Monday, 31 July 2017

Having a Ball!

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

About sixteen years ago, when Fernglade farm wasn’t even the merest twinkle of an idea, the editor and I were driving through a country town on our way back to Melbourne where we then lived. By a strange coincidence that country town is one of the small country towns dotted around the mountain range here. The main road of that country town had a pointer board, pointing to a local art show.

The editor and I loved local art shows and we had filled our home with all manner of excellent, interesting, and quirky original works of art. Wall space, we believe, is there to be filled with pleasing works of art. And what better way to support local country town community groups and nearby artists, than to attend the local art shows and maybe purchase a painting.

After we paid the entry fee, the editor and I descended into that small country town art show and we just wandered around and enjoyed the paintings.

As a bit of a background primer to country art shows, there are a few things to consider. Not all paintings are for sale, and if you arrive late, you may find that a lot of the art works will already be sold. There is actually a numbering system attached to each painting so so that visitors can obtain some basic information about individual paintings such as: Artist; Subject Title; and Price (or Not For Sale). That number can be cross referenced to look up those details in a small book that is usually free, but sometimes has to be paid for. If the painting’s number has a red round sticker then that usually indicates that the painting has already been sold. Any paintings that are purchased during the show can usually be picked up on the final day of the art show, once the show has closed to the public. You now have enough basic information to navigate a small country art show and look like you mean business!

So the editor and I were walking around the art show and admiring the paintings, and one very cheeky and cheerful painting caught both of our attentions and imaginations. The painting is titled “Having a ball!”, and it depicts a delightful lady having a bath, whilst blowing bubbles and consuming what I’ve always assumed is a tasty alcoholic drink with a block of chocolate on a side table.  Clearly, I thought to myself: here is a lady who knows how to enjoy herself!
Having a ball!
The editor was thinking similar thoughts, however I rather suppose that she had inserted herself into that image as she had a far away and very thoughtful look in her eyes. We decided to purchase the painting.

Now some people quite rightly may say that this painting is not high art and they may well be correct in that assertion, and I for one am not qualified to make an opinion on that subject. On the other hand I read a theory that the Mona Lisa’s unusual smile was possibly due to the unfortunate condition of tooth grinding. As to whether that possibility is correct or not, I cannot say, however, what I can say is that if I had to choose between two people to take on the job of the local brew-master: one of whom was an apparently anxiety riddled tooth grinder; whilst the other lady, is to be occasionally found enjoying a quality stout (or fortified wine), whilst blowing bubbles in the bathtub. Let’s put it this way, the anxiety filled tooth grinder would be shown the door rather quickly.

The unfortunate thing was that the art show still had a few hours left before closing for the weekend. And from the above discussion you may recall that paintings cannot be collected until after the art show is closed. The editor and I on the other hand wanted to pay for the painting and then take it and go, and not hang around for hours and hours, waiting for the art show to close. The editor suggested to go with purchasing Gambit A: Feign disinterest and apathy.

We found one of the people taking the funds for the art show and said that we were interested in purchasing the painting, but wanted to take the painting away now. Of course it was explained to us that we had to wait until the art show was closed to take away the painting. Gambit A then suggests the correct response to be: Oh, don’t worry about it then. Thanks. And then prepare to walk away or look as if you are about to do so.

Hopefully, at that point someone says: Hang on, I‘ll just check for you. If all is going well with Gambit A, you will shortly be introduced to the higher powers in the art show. In this case, the guy that was the higher power in the art show took one look at the painting and immediately agreed to let us take the painting early, as long as we were OK being shuffled out the side door of the art show.

The transaction was soon completed and as we were unceremoniously shuffled out the side door of the art show, the higher power guy made a possibly disparaging suggestion along the lines of: “You could always hang it in your bathroom, I guess”. What an excellent suggestion!

Long term readers will probably now be wondering the important question: “What the heck has this painting got to do with the Fernglade Farm blog, which is ostensibly a blog about living on a small holding in a remote corner of Australia?” It is a fair question too. The thing is, this week I have been rather ill with the flu – not just a regular Man Flu – but a proper full blown and filthy coming down like a dirty mongrel sort of flu. On Tuesday morning I sat in the hot bath feeling like a zombie in my hour of illness. I was looking out the window into the forest when the editor cheerfully pointed out that the aforementioned painting looked an awful lot like the actual bathroom at Fernglade Farm, minus the bubbles, chocolate and stout of course. There is even a spider in the corner of the ceiling (not photographed for aesthetic reasons).
The bathroom at Fernglade Farm, minus the bubbles, chocolate and stout
The lesson to be learned here is that: What you contemplate, you imitate! And anyone who feels that marketing is not a powerful force on their subconscious are truly kidding themselves.

Despite my poor health this week, the days have been nice and sunny and they feel as if there is an early spring warmth. The sun is now slightly higher in the winter sky and even the solar hot water system began producing hot water this week for the first time since winter arrived. It is an exciting time of year and one of the sunsets earlier in the week produced the most amazing colours on the cloud layers:
One of the sunsets earlier in the week produced the most amazing colours on the cloud layers
Just before New Years Eve, a summer storm brought very heavy rainfall. The result of that heavy rainfall was that a steep garden bed behind the house collapsed. Before this time we were blissfully unaware that landslides were even a remote possibility in this mountain range.
A reminder of the December 2016 landslip behind the house
This week we began establishing a garden bed high above that land slip area. The garden bed is being planted out with very dense and hardy plants (agapanthus). Those plants have very thick root systems which are being grown so as to break up the flow of any storm water collecting at that point.
A thick line of agapanthus were planted above the area where the landslip occurred last summer
All those agapanthus plants are planted in a line so as to break up the concentration of water and then slow its movement across the land. We use these plants in other parts of the property for a similar purpose and they have performed remarkably well under all sorts of adverse storm conditions. Over the next few weeks we will place a thick layer of composted woody mulch between the agapanthus plants and the edge. And into that composted woody mulch we will plant a diverse range of flowering plants that will also work to hold the soil together and slow the flow of water across the landscape. Hopefully all being well, there are no further landslips on the farm.

The seedling potatoes which were purchased months ago were planted out today in the two remaining empty raised potato beds. As the potato leaves grow, we add more compost into those raised garden beds.
The seedling potatoes which were purchased months ago were planted out today in the three raised potato beds
The editor surprised a small herd of deer the other day. With the assistance of Mr Poopy the Pomeranian (who every right thinking person knows is actually a Swedish Lapphund), chased the deer off into the surrounding forest. I’d have to suggest that the deer numbers are down as there were only four does and there was no sign of a stag in that herd. We believe that one of the neighbouring farms has been undertaking a shooting program for the deer.
The editor and Mr Poopy the Pomeranian chased deer off the property into the surrounding forest
And a lot of the hardy native wildflowers are blooming right now, so I thought the readers may enjoy a change of pace and marvel at some of the local wildflowers:
A close up of a local Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata) flower (also known as bottlebrush)
A Silver Banksia with many fresh and dried flower heads
A Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata) in flower above the house
A close up of the flowers of the Silver Wattle
Victoria’s floral emblem the Common heath (Epacris impressa) is in full flower now
Common heath comes in both darker and lighter shades
Sometimes Common Heath can be quite a pale shade of pink
Just a quick joke before we finish the week’s blog: What has hips, but no legs?
Answer: Roses
The temperature outside now at about 7.00pm is 6’C (43’F). So far this year there has been 471.2mm (18.6 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 462.4mm (18.2 inches).

45 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ah, ah, ahhhh, blooie! Thank you for the technical label, yes your computer does seem to have a case of the gizmo sneezes. It is an awful affliction accompanied by random shutdowns, fascinating digressions (actually that one is possibly just us!), and generally dark screens. Users have been known to scream at the afflicted computer and throw keyboards across the room after having lost the equivalent weight of text of: Leo Tolstoy's classic novel - War and Peace. Alas for the lack of the Save button... And who knows if the document is still there upon re-boot? Probably not. With the new computer guts which replaced the sadly dead ones a week or two before last Christmas, they now have solid state devices in them for the main hard drive. Honestly, I have no idea how long those devices will operate for. But I do know that eventually they will pack it in. I tend to be very regimented about backup procedures.

Stay cool in that heatwave. I would not have expected temperatures like those in your cool corner of the world. Far out, I just dropped over to cliff mass to see what he has to say about it. Stay out of the afternoon sun and keep hydrated. Ah yes, he too has had to consider addressing the temperature colour scale - like the Bureau of Meteorology did down here one year. I enjoyed the comments attached to the blog too, and of course I too have noted how people generally comment that they enjoy hot weather, but then sit inside in an air conditioned building. Unfortunately such antics are self defeating. I hope the power remains on and there are no fires. The weather down here has been feral warm too with many breaking records - sometimes I forget to mention them as they have become alarmingly regular: Record-July heat across multiple states and territories. And also: Unseasonable warmth heads east, taking records with it. It is meant to be winter down here, whatever that means...

Thanks for the explanation and I hadn't really considered many of those options, but that may well have been my own large thoughts which tend to block out the alternatives under such adverse fire threatening conditions. Yes, the book did rather casually mention that the retreat was a necessary part of the larger business model and that aspect of the situation was not lost on me. I have large thoughts about this subject as I have to prepare my own response to the environmental situation. I heard a rather chilling story about Black Saturday fires where a home owner said they were in the backyard with their kids building a chook pen that afternoon and the fire was a real surprise to them. I saw such a human dimension to that predicament, but even I knew there was an unpleasant fire developing mid afternoon that day, and by late afternoon I called where it was going to go as it was pushed along by the winds. A lot of the larger problems in our society look a lot like that to my eyes.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh! Double whammy! Ah, ah, ahhh, blooie! Now I have the naive sneezes. Of course, blame when it all goes wrong. How could I have not seen that? Well, probably because it never occurred to me that anyone would be looking for guarantees when nobody is handing out insurance. Far out, I hope you are wrong, but I suspect that you are correct. I feel a bit deflated. Oh well. Thanks for your clear vision and good advice.

Yes, Fender make some quality amplifiers. You never know the kid may be an absolute genius with a guitar, although I hope you don’t get to find out. At least it is not a drum kit. I used to have a neighbour who got stoned every single night and slept whilst the television was blaring at high volume. I must say I do rather enjoy living in the middle of nowhere as the local wildlife can be a nuisance, but they are never deliberately exerting their ego's or carelessness. 19th century workers cottages were never intended to protect the occupants from the more evolved 21st century occupants activities! Just kidding, they're the same folks, just with more and bigger toys.

They do the same marketing with phones here. I had to insist that I got the basic water resistant tough phone (which is designed to be occasionally dropped). The sales staff kept re-directing me to a product called "The Dave" which is apparently a tough smart phone and I kept telling them that the dave was not calling to me. I prefer a dumb phone for all sorts of reasons. It is interesting but I read an article recently about a guy that runs an analytics company on customer data and he said that he had a very small online presence. Interesting.

I came across a brand new interweb sales troll. This one refuses to take "No" for an answer. Fortunately such horrid creatures can be blocked - although they may not be aware of that fact until they attempt to purchase an item. I have travelled to countries where such responses are the cultural norm. Most people are pretty decent though and I met a lovely lady today who picked up an article that I had for sale. We went off to have a look at the chickens and she was quite taken with the farm overall. If the economy ever gets ugly I'll set up a regular food producers meetup group in the nearby town as there is probably a lot of interest, but my gut feeling is that folks there aren't hungry enough yet. Yes, show me the money seems to be the correct answer for most online sales.

Are you transplanting any of the horseradish root? Or is it all for the pot? I love horseradish for the brain pain. It's a complex situation...

I'm feeling a bit better today. Far out, I'm over being sick though and it is just not fair at all!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Like you I too am a do-er rather than an ask-er. My reason for that is that people attempt to normalise your actions in all sorts of ways to that of the dominant narrative and that can be quite stifling to me.

Of course, I also have to allow space to admit when I'm wrong as I am from time to time, but then that also feeds into the entire learning experience of life and you get better at being able to read situations because of that feedback. Don't you reckon?

Lewis suggested, and probably quite astutely, that people often ask what they should do as they are looking for someone to blame if things go wrong. He may well be correct about that observation and I have seen attempts along those lines at all sorts of different points in my life. In fact, I was actually considering one such example of such a possibility earlier this evening and taking active measures to forestall that eventuality - it is a complex and problematic story which is unfolding. Has anyone ever tried to blame you when you were otherwise innocent of any blame?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Forgot to mention. Hope you enjoy my amusing take on "high art"? I put myself into a coughing fit I was laughing so hard about the Mona Lisa comment.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Testing here to see if I can get a comment through on my phone. Starting day six in Alaska. We've both been enjoying ourselves and as an added bonus sleeping better. Yesterday we were able to see Denali which , from what I understand only happens about 40% of the time due to weather conditions. Today we move on to Denali National Park for two days. Sorry to hear the flu is lingering on.


Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I’m glad your feeling better. Nothing blows a hole in your life like being under the weather and having to put everything on hold while nature takes it’s course.

Hmm. Art. What we like and don’t like is so individual. Mileage may vary. About a year ago I found a wall plaque, 5 x 7”. Made of some plaster like material. So, it’s rather 3 D. The subject is “Goddess of the Tides” by an artist named Bowser (never heard of him). Made in China. So, it’s a rather well set up lady, dancing across the waves in her flimsy attire. Mandatory acrid sunset. She was only $3, and just so ... cheesey, I couldn’t resist. She’s also in my bath.

Hmmm. The Mona Lisa. Confession time, here. I’ve never much seen the appeal. Or, what the big deal is. As far as her “smile” goes, I’ve heard everything from gas, she’s pregnant and hasn’t told anyone yet, to it’s actually a self portrait of Da Vinci in his cross dressing phase :-). I much prefer his “Lady with Ermine.”

That’s quit a “view from the loo”. And the light fixture is really nice. The sunset photo is another contender for the Fern Glade Farm Calendar. :-). Rose hips. I understand they make a nice jelly. I’ve never tried it. Full of vitamin C.

We did hit 113F about 4 years ago. That was highly unusual. Used to be, hitting 100 was a real event. That was interesting about the fellow being rather clueless about the brush fires. It’s interesting how news of the upcoming heat wave, spreads. I think it was Friday. A very nice, but sometimes flakey young lady at The Club told me. She travels a lot, back and forth over the mountains to visit relatives. I really thought she had heard a weather report over there, and was mistaken. Apparently, not. The ladies were all chattering about it, last night, down in the lobby of The Home.

As far as the fire monks go, I felt a bit like I was making excuses, for them. :-). Which usually (sometimes) irritates me when other people do it to explain bad behavior. Or accidents, or whatever. When I hit the deer ... well, I try not to bang on about the motor home and jeep in front of me, whose driving was erratic. And, distracting. I could have just backed off and taken more time. Truck gets repaired, today.

Well, no blasts of “music” yet, from next door. The last hour I was out at the old place, yesterday, Bull Whip Boy was, I think, rattling the little ball in a spray paint can. There was also a very loud ... buzz saw? Trumpet? Who knows. Just an hour’s worth of intermittent, irritating loud noises.

I dug the horseradish to plant. I’ve got three pots with root in them, and I’ll see if they sprout. If all three sprout, I’ll give two as gifts. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I would also have been tempted to buy that painting. The only reason why I would have liked to live in a mansion is so that I could have had space for a library and an art gallery. Books and pictures are the two things on which I have spent money for most of my life. No longer, as I am trying to dispose of stuff. Daughter took 2 of my pictures back to Australia with her.

I particularly liked your photos of native Australian flora this week.

Have I ever been blamed for something that I haven't done? You bet! This must have happened to anyone who has siblings. Many times later in life as well. At least once traumatically with lifelong consequences not suitable for your blog. It's really just part of living.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Your phone appears to be working quite well! Lucky you being able to see Denali. What a sight. The images on the web are spectacular. Watch out for the grizzly bears and wolves as they may bite and rend and avoid selfies with that lot in the background as it may not be good for your health. :-)! Enjoy your two day trip into the park I hope you get to spot a glacier or some tundra? What an awesome looking place.

The flu is lingering, but not to worry.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Life takes unexpected twists and turns from time to time and it has been nice that I have been able to be flexible about what I'm doing during this week and last week. Hopefully I'll recover enough that I can get outside and do some work over the next few days. The winter weather here today was superb with blue skies, cool air and not much of a breeze to speak of. I threw the doors and windows open wide today and enjoyed the cool fresh winter air inside the house. I keep promising myself to one day do a spring clean, but there are just so many other things to do.

I have not asked you for a while about your jaw and was wondering about how it was healing and whether there is any discomfit for you from it? Yup nature does run its own course doesn't it?

Tomorrow will be an interesting day for me which I'm not at all sure I'm looking forward too. Life sends you challenges sometimes. Hopefully there will be a nice coffee and muffin in there somewhere to soothe my otherwise shattered nerves. Oh well. Worse things can happen.

Cecilia Gallerani had an interesting history didn't she? And who would have thought that the "stoat / ermine" in the painting was intended to convey purity. I wonder if that was Leonardo's idea or the dukes? And such mystery in the painting itself as having been signed by Leonardo and yet the actual signatory appears to have not been by the original painter. And imagine the surprise of the Allied army personnel finding the painting hanging on the wall of a country home. The painting has lived quite a few lives you have to admit? I assume people study such movements and exchanges of art works?

Thanks. I joke around with the editor saying that the house was constructed around the view from the bath and toilet. There is nobody in front of that view for at least a mile due to the way the land around here has been subdivided. Strangely enough given that we can't see anybody and nobody can see us, the view itself is a rather contentious issue with some folks and I occasionally get berated in the strangest circumstances. A lot of old timers are happy selling the land and getting the money as long as there is no change. There is an iconic house along the coast: The Pole House in Fairhaven, along the Great Ocean Road . It is an unusual design standing on a huge support pillar and looking as if it is sitting in mid air. The original family who constructed the house sold it off and then I spotted articles in the newspaper where they were apparently whingeing about the changes to the building. If you don't want changes you have to own or control it.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

So have you settled into your new digs and have the residents become accustomed to your presence? Is it easier for you now that you live in town?

113'F is way hot and glad that it has not been repeated - yet. Well, news gathers its own momentum sometimes and who knows where it will blow to next. It is quite an epic heatwave. Do you plant to be up at the old digs or down in the new digs?

Not that we are competing, but far out. This is not good: Australia breaks national July heat record. It has been unusually warm this past July - not at all like winter. You know, there is no way in a normal year that I would have been able to install solar panels on a roof over winter due to how wet the roof surfaces generally are at this time of year. This year though is something else...

Oh, I can see where you are coming from and wouldn't worry about it. I try hard to fathom people’s motivations and so your suggestions were pretty spot on from what I could tell. You know, we wreak havoc just by being alive. I reckon the trick is to learn to minimise the damage and try to restore and build where we can. Not easy...

I'm happy for you that you have moved as some situations escalate before you know what is going on. I'm not cool about permissive parenting, but I seem to be in the minority on that view these days...

Your horseradish idea is a goodie. I'll be interested to hear how the roots take for those three plants as I know I should divide up the horseradish plants here. They are very hardy plants and I feed the leaves to the chickens over summer. Even the leaves are mildly spicy.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

The sheer fun in that painting really stood out to us both and so I am glad to read that you approve and would have likewise been tempted. Life is short and a lot of times and people are very serious. We must try to remind ourselves that it is not necessarily always that way, although it may feel like it at the time.

Well yes, having a proper library in a house would most certainly make a house. I have snooped around houses with large libraries and there was a local house which went for sale a long time ago that had a his and hers separate library - the couple clearly both worked in the legal profession from some of the titles of the books on display. The rooms were both filled with light and hers had cushions and comfortable places to sit next to the large bay windows and simply read. A lovely house, but way outside of my price range. Alas for us all, we can but dream! That part of the mountain range is a very fertile valley too, although I don't recall the couple farming the land. It was an interesting house as some aspects of a recent renovation didn't quite match up with the quality of the remainder of the house and in fact, they looked to me as if they were either done on the cheap or were an afterthought and I don't really pretend to know.

Paring back is such sweet sorrow. Both yourself and Lewis have been having to face the hard choices as to what to let go. I don't usually feel troubled by letting go, but to be honest sometimes it is harder than others. How do you feel about that process?

Thanks and I'm glad you enjoyed the local flora. I hope that over the years as the soil deepens here, that even more of the surrounding forest flowers. I have at the back of my mind a sneaking suspicion that back in the day prior to settlement, this continent was a continent of flowers.

Oh sorry to hit a sore point and I had absolutely no idea about the consequences. Please accept my apologies. People can get ideas into their heads and when the Titanic is sliding below the waves, the urge to grab onto anything afloat is a base reaction.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I am quite jealous - what a delightful painting! As for your charming bathroom, the Archdruid never spoke truer words with "What you contemplate, you imitate." We must be careful where we concentrate our thoughts.

Those are very handsome deer. Here, in the spring, the bucks go off on their own and leave the does to give birth and raise their children. I think perhaps there is a pub for bucks nearby, or maybe a bowling alley . . . I don't see the bucks and does back together again until it gets closer to the rutting season in the fall. Also, our deer drop their antlers in the winter and it becomes very hard to tell bucks from does until the antlers begin to grow back in. My! I just looked out the window and there is a deer lying slightly up the bank and looking in at me!

You have lovely wildflowers. And blooming roses in July! It must indeed be warm.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Goodness, there was nothing to apologise for. It is a shame if one can't ask questions.

I should have added praise for the bathroom. With that view, do you prefer to bathe in daylight or after dark? It must be hard to leave the bath. My mother's house was a Victorian one before the era of the flush toilet. It had been added later and was beside a huge sash window. One could sit there with the window open, the sun pouring in and a view over her garden. We often remained there until someone hammered on the door. My sister used to take her tea in there. I should add that it had one of those large ancient, wooden toilet seats. They had a surround and were far more comfortable than the modern ones.

Have actually reached a time in my life when I am enjoying getting rid of stuff.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - At least your flue hit during the winter, which is maybe less hectic than summer? LOL. I was going to say during your “down” time. But this is Chris we’re talking about, here :-). Down time? What’s that?

Other than an occasional twinge, the jaw hasn’t bothered me. I’ve gotten a couple of post cards from the oral surgeon that I ought to come back for a look. Nope. What happens, happens.

Artists had “workshops” with apprentices. There’s always a lot of guess work over who did what part of some paintings. “The Master” usually did the central figures. Apprentices often did background and maybe bits of robes and such. I can imagine Da Vinci shouting over his shoulder, “Slap my name on that ermine picture that’s ready to go! I can’t quit get the mouth right on this darned Mona Lisa.” :-) So much about the past is speculative. Oh, well. Grad students have to write about something.

Frank Lloyd Wright was very touchy about changes to his creations. And he not only designed the houses, but also picked any colors and furnished the right down to the dishes and drapes. He pretty much only designed for people who shared his vision. There were a lot of restrictions in the contracts ... and most of the original owners passed those restrictions on.

Well, I’m still in transition, here. I still see ladies I’ve never seen before. But they seem a lot more relaxed, so word must have spread that there’s “a man on the floor.” :-). Still so wound up in the move that I really don’t have much time for reflection. I made pancakes, corn bread and oatmeal (enough for two meals), yesterday. Enough to ride out the heat wave. And, stuff to carry out to the old place that’s easy to heat up and eat. I’ll just go earlier in the morning, while the temp is still manageable.

Bad news on the truck repair front. I showed up to my appointment, and the grill is not in. Seems it was coming from a wrecking yard. It didn’t show, Frank called them. “Oh, it broke when we were getting it off the wreck.” Didn’t bother to call Frank and let him know. So, we’re going with a new one, which really isn’t that expensive. It’s nice that Frank is trying to save me a few bucks, But sometimes, it’s not productive. It’s no big deal. I just went out to the old place and packed more stuff. Lew


Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Thanks so much for letting us hear while you are on your adventure. I much enjoy the vicarious thrill! Hope to hear about the wildlife, and the food sometime.

Pam

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

I like your painting and your bathroom. So lovely to have views that are overlooked only by you. I hope the bath helped with your horrible flu. I was happy to hear you are feeling a bit better. I have a small hand painted tile that your artwork reminds me of. I was given it as a thank you for giving a presentation on co-housing some years ago and I have always wished that I owned more art work. The artwork we do own sits in the old cottage. I have had no inclination to bring it into the new house. Odd.we have one charcoal nude, very tasteful, very good and it always had pride of position in out living area. It caused a little bit of consternation on the odd occasion and people always suggested it was a 'bedroom' piece. That seemed odd to me too.

We are still recovering from too much travel and have one more trip to Newcastle, another trip to Sydney for a medical appointment (the joys of living in the bush where certain services are very thin on the ground) and a last trip to Melbourne to do before the year is out. I feel as if this year has been the year of travel, not for pleasure although there are enjoyable aspects within what is necessity. I hope next year sees us staying home much more.

Agapanthus really do a good job in so many circumstances. The area you've planted with them should be stabilised as they colonise it. Ours have been pounded by the severe frosts this year but I'm hoping they come back when the frosts have passed.

Warm Regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks the painting is a lot of fun and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Glad you enjoyed it. Ah yes, the bathroom is a pleasant place to spend time in and it is hard to get out of the bath. On warm days the window can be open and let in the fresh warm air. Nice.

Oh no! I had no idea (i-deer!) about any of those aspects of the deer lifecycle. Thanks for the excellent explanation. Do the deer antlers break down once they fall off the stags forehead? Was the doe startled by your cool "go away and keep out of my garden" stare?

The surrounding forest has been flowering more often of recent years. July has been crazy warm and record breaking down here. Not good. Fingers crossed for the summer. Have you had any rain recently?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for understanding. Life's journey can be full of twists and turns and unexpected events. I just hope for not too much drama.

It looks like winter will return with a vengance tomorrow with cold and rain, although you wouldn't know it right now as the sun is shining and it is dead still. Quite a pleasant day really.

I love that bathroom and I hear you about spending time in the bathroom. I'm not fussed about morning or evening as once the sun has set I get the lights of the nearby town and see the lights of vehicles moving along the freeway. You can even see the trains running Melbourne to Bendigo (and back again) - I call them "light worms" as they worm their way across the landscape. When the wind blows up from the south you can hear the trains as a dull rumble with the occasional whistle. I have seen wooden toilet seats but it was a long time ago. In these enlightened times we seem to demand plastic seats.

You've left a definite mental image of someone hammering on the door: "Are you done in there!" Funny stuff.

It can be quite pleasing to pass stuff on. I wonder about how to pass knowledge on, but I guess I learned a lot of the stuff here without having anyone explain things to me.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Laughing about winter versus summer jobs gave me a coughing fit! I'm feeling heaps better today though and almost back to my normal self, which is amazing given the complex and slightly alarming job I had to do today. All done now though and not nearly as scary as I thought. It is busy all year round here, although some days are harder than others. I would have liked to work outside tomorrow, but winter looks set to arrive with a thump (cool and rainy). Mind you, July has been such a strange weather month that I may have forgotten what a proper winter was like. Snow is definitely not on the cards this year. What is this down time business? I've heard about that... :-)! Funny, funny stuff.

Only an occasional minor twinge is pretty good news really, especially given how invasive the surgery was. Not bad at all. Ah yes, with your health care costs, I'd probably bin the post cards too. The daily impact blog covered an unusual aspect of your health care in the previous blog post when a charity set out a field tent hospital in Virginia. Such scenes are unheard of down here unless there has been a natural disaster or some such thing. Your response is very stoic and accepting of your fate. What else can you do? I hear you.

The interesting thing about the daily impact is that the author suggested that the bonds for sub prime vehicle debt seems to have increasing default rates. The original sub prime housing bonds originally began failing with about the same volume of defaults which was about 4% from memory. There have been quite a few articles down here about dodgy lending practices for vehicle HP leases. Interestingly too, I noticed that in the US there was a preference for six years, whilst down here it seems to be five years. I don’t really do vehicle debt, although I seem to be in the minority. A decade ago down here it was very rare.

That is hysterical: "can't get the mouth right on this darned Mona Lisa". :-)! Good stuff. I guess we extrapolate the past from our own viewpoint. It would be an honest historian who mentioned bias in their work. I guess we sort of look for absolutes don't we, even when there are none.

Frank Loyd Wright sounds like an absolute martinet! Far out, it seems to be taking his personal vision a little bit too far. Imagine the horror should he revisit his vision and someone dropped and broke one of the plates! My mates who live in the impressive shed have that sort of a relationship with their architect who also seems to be a bit of a martinet from my perspective. I lack the easy going tolerance for such sticklers for details and may horrify such characters by saying such things: "Yeah, that's good enough, let's move on". Then I would probably break one of the plates... Tears would be shed, tantrums would be thrown and the artist vision would disappear over the horizon to less laissez faire environments.

The bush telegraph has announced your presence to the ladies and they are now more familiar with you. That is the purpose of it. Fair enough, time for relaxing and contemplation later. As the old zen masters used to say: Talk does not move the boxes. They probably didn't say that, but they could have!

Wow, imagine not calling to let the repairer know that the part is not coming anymore. I can't even imagine how they broke the grill removing it from the wreck at the wreckers. They're not held on by that many bolts and plastic tabs these days. A new grille won't cost that much more, but it is better to repair and re-use, but if you can't then, replace. I haven't considered repairing the plastic on the car here yet, so I'll have to get my back into that. I don't know why I'm procrastinating. Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

It is very quiet here and I can't see any of my neighbours, unless of course you count the wombats, wallabies and kangaroos plus all of the birds who are all the biggest sticky beaks and know more about my business than I do. :-)!

Glad you enjoyed the painting. It is fun isn't it? The bath was excellent when I was feeling unwell last week. I'm almost back to my normal self today.

Good for you. Hey did you know the Green Wizards did a talk about co-housing last Saturday? I had no idea such developments went on. Property prices blew them out of the water though.

People can be rather strange about art and nudes. They have a long history in the art world. The editor went to a talk on the history of nudes at the National Gallery of Victoria a few years ago. She really enjoyed it. Still, peoples sensibilities can be easily outraged over all sorts of things. Try mentioning using trees for firewood one day in polite company - the general consensus seems to be burning brown coal is ok, but trees are not good...

Enjoy your travel, it is all good. How is the rainfall going in your part of the country?

The agapanthus are very hardy aren't they? My gut feeling is that they'll bounce back. I have noticed a few of the tip ends have been damaged by frost here but not much else. Mind you, frosts are harder in your part of the country especially this year.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

i-deer! The deer antlers stay solid and in one piece (well, each one falls off of the head by itself) pretty much forever, except for a bit of knawing by rodents (calcium, I presume). Our dogs enjoyed a nice antler now and then. My husband found a fairly large one last fall. Should one mount one antler? Rather Adams Family-ish. I had a fun time with the deer looking in the window; we stared at each other for about 10 minutes, then she had to scratch and had to stand up, and then left. I did have the advantage of not sitting in a bunch of ticks.

We had nice rains about a week ago and it was really cool, like fall. It's hot again now.

I was just pondering your blog title and thought of a friend who left a phone message last week of exactly that - "Having a ball." He and his wife and son have a small 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom (with dodgy plumbing) house and were having 5 relatives come to stay for a week. I suspect sarcasm there.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - 90F (32.22C) yesterday and supposed to hit 100F (37.77C), today. But the last two days there’s been a pretty good breeze. If that keeps up, it’s not near so uncomfortable. When I came off the hill at my old place, at the end of the day, the smoke was quit noticeable, lower down. I thought there might be a fire in the county, but it’s smoke from fires in British Columbia. Cliff Mass posted about it. The setting sun was fire red. Very apocalyptic looking.

I saw that article on the health care clinics at the Daily Impact. Dental insurance is very scarce, here. It’s not covered under my old people’s government medicare insurance. Neither are glasses. Dentists and eye doctors are pretty much “cash up front” for care. It’s as if they collectively decided to not deal with insurance companies. Can’t say I really blame them. The insurance billing end of a doctor’s practice racks up horrendous costs. And to make a very bad pun, it’s like pulling teeth to get payment out of them. I did have a bit of dental insurance at one point. The story is long, but I ultimately couldn’t get payment out of them. I couldn’t find any leverage to get them to pay.

We’ve always had car loans, here, but mostly on new vehicles. Used car loans as “big business” is kind of new. y folks always paid cash for any vehicle they bought. I took a loan when I bought my truck, new. Now that was interesting. I was being all thrifty and looking at $12,000 vehicles. My bank at that time (oh, lets name names. Bank of America), told me that they didn’t make auto loans for less than $22,000! It was like being told not to be thrifty. Ford company had is own financing. Any time I got a little windfall, I’d throw it at the truck payment. Paid if off pretty early.

I made a lot of progress, yesterday. We’ll see if I can pull off the same stunt, today. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Am I to believe that one can't buy new wooden toilet seats in Australia? One can certainly get them here. Perhaps a colder climate makes them wanted.

Am feeling surprised at how little I have learned from other people. Most of my lessons seem to have been hard won from experience. Am still thinking about it.

It has been raining on and off for days. My daughter seems to have taken Summer back to Australia with her.

Son's 7 puppies are all boys. I am told that it is unusual not to have a mixture.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Speaking of iDeer. What do you call a deer with no eyes or ears? No idea! ;-)! Apologies for the dodgy humour.

Thanks for explaining about the deer as I hadn't understood any of that. Did you notice that in the photo on the blog, the deer on the right hand side of the frame looks physically larger than the other does. It may be that that was the stag and he'd lost his antlers? Dunno.

Those rodents are pretty clever to learn to gnaw on the antlers for a feed of calcium - and your observation sounds spot on to me. The dogs here are jealous of their bone supply and I have absolutely no doubts that the rodents get to them too late at night.

Mounting antlers is a bit Adams Family-ish, although I have seen mounted animal heads on plaques in the occasional home, although it is not a very common practice at all down here. Taxidermists would be a bit light on for work down here.

Out of curiosity, do your ticks have associated medical conditions? Up north from here in the more tropical areas, the ticks carry a paralysis disease. The ticks around these parts hang onto the wallabies, wombats and kangaroos and they drop off into the vegetation and then attach themselves to the dogs. They're not common and I have not noticed any ill effects from tick bites, although removing them is a reasonably painless process for the dogs who seem happy to be rid of them. I usually burn them in the firebox as it would be unwise to flush them here into the worm farm as they may survive and build their population.

Glad to read that you received some good rains at near to the peak of summer weather - you can't ask for better than that outcome for the garden. Today is like winter here with fogs, mists and drizzle.

Oh yes, I rather suspect sarcasm at play in that reply too. Dodgy plumbing can be repaired given the time and effort and a small house beats living rough.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Far out, just as winter has descended here with a thump bringing fog, mists and drizzle, the summer sun has turned up the heat for your part of the world. That sort of day is hot in my experience too. The breeze keeps things cooler too. I assume you get offshore breezes? Or are do they sometimes descend out of the higher alpine areas? Cliff Mass really spelled out the higher fire risk quite nicely. He is an excellent author as he explains concepts in approachable terms.

I'm continuing reading Fire Monks and fortunately, the book has stopped writing about the people and is getting around to mentioning the fire which is threatening the retreat. I'm glad the author conveys the unknown aspects of the fire quite nicely. It is funny reading the book has given me the idea that I probably need to upgrade my own fire readiness clothes as they may come in handy. If house insurance ever became unaffordable, I would have no choice other than to prepare to face a fire. Fortunately at the moment it is an option.

There is something very attractive about the red sunsets from a smoky atmosphere. Sometimes you can smell the burnt vegetation if the fire is big enough and the wind is blowing in the right direction here.

The article on the health care was frightening stuff! I had no idea at all of the extent and size of the predicament. I had a mate years ago who worked for a claims department in an insurance company and I was never sure whether he was making it up or not, but he said they were paid incentives if they could find a reason to disallow a claim. It was a very long time ago, and things may have changed since then, but you know, I can't shake that story from my consciousness.

Really? Wow. There have been some articles in the newspapers about dodgy practices in relation to vehicle loans down here. Names were named and the financial ombudsman reversed some of the loans. I recall a long time back that credit card providers were stalking intellectually disabled people and then who would figure that they couldn't repay those loans. Debt is a scary thing and I saw a whole horrid side to that story today in my professional life. It was heart breaking. I'm what are you meant to say? I reckon that story will play out in more people over the next few years.

Well done with the move! Good stuff.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

Glad to hear you´re finally on the road to recovery after the nasty flu. Being sick is no fun.

Stunning sunsets and wildflowers this week. And I like the painting as well. I insisted on having a bath as well as a shower in the main bath, which we almost never use, in case I was prostrate after a day digging potatoes or something. We use it exclusively for bathing the dog, but at least it´s there. At first, he was most reluctant, but a few months ago suddenly decided it was no big deal and hops right in.

With August come the annual visits from family so we´ve been madly cleaning, straightening and generally prettying up the yard/patio area. After the heatwaves of June/July, the weather has suddenly turned coolish, which is great for visitors, but not so good for ripening tomatoes.

Cheers

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Arghhhh! "No idea!"

Our ticks carry very serious diseases. I just looked at a list of 16 different diseases. About 17 years ago, I - along with two of our dogs - contracted Rocky Mountain spotted fever from ticks. It was horrible; not only the flu-like symptoms, but we each developed rheumatoid arthritis. For awhile, I couldn't stand for more than 5 minutes at a time. The three of us hit the immune-building herbs and all the anti-inflammatory foods that I could come up with. We saw no doctor and had no antibiotics. It took awhile, but the dogs and I all seemed to fully recover. Do I stay away from where ticks might be? Well, around here, there is no place where ticks might not be, so I don't worry about it. And I suspect I may have developed antibodies to some of the diseases after almost thirty years in these woods.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I take it back - one of us did see a doctor when we had Rocky Mountain spotted fever. I took one of the dogs to a vet and she was diagnosed with that. Since the other dog and I came down with the same symptoms at exactly the same time, I felt it was pretty safe to say that we all had the same thing.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, yesterday it was 95F (35C) and today it’s supposed to get to 102F (38.88C). Mid 90s on Friday and then back to mid 80s from Saturday, on. More manageable. Usually, we get an “on shore flow” ... breezes from the ocean (west). But we’ve been getting smoke from the north and warmth from inland. We still had a bit of a breeze, yesterday, but it was a very warm breeze. Makes things feel better but dries everything out. We had a second fire, in the county. People were evacuated. But, they knocked it down quick and no structures were lost.

Paying a small bonus for denying as many health claims as possible is common practice, here. There was a congressional hearing, oh, maybe five years ago. Some ex-insurance management type sobbing in front of Congress because she knew that some of her delaying tactics had caused the death of some people. I couldn’t work up a jot of sympathy for her.

Quit a few medical claims are rejected, out of hand, when first submitted. Same goes with appeals. It’s all delaying tactics, hoping the claimant will die, or just go away. I think I mentioned that, much to my horror I discovered that my Medicare coverage? Well, they’ve privatized the appeal end of that. Some company called Noridian. So, you have a bill that’s due in 30 days, your appealing, they delay, the bill winds it’s way toward collection. So, you pay it. Even if you win the appeal, it’s like pulling teeth to get your money back. More delaying tactics hoping you’ll go away or die. Delaying tactics include off shore call centers where the employees speak very poor English. Phone tree hell. Dropped calls. Hours (I kid you not) on hold, while your cell phone battery slowly dies. I do not exagerate. (sp?).

For myself, I’ve decided to have as little to do with the medical or insurance industry as possible. I think I told you the oral surgeon had given me an amount for the work (prepaid) ... and then his office called me the next day, after the surgery (still groggy, still in pain) to announce I owed another $400 dollars. Given what I’ve said so far, nothing to do but pay it and try and move on.

You mentioned car loans, and I thought you had seen that The Daily Impact had another post, after the one on health care, that discussed just that. Nothing new to a well informed Citizen, but here, those are few on the ground. :-).

Down to 10 boxes in the living room (I moved them, yesterday. Pretty light, don’t think there’s much in them) and about half the laundry room to clean out. Then, clean, and I’m done. Don’t know if I’ll finish, today, given the heat. We’ll see. Oh, and when I went out to the old place, yesterday .... wait for it ... no water. :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No, you can purchase timber toilet seats down under, they're just very rare items and you don't see them around much. Most house opt for plastic seats. As a funny side story many years ago, I recall a house being advertised not too far from where I lived at the time, and one of the selling features was a very expensive toilet seat. As to the question as to whether the considerable expense on said toilet seat was worth it for the owners, I can't honestly speak to that? It did all seem rather strange to me and it must have been a notable inclusion.

It is interesting that you wrote that, because I learn a lot from other people by asking questions and trying to come to grips with their experiences, but most of the salient lessons have been earned on my own terms (possibly like your experience). And you never know when you need to learn a lesson in the first place. Transferring hard won lessons to other people is just a hard ask and I have never had much success on that front. That is one of the reasons I like writing in short story format as the lessons can be bundled up into the stories - whether people make any use of that knowledge is a whole 'nother story.

The rain has set in here these past few days too, so summer may be like your daughter - north of here! Melbourne's coldest day in 19 years. Friday in the big smoke was very cold and cloudy and certainly one of the coldest days that I can recall.

Has your son spotted any of the pups that he is considering keeping? I don't have enough experience with dog breeding to form any opinions as to mixed litters. I'm planning to write about the dogs on the next blog.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Thanks very much. This flu has been one of the worst that I can recall for quite a while. Part of my job is visiting and spending time in small businesses, and like me, they don't enjoy sick leave benefits, and as such I get exposed to a lot of colds and flu's. Mostly I can fend off minor colds without noticing them, but this flu took me down to sick town.

Really glad that everyone was so positive about the art work as it is so much fun and a very quirky addition to the household. It is nice to read that Breo has such good taste and that he can enjoy a quality bathing experience. Life is short and quality bathing experiences can lift ones spirits even canines!

Yes of course August is holiday time in Europe, I forget. I saw a news report of a light aircraft in trouble that landed on a beach in your part of the world. Not good. It is nice that after the heatwaves and fires in your part of the world that the weather has turned cooler. The tomatoes may surprise you and continue to ripen regardless. By the time they are full sized, even if they are mildly green, you may find that they have their full complement of sugars and will taste quite nice. The biggest harvests of tomatoes begin here in February so there is plenty of time for you still to go.

The winter weather was so filthy here today that we spent the day gathering materials for the extension of the tomato enclosure. Half an inch of rain fell last night and I just couldn't bring myself today to the task of digging in the wet clay in that area that the tomato enclosure is extending into.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Hehe! My dodgy humour has achieved its goal. Whatever that goal was. It was a pretty awful joke, but made me laugh! ;-)!

Far out, it has been cold as down here today. Half an inch of rain fell last night and the skies have been dark and cloudy - like a proper winter should be. I was originally considering digging some soil, today but the outside weather conditions are very unappealing. I must be getting soft in my dotage? Oh well.

Wow, you know that is how folks used to face up to such diseases in the past. And the herbs really do help don't they? When I was feeling really ill early last week, I went outside and picked every single herb and green vegetable that I could get my hands on and then I chucked two fried (in olive oil) eggs on top and ate that mass for lunch and it was like a sinus explosion as my nose cleared within minutes and my breathing became easier for a while. We really are what we eat.

I hear you about the ticks as the dogs and every other animal around here helpfully move the ticks (and leeches unfortunately) from one location to another - so everywhere around here is tick country too. What do you do? And absolutely, you would have developed antibodies to the ticks long list of diseases. They used to say what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. It is a brutal way to learn, but as a population we were never really this mobile before fossil fuels so it is another case of benefits come with costs.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ah, Cliff Mass nailed your smoky weather conditions perfectly and there was even a small image of Godzilla with a smoke machine. A nice touch that one! I find it strange that Portland was actually hotter than Seattle. But my favourite chunk of the blog was comparing the air quality to Beijing with a photo comparison. A very cheeky touch that one. Sometimes the air down here during the summer can look like the photo of the Olympic Peninsula due to the sheer quantity of smoke from large scale bush fires even in the next state. Smoke drifts a long way.

The editor reads a blog from someone in the northwest of Canada and they were complaining about the hot weather of 29'C / 84'F in their corner of the world. Our sympathies were not with that blogger as summers here can be like the sort of weather you are experiencing right now. Is it cooling down over night or is the smoke retaining the heat?

Glad to read that the second fire was contained quickly and that nobody was injured and no structures were damaged. All this talk of fire has made me start considering some aspects of this farm that need addressing on that front. I frankly don't have enough time or resources to do everything that needs to be done. Instead I chuck resources at the most likely problems, but if I had a good uninterrupted decade, I could achieve some very good things around here. I suspect that eventually house insurance will be unaffordable, but I don't really know how things will actually play out.

To be honest, I never really felt sympathy for my mate. He was an interesting character who was clearly suffering from the cognitive dissonance between his own actions and his beliefs. One day he took off and disappeared and nobody in my circle of friends ever saw him again. It was a very strange path to take and I was unaware that people would try that particular path of disappearing until of course he did. As to the crying in front of Congress, well I mean whatever gets her through the night, but the facts speak for themselves and on a balance of probabilities she apparently did cause an awful lot of pain for others who would have been in a serious hour of need. On the other hand, it is very hard to be alive and not to impact other lifeforms adversely in that just by existing we push out the needs of other beings. My gut feeling is that there is only so much energy to slosh around the planets biosphere, but that is just me randomly philosophising. We tend to ignore limits as a society and that makes us weaker.

Oh my goodness! The off shore call centres can be a nightmare. To my shame I once was on the phone for about four hours trying to clear up a minor billing query and I kept getting transferred around from one department to another and the editor said I went very bright red in the face, so my blood pressure was probably quite high. Anyway to cut a long story short, I eventually got angry and dropped an F bomb on the overseas call centre staff - and they said "Excuse me Sir", and then hung up on me... Far out! That made me even angrier. The business in question also has bricks and mortar shops which I now travel into to sort out any problems and that seems to work much better. Recently, like your story there was an error on their part in the billing and I just paid it out to make them go away.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Fines have that effect down here too. If anybody is silly enough to appeal a fine - and there may be good reasons to do so - then the appropriate thing to do is pay the fine and then appeal it. Not paying is not a good option because even if you win the appeal, but do not pay the fine, the costs escalate behind the scenes and nobody wants to deal with that mess. And you may well lose the good fight. A good example is: Bushfire battler story is more complex than it looks. The original fine was $2,500 but eventually escalated according to the article to $50,000.

Like you I try not to have any interactions with the insurance or medical industries. The thing I wonder about your system is how does a person go about getting a quote for services in the first instance? I mean how do you commit to expenditure when you don't know how things will turn out? It is funny that you mention all of this as my next story will be about the dogs interactions with the veterinarians. Maybe “care” fell down behind the couch? It couldn't hurt looking for it there could it?

The whole self driving car thing is all about trying to create a new flow of funds for investors. It just makes no economic sense at all having a vehicle being driven by an expensive computer when it could be driven by a very cheap human. What twigged me to that point of view was that I heard an account of a very wealthy investor visiting down under recently and spruiking the idea of self driving cars without grappling with the nitty gritty realities of why he was doing so. The motivations speak for themselves. I'll check out the blog.

No water! What a disaster in such weather conditions. I wonder if long term they will have to sink another even deeper well. I worry about water here, as the lack of it was the reason why the original town was abandoned. There was even a primary school and post office and Cobb and Co coach run up here. Not good.

The weather was so filthy cold and wet here today that the editor and I went out and gathered materials for the extension of the tomato enclosure, rather than any actual construction tasks. I did remove the steel cages from three fruit trees today as I sort of felt that they were now big enough to fend for themselves. One apricot, apple and a pear - all released to the loving ministrations of the various hungry wallabies. I hope they survive the transition time. No doubt they'll lose a few lower branches. The wallabies maintain an open forest and that is their role in the forest here.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, it hit 97F (36.11C), yesterday. Supposed to be 92F (33.33C), today. I went to a meeting last night, and several people said their thermometers registered 102F. I had wondered if the smoke would accentuate or diminish the heat, and Cliff Mass had the answer :-). The smoke cut the solar radiation. A bit. But, there also wasn’t much of a breeze, yesterday, which has kept things tolerable.

Well, Portland’s closer to the equator, so it’s warmer :-). Actually, I think it’s because Seattle is surrounded by water. Every looked at a map of Seattle? It’s kind of startling. This really narrow strip of land. If you do that, think about what that means for traffic. All those people and vehicles crammed on that rather tiny strip of land. It has been cooling down, overnight.

As far as call centers go and billing errors, etc. All that we’ve been talking about. How did we come to such a pass? I mean, I know when I think about it. The slow errosion of quality and services. Of course, what it’s all about is the End of Empire. The winding down.

Here, when you inquire into possible medical fees, one would think one had broken wind in church :-). There’s an old saying: “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.” Which I think is just stupid. but probably has a lot to do with status and class.

Well, as far as not having water out at the old place, I still had my 25 gallons stashed away :-). So, at least Beau got watered and I could keep myself hydrated. But it slowed down my getting at the laundry room as there’s a lot of mouse droppings, about. I wash my hands ... a lot.

Well, I’m down to the last 10 boxes in the laundry room, then a bit of a clean and I’m done. Whew! So, I’d better get at it while it’s still cool. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That makes sense about folks at the meeting observing different temperatures at their places of residence. Thick smoke in the air reduces solar radiation here too and it makes the sun much more red than it otherwise would be. The differences in temperatures happens here too during the summer and occasionally it annoys me that Melbourne is enjoying much cooler weather than this far in land at altitude - if only because such an outcome makes absolutely no sense whatsoever other than a favourable offshore breeze. It was interesting that Cliff Mass suggested that the record for consecutive dry days was about to be broken in your part of the world. I assume that Cliff Mass is slightly north of you as I recall you mentioning rain in the past couple of weeks? I could be wrong, my memory is not the sharp tool and steel filing cabinet that it once was! :-)! Has the smoke cleared yet in your part of the world? The satellite photos are epic and I'm always impressed that you have snow capped mountains and bush-fires going on at the same time. Such things are unheard of down here. It has been a good snow season in the alpine areas here and they are experiencing blizzards today.

Mind you, the winter has returned with a thump over the past few days and the winds have howled and the rains have been unrelenting – no snow at this altitude though. I hope I get at least some work done about the place this week. I was intending to excavate today but the sticky wet clay is a very unappealing prospect.

Now, I'm just saying that you may have put the kiss of death on me as we were discussing having to contact big telco's over the past week or so! :-)! Well, in a strange turn of events, the big telco here throttled my interweb access last evening for no reason whatsoever. It was absolutely surreal and there was no apparent reason for that to happen. Fortunately, I'd just managed to reply to comments and then the proverbial manure hit the fan and the interweb went down in a ball of flames. I couldn't be bothered ringing them up last night, and so instead rang them up today and they simply fixed it whilst I was on the phone and they explained that there was some sort of network outage that caused an error in my account - although they refused to go into details. Whilst I am occasionally like a ferret or terrier for details, I let that one go and simply accepted what they said at face value. It was very strange to put it mildly. And given I pay a hugely expensive monthly subscription for interweb services, only makes it seem even more strange to me. Oh well. A mystery.

Of course, thanks for the polite correction. For some reason I had confused the location of both cities. I did tell you about my dodgy memory! :-)! Ah yes, the water would impact Seattle’s climate and it is also protected by mountain ranges to the east and west.

Of course about call centres and billing errors. Such activities are about keeping costs low. You hear those claims whenever the catch phrase is bandied around: "It is good for consumers". The call centre I called up today was overseas and the poor bloke on the other end asked me to take a survey at the end of the call. Now I know a thing or two about key performance indicators affecting peoples jobs. I have noticed that executives tend to choose very soft targets for their own remuneration linked targets, but I may be a cynic.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I read an article today quoting the Reserve Bank down here: RBA sees jobless rate edging lower, gradual wage growth . You don't have to read it, but the thing that stood out to me was a quote: "The arrival of further new foreign retailers will be an important influence on consumer durable prices over the next few years, the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) said". What they are possibly referring to is the arrival of Amazon down here which has an expectation in the media of lowering prices for consumers. Whenever I hear the statement: "good for consumers" then I know someone somewhere is being chucked out of a job or a small business is hitting the wall.

Haha! Breaking bad in church. Like it! I was quite forceful with the dentist about getting a quote for a porcelain crown a few years ago. It was uncomfortable but the quote made me feel more comfortable. They often try the old: do you want an x-ray with that? talk every time I go for a check up. Like exposing yourself to an x-ray is akin to munching down on a bag of lollies. There is real risk in everything that you do in life. Mind you getting an x-ray worked out well for you in that regard but I reckon you got lucky in that someone who was alert spotted the growth in your jaw.

Yes, mouse droppings can be quite hazardous to ones health. If it means anything to you, I wash my hands after handling the firewood as the rats and mice have been all over that stuff and like your laundry room, they leave their calling cards - just to let you know who the boss actually is.

I hope you get the last 10 boxes across without incident and that cleaning up the place is a doddle.

I'm baking up a huge batch of one hundred dog biscuits this evening. I put a bit more banana and apple into this batch and they smelled too good for the dogs so I helped myself to a few of them. Yum! I picked up a huge box of seconds pears today and have been slowly stewing them up. The house smells very nice and I may try some poached pears for dessert this evening.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Oh, boy - a dog story! That's a lot of dog biscuits. I used to eat my homemade dog biscuits, too - if no canines were watching . . . We canned 2 1/2 gallons (9.5L) of passata yesterday. This is our third batch, though the others weren't as large. Have been canning peppers, also. Am suppose to can summer squash soup today (it's been a very good year for squashes), and freeze a bunch of gazpacho. I don't think we have any pears this year. I am having a running battle with Arnie the groundhog (the coyotes didn't eat him), as we have some really nice cantaloupes and honeydew melons this year and he will keep finding ways in. One large cantaloupe has little teeth marks testing it. Hmmm . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Before I forget (because, I’ve forgot to mention it for quit a few days ... memory, what memory?) I watched an Australian film called “Bathing Frankie”. You may have missed it. Smallest of the small indy films. No subtitles, no opening trailers and no “extras” on the DVD. I can’t remember when I’ve seen a DVD this ... spare. Filmed in Sydney, I think. It’s about a young man who is released from prison and is employed delivering meals to the elderly, and such. He meets a man who’s been providing home care for his mother, who’s had a stroke, for 40 years. They were apparently in “show business” at one time. Would I recommend it? Hmm. Well, it was well acted (I thought), had some twists and turns. Like large chunks of our society, I’m completely refusing to take any responsibility for a recommendation. :-).

Yesterday it was 93F (33.88C), with less of a breeze. Today it’s supposed to be 86F (30C). Yup. Cliff Mass is about 90 miles north of me, in Seattle, mostly. So, his posts tend to be a bit Seattle-centric, but I still pick up all kinds of useful stuff. I mentioned his blog to The Warden. She was quit impressed and recommended him to three of her friends. Still smokey, here, but some of it is now fires in our county. There was a 30 acre one. A house was lost.

Well, I’m almost finished. Sorted through the stuff that was left, and there’s always little details. Like moving the last of my worms, here. I took a load of cardboard to the recycling. A final small load to the new place. So, it’s four in the afternoon, I’m tired, it’s hot. I decided to do the clean up this morning, when it’s cool. I’ll do a better job of it.

In some ways, terrorists did big companies a bit of a favor. Instead of fessing up and saying “We screwed up”, now it’s “Can’t tell you. Security reasons.” There was a huge outage here (Seattle to south of Portland) for about a day. A major cable was cut, due to construction. Sooner or later, someone spills the beans, onto the Net.

Our jobless rate is also edging lower. Of course, a lot of it is people who have fallen off the unemployment rolls or have given up searching for work. They become one of the ever growing number of homeless, join the gray or black economy, or turn to a life of crime. Well, Amazon is good for the consumer (like Walmart) if the only thing you consider is low prices. But, your correct. People are laid off or other businesses fail. And what of the consumer, then?

There’s nothing like good house smells in the winter. Probably strikes a cord, somewhere deep in our DNA. It’s winter, we have good stuff to eat. :-). My pumpkins are about to bloom. Hope they get pollinated. Not many bees around ... but there are a few homes for Mason Bees. And, they’re occupied. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

I enjoy writing the dog stories too, and the canine opinions are always surprising! This one is a clever play on the "big pharma" story.

Yes, when the canines are watching they always demand their fair share of biscuits. Dogs can pull a disappointed face at about 30 feet. It is an effective strategy don't you reckon? The dog biscuits are very tasty and I chucked in a fair bit of banana and apple in the recent batch so they tasted a bit like a banana muffin to me. Too good for the likes of them. Hehe!

That is an awesome quantity of passata. Well done! I assume your canning process is a hot water bath? It honestly seems to be the most effective process and we haven't had a bad batch yet – with the exception of the failed method of using lots of acids in the form of vinegar and citric acid. Do you add other vegetables to your passata mix? I'd never heard of gazpacho before but it sounds very tasty - and a good use for old bread. Yum!

Out of curiosity, how old are your pear trees? I've found that the Asian pears (nashi varieties) seem to fruit at an earlier age than the European pears which to be honest haven't set much fruit at all here. From all accounts pears are a very long lived tree so that is probably consistent. The Asian pears are tasty but watery compared to the sweeter European pears. Growing fruit trees is a very complex business.

Arnie the groundhog is very naughty. By any chance is Arnie related to the very famous groundhog: Punxsutawney Phil? It is a bit of a stretch of the imagination that, but how good was the film: Groundhog Day? :-)!

You know, cantaloupes and honeydew melons are very tasty, but I found last year that the Portuguese millipedes attacked them on the very day the fruit became ripe. It was uncanny. With a number of the melons, I had to hack chunks off the melon and feed those chunks to the chickens. Unfortunately a couple of them ripened on the same day and there wasn't much chance of consuming so much fruit in that short a period of time. Do you bring them inside the house once they have ripened on the vine and do find they require refrigeration?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You and me both. This ageing business is a tough school. What were we talking about again? ;-)! That's right poor memories. I have a theory that the more people do in their lives, the more difficult it is to recall all of the small details involved in doing all of that stuff. My brain is full and sometimes I just forget things. Fortunately, I keep a whiteboard on the desk here to record ideas and things to do. Imagine if I wrote the blog and it went along the lines of: I got up and did some stuff, and then the day was done, and so I decided to go to bed. It would make for poor entertainment value wouldn't it? :-)!

Interestingly, that film was filmed in and around the Hunter Valley in New South Wales where a regular commenter here (Helen) lives. By all accounts the film received positive reviews, but I hadn't heard of it at all, even though I do patronise an indy cinema in Melbourne. It is a good cinema that one and they offer annual memberships so you can enjoy discounted entry on films which is good by me. It can be quite confronting to visit a larger cinema in a shopping centre to watch the occasional mainstream film release. You know, I'm going to take your review as a positive recommendation and I'll see if I can track down a copy of the film. Well acted with twists and turns is certainly an intriguing prospect. I have to confess - and you're going to not watch this film - but I was thinking of going to see a rom-com (I told you so! :-)!) called The Big Sick over the next week or so. It looks like fun, with a twist of coma.

I reckon reintegrating back into society from prison would be no joke at all.

It is still warm in your part of the world. Thanks for explaining that Cliff Mass is in Seattle as I guessed at that, but wasn't quite sure. He writes an impressive blog and makes the science behind the weather more accessible than it may otherwise be.

Oh my. The fires in your county are not a good sign. Out of curiosity, is it forecast to cool over the next few weeks? And more importantly, are the winds remaining calm? It is the winds that drive fire behaviour and ferocity from my experience. I installed an easy to get to shut off valve for the water here today and the idea for that came from reading Fire Monks. I'm intending to place another fire sprinkler down below the house and the new valve can shut it off remotely from quite a distance away. An obvious idea from hindsight. Speaking of fire monks you got me reading some of the harrowing accounts from the bushfire royal commission the other evening (no light bedtime reading that one) and I have to add that I got ideas from those sad tales too (the dead don't tell tales from what I can understand of that situation). I am reluctant to consider fire matters at this time of the year as the rain is falling and the winds are driving up from the Southern Ocean, but alas, as the scouts say: Be prepared. Actually do they really say that? And what is this whole: Dib, dib, dib, dob, dob, dob business all about?

How did the clean up go? I'm impressed that you've moved everything across with only the occasional minor incident. How have you adapted to your new digs? Hope the worms are happy in their new garden beds?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh yeah, that has happened down here too. Sometimes we need to obtain information in our professional roles and the whole security thing gets taken way too far. I had an incident relating to that earlier in the year and it just took hours of mine and the clients time to resolve what should otherwise have been a simple matter. Interestingly, the interweb service has been running very well today, so I can't imagine what would have happened had I not complained to the telco twice yesterday. Certainly there was some fishy business going on and I did a bit of an interweb search and others were also having unknown issues.

Yeah, jobless rates are down here, but under employment is also apparently on the rise. They use the code word: Portfolio (or gig) economy, but it all means the same thing. At the end of the 1980's I saw what the promise of secure employment looked like and today employment looks nothing like that. And exactly, low prices are nice, but if people aren't gainfully employed then it doesn't matter how cheap "stuff" is, because nobody can afford it, if they can't afford it. The whole thing looks like a race to the bottom to me. I have lost a bit of income this year because my client base has aged and for many different reasons dropped off the radar, so in a couple of months time I'm going to have to go into marketing mode again. Fortunately, I maintain a bit of healthy fat to accommodate difficulties and set backs. The funny thing that is never lost on me is that one day I wake up and find that I am the old dude with the experience. Oh well.

Oh yeah, food smells from the kitchen in the depths of winter is music to my nose! Made a yummy pesto today from the garden greens and smeared it on fresh bread for lunch. What a delightful lunch.

Mate, it has rained and rained, and then rained some more these past few days. I had great plans to go out and dig the tomato enclosure extension today, but the weather was absolutely filthy. It almost snowed several times, but not quite. And there were times when the rain was falling and the sun was shining and the individual rain drops (or melted snow flakes) caught the afternoon sun and the air really sparkled. The tomato enclosure extension can wait until next week.

I'm planning to write tonight so I expect a missive from the canine crew (otherwise known as the fluffy collective - be prepared to be assimilated and resistance is futile, just sayin!).

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

We use the scary pressure canner for the passata and a hot water bath for the peppers (which sit in a whole lot of vinegar). I haven't tried to can anything else yet, but there is a list . . . The only other vegetables in our passata are onions and garlic, with a lot of herbs and olive oil, and salt. We throw other vegetables into it when it is served. Our gazpacho does not have any bread in it. Ours is a base of cucumbers (which predominate), with tomatoes, onions, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil, blended and served uncooked. It is a good way to use up cucumbers besides in salads (and I got tired of cucumber sandwiches) or making pickles (on the list, too).

Our pear trees are 20 years old. They had bloomed this past spring, then a hard freeze came along and all of the fruit tree blossoms, but for a few apples, fell off.

Arnie is very cagey. I'll never get close enough (without a cage, which has been discussed) to ask him if he is related to Phil."Groundhog Day" was a good movie, though until I saw the ending, it kind of gave me the willies - the thought of being stuck in a time loop like that.

I think I will try to pick the melons a day or two before they ripen. Then I would leave them sitting on the counter. If they were ripe, I would refrigerate them - if the refrigerator was not full of other veg.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - 86F (30C), yesterday, and forecast for today. There hasn’t been much wind to speak of, the last few days. Not so hot (pun?) as far as feeling comfortable goes, but the small(ish) fires in my county have been knocked back pretty quick. I never put much stock in weather forecast more than a few days out. Other than if Cliff Mass mentions a long term trend. He really hasn’t said much (I don’t think) about a cooling trend. Looks like mid-80s for awhile. Good for the garden. My pumpkins are blooming! And, the Tomatilles.

Made myself a big bowl of popcorn and watched “Kong: Skull Island”, last night. Cool explosions, spectacle. Interesting that they set it in the early 1970s. Give me my bread and circus :-). There was also a trailer for something called “Geostorm”. Looks to be a weather related disaster pic. Might have to see that one on the big screen.

So there really is only so much space up there, in the brain, to cram stuff in? :-).

Scouts really do say, “Be Prepared.” Some satirist did a really funny song, a long time ago, called “Be Prepared.” Alan Sherman? Tom Lehrer?

All things considered, the move went well. Other than flogging myself for procrastinating. :-). I finished up cleaning around 1:00, dropped of my keys to my landlord, and made my last trip down the North Fork Road. Nothing I’d say out loud to invite bad luck, but I managed to get out of there before the septic gave up the ghost, before the water heater broke down and before the dog died. Of course, my apartment that looked so nice when my friends were here is now trashed. Boxes everywhere. Oh, well, something to do in my spare time, now that I’m out from underneath The Move.

I’d been transferring worms in small batches, and one of the last things I did was empty out the worm box into a 5 and a 2 gallon bucket. I’ll work them into the garden, today, with goodies to keep them going. I don’t really know how they’re doing. Fingers crossed.

I do hope you get a little snow. Just a light dusting, maybe at night. Just enough to go “Ohhhhh!” Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I was taken out to tea yesterday at Gatcombe church; this was a fund raising activity. I had never been there before. The church has a fabulous 15th century tower and some other parts of the church are 13th century. It has some pre-raphealite (can't spell) windows.

Son rang this morning to ask whether I had seen his dogs, father and son had vanished. No they hadn't been my way. Son had to go out to a job. Father dog turned up at my place at lunchtime with a bad limp. He knew that he was going to be in trouble so had no intention of going home. His son had gone home though. Dog has now been collected after spending the afternoon snoozing on my decking.

My tomatoes are finally starting to ripen.

Inge