time! Oh well. Hey, your words prodded me too. Many people learn those behaviours because they exercise patterns in their lives and they get a response from their ongoing part in the drama and it helps them fill up the empty chunks in their souls. Plus, they may be addicted to the drama and know no other way of being. Dunno, but it doesn't look good.

I have heard of excuses such as the dog ate my homework, but a bomb hitting the publishers warehouse building during WWII is a pretty good excuse as far as they go! :-)!

I have been watching the news reports about the mudslide with absolute horror. I spend an inordinate amount of time on drainage and how water flows about the property. It is no small matter as I found out a year ago during a minor landslide. I have no idea how emergency response folks would even respond to such an horrific incident in California.

On the radio today there was a news report about meningitis which is not something that anyone wants to experience.

Had internet troubles tonight and it looked as if my account had been throttled by the provider. This has been an ongoing problem for a while now. Strangely enough, after the phone call to them it all came back to normal. It is just so weird as I pay an absolute premium to be connected on this interweb thingee. I doubt many people or businesses pay as much per month as I do for such a small bandwidth... Musn't grumble!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi crowandsheep,

I have to confess that I am addicted to those funny colour rainfall forecast maps! Hehe! They're good, but you know what? Scritchy is better. I know that every single time she dives under the bed and hides that it is going to rain. She is not 100% perfect as she confuses driving mist with rain, and I for one believe that there is a difference, but she is close. I reckon science could stand a few more citizen scientists! :-)!

Lucky you having a quality bakery just around the corner. Being a long way from the bakery is like living on the dark side of the force - it is all dark and there are no pastries! I mean where are the lamingtons I ask you? And they must be filled with jam. Anything less... Do they use a sour dough starter?

I've never tried apricot wine or liquor, but I see no reason why it wouldn't be a good idea. Sorry for me teasing you with the photo this week of the huge haul of apricots. They are for the bottle to reappear over winter breakfasts when the fog is thick and fluffies are cold.

Thanks! Good luck with the bike, I hope you got the crank repaired.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

At least my daughter recognizes that she is a bit of a hypochondriac. She claims to suffer from anxiety which she doesn't display outwardly. She's always been the more social of my daughters, has many friends and in general is a very funny person. I suppose you have to take someone's word for it though.

Ah - the dreaded ticket machine. We have one at our train station and it generally works but doesn't like extreme cold. As we're the end of the line many people come from Wisconsin to take the train to Chicago. One has to allow extra time in the ticket line as new or infrequent travelers struggle with the machine. It either takes cash or a special card you can buy but not credit cards. It is not run the Metra (public transportation system) but rather by our city. Often times people don't have cash which slows things down for everyone. We no longer have a ticket agent at our station either so unless you already have a ticket you have to buy it on the train. I feel for the poor conductors as they now have quite a job selling the tickets.

Malls around here are dying as well.

Ollie is very cute but a six month old can be a handful.

I am quite jealous of the apricots as they aren't easily found around here and are a favorite of mine.

We had a few inches of snow overnight so my car will again be full of salt. All the snow from before melted during our two warm and rainy days. Higher temps and rain forecasted for the weekend though.

Yesterday Doug and I went to a 3 hour class on how to identify trees and shrubs by their twigs and buds. About an hour and a half was outside and as it was about 12F and getting windy everyone got quite cold even though everyone had the proper clothes. The class was offered by the Land Conservancy and the couple who stayed at our house when we were in Alaska were the instructors. We're going to have to go out and practice or we'll never remember what we learned.

Good luck with Ollie.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I was so intrigued by your car park (and free cake) story that I forgot that I was looking for Mr. New Puppy (ok, x the "Mr."). And then we had magnificent storm pictures . . .

What a hilarious photo of the 3 dog couch - they are such stooges!

There's Ollie! Hi, Ollie - welcome aboard! Looks like you have made yourself at home. The first Ollie I thought of was Oliver Hardy of Laurel and Hardy; but your Ollie is the wrong shape. But he may turn out to be a clown. He's a handsome fellow,"gangle chunk" though he is. That's clever.

That is a lot of firewood. Ollie likes your arc welder and so do I.

Ah, ha! See - you and Ollie are already a comedy team!

Ohhh - apricots, blackberries, and cucumbers (Oxford comma duly appreciated) - I am dreaming.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Cleaver title this week. You're sad tale of woe brought to mind "Feed the Machine" which is (may be?) either a rock lyric, or, maybe even the name of a rock group. Automation. Disintermediation. We've ranted on about that, before. I actually changed gas stations, because I tired of hanging about while the one screen on the pump reeled through one advert screen after another, before completing the transaction. When we went to self check out, at the library, all that time that was supposed to be saved just went to guiding people through the process, changing the paper receipt rolls, clearing paper jams, etc. etc..

I taught my friend Julia how to place a hold on the library website. It takes three clicks to place a hold. On different screens. Not that that is explained, anywhere. My credit union finally smartened up. It used to be it returned your ATM card at the end of the transaction. If you forgot to retrieve your card, the machine ate it. Actually, a pretty good security precaution. Happened to me twice. But now, I notice, you have to retrieve your card BEFORE you get your cash. Those machines are all well and good, but some human agent must monitor them. At all times. Otherwise ...

You get free tucker because you look underfed and on your uppers :-). Actually, it's probably your bright, sunny disposition. Like me (mostly) your probably a pleasant and low maintenance customer and it IS noticed. And, rewarded. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Saturday, it hit 59F (15C), and, according to Cliff Mass, high record temps were set all over W. Washington. For this time of the year. Frogs. I actually heard a frog, yesterday. Another sign that we may have an early spring. Garlic is coming up, as are my miniature iris.

Ollie looks like a picture puzzle. :-). Gangly. A real hound. In the best sense of the word. When I saw the pic of the three wise guys, I first though of an ancient children's program. One of those puppet things. Kukla, Fran and Ollie. But later, the picture of you and Ollie did remind me, like Pam, of Laurel and Hardy. The picture of you gooning at the pup made me laugh out loud. Something I'm not inclined to. :-). You could take your act on the road. An 8 week old dog? Well, they're cute, but poop in lots of inconvenient places. Yup. People seem to take great pride in spoiling their animals. And, their grandchildren.

The elderberries look quit nice. Now, I've never even tasted an elderberry, but they're supposed to be some kind of a superfood or something (yup. Advertising victim, here) and it's one of the things I plan to plant in my gorilla gardening plot.

It's not so much plum accents here that are noticed. What's more noticed is "edju-macated" (another scientific term) language. Use words of more than 3 syllables words or a vocabulary above a third grade level and your thought to be some kind of a liberal commie/pinko. And, are usually bestowed the title of "Professor."

Band width is funny stuff. Early on, I thought the internet was like a river. No, it's more like a spigot. The hot social media before Face Plant was ... how soon we forget. Any-who, at three every afternoon, all the kids would get out of school, thunder into the library, sign on. And, collapse the system. Phones, catalog, check out system. Everything crashed and burned. So, our very clever IT people limited the bandwidth from that site. Of course, the slow down caused widespread wailing and gnashing of teeth. To bad. Right now, there's a lot of hoop-la over net neutrality. Which I really don't understand, but, apparently, there will be fast lanes, slow lanes and rationing out. Depending on how much your willing to pay. Of course the whole thing is being sold as "free enterprise" and "choice." I ran across another fine old word that has fallen out of use. And, ought to be brought back. "Twadle" (sp?). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Families. The first paragraph of the first chapter of the Gibbons bio is:

"None of us entirely escape from our family background, but the extent to which we do is often the measure of our maturity. Escape is more desirable, of course, from some families than from others. Where the Gibbons clan was concerned, the breaking of familial bonds was a necessary condition of happiness."

I think that quote is almost as good as that famous one (author escapes me) about happy families, and unhappy families. I sometimes suggest that if people hear "Who do you think you are?" or "Do you think you're better than us." from family, that they run away as far and as fast as they can. Sweeping generalization, here, but I think "family" has done more good ... and more damage, than anything else I can think of.

One is served a mess of pottage, and can either season it up, to make it more palatable. Or, dump it in the bin. But that takes a lot of starch and fibre. (More food metaphors? :-). And, yes, someone is usually designated to be "the Fixer." One is wise to decline that "honor." I must say, for me, being almost an orphan is a great relief. But that's just me. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris (again.) Just because I'm neurotic ...

"Twaddle" is the correct spelling.

The quote about families (happy and unhappy) was Tolstoy, from "Anna Karenina". Lew

Steve Carrow said...

OK, now you are just asking for us to share all our frustrated screeds about our most unfavorite technology episodes. This could go on for a while.

Just few to ante in:
cars with computers that KNOW what the problem is, but don't have a simple display, instead you have to go to a shop that has an expensive diagnostic machine that can interface with the on board computer.

search algorithms that have an agenda, and it is not to give you an impartial best match for your search.

Printers that want to go out on the internet to check in at home base and otherwise have a mind of their own instead of simply printing. Their cryptic messages are no help in unjamming the queue or saying what needs to be done to make them happy again.

I'll stop now.

By coincidence, Mr. Lewis over at The Daily Impact just groused about tech going wrong.

Moving on, your trailer repair reminded me that I need to get over to the scrap yard ( I think you call it a tip?) after the snow melts to find some good raw materials. It's not just frugal to make repairs from scraps, it's a fun mental challenge.

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Actually it is nice that your daughter appreciates her perspective on hypochondria, as the lady that I knew had no idea on the matter which mystified me. I had never met anyone who felt that way about the world before and it was quite the shock, but you know, everyone is different and we experience the world through different eyes. It would be a very boring world if we all thought and felt the same! Exactly too, as individuals, we sort of have to empathise as best we can, and then just get on with life - but of course the obverse is true for them too (if that makes sense).

I watched the video of my friends episode tonight and the editor and I were on the beginning scenes. We were all at an agricultural show and were looking at chickens. Who would have thought that that was possible! At least they didn't include the audio of me pointing at a goat going to the toilet and me saying: "at least that goat is not constipated". Everyone loves a poo joke... Well maybe not, but that is the humour delivered here. It is fun stuff to see yourself on television and a bit strange given that we do not view that device!

I hear you about the agitated lines forming behind ticket vending machines for public transit when the conveyance is soon to be approaching into the station. Been there and done that. Oh yeah. The funny thing here is that the conductors on the trains check the smart cards to see whether they have been validated at the electronic 'touch on' stands at the railway station (or on-board a tram or bus). The system is I believe too complex for tourists, infrequent users, or people living out of town.

That mall is an exception but it is such a weird thing to see empty shops and for me it is the strange vibe of the place. It just seems a bit off, if you know what I mean?

Thank you and Ollie is a handful. I recall a quote from the Blues Brothers film: "they were nice boys, but they made a lot of noise at night". Ollie is like that, but we have given him serious incentives to tone that gear down, and he in turn destroyed the bean bag today, which to be honest would have been a lot of fun! Other than that, he is doing really well. He is a lap dog masquerading as a cattle dog!

You have excellent taste because apricots are the best stone fruit. Not only do they taste good, but they preserve intact. They need a lot of summer heat though and I reckon are possibly originally from the middle east. If I get time, I’ll look that up.

Nice to read that you are enjoying warmer temperatures, but that salt, I dunno. I'd imagine it impacts upon bridges and other unexpected steel infrastructure?

What an excellent course. I'd be lost with that during the deciduous season and wouldn't know who is who in the zoo. Have you ever learned the gentle art of grafting?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

The editor and I were on television! Nuff said really! Hehe! A client tipped me off to the fact today, and we all had a good laugh about it. Fun stuff and the irony of being on television is not lost on me.

Ollie (no title yet earned other than: bean bag bane which was entertaining for him, but not so much for us) sends tail wags and a deep bark to you and yours! I enjoyed those storms too. At one point we sat on the veranda enjoying a coffee and Anzac biscuit watching the storm rolling in, but eventually had to retreat inside the house. Spare a thought for poor Scritchy who had much under bed hiding to do. :-)!

Toothy was enjoying being squooshed and heated by Sir Scruffy as it was quite cold that night.

Well, you are now in on a fluffy secret, as Ollie's secret name is "gangle chunk" and he has pretensions of becoming a lap dog and we shall have to see how that all plays out. I suspect that he was originally dumped because he is too smoochy for a working dog, but I can handle smoochy, as long as he does a little bit of work around the place, which he will. My expectations of him are low (but he does have to get with the program and the other dogs have also begun training him) and he seems to be meeting those.

There is probably a song about: 'Tis the season to harvest firewood, tra-la-la-la-la; or something like that possible involving unhappy wood lice who were busy eating the firewood and turning it into soil? Possibly there are no legs in that project? Oh well.

You have a discerning eye to respect the arc welder from the mid 1970's. It is a little ripper and in fact says as much on the side of the metal casing. That thing will still be working long after all of us here are no longer working!

Hehe! He loves mucking around that dog. The other dogs can be a bit too cool for school, and that is meant as no disrespect to them, but they go about their canine business. Sir Poopy used to interact with me a lot more than the other fluffies.

Vicarious is the word that you are searching for! Glad to be of service. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I enjoyed the title to this blog too and it was funny, but we originally came up with the title "Deus Hex Machina" which packs a solid punch, or at least I thought so. Anyway, I did a quick interweb search and someone had already taken out that title and used it in a sci-fi book. After reading the synopsis, I don't believe that either you or I would not enjoy the story line. Oh well. As our resident Latin expert, does the word 'Pox' work in the title? I'd like to believe that it does, but I could also be fooling myself! Hehe!

I had to sign up and pay for a subscription service to watch the episode from my mates epic house / shed tonight. A client tipped me off this morning that both the editor and I were on the episode early on. In the show, the four of us are looking at chickens and goats at a local agricultural show, as you do! It made my day today as I thought that we'd been cut from the program. How ironic is it that the editor and I are on television, and we don't even watch television! Good stuff and very amusing. I'm keeping an eye out for a free to air YouTube view and will let you know when it surfaces. I must say that the audio from the goats was a bit naughty as I remarked that a defecating goat was clearly “not constipated”! I thought that it was funny, but perhaps not.

Mate, I avoid self checkouts wherever I can. I don't know how you feel about them, and it may be a bit quixotic on my part, but I sort of feel that people need jobs and to be kept gainfully employed. I don't purchase from supermarkets where there are self checkouts for much the same reasons as what you wrote. It is a pain for me and the staff, and I have had one or two incidents where their system was (is byzantine the correct word?) and I was treated like a common thief by the rather shirty staff. That was enough to send me elsewhere.

Mate, I hear you and am old enough to remember when petrol was pumped into your car by an attendant! But your stories of the scrolling advertisements sent a shiver of deep fear into me. It has been a rare occurrence when I have paid for fuel at a pump as most stores have someone behind the counter. On the other hand, I have been reading stories in the newspapers about fuel franchisees and their treatment, and then their treatment of employees. The stories read like a horror movie, except that they are real. I have always wondered whether the head office folks realise that they may potentially eventually back some poor soul into a corner and then they may do something very unexpected? Probably they have no idea.

I read car reviews in the newspaper because for no other reason than I like to keep tabs on what is described these days as being technological progress. It is interesting that you mention that it takes three different screens to put a hold on library books, but in the reviews, technology that works exactly as it might be expected to do so is often described as "intuitive". Mate, I tell ya, I encountered a vehicle a month or two back on the roads that had intelligent high beams and all I can say was that I wouldn't use the word intelligent to describe how they functioned. The lights kept blinking high beams at me and it was just both dazzling and annoying. Self driving cars are a joke of an idea. And why would any sane society want to put out of work very low paid taxi and uber drivers in the first place? It just makes no sense in the real world unless perhaps you are a high financier looking for a flow of funds from an investment vehicle (excuse the pun).

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Haha! Thanks for the laugh and you are probably correct about the free tucker. Maybe they are thinking to themselves that this one could use a bit of feeding up! Hehe! Funny. But I reckon you hit the truth in that pleasant and low stress thing does eventually get noticed and people who know you for a long length of time do then go the extra mile for you, because they know that it will be appreciated. Some of the interactions I have in rural areas are like that and I respect those relationships and do not ever overstep the privilege. I get some of those perks in the city too, but it takes a longer time to evolve.

Interesting about the weather. Mate, I'm not kidding around when I say that those kind of temperatures would be a warm winters day here too. Thursday and Friday look set to breach the 100'F mark which is not unusual for this time of year, it is just not that pleasant. The old timers used to say: plant garlic on the shortest day and harvest on the longest day, but down here we have discovered that this has been extended somewhat either side. I gave my mates of the big shed fame some garlic and soil from here last week as their garlic had rotted from either possibly a blight, but maybe not enough water, or too much compost over woody mulch (they are forest edge plants after all and appreciate the woody mulch). Go the frogs! I love frogs and they are an excellent sign of a healthy environment.

Ollie is a huge and contented inside the house wannabe lap dog. Clearly he is confused with his role in the world, but he will do a bit of outside work and that is enough for me. He loves the kitchen and is constantly underfoot. The editor and I have been suggesting that there are enough parallels that perhaps he has been infused with some of the spirit of Sir Poopy as the mannerisms are remarkably similar, although Ollie is far more active.

Oh my! Kukla, Fran and Ollie look a lot like a very early version of the Muppet Show! It is uncanny. Glad to read that I made you laugh! :-)! I told you we do silly down here, and we can be very amusing company at a dinner party, mostly because we don't take ourselves too seriously. My mates tell me that we can sing for our supper, which I believe is an old concept?

Not good about the 8 week old pup. That would be rather inconvenient. Did the pup grow out of that poop gear? People can overdo it. When I was young I heard someone say that parents should: "spare the rod and spoil the child". Surely there is some middle ground?

double secret cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Elderberries are super easy to establish as they grow from semi-hardwood cuttings and you have to do nothing other than plonking them in the ground. We plan to use them to begin a proper hedgerow / plant fence. Much cheaper than constructing a fence.

Ouch. I haven't seen that sort of backlash here against education, but eventually it will happen, at a guess. The shrill denunciations in newspapers don't help that problem and in fact I feel that they feed it.

You have achieved the double secret cont! Well done! :-)!

Yes, the problem here with bandwidth is one of usage too, and patterns emerge from the mix. School holidays are pretty bad. And I have no idea what net neutrality is all about either, if for the simple reason that the heavy hitters seem to have that gear sewn up already, and why would they be considered neutral? Dunno.

That Gibbons quote really touched me and it summed up the scenario beautifully. Sometimes when I read words that are well said, then it is a thing of beauty. That was one such. Thanks! The experience is a real mixed bag and sometimes the challenge inherent in doing something else is a good and healthy thing for a society.

Yes, I knew the quote for Leo Tolstoy, who was a bloke who clearly had a good feel for human interactions on a deep level.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Steve,

Feel free to go on for a while. I mean, we live in a target rich environment for such laughs!

Oh yeah, I hear you about that gear with the cars. And do they all use a standard plug or diagnostic software? Nope! Interestingly enough, you can now purchase readers fairly cheaply for the error codes for specific makes, but the diagnostic computers that reset the error codes in the cars computer are a bit more pricey.

Yup. You nailed that one about the search engine having an agenda. Long ago, I recall a joke about Facebook which is a software that I don't use, but the joke said something along the lines of: You are the product! Ouch. Data mining for research and marketing is big business.

Hehe! Your printer example sounds very much like a semi-autonomous ticket vending machine... Hey, I have seen the 'Terminator', and 'Robo Cop'... Heck, I even remember watching the film 'War Games' when I was a teenager.

It was a happy coincidence and I for one am glad that people are talking about this stuff!

Scrap yards are full of useful stuff for projects around the farm. We call it a tip shop, but there are also demolition yards that resell many interesting products recovered from demolition jobs. It is good that so much gets saved by interested people. Exactly too, the construction process is one that I also enjoy and it is creative! :-)!

Hope your winter has not been too severe?

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Congratulations on being screen-worthy!

Bean bag bane - Ollie has earned his first title. I hope it can be repaired? It sounds like the sort of smoochy furniture he would enjoy if he can desist from eating it. And I think he may become somewhat less smoochy once he matures and gains some confidence.

I had to use a self-checkout yesterday (most large stores here have them) as I had only one item and the two lines that were open (out of 10 lines, 8 unmanned) were really long and a very nice lady directed me to the self-checkout. When I demurred and told her that they usually bit me, she very kindly helped me, as that is her job. So, thankfully, all self-checkouts I have encountered have had a human being to attend to them.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Too many people requiring my attention at the moment, I am being besieged on the telephone and by e-mail. So this is in haste and minimal.

I loved the photos of the sunset and the apricots. I also thought 'Here comes that poor man who needs feeding up.

I think that self harming is caused by people who are in so much pain that they need a greater one to hide it.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - OLD JOKE ALERT!!! Seen on a hypochondriacs tombstone: "I TOLD you I was sick!". :-).

Of pox and parsnips. I'll have to look into "pox." Might be Latin. Might have German roots, via the Anglo-Saxons. "A pox on you" is an old curse from the middle ages. Now for the parsnip part. I am no longer a parsnip virgin. :-(. My neighbor who has the parsnips in the space I'm taking over, brought me some the other night. The way she prepares them is to steam them in the microwave, and then fry them up in butter with a sprinkling of nutmeg over the top. They were yum-o! Kind of like a french fry (chips?) but sweeter. Well, that sent me to my cookbooks. There was the odd recipe, here and there. Besides using them for the usual root veg thngs (stews, soups and with roasted meat) you can mash them with garlic, like potatoes. You can make them up as fritters, but those are fried in oil. Maybe more healthy (and less mess) would be the recipe I found for "patties." Those were baked.

The last cookbooks I checked turned out to be the most extensive. Stephanie Alexander's. She cited an old proverb: "Kind words won't butter the parsnips." :-). She also mentioned you can turn them into a "country" wine. As a plant, they are interesting. The frost doesn't seem to effect them much. So, they can be stored in ground. Now if I can just get past my irrational belief that white veg doesn't have the vitamins and minerals that more colorful veg has. I wonder if you can eat the leaves? Inquiring minds want to know. That would make them even more interesting, and useful.

OK. You're budding Reality TV Stars. That way lies madness! :-). I figured it might be a subscription thing, for now. "Byzantine" is bang on for self check out. "Intuitive" is code for click around til it does what you want it to. Who has the time? Wouldn't simple instructions be better? What fries my potatoes is the occasional DVD I run across where they can't be bothered with a simple "play movie," "episodes," "set up," or "bonus features." No. It's little icons with no explanation. Lots of fruitless clicking around in those cases. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Speaking of driverless cars, I read recently that some places now have, more robot than care, food delivery services. The Berkley campus in California, is one. So I guess "food delivery guy" as an occupation is now endangered. I heard two guys on the radio, from Portland (they usually have more sense there) banging on about how driverless cars wouldn't be dangerous to pedestrians as the car would communicate with the i-what-evers that "everyone" carries.

OK. The puppy incontinence story. It was the Westie (they're white) who was within a day of going back to the puppy farm. The set up. Kitchen, long hall, bathroom with kitty litter box and old fashioned tub on feet. With heavy heart, I gave him his last little bath in the kitchen sink. I put him down to run about and dry off, while I cleaned up the sink. I stepped into the hall, and he was looking ever so proud, sitting next to a fresh pile of poo. I grabbed him, rubbed his nose in it (which I had done, before) and he went yipping off into the bathroom. I went about the task of cleaning up, after him. I turned around, and there he was. For some strange reason, he'd gone into the bathroom and stuck his muzzle into the litter box. So, there he stood with his muzzle encrusted with dog poo, kitty litter and cat scat. I started to laugh. I laughed until the tears ran down my face. I had to lean against the wall and finally sat on the floor, just howling away. He ran back into the bathroom, hid under the tub, and I couldn't cox him out for three or four hours. He never pooped in the house, again.

I stayed up way to late, last night, watching "Manhunt: Unabomber." I don't know if he was on the radar, down there, but for years this fellow had been sending postal bombs to people. Killed three, injured many and almost brought a plane down. this was a dramatized series of the hunt and apprehension of the guy. Ted Kaczynski. There were a lot of interesting aspects (to me) to the case. Just last week I heard someone refer to him, in passing, as "that guy who fertilized his potatoes with his own poop."

He was a mathematical genius who had a doctorate from Harvard, and taught at Berkley. Then he headed for the Montana woods, built himself a small cabin without ELECTRICITY OR RUNNING WATER!!! Truly crazed, right? :-). In fact, the prosecution moved his cabin to where the jury could see it, as, well, anyone who would live like that must be clearly nuts. He was dissatisfied with the direction of modern life and it's discontents. He bribed the Government into publishing his manifesto in the New York Times as he thought it would change the world.

There were lots of subplots that were interesting. The young FBI agent who developed a linguistic system of profiling, that eventually led to his capture. How his superiors fought him every step of the way ... and then claimed credit for his work. There was also a bit about how while he was at Harvard, he was sucked into a CIA sponsored brainwashing experiment, that went on for three years.

I'm still trying to sort out how I feel about the whole thing. I don't agree for a moment with his methods. Maiming and killing people to draw attention to his ideas. I tried to read his manifesto, when it came out. Very dense and slow going. I may have to go back and take another look at it. I think the library has copies. Anyway. A lot to think about. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam, Inge, and Lewis,

Thank you very much for the lovely comments. However, after working late in the big smoke today and then enjoying a delicious meal of Mexican origins it is a bit late. The food was interesting and very good as it was largely composed of vegetable matter actually. Just the thing for a hot day. Mind you, tomorrow will be even hotter at over 100'F (at 39'C) and then the same for Friday. I promise to reply tomorrow, when it will be too hot for any sane (or insane) person to be out in the sun!

Lewis - Mate, tonight I watched as a guy on a skateboard holding a carton containing what looked like two dozen stubbies of beer, shoot past me on the road sliding in and out of vehicles and heading downhill at high speed. Well, all I can say is that I lack the competency for such high jinks! I reckon aplomb is the correct word to use in this instance!

Hope you noticed the bitcoin - crypto-pocalypse today! It was built on hot air after all!

Cheers

Chris



LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ohhh. Mexican food! There is the ear worm, and then there's the ... must be some clever term for setting off persistent food cravings? Must ... have .... Mexican .... food! Vegetable matter. Long on beans, tomatoes, and corn products?

Two dozen stubies = a half rack (case.) The young are so agile. :-). And not risk averse. But then, you have national health care.

I haven't seen the news today (oh, boy). So, bitcoin collapsed? I hope it doesn't drag everything else down the rabbit hold with it. Or, down that wonderful little invention created by Sir Thomas Crapper.

The weather is making me a bit twitchy. A bit of rain is back, today, but this winter feels like it has been way too dry and warm. Where are the fierce gales, driving rain and plunging temperatures? At least, for this part of the country.

I watched "Inferno", last night. Another Tom Hanks vehicle from another book by Harris. "Da Vinci Code" and all. About a young-ish evil genius billionaire who invents a pathogen that will wipe out half the worlds population. Because he's fretful about the rising world population. I'll have to look at those projected population figures, again. As, apparently, my fretful quota isn't full enough. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

It was quite amusing to see ourselves on the little screen and I really enjoyed seeing a project that we'd known since the early days slowly come to fruition. The show is quite good because it tells a story. Have you ever been on television?

Unfortunately, the bean bag is toast. We had placed a liner on the inside of the bag a few years back and thankfully that mostly held together because it is really hard to understand just how many small white polystyrene beans can float around from that sort of an incident, until you are confronted by the reality. The editor has been vacuuming them up because we have a sneaking suspicion that in twenty years time, small white polystyrene beans will still be found in the garden. You have to admit that it is a dubious title to earn, but he sure did vanquish and smite that bean bag! Strangely enough, the previous day I discovered Ollie and Toothy happily asleep on the same bean bag. They'll miss it over winter to be sure. Toothy destroyed his bedding when he was a puppy, so I guess that is what puppies do and what goes around comes around? Maybe?

Oh yeah, self checkouts have staff who are mostly friendly and helpful. The staff are also there to ensure that nefarious folk don't knock off products!

Hey, I ordered a new water pump today from a local water pump shop. Hopefully it arrives over the next week or two and this time we decided to try a huge accumulator pressure tank. I really had to do something different just so the garden tap (spigot) system just works as it should. If at first you don't succeed, something, something about doing something else. Hehe!

104'F here in the shade today! I have become accustomed to hot weather and in the shade it doesn't feel as hot as I would have expected, mind you in the sun it feels as if I'm in a furnace.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

No worries, and best wishes for surviving the siege! As a bit of advice, beware of dubious looking man-made horses containing Greeks, and also to assist with resisting the ongoing siege have you considered digging a moat around your house? That may not assist with the telephone and emails but you did mention recently that the water table was reasonably high at the moment! :-)!

Thank you and it has been a superb season for apricots as they love hot weather. I spoke to an orchardist to the north of here today and they were also saying that this summer has been likewise awesome for them. I can't bottle them at the moment because it is 104'F outside and will be the same again tomorrow. Maybe Sunday will be cooler and I can let the heat out of the kitchen from the bottling process which from memory can be up to an hour of cooking?

No doubts you are correct!

Absolutely, people do all sorts of things to hide from pain. Often the hiding is worse in the long term than the facing up, but clarity can often be lost too.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Hehe! That is a funny epitaph! To be honest, the only person that I have encountered who displayed what I believed to be hypochondria was that old girlfriend. From my perspective she sort of revelled in feelings of being unwell. We just weren't compatible as that aspect of her personality really annoyed me and I had no idea how to empathise with those feelings. As a contrast, when I was a late teenager I came down hard with a fever and after a week in bed I had the realisation that if I didn't pull myself up by my boot straps and get back into life, I'd get weaker. It took a week after that to recover back to feeling normal again, but you know, how you feel upstairs in your brain can have a big impact on your health, it is not a panacea, but still it is a powerful tool.

You just reminded me of a funny story too from that time. During that recovery week, I had to take the train into the city to buy some U2 tickets. That was a struggle, so I drove my old Nissan 1600 to the train station car park (three blocks from home, yeah, yeah...). When I eventually got back to the car and started it up to leave, a couple of detectives knocked on my window and asked me to get out of the car. I must have looked like death warmed over... Anyway, I had left some tools in the back of the car in plain sight and they thought I was using those tools to knock off other cars in the car park and were disappointed to discover that I had the tools in the car because the car was an old bomb that needed the tools in order to be easily repaired on the go. Who would have thought that would be the case? As usual I digress! A report card may suggest that Chris was easily distracted, but not so, I just love a digression and short story and life is a rich source of inspiration!

I have heard that old German curse and it is pretty unpleasant! Small pox was nasty. Parsnips cooked that way would be excellent and I am glad that you enjoyed them. They're easier to grow than carrots too and are usually discovered in orchards. They have the knack of breaking up compacted ground, and if you look at them, you have to admit they do look like a wedge! Incidentally the wild carrots here have lost a lot of their colour now and they taste like carrots, but look like parsnips. Do you reckon they have a common heritage, and do you prefer parsnips over carrots? I can see how that is possible.

That is a good idea, and we do make a carrot wine which is pretty nice. Of those sorts of flavours, the tomato wine is excellent as it looks and tastes like a commercial white wine (grape origin) but without the preservatives that give me headaches. We use that all the time for cooking. You just reminded me: Today as a patron of the tree guys (who are of Pacific Islander origin), I had them up here today doing some work despite the incredible hot weather and they are really helping me heaps. How does this relate to carrots, well, as we were getting them helping us with our firewood, we considered excavating out a carrot terrace and putting in some round raised garden beds for onions up there too. We're miles ahead this year with firewood - but we mustn't count our chickens as the season is long and problematic. But if we finish early, then it is back to projects! Yay!

Cont…

Fernglade Farm said...

One of the self checkout systems in a supermarket involves weighing all of the items and if there is a discrepancy between what the expected weight is, and what it actually is, then alarm bells go off. I'm surprised that people believe that food is an exact science but that would put additional pressure on suppliers to achieve that outcome. How suppliers make money these days supplying to that lot is well beyond my understanding.

Just had a check around to see if anyone has posted a link to the episode. Not yet, but they are regularly posted and all the earlier episodes are there. Time...

The thing I want to know about robot food delivery vehicles is how does the robot get the food from the road to the front door? It seems like an insurmountable problem. Down here in the inner city, there are a huge number of push bike riders doing door to door delivery of food. I wonder how they make any money doing that job. Oh, you need an i-whatsamacallitthingeemabob to access the service. That rules me out. It is nice that everyone has become an object and then there is everyone else left over!

Thanks for the story about your Westie terrier. They are really delightful dogs and very clever too. The dog was clearly getting in early on punishment and had known that he did bad!

No, he wasn't really on the radar down here. It is funny that you bring that subject up, but I remarked to the Green Wizards that I didn't believe that extreme intelligence is actually that adaptive. For example, a lot of very intelligent people have created some amazing technologies without considering the impacts that those technologies can have. Ted was clearly a pretty clever bloke, but he couldn't see that blowing people up would not actually warm people to his cause. He would have done far better to make a go of living in a remote area and thriving which is possibly a more compelling story than what he did do. You know to me he looks like a very clever two year old lashing out because his actions speak louder than his words. You have piqued my curiosity and I will have a read about him over the next two days. Anyway years ago I had a mate that was inordinately proud of being inducted into mensa and I always wondered why he felt that way. People have a lot of trouble looking at systems and how their actions fit into the larger picture. Of course it pays to ignore that side of things.

I went to a local pump shop today and committed to ordering a replacement 12 volt water pump which I believe will sort out a lot of problems with the garden tap (spigot) water system. Of course, I have no idea really how it will all work out and I just keep trying things and hoping for the best. Getting advice on this stuff is almost impossible because most people don't have these sorts of systems and so I'm trail blazing a bit.

Oh yeah! Long on beans, tomatoes, and corn products! Exactly, and I enjoyed a sweet potato quesadilla which was truly an amazing dish. It is a bit of a go to food choice for hot nights as all of the vegetable matter sits well. We got up early today and brought in a huge quantity of firewood, but by late this afternoon, well we had a disco nap. Hehe! Far out it is hot here at 104'F today...

double secret cont...

Fernglade Farm said...


I've never heard of that term. Down here two dozen stubbies is a 'slab'. Sounds meaty huh? Mate the young bloke had skills on the skateboard that I knew I could never match. It is a bit like the Devil came down to Georgia! Have you ever experienced that realisation? I get it all of the time.

I haven't had any time on the computer other than replying here, but will have a longer read tomorrow and Saturday and see what is afoot. Like the Crapper reference. Down here we have: Lake Borrie and a borrie used to be slang for a poo, but you don't hear that anymore and the lake is an Internationally acclaimed wetlands which is closed to the public. At least they'll both be remembered long after they're gone!

Ouch, those are rotten winter weather conditions because after winter comes spring, and then after spring comes summer.

Oh, I'd heard about that film. You know I never read or watched the film for the "Da Vinci Code" and for some reason my little internal warning bells were flashing just like they did with Harry Potter. Don't know and can't explain that at all!

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Welcome Ollie! He looks lovely. You´re going to have a devil of a time wearing a cattle dog out, but a tired dog is a good dog. Good thing you have lots of space. Breo ate 3 beds at the beginning, but he leaves them alone now. Perhaps because these are a solid piece of foam and not something shredded or small he can pick out of a hole he´s made.

Those apricots look amazing. Yum. Do you bottle them whole, skin and all? Our cukes last year seemed to go from white and unripe to yellow and bitter in the blink of an eye.

Still mostly raining here, though not so much the deluges from before. Some day, could you please do a post on how you´ve set up your water tanks and pumps for irrigating? Explained in small words as though to a six year old? I am going to have to start taking practical steps this year. Or, if you could point me to one you´ve already written?

Thank you!

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am still submerged. My greatest friend was in the process of divorcing her husband, He has just died horribly, in a foreign land. She is out there dealing with things and phoning me. He was a charismatic conman who bilked me out of a huge sum of money and did much the same to her over more than 20 years. People here were scared of him and one man has a bottle of champagne waiting to celebrate his death. Though we haven't told the locals yet.

Logically I don't believe in karma but the man's manner of death sure looks like it.

I realise that you sometimes don't easily spot a comment of mine due to its placing and reckon that this occurs due to our specific time difference i.e. I arrive in the middle of your replies. I have wondered whether you saw my info. about the drone view over my area. I wrote that in a comment on your 9th Oct blog.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

No, I have never been on television, as far as I know.

That is sad news about the demise of the bean bag. I get you about the little polystyrene balls as we had something like that happen once and years later I was still finding them.

A huge accumulator pressure tank sounds like it should do the job. It is about time something did the job right.

I have a hard time with excessive heat like your 104F, especially if it is repetitive. I feel better in this cold. In fact when it warmed up for a couple of days last week it was enjoyable, yet a bit rough. But cold weather, most of the fruits and veg, they just don't like it, so we must have the heat!

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

So the bean bag bed is toast. I'm quite familiar with this scenario as Salve chewed many things early on. Items include, coffee table legs, oriental rug fringe, arms of a nice bench of my mother's, stairs, numerous beds, socks etc. She definitely had separation anxiety as most of the chewing was while we were gone. Only recently we've been able to put a rug in her crate without her chewing it to bits. We still don't feel we can trust her yet after three years!! Ollie will get there eventually. At least he doesn't run off.

Margaret

margfh said...

Chris et al,

I'm not a fan of self check outs as I feel they eliminate jobs. My brothers were baggers at a grocery store for many years. Albertson's employs many special needs individuals as baggers and cart retrievers.

Regarding Ted Kaczynski, Dimitri Orlov devoted about ten pages in his book, "Shrinking the Technosphere" to him and seemed quite sympathetic to his views though of course not his methods. He quoted from a talk by Albert Bates regarding the brainwashing experiment, "Gifted Harvard students who volunteered for the program were taken into a room and connected to electrodes that monitored their physiological reactions while facing bright lights and a one-way mirror. Then they were brutally confronted with their inner demons that they had provided the interrogators during months of screening tests. LSD or other drugs may have played a role. This horrific experience fostered an abiding animus, not just in Ted Kaczynski, but in all the subjects, towards the secretive security state ..."

Margaret

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

The scientific literature is filled with so many of those psychadelic colour maps generated by supercomputers. I remember a comment of yours way back on the ADR suggesting that once they found out about climate change, that they should of all packed it in and retired to their gardens. That possibly applies to most gigs. So Scritchy is both more accurate and more energy efficient than a supercomputer? But can you feed dog biscuits to a computer?

Yeah, I've been there. The bread from the quality bakery is a little different each time which is a sign of quality. That's when you know when you are onto a good thing, when you appreciate the faults and the variation. That possibly applies to most gigs.

The apricots look wonderful. There is a two-week period here when the apricots at the market stand are available and they can probably spot a certain thecrowandsheep lurching zombie style to the stand to snap all their apricots up. I drink your apricot shake!

Crank is getting cranky again -- a job for the weekend.

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Forgot to say congrats on being included in the show - am looking forward to seeing it.

I know what you mean about acclimating to extreme weather. It's feeling quite balmy now when it's only in the teens (F).

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - You probably know that carrots used to come in a variety of colors ... but not orange. Somewhere along the way (16-1700s?) somewhere, somehow, a sport must have been thrown and people took to them. I suppose a lot of the root veg is related, but I don't know if anyone has done any poking about with DNA sequencing. I think I mentioned that I like the idea of carrots. But, not to eat them, much. Except in baked goods :-). Mmmm. Carrot cake. I'll still probably plant a small plot, this year.

I suppose those robot deliveries are all i-whatever connected. It probably signals you to go down and collect ... whatever. I suppose delivery people get an extra boost wage wise, via tips. Which reminded me. WARNING!!! DIGRESSION AHEAD!!! :-)
When I worked in tip situations, in restaurants, generally, you had to "claim" tips for taxing purposes. As part of your income. In just about every establishment I worked in, new employees were "tipped off" (pun, I think) to what rough percentage was actually claimed. Much lower than what went in your pocket. All part of the gray economy, I suppose.

If the tv series was at all accurate, the Unabomber REALLY thought that if he got his manifesto published and in wide circulation, that there would be an immediate vast rearrangement in the world and everyone would fall into line with his way of thinking. A new Eden. A new Jerusalem. That happens so seldom ... Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Only new trails in the wet. Fire danger, you know. :-). 104F in the shade sounds awful. We had a few days like that, last summer. No fun at all. I spoke to soon. Last night we had a storm roll through. Great gusts of wind and driving rain. Great fun! As long as I wasn't out in it.

I had all the makings for nachos on my shopping list, when, yesterday, my Buddy Scott said, "Let's go out to lunch. And, it's my turn to buy." So, Mexican food is in my near future. Like, this afternoon. Shrimp nachos, here I come!!!

I got the author wrong. Not Harris but Dan Brown did all the Da Vinci stuff. I can sit through the movies, as they're a puzzle that's interesting. And, the settings are a bit of a travelogue. This last one started in Florence, moved through Rome and Venice and ended up in Istambule (sp?). Someone gave me the book and I couldn't make it past three or four chapters.

Oh, that's funny about "a borrie." Not to be confused with a browly (slang for umbrella. sp?). Hmm. I suppose there's a linquistic (again, sp? One would think, maybe "languistic" might be a possibility. But, no.) dissertation in there, somewhere. "Regional slang terms for poo: Variations and roots." Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

Ollie sends Sir Breo (of the now healed knee) greetings and the secret tail wag of recognition for the secret society of canines that destroy their bedding!

He enjoys his outside time roaming around the farm with his canine companions, but he is also pretty happy lounging around the place. He is a most unusual cattle dog in that regard, and nothing like what I expected him to be like. Oh well.

With bottling the apricots, I cut them into quarters and put them in a sugar syrup prior to the heating (and sealing process). The sugar increases the acidity and stops them spoiling. I usually chuck the stones about the farm and little seedling apricot trees eventually turn up in strange and random locations. They are a firm stone fruit and so they bottle better than peaches or nectarines, and are probably about as good as firm plums (which are also ripe) – but are far tastier. Yum!

No worries at all about the water system. Maybe a video would work well too?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

What a story, and best wishes for a good outcome given those complicated circumstances. Conmen can be quite charming in their own way but are best avoided. Sometimes they effect the emotion of being hurt when they are turned away, but by and large it is an act and I have always had the sneaking suspicion that they play on the niceties of social arrangements and exploit the opportunities therein. What do you reckon about that? Fear can be a strange driver of behaviour. I don't generally wish people ill, unless they have personally done me a bad turn, and then that forces me to consider an appropriate response.

Fair enough about karma. The thing I've noticed is that there is truth to the old saying that: "those who live by the sword, die by the sword" and I reckon that may be because that demise reflects their modus operandi. Dunno, maybe that is how karma expresses itself? Do you believe that that is a truism?

Yes of course, I have missed a few comments from time to time, but it is not often. A week or two back I was overwhelmed. The interweb connection here can sometimes be lightning fast and at other times, painfully slow. Such was the case back in October and I'll try and have a peek tonight at the drone video.

The outside thermometer displayed 45'C / 113'F an hour or two back and I must say that by all accounts, it sure is warm here today! That is global weirding for you! Despite all that I got up at the crack of dawn this morning and still put in about four hours work on the firewood.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

It is a strange medium that television thing, but it is nice to see people who you know well, also come across well. In some ways it is a bit like the blog here in that lovely commenters such as yourself, share my story, but in addition to that I get to enjoy your story as much as you allow. The thing with television is that a person has no control over the story as someone else is directing it for their own purposes and they may play up the drama.

It was 45'C / 113'F late this afternoon here which is something of a record. Even if the thermometer was out by 10%, it is still a very hot day here. And it was very hot overnight too (79'F) so the house did not cool down last night below 26'C / 79'F. No air conditioning means that you adapt - and travel to the local cafe to score an iced coffee with brunch. We still got up early at the crack of dawn and put in four hours on firewood before that though. Interestingly enough, we were the only folks sitting outside at the cafe in the shade after that work and it didn't feel that hot to me. Is this adaption?

Nice to read that I am in good company with you on the polystyrene balls floating around the place after the demise of the bean bag at the paws of Ollie bean bag bane! The editor used the good vacuum cleaner to suck up a lot of the polystyrene, and it eventually became blocked. I dismantled the machine (Dyson ball animal vacuum) and cleared all of the blocked passage ways this afternoon.

Exactly, I keep trying different combinations of water pumps with the garden system and just hope for the best. It would be nice if other folks were trail blazing as I could learn from them, but sometimes you find yourself out front, and I am frankly uncomfortable there. ;-)!

I have become summer soft and now know no better. You'd be amazed at what conditions you can adapt too, and I much prefer the winter too. Absolutely too! The plants need the heat, but sometimes more heat is a bad thing. Most of the orchard is doing OK though and only one little apricot tree is suffering badly and the softie Canadian Red maple is struggling.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Ollie bean bag bane sends greetings to Salve and Leo and gives particular attention to the noteworthy Salve who single paw-edly took on so many fascinating and challenging objects and rightly smited them with his jaws of interior destruction. He also challenges Leo to raise his game and take out a few choice items! :-)!

How naughty is that Ollie and Salve. They should not be allowed anymore free and unsupervised interweb time.

They do get better over time don't they? Mr Toothy likewise destroyed his bedding early on. We'd placed thick doona's in his dog shed and as a brand new puppy he ripped them all up and sent the contents (duck feathers) flying around the backyard. It must have been fun for him. I was somewhat annoyed by his actions. Old Fluffy the Pomeranian boss dog at that time just used to give him (as a Toothy puppy) this withering look and the odd bite that said "you are an idiot". Toothy was uncomfortably quite cold early on in that winter. We let him feel the cold for a couple of days and then replaced the lot (from the thrift shop) and he never tried that trick again. He is currently asleep on the green couch behind me right now with his best mate, Scritchy the current boss dog. Ollie has taught me what a pack of geriatric dogs this lot are. Mind you, Ollie seems inclined towards the lazy end of the spectrum and I can see why he was unceremoniously dumped from his former role of cattle dog supremo. The Spanish may describe him as cattle dog chica as he is clearly not a specialist! On the other hand I do enjoy the random and endearing encounters that one gets with dogs from an animal shelter. He has a nice personality that dog. Running off may yet happen, but it appears unlikely at this stage. He is very much a home body.

Patrick and Michael would have loved those jobs too and have felt good with that feeling of purpose and connection to the community.

Yeah, the means do not justify the ends, but clearly Kaczynski felt differently about that matter. I'll try and read up about the guy tonight, but it may be tomorrow night. Not sure yet. For the life of me, I still cannot understand what he hoped to achieve, because his methodology makes absolutely no sense to me.

The show will eventually turn up on YouTube and I will let you know when it does. It may be a pay to watch (albeit minor cost). On the other hand it will be interesting to see folks who are connected to you by only a degree or two of separation.

Haha! Far out mid teens ‘F and I would be in a state of hypothermia! Hehe! But yeah, I know what you mean. Today was the hottest day that I have ever experienced inside the house. I woke up to 79'F inside and outside and it just kept climbing from there. The house peaked at 88'F which is not bad all things considered given there is no air conditioning here, whilst outside it got to 113'F. We didn't let that stop us though as we were up at the crack of dawn and put in four hours on firewood. I am now summer soft, and your weather would seriously upset my system! Go figure that, but I totally get where you are coming from. Global weirding sucks and I reckon it will only get worse as time goes on.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi crowandsheep,

My, you have an excellent memory. I am genuinely impressed. :-)! It is a tough look to suggest that the weather extremes are getting more extreme, but then continue on normally as if nothing had ever been said. I for one don't know how scientists and activists reconcile that conflict. As you can see, I have changed my life utterly, which is the sort of advice that may have been issued by the ancient Greek oracle of Delphi. For what else do the scientists and activists words become without that change? It is a tough question.

You have caught in me in a more contemplative moment. The outside thermometer recorded a temperature far higher than I had previously seen here before, late this afternoon. Give or take a 10% error with the thermometer, I'd have to suggest that 45'C / 113'F is hot in anyone's language. The day began warm and as the sun set, far out it is still hot inside the house even with all of the doors and windows open. Fortunately I have very heavy duty stainless steel mesh screens which keep the bugs and other unwanted intruders - outside where they belong.

If super computers can't consume homemade dog biscuits, then what good are they? Mind you, I do enjoy the rainfall forecast maps. It is complex...

Variability is a sign of a quality bakery. I am beginning to feel a little bit of envious and you are very lucky to have such a bakery near to you. Do the people display any passion when they talk about their products?

The fruit is very variable here too with each season, but this year has been an amazing apricot season. As I let the chickens out into the orchard about half an hour ago, I picked some very tasty Santa Rosa plums and they were unbelievable as I have never before tasted plums so good. The tree is about eight years old and has never set fruit before this year.

Thanks for the mental image of crow lurching towards a fruit seller at a local market. Give us apricots it says! It is a bit Sean of the Dead!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, me hot. It's hot, the house is hot, and it is just hot. I haven't seen the thermometer record 45'C / 113'F and 30'C / 86'F inside before. A dubious new record if I have to say so myself. :-)! Oh well, life moves on. We got up early at the crack of dawn and processed another four hours of firewood, but by the time 10.50am came around, we had had enough and retired to the local cafe to enjoy an ice coffee and toasted baguette for breakfast. The funny thing was that we were the only people sitting outside in the shade and it was actually very pleasant. Most folks retreated into the insides of the cafe, so there is something to be said about acclimatisation to the prevailing weather. Such weather must sound strange to your ears given that you are up to your eyeballs in winter?

Anyway, we ended up having another disco nap this afternoon and despite how hot it was, I felt pretty good after waking up from that nap and decided that a coffee and Anzac biscuit would be the order of the afternoon. I accidentally forgot to eat lunch because we got up so early and then ate after finishing the firewood work (at the local cafe), so by late afternoon I was fading... Another early morning tomorrow, but at least it will be much cooler for the next week with some rain on Sunday.

I read a strange account that orange carrots were selected as a gift for the House of Orange which is some ruling European family. Mate, I've seen purple carrots and white carrots and slightly yellow looking carrots growing here, so I guess they readily hybridise? Dunno. It always interests me at how diverse the edible plant world is and how narrow our diets in western countries are. No doubt that has something to do with the increasingly large scales that agriculture is practiced on, but that may be a simplistic observation on my part. Large scale production is not necessarily resilient though.

Hey, given you are in the middle of winter, I spotted a news article that some cheeky wag of a sculptor carved an ice Delorean (that is the vehicle used in the Back to the Future film franchise) on an eastern Canadian street. Nice one, I reckon and uncannily accurate: Canadian artist carves car out of snow so realistic it fools Montreal police. Hope it is not that cold in your corner of the planet?

You are probably spot on about the robot delivery vehicles, but it does seem to be an inordinate amount of trouble to go to for food delivery. I read somewhere a while back about some hedge fund dude talking up self driving vehicles as a future investment vehicle (no pun intended, but it is there!) I have to conclude that those peoples desires are obvious in that they believe that they are somehow separate from the rest of us, because they want the flows of income, but they can't quite come around to the fact they have to employ other folks. Life must be very complicated and full of conflict for them to think that way.

Tipping off is a very amusing pun! I suspect, but don't really know, if ever the banks got their ultimate dream of a cashless economy, some other mechanism would arise to take the grey economies place. Frankly, I have a belief that a cashless economy would spell the demise of the banks as they may be a victim of their own success. You have to understand that they would score a fee on every single transaction in an economy and it would be like a pervasive and very expensive form of taxation.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Really? Well, I guess the Unabomber has his beliefs, but I personally wonder why he would think such a thing when it flies in the face of the lived experience. I'm not saying that today I recorded the highest outside temperature that I have seen for many a year, but it sure looked that way to me. The orchard is doing well, and I picked the tastiest plums that I have had the pleasure of consuming. For some reason I always thought that plums were some sort of joke that was lost on me.

Glad that you weren't out in last nights storm, were you? How have the meetings been going after the crazy holiday season? Does it settle down into the regulars? Or do you get new faces turning up regularly?

Shrimp nachos! Yummo! Were they good? For some reason and I have no idea why, down here we call shrimp by the name of 'prawns'.

Harris wrote the frightening Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon books. Scary stuff, and the films were pretty good too. Certainly left me with nightmares. Thanks for the review of the film and I enjoy Tom Hanks as an actor. Have you ever seen the film Castaway? It was riveting for a film with so little dialogue.

Hehe! Yeah, you wouldn't want to confuse a borrie with a brolley, as that could be an unpleasant situation, and also sort of hard to explain.

I have to pump some water up from the reserve water tank tomorrow, so I hope that water pump is still working. I reckon I have about 70% water capacity which is pretty good all things considered, and despite the crazy heat, there are still green patches about the place in the shady orchard. Shade really makes a difference in this climate.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

1C this morning, though probably less as the ground was still frosty outside.

Hmm, living and dying by the sword. In the exact sense, of course; but metaphorically, I don't know.

The man I referred to, did many small kind things for me and I had 2 free holidays in properties of his abroad. Of course he was playing the long game but also he needed to be liked. The complexities of humans are extraordinary. I got some nice memories, he got money which he finally failed to enjoy.

We have shrimps and prawns here; prawns are larger.

@ Coco

The male flowers cause cucumbers to be bitter. One either has to pick them off at intervals or get varieties that don't have them (self fertile females presumably).

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Before I forget, here's a link to a short NPR article I saw yesterday on soil microbes. I didn't realize they were such a mystery. We seem to know a lot about the chemistry, but not much about the live stuff.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/01/18/578924748/scientists-peek-inside-the-black-box-of-soil-microbes-to-learn-their-secrets

113F! Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, not pleasant at all. Luckily, so far, we only see that very rarely. It's not an every year thing. It's been such a mile winter, that I shudder to think we might get another scorcher of a summer, like last year. I did see a headline, that I haven't followed up on, yet, that our weather is supposed to get pretty wild over the next week. We're not real long on ice sculpture here. But there is a yearly sand castle (and other things) festival down in Seaside, Oregon.

I sent off for some Johnny Red corn seed. I was surprised it wasn't more expensive. Heck, the shipping was almost twice the cost of the corn. Shipping fees are getting way out of hand. I mentioned to my friend Julia that you had planted a kumquat tree. It turns out she had a mystery tree at her place, took the fruit to the local garden store (What's this?) and was told she has a kumquat. Now, here question is: "What do you do with them?" :-).

The tipping pun was totally unintentional. But I'll take the credit, anyway. :-).

The shrimp nachos were divine. ie: tasty and yummers. In the usual run of the mill Mexican restaurant, here in the States, you don't see much seafood. I think most of the early Mexican restaurants were run by families that were inland or border families. This restaurant is called Plaza Jalisco. Jalisco is a Mexican state (they even have a map on the wall) that has quit an extensive Pacific Ocean border. So, some seafood on the menu. But, not much. You're right about Western food tastes being pretty narrow, given the variety available. But every once in awhile, something "breaks out." Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont.: Brolly. Or, Bumbershoot. Seattle actually has a Bumbershoot festival, ever year. A celebration of our rain. Lots of music, arts and crafts and food. I've never been. Crowds, you know. :-).

And, to give you an idea of the weird workings of my mind, AND we haven't had a foray into art history, recently, here goes!

I remember very little of my two years of high school French. But I do remember the word for umbrella. Parapluie. It's just such a lovely sounding word. Then I started thinking about some of my favorite French impressionistic paintings that featured umbrellas. One of my favorites is by Gustav Caillebotte. I rather minor French impressionistic painter (probably minor because he was pretty well off and didn't "suffer for his art." Much.) I hadn't even heard of him til a couple of years ago, and a good biography / exhibit. I think he was a good fellow, as he used his money to support a lot of the other painters. He was always a cheerleader for the movement, and also got a lot of their paintings sold, more as a middleman, and less as a dealer. Probably his best known painting is "Paris Street, Rainy Day." Another one of his that I really like (no umbrellas) is "Raboteurs de Parquets." It's of three fellows stripping and sanding a wood floor. I don't know why I like it so. Maybe because I get the feeling of craftsmanship and pride in work when I look at it?

Renoir also did several umbrella pictures. The one I like best is ...wait for it, "The Umbrellas." :-). So endith our art history lesson for today. :-).

Saw an article on Bitcoin on NPR and another on Alternet.org. They didn't sound very alarmist. More a this is what's happening, but "You dear reader, were too smart of get on this particular band wagon." Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Frost is a funny thing here in that sometimes a light frost shows on the ground even when temperatures are above 1'C but usually not more than about 3'C. I'm not really sure why that would be and if you have any thoughts on the matter, I'd be interested to learn them? I have a feeling that the air temperature may be cooler than the ground, or vice versa? Dunno.

Mmm, it is just a gut feeling thing with that metaphor and of course there are no guarantees in life, but it seems more or less apt to me. Anyway, I reckon it is not a good idea to go around annoying people anymore than is entirely necessary because some of them may surprise with their reactions to that annoyance.

I have met plenty of people with plenty of money and by and large it doesn't seem to bring them contentment. As you have an interest in economics, I sort of have a theory that such an observation is an expression of the basic economic problem of demand exceeding supply. What do you reckon about that?

Yes of course, I forget shrimps are tiny prawn like critters. I rarely eat seafood being a long way inland.

So last night I watched the drone footage as you recommended. At the risk of annoying you and if you’ll indulge me, I'll share some observations of your part of the world. To my eyes the land looks very green, verdant in fact. The township spoke of quiet wealth as the houses were very regular and uniform whilst the block sizes were quite large. You could see the new housing estates because the land sizes were much smaller and the roads generally ended in a cul-de-sac. In those large backyards, very few people grew any edible plants and to be brutally honest I could not see where people were earning their incomes as areas of commerce such as industrial estates or main streets were very hard to spot, although I may have also overlooked them. The local estuary was chock full of expensive looking pleasure craft too and I was fascinated by the tidal mud flats where many boats seemed to be moored into various docks and piers.

Outside of the town were a few larger estates and they displayed a great diversity of trees. A bit further away from that area I was heartened to see some agricultural pursuits and even a few poly tunnels. Mostly near to the town people seemed to be utilising their paddocks for horses and given the state of the landscape and favourable maritime climate, they'd be getting a fair bit of fodder in a small area which appeared to be also neatly fenced. I see a lot of reliance on the land of elsewhere.

I'm curious as to how my view into your world compares to yours? A lot of the same things could be said about the towns near to where I live. Up here in the forest it is pretty wild, but very few of the local landowners derive much sustenance from the land. A local took it upon himself to spray the blackberries on my road and I'm not sure whether he was making some sort of moral judgement upon the editor and I for harvesting those berries. He knows we pick them and did it before they were ripe. I have to now go elsewhere in the mountain range this year to harvest enough for my wine and jam. People never cease to amaze me.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks very much for the link to the soil article as I am a self confessed soil nerd! Hehe! Yeah, we do know surprisingly little about the life in the soil and mostly I use rules of thumb that produce reliable results without having to get too bogged down in the details. I often wonder whether the complexity of soil is a subject beyond any persons ability to comprehend. After all, there are limits to what people can know. And also does it help matters knowing more about soil than we do now? Certainly a lot of agricultural practices tend to indicate that people believe what they want to believe.

Very funny, I do hope that the text on the t-shirt can be over written as I suspect that un-documented feature will be of use in the coming years as new weather records are reached! Hehe! It is cooler here tonight and I am sitting outside under the shade of some large trees (I hope I don't annoy them and they decide to drop a huge branch on my head) typing away on the keyboard. Do you ever recall those t-shirts that had some strange chemical in them that changed the colour depending on a persons body temperature? They were a fad and faded out pretty quickly. They may possibly have been toxic? Who knows, I do recall the days when strips of asbestos garden edging was flogged in gardening magazines.

Yeah, I do hope that you likewise do not have to suffer through another scorcher summer given that you appear to be having a milder winter. Mind you, the old timers used to say that warmer years were generally wetter years and I believe they were referring to the winter conditions.

Sand castles are cool. Out of curiosity, do your beaches have sand? I have seen some beaches overseas that were pebbles or rocks and that was quite a shock as down here they are predominantly sand.

Well that was interesting. Firstly I learned that there was an animated character named: John Redcorn; but the corn you are describing is perhaps the Jimmy Red Corn? What a history that plant has. Fascinating. I will be really interested to learn how that grows in your garden. Absolutely 100% worth the effort. This is my first successful year with corn and it does really well and seems to be very little hassle as long as the wallabies can be kept from eating the stems (which are probably full of sugars). The vegetables are loving the heat too and the corn has some flowers and I planted them in a block. To be honest, I don't expect to harvest them to eat, I'm more interested in the seeds and reproducing them next summer. I reckon I'm going to put one of the yet to be constructed terraces to good use by planting either grains or corn. The fire wood shed is rapidly filling up, and we are just getting faster at that job every single year, but this year has been feral fast. The first shed may be full by next weekend.

Kumquat fruit is superb for producing marmalade and it is beautiful tasting. You'll never taste another jam like it.

Yes, it was a good pun so credit where credit is due! :-)!

Yummo about the shrimp nachos and I'm beginning to salivate. Mexico is an interesting place and I've known a few folks who touristed there sometimes in quite dangerous locations. Last century I travelled to Peru and the food was superb start to finish and it was the only overseas trip where I did not contract a stomach bug. That is notable in my books!

Ah yes, it is brolly without the 'e'. Me too, crowds drive me bananas as it feels like a sensory overload to my brain. Too much and best avoided. I still regularly walk in the city so as not to get lost up in the forest. The city here changes rapidly and is unrecognisable from how it was two decades ago.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...


Thanks for the journey into art history. I have learned much from you. Have you just segued in from the English word brolly into the French word Parapluie? Very smooth. Gustave died pretty young, but he had a great eye. The guy was a polymath, no doubts about it. Some people are in this world to entertain us and show us what is possible, and he was one such! The floor sanding painting is nothing short of amazing and what one of the blokes is doing is removing the cupping in the floorboards with what looks like a hand plane. Old floorboards as they lose moisture content often form a cup shape with the high points between the tongue and grooves (the joining point between the boards). The other blokes are removing the surface coating and taking the timber back to a raw finish. But what I really liked about the painting was that clearly from time to time they take a break to enjoy a glass of wine. In these enlightened times I reckon we work too hard.

Incidentally the Paris Street, Rainy day is an incredibly striking painting for an impressionist. I have a sneaking suspicion that Gustave sought accuracy and realism from his art but was included with the impressionists because he was both their peer and kindly patron. Imagine the talk at the dinner parties of that lot!

Perhaps so, but a 50% drop is an alarm call to me. Certainly there will be margin calls and people having lost their shirts.

I travelled into the big smoke today to pick up a replacement couch to replace the abomination and what I call broken from the factory leather couch. The replacement cost not much at all (eBay win) and is well constructed so as to be repaired and covered in serviceable synthetic fabric. It would have been expensive when new and has barely been used. It always amazes me that people lose sight of what is quality and what is not, and I get stung too from time to time. I have a suspicion that the people were getting rid of it because apparently that colour is now 'out'. Go figure.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, I had a read about Ted Kaczynski and one aspect of his personality and motivation stood out above all others - they guy has no sense of history and his place in it. Anyway, the possums in the trees are fighting and making all sorts of strange and alarming sounds, so it is off to read Clusterfuck Nation!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, I never thought much beyond N, P and K. As far as the actual working of the soil. I mean, sure, lots of organic stuff and worms. I thought you'd like the article, being a big ol' soil nerd, and all. :-). There was a forgettable series of movies, here, called "Joe Dirt." So forgettable that I think I watched one ... but couldn't tell you for sure. I suppose we could start referring to you as Chris Dirt. But probably better, Chris the dirt (soil would even be classier) guy. With all the caging of rocks you do (does animal welfare know?), I suppose we could call you Chris Rock. But, I'm afraid, that's already taken.

I don't remember color changing t-shirts (never having been a t-shirt kind of a guy. It was a deprived childhood), but I do remember mood rings.

Oregon's coast is pretty sandy. In fact, they have an Oregon Dunes National (I think) park. Washington's southern coast is pretty sandy. But, the further north you go, the rockier it gets. Both Oregon and Washington have some pretty spectacular coast rock formations.

Ah! Jimmy Red corn. I thought I'd try a "Three Sisters Plot." Early on, they couldn't quit figure out how the early Native Americans ate nutritionally. Turns out a combo of corn, red beans and squash provide just about everything you need. So, I've got the heritage corn, I've got some Montazuma red beans (they've been stored a long time. Hope they sprout.) Now I'll start looking around for a heritage type squash. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. It's interesting you mentioned Peruvian food. In that food trends book I read, the chapter on chefs launching trends used the example of an American chef of Peruvian extraction who's has a Peruvian food restaurant and is trying to start a trend. I noticed when I was checking out the cook book shelves at the library that there was one new looking Peruvian cookbook. I didn't look at it too closely, but will take another look, next time I'm in.

Sometimes, you see cupping in antique furniture. There's a song and dance you can go through (involving damp towels and irons) to try and solve the problem. But, you've got to get down to the bare wood. Take off all the finish. Which, on really old pieces destroys value. So, on really old furniture, best left alone.

I can invent all kinds of stories about the floor refinishers. Probably fairly poor working class guys. The lavish house, well, the family has probably gone away to their country place or a seaside resort while the work is being done. Maybe the housekeeper or a serving maid has taken a shine to one of the refinishers and has broken out a bottle of the good stuff :-).

Congrats on the E-Bay win. We have an auction, north of here, in Olympia. Olympia, being the State capitol, well, there's a lot more money rolling around there. I've been once to the auction, but keep an eye on their listings in case I see anything that makes me nuts. What I've noticed is that, opposed to here, they get a lot of really high end furniture and decor. By that, I mean well made modern stuff that probably cost thousands, new. From high end "name" companies. But at auction? Pennies on the dollar.

I think a combo of how the Unabomber was educated (skipped several grades ... always lonely because he was out of step. Combined with the horrid experiments when he was at University. I don't condone for a minute, what he did. But, at least I can kind of understand a bit of motive. Unlike our Vegas shooter, who, so far, no one has an inkling of why he went bonkers. I wonder how the rest of the students involved in those experiments turned out? Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The funny thing about the scientists in the article about microbes in the soil is that they seek to reduce the complexity and diversity thus they take away the resilience in the system. I've been thinking about this recently due to the strangeness that I had been encountering with the yoghurt bacteria. Most commercial strains contain only a few species so as to ensure a consistent output, but you have to keep resupplying the bacteria because sooner or later something comes along to eat it - macrophages are one such critter and they are a virus that attacks bacteria. Originally, yoghurt cultures like a lot of these sorts of things contained a huge diversity of species and they were resilient, but the outcomes could be variable. Soil is like that and I have known folks to take samples of soil from other locations and move it around the place and such activities can work to good effect. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I've been shopping around for old school bacterial yoghurt cultures and just chucking them in the mix. It is not very scientific, but the yoghurt is getting better!

I read a synopsis on Joe Dirt and it sounds very amusing. Hey, I began reading Cold Comfort Farm last night and the story and prose is hysterical. Really very witty and fast paced. I love it. Thanks for the recommendation.

Rock gabions call to my soul as they encapsulate a good use of free product and, well, neatness is how one keeps the forces of chaos at bay! ;-)!

Yeah, the mood rings were similar except that, don't you end up wondering about the sheer social complexities of the things because you announce to the world at large exactly how one is feeling? And then all other people need to do is check up on a colour chart and respond accordingly. What if those other people were colour blind? What if they got the interpretation wrong for a particular person? I knew there would be a flaw in there somewhere!

I'm curious about your heritage squashes because I can't quite get my head around what constitutes a squash and what constitutes a pumpkin? I'd imagine that way back in the day your native folk would have traded seed stocks among themselves for all three of those plants?

Scritchy the boss dog is behind me and sitting on the dogs couch right now. She is really annoyed at Ollie for some unknown reason and is pulling a face at him. I would hope not to be on the receiving end of that look as she is mean for such a small dog. The English may cheekily describe her face pulling as a mardy bum!

Mate, it is ‘hot as’ again here tonight and I was going to write the blog but we ended up bottling (canning) most of the apricots which we'd harvested earlier this week which took several hours. It was a big job as all of the stones have to be removed from the fruit using a knife. I chucked all of the stones at the bottom of the orchard and some of them may even take over the next year or so. I do see seedling fruit trees all about the place and there is no reason at all that a forest cannot be comprised of diverse fruit trees. The apricots are very tasty and we have now bottled half a years worth of fruit. I reckon there is not much point doing more than that because the flavour does deteriorate with time.

At the risk of getting huge quantities of hate mail, I didn't feel that Peruvian cooking was particularly different to other forms of South American cooking. There were a lot of potatoes and of course camelid meat (alpaca and lama) as well as the odd guinea pig, but it would be hard to distinguish from say, Chilean or Argentinian cuisine.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Exactly, best leave alone with the cupping. Sanding removes chunks of timber, and there are only so many chunks in a piece of furniture. You have to be careful, as you would well know! Have you ever experienced any disasters where you have taken off too much surface layer of an antique piece of furniture? You are right though about the house in the painting belonging to a wealthy sort as it looked like an upstairs room to my eye and floor sanding is a thing best put off. When I was a kid, I recall that in school rooms over the school holidays someone would re-oil all of the timber floors. At the beginning of the year it always smelled like tung oil. They used to have a central boiler too and hydronic radiators in each of the rooms. The proportions on the building looked wrong to me - even as a kid - as the ceilings were massively high and it wasn't only because I was a kid. The proportions remind me sort of like an old school insane asylum! Mind you, the huge volume of space in each room meant that the rooms kept cooler over hot summers days. And the external brick walls were shaded by verandas and walkways, so not much direct sun ever reached the external walls which kept them cool too.

Hehe! My money is on the house keeper or serving maid cracking out the bottle whilst the owners are in their summer retreat. The wine may also have been a perquisite of the job of being either a house keeper or serving maid? Maybe? Probably as long as they avoided the good stuff which would have been kept for guests, who would know? Incidentally, those blokes are undertaking a very challenging job with the floor sanding by hand. I am electricity soft! I just made that up, right there and then. :-)! Honestly it is a struggle at this time of year to come up with new and interesting ways to use electricity. How the average households down here use so much is well beyond me, but then I am preternaturally disposed towards tightness.

Exactly too. The same thing happens here, but without the auction house. I am constantly gobsmacked at the quality of some items which are being disposed of for not very much coin. It makes absolutely no sense to me, and the replacement couch was like that. It had even been scotch guarded and is of a very high quality name brand fabric. What is with that? Anyway, we must take advantage of the situation whilst it is possible to do so.

I thought the same thing, but I did notice one particular comment which stood out to me about the Unabomber's parents. Now what was it... ... ah! here goes... The quote which pricked my ears up was from a neighbour who apparently said about the parents that they: "sacrificed everything they had for their children". Such a sentiment can mean nothing and much. In this case given the circumstances I'd have to suggest that the continuum falls on the 'much' side of the equation. You know, I've met people who take such a stance and the kids are crushed by expectations and I suspect that they learn very poor mental habits very early on, and I have no idea whether they can shake them. I see a bit of that. I was quite fortunate that nobody cared less which in turn gave me freedoms that few are lucky enough to experience.

Bed time, and I will write tomorrow night!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Of course demand will always exceed supply; one of them can be infinite, the other has limits. I really don't understand the human need for more, more, more but guess that it made sense when surviving could be questionable. We don't seem to lose our survival instincts as in the obesity problem i.e. eat all you can while it's there.

If you look at the drone flight again (sorry!) and note when it turns inland after starting up the coast. Then look a bit further up the coast. I live in the middle of the woodland there where you can see fields on the left.

Wootton Bridge is a village not a town so there is nothing industrial at all as you noticed. There is industry around some of the towns but not much. In the main the Island is simply a tourist hot spot; even that is declining because the ferry fares are so expensive. The planning laws are ghastly hence the houses all look the same, Anything different or interesting will be pre planning laws.

UK houses tend to have larger gardens than Australian ones, the UK is the home of the garden. Recently though, plots and house sizes have declined as you also noticed. You really did notice a great deal. Very few people grow any food, flower gardens are the thing.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I think, soil, yogurt ... it's like what we've talked about when they take something out of nature, synthesize one or two "active" parts, but don't take into account the dozens or hundreds of other chemical components that may (or may not) work in concert with the active ingredients. Soil is a symphony :-).

About the only thing I remember about mood rings is, they didn't work very well. Another fad that didn't quit live up to it's promise. Remember sea monkeys? I know you don't watch much tv, and, neither do I, but somewhere along the way I caught an episode of "South Park" that revolved around Sea Monkeys. It was pretty funny, in that twisted, kind of South Park way.

A pumpkin is a squash. Except when it isn't. :-). Wars have been fought ... Kingdoms toppled. Academic careers ruined. That part of the plant world so freely cross pollinates, that I don't think even DNA analysis has been very helpful in sorting it all out. Oh, I'm sure the Native Americans swapped a lot of seed stock. Corn was developed in Mexico, spread up the Mississippi valley and by the time the Pilgrims landed, has been grown in New England for generations. Our Native Americans, in this part of the country did little or no agriculture. Due to the fat of the land. They didn't have to. Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. Better be careful dissing Peruvian food. Shining Path might show up at your door :-). Having such a long coast line,I bet it's long on seafood. The natives tribes before the Inca must have had peanuts. I've seen necklaces of peanuts, wrought in gold.

I can only remember a couple of bad furniture disasters. Back in the 1960's, there was this real craze for applying numerous coats of verathane (sp?) bar top finish. Layers of it. And, in between layers you'd give it a brisk rub down with auto polish, just enough to begin to melt the layer. But not enough to break through. Once, I broke through. I had to refinish that section, back to the wood and start again. Then there was the oak painted rocking chair that I wanted to take back to a natural finish. Some oak is very open grained. If paint is applied over varnish, no problem. If paint is applied on the raw wood, it gets into the pores and you can NEVER get it out. I finally ended up painting it a more pleasing color and antiquing the finish.

School architecture has often been compared to prison architecture :-). There are similarities. Both in form and function.

I had a first, last night. I was melting a bit of butter and it exploded in the microwave. What a mess. I got online to figure out what went wrong. I was using some expensive European butter (more fat content). And, next time, shorter bursts and cover the bowl. It was for the banana muffin topping. Well received by the ladies, at today's potluck. But, I'm bored with them. Next I'll make carrot cake muffins.

This week has been with it's ups and downs. Exploding butter and a stopped up bathroom sink (looks like instant coffee grounds. What the ... ). But, lots of $2 and $3 finds at the opportunity stores. The best? A Fenton covered candy dish, $3. Price they sell for on E-Bay? $30. Score! Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Perfume, eh? That is a strategy entirely new to me! It sounds worthy.

Pam