Monday, 23 April 2018

Cream filled biscuits

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

It was a long time ago now, but I once encountered an employer that loved using the 'big stick'. Of course I'm referring to the metaphor of the person attempting to encourage a reluctant mule into action by dangling a carrot just in front of the mule and keeping it ever so slightly out of reach, whilst simultaneously smacking the mule on the rear with a stick.

As a general social strategy I tend to treat other people as I would like to be treated, and back in those days I guess I was a bit naive, because it never really occurred to me that there would be employers that felt otherwise. The business was a strange place, and I can only suggest that the business was akin to working for a bunch of internet trolls. After eighteen months of negativity, criticism, and general stupid monkey business, I gave them the big stick and told them to 'shove it'. And I felt better for doing that too.

There was one amusing incident which sticks in my mind to this very day. The general demeanour of the place left me feeling vaguely stressed, and occasionally that upset my stomach. One afternoon with an upset stomach, I had an inescapable need to fart. I shared the office with a couple of co-workers, but that day there was only another co-worker there, and he was sitting diagonally opposite me. Being the boss gives one certain perquisites and so I let rip. Having an upset stomach means that, well, it didn't smell very nice at all. In fact the putrid stench stuck to the walls.

And wouldn't you know it? Just at that time, the big boss decides to ask me a question and into the office he walks. He immediately backed out of the office and stood in the doorway, looking basically unimpressed. Quick as a flash I said to my co-worker: "For (a very naughty word beginning with the letter 'f' and sounding a lot like the word 'luck') sakes (the name has been removed to protect the innocent), that is revolting!" The big boss walked off in disgust, and my co-worker and I just fell to laughing. And we laughed for about fifteen minutes solid. It was hysterical and it was a momentary break from the tension in the place.

Some situations are predicaments, and it is very hard, if not impossible, to change the culture of a business, especially one that is basically very aggressive.

Fortunately I am very employable and I rapidly moved on to another job, with less hours, more money, and a frankly less psychotic culture. I feel that at this point in the story we need some music and so I picked a song for this weeks blog by the Cold War Kids called "Miracle Mile". It is a great song and it speaks about the singers struggle to make something happen of his life and of his decisions.

"I was supposed to do great things
I know the road was long
But I wasn't raised to shoot for fame
I had the safety on

I cut my ties, I sold my rings
I wanted none of this
If you start from scratch you have to sing
Just for the fun of it"

The next employer was owned by a nice private equity fund. The business used to make lots of useful stuff that people needed, like shoes (for one example), and it was an interesting place to work and had a great culture, and I enjoyed being part of that team. They employed a group of accountants too, and so we all had the chance to sit around at lunchtime and discuss anything else other than accounting - which can be a rather dull subject. We shared the office with the information technology (computer geeks) people, and I did note at the time that they wanted to speak about computers during lunchtime, so us accountants generally didn't invite them to Friday lunches at the pub.

A year or two into my employment with that business, the owners began closing various manufacturing businesses, instead focusing on importing the items that we once used manufacture locally. It was all very strange and I got to experience first hand what it means to shut down a manufacturing business.

"I feel the air upon my face
Forget the mess I'm in
Hold me again, don't count mistakes
I lost track of them

I’d be alright, if I could just see you
Come up for air, come up for air
A miracle mile, where does it lead to
Come up for air, come up for air"

The editor used to joke to me that during the recession in the early 90's (which predates this particular blog story), that 'everything was OK with the business until the cream filled biscuits disappeared from the tea room'. Except that I don't believe that she was joking.

The employer that I worked for that was shutting down all those manufacturing businesses used to supply packets of really tasty cream filled biscuits in the tea room. In those days I never touched coffee, but of an afternoon, I'd always head into the kitchen area and grab a 'Tea, Earl Grey, Hot' (fans of Captain Jean Luc Picard take note!) and a packet of cream filled biscuits without a care in the world. In my hubris, I even repeated the editors joke to my fellow accountants. We would all have a good laugh! But then one day, the cream filled biscuits disappeared, and I knew that everything would be different from then on.

"I was in the mud, I was in the dirt
Went underground and I found what I was worth
All alone and I know I can't stay
But we're walking up and down the streets to stay awake"

Frost settles in the valley below the farm
How good is that photo? That photo was the first frost of the year which drained all of the cold air from this side of the mountain and concentrated it into the valley below. The night was a cold night and there was even a tiny bit of frost in some of the garden beds here. I took pity on Ollie the short haired cattle dog (who everyone knows is actually a cuddle dog) and let him sleep in front of the wood fire. It is important to note that Ollie is an idiot because he has been very busy tearing up his woollen blankets during the summer because he is a puppy and puppies are normally idiots. He is just not old enough to recall the bone chilling cold of the previous winter.

Despite that one cold night, the days have been strangely warm for this time of year. Both the editor and I have also been recovering from the recent bout of flu. And I took advantage of the editor sitting on the beanbag on the verandah with a dog in her lap, reading a book whilst enjoying the warm autumn sun, to sort out a project that has been annoying me for a very long time - the garden water pumps.

I'd been meaning to get to this overhaul of the garden water pumps, and this week seemed like an auspicious time. The existing arrangement worked, it just wasn't very good and looked like this:
The garden water pump system prior to a major overhaul
What can I say, it was a bit dodgy looking, but it worked - more or less. The first thing I did was remove the steel (and poly-carbonate) cover.
Mr Toothy inspects the existing garden water pump arrangements and makes suggestions. He has long hair and a short temper.
Fortunately for me I have Mr Toothy who is knowledgeable in all things water pump related and he made some excellent suggestions:
Mr Toothy is impressed with the works done on the garden water pump system
Based on Mr Toothy's suggestions I added two steel rails underneath the arrangement so as to lift it 50mm (2 inches) higher off the surface. I also relocated the circuit breaker for the pumps and re-wired all of the electricals and protected all exposed wires with plastic conduit.

Then we went with friends to enjoy a comedy show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and latter enjoyed dinner after the show. It was a very funny show. Fortunately no rain was forecast and I could just down tools and return to complete the project the next day.
The completed garden water pump system
The next day I worked on the arrangement for several hours. The pumps had to both be moved towards the centre of the arrangement. Then I added flexible half inch braided (pressure rated) hoses onto both the inlet and the outlet connections for both pumps. And finally, the smaller of the two water pumps scored a much larger grey 8 litre (2.1 gallon) pressure accumulator tank.

I then had to connect up the system and test for leaks. There are always one or two leaks in such a system. The leaks were fixed, the system re-tested, and then I cut a new steel cover from scrap steel that I had to hand. All up a job that I believed would take about four hours took about ten hours, and that is how things work out sometimes. It looks good, and now works even better!
The new garden water pump arrangement looks good and works even better
The thing I have learned from this experience is that it is not possible to implement a reliable water pumping system on the cheap.

We also commenced constructing the first step in a new concrete staircase. When you live on the side of a hill, stairs make for easy access! Steep ramps suck.
A new concrete staircase has begun!
The chickens had been digging away at the path to the secondary woodshed (appetite for destruction!), and so we began foiling their nefarious activities by extending the rock wall to the downhill side of that path:
We began adding a rock wall to the downhill side of the path to the secondary woodshed
The warm autumn days have meant that it is easy to continue ripening crops. A month or two back I added a huge load of mushroom compost to the raised potato beds, and over the past week or so, the plants have begun sticking their noses out from the soil:
The potatoes have begun sticking their noses out from the deep compost
Really purple dark capsicums (peppers) are ripening
Dark red capsicums are putting on more colour

These slim eggplants are strange looking, but very tasty. But so small they probably wont be seen next year.
Slim capsicums (peppers) have been the clear winner this season
Jalapenos chili are hot, but they're not that hot...
Parrots are plentiful here. A large family of Crimson Rosella's live at the farm. They are equal parts delightful and nuisance, but fortunately we grow more than they can eat.
A Crimson Rosella acting as a lookout for its fellow flock in an elderberry
But more excitingly, the pair of King Parrots that live here, appear to have produced three offspring and now five of the parrots live here.
A girlie King Parrot consumes some of the wormwood
A boy King Parrot consumes some of the geraniums
Despite the incongruity of the nights being cool and the days warm, there are heaps of flowers around. And the bees love having such a long growing season!
Nasturtiums now climb through many of the garden beds
Geraniums are plentiful, diverse, and beautiful here
Chrysanthemum's herald the imminent onset of winter conditions (and mothers day)
Our own private leaf change - a Japanese maple

Our own private leaf change - a Sugar maple and a shed
As always the final word of the week should go to the Cold War Kids and their most excellent song - "Miracle Mile":

"Get outside, get all over the world
You learn to love what you get in return
It may be permanent, it may be peace of mind
But you have to slow down and breathe one breath at a time"

The temperature outside now at about 9.30pm is 17’C (63’F). So far this year there has been 201.2mm (7.9 inches) which is higher than last week's total of 190.2mm (7.5 inches).

71 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

The back support is a good idea. Anything and everything helps in that regard. The crusty old forestry bloke who I spent two days with in the forest training me on the use of the chainsaw, drilled me about keeping my back dead straight when using the chainsaw. I even learned to use the chainsaw whilst kneeling down with the log taking the full weight of the chainsaw. It was a good course and to be honest, I should not have been let near one of those machines without the training... :-)! Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

No! Really, oh well. I guess long after the wrack and ruin, there'll be plenty of materials around in those houses and chalets which can be converted into fencing which will be of some use at least...

I'm reading about heritage landrace varieties of wheat at the moment and they will be interesting to grow here. I'll have to track down some heritage seeds first and hopefully there is a society or group devoted to that particular interest. Maybe. I despair at the fencing of land from wildlife - and then the land being put to no good use, if only because the land then has to be maintained at considerable expense and energy. It makes no sense to me.

Fair enough, and I have an inkling that Ren will be one of the more interesting dogs that your son has known.

Oh my! I've seen lightning hit a tree here, but never a direct hit on a house. I've lost a few internet modems over the years due to induction from nearby lightning strikes which is one of the downsides of using high gain antennas. Ouch, the fire in Bembridge did not look good. The news articles didn't say whether the lightning hit the powerlines or the house directly. It's not good. I have several earth stakes on the power system here at crucial points. I note that the tiled roof on that house in Bembridge is barely sealed to the elements even before the fire.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Well the Chinese sure got down here way back in the day before the Europeans. And for some strange reason, they planted strangler figs up in the north of the country in the tropics - and I've seen some enormous and very old strangler figs up there. The Vikings got around too - didn't they even make it to Canada, or the northern coast of the US? I'll bet the reception they got there was less friendly than the Greenland reception.

Yeah, exactly, I began reading the ‘Restoring Heritage Grains’ book this morning that you recommended and it is very good. The author likewise made the same observation about the heritage wheat varieties having much larger root systems which meant that they were less drought affected. I'm learning a thing or two about the Green revolution. I'm really enjoying the authors grasp of the English language too - how about this quote: "Can we reach into the heart of this beast and restore wheat into the majestic nourishing being it once was?" Anyway, I'll give that a go. It seems like a good way to spend my time. :-)!

Why exactly? I never liked the original and much preferred the original Star Trek re-runs, although by all accounts 'Lost in Space' rated far higher. Did they have Tribbles? Me thinks not! Hey, I snuck in a Star Trek joke on this blog and am feeling sort of smug about it! Hehe! Haha! It is funny that you mention terrible bosses. I've known a few...

When you get money for more or less free, what exactly does a monetary fine represent? The politicians today have admitted down here that the findings of the Royal Commission don't look too good. What does that mean? I dunno.

I like the word 'lookism' much better than musicals – them 'tes not natural! Yeah, it is a good word and one of which I've never heard of before. Interesting. Yeah, a bit of that goes on down here too. The class side of that story used to get expressed as: "we must maintain appearances" and that generally means that they are going to be done over because they are over reaching their social standing. Why play a game that you can't win? Some people do OK in that game, but most don't.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Mate, I'd be absolutely lost as to determining which items are a fake and which are the genuine real deal. I wouldn't know at all. Interestingly though, I reckon culture and stories build upon the past and as you say most stories have been told. But it is in the growing (or shrinking) in the re-telling of the known story that the creative mind gets to exercise some freedom. I mean how often are truly revolutionary (and I realise that means going around and around) acts of art ever get expressed - and how does one divorce themselves from exposure to prior experiences of art. That would be tough. I'm happy littering these blog stories with songs that were written by others (and I always provide attribution) as they provide colour and emotion that I may not be able to tap into. I dunno, you've jumped into some deep philosophical waters and I'm out of my depth!

About a year or two back we realised the necessity for a larger kitchen. Some of our biggest savings in terms of cost begin in the kitchen. Produce is good, but mostly it comes in such quantity that you have to know how to preserve it - and that is where the kitchen comes into play. As winter is approaching, although you wouldn't know it yet, we are finding that mice are again returning into the house. Mice are a nuisance and I can see how everyday items like tables where the tops overhang the legs are so arranged as to stop mice dead in their tracks. The dogs have been busy killing the mice.

Top work dispensing the wisdom on the antiques. I reckon the owners of those stores would have appreciated the tips. Did you notice a warmer welcome after those conversations, I would have been appreciative of such tips. Upside down indeed - that is hysterical. I wonder how often old school items are basically not known about - I mean we lose knowledge all the time, so it is a bit eerie to think about a future when people are looking back at some of the rubbish, err, sorry items, from today and wondering what the heck was this thing. Do you ever wonder about that?

Yeah, the days roll past quickly and that is not lost on me at all. Yup Wednesday is another Anzac day - and I always mark that day as the usual change in the seasons, but it may be different this year. It is strangely warm this year.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Bad bosses. There are books and whole websites devoted to that topic. Films. It's all about power and control. And bosses reacting to the raft of poop they get from further up the line. Hmmm. I wonder if cream filled biscuits (the disappearance of) could be applied to other parts of life? Kind of an early warning system. "The cream filled biscuits have disappeared. The weather is about to take a turn for the worse!" Or, the stock market is going to collapse. :-)

The water pump innards look all neat and tidy now. And, I'm sure function has been improved! "Steep ramps suck!" Until it's time for that solar powered motorized wheel chair. Numerous switch backs, as that famous street in San Francisco. Seattle is a city of hills. And, parking is tight. Parallel parking on a steep incline is an art form.

"Poking noses out of soil." The horseradish is making an appearance! At last. I looked up the King Parrots after your last post. With all that vivid green and red, "Christmas birds!" I thought.

It's the time of year where your and my weather are beginning to rhyme, a bit. This week, our days will be in the 70sF (21Cs). We may even hit 80F (26.66C). Our nights are still cool. 40F (4.44C) but by the end of the week, will be 50F (10C). The ground ought to be warming up. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Ancient people's did get around. Some of the stories are pretty wild. "Speculative archaeology." Speculative history. Sells a lot of books. :-). One Viking settlement, for sure, in North America. And, it looks like they're onto one or two others. Check out the "Minnesota Rune Stone." We probably had Chinese and Japanese on our coast, but was it wrecks or intentional exploration? Roman coins and amphora around Rio. History's mysteries.

I watched a documentary a few years ago about The Golden Age of Television. Actually, it was a series. The Science Fiction bit talked about how "Star Trek" and "Lost in Space" went head to head in the ratings wars. "Star Trek" stayed pretty much true to it's original concept. "Lost in Space" got sillier and sillier. They interviewed some of the actors and they commented that it was hard, toward the end, to deliver their lines with a straight face.

I think the last time Wells Fargo was fined a billion dollars, someone figured out that was about a days profit. Pretty easy to shrug off.

Oh, it's fun when someone asks my opinion on some bit of tat. I was quit chuffed when Mary Garrison, of the auction, said "Oh, I hoped you'd stop by. What do you think of ..." It was Peking glass. Later she thanked me for putting her on the right track, as she did the research. But if I'm out of my depth, I have no problem saying "Don't know. Haven't a clue."

"What's this?" used to be a favorite game in magazines. First to get it right wins a free years subscription. I've seen many a session where the Cracker Barrel Boys (obscure cultural reference) passed around something, trying to guess what it's use was.

Well. I now have a monumental piece of glass. After doing some research, I realized that the cobalt blue pillar was vastly undervalued. So, I went roaring back to the antique mall, yesterday. It was still there, and, even though I tipped off the dealer to it's potential value, he had only jacked up the price less than $10. Another quaint olde American saying is "You snooze, you lose." Probably, not Ben Franklin. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Methinks you had a problem with your photo captions. Those look like nasturtium seeds to me.

The lightening struck the house direct. One of the advantages of having tall trees here (but not too close) is that the lightening will go for the tallest object.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh yeah, power and control. Too true. Of course it didn't work so well for Captain and much later Governor Bligh (of the mutiny of the Bounty fame, and then the additional mutiny of the New South Wales military Rum Rebellion). From historical accounts he did sound like a bit of a martinet! And clearly he had no penchant for learning from past mistakes. Some are like that. I tell ya a funny story about that lot I wrote about too. At point they were making a very strange request and it sounded a bit dodgy to me, so I told them 'no'. Now of course they came back to me and said something even stranger like: 'Are you disobeying a direct command?' All very strange and I didn’t recall that I was working for the military, but there you go. Power and control is over rated. Didn't someone once suggest that masters eventually become the slaves? I'm way too easy going for such silliness.

There used to be a website based on reviews of items found on the Etsy website - and the person called their website 'Regretsy' which is an amusing play on words. Anyway, the person who ran that website was fond of saying that a fish rots from the head and that is a good observation. Speaking of which, what do you reckon is the etiquette involved in cooking fish in a work lunch room? I experienced someone doing just that today and mate that fish was far from fresh... Who does such things? The funny thing was that a couple of meetings were held after that epic stench. Fortunately I dodge meetings as much as possible.

Ha! That's funny - but you know, the biscuits really were the canary in the coalmine when it came to predicting change. It is a strange thought isn't? I've been putting some thought into your question about 'when' that we recently spoke about in relation to the economy. The thing is, I reckon change will take place when basic goods such as food begin increasing in price. At the moment I see those items reducing in quality in order to belay any change in price. Also going behind that story is a lot of funny business in relation to suppliers (cliffing etc.) and that appears to be reducing the number of suppliers and increasing profits for the remaining suppliers, but mostly for the very large retailers. But then there appears to be a bit of funny business going on with the off shoring of profits to low tax countries. My take on that and it is only a wild guess, but if it is happening - despite laws in place to stop it in its tracks - then it is most likely condoned. All up, those policies have diminishing returns and there is only so many people to do over before serious consequences arise.

Neat and tidy is the order of the day here! And each point in that water system is a point of failure so I tried to ensure that it works for the long haul. Oh yeah, the stairs versus ramps problem is not lost on me - and I see my own future in the older dogs that I have known over the years. I assume your new digs have the advantage of being really well set up on that front?

Go the horseradish. I get something munching on the leaves at night, and I'd be curious as to your experience of that problem - because I have no idea who it is. The root systems of horseradish is an amazing sinus clearer! :-)!

Christmas birds! Awesome and I'll never think of them the same way again. Little parrot elvses! Cool. They are uncannily the right colour too.

We are rhyming with the weather as 50'F to 70'F is exactly what is going on here. Spooky! You may now enjoy the summer batten as I pass it to you! :-)! Hope the summer is not as long for you as it was here.

cont...

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

Glad you and the Editor are at last on the mend! Seems you´ve been being productive anyway. I take it the water pumps are for redistributing the water you´ve collected in your impressive set of tanks?

Office dynamics are odd, aren´t they? Poor V works for a family owned business, and the founder is getting on and has health issues, but none of the children seem up to the task of taking it on. Doesn´t bode well and he tells me the office atmosphere is grim. Just as well he arranged to work mostly remotely here.

I foresee the need for some kind of accounting software in the future and was wondering if you had opinions on open office or quickbooks, or perhaps I should seek out a local bookkeeper.

Cheers

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis (cont),

Maybe the epic off-fish office lunch stink today was some sort of payback by the uncaring Universe for me skiting off about my earlier misdeeds? Mind you the air fully cleared in five minutes. I lived with the fish stench all afternoon. It made for a difficult lunch break.

As to the speculative fiction, well humans have been traversing the planet for quite a number of years, and just saying about the wheat, if we've almost made the landrace wheat stocks extinct within only a century, then history from several millennia ago is probably equally as obscure. I hadn't heard about the speculations of the other Viking sites along the east coast, but they had a bit of troubles elsewhere and no doubt they tried the bludgeoning experience to ill effect on those occasions!

I can see that about Lost in Space. A shocking story, and I mean shocking in the sheer waste of resources used to produce the rubbish. As a kid I thought Doctor Who was a much better show - by a huge margin. And who could forget Blakes 7 for dodgy effects and good sci-fi story lines?

Exactly too about the fine. Criminal penalties would be much better suited such as shutting them down for a period of time. Just closing the doors for a month. No pays, no dividends, no fun. How hard could that be?

Top work with the giant piece of glass. There was a certain gleam in your writing yesterday when you first mentioned encountering the piece. Wasn't it some sort of pair? The hunt begins...

I had to park in the creepy half empty shopping mall today. The emptiness in the shops is like a cancer. It doesn't help that the remaining retailers fall into the nail shops (I'm always a bit dodgy about those as I have read articles suggesting that many of the workers have their passports held whilst paying an indenture) and two dollar shops full of rubbish. Not good.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

It is certainly possible that I have a problem with the captions. My mates with the big shed tipped off that nasturtium seeds can be substituted for capers. Have you ever grown capers? By all accounts they'll grow here, but I'm not sure I enjoy the taste of them.

Yes, tall trees does tend to reduce the likelihood that you'll get zapped by lightning. And incidentally, don't believe the hype because it is very likely that lightning does strike in the same place twice!

It rained here this afternoon and that was a surprise because I wasn't expecting any rain at all. These things happen. I haven't been caught out without an umbrella for years. Fortunately today was quite warm at 75'F - which is so weird for this time of year. Have you managed to get into the garden?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

We're both finally feeling 100%, which is a real relief because that flu was no joke at all.

Exactly, the water pumps both deliver 20L (or 5.5 gallons) per minute and they are powered by the little 12V off grid solar power system which doesn't do much else (although it does run some garden lights at night). And those two little pumps can supply water all over the property via 3/4 inch lines and garden taps. And I reckon we've got about 110,000L capacity in water tanks. Which is quite a lot really, but it is better to have too much and not use it, than run out and be left thirsty - well that's my thinking on the matter anyway. :-)! if you ever need any details about any of those systems don't hesitate to ask, I keep the details brief on the blog because they can be rather dull.

That doesn't bode well, and is a common experience. Of course the kids may have troubles when working with the parents and I see a bit of that too, although most business eventually get around those sorts of problems. Although to be honest throughout history, the family run business is usually the most common form of business. The people just have to remember that they are running a business and not an extension of the family environment, and that is not as easy said as done. I mostly work with small and family businesses, and I like the fact that they are very fast paced and dynamic - and can actually make a decision without getting bogged down in steering committees and the like. ;-)! Good luck!

I didn't know that open office provided accounting software. Ah, interesting - that is a template that sits over their spreadsheet program. I haven't used that, sorry, but there is no reason at all that a spreadsheet can't be used for accounting for a small business. I'm old enough to have seen a business of 100 employees where the accounting was entirely paper based - so it is doable.

Most of the accounting software packages do more or less the same basic things. I like Quickbooks as it is pretty good. Down here it is known as Reckon, but it is the same thing from what I understand. I also use a lot of different packages such as MYOB (mind your own business - apparently), and a few cloud based systems including Xero. As I said they all do the same thing really. The differences start to show up between the packages when you try and do really complex accounting functions such as job costing, complex fixed asset registers, or complex inventory systems. Or you have a complex business which requires additional software like: equipment hire; a medical practice; or point of sale devices.

Dunno, I'd be interested to hear which way you go, and if you have any questions ask away!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The library re-opens, today!!! I'll be able to get the monkey off my back and stop jones-ing.

I've said no to the occasional boss. Quit frustrates them. Can't put my finger on an actual event, but I do remember when I do it, I did it with the full knowledge that I might be headed for the door ... and fully accepted the possibility. Never came to that. Kind of related. I don't pull out the big guns (the rant) much here at The Home. But when I do, The Warden takes me seriously. Super powers only used for good :-).

Cooking toxic waste in the break room microwave. Often show up at the top of the list of "10 Worst Things About Work." People, I think, perceive smells in different ways. Minastroni soup smells like old gym socks, to me. But I don't make a big deal out of it. Some people are violently opposed to the smell of popcorn. Of course, I think that goes back to "smelling popcorn will give you cancer." Turns out it was one guy who got some kind of rare lung cancer. Because he was huffing 10 bags of the stuff, daily. There are people out there who would complain if you heated up plain water in the nuker.

Boost price and reduce quality. Or, shave the size. All that's been happening for a couple of years, but I think it's more from greed than imminent economic collapse. But I take and support your point. When the store shelves look a bit empty (but of course, "just in time" inventory control makes it look like that, already) and "choice" is reduced. Of course, choice is really overdone. Companies trying to be "all things to all people." Do we really need an entire aisle of pens? Or, crisps? Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Stoned wombats with munchies at night? Perhaps slugs. You might want to take a trot around with flashlight, after a good rain. Spray bottle of ammonia, slightly cut with water and dish soap. Say, an hour or two after sunset. You might also see their shiny little trails. Might be mice. Sounds like you have a bumper crop, this year.

The column was made by Pilgrim Glass, another West Virginia glass company. They went out of business in 1992. So, my memory of "about 30 years ago" was about spot on. They did some really nice cameo glass (layers of different colored glass, cut back or acid etched to form scenes, insects, birds, foliage and flowers, etc.) I was a little concerned. They bought all the Consolidated / Phoenix glass molds when THEY bit the dust. But, used different finishes and clearly etched the bottom with their name. But after 1992? Location of molds, unknown. China? Fenton Glass bought a few, but now that they're gone, where are the molds?

Well, the columns were sold in singles. There was an enormous vase that could go on top, but it also sold separately. So, I don't feel much pressure to "complete the set." If I fall over one on the cheap, maybe. But, it needs something on the top. Heck, maybe just a large house plant? Statue of a lady suffering from wardrobe malfunction? Michaelagelo's "David"?

Got to get a move on. Did I mention, the library is re-opening, today? :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have never grown capers. I do use nasturtium seeds in their place though.

There is a tree in my woods which has been struck by lightening in the past. My new neighbour is feeling anxious about the fact that he has a steel roof. Perhaps he needs a lightening conductor.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

No, I've never grown capers either, although I believe it is possible here. The nasturtium seeds are far more prolific, and they taste quite good don't you reckon? I plant nasturtiums far and wide around the farm as they are extraordinarily hardy - although they die back to a straw over winter. I've noticed that the straw works as a mulch and it protects and feeds the young nasturtium plants the following spring.

Another warm day here today. Really? I would have thought that steel roofs (or zinc-alum coated to be precise) would have spread the charge from a lightening strike and perhaps dissipate the energy a bit. Anyway, I took a close second look at the photos from the Bembridge house that was hit by lightening, and for a start it looks like the roof is tiled, and at a wild guess, I reckon the chimney was hit and the charge travelled through the chimney into the earth. The reason I reckon it was the chimney is because it looks like the highest point on the house - and the fire was the most intense around the chimney - as that area of the house displays the most damage. I have a suspicion that the energy from the strike ignited the carbon in the chimney. Where do you reckon the lightening strike hit the house?

Spent the day digging and also constructed a new concrete step! Best to make use of the warm and dry autumn weather, because winter will be here before I know it. Do you have any vegetable seedlings planted outside yet, or is it too damp?

Cheers

Chris

Jo said...

@Coco
I started a little gardening business this year and I have been using a free accounting program developed by the Linux people - GNU cash. I have found it really quite user friendly..

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

That's funny, and I'd never heard of that word before: 'jones'. Very appropriate too. Curious minds want to know whether someone has actually fixed the roof on the library? And did you end up getting the holds that went missing in action?

Saying 'no' to employers is sometimes viewed as an ultimatum, and those are a toss of the dice occasion - usually leaning much closer to the unpleasant outcome of that binary forced decision. Yeah, a big tech company apparently had some bloke get sacked recently for expressing an opinion - and the big tech company apparently valued diversity of opinions - unless of course they differ from the official line.

It is a weird situation to be in to say no, but you know I take the same point of view as you, because 99 times out of 100, I'm not saying 'no' lightly or on a whim. Just for your interest to, the lot that I wrote about challenged my ethics and tried to then set me up to take the fall for them for their misdeeds. It was outrageous. I'd handle it better nowadays, but you know that is what being inexperienced is all about. Wouldn't it be nice to have another life to put all these useful and hard won lessons into practice? I reckon we'd be dangerous! Mind you, if others had that opportunity then the bar would probably just be raised higher. Drats - they got us on a technicality! :-)!

A wise thing not to overuse the rant and leave it for special occasions. Overdoing it means you become background noise - and who would want their greatest hits to be heard as background music in a supermarket? Ah, the ignominy!

Oooo! I've never thought to look into a top ten most hated things to do in an office environment. Who would have thought that people have been compiling lists? I can see that about the minestrone soup. I'm a bit dodge about some cheeses - especially the mouldy ones, but that could be (how do they call this exactly?) psychosomatic? Hehe! I once saw someone clear a restaurant by splashing chilli onto a very hot cast iron skillet. It felt like being sprayed by tear gas - and the coughing was horrendous. Who needs violent protests to experience such things? Well, the popcorn dude was a new one. What could possibly go wrong? Far out. Hey, that reminds me about peoples reactions to the plant Comfrey. In the past someone ran a peer reviewed experiment whereby rats were apparently fed only that plant - and they died. Apparently the inference was made that comfrey was toxic. I would probably kark it too if that was my primary diet.

Given it was Anzac day today - and a public holiday, we had Anzac biscuits with our coffee this afternoon. I used to go to the dawn service, but the crowds now do my head in and so we no longer attend. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I heard a radio program yesterday talking to young veterans (and 30,000 personnel have apparently served recently) and they were also unsure what to make of Anzac day. If you are interested the audio discussion can be found here: Young veterans, ANZAC Day, and the latest on the Toronto van attack.

Anyway, in the spirit of the diggers (a reference to Australian and New Zealand soldiers in the ill-fated Gallipoli WWI expedition), we excavated soil for several hours so as to continue constructing the new terraces. Interestingly during WWI our forces did much better in Northern France at Villers-Bretonneux and won a major victory over the Germans, although the casualty rate was phenomenal.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

We also constructed another step in the new staircase which was begun last week. Someone once mentioned to me that once cement has cured into concrete, it cannot be reformed into cement again. I'm no chemist, but have you ever come across that in your readings? I know that after the fall of Rome a lot of marble was converted into cement, but that process is beyond my understanding.

You are probably right about the greed, rather than economic collapse. But eventually those policies starve spending power from the very people that the businesses aim to serve - in effect it is a self defeating strategy. Incidentally, I forgot to mention that wages in those businesses tend to be driven down - often involving contractors and plausible deniability, plus I note nowadays that suppliers have to stack the shelves themselves. I don't reckon any of that gear will end well. Perhaps the choice that was originally available was an expression of the underlying energy available to make that happen?

I'm pretty sure that back in the day, when someone went to an old school store to buy soap, they didn't have a huge variety to choose from. Incidentally, I'm learning some horrendous things about modern flour and bread making. The author is selling a dark tale.

Thanks for the tips about how to go about being an insect detective. I'll try that next season - the horseradish has almost played out now. In fact tomorrow I intend to clear the entire tomato enclosure and set it up for next spring. It may sound strange but I am enjoying being so far ahead of where I have been in previous years. It is nice to be able to get onto the infrastructure at a more leisurely pace this year. There is a huge crop of horseradish - and I gifted some recently and the recipient looked very happy with the gift.

It would be really interesting to know where the moulds for that glassware ended up. I assume that the moulds were some sort of high temperature ceramic or stone? You never know, but I reckon they would be retained somewhere. Interestingly when I saw the shut down of one manufacturer many of the machines were purchased by interests and businesses in Vietnam, so you never know.

Pressure to complete the set. I get that, and you did mention that this has been a long term desire of yours. Good luck! Wardrobe malfunction! Hehe! Funny. I always thought it odd that the Victorian's and earlier folk were so hung up on all things prudery, and yet when I visit the Exhibition gardens, there is a magnificent fountain with Neptune and his ladies and not much is hidden and left for the imagination. It is all very tasteful though and the Exhibition buildings near to the fountain are really impressive: Carlton gardens in autumn.

Get thee to the library! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

To answer your question from last week about training dogs around chickens, I can't say we did anything other than watch them closely in the beginning and severely reprimand them if they chased or grabbed one. Usually just a voice reprimand was enough but occasionally a sharp swat on the rump was necessary. We've found that the dogs were just playing when chasing them and being that they wanted to be in our good graces got the message that chasing and/or catching chickens was not approved behavior. There was one dog, Ubu, who would chase the flock of turkeys until one day they turned around and chased him. Well after a couple of times that was the end of that.

It's good to hear that you and the editor have recovered from the flu. Hopefully that's all the illness for the winter.

Enjoyed your story of past jobs. Tea room sounds very classy. Here it would be referred to as the break or lunch room. Time spent there shouldn't be taken up with too much shop talk IMO. Funny how something as simple as supplying biscuits or coffee can do much for morale. As teachers we never got anything like that as the taxpayers would put up a stink if they heard that their tax dollars were going to anything like that. There is always, especially of late, that teachers have cushy, high paying jobs. However individual staff members brought in treats pretty regularly. There was a weekly schedule for cleaning the teachers' lunch room - mostly the microwaves and refrigerator which got really nasty. Sometimes the schedule was actually followed. We finally ended up with three microwaves as we were only allowed 30 minutes for lunch and that included passing and bathroom time. Quite a few people brought in frozen meals that took 5 minutes to cook. The microwaves weren't supplied by the school either, rather people brought in old ones that were still in working condition. Then when they were all running the fuse would blow knocking out the science room next door.

Things have been rather crazy around here what with my MIL's health issues, guests and house showings. The weather has suddenly turned around too so the outside work has commenced as well. It's been in the 70's for the last two days and only a week ago it didn't get out of the 30's. We ended up with just one of Doug's brothers and our oldest daughter last Saturday. The owner of the tree farm also came on Saturday with all his extended family to look at the property. He's indicated that he'll have an offer sometime this week but I'm pretty sure it's not going to be what we're looking for. Doug's mother is in kind of a "holding pattern" right now. She can only tolerate short visits as she's suffering with extreme fatigue but she's not in any pain and overall remains pretty sharp.

I am very jealous of your colorful birds. I just put out the hummingbird feeder yesterday as they should be arriving soon along with orioles and grosbeaks.

Well that's the news in a nutshell.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - And, another Jones. Continuing the Chehalis International Australian Film Festival, a piece called "Jasper Jones." Toni Collette, Hugo Weaving, etc.. Corrigan, Western Australia, late 1960s. What I'd call "Australian Gothic." Pretty good, though I thought it left a few lose ends. Too many spoilers to go into detail. Worth a look.

All library holds present and accounted for. New roof installed. Maybe it will last longer than ten years? I also picked up a newish John Grisham book, "Camino Island." It finally fell off the holds lists. I'm not a big fan, but this one involves a shady book dealer. I also thought it might be about the Pacific Northwest, as we have a Camino Island, up in Puget Sound. Nope. A Florida Camino Island. Still a good read. So far.

Hmm. I really wonder if all that encouraging diverse opinions in large companies is just a ploy to encourage employees to break cover, so they can determine who will toe the company line, and who not? What brought my B. Dalton career to an end, was, we got a new district manager who started raving on about "empowering the employee." I started looking for the nearest exit. And, took it, two week later.

Happy Anzac Day? At least there are biscuits. Hmmm. I wonder if the increased crowds are, perhaps, due to a rise of patriotism? Seems to be getting a bit worldwide. All well and good in some forms. Even I get a bit misty at our anthem. But in other forms, can be lethal.

I don't know much about the chemistry of concrete. Something, something about burning marble to make lime for mortar. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. What I've been nattering on about. Milling methods, modern varieties of wheat. Gluten sensitivity. Etc. etc..

Yuppers. Last year was so rushed, as far as gardening goes. Flying by the seat of my pants. This year, I feel a bit more grounded. Is that a bad gardening pun? :-).

Glass molds were made of metal. Mostly iron, I think. They were expensive to make. A bit of retooling, can also be done. They do tend to float around. Or, get melted down as scrap. Molds can wear down a bit, over time. Sharp lines become softened. Collectors always hope that an old mold will be marked with the new companies mark, so as to easily tell the old from the newer. Sometimes happens. Or, they stick to new colors and finishes. There is one story where a collection of old molds had attracted the attention of a Chinese company. The collectors banded together, bought the molds and put them in a glass museum.

Well, to the Victorians, there was smut, and then there was art. One was to titillate, the other to "uplift." At least that was the theory. Carlton Gardens and exhibit hall are quit striking. I also saw a slide of the Melbourne Museum. LOL. A huge rubic cube, stiffed in the side of the building. How cool.

Scott and I are off for lunch. Mexican, I think. And, in the spirit of the occasion, I leave you with an ear worm. Stephen Sondheim. I've made a mash of the lyrics, but so what?

"Here's to the ladies who lunch, everybody laugh.
Sitting in their caftans, planning a brunch, on their own behalf.
Another long exhausting day, another thousand dollars,
A matinee, a Pinter Play, perhaps a piece by Mahler.
I'll drink to that. Another one for Mahler." Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I like those lyrics, especially:

I cut my ties, I sold my rings
I wanted none of this
If you start from scratch you have to sing
Just for the fun of it

The editor was very astute about the cream filled biscuits, but would it have mattered if you had heeded her warning and gotten out of there before the boat began to sink? My husband is an export expert. Once upon a time that was all that he dealt with. About 15 years ago almost all of the companies that he dealt with switched to importing, so he had to go with the flow and do that instead, but he hates it. He much more enjoyed the export side of it. And, by the way, he has your flu now. He never gets sick and so these things hit him hard.

Frost! And look at Fernglade in the dark.

Hi, Mr. Toothy! Good suggestions for the water pumps, Mr. Toothy!

Stairway To Heaven, you have there. It looks like heaven, anyway. The little stone retaining wall that you have for the chicken path looks nice.

We had some pretty good luck with fall potatoes last year. Do you always grow some then? I planted some potato seeds (in pots, late winter) that I saved from potatoes grown last year (spring, not fall). I have transferred the seedlings to a bed which is temporarily covered with netting. I certainly don't want to lose them to some digger as, before last year, I didn't even know that potatoes produced seeds.

Sorry - hee hee! - those are the funniest egg plants that I have ever seen. They are not "eggs", for sure! Jalapenos are not hot, eh? They must be different down under as ours can be killers. We have roses for Mother's Day and you have chrysantheMums - ah ha! Funny one! I especially like your sugar maple.

Five King Parrots are something to crow (?) about. The girl looks like a giant budgie. I like Lew's thought that they are Christmas parrots.

Oh, no - mice. They were they bane of my existence for quite a long time. The dogs never caught any either and the cat was too old.

That is some fountain!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Chris and Inge:

Lightning hit our house once. It blew a long, splintery piece off of an inside log of our log house right next to where my son was sleeping. Luckily, it did not hit him. Lightning frequently hits trees around our house. Once it hit the ground right outside and blew up all of our electronics we had to replace them all. TVs, computers, even the telephone answering machine. I'm not sure that we had the house grounded right at first. In fact, I am not sure it is grounded correctly even now, but we haven't had any more incidents and it's been years. I seem to remember that when we use the generator it has to be grounded by a wire to a copper rod in the ground.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I assume that the lightening struck the chimney of the Bembridge house, that being the tallest point. I wouldn't know about steel roofs, was just quoting what neighbour said to me.

I donot have everything planted though I have started; at least all the potatoes are in. The problem has been the cold as well as the wet. Even today the wind was icy. I reckon that we are a month behind.

Anyhow the Spring flowers have put on the most gorgeous display that I have ever seen. This is because they have all arrived together instead of in sequence.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for the explanation about the dog training, and to be honest that sounds fairly much standard for dog training. I'm really impressed though that you trained Leo and Salve with the chickens as that is something that I have never tried to do. I reckon Ollie will get there, but it is going to take some time and I've been introducing him to the chickens slowly. He chewed a chunk of furniture today - which is new for him. Puppies are a pain because they're a bit excitable.

Here's hoping for no further bouts of the flu here (or elsewhere for that matter). We've begun applying wood filler to the furniture that Ollie chewed through and the stink from that putty is giving me a headache, unfortunately tonight is cool here and I have now opened a few windows. What do you do?

Tea does sound classy doesn't it? When I was a kid, people used to say that they were going to eat 'tea' rather than have 'dinner', so perhaps it harks back to those days? I recall one very old school workplace (I didn’t work there) that actually had a tea lady. I’ve never experienced that myself though.

Hehe! Yeah, how funny was that comment about lunchtimes? I said to myself: should I write this amusing observation and annoy all the people I know that work in IT? No doubts they'll be grumpy with me! Actually, down here a lot of teachers I know are on contract and have little security of employment from year to year. It is a tough gig from that point of view. And for some reason they train more teachers (an undergraduate degree) than there are positions available, every single year. Ouch, oh yeah work refrigerators are a dodgy beast full of known and unknown species of bacteria and fungi. :-)! I never use them in any place I work, and just take lunch in each day. Hehe! I can see that happening with the microwaves all going at once. What a disaster. They chew up an inordinately large amount of electricity. I'm curious as to whether there was a lunchtime pecking order in relation to the use of those machines?

Our weather patterns appear to be about the same, although it can be cloudy one day and sunny the next. Autumn has been dry here and the surrounding area is yet to turn green as the fields are still yellow. It doesn't rain but it pours, and I hope your MIL does not suffer (and also good to hear that her mind is still sharp as a tack) and that the house showings work out for the best. Often it is just an uncertain waiting game. I once put a house up for auction and nobody bid…

The parrots are very attractive, although I have mixed feelings about them when they knock unripe fruit off fruit trees. Fortunately the family of magpies that live here send them on their way - but not all of the time as the magpies have to take time out to eat too. Your hummingbirds are very attractive birds too and it is nice to leave a feeder out for them as most wild birds do it tough!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Cool. I saw the poster for that very film last year, but didn’t have the time to check it out. Thanks for the review and they are both excellent actors. No spoilers please! Hehe! I just read a synopsis and it is a very dark tale, so Gothic is a very appropriate word. Far out, small towns can have more than their fair share of intrigue and wrong doings.

That was pretty quick to install a new roof, although I'm assuming that only the cladding needed replacing and not the structure itself? Fortunately it didn't rain much during that period of time as you can get some hefty rainfall - and books and rain don't mix well despite hastily thrown tarps over buildings. You just reminded me that I once accidentally dropped a book that I was reading into the bathtub. Not good, and the book was never the same.

Can't say I've read any works by John Grisham, but appreciate the review. Out of curiosity did the author mention sea level rise affecting the island or was it unpopulated? The average height of land above sea level in Florida is a matter that would concern me if I lived there, but perhaps I may worry too much about such things?

Incidentally the first time I read your paragraph on the book, my mind read the word 'casino' instead of 'camino'. Don't much like casino's and have only ventured through their doors a few times in my life and usually at the behest of other people. For some reason, the vibe in those places gives me the creeps - although nobody else seems to notice that vibe and they look like they’re having a good time, so maybe it is just me? Dunno.

Had to visit the bank today, and I'm not much of a fan of them either. They're really nice people, but they did ask me whether I had a home loan, and it sounded to me a lot like do you want fries with that? Far out...

Oh yeah, run, Lewis, run! A very wise move on your part too. I've heard that shtick too and it doesn't impress me. I tended to avoid management fads because they are always somebodies pet project, and that usually got in the way of me doing the job that I was actually paid to do, but you know it happens. What do you do? Mate, your observation about finding out who will toe the line is quite astute, because almost every week lately I read an article in the business section of the newspaper describing how a whistle blower was treated and often it mentions being largely ignored – and apparently often by the very authorities charged with investigating such matters. Now a cynic may point out that a banking Royal Commission is underway right now, and such articles can look a lot like a morality tale where the employee doesn't get to work again. And that is one possible interpretation.

There is also a bit of the management fad distracting other people away from the actual basic boring bits of doing business like: selling stuff; getting paid for selling stuff; paying others; and maintaining inventories. They're nowhere near as much fun as indulging a 'fad'. Fortunately that is rarely seen in small business because they can't afford to do that.

I'm not sure, the show mentioned the name of a book that someone had written on the subject of Anzac day, and I'd be curious to learn more about it. I used to go to the dawn service with my granddad who'd been a pilot in WWII, but I'm unsure how I feel about it all now, and I ask myself who are these other people attending the service and what does it mean to them. I really just don't know.

Ah yes, the burning to create lime is a rough gig from what I understand - apparently it was a task set to convicts who had offended after being transported and inevitably it ruined their eyesight. They burned sea shells for lime though. I have no idea what the process involves though.

Gotta bounce as I'm heading to the pub for dinner tonight! I promise to reply tomorrow night.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam and Inge,

Many thanks for the lovely comments but I am heading to the pub for dinner this evening for a pint and a feed. I promise to reply tomorrow evening!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Just to say that I also put a property up for auction once and got no bids.

Re: John Grisham's books. I have read a number of them and found him to be a very uneven writer, some good, some bad. Unfortunately I can't remember which were the good ones; I have given up on him.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I don't know if Camino Island is fictional, or not. Probably fiction. It's highly populated. Seems to be one of those places settled as vacation homes for the inland rich. Lots of Victorian architecture. Summer rentals. Not a word about sea level rise or the effect of bad storms. Come to think of it, Grisham has neglected to indicate how one get to and from the island. Ferry boat? Bridge?

Here, a lot of the casinos are owned by our native American tribes. A lot of the reserves are ... sovereign nations. Have their own courts and police forces. And, quit awhile back, they trigged to the fact that they could run casinos ... falling between the cracks in the laws. And, sometimes I think it's kind of a consolation prize for being treated so horribly. Well run tribes have used this windfall to finance everything from health centers to scholarships.

My Dad used to come up here (we have a tribal casino, near by) once a week on a seniors bus, and play the slots. Sometimes called "one harmed bandits." Back in the day, they used to have a handle that you pulled. Of course, now they're all electronic and you push buttons and instead of coin rolling out of the thing, you get paper chits. Not near so fun. I'd never play (one Twelve Step program is enough, thanks). So, I'd chat with Dad as he played and then we'd have lunch. They had a phenomenal cafeteria/restaurant that put on quit a feed. For quit cheap.

My credit union is always pushing to see if I'd like to talk to their "financial advisor." I usually say something like, "Stock Market? No thanks." They do have "certificates of deposit" (You deposit chunks of cash, at a set rate of return, for an agreed upon time. Usually, in year chunks.) Rates of return used to be pretty good. Now they're in the bog. Credit unions have slightly better return rates than commercial banks.

It hit 77F (25C) here, yesterday. Overnight low was 43F (6.11C). "And then the wheels fell off." I planted the Jerusalem artichokes in the big oak tub I bought. Well. I poured a bit of dirt in the tub and most of the rings, holding the hole thing together, promptly fell to the ground. Not attached. As the tub dried out, it shrank, and ... Luckily, I didn't end up with a pile of barrel staves. I managed to pound in support nails (no easy job in oak), fill the tub with various kinds of dirt and compost and plant the chokes. (Not to be confused with chickens.). I miss-judged the amount of dirt I'd need to top off the tub, so was scrambling around. A couple of bags of really nice seed starter were sacrificed. Mushroom compost. Coffee grounds from the Club. I even emptied out the pots from a couple of dead house plants. Does anything having to do with a garden ever go to plan? Well, no. Lew

cheriola said...

Hi
I left two short comments under the last blog entry (regarding cats vs. chicken, and recommending some unusual recent TV scifi), not realising that you're using the comment boxes like an ongoing forum thread and therefore aren't looking at last week's thread anymore. Just to let you know.

- Antje

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

It is funny that you mention the modern preferred varieties of wheat because the dwarfing varieties of fruit trees also have very small root systems (which is the cause of the diminished size of the plants) and those tend to be the most affected by extreme weather conditions (in any direction). The old bloke who took the grafting course I went to recently mentioned the differences with orchard trees these days. It was such a pleasure to speak with him and hear firsthand accounts of how things were done differently in the past and his experiences as a kid in commercial orchards. We're continuing with the terraces so more flat land should be available over the next few months and who knows how that will all work out? I'll concentrate on corn this year, plus I have to sort out the disaster that is the strawberries. It gets better and easier every year though and that is the consolation prize.

Incidentally, I finally finished fertilising the sunny orchard today. Over the past few months I've been busy bringing in loads of mushroom compost and throwing it under the drip line of the fruit trees. Most, but not all of the fruit trees go deciduous during the winter, but they still grow and put on wood so I'm seeing whether giving the soil a feed around the trees at this time of year makes a difference? Probably not, but it is worthwhile seeing what happens. The grass and herbage is growing faster too as the soil gets deeper which means the marsupials aren't keeping up with eating the growth. Flying by the seat of my pants here too! Hehe! I enjoyed your grounded gardening pun - especially because it is true! It gets easier and more productive every year - but then you end up taking more upon yourself.

Interesting about the glass moulds. I guessed ceramic, but iron is an even better material, although the temptation to melt them down would be hard for commercial interests. Speaking of iron, have I ever mentioned that I have stood in front of this 1600 year old iron column: Iron pillar of Delhi. It is extraordinary and a testament to the skills of ancient metal workers. I doubt that much of what we've constructed will be around in another 1600 years, although I'd probably reckon that nuclear waste piles will be unpleasant places to be close to. How the heck do you reckon skyscrapers could ever be repaired for the long haul?

The Victorians appear to me to be a rather confused lot, and I guess discernment would be required in order to work out what was considered tasteful versus what was considered smutty? The lines seem somewhat blurred to me based on what I have seen of their art works. The Exhibition buildings are amazing, and they are a testament to the sheer volume of gold that was pulled from the ground on this old continent during the forty years between 1850 and 1890. An awful recession hit during the 1890's but it didn't hold a candle to the one that struck from 1929 and possibly will again a century later.

I haven't visited the new museum probably because I miss the dusty old museum which has now become part of the state library. But yeah, a Rubik’s cube in the side of the new building is pretty cool, and even better it is sinking into the ground which looks awesome.

OK, Lewis, I'm impressed by the lyrics in the Ladies who lunch song. The song starts out all fluffy and fun, and ends up being a dark tale. What more could be asked for from a musical comedy? I can't recall who once said to me that the court jester could get away with uttering things that the nobles never could? My favourite lyrics of that song is the final stanza:

"So here's to the girls on the go—
Everybody tries
Look into their eyes
And you'll see what they know:
Everybody dies
A toast to that invincible bunch
The dinosaurs surviving the crunch."


cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Ouch! Well, we all live on islands of one kind or another. Some of those islands have physical separation from the mainland (Inge experiences this mode of living as well as one of the regulars in the Green Wizards - ferry travel only). So Grisham's fictional island was highly populated? I have no experience with that mode of living although for a dense population it doesn’t sound as if it has legs to me. Although to be honest living in a mountain range has different challenges, but it doesn't generally involve large human populations. I'm almost curious enough to read about the fictional camino island.

Good for them to work within the system for their own and their peoples advantage. I didn't know that they were sovereign nations with their own courts and police. I assume they must answer to some sort of oversight federal authority?

There is an interesting story regarding pokie machines (what we call the one arm bandits) in a nearby town on the eastern end of the range. The local population and council have decided that they don't want pokies in that town and have campaigned and taken serious legal action to avoid them. The owner of the local pub (who lives elsewhere) apparently shut the local pub down in what I'm guessing is a strategy to freeze out the locals resistance to the pokies. I went past the building the other day and it is covered in steel boarding as if it has had a fire. A story about it can be found here: No plans to reopen ‘eyesore’ Romsey Hotel. Closing the only pub in a small town is hard on the local community.

Hmm, well, hmm, well, hmm, them financial advisor folks haven't been looking so good in the findings of the Royal Commission. What fun and games they are having there. Who would have thought that people were pushed into schemes that produced the most commission for the advisor? And the best finding of all was that dead people were being charged for services rendered. The dead are clearly a lucrative feed trough of fees! Far out... The bank that I have been with for many decades tried to pull a fast one on me yesterday. Well done them and it is nice to see that loyalty can be misplaced. Fortunately I always put on my dumb face and ask stupid questions and invariably I get to peek underneath the veneer. I don't mind acting dumb and don't particularly care what people think about that, because mostly they feel that I'm too stupid to see through their shenanigans. I use that tool a lot because it works and gives a clear view of the realities of a situation and you get to gauge the mettle of the people you are dealing with. Other banks were more obliging in this instance.

Oh no! That is a real bummer about the oak half barrel, but you affected a good save. Yeah, I never have enough soil either, and nothing ever goes to plan, although it does get close sometimes! Good luck with the chokes. Out of curiosity, the editor is not affected by them as apparently some folks have enzymes in their systems which can break down the starches in the chokes (yes, not to be confused with chooks!), do you feel any wind discomfit (how family friendly is that? :-)!) from consuming the chokes?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Glad to read that you liked the song, and I reckon the band might well have had to sing for the fun of it, just to get started. Music is a tough gig to make a living from.

So sorry to hear that your husband has now fallen prey to the evil flu virus. It was not good and is no man-flu. I hope he takes it easy and gets back to health soon. Yeah, I get that about moving from export to import, because I moved from manufacturing to import. The cynic in me tells me that this is how we are keeping prices low, but the cost... And the long term...

Hehe! Yeah, the mountain ridge rises to the north of here (the property here faces south west and is about three quarters of the way up the ridge), so as the sun sinks lower in the sky during the winter, it takes an hour or three for the sun to finally to show its face. Solar electricity is hard enough during winter, but that northern ridge probably halves the - not much of anyways - winter sun. Mind you, the northern ridge tends to reduce the very cold winds from the Antarctic south as they have to rise high up above the farm to work their way over the ridge - like the aircraft that fly over the mountain range. Sometimes I see the planes flying and I think to myself, that is pretty low, I hope you lot know what you are doing.

Frost! Brr! And Mr Toothy knows much about these water pump thingees and he is invariably on hand and can be counted upon for good advice when they need to be worked upon.

Oh thank you, that is lovely to read. We've added two more stair steps this week and it is nice to fix up things that don't work. I'm always mentioning to visitors to watch their footing on the steeper ramps, so it will be nice to be able to not do that soon.

Peak rocks is truly awful. All the easy to harvest rock sources are now depleted and we have to go further afield and invest more energy (usually pulling loads of rocks uphill) in order to keep up the rock economy. Woe is us. I can't take the Dirt Rat and bright yellow trailer down anymore either because despite the weather being dry, the overnight humidity means that the grass is too wet and it would be not nice to be unable to get the Dirt Rat back up the hill again.

Hehe! Yeah, those slim eggplants are not worth growing next year. Do you know what else? Just to add insult to injury, they ripened much later in the season than the normal sized eggplants were. We'll still eat them though. I'm planning on Sunday to clear the entire tomato enclosure and we'll probably rest it over the winter rather than growing green and red mustard plants in there.

The jalapenos are probably different than the ones you grow. They're still wickedly hot, but not as mind blowing as we were expecting. Mind you, the climate here may not be good enough to develop really hot chillis? Dunno. Where are they usually grown?

How are your blueberries going? The warm and dry autumn produced a lot of growth on the blueberry plants here. The local gardening club tells me to plant them instead of azaleas but I like both. Hmm, sugar maple is good, and I have long term plans to have a grove of them. The trees will probably be easier and cheaper than bees.

Birds are such a colourful and noisy splash of stuff in the garden. I'm quite fond of them - even though some of them resemble Christmas Elveses!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Mice and rats are not cute because they sharpen their teeth on electrical cables and high pressure hoses in the car, and I'm a not a fan. At this time of year they head indoors to try and set up a cosy nest for the winter. I wish they'd apply for lodging elsewhere. The dogs are pretty good with hunting rats and mice, but I keep the dogs inside or in the outdoor enclosure at night because otherwise they'd spend all night chasing off the marsupials whom are generally all nocturnal.

Thanks for sharing your horrendous experiences with the lightening strikes. Wow. Replacing all of the electricals is no joke and would have been very expensive. Yup, the copper earth stakes are a cheap form of insurance. Mind you every few years I lose an interweb modem to a nearby lightening strike.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

The iron pillar of Delhi was so interesting. I have passed it on to the son who does foundry work as the high-phosphorus content of the metal is interesting, besides the history of the thing.

I have acquired a bit of the flu from my husband. Not too bad, so far.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

The blueberries are looking very good so far; lots of blossoms.

When I lived in west Texas I saw vast fields of jalapenos and other peppers growing in the hot desert next to a river. They were doing the same in New Mexico, which was nearby.

Pam

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

To be honest I don't really know what impact a metal roof would have on a lightening strike. At a wild guess, I reckon the charge would be spread across the surface of the roof thus making the building less subject to damage from a concentrated energy charge travelling to earth. Interestingly there are a few articles on the internet suggesting just that, but I don't see many studies conducted on the differences. Who knows? I reckon the carbon in and around the chimney caught fire in the Bembridge fire and that ignited the roof timbers. Nowadays I note that tiled roofs here at least have a thin material protecting the timbers from the tiles and it is better than nothing, but in a house that old the tiles looked like they sat on the timber and I’ve seen that arrangement. The house would have been enormously cold over the winter.

Good for you with the plantings. Do you replant the previous season’s potatoes? We have for many seasons, but I also tend to bring in new loads of compost each year as potatoes are heavy feeders. A month behind with the plantings is a hard act to catch up from. You never know though, have you noticed that your winters are beginning later in recent years? Are your strawberries flowering?

Lovely! Your description of the spring flowers sounds very nice. The bees will be very happy with the selection of flowers to choose from.

I'm planning to clear out the tomato enclosure on Sunday and let it rest for the winter. I'm still getting my brain around the various things that need to be done here and I have no idea whether I should plant green and red mustard in there. If I could not bring in additional compost, I would definitely plant them as a green manure. Do you or your son manage your own compost? I guess you’d have the sows and piglets manure.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Don't you feel a bit gutted when a property passes in to no bids at an auction? Far out. I tell ya, that night we sat up in to the small hours brainstorming our options, and then the next day we got stuck into making the necessary changes to the house. The house sold within the month. I also changed agents because the old agent had dropped the ball. I couldn't believe it, they just gave up. Interestingly the next agent could close a deal and had a genuine knack for selling - it was awesome to behold and both the editor and I knew then that we did not have such skills. Have you ever met a person who can genuinely sell stuff, not merely an order taker, but someone who has an ability to talk people into buying stuff?

Thanks for the review. Some authors are like that, but it would be hard to hit a six every game. That is one vote for and one vote against! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Antje,

Welcome to the discussion!

As a small bit of blog administration, as you are aware I only reply to comments on the current week's blog. It moves along at a crisp pace, and to be honest there are only so many hours in the day. :-)!

However, given you are a new commenter, we can make an exception!

To be honest, I made the assumption about cats eating chickens because the neighbours cat stalks around the chicken enclosure at night, and I don't really know how a chicken and feline interaction would work out. I do realise that the cat is hunting rodents, it is just that I've never actually observed a cat and chicken interacting. Your comments are perfectly in line with all of the other lovely commenters here, who tell me that cats and chickens are not a problem.

Foxes and dogs are a serious problem for chickens here and I'm in the process of training Ollie the cuddle dog (sorry, that is actually an Australian cattle dog) to assist me with supervising the chickens. Training a dog can be simple for some tasks and difficult for other tasks.

The chickens here really do need the heavy duty fencing as not only will the foxes kill them, but there are also a family of wedge tailed eagles that pretty much own this part of the mountain range - and they are huge birds of prey. Massive and they fly around on the thermals making this sort of strange ‘cheep, cheep, cheep’ call. The call does not match the scale of the bird, but there you go. Then at night the powerful owls would most certainly kill and eat a chicken and I have no doubts about that as they eat every single possum that has ever turned up here. I tell ya, the chickens are nervous here! Do you recall where your grandparents family farm was and whatever happened to it?

Those are pretty cold temperatures and outside my experience. The coldest I've experienced here is -1'C, which is not all that cold really, and the chickens were fine. Some of the commenters here have experience with chickens in those sorts of winter temperatures so you could ask the people here how they manage it? Over the winter, I tend to store good quantities of straw on the concrete base of the chicken house and all over their nesting boxes as it works as an insulator, but even then there are chickens that roost on the steel reinforcing bars and they happily huddle for warmth.

Metal is a great conductor of heat and cold. Oh yeah! Yup, I can almost visualise the wintergarden and its frost. I get frosts here too and they can stick around for a couple of days, but even so citrus happily grows outside in the orchard - although nothing else fruits over winter.

Thanks for the awesome reviews of the sci-fi shows. Cool!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

The iron post is amazing and also truly massive and what an achievement from their metal workers so many years ago. Your son is onto a good idea with foundry work which is a really important occupation as we all use metals for everything. Yeah, the layer of protective coating over the post is really interesting, and I'd imagine it has been studied for its commercial practicalities. But you know what, I suspect like this farm, it makes little commercial sense. Fortunately neither farm nor post have to! :-)!

Pam, stay strong and I hope that you avoid the worst of the flu. I know of people who it barely affected, so you never know. And females are usually the hardier of the species.

Good to read about the blossoms on the blueberries. Fingers crossed for a good harvest. I assume you net your plants? The birds picked off a few berries here, but I don't begrudge them their share.

Oh! Thanks for the explanation. Ah, the additional solar energy perhaps provides more heat in the fruit of the jalapenos chili? Interesting.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I was just reading in my sort-of-old gardening book (1963 - published in the UK) and was struck by a photo of a gorgeous blue poppy known as Himalayan or Welsh poppy; had no idea poppies came in blue. This particular one is a perennial:

https://www.plant-world-seeds.com/store/view_seed_item/906

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

And this particular veronica/speedwell - Georgia blue. Some speedwells have blue flowers that grow in spikes, but I liked these short, clumpy ones. Hmmm - "resistant to deer". I wonder how they resist . . .

https://www.gardenia.net/plant/Veronica-Umbrosa-Georgia-Blue-Speedwell

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I hope your flu remains light and that your husband recovers, swiftly.

Yup. That's them. Himalayan blue poppies. I got a couple of book on them through Interlibrary Loan. They've been grown in England, and, even more encouragement, up in British Columbia, just north of us. The cultivation sounds pretty "fussy", but I've got the seed and thought I'd give them a whirl.

We have quit a collection of blueberries, here at The Home. As part of the landscaping. About a month ago, the Master Gardeners put on a class in "All Things Blueberry." They pretty much take care of our plants, but just in case they're no longer around, I paid attention to the pruning and fertilizing bit. I managed to harvest and freeze up about 8 gallons. I'm shooting for more, next year. And, that's besides the 20 pounds I bought from the veg stand. And, I've just run out! Luv my blueberries! Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - I read three or four of Grisham's "lawyer" books when he was just starting out. Not bad, but I kind of lost interest, after awhile. "Camino Island" made me feel a bit like he was "telephoning it in." Not much effort? I do love his "Skipping Christmas." Appeals to my Scrodge side. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - It hit 84F (28.88C) here, yesterday. Supposed to be overcast, scattered showers and cooler, the next five days. Probably be muggy.

I think your spot on fertilizing your fruit trees, now. Seems like every thing from house plants to veg needs a good shot of fertilizer after they've done their song and dance. No matter if it's producing fruit or throwing flowers. Our local Garden Goddess takes on more and more garden ventures as her health slowly declines.

The Iron Pillar of Delhi is really interesting. I think it's alien technology :-). There are whole companies that make their living taking down skyscrapers. Controlled explosions to bring them straight down. There's plenty of footage on the net. A lot of the old Las Vegas hotels went that route. Any of those "after man" shows usually show the demise of sky scrapers. One goes, and it's like dominos. A disaster flick worth it's salt must have the mandatory sky scraper coming down. It's a law, I think :-). Kunstler bangs on about how maintenance will be impossible, never mind the energy to run the elevators.

With the rise of printed media, came the rise of critics. The Victorians depended on their critics to decide what was smut and what was art. John Ruskin (sp?) comes to mind. Odd duck.

Oh, yes. I quit like "Ladies Who Lunch." Great delivery. Boozy, bitter and cynical. We've all had days like that :-). Some people have lives, like that. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I don't know if I'd recommend spending good money on "Camino Island." Give it a year and cheap used paperbacks will be thick on the ground. The people who live on Camino Island are rich, clueless and don't give a rip about climate change, or much of anything else that concerns thinking people. Oh, there is the usual turtle rescue bunch. Save a turtle, save the world. I bet they go through the motions of recycling, too. Hmm. I wonder what they do with all the garbage, produced on the island? And the help? Where do they live? Actually, I know. On the mainland and take that early morning ferry in, every day. One only has to look at the ski resort, Aspin, to figure it all out. But, if you want to give yourself a good wind up, go for it. :-).

There's always tension between the First Nations, the States and the Federal Government. But, The Nations have become very adept at trotting out the guilt ridden Social Justice Warriors to be their shock troops. Long involved cases fought through the courts. Here, you can buy smokes and booze at a much lower rate, as they charge no (or little) State or Federal taxes. Initially, that was to be only for residents of the reservation. But, of course, people drove from miles around and loaded up their cars. The State used to set up road blocks and have spot checks. I was checked out once, while traveling near the Rez. I think finally, they pounded out a deal where the Rez pretty much just decides what it's willing to pay the State, and the State is (mostly) happy with that, and glad to get whatever they can.

The article on Romsey, was interesting. The bits that jumped out at me were "..old-fashioned pubs are finished" and "no money in traditional hotels." Move along, into a progressive modern future. Nothing to see here.

This is my maiden voyage with chokes. (Also, besides chickens, not to be confused with Palahniuk's book, "Choke.") So, I really don't know anything about the windyness factor. What I find interesting about them (besides the fact that they're pretty) is that they're better for diabetics than potatoes. And, as diabetics are thick on the ground, here at the Home, it seemed worth looking into. Not that any of them cook, much. Hmmm. A bit of cause and effect, there? :-). I planted peas, yesterday. The Mason bees were going at it hard. Guess they're happy. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I sold that property later on quite successfully. Don't think that I've met anyone who was particularly good at selling. I'm not too bad as house agents were happy for me to show people around and it wasn't because they were lazy as they would be present.

I grow some potatoes from the previous years crop and some that are not. The strawberries are flowering both in the greenhouses and outside, not much difference between them; no doubt because the weather has been so cold that the greenhouses are just as cold as outside.

Son and I do make our own compost but it isn't enough so we have to buy it as well. We do have our own manure of course but sufficient soil is a problem as with you. One of the drawbacks of woodland.

Mice have just eaten every single seed that Son planted in his greenhouses; only the tomatoes were left alone. He has just had to replant everything.

Weather is so variable here that I have never discerned a pattern in my whole life so wouldn't know if it was changing.

Cold and raining at present.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

The Himalayan Poppies are really lovely and the local garden club sells them. They reckon: "Is there any flower more desirable as this poppy from Tibet? Planted en masse this legendary blue poppy is a breath-taking sight to behold. For cool climate gardens with moist soils and summers below 30 degrees." I might be able to find a shady enough spot for the plant, but the moisture requirements are probably too tough for me to achieve here. If you had a septic drainage spot that was always moist over summer in the full shade, then I reckon the plant would be a really good idea.

Incidentally, my favourite line in the song was the last verse at the end of the blog. It is a lovely sentiment don't you reckon?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

20 pounds of blueberries is a great treasure trove of berry delight! Yum! I'm salivating just thinking about the berries. Chris, not to self: must remember not to count the berries until they're in the freezer! Hehe! Incidentally, yesterday I picked an autumn raspberry from the berry enclosure. The berry was quite tasty and a very unexpected harvest for this time of year.

The dogs were let outside a few minutes ago to go to the toilet. And Mr Toothy and Ollie (the cuddle dog), set off to show me where a rats nest was located. At first I thought the cosy little den was a birds nest, but no, an outraged and mildly inconvenienced rat poked its nose out, and then promptly scampered off into the nearest garden bed before I could frame a suitable reply. If you put Mr Toothy, Ollie, and myself into a blender, and then created a brand new being, well, I reckon the rat would still have more rat cunning than all of us combined. I called off Mr Toothy and Ollie and brought them back inside, just because to me it is sort of like George Orwell's 1984, in that I now know where the rats are located, but if I destroy that nest, well, I know they'll just set up elsewhere. It is a fight that cannot be won. The force is strong with them.

Went into the big smoke on the train today to attend the Green Wizards meeting. I really enjoy the group and spoke with many lovely people. And just to tease you, lunch consisted of mushroom pizza, a craft brewed ginger beer (non alcoholic), and a tiramisu. One of the group made the observation that I only attended lunch for the tiramisu, and whilst the dessert is good, so is the company. :-)! Today's discussion was on oil and energy and it included some solid diagrams from the IEA. The person who took the talk has firsthand experience in the oil and mining industries and is an all round good bloke. It was sobering, not that anybody was enjoying a drink, but more in a 'this is not good' sort of way. Regardless, I enjoy catching up with the various folks at the meeting and count them as friends, and had a good conversation with a group member all the way back to the station.

Then, in a rather strange and unusual twist of fate, I jumped on the country train to travel back home again. The seat beside me was empty at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne - and here is where you come into the story. Yes, that’s you! Remember when you recommended the book 'Restoring heritage grains' to me? Well, I was on the train reading that very book, when at the last minute, and only seconds before the train took off, a young bloke sat next to me. He looked like a young surfer dude, but lived in a town about 30 minutes north of where I am which is a long way inland where there is no surf. Anyway, he took a look at the book that I was reading and began asking me about heritage grains. And it just so happens that he was doing work experience at the orchard and farm that I did the recent grafting course at. Small world, huh? I've known the people at that farm and orchard for over a decade, and so this young bloke and I had a long conversation about all things agriculture. I even managed to impart the understanding about the movement of minerals within the larger community and agricultural systems and he just understood it - although it was news to him, albeit a bit of a shock. So, without you even being aware of it, you have influenced a couple of lives down here, and you know what? The future will be hard, no doubts about it, but it’s experiences like today that make realise that it won't be a write off either. ;-)!

Your weather sounds almost perfect to my ears. It was warm and sunny here today and apparently some rain will fall Wednesday. City folks have begun asking me whether it is dry up this way - this is not a good sign.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Thanks about the thumbs up as to when to fertilise the trees, as I'm frankly unsure of when to do that task and have previously done it in spring, which is probably too late. It will be interesting to see what effect it has on the growth of the trees. Ouch. When I was young and feeling a bit uncertain of things, I took on more tasks than I possibly should have. As I got older and hopefully wiser, I learned that when confronted with those feelings, it was time to take a step back and relax. I'm not suggesting that it is a bad sign, but it feels that way to me, sorry to say.

Oh yeah, the aliens must have had something to do with that pillar as there is no way humans from 16 centuries ago could have achieved something that we can't seem to want to do! The cheek of those aliens to confuse us all – what would Simon Pegg say? I'm with Mr Kunstler on the skyscraper business, I mean you can't even open the windows of one of those behemoths - just in case somebody jumps out...

John Ruskin was quite the character. I particularly enjoyed the disastrous claim that another artist's work was akin to: "flinging a pot of paint in the public's face"! Very cheeky, and a somewhat expensive critique, in more than monetary terms too. Ouch. That happened to a food critic down here, who just happened to critique the wrong people and they took him and the publishers through the courts to what looked to my eyes as long after the use by date, but the experience appears to have ended his career and who knows, perhaps that was what they were after? Dunno.

Ah yes, such experiences and days like that can be very short term, or very long term, and there is no way of knowing which it will be beforehand. A bit of a shame that, really. It would make life easier, methinks!

Yeah, I reckon that lot on the island wouldn't have a clue about where their rubbish goes. There has been a bit of an update about that unfolding situation down here: Australia to set goal of 100% reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025. It is a worthy goal, but my mind sees the words: 'turning waste into energy', and that conjures up images of electricity co-generation schemes by burning plastic waste as a fuel stock, although I have no idea what they are actually talking about! Far out...

Interesting, your First Nation folks appear to have a good understanding of the system that they find themselves in.

The 'old fashioned pub' up here in the mountain range does OK, from what I can see. The bloke that owns that closed pub in the nearby town appears to have barely concealed aspirations in the area of pokies.

Mate, Chuck goes places... Chook's also go places like garden beds and orchards. But chokes leave one feeling a bit gassy, although I am timid and have no experience with such matters and am leaving it to stronger folks such as your good self and the editor (who swears that there is no gassiness - although I remain unconvinced). Good luck!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Thanks all for the flu recovery sentiments. My husband is feeling somewhat better and I feel yucky, but not too yucky. I have found something that works great for a sore throat - lime water. I have often used lemon water as a general tonic with a cold or flu, but the lime juice actually stops the sore throat for awhile.

Pam

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Well done, and we likewise managed the same feat - although it was a bit tense for a few weeks back then. There was a film titled: "The Wolf of Wall Street", which had dodgy characters, but it displayed the process of people selling financial products to what can only be described as dopes. I lack the moral flexibility required for such antics, which is probably a good thing, although not as financially lucrative as those that do! Oh well. Interesting too about being involved in the sale process, because down here, the owners are never present, unless they themselves are conducting the sale process. Very interesting.

That is probably a good idea about bringing in new season potato seeds (or potatoes) for your garden. I'm unsure about blights in regards to potatoes (and other plants), but I suspect that some (or even one) of the minerals in the soil has been played out and so the plants become ever more susceptible to diseases. I worry about whether I have enough genetic diversity in my seed saving activities as we bring in less new plants every year as seeds are saved from the prior season. Dunno. Do you have any thoughts on that subject? I was thinking in particular about chicken breeding in that you more or less would have to have an entire local community breeding chickens in order to maintain sufficient genetic diversity for long term breeding, but again I have no idea what used to happen way back in the day. Dunno.

Yeah, it is a drawback of woodland. Somewhere in the past I recall reading that long established woodlands maintain and rejuvenate their soils in the plant growth that exists above the ground. Of course I understood that the person was referring to the minerals in the plants and everything else that exists above the soil level and in particular they were talking about the cycle of nutrients which occurs due to growth and decay. It is interesting, and here there sure is a lot of plant growth above the soil surface.

Sorry to read about the mice incursion. Ouch. I hope your son has enough seed left so as to re-sow the garden beds?

I understand that about the climate and weather, and it is variable here too, although I have no idea what to expect from week to week. I tell you in all seriousness, I would miss the weather forecast, radar, and rainfall maps if they were not available. I'd get by, but I sure would miss them. Do you keep a close eye on the weather forecasts?

Today was sunny and warm. You sure are experiencing a short spring.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Sorry to hear that about the flu and general yukkiness, and best wishes for a speedy recovery. I added honey to the drink too, as honey has good recuperative powers - and not many nasties can live in honey.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Back from visiting neighbours. Mice have taken out all the seeds that they have planted too. They say that this has never happened to them before. All very strange.

Weather forecasts for the Island or more precisely for Southern UK, are always utter nonsense. If we want reasonable accuracy we have to go to the shipping forecast. I don't pay a great deal of interest.

I don't have any particular thoughts on the subject of seeds, too great a lack of consistency. I have a question for anyone though:- seed potatoes (which I never buy because my one attempt was a disaster) come as earlies, main crop and late. I would like to know whether this really means anything at all. I plant any old potatoes at any old time and it seems to work out fine. Some of my earliest ones are those that I have missed and which have remained underground all Winter.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I'll see your Speedwell Georgia Blue and raise you Vinca ...

https://www.gardenia.net/plant/Vinca-minor-Bowles-Variety-Periwinkle

I had never noticed the Vinca, before I bought my cemetery plot. It was all over the place and flowering in January. Now I notice it everywhere. Around our library, etc.. I also like Love in the Mist. Blue, and has interesting seedpods.

The Speedwell (also the name of one of the Pilgrim ships, I think. Maybe the one that leaked and couldn't make the trip. But I digress ...) looks a bit like a larger, darker Forget Me Not. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I noticed last night that our blueberries are in flower. What I can't figure out is that, at least last year, we didn't seem to have any problem with birds, at all. Might be because they're close to a footpath and the parking lot. Lots of activity. And, we have a few cats (that don't live here) who "work" the property, from time to time.

Well, you better make a show of doing something about that rats nest. Mr. Toothy and Ollie may just decide, "Well, he doesn't seem to care" and stop showing you where they are.

It must be a fine thing to get together with the Green Wizards group and have a good jaw and feed with like minded folks. Actually, I engineered that whole meet up on the train. I consulted the spread sheets, flow charts and algarhythms. A few astrological charts. I knew if I carefully timed mentioning the book, that it would arrive before the Green Wizards meeting and you'd catch that train and meet the bloke from the northern farm. Simple. All I had to do was mention the book at the appropriate time. :-). Actually, back in the day, I was pretty good at matching up (not in a romantic way) people who would "spark" off each other. Same goes for book recommendations. Somewhere along the way I read a book (Susan Orlean? maybe not) about an author who tried to track down the natural "facilitators" in society. One turned out to be a barber in Baltimore. The other an unofficial "community organizer" in Chicago. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Or, maybe, it's all just magik? :-). "Turning waste into energy" is talked about (and done, occasionally) here. Everything from methane digesters or burning off methane from old landfills to just burning the stuff. If you can figure out what to do with the polluting smoke, not such a bad way to go. Of course, a lot of fuel is burned moving all that stuff around. But once the plants are in place and up and running, sometimes, maybe, not such a bad energy ROI (Return on investment.)

Re: Old fashioned pubs. (Or, old fashioned, anything.) How many times in movies have we seen the son, say to the father, "Dad, we need to modernize" ... the pub, the farm, the shoe factory. Yeah. Put in those banks of big screen tvs and hang a lot of ferns about. Stock those trendy wine coolers.

I watched a film last night, "The Crash" (2017). About manipulating the stock market. Fiction. Lots of computer hacking and people staring at screens. So, they threw in lots of personal sub-plots. Not bad, but I wouldn't pay money to see it in a theatre.

Here, also, the real estate dealers don't like the owners around. While my friends were in Idaho, and I was taking care of their farm, there were some showings. So, I'd get a head's up from the real estate dealer, had a checklist of things to do to make all neat and tidy, and would retire to a pull out behind some brush across the road ... after rounding up their five hounds. And, watch with binoculars. Worth the bother. One of the people that looked at the place on my watch was their ultimate buyer. Not that I had anything to do with that. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

I've never known the mice or rats here to eat seeds that I've planted, so can't really offer any meaningful thoughts about that subject. I'd have to suggest as a wild guess that they are hungry, and given your cold and very wet spring, they may be eating anything and everything. Incidentally, it is the things that the rodents are consuming that I don't know about that always concerns me! I've been watching and living with the rodents for a decade here, and they are ingenious and adaptable.

Ah! The shipping forecast is a great idea. The forecasts here are reasonably accurate for the area. Fair enough too, the semi-regular extreme weather events here force me to keep an eye on the forecast and it is the occasional very heavy rainfall that does the most damage.

That is interesting about the seed potatoes, because down here they're not sold like that. Seed potatoes are generally sold according to variety. Interestingly, the Spudfest potato festival is on next weekend in the nearby town of Trentham. To be honest, I'm a bit slack about harvesting potatoes and just dig them up when I need some and of course plenty get left behind in the soil. It is probably not the most efficient way to do things though! Oh well... When do you normally plant your potatoes?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Yummo! Blueberries. That is pretty good if the plants are in flower now and to me it points to a long growing season. Do you reckon you'll get a good harvest based on the flowers? The birds here can take a few of the blueberries and I’m waiting until the plants are big enough and strong enough so that they can be netted. Hey, interestingly, we cleared out the tomato enclosure today and set it up for next spring - no winter crops in there this year - and noticed that one of the blueberry plants has become confused and produced a few unripe blueberries. How weird is that? I reckon it was the most recent bout of warm weather which caused that, but don't really know. I’m constantly amazed at how adaptable to climate plants are.

Mr Toothy is a gentleman and would never stoop to such tactics, and he would continue to show me rats nests. Plus he is a little bit obsessive and probably would be compelled to show me! Ollie on the other hand would love nothing more than destroying the rats nest, he has questionable taste and experiences the world via his mouth.

I look forward to the meet-up and it is nice to speak with like minded folks. Most other people tell me the cant that ‘technology will save us’, or ‘they’ll think of something’. I’m not so sure about that until it is proven, workable, and most importantly affordable. I outrage folks merely by mentioning that electricity here costs me about $0.85kW/h (most houses pay about $0.30kW/h), and it is nice that I don’t have to encounter such negative reactions. My observations and experiences are not personal – it is just how it is.

Well you did set the path in motion merely by suggesting that particular book - is the correct word for that process: 'serendipity'? Not sure really. We are beginning to come to terms with the reality that we need to construct an enclosure for onions. The wallaby ate all of stalks on the editors garden bed of onions. I did mention that that was a likely marsupial – Allium interaction outcome as the wallabies are unrelenting with onion leaves. They won't touch the garlic leaves though. Go figure.

You know, you may have a knack for setting these events in motion?

Did you use the word magic with a "k"? Hehe! That spelling has some sort of strange meaning for fans of Alister Crowley, not to be confused with the most excellent author John Crowley. ‘Little Big’ is one of my favourite books, and I have read it several times. The first paperback version that I owned fell apart due to overuse - these things happen! Have you read any of that authors work?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

My gut feeling is that the plastic rubbish will be burned as feed stock for a generator. These things happen, and judging by the sheer quantity of plastic in the ocean - other disposal methods are not working so well. I was planning to write about electricity this evening, but from a slightly different perspective. I did want to use the lyrics from the Cold Chisel song: Cold Chisel- No Sense. The video has some great footage from in and around Sydney from about 1984-ish. Unfortunately the lyrics and content reminded me of some of the very occasional trolls (most likely scammers) that I get here - which incidentally are a very different experience from that of female writers... So, I thought to myself stuff that idea, and went and did something else with this weeks story! Hehe!

Do you reckon that story about 'get modern or get out' is a meme or even a mythic narrative? Years and years ago, I had a potential customer make an enquiry over the phone and they asked me whether I used this bit of technology or that bit of technology. Come to think of it now, they were probably trying to sell me technology. I get a lot of those phone calls and they are a time waster. Anyway, I said nobody that I've met in small business uses any of that stuff, and that was like waving a red flag at a bull! They got a bit shirty with me, which is weird because they called me and not the other way around. One thing I like about the local pub is that they only put the single small television screen on - with no sound - when there is some sort of sporting event going on. Other than that, it stays switched off. The nearby town has a pub which I used to visit and they put on a good feed, but there were so many televisions on all the various walls that I stopped going there. It offended my senses.

Prospective buyers don't want dogs jumping all over them from what I've noticed, so taking the dogs for a walk at such times is a good idea!

Better get writing for tomorrow! The weeks come around quickly don't they? I'm sure that lost time fell behind the couch (or desk in your case)! I should look there… :-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Lew and Chris

I hate all the TVs showing up everywhere. Now our vet even has one in the waiting room (where I've never had to wait for long). Doug and I went out to lunch and much to my dismay there was a tv screen facing the toilet!! It was all advertisements.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

That looks like the periwinkle that we have growing on the bank in front of our house. Ours definitely has a bit of blue in it.

You are right about the Speedwell - it did leak, and it didn't go. I had to look it up. They had to cram everybody onto the Mayflower. I don't even want to think about what that must have been like.

Pam

margfh said...

Chris et al,

It appears we have sold our house to the guy who owns the Christmas tree farm. He still needs to update the contract and all parties need to sign but the price etc. has been verbally agreed on and he has furnished the pre-approval document for financing. It is hard to get out heads around the fact that we'll be leaving where we've lived for 30 years in six to eight weeks. I think I've mentioned that properties of the type we are looking for are being snapped up immediately so we don't have anywhere else to go. However, our realtor just told us yesterday that the owners of the farm up the road (somewhere in the area of 200+ acres) which is for sale will be looking for someone to rent their farmhouse month to month. As they are neighbors we know them well so we anticipate it will work out. There are buildings for equipment too. Even better though she also is listing a home/property near here soon that she believes might be right for us. It's much smaller house with just under 3 acres and a building for all of Doug's "stuff". We drove by it at her suggestion and it's in a very nice area on a quiet road. Maybe the stars might align but I count on nothing until the deal is done and money is in hand.

My MIL is doing somewhat better which is good as she will be receiving much company in the coming week as her 92nd birthday is Tuesday. In fact we will be hosting seven overnight guests this coming weekend (sigh). Not like we don't have plenty to do to prepare to move. I took all her documents (will/trust etc.) to my lawyer to double check that all is in order. I thought it was but wanted to be sure and it is!!

The weather has changed for the better as well though now my garden will really small. I planted greens and peapods and I'll stick some flowers in there to keep weeds down and for all the pollinators.

Chris, I think it's great that your Green Wizards group continues to meet regularly. I often toy with the idea of getting something like that going sometime. Maybe after all the moving is done and I have more time (at least that's my hope) I'll work on that.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Pam

Glad to hear you and hubby are improving health wise. This sure isn't a good time of year to be sick.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Full Winter again today brr. my hands nearly fell off outside.

Seed potatoes here are sold by variety, it is the varieties that are divided into early... I would usually start planting potatoes in early April but I usually can do a whole second planting about 3 months later. I also dig up some as needed.

Have had a disastrous morning. I made ginger biscuits, a new recipe. It said to place on greaseproof paper. They are cooked and delicious but cannot be separated from the paper. I am having to eat greaseproof paper, can't even separate it in my mouth. I wonder whether it is bad for one? Clearly I can't offer them to anyone else!

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ Margaret

May all go well for you in the coming weeks.

Inge

margfh said...

@Pam

Glad to hear you and hubby are improving health wise. This sure isn't a good time of year to be sick.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - We ought to have a good crop of blueberries, judging by the flowers. If the bees do their work :-). Go bees! I'd guess your late bloomer blueberry just didn't get the memo :-). Or, maybe, it's just a late variety. I remember from our blueberry seminar that there were many varieties that were divided into early, mid-season and late.

Serendipity, karma, chance, coincidence ... whatever. Always interesting and a bit amusing. A bit of wonder injected into the hum-drum day to day. I think Greer occasionally spells magic with a "k". I think I was just reaching (see "reach exceeds grasp" department) for a quaint archaic spelling. Like, "Ye Olde Shoppe." A bit of twee. I have never read any John Crowley, that I'm aware of.

Looking into companion planting, garlic doesn't seem to get on with much of anything. Except tomatoes. Which may be why the late peas I planted didn't do much of anything. Or the Dutch iris I planted in the same bed. Asparagus doesn't seem to benefit from much of anything, other than tomatoes. But don't plant it too close to corn or beans. Note to self: Adjust planting plan ... again.

Scammers. We have an organization, here, called AARP. (American Association of Retired Persons.) I joined and get their newsletter and magazine. They have all kinds of entertaining and sometimes useful articles on a variety of topics of interest to we in our dotage. I joined because they are a pretty strong political lobby for us ancients. They recently had an article on scammers and scams. Interesting stuff. Your "got a bit shitty with me" character was probably a scammer. There's one approach they use which is the brutal one. Bullying. As in "You'd be an idiot not to take advantage of this offer." I just got a robo call, the other day (I get them about once a week) along the lines of, "This is the IRS (our tax agency) and a warrant has been issued for your arrest." Ho, Hum. Please, come and haul me away. Our tax service NEVER calls and only contacts us by mail. One of our residents was recently sucked in by "You've won millions of dollars!" Luckily, cooler heads took over and no harm was done. A lightening trip to the bank, etc..

Off to the Club for the Sunday morning cuppa and a good jaw wag. No slugs, last night, but saw several worms about coming up for a breath of night air. Oh! Almost forgot. Another article on the breakdown of the Atlantic current. Inge might want to take a look at this.

https://www.alternet.org/environment/climate-disaster-looms Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Congratulations! There might be a bump or two, but things seem to be falling in place. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Yeah, I recall people greasing tins, and it works. If I thought about it for a while, it is probably cheaper than baking paper. I'll have to have a think about that. What do you reckon? People are weird these days about butter, but to me it tastes far better than margarine which invariably contains palm oil - which I loathe the taste of. Yuk!

What a good idea with the water and the biscuits and glad to read that worked. If you'd left me for a hundred years with that problem, I would never have tried that.

Cheers

Chris