Monday, 1 January 2018

Holiday horror - with vampires

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

I was never a great fan of Vampires in literature. Vampires bored me with their monomania which exhibited itself as a lust for human blood in a bizarre quest for an extended lifespan. That was all they did, day after day. Boring! As a bit of a confession, I watched a few early episodes of "True Blood" back in the day, and even the vampires in that series looked bored, well at least when they weren't killing each other...

So it was that on a nice sunny and warm summers morning, the editor and I were enjoying breakfast (and coffee) at the local General Store cafe, and I came across a reference to vampires in the book that I was reading at the time. The book was book four in the series "World made by Hand" written by Mr James Howard Kunstler (note the link to the authors twice weekly blog with the naughty name on the right hand side of this web page). It is an excellent series of books and I recommend them highly.

The vampire reference was indirect because it referenced the very excellent indie rock band: "Vampire Weekend". As I sat there stunned by the indie musical reference, I contemplated many of the big issues that arose from this reference, like: Is Mr Kunstler a secret fan of the indie band?;  If he is not a fan of the band, why ever did he choose that particular band?; and how did he come up with the very naughty name for his excellent blog?

The mention of the band inspired me to use the lyrics from their most excellent song "Oxford Comma" in this weeks blog. There are a few naughty words in the lyrics, so if you are easily offended, I recommend you skip the lyrics in italics. Anyway, don't blame me for the naughty words, they started it!

"Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?
I've seen those English dramas too
They're cruel
So if there's any other way
To spell the word
It's fine with me, with me"

Unfortunately, I didn't have long to consider those vampire and music issues because a small family sat at the table behind the editor and I. We continued quietly reading and enjoying breakfast (and coffee). Soon more people turned up to join the expanding group. Then even more people turned up and before too long, the now large group took up most of the tables in that area of the cafe (5 in fact). It was an impressive achievement and brought to mind mitosis .

A local who well knows my predilection for quiet enjoyment, walked passed the table that we were sitting at and made an amusing joke about space invaders and how they felt sorry for us! Very amusing...


"Why would you speak to me that way
Especially when I always said that I
Haven't got the words for you
All your diction dripping with disdain
Through the pain
I always tell the truth"

Truth to tell, because of the now super large crowd of people, I could no longer concentrate on the words in my book - that was despite my best efforts, an engrossing story, and the authors reference to the indie band Vampire Weekend! (edit - note the subtle use of the Oxford comma!) The editor was sitting further away from the table and so had far better luck than I at blocking out the noise and presence (edit - not so). 

With nothing better to do, I listened in to their conversation. The first item of interest that I learned was that apparently nobody at those tables had ordered food. Some of the people stated that they'd already enjoyed pancakes at home, however they unfortunately did not elaborate as to quality of those pancakes. I personally also wanted to know whether the people had cooked them from raw materials, or whether they had purchased an expensive pre-mixed sachet pancake mix (just add salt, egg, and milk - LOL!) Alas I was left with that mystery unsolved!

Fortunately, they spoke briefly about coffee. I like coffee (and am a sticky beak) so I paid closer attention! The large table of around 20 people had apparently ordered four coffees. When the coffees arrived at the table, the waitress was at first ignored, and then there appeared to be some confusion as to who had ordered what.


"Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?
I climbed to Dharamsala too
I did
I met the highest lama
His accent sounded fine
To me, to me"

One of the downsides of working as an accountant for a few decades, is that you start to get a feel for the financial implications of human behaviour. And with that in mind, I'd have to suggest that large groups of people purchasing very little, whilst using a businesses amenities (which have to be cleaned and the furniture returned to order after the group depart), will most likely not even cover the costs of having the business operate during that time.They may also have scared off new customers from sitting in that area (note that we existing suckers stoically remained).

Money has become a very misunderstood item in our culture. Another incident from a few weeks back was where I was standing in line at a local bakery that makes very excellent and high quality muffins. The person being served at the counter ordered a large number of bakery items, but only appeared to be holding a twenty dollar note. As I observed the situation, I thought to myself that this is going to be an interesting confrontation. The person became very flustered and angry when they were politely told that the order came to the mid thirty dollars. They had ordered a lot of food after all, and they did eventually pay the amount, but their actions stated loudly that they believed that the price for that food was much lower than it actually was. And from my place in the queue, I could feel the tension!


I see a lot of people who have expectations from businesses that exceed what businesses can reasonably deliver whilst making a living wage. And I don't feel that such expectations are a good thing. Anyway, where did empathy go these days? Why do people not want to pay a reasonable fee for the goods and services they purchase? From my perspective, it is a conflict to have that expectation whilst also seeking a high wage for themselves.


"Why would you lie about how much coal you have?
Why would you lie about something dumb like that?
Why would you lie about anything at all?
First the window, then it's to the wall
Lil' Jon, he always tells the truth"

Now onto some breaking and sad farm news. Earlier in the week Mr Poopy the twelve year old Pomeranian (whom everyone knows is actually a Swedish Lapphund) performed his swansong act of serious farm dogness by capturing and killing another fox cub.
Mr Poopy gets down to some serious farm dog business
Observant readers will note in the above photo that Mr Poopy's eyes are opened alarmingly wide. It looks as if he is startled by his own act. Not so, his breed have a congenital condition that means that the nerves between the eye and the brain deteriorate with age (Glaucoma). Like me, Mr Poopy is an old fella. What this means in practical terms for him though is that Mr Poopy is now almost as blind as a bat. He still gets around the farm using his other senses, but sooner or later he may possibly injure himself. And I have seen him banging into walls. Fortunately, he appears to be learning to slow down and take life at a more leisurely (and less risky) pace, but time will tell how that situation works out. We accommodate him.

This week has again been warm to hot with mostly sunny blue skies. Another brief and torrential tropical storm reached down to this southerly location and dumped a short burst of heavy rain. If the weather continues that way for the rest of the summer, I'll be jumping for joy as the regular rain is really assisting the fruit trees grow and grow!
Another brief tropical storm dumped another load of short, sharp, and heavy rainfall over the farm
In the photo above, you may be able to see a couple of kangaroos in the paddock. Kangaroos couldn't care less about the rain.

I knew the rain was forecast, so earlier in the week I added an overflow pipe to the water tank which is attached to the main wood shed roof. Long term readers will recall that that water tank was lowered a few months back and I had not yet got around to connecting up the overflow pipe. If those overflow pipes ever fail, the collected rainfall from a roof gets concentrated and the flow of water can cause a lot of damage.
An overflow water pipe was added to the water tank that is connected to the main wood shed roof
I always add a layer of the locally quarried crushed rock with lime over the soil in utility areas as it rapidly forms an all weather and permeable surface. I am not a fan of mud having once crawled around underneath a house during winter performing urgently necessary repairs.
Locally quarried crushed rock with limestone is added over the trench containing the overflow water pipe for this water tank
The rock gabion that was filled last week was sewn shut with heavy duty gauge steel wire. Then we constructed another rock gabion cage and began to fill it with rocks.
Another rock gabion cage was constructed and began to be filled with rocks
The sheer number of recent tropical downpours has left me wondering about the various water drainage systems around the farm. Recently, a major drain failed, and so we decided to line the drainage channel with cement mix.
A main drainage channel was lined with cement mix
The grate and pit directs rain water to the citrus trees, but unfortunately, the pipe attached to this pit has become blocked with gunk (that is the technical word) and we will have to call in the plumbers to de-gunk it. A failure at this point in the system will direct a huge volume of water in front of the house, and that is probably not a good thing.

We have also been very busy excavating a wide path between the house and the secondary firewood shed. As of today, the excavations have been completed, but there is still work to do over the next few days constructing a crushed rock all weather surface. On Sunday, the path looked like this:
A wide and all weather path has been constructed between the house and the secondary firewood shed
Tomato vines have to be constrained, otherwise they run all over the ground. This season, we have gone very high tech and have instituted proper restraints on those naughty sprawling vines. It is surprisingly orderly! The steel supports were purchased from the local tip shop.
Proper fencing was installed for the tomato vines
For about the last decade, I have been relying on a local farm gate to supply us with early season and very tasty tomatoes grown in a hoop house. For some unknown reason, this year they have shut up shop. I was unprepared for that loss. However, the earliest ripe tomatoes from here should be expected about the end of January.

Tomatoes are green now, but should be ripe before the end of the month

The other summer fruit and vegetables at the far end of that enclosure are starting to really grow!
Sweet Corn, Canteloupe, Water Melon, Capsicum (Peppers), Eggplant, and Chilis are enjoying the summer
The biggest plant surprise for me this summer is that the first year English Walnut was not dead, it just required a lot of summer sunshine and regular tropical downpours... (edit: I told you that it wasn't dead and to not pull it out!)
The first year walnut appears to have finally broken its dormancy
Other fruit trees are enjoying the weather too:
L-R: Manchurian Pear; Japanese Maple; Sugar Maple; Tulip Tree; and two Jonathon Apples
I've rubbished on a bit too long today, so here is a brief update for the summer fruit:
Apples! These are a variety suited to cider production
Quince. I trust that readers have enjoyed Quince wine and/or jelly?
Almonds! I am keeping a close eye on these nuts to see whether the fuzzy green coatings split
These Nashi Pears avoided the recent bird attack
It looks like it will be a good plum harvest
How good do these apricots look? We are leaving them in the summer sun for a few more days
This may be a Loganberry or a Marionberry. Not sure, but it sure is tasty!
Hopefully there are not too many photos this week, because there are still some flower photos to go!
More roses are blooming this week. I moved this one over winter so it is nice that it survived
The Hydrangea's look as stunning as they have ever looked
Soap wort has bloomed this week
Cat mint is a very summer hardy plant and the insects love it
Geraniums are very hardy and reliable
Another rose has also begun to bloom
The bees adore the flowers from Lamb's tongue
The temperature outside now at about 7.45pm is 19’C (66’F). So far this year there has been 922.4mm (36.3 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 913.8mm (36.0 inches).

87 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

I hope the photo on this week's blog tells more than a thousand words ever could. Mr Poopy is about twelve years old now which is quite old-ish for a mid-sized dog. Smaller dogs tend to live a lot longer. Anyway, you should be able to see in the photo how hard he is straining to open his eyes to let enough light in. I suspect that all he sees now is shadows as he can see some things but it is not very much. Ageing can be a rough process for some.

You know, the treatments they are recommending for Salve and Leo reduce the dogs risk, but nothing really eliminates the inevitable and ultimate fate. And that is a hard thing that the guilt tries to talk around.

I'm impressed that even the tunnels work given those wintery conditions. The local farm gate that I relied on for hoop house tomatoes suddenly ceased operations this season... There is a story there, but what it is, eludes me.

Boots are a great idea, but like you say, the dogs have to take to them. Not sure how the dogs here would take to boots. Probably not well! :-)!

It is a very attractive train station, but yeah a couple of hours is a long time to wait for the next train. A couple of times I've just missed the train, and ended up sitting on the station platform for just under an hour.

Great news about the BIL's restaurant. Nice one! It is a pleasure when businesses succeed.

Brr! Your winter, I don't know at all! Hehe! It would be very cheeky of me to let you know that it was 79'F here today. Even with that cooler day, if you are working in the sun... The UV is intense. We finished excavating the path to the secondary wood shed, and I for one am relieved not to be working again tomorrow. I am a bit tired tonight, but at least the hard part with the path is done.

Yup, things are breaking here and I keep running around trying to stay on top of what has gone wrong this time...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for your endorsement with the idea of a still. It is on the agenda. Have you ever used one?

Oh my! Now you know all my little dirty secrets. I suppose you are right and I might cheat on a maths-off! Hehe! Yup, I disappoint myself sometimes! Hehe!

Mr Poopy is having a tough week, but them fluffies are made of stern stuff, and he is learning to lean on us. Some guys just don't know how to ask for help when they need it. He is doing OK, so far. He just has to learn to slow down as that is not in his nature. Oh well.

That is pretty much how it worked. He did end up re-elected too! There have been nine heads that have rolled so far. Mr Joyce was awarded by some cheeky wag: New Zealander of the year award! Hehe! I hope you enjoyed the Pistol and Boo story! The whole situation appeared badly handled from one end to the other and everyone ended up looking not so good. Mr Depp certainly appears to be having some serious troubles these days and this was just another incident. Yup, that book is an old classic, and the illustrations are hilarious!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

In warm winters, the snowfields down here use those snow making machines too. I hadn't read about the Italian alps, and that is a surprise result because they have some big mountains in that region - not like the little ones down here which you can amble around. Anyway, the problem is like the old story of: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. Every band aid on the process heaps up more damage into the future...

I wonder about that story too as Puerto Rico has dropped off the news reporting here. Pam did link an article about power workers heading into that area and I’ll check it out next, but it sure would be interesting to see what accommodations the locals have made given the extended circumstances.

Yeah, you would think that things would be otherwise in relation to food in a rural area. The same problem occurs here too. It is interesting that you mention that, but I did write about it this week. I try not to be preachy as people get annoyed by that, and I can understand why. Have you ever seen that situation in the blog happen during your days in dealing with the public? I guess it is a bit like people reading books at the store, but never purchasing any products. Long term, it doesn't work.

We were discussing today what the next terrace will contain. At this stage we are thinking grapes, but whether table grapes or wine grapes. I just don't know (maybe one terrace each?) And I chucked out the idea into the ether for a future carrot and onion terrace...

It is the gift that keeps on giving - and I for one can see the appeal of a magic pudding. I hope it is sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and a dollop of cream (my personal favourite)! Yum! Where is a pudding when you need one? I've worked three days straight on that new path and I'm feeling very tired tonight. Mr Depp appears to be having some troubles on many levels... I feel that he may have copied Keith Richards a little bit too literally on some aspects of his life.

Maybe the average person that purchases DVD's these days are trusting souls? The dodgy ones appear to be downloading the films! No order, oh the chaos. As a person with an interest in order and having worked with books, did you resist the temptation to put any of the DVD collection into order? I've experienced a few second hand book shops like that, and I know there are gems in among the disaster, but where are they? CCF is on order here and I should get around to reading it in February. I read a strange thing about Penguin Classics, in that the 1980's musician Morrisey published his tell all biography through that publisher. It seems like a big call to me. I guess there are ego's and eccentrics in that music industry?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Oh yeah, I just remembered to say that the flu would have also impacted more heavily on folks living in distressed environments that had been subjected to privations and hardships. You wouldn’t have been able to readily feed the population after that gear. I reckon that would have been a vector and WWI really laid waste to huge chunks of the surface of the planet.

That is not good. It is like a shandy of diseases. A shandy is a drink that is a mixture of two or more unlikely combinations, like beer and lemonade. And that list of diseases sounds horrendous. Cholera and typhoid were regular visitors to Melbourne before the sewers were installed in the late 19th century. I have read of some outbreaks of cholera in the world recently. For some reason the media reports always sound a bit outraged, I mean it is not as if this stuff has gone away anywhere.

I spotted this article a few weeks back: Polio virus discovered at Melbourne sewerage plant. It is clearly not conclusive, but it is not something to muck around with, although other people feel differently.

Did you win the absentee bids?

Happy New Year to you too!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

A happy New Year to you too!

I hope the place has dried out a little bit?

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I always rather liked vampires myself. If I could choose any ghoul to interview, it would be a vampire (cue "Interview With a Vampire").

The thought occurs to me, too, when I see a restaurant, especially, being taken advantage of by people who are merely taking up space without contributing to the coffers of the place. Occasionally I have seen someone bring their lunch with them and just buy a drink at the place and then hog a table.

TWO fox cubs - excellent, Mr. Poopy! But say not "swansong"; you never know. I thought you were younger, Mr. P.

I envy you your rain. That light bit of snow we had did no good at all and we are dry as a bone and watching for fires. And as for snow, here's an enterprising fellow, just north of us, who has certainly made his kids the most popular in the area:
http://www.nbc29.com/clip/14015938/barboursville-man-creates-snow-from-homemade-device

I love the crushed rock with lime that you put down. I know that I must have asked this long ago and forgotten the answer, but what role does the lime play? My jaw dropped when I saw the extent of these latest rock gabions. That's a lot of rocks (and a lot of wrestling with wire). If you ever figure out how to keep gunk from collecting in the drainage pipe, PLEASE let me know in capital letters. We have the same problem. What a tidy pathway. Hi, Toothy!

Your tomatoes look more "bushy" than "viney". Is that because they are sprawling? We have that same set up with the metal stakes and fencing. We then tie each plant as it grows to the fencing - our fencing is two vertical layers of 3ft fence. The plants can be trained sideways, too. Thus, the 20 gazillion old-sheet tomato ties that I bleached after the growing season was over. Lovely veg plants and a lovely - alive - walnut. Gorgeous fruits and flowers.

I've never used a still. There are still some folks around here who use them to make moonshine. No - I haven't tasted the moonshine.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

No frozen water pipes. We had the wood stove in the full, open-floorplan basement going the whole time. Since then we have also insulated the pipes better. My parents in Colorado, though, do use the running faucet method, as they rent and cannot do any remedial work themselves.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Happy New Year to you, too!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, Mr. Kunstler kicked off his career writing for Rolling Stone magazine. So he probably still follows a bit of music. He wrote about the same time as Thomas Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson. The "new" journalism, and all that. I wonder if he ever has a twinge of envy that their careers took off in a much more high profile and profitable direction than his did?

Your restaurant and bakery story. Well, a lot of people are morons. Back when I worked for a bookstore chain, we'd occasionally get "If I special order this book and don't like it, do I have to buy it?" (Well, yes.) Or, "I only need one recipe out of this cookbooks. Can I take it down the mall, xerox it, and bring it back." (Well, no.). When I had my own businesses, when I worked in the cafe. Plenty of similar stories. Don't get me started. :-).

Just connecting the dots, here. So. Mr. Poppy (poor, blind Mr. Poppy!) is the one who nailed the fox? I don't think you have to worry about him, much, at all. He'll be fine. And he's probably wondering what you're fussing about. :-).

Overflow pipes, drainage channels and gabions. Oh, my! ("Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" Wizard of Oz, 1939. Just so you get the obscure film reference :-).

Tomato Vines in Bondage! Sounds like a very bad Z film. Think I saw a copy when I was rummaging through all the DVDs. I did do a bit of neatening up, here and there, but mainly to just see the titles on the spines. Back when we had a Blockbuster Video store, in town, it was fairly well organized. But, a few times I thought, "Can't they get a high school kid in here, 3 or 4 afternoons a week, just to alphabetize?" Cont.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

A very happy 2018 to you!

It's cold here, but no, not as cold as it is where Margaret lives. We only dropped below 0F/-18C at night, whereas Margaret's high temperatures were lower than that. Nonetheless, it hasn't been this cold in St. Louis since January 2014, and we happened to be out of town at that time so I haven't experienced any weather this cold since the 1990s. Our morning low today (Monday) was -8F/-22C.

I wish Mr. Poopy the best in his adaptation! May he make the most of the rest of his life!

Claire

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Far out - 20 people and 4 coffees is a bit of an imposition isn't it? It would have cost the owner money for sure, but what can be done? The joys of dealing with the unwashed masses! I think you mentioned the other week about the rise of food vans. We see a lot here in Christchurch as well (a carry on from after the earthquake when so many buildings were lost). They no doubt offer a low cost way to serve customers, but probably only viable in areas with councils that are happy to go along with it. I know that 10 years ago, if you wanted to have a hot-dog cart in Brisbane CBD it would cost you $20,000 a year for the permit!

Speaking of the unwashed masses - I am just about to go pickup some speakers I bought on the NZ equivalent of eBay. The seller gives me a call and tells me I might want to know about some of the damage to the speaker cone. I said, it might have been more useful to have that information in the listing before I bought it. Oh well, I plan to have a look anyway. At least I can back out of the sale, but the time will never come back to me.

Freight update - our stuff is somewhere in Christchurch. I will consider it a miracle if it arrives before I go back to work next week.

Inspired by your flower photos, I uploaded a few to my Zeehan Manse blog. I also put a picture of our 'main' vegetable bed - I would be interested to know everyones thoughts on how close we planted everything. We mainly did it to get as many different plants into our (at that stage) only bed, but at the back of my mind I seem to remember suggestions that close planting of varied species can help with pest resistance and water retention. I think to myself that surely they are suppressing each other?

Off to the shed now, I have some sanding to do. I will just add that random orbital sanders not only have a cool name, but they are fantastic to use!

Cheers,
Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

That was very clever and yeah, I had some mates who were big into vampires so the clever reference was not lost me! Good one!

Oh yeah, that is the cardinal sin of the restaurant / cafe biz! I have seen that too and it never fails to amaze me. People nursing a single cup of coffee whilst using free wi-fi for hours on end is a losing customer too.

Mr Poopy believes he is younger too, and to be honest I wish he would slow down. Sometimes he forgets his disability and runs into walls... He doesn’t look his age does he?

Droughts are horrendous to experience and you never know when they will hit your area. You have my sympathies and understanding.

The lime comes from the same quarry (Mt William) as it was originally a flint nappers quarry which has been used for tens of thousands of years. The lime acts like a form of cement, but not quite cement and it binds all of the rocks which would otherwise be like little roller bearings. It is a strange material. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the fungi in the orchard and forest weren't harvesting that lime too.

Well, the gunk has to be extracted and then we plan to line the topping rock drains with cement, but organic matter moves across the landscape with the rains and there doesn't seem to be much that you can do about that. I dunno, but try and reduce the damage and make it easier to maintain...

It is a lot of rocks, but there are a lot around, although they're getting harder to find. Toothy says Hi! :-)!

Yeah you are correct and the vines are more bushy, but then they sprawl if allowed to do so. I reckon you'd be horrified if you knew how closely I plant those tomatoes! Very closely! They climb and support each other. People keep telling me about fungi and plant diseases with close spacings but it is much hotter down here and the suns UV is intense and possibly a bit sterilising.

That sounds a bit Copperhead Row! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Well you learn something new every day. I'm always impressed at how Rolling Stone magazine can sometimes produce the most amazingly informative investigative journalism. It is very, very, good from time to time. You know, writing about decline either, economically, culturally, or even militarily is a really tough business. How many people want to hear about that story? I mean everyone is trained to happy endings, whishful thinking and all that that entails. Those thoughts do not make any sense to me as the world doesn't play out that way, although there are some folks doing pretty well. Mate, I used to get paid to write (as a hobby) and I saw that disappear in a cloud of smoke many years back and it wasn't lost on me what that actually meant. I had to make the decision to enjoy the creative process of writing and communicating with other interesting people, or stopping altogether. Sometimes the middle ground option disappears and it can't be found even if you look behind the couch where it may have fallen! Anyway, there are now apparently more students studying for undergraduate journalism degrees than there are jobs. How is that allowed to happen?

I'll tell you a funny story. I could have simply purchased houses and not undertaken any repair work on them way back in the day when such things were more affordable than they are today. I chose a harder path of buying the biggest dump I could find and then repairing it back to pristine condition. At many points along that road I could have dodged getting the fundamental foundations restored and simply put on a veneer of new-ness. But at every point, something told me to learn what I had to learn and experience what I had to experience and then undertake the repairs from the very ground upwards. Of course I missed opportunities to make heaps of mad cash, but the experiences that I learned along the way. Gee, I don't know if such things can ever be purchased and would we all be who we are today, if we hadn't had those experiences? Probably not. I often remark to people that I doubt I am ever going to be able to retire in the sense that that is understood today. Dunno, you raised some seriously deep issues.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Haha! Nooooo! Deposits are wonderful things. I once had a person pay a deposit and then re-neg on the deal. I tell ya, they then threatened me by remarking that they were a doctor and if ever I came into their care... Nice person, and they had no empathy for the fact that I'd turned other buyers away who now didn’t want to talk to me for obvious reasons. Oh yeah I could see that happening in a book store too. Sorry to get you started, honestly I was getting razzed up too! Hehe. Serenity now!!! Deep breath!

You're probably right about Mr Poopy, but the condition has deteriorated over the past week or so. I reckon it is a bit of type 2 diabetes as well as he may have had a seizure yesterday... It is probably not good, but he is a very happy go lucky dog which is amazing all things considered.

Thanks for the film chuckle! I remember going to the drive in cinema back in the day to see that in full technicolour! That was back in the 70's and I was very young. We did a lot of work this week.

That is a great title and you could be onto something. I've noticed that customers are often very careless about where they place items back onto a shelf, so it can be a shifting target. When I go to the big hardware store, I have to check each item to make sure that I get exactly what I was after. Your idea about the checking is a good one. Kids are given a rough time in the employment stakes as there are rules (for good reasons) about employing them down here, and so the regulation just goes feral and the kids get no work. When I was a kid I worked at any and every job I could manage to find. I have always suspected that kids would probably like to be more involved in this giant enterprise we call society - they may have something to say about it! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire and Damo,

Happy New Year to you both too!

Thanks for the lovely comments but I have run out of time to reply this evening and promise to reply tomorrow night.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Cont. & More!!! :-). I got into a couple of paragraphs after the "cont." and the brown screen of death fell. But I couldn't remember where I was in my post and didn't want to repeat myself. The horror! Any-who ...

Well, that's the second time in two days Morrisey has been mentioned. The library got a copy of "England is Ours" (Mine?) which, when I checked the title was about Morrisey. But, I have never been interested in his music, as far as I know. So I didn't put it on hold. Connect the dots. Speaking of which ... I think I mentioned that I had to cut a couple of volunteers out of our blueberries, here at The Home. To entangled in the blueberries to be relocated. Yesterday I saw a couple of walnut shells down by our garden plots. Hmmm. Connect the dots. There must be a walnut tree within squirrel distance of The Home. Now where is it? A mystery. I've probably been watching too many of those mystery lectures on the Great Courses.

All those exotic diseases. Exotic, for here. I've occasionally thought I'd like to have a few vaccinations, under my belt, in case, oh, I don't know, Western Civilization collapses, or something. But the only way I could pull it off without everyone in the medical profession thinking I was a nutter is if I claimed to be about to be making some long trip to some foreign hell hole.

One of the gems I picked up at the DVD store was "Art School Confidential." Something I wanted to see that the library never got. One of the professors in the film makes the statement that only 1 out of 100 art school students will be able to make any kind of a living from art. Of course, every art school student thinks they'll be "the one" to be picked for fame, fortune and celebrity. Ditto musicians. Actors. Writers. I picked up a book a year or two ago on "the creative process" and there was a pretty brutal chapter that boiled down to "don't quit your day job and have a lucrative fall back."

If only we had had deposits :-). But, that was back in the day of "the customer is always right" and "three customer complaints and you're out on your ear." "Have it your way" did more damage to commerce that Attila the Hun. For awhile (one hot minute) there was a bit of retail wisdom floating around that 5% of your customers weren't worth dealing with. Just used up your resources and wore down your employees. Took time away from "real" customers. Corporate didn't see it that way. Imagine what it's like now when any mad person can splash a bad review across the web.

New Year's Eve was rather sedate. To put it mildly. The Home kicked off the festivities at 8pm. I wandered down around 9 to see what was up. Me and 3 elderly ladies. "Where are the funny hats?!!! I thought there'd be funny hats!!!" The snacks weren't bad. We sat around and gassed for awhile and all threw in the towel about 10:30. Having lived in the boonies for so long,I'd forgotten the fireworks aspect of New Year. Morons with more money than sense and no sense of style. Very few (saw one) of the colorful variety. Mostly just bangs and booms from 8-1:30 am.

I checked the auction, on-line, and unless there's been a glitch, I won both auctions. So, with luck, I'll pick up two sets of bookends, tomorrow. And well under the E-bay price. Overall, the auction prices were better than they have been. Furniture may be making a bit of a come back. Maybe. Some stuff seemed really cheap, and some a bit over the top. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I believe that it is illegal to have a still here.

Keeping a faucet running in freezing weather, can be dicey. If one is on a water meter one won't want to run it too hard. If one just keeps it dripping, the outlet can freeze up. I have known this to happen to people who then discover a flooded floor in the morning.

It is still raining and due to high winds, a number of neighbours have leaking roofs.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

I was in a bit of a rush yesterday as we headed off to the cinema to see a film which I couldn't put into any one category: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"; and I forgot to mention that rock toppings are best when they have square edges for the reason that they are less likely to act as a huge expanse of ball bearings. Try walking on that gear and not falling over! :-)!

The film was good too and had a lot of very dark humour. A beautiful part of the country and it looked a lot like around here.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

A very Happy New Years to you both too! Can you believe that it is now 2018? Far out, where have the years gone?

Oh my and double far out! Those temperatures are hugely cold. How is the house coping with those sorts of temperatures? I'd have the wood heater going 24/7 flat out. It would chew through the cords. For your interest, we are about to begin bringing in the winters firewood over the next few days. The winters are so humid here that after about the end of April, that job becomes not impossible, but the timber quality becomes much reduced due to high moisture content. By May, the firewood is so damp that it will damage the steel in the wood box. We check for moisture content with a little digital device too nowadays.

Thank you and Mr Poopy is adapting slowly. He has had some success climbing stairs, but it is hard for him to learn to slow down.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

It sure was a notable effort on their part. And they were oblivious and consuming glasses of tap water and I'd be pretty sure they left a mess behind them too... Ah yes, I have a great respect for people who can front the public in such a business. In my line of work, there are ups and downs, but there is an ongoing relationship with people so it is a whole different experience.

I'd never thought about that aspect of the earthquake before, but yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Incidentally I'm not suggesting that a license that expensive is a "go away" price, but it sure looks like it. It takes a lot of margin on hot dog sales to cover that sort of license fee.

Oh no! How did it go with the speakers? I hope the damage wasn't too bad, but there is always the option of walking away. A NZ friend of mine has a habit of only providing parts of information, and to me that smells of over-selling. I've adjusted my worldview in relation to that and am totally cool with it, but I am wondering whether there is a cultural difference? Dunno. Perhaps we shouldn't get into a discussion about that though, as this is a public forum?

Yup, Trans Tas shipments can be interesting. Don't laugh, but I used to work for a freight company and they used to occasionally lose the odd container or two over the side of the ship in heavy weather. One of the containers contained (no pun intended!) flour and we used to joke around that at the bottom of Bass Strait is the world’s biggest damper!

Thanks for the photos and blog and I'll check them out!

Yup, we have a little 18V Ryobi orbital sander and it is awesome. That was used to do a lot of work on the Table Bunch here. Did you get a cordless or a 240V sander?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Well given our laws and customs originated from the UK, it is interesting that you are not legally allowed to own and run a still. We can own and run one, but only for personal consumption. The thing is, I have just finished Mr Kunstler's: "World Made by Hand" series of four books; and I read so many references to uses of high alcohol products as cleaners and in emergency medical uses, well, you know, I reckon a still is a good idea. A wine wash, even wine as high as 16% is not much better than water from what I understand.

The water dripping is a real balancing act between the infrastructure and the resource. How did your place go in that sort of cold weather? I've had the occasional frozen pipe here, but by mid-morning the pipe was running perfectly.

I'm going to have to do something about the garden water pipes because there may be a leak in there somewhere. At an Open Garden a few years ago, I was introduced to a bloke that works on a high end (read: high stress) garden and he told me just to run the pipes over the surface of the garden so when they break or leak, you can fix them easily. Unfortunately, by that time I'd already done the right thing and buried them all... No good deed goes unpunished!

Leaking roofs? Really? I guess that can happen. Are the roofs those flat roofs that I see so much of on Grand Designs over in the UK? I have never seen one down here and I just can't imagine how they would cope with four inches of rain in an hour? Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, that one seriously annoys me too. I lost a 1,000 word reply to you a few weeks back and well, some seriously choice words were uttered in anger. What do you do, but try, try, again? Did you check whether the comment had fallen behind the couch? That trick never gets old!!! Hehe! We could go on like this back and forth for hours! :-)!

Hey, I usually proof read my comments before publishing them, but yesterday I was racing out the door to head off to the cinemas. We went to see the film: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It was very good, and there was a lot of dark humour in it despite the subject matter. Frances McDormand provided a Sterling Performance, as did Woody (how could he not?), and also Peter Dinklage took on an awesome role. Lots of gallows humour, but I'm not sure it was meant to be a comedy. Dunno, perhaps I was laughing in discomfit? There was something gothic and absentmindedly violent about the film. Dunno. And the end of the film was about as satisfying as the Australian film "Daughter". That is a good thing for the US film industry to attempt, because they are known for neat and tidy endings.

Honestly, I'm with you and felt that Morrisey was a bit pretentious. I usually enjoy sad music, but the Smith's song: "How soon is now", just makes me feel sad, and I'm not really constructed or predisposed for that particular head space.

I'd be tempted to do a bit of guerrilla gardening with those blueberry cuttings because they take so easily. But then they probably grow like the proverbial weeds in your part of the world? As a side issue, the naughty parrots took my meagre crop of ripe blueberries a week or two back. Anyway, the plants need to grow, not fruit, but I digress. The funny thing about walnut trees is that to me, when they are still small-ish to medium-ish, they look like overgrown avocado trees. The first time I spotted one, that is what I thought it was (small avocadoes though)!

Well that sure is one way to get the vaccinations. Some doctors specialise in travel and I used to visit one that gave me a stamped vaccination book for customs (they check) and he used to go through the risks for the countries that I visited. It was very thorough. Once I made the mistake of going to the local chemist to get a syringe kit for my travel first aid kit (yes, yes, I know, but some parts of the Third World you don't want to take the local option) and they thought that I was some of druggie. Far out I was annoyed, but then the travel doctor also had an attached travel chemist. Problem solved!

That just goes to prove what a tough gig the creative process is. Some authors make their own audience and some blogs are notable for that. But yeah, for all of the bands that make it, there are a hundred struggling to get anything more than a rider. I hear a lot of new music and I can never tell which will capture the public's attentions.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

What, no deposit? No way. The customer is always right can be used to beat staff around the head by management. Special orders down here will always attract a deposit, unless you are personally known by the owner of the business. A lot of local businesses I can order things and it is all on a verbal basis, but on the other hand that also means I can't afford to stuff them around. I have a hard time understanding how "corporate" can survive on the profits of sales of everyday products that can be direct imported by consumers... It doesn't look right to me anymore. There have been some unusual reports in the newspapers about franchising models going sour and there are some big names in there. If you are curious I can provide some choice examples.

The business section this week had an article spruiking the benefits of Keynesian economic policy. I found that to be a very interesting thing to see in the newspapers. Of course, Mr Keynes probably never considered that all policies sooner or later have diminishing returns - if they are overused. Dunno.

Exactly, where are the funny hats? As a side story, I dodged the Christmas funny hats too! They do add something to an occasion though. Fireworks are a real and very massive fire hazard down here over summer, so they usually stick to the city. It is probably a good way to become the most hated person in the mountain range, as every can see roughly where they originated from.

Well done with the auction. What sort of bookends? I've seen some really cool ones recently in the big smoke.

Off to the pub tonight for a feed and a pint! I promise no dessert stouts... Maybe? :-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

89 mph winds last night, I could feel the building shudder. Rewarded this morning with a clear blue sky.

The water table reaches the top very quickly in winter as the trees aren't drinking.

No the leaking roofs aren't flat ones though flat ones are always a bad idea. Leaking roofs are very common here but I am too uninformed to know why. Son says that it is the result of endless patching when people don't want to fork out for a new roof.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

It is illegal to run a still here as well unless you are a business, with a permit. A felony is a very serious offense here. You can lose a lot of your legal rights, like voting or owning a firearm.

http://www.nbc29.com/story/22116985/moonshine-laws-liquor-and-lawmen

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I put a link in my comment to Inge about the consequences of operating a still in my state. It is no a pretty picture.

I started my New year with an Assassin Bug in my long wool underwear. Assassin Bugs are wonderful creatures because they will eat pretty much any insect in the garden, like praying mantises do, but their place is not in the home - or in one's pants! I didn't know that they eat people, too! This was a baby one and still felt like a hornet sting. I removed him out to the garden where he was supposed to be "hibernating". I hope we meet again in the spring.

https://www.wired.com/2014/06/absurd-creature-of-the-week-assassin-bug/

Thanks for the tips, in two places, about the lime mixed in with the gravel.

For some reason the men in my family have taken to putting yule logs in the fireplace these days - monstrous things that I cannot handle. I guess they just want to go ahead and utilize them since they are too difficult to split (dense and twisted grain). They will burn for hours if someone (someone . . .) keeps smaller logs burning around them. I'm off to stoke the basement woodstove, as both it and the fireplace must be kept going except for about 4 hours in the dead of night.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I forgot to mention that hydrangeas are big, here. Always have been. There's always been some about, as far back as I remember. Interesting how if you mess about with the soil, you can get different colors. They dry nicely, too, for display.

You keep poking about behind the couch. I'll go off and do something constructive :-).

Walnut and avocado leaves do look similar, at first glance. But due to our climate, avocados don't have a chance, outside.

It is irritating to be taken for a junkie. :-). Way back in the dark ages, I acquired a case of hepatitus (sp?) "B". Back in those days, it was assumed you could only get it through needles. Our old family doctor asked if I had been fooling around with that lot. I told him the last time my skin had been pierced with needle was a blood draw in his office. He backed off quick. It was just a few months later that it was all over the news that Hep B could be transmitted ... up close and personal. :-).

There's always been a bit of tension between AA and NA (Narcotics Anonymous). Not so much anymore. The stiff necked old farts are dying off, or maybe it's that people are getting a little more honest about their messing about. There's a lot of dabbling about, these days, and no one is "pure as the driven snow." :-). Way back when, I certainly did a bit of experimentation with this and that. Nothing involving needles. But, luckily, so to speak, with me it was always booze, booze, and more booze.

LOL, there was a minor glitch, that was cleared up, at the auction. One lot was attached to another bidder number, but there was no person attached to that number. A clerical error. The one set I got were of Rheims cathedral. Cast iron with a patina wash. The other were small brass plated iron Pegasus. Very art deco. Both from the1920s or 30s. Got them for less than what I would have paid on E-Bay. Which is what my absentee bids, were. If you search "Vintage bookends" on E-Bay you'll get an eye full. I'm a sucker for a nice pair of bookends. But then, I have a lot of books :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

It is nice when clear blue skies follow on from a storm! Saturday looks set to reach 106'F / 41'C here... That should be unpleasant. I hope no trees blew over in the strong winds at your place? Just north of here, a lot of tree damage occurred due to the winds in the most recent storm. They may have had a mini-tornado. It looked like that here, but I saw no reports of them.

Fair enough. I've seen natural springs form here after really heavy rain - and they ran for days afterwards. It was quite amazing to see them. But to be honest, I've never seen a very high water table so can't really imagine what that would be like? I trust your house is constructed on an elevated site? The local river has dried up, but the creek down below this property is still running strongly.

Oh! That's not good at all about the leaking roofs. I see a lot of house maintenance being ignored. It is a tough environment on houses here - as it would be in your corner of the planet too. Maintenance is always cheaper than repairs or replacement.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Oh no! That is not good at all about the stills. Ah well, things are different down here and you are OK as far as I understand the matter, so long as you don't try to sell the stuff. I was unsure why lead appeared to be a contaminant as most of the stills that I've seen are made from stainless steel which as far as I'm aware, doesn't have any appreciable quantities of lead. It would be very strange indeed for lead to be present in the water here. And I mean really strange as in deliberate poisoning strange. The big risk with stills is producing quantities of methanol (very toxic) rather than ethanol. I may check out the local home brew shop down in the town to the south of here at some point in the future. It sort of reminds me of the time way back in the old days of the ADR when I mentioned that I collected and stored water off every roof on the property. What an uproar ensued about the legality of that matter, and of course I rather naughtily made some ungentlemanly suggestions and so only have myself to blame...

Thanks for the link too. Obviously there is an economic incentive to produce the stuff otherwise people wouldn't cross the law to do it. I still reckon it sounds a bit like Copperhead Row to me! I can hear the song even now: “You hardly ever saw a granddaddy round here”… Did you know that down here, cigarettes have become hot property for thieves because the taxes are so high on them? I honestly don't know how people can afford to smoke at almost $30 a packet, but they still do.

I now raise you this story from our New Zealand friends: Friends build island to avoid New Year's Eve alcohol ban at New Zealand's Tairua estuary. The police response was notable in that it praised the revellers creativity! :-)!

You know, I sort of respect the Assassin bug! Anything that can take out ants is OK by me. The little ant rotters down here inject formic acid into your skin and then just to be sure, they spray the entire bite site with even more formic acid. The bite quickly turns into a chemical burn. Sorry to hear about the painful sting though from the little critter, but I am impressed that you took mercy and placed the bug back into the garden where he belongs.

Log splitters and chainsaws are wonderful devices, and they make the firewood burn better. The editor who is also up to her eyeballs with the firewood process here would serve my liver for dinner if I tried that trick during the middle of a very cold winter snap! Hehe! Most of the hardwood grains here are dead straight, but the occasional twisted stuff is really problematic to split, so I can see the logic of it. The problem is, such logs put out very little heat. :-)! Oh well (I'm saying that a lot today!)

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

You just reminded me about Hydrangeas. My Grandmother used to have a large garden at the back of her double fronted Victorian era house. There was a lemon tree which was so old, you climb the tree and it always produced fruit. I suspect that that trees root system had accessed the old clay sewer pipes (which is not a hard task from what I have seen of those pipes). But then in a little shady spot next to the outdoor toilet at the back of the property (the technical name for that building is a: Dunny) there was an old Hydrangea in almost total shade and it used to grow back every single year. I can still see the plant and garden from memory, although the house has probably long since been "renovated".

It is funny, but I can recall the final days when older houses still had shady and dark rooms out the back of the house where there was an old copper laundry tub and very solid concrete lined root storage bins. The old timers used to keep bins and bins of root vegetables - which they purchased in bulk from nearby markets. The bins were clearly constructed to be rodent proof and they had a really earthy smell to them. I can even recall going to the local markets with my grandmother as a very young kid to purchase those vegetables in bulk and then walking back again pushing the haul back in a shopping jeep.

The different colours with Hydrangeas are due to the differences with the pH of the soil. Basic soil produces red/pink flowers, whilst acidic soils (like here and where you are) produce blue flowers. A lot of truffle farmers around here muck around with the pH of their soil by adding huge chunks of lime, but it is an inevitably losing game as sooner or later it will return to acidic. The local trees ensure that gear. I wasn't aware of the drying abilities of those flowers. Interesting, a business asked me for dry flowers a while back. Hmm.

Well, you never know what you may find that has accidentally fallen behind the couch!

We got up early this morning before the heat of the day arrived and finished the path between the house and the secondary wood shed. Sometimes we just want to finish projects and get onto the next job. What's next: Firewood. I really enjoy the seasonal nature of the work here and it is hard to explain that everything must be done in season and when it is appropriate to do so. And there is a real joy in experiencing that. On the other hand, I can see how people were lured off the farm to faraway wars or exploitation, just to experience something different as they were (or told they were) dissatisfied with monotony. Of course, if the population of an area exceeds its carrying capacity, then they probably had to move on, be exploited, or fight in wars.

Oh yeah! You know I have to correct myself. With the occasional winter that you are experiencing in the US right now, well citrus has no chance. 16'F is their minimum tolerance from what I can understand, and you may get that in small micro-climates along the coast at some locations. But far out, your winter this year is as cold as. Saturday here will be 106'F and I must confess to not looking forward to that particular experience...

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Very funny! It is irritating isn’t it? And your story and mine is not so different as people jump to conclusions before seeking the deeper truths. I grew up in a house where my mum had Hep B for the same reasons that you mentioned, and it was uncomfortable. As a result, I am not a touchy feely kind of guy and some friends who have preferences for the goodbye peck on the cheek, also make remarks about me being fearful of cooties. They have not walked my path, and I had to deal with that reality from an early age. It is not all about me though, how are you going? There are remarkable medicines for such conditions. A mates brother copped it even worse socially for contracting Hep C and the condition is usually successfully treatable nowadays.

Mate, I've never met anyone who is "pure as driven snow"! A neighbour always scoffs at the editor and I about enjoying the occasional alcoholic tipple, and he remarks (as a moral judgement) that he: "has no vices". A word rhyming with the word “banker”, but beginning with a “w” comes to mind. Although to be fair to the guy, he’s a really nice guy, despite occasional bouts of self-righteousness (which doesn’t win friends from my experience). Well, such baloney as his is subject to time and exposure. Of course he has vices. It is a stupid thing to feel superior about.

What a history that cathedral has. And it is fascinating that it was constructed over the foundations of a Roman Bath. There would surely be something in that choice?

Book ends are a very necessary item when one has lots of books!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well done Poopy. He doesn't look much bigger than the fox cub though. Hopefully he'll adjust to his new situation as all of us who are getting older have to do in one way or another.

Water just seems to cause endless problems. Here we have two small leaks in some pipes in the basement that need to be addressed and now a frozen gutter pipe which could cause an ice jam on the roof. Unfortunately it's one of the very high gutters - the ones where we had gutter guards installed so Doug wasn't going up there to get all the leaves out - hmmm. There's quite a few frozen pipes now (not for us though) with the long spell of extreme cold weather.

Speaking of cold weather we had two nights of -15 (F) and two days where it did not get above 0 degrees. At least it's been mostly sunny so it's pretty to look out on. Two more days of cold and it will finally moderate some. Yesterday we got to a high of 14 (F) and it seemed quite balmy. 106!! how do you even work in that heat? How cool does it get at night?

We ended up not going to our friends' house on New Year's as Kathy was very sick - ended up going to the ER yesterday. They are the couple who owned the retirement home where Michael lived. They both have health issues but Kathy's health overall is very poor. We were in bed by 9:30 haha.

I'm taking Michael to see the new Star Wars movie next week when the kids are all back in school. Many schools are off until the 9th. Speaking of Michael (and this has nothing to do with this week's post) I received a statement from his new Medicare Advantage plan for one of his latest hospitalizations. The total costs charged were almost $30,000. The plan paid about $345 but they state that Michael does not owe anything. A medicare advantage plan differs from typical medicare in that you have to go to network providers while with regular medicare you can go to anyone as long as they accept medicare. If people (like Doug and me) enroll in regular medicare they usually get a supplemental policy as medicare typically only covers 80%. People with disabilities like Michael can also get medicare if they are under 65 but the premiums for a supplemental plan are prohibitive. Michael had regular medicare but when he had his cataract surgeries he was responsible for almost $8,000 (his 20%) so hopefully going this route will help in that regard as he needs more and more medical services. Anyway my point was this is just one example of how screwed up our medical system is (and how screwed we are in the future).

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Sadly, you are only partially correct about owning a still here in Virginia. One can have a still for personal use, but it is illegal to even possess a still without a Distillers License. The license starts at $515 per year; the more ethyl-alcohol you intend to make, the more you pay. That's per year; pretty discouraging just to make a bit of booze. It seems to me that it wasn't that long ago (15-20 years?) that it was illegal to brew beer at home for personal use. Once people were able to, I think many found out how enjoyable it is and started businesses. I think that is why we have so many microbreweries now.

I remember the kerfuffle around you at the ADR when roof rain collection was being discussed. I think it was mentioned, though, that in most of our dry western states all precipitation falling from the sky (I would assume that dew/condensation might be an exception . . .) belongs to the government and thus cannot be collected without a permit (here we go again), which can be hard to get.

In some states here there is the same issue as you have about cigarettes. In fact, smuggling is often involved.

I love that, I love that! What an enterprising group of New Zealanders on their booze island!

I noticed something interesting the other day when removing a splinter. I was using a pair of surgical tweezers, which works phenomenally better than an average pair and began thinking about the medical tools that we have accumulated. We have the tweezers and scalpels and a blood pressure monitor and a stethoscope and the usual thermometers. Also many, many remedies and formulas for remedies. It has taken a long time, but I do feel better prepared for both everyday issues and emergencies. No one in my family has had medical training; we have trained ourselves, which is not perfect; we could do with a few courses.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Trees and branches come down regularly. This is just normal woodland behaviour here as the trees are shallow rooted because they can't get through the clay very well. It doesn't matter at all except when a tree causes an obstruction.

My home is wooden and built on blocks, so not in touch with the ground. Easily shifted if necessary so weather really doesn't affect it.

The wind has just got up again, huge gusts are coming through.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, I think we can all remember "things from grandma's house" that have fallen out of use. Things that were useful, that will make a reappearance, perhaps. Concrete wash tubs. Even though there was the "modern" washer and dryer (for the 50s) the double concrete wash tubs were pretty common. Elevated, so you didn't break you're back and with just the right slant on the front size for a washboard. The arbor, for the grapes that also doubled as a cool space to sit on the glider and peel veg or shell peas.

Oh, I'm just being sulky as I have no couch. Rather cruel to keep pointing out my lack thereof. :-).

Those re-occurring seasonal jobs. I didn't mind them so, much, as there was always an end and a feeling of accomplishment, once they were done. You knew that nice feeling was coming.

I'm usually pretty good at dodging "huggy" people. "Please! It's a slippery slope. Next thing you know we'll all be out in the woods, beating on drums." Besides, it's all rather phony. The huggiest guy I know has never invited me to his house, given a call or invited me out for coffee.

The actress, Tullulah Bankhead, always said of herself that she was "pure as the driven slush." She was always good for an appropriate bon mot. Speaking of slush, it looks like the East Coast is going to be slammed by a Sandy sized storm. It will hit from a different direction at a different point. So, the worst damage will be in different places. Different time of the year, too. More snow and cold temps, this time around. Cont.

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

My God, Chris - our house just came close to burning down. One of my sons happened to look out the window towards our closest neighbor's house, and the woods next to it and their woodpile was on fire. My 2 sons and I were home and ran over there with buckets of water and shovels and beat on it and stomped on it. We have very high winds today because of the bomb cyclone and it was blowing at a huge rate of speed directly towards our house. We were able to keep it at bay until the volunteer fire department got here - bless them - and they put the rest of it out. It started right next to the neighbor's house but would not have touched it maybe because of the wind direction. Who knows. Bit of smoke inhalation here, a few burns, and my boots are rubbish. We are about to order fire hoses for our house. Son is taking them a load of firewood as their wood supply just burned up. The husband of the family was home, but asleep and didn't hear us; poor guy works 3 jobs.

Excuse the rambling; it helps me calm down. I always thought you would catch on fire first . . . cue lopsided smiley face.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, I suppose they built the cathedral, on the baths, for several reasons. Really good foundations, to start with and probably lots of useful stone laying about. It's amazing what bits and pieces of the Roman empire are found tucked away in walls of early churches. More common was to plop a church atop an old pagan temple. For the reasons given, and, to underline Christianity's triumph over paganism.

Mr. Greer's predictions for the coming year were interesting. Hmmm. A Black Swan event. Wonder what? Anything I can think of has been predicted, somewhere by someone. I read the first 80 or so comments (except the one's that were so dense I couldn't follow them.) That's enough. I get the drift. Last Monday Kunstler did his prededictions. About as bleak. Lew

Damo said...

@Lewis
I get the same way with the comment sections at Mr Greers and Kunstlers blog. Gems would get lost in the noise I suppose, but life is too short to scroll through most of that :-p

@Chris
The speakers turned out to be a bargain. High quality japanese drivers in a very heavy MDF box assembled in NZ - maybe early 1980s? However, the foam edging for the 12" woofers was completely degraded. I ordered replacements online for $30 which arrived yesterday. I was not sure how well the repair would work, and couldn't even find a consensus on which glue to use, so I just used superglue :-p Ended up a treat though, and the repair was very easy, I just used a razor blade to scrape away the old rubber/foam. Did some testing last night, and combined with the used Yamaha amp I got, are far, far too loud for this small house. Star Trek will be fun to watch now :-p

For tools I have always got the 240v. My thought process is an extension cord proves to be no real problem and I get something cheaper and more powerful than a battery unit. We picked up our freight yesterday (3 round trips in the car, or wait till late next week for delivery - we took the 'now' option) so I now have the rest of my tools and can proceed with boat construction. Today, I spent most of the day reorganising our small kitchen to absorb the new arrivals. It ended up taking a while longer than it should have, and I got roundly mocked by Mrs Damo for spending so long (on occasion, I have done spontaneous re-arrangements of kitchens, living rooms etc). I figure one can always improve a layout :-p

It has rained here all day and the temp is a very comfortable 16 degrees C. I hope tomorrow is not too hot for you and Mr Poopy can continue to adjust to his condition.

Cheers,
Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks. Mr Poopy is not so well and despite adjusting to his new condition, he is having seizures. It might be a breed thing because Old Fluffy the former boss dog had similar problems. It is not good. He seems to be in good spirits though, but the seizures really rock him hard and are painful. Yup, the skinny bloke holding a scythe and wearing a going out hoodie is coming for us all sooner or later.

Water is a really difficult resource to manage. And sometimes there is too much of it, whilst at other times there is not enough. One of the great things our civilisation can do is to provide water to plants and animals, when it ain't coming from the sky. Oh yeah, those gutter leaf guards are good and bad. We chose not to install them here as fine silt builds up in the guttering. I reckon that no system is perfect in relation to water, it just comes down to this: Can you live with the dramas? I hear you about the pipe leaks and guttering too. I had to replace the big, but faulty water pump with the better quality but only rated for a 20 minute duty cycle a few days ago. The pump shop is not open until next week (their catalogue is staring at me and taunting me right now on the desk). Anyway, I hope not to have to use that water pump for longer than 20 minutes tomorrow with the fire risk...

Eee Gaks! -15'F is -26'C. Noooooo! And Brrr! Right now outside it is a more or less pleasant (in the shade) 31'C / 88'F. We worked on repairing some minor things on the cars today and I'll put in some photos on the next blog of repairs to the bumper bar on the dirt mouse using a plastic welder and stapler. An awesome tool. With the dirt rat I poked around at the electrics as one of the window winder switches appears to be faulty. Working outside tomorrow is another story, but I may do some stuff outside before lunch. And then retreat inside and keep an eye on the emergency services. Fingers crossed. We were getting news reports about a massive storm on your East coast too.

Oh no, I hope that Kathy is recovering as visits to the ER are usually pretty serious? New Years can be very over rated...

I hope that both of you enjoy the film, and I look forward to hearing your opinion of that film. To be frank with you, I do not understand the medical system in the US at all. And how procedures can cost so much, makes little sense at all to me. I have heard other people’s accounts that people are unable to even obtain quotes before procedures, and that smells very dodgy to me especially given the sheer size of the bills. I'll bet some folks have died from bill shock? I have a sneaking suspicion that the economics of your medical industry is where some of the expansionary monetary policies in place are expressing themselves (that was a fancy way of describing: inflation). I would have thought that there would be some sort of backlash against such profiteering, but I don't really know much about that story?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

The technical description for that sort of a license fee is a: "go away price". I mean what else is it? It makes the situation legal, but at the same time it destroys the economic incentive to undertake the process. I dunno. Perhaps real die-hards who want to get a feel for setting up a micro-brewery may give the license a go? I would have thought that for that sort of price a person could at least sell a small quantity? I dunno. Some red tape is just weird. I'll bet not many folks have taken up the license?

My mates parents used to purchase cases of really cheap wine and distil it for the ethanol, which they then turned into higher grade products. Clever stuff.

There would be some history behind that point of view about the ownership of water? The thing here is that if, say theoretically, the government here took that approach, then they'd also suddenly be under an obligation to supply the folks up here with drinking water, and the expense of doing that would be out of control and crazy. There are limits to the reach of the infrastructure here and outside of urban and town areas, it is pretty sparse. I don't really know how that compares to your part of the world? It was an interesting kerfuffle to have don't you reckon and it was an eye opener for me? Such centralised control processes take a huge amount of energy to enforce and supply. It is not an easy task and is possibly only a moment in time.

The sheer taxes on those goods have made them a high margin product for criminals. It wasn't like that historically.

How cool did they look on that booze island? A creative approach to a problem and they even got a nod from the local constabulary!

Yeah, those tools are pretty handy bits of kit. The necessity to have to undertake basic procedures is pretty much what things used to look like back in the day. We're the same too, and it was always a point of contention for the editor and I with the local volunteer brigade that we were expected to attend to complex emergency situations involving people, and very few people were provided with first aid training. It was just weird.

Sir Scruffy is at my feet and having a bad dream. He may be chasing wallabies because he likes doing that? Dunno. I would hate to know what the dogs dream about.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Tree limbs and tree tops falling to the ground is a normal part of the forest here too. Mind you, the trees are (I believe) very deep rooted due to the deep and loamy volcanic soils. The process returns nutrients, minerals, and housing to all the little critters that live in the forest. Plus the hollows that remain from the falling branches provide plenty of safe housing for birds and sugar gliders. I tend to think of heavy winds as natures pruning tool, although many will feel differently. And a few sheds here are at risk from big trees, but you never know how that will work out.

Good for you, and I would do exactly the same in your conditions. I really like houses constructed from timber, but we have down here a cultural preference for bricks. I have no idea why either as they hold an enormous amount of heat, which is crazy when you regularly get days like tomorrow (106'F in the shade). This house is built to resist external temperature changes.

My mates in the big shed are on Grand Designs Australia next week! Very exciting!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Those double bowl concrete wash tubs were indestructible - and like the foundations of Roman baths, they would have withstood the test of time. You know, to my shame I can recall removing one of those tubs from a house that I was renovating! I told you that I had done some bad things in a past life! :-)! Thanks for the information too about the slant as I had noted that aspect of those tubs construction, but never understood the why of it. A washboard makes a lot of sense when used on that slant. One of the things that has fascinated me is that there was a break in the transmission of useful skills and I have always suspected that that occurred as a result of the cultural outlook and hopes of people. Certainly it was done in good faith, but the results are not good. And one of my mates parents who were immigrants from Italy once remarked to him that: "why go to the hassle when you can go to the grocery store". That rang alarm bells in my mind. Have you seen much of that in your life?

The implications of that though are quite alarming and I spotted this article the other day about rubbish left behind at festivals: 'Throwaway attitude' leaves Lost Paradise festival grounds a mess . Apparently acts like this are quite common. Go figure! Waste is wasted income after all.

Hehe! Of course you are correct and we may change that to: falling behind the desk? How is that with you? The question then becomes how much has fallen behind your desk? :-)! Certainly I just checked under the desk and discovered a napping Sir Scruffy who appears to be dreaming about who knows what? But who really knows what else is there on the floor? I for one am a bit scared to look!

Yeah, that element of completion and seasonality is a real feeling of accomplishment isn't it? I often jokingly remark that two sheds full of dry and split firewood is like money in the bank, but I'm not actually joking around as it is that good. My mind is floating around the idea that: In Autumn you harvest; In Winter you prepare for Spring; In Spring you prepare for Summer; and in Summer you maintain things and harvest energy for the winter. That seems to be how it goes here, but I have no idea whether there are historical parallels?

I see Cliff Mass has a blog post about the epic Cyclone developing off the East Coast. I really liked that he dissed "loose talk"! Nice one!

It is phony isn't it? Mate, I have heard folks crying out: Ciao, Ciao, Bella! Fortunately people who know me well avoid the kiss on the cheek, but the hugs will take a bit more work. You know some folks just want some human contact, and that is nice and all, but I am not sure about being the vector for that gear.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Tullulah Bankhead was clearly a very clever lady, and some folks burn brightly. She was such a one!

Yeah, I can see the logic of both of those choices with the construction of the temples. If they had any sense of time, they'd know that the victory would only ever be short term as all things eventually return to the soil. Mind you, having lots of blocks to hand reminds me of the complexities of living with Peak Rocks. They're very useful items, you know!

I wonder what too and also wonder whether Mr Greer had cast a chart which indicated such a possibility. On that essay, I put a link to our oil reserves which are non-existent in that we have only something like 19 days supply. Which when you think about it a bit, is cutting it a little bit fine! Still, I guess that it is better than 3 days of food in supermarkets... I prefer operating with larger buffers than most folks, do you reckon that that is a more conservative approach?

Well some people favour the obscure replies (what you referred to as dense) because they use many words to say the few words.

Mr Kunstler also made some dark predictions, but I'm looking forward to listening to his conversation about solar and wind energy. :-)!

It is quite warm here today, but we still worked outside and repaired the damaged front plastic bumper on the little dirt mouse. I won't disclose that the editor had been driving on that incident! Oops, broke my own rule! Hehe! I was quite surprised at how fragile the plastic panel was. Anyway, I used a little plastic welder and stapler which was an amazing tool. Then given I was fixing up cars, I stripped down the door stuff on the bigger (marginally bigger anyway) dirt rat. The door window winder switch had packed it in. It looks like the switch is faulty, but I gave the mechanism a good clean and some WD-40. Good stuff. The switch now works intermittently, and fortunately I can purchase them online for only a few bucks. That is how it goes in the hot weather. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. Fingers crossed!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Well done and fast thinking and action for you and yours! How are you coping with the weather? Did it bring some rain to your parched corner of the globe? You know, I do actually wonder about the logic of storing huge quantities of firewood against the sides of houses. I keep a small quantity which is virtually non-existent at this time of year, but other folks feel and act differently.

Top work, as the wind may have spread the fire quicker than you'd imagine. It is not for no reason that we are upgrading that water pump. Sometimes 20 minutes is not enough of a water supply!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Nice work on the speaker repair. Mate, I had no idea that the surrounding speaker foam could even be repaired. It does get brittle with age (and an over sized amplifier!) Hehe! Yamaha is usually a pretty good brand for home amplifiers. Star Trek will be fun to watch with those new speakers. Watch out neighbours! :-)! Now the important question from your last observation is: Which is better: The Orville; or Discovery? These are important questions!

Yeah fair enough. One thing I've noticed about lithium ion batteries is that whilst they are more efficient in terms of delivery of energy, they don't tend to last as long. Mind you, the old school battery packs never lasted that long either.

Glad to read that your stuff arrived in the container! Most things take longer than expected, well that's what I find anyway!

Mr Poopy is doing it tough and thanks for asking. Tomorrow will be very unpleasant, but we'll see how it goes and keep our fingers crossed!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Pam

How terrifying! Thank goodness your son looked out of the window. I hope that your neighbours find a different place for their next woodpile.

@ Margaret

I have noticed that people who have those leaf guards in their gutters, usually give up on them and have them removed.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

We have the same issue with infrastructure in remoter areas that you do - there is none. Even our property - which is in a pretty cushy area - has no water or sewer connections. There was no TV (yay!) until satellite became affordable, and cellphone connections are still spotty. There is zero infrastructure way, way out. And I can't figure out who would be adversely affected by the collection of rainwater in those remoter areas in our dry western states. I mean, who is going to go thirsty because some hermit lets the water run off of his roof into a barrel? I suspect he doesn't worry about that.

I think dogs dream about giant cats.

We are doing fine with the weather. It should start warming up Sunday and then I can put the emergency water and rations back in my truck and they will not be blocks of ice. A bit of rain is predicted for Monday. We do store very large amounts of firewood on our full-length front porch - only in the winter. With a house that is all logs, I don't know that it would make sense to worry about a few more.

From what I experienced yesterday, 20 minutes of water does not sound like enough. I have just realized that in a power outage (frequent ones, which are evidence of lack of infrastructure again - maintenance, anyway) our pump would not work and we would have no firefighting water. How to overcome that problem? I can't see buying several hundred fire extinguishers, because that is what it would take using the small sized ones that we keep in the basement. And they can lose pressure over time. Neither can we just sit and wait for the volunteer fire department. They were prompt and wonderful yesterday, but they could have been out on another call or the water tanks on their truck (I can't remember if they have one, or two trucks) might not be refilled yet (no hydrants out here).

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

It wasn't terrifying until it was over as it happened so fast and there was nothing to do but respond quickly. Afterwards, I walked around for about three hours as I still had so much adrenaline in my system. Good, strong black tea helped that for some reason. Apparently it started from where my neighbor had been dumping the supposedly cold and dead ashes from his woodstove; some of those ashes weren't dead. My son has given him a metal trashcan for the purpose, also a load of our firewood as his all burned up.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ohhh! Reading the comments here, the, as they say, environment is just so "target rich" for rants. On my part. If I get my wind up, I'll be rolling on the floor and frothing at the mouth. Blood pressure will soar and I'll be stroking out :-). Of course, there's always the state of our medical / pharma industrial system. Or, what I suppose could be considered governmental "rights." When it comes to regulation of this and that. Booze, mara-hoochie. That wet stuff that falls from the sky. You've got the Fed, the States (and, "State's Rights" ... more on that later). Counties ... cities.

People bang on about "State's Rights" when they seem to fall into line with "what they want." Or, don't. We have an interesting situation shaping up, here. Now the Fed, has never legalized mara-hoochie. But several States, have. By popular vote. The latest? California. You know. That State that is the world's 5th largest economy. The last administration took a "benign neglect" line of enforcement. This administration has just announced it's going to crack down. A lot of States legalized abortion and gay marriage. The Fed eventually fell in line and legalized them. But a lot of States (screaming State's Rights) objected to those. Could there be reversals, in those areas? Always a possibility. And how much of this is just distracting stuff to keep us from thinking about REAL problems?

I bit the bullet and got on the scales, the other day. The post holiday weigh in :-). Not bad. Last year, I got up to 210. This year, slightly more than 185. Even though I was killing two 1.5 quarts of pumpkin ice cream, per week. So, how did I do that? Well, I stopped buying commercial baked goods (for the most part) months ago. Unless I make it myself. And, I switched to almond milk. So, I've got people around me, moaning about their weight (and health) but it's just pointless to make suggestions as to how they could remedy the situation. Was talking to one of the Inmates about that (one of the guys, so I don't have to watch myself, so much) and he said, "But I get hungry, and it's just so much easier to open a can and it doesn't take long." " !!!! (insert very bad word here)" I said, "We're retired! All we have is time!"

And somehow, that all relates to your question / comment about a three day supply of food at the supermarket and lost skills. Skills are lost, but re-found in other places. Lost, to a greater extent than they were in the past, but, now, thanks to a healthy publishing industry and the internet, easier to recover than in the past. Three goat cheese dairy's die, as the kids aren't interested. But two people who have no background in goat cheese, re-discover the basics and move on from there. And they'll leave a trail of skills, behind them. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Sure, there are historic parallels to being aware of the "rhythm of the seasons." And, it still exists, even today. All depends on how close to the "earth" one is. Even in a semi-rural place like this, you're pretty aware of it. A few months ago, it was all about "buttoning up for winter." I can't think of a term for kicking off spring or harvest time. Hmm. I can't think of quit how to put it, but I think people without a lot of income pay more attention. Even if they don't grow things themselves, they know when things are "in season" and it's time to stock up or preserve. When the prices are lowest.

Yup. Vehicles are pretty fragile, these days. All plastic and thin metal. Besides cheapening the vehicle, lower production costs, there's also the added selling point that the lighter the vehicle, the better gas mileage it will get. Here, we're in a situation where vehicles with small amounts of damage (like the glancing blow I took from the deer) are "totaled" by the insurance companies. As in, it's a total loss. And, as such, uninsurable. Auto insurance is required in this State. So, I decided to not put in an insurance claim and have it repaired, not at the dealer (expensive) but at independent Frank's, on the cheap. Frank (being Frank) did a fine job and you can't even tell that there was an accident. Oh, and Frank charged about 1/3 what the dealer would have charged.

Speaking of vehicles, yesterday was "National Help and Old Lady Day." I helped a couple of the other, less able inmates out with their garbage, AND we had one who's car battery had died, over the holidays while she was gone. So, they come knocking on my door. Not realizing that I'm automobile challenged. It was quit the fire drill. One lady had jumper cables long enough to reach, and another lady had a car close enough to pull it off. I managed to dredge up enough memories to not blow up anyone's battery. The one battery was VERY poorly engineered. The posts were set into the top of the battery, so it was pretty hard to get a good contact with the clamps. But all came well, in the end. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - That's quit a harrowing fire story. Is you're heart beat back to a normal rate, yet? Silver lining (I guess). You now have a pretty good fire break between you and your neighbor. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi everyone,

It is with a note of sadness that I wish to announce that the editor and I chose to get Sir Poopy Fox and Rat bane put down. We buried him this morning on a very hot and blustery day and planted a Kumquat tree over him. The tree is growing above the courtyard and has a spectacular view over the surrounding countryside. I can only hope that the spirit of Sir Poopy resides at the farm for a while and keeps watch over us all here.

As some of you may be aware, over the past few months, Sir Poopy's health has been rapidly declining. At every step on his journey we have made Sir Poopy comfortable and he has enjoyed his life to the full. Despite the incontinence and deteriorating eyesight he was a very happy dog. However, the seizures that he experienced with ever greater frequency over the past two weeks have been a sore trial for such a happy go lucky dog. Last night is the first time in his life I have seen him depressed. He sat with me in the orchard getting a pat and was not at all interested in killing the chickens which he was also meant to be protecting. This morning he was screaming in agony after another seizure and was disoriented for an hour or so. That is no life for a dog.

He enjoyed a final breakfast full of all of his favourite treats and a whole egg to himself. Plenty of tears have been shed for him today, and his little doggie friends also miss him greatly and are distressed at his passing.

If you are of a mind, I ask you not to mourn his passing, but rather celebrate his life. And perhaps raise a glass in salute.

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Mate, I'm a bit bummed out today. Sir Poopy was my little work companion and now he's gone. Mr Toothy will have to step up to the plate with the chickens. Far out what a rubbish day it is.

It is way hot and blustery here today. The wind is blowing in from the hot and dry interior of this continent and the temperature outside right now is 104'F. The conditions are very dangerous. Fortunately there have only been minor incidents which were responded too quickly. A cool change is due to arrive over the next four to five hours and the temperature looks set to drop rapidly to about 68'F.

Your situation is pretty similar to here, except that the mobile phone and mobile internet service is usually pretty good in rural areas. You're right too, nobody will care less. Up until recently, we didn't even get garbage service, and you could opt out of the service when it was eventually offered. You'll laugh about this one though. The TV service was the opposite here. When the TV signals were analogue, there was reception, but the switch to digital transmissions finished that off. No loss, as I no longer watch TV. That does free time up to do other things (as Mr Greer once astutely pointed out).

Giant cats are pretty scary beasts and a dog would be wise to be wary of them. Giant chickens would be very scary too. I've seen the chickens destroy a mice nest. It was brutal and whilst dogs and cats would immediately jump on mice, the chickens waited and sized them up before striking. Imagine what a dinosaur would have been like given they are of that long lineage?

Of course, I forget and you are entirely correct to do so. From what I've seen of fires, sometimes thick logs smoulder and char before burning and they resist fires more readily than thin dry timber house frames. Mind you, I'm unsure that I'd want to stake my life on that observation given that there are timber windows and doors etc. which are much thinner than your walls. And the roof is a real weak spot in any house.

Exactly. Yes, exactly. 20 minutes is nowhere near enough. A reasonable hose pressure should deliver between 5.5 gallons and 7.0 gallons per minute (7.0 is better). A useful amount of water would be at least 2 hours constant water because even though a fire front passes in 15 minutes, there is still the before and after ember attack. Such an electric pump would require about 15 Amps per hour (at 12 Volts), so at least a 100 Amp-Hour 12V battery wouldn't be a bad idea (200Ah is better) and is very easy to keep fully charged with even a small solar panel and controller.

Electric pumps have to be protected from radiant heat (and sun using steel sheeting and an air gap) as the water moving through them keeps the pump diaphragm cool, but the motor eventually heats up. That is why the duty cycle becomes a problem and why I'm ditching the current pump even though it is a good and reliable pump. After 20 minutes the motor heats up enough that the pressure is reduced in order to protect the pump from damage.

You won't get a gasoline pump started in really hot conditions because the fuel vaporises in the carburettor. And diesel pumps are massively expensive.

If I knew of a cheaper and more reliable option I'd go for it. I just don't. It is a complex problem.

The fire trucks only carry around about 500 gallons and they can't use all of it because they have to be able to protect the tanker and crew.

Life goes on...

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, I am bummed out today. We decided to get Sir Poopy put down this morning as he was screaming from his seizures and then disoriented afterwards. He was my little companion about the farm and occasionally my partner in crime. He used to (when the editor was not around) sit with me at the local cafe and enjoy small chunks of fruit toast. He was very well behaved and did not bother anyone there, although I always warned parents off letting their kids get too close to him as I said I never knew how he'd react. He would have been fine, but you know, it was a useful service he provided and all. We buried him this morning above the courtyard with a magnificent view over the surrounding countryside and I hope his spirit hangs around the land for a bit keeping a watch over us. You know, two weeks ago, he was fine and running around the place with not a care in the world, but the signs were there and he just made do and kept up enjoying himself right up until yesterday when it all hit the poo for him. I don't feel that anyone could ask for a better way to go and he led a charmed life.

We all enjoy a good rant every now and then, and to be honest as you say, there are compelling reasons to do so! Watch that blood pressure though. ;-)! On a serious note, we have a blood pressure monitoring device and I can state for the record that rants and mornings like we had this morning are disastrous for high blood pressure. On the other hand a meal at the pub and a pint of stout and blood pressure is normal as. Of course such an option for yourself is possibly out of the question, but you get my drift: Ignore and/or avoid stress (or learn to accept life's little situations) and you'll live longer (or at least have a healthier cardiovascular system before something else intervenes). I digress, but concur with your opinion that it is a target rich environment for rants.

Gee, that conflict between the State's population which voted on the matter and the Fed's decision to crack down on the mara-hoochie industry is a complex problem which may bring other matters to a head. I take such situations to mean that either: centralised control is slipping due to them taking the eye off the ball; the Fed Gov is beginning to lack the resources to exercise control; or the States are taking advantage of either of those two previous situations. Or the states are jack of the Fed intervention. Such small matters can be a powder-keg of emotions. I heard news reports yesterday that our mara-hoochie industry is looking set to supply to export markets.

This state has recently voted in voluntary euthanasia laws for terminally ill patients. It is the first state in the country to do so, although one territory did so and that decision was reversed by the Federal Government. There were a huge number of conditions applied to the legislation - something like 57 protective steps to achieve the end result. The debate was huge in state parliament. What interested me was that it looks like the palliative care industry was against the move and they appeared to be strongly aligned to the Catholic order. Some horrendous stories were I believe shared in the process by people being subject to that industry and the people in it were apparently clamouring for more funds to address lack of access particularly in rural areas. I'm not saying such things don't look good, but they sure didn't look good to me.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I reckon a lot of these issues tie into the concept of social progress. Like hopefully we are moving somewhere with that, although to be frank I'm unsure where it is, but the song and dancing that goes on in place of politics and them doing their jobs looks a lot like a major public distraction to me. Personally, I would eliminate all political donations of any kind whatsoever. They are public servants after all and it is not a good idea that they may be on the take, when they are meant to be doing a job. I don't ask for much. :-)!

Long term, I reckon local rules and local customs will eventually hold sway and they’ll be flexible and cheap to enforce.

Well done you. 185 pounds is pretty good. Exactly too. Who the heck knows what is in commercial baked products? And the sheer volume of preservatives (which are used to prolong food shelf life) must have some sort of consequences with our internal flora and fauna as it couldn't help but kill off some of that lot. You know when I last fed some freebie bread to the chickens, they refused to eat it. They eat the stuff I make. I eventually had to collect all of that bread and chuck it in the worm farm. The worms made that stuff toast! ;-)! Pun intended.

Oh! I'd never thought about that side of the equation before, although it should have been obvious. Yeah, you are right. People drop out of the story, and then others take up an interest in continuing the story. Say's he looking out the window at the orchard, which is surviving today's heat in fine style. I wish I could say the same. Inherent in that crisis of knowledge is also the opportunity to ditch what hasn't worked in the recent past and then move on to what has worked. Organic agriculture done on a small scale with an eye to building top soil and harvesting water is a lot like that. Thanks for sharing that thought, it has picked me up immeasurably.

Nah, I can't think of a term for kicking off spring or harvest time either. What I notice down here is that the activities and timing for such activities differs from season to season, but also location to location. The orchard we visited recently has about two months longer growing season than here, but it gets hotter summers and colder winters. It is really complex and local knowledge really shines like no other. And wealth is a hindrance to such knowledge because it doesn't matter, until it does.

Speaking of which I spotted the local fire trucks driving around the mountain range today and possibly familiarising themselves with the roads. It never occurs to me that some folks are not curious about the various tracks and where do they go and what are they like. I encountered a young lady about a week ago who asked me where the head of an all day long walking trial was. I have to admit that I thought to myself: Are you sure you're up for the walk?

Top work with the repairs for the recent bingle. It is funny you mention that, but I paid my insurance yesterday and the dirt rat is valued at $4,100. If that is not incentive to keep it away from the repairers, I don't know what is...

Well done with helping out with the battery recharge situation. Blowing up batteries is not a good idea. Some folks are clever enough to use large batteries as arc-welders. It would do fine in a pinch.

Thanks for our ongoing conversation and you have cheered me up on an otherwise bleak day.

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I shall indeed raise a glass of ale - or my equivalent - to Sir Poopy Fox and Rat Bane, to a life most well spent in - let us face it - a dog's paradise. How many of our days has he brightened? Uncountable. I raise a glass to you, Sir Poopy!

And to Chris and the editor.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am sorry to hear that Sir Poopy is no longer here (at least in body if not in spirit) and will raise a glass to him.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Rubbishy day it is for you and yours. Hell's heat and sadness - but much good still as well! I like where you have laid Mr. Poopy. I will be interested to hear how the other dogs take Mr. Poopy's absence.

I wonder if our water pumps are very similar? Ours is inside, in the basement (not much temperature fluctuation there, now that it is well insulated). I can't remember it overheating, even when we do so much watering in summer. I'll have to see if I can decipher its vital statistics. It is electric, which is why we have no running water available in a power outage.

Is fuel vaporizing in the carburettor one reason cars have trouble in the summer? Though maybe most new cars now don't have carburettors? Do lawn mowers have carburettors? We have a lot of trouble with our lawn mower. All of our vehicles have started right up in these weeks of close to 0F temps. I am completely amazed.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Is there room to eventually plant a rosebush or a tree or something where Mr. Poopy lies?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Wow, 185 lbs sounds perfect, especially right after the Christmas holidays. Good job, you!

What a great comment of yours:
"But I get hungry, and it's just so much easier to open a can and it doesn't take long." " !!!! (insert very bad word here)" I said, "We're retired! All we have is time!"

All's well for now on the fire front, though there is just not enough of a firebreak and they have taken away the rain predicted for this week.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I am so sorry to hear about Poopy. My condolences to you and the editor. From your descriptions it does sound like he was doing quite well until just the last few weeks. I've had dogs that linger on for months - not well but still have some quality of life. They usually indicate in some way that they're ready. It sounds like Poopy has a beautiful resting place.

Our friend, Kathy, still isn't doing too well so we haven't been able to have a belated New Year's get together.

I'm sure we'll enjoy the film and I for one will enjoy the empty theater on a mid week matinee.

Tomorrow we finally warm up - to 30!! with a couple of days in the 40's with possibly some rain. Maybe it'll wash off some of the road salt. I've never taken my car to a car wash and I'd hate to have to break that streak now but it is pretty awful right now.

Hey I'm not sure who does understand our medical system. I have a couple relatives who work in the health (sick) care system and they don't think the prognosis is good at all.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Inge

I'm not happy to hear that about the gutter guards. We only got them on the 2nd story. The gutters lower down are cleaned by Doug. The 2nd story ones are really high and we just (especially me) think it was very safe for Doug to be balancing up there so high.

@Pam

Wow - what a scare!! I'm so glad that the outcome turned out OK. Hopefully your neighbor will be a little more careful when emptying out ashes.

Our internet here is fairly good but expensive. Not everyone here can get it as your dish has to have an unblocked view of the tower which is about 2-3 miles away. For a long time we only had dial up and as the phone lines were terrible so was the internet. Videos usually weren't possible and it would take a long time just to load a blog like this. I hear you about satellite TV. If it were up to me the free tv available on the antenna would be fine. We have an antenna that rotates so we can pick up quite a few channels including from Chicago and Milwaukee.

I don't know if you remember the movie "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray. It was filmed in the town just southeast of us. Pipes froze and burst in the house from the movie yesterday causing a fair amount of damage. It is a huge, beautiful house that's now a bed and breakfast. I think they give tours of it during the Groundhog Day festival there now.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew

As I was waiting in line at the grocery store check out I was looking at all the magazines with "Weight Loss Plans that Work" and the like that are always there right after the holiday. Nice you lost weight just changing your diet a bit. I have to say I struggled with weight for decades but when I went gluten free and cut out all the processed goodies everything changed. I'm not sure if I'm really gluten intolerant or if it's all in my head but I don't care as it works and is a more healthful diet anyway.

I'll bet those ladies really appreciated your help but now word will get around ...

Margaret

SLClaire said...

@ Chris: I'll lift my evening glass of wine to Sir Poopy. My condolences to you and the editor and the rest of the fluffy collective.

@ Pam: I'm awed by your and your sons' quick response to the fire and grateful that everything turned out well.

@ Margaret: I hope the gutter situation doesn't form an ice dam. At least we in the Midwest are supposed to catch a break and experience just normal winter cold next week, though here in St. Louis we might have a minor ice storm on Sunday, the sort that affects travel but isn't thick enough to bring down electric lines.

@ Lewis: as someone who lives on a (relatively) low income and as a gardener, seasonality is a big factor in my life. Right now is garden planning and seed processing season, at least for me. I'm cutting open the naked-seeded (really hull-less seed) pumpkins and removing the seeds for roasting and laying out next year's vegetable gardens on paper. Then I'll go through the seeds to find out what I need more of and then decide on replacement and new seeds to order. Last year, when I was away from home for two months, I felt like I never fully caught up because I had to forego some of the seasonal tasks. If nothing else, I was grateful for the new year so I could start out caught up again. ;)

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I was so sorry to hear the news about Sir Poopy. I didn't realize that he has slid so far down hill. so fast. Some of the grim details escaped me, and I really think you made the right decision. The Editor and you provided Sir Poopy with a VERY good life, during the time he was with you. He was loved and cared for. Not all animals receive that.

It was so odd, but just as I read the news, the sun came through the clouds, here, and came streaming in the window. An unusual thing for this time of year. Signs? Miracles? Wonders? The Universe takes away, but sometimes it gives a bit back.

Just as a distraction, I finished up watching "Doc Martin, Season 8," last night. It's about a doctor that ends up in a small Cornish fishing village. Stick with me. It relates. :-). The character of Doc Martin, just hates dogs. The actor that plays him, Martin Clune loves most animals, and particularly dogs. I watched some of the DVD "extras" and it was mentioned several times that if your watching the filming, and bring along your dog, Martin Clune will likely trot over and have a chat :-).

They also had a section about the dogs that are in the series. The trainers. It was mentioned that both the dogs, this season, were "rescue" dogs. Cranky old guy that I am, I began to wonder when we slid from "strays" to "rescue" dogs. I was feeling a bit miffed at the term, and, on reflection, I figure it's because "rescue" makes the person who takes in the dog ... heroic. It would bother me more, to be so manipulated, except it really is a good cause. Our animal companions (whatever happened to "pets?") are a big responsibility, and taking them on shouldn't be done lightly. Or, for fashion. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The commenters over at Mr. Kunstler's blog kicked it off with a descent into the Land of Silly. A string of mixed metaphors. "A stitch in time saves a bird in the bush." "It's not rocket surgery." I put my mind to coming up with some of my own, and came up empty. The best ones, I suppose, have to occur, naturally, I suppose. Hmm. I wonder what the difference is between a mixed metaphor and a malapropism? Inquiring minds want to know :-).

Voluntary euthanasia was another one of those distracting, hot button social issues, here. Some states past it, some didn't. The Fed was wishy-washy. I think there was a Supreme Court decision, of some kind. There for awhile, Oregon had it, Washington didn't. I always thought I'd have to move to Oregon, if things for me, got bad. Now we have it, too. I suppose it's good to have a certain amount of safeguards. So that grandma isn't bumped off for her money. Of course, the trick is, even where it's legal is to find a doctor, and a chemist, who will cooperate. And, if you want help paying for it, the doc and chemist had better be in your insurance "network."

Your story about the orchard reminded me of one of the chapters in "Tastemakers." About bringing a new variety of apple, to market. I guess there's a bit of a micro climate, north of the Great Lakes in Canada. That is ideal for apples. A bit unusual at that latitude. The new apple was Red Prince. Washington is a big apple growing State. Mostly east of the mountains and heavily dependent on irrigation. I've seen articles, recently, that they're ripping out more than half the orchards and replacing them with a new variety. Red Comet? Something like that. It's a big gamble.

Our Forest Service (and, other agencies) have been talking about a big bump up in the amount of rescues they are doing (and, the attendant costs) due to unprepared people heading into the wilderness. Because they figure if they get in trouble, their GPS or cell phone can bail them out. What could possibly go wrong? :-). And, this year's Darwin Award goes to .... Lew

Damo said...

@Marg
I literally watched Groundhog Day last night for the first time since it came out. A great movie obviously and a pretty good message too! Such stories about pipes freezing and blizzards are strange to us Australians, it is very rare for cold weather to impinge to such a degree!

@MrPoopy
Be sure to know I have raised several glasses (or should I call them flagons?) to your memory this past afternoon. May your name ring through the ages!

@Chris
Star Trek or Orville. Hmmm, for my money I looked forward to the Orville more than the new Trek, it is basically The Next Generation with a few family guy style jokes scattered through it. Star Trek Discovery is a bit grim-dark for my liking, but I watched it and was kinda entertained anyway. Both are worth watching.

Holidays are over and back to work tomorrow. Almost looking forward to it - I think a structured routine works for well for me. I am very happy with my shed/workshop and might post a few pictures - nothing very exciting, just happy to see my tools organised on racks and shelves, plus the most important component of any shed - a small, yet probably overpowered stereo! In Australia a few months back I got a pair of mid-80s, British built studio monitor speakers for $8. They have followed me to NZ and now proudly watch over the workshop. Combined with a small kit bluetooth amp courtesy of our Chinese friends I can now listen to Triple J whilst pretending to be productive. Great stuff!

My friend has left for the week to do some traveling around NZ. He has definitely improved but I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard going at times. Sometimes I forget Mrs Damo and I are only 3 months into a new house, new country and new job. Stressful changes, and it is only a small house!

Cheers,
Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you for saying that and he has brightened many of my days too! It sure is quiet here with him gone. He made more noise and activity than all the rest of them combined…

I'll chuck in a photo for the next blog showing the site of the Poopy - Kumquat tree. It has a lovely view looking over the valley below.

Our water pumps are indeed different, but probably more or less the same.

Because we collect water and store it in above ground water tanks, the pump sits adjacent to the water tank. It is hard for pumps to get prime (the technical term for filling the guts of the pump mechanism with water before it can pump) if the pump sits uphill of the water as it has to suck the water uphill before it can pump properly.

I forget: Do you have a well? That is a slightly different pump to the one I use as it has to lift the water from a height below ground level. My pumps are at ground level already because that is where the water is. I may get far higher pressure than you because of that. Lifting water takes a bit of energy.

In a basement, your water pump which is air cooled, would hardly get hot as I assume the air temperature in there is usually cool? My lot are subject to the outside weather which can get quite hot.

Old cars used to suffer from that problem in extreme heat and cold. Carburettors are a “close enough” sort of device. Modern cars have computers that adjust the air/fuel mix based on the ambient temperature and then they inject that mixture into the cylinder. One thing new cars do better than old, is start! Hehe! But when they go wrong you have to have a diagnostic computer to connect into them to find out what is going wrong. The older system with carburettors, at least you could see what was going wrong and stood a chance of fixing it. Oh well.

Glad to read that you now have a small fire break between yourselves and the neighbours. We are only ever as good as the weakest link. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you and I appreciate that. I lifted a glass to him too last evening. Your son will laugh about the strange world that buying another dog has become down here.

Cheers

Chris

heather said...

Chris-
I was sorry to read about Poopy's passing on JMG's blog. I hope he is enjoying the rewards due to a good dog, and that all of the inhabitants of your farm are comforted in your loss by good memories. May his kumquat tree live 800 years!
--Heather in CA

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you for your condolences. I appreciate that a lot. Mr Poopy is sadly missed.

Exactly, even as he was going blind he had quality of life and was still full of beans. We trained him to get up and down stairs by himself and he was coping really well. The seizures though were something else altogether, and like you say, they tell you when it is time. I thought that during one f the seizures he was going to bite me (he looked like Cujo, but he kept it together – just).

I hope Kathy recovers from her bout of illness. How are they coping since they closed down the home? Did Michael end up having a good Christmas in his new digs?

Oh yeah, empty theatres are more pleasant places than packed houses. At the film last week, we were forced by the huge crowd and unexpected allocated seating to sit close to a young man and his girlfriend. The young bloke can best be described as going "caveman" during the holidays as he was far from fresh. Fortunately we are made of tough stuff and roundly ignored the ripe stench.

30'F. You know I'm going to take a bit of convincing about your assessment of that temperature as being "warm"! Hehe! The road salt would be devastating on vehicles. Did you know that a lot of historic cars are sourced from Australia and exported to Europe and the US? I reckon that may be the salt on the roads.

I'd stick with their prognosis of the situation. Those medical bills that I'm reading about over at Ecosophia would kill me.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you and the remaining (and now slightly diminished) fluffy collective appreciate your lovely gesture!

Cheers

Chris (and the fluffy collective)

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks, and no worries, Mr Poopy was far more ill than I had previously understood him to be. But you know, he only suffered for a day or two, which is pretty good as he was healthy and robust right up to the end (despite being blind). I was reminded of Spike Milligan's headstone - with the epitaph 'I told you I was ill'. That is true too about other animals, and he lived a charmed life and I knew him for about a decade. He was trained by Old Fluffy the redoubtable Pomeranian boss dog who was even more stoic than Mr Poopy and lived to a far greater age.

I reckon the Universe is a far more complex place than our rather good, but also rather limited, Simian brains can wrap themselves around. The sun often pokes out from behind thick clouds during the solstices and equinoxes too down here, and that is an uncanny thing to experience. In order for there to be life, there has to be a bit of a surplus, but the margins are thin. On the other hand a surplus of any quantity is a good thing and goes to prove that the Universe is not a stingy place. :-)!

Martin Clune sounds like a delightful bloke. And he has been on some seriously long running shows. That one in particular has been going for a very long time for a TV show.

I mentioned your observation about "strays" versus "rescue" to the editor and she reminded me of the change from "citizen" to "consumer". Far out, you're not the only one who is cranky. It seems to be catching these days! Anyway, we looked into how one goes about obtaining a new dog to replace Mr Poopy. He was the muscle here being the largest dog and his role is not one to be left unfilled for long. Anyway, I contacted the various animal shelters, some of which I have donated money too for a very long time. Apparently, nowadays it is all about the experience, and before they will allow an adoption they wanted me to drag the entire fluffy collective (and editor) down to the place and have a behavioural person check out the interactions (that includes the humans as well). Well of course, Scritchy is the boss dog and no doubt she would exert her authority (briefly) in the brutal and hands on way that dogs do, and well, it wouldn't end well. And imagine the fear that that lot would have visiting the stink of a dog shelter…

Then it got weirder because they told me that most of their dogs would be better off in single dog homes. Well, blow me down because I thought that dogs were pack animals and required a solid social hierarchy.

Some other mob wanted to come up here and do an audit on the property before considering us as suitable to adopt a dog from them.

I was unprepared for that situation as in the past I have just took whatever dog came my way and made the best of the situation. Today's experience was just totally 100% weird, honestly I don't know what else to say. I am wondering about the wisdom of me supporting those organisations financially as I have read some weird articles in the newspaper recently and chose to ignore them pending further consideration. Sometimes asset rich charities can be a target for folks with agendas.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Speaking of pets too. Pet shops no longer sell pets. Yesterday was hard, but today has been just totally way out there strange. I much prefer hard as I can deal with hard.

Interestingly, I have read a bit of Corporate Law and I'd have to suggest that grandma's assets probably do need a bit of legal protection. ;-)! The case studies in that area where some of the saddest family situations that I have ever read about. But yeah, people can get all upset and heated about issues, then the vote is taken, the majority speaks up, or economics forces the matter, and we end up with opportunities that were unthinkable before that time. The flip side of crisis really is opportunity (and simplification).

I've seen folks pulling out perfectly healthy and productive fruit trees. I just don't get that gear, because it takes so long to grow a productive fruit tree. The obsession with varieties is a modern conceit because if people are hungry enough and the fruit and vegetables have good transportation potential, they'll eat anything put in front of them. On a few occasions in the past, I have encountered folks who swear black and blue that a particular animal is a fussy eater - au contraire! They eat what is put in front of them and rapidly get with the fluffy program. On the other hand if they have a genuine reaction to the food, I modify my side of that equation to suit them. Everyone is happy at the end of the day with that system.

Oh yeah. It always amazes me that the Darwin Awards continue. The editor gave me a link a few weeks back to a web page which listed deaths due to selfies - and that was an eye opener. It all came about because a South African road safety ad showed real footage of a young lady on the phone whilst driving and then crashing and dying. Phones are a real hassle on the roads... Mind you, people are easily distracted.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, Mr Poopy would appreciate that thought and actions! Thanks!

Thanks for the review on the new Star Treks. I am yet to watch either, but am leaning towards The Orville. I read that Discovery is funded into the future based on the audience that pays to watch it, which may be a new funding model. Dunno. The content does look dark doesn't it?

Aren't we all? I hear you about back to work. We shut the business down for two weeks after receiving an email from overseas at 5am on Boxing Day... Nobody was happy about it, but I had two weeks off, which is rare when you run your own business. I reckon there is a bit of the anarchist about me as prefer to work with the seasons and dislike rigid structures.

Go the shed! Nice work, and your stereo set up sounds like just the ticket to some enjoyable music vibes. And total respect to listeners of the JJJ's! ;-)! Such appreciation for good music and dodgy high tech setups earns you the coveted Elephant Stamp! Hehe!

Well, it would be hard going, and respect to you for experiencing that situation. I hope you and Mrs Damo had a good Christmas too?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Heather,

Thank you and that was beautifully said.

Yesterday was a hard day to plant a new fruit tree.

I hope for some rain for your part of the country.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Yes, salt is terrible for cars as well as plants and roads themselves. One advantage though to more plastic on cars is the salt doesn't cause as much damage at least outwardly. Then there's the chemicals in the salt - who knows what that does. The other day is was snowing lightly but the roads were mostly wet and it was no higher than 10 (F). The salt already applied was working which is great for safety but not so much for anything else.

Bill and Kathy are very happy they retired and certainly seem more relaxed. I talked to her yesterday and now Bill is also sick with a stomach bug. She said all they do is take care of themselves. They still own a low income senior apartment complex but it's not nearly as much work as the retirement home. They both have a lot of health issues and are just a couple years older than us. Some caused by their lifestyle choices but I suspect they are exacerbated but the great deal of stress caused by some major family issues the last few years.

Michael continues to do well in his new digs. Thank you for asking. He stayed with us for two days over Christmas. As much as I believe in supporting family I'm so glad he didn't end up living with us as he requires quite a bit of follow up and monitoring now. He was happy to get back to his home after his stay with us which is a good sign.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I mentioned your visits to animal rescue centres re: another dog, to Son. His comments were unsuitable for your family friendly blog. Suffice to say that he wouldn't go to them for a dog. It does sound as though yours are now as bad as ours; both in relation to rules and regs. and in lack of knowledge re. dogs.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Forgot I wanted to comment on dog shelters. Doug and I have had six dogs over the course of our marriage. Three came from shelters, one was a mixed breed puppy we purchased for $25, one we inherited from our daughter when she went to school and Salve was dumped on our road in the middle of winter. Our first two dogs from a shelter cost us a very nominal fee. We did need to fill out an application but it wasn't intrusive. Five years ago we found Leo at a shelter. The application process was more involved and we had to bring our other dog, Mercedes (inherited from daughter) to the shelter to meet Leo. As Mercedes was a beagle/chow mix she could be rather protective but fortunately everything went OK probably because they didn't meet on her home turf. The cost for most dogs at the shelter at that time (five years ago) was $300 but Leo was only $100 as he is mostly pit bull and at 3/4 of the dogs there were some sort of pit bull mix. When Salve followed us in from our morning walk we called animal control. They came out to pick her up and said after a ten day wait to see if anyone would claim her we could adopt her. I think I've mentioned before that she was skin and bones and had a prolapsed uterus so the animal control fixed her up and we were able to adopt her for $80. There was a application form but it was pretty straight forward. So what are you going to do? Do you have animal control that picks up strays? Sometimes people have to give away their dog due to illness or moving.

margfh said...

@Damo

Supposedly "Groundhog Day" is used in college level film courses. I well remember when it was being filmed as many people were vying to become extras. Business in the square were given face lifts and the Unitarian Church got an interior paint job though it never ended up being included in the film. Now the town of Woodstock has an annual groundhog day festival.

It has to be very cold for a pretty prolonged period of time for pipes to freeze though many newer homes are so poorly insulated it can happen fairly quickly. I think there's more chance of pipes bursting now as the weather moderates somewhat. Our house is well insulated but there's still a chance that we can have an issue. A few years ago one of the pipes to an outside spigot had froze and cracked unbeknownst to us. It is the faucet that we hook up a hose to the automatic pig waterer. Well when Doug turned it on in the spring water started pouring into the basement. Fortunately I was in the house and heard it and it was in the unfinished part of the basement so the damage was minimal. This has been an unusually long frigid period.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Yes, we have a well and I know about priming the pump as I have to do that when the power comes back on after an outage, of which we had one this morning for only 3 hours (no problem). It was 2F (116.6C), though. But is that worse than 106F . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Everyone and his mother knows that dogs are pack animals. Humans can make up a sort of pack for them, but I have had single dogs and then groups of up to 5 dogs and they were the most healthy and normal when they had pack mates.

I have not heard of such a weird thing as the way your animal shelters discourage people from adopting pets. That is way overkill. They must think the pets they are little delicate snowflake humans; doesn't anyone in those places actually understand animals? You are right not to take your collective into such a place, it would be like visiting the inmates in a prison, but the collective wouldn't understand that, just the smell of fear. And disease. Looks like you'll have to go through Craigslist or Facebook or a breeder. How sad.

Was that a Poopysquat tree that you planted?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, that shelter song and dance is clearly over the top. Maybe a few inquiries around the pub? Do they have a bullitin board? Do you have the little, local "all ad" newspapers there? Usually given away, free.

Well, as long as grandma has a will and directives in place, no problems. But a lot of people don't have that bit in place. So, it's there look out. Most of the senior organizations here are always banging on about getting your ducks in a row. And free or low cost routes are available. LOL. There's a new book about the topic called "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" Which is about how to approach the "end of life" topics. How to nudge your elders in that direction.

One of the problems in this country is that so many votes, for people or topics, have no clear majorities. So much seems to fall near the 50/50 vote. Don't know when I last heard "landslide vote" rather than "narrow margin."

Another thought I had about historic seasonality. Medieval "books of hours." They were prayer books, mostly, built around the church calendar. But the illuminations often showed appropriate farming practices, by month. Demeter, goddess of agriculture (roughly) had 12 little helpers who reflected tasks to be done at certain times of the year. I've never seen any representations of them. Some of the Roman writers did texts of agricultural practices. Besides "how to manage slaves" I think there were sections on agricultural task timing. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I had a bit of fun looking into metaphors (mixed, or otherwise), malapropisms, and ... spoonerisms. :-). Another contribution from Oxford, besides the comma. :-). That's when the first parts of words in a phrase get mixed up. My favorite, that I created is "Indiana Doom and the Temple of Jones." Next stop, Land of Silly.

And, in local news ... Well, it finally happened. Our local K-Mart and Sears are closing down over the next couple of months. About 75 people will be thrown out of work. Some of them have worked in the stores for 25 years.

Our local volcano, Mt. St. Helens has been rattled by a series of earthquakes. The largest was a 3.9. There hasn't been a trembler that large since 1981, a year after the eruption. I'm surprised I didn't feel it. It was about a week ago, right around midnight. Usually I'm up and around about then. Of course, some of the media is trying to make hay off the news. Once headline I saw was "Mt. St. Helen's on Brink of Eruption!!!" Well, no. In the first place, it wasn't a tremor associated with magma moving around. It was a tectonic trembler. Continental plates rubbing together and releasing a bit of energy. Oh, we may get a bit of ash or steam, from time to time, but nothing like the 1980 event, for quit awhile. The dome has to rebuild, and get plugged up, again. Maybe, oh, 500 years. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Back when I was in the book biz, we always used to laugh about the "Diet of the Month." Seems like there was always a new gimmick, coming down the pike. LOL, life would be just about perfect if I could lose another 15 pounds. Of course, we always think "Life would be perfect if ... " Or, at least I do. I just don't let it run away with me. Much. Of course, at my stage of the game, even at a reasonable weight, there's still the love handles and man boobs (can I say that here?). Not much to be done about that. Except, if I lose the weight, they're less noticeable. :-). Lew

@ Margaret - Also, when I switched to pretty much making my own baked goods, I started using a real "good" variety of flour. Pretty local (Oregon) and stone ground. Bob's Red Mill. It's a bit more expensive, but so far, I've lucked out and found it on sale. Got to keep it in the fridge or freezer. Probably a "halo" effect, but I think it tastes better, too. Lew

@ Claire - I'm doing the same thing. Sorting through seeds and sketching out maps of the garden plots. I got a late start, here, last year (moved) and was flying by the seat of my pants. I had pretty good luck with old seed. Except for carrots and lettuce. Live and learn. Those have to be REALLY fresh, I guess. I don't know how many times a re-sowed the lettuce. Zip. Nadda. Oh, well. All the old seed is gone.

I have some really old Montazuma Red Bean I'm going to give a spin. Ancient native American variety. I was also reading about a old corn variety (Johhny Red Corn?) over at NPR. It almost went extinct. I guess it's really great for moonshine, and they managed to come up with two ears when the last old moonshiner who used it died. I guess it makes heavenly grits, too. A bit hard to grow. Open pollinated and will cross with anything else in the area. Lew

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Thank you for the coveted elephant stamp. The weight of such an honour is not lost on me and I will of course strive to uphold its values and observe the strictures at all times!

Your dog adoption story beggars belief. I understand the well meaning intent behind some of those rules, but isn't the alternative for the poor animals in question a visit to the big kennel in the sky?

Damo

Phil Harris said...

Chris
We have two dogs deep in the orchard and the three cats - and the old donkey is down the patch - occasions of sorrow everyone. Maybe I will join them someday, next to our first dog - he was my best mate from when we got him at 12 weeks. Would lower the sale price of the property, I guess, with Grandad in the ground! Smile

best
Phil