Monday, 29 January 2018

Unbearable lightness of being an idiot

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

I haven't always lived this way. Almost two decades ago, I used to live in an inner city suburb of Melbourne. It was 4km (2.5 miles) from the city centre, so it was close enough to walk to work in the city, as I did every day. Cafes in that inner suburb were quiet on weekends and the editor and I would often sup on coffee and munch on a toasted focaccia, which were a popular food item back then. At the tables near to us were elderly gentleman wearing faded business shirts or otherwise tattered clothes reading the Financial Review. It was a strange but pleasantly quiet mix.

In those days, the suburb had not been gentrified by any stretch of the imagination, and someone once made the mysterious comment to me that there was "quiet money" in that area, not that I understood what was meant by that. I did however understand that the area we lived in had more than its fair share of characters.

For some unknown reason there were two retired school principals living a few doors apart. Both of them had kids living in the area, and the daughter of one of them was meaner than a cut snake. One day, I couldn't help but notice that the mothers house alarm was blaring away. In those days a house alarm was an unusual item. Anyway, as an act of neighbourly goodwill, I went around to the daughters house to let her know of the situation. Well, the reception I received was far from warm, and  I could see by her reactions that she thought that I was somehow responsible for the wayward house alarm.

Then there was the guy that had lived there for ever and a day. He apparently didn't work so he was always up for a chat. He only ever became cagey when the subject of government disability pensions were mentioned, although I am unsure why. He was the locus for all of the juicier items of local gossip and was generally entertaining.

Another bloke a few doors down was a house husband and perpetually wore his heart on his sleeve about his status. I always rather suspected that he just wallowed in a good depression and so I avoided him. I offered him work once, but he gave me a 'go away' price for his labour, and so I went away. His story didn't end well. However, at least he didn't recount the same stories over and over again like another person did! Those stories were amusing on the first hearing, and no doubts, people will be making that observation about this blog before a decade of writing is up!

And into this seething mass of characters was a young bloke who drove a duck egg blue Toyota Camry (a true rebel vehicle). That car was an odd choice, but it had been tricked up, as you do when you own a duck egg blue Toyota Camry. The editor and I used to walk the dogs around that quiet money suburb at night and we were the only souls on the move other than: The Camry Man. Yup, for that is what the editor and I called him.

You could hear that beast of a vehicle from a mile away because the car stereo was very impressive and he never went anywhere slowly. The young bloke must have gone through a few tyres in his time, because he was forever "lighting them up" (a fancy description for pulling a burn out). He even pulled that trick right outside his own house. A couple of times the editor and I and the dogs had close shaves with the Camry Man and we had to rush to seek the safety of the footpath as he did his usual high speed canon ball run up one of the roads late at night.

Night time was perhaps the best time to observe the Camry Man in his natural environment.  On one memorable evening, we could hear the doof, doof, doof, of the sub woofer coming from that most unexpected of vehicles. And as we drew closer to the noise, we could see that a laser light show had been recently installed. Even I was impressed as the green lasers were bouncing all over the insides of the vehicle (and indeed off the Camry Man himself) in time with the music. Of course, the vehicle was parked as even he didn't have the competency to drive with a personal rave party for a passenger. I certainly wouldn't!

Eventually, someone in the area took umbrage with the guy and smashed his headlights. It wasn't me if only because I didn't think of doing that! By sheer chance, the day after the vigilante struck, I happened to see the Camry Man's distressed face as he surveyed the damage to his pride and joy. He eventually repaired the damage and was never really much of a nuisance again. Of course, he may have taken his nuisance activities elsewhere!

I have heard other people speaking about the word 'community'. And to me those stories smell strangely as everyone thinks the same, acts the same, and has the same values. I reckon real community is a very messy beast! And for all of the bad that I painted in that above story, there was plenty of good going on too. People used to help me and loaned me tools and technical assistance with repairing the old house. One neighbour even had an extensive workshop and I was free to use it to fabricate steel gates and fences, which was a real boon during cold and wet winter days.

Community, as far as I can understand things, is both the good and the bad, and all the many points in between.
A baleful sun sets in a smoky atmosphere on another hot summers day
It has been another hot week here at the farm. A bushfire to the south west has meant that smoke has been drifting along the valley. However, the wind is blowing both the smoke and fire away from here. The sunsets have been superb! In an unusual turn of events, the heat has been punctuated with monsoonal tropical downpours. Even as I type these words, I can hear the sound of thunder pealing. And with the thunder, the rain has fallen this week providing a good drink to the entire mountain range.

As a precautionary measure taken earlier in the week - one hot day I refilled all of the primary water tanks. The various water pumps were going for hours and hours on end as I pumped water up from the reserve water tanks and into the primary water tanks. With a bit of cooking using the electric oven, we managed to utilise more electricity from the solar panels than any previous day. It was an impressive achievement and we used 20.1kWh that day. We really had to try hard to use so much electricity! If only we had a plasma TV however, we could achieve that total much more regularly. Damn you power saving appliances!
A record. 20.1kWh (559Ah x 36V) of solar electricity used in one day!
I believe the state of Victoria (of which Melbourne is the capital) broke all previous records for electricity demand yesterday, for a Sunday. It was a very hot day, and apparently 9,100MW of electricity generation was required at about 5.30pm. That sure is a lot of electricity, and apparently some of the distribution system failed, possibly due to a combination of heat and load. Damn you non-power saving appliances!

Earlier in the week, we harvested and preserved the remaining apricots. The stone fruit this summer has been nothing short of excellent!
Earlier in the week the remaining apricots were harvested and preserved
The main firewood shed is now mostly full! Due to the excessive heat and humidity, the editor and I were up at day break some mornings and cutting and hauling the firewood. Then by the late afternoons, with monsoonal weather threatening, we then had to split and stack the firewood in the shed. Stacking wet and damp firewood in a shed will produce a vast quantity of mushrooms, some soil, and useless firewood. Firewood is best stored out of the rain when it is sun dried and seasoned (preferably for two years). Seasoning firewood is the fancy name for letting the sugars in the firewood logs dry.
The primary firewood shed is now mostly full
The bright yellow trailer which was recently repaired, has now also scored a couple of coats of quality metal paint - in bright yellow, of course!
The bright yellow trailer has now been repainted with quality metal paint
In breaking cattle dog news! Ollie has made an unholy alliance with Scritchy the boss dog, who now barely tolerates his presence. Incidentally, the dogs also find the extremely hot weather to be invigorating as can be seen in the next photo!
Scritchy the boss dog has come to terms with Ollie
Sir Scruffy wants none of that dog couch business, and instead he was busy protecting the radio as the Triple J Hot 100 and Hot 200 were playing on Saturday and Sunday!
Sir Scruffy protects the radio as the Triple J Hot 100 was aired - on a very hot day!
It is an exciting time of year, because despite the very hot weather, many fruit and vegetables are growing strongly. Here is a sample just to tease you folks held tightly in the grasp of winter (not that bread is a vegetable or a fruit, but it goes very well with pesto - which is a vegetable!):
Lunch: Home made bread, home grown tomatoes, and pesto made with basil straight from the garden
Cucumber and a container of King Billy plums and the smaller Damsons

Tomatoes have begun ripening over the past few days
We may get our first full sized eggplant!
The corn is growing well and each stalk looks as though it has produced two cobs
Melons love the heat and the vines are creeping everywhere and they are now sporting fruit
The last of the blueberries were picked
Olives are plentiful and they are now swelling in size
The other night I was walking Scritchy after a monsoon and I spotted this tree frog stalking a juicy huntsman spider. My money (and hope) is on the frog winning that epic battle.
A huge tree frog stalks a huntsman spider
Good flowers are not easily deterred by a bit of hot weather: as you shall see in the next photos:
The melons are producing plenty of flowers and the promise of tasty fruit!
Eggplants are enjoying the heat
The bush roses have bounced back with the recent monsoonal deluge
Globe artichokes produce superb flowers and are very tasty!
The temperature outside now at about 8.15pm is 17’C (63’F). So far this year there has been 60.4mm (2.4 inches) which is up from last week's total of 22.2mm (0.9 inches).

88 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

I don't usually respond to old posts, but all I can say to you is that if it works...

Ollie is rather full today as he pulled a tray of Anzac biscuits off the kitchen bench. This was a new canine experience for me. The biscuits were cooling on the bench before being put into a container. I estimate he ate at least 20 of them. If I am very hungry I can manage 4! He looked rather pleased with himself, but was unhappy with being punished! The rules are so complex here for a puppy...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Glad that you were spared that storm. It is raining quite a lot outside here right now. I love a good thunder storm as long as the induction from any nearby lightning strikes doesn't blow up any electrical equipment! I once lost my internet modem to a nearby lightning strike and I reckon it killed the tree too.

I have no time at all for folks who express their anger through their hands. I've met a few of them in my time. Didn't Brian Wilson once take to bed for a long time? Sometimes in those circumstances it can be hard to know what came first: the chicken or the egg? I hear of stories of fathers like that and it makes me glad to have experienced complete and utter apathy. It is funny you mention the right mix of medications, but I have an acquaintance who is now on beta blockers (whatever those are) and they were doing really well on them and they seem a lot more calm. I suspected that they were sailing on turbulent mental waters, but I have never had a bad experience with them, although I can see other people would push triggers and get responses.

That sort of culture has never appealed and I have always held the unshakable feeling that messing around with ones brain chemistry can be a very risky activity. You know, I have no idea where that thought originated, but I have always had it for as long as I can recall.

Thanks for considering the circles matter. You know, I knew of nobody who did not follow that ethos. The editor and I have been discussing this matter for quite a while and we reckon that back in the 70's people had jobs and houses, but not much stuff. In these enlightened times, people have stuff, but permanent jobs and affordable housing is out of reach - and two people in the household now have to work to achieve that outcome. Something sure did go wrong in the in-between years! What is your take on that matter?

Nice! In the really hot weather of a week or two back (this week was just very hot), we got up at day break and then had an afternoon nap. Yours is a good strategy and one that we are not generally encouraged to follow. Interestingly, I have noticed a few articles about afternoon naps, but I seriously doubt such things will take off for cultural reasons.

Did Hans Holzer ever speculate as to why the Borley Rectory was so haunted a site? I read a bit about the history of the fascinating building, and one character stood out: The tricksey Harry Price. And there were some fun times going on there in between all of the legitimate hauntings. You are correct too. The original four daughters attempted to speak with the apparition, which is a far cry from running from thrown objects. I wonder how they knew their lore in that regard?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I've always thought that it is best not to ignore your gut feelings. I have had some people pass me in the street that have left me with cold shivers and other people just have a baleful aura. As a general policy I avoid both types of people as they mean trouble which is what they cultivate.

Very funny! I quite like the shape and structure of those trees too, and they do tend to form clumps and groves from what I've observed.

Kangaroo is a tasty and very lean meat and if you ever get the chance I recommend it. Unfortunately most kangaroo ends up in pet food.

Nice about the pansy volunteer flowers. I get quite a few violets as volunteers. Do you get any other volunteer plants?

Yeah you are spot on about missing the puppy antics. I missed Sir Poopy's antics as he made most of the colour and sound in the household. It was very quiet after he died. Ollie has reinvigorated the grumpy older dogs! :-)! Scritchy is grumping at him right now, and Ollie is hiding behind me. He stole a huge collection of biscuits on the cooling tray on the kitchen bench today. Harsh words were spoken and a bit of wetting occurred.

4 bean salads are very tasty. Did you let it sit overnight? I reckon the mild fermentation that takes place in such a dish makes it taste even better. It is a very mild process. I'm not much of a fan of kimchi. Well done with the poop joke! :-)! Everyone loves a good poop joke!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Well people are good, bad and a mixture so of course community has to be the same.

You sure have some wonderful fruit, I am really envious.

Here it is warm and wet but birds are nesting and squirrels are mating so Spring is on the way hopefully.

Inge

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

We had a warm stretch last week (for winter) - highs in the 50s-60sF, 10-25F higher than normal. The soil thawed enough to not be muddy, just moist, but only in the upper part as we are still in severe drought. Apparently the Missouri Botanical Garden was recommending that people water plants while the soil is thawed, before it freezes again which it is likely to do at least once more before spring. Maybe I should have done that, but I tend to the view that plants need to be able to take winter conditions without any help from me. I did take advantage of the warmth to remove a lot of dead flower stems from the front yard where passersby can see them (I left the dead stems elsewhere because some insects spend the winter in them) and pruned all the shrubs and trees in the front yard that needed it to remove dead or crossing branches, or branches that rubbed against the house or neighboring plants, or that congest the interior of the plant, or that I had to duck to get under. Nearly all of our fruit trees and shrubs are in the front yard, so that passersby can enjoy the sight of their flowers and fruits and perhaps feel some inspiration to grow their own. Fortunately as the trees age, they require less pruning to maintain the structure that I can reach with the pole pruner. If it's higher than the pole pruner can reach, it stays in place. I don't climb on ladders to prune.

Hello, Ollie! You are a fine looking puppy! Just remember not to pull anything off the counter. Most humans get funny about things like that. You'd think they would realize a growing dog needs his Anzac biscuits, but no, they don't seem to have a clue. Still, they can be amusing to have around, and they do provide a good place to live once you figure out how to train them.

@ Lew, a cautionary note about eating parsnip leaves. Once I thought a plant growing in a flowerbed was a cutting celery that sprouted from a stray seed and tried a bit of leaf. It tasted pretty bad so I didn't eat any more. Within 12 hours, I felt quite sick, and I didn't feel better again till I experienced a full purge from both ends. Once I recovered, I pulled out a plant book to ID the plant. It looked like parsnip, which is naturalized in the Midwest to the point of being a pest in prairie restorations. So there is probably a reason you've not seen parsnip leaves for sale in the grocery store.

Claire

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

I like the look of that radio - a perfect mechanism for receiving the hottest 100 delivery. I didn't listen this year as I was busy typing away for the latest story contest which is due today. Deadlines will be tight! Later when I get a chance, I will download a copy of the playlist and enjoy myself. I see Kendrick got number one, and Gangs of Youths did very well (my favourite for the year).

I have not seen Brain Dead, it does sound fun though!

Dunedin does have a very steep hill, and whilst we were there a young kid decided to ride a pogo stick all the way to the top!
Dunedin Boy rides pogo to the top

Those campervans are still around, and still the bane of locals everywhere. Indeed, there is now significant pushback from Kiwis on the number of tourists they get. Many small towns are lumped with enormous infrastructure bills for water, toilets, road upgrades and other negative effects of huge tourist numbers yet receive very little benefits. There is now talk of imposing a visitor fee at the airport and distributing funds to local councils.

Damo

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Claire - Yup. That's what I found out about parsnip leaves. I've known for a long time to avoid rhubarb leaves. But, in the interest of using more of the whole plant, I've been paying attention to / researching other parts of plants. This came into being as I got curious about my horseradish. Yup. Horseradish leaf is fine to spice up a dish.

When I was researching the parsnip, I ran across something useful I had never thought about, before. Carrot tops! With a light hand and tender young fronds, they can be used in replacement for parsley. Who knew? :-).

Then there's grape leaves. When the birds get all your grapes, stuff a few grape leaves. That will take the sting out. I guess they can even be pickled. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "Quiet money." A few years back there was a popular book called "The Millionaire Next Door." Which was all about that quiet money and how to become one of those people. Actually, it was full of pretty good advice. Like, never buy a vehicle new. Probably not news to you and me, but I'm sure a revelation to lots of people.

Your story of the truck guy reminded me that the first place I lived after leaving home, I had a neighbor. He was a Viet Nam vet who used his pay-out from the army to buy a brand new black classic Corvette. I got to ride in it, once. I decided it would be a very nice thing to have one. If a.) it was free and b.) someone else paid the insurance on the thing. But only for a year, just to get it out of my system. That little fantasy lost it's importance, years ago. In this part of the world, it seems like a lot of young men, returning from the military with a bit of jingle in their pockets buy enormous trucks with enormous wheels. Tricked out with all the bells and whistles.

Community can be a tricky thing, as I'm finding out living here at The Home. Ever shifting alliances. I manage to steer clear of it, mostly. Just go my own way and do my own thing. Slowly, the stories come out. I just discovered the other day that one of the women used to do a bit of acting, in Hollywood. Small stuff. And, when she wasn't doing that, she was Driver/Nanny to the Stars! :-). We talked for quit awhile, not because I was mining for celebrity stories (which she appreciated) but about living in LA and more the craft of acting and movies.

I think you're onto something with the idea that back in the "old" days, people had secure housing and employment. So, not so much a need for "stuff." But now, jobs and housing is insecure, so "stuff" gains more importance. Coupled with advertising. A lot of hoarders, hoard, because their stuff gives them a sense of security and protection. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Now you need a big graphic on the side of your trailer. "Canary Wagon." :-). You know. In your spare time.

Tell Ollie he's lucky he wasn't named Spotty. Or, worse, Acne. Zit Face? You might try laughing at him when he's naughty. Sure worked for my little Westie, Arthur. Way back when.

The apricots sure look pretty. Stuff bottled up always gives one a feeling of accomplishment. And, security. No one's going to starve with that lot, around. Looks like you're going to have a bumper crop of lots of things. I envy some of the things you can grow there, that we can't here. Eggplant is a no go, except for small, fast growing hybrids. No artichokes, either. I did see one, once, in a green house. But the ROI (or space taken up) isn't very good for greenhouse growing.

Forecast is for 100% rain. And, today, it's raining 100% of the time. :-). A truly nasty day.

Brian Wilson also fell into the hands of a very unethical doctor. It took court orders from his family to pry him away. Humans are complex (no poop, Sherlock). A combo of nature (genes) and nurture. Forgotten childhood experiences. Miss-remembered childhood experiences. Well. It keeps life interesting!

Borley Rectory, ghosts, etc.. I think people were more open to those experiences, back in the "old" days. Spiritualism and mediums were pretty common interests. There were several movies around in the 30s and 40s involving friendly ghosts. "Topper", etc.. Then came all the, mostly, black and white 50s, bucket of blood "B" movies. The difference is maybe what drove me to the library (who knows what motivates an 8-10 year old?) I was looking for a little truth. ("The truth is out there" :-).

I should be clear the pansies aren't the big things you see in the garden stores. The blossoms are tiny. Purple and yellow. Violas? They might even be a wild variety. There's a lot of volunteers around The Home. Comfrey, pumpkins and tomatoes. I had a small cheery tomato (the Garden Goddess thought it might be an heirloom variety) popped up in my garden bed. I saved some seed.

The four bean salad seemed to go over well. No rave reviews but not much to bring home. And, yes, I let it "simmer" in the fridge, overnight. This potluck had quit a bit of "real" food. I haven't made a big deal of it, but, maybe, word got around that I thought all deserts and bread wasn't maybe the healthiest way to go. Or, maybe it's just now that the holidays are over, people have more time. There was two potato au gratins, a really good, from scratch ham/barley soup. Ruth's Famous Pickled beets (that she grew in her plot). A whole cut up roast chicken. My beans. So, in general, since it was all mostly unprocessed, pretty healthy. Only one desert and a couple of plates of processed crisps. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

I appreciate your no-nonsense and straight to the point synopsis of community. I have a gut feeling that that point is lost on a lot of people.

In the book, the sukebind is apparently in bud! A frightening event! Hehe!

Thank you for saying that. The climate here is a good middle ground climate and a wide variety of plants can grow here. I can mostly get away with sub-tropical plants which are far outside their range, but the tropical plants will require a fair bit of global warming in order to grow here. Best not express that wish out loud though, as one never wants to tempt fate. Oh, I was reading about an interesting dinosaur find from about 100m years ago when Australia was joined to Antarctica down at the South Pole. I'll put a link in with Lewis's comment below.

Nice to hear that spring has sprung. Outside here now looks like winter, so it may be an early autumn, but it is too soon to call it. Last night almost two inches of rain fell.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Your weather is about the same as outside here today! It didn't get any warmer than 55'F here today as a big monsoonal storm dropped almost two inches of rain yesterday afternoon and overnight. Up until this week it has been very hot and dry. Very dangerous conditions. Not as dry as Cape Town in South Africa though, they are facing some very tough conditions with water.

Does the snow melt provide much soil moisture? Are droughts a regular part of your climate, and are they usually a short term or a long term (many years) event? Do you have rainfall records for your area for any length of time? They can show trends. The records here stretch back to about 1870, and using a regression line, they are suggesting an increase in average rainfall, but there are some shocker hot and dry summers even still. 2009 was notable. Two years ago, the summer was pretty bad too with 10 days in excess of 104'F and below average rainfall.

I'm with you too about mollycoddling plants and I much prefer that they adapt and survive. They often respond by losing leaf coverage, but by and large if they don’t die, they put down deeper root systems and are tougher in the long run. Like you, I also feed the soil. I picked up another two bins of coffee grounds today. Have you ever tried using coffee grounds on your garden? They disappear within a week or two here, so something must be consuming them.

I totally get that too about maintaining appearances and dead heading the flower stems where they can be seen by the public. On a similar note, I have been experimenting with a patchwork of longer grass over the summer as an orchardist told me that the soil life will benefit from the summer shade of the longer dry grass. It is a risk from fire though, so it has to be a patchwork.

The ladder business is a tough issue. I'm considering purchasing one or two three legged ladders which are used by orchardists as they are inherently more stable than a traditional four legged A-frame ladder. But yeah, falling off a ladder is not good for ones long term health. I knew a local lady a few years ago that had been on a quad bike which rolled. The lady eventually recovered, but was not the same ever again.

Hello Claire! Ollie here! The humans get so upset about nothing at all. I mean, I was hungry, there were tasty and nice smelling fresh food on the kitchen bench, and it is not that high off the ground. Clearly the whole set up was intended for me to help myself? And did they appreciate my good review of their cooking skills? No. Thanks for the sage advice and warm vote of support. Yes. Those humans sure do require further training.

Cheers

Chris (and Ollie)

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

I love that radio. It is a Kenwood KT-1100SD and I have seen it listed on music tech websites as not the best quality FM radio ever produced, but it is not far from that spot. I may have already mentioned it, but I saw it for sale second hand on eBay a long time back and it was about $200. What is with that? It makes absolutely no sense to me, but then I guess people have gone digital and DAB+ is transmitted here. The sound quality from the tuner is bananas and it provides for some block rocking beats! Sorry, I digress, but I do love scoring top notch quality old school second hand stuff, that people put no value on, mostly because it has no value.

You are a thrill seeker to leave your story to the deadline, but I have faith that you'll get there. Best of luck with the story competition!

I can see why Kendrick got number one, so it was not a surprise to me at all. I imagine the song was based on an incident... The Gang of Youths album was superb and I picked them for number one, so it is lucky that I don't gamble as a general policy. They got three songs in the top ten and deserved every bit of their success. Angus and Julia Stone were number three and they too produce some fine work. It was a good year for music.

Brain Dead is just wrong! Buckets of gore. Lots and lots!

Mate, that kid is a little trooper! What an awesome thing to do. The editor and I struggled walking up that steep hill, let alone doing that gear. Good on him.

Two words: Leaf change tourists. Oh, that's three words. Yup, considerable costs and not much in the way of benefits for the locals. They don’t even spend much money here as you can see the trees for free from the road. It is feral and there is some push back going on behind the scenes up here. At times like those, it is nice to live in the unfashionable end of the mountain range.

As an interesting NZ side story, we were there last century in a campervan and there were a few times when I was glad that some old cocky in his farm ute forgot to take his gun with him that day... The editor used to bring them to my attention and suggest that they looked pretty angry having to follow the campervan. And I’ll tell ya what, back then the roads were empty of traffic and it was a cold September. The road down the west coast of the south island is amazing.

I hear you.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I am so busted. That book has many thoughtful chunks of advice and despite the criticisms levelled at it, and I concur with the findings and the advice and follow all of it. If only because I live in the real world and have no room because of my profession to muck around with strange beliefs when it comes to money. Living below ones means is not an option that most people consider, but it just works.

That book came to my attention a long time ago because of the interesting findings - particularly in relation to vehicles and I'd always had that attitude to them. Spending tomorrow's cash today has become a mantra for many people these days and it is wrong.

cont...

Coco said...

Excellent reporting from Ollie last week! Glad he´s settling in, even at the cost of the biscuits. Breo sends a cordial wag of the tail.

Your fruit, veg and flowers look great, as usual. I did some weeding here, but a couple of inches down it´s still a bog, so no planting yet. Having consulted the internet, apparently we´re in zone 9, so I got a heat pad for seed starting and it seems to be working a treat, though it doesn´t get very hot. We have achieved sweet pea sprouts!

We thought we were going to have a mouse-free winter, but I´ve just discovered a lot of chewed up bits of paper in one of V´s filing cabinets and the dog is fixated. Have to dig out the traps and put them down where the pup´s nose won´t fit.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I spoke too soon. Winter came back with a vengeance last night the ground is white with frost brr.

'Live below your means' must be one of the best pieces of advice that could ever be offered.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis (from the above continue - it's complex),

Had to change computers, have a coffee and an Anzac biscuit, plus there was some decompression from the day’s events! In a rare occasion, today I took the dirt rat Suzuki into Melbourne and ran a whole lot of urgent errands, but also wrapped up a job that I'd taken on recently that had taken an inordinate amount of my free time and also doing them what can only be described using the colloquial term of a 'solid'. I assume that my payment for this will be in forthcoming, and not end up in Heaven where all good payments go to die. Far out.

As a minor correction, it wasn't a truck, but a small locally made 4 cylinder, 4 door sedan - in duck egg blue. That adds an additional dimension to the story, because it was a very unlikely vehicle for such treatment. I recall reading a story about a local 1970's vehicle colour, which less accurate folks may use the word 'purple' to describe, but the marketing folks called it 'Barney's shirt' because apparently the story goes that that was the colour of the shirt Barney wore one day to work. They have a person that works as a colour consultant these days in such roles. I'm not suggesting that such an occupation appears a little bit esoteric to me, but opinions may vary. No doubts that they'd get very heated if that opinion was aired!

Petrol is back up around $1.50 per litre (3.8 litres to the gallon). I get that about the Corvette, but who wants the bills associated with owning one of those monsters? You don't and I'm with you in that regard. I heard a podcast with a local economist who regularly writes articles in the newspapers and he said that it is cheapest to get a basic well made Japanese vehicle, maintain it, and run it into the ground. I can't argue with such logic. If I could get away without a vehicle, I would, but I am required to participate in the monetary economy. It is an effective trap with no escape – believe me, I’ve looked and gone as far away from it as I could travel.

You are up to your eyeballs in social intrigue. Staying out of the ongoing intrigue seems to be something of a hidden talent of yours. I would eventually slip up and provide a candid opinion on some matter and then people would get all upset and annoyed at me! What a fascinating person to be able to speak with and a person with a good eye would see a lot from the underside of the business (so to speak). I reckon people see more of their chosen profession and of the people within it when they begin small and work their way up the ladder in numerous roles - or are around for a very long time (the survivors!)

Thanks about the thought. It has been an idea that we've been chucking around recently. Cars feed into that too, and today in the big smoke I saw a billboard promoting discounted vehicle finance. What was weird about it, was that it wasn't advertising vehicles for sale, it was advertising the financing side of things and offering some sort of discount. I haven't seen that before as usually such things are an adjunct to vehicle advertisements and not the other way around... Oh yeah, a decade ago, nobody, but nobody had vehicle finance other than a personal loan from a bank for the purpose.

Spare time? What is this thing? I've heard of it, but it is a myth isn't it?

Ollie is very spotty. He has strong opinions about his natural charm and is not easily cowed. I'm trying to train him out of jumping on people as that is definitely not charming. He has had an abusive past, so I have to be very gentle and consistent with him. When they sold him to us, they gave me the number of a pet behaviouralist and so clearly Ollie has had trouble in other places. He's alright that dog and has perked up the household considerably!

cont (again)...

Fernglade Farm said...

Yeah, we bottled a half years supply of apricots this summer and so in the depths of winter I'll be tasting summer sunshine in my breakfast. The flavour doesn't keep longer than that length of time, and there is always stewed / poached pears in the depths of winter.

It is a good all round climate here, as long as it is not a hot drought year. Ouch! Hey, we have some smaller heritage eggplants on offer here, although they may freak you out because they are Barney's Shirt colour! I'll see if I can find what they're called. Globe artichokes take up a lot of space here too, but the plant always regrows reliably from the root system every year (you could cut floor boards out of the roots they're so big!)

Oh! That reminds me, I spotted an article about a new type of local dinosaur bones discovered recently from way back in the day when Australia was connected to Antarctica way down in the south pole. Those dinosaurs must have been hardy. Where was it... ...

New turkey-sized plant-eating dinosaur identified after fossils found at Cape Otway

Study reveals big picture for Victoria's little dinosaur

Because it was so cold at the time, there have not been many dinosaur fossil bones found down under.

I sort of feel sorry for the bloke, as he would have been a magnet for trouble, and trouble would have found him. Some people are like that, and the fame and money would only have ever exacerbated the problems. It does keep life interesting for the rest of us though as long as we're not involved - that is probably a bad thing! ;-)!

I have seen a few friendly ghost films, but then there was the Poltergeist and the Exorcist, and that kind of left a lasting impression on a young and impressionable mind that probably shouldn't have been watching such scary films. What is the scariest film you have ever seen? I reckon my vote would be for the original Alien film - the setting was so dark and mysterious and pretty much everyone copped it in the neck by the unstoppable creature. It was the sheer futility that added to the drama.

Yeah, those Viola's grow here too and they're the ones I meant. I have no idea how they got here, but they probably hitchhiked in with another plant. These things happen. Good work with saving the seeds on the cherry tomato. The small to mid sized tomatoes are always the best tasting I reckon. And they ripen where it is not crazy hot for months on end (where ever that is)...

What a meal! Yum! Excellent stuff, and I would have particularly enjoyed the from scratch ham/barley soup. I have a particular fondness for ham hocks and they smell very nice when they're cooking. Alas, vegetables for me as I have done something bad in a past life and must pay my dues. We did cook a free range chicken for friends who visited before Christmas, so there is the occasional exception, but it is very rare. It was a good chicken too.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

Ollie sends greetings and dog dreaming, couch sleeping, twitches to Breo, the finest of dogs!

Thank you, that is lovely to read. The old timers say: It never rains, but it pours - and that has certainly been the case for you this year. I have no experience with planting in boggy soil. Good luck! It should dry out once it warms up? Maybe? Oh! Apparently, the climate here is 9b for cold and 4 for heat, but we may be on a different scale than you? Dunno. Your place does look like what I'd reckon a 9 should like though.

The heat pad is a great idea and they really work well from what I've seen of them.

Good luck with the rodents. If you discover what to do to thwart their mousey ambitions please let me know, as they're pretty clever creatures. The chickens sometimes uncover a mouse nest and that is an ugly business. Trust Breo's nose!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Ah yes, it is always wise to not make pronouncements too soon. Stay warm in those conditions, and I hope the squirrels are OK? Oh! I mentioned something about an early autumn, oh no! Now I may have put the kiss of death on myself for a prolonged summer...

It is an awesome bit of advice isn't it! I find it to be a tough sell though as people want to hear the story that says do more fun things with debt... Sometimes I feel like I am the ignored "Fun Police"! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Had a nice time in the city but it is so expensive to eat (well and drink) out there. On Sunday we went the The Land Conservancy's annual brunch which always has good food and excellent speakers. They left out the live auction too which pleased us greatly. Live auctions are always the worst part of these events/fund raisers.

Enjoyed the description of your old neighborhood. We do all have to learn to get along with our neighbors. Because we're in a rural area our neighborhood encompasses a fairly large area and we have our share of characters.

Naughty Ollie but then that's pretty typical isn't it. Our dogs usually try that trick once until they are strongly reprimanded by Doug who can be pretty intimidating. I think most dogs really want to please. From the looks of things Ollie is starting to settle in quite well. Leo became much more active after Salve arrived too.

Your temperatures are fluctuating more than ours!! Polar vortex part 2 is supposed to arrive in a couple days though it won't be nearly as bad as the first one.

Margaret

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Long droughts are not all that common here, although we get dry spells on an irregular basis at any time of the year. St. Louis has a long period of record, from the 1860s. The last multi-year severe drought I know of was in the 1930s, in common with the Plains states to the west of us. That decade featured epic dust storms because the prairies had been plowed and planted without an understanding of how to protect the soil against the occasional multi-year drought (the settlers didn't realize multi-year droughts could occur). Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath is a fictional account of the Dust Bowl years; I've read the book and seen the movie made from it, both very insightful, worth reading/seeing. Farmers and the communities they lived in or near suffered a terrible blow; the Great Plains states have never really recovered from it, though the worst of the soil erosion was stopped by various means such as shelter-belt plantings and plowing on contour. I saw these in action when we drove through the Plains last September. However, I have heard that the lessons are being forgotten due to the length of time that has passed, in particular that shelter-belts are being ripped out and converted to plantings to increase profit. What could go wrong?

Since I've been gardening, I have experienced a few drier than normal summers: 2005 through 2007, for instance. This area tends to be humid and get decent rain during the growing season on average although we generally have at least one 3 to 6 or so week long dry period at some point during the growing season. The only year I've experienced multiple months long drought during the growing season, so far, was 2012, also a very hot summer. On Weather Underground the co-bloggers are making worrisome noises in their Category 6 posts that 2018 may be a bad year for drought in the US, especially in the South, because it will follow the second La Nina winter in a row. The 2012 drought, which encompassed the entire Corn Belt, occurred following the second La Nina winter in a row, and some very recent research suggests a correlation. The Climate Prediction Center has given the Midwest a higher the average probability of the rest of the winter being wetter than normal, but so far that hasn't panned out here. If we don't get some reasonable rain in spring I'll need to begin watering much earlier than usual.

The yearly rainfall and temperature trends for St. Louis are warmer and wetter; less frequent but heavier rains, and minimum temperatures increasing faster than maximum temperatures (more humid and/or cloudier). Less snow. If we have snow cover it's very good for increasing soil moisture when it melts, but so far this winter not enough to make a difference.

Claire

Damo said...

@Lew,

I ventured into a library for the first time in a long time yesterday, returning some magazines for Mrs Damo. I struggled to find a return slot and asked a helpful staff member, who directed me to a strange table. With the staff member watching from a distance, I placed the magazine on it. The table flashed green, then a robotic voice informed me to put the magazine on the nearby trolley. I repeated the process for all magazines, and waved goodbye to the staff member who had watched the whole process. No doubt he would then roll the trolley somewhere to place everything back on the shelf.

I am not quite clear exactly how the whole system saved any money or how removing interaction with the library staff will lead to anything good but there you go. There was a good number of people inside though, so will be back to take a better look!

Damo

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "Ollie and the Anzac Biscuits." Sounds like a good idea for a children's book :-). Reminded me that I still want to experiment with substituting a very sweet onion, for the raisins and coconut. I made banana muffins, again, last night. I'm getting a craving for corn bread. "So much to bake, so little time." tm. I'll slap it on coffee mugs and posters.

Discovered that the National Weather Service breaks down our rainfall into hourly amounts ... or, a 72 hour amount. Last 72 hours, 1.02 inches. Sun is shining right now. But, to quote an old saying about our weather, "Wait 5 minutes. It will change."

Barney's shirt purple? Not Barney the dinosaur purple? Probably a copyright issue.

I avoid intrigue and drama, as much as I can. And often bite my tongue just to keep the pot from stirring. I watched a movie the other night, which was pretty good. But I did have to fast forward through the part where the drunken husband was beating his wife. That's what fast forward buttons are for.

The little dinosaur articles were interesting. At first I thought you were referring to some recent headlines about 3.5 billion year old fossils. I skipped those. At that stage of the game, somehow, fossils of pond scum aren't very interesting.

I thought of another friendly ghost movie. "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." Scariest movie ever seen? Hmmm. Probably from when I was a kid. "House on Haunted Hill" (from a novel by Shirley Jackson) and, maybe "13 Ghosts." All those atomic insect mutation movies. "War of the Worlds" sent me screaming under the theatre seat when I was 4. According to reports. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Speaking of Varieties of Human Experience (which is a rip off of the William James title, "Varieties of Religious Experience"), major digression, ahead.

I'm reading a book called "The Shadow in the Garden: A Biographer's Tale" (Atlas, 2017). He's done a couple of "serious" literary biographies (Delmore, who?). About the ins and outs of those serious, door stop biographies. Not the "as told to" or ghost written Hollywood or sports celebrity bios. The deep stuff. The one's where you find out what everyone had for lunch on September 3d, 1938. Lunch was 10 minutes late and the soup spoiled, because the scullery maid was sick and Cook was cross.

Atlas was quoting an early (and first) biographer of William Blake (the poet / illustrator) who was more than a bit mad and eccentric. "-to allow for and condone the infinite mystery of human behavior, it's refusal to be explained." I understand that. Sometimes, I lack patience or get irritated if I have to explain my foibles or eccentricities. :-). Lew

Damo said...

@Chris

I paid the price for flirting with the deadline. It was a late night before I finished the edits! Although in truth, my decision to watch an episode of TNG first did not help matters :-p Speaking of which, I am sad to report I have now completed all seven seasons. Using my patented episode ranking technique, which avoids the lower quality episodes, I enjoyed the series greatly and would not object to a new series telling similar stories.

Mrs Damo has also decided to enter the writing contest, but unfortunately only started a few days ago. An email from the contest organisers suggested a rather lax attitude to the importance of a cut-off date and Mrs Damo is taking full advantage, with plans to send something off in the next day or two. Memories of last-minute essay extensions from bewildered university lecturers come flooding back...

A work colleague from the west coast keeps telling me how nice it is, I am hoping to get over that way in a few weeks and will dutifully report back!

Damo

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I forgot to ask whether this week's title was based on Milan Kundera's 'Unbearable lightness of being'. I read it many years ago and don't remember it at all. The strange thing was that my mother read it at about the same time. We tried to discuss it but got nowhere, we seemed to have read completely different books; this certainly emphasized the complexity of the book. Oh dear, another one in a box in the shed that I'd like to read again.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret, Claire, Lewis, Damo, and Inge,

Many thanks for the lovely comments, but yet again I was in the big smoke today with the editor (working too hard at the moment) and so we delayed our return and side tracked to a Japanese restaurant. I promise to reply tomorrow, when I should have heaps more time! Until then...

Lewis - Despite the 59'F temperature (how is that for summer and the last day of January?) we stopped off tonight to share a gelati in a waffle cone with two flavours. Lemon (which is always a solid gelati choice) and coffee which was very good, but perhaps not for everyone!

Hey, you may not be aware of it, but there is once in a 150 year event with the moon down here tonight - starting in a couple of minutes actually. It is a 'super blue blood moon' which sounds a bit scary really! Here is an article on it: How to get the best photos of tonight's super blue blood moon lunar eclipse.

We plan to go out and have a look. Mind you, it is a bit cloudy here tonight. Oh well, what shall be, shall be!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris:

Sigh . . . that was a boo boo. I knew as soon as I "published" my little comment that it was on the wrong post. I appreciate you noticing anyway. Reference was to wombat poo . . .

I loved hearing about your quirky neighbors. It takes all kinds, eh? Maybe somebody said that?

Gee, duck egg blue sounds nice. What is it?

Now there is a sage comment: "Community, as far as I can understand things, is both the good and the bad, and all the many points in between."

It is probably good that you have had so much rain, if only because of bushfire threats. Poor Scritchy, with all those thunderstorms.

I was thinking myself that you would have had no problem finding a use for excess electricity with all of that water pumping!

So much apricots! I am eating oatmeal with apricot preserves in it, right now. Store-bought, sadly. Maybe it is this year that we will get apricots from our lone apricot tree.

Our firewood dries out faster than your type of wood. It only takes a year.

In your Scritchy/Ollie photo it appears to me that Queen Scritchy has a somewhat wary look in her eye lest Court Jester Ollie should get up to one of his pranks if she should be careless enough to fall asleep. And weren't any other canines around during the Great Biscuit Raid? How could they have missed such an opportunity? Or perhaps they are just too well trained to react to such a disaster? Just wait till Ollie is even taller.

Sir Scruffy looks as hot as the Triple J and 200, but one can see that he is a music connoisseur and enjoying himself immensely.

You make such a beautiful loaf of bread. Your little yellow tomatoes remind me that I have bought some ground cherry seeds to plant for the first time. The variety is "Cossack Pineapple"; what a funny combination of words. Also trying corn again . . . and again . . .

That spider might be bigger than the tree frog. In fact, I think that the spider is equally eyeing the frog as dinner.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Welcome to the wonderful world of disintermediation (taking out the middle man, in plane English.) Not that it's new, if you've ever used a ticket machine or self checkout at a grocery. But that is a new wrinkle. We have customer self check-out in our libraries here. But that sounds like customer check in.

They were keeping an eye on you as you perhaps gave off vibes that it was a new experience. And, in case you began to go down for the third time, would race to your rescue. I'm sure now that it's installed, you're stuck with it. Great deals of money and administrative prestige have been invested in it.

I'm sure there are some in the library system (all library systems) that would rather get rid of all those old nasty unhygienic books and magazines. After all, it's "all" on the Net. So, why bother? Besides, then you wouldn't have to deal with the unhygienic Great Unwashed, either. (As a side note, in Library Land, those administrative positions that have the least to do with the public, have the most status.).

Those systems don't make less work, they just make different kinds of work. I'm sure the Administration sold it to the rank and file staff with something like "it will free you up for more important tasks" (and, no, we really won't use it as an excuse to cut hours and staff ... until the next time the budget gets a bit tight.) The check in system will be full of bugs and break down, frequently. Sooner or later (more sooner) "software will not support" and the whole thing will have to be replaced. Maybe from another company that promises more bells and whistles and a cheaper price. Which will be even more full of bugs.

There will be a lot of "but I'm sure I brought that back," from the public side. Depending on library policy, they'll either graciously take the item off your record and remove any accrued fees (if they charge late fees), or, if not very gracious, will freeze your account until the item surfaces. Of course, it's always fun to go out in the stacks, find the item, and rub the staffs nose in it.

But I rant. :-). I wonder if the west coast of New Zealand is where they film "800 Words." It sure looks beautiful. I just finished watching season 4 of "The Doctor Blake Mysteries." Which takes place in Ballarat, Australia in the 1950s. Wonder if there will be a season 5? I'll have to check. Quit good. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Chris - Well, I've been trying to avoid all the moon madness. As, per usual, when anything of interest takes place in the sky, we're usually socked in. My, I'm grumpy this morning. Probably hangover from ranting at poor Damo. :-) Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - PS: Library administration usually pulls the figure of 5% error rate out of some orifice that can't be mentioned in mixed or polite company. Or, on family friendly blogs. We'll just say "ear." That's what they told us when it became apparent (at least to the rank and file) that things weren't getting check out. Either by accident or by intention. If you bring it up, the Administration breezily states (with no basis in fact) that "It all comes back ... eventually." Well, no.

I don't think an inventory has ever been done of any library I have ever heard of.

Cataloguing books used to be a kind of art and science. Now OCLC and World Cat have a strangle hold on cataloguing. Libraries contract to them and were able to get rid of all those musty, cranky old catalog librarians. They also claim "only" a 5% error rate. Back when I was in the trenches, and shelving a lot of books, at least once a week I'd send something "back up the line" that had clearly been miss-catalogued. My favorite memory was finding a book on South African Youth in the middle of soap making.

Feel free to remove all identifying marks and printing up about 500 copies of my rant. Leave it lying around or stuff it in returning items to your local branch. Not that it will do any good. Just another pointless, feel good activity :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

It is a pleasure to visit the big city, and then high tail it back to a more rural setting! Do you feel that you'll move back to the big smoke when you sell your house? Yup, the live auctions are a bit of a pain to sit through, and there is the inevitable feelings of obligation which you have to ignore.

I would have liked to continue with that story, but was running out of time and words and didn't really want to identify anyone. People can get a little bit upset about that! Well, I sort of feel that people move around a lot these days and that allows us as a culture to avoid connecting with our neighbours, and given that they themselves move around a lot these days, there is not much point to the activity. At some point in the future, the energy won't be available to do that and like the game of musical chairs we'll be stuck where we find ourselves when the music stops.

I haven't owned a puppy before, so only have experience with older dogs who seem a bit more settled. Ollie is a very happy go lucky creature and I enjoy having him in the house. When he is let inside the house in the mornings he is like an explosion of energy and I have to run him around the house and feed him before he calms down. He is a true delight! I agree with Doug and have reprimanded Ollie and we'll see whether he takes that on board. He hasn't tried that trick again, but there may be new and interesting tricks yet to display! He has enjoyed a nice day out in the warm sun today.

Yeah, the weather is all over the shop down here. The other night was so cold I was considering lighting the wood heater. Go figure that out, after the crazy hot nights leading up to that. I have become accustomed to hot weather though, as you probably have to the very cold weather in your part of the world.

I moved around a heap of potato seedlings today and topped up all of the potato beds. I should perhaps have done that task many months ago, but it was a low priority and will see how the potatoes grow from this point onwards. It is hard to construct infrastructure, manage harvesting and plant for the future as it takes a massive amount of time to get your head around these things. Interestingly too, the other chickens (I reckon) bumped an aggressive bird. I'd have to suggest she pushed things too far and took the fight to a bigger bird. She was healthy in the morning and dead by nightfall and I found her near the door to the orchard so she was probably trying to escape. The bird had an unpleasant personality. Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Yes, down here, we too shared that 1930's drought and it was devastating for the land. I recall that a lot of the people affected by the Dust Bowl moved west to California which clearly wasn't as affected by that drought. You may not know, but down here a lot of land had been abandoned during that drought. Much of the land that was abandoned was actually given to veterans returning from WWI and so they had nowhere to go other than back into the cities and larger towns. The whole drought ended with the: Black Friday bushfires. I've always held a belief that the smoke in the atmosphere following such an event tends to produce greater cloud formation and the subsequent years are usually very wet indeed.

Oh, that is not good. Those lessons are hard won and reducing the effect of wind at ground level is an important activity in order to reduce drying of the vegetation and soils. The trees in shelter belts can often bring moisture and minerals back to the surface level too. Ouch! Hey, I'm planning to establish a hedgerow over the next year or two as I feel they are worth the time and effort. At the moment I'm considering starting with elderberry shrubs, of which I have a motley collection to select from and they establish easily.

Interestingly, down here they described this current La Nina as a weak La Nina event, so how it all turns out in the end I'm not sure anybody really knows. But rules of thumb are as good a guide as any, and time will tell for sure. The south and particularly in the west of the US is really drying up big time.

I'm seeing those sorts of warmer and wetter summers here too on average. I assume that you are still getting frosts without the snow?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The title does sound like a good kids book. No doubts, I have missed my true calling as a children's author, but then having to interact with the kids would drive me bonkers - not to mention the effect on poor Anzac biscuit eating Ollie. How would he cope with hundreds of kids pulling his ears and tail? Answering my own question, I reckon he'd be rightly annoyed, that's what. He is currently asleep on the green couch behind me after having a huge day outside in the warm sun. I moved 1.3 cubic yards of compost up to the potato terrace where all of the raised garden beds scored a nice feed. One can never have too much compost. I reckon I'm about three months late on that job, but I haven't really got my head around the lifecycle of potatoes yet. Understanding each plant is like knowing its story and until I observe a few seasons of that story, I can't rightly recall all of the details. I have a great respect for the old timers who just knew their plant business.

Speaking of which, we are close to beginning to plant out onion seed, so that is another plant story I have to get my head around. We eat a lot of onions and so the time is well spent. You know I haven't tasted a sweet onion and so I'd probably stick with raisins and coconut. If I was going to substitute something into that recipe, I'd probably chuck in dried plums (which should be far cheaper than raisins), or apple (a standard), and you probably have hazelnuts growing abundantly in your area and they would do well. Maybe white chocolate too! Yum! I'm totally salivating thinking about all this yummy food.

That's funny. I've never consumed corn bread, but may plant out a corn terrace if the current lot ends up tasting good. A whole lot of plant and not much in the way of cobs (two per stalk) though.

It is nice to enjoy sunshine after the rain. Today here was the first sunny day after the epic conclusion to the rapid monsoonal build up over this corner of the planet. The ground has plenty of moisture and the water tanks are back up to 80% full! Yay! The Melbourne Water internet rainfall gauge for Mount Macedon that I use for the blog breaks rainfall into hourly updates too. It is very thoughtful, and I read an article recently about the main telco providing narrow band internet service for such devices on the cheap.

There have been a few articles recently on the recycling saga down here. Apparently we have annoyed the Chinese and they are no longer taking our recycling. What to do? Well one serious suggestion by a local council was don't put things in your recycling bin (which I do not have access too anyway and so produce very little rubbish). What a surprise that steel and metal is still being taken! We must be stupid to allow that, but there you go. I have very little glass waste, but what there is, I have been adding the glass to behind the rock gabions as fill and I assume that at some point in the far distant future, people will be wondering what the heck this clear rock business is all about and how did it get there in the ground? It is nice to leave some mysteries. We generate very little rubbish because any waste is a sign of wasted income because well, people are earning and then paying to throw stuff out. It doesn't make much sense to me.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Maybe, I do recall that purple dinosaur. I wonder why people would depict cartoon dinosaurs as being purple? There is a story there. Hey, I spotted an article the other day which said something about scientists being able to identify the colours of some particular fossilised dinosaur feathers. Cool! Apparently they were brightly coloured, so purple may not be that far off the mark.

Hehe! Yup, pond scum makes for dull company! :-)! Hehe! I am genuinely amazed that dinosaurs survived in such a hostile environment.

Thanks for the scary film references and I'll have a look into them. War of the Worlds was pretty scary. To be honest though, I would have been scared by that Hawaiian incoming missile message which went uncorrected for something like 39 minutes. I can see that heads have apparently rolled in that incident. A good reason not to have a smart phone. I do hope that nobody who was vulnerable bumped themselves off on the receipt of that message.

I'm with you as it is an imposition to have to explain and justify oneself. It does make me a bit grumpy too, but then in a bizarre twist of fate I did just that today. Even as I was listening to myself babble on (in a concise manner of course) I thought that it sounded a bit lame. Anyway, I decided to change tack and pointed out rather brusquely that their story is not my story, and their story made absolutely no sense to me and here's why. The encounter ended inconclusively, but I have a plan.

The moons must have aligned for you to mention that! Speaking of which the supermoon was pretty cool and we walked up the road to get a clearer photo and then the clouds rolled in. That story sounds a bit like the fish that got away, but it really did work out that way. I saw Haley's comet from up here on its last pass and it looked awesome due to the clear air and lack of light pollution.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Perhaps the TNG episode was your method of stimulating the creative writing juices? Or, maybe the digression close to the deadline was for important research that had to be conducted? Probably not though! What, all seven seasons? A bit of a shame that, but then there are the films left to watch and there were a few of them. Your patented method of crap avoidance is pure genius and I would not have considered that methodology. Do you feel that the completed results of your survey of the program was hindered in any way by the patented method? Have you considered watching Voyager or Enterprise next?

Haha! That's funny and best of luck to Mrs Damo. Now I do have to wonder what happens if Mrs Damo gets selected for publishing and you miss out? Hopefully words about TNG episodes don't get thrown about? Hehe! Best of luck to you both, alas fiction is not my forte... I am not so lax with deadlines! Hehe!

Yeah, the road along the coast is spectacular. Think Great Ocean Road, but with snow capped mountains in the far distance. Also the NZ road goes north - south rather than south west - north east like the Great Ocean Road. And the plants looked just strange to my eyes due to me being used to the sort of forests you get over here. I’ll be curious to hear of your report.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

No worries at all and that happens with other folk who I don't reply too, however I realised you did that in error. I've put a stop on the podcast for a week or three whilst the spammers go elsewhere. It has been feral and I learned how to block all of them and it has now quietened down to nothing.

Ollie was consuming the mushroom compost today with gusto. Mushroom compost is horse manure and soiled bedding straw which has been composted. Dogs experience the world differently through their appalling tastebuds! Yukko! He loves wombat poo too. If I disappeared, and the dogs were free roaming, they would not starve that's for sure.

Yeah, it does take all kinds, and the people in the local neighbourhoods are always stranger than we'd like to think. Today's earworm: "Who are the people in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood?" I apologise for dropping that catchy little ditty!

It is a rotten colour for a car, that's what. How they ever thought that duck egg blue was a good colour for a car is well beyond me. There, I've said it and feel much better now... :-)!

Thank you, and I mentioned to Margaret above about us lot all moving around so much that we avoid what community actually looks like. It is a complex and intriguing place that community business.

Scritchy is doing it tough with all of the recent hiding under the bed business, but she has survived and is looking quite perky today. She bit Ollie earlier, and I have no doubts that he deserved every tooth of it. Yes, to have some relief from fire risk is a good thing. How are you going with rain in your corner of the planet? It has been crazy dry there.

Pumping water is a great use for electricity and electric water pumps are nice and quiet and just do their thing. I should be installing a new pump later this month (hopefully). My favourite item is the electric oven. I should probably have installed an electric backup water heater too.

Yeah, home dried apricots are preferable to the store bought ones because they taste better and I'm sorry to mention this, but you do know what was done to preserve them in the first place. I used to live next to a lady who had an old lone apricot tree in her front yard, and that tree fruited reliably every single year - and she never picked any of the fruit. It was a struggle to harvest them when she wasn't around. Actually it wasn't really a struggle and I never got busted, and she had so little interest in the fruit which used to drop to the ground. Sad.

Lucky you. Two years for this stuff, although one year at a pinch, but it isn't good for the steel in the firebox. What sort of species do you harvest for firewood?

You know you have touched upon an important matter with the great biscuit raid. To what extent where the other dogs involved as so many biscuits were consumed and Ollie didn't look that ill. Either he has a prodigious capacity for inappropriate canine foodstuffs, or the other dogs were in on the action. They were so quiet about it too. You have touched upon a mystery there. Ollie was definitely the instigator and of that I am certain, the rest of the mystery, not so much...

Sir Scruffy is a devotee of fine music, and he enjoys a sound sleep after a long days activities. He is really old now, but he has such a happy disposition - he did bite Ollie today though and no doubt that was well deserved.

It is a crusty peasant loaf and is an absolute favourite of mine. Yum! I love the name of those cherry ground tomatoes. Very good. What usually happens with your corn? The wallabies have been using previous years corn stalks for tooth picks, but they are unable too this year, much to their unhappiness. Too bad, so sad for them!

Oh yeah, there was going to be some unpleasantness between the spider and the frog, but my money is on the frog as I have seen them eat huntsman spiders. The huntsman spiders occasionally give me frights when they turn up in unexpected locations...

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

University libraries have inventories but they are conducted during the Summer vacation. While the libraries are open then, business is slight.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I have no intention in moving to the city though I do like to visit. My sister who lives there does point out, however, that it's easier for seniors with more public transportation, cultural events etc. which is very true. Our here you have to drive everywhere. Luckily I have several options to stay over with family if there's something to do in the city. We might move into town though or to a nearby small town. We've been here for 30 years this summer and feel we are a part of this community. The best option would be a smaller place just outside of town with an acre or two where we could still have bees, a large garden and a few animals if we'd like.

Sorry to hear about the chicken though she didn't sound like she had a pleasant personality.

Ollie will surely come up with more tricks. You never know he might love kids. Salve actually adores children as unlike the adult humans they will run around with her to no end. She hasn't been exposed to toddlers though and they are the ones who can be a problem as they often enjoy pulling ears, sitting on the dog etc. There is an upside though as they'll often share their food and there's plenty of food dropage at the table and some dogs think that's quite worth the abuse.

We've had some colorful neighbors over the years and I remember some from my childhood as well. I wonder if it gets boring living in the over 55 communities. While children can be an annoyance at times they sure can liven up things.

You make me tired reading your descriptions ofall the work you and the editor do around your place.

Weather is turning much colder as I write and there's several periods of snow in the forecast. Doug is out of town for his annual visit with a friend about 8 hours southwest of here. In his absence I have a ladies overnight planned for Saturday but now there's snow on Saturday and Sunday. Everyone except for one is coming from one to two hours away. Then to top if off after being illness free so far this winter I've come down with a rather nasty cold. The stars are not exactly aligning here.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew

When we moved here our library was housed in a very small building but about 20 years ago they ran a referendum and build a new, much larger one though nothing compared to some of the more affluent suburbs. They don't have a lot of money but do a pretty nice job considering and the head librarian and director is often in back of the desk. There are more DVD's but so far hasn't cut into the number of books (though that's not very high anyway). Our inter library loan system though is quite good and fast. Every month they have a display of books on a subject usually relevant to the season. My MIL lives in the care center very close by and the library had her fill out an interest inventory and they deliver books to her every two weeks and for the most part find books she likes. She can also call and order books as well and they'll deliver them. Sometimes I go there just to read but sadly the last time I noticed the springs in their comfy chairs are toast. The number of periodicals have been cut back but I guess there's some online feature that you can use though I haven't yet.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I think I'll save my hazel nuts for some DIY Nutrella. Not that I've ever made that before, but it sounds pretty easy. I suppose you've heard about The Great French Nutrilla Riots of 2018? Sounds like Black Friday at the local Walmart.

More years ago than I care to remember, I grew corn, dried it, shelled in and stored it in a paper back. Then I ground it with my hand grinder, as needed. Made cornbread, corn flap-jacks/pancakes and grits. The depth of flavor compared to the store bought meal was quit marked.

We've annoyed the Chinese, too. But then, we annoy everyone. They have also stopped taking our recycling. Off topic, but I also see that one can buy state secrets at Australian opportunity stores. How useful and exciting! :-)

When people ask me why I do this or that, usually I just tell them I'm neurotic and bonkers. That usually shuts down the conversation. Nope. Missed Haley's Comet. We were socked in. I DID get to see Haley-Bop for a couple of nights. That was rather impressive. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. We were talking about over-the-top auction descriptions. There's one outfit in Olympia that's taken to describing some very (I think) ugly items as "Hollywood Regency" style. I finally got curious, and, sure enough, there's even a Wikipedia entry. As near as I can figure, you take as many objects, colors, and textures and cram them into a room. Doesn't matter if they "work" together or not. Just so all the items or finishes are "lux."

I'm finding this weeks post over at Mr. Greer's, interesting. He's a braver man than me, McDuff, venturing into the minefield of food foibles. Someone mentioned that if only everyone took up macrobiotics, then world peace and universal enlightenment would break out. It occurred to me that that was the same reasoning the Unabomber used. If everyone would just read his manifesto, a Great Awakening would happen, etc. etc.. I noticed your comment about your "...produce as tasting too strongly." That's because modern varieties of fruit and veg has been developed for shipping and eye appeal, but not for taste. But you know that. Sad when people don't recognize real flavor, anymore.

I don't know all the details, but the library got a chunk of money from somewhere to upgrade the DVD collection. For new stuff and to replace lost or damaged titles. So, there's been a flood of older films. I mention this, because I'd like to announce the First Chehalis International Simon Pegg Film Festival. Sometime in the next few days, I'm going to re-watch "Paul" and "Saun of the Dead." They also had "End of the World", but, it hasn't quit simmered long enough in memory. Complementary nachos and gourmet popcorn will be served.

I finished up watching season four of the Dr. Blake Mysteries. That's the one set in Ballarat, circa 1960. I noticed that quit a few of the cars (including the police cars) were duck egg blue :-). Not to be confused with robin's egg blue :-).

Well, I may have figured out a way to pick up a few extra bucks, today. Our elevator here at the home is going to be upgraded. So, I might set up in the lobby to be sherpa to little old ladies, under a certain weight class. Haul them on my back up and down the stairs. The really exciting thing is, I get to walk Princess, today, as her owner can't navigate the stairs. I had to sign an agreement that I'd bring her back. :-). I'm still tempted to throw her in the truck and head for Canada. We'd become fugitives. Only travel by night, etc.

Do you remember a tv program (British) with a rather eccentric elderly woman on dog training? She was always enthusiastically screeching "Walkies!!!" She had a bit of the Girl Guide Leader Gone Wrong, aura about her. If you can get her on the computer, maybe you can scare Ollie into good behavior? Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

How does one spam a podcast?

I love mushroom compost, too. But at least I don't eat it.

Arggh! I haven't watched Sesame Street since my kids were wee things.

It is still awfully dry here, but we are expecting rain on Sunday. I do enjoy the dry winters, though, just because life is easier without a lot of heavy snow.

What we harvest is determined by which trees are dead, as we only use dead wood unless a tree has to be cut down because it might be a danger or to make a space for sun to the garden. Oak is our first choice, followed by hickory and poplar and pine, in no particular order.

I wonder what mischief Ollie has been up to that he has everybody biting him? Just a General Nuisance?

With our corn, it is always something and it never seems to be the same thing. So I guess we'll keep trying different varieties and tweaking the soil. It rarely gets big enough to tempt even a raccoon.

I am so glad that you mentioned the blood moon. I had no idea that event was about to occur. I didn't see it, but I found these great photos.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-42890838

Have you lost another chicken?

The local seed co-op that I buy from had Sandor Katz' fermentation book on sale, so I now have it.

Pam

Damo said...

@Lew
Think about the possibilities if I printed your rant and placed it inside random books. In 500 years, some atheist monk could be translating the lost works of The Da Vinci code and find your polemic on early 21st century library management trends. Historians would love it!

I too missed out on the Super Moon, all of New Zealand was basically blanketed by cloud. We went out for some Mexican and the menu had a Venezuelan lamb curry dish which I *had* to try. It was pretty good with some nice coconut flavours. Made up for the weather :-)

Enjoy your Simon Pegg marathon - I rewatched his early TV series 'Spaced' a few months back and the first season is still pretty solid entertainment. Lots of seeds you see grow in Shaun of The Dead.

Damo

Damo said...

@Lew /cont

I have seen that British dog trainer lady. The show was pretty entertaining from memory. Of course, it was the human 'owners' who were actually being trained and part of the enjoyment came from judging the hapless owners and the way they live (similar to those hoarding shows and to a certain extent, Mr Ramsays kitchen dramas).

Damo

Damo said...

@Chris

Yep, all seven seasons! I think my method worked pretty well - I mean lets be honest, there were some real stinkers in there :-p Best to leave in them in the ancient halls of memory. I used a similar technique for Voyager a few years back. On average I only watched about 1/3 of the episodes and came away pretty entertained. Even with the 'best' episodes though, it was clear Voyager had some big problems, at least when watching back-to-back. It also had some really good standout episodes in the vein of classic SF (the realm of space with no light, the planet made entirely of water and a couple of the time loop episodes come to mind).

I gave up on Enterprise way, way back in Season 1. I was not really interested in the premise to be honest. Around that time the Battlestar Galactica reboot started and it was better on every level. Although, it too went off the rails around the time the writers started trying to answer mysteries established in the first two seasons. Landing a finish is hard, especially if you are making it up as you go along! IMO, the latest Star Wars movie suffers from this. As well as just kinda being a bit boring in places. I commented to someone the other week, that for such a cultural milestone, Star Wars actually only has 2 out of 9 objectively good movies. The others are either just plain bad, or almost a complete rehash of an earlier, better movie. Opinions may vary of course, but from where I sit I feel my opinion is the only correct one :-p

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

I must apologise as I forgot to reply yesterday before heading out to the pub for dinner and a pint of quality porter. Yum! The system here is sometimes not so good.

Well done, and that one earns you the coveted Elephant Stamp for picking up on my little joke with the title. I always chuck little word play jokes in each week, and even if nobody gets them, I enjoy them! That book is a complex modern tale isn't it? The editor has some minor connection with the Czech republic as her dad was Austrian but who's mother moved to distant family in the Czech republic before WWII under cloudy circumstances (I believe you will understand what I am referring too).

Today was an almost perfect summers day and we spent about half of the day cutting and hauling firewood. I feel that we shall begin this task earlier in November later this year, but then life does get in the way of plans! Hehe! Has it warmed up at all for you? Today was simply a Very High UV day rather than the Extreme which I have become accustomed to sweltering under. We also picked local blackberries. Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Your sister has a point, but then there are other amenities to be had in living in a small town or a rural area. And Doug's bees are one such hobby which the neighbours would be feral angry about in an urban area. There are folks who keep bees in the city, but I look for bird and insect life when I go into Melbourne and there is not that much of it. The main problems really are insecticides which are not good for bees, but the insects also struggle finding reliable and clean water sources to drink. Water is not chlorinated here and who knows what effect that chemical has on insects?

But yeah, the larger point about public transport and cultural events is very true.

An acre or two would be a very productive and enjoyable space.

Ollie has had a massive day outside and he encountered his first very large kangaroo. He is not the brave cattle dog that I assumed that he would be. He put on a good show from a very safe distance and the huge bull kangaroo just looked at him as if to say: "What?" The funny thing is that Sir Scruffy is slightly lighter than Ollie, and about a third his height, but he has four times the bravery factor. I am enjoying Ollie's sheer joy for life and he is a pleasure to have around. I guess time will sort out what sort of role he plays here?

I suspect that the deceased chicken was eating eggs, as we had a larger haul of eggs today. The chicken collective also seems to be calmer for her absence. Two psycho chickens is not a good pattern. My mates in the big shed also had a psycho chicken episode, but both the victim and the perpetrator remain alive (although the victim has been injured).

Absolutely, I suspect Ollie will love children. I am in the process of trying to train him out of jumping up onto people as it is a bit disconcerting for them. The gas cylinder dude turned up today as I have a 99 pound gas cylinder which is used for backup heating of water when the sun doesn't shine (solar hot water) and it is too warm to run the wood box (which also heats up the hot water). Ollie just said hello to the gas dude. Far out, Sir Poopy used to pull a Cujo 5,000 overdrive face at strangers - and they tended to look scared for good reason. Once Sir Poopy knew that someone was OK, he was very friendly, but until that point he took his guard dog duties seriously. Ollie is a different beast altogether which surprises me.

Oh yeah. Totally 100% boring. Sorry, and I hope you weren't considering that option?

Thank you for saying that about the work. There is a story there which I may tell one day, but needless to say my plan is working!!! To be honest, we don't work nearly hard enough.

I hope you recover quickly from your cold and that you have an enjoyable ladies overnight. The editor sometimes has those too and everyone seems to have a good time. I get to enjoy a serious catch up on Internet reading or watch a movie.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I had not heard of the Great French Nutella Riots of 2018. It is a very disturbing incident to read about. As an interesting addition to that story, I had read that demand for the product Nutella had outstripped the supply of hazelnuts. So there is a bit more to that story than meets the eye. On the other hand, perhaps in this instance, supermarkets appear to have been guilty of cliffing their suppliers? We have spoken about the practice of cliffing before, but it is not a good one. To be honest I have never really consumed Nutella, but my Italian mate loves the stuff and I have seen him eating it direct from the jar. I grow a few hazelnut trees here, but they are slow growing for some strange reason which may correct itself over the next couple of years. There is a farm on the northern and more sunnier side of the mountain range that seems to grow the hazelnut shrubs like huge stands of bamboo. And then come autumn, they cut them back really hard just to add insult to injury! Oh well.

Oooo! I'm starting to get excited by the prospect of fresh home grown corn. As another interesting side note, I checked upon the corn today and they appear to have sprouted further cobs. I only hope that they set enough kernels on the cob. Fortunately, there is perhaps always next season and a new terrace devoted to corn? A week or two back I was at the Queen Victoria market in Melbourne and spotted a bloke selling whole grain wheat, and I foolishly didn't purchase any. I feel that that was a lost opportunity. The grains looked an awful lot like sunflower kernels.

Out of curiosity, what sort of hand grinder did you use? There are some very good ones available nowadays. Alas, they are not cheap items.

Despite everything the US does not appear to be annoying Australians. We are a tolerant and laid back bunch, but to be honest, the US pulled our chestnuts out of the fire during WWII when the Japanese were bombing the daylights out of Darwin. Favours like that are hard to recant on.

Oh yeah, how funny was the top secret cabinet papers being discovered in a locked cabinet in an opportunity shop! We know how to do breaches of national security properly down here. Apparently all it took to open the cabinet was to drill out the lock. It was very nice of the person that purchased the cabinet on the cheap because it was locked and full of stuff, to hand over the documents to the ABC! I'm still laughing about that one! You have to ask the hard question: What else has disappeared into the ether? On a positive note, it is nice that the furniture was properly recycled. Speaking of which I am absolutely torn about whether to write this week about the truth about recycling or bike riders. Far out! What a decision I have to make here! I'd appreciate your thoughts on this most important of matters?

If you're neurotic and bonkers, mate then the editor and I must be complete eccentrics! It is a nice club to be part of, don't you reckon? Hehe!

Comets are amazing to see and look every bit as good as the hype suggests.

Ah yes, "lux" is a disturbing and confused style from what I have seen. It is also often employed using dubious financial instruments, by those who can least afford to do so.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I salute Mr Greer, this subject will either end well, or he will be the most hated person on the Internet! I'm not sure which, but I plan to indulge myself in a thorough reading of this most important of topics after I reply here. It is exciting! :-)! People are so weird about food that I no longer comprehend their different perspectives. And few people even consider the soils that all this stuff is grown in.

Exactly, all those minerals and chemicals that bring taste into food, are items that are lost. And we are what we eat! Plus, the sheer diversity of biological life on out food itself is a source of amazement, but a lot of industrial food is cooked so that it is dead - so as to extend shelf life. It is not like we are composed of a huge diversity of flora and fauna and possibly need to maintain that and not poison it. I really enjoyed your thoughts on it working like a symphony.

Both "Paul" and "Shaun of the Dead" are very enjoyable films. Seth Rogen in "Paul" does a great job of the cool alien. Do you recall the film from the early 80's "ET"? I mean if aliens can travel between star systems and arrive here not dead, then far out, a few bugs aren't going to trouble them.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries series is highly regarded. They got into a little bit of trouble recently, but it looks as though that may be in the past and another series may be on the cards.

Robin egg blue which may also be confused with arsenic colour, is a real thing. To be honest I thought you were joking around and were making allusions to the BBC series from the 1970's: Robin's nest. Show's you where my mind is at!

I hope you recall to take out insurance on the off chance you drop one of the ladies down the stairs. What a drama! Imagine having to explain that to the police, and then there'd be no end to the speculation. Don't do that to one of the good ones is my thinking on the matter. Hehe!

How was your outing with Princess the Pomeranian? Honestly, they are sneaky and intelligent creatures with a wide streak of wilfulness. I reckon you are up for the challenge, but who shall prevail in this test of wills? I hope for a full report on the outing! Two words: Good luck! Hehe!

That BBC program about the dog trainer was meant to be a serious program on dog training. But yeah, "walkies!" sums the situation up quite nicely! Hehe! Far out, we have descended into the land of silly this evening - and it is a fun place.

I just hope that Princess doesn't bite you. Pomeranian's have complex personalities.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Well, I was unprepared for that question too about the spamming. The podcast uses a Wordpress front end which I modified. People can add comments there to the podcast and for some strange reason someone on a porn forum picked up on the blog. Then they started mentioning the blog to their mates, and before too long, I had all of these people from that part of the web, chucking on comments onto the podcast. For the life of me, I cannot understand what they'd be doing reading the blog and/or listening to the podcast, but there you go. All I can say is that the Internet is a very strange place and I refuse to give them air time on the podcast because there are kids who read the blog and/or listen to the podcast and whilst the comments are harmless, the sources are inappropriate links. Strangely enough they do not post comments on the blog and for that I am grateful. There you go, that is a bit of insight into the workings of the blog!

Oh yeah, I am so with you about the mushroom compost. Nice to have, but not to eat! Dogs can be horrendous.

Hehe! Glad you knew that little earworm. Strangely enough, I never watched the show and how I knew that little ditty is beyond me. Maybe I was plonked in front of the television as a little tacker - as was told to me once long ago by a reliable source.

Good luck for the rain on Sunday. I have never experienced a dry winter and if ever I do, by the time late spring turns up I will be freaking out at the fire risk. Imagine the blog: I'm feeling rather anxious... Every single week! It would not make for fun reading.

Interesting, and thank you for discussing your firewood harvesting activities. Total respect for your ethics too. Oak is a beautiful timber and I plant as many acorns as I can get my hands on. They grow really well too and provide massive amounts of summer shade, and autumn fertility.

Haha! I suspect the Fluffy Collective understands that Ollie is not the cattle dog that he purports to be. Instead they realise that whilst he is large, he has had a tough history and is yet only a youngster. So the Fluffies have decided to exert their authority over him. Seriously, Sir Scruffy who must be at least 4,000 years old is twenty times braver than Ollie. I really like Ollie, but he is absolutely nothing like what we expected him to be, and is in fact quite charming in his own way. Finding out what his secret super power is may take a bit of time yet, but no stress on him and hopefully he finds his feet.

Really? Wow. Have you ever tried the painted corn which is multi-coloured? That is reputed to be the hardiest of the hardiest varieties and it may do well in your area? The corn here has sprouted new cobs today, but I wonder how much corn kernels will actually set on the cobs as the flowers look about done to me. I'm no expert though.

Whilst we could see the moon, it looked cool, but clouds put an end to that. Thanks for the link.

Yes, a lavender Arauncana seems to have gone postal and been taken out by the rest of the chickens. It is brutal in there...

It is a great book! I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the yoghurt section? I was also reading up on vinegar last night as Lewis has made me curious about white vinegar as I have no idea what it actually is. We make apple cider vinegar every year and will do so again soon.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

I do vividly recall the episode when Q decided to introduce the ship to the Borg - who then took an avid interest in the Federation. The actor who played Q ended up in a role in Breaking Bad, but I couldn't see past Q! Yeah, I reckon Voyager was pretty good, but yeah, they did take a while to find their feet as all of them do. My absolute favourite episode with them was "Year of Hell" when they were pounded into oblivion only to recover by a temporal anomaly. How good are those anomaly things? I'll bet you've seen a few of them recently?

I'm with you about Enterprise. I liked the dog roaming around the ship, and the cables instead of the tractor beams. That was cool, but other than that... The story line got too involved in a single storyline and I missed an episode and was left wondering what the heck was going on. Still, the dog was cool. A ship needs a Beagle!

That is a total teaser for sure. One vote for the two out of nine has to be for "The Empire Strikes Back", but I'm left wondering what the other one was? I reckon you'd be a fan of "The Phantom Menace"! Hehe! Don't we have fun here? ;-)!

I watched the original Battelstar Galactica, but they did make it to Earth and that was just sort of weird.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

My goodness - well, that is very interesting information about the podcast spamming. One would think that those folks must have too much time on their hands, to come around and bother you for no reason.

I have tried the multi-colored corn and I guess I could say - relatively speaking - that it did marginally better than the other varieties tried. I really do think that the problem is me and not the corn.

I probably won't be reading the yoghurt section as I don't eat dairy, but I will definitely study about vinegar. I have heard that some commercial white vinegars are produced partly with a petroleum derivative. It sounds far-fetched, but possible.

Happy Ground Hog Day. Blah. It is suppose to stay around freezing today, so ours probably won't come out . . . today.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

It is still very cold here. So bad yesterday that I was running the oven for additional warmth. I decided that it should be doing something so I baked a cake. Friends came in the evening to see if they could do something about my lack of a television signal. The husband said 'Great, she has baked us a cake'. I disabused him. He couldn't even have a slice as it still needed to cool down. Interestingly it is the wife who deals with the technicalities of the television signal. No success there and I shall have to get a tv engineer in. That is always a nuisance because most people are hopeless at finding my residence.

Another book that I enjoyed around the time of 'Cold Comfort Farm' was 'I capture the castle' by Dodie Smith. It declines a bit towards the end though.

Son's two young dogs broke out while he was at work and killed one of his geese. He is now down to one goose.

It appears that we also sent our plastic to China and they no longer want it.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

The dog lady was Barbara Woodhouse. I just loved her. Besides "Walkies!" she would do things like show how much a difference voice intonation and confidence made by having a dog do something like "sit" by commanding "Asparagus!".

Pam

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Do you think community was somewhat easier many years ago than today? Although we think we are cutting edge and original and modern, I suspect there were way more "characters" around back in the day which just meant a community was just a diverse array of characters with fewer precious snowflakes and since chracters just get on with it, making it actually easier to deal all the variance rather than one or few peoples ruining/sabotaging things because of hurt feelings?

I am sure your local pub has many characters and it must be a laugh, especially after a few Canadian maple stouts! :-D

A sticky date pudding is consumed here for Christmas each year (or is that something different from the Christmas pudding I know?). Anyway, Rote Gr├╝tze is my goto preservation method for berries, and is consumed over the winter...together with a chocolate mud cake. How do you think that fits in with the macrobiotic diet?

Cheers

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Yeah, I remember getting annoyed at Enterprise when they got into the first battle and the captain said, "polarise the hull and charge the phase cannons" or something similar. It was at that point I realised this show wasn't going to do anything new with the prequel concept and the writers could not shift out of the old tropes. I think they even beamed a human somewhere in the pilot episode, and I am thinking this show was sold as basically NASA technology plus warp drive, which could have been interesting. Oh well, they had a dog which is nice. Everyone does love a beagle. I mean Data's cat was nice I guess, but it was no beagle!

'phantom menace'! Very droll Chris!! Number two would be a New Hope, then a partial credit for Jedi which still has the best space battle scene in any movie and of course the final redemption of Vader which is solid. But, even as a kid I could never figure out why they needed to sneak into Jabba's palace to get Han back. I mean the rebellion is a pretty big deal with loads of x-wings and capital ships. I am sure they would detach a small unit to rescue the hero of the battle of yavin....lets not talk about the ewoks. The seeds of the awful prequels can be seen in Jedi, that is for sure!

Fun fact, the original Battlestar Galactica was funded in the wake of the Star Wars movie. Everyone wanted to get on the exciting space laser battle gravy train. Of course, we got new Star Trek movies thanks to Star Wars as well, with the enormous budget for 'The Motion Picture' only green-lit thanks to Han Solo and Luke Skywalker!

Damo

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - About finding fragments of my library rant, years in the future. Have you ever read "Canticle for Leibowitz" (Miller)? It's kind of a sci-fi classic. Takes place hundreds of years after civilization collapse and a group of monks venerate St. Leibowitz. Through tiny scraps of this and that that they found in an old bomb shelter. (I think. It's been years since I read it.) So they do illuminated manuscripts of all kinds of bits, that they puzzle over and don't know the use of. Shopping lists. Schematics for circuit boards. There should be plenty of used paperbacks kicking around, on the cheap.

I'm watching "American Gods" the miniseries from a book by Neil Gaiman. See what I have to say to Chris about it. You might be interested.

Pam nailed it. The "Walkies!" lady was Barbara Woodhouse. We do like our eccentric old bats and duffers on the tube :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Ahh. I had forgotten about the university libraries doing summer inventories. Got to keep those work / study students occupied, somehow :-). Come to think of it, I might have taken part in an inventory or two, way back when. Public libraries? I don't think they want to know how much they lose.

I've read a couple of books about book and map thieves. Not so bad now, but in the past, they could pretty easily be looted. In the early 70s, when I worked in the Seattle Art Department, it was finally decided to stamp, on any old book plate, the library name. We were just loosing too much. When you have three complete runs of "The Yellow Book", the Beardsley plates just flew out the door. It made me a bit queasy, but I didn't have to do it myself. They did it up in cataloging.

Much to my surprise, some criminals ADD items to university collections. They slip in references to non existent art works, so they can establish provence for some forgery they're trying to flog. The machinations of the human mind ... Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Your library sounds a lot like the one in Council, Idaho where my friends live. It's amazing what they manage to pull off with limited resources. And, they become real community centers. My friend occasionally does art projects for kids. They have a meeting room for local groups. The AA meets there three evenings a week.

When I worked for Timberland libraries, here, and traveled about, I worked in plenty of rural, one room libraries. Part of the three county system. It was a lot more fun working in those, rather than the larger branches. I got to do a lot more reference work and reader's advisory. I worked in some, often enough, to get to know the local characters. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Yup. That's her. Ms. Woodhouse. She had a book or two. I still see them, every once in awhile, floating around used book sales. Maybe we should all chip in and send a copy to Chris :-). But, to paraphrase what Chris says about beekeepers, "Ask a question of 5 dog trainers, and you'll get four answers." :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - As my go-to colors are blue, black, white and gray, I probably have some duck egg blue, kicking about the place. My kitchen is a symphony of blues. Not with any plan, of course. If it's blue, I chuck it in. Perhaps you were frightened by a duck egg when a wee small lad? A repressed memory? Intensive psychotherapy may be called for :-).

Hmmm. After The Great Biscuit Raid, did Ollie's status and the other dogs tolerance for him go up? Due to his having "taken one for the team." Maybe it's like a gang initiation? "Do this thing and we'll let you into the mob." As a junior member, of course.

I have to say I've never tried Nutella. But, it sounds interesting, and if I can make it myself ... Hazel nuts grow quit well, here. Once established, they can go feral. I think there are even commercial groves.

I got the hand grinder, decades ago. It was a Christmas gift, and I think was purchased via the "Mother Earth News" magazine. Maybe. It's nickel or tin plated over cast iron. Polish made, I think.

I wonder if there's any speculative fiction floating about, as to what it would have been like if Japan had over-run Australia? There's a tv series, running here now. "Man in the High Castle" (boo by Philip Dick). America lost WWII and the east coast is controlled by the Nazi and the west coast by the Japanese. The Resistance lurks in the Rockies. It's irritating. It was streamed a couple of years ago, and so far, no DVD release date for season one. I suppose, due to the rise of streaming, there will be more of that in future. A thought that does not make me happy. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I am currently watching a mini-series "American Gods." It's from a great door stop of a book by Neil Gaiman. I read it years ago, so the details are a bit hazy. But the mini-series is a zinger. The plot is, we're a nation of immigrants. All the way back to the Vikings. And immigrants brought their gods (and goddesses) with them. Odin, Vulcan, etc.. But as they are no longer worshiped, or even thought of much, their power is greatly weakened. There is war brewing, between them and the new American gods. Tech boy, Media, and Mr. World who knows everything about everyone. I watched some of the "extras", last night. There are some changes from the book. Tech Boy was rather minor when the book came out in 1990. Now, he plays a major roll. Anyway. Book or miniseries are worth a look. I think.

Hmm. Recycling or bike riders, for the next blog post? LOL. You know, to have to choose between two bad choices is no choice at all. Reminds me of a recent election ... But, seriously. Your blog, you decide. Follow the muse. Whichever you choose, I'm sure it will be informative and entertaining. I see Mr. Greer is threatening to "beat us with a Stoical wet towel", next post. That ought to be fun. :-(.

I saw "E.T." when it first came out. Rather weepy, as I recall. Manipulated all the emotions. It's still very much with us and has entered the American film cannon. A cultural gift that keeps on giving. I think there's was some dust-up at the time that the "kids" could hide an alien in their closet, right under the noses of their parents. Obviously, they had poor parenting skills. :-).

Oh, Princess and I were already great friends. Anytime I run across her and her Mom, it's a good five minutes of licking the back of my hand, just to say, "Hello!" That and the salt, I suppose. No delusions, here. She got a good work out, with me. Usually, she just rides around like a, well, princess on her mom's walker. With me, it's pretty much all four feet on the ground. Up hill and down. With plenty of breaks to check out interesting smells. I carried her down the four flights of stairs, as I didn't want her to take a tumble. But, we raced up the stairs. But by the fourth flight, she gave me this look and I carried her the rest of the way.

It rained on our second outing. I toweled her off and discovered she doesn't like her feet messed with. She didn't snap or growl, but had I not been paying attention, might have. I've offered to take her out, if her owner doesn't feel up to it, or has something else to do. But I think dogs are off my list. Contemplating having to go out, three (or four) times a day, for the rest of the dogs (or my) natural life is a bit daunting. Opinion subject to change. Lew



Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

I have no idea what they want and they probably haven't noticed that they're not being published. I suspect that they originally used to lurk around the old ADR blog. I should reiterate that the comments on the podcast from them are pleasant, but the links are most certainly not family friendly.

Oh well, it was worth a suggestion about the multi-coloured corn as that is renowned down here as a problem sorter. Interestingly, I have done little for the corn other than a solid feed of mushroom compost and ten minutes of watering per day. And that is about it.

Speaking of watering, the main dripper hose for the raised garden beds exploded today. Well done it. Total rubbish. Of course there is a school of thought that suggests that Ollie had something to do with it...

Fair enough, and dairy does not sit well with everyone. Sandor has plenty to say about other food stuffs, and apple cider vinegar is so easy to make that I have trouble believing that people purchase it.

White vinegar is a mystery to me. I suspect that it may have been distilled and then the alcohol was boiled off which also effectively pasteurises it. Not sure, just a wild guess. The watering system for the raised garden beds is calling for all of my brain cells at the moment... :-)!

Ground Hog Day! You've just left me with a Sonny and Cher earworm! Naughty Pam! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

I hope that your guests entertained you, whilst attempting to repair the lack of a television signal? Certainly there is a school of thought that may suggest that no repairs equates to no cake! Has the weather warmed today? It is very pleasant here today and I have the house open to let the warm air in.

Down here the powers that be switched off the old analogue television signals and nowadays it is all digital. The neighbours tell me that they have very little reception nowadays after the switch over. It has been a long time since I considered sitting down in front of a television, but then I am entertained with our ongoing dialogue which is a form of screen time! It is complex isn't it?

Thanks for the book reference. Some books read like that and I have often wondered whether the authors have tired of the telling of the story? Do you believe that is a possibility, and do you have other suggested possibilities regarding that situation?

Ouch! I guess that means that Ren was involved? I wouldn't trust any of the dogs here with the chickens. Do you reckon he will replace the geese? I'm planning to top up the chickens when a nearby poultry auction takes place. Although I've never been to a poultry auction and fully expect to get ripped off the first time around.

Yes, there is a looming story there and in our sleepy states we have not considered the implications of it.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi crowandsheep,

That is certainly possible, but I don't really know and my gut feeling tells me that the story behind community in the past is more complex than we understand it to be. But you, know like everything there are pluses and minuses, but people sought the cities to indulge in the anonymity of the experience as well as other more practical reasons. As an interesting side note, it takes a lot of time, resources, and energy to accommodate what is commonly known as precious snowflakes. That is life, but in the past there were a greater diversity of roles for people within a community and so pretty much everyone found a role to fill. Now whether they enjoyed that role is a bigger and more complex question.

Hehe! It was messy that experience of the pint of Canadian maple stout... I don't really understand the difference between a stout and a porter. There may not be much of a difference?

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to bake Christmas puddings and then she'd hang them in a bag (calico?). The brandy in the pudding preserved it and infused the cake. Sticky date pudding is much the same without the brandy, and it usually has a caramel sauce. How does that compare to your understanding of the two cakes?

Well, that is certainly a hot topic at the moment! You are cheeky! I've never really been into any sort of diet and just sort of eat what we can grow here whilst sticking to predominantly vegetarian, and then when I'm off the farm all bets are off. It is easier really, I find purchased vegetarian food contains too much oil for my liking and I'm not sure why.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, it was a bit silly really the Enterprise series. And you're right too as they did have a transporter although people viewed it with deep suspicion and dread. Seriously, any Klingon battle-cruiser would have destroyed that ship. Puny humans! If Data's cat and the Captains beagle were put into a cage, I'm really uncertain what the outcome would be. I'd forgotten about Data's cat.

Hehe! Glad you enjoyed my little joke. :-)! Empire Strikes Back is my absolute favourite. It was a pretty good space battle though in Jedi. No let’s do talk about the ewoks, because I really did wonder about the teddy bears taking on the Empire. No Empire ever gets stomped on by little teddy bears - it just doesn't happen. And the thing I don't get about the Star Wars franchise is why does the Empire keep producing one Death Star after another one? Surely that would bankrupt the entire economy of the Empire? Why not do something entirely different?

People have told me that the recent instalment of the saga is quite good.

That makes sense too about funding for other sci-fi films coming in the wake of Star Wars. Star Trek Six was the best of that bunch I reckon, although people may feel differently.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Blue is a cool colour and you may have noted many blue tiles in the kitchen photos here too. The only memory I have of duck egg blue is some crappy old four door sedan bearing down the street and high speed whilst we ran for the cover of the footpath (and hoped for the best). Fortunately the stereo was loud enough that there was plenty of warning that the car was fast approaching...

The watering system for the raised garden beds exploded today and the editor believes that Ollie's teeth may have been involved in the lead up to the explosion. Anyway, that dripper hose has broken on so many occasions already. It is more patched up than a - what are those blankets that people spend inordinate amounts of time sewing up out of scraps of materials. They're a bit of thing and anyway, the name escapes me...

Anyway, I headed off to the irrigation shop in the nearby town and picked up some parts and hopefully I'll get to install them tomorrow... Maybe.

Are you suggesting that the other dogs performed some sort of hazing ritual on poor Ollie? It is a possibility, and he would be stupid enough to steal the biscuits to appease team fluffy. Hmm, you may have something there as he does want to remain well behaved and it did seem out of character.

Thanks to your suggestion, we now make our own peanut butter using the food processor, so hazelnut butter would be just as simple. To be honest, I never really see hazelnuts for sale down here, and the trees are so slow growing. Hopefully in October this year I am able to spend more time feeding the orchard. So much to do. In the meantime I'm still dumping bins of coffee grounds in the orchard. I'll have to look up what minerals is in that stuff.

Your hand grinder sounds like a real keeper. I have to look into those. First priority is watering systems and water. Then firewood. Then new terraces and a new shed. So much to do...

His name says it all don't you reckon? To be honest I have enjoyed some of his books, but they always have such a dark note to the stories. No wonder he came up with: "Do androids dream of electric sheep". He also used to dabble I believe and that may possibly have been his undoing.

The story is that they were planning to pull back to a line around the Tropic of Carpentaria and then just let the over stretched Japanese get taken by the desert and the numerous crocodiles. It was a dubious plan and I doubt very much that the Japanese supply lines could manage that feat given what we now know. But back then, things were not so clear. Yes, that story line would be irritating and full of cliches and people who looked as though they bathed too often for the supposed circumstances that they were in.

The series sounds interesting. Some people do worship technology, and I have seen the rapt expressions on their faces. My personal favourite sermon is that battery technology will only get better and cheaper. I don't experience the same euphoric reaction to that sermon that they seem to experience.

Hehe! You dodged my question, but rather pleasantly. What a decision I have to make here. Anyway, maybe one topic this week, and the other next week. Such a strategy may just work! :-)! Two can play that game!!! Hehe!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

The Stoics sure have some good things to say about today, so certainly there are plenty of folks that could be hit with a Stoical wet towel and have some good come of that incident.

I reckon an alien hiding in the closet is not too bad a thing, but for me, my alien's were horrific creatures that were basically unstoppable and single minded. And they killed everybody, except for Sigourney Weaver, but then in the final instalment things did not end so well for her character. ET was a softie in comparison and the kids would have been toast! But yeah, that film really did pull at the heart strings. It is not fair to make ones eyes water during a film. The editor and I have firm rules about never watching animal films. The animal always cops it in the end, but perhaps not Alien style.

Princess sounds like an OK sort of dog. Quite the character and I enjoyed the story and you sound as if you enjoyed the walk too. I have been told in the past that I am cruel to walk the dogs for such long distances. You know what cruel dog walking is: Walking them on a 100'F degree day, that's what - and I never do that. Dogs love being "Walkies"!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

It feels a bit warmer today but I think that is simply because there is no wind.

My television comes in via a satellite dish and yes, it is terrible. Everything seems to become more and more complex and less friendly. I can get most of what I want to watch, on my laptop but not everything.

I do think that authors should try to keep up the momentum for one book. The trouble usually arises when the publisher wants a trilogy or even more. There always seems to be a decline then.

Yes it was Ren plus Woody who is still a puppy. Son's dogs are usually trained to leave his other livestock alone but Ren had never shown the slightest interest in them to Son's surprise. This suggests to me that he is one very clever and sneaky dog. More intelligent than my son!? I think that Son is too busy at present to get more geese or a gander.

We have just heard than China is no longer taking our paper and cardboard waste as well.

@ Lew

Love the notion of fake stuff going into university libraries in order to legitimize something. I would never have considered that possibility.

Inge

Damo said...

@lew

I haven't read that sci-fi series, although it is clearly inspired by our knowledge of Roman history. I am listening to a history podcast of the Roman Empire at the moment and I am constantly amazed at how *little* becomes so important in our understanding of past events. I am in the early 4th century at the moment, and most of what we know is based upon first hand accounts of a soldier who happened to be involved in several key battles. Everything else is heresy and third-hand accounts decades or centuries later. Apparently, Britannica only has a few decades left before it spins off into the mists of history...

American Gods: I read the novel a few years ago and was modestly entertained. I wonder if I am old and bitter now because *everyone* loves it but I was a bit meh to the whole thing. I did love the idea of old gods getting weak and neglected though. I did like Mr Wednesday more in Deadwood - he will always be Swegern to me :-)

Damo

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I like "I Got You Babe" . . . double earworm. Hee hee!

"The Exploding Dripper Hose from Another Galaxy"! So - there may have been an alien involved? Hoses are becoming your Nemesis, too?

I do purchase apple cider vinegar because I use it every day. With Mr. Katz' help I may be able to break myself of that habit. I need to find someplace that sells slightly-used apples.

"and people who looked as though they bathed too often for the supposed circumstances that they were in" - that irritates me. Maybe because I spend so much time dirty. Or maybe because it is another one of those fantasies pretending to be reality. Are they trying to fool me, or just too cheap to film a scene realistically?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I love Princess. What a wonderful girl!

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Yes, the size of the dog is not an indicator of bravery. It's always amusing to see a dog's reaction to a new animal species. Salve was quite taken aback when she first saw the neighbor's llamas. Have you tried stepping on Ollie's hind feet when he jumps up on you? I've found that often does the trick. Most dogs seem to have a sixth sense regarding when a stranger is truly threatening. I do feel quite secure here as both dogs are big and can look and sound quite intimidating. Both dogs have people they just don't take to - I mean acquaintances of ours not strangers. I wonder what vibes these particular people are putting out. Leo is a bit stand offish. He'll just stroll on for a quick pet and move on which is quite different from Salve. However for some reason he just loves our neighbor, Clara. We don't see her much in the winter - only when dog outings end up at the same time. The other day I was walking the dogs by her house at the same time her garage door was opening. Well Leo trotted right up their driveway to the garage obviously very happy to see her.

I would never consider one of those over 55 communities. Some friends of ours moved to the Villages in Florida a few years ago when they retired. It sounds like just a big playground for adults. The main mode of transportation is by golf cart. It's so huge they have their own zip code - maybe two. They keep asking us to visit but frankly I think we'd hate it.

I'll be interesting to read your take on recycling. As I've mentioned I do the monthly recycling drives here.

Well must go get ready for my ladies overnight as some are arriving around noon. I'm making pumpkin curry soup.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew

Yes, I'm always impressed with what our library provides. I just joined the Friends of the Library as I have a little more time now. I have read "Canticle for Leibowitz" several times. I gifted my used copy to my daughter's boyfriend for Christmas last year. Have to find out if he ever read it.

Margaret

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

I would agree with your assessment. I appreciate your sensitivity toward snowflakes since we are all snowflakes at one time or another. I believe temporary snowflaking is technically called cracking the sads?

Looks like I have some research to do: find the difference between porter and stout. I believe only an extensive survey of the local pubs may answer that question. Once solved I will immediately investigate the sticky date pudding and see what that tastes like with a bit of brandy.

It seems you, the Archdruid with his cheesy bacon burgers and thecrowandsheep have a consistent opinion about this. Let's see if this works; I tell people the following: *high minded idealist voice* "I am a vegetarian... *pause for effect, switch back to deadpan* who occasionally enjoys a juicy, bloody steak".

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Yup. I'm familiar with the military guy. You might take a look at "Voyage to Gaul" by Rutilius Namatianus. Great name. He traveled from Rome to Gaul in about 417CE. After the sack of Rome in 410CE. It's a good look at trying to travel in a crumbling empire. There's a fairly good overview on Wikipedia. If you want to haul out the heavy guns, it's part of the Loeb series. Which has all kinds of interesting footnotes to explain things and identify places.

Even the writings of St. Patrick can be of use. If you wade through the religious stuff and read a bit between the lines. There's some conflict about when he actually lived, but 410 to 450CE is in the ball park. Commentators always lament that we know the name of his childhood home ... but not where it was. Somewhere on or near the west coast.

I recently picked up a copy of "The Romans Who Shaped Britain" (Moorehead & Stuttard, 2012). Pretty much all we know about Roman Britain, to that point. What seems to have happened is that from time to time, someone in Britain would get the bright idea that THEY were emperor. They'd take troops and head for the continent to fight the "real" emperor. Never ended well. It happened several times. In 407CE another pretender declared himself in Britain. He styled himself Constantine III. Took the entire British field army to the Continent, leaving only a handful of soldiers behind. Britain had been important to this point as a grain source for Roman troops in Germany. When the barbarians crossed the Rhine, well, no more troops to feed. Britain was cast adrift. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I must admit I have an (irrational) prejudice of "old guys with their wimpy little dogs." They are thick on the ground, here. If a guy's going to get a dog, get a REAL dog. :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Corn is really a heavy feeder. Really exhausts the soil. That's why the Native Americans did the three sisters routine. The beans helped put nitrogen back in the soil. Corn will also freely cross pollinate. So, if you're growing regular corn, popcorn and miniature corn, you have to have the blocks well separated. And pay attention to prevailing winds. If you're saving seed. I seem to remember something about de-tasseling corn?

Someone mentioned to me that now adays, instead of running three or four of your twelve children out to the orchard with tin plates, they have propane cannons. They fire at random times to keep the birds off.

Per Siamese cats and "Lady and the Tramp", maybe Ollie is being framed! :-).

There's been a lot of speculation about Phillip K. Dick's state of mind. Paranoid? Yup. And probably a lot of other stuff going on.

Oh, no! "American Gods" isn't a mini-series. It's a series. Three to five seasons, projected. Not family friendly, by the way. Language is a bit over the top and there's some pretty graphic sex scenes.

Oh, no! (redux). All the antique stores and malls in Centralia are having another big sale, between Valentine's Day and President's Day. Saving my pennies.

Quilts. Or, patchwork quilts. Very big, over here. The library is awash with books and DVDs. My last landlords wife even belonged to a quilting club. They'd take weekend retreats. The ladies here at the home have a sewing club and they're always cranking out quilts. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

So true about the lack of wind making for warmer conditions. One nice thing about solid forests is that they are rarely windy places. Ah, I see, subsidised satellite service was available here due to the poor digital signals, but I didn't take up the offer and have no idea how such systems work.

We had some visitors and their very well behaved children over this afternoon. It was funny that you mention that things seem to get more complex, but I was this afternoon discussing having to swim through the waters of choice and pick technologies that are resilient rather than the latest and greatest. Over the years I've known a few people living with off grid electricity systems and the newer lithium batteries always present interesting challenges and they require much finer tolerances than the lead acid batteries I use. I have heard stories of failed cells with the lithium setups. I'm not sure I'm up for that latest and greatest trail blazing story!

The curse of the trilogy perhaps? Deadlines, money, and pressures can stifle the creative output.

By all accounts, Ren does sound like he is quite the character, and he may have pressured Woody into such canine mischief? The now deceased Sir Poopy, once escaped from the house whilst the chickens were free roaming around the orchard. Sir Poopy immediately ran towards me and sat at my side, all the while ignoring the chickens. But on a later incident, a visitor let the chickens out into the orchard and Sir Poopy lurked in the shadows until he could kill one of the chickens. Ren is perhaps like that? I hope your son is not too angry with the two dogs? Ren may grow to be a favourite of his?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

How good was that film? I'm a sucker for a rom-com.

Exactly! Exploding hoses just don't want to work. I took a photo for the blog... Well, we both now have hoses as our nemesis! I've been slowly replacing the hoses as they fail with premium hoses. I get sick of shoddy quality products that look the part, but are actually rubbish.

You go! You can make apple cider vinegar in a bucket. Having a major apple growing area not too far from here means that seconds apples can be purchased by the box cheaply. It may be worth your time to keep an eye out for wild apple trees too. There are some around here and they are very reliable and tasty fruit. Wild apples will have very interesting yeasts on their skins.

Hehe! Possibly too cheap to film the scene realistically. Need one be reminded: Monty Python & The Holy Grail. A wise observation!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Very true about size being no indicator of the bravery factor in a dog. Old Fluffy the Pomeranian was the toughest dog that I have ever come across. It was awesome to behold her might in battle with much larger hunting dogs – she won every time. She was only ever bested by a crunchy older beagle who she surprised once and then he absolutely had it in for her – and she deserved it too and it taught her to be a little bit more careful in selecting opponents. A couple of lovely visitors brought their exceptionally well behaved and delightful kids up today and it was an enjoyable afternoon. The kids (3 and 8) got to check for eggs under the chickens which was good fun for the kids - and the chickens were on their best behaviour and didn't peck.

Thanks for the suggestion to stand on Ollie's hind feet and I will try that the next time he jumps. He has taken to jumping up from beside me and no doubt he is attempting to out alpha me. He's only a puppy, I guess and needs some boundaries. Ollie met his first rat today!

Yeah, dogs just know and for whatever reason they take a dislike to some people and they can be quite hostile. I can see the benefits of having a larger dog, and Salve and Leo would be a formidable combination as they would work together in such a circumstance.

I'm not really sure myself about Florida... And such a community would make my brain freeze right up. Stone cold frozen. It is an active thing that requires the occasional workout! Honestly, no disrespect to people who live in such places, but I'd be bored and even worse, I would feel very stifled by the rules governing the place.

Ah yes, well hopefully you are not too annoyed by my take on recycling. I believe this change to be a significant turn of events, but that is just a gut feeling thing.

Hope the ladies night was fun!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi crowandsheep,

I like the way you think, and yeah, maybe snowflaking is cracking the sads. The real problem with snowflakes is that they melt when exposed to the might and energy of the sun.

Please do, but a fine and dangerous line must be waded between exploring the first problem (stout versus porter) and then moving onto explore the next and crucial phase of your travails: sticky date pudding versus Christmas pudding. Mate, you are in some dangerous waters. Stay safe. The word 'addled' springs to mind, but I don't really understand what that means... :-)!

Exactly! We are all on the same page. Most of the time, we eat like rabbits, but occasionally as the need arises we eat like lions. Flexibility of food is a cornerstone of our species. If it wasn't, we would be unable to have occupied so many remote corners of the planet.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I've come across many people who have some sort of cartoonish notion of what the indigenous populations got up to with their diets and agricultural practices. From what I have read of historical accounts, the practices were nothing short of astounding. And the level of observational skills imputed by the historical accounts leave me feeling sometimes as if we are currently blundering through a dark age with vastly over rated expectations. If agriculture has taught me anything, it is that time and time again, we consistently expect far too much from nature and are always thus disappointed and see nature rather than something we are part of, but as an adversary. The three sisters approach to planting is not lost on me. Hearing about it always makes me feel slightly guilty that I have not yet read Master Fukuoka's works about farming. That guy also had something to say and he used a few primary nitrogen fixing plants from this part of the world (like on this farm) that I know that I'll learn something. I just have to intersperse the heavy works with the lighter works (such as Cold Comfort Farm) as my brain can only handle so much.

We woke up again at first light this morning and put away another week’s worth of firewood. I reckon, all being well, we may finish that job before the end of February and then be able to get back to projects. It gets easier every year, and every year we store away a little bit more. I have a rule of thumb that says: if I have enough that I'm not worrying about it, then I have enough. That is the way out of the circular problem of: How does one know when they have enough? I apply that rule to most of the systems here.

I'm planning to grow only a single type of corn. That variety is an open pollinated short season and heritage variety and so it should be genetically diverse enough to be OK? Not sure. Next summer I should have more corn on the go, but until that happens, well, there is a bit to do before then! :-)!

Exactly, I mentioned to you a week or two back about the intermittent sonic cannon blasts that I experienced at a commercial orchard. It was an unsettling experience for both the birds and myself! The lovely people who run the organic and sun ripened fruit orchard north of here which I use as a plan B, would never dream of running such a machine. Although I may ask them about that, however in over a decade in that area, I have never once heard one of those machines going off.

Ollie is guilty as! Of that I have no doubts, because he is the only one with the size to get up to such mischief with the biscuits on the bench. I caught him today standing up and peering onto the bench and there was a bit of a yellering! Ollie looked abashed for at least half a minute, so perhaps he learned his lesson?

Oh yeah, with Mr Dick, there is probably enough material in there for a symposium! To me it looks like a dark and murky swamp, infested with computer generated creatures which mean you no good... That would make a good story: Dick’s demise!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

That's cool. Current tastes dictate that that is how things should be. I wonder if Roman literature and culture revelled in such things in the final days of the Roman Western Empire? Now I have mental images of scribes in some dark ages monastery giggling to themselves about the naughtiness and violence of Roman literature whilst replicating it!

It is nice that you celebrate Mr Washington's birthday, although the day is called something different now. Good luck with the sale! You know it just occurred to me that although I studied Australian history and Australian politics, for the absolute life of me, I cannot remember who was the first Prime Minister. That says a lot about the quality of my education! Oh well... The interesting thing about history was that we were educated to recount the tales of individuals as a discussion point in the larger question of the inevitable essays. When I went into the exam, my head was full of tales of individuals who had done this and that (not all of it good). I do wonder if there are other ways of teaching history? I see stories in lots of different aspects of our lives. Plants tell stories and I'm trying hard to learn those many stories...

Patchwork quilts, of course. Thank you. Run, Lewis, Run! Hehe! I remember late last century being in a remote town in the island state of Tasmania. For whatever reason there was an Amish quilt exhibition held in the local community hall. And alas, I went with my gut feeling and visited the excellent bakery for a scallop pie instead!

Better, write. Recycling it is! I feel we have reached a milestone, although few people seem to have noticed. History is like that, don't you reckon?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Sounds like shots go off at regular intervals in fields here. Machines called bird scarers. Son pointed out that the kids used in the past, would have had catapults as well as noise.

Son has been working next door to the place where they cremate, embalm, bury people's pets. He saw the price list. Wait for it.....

£40 to cremate a mouse!!! Son reckons that he is in the wrong business.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Children at Fern Glade? Did you send them out with tin plates to scare the birds off? :-). No supper unless they earn it.

Yup. Since your a corn virgin, best start with a small plot. See if there's any surprises you need to deal with, before you put in your 40 acres. Virgins of the Corn. Wasn't that a Stephen King story? :-).

Well, this gets stranger and stranger. Your talking about history. I picked up a book at the library, that sounded kind of interesting. "Forgetfulness: Making the Modern Culture of Amnesia" (Gorman, 2017). Turned out to be pretty scholarly and Deep. Not the capital "D." But, I picked up a couple of interesting concepts that you can contemplate while watering the chickens. Achievement (the past) vs promise (the future.) Most history studies are presented as trauma. Perhaps it should be viewed as gain?

Well, I'm skimming along and he's talking about Schliemann's excavations at Mycenae back in the 19th century. Discovering the, maybe, tomb of Agamemnon. And, the author is wondering if perhaps there weren't a bit of fraud or at least truth stretching. So, the author is casting about for some sort of comparison and comes up with this: "...as the fraudulent ghost-buster Harry Price (1881-1948) made up evidence that Borley Rectory was England's most haunted house in the middle 1930s."

Now that was just weird. I mention some half remembered book that I read in 1960, that I hadn't thought about in years, but that came to mind when we had our little conversation about ghosts. And, a few days later a reference to it pops up in a rather obscure book that I pick up at the library on a whim. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket, today? :-).

After all that healthy food at the potluck, last week, I made blueberry muffins (with a butter and sugar crumble crust) for today's potluck. Wonder how they'll go over? Hope they taste, ok. Don't do as I do, do as I say? :-).

I watched the new movie of Stephen King's "It", last night. Much to my horror, I discovered that they split it into two parts, and I probably won't get a chance to see part two until 2020. Wonder if I'll still be alive? No where on the box, or in any of the promo material I remember was this mentioned. I felt a little ripped off.

Back when I was a kid, we got a day off of school for Washington's birthday. And then another for Lincoln's. They rolled the two together, just about the time they launched Martin Luther King day as a national holiday. I suppose they didn't want us to end up like the Romans, with about 1/3 of our yearly calendar devoted to holidays. Oh, gosh. That reminds me. I'm swining down to The Club to gas with Julia before the potluck, and, I suppose the place will be knee deep in Super Bowl devotees. The big screens blaring away. And, I probably won't be able to depend on any stimulating conversation at the potluck, either. Oh, well. Once a year. Guess I can stand it. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Just got a chance to read the link on the Black Friday bushfires. Comparing it to bushfires in the US, I see that the Black Friday bushfires burned more acreage than any fire in US history, according to the ranking I just pulled up. Considering how much smaller Australia is than the US, that is sobering.

The fire that is believed to be the deadliest in US history was the Peshtigo fire (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshtigo_Fire) on October 8, 1871, in Wisconsin, with a death toll somewhere between 1,500 and 2,500. It followed a dry summer and the passage of a strong cold front that brought high winds. Autumn through mid-spring, before green-up, is the prime time for wildfire in the eastern US.

Yes, even though we have no snow the ground is cold, in fact starting to freeze again because the weather has taken a turn back to winter cold. Any groundhog who ventured out on Feb. 2 would have seen its shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. But since the daffodils are almost always in bloom by six weeks from now, Mike and I say that if the ground hog sees his shadow we have another six weeks of winter. If he doesn't, winter ends in a month and a half. ;)

Claire