Monday, 5 June 2017

And they’re off and racing

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

I reckon the movie character Forrest Gump (as played by the actor Tom Hanks) gave running a bad rap. Whatever! I took up running as a sport well before that 1994 movie anyway, and this was a lucky turn of events for me because I was unceremoniously transferred to a school which demanded not only regular homework, but also compulsory sports from all of its students. Running was one of those compulsory sports.

In Australia, school years for children range from: Preparatory; then Primary School (years one through six); and then Secondary or High School (years seven through twelve).

For my first few blissful years of secondary school in years seven and eight, I attended what I feel must have been the most hippy dippy school in the entire state. During those two years, I learned a great many things, some of which even applied to the curriculum that other children in the state were learning. As one example, I knew who the most frightening character “Jason” was, in the horror film Friday the Thirteenth. On the other hand my grasps of the complexities of geometry and trigonometry was perhaps a bit sketchy. As an interesting side note, that hippy dippy school has long since been converted into a swanky housing estate.

It is also probably a fair thing to say that during those carefree hippy dippy days I was perhaps not the best behaved student. A report card from that time would have remarked that Chris was easily distracted and could do better. And this was where my blissful carefree life became unstuck. I am now much older and perhaps marginally wiser. Long term readers will recall that I have previously waxed lyrical about Sun Tzu’s most excellent treatise on military strategy “The Art of War”. It was unfortunate for me that I had not read this treatise at an earlier age…

So it was that I found myself one fateful day towards the end of my time at that hippy dippy school, understanding the truism as declared by that genius of military strategy, Sun Tzu: never to underestimate your opponents. You see, I was attending a parent / teacher night with my mother, who conferred with the enemy (a teacher), who remarked to my mother that: Chris was a good student who was also a bit unruly but would benefit from a more disciplined and rigid school environment. I knew defeat when my mother gave me a searching look as I could almost see the unspoken plans formulating in her mind.

The following year (year nine), my mother transferred me to a more disciplined and rigid school environment. The new school had formal suits and ties, school rules, no girls, cadets, lots of homework, formal exams, after school and weekend sports, and only one new kid that year. I have always felt that the school was more English than even the English are. It even had a historic oak tree surrounded by paving that looked suspiciously to me like a Union Jack design! My carefree days had clearly finished with a resounding thud.

Nowadays, people ask me what do I believe is meant by the term “community”? Well, I reckon the word “community” means learning to live with the people that you find around you. And way back in those days at that more disciplined and rigid school environment, this simply meant that I had to learn how to live with all of people that I suddenly found around me. Niccolò Machiavelli, who it is fair to say knew something about politics and human social interactions, would have been outclassed by the sheer intrigue and social dynamics that I found myself unceremoniously dumped into.

By the time that I turned up in year nine, the majority of social cliques were already established. I lacked the social skills of Niccolò Machiavelli and the wisdom of Sun Tzu and was unable to break into the existing social cliques. Well that is with the exception of the dork group, who took me into their social clique. This was a good thing because as Niccolò Machiavelli would have understood it is better to be surrounded by friends and allies than to be a lone target.

I slowly understood the social machinations of that more disciplined and rigid school environment and learned how to keep out of trouble. Actually by that, I meant mostly out of trouble, because after school detention seemed remarkably easy to end up in. The fun thing about after school detention was that you were encouraged to write quickly, and this was an important skill to learn. You see, the quicker that you wrote out a copy of the school rules (and there seemed to be an awful lot of rules) the quicker you got out of after school detention.

One aspect of the social machinations that troubled me the most were the informal after school fights. The way the informal fights worked were that children of higher social cliques (and as a dork I wasn’t quite at the bottom of the social pecking order, but I could certainly see the bottom very clearly) chose two other children to fight at a specific place and time. Heaven help the feckless child who failed to attend an informal fight because their lives would be made a misery from that point onwards.

Having previously lived a blissful carefree hippy dippy existence, I had never been involved in a fight of any sorts, let alone thrown a punch or two in anger. However, once I was aware of this impending doom of the informal after school fight, I immediately enrolled at the local karate dojo (using much of my hard earned paper round money) and trained several nights per week. Fortunately, my turn for an after school fight took quite a while to arrive, and when the bell tolled for me, I destroyed the other kid (although not hurting him too seriously). After that I was never bothered again and enjoyed improved social status.

My improved social status at the more disciplined and rigid school environment meant that I was able to relax a bit and enjoy secondary school and maybe I even learned a thing or two. Unfortunately, I still didn’t know anything about geometry and trigonometry, but in other subject areas I managed to slowly claw my way back into the top quartile of results for students. The lesson that I took away from all of that experience is to: Know thy enemy so that you do not underestimate them. Sun Tzu would approve.

The secondary school had a running team which competed against other schools in the state. I enjoyed distance running for sport and the school gave me no choice whatsoever in whether I wanted to compete in a sport or not, so I joined the running team. To be continued…

The weather this week has provided some delightful contrasts and this photo highlights those contrasts very clearly:
Contrasts have been a feature of this week’s weather
The overnight temperatures have been colder here than at any other point in the previous six months. Some parts of the continent further west and north of here are enjoying a recording breaking cold spell. In this more temperate part of the continent, the overnight temperatures have been just simply cold at 2’C (35’F). Observant readers will note that winters here are extremely humid (99% outside and 57% inside) and thus very damp affairs!
The overnight temperatures have been quite cool this week
Cold weather is perfect for working on the infrastructure and this week we relocated the three steel round raised garden beds which are used for growing potatoes. The soil and potatoes themselves were not relocated. The reason for the relocation of the steel garden beds is that there is now a permanent terrace for growing potatoes.
The three round raised garden beds used for growing potatoes were relocated this week
Observant readers will note in the above photo that there is an existing blackberry and raspberry enclosure on that terrace. Now that the the three raised potato beds have been relocated, that berry enclosure can be extended. There are plans afoot to do that extension over the next few weeks.

As potatoes are required in the kitchen, we have been simply extracting them from the soil. Home grown potatoes have a superb taste! Eventually we expect that all of the soil from the remaining potato mounds (visible in the above photo) will be removed. We also are intending to relocate some of the potato tubers and have plans to increase the diversity by purchasing a new batch of diverse seed potatoes.
A sample of some recent potatoes harvested from the remaining potato mounds
The relocated steel round raised garden beds are looking very good on the new dedicated potato terrace. A goodly quantity of crushed rock with lime was placed around the beds providing an all-weather surface to walk upon.
The relocated steel round raised garden beds were placed on the new dedicated potato terrace and surrounded by crushed rock with lime to provide an all-weather surface
The sloping garden bed above the new potato terrace was covered with a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of composted woody mulch. Over the next few months we will begin planting this sloping garden bed with flowering plants for the benefit of the insects, frogs and reptiles who will all eventually live in that garden bed.

On warm nights, the existing garden beds produce a symphony of frog calls from the many Southern Brown Tree Frogs who live in the garden beds.
A cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of composted woody mulch was placed onto the sloping garden beds
There are also plans afoot to extend the tomato / eggplant / capsicum (pepper) enclosure over the next few weeks. That current enclosure is fenced using locally sourced pickets and so in order to extend the enclosure we have begun the process of producing further pickets.
Pickets are being produced in order to extend the fencing on tomato / eggplant / capsicum (pepper) enclosure
I rarely purchase new plants nowadays as I have learned over many years to propagate most of the plants grown here using either cuttings or seed. But some of the edible plants are so prolific, they simply self-seed. When I find these useful seedlings growing about the place, I relocate them to where I need new plants to grow. In the next photo I can see four red lettuce plants and a rhubarb seedling.
I spotted four red lettuces and a rhubarb plant just growing randomly about the place. They will be relocated to a garden bed
Speaking of rhubarb, it is one of the hardiest of all plants here and provides new stalks for consumption all year around. It is also a very tasty (warning - consume only the stalks as the leaves are toxic) addition on top of toasted muesli for breakfast.
One of the many rhubarb plants on the farm
This year we have been harvesting mandarins for the first year, and they are very tasty fruit indeed and far tastier than the very mild tasting store purchased mandarins.
Mandarins are being harvested here this year for the first time. And they’re excellent tasting!
Earlier in the week we travelled further afield to the coast to watch the ocean during its winter moods. I love the coastline over the winter when the crowds are few and far between and the winter winds and cold air whips up the ocean swells and reminds us just who is the boss. The view from the fish and chip shop looking across the harbour to the mountain range which rises up behind the township is just superb. And the fresh local scallops were even better!
The view from the fish and chip shop looking across the harbour to the mountain range which rises up behind the township is just superb
It is hard to believe it, but even as winter tightens its grip on the farm, there are still plenty of flowers showing off around the place this week.
A blue salvia shows off in the garden beds
The purple salvia’s were not to be outdone though
There were a couple of unexpected cornflowers growing in a sheltered spot
I am not sure whether this is a purple cornflower, so if anyone can identify the plant I’d be grateful
The temperature outside now at about 9.15pm is 8’C (46’F). So far this year there has been 385.8mm (15.2 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 373.4mm (14.7 inches).

73 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the link and I'll check it out now.

Hey, you may be interested in this link: Some shops still empty 10 years after superstorm swept through Wallsend.

I promise to reply tomorrow!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Going from your hippy dippy school to what does sound like an English public school must have been one hell of a shock. I did a similar thing with no trouble at all except for teachers telling me to mix more. I felt no need for friends or allies being essentially a loner and the one attempt to bully me was not repeated!

Was in the greenhouse when I spotted a strange animal disappearing under a hedge. It was a moment before I realised that it was a baby rabbit. The first rabbit that I have seen for years as they have been decimated by the buzzards. Baby rabbits really are the sweetest looking creatures.

Have had a superb strawberry harvest this year (4 mice caught so far) and have just been pureeing them which is the only satisfactory and easy way of freezing them. They'll taste gorgeous later on with whipped cream.

It is raining a bit which is much needed.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Believe it or not, I have never seen Forrest Gump. I don't know. I think it was just a reaction to all the hype. I did like the walk down memory lane. "Chris: The Formative Years." :-). My background is a bit similar. Between grades 10 and 11, we moved from Portland (multi-ethnic high school of 2,500 students) to Vancouver, Washington (rural high school, lilly white with a student body of 500). All the kids had been, pretty much, together since pre-school. On one hand, it's an opportunity to remake ones self. But, my two closest friends were also transfer students. And, we gravitated to the already established geek/nerd/dork contingent. Sigh. High school does so much damage. It lingers in the memory like a bad smell.

Not only for us on the bottom of the totem pole, but also those on the top. Often, the high school football hero and the head cheer leader? That's the high point of their lives (which they do not know) and it's all downhill from there. Do I derive pleasure from that thought? A little. Bad Lew!

A sweeping generalization, I know, but I thought Australia was all about being "...more English than the English." :-). Oh, I know. Only in small pockets, here and there. It must be, on occasion, fun to watch certain people try and out-English the English. But, back to high school (NO! Please!). It's kind of a literary trope. "We're shipping you off to military school!" Or, in the case of young women, "We're shipping you off to a convent school!" That was quit smart of you to join the local karate dojo. Something I never would have thought of.

I'm surprised your potatoes still look so good, given the overnight lows. And still a lot of flowers, about. My roses are just beginning to show a little red. And, the blackberry blossoms are swelling. I might get one more ten gallons out of here before I finish the move. Maybe.Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I picked up a novel at the library (no surprise there) called "Feast of Sorrow" (King, 2017). Apicius was a Roman patrician whose life overlapped the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius. It's his name that's on the first thing that can be recognized as a "real" cookbook. As near as we can tell, he was a rich, rather ostentatious social climber who used food to grease the ladder. On one hand, he was put down as "trying to hard." On the other, "everyone" wanted to go to his parties and eat his food.

But given that Apicius was a rich patrician, I doubt he spent much time in the kitchen chopping onions. So the story is told from the point of view of his young slave/chef. The real brains behind the book. Was there such a person? Probably. Of course, we know nothing about this person, which gives the author free reign to invent anything she wants to. I'm finding it a good read, but then, given my interest in the Romans, and, food, I'm not entirely an impartial reader :-). Given that we're dealing with Apicius, who's angling for a position in the courts of Augustus and Tiberius, there's plenty of intrigue that you can cut with a knife. That's almost a pun :-).

I really wonder about that "recipe" book that's in the Pompeii exhibit in your neck of the woods. I can't find any information on it. Is it a scroll? A codex? Is it a "real" collection of recipes or just someone's shopping list scratched on a wax tablet? Given that I can find no information on it's discovery on the internet, it's probably a bit of a let down, up close and personal. :-). LOL. Don't know why I care. Each chapter kicks off with one of Apicus' recipes. I haven't seen one yet that makes me say, "Ohhh! I want to make THAT!" Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Have just read a SF short story 'The last salamander' by John Rackham; it has a lot to say about the ending of fossil fuels. The book containing it was published in 1965. As I don't remember anxieties about this at that time, I wondered when impending depletion of fossil fuels was first talked about.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Ticks can be an occasional nuisance here, especially during prolonged wet weather. I haven't heard of them being a problem though on the lyme disease front. Up north (in warmer country) they have paralysis ticks which are not good.

Thanks for the reminder too, as I recall reading about that change in people with the allergies. One to avoid for sure.

The leaning tower was frightening and I wonder whether there is an impact on the structure of the sky scraper which collected the building. I can't even imagine how they're going to demolish the building. Imagine getting that phone call if you were in a demolition business: Yeah, we can do the job, but it's gonna be expensive.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

They certainly provide spectacle don't they? And I don't believe that that function is lost on them either. So many personalities these days are transient.

Animals tie you to the land. It is interesting that the Nearings covered that aspect of their lives in the book (which will take a month or so to arrive here). I read that little tidbit in the mother earth news article. I haven't quite figured out how to get an extended stay away from the place because of the animals. It may be that there is no answer to that question.

The tree lucernes are amazing plants. They're currently flowering as all sensible plants should in this environment as you never know what the summer will bring. The wattle trees will flower next.

Prehistoric times were a little bit lower stress, don't you reckon? I see a lot of stress about the place. I read this morning that the average household debt down here is something like 186% of income, which is horrendous. How houses are even valued is a mystery to me.

Hey, they were in use well after weather satellites and the Beatles! Hehe! Don't you find it fascinating that back in those days we used less paper. I once recall someone saying some rubbish about the paperless office, whatever that means...

Thanks. That is the mental image I use when considering the economy. It seems to work for me. Now having been chucked off the boat as a young man, I don't consider the metaphor as an abstract concept. :-)!

Speaking of Bruce Springsteen (and bouncing ahead to your next comment), I heard his song Glory days on the radio yesterday (not my choice of radio station, but still enjoyable all the same. People are rather horrified by my taste in music) and thought about your comment. There is a child actor (now long since grown up) who quipped that it is unenviable thing to peak at the age of fourteen. Wise words. You and I are clearly yet to grow up and peak, don't you reckon? :-)!

Oh. The author Dale Maharidge appears to have also written a book titled: Someplace Like America: Tales from the New Great Depression. Right back at you. ;-)! Have you read that book?

That film scenario would be a massive drama. U boats were done for near to the end of the war, but they were still recruiting youngsters... Not good.

Thanks for the link too. It was fascinating. Interestingly, the author seemed rather concerned about the ability to make an income in such a venture, and I wondered about that story.

He seemed to be rather an alert bloke, that Einstein bloke.

Fair enough, I refused to watch or read Harry Potter for much the same reasons. I enjoyed the film but I watch films for their enjoyment and entertainment value and that certainly offered such things.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh yeah, those folks that peak too early, well, let's put it this way, after one peaks, one declines!

The interesting thing about the dislocating experiences is that it makes a person more adaptable to changes, because you've had experience with them and you've lived through them. And knowing how to fight is perhaps an occasionally useful skill. Related to that though is that I see through the thin veneer of civility as I've glimpsed the nasty little monsters that lurk just beneath the surface. I'll bet the bloke who wrote Lord of the Flies had had similar experiences? Schadenfreude is a useful tool too! Respect.

But of course, that is how we can beat them at cricket, despite having a much smaller population. Actually, over the past few decades we have looked more and more to the USA and our culture reflects that. The culture here is like a shandy, which is a beer / lemonade mixer and we are some parts of US and UK culture and also a bit of our own. It is a tired trope - they even raised that trope in National Lampoons Animal House film (Louie, Louie!)

Well, it was an inevitable confrontation which could not be avoided, so I thought I had best get prepared for that inevitability. It may also be that a harsh and aggressive culture, breeds harsh and aggressive reactions and consequences? Dunno.

I do hope you get some early blackberries and enjoy the spectacle of the roses before you move. Yum!

Yes, impartiality may have to be considered with that book recommendation. Hehe! Very funny. Food is a good avenue to getting people to go to your parties. Very clever indeed. Was the slave / chef in danger of being relocated for being too good at their job?

What Pompeii exhibit in my neck of the woods? Hmm? I'll have to check it out.

Poopy earned his dinner this evening as today he managed to catch and kill a huge rat. No easy feat. The editor cheekily suggested that the rat was already dead, but I know otherwise as Poopy looked as proud as punch and I had to dispose of the carcass. Poopy would not stoop to eating rodent - at least if there are better options on the table!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

I think we had a similar hippy-dippy school nearby in my formative youth. I feel like it was a steiner school? It was located at the bottom of the mountain (my home town, Dorrigo is on the plateau) about 15 minutes drive from hippy central (nowadays, rich hippy central), Bellingen.

I never really enjoyed High School until year 11. Years 7-10 we had to share classes with older kids, which I found troubling at times. I think it wasn't till I was 16-17 when I started being a little more confident as well (although still far too shy/anxious). It probably helped 'getting' a girlfriend too, confidence boost and all that. Ahhhh...high school, are they this way by design? Do the difficult social interactions make us stronger later in life? Can we make broad, sweeping generalisations about some of the unique snowflakes today?? :-p

Back in Australia for 2 weeks now, you were right about the culture shock Chris! I don't think things have changed that much in the past year, but I definitely notice things that were perhaps slowly changing over the past 10 years. For example, the football game was on the other day and at any one moment there must be 6 or 7 different company logos and advertisements layered over the action and painted onto the field. It was very distracting and not at all pleasant. Also, I don't really like NRL :p Large air conditioned shopping malls still get under my skin, and I must say are very quiet. I feel that retail in Australia might be doing it tough.

/cont
Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you for understanding and yes, it was very much a huge culture shock. I'd never worn a tie before such an experience and I'd swapped scary punks with spiky hair at the hippy dippy school for such things as prefects - who all things considered were the scarier of the comparison as they could recommend you to after school detention. To bad so sad for your teachers as they were clearly uncomfortable with individuals. Like you, I run my own race and others can find that confusing as they always want you to join in with them. I've often wondered whether this was for their feelings of safety in numbers? Alas for them as they may be incorrect in that notion.

Well done you for dealing to the bully. Interestingly too, with the focus on educational outcomes, bullies were generally appeared to be managed out of the school and that says something.

It is funny that you mention a baby rabbit, but I have noted one in an unusual location near to a creek gully. The foxes, and pretty much everything else sort out the rabbit population here, so they act like your buzzards.

Yum! I'm salivating thinking about your strawberry harvest. Top work! We're having to redo the strawberry patch from start to finish over the next few months as last season there were leeches in there and not much fruit...

Nice to read that you are getting some rain. Are you having a dry spring / summer? It is very damp and cold here.

That book recommendation would go down well with the Into the Ruins review folks. My understanding that coal depletion has been a very long term concern, but realistic statistics and projections are thin on the ground. A major old coal fired power plant was shut down here recently.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

/cont

Had my post-assignment checkup with the Doctor today. I am happy to report it went well - although no check for Dengue fever ("we can't do anything about it anyway"). Apparently all my vitals were textbook for 37 years old. BMI spot on, and eyesight can read the entire chart. Long may it stay the same!!! Unfortunately I did have to give 6 vials of blood for some sort of test - I nearly fainted once a long time ago but this time I bravely looked away and had no problems.

It looks like in a few weeks I will be a new resident of the Clarence Valley in NSW. It is exciting as there significant family history in that area which I still don't know much about (I might be moving into a place a few houses down from where my grandpa grew up).

Lewis - I watched that King Arthur movie today. I didn't have quite the same reaction as you did (moderately entertaining, if a little disjointed: 2.5 stars), but I knew it would be a butchery of the Arthur legends going into it so was somewhat prepared. I loved that Arthur learned to sword fight in the ruins of a roman bathhouse, didn't like the overblown sword powers. Oh well.

Star Trek news. Rejoice, we now have two new Star Trek shows:

Star Trek Discovery
And, in the spirit of Galaxy Quest:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy9sKeCE8V0
The Orville

To be honest, I find myself looking forward to the Orville more. It looks like Trek with the flat, bright lighting and although I don't much like Seth McFarlene (Family Guy and American Dad) it is clear he is a Trek fan. The Star Trek trailer looks a little pompous and over blown, but I will be watching the day it comes out either way :p

TNG Update: Just watched the 2nd episode in season 5 where Picard has to communicate with a race that can only talk in metaphor. Mrs Damo thought it was silly, and I don't see how such a race could ever build starships or computers, but I still enjoyed it.

Cheers,
Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

I understand what you are saying and the system for growing potatoes would work very well. However, most people eat their cover crops and there is a lot of talk about green manures, but the economics of farming pushes output over long term sustainability. All of my green manures and cuttings are accounted for elsewhere which is why I bring in bulk manures, mulches and composts. Trust me, you sound unconvinced, but in under a decade some of the top soils here are almost a foot deep.

In addition to your observations about ploughing, you are also exposing all of that soil life to the suns radiation and in those circumstances the soil life tends to die back in quantity and diversity. The dead soil life critters then leave behind minerals which can be consumed by the plants which get a boost from the increased fertility and lack of competition, but then the minerals in the plants are lost as the plants get exported off the farm. Mate, 100 years of timber extraction from the forests here have left poor soils in their wake. It is a serious problem and in the future many currently productive fields may have to lay fallow for a few years whilst they recover their lost fertility. This is the main benefit of mineral fertilisers. Is anyone letting land lay fallow now? Not that I am aware of because again it is the economics and expectations that land should produce an income. I only expect that the land here will produce some edibles and that a lot of that produce gets shared around with the wildlife here. It makes no economic sense to do my strategy, but on a long term point of view. Maybe.

I do enjoy the hard work, but I tell you this: I don't work nearly hard enough here based on my understanding of the future.

Not for me, I utilise the money as I require it and not the other way around as it is for so many people. Money technically should produce a flow if the economy was working correctly, but so many things are priced incorrectly nowadays that nobody thinks that way about money. Instead they see money as a store of wealth and increasing debt and expanding the money supply has allowed the lack of flow problem to be largely ignored.

I hear you man. On the other hand, for those people it is not a futile activity as they are chasing status. I have had status and I tell you it is an ephemeral thing and hard to grasp. You are programmed to play that game, but you don't necessarily have to play it. There are other options.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

Gosh, and they say chickens have a ruthless pecking order! Frankly though, tween boys don´t have anything on tween girls. Vicious. Machiavelli would have learnt a thing or two. In high school, I was sufficiently nerdy to have no cache at all, but not enough to fall in with the D&D/interesting nerds. Sigh.

Making headway this week. DH is busy creating a side patio and I have put up another trellis for cucumbers, harvested the garlic, planted melons (with fingers crossed), planted winter squash and hilled the potatoes again. Saw my first potato beetle. Will have to go look at the undersides of the leaves to see how severe the problem is.

Picked a bunch of volunteer cilantro, which has already bolted, and made 2 batches of ¨pico de gallo¨, which is pure taste of summer. Chopped cilantro, tomato, onion and green/red pepper, juice of one lime, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Terrific with quesadillas (Mexican grilled cheese).

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The short story also referred to oil depletion. It was in a book called 'Twenty houses of the Zodiac' ed. by Maxim Jakubowski. The first story is one of my all time favourites 'Oh for a closer brush with God' by Brian Aldiss. I have a large SF collection and, in my attempt to dispose of books, I am re-reading to find out what really needs keeping.

Oh! that tie. My stepfather had to show me how to tie it. Once in the sixth form (I was not made a prefect) I declined to wear a tie; very odd because 6th form pupils had a different tie and were very proud of it. Was stopped by a teacher who told me that I looked much better in a tie. I said nothing, just stared her down and she backed off. Perhaps she realised that it was ludicrous to suggest that a girl would look better in a tie.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Oh, no - a Chris hanger, I mean, a cliff hanger - to be continued . . .

What a stunning sunny spot in the midst of low, gloomy clouds.

I would have called those potato plants lonely and abandoned, but I know they will be put to good use. Oops, I wasn't paying attention to the raspberry corral. We have been getting a few raspberries; hope for lots more. The mulberries have been excellent. How tall are your pickets? I make my own, too, but my son says that it is too discouraging to have to keep making them as they only last a year or two before they rot and he has bought a large bunch of plastic-coated metal ones. I am talking more about plant stakes than actual fence pickets, though I make some of those, too.

One of the most prevalent weeds in our garden this year has been - tomatoes! Yay!

What a gorgeous harbor view.

Poopy, the Swedish Rathund - good job Poopy! I have completely forgotten, but wasn't it the Klingdons who knew a tasty way to cook rat?

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for telling us about your school years. I believe a person's experience at school can really shape the rest of their life - for the better or not. Here we have elementary school, usually Kindergarten through 5th grade, then middle or Jr. High School, grades 6 through 8 and then High School, 9 through 12th. I've taught students in grades 3 through 12. As I was a resource teacher I sometimes followed them throughout their school years. Jr. High and grade 9 seems to be the most difficult time for students though I found that age to often be the most fun in many regards. My daughters had very different experiences in school but then their personalities are also very different.

Animals certainly do tie you down as I well know. Sometimes I think the dogs are the worst in that regard.

The rabbit population varies from year to year which I think depends on the coyote population. There are quite a few this year though I know there are coyotes around. They were howling very close to the house last night. The dogs and cats keep them fairly well cleared out around the house.

Summer has arrived here and the last field on the road was finally planted. The hay was also cut.

As I type this a pair of goldfinches are clinging to the window screen looking in at me and conversing with each other. This is a high 2nd story window. I have no clue why they are doing this but it's fun to watch.

Did you enjoy the compulsory running?

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - I was just wondering where you got to, this morning. Ah, yes. Moving, new job search, cultural shock.

I remember that episode of STNG. On reflection, it's kind of the same problem as "Arrival." Contact with aliens. How to communicate? Ohhh. Reminds me of an old, I think, Twilight Zone episode. Aliens arrive and give humanity all kinds of wonderful things, and thousands of earthlings migrate to the "paradise" of their home world. There's a book involved that we're trying to translate. About all they can get is the title, "To Serve Man." Turns out it's a cookbook. Now, that episode stuck with me. Oh, argh.

Thanks for the links. I'll check them out. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Correction to my previous comment: 'The last salamander' by John Rackham is not in the book that I mentioned. I am reading too fast. It is in 'Lambda 1' ed. by John Carnell.

Yes we have had very warm and dry weather for over 2 months.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I looked at the link to the town that hasn't come back from ocean flooding. So sad. We'll be seeing more and more of that. You move to a picturesque seaside village, set up shop and .... Sounds like a storm surge swept through the place. I've finished watching a series "Newsroom". There's one brief (five minute) bit I've watched a couple of times. The news anchor is interviewing a climate scientist from the Environmental Protection Agency. I'd call it quirky and funny, except for the subject matter. If you search YouTube under "Newsroom Climate Scientist" it pops up.

Speaking of prehistoric people, I'm reading a book that sparked my interest from an interview I heard with the author on NPR. "Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging." (Junger, 2016). Luckily, a very small slim book :-). Small, but dense and full of complicated thought. But, readable. To me. I really didn't realize it was such a problem, but I guess in Colonial America, there was a real problem with people running off to join the Native Americans, or, people who were kidnapped who didn't want to return to "civilization." Upset the church and state, as they were beyond the control of the church and state. He also thinks that in time of war and disaster, people tend to more pull together and such things as rank and race tend to be put aside. Within "tribes." Even mental wards emptied out as people were given something to DO. As examples, he used The Blitz and the war in Yugoslavia.

Oh, yes. The paperless office. Yeah, sure. The first time someone loses something important off a computer, suddenly there's a paper back up. Lots of paper backups. Well, it was a nice idea ... :-).

LOL. My friend Scott, who is very music oriented is often horrified by my taste in music. Or, I should say, my lack of interest (as much as he's interested) in music. But we do overlap over enough musicians to keep a dialogue going. Of course, he doesn't "get" (much) my interest in various tat. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Oh, I often still speculate on what I want to be when I grow up. But, of course, that window is rapidly closing :-). Sure, I've read "Someplace like America." I think :-). If I like a book I usually poke around to see what else they have on offer. As the topics are so similar, they may have run together in my mind. On the other hand, I may have thought "Read enough about that. Move on." But, probably I read it, anyway.

Well, farmers, at least farmers who aren't dazzled by the romanticism of the whole thing, do think about income. And healthcare costs, putting a bit aside for "retirement", educating their kids, etc. etc..

Oh, the slave chef has some narrow misses. People with more "clout" keep trying to pick him off. Buy him from Apicius. And when the Imperial household comes knocking, he had to free him, to hold onto him. The Pompeii exhibit is at the Australian Maritime Museum. Which is probably too far away for you to attend. :-).

Go Poopy! Rodent disposal is always a bit fraught. I used to bury them, but found it more efficient (if shovelable) to just scoop them up, cross the road and pitch them into the briars. Think catapult. :-). I need to run a trap line in the laundry room for mice. Nell gets the occasional one, but I want to make sure they're well cleaned out. Was rummaging in a box and one ran up my arm. Would rather not repeat that experience. :-).

Well, I mowed yesterday and made some cornbread. Packed up a few more boxes of tat and cleaned up a couple of chairs to take to The Home, tomorrow. Yes, I do do things other than read and watch DVDs. :-). Think I put my foot in it, a bit. The Evil Stepson came tapping at my door wondering if he could run a line from my porch to try and resurrect the truck that's been parked in a corner of my yard ... for months. I told him I didn't give a flying .... as I'd be gone by the end of July. News to him. Ooops! Saw my landlords wife later, and tipped her off that The Evil Stepson (her kid) was in the know. She looked a bit distressed. I told her, if she or Don had told me to keep it under my hat, I would have. Yup. She knows that. So, no reflection on me. As with so many other instances, around here, I always feel a bit in the dark. If you play that game, mistakes are made. I must admit I quit enjoyed the look on The Evil Stepson's face. Bad Lew! :-)

Damo said...

@Lewis

I never saw that Twilight Zone episode, but I think one of the very early Simpsons halloween episodes played a riff on it. Lisa uncovered a cookbook, "How to Cook Humans", but it turned out dust was covering the title and the name was actually, "How to cook for humans". The aliens dumped them back on Earth for being so suspicious and untrusting.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo, Coco, Inge, Pam, Margaret, and Lewis,

Hope you are all well and I am enjoying all of your lovely comments and many thanks for them.

Unfortunately the editor and I put on our Mr and Mrs Naughty hats this evening and consumed a delightful meal in the big smoke of slow cooked pulled pork on a bed of chips with a good serving of pickles. Oh yeah it was good, and the place which specialises in Southern US food covered the pulled pork with a coffee and hickory sauce. It sounds disgusting, but is actually very tasty! Yum! The drawling bluegrass music in the background made for a delightful experience.

Sorry, I am digressing as I was enjoying a graphic food flashback. What was I saying, that's right, I promise to reply to all of your lovely comments tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Metaphors told through history and folk tales? As I remember, if you didn't know those (and which alien / human, did?) you were at sea.

Looks like the new Star Trek series is going to be a bit "dark." They better throw at least one comedy writer in the writer's room. At least for an ironic aside, or two. Took me awhile to place it in The Cannon. After ST Enterprise but BEFORE the original series. Got it. :-). I think I'm going to LOVE "Orville". Probably only last a season or two. Some of the hard core Star Trek fans are not going to like it. The humorless ones who take it oh, so seriously. The trailer for "Ghosted" popped up on YouTube after "Orville". That looks interesting (and fun), too. Lew

@ Chris - Any hush puppies? Tell me they had hush puppies! :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Maybe the school was run along those lines as it was a very unusual experience, but to be honest, I never heard reference to Steiner at the school. I'd never heard of Steiner until I began reading the ADR (may that blog rest in peace).

Yeah, I hear you about that, but I can't comment really as I moved around so much from school to school that I'm genuinely unsure how other people feel how "normal" relations are in that environment. Dunno. As a general observation, I see people who have enjoyed a deep level of stability and I'm unsure just how easily they can adapt to change as sometimes the stability can be a crutch. Dunno, like everything there is middle ground – somewhere!

Haha. Don't want to say I told you so, but... Far out, mate when I arrived home from an extended stay in India and Nepal, mate inner suburban Australia looked pretty strange to me. What happened to all of the colour and noise that I'd become accustomed too? Remember to take it easy on yourself and Mrs Damo whilst you adjust to your new normal. Don't know anything at all about NRL, although a Kiwi mate of mine ensures that I get to occasionally watch the All Blacks destroying the Wallabies with amusing commentary. Hehe!

Well done you for surviving the experience intact, and good luck with the Dengue fever (may you avoid its gentle ministrations!) A textbook result is a thing to be congratulated upon. Mate, I used to donate blood regularly at the Blood Bank and I was cool as long as they hit a vein easily and didn't wiggle the needle around too much - it was a big bore needle after all. And it makes you thirsty as. Feinting is a strange feeling - the only time I did that was when an eye surgeon pulled a small chunk of metal out of my eye with a needle. It was a distressing experience, but you know the chunk of metal sort of hurt! ;-)! Angle grinders are wonderful tools and I was wearing eye protection.

Two Star Trek shows! Woo Hoo! I'll check out the links after I've replied to everyone.

Had a massive solar hunter gatherer day today in Melbourne. The shops I went too to pick up stuff were out of the way, but had some fun people working in them.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

That is funny. I did mention that I had a psycho chicken recently (I promise to tell the full tale soon) which had to be despatched after an incident, but fortunately there were no psycho kids at the school, just the usual crowd of overly aggressive young males. I hear you about that with the ladies, who are perhaps less physical in their aggression and instead focus on emotional pain. The editor once told me a story about how "freezing out" was used as one method. A fight can be over pretty quickly, but such freezing out techniques can go on for days. Not nice at all.

Who needs cache when there is life? ;-)! Status is over rated anyway.

Well done with the patio and plantings, and good luck with the melons (I'll be extending that garden bed over the next few weeks). Home grown melons taste amazing. The potatoes are interesting plants and I found I was covering them every fortnight or so. I'm curious as to how often you cover them over? Good luck with the potato beetles - fortunately nothing here eats potatoes.

Your ¨pico de gallo¨ from the harvest does sound like summer bottled in a jar! Congratulations on the excellent early harvest - there is still a ways to go yet for you.

Cheers from a cold and rainy part of the world!

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Ooooo! Thanks for the book recommendation. I haven't read much in the way of Brian Aldiss's work and I can see that this is an error on my part (I've added the book to the list). There is a grotty old book shop not too far from here with dozens and dozens of pulp sci-fi books and it is hard to know where to start, and more importantly (perhaps) where to stop with purchases. Alas for not having enough time to read. I finished the latest Into the Ruins this morning over a coffee and muffin whilst I was in Melbourne. One must remember to take the time and enjoy the coffee (or tea in your case)!

Well, we are all far from prefect material here (although I'd be happy to be surprised). The interesting thing about having to wear a suit from such a young age, is that the editor always remarks that I can wear a suit with a sort of flippant casualness that others do not possess - and I have often wondered whether such training is intentional.

You are spot on too as you rarely see women wearing ties. Mostly nowadays, people in business down here don't wear ties, but you will see ties at weddings and funerals.

Thanks for the information on your weather. I hope you enjoy some summer rain? I assume there is plenty of groundwater in your part of the world? The Indian Ocean has cooled a bit and so the rain has declined over the past month - although outside now it looks like a proper winter drizzle fest where it rains a lot, but you don't get much rain.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Cool! Nice one, and you've coined a new phrase in the process. Well done, you. ;-)! I should write about the psycho chicken story too shortly.

The weather here is very variable at all times of the year. The thick cloud is not much good for the solar. I spent the day doing something about the solar. The places I've been today - at least I managed to enjoy a proper coffee and the last muffin (scored a couple of bins of used coffee grounds too). One shouldn't work too hard.

The potatoes surely won't be lonely in my stomach? Hehe! The berry enclosure has grown so well, that it is about to be extended. Apparently, I heard a news report today saying something something about a Hep A outbreak linked to imported berries. Hmm. Top work with the early raspberries (the flavour gets better as the season progresses) and yeah, how tasty are mulberries! Yum! i have a few trees here and they are real givers.

The pickets are about 1600mm which is about somewhere between five and six feet. Oh yeah, the pickets would rot that fast too - if they were buried in the ground... Timber tree stakes don't last long here either, but they do feed the soil. I just hope the tree grows fast enough that when the stake holding the cage up breaks that the wallabies don't take advantage of the sudden access to the fruit trees...

Yay for weedy tomatoes!

The town is very beautiful. I noticed frantic work along the foreshore moving sand around the place, and I did see coastal erosion in action as chunks of sand were falling into the ocean. I'd never seen that before.

I believe you are correct about the Klingons and rats. And I shall forward your kind words onto Mr Poopy (I took a photo of him looking as pleased as Punch so we shall see if it turns out).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I defer to your opinion in that matter, but I also rather suspect that you are entirely correct. Lewis mentioned the downsides of peaking too early in such an environment, so there are many different outcomes and experiences. I really moved around so much that I'm not sure how other people even feel about their own experiences. Dunno. It is really interesting stuff though.

Those are difficult years for all sorts of reasons but importantly people are no longer kids, but they're not adults either and that is a tough world to navigate as they’re in no man’s land really as their roles are never really articulated well by the dominant narrative. More advanced societies and cultures have initiations and mentoring, but we must be smarter because we just sort of leave them to marketing agents.

I sort of hope that other people don't get into their heads and pump them full of impossible to attain dreams and/or kill their abilities to see and think clearly. That's not too much to ask is it? ;-)! I was overlooked at that age due to a lack of resources, which by the way I consider it to be a good thing, as I get to think my own thoughts. I am a bit uncomfortable at the competitive environment that kids face which is usually driven by parents. For me, it is a bit disturbing to hear those accounts, whilst I keep my mouth shut, I know of friends whose kids have anxiety. Nobody was anxious when I was a kid - it was completely unheard of. I feel that the cumulative impact of these strategies will not be a good thing for the future.

You are very correct about the animals. The chickens are well set up enough here to be able to go a couple of days without attention, but the dogs are a very different matter. They're very social animals and I do worry that they may eventually turn on each other in such a situation. Certainly they get very ratty and tetchy if we're gone overnight, and that is too bad so sad for them, but more than that time and things may escalate.

Your dogs and cats are earning their feed keeping the rabbits away. The dogs here wouldn't hesitate in killing a rabbit - and they're fast enough to catch one.

Some years here if there is enough summer rain, you get a second cut of the hay. Does that happen in your part of the world? I'm enjoying the descriptions of your summer as the clouds, cold air and rain have rolled in here this afternoon, although to be honest, up until about 3pm, the sun was shining beautifully (the house batteries are full) and I enjoyed a coffee and muffin in Melbourne (oh, and there was also a sneaky beef pie too all served on proper washable ceramics!). One must make the most use of winter sun when it is available! On the other hand, the forecast for the next week of Melbourne weather (it is much colder up here in the mountains, but I use that Melbourne forecast as a rough guide) is 59'F every day... Very, very weird. It should be colder at this time of year.

I enjoy watching the antics of the local bird population too. Did you know that goldfinches were deliberately released down under? I had no idea either until you mentioned the species, as I have never seen one, but I will certainly keep an eye out for them now. I found a short but interesting article on their release here: Australian Bush Birds - Goldfinch

Haha! That is a story for next Monday!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes you will wear a suit as to the manner born.

I can only recommend the short story because it is funny, the rest of the collection seems to be a no no though I haven't quite finished it. Have been sidetracked by a book that I acquired in a charity shop yesterday. This is a must have 'Tips for meanies' by Jane Thynne. It is thrifty wisdom from the Oldie magazine. Not only are the illustrations hilarious but the tips are superb with quite a number that I didn't know and shall use in future.

Am just back from voting, not that my vote will make an iota of difference as it is a very safe seat. I do wish that we had proportional representation. I am assuming that that is not too political a remark.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello yet again

I keep forgetting to tell you that I find the list of blogs that you read, very useful. I read them too and you let me know when one of them has updated.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Would that be Soylent Green, the Alien edition? Wasn't there a series about a giant mothership arriving at Earth promising all sorts of goodies but (and this is where a note of unpleasantness sneaks in to the story along with the arrival of the mothership of course), weren't the aliens harvesting humans for feed along with the water supplies? I was always mildly dubious about that story because, I mean, if aliens had the technology and energy to travel between one star system and the next (it sure is a long way), then surely they'd be able to sort out some sort of local mining operation from the local outer planets? It is not as if the outer planets aren't full of useful minerals. I heard a radio news item that said something about NASA recruiting new astronauts and I wondered to myself whether we ventured to the closest rock and found nothing of economic value? Dunno. I've always understood that long voyages to distant shores have to pay for themselves otherwise they rarely get repeated - if the lack of economic reward is well documented.

Which reminds me that on this weeks post I included a photo of that small town along the coast. It is a beautiful town, but Bass Strait which is a shallow stretch of water between the mainland and the huge island state of Tasmania is one of the roughest stretches of water in the world. Anyway, back in the day, there were many credible accounts of a Mahogany Ship jutting out of the sand along the coast and to the west of that township. Whatever the realities of the situation, there sure are a lot of ship wrecks along that coastline. Sandy beaches and pleasant bays are rare along that coastline.

Well yeah, I saw coastal erosion in action last week as small sections of sand were dropping into the water. They were only small chunks of sand dropping into the water, but still it was from a sand cliff face. It was chilling to see and the next day I noted an epic amount of activity as a big excavator (I do have excavator envy!) was working in concert with two huge dump trucks and a bobcat along an adjacent stretch of beach at low tide. The excavator here has a nickname: Chris and the editor - and I tell ya what, they dig hard those two, but they tell me that they wouldn't want the job of trying to hold back the ocean. The ocean is like a hungry monster. Plus they put out less carbon pollution.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out after replying to you (plus the two Star Trek links - Oooo goodie!).

Yes, let’s salute small books! I finished the latest Into the Ruins today over a nice cup of coffee and muffin whilst enjoying the winter sunshine. I headed into the big smoke to pickup a couple of extra solar panels to add onto the solar power system here. I'm seriously feeling the lack of the wood oven. We knew losing the wood oven would be hard, but additional sacrifices to the bank account had to be made, and today the hammer fell and I committed to the solar power additions. The funny thing is that I rather enjoyed meeting and talking to all of the interesting people selling all of this sort of stuff. Even the cable guys who are used to dealing with power companies and councils and big business were up for a chat once they discovered why I was there in that shop.

Complicated thoughts may make my head spin! Speaking of pre-history, did you note this find: Discovery of 300,000-year-old fossils rewrites origins of Homo sapiens? A mate of mine once explained to me that control is one of those things that some bodies such as Church and State are after. You're giving me an idea for a future story...

I love paper back ups as they seem so reliable - and in the past year I have had - on behalf of someone else - the good fortune of having access to such resilient things as they were far more useful than the electronic copies.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Fair enough about the music. You know, I try with the blog not to inflict my rather unusual music tastes onto the story, but rather let the music lyrics tell the story. Some songs are written by outstanding story tellers. A good example that I haven't had the inspiration to do anything with is this song: Courtney Barnett Lyrics - Depreston. The name of the song is about a middle suburb of Melbourne called Preston (where I have some links too). It is an mildly industrial but post WWII era. Courtney Barnett is an outstanding story teller and maybe a voice of her generation. I believe Scott may say something like: Ah, touché my friend! ;-)!

Yes, I hope we never discover what we want to be when we grow up. Do you reckon that would be an end point or a new beginning - or something else altogether? It is a bit eerie thinking about such a possibility.

Of course about the farming income. That makes perfect sense. I just wonder what it means when they can't actually make a return on investment, rather than merely an income. There is a difference, but economists may have to argue that one out.

Haha! That is funny about the Roman slave being freed so that he didn't fall into the imperial clutches. What a conundrum and the master was certainly a victim of his own success - and it is a very clever ploy for the chef to play.

The briars would enjoy the rodent feed - and if it is far enough away, that the stink goes elsewhere. Dead rodents put up a frightful stink and I once had one die under the timber floor boards of a house. I had to jerry rig a long pole with a rake to drag the carcass out. I sent the dogs under the house to retrieve it and they didn't want to touch the thing. Mind you, I have used the dogs to drag cables from one point to another under a floor of a house to another distant spot. Yuk! I would not want to repeat that experience either.

Far out, social dynamics in rural areas are tough things. You know, they erred in not telling you about that situation, so it really is entirely their fault. However, I rather suspect that situation is indicative of a lot of interactions in that household. I know why people do that, but it always surprises me when I hear about it. As far as I understand the situation: The truth doesn't get better in the not telling. Did I just make that up? Surely not!

You and Damo have given me homework...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is funny that you mention that, but I did rather enjoy that show. It was good fun, and how the mighty had fallen, but still retained the basic skills to navigate that social world. And yeah, I'm casually and perhaps also carefully not too neat. To my eyes it stands out, and I realised long ago that people in the know, are people in the know, because they know. You can't win that game, but you can chose not to play it. I was once introduced to a Lord, and me being me, I just said: G'day, I'm pleased to meet you, as I knew no amount of anything that I said would make the slightest bit of difference.

That book on all things thrift sounds like a great read. The editor has been reading one recently titled: I brake for yard sales (of course it is an American book as that title shows) and it is an excellent read written by someone who enjoys her own sense of style.

Nope, not at all! Politics is fair game as far I am concerned - as long as it is not a personal jibe. I am interested in policies and yes, proportional representation produces interesting and yet unarguable results. I wish you all the best with the outcome. Speaking of politics, it looks like there is some sort of circus going on in the US this evening.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo and Lewis,

AWESOME!!!! Both that is.

The Orville looks pretty funny too. His career catapult into high office seemed remarkably similar to my own. Hey, did you guys notice that the director is none other than Mr Chef of an outstanding food / journey film?

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Here's a bit from "Tribe". "It's common knowledge in the Peace Corps that as stressful as life in a developing country can be, returning to a modern country can be far harder. One study found that one in four Peace Corps volunteers reported experiencing significant depression after their return home..." It's a kind of PTSD, that usually wears off after 6 months or so. Panic attacks are not unknown.

As far as the teen age years go, there's also the raging hormones and dealing with a not quit fully formed brain. Good times, all around :-).

Soylent Green - Alien edition. Hmm. That covers a lot of movie and tv plots. Everything from "War of the Worlds" to "Blue Horizon".

Our Strait of San Juan de Fuca is also a graveyard of ships. There are books about it. Not in the Strait, but somewhere along the Oregon Coast there's probably the wreck of a Spanish galleon. Over the years, bits of beeswax with Spanish imprints have turned up, along with the occasional gold piece.

Yes, I saw the article about the 300,000 year old hominid. They'll have fun classifying them and figuring out where they fit in the (now) sprawling family tree of our ancestors. I find it interesting that we're now discovering that there was a certain amount of, err, cross cultural pollination between the groups. Which show up in our genes. Some good, some bad. Red hair and diabetes we probably got from the Neanderthal. The ability to live at high altitudes, from another group. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. ROI vs what we call "breaking even." You may not be making money, but you may be keeping your head above water. :-)

"I Break for Garage Sales" was quit a popular book, here, years ago. I probably read it. Maybe :-). 99% of the garage sales, here, are pretty junky. It's rare I stop for them. Due to previous experience. I remember following signs for a "Huge Garage Sale!", miles out in the country to discover an assortment of baby clothes. And that was about it. What happened to truth in advertising? :-). Now an estate sale is a different beast ...

The Mr. Chef reference is lost on me. More info? Spell it out? :-). I noticed one of the characters in "Orville" looks very much like Simon Pegg. Wonder if he's the engineer?

After quit a few days of nice weather and temps sometimes approaching 80F, we now have a round of rain and coolish temps. Made my trip to town and dropped off a couple of chairs I had cleaned up at The Home. Took note of a few things I will need that didn't register. Yes, I will need a shower curtain :-). Came home, took a nap, ate a hearty meal and as it was a few hours before sunset and cooler, I mowed. An hour after finishing, the rain arrived. Watched the new version of "Ben Hur." Not bad. Worth a bowl of popcorn :-). Lew

Damo said...

@Lew and Chris

Glad you both liked the trailers. I am cautiously optimistic for both, but suspect I might enjoy Orville more. Fingers crossed they are both good! I checked out the trailer for Ghosted and it looked pretty good too. One of the leads was in a great show from a few years back called "Party Down" about young layabouts working in the LA catering industry. Worth checking out, although definitely not family friendly.

How did I miss the 'Chef' movie? Sounds right up my alley so to speak. Added to the queue :-)

/cont

Damo said...

RE: Culture Shock

For most of the past year I had very mixed feelings on Australia and was dreading coming back home. So much that we had grand plans to stay OS and try our luck elsewhere. It was only the prospect of a decent job close to where I grew up that put those plans on ice. They may still be implemented if the new job does not work out.

On the flipside, living in Laos makes you appreciate little things like being able to sit on a comfortable couch (seriously, these are as rare as hens teeth for some reason) and read a book in quiet. The big things like healthcare and safe, clean environments go without saying. There is a lot to be thankful for in Australia, but I will never enjoy Masterchef or a shopping mall!

The other day I got two Jack Vance novels and an old James Clavell hardcover for 60 cents. I don't know if it is my imagination but there seems to be more Op-Shops now?

Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks! Happy days. The blogs are all quite good aren't they? I enjoy reading all of the different perspectives. I'm not sure if you read Jim Kunstler's blog? He enjoys a delightful turn of phrase, but, reader beware of the content. :-)! I'm unsure what would be the Latin for reader beware? Caveat - "user of books" or something like that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Hmm, I was thinking along the same lines as it just had a level of silly that meshes well with the story line. Most of the Star Trek films are full of drama, but also quite a lot of humour too and Orville may be pushing the boundaries and taking Star Trek where no franchise has gone before...

That "Chef" film is really good, and I recommend it highly.

Top work getting (almost?) a good job close to where you grew up. I don't much enjoy watching other people cook on the screen as I'd much rather be out there cooking or eating the resulting dishes. I did enjoy Gordon Ramsay's UK Kitchen Nightmares as that was all about getting failing businesses back onto their feet again and had very little to do with the food. It was basically all about people.

Good score, what were the Jack Vance stories, and that is an outstanding price. I have a lot of the old pulp fiction works and they're quite good, although the condition of the paper is deteriorating. Have you considered any further about purchasing some of the newer editions which are being re-released?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That PTSD makes a lot of sense given their experiences. I've never really understood what the Peace Corps was all about and as far as I am aware we don't have anything remotely similar. I have read about people going on working holidays in remote locations where they perform some sort of community service, but to be honest, I've never met anybody who has actually done such a thing.

It is funny, but the editor and I were talking about community this evening and we were discussing the unusual practice of people saying that they'd like to catch up and they have all of these grand plans which never amount to much. It is interesting too, that people don't usually pull that social trick on me because as a guy I must be perceived to be a do-er and as such I get things done and people are risking getting called on for trying a social spin technique. Dunno. They usually approach the editor instead! Women generally realise that the grand gestures are nice and all, but they measure by the small things in life - and guys often don't (or won't) understand that at perspective at all. Dunno.

Hmm, good times, if they are elsewhere! ;-)! Most people get through such stages in their life reasonably unscathed, but I have been rather concerned that our education system appears to be fostering a culture of competition and individual achievement over that of co-operation, empathy, and compassion. No wonder social discourse is such a strange water to swim in. Like Alien's these things will sort themselves out in time because they have too. Cathy McGuire wrote a lovely story in the recent Into the Ruins about such a time in the future. It was very lovely to read and full of wisdom.

I was rather partial to the musical version of War of the Worlds, although it was a bit 70's angsty though.

Far out, that would be a rough stretch of water. I'll bet they get some solid rips moving through that huge channel? Vancouver Island would be an interesting place to visit. Have you ever been there? There looks like a few ferries operate out of Vancouver. Australia is a funny place, as you can travel a very long way indeed by land and still be in the same country.

Clearly our ancestors were a rather unfussy lot and enjoyed putting it about a bit. I read somewhere that we all have about 2% Neanderthal in our genes. What me worry?

Exactly about keeping your head above water. Some people are sinking though. I often wonder at what point they decide to let go of things that are causing them to sink in the first place - and how painful that transition is for them. My mindset is possibly a bit too flexible on such things. But I have to face the serious risk of bushfire every single year and you just can't ignore it, well maybe some people can, but it does mean that you may have to replace all of your possessions and that can hone your feelings for inanimate objects which ordinarily we place arbitrary values upon. Dunno. Your in the midst of moving, what do you reckon about that?

The book was a refreshing reminder that not everyone is grasping and some people can have the most surprising hobbies. I love second hand quality stuff. People can forget how good some products used to be made.

Ah this shall explain the Chef reference: Chef 2014. Saw it at the cinema. Great film.

Good to hear that the move is coming along nicely, but rain makes for unpleasant moves. Hey, the clouds are moving on here and the sun is poking its head out from behind the clouds. Damo may be getting quite damp this weekend though.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I do read Kunstler but abandoned the comments long ago. Learnt a bit of latin in school and it permeates our lauguage but I can't think of 'reader', perhaps Lew can help.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

So nice that you have full house batteries!

Very occasionally the farms around us get three cuttings of hay.

"The excavator here has a nickname: Chris and the editor - and I tell ya what, they dig hard those two, but they tell me that they wouldn't want the job of trying to hold back the ocean." Too much!

I'll bet your faithful fido friends were quite happy to drag cables under a house. Dogs certainly can relish their work! Perhaps they received a hot-cross bun afterward?

"The truth doesn't get better in the not telling." and "I realised long ago that people in the know, are people in the know, because they know." - My goodness, my head is spinning, you are full of such wisdom! If I may be so bold - double elephant stamps for you!

Depreston was too depressing . . .

I looked for the circus here in the U.S., but all I saw was what I always see lately . . . Wasn't there something once said about sitting back with some popcorn and enjoying the show? It's not funny anymore. Our quiet little town is having increasingly more protests, small though they usually are, and next week there is a supposedly large protest being held by the Ku Klux Klan. The mind boggles.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
We generally get three cuttings of hay and sometimes four. It's been baled now and it's a big crop even for first cutting.

Parents can be a bigger problem than the kids. It seems like parents fall into two extremes, totally uninvolved (which was the case for most of my students) or way too overinvolved aka "helicopter parents".

Your goldfinch looks very similar but the American Goldfinch doesn't have the red on the head. It's fun to watch the males change from their drab winter color to bright yellow.

We've had a good friend of Doug's staying with us for several days. He's even a better cook than Doug so there's been way too much good food. Starting tomorrow we have about five days in the 90's - above normal for June and more humidity as well.

I used to enjoy garage sales but seldom go to them anymore. I've also had a few myself. Being out in the country we don't draw too many people so it's really not worth it. However, when we do sell our house we plan to have a moving sale as there will be quite a bit of furniture. Doug's friend who's visiting says he sells a lot of stuff on Craig's List.

The next two weeks are very full. There are five medical appointments for Michael - one of them his first cataract surgery, I'm teaching two classes at the community college, raising goats and raising chickens and my brother and sister in law are coming up to stay with us next weekend. I'm not too fond of them but they are coming to visit my mother-in-law as they haven't seen her in over six months. Also we are having some repairs done to the house which will take about 10 days as well. I will be happy when these two weeks are over.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The same thing crossed my mind, as Damo, the other day. There seems to be a lot of op shops, opening up. Here, too. Some not to bad, some pretty flea market-y. Junkie. A few seem to support, not main line, church organizations. Those are usually better organized. The Mormon Church, for years, has had a chain of thrift stores. None here, but I think one in Olympia. Deseret Industries? And, it also seems there are more garage sales, this year. Let a Thousand Garage Sales Bloom! :-). I think it rather reflects the declining economy. And, a lot of it is gray market. Untaxed income. Sometimes referred to, here, as "under the table."

I don't much like watching people cook, either. Unless it's more ... instructional. Less entertainment. Useful things like your bread video. And, no, I haven't given it a whirl, yet :-).

"People saying they'd like to catch up." You mean, those empty social conventions like "We must do lunch, sometime?" Of course, just to be raspy and difficult, I'm likely to say, "Where and when?" :-). Toffs are likely to respond "Have your people call my people." :-).

One of the considerations for the move is The Evil Stepson's spawn are approaching their teen age years. Two boys. Given they're often unsupervised and, apparently can do no wrong, (as far as their father and my landlord's wife are concerned, I think it best I move along. They're a bit leery of me, but I don't expect that to last forever. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. There's a musical version of War of the Worlds? Who knew?

There are several ferry routes up around Puget Sound. State run. I've been on a few of them, in the past. Quit nice. Some people use them for a regular commute. I suppose sooner or later they'll be sold off and privatized. Which seems to be the trend. I see our President wants to privatize air traffic control. What could possibly go wrong?

I must say (but never aloud. Don't want to attract bad luck) on occasion I just wish it would all burn to the ground and I could start fresh and unencumbered. But never very seriously. But, yes, the move and downsizing is making me let go of stuff. Other than the cat and dog, it hasn't been too wrenching. I've thought, from time to time (probably my period of life) that eventually it's all going to dwindle down (if I'm lucky) to a bedside table in a hospice. I don't find that distressing. Vast Panorama of Life, and all that. There is minimal distress over letting some of the stuff go. But, I think that's because I make the decisions. They're not really being forced on me. It's complicated. They are, and they aren't.

Ah, "Chef". Of course. The food truck guy. Titles (movies, books), like names of people, often escape me.

The weather is going to be a bit spotty for at least a week. Cooler temps and scattered showers. But it doesn't impact the move, much. Given the time I have to do it. I keep an eye on the weather. I can always cram a few boxes in the cab of my truck, or, stay inside and pack or unpack. The other day when I wanted to move the chairs, it was supposed to shower. Not a cloud to be seen, so I nipped down and got them unloaded. I also keep a tarp stashed in my truck, just in case. The weather has been a bit muggy. High humidity. Nothing like other parts of the US, but just noticeable.

I'm off to the Little Smoke. With a bit of a shopping list, in hand. And, I want to check out kitchen storage ideas. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Only rarely do I read Mr Kunstler's blog, but I have enjoyed every read. On your word, I added his blog to the list, although the name of the blog does breach my usual blog guidelines due to the language in the blog, but I sort of figure that that is simply Mr Kunstler's way of speaking and if you are OK with that, then who am I to argue? Some people swear as a form of personal attack, whilst others swear to provide emphasis in a conversation (I am of the latter school) and Mr Kunstler just has a colourful vocabulary. The first time that I heard that particular blog name used as a spoken phrase was on a Clint Eastwood film, Heartbreak Ridge and the term was used to describe the process for a military team of: "hurry up and wait". I saw a lot of that in the volunteer fire brigade and on reflection perhaps I move too fast to be comfortable with such a policy and bureaucracy. Dunno.

I am a complete ignoramus when it comes to Latin! ;-)! Sorry for the dodgy Latin humour! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

The house batteries are on my mind at the moment because I no longer have the wood oven. A whole lot of thought has gone into the solar power system over the past week or so and tomorrow I will dig a huge long trench and bury a massive cable. I worry about people who reckon solar power will somehow save us because they need to spend some quality time up here seeing what happens in the real world where conditions are sub fluffy optimal – as they are here. I've been considering opening the farm for visitors on the upcoming sustainable house day.

Three cuttings of hay is a massively productive year when everything goes according to plan. Unfortunately events rarely go according to plan here. I have never seen more than two cuts in a year. Three cuts would be like a "halo" model year.

Glad to entertain you! I feel that I must add that I entertain myself here too! Hehe! Tell ya what, I've never seen coastal erosion in action before on a quiet day on the beach. I hope the fish and chip shop is safe – at least it is on high ground?

The dogs are happy to assist about the place. That cable trick was with old fluffy who has long since turned into a very nice citrus tree, and I used to tie a cable to her collar and then drop her under the timber floor and wave a beef jerky strip at a distant spot and she inevitably ran straight at the beef jerky strip pulling the cable along with her. It was uncanny.

Thanks for the double elephant stamps. Hey, who knows where this stuff comes from? Clearly I must have done something very bad in a past life and now I'm having to make amends for that! :-)! Speaking of which I woke up last night and the wombats and the magic toilet fiction story was pestering my brain. Writing fiction is hard for me...

Well, we mustn't tell anyone living there - as one or two of the Green Wizards do! ;-)! They’ll live and they probably haven’t heard about Courtney Barnett anyway!

Dmitry Orlov said something similar recently. I try not to worry about such people. You know, I've travelled a bit in the Third World in SE Asia and most people are pretty decent and they just want to get on with their lives and not be too hassled. A local bloke who is a very good author by the name of John Safran, recently wrote a book about his experiences with extreme groups and it was surprisingly amusing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Four cuts of hay in a season is an amazing outcome and it really reflects the fertility of your soils. I would be amazed with more than two cuts here. Wow! Most of the time, I let the herbage drop where it is cut so as to build the soil fertility. I also move some of the cut herbage to areas that require assistance and additional soil fertility. I've read that the humidity has been quite high in the US this year. Last summer here was very humid too, which makes it harder to work on hot days as it is a bit of a knock out. I can deal with the heat, but add in high humidity to that and work gets much harder.

Down here because of the Asian influence, we call those parents by the colloquial name: Tiger Mum's. A truly frightening suburban beast which can rear its ugly head and vent its displeasure at any time without warning - and is alert to slightest sleight against their precious (a bit like Gollum, really). Yes, they are a real problem. When I was a kid, parents didn't see the child's performance as a reflection of their own status and merit, nowadays we are much smarter of course.

I have never seen birds change colours depending on the season. Interesting and as a comparison, the juvenile parrots (green / red) here can look very different to the adult birds (red / blue). I wonder if the birds are moulting or something like that? Speaking of which, how are things going with your rooster? You may be interested to know that the leg horn who became sick many weeks ago has since made a full recovery and I can no longer tell which leg horn is which. Even both of their combs now look more red. We treated two birds this evening for scaly leg mites, although they don't much like being handled. I guess they saw what happened to psycho chicken...

Good food is to be celebrated! I enjoyed a delightful chicken schnitzel for dinner at the pub last night, whilst the editor enjoyed pork belly. The editor has a love - hate relationship with pork belly as it is a very rich cut of meat and can only be consumed in small quantities (at least for us anyway - I'm not man enough for such a dish as it makes me queasy!)

Oh yeah, take advantage of that help and I do hope the furniture works its way back into the system. You know sometimes I auction things off that I no longer need for 1 cent and just hope that that auction keeps the useful stuff out of the waste streams. Dunno.

Good luck with Michael's eyes and I hope that everything goes well in that regard. I would love to sit in on your courses, but alas, distance etc... I have heard it said that you can pick your friends, but you are unable to pick your relatives and I have seen nothing to dissuade me in that opinion! It is a cross we all must bear and is part of community – whatever that means. 10 days of repairs to the house would hurt my wallet. What could possibly take so much time? The recent experience with the plumbers for the wood heater here - and they did a great job, so this is not a criticism - but it set me back as much as the heater itself cost. And the solar power system has been eating money this week...

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Margaret:

After reading your upcoming schedule, I shall need a vitamin. Perhaps two. Good luck with everything, especially Michael's doctor activities.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Uncanny it is, that Fluffy - the original fluffy optimal canine - would fall for the old beef jerky trick.

Magic toilet - say it isn't so . . .

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well four cuttings is rare but if conditions are right it happens from time to time. Three cuttings is normal though there is less hay with each one. I always liked second or third cutting for my goats as first had much more grass with tough stems which they didn't like. Generally the hay is mixed grass and alfalfa. It has become harder to get the small bales that we used as farmers are baling it in large round or square bales more often. For quite a few years we had a farmer nearby who would call when he got his 2nd cutting in and we'd just go pick up the hay wagon ourselves, stack the hay and return the wagon. He had good quality hay and if we payed cash and took it right from the wagon the price was very good. As this was usually in July in the heat of the summer stacking the hay was a very unpleasant job.

I don't now what's up with some parents having to be involved in every facet of their children's life. I read recently that many men as they retire are depressed as they spent their earlier years just working and going to their kid's activities. They never developed relationships with other guys so are at a loss socially once work and kids are gone.

That's great about your leghorn. The rooster is doing well. He still doesn't crow much and is quite the gentleman with people and the hens. He does, however, expect his treat of crackers each day. I started feeding him from my hand so he would behave around people but now he's just a mite spoiled.

Pork belly is pretty popular in some restaurants. Doug's made it a couple of times.

True about friends and relatives but I'm lucky in that for the most part I like my relatives.

When we added on to the house we had an architect and he designed it so it's very tall in parts and there are various peaks that are difficult to work around. We also had it sided in cedar so it needs to be repainted. A lift needs to be rented to paint or repair anything in these areas. Anyway we had some water damage where the old one story house meets the new two story part. Our builder (who is now a good friend) looked in the attic and the only thing he could come up with is water, depending on what direction it's coming from and the intensity of the storm gets in where the siding is nailed or something like that. So now that section will be getting vinyl siding and while it's being done all the really high places with also get vinyl siding so in the future a lift won't be required for painting. The rental of the lift is a big part of the cost. There were so many mistakes made in the design of the house. It looks beautiful but many things about it aren't practical. At the time it was such a crisis situation that with dealing with my brothers after our mom died, running her horse boarding business until I sold her place and working we just didn't think of all the ramifications of the design. Hopefully a potential buyer won't think about it either.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I woke up last night and was pestered again by a fiction story that I have had buzzing around my brain and has been for a bit now. It is about wombats and a magic toilet and maybe it is fit for consideration for inclusion in Into the Ruins, but I really struggle with fiction writing and have no idea how to even start such a short story. You've read a lot, have you got any advice or suggestions you could share with me?

Today I planted more tree ferns and a couple of Blackwoods into the developing fern gully and I must say, it is all looking rather good. The local plant nursery has this very politically incorrect sign relating to the ferns which separates the pricing for ferns into skinnies (cheaper thin trunked varieties) and fatties (more expensive thicker trunked) varieties. Very amusing, but I have noticed that the thicker trunked tree ferns grow better in this environment than the thinner variety. The ferns are interestingly harvested from pine plantations in Tasmania, so they have travelled quite a long way. They're the same variety as the local ferns, but if I harvested the local ones and relocated them, people would get their noses out of joint and who needs that hassle?

The editor also had a major idea today relating to the solar power system and of course it will involve a lot of work, but well, everything here requires that particular gear... I'm really feeling the loss of the wood oven this winter and have been relying more heavily on the electric oven and what with the winter sun being so low in the sky and winter weather conditions being sub fluffy optimal. Anyway, something has to give and we knew we’d face this. But we have a fluffy optimal plan to enact.

I once long ago had a mate who owned and rode a Harley bike. He thought he was pretty cool. I rode motorbikes too but found the Harley way too heavy, but then I am a light weight in such matters. Anyway, he kept modifying the bike without realising that the original design was a compromise of all sorts of aspects of the design. Anyway, one modification would lead to unintended consequences for another part of the bike, and then that would have to be addressed etc. It was like the never ending problem and the farm here is like that - and the solar power system is definitely like that! I sometimes look at our cities infrastructure from that perspective and it is a disturbing point of view.

Down here, they have all of those op-shops (thrift shops) too, but some of them are actually run on a commercial basis and they provide employment for marginalised people and they are really well run enterprises. I knew of a cafe once like that which served organic locally grown food, and the quality of the food was amazing, but the cafe was eventually shut down as a more fancy chunk of building was constructed instead and I often wondered to myself what happened to the people who used to work there - they were really lovely people and the place jumped despite being sometimes too cold and too hot. Someone in the know once told me that the cafe made no money, but I am very aware that some businesses in such a situation can be loaded down with external costs (for example: fancy new expensive buildings) and they end up making no money, but the business itself is actually remarkably profitable. That naughtiness apparently goes on in the big end of town these days but uses an overseas trick or two.

Thanks for writing that. It was a lot of fun making that bread video and I did it as a challenge to show what can be done without a bread machine, but I actually do make a loaf per day so have a lot of experience. I still have no answer on how the bread machines remove the knives without leaving a gaping hole in the side of the loaf - which means the bread would go stale quicker...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I do the same thing too with those sorts of social niceties. To be honest though, I must scare people a bit because I actually follow through, which is another form of calling peoples bluff. Maybe it is a bit confrontational for them though, but the social lies annoy me for some reason and I have no idea why. Interestingly they approach the editor rather than I! Yes, beware the toff!

Run Lewis, run...

Yeah, who'd have thought it! You may not appreciate the music but my favourite track of the album was: War of the Worlds ~ Disk 1 ~ Track 4 - Forever Autumn. It got a lot of airplay in the 70's. It is a sad song of loss.

Far out! That is one massive commute. Wow. I'll bet there is not much traffic on the sound. What a cool way to get to work, by ferry. I've heard anecdotal accounts that air traffic controllers are under increasing cost pressures anyway. Sometimes this farm is in a flight path and I just hope the pilots apply enough thrust to make it over the main ridge... Someone told me recently and I have no idea whether this is true or not, but a mechanic / engineer was still working on a plane recently down here when it began taxiing. Not good. Everytime I hear the saying: Let's just assume that nothing goes wrong, I start to worry.

Ouch! Yes, be careful what you wish for as it may bite. But yeah, I hear you, I get that. As such things are a reality for me, we have whittled down to the bare basics and the house just has to deal with whatever nature throws at it - which is pretty harsh really. Mind you, we constructed it to endure such an event but do you want to be around to test such a thing? I was curious about what the outcomes would be for such a situation so I went up to the fire affected areas after Black Saturday many years after the event and just spoke to people. That cemented my opinions I can tell you that.

My brain is full of the names of people I interact with. It is a surprising number of people. One day dementia will set in and it will all be for naught, but then if you have dementia I have noticed that you don't seem terribly concerned by it as that is a problem for other people! ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yeah, I have read that humidity is high in your corner of the world. This global warming thing is turning some parts of the globe into a jungle climate - which is a tough place to grow things that we are used to growing in. Has Cliff Mass written anything about it?

I've added Mr Kunstler's blog to the reading list here and was curious as to your opinion of that inclusion?

I watched an ABC (our ABC) program tonight on: War on Waste. It is a fascinating insight into waste down under. The funny thing is that I haven’t had access to garbage service for over seven years now and am very careful not to waste anything in the first place. But then I source plenty of seconds fruit and vegetables and the stuff grown here would definitely fall into the seconds category anyway, but it is pretty tasty stuff all the same. I still haven't puzzled out what to do with the tiny quantity of plastic that we get every week, but everything else is food for something else living here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh yeah, you sure read that right! ;-)!

Well, the old fluff had her weaknesses and beef jerky strips were one of those. It was her kryptonite! :-)! Surely you have had dogs with their own unique kryptonite?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Probably Kunstler should come with a warning about the comments. His language has never worried me but I do have one serious political disagreement with him; details not suitable for your blog.

Many years ago I worked with someone who swore every other word. Oh dear, I started to do the same; it is extremely catching. I had a hard job unlearning it.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Something I haven't tried, but am going to try, is something I read about recently. :-). Writing not in order, but writing the most vivid scenes and then stringing them together. I also sometimes lay awake a bit and run through fiction stories, in my head. I notice that some parts are more vivid. More, already worked out.

The politics of ferns. Who knew :-). Some native plants, here, are "protected." How, I don't know. It's not like there's a "Plant Patrol", like the Fish and Game Department. Most people get caught at plant removal in more controlled areas. National parks, and such. When I was up at Mt. St. Helens, there was a bed of, I think, avalanche lilies. There were all kinds of signs posted, warning against fooling around with them. There was several references in "Feast of Sorrows" about an herb (going to get the spelling wrong) Siliphine? It's kind of semi-mythical. Plant scientists can't quit nail down what it was. But, even in Roman times, it was scarce and rare and finally (they think) went extinct.

Fern Glade Farm ... wall to wall (boundary to boundary?) solar panels. "I feel your pain." I suppose you've broken out the hay box? Quit a few fellows in The Program ride one kind of motorcycle, or another. As far as I can see, it's one of those male bonding things. Along with fishing stories. I don't pay much attention. I've occasionally contemplated maybe a motor bike ... or Vespa, if they still make them. Not going to happen, but nice to think about. :-).

Here we have "sheltered workshops" for people with one kind of disadvantage or another. And that applies to some of our op shops. I think people need purpose. And not the phony kind of "recognition", but a real contribution to community. Goodwill Industries (an old and well established chain of op shops) does that. The amount paid the head of that organization does give me pause, however. I think better of any business that hires people who are "challenged." "Money laundering." Always a problem for organized crime. And, some folks who work the gray market. For big crime, businesses that deal in a lot of cash are ideal. Laundramats, and such. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. As far as bread goes, I've been getting by on pancakes, cornbread and muffins. LOL. I ran out of cornbread and really wanted some, last night. But, it was late and I was tired. I'll whip up a batch, tonight, for sure.

Those kind of social lies also annoy me. And, I'm libel to call someone on it.

Ah, the musical War of the Worlds was in the 70s. My scrambling and distracted years. No wonder i missed it. :-).

Cliff Mass gardens, but has never said much about linking his planting and climate. Just a passing remark about when to, perhaps, begin planting. Sometimes a frost warning in the fall. He's really careful around the whole topic of climate change. Seems like he's always caught between warning too little, or warning too much. And, it irritates him :-).

Yes, the title of Kunstler's blog is problematic, if you want to keep everything family friendly. I read his new posts, and maybe the first couple of dozen comments. But that's it. I used to comment quit a bit, but haven't in awhile. There were some really interesting and engaging commenters, but they've mostly been run off by the trolls. Speaking of blogs, I checked Mr. Greer last night, and he still hasn't posted anything "meaty". That I could find.

"War on Waste" sounds interesting. There's a lot of recycling, here. Or, at least opportunities to recycle.

I may go on an expedition, tomorrow. I discovered that there's an antique business up in Shelton (NW of Olympia) that brings in containers of furniture from England. Judging from the pictures on their website, just the kind of stuff I'm looking for. Another art deco cabinet or two and maybe a wardrobe. If they're open, tomorrow (Sunday) I'll take a run up. Might see if I can talk my friend Scott into riding along. It's probably a little over an hour to get there. The weather is supposed to be nice. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

With regard to the short story buzzing around in your head: You don't have to start with the beginning. Write what you have got, you can put a beginning in later; it may come more easily then.

Inge

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi, Chris

Just thought I would answer your question about the blades in a bread maker. There is one smallish paddle in the bottom of the pan, and when the bread is removed, it does leave a narrow hole in the bottom of the loaf. But being at the bottom, there is no tendency for evaporation. When I still used one, I found that the bread stayed fresh for at least three days (always assuming it wasn't all eaten within hours of being made!)

I'm loving the saga of Chris: the early years. More! More!

Cheers

Hazel

Damo said...

I got two new Vance novels, 'Fantasms and Magics', and 'The Blue World'. I have thought a little bit about the new paperwork editions, and will probably start buying them if I feel 'settled' in the new place after a few months. I haven't even got a house yet, let alone a bookshelf but am already piling up the books. I even managed to score a complete hardcover bound encyclopedia set from the grandparents. Don't know the edition as I have not seen it yet. The shelves will look pretty shiny with those tomes sitting on it!

I haven't got the start date for the new job, but I did get a signed contract and some high-vis gear is in the mail. Should be hard at work before the month ends. The work is for a surveying company that mostly contracts on large public infrastructure programs (for example Coffs Harbour - Ballina dual carriageway bypass) and has a reasonable chance of being secure in the event of a downturn. Indeed, this one project is good for at least 3 years and maybe 5. My new boss spent some time telling me about the madness of current project management practices, the bypass is already 6 months behind schedule after 1 year. He just shrugs and says the poor organisation ends up making more money for him, but does add a lot of interpersonal-management style headaches coordinating with dozens of different contractors.

/cont

Damo said...

/cont PTSD, peace corps and volunteering

>>
I've never really understood what the Peace Corps was all about and as far as I am aware we don't have anything remotely similar. I have read about people going on working holidays in remote locations where they perform some sort of community service, but to be honest, I've never met anybody who has actually done such a thing.
>>

Arguably, this is what Mrs Damo and I did, as Luang Prabang is officialy designated as a remote location by DFAT. In reality though, you have multiple places to get a good coffee or cocktail, it was most certainly not a hardship posting.

I never met anyone from the Peace Corps in Laos, although you do hear stories and jokes circulating in the 'development' community. My understanding is the Peace Corps takes on young high school or university graduates, gives them a few vaccinations and dumps them somewhere remote for a few months to dig a well or similar. In the past they were sometimes used (or used by) the State Department/CIA etc for various nefarious deeds, eyes on the ground and that sort of thing.

We often saw other 'volunteers' on their working holiday experience. The young people pay 3000-4000 to go on a tour of poor countries and visit villages to dig a well or build a toilet. After a week or two they fly back to Bangkok feeling good about themselves. I am sure the local partners that manage to charge so much for basic tours just by calling it a 'volunteer' program also feel good for making easy money.

The AVID program that Mrs Damo and I were part of was a little different. It aimed to get only highly experienced volunteers. The demographics were either 55+ retirees looking for something do after work. Or late 20's young people who had graduated uni and had a couple of years of work under their belts. Mrs Damo and I were a bit unique being mid-30s, most people our age have kids, a mortgage or both and thus cannot flit away to another country for a year. The program then places these 'highly skilled' people in a local organisation with the goal of 'building capacity', that is to say, training. In my case, it was training in website development and computer maintenance. Mrs Damo trained two young women in lab procedures and plant tissue culture. Long term benefits are difficult to quantify, and I suspect minimal. In the programs favour however is relative cheapness. We saw a lot of waste and pointless programs in our short time in Laos. Few even bother to get a true idea of what the locals want.

The rain arrived yesterday afternoon, and today has been running heavy all day. Movie day I think, we are about to watch 'Mindhorn', a comedy about a washed up actor from the 70s who used to play a detective. He now has to solve a murder for 'real'. Trailer looked amusing.

Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I was planning to write the blog this evening so apologies if this reply is a bit more brief than usual.

I have heard of people selecting for later cuttings for feed for those reasons. Interesting. I'm curious as to how the bales are advertised, or do you just know the history of the farm they came from? Of course you knew the farmer. Do you still get that arrangement which is a win - win for everyone? It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. A local farmer once told me that they wanted the cut hay to mildly ferment as it is more palatable for the animals – but not too much. There is a lot to this stuff. As I said I have to return the cuttings to the soil life because the soil fertility here is high in minerals, but low in organic matter, but that can be addressed in time.

That is a real bugbear of mine - but more on the irritation side of things. I rather fancy that given the decline we face, people are turning inwards. I'm quite a social animal and it is fortunate that I have a wide circle of disparate friends, but a bigger circle of acquaintances. I discovered your observation to my horror when I had to find an entirely new batch of friends in my 30's after the World of Warcraft debacle. It is very true about guys and I do not mix any of my friends nowadays, although there is a bit of sooking from some quarters about that policy of mine.

Good to read about your exceptionally gentlemanly rooster, and the hand feeding is giving me ideas for the future. Thanks!

Pork belly is tasty, but it leaves me feeling queasy. I must be a gastronomic light weight! :-)!

You are very fortunate with your relatives and I know plenty of families like that, and it is warm and embracing. Clearly I have done something very bad indeed in a past life! Hehe!

Are you aware that architects often fixate on form as distinct from function? Oh yeah, I hear you. Sorry to bring the conversation back to my circumstances, but I tell you that I would never win an award for good architecture with the house here because I flipped that understanding onto its head and chose function over form at every step in the process. Mind you, we didn't get that right either and have spent the past seven years correcting and amending the house, but I reckon we got it far closer than an architect would have. And if it had to be rebuilt it would look quite different again... We wouldn't shy away from that task.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the heads up about the comments and I read a few, but the sheer number was overwhelming for my mind. I prefer quality over quantity. I added a small disclaimer!

It is catching, that vocabulary trick, isn't it? I once used it to good effect to allow people in a work team that were hurting to vent their frustrations whilst getting on with the job at hand. I only questioned the wisdom of that strategy when the very wealthy owner of the business walked in quietly one day and I was providing guidance to the team and I heard myself saying: "F this, and F them, and I don't give an F about that". Of course I learned then that policies can over stay their use by date. As an interesting side note, upon discovering the owner of the business standing there observing me, I didn't have a moments embarrassment for my language as I quickly recovered and said: "Hi Tony". That's cool. But I did tone it down a bit after that. Such things don't hurt your reputation if handled well and not dwelt upon. Oh, it is a very catchy thing too! :-)! I see the public discourse being diverted to all sorts of nefarious ends, but I don’t really worry as it is only a blip on the radar of time. It isn’t nice though.

Thank you very much for the excellent writing advice and I shall try and write down the parts of the story that is buzzing around my head. I spend a bit of thought on the blog each week about how to tie the story into a coherent narrative and I enjoy that challenge of having to achieve such a thing in as short a period of time as possible.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Hazel,

Hello! Thank you very much for the explanation about the bread machines as I have always wondered what happened to the hole in the loaf left by the knife which is used to mix the dough. Well yeah, fresh home cooked bread is way too nice to leave sitting around the kitchen for any length of time. I have a rather soft spot for warm freshly baked bread which is fresh out of the oven and smeared with homemade peanut butter or homemade jams. Blackberry jam is my absolute favourite.

We may take a short detour from my early years this week, but I am rather pleased to read that you are enjoying the story. Thanks! As I said above, I must have done something very bad in a past life! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Many thanks for the excellent advice on writing fiction. Yeah, I feel that too as some stories are just fully formed and only waiting for the telling, but others have to be coaxed and treated gently to come into being. Have you ever wondered where such inspiration comes from? I'd never considered writing parts of a story to see what would then happen. This farm is like that as I never see more than only a few steps ahead - which is probably a good thing given how complicated the problem is. My brain can only handle so much complexity.

Incidentally I owe you a big thank you for the suggestion of the Dutch oven on the wood heater. We have been having an inordinate amount of trouble with making yoghurt over the past few months and we have been tweaking every step of the process to see what was going amiss. Anyway, tonight we placed the yoghurt batches in a Pyrex dish with a lid and placed that onto a cooling tray and sat the whole lot onto the top of the wood heater. And wouldn't you know it, the heat inside the Pyrex container was quite gentle at about 45'C / 113'F to 50'C / 122'F which is perfect for making yoghurt. Shazzam! The yoghurt set in under two hours which is exceptionally speedy. Oh, sorry, I've digressed so much that I forgot to mention that the electric heat pad which was previously used to make yoghurt was found to be faulty and not putting out enough heat (it was still warm, but not hot enough) and we only discovered that this evening. That was when your Dutch oven idea popped into my mind. Winning!

We spent today digging a huge trench for the heavy duty cable going from the battery controllers to the new solar panels. The editors courtyard has been slightly destroyed, but hopefully by tomorrow it will be very hard to see the damage. So much digging today though… The trench was almost 100ft long... There is a lot of talk about going off grid, but I see very little action by others. In the meantime I'm very keen to get this stuff working - in all conditions. I read today a news story in the business section about increasing electricity prices and the need to spend up huge on transmission infrastructure and I tell ya, I was thinking about that gear whilst I was digging today and I know why nobody has the will to invest in that infrastructure. A few years ago there were complaints that the whole system for the grid was gold plated. How is that working out now for that thing?

Oh yeah, some plants are more protected than others! I assume you meant the now extinct herb: Silphium. Worth its weight in denarii, apparently. What a surprise about the over harvesting...

No, the hay box is a bit further down the track, and honestly I'd probably construct an outdoor baking oven before the hay box was required (I do have access to a lot of firewood). Speaking of which I did notice today that firewood is now at $348 per metric tonne / two cubic metres. Far out.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, avoid the motorcycle or scooter as the margin for error is small. It is funny that you mention them, but I was speaking to someone about them a few weeks back and said pretty much the same thing. My experience was that they were a joy 25% of the time due to being exposed to the weather at speed. The rest of the time… Mate full riding leathers on a 40'C / 104'F day is no joke but no one wants to see their unprotected skin being grated like a cheese grater.

Salaries like the one you hinted at are rarely deserved. The stories that people tell themselves... You know, I've found that most people are pretty honest. The real crooks are often wearing high end suits.

Well, yes, perhaps you were busy during those years? :-)! It is better to wake up late and fully alert than to not wake up at all.

Mate, I feel for Cliff Mass and he walks a fine line (which he appears to handle quite well). You know last week I sat by the ocean and watched the gentle waves on a calm day eat into the sand cliffs and I was able to look around at the beach and see where the king tides and storms were hitting. Did anyone else notice? Maybe, maybe not. I had some good local and very tasty scallops though.

Trolls are a pest and they deserve a good and proper biting - as I usually instruct Scritchy boss dog extraordinaire to do so in her activities with the other lesser dogs. It seems to work for her. I enjoy Mr Kunstler's delightful prose and marvel at the freedom of speech in your country. I've been checking in on Mr Greer's interweb presence from time to time. I read a delightful expression regarding that and please forgive me if I've got it wrong: Archdruidpocalypse! :-)!

It is interesting that you mention recycling. The canny people who produced the show put a GPS tracker on a bag of rubbish which was purported as being on its way to being recycled. Let's say that things don't work out so good for that bag. This does not mean that all recycling is a bad thing and I always encourage people to recycle everything they can. However, I do rather enjoy people who take the time to look beyond the spin. The spin is usually very comforting and disarming – as it is intended to be. Even the colour of items is used against us.

How was the antique business? And I hope the expedition was fruitful?

Cheers and yours crunchily (too much digging today!)

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Excellent choices. The Blue World was a good read and the way the protagonists came up with iron in a time of need was quite clever. Well, I for one hope that things settle down as you are both in a good part of the world. The climate is awesome there, although perhaps this week it has been rather damp for you. Not so here, the sun has been shining and the weather has been sweet. If you do purchase the new Vance versions, I will be very curious to learn your opinion as to whether the un-editing of the story was worth the cash? Still it would be nice to own.

Signed contract and high-vis is definitely a good sign. You know, they're putting in two round-abouts down here and I am personally amazed at how long the job is taking. It is extraordinary. The editor and I joke that we should get out with the mattock and electric jack hammer and give them a hand so that they can get a hurry on.

Thanks for the explanation about your situation and I was unaware of the background to it. Yes, the coffee and cakes were excellent in that part of the world. I recall a delightful afternoon in Luang Prabang where the editor was conned into a cultural show, and I baulked at the idea and instead sat down in a cafe enjoying coffee and cakes, watching the world pass by and reading Lord of the Rings. I have very fond memories of that afternoon, meanwhile the editor got to enjoy a cultural show! ;-)!

I am genuinely uncertain that most people nowadays know how to dig a well or construct a toilet. It is a real worry, but whatever makes them feel good I guess. Yeah, I've heard of those tours too.

Incidentally that was a very insightful observation. You know, not being able to do everything is a core theme of this blog. The same situation is apparently also true of remote communities down under. There seem to be an awful lot of ideas people floating around the landscape.

If you are interested in washed up actors and their stories I can recommend the series: Bojack Horseman, very, very highly. I have not watched it but the editor is a huge fan. Beware though, the story is dark and funny.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Re: Stories about washed up actors. I read that Sam Eliot is in a new film called "Hero." It's about a washed up western actor. Getting good reviews. He said it's type casting :-).

What Inge said :-). About writing fiction. That was the idea I was trying to get across with too much verbage. :-).

Did I suggest a Dutch Oven on a wood stove? I am losing it. Oh, well. Vascular flow problem :-). The heating pad? More crapification of everything? I was putting up a new shower curtain and THE first hook broke. Sigh. I can probably get on with one less out of the 12, but it's going to bother me. I may have a spare (that won't quit match) packed away.

"Talk about going off grid." We'll all go off grid when the grid collapses around our ears. Always a possibility.

Yup. That's it. Silphium. Probably a combination of over harvesting and, maybe, the bit of climate change that was going on in north Africa, at that time. Or, it may be some plant that exists now that we don't recognize as Silphium?

Ah, yes. Bogus recycling. And, as I was just talking to someone yesterday, a lot of the prices for scrap this and that have collapsed. At one point drug addicts could finance their addictions through selling scrap. The problem was that they weren't too picky as to where they found their scrap. Stole the bronze lettering off the local library building. One shudders to think how they're financing their habits, these days.

I'm reading bits and pieces of a biography of Leonard Cohen, the singer/songwriter. "Suzanne", "Bird on a Wire", etc. etc..

Well, it looks like Scott and I are off to Shelton, today. The store is going to be open and Scott's wife has let him slip the leash for a few hours. :-). That's unkind. Bad Lew! I haven't driven up that way in years ... decades. About an hour to get there. Ohhh. Tables with barley twist legs and wardrobes with linen fold panels! Art Deco display cabinets! I'm salivating. :-). Hope the prices are reasonable. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Caveat lector

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you and elephant stamp for you! :-)! You may like this one, I only just learned this Latin phrase whilst reading up on Caveat lector: Caveat auditor! Hehe! I reckon our Latin has improved a bit.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The washed up actor trope must have some basis to it because there have been quite a few films and TV series about that story line. Yes, Sam Eliot has either the good fortune or good misfortune of looking like an old school Western actor and so, well you said what he said about that. :-)! That covers a lot of ground too that trope because we all peak and decline in terms of life. That flow reflects the seasons and even the life of the planet - I reckon it is hard wired in. Even the oldest trees (and I have seen one or two of them) eventually fall. Will the fall be handled with good grace? That is the question and who knows how we all approach such an event. Sometimes such an event is a good opportunity for the Pheonix to arise from the ashes and that does work for some and can produce some sterling work.

Hehe! It was very good advice and was an option that I had not previously considered. It is like most things, obvious from hindsight.

Nope, I barely recall what we converse upon day after day, so I wouldn't stress about that. The fun thing is that there is always something going on and something to talk about. I have to do a complex bit of solar wiring this morning and to be honest, I have been putting it off (and I have no idea why). And yes, that was another case of crapification - and I'm pretty grumpy about it as it was a top of the line model, but everything else had been eliminated which took months of work and observation. Natural systems are inherently complex. Move on, nothing to see here I guess. Your shower curtain situation would annoy me because if one breaks, you kind of can extrapolate the future from that experience. Sorry to say that.

I wonder if anyone has looked into that changing climate in North Africa during that period. My gut feeling from what I have read about it would be a slow loss of forest cover reduced transpiration and precipitation, but you know, I could be wrong. The Roman Empire was very hungry after all and if anything less than 90% of the population is working in agriculture my gut feeling says that that situation depicts a draw down on the environment.

Really? Wow. That is rough as. Yup, that is a sign of the future. I see a lot of homeless people in Melbourne these days, a lot. It wasn't like that when I was a kid, although I recall that there were humpies down in the along the Maribyrnong River in a very industrial area and sometimes the city parks had people sleeping in them. But overall there were less people doing that and they were generally invisible if people cared not to notice them.

Yes, in a strange coincidence, Leonard Cohen performed one of his final performances at Hanging Rock over the other side of the mountain range, as did one of the Eagles. And there was another one, but I may be wrong about that. Hey, Leonard Cohen released an album posthumously.

Enjoy your travels and I hope that you score some quality bargains! :-)!

I'll be curious to see what happens with the bogus recycling. It looks a bit dodgy to me. I have to recall to stress to people though that one bad apple does not make for a dodgy collection of apples.

Cheers

Chris