Monday, 12 February 2018

Man's not hot

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

Way back when I was a kid, some nefarious prankster stole my push bike. Back in those days, push bikes were expensive items and so they were clearly worth stealing. Having my push bike stolen was quite a set back for my shamefully capitalistic ways. You see, not only was my push bike used for transport between my house and everywhere else, it was also the source of my income, and this was a problem for me because income was not forthcoming from anywhere else.

Some people say that I work hard nowadays, but back then as a kid, at times I had three jobs in addition to school. That meant, two newspaper rounds in the morning and a chemist round in the evening. I particularly enjoyed the chemist round job as it involved delivering prescription medications to the elderly, and they were usually grateful enough to tip me. It was a well paid gig. Perhaps on the other hand, those elderly folks thought that I needed a bit of feeding up and so they gave me the tips so that I could purchase more food? Similar to my bakery superpower today perhaps?

Having three jobs at times, meant that food was always available. The local fish and chip shop used to sell tasty potato cakes, pickled onions, and dim sims. On the other hand, the local fish and chip shop was something of a 'den of iniquity' as it had a Space Invaders machine, and a lot of my hard earned cash was spent learning how to defeat marauding aliens. Anyway, the food always kept my energy levels up because I had to do a lot of riding around on my push bike.

But then some rotten person stole my push bike and ruined a good thing. The bike was locked up at the time, but I learned the hard lesson that bolt cutters could produce a return on investment for the purchaser!

Me, being me, I decided rather than purchasing a new push bike from scratch, which would have put a dent in my savings (and Space Invaders entertainment budget), I'd simply go to various bike shops around the area and haggle over prices for various components that made up a bike. Then I'd put the new bike together myself. And in a matter of days, I had a new push bike, and could continue my capitalistic ways.

In these enlightened times, adults now deliver newspapers and those newspapers are individually wrapped in plastic and thrown from a moving vehicle. As a comparison, when I delivered newspapers as a kid, and the sun had yet to make an appearance, and the rain was sometimes falling, I placed a households newspaper on the shelter of their front veranda. And I ask you, do pharmacies get children to burn off their packaging and rubbish in a backyard incinerator these days? Ah, fun times.

These days we're much more enlightened and push bikes are used in vastly different ways. In rural areas, push bikes have become a dirty word that provokes ire.

You'd think that issues such as: pollution; guns; arson; and/or restrictive local government would generate a lot of rural heat? Well they do, but nothing really pushes the rural hot button and unites country folk like: push bikes.

Now for the record, I am reasonably apathetic about the subject and take a live and let live approach. But then I also live on a dirt road, off another dirt road, and so no bike rider in their right mind would ever venture into this unfashionable end of the mountain range.

On the other hand, the more fashionable end of the mountain range has a nice sealed road leading up and over the mountain, and that road features a fourteen degree incline. Riders can challenge themselves on the long sweaty ride up to the mountain plateau, and then they can challenge themselves again at vastly higher speeds on the way back downhill to their vehicles again.

The problem as I see it is an expression of the larger problem of  'population pressure'. Population pressure has been defined as: "the sum of the factors within a population that reduce the ability of an environment to support the population". To put that definition into context, there are just too many weekend bike riders for the infrastructure in the more fashionable end of the mountain range to easily support them.

Unfortunately, there also seems to be something rather strange about that bike culture. From an outsiders perspective it can occasionally express itself to the locals as a highly competitive and aggressive culture, which does not win friends in rural areas. I have occasionally been unfairly abused by highly emotive push bike riders, and I tend to remark to the editor that: "Oh my! That one appears to be exhibiting 'roid rage (steroid use), don't you feel?"

There really is no easy answer to the problems of population pressure in this mountain range - and long term readers may recall that the hordes of 'leaf change' tourists will soon make an appearance now that Autumn is almost here.

Anyway, when I used to ride around on my push bike it was always for a practical purpose. As a contrast, every weekend a lot of energy gets used riding up and over the more fashionable end of the mountain range, and I'd love to put that energy to use hauling rocks or firewood! Alas, that is the very nature of a predicament!

Speaking of firewood, we've been cutting, hauling, splitting, and stacking firewood this week! And the daytime temperatures have been in the mid thirties Celsius (86'F), so every morning for the past few days we have been getting up at day break and putting in a few hours on that most important of farm tasks. One night, the overnight temperature didn't go below 27'C (81'F) but we're made of tough stuff and just got on with the job:
Far out, 6.43am and the outside temperature is 27'C / 81'F and the sun is barely above the horizon!
Two days of cutting and hauling seasoned firewood produced a tidy heap next to the already full main firewood shed - the CBF (Cherokee Bank of Firewood) flagship branch!
Two days of cutting and hauling seasoned firewood produced a tidy heap
The next day after another six and half hours work splitting, hauling, and stacking firewood without a break, the secondary firewood shed (the CBF sub branch) was full up to its eyeballs (and mine too):
The secondary firewood shed is now full
Harvesting firewood is now almost complete for the season. This is a good thing because the weather turned ugly that final day and a rain storm moved in across the valley. Wet firewood is not much good.
Just as the door to the full CBF Sub branch / firewood shed was closed, a rain storm moved in over the valley
The editor and I picked two huge bags of apples from a wild apple tree. The bags we collected the apples in are also used for our shopping at the supermarket. The bright primary colours have not faded after almost two decades of top hauling work!
The author shows off one of the two shopping bags full of wild apples which we picked this week
At these times the free song comes to my mind and as we picked those wild apples I was humming to myself: "If it's free, it's for me, and I'll have three!" Of course we broke our three rule as we harvested dozens and dozens of the apples. And of course as all right thinking people know, free apples means: Apple wine and apple cider vinegar!
The author smiles as he contemplates apple wine and apple cider vinegar using the free apples
Last week, the new dog, Ollie chewed right through the soaker hoses used to water the raised vegetable beds. Well done him. I'd long since been planning to replace those soaker hoses with a system that is durable and perhaps more importantly, repairable. Last week, I rushed down to the local irrigation shop and on a Saturday morning with the shop full of customers (who unfortunately arrived after me and were looking rather distressed at the waiting time), the bloke walked me through all the different options. And I repaid that patience by following his advice. This week I installed the new and much fancier irrigation system, and for the absolute life of me, I have no idea why I wasn't using this gear before. The system is now the whole next level of awesomeness!
Each raised garden bed now has its own individual irrigation sprayer which can be endlessly modified.
A close up of the individual irrigation sprayer in action
And Scritchy the boss dog has taken a firm paw with Ollie and is training him to be meek and obedient. I ask you, would you dare defy Scritchy pulling 'Angry boss dog face number three'?
Scritchy the boss dog gives the much larger puppy Ollie 'what for'!
The other evening I spotted this formidable creature on the back verandah. Ollie eventually killed the creature, but it went down fighting and managed to bite Ollie several times before its eventual demise.
A formidable creature appeared on the back verandah
I must get a wriggle on, but this is harvest time and there are just so many yummy food stuffs on offer. Here is a sample of some of the produce:
We leave the thousands of elderberries for the birds and they love them
Jalapeño chili's. I'm honestly a bit frightened about these...
Long capsicum (peppers). Total 100% yummo!

Eggplants. I'm hoping they put on some serious size before autumn
A pumpkin over a watermelon. How often is that seen?

Corn on the cob. Next season I hope to replant some of this seed
The mid sized tomatoes are just beginning to ripen. How tasty do these look?
The birds appear to have missed these plums
An almost perfect European pear
The Asian pears refuse to be outdone and are just as tasty
The recent heavy rain and only Very High UV (down from Extreme ratings) has meant that the flowers have bounced back with a vengeance!
Geraniums and Nasturtiums make for a colourful display
Globe artichokes are the coolest colour flower
More Geraniums. I've nicknamed this variety: Stinky Red
Honey bees are enjoying the copious and hardy Agapanthus
The mint family of plants are flowering and the bee here is enjoying the Oregano
As a general rule I don't purchase cut flowers, and neither do I plant Eucalyptus trees near to the house (due to the fire risk). That is actually two rules. Anyway, with Valentines Day closing in upon us I planted a stunning Eucalyptus Ficifolia close to the house for the editors enjoyment and pleasure.
We planted a pink flowering form of Eucalyptus Ficifolia this week
Before we close out the blog, I just wanted to give a shout out to the excellent English rapper Big Shaq for his song: "Man's not hot" from which I ripped the title for this week's blog. An awesome song and total respect. Who can deny the sheer cleverness of the lyrics: "Two plus two is four
Minus one that's three, quick maths"?

The temperature outside now at about 8.45pm is 15’C (59’F). So far this year there has been 104.6mm (4.1 inches) which is up from last week's total of 103.8mm (4.1 inches).

70 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh, The World's End is a whole different film altogether, and perhaps far more enjoyable than the one I suggested. I chucked that film on the too get list. Can you believe that I'd never heard of it?

I was aware of the Burke and Hare murders perhaps because the editor has a degree in biology and she may have told me about it. Pretty gruesome stuff huh? And think of the irony of the skeleton of William Burke being preserved even to this day. I'd have to suggest that the term 'poetic justice' may apply in this circumstance? And, the public appears to have lapped up the execution and later public dissection with a thirst for blood. Interestingly, both wives disappeared into obscurity after being the subject of mob attacks, and I would reckon that in all likelihood, the authorities would have sent both of them down here, where there were already plenty of criminals and they would have been able to disappear into obscurity. There are rumours that that tool is used even today.

Molasses appears to have been made from sugar cane and/or sugar beets. Interesting. Unfortunately, the sugar beet version has a reputation for being foul-smelling and unpalatable. Not good, given how easily they grow here. It is a good animal feed though. I'm reading "Small scale grain growing" by Gene Logsdon and it is a true pleasure to be in the company of his wisdom. I really enjoy his very judgemental, but also non-judgemental style of writing and have already learned heaps from him. Sweet sorghum syrup is on the agenda, but it is much later in the book...

That doesn't surprise me at all given they grow coffee on the northern coast of New South Wales and I know a bloke who's parents used to run a coffee farm. That is the source of much of my coffee grounds. Chocolate needs a similar environment, I believe. I may need a bit more warming before I can grow either plants, and I have tried coffee which grows well, until it snows... The plant didn't like that at all. I do grow the vegan chocolate tree, what's that called: Oh yeah, Carob. That is pretty tasty stuff, and the trees are way hardy. The almonds are ready to harvest too. They are really good tasting and unlike walnuts they lack the bitterness.

There is a certain rich irony in a dude that attempted to pull a swifty on his slaves, ending up dying deeply in debt, unable to pass on his estate freely to his heirs whereby that estate also included his slaves. Historical folks are complex characters and can have mixed motivations, and I rather suspect that our future descendants (not that we have any) will look very harshly upon us all for our current bout of silliness. Incidentally, high ideals and links to the well heeled may also not translate into sound financial practices. I read a superb piece of writing by Mr Gene Logsden who summed up exactly what it takes to produce a farm that can survive several generations. I was almost shouting a standing ovation for the author at the end of those few pages. It was a real pleasure to read. And he had an absolutely 100% spot on methodology. Not that many folks want to follow such a plan, even if it works.

I'm intrigued by corn, and your stories of corn muffins is only increasing the intrigue! Singapore noodles for dinner tonight. Yum! Turmeric roots will grow in your part of the world.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I extend great admiration to you re. your boyhood jobs, absolutely wonderful. No doubt it would all be illegal now. Putting together a bike was superb as well.

What the heck is that European pear, I have never seen a purple pear?

Both Son's sows have had their piglets, 13 and 14! The one who had 14 was having her first litter which makes 14 quite extraordinary. I did ask him how many teats a sow has; fortunately it is 14. So he has gone from 3 pigs to 30 in 5 days and has a potential space problem.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Bakery super powers. :-). I think I've mentioned Steve, one of the few guys that lives here at The Home. Not generally well liked (but, I'm working on that). We're not mates, but it's nice to have another guy around the place that I can "let down the side," around. I usually toss a bit of my baked goods, his way. Now he's a big, er, hearty bloke, but I usually, I put on a good Beeb accent and say, "You're looking a bit peckish, peavish and peaky" (Hmmm. Might make a good t-shirt). Or, "See if these will kill you."

Well, we've talked before about similarities in upbringing. Money Grubbing Little Urchins Division :-). But I'm surprised at the building of a new bike. The parts cost less than the whole? That's not always the case. Re: Bikes. Break out the spandex! That reminds me to check out this years STP (Seattle to Portland bike run) date, put it on the calendar and plan to stay in that weekend. I just had an idea. Close the road to all but bikers, one or two days a year. Other times, ban them and heavily fine them. Sure, there'd probably be population pressures AMONG the bikers. But that might thin the heard. Darwin in action :-).

The picture of the rain coming in almost looks like a nice black and white shot. Worthy of the Fern Glade Farm Calendar. I love the cubist painting in your "apple knocker" photo. Not usually my thing, but I like THAT picture. Leave it to me in your will. :-). I recently surprised myself and bought a picture I call "Astronaut Chicken II: Blue Planet." From a friend. Should be in transit, now. What I also noticed about that photo was the doggie stare down. Who will look away first? Probably, Ollie. If he knows what's good for him. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Your new irrigation system looks pretty high tech. I must say though, if I were a dog, I might think "That looks tasty to gnaw on." Perhaps I will one day also have elderberry, if I pull off my gorilla gardening scheme. I'm agonizing over which papper seed variety to order. "Heirloom" and "mildish" seem to be the operating criteria. Every tried eggplant lasagna? Yummy! I miss my wild geraniums, from the old place, and will have to look into planting a patch.

Well, the Victorian's seemed to be interested, as a society, in lurid crimes. Just about as much as we are. There were quit a few "true crime" Staffordshire figures done. Of course, the highwaymen. But they had a kind of Robin Hood vibe going. But there were also "murder houses." Little cottages where lurid crimes had happened. Hmmm. It just occurred to me that I can't think of any Currier and Ives prints (another popular media, For The Masses) that catered to that kind of thing. Oh, fires, battles and other disasters. But not true crime, that I'm aware of. Probably a dissertation in there, somewhere. I wonder if there's a Staffordshire Burke and Hare?

As I remember, Logsdon is a good writer. There are a few of them out there. I wouldn't exactly call them nature writers. Farm writers? "Of the land" writers? Wendall Berry is another good one. Joe Saltine. There's some English ones.

We had the best turnout for the potluck, so far. This one seemed a bit heavy on the meat. Chicken casserole (with lots of veg), a pork and potatoes dish. Fish sticks :-). Sourkraute with hot dogs (the ends of which were carved into cleaver little octopus :-). Steve brought (he doesn't cook much) sweet potato chips, which were very good. My corn muffins went over pretty well. Except I think I should, maybe, precook the seeds. Soften them up a bit. I suggested to The Ladies, that they might be good slathered with plane yogurt, instead of butter. They weren't having it. There were two muffins left over, and I tried that, later. Quit good, I thought.

Scouting Centralia for the Presidents Day Sale, today. Not in much of a buying mood, as I was really foolish (kind of), yesterday. E-Bay had an auction of something I've had a yen for, for a few years. A Fenton glass nativity set. All 12 figures plus funky metal and wood star. Starting bid (which was about what I was willing to pay) was a couple of hundred bucks less than they usually sell for. There were no bids down to the last 5 minutes, but about a dozen people "watching" the auction. I waited until less than two minutes were remaining, put in the starting bid and held my breath. And, I won it! Surprised the heck out of me.

There WAS snow, yesterday morning. I missed it, and, I was up. Need to look out the window, more often. Several of The Ladies saw it. It came down for about a half hour. Didn't stick. Would have been nice to see. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Chris has always been Chris . . . Well done, young Chris and older Chris!

I read your great comments at Ecosophia. Your bringing to our attention the recycling crisis has made me consider starting up some sort of backyard incinerator myself. It could only be paper and cardboard products, though, as there is a county code against burning plastics (which is probably a very good idea) and we already burn some paper items in the fireplace in winter. Most of it we have been recycling, though. Obviously, the best thing we can do is try even harder to cut back. Thanks for the heads-up!

Push bikes have disappeared from our rural roads, where once there were quite a lot. It is kind of eerie. I just cannot figure out what is deterring them now. The fact that our rural highways are only two cars wide, with a 1 foot verge and often a drop-off never deterred them in the past. And our dirt roads are only one to one-and-a-half cars wide, but you'd need a mountain bike for those.

Population pressure as the cause of those bike folks heading out en masse as a scourge to the countryside? I think at least some of the reason is that some people just have too much time on their hands - or the wrong priorities. Which is not fair of me, as they are not all rude." 'roid rage" - how good is that!

What a huge heap of firewood! I was trying to guess (why didn't I measure last fall . . .) how much firewood we have burned so far this winter. I am guessing between 6 and 7 cords (1 cord = 4ft. wide x 4ft. high x 8ft. long).

That's a huge shopping bag compared to mine. Hi, Toothy! Hi, Ollie! (my he's grown!). Scritchy, you are one dog in a million, especially in the way that you handle that big hunk of an Ollie. He is a gangle-something?

No wonder you are smiling at your cider press; pleasant experiences await you in the future.

Hmm - sprayers. I have trouble with overhead sprinkling because our summers are so humid and the UV is usually not high enough to dry things out very well, as in fungus and mildew. And we have that eternal shade problem.

That's a creepy critter if I ever saw one, and a biter, too. Yuk.

I simmered some elderberries in water last summer and then drank the juice and it was icky. What am I doing wrong?

Jalapenos - I love them. But the only way that I can eat them is to bottle them with vinegar and water and garlic and onion. For some reason that seems to take some of the heat out of them. Some. Long capsicums - yum, too! Ready for frying, red or green.
Gee, you have real corn. How tall are those stalks? I've never seen a purple pear. I consider a globe artichoke quite a delicacy. Were yours easy to grow?

The Eucalyptus Ficifolia is out of this world!

That's cute: "Two plus two is four
Minus one that's three, quick maths"?

Pam

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks! The money gave me a fair degree of freedom at a young age. Before finishing high school, I worked retail Friday nights and Saturday mornings. That retail was a pretty cushy gig and back in those days the shops used to close dead on 12.30pm on Saturday lunchtime. Part of my job was sending away pesky customers who were trying to shop after that time. One quickly learns diplomacy and firmness of stance in such situations! I assume that was the norm in your part of the world too, in the not too distant past?

It is dark outside right now so I can't check the label of that pear (if it the label even exists). It is very attractive don't you reckon? We also have brown and green European pears too as well as the Asian nashi pears.

Oh my goodness. That is a lot of feeding. You'll be enjoying bacon, hocks, belly, and sausages before you know it! I read in Mr Logsdon's book that 30 thirty chickens require the annual harvest of an acre of grain. Food for thought! I hope to be working on grains over the next few years. It should be interesting.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Alas my bakery super powers failed me completely when the lovely ladies on the pharmacy round used to give me hand knitted tea cosies. For the life of me I couldn't understand how they thought that was appropriate, but then they may also have been on some pretty heavy medication which I was delivering...

The Beeb accent trick is very amusing! You know, I've got a theory that a lot of guys act gruff and remote, because they're basically shy and that is a defence mechanism for them. Mostly those guys have never learned the gentle art of small talk, or they deemed it a useless tool to learn? Dunno.

Money grubbing street Urchins of the world unite! :-)! Hey, where is your union card? I hope your dues are up to date too! Hehe! Back in those days bicycles were both made and assembled down here and thus they were more expensive. I did have to visit a few shops and I recall the ignominy of having to borrow a bike to do so. People distant from my immediate family were sympathetic. Nowadays, parts are expensive. I understand that these day’s vehicle manufacturers apparently don't make that much profit per vehicle so they get people to customise and then finance the vehicle. We're getting back around to the Big Short and the bundling of loans into bonds...

I like your bike plan, but there really would be a lot of noise about "rights this" and "rights that" and it would quickly tire (no pun intended) me. The culture does not have nearly enough diversity within it and such things can breed social dysfunction. The other day we were enjoying a coffee and toasted baguette at the local cafe after a hard days morning hauling firewood and a bike rider was struggling up the hill and as he passed the cafe he blew his nose sportsman style. Right in front of where we were eating but not within striking distance. What is with that? Incidentally, he may not realise it but if he had hit us with his mucus, that is technically assault and he could be charged. Anyway, where are peoples manners these days? Incidentally, that incident inspired this week's blog.

The rain was brief but very heavy and the storm does look good coming in from the south west. The editor suggested that that bag looked like an over sized truck nut. Naughty! Yeah, the cubist painting is an abstract painting of an old township. It even has a river running through the middle of the town. It was so large I had to bring it home in the bright yellow trailer. We'll see what we can do! :-)!

Now as to the Astronaut chicken, what exactly is an astronaut chicken? I do rather hope that no chickens are ever transported to Mars? I was considering Mr Logsdon's rule of thumb that 30 chickens requires the annual harvest of an acre planted to grains. A sobering number. I doubt plants as we know them can even grow on such a cold place as Mars. But a million people will take a lot of feeding, not that they would stop and consider that. I heard on the radio today an interview with a scientist saying that laboratory grown meat costs about $80/kg (2.2 pounds) and is originally sourced from animals. A truly revolting concept that.

Thus the important word: "repairable". I suspect Ollie is on the other hand "trainable". There will be ups and downs of course and that's life. Every component in that system is able to be replaced or stopped off. When the green sprayer hose died, so did all of the watering...

Elderberry is very easy to start as you just have to bung a semi hardwood chunk into fertile soil. Nature does the rest (but not on Mars!)

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Hey, the slim peppers appear to grow and ripen quickly and in a short growing season, that is quite valuable. There are also miniature eggplants which I'd try in your part of the world. Eggplant lasagna is very tasty. Yum! In the 1950's and 1960's a lot of immigration from Greece occurred and they brought with them recipes for yummy Moussaka!

There was certainly some sympathy for the bushrangers down here too way back in the day, and from historical accounts, the police were occasionally very heavy handed with some sections of the community and the Irish appeared at the time to have good cause for grievance. Mind you, the work of the Catholic church with children in institutional care was not good. Hey, did you end up finding a Staffordshire Burke and Hare? It is a bit gruesome!

As an amusing bit of gossip, one of our more outspoken "family values" politicians has got himself into a spot of bother for very un-family activities. Nationals in talks about asking Barnaby Joyce to resign. I don't particularly care who is sleeping in who's bed, but far out, when folks take the high moral ground in public, their fall can be very great indeed. I often feel that such people are covering something up with all their braying and noise. One sad activity that he appears to have had a hand in was Barnaby Joyce's other betrayal.

Yeah, I reckon Mr Logsdon writes in the in between space between nature and industrial agriculture. He is very even handed about industrial agriculture, but at the same time he is not backward about calling its inevitable demise for if no other reason than what can't be sustained, won't be sustained. He takes a holistic approach and looks further into the future than most people would be comfortable with.

Lots of yummy food and nice to read about a good turn out to the pot luck! We have no such similar cultural activity down here. Probably the barbeque is the closest equivalent. Does the pot luck have long historical roots? I read mention that settlers in your grain belt early on occasionally survived on a diet consisting of 100% corn derived foodstuffs. Sorry, but I reckon the yoghurt on the muffins is a hard sell to the ladies. But a little sour cream into the muffin mix, may work a treat?

Good for you! And it is fun to win such auctions. Good stuff. Some people use auction sniper programs now and I really don't see how those things can possibly work...

It would have been nice to see the snow. You're getting like here when it becomes a novelty. I reckon it is pretty enjoyable like that.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Snazzy irrigation set up!

Great that Ollie has a mentor in the Fernglade way. I´m sure he´ll catch on.

In Texas, jalapeños are also breakfast food. I believe that if you find them too hot, you can remove the ¨vein¨ to lower the heat, but it may be the seeds you need to watch out for. Fingers crossed mine germinate this year, seed is getting old. Got myself a heating pad for the seed trays this season.

Cyclists always make me nervous when I´m driving. And over here, they like to group up in a ¨peloton¨ like on the tour, instead of riding single file. On the other hand, every year a number of them get mowed over by cars, so I sympathize with them.

Saw some of the Olympic women´s biathlon last night. Now that is a practical sport - cross country skiing and shooting a rifle!

Cheers

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks. I've never been shy of hard work.

Awesome. The ashes are very good to spread around your trees. Wood ash contains tasty quantities of potash and lime (I believe). Cardboard has boron which plants need. Oh! You just reminded me. I must look up what minerals are in coffee grounds because I have absolutely no idea! The stuff disappears quickly into the soil and things are looking healthy... You know, I wish I could chuck down more manure fertiliser into the orchard and gardens than I do at the moment.

As a transport tool, push bikes have disappeared around here too, for much the same reasons. Most people who ride around here on weekends, aren't locals (with some exceptions). Locals already live on steep properties and as such get plenty of exercise walking up and down the slopes! I'm with you, it is a question of priorities. I actually wish more people got interested in growing edible plants.

Yeah! It is more firewood than we have ever stacked away. And we have no idea how much firewood we use either. I can make a guess, but by Christmas this year we should know more or less for sure. I reckon we're in the same ball park too. I tell ya, if we had to chop this stuff by hand, we'd probably use far less of it.

Those bags are tough as and we take four of them, but the editor gives me the heavy stuff. Ollie is big as isn't he? I'm completely unused to dogs as big as him. Did you notice in the Scritchy / Ollie photo, both of their tails were pointing in the same direction and Ollie had his head bowed in submission to Scritchy? How tough is she at almost seventeen years! Gangle chunk! Hehe!

What would one do without a cider press? Philosophers careers hang in the balance as they discuss this most important of questions!

How do you manage to water your plants given those circumstances? And what happens to the plants in really wet summers?

Formidable is the correct word.

Ah! Of course, rather than using the elderberries, you use the flowers. Plus a bit of sitting and fermenting assists with elderberry cordials - even if only a little bit of time. The more the better though as drinks get smoother with time.

I'm frankly scared of that jalapeno... I usually grow and purchase the bell peppers so I have no idea at all what this lot will taste like. The corn stalks are about six foot. It is fortunate that I have access to some manure to feed the soil for the corn as I'm starting to get an appreciation of what heavy feeders those plants are. They love lots of nitrogen in the soil. It is too dark outside to discover what variety of pear that purple one is and I may bump into a wallaby or wombat. Someone is shooting off in the distance which is unusual at night.

The globe artichokes come back every year in the same spot but I am yet to discover any self-seeded artichokes growing around the place. They're very low maintenance but love full sun and yup, they are tasty as. Interestingly the Jerusalem artichokes have also grown here for years and are yet to take over anywhere.

The red Eucalyptus Ficifolia are amazing looking small trees. The bees love the flowers too and you can smell the nectar when close to the tree.

It was fun wasn't it?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Lew

The same principal read "Who Moved My Cheese?" another year and presented each of us with our own copy. The year she showed the Pike's Market video we deemed "the year of the fish" complete with various fish related pranks. At our monthly staff meeting a teacher was presented with a "fish award". I am proud to say I never earned one.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Gangle chunk - that was it. I was trying to call Ollie gangle hunk and, actually, he is quite a hunk!

We have been watering with drip hoses . . . And just watering with regular garden hoses, by hand. You can imagine how much time that takes. We did have a spray irrigation system at one time. The nozzles were fixed to spray near the base of the plants, not above them, to minimize getting the foliage wet. I thought that worked fairly well, but we found it hard to maintain because the nozzles - being close to ground level - would get clogged up a lot. There is probably some happy medium. In really wet summers just about every kind of plant developes some kind of fungus or mildew problem. I find that there is absolutely nothing harder to treat organically than those two things. I wonder if we have a bit of an issue also because we are in a forest, which inhibits air flow some. One of my son's favorite sayings is: "You can't grow vegetables in a forest" - but he and I do so. It's just harder. We seem to get more rain in summer than you usually do - except for this summer that you have just gone through!

Another thing that we do now with the jalapenos is to make a fermented pepper sauce with the same vinegar and water and garlic and onions that we bottle the cut up jalapenos in (they are bottled in a hot water bath). For the sauce, the peppers are mashed up in a blender and then the vinegar mixture is added and it is bottled but then just left alone in the pantry to gently ferment. We use the ripe red ones for that. Note: We use dried garlic and onions, in a powdered form. We are still eating jalapeno sauce made last August and it is better than ever. It is much easier to take the heat (jalapenos are really hot!) that way. That stuff is my secret ingredient in a lot of things and it is so great on top of fried eggs. Also, any kind of pepper can be used to make sauce, hot or not. The only ones we haven't tried to use are bell peppers. We've used cayenne, jalapenos, and anchos.

Oh - the elderberry flowers.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Here's another article related to the Chinese plastic ban - http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2132771/journey-waste-has-west-learned-its-lesson-chinas-plastic-ban

You were certainly industrious in your youth. I never had a job during my teen age years as I was recruited to assist with all my brothers and sisters. My mother did pay for extra chores though. Mowing our large lawn with a push mower earned me $4 and weeds pulled with roots were a penny for six (and she did check for roots). My parents were quite well off as my father was a physician and they had Arabian horses. I was able to purchase (at a large discount) one of their horses for $300. It took a long time mowing lawns and pulling weeds to earn that money. Even though they were well off both of my parents came from modest means and did not believe in just handing us stuff. My father died when I was 21 so all my younger siblings ended up with jobs to make ends meet and help pay for their education. Both of my daughters worked part time during high school though there aren't many jobs for teens anymore it seems.

We get quite a few bike riders out here and I'm guessing they're often participating in some kind of race or competition as a route is all staked out. Most roads have very little shoulder so they end up riding, often three abreast on the roads. I imagine they are out this way as it's fairly rural and the traffic isn't too heavy but they can be pretty annoying - especially when they made no attempt to go single file and cars can't get around them. Some old, unused railroads have been converted into bike paths and eventually the plan is they will connected throughout the Chicago metro area. There's a nice one near here but to get to it you have to ride on a two lane road where the drivers drive at high speeds so it's kind of scary.

I would never think Scritchy is 17!! Ollie's paws still look large for his body so I'll bet he still has some growing to do.

Jalepenos certainly aren't the hottest of peppers. I think the seeds add a lot to the hotness. I'm embarrassed to say that I once made the mistake of seeding them without gloves and I guess I must of rubbed my eyes too. Even though it didn't happen right away my hands and eyes were red and inflamed for quite some time.

I don't think you'll run out of firewood :).

We got another 5 inches of snow Saturday night so it's really piling up. Yesterday morning it was -12 (F) again.

margfh said...

@Pam

Some years ago a group of us made elderberry syrup which was quite tasty. Supposedly it has medicinal uses as well - helps decrease symptoms of colds and flu. It did need quite a bit of sugar as I recall.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - "I never saw a Purple Pear,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one." With apologies to Gellette Burgess, who published the original poem in 1895. :-).

Roast suckling pig? Hawaiian luau? I wonder if pigs are distantly related to L'il Abner Shmoos, or Star Trek Tribbles? Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, I think you're right about some guys that are gruff and remote. But, some I think are just flaming (family friendly filter on.)

Money Grubbing Street Urchin of the World, Ret. Union card nicely framed and hanging on the wall, next to my computer. I don't have to pay dues anymore, but the retirement benefits and health care package are quit nice. :-). My Dad had those. Quit lavish, by today's standards. Don't much see those, anymore. :-(.

Well, when the housing loan bundles started to come under scrutiny, they just oozed into bundling subprime student, car and ... darn, I can never remember the third one. Now that the heat's off a bit, they're back to housing loans. This will not end well.

Re: the bike rider. What a little snot! :-). That is truly disgusting and appalling behavior.

Kunstler was raving on about Musk's plans to get a million people to Mars by 2040. Comments were interesting. Some took on the roll of patiently explaining why it won't happen, to those that were starry eyed (pun?) and delusional. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. No Staffordshire figures of Burke and Hare, as far as I could see in a quick Google search. But I did find something macabre and interesting. Not long after the dust had settled, the miscreants hung or shipped off to Australia, a boy found 17 little 4" dolls in 17 little coffins, stashed in a cave in an Edinburgh park (Arthur's Seat.) Probably representations of Burke and Hare's 17 victims. Who made them, why or how they got there are a mystery. Also, death masks of Burke and Hare turned up stashed away in storage, in a police station.

Re: Politicians behaving badly. Happens here, all the time. Also with conservative religious leaders. Those are my favorite :-).

I'll have to look into the origins of the word "potluck". The idea has certainly been around for ages. Church suppers? The first Thanksgiving? Our prehistoric ancestors turning up with whatever they've found during the day and chucked in the pot?

You probably know, but watch the picking and preparation of those jalapeno peppers. Do not touch your eyes, or there will be tears.

Scouted the antique malls, in preparation for today's kick off of the President's Day sales. Did some research, checked E-Bay. The list gets whittled down. Some decisions will be decided by how deep the discount is. Can run anywhere from 10-50%. There's a nice, white, tall Art Deco vase with a gazelle on the side. A woodblock print (signed and numbered) of Geese that I like. Minor artist. Lived in Port Townsend, Washington. Had a one woman exhibit at the Frye Art Museum (Seattle) in the 1970s. Set up a scholarship fund for promising students with an interest in graphic art. A pair of iron bookends from the 1930s of covered wagons.

But, first, the garden meeting. That ought to be interesting. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Might want to delete this one ... not very family friendly. Re: political scandals. Words of political wisdom ...

In 1983, Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards quipped to reporters "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy". Edwards was a very quotable politician and this one entered the political lexicon to describe a situation where a candidate is a shoo-in. Lew

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

I love the poem.

I have suggested roast suckling pig, to my son, in the past. His response was that I am welcome to try and get one of the piglets from its mother. Have to assume that if he isn't prepared to try then I certainly wouldn't succeed.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew again

Have just looked up Gellett Burgess in Wikipedia. Note that you are in great danger having quoted his poem. Hopefully you are protected by the alteration.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco, Pam, Margaret, and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments, but it is Valentines Day this evening and I took the editor off to dinner at a delightful Southern American restaurant in the big smoke (we were in there already today, so the moons aligned). Anyway, my dinner was a tasty dish of chicken and andouille sausage gumbo stew with rice. And French Fries on the side. The editor enjoyed Texas chilli beans and rice, and I'm not saying I won, because it isn't a competition. But I did win! Anyway, I promise to reply to your lovely comments tomorrow.

Lewis - I heard the Australian ethicist Peter Singer interviewed on the radio (it is apparently animal week, this week, which is a good thing). Anyway, he wrote the book 'Animal Liberation' in 1975. It apparently made quite the intellectual splash in its day. The thing is in the interview he said that he was disappointed with the reception of the book as he believed something along the lines that if he provided a well reasoned book outlining his argument, then the world would accordingly change. I had a bit of a double take when I heard that, because we'd been discussing exactly that belief that someone else had expressed (Ted Kaczynski)...

I can track the podcast for the radio news show down if you're interested? It left me feeling cold.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Thanks so much about the elderberry syrup. I will look into that.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Same routine in our library system. Among we who were not "on board", in private, used to refer to the whole thing as "Who Cut the Cheese?" The joke may need a bit of explanation, as I don't know how regional the phrase is among 8 year old boys when referring to breaking wind. :-).

Who sells this stuff to gullible management? Then there was the year the fellow with a Doctorate in ... (darn. Not political correctness ... not gender studies. Well, you get the idea.) Somehow, the dog and pony show for what boils down to the Golden Rule seems a bit overdone.

The most dreaded fads were those involving "roll playing." Just let us sit and go somewhere else nice, in our minds. Don't ask us to bestir ourselves to get involved in someone else's psychodrama. :-). Lew

PS: Several of the western States have "rails to trails" programs. Converting old railroad beds to dike and hiking/walking trails. There's one that runs all the way from the mountains, to the sea, that passes through our county. There was one that ran through my friends little town over in Idaho. A two day ride if you did the whole thing.

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Oh, I suppose the copyright has run out, by now, and it's probably in the public domain. Copyright only (at least here in the States) only lasts so long, with a couple of renewals, possible, along the way. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Naaaw. You don't need to connect to the podcast. I pretty much know the drill. True believers who think if they just get their message "out there" there will be some kind of universal great awakening. Probably less likely than being struck by lightening. But, I suppose it does happen. Enough to give people hope. There are books that have profoundly effected history. "Communist Manifesto." "Mein Kampf". The only thing I can think is that some of these people had very sheltered upbringings and not much contact with the "real" world.

Down the "potluck" rabbit hold.

"A potluck is a gathering where each guest contributes a different and unique dish of food, often homemade, to be shared. Synonyms include: potluck dinner, spread, Jacob's join,[1][2] Jacob's supper, faith supper, covered dish supper, dish party, bring and share, shared lunch, pitch-in, bring-a-plate, dish-to-pass, fuddle, and carry-in.

Etymology[edit]
While there exists some disagreement as to its origin, two principal theories exist: the combination of the English "Pot" and "Luck" or the North American indigenous communal meal "Potlatch".

The word pot-luck appears in the 16th century English work of Thomas Nashe, and used to mean "food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot."[this quote needs a citation] The modern execution of a "communal meal, where guests bring their own food," most likely originated in the 1930s during the Depression [3].

The alternative origin of the word is associated with a tradition common to the Tlingit and other indigenous peoples of the pacific northwest, called a potlatch, and is considered by opponents of this theory to be an eggcorn or malapropism." Tip of the hat to Wikipedia.

I wondered if they'd bring up "potlatch." A festive north coast Native American tradition. But there was so much more to it. Yeah, there was food, but the major event was giving stuff away. A chief would throw a potluck. And give away large chunks of his valuable possessions to other chiefs and extended family. It was a display of power and wealth. The Portland Art Museum has quit a collection of North Coast Native Art. A lot of it is potlatch paraphanalia. To me, the most interesting are several chiefs hats, of woven cedar bark, with a post affixed to the top. A ring was added for each potluck. There were five alternating rings of copper and woven material. Quit splendid. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. It was 25F (-3.88C) night before last. 34F (+1.11C) last night. There was actually a bit of snow, around midnight. On and off. Mixed snow and rain. Not very impressive.

We had our garden meeting, yesterday, and, as I expected, someone put their foot in it and it became apparent I was angling for two garden spots. Sigh. Sometimes, I wonder if some of The Old Babes are as addipated (sp?) as they appear, or are putting some of it on, for leaverage? levrage? levrrage? levarage? Well, you get the drift. :-). But, as there was another large chunk of garden space up for grabs, and not much pressure, I got what I wanted. Mr. Bob the Master Gardener said that was fine as I was an "aggressive" gardener. Which may be code for "He still gets around, pretty well." :-). The small plot is 4x7.6'. The new large plot is 13.6x5'. So, a total of about 450 square feet.

Mr. Bob has mason bees, and they will be coming around March 1st. I learned something interesting. One shouldn't hang the hives box. If jostled, the larvae becomes dis-attached from the food source. Who knew? I also got a lesson in soil testing. He has a kit (that I can get from a garden store for around $15 - good for 10 tests). Glad I was walked through it as it's a bit fiddly. According to the test, my potash is fine, but I'm really low in nitrogen and phosphorus. He explained that nitrogen is a real problem here, as it is so water soluble.

I went to the President's Day Sale and got pretty much everything I wanted. Two Art Deco pottery vases. A set of cast iron bookends (Covered wagons. 1930). A woodblock print.

Benjamin Franklin was a vegetarian for about four years in his late teens. And, he'd later resort to it, later in life, from time to time. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi everyone!

Well I'm about to disappoint your good selves, as I also disappoint myself from time to time. Everyone is disappointed here! Plans have abruptly changed today and I will be unable to reply today. Tomorrow is a definite, but I now lack all credibility so my word has suddenly become as dirt. Actually dirt is a good thing for plants, so perhaps this is a good thing? Hehe! It's complex...

Lewis - Fair enough, an he was a true believer in himself thus he sounded sort of confused about the entire matter. I've never really felt that way, but then I have long travelled in troubled waters and have sort of adapted a more flexible approach to change. That Ghandi bloke was onto something with the comment about being the change... although to be honest he did have some other rather unusual ideas that are often glossed over. Mind you, people may probably say the same thing about here!

Picked up the new water pump for the garden water system today. It looks like a pretty solid unit, but I've been fooled before. They also supplied a huge accumulator pressure tank 6.3 gallons. The tank should spare the pump from having to work too hard, thus extending its life span.

And, ta da! I picked about half a bucket load of sun ripened almonds this morning. I'd noticed that some of the green husks had split open and that is the time to pick all of them. Almonds from home grown trees really do taste superb, and they are far tastier than walnuts. The walnut tree is displaying robust good health too. I can't believe that I had written it off earlier on in the season. It truly did look quite dead. Walnuts have complex personalities. I'll have to look into whether I have to plant a second walnut tree, but there is an orchard of them around here which has never produced a single walnut from what I can tell, so perhaps the pollination may be fine? Dunno.

Well yeah, they may be putting it on a bit. Consider the character Aunt Ada Doom in Cold Comfort Farm - the protagonist (Flora) certainly recognised that the lovely old lady was perhaps not as mad as she claimed or acted.

Good to hear that you are getting snow. Up north of this continent, they are enjoying a massive heatwave. By all accounts it is pretty nasty and the inland folks I read a quote saying that the coastal folk were a "bit of a sook". Who wants to be thought of as a sook? Down here in the far south east it is pretty nice really and it feels as if Autumn has arrived early. This month has felt like the sort of weather I'd expect to feel in March. Weird huh?

There are a couple of folks I know thinking about moving south to Tasmania and I may send them a link to the recent storm down there: Wild weather cuts power to thousands across Tasmania, traffic chaos in Hobart.

The future is a bit like a game of musical chairs, but you never know when the music will stop. From my perspective it makes sense to put your efforts into where you find yourself, but others feel differently. What is your take on that matter?

Cheers

Chris


How did the garden plot challenge go? I hope you staked out your claim and the garden Goddesses upheld your claim? No need to have bad blood in such matters as memories can be long.



Damo said...

@Chris
I think you win an Elephant stamp for this weeks title. It is a funny video clip, and I must sheepishly admit I wasn't sure if he was serious or not the first time I saw it. I think there is a rule somewhere that the best satire straddles the line of believable. Mrs Damo and I have been telling each other 'Take of your jacket' or "sauce, not ketchup" the past couple of weeks. Very immature.

@Lew
I made myself some eggplant lasagna last weekend, including homemade pasta sheets! There was way, way too much (3 large baking dishes worth) and my freezer is now well stocked. I put a little nutmeg in the cheese sauce, I had never done that before and I was quite happy with the results!

I am in Wellington for work today and tomorrow. The city is very windy, and the houses are on top of each other on very steep hills with tunnels honeycombing the hills everywhere. Some houses have little electric conveyance lifts to get people from their garage at street level to their house perched high above. It is a strange place - not at all like flat Christchurch. Lots of fancy food restaurants though, so not all bad when dinner is a work expense item :-)

Damo

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Gelett Burgess

'Ah yes, I wrote the purple cow
I'm sorry now I wrote it
But I can tell you anyhow
I'll kill you if you quote it

So beware!

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

See you later alligator . . .

Lew and Margaret have reminded me that I didn't tell you that I wear disposable gloves (which I wash and reuse for quite a long time) when handling jalapenos.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - No bother. We'll just talk amongst, ourselves. :-). Which was a running gag from a Saturday Night Live sketch, decades ago. Cliff Mass started making rumblings about a cold snap, next week, and the National Weather Service picked up the baton, this morning. "Coldest weather of the winter, coming." High wind on Saturday. There may be some transition snow, on Sunday, and then Sunday night it's supposed to get down to 20. Temps in the teens, after that. Too cold too snow. It was 36F (2.22C) last night.

I'm pretty sure walnuts need two to tango. I don't think they need to be different species, but check. Once they get established, they're pretty hardy. I expect the two volunteer walnuts I found amongst the blueberries, last year, will make a re-appearance. I didn't notice them, last year, until they were taller than the blueberries. I'll watch for them this year, and hack them back earlier.

There wasn't much of a struggle, for land in the garden plots. The Home is going through one of those remarkable stable periods where there's not much coming and going. Those who had plots, last year, wanted to keep there plots. Except for two large plots that were in play. I was for one, and the Garden Goddess was for the other. We'll see what she can do. She can barely cope with what she has, due to health. Her ploy (smoke screen) was to turn the other large plot into a "community" space. "Some people don't want a whole space but just a plant or two." Nope. She'll take the whole thing. Everyone thought it was a good idea, but I really wonder how many were really taken in, or how many really believe what she said? But, as there's no pressure for land, this year, not a problem. Lew

Damo said...

@lew

The garden goddess sounds like a player. 'this is for everyone's benefit'!

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

Thanks! The irrigation system is the bees knees, and I only just added another sprinkler so as to water a patch of horseradish and one of my favourite herbs to add to salads: Vietnamese mint.

Ollie is being hounded by the other dogs, but he has to deal with that as he is learning the ropes. Breo may be able to teach a new canine stuff too!

I'm really starting to feel scared about these jalapeños... Heat pads are a great idea. I'm experimenting over the next year or two and trying old school germination outside in the garden beds. Dunno. The transplant shock seems like a big deal here.

Note to self, don't annoy those biathletes!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Hehe! Ollie already has quite the high opinion of his smashing good looks. :-)!

Thanks. Drip hoses were what I was using, before they got Ollie'd and possibly also blown up by the pressure in the house pump. Before that they worked well. Yup, I hear you about the time, because for me to water all of the garden beds by hand is an hours or more job, so yup I hear you. Now, if I had nothing else to do it wouldn’t be a problem... I try not to water anything too much and the orchard rarely gets watered. Oooo! I picked the almonds yesterday! Yum! Fungi seem to be part of the soil in forests, as I noticed the zucchini and cucumbers appear to be succumbing to powdery mildew. Actually forest soils are chock full of fungi as those little critters work towards eating plant cellulose (i.e. trees). Hey, as a suggestion, adding more lime to the soil will lift the pH and put the soil life balance more in favour of bacteria, and so you'll get a lot less fungi eating your plants. The truffle growers do that down here, although I have no idea how much they apply or how much it would cost. My gut feeling is that it is an expensive option, but I feel that an addition of lime would really help you.

I get that about it being harder. I often remark to clients that: the difficult we can do, the impossible may take a little bit longer! Hey, the Eucalyptus trees play chemical games with the fruit trees and so the fruit trees grow slower here than most other places. Forests are complex places, but they are also far more resilient in other respects.

I mentioned to Coco above that I'm really starting to feel scared about these jalapeños... Your secret ingredient with the sauce sounds superb! And on eggs = Yum! We begin dehydrating tomatoes tomorrow and visited a store in the big smoke today which sells all sorts of preserving and harvesting items (lead us not into temptation!) and we picked up many large glass jars to replace the cheaper ones we'd been using to put the dehydrated tomatoes in olive oil. They were trying to sell me olive nets and pickers! Anyway, the glass in the cheaper ones has been breaking recently…

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for the link to the article, and the response down here so far has not been good. I'd have to suggest that they're in what is known as the bargaining phase? When I looked at the numbers, Vietnam was taking only 70% to 80% of what we produce, let alone all of the other first world countries. This one will not end well... I read in the local papers that the local council has been in discussions with the main contractor who apparently was in discussions with the Federal Government last year. The result, well the local council will pay more, and I'm assuming the stuff is being stored until further notice.

Oh my goodness, your responsibilities were akin to a job, and then some. As a contrast, after I finished working, I was done, whereas your help was ongoing. Thank you for sharing your story, and no I also feel that there are not many jobs for teenagers these days which is a shame as it gave me independence on a scale that few people the same age would now enjoy. We've really hit a turning point I feel.

Down here some old rail lines - and there were quite a lot of those back in the day, have also been converted into bicycle trails. To be honest, I'd prefer that the rail lines were still intact and in use. Yeah, the dude that abused the editor and I, was also riding on the very outside of the three and four abreast and I gave him a little pip of the horn to remind him that he wasn't the only person on the road. I have no desire to see them squashed or be involved in that circumstance. I heard a joke once about: What did he die of. Too much testosterone...

My mother didn't teach me a whole lot of useful things, but one useful thing she did mention was never to talk about a ladies age. Now of course, Scritchy is no lady, but that is another story... I hope Ollie doesn't get too much bigger, but I suspect that you are correct. I am feeding him up in order to slow him down a bit, because he is a little bit rough with the smaller dogs. Mind you, they are taking the big stick to him, so it is a complex business.

I mentioned to Coco and also Pam above, that I'm really starting to feel scared about these jalapeños... Ouch! I have taken your hard earned advice on board!

Hehe! I don't believe we will run out of firewood either, and hopefully we finish that job on Sunday morning! Other jobs are calling for my attention and the order for the new garden water pump and accumulator pressure tank arrived yesterday at the local pump shop and I'm really looking forward to getting that system up and running.

Far out that is cold as! Brrr! I hope you have not run out of firewood and don't have to go anywhere in such wintery conditions?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Haha! Mate, I also wasn't sure whether the bloke was serious or not. How funny was the look on his girlfriends face? Hehe! But on the other hand I do enjoy a bit of silliness in my rap music, and Big Shaq delivered it in spades! There is just something different about Australian and UK rap music compared to the more aggressive US style. Even the videos are culturally very different. I mean compare that Big Shaq film clip to Future's 'Masked Off' film clip. I like the Masked Off song, but far out when I saw the video, I said to myself: what the heck is wrong to come up with that gear? Oh well...

Anyway, did you notice at one point in the video he was wearing socks and sandals, and I replicated that feat in one of the photos? I always chuck in a few jokes, and even if nobody spots them, I still amuse myself! :-)!

Hehe! Yes, funny stuff!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Yes some guys are a bit like that. I believe a possible family friendly word for them would be: Tools!

Some people have all the luck and it is nice to hear that you are now a confirmed fellow of the order of the: Money Grubbing Street Urchins of the World, albeit in retirement. Alas I am but a journeyman. No doubts, you have earned your esteemed status. I can only but wish for the same.

You'd sort of think that given the bundling of consumer debts into bonds trick didn't work so well in the past, that people and funds of all kinds would steer clear of them, but no. I'm amazed that memories could be so short, but when other investments yield poorly, I guess an appetite for risk arises?

We just set off the fire on the brazier. We use that brazier to burn off all of the accumulated forest branches that fall into the orchard, but this time we also pruned one of the very large elderberry shrubs and it smells really lovely. I'm planning to grow an elderberry hedge as the beginnings of a solid and species rich hedgerow. The garden beds work on a similar arrangement and the wildlife loves it. One of my seedling avocadoes was eaten, although I'm unsure which animal did it. It has been a good year for self seeded avocado trees and fortunately there are plenty of them. The fruit trees are spreading outwards from the orchard.

Oh yeah, blowing a huge snot in front of a cafe whilst people are eating is a disgusting thing to do. I feel that the act was done in a 'look at me' sort of mentality. We looked and were not amused.

Mars. I feel that Mr Kunstler wrote truthfully about the outcome of that little adventure. The thing is, adventures into space, just failed to yield a profit, and so they inevitably return to Earth with a thud. The old school European adventurers tended to turn a tidy profit due to colonial activities, but there is only so far that such programs can be attempted before, like the Roman Empire, they run out of places to sack. There is nothing for us in space other than the realisation that here is where we belong.

I assume the death masks of Burke and Hare were plaster casts taken of their faces? Was that act performed for macabre reasons or practical purposes? Imagine stumbling upon one of those masks on a dark night at a police station...

Oh! I was in a bookshop yesterday (lead us not into temptation!) and I was sorely tempted by a collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. The bloke has a silky smooth way with the English language. I can see that Jack Vance would have eagerly read his works as there were notable similarities in style.

Oh yeah, I love it when conservatives get busted loitering around public toilets. It is like shooting fish in a barrel. Who wrote: The lady doth protest too much? Anyway, the bigger they talk, the harder they fall. The media is having a field day down here on that subject, especially because he was so outspoken. I feel really bad for his kids as I myself have been on the child end of a messy divorce. Not good for them.

Yes, that makes four warnings about the jalapeños, and if I was not nervous before, I now lack all confidence in the matter! It would probably make a good capsicum spray?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

How did you go with the President's day sales? Hope you scored a bargain?

That quote from the Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, was very amusing! Incidentally one of our Prime Ministers died whilst in bed. Now who was it? We have had an awful lot of them... Sex and the not so private lives of politicians. It is quite the colourful history.

Sheltered upbringings would explain a thing or two. The author sounded genuinely disappointed at the outcome. Anyway, I've never really thought that thought - thankfully! To be honest, I began writing this blog because no other publication could take the volume of writing, and also so that we could enjoy a regular chat. Which I do so enjoy! There was a big upswing in readers last week, so I may write something this week to get rid of them! :-)! I'm surprised that the militant bike rider brigade never turned up to spew forth nonsense about this weeks blog. The editor said that I was very diplomatic in the essay, but they are a touchy bunch. Maybe they know that they'll get thumped?

Thanks for the history. You have used the word potlatch in the past and I always assumed this was some sort of colloquialism? Not so! It has much older origins. It is an interesting strategy to give things away if one is a chief. And I have noticed that some of the criminals down here with longer careers (like not getting killed) are those that give things away to supporters. It seems like a dubious idea to rip off a hit man, but that is merely my take on that matter.

Cold as! It is very nice here at the moment with blue skies and cool air. Well, I'm accustomed to feeling that 86'F is cool.

Oooo! We went to an awesome shop today in the big smoke. They sell all manner of harvesting and preserving items. The big boss took the editor and I on a tour of the enormous warehouse which was chock full of stuff. So many temptations... We picked up some heavy duty glass preserving jars as some of the cheaper and newer ones have not survived the sterilising process (i.e. boiling water). The broken ones end up as fill behind the rock gabion wall, and no doubt this will be a mystery to archaeologists in millennia to come. Speaking of which I was troubled to discover that Indonesia apparently disposes of their plastic by dumping a lot of it in the ocean. They are the second biggest disposers next to the US. Ouch! That stuff has a long shelf life in the environment and I wonder how it will all appear in the deep future?

Hey, 450 sq ft is a really good win, and I look forward to reading about your new gardening adventures as it warms up. I assume you'll get to work adding organic matter to the new and larger plot? Speaking of such matters, I finally got around to looking up what minerals are in coffee grounds and WOO HOO!

double secret cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

"phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper are each sufficiently high that there will be a very positive impact on improving availabilities of these elements where the coffee grounds are used as a mineral soil amendment."

Good stuff, particularly the phosphorous which is seriously lacking in Australian soils. It is a real long term problem that few people have put many brain cells towards. I fed a couple of bin loads to the almond trees today as they have done very well this year and I picked half a bucket of almonds. I can't reach the higher nuts and have to purchase a three legged ladder which is purpose built for orchards.

The lack of nitrogen and phosphorus is not good, but not the end of the world. Minerals also work in concert with plants so you need a huge diversity. Manure provides a lot of the basics.

Mason bees are pretty cool, and they do a lot of heavy lifting in the garden in terms of pollination. People fail to realise that European honey bees, which to be honest are quite lazy pollinators, well anyway, they have to work harder when native bees are around. I enjoy quite a few different native bees here too, they just fail to live in the big colonies that the European bees do, and so you can't harvest honey from them.

The cast iron book ends sound cool. Back in the 70's I recall people using actual cast iron clothes irons as book ends. You don't see them around much anymore. Even the handles were cast iron and a towel had to be wrapped around them in order to not burn your hands when in use. Occasionally people would get them covered in bronze or copper as a decorative effect, but they always looked a bit strange then. Oh well. What was the wood block print displaying?

Ouch! Good luck and stay warm. If things were upside down here, the coldest weather snap would always be in February (our August). It feels worse too because things are just starting to warm up and then - bam! Snow and cold. Brrr! A few days of 86'F later in the week.

Thanks for the reminder about the walnuts and I'll have to check my local reference.

Good to read that there is no pressure for the land! And it will be interesting to see how the garden plots fare over summer.

I've got a couple of cantaloupe and watermelons all happily growing. And I still haven't worked out when to harvest the corn. Too early is a problem as much as too late! What to do! Do you have any advice for me about this?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Don't worry about those jalapenos - just use gloves when you prep them especially if you're digging out the seeds. I use them in salsa all the time - no gloves needed for a small batch.

Yeah that's the thing about being the oldest - especially in a large family. It's amazing that I even wanted any kids of my own haha. As there's a little less than 13 years between the oldest (me) and the youngest (Michael) there were always two in diapers - most of them cloth too. I can't tell you how many times I got stuck with diaper pins. This may be TMI but soiled cloth diapers were cleaned in the toilet so I was always hoping for constipation. I started changing diapers when I was eight. Funny thing though as I didn't have any other job experience by the time I got to college I ended up babysitting for extra money.

I imagine Ollie is hard on the other dogs. When Salve arrived our neighbors had just gotten a male golden lab puppy. Now he plays hard!! It worked out pretty well as they wore each other out. They still enjoy playing but they don't go at it for nearly as long as they used to. Jethro is quite a bigger than Salve but she holds her own. Leo is too mature for such silliness.

We've had a couple days in the 40's so there's been lots of melting. Looks like temps overall will be moderating.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew

I think there is a pretty extensive bike trail up in Wisconsin that takes days to cover.

I agree about role play and all the "team building" activities. I'm quite familiar with the phrase "Who cut the cheese?" haha. Thinking back on those motivational activities at institute days brought back many pleasant memories of all the fun times I did have teaching at that school though. During the "year of the fish" some of us would pull birthday pranks on the other teachers. The 8th grade social studies teacher was very fastidious - I mean there was nothing out of place on his desk and very little in his desk drawers so we thought it would be fun to fill the drawers, desk and student desks with gold fish crackers before the school day started. We also had the secretary play the "Jaws" theme in just his room during his study hall period. The kids always loved stuff like that. In those days it was enough to just put a disruptive student in another class of a different grade level for the period. I don't think any of that flies anymore.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - LOL. You are sharp as a tack and creative, to boot! I'm lucky to come up with a lame, off color, limerick. :-). Think I'll print out all three poems, on a sheet of paper. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - The Two Fat Ladies (chefs from England) were convinced that you could toss nutmeg in just about anything to improve the flavor. Sometimes, I'll substitute nutmeg for cinnamon in baking. Nutmeg is slightly psychoactive. You'd have to eat pounds of it, to get even a slight buzz. But, it's there. Sometimes I wonder if my love of all things pumpkin spice has anything to do with it being a bit psychoactive.

Wellington sounds really pretty. Are the tunnels natural, or constructed? Nothing wrong with a bit of an expense account or per diem. Next week my mate, Scott and I are going to try out a new (to us) restaurant. "Taste of Alaska." I have a craving for fish and chips.

I watched season one of "Ash vs the Evil Dead." Not family friendly or politically correct, but what a hoot. Lots of chainsaw action, flying heads and buckets of blood! Lucy Lawless is in it. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - It appeared to be trying to snow, last night. But, it was a steady 41F all night. Which is odd, in itself. Usually, we have a lot of up and down. There must have been a cold layer, aloft, that the rain was falling through. And, we're about 100' higher in elevation, then the airport, where the official readings come from. I'll have to check and see how much low temps garlic will take. Might have to invest in a tarp, today, to toss over them when the really cold temperatures begin.

Bundled debt: It's different, this time :-).

Where are you going to site, your hedgerow? Is it for windbreak, privacy, biodiversity? All of the above? That store/warehouse sounds interesting. Out of curiosity, how do they market themselves? Do they appeal to gentlemen farmers, "real" farmers, survivalists, urban gardeners? So many questions :-).

Death masks were usually either plaster or wax. They seem to come and go in popularity. The Romans kept them in the family shrine and trotted them out whenever someone upped pegs. Part of the funeral procession. The Victorians were quit fascinated with them. To commemorate famous people. Remember loved ones. Notorious people like Burke and Hare.

Last summer I was cutting up a particularly juicy (but taunt) green pepper,and it got me right in the eye. What are the chances? There was quit a bit of yelling a dancing about. I'd recommend a full hazo suit. Your beekeeping kit might do double duty.

He died of testosterone poisoning. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The woodblock print was of two geese. Not all that large. Probably 10x10". The antique mall kicked off their President's Day Sale, last Tuesday. The shops on the main street will kick off, today. I'm checking them out, later.

Are you wanting to eat your corn fresh, or dry it. Or, both? Fresh is when the tassel starts to brown and wither. To dry, you can either leave it on the stalk, until the whole thing turns brown, or, break it off and hang it up.

I have my seed order, ready to go out, today. Trying to reign myself in, a bit. But, a lot of it is just small patches here and there, or this and that. I have decided to grow the mint (and, maybe the lemon balm) inside, as in this part of the world, it can run feral and be pretty invasive. Comfrey is also on the list, mostly for mulch and compost. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for the jalapeños advice. There is fortunately only the single plant and it appears to have been productive. Do you dry the chili's for later use? I assume they are just as lethal when dried? Personally I'm hoping the jalapeños crossed with one of the milder peppers in the vegetable enclosure, but the other risk is that they crossed with the jalapeños... If nothing else, it will be an interesting experiment! :-)!

Definitely not TMI and cleaning cloth diapers in the toilet is a bit of genius. Well done and good thinking. A visitor once tried to leave us with a soiled plastic nappy, without understanding that we have no facilities for such things. I'm glad they asked and didn't just try and flush the thing, although that would have been difficult. The difficulties though would have only begun as I would have to fish it out of the worm farm and whilst it only smells earthy in the worm farm, I can't much say that I'd enjoy that task. A garden rake would probably do the trick. But then what does one do with the further soiled gift?

Oh yeah, you would have seen it all and been able to face baby disasters with a calm disposition. The editor also used to earn money baby-sitting too, but was perhaps not so calm on occasion. She has told me of a memorable early episode where a toddler was not feeling well and decided to throw poo on the walls! Fortunately the editors mum soon arrived and assisted...

Ollie is pretty hard on the other dogs, who are smaller, but they are giving it back to him with teeth, so he is becoming more respectful as time goes on and he gets settled in his place in the household.

Jethro is a cool name for a dog, and yeah I reckon they settle down given time.

Glad to hear that spring is arriving and things are thawing out. I'll be interested to hear about your weather conditions because it was a very early summer and October was feral hot. That weather really messed around with the seedlings which we moved outside so the transplant shock was far greater than it normally is - thus the attempt next spring to start everything directly from seed outside. Adaption to conditions is a good thing.

We began dehydrating tomatoes this morning at 7am and the air is now rich with the smell of tomatoes in the dehydrator. That task will go on every week for the next two months I reckon. It has been a massive cook up afternoon and we also made blackberry jam and blackberry wine.

The thing is every season tasks are getting simpler and quicker. Did you find that with your animals and vegetables?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Ash vs. The Evil dead - Cool! I really enjoyed that silly The Evil Dead Part III film as it was just wrong start to finish. Sometimes I wonder if they set out intentionally to make a comedy, or the film just evolved that way? How good is the line: I could have been King! Hehe!

I have no idea what sort of low temperatures that garlic can take. Certainly most of the bulbs here survived a heavy snowfall (for here) and many light frosts, so who knows? I took some garlic and some of the soil from here over to my mates farm a month or two back. They had some sort of blight and their garlic became very mushy and inedible. Those plants are tough as but I reckon they may have succumbed to over watering - not much chance of that here! The soil around the bulbs even smells of garlic but is black and loamy so there must be some interesting chemical activity going on around the plants.

The tarp is a good idea and when I was a kid people used to chuck old sheets over frost sensitive plants. I probably should have done that with the coffee shrub, but a bit of tough love breeds a bit of resilience. Incidentally, I mentioned a while back about the camellias and having found the perfect spot for them. Well, those shrubs are bit more finicky than I first thought and the dry February (which is actually March weather) appears to be taking its toll on them. I took the plant shears to all of them the other day and cut them all short so that the root systems could cope with the prevailing conditions. They'll bounce back, but they are not as hardy as rhododendrons.

Nice one! Yes, perhaps it is different this time as many people like to claim? Aren't they cheeky to try to pull that trick out of the hat again! Hey Rocky, watch me as I pull a rabbit out of my hat. Again? That trick never works! Button up my sleeves and hey, Presto! Formative years my friend! ;-)!

All of the above, and the hedgerow will also perform the function of slowing any water that gathers on the road at the top of the property. You see, any hard surfaces tend to allow water to pool and run over the surface, so if I can allow a bit of tolerance for failure in the system to account for the one in a hundred storms which happen every second year or so, then it might be to my advantage. Incidentally, fertility runs downhill and the birds and animals then bring that fertility back up the hill again. The parrots have been particularly dirty for the many elderberries growing and that is a decoy fruit for other fruit that I want to consume. I caught Ollie eating elderberries today, and I guess he must know what he is doing... Maybe?

The shop is interesting. In fact it is very interesting and they have a business problem. You see, when the first wave of immigrants from Greece and Italy made their way out to Australia in the 1950's, 1960's, and early 1970's (for obvious reasons - like losing WWII and dictatorships) they brought with them a knack for growing produce in Mediterranean climates. They found themselves with cheap land and a similar climate and just got stuck into it. When the Open Garden scheme operated I visited a few of the small holdings that were created and I was frankly envious of what I saw. The gardens were awesome. The second generation were told that they were better than that and the skills have not been handed down. The farms and small holdings on the outskirts of town are eyed off by many of the children as potential sub divisions and so it goes. The boss told me that he had been operating for nearly fifty years and back in the day they used to manufacture equipment on site – and he showed me the workshop. Where have the customers all gone? I can't shake the feeling that I have been fortunate to have seen the past, but have to also face the future with uncertain knowledge with only hints and guesses to guide me.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Thanks for the explanation about the death masks. I'm genuinely surprised that such activities survived from the Roman times. I mentioned last week that the radio station that I enjoy was having an 'animal week' and they visited an animal taxidermist. Now, I enjoyed Sir Poopy's companionship and miss him dreadfully, but having a stuffed version of him would be too much for me, and the soil meanwhile could really use his minerals. Have you ever encountered stuffed pets in your antique travels and do they enjoy a macabre market?

Thanks for the warning and I shall endeavour to obtain a full hazmat suit before cutting into the very concerning jalapeños... I mean what are the chances of that happening. Pretty high! When I'm using the chainsaw I always use protective glasses and a helmet with a full visor. Very occasionally chunks have flown out and hit the visor and earlier on I failed to use the protective glasses. A quick trip to the doctors and extraction from the eye cures all such hubris.

Hehe! Glad you enjoyed my little joke. And it is true too! It happens...

Out of curiosity was the wood block used for actual printing back in the day? I have seen antique news-presses in action and they are amazing to see. When I was a kid I recall being taken to a recreation gold rush township and the old print presses left a memory, whilst the rest of the place is now forgotten. The tourist trap still operates even today.

Interesting. I may try to eat some of the corn fresh, save some of the seed, and dry some of it. We don't really grow much corn down here because of the toll the plant takes on the impoverished soils. Still, one must keep ones options open and the plant grows well here. That particular plant is forcing me to consider how I will rotate the various crops in future years. Plus we may begin climbing peas and beans up the corn stalks in the three sisters arrangements that you have mentioned. We have to cut a new terrace into the side of the mountain soon. Oh! Hopefully firewood is done and dusted tomorrow morning. Maybe? I'm absolutely busting to install the new water pump and huge accumulation pressure tank tomorrow, so hopefully the firewood does not take too long.

We spent the afternoon cooking. The tomatoes were diced early this morning and chucked into the dehydrator (it smells really nice). Then this afternoon I made up the following weeks dog food and we cooked up a huge batch of blackberry jam and wine. So much nice stuff to eat at this time of year.

Mints are feral here too. I have a number of that plant family growing all over the place and once they are in, well let's put it this way: they are in. Mind you, the mints enjoy a good feed and drink over high summer so they don't get everything their own way. Common mint or Spearmint is good for upset stomachs. And Vietnamese mint is superb in salads. Can one argue with that logic? Maybe? Lemon balm is another mint that runs feral, but it is a good calmative and we all need one of those from time to time. Comfrey is pretty hardy too. Did you obtain seed or root stock? It should take from either of those. Borage is an invasive plant in this part of the world too, but it does such good things for the soil, that it seems rather churlish of me to complain! The chickens really enjoy all of those leaves too. Yum!

I'm faced with the difficult problem of having to attend a course from an old bloke who knows more about grafting than I ever will and I've been advised that this is the final ever course, and getting stuff done here. I ask you this tough question: What would you choose?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Did you think that I wrote that poem? I didn't; it is another one by Gelett Burgess.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Lime - I think that you are right on the mark with that. I have been putting more wood ash into all the beds. I have noticed that that helps. I planted carrots yesterday. My milk bottle farm on the front porch is doing very well; a lot of stuff has come up, even though the nights are sometimes still freezing. Who would have thought that the little that seeds would be so smart as to be smarter than me as to know when to come up, if given half a chance? The pepper seeds in the house have sprouted, too. What do you use for plant labels outside in the garden? I have been using plastic ones, which can be re-used for quite a few years, but I'd rather have something besides plastic, and sometimes the indelible ink washes off before the season is over.

The only times that I have had glass canning jars break is when I have put them into boiling water when the jars had cooled down while waiting. Now I keep them in a warm oven until I need each one. Some of those jars I have used for many years.

Our electric water heater went kaput the other day. It is 16 or 17 years old. My son replaced all the parts except for the thermostat (that was fine) as the tank is still sound. You would not believe how rusty the heating elements were! There is this funny part that just makes me laugh - he calls it the sacrificial anode. I think it attracts various metals to keep the tank from rusting. An interesting thing is that before the heater completely stopped functioning we were having a great deal of noise in the pipes, like when air gets into them. We didn't connect that sound to the heater as it has occasionally happened when there has been a large drop or rise in the outside temperature.

I was going to mention your sartorial shorts and socks . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

"I watched season one of "Ash vs the Evil Dead." Not family friendly or politically correct, but what a hoot. Lots of chainsaw action, flying heads and buckets of blood! Lucy Lawless is in it."

You help me keep my head straight.

Pam

Elbows Tucked said...

Take the course!

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Yes, I thought you wrote that poem. I wonder if that final poem is inscribed on Burgess' tombstone? :-). Funny how many writers become resentful of their early successes. It seems they think them "juvenal" efforts, and in their opinions, wrote their best stuff, later. Maybe all wrapped up in a concern for legacy? Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - A steady 46F (7.77C) all night long. How odd. We're supposed to have high winds, this afternoon and into the evening. We'll see. First round of really low temperatures, tomorrow night. But, if the forecast holds, only for a few nights. Sometimes, those cold snaps hold on for a week or two. I've decided not to cover the garlic, after doing a bit of research. We'll see how it goes. I am going to dig up the last of the green onions.

Rocky and the Roadrunner. I'm sure you've heard the (now) old saw about the definition of "crazy" being doing something over and over and expecting different results. You might take a look at the reviews for "New York 2140" (Kim Stanley Robinson, 2017). It's a real doorstop. 600+ pages. But now that I'm a bit into it, know the characters and where the story is headed, I'll probably start skimming along. But I mention it as it has a lot of future economics in it. One of the plots is about bundled bonds based on a speculative market in drowned properties. The bond trader (a major character) mentions that "you can't see a bubble from the inside." Hey, winter is coming to you, and you'll have time on your hands :-).

Our garden plots slant slightly to the south. I've thought about that shift in nutrients in the soil. Water runs downhill. What a concept! :-). I bet the interesting store probably had people who spoke Greek and Italian, on staff, back in the day. They may survive if they down shift a bit, and cater to different markets. Urban farmers, back to the landers, survivalists, etc.. As if I know what i'm talking about :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I think death masks were an ongoing tradition, here and there. There was one done of Dante, and that was in the Middle Ages. Casts of hands were also big. I've run across stuffed animals, but never a pet. Roy Rogers horse trigger is in a museum, some place. Also, some famous Civil War general's horse. People get attached ...

Wikipedia has a whole series on the history of printing. Woodblock printing began in China around 200 CE. First for textiles and seals. Then someone got the bright idea that you could do picture prints or whole book pages. Interesting. Woodblock and moveable type arrived in Europe about the same time. Mid 1400s. Etching on metal, around 1550. I can remember in grade school, doing a class art project involving printing with carved linoleum blocks. Being a mechanical kind of a guy, of course you'd remember the printing press most clearly :-).

Going to be a cooking day, for me, also. Banana muffins, for me. Another bean salad for the potluck, tomorrow. Oatmeal for the next two days.

I'd say, if you don't have something REALLY pressing on the farm, like a major system failure, go with the grafting. Nothing beats a bit of hands on. Such as, seeing how the soil test was done, for me. But you didn't mention how much time the grafting instruction involves? Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

You didn't ask me, but here's my advice: take the grafting course!

More next week, including impressions from Mike's and my recent trip to Florida and back (visiting my mom).

Claire

Damo said...

@Lew

Those two fat ladies would know what they are on about! I will think of nutmeg in future dishes - the allure of potential mild psychoactive effects cannot be resisted!

Wellington is very pretty - the harbour has a constantly changing, yet always nice shade of blue to it. On a sunny day, it will have that tropical azure look about it, a windy, overcast day a deep, cold feel. I suspect the harbour is clean, and thus it always looks appealing to my subconscious. The tunnels are constructed - there must be at least a dozen. And the roads wind and twist over each other on the steep hillsides. I noticed some of the residents employ small electric cables cars for the steep journey from carport to house. I will post a pic or two on my blog.

Taste of Alaska sounds great. How will you decide what dish to get? I normally go for something that sounds 'strange' when at a new restaurant. I figure - if they have the guts to put that on the menu it must be good. Last week it was a pickled eggplant side dish, and it was great!

Thank you for the Ash Vs Evil Dead suggestion - I have it coming down the pipes as I type!

Damo said...

@Lew again
Oh, New York 2140 sounds good. I have Aurora on my re-read list. It was my favourite from a couple of years ago, and I tend to enjoy all of his books (except for Years of Rice and Salt for some reason).

@chris
I did notice your sandals and socks in the photo - although I cannot claim to have made the link to the Shaq video!

Today I had to borrow a neighbors petrol mower. My schedule does not allow for regular mowing and unseasonal summer rains bought my lawn to a point that I wasn't able to process with a manual rotary mower :-( Oh well. I did pick a lot of free plums from a neighbours tree, they are away for three weeks, another old neighbour told me it was ok... :-) Am about to try my hand at a plum wine. I wanted to do a Japanese style plum wine but that calls for a special variety of plum that has to be picked green...

The large cyclone that struck the Pacific Islands last week is twisting around onto New Zealand. We should start getting the rain from it tomorrow. The locals tell me this Summer has been unseasonably wet.

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Yah! Wood ash is great for vegetable beds. I read somewhere last week that claimed it had both lime and potash. Good stuff! Carrots are feral here and I was wondering whether you broadcast the seed or carefully plant them out for proper spacing. My carrot spacing is not good... Go the milk bottle farm! :-)!

The cheapest and longest lasting plant labels that I have seen were cut from aluminium drink cans and you use a pen or other sharp object to score the shiny inner surface with whatever you want to write. Scissors can cut the cans, but you have to keep a watch out for sharp edges, but they have the benefit of being mostly indestructible.

Well the glass jars in question were not as well bred as yours and they frankly have uncertain parentage as they came from the local $2 shop. Some of the fruit preserving glass bottles I use are now over 50 years old. Watch for the dried and olive oiled tomatoes tomorrow and you can see the new glass jars (much better quality). The old jars are used for the pickles.

Your son made a rather astute comment about the sacrificial anode. He is pretty handy to sort that problem out. The water company uses those down here to protect the steel pipes because it is cheaper than digging them up and replacing them. The solar charge controller folks in Melbourne were working on sending excess solar power that the batteries can't use to heat water. I must check in on them.

Glad you enjoyed my little joke. Better get on with writing tonight.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi elbows,

Nice to hear from you.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. You know I missed the last one of these types of courses by an old dude who had been growing citrus for something like 50 years. There are only so many hours in the day. Regret, regret!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

You are starting to venture into shorts and t-shirt weather! Our overnight lows are not that dissimilar from the number that you mentioned. The air smells as if it may rain tonight. Dunno. Did you start your onions from seed? And what do green onions taste like? Do they have the same onion sharpness to the flavour?

Yeah, I have read that that quote is attributed to Einstein and he's on the money too. But alas, such words of wisdom are ignored if they're generally inconvenient. On the side of a house in a gritty part of Melbourne, a street artist has painted a huge mural of Einstein's head with the quote: "To be fair, you have to have a high IQ to understand what is meant by the formula E=MC2". Alas for my low IQ as I have never really thought much about general relativity. It is an amusing quote. I quite enjoy a lot of the street art in Melbourne and much of it brings a smile to my face.

Thanks for the book reference. I had seen references to that book in the Aurora book (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and wondered about it, but given nobody here had previously mentioned anything... You know, the other day I whiled away a bit of time in a bookshop in Melbourne and at one point I stood back from the overfull bookcases and just marvelled at the quantity of written words that stood before me, and I was slightly humbled by the realisation that I'd never get to browse through them all.

No! Not at all! Winter is the time for major infrastructure improvements. Finished the firewood this morning and am feeling pretty good about that result. This is the earliest we have ever completed firewood and we have stacked away more energy than ever before. We won't use most of it, but it is nice to accrue some buffer just in case. People are uncomfortable with that thought these days.

Exactly, water takes nutrients down hill and the actions of the plants, birds, and animals all bring it back up hill again. It is a beautiful system to behold!

Mate, I reckon they could provide that language service today, and I had the impression that they had already adapted to change in the past. However, they too suffer from the same problem in that the second generation may be eyeing off the farm to subdivide for easy one off profits...

It is interesting that you mention that lot, but I'm planning to write about that tonight.

Roy Rodgers is an interesting dude and his wife is even more interesting. Well, down here apparently they are stuffing pets, and no judgement, but it seems awfully creepy to me. I miss Sir Poopy and may not encounter another spirit like his in my life, but that is also part and parcel of the nature of existence. We are all chance or boon companions on this giant ship.

How clever were those folks taking the printing press from textiles to paper for mass production? I can almost hear the cries of the traditionalists... And yeah, I am so busted too. Yup, I watched how the thing actually worked and even as a young kid I could see the genius of the metal block type and press and thought to myself that this could also be done in wood.

How did the banana muffins turn out? Whenever we have old and unappetising bananas we churn out a banana cake which to be honest is the same thing as a banana muffin, but bigger. Oats are good for you and I mentioned to the editor this morning that I feed the dogs a breakfast of something that may be recognised in other times as gruel.

Thanks! That makes three out of three. The weather looks as if the course will be a massive wash out as the tail end of cyclone Kelvin looks set to touch down here on that day. Parts of the North West of this continent have achieved records for annual rainfall and we are only six or seven weeks into the year. I'll keep a close look out for the situation and yes, I already have regrets about not attending earlier courses run by knowledgeable old dudes who have serious notches on their belts. I set a plan B and it failed.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you. I appreciate your thoughts on the course and will do my very best to attend. The course may be washed out though...

Oooo! I look forward to reading your impressions of your recent trip to Florida. :-)!

Hope things are warming up in your part of the world. The past week or two here have been nothing short of perfect.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Hehe! Well, I am sometimes guilty of over subtlety and the socks and sandals was one such incident. :-)! Anyway, Big Shaq is four thousand times cooler than I!

Those petrol mowers use very little fuel. I look forward to reading about your plum wine adventures. If I may give you some advice: Let the wine sit and mature for about six to twelve months before consuming. Plum wine can be a bit rough tasting, but it really does smooth out with time. I trust you added sugar and yeast nutrient (a drop of honey can replace that) to the wine?

Good luck with the rain! Hey, the tail end of tropical cyclone Kelvin looks set to arrive here next Saturday. Should be interesting. Given you are in NZ, you may not have noticed just how much rain has dumped in Broome, Western Australia already this year? Feral...

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Nutrients getting washed downhill: interesting. It reminded me that mountain dwellers were found to have huge goitres due to lack of iodine. I wonder whether the health of people living at different gradients has ever been looked at. I suppose that there would be far too many variables.

Our weather is still switching from warm and wet to dry and icy on an almost daily basis.

@ Lew

Oh yes,that would have been great on his tombstone. I think that early writing often has an original freshness, then teachers and self consciousness takes over unfortunately. Heck I sound sententious.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Jethro was named after Jethro from the TV show, "The Beverly Hillbillies". Their late beagle's name was Ellie Mae.

I agree with you regarding the fact that chores get easier and shorter for the most part. We find over time what works and what doesn't.

We are expecting almost 2 inches of rain Monday and Tuesday. With the ground still very frozen that ought to be interesting.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew and Damo

I enjoyed "New York 2140" and "Aurora" but his book, "Shaman" not nearly as much.



@Pam

Funny one of our pipes started vibrating just last night. Doug thinks it's a pressure issue but I told him about your water heater. Ours is quite old as well.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - I didn't think you were sententious, at all. More thoughtful and reflective. I'm not sending you up. No overused smiley face :-). Me, I just babble. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Wellington sounds like a very handsome city. Probably, pricey, too, I'd guess.

I don't eat out very often, so, I usually "have my mouth set for something." This time around, it's fish and chips. Pedestrian, I know. I hope they have some malt vinegar, kicking around the kitchen. But, who knows. I may be ambushed by something more exotic on the menu. They have their menu on line, so I can take a look before I go. They have an "all you can eat fish and chips night." Probably, a mob scene.

I keep waiting to start skimming along in "New York 2140" but it's interesting enough that I keep reading in depth. The bond trader has a lot of interesting things to say about finances. Then there is the anonymous "Citizen" who chimes in with background, ever once in awhile. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, it finally stopped snowing. It was really coming down to beat the band and I'd say we got about 2". Which surprises me as it was 34F (1.11C) all night. Supposed to be 21F (-6.11) tonight. For the next few days, it's supposed to be well below freezing at night, and low 40s in the day. Rain, snow, rain, snow. Then snow, rain, snow , rain :-). The roads will be a mess. We'll be snowed in, here at the Home, just like the Donner Party. I'll have to check my cook books for any recipes for "Tough Old Bird." :-). I can hear Margaret and Pam laughing from here. :-). They live where there's "real" winter.

Hmm. Snowing, again. Re: Socks and sandals. Well, they were good enough for the Romans up on Hadrian's wall. :-). There are letters from soldiers begging for woolen underwear and socks. Got a little drafty, under those tunics.

You probably call green onions, something else. Some our just immature bulbing onions, and some are bred to not bulb. I planted two kinds of bulbing onions, from seed. But they didn't bulb. But that was ok, because I got plenty of green onions. Harvested the last of them, yesterday. I'm looking into recipes for soups. I suppose a leek recipe would work. Probably because I planted late, and the early state of the soil. Maybe. Or, maybe they needed a second year to bulb? One can buy "sets". Little second year mini bulbs. I've ordered some of those for both bulbing and non bulbing onions. You plant a few every week to keep a steady supply, going.

Garlic (in all it's varieties), onions (in all their varieties), leeks, chives, scallions ... they all seem to have their quirks and different growing needs. It's a tough sort. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. When "New York 2140" came out, I thought "That sounds interesting." But, the hold list was way too long to clog up my hold list. And, I kind of forgot about it. I was looking at the new fiction shelf at the library, the other day, and there it was. See my comments to Damo, about the book. When the bond trader character or "The Citizen" speak, it's just full of insights into finance. "Capital (big money) chases maximum returns." Sounds simple, but the author also alludes to what that leaves in it's wake. Rust belts, etc.. "The invisible hand never picks up the check."

Early in the Franklin book, it talks about how anyone who wanted to set up as a printer had to make a trip to England to buy a press and sets of type. Given Franklin's penchant for tinkering, I wonder how many improvements he contributed to the printing trade?

I've been watching a series called "Walking Through History" which is Sir Tony Robinson (Time Team) taking hikes around England and expounding on history both deep and recent. I've never cared much for him as a presenter (smile never meets the eyes), but he does serve up a lot of food for thought. My, we colonials were a naughty lot. :-). In his episode about the Cornish smugglers, it came about because the government imposed horrendous import taxes because it was near broke, due to the antics of those naughty colonials. The Leeds / Liverpool Canal's building, was suspended for 12 years as money was tight ... due to, you guessed it, those naughty colonials. The wars with the little Frenchman, a bit later on, didn't help.

The muffins turned out well, I thought. This time, I pre-cooked the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds a bit. Softer, and with a nuttier flavor. Nice. Bean salad is a go. We'll see how it goes over. Snow stopped. Lew