Pennywise the clown has had an illustrious career. The horrific clown character is a creation of the author Stephen King, and is the protagonist of Mr King’s1986 book: “It”. Who likes clowns? I don’t like clowns and never have. I reckon they’re pretty scary with all that makeup and stuff, and clearly they have something to hide underneath all that gear. And I’d have to suggest that maniacal clowns hiding in drains and asking whether you: “Want a balloon?”, are best avoided due to serious risk to your future well being. Yuk!

The American punk band Pennywise, who incidentally took their name from the dodgy clown character, had as far as I could tell, nothing at all to do with drains and balloons. They may have used some makeup in their act, who knows, but I’d have to suggest that it is a good thing that they don’t replicate the activities of the evil clown. I recall their song ‘Society’ from way back in 1998, and that had some awesome lines in it including the powerful: “Society, We all know there’s something wrong and we’ve known it all along. Sincerity, You may think there’s no one else till they put you on a shelf”. Yes, maniacal clowns do sort of suggest to me that there is something inherently wrong with society.

For those that don’t know, an aphorism refers to a: a pithy observation which contains a general truth. I’m inordinately fond of pithy observations. The English have a pithy observation about pennywise, and it is this: Penny wise, Pound Foolish. My understanding is that the observation means that a person closely watches their spending on very small items of expenditure, but then for some strange reason they let loose and are apparently carefree when it comes to spending on larger items. Is such a person a clown?

From what I see of business nowadays, it is quite wise to keep costs down. To me it looks as if costs are regularly rising and they don’t seem to be reflected in the annual inflation figures. Surely the tricksters at the Bureau of Statistics are clowning around with us? Perhaps not. Anyway, the median house price for Melbourne appears to have passed $900,000 earlier this year. That isn’t funny and clearly, a dollar no longer purchases what it used to purchase.

Melbourne median house price rises to $903,859 over December quarter: Domain Group report

I often wonder how that story about property down here will end. Probably not well. It does have an awful lot to do with the nature of being Pound Foolish. In fact, Will Rogers, a notable and long since deceased American actor and social commentator (among some of the hats he wore), made a pithy observation about capitalism: “Too many people spend money they earned … to buy things they don’t want … to impress people that they don’t like.” And he lived during the Great Depression in the 1930’s.

Anyway, I much prefer the course of action which was apparently set out by William Lowndes (1652-1724), a former Secretary to the Treasury of Great Britain, who observed: “Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves.” Wise words and he wasn’t clowning around! The thing is though, that course of action involves living within ones means, and I’d have to suggest that most people find that to be a difficult proposition. And it is especially difficult to live that way when the balloons of easy debt are being offered around.

The start of June is the official start date to winter down here. This week the days have been cool but clear which is great for the house batteries which are recharged by the sun. However the nights have either been full of fog, or clear with frost settling in the valley below the farm. Early one morning, the air was crystal clear, and wow was it cold (well, 3’C / 37’F is cold for us!) and the moon was setting in the west.

The moon sets in the west on a cold winters morning

I put the big lens on the camera as the frost had settled in pockets in the valley below the farm. Cold air usually falls at night, so it can be much warmer up here on the side of a mountain than in the valley below. Sucks to be them! 😉

Later that morning you could see the swirls of frost in the valley below

As I wrote before, the days have been remarkably sunny this week and that is very pleasant after the Antarctic anomaly a week or so back that hung over the farm for four solid days bringing thick cloud and rain.

It sure doesn’t look like winter!

The nice weather has meant that we can get some serious work done around the farm. The first order of business was to fertilise the fern gully which sits at one of the highest points on the property. The fern gully collects water from the road during heavy rainfall and infiltrates all of that water into the ground water table. Long term readers will recall that the fern gully sits above the sunny orchard. I tell the editor that it is an important system here, but really I just like the ferns.

The fern gully was recently fertilised with a trailer load of compost

We also filled in the gaps between the recently constructed concrete steps with crushed rock with lime. The gaps now form nice neat landings and it is a pleasure to be able to use them instead slipping on the steep path that used to be there.

The gaps between the recently constructed concrete steps have now been filled in to form landings

We liked that solution to the steep paths so much, that we began constructing new steps just to the left of the above photo.

Two new steps were constructed so as to remove the risk from the last remaining steep path

The path to the chicken enclosure and secondary wood shed has been receiving some repairs. We have been placing large rocks on the downhill side of the path to stop the path slumping. Of course, we are at peak rocks and so the job proceeds slowly as we find large rocks. Peak rocks is a real tragedy.

Ollie the cuddle dog investigates chicken manure options on the repaired path to the wood shed

The path from the chicken enclosure has also been widened and levelled. The path leads up to the main path in the photo above.

The path from the chicken enclosure has been widened and levelled

I’ve had a really busy week with paid work, but I just wanted to get out in the sunshine on Sunday and use my new, secondhand self propelled mower / slasher. The machine is every bit as awesome as it looks and it cuts at least twice as fast as the Honda push mower.

The author trails along behind the self propelled mower / slasher

The birds love the huge piles of mulch that the machine leaves behind:

The birds love the piles of mulch that the mower / slasher leaves behind

I even managed to get underneath some of the big trees at the bottom of the shady orchard and chop up the organic matter there. The chopped up organic matter eventually forms a rich soil, but it takes a few years.

I mowed around the big trees at the bottom of the shady orchard

Observant readers may note that not many orchards would have to deal with having such large trees in close proximity, and there is a hard and well defined line between the root systems of the big trees and the orchard trees. But in the chopped up organic matter under the big trees, all manner of different plants and fungi happily grow:

Mosses and fungi grow underneath the big trees

Every year, we learn something new about the energy source of firewood. This year we have decided to get all scientific and stuff, and we are dividing the firewood into various sizes. The smaller chunks are used for starting the fire, and the larger logs are used for maintaining the fire and putting out heat. In previous years we have jumbled the lot together, but this new process works more efficiently, and it is neater.

We now separate firewood brought over from the sheds into their various sizes in this bay next to the house

Despite the cold weather, there is still plenty of produce to be had from the farm.

The dozens of rhubarb plants are looking really good

The recent heavy rains have caused the potatoes to explode with growth


This year may produce the first good crop of mandarins

The lemons and limes are producing solidly. These trees are about ten years old
Some of the work we do in the surrounding forest is really helping it along. When some of the under-story forest trees look a bit tired, a good prune and feed can bring them back. There are quite a lot of broad leaved under-story plants and those are usually indicators of underground water, such as this blanket leaf shrub:

A Blanket leaf has responded well to a prune and feed
There are plenty of flowers too:

This confused blueberry is producing berries and going deciduous

Whilst not quite a flower yet, these Leucadendron are stunners

Geraniums are ever reliable

The last of the seasons Californian Poppies

Penstemons have lovely bell shaped flowers
The temperature outside now at about 8.30am is 6’C (43’F). So far this year there has been 346.8mm (13.7 inches) which is higher than last week’s total of 316.0mm (12.4 inches).

13 thoughts on “Aphorism”

  1. Whoo! Whoo! Looking good! I realize it’s early days, and a work in progress. Will there be the links to your favorite, other people’s blogs?

    Rain here. Didn’t have to water the crops. :-). Off to see Frank the mechanic. Blankety blank turn signal is acting up again. Lew

  2. Hello Chris

    I think it’s okay now; very odd before. Not sure that I care for the larger size of everything.


  3. Hello again
    I am adjusting to this, it is okay. A revelation to me that I have problems with change.


  4. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for understanding, and I tell ya, this computer stuff is enough to drive a person bananas. Fortunately, all of us here are made of sterner stuff than bananas. :-)! Oh, another add on to work out. Emoticons… Yes, experience the full range of human emotions via an emoticon! Hehe! Bad Chris.

    Thanks for mentioning the blogroll. I’m having trouble with getting the thing to update the most recent blog entries from other people and I use that facility. I’ll keep looking.

    Hope the business with Frank the mechanic wasn’t too problematic and hopefully only the relay needed to be replaced. Relays are handy bits of equipment. Spare a thought for the poor relays in the solar power equipment that I have here that have to switch the solar power on and off again 125 times every single second from the solar panels. Slackers… Hehe!

    Nice to read that you got some rain. Sunny blue skies here today. And the weird thing was that at about 1pm, the solar hot water panels kicked in as the sun generated enough heat to work that trick. It is not as if the winter solstice isn’t under two weeks away.

    It is a long weekend here celebrating the Queen’s birthday on Monday.



  5. Hi Inge,

    I saw your original comment and was trying to work out in my head how to guide you through the process of change for the blog. I was a bit worried to be honest. You know, there were a number of problems for me with the old blogging platform and the problems were adding up and beginning to annoy me. The platform is not the discussion! And then a commercial parasite robot turned up a few days ago in order to get an easy feed. And I am not an easy feed.

    Both the editor and I have good eyesight, but the larger size of everything makes it easier for others to read. The blog software has to take into account that people read the blog on all sorts of inappropriate devices such as smart phones etc. thus the larger font and photo sizes. Blogger images were massive in size and very small when viewed on the screen.

    Incidentally, I now have to pay for hosting all of the photos.

    I’m with you, change is over rated. It is a long weekend here and the population pressures have been unrelenting.

    As to Cyprus, well I held the same opinion as you, but the reach of that policy was much greater than I first imagined. It gives pause for thought.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    Inge raised some interesting questions about why the change all of a sudden and you may be interested in my reply to her.

    Incidentally, as to the commercial robot parasite – which shall remain unnamed – you may say: “I told you so”!



  7. @ Inge – Well, this blog form makes life easier, for me. Not as many steps in the sign in (one step, instead of 5 or 6). All I have to do is type ferngladefarm. com . au (without the space) in the search bar and I’m here!

    When Chris does a weekly article, if you scroll down to the bottom and click on the number of comments, you get all the comments in order to scroll through (that took me awhile to find).

    Finally, the name and e-mail part of “Leave a reply”. Under name, you can just put “Inge”. Your e-mail will not show in your post. “Website” (whatever that means. Please don’t tell me, Chris 🙂 doesn’t have to be filled in.

    I don’t like change, either. And, I’m as good with these beasts as everyone thinks I am. Lew

  8. Yo, Chris – I see the bookmarks are up and running. And, I figured out how to see all the comments at once. I do like the larger format. But won’t you use up the Internet? 🙂 Getting here is a snap, compared to the song and dance blogger ran me through. And, I didn’t mention it, but I had to hit the “sign out” button, 5 or 6 times to get “really” signed out. That was a new wrinkle that started about a month ago. I’m neurotic about signing out of any site I’ve visited.

    Frank the Mechanic found some corrosion in the light plug. Cleaned it all out and we’ll see. Took him 10 or 15 minutes (he’s thorough) and didn’t charge me a dime.

    Happy B-Day Queenie! Hmmm. If we gave up this whole revolution / independence thing I wonder if we’d get more holidays?

    Cooties? Did I? Tell you so? Not that I recall.

    The giant parsnip (or, whatever it is) came crashing to the ground, sometime yesterday. I’m surprised I didn’t hear it up in my apartment. I’ll let it wilt for a few days, cut off the seed heads, and dispose of them, and work the rest of it back in the soil. The veg languishes. We need some good hot days to give it a boost. Lew

  9. Hi, Chris!

    Greetings from Hooterville – the power is out again. I love how big everything is; my eyesight, she is not so good looking anymore. It is all so neat and tidy and simple, too. I like that, though for some reason I miss all of the stuff that used to be on the right side. Perhaps just habit.


  10. Hi Chris
    I love the new site! I had tended to expand my screen on my tablet when I read on the old one, but this is SO much easier on my aging eyes 🙂 Boo to the parasite robot! There is always someone who spoils a good thing to make money, isn’t there? Anyway, this all looks very good. Well played, that chap!

    Cheers, Hazel

Comments are closed.