Ordered an attachment for one of the farm machines last week. The machine is super awesome, and we use it around here all of the time. And who knew that it’s got a useful attachment? We wants the attachment, my precious! However, before putting in the order, it seemed like a wise idea to contact the distributor and see whether they actually had any of the machine attachments in stock. Turns out that they did. A person can never be too sure about supply issues in these enlightened days.
The order was placed, but the freight cost was err, interesting. The attachment itself cost $550, whilst the freight cost was an astounding $245. And the thing is only coming from the large city in the state to the north of here. Oh well, if we wants the precious, we pays the freight cost!
I’d noticed last week at the local petrol station (gas station in US parlance), diesel fuel was listed as $2.40 per litre. That’s an eye watering $9.12 per gallon. If you want something trucked from point A to point B, then diesel fuel is what gets used. It’s useful stuff but it’s also a finite resource. It is worthwhile noting that Australia uses more energy from diesel fuel alone than from electricity, any day of the year. A sobering thought. And seeing that particular fuel at such high prices is kind of exciting, in like a really bad way.
Beats me, serious people suggest that we can somehow replace super useful energy sources like diesel fuel, with electricity. They don’t understand just how much of the stuff we use every single day. Words are cheap, people want to believe the words, and regardless, here we are today with bonkers expensive diesel fuel. The high price acts like a giant big tax on the economy. The economy after all being the thing where people work to obtain the resources to keep the rain off their heads at night, the lights on, and food upon the table. It’s not asking much…
Economists would suggest that rising prices indicate that demand for whatever it may be, exceeds the supply of that stuff. But then the story gets all weird because in the past two decades, the money supply has doubled, and then doubled again. And the ballooning of the money supply has occurred elsewhere in other countries, to an eerily similar extent. So, if you’ve got double the currency in circulation, then you double it again, and yet there’s only the same amount of stuff to purchase – for sure the stuff is going to cost more. How could it not? But if at the same time the supply of stuff declines, or demand for it increases, you’re suddenly in a world of economic hurt. And here we are today.
That’s what decline looks like to me. There’s stuff to be purchased, but it’s going to get more expensive, and we’ll run short, long before we run out. It’s awful, but it isn’t nearly as awful as some of the scenarios one or two of my mates suggest are likely. I don’t necessarily subscribe to such views.
It was uncomfortable watching the housing bubble begin inflating away back in 1997. The thought that this won’t end well, was never far from my mind. By 1999 the reality of the ever inflating balloon was inescapable and so we’d made the leap to what might now be described as a politically very ‘green’ inner northern suburb of Melbourne. That’s where the sort of people live, who in these enlightened days, suggest we can use electricity as an energy source for everything, like they’d know. I’ve got some bad news for them. For the two of us though, that leap meant living in a Victorian era 1890’s terrace house which from most peoples perspective, wasn’t habitable. At least there was one power point and single hot and cold water tap, and a few floors.
It was a filthy house, and in some rooms only the six rotting layers of carpet held the floor together. But we fixed the house up whilst correcting the issues which caused it to be in such a dismal state of disrepair using our own sweat equity and skills. Then by 2008, we bailed out of the city and headed bush. Apparently the money supply has been doubled and then some since those days.
As to what might happen next on an economic front, I don’t really know. It astounds me that the economic policies have worked as well as they have for the past quarter century. But right now, with inflation (rising prices) being what it is, I’d have to suggest that there are diminishing returns to any policy. Plus, resource and energy depletion is always nipping at the economic heels.
The thing is, I’d have to suggest that increasing poverty across society is hardly an apocalypse, although to many people accustomed to more, it may feel that way. But then that economic state isn’t one of my fears. I grew up in a poor household, and despite everything, we got by just fine. What we didn’t have was a lot of ‘stuff’, and we didn’t do a lot of expensive ‘things’. Even so, you still had friends, hobbies and purpose, and those are the things that are important. The other stuff, I can’t really be too sure about them. However, as a notable exception, I still do want that machine attachment, my precious!
This past week the spring sun finally peeked out from behind thick winter clouds and shone. Later in the week, it was even kind of warm. And there were a couple of days in a row where it didn’t rain.
Mostly it hasn’t been windy this year, but one day earlier in the week when the wind was blowing and we were working outside, a loud crack sound was followed by a crash and thud. A very large branch had broken away from an even larger tree. It would have been fatal to have been hit by the large branch.
The tree which the branch fell from is huge and very old. The trunk still shows signs of the burn from the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfire, and it has awesome buttressing.
And the wind toppled a decade old Manchurian pear. The trunk just snapped.
The suddenly warmer weather has prompted us to get the various growing areas ready for planting out. The seedlings are beginning to germinate and grow in the greenhouse. The growing season is now off and racing. We’ve begun creating a large fenced off vegetable and citrus area. The citrus trees are usually grown on dwarfing rootstock, and as such they are short and at the mercy of the wallabies (a smaller forest kangaroo with a destructive bent). Best if the trees were fenced off, and so we installed the corner posts and two gate posts for the new large enclosure.
Once the cement for the two gate posts had cured, we installed two 6ft wide farm gates and added a further two posts so as to be able to close the gates.
Long term, once the rest of the fencing has been constructed, we’ll add a proper irrigation system, but in the short term, we just need a very long garden hose with which to water the plants in the new enclosure. A tap (spigot in US parlance) and hose holder was added.
Observant readers will note that in the above photo on the left hand side, there is a timber staircase leading up between the long shed and the greenhouse. Further uphill there is a concrete staircase between the two sheds which is now under construction. With a bit of sunny weather and a brief reprieve from the rain, we were able to set two further cement steps into the concrete stair case. One more to go!
The slowly drying cement has to be protected from all of the birds and animals living on the farm. All of them, including the dogs love immortalising their signatures in curing cement. But do I want to see the scrawl ‘Parrot was ‘ere’?
Regular readers will recall that last week we added a larger access gate to the sapling fenced enclosure which gets used to grow pumpkins and leeks. Some sections of the sapling fence needed to have the saplings replaced with much longer saplings. And that job was done.
The reason the new gate was installed last week was because access to the enclosure had been difficult. And as such, the enclosure had been poorly maintained. This week, we mulched up all of the weeds which had taken hold in there, and then used the scary old rototiller to turn the whole lot back into the soil. The soil in that enclosure is some of the best on the property. I don’t advocate tilling soil often, but sometimes you need to do so.
For a year or two we’d had an idea to set aside an area on the farm to grow vines, particularly hop vines and black passionfruit which can be a bit weedy. Getting time to turn the idea into a reality has been difficult. However, last week we planted out three hops vines, and this week we added two seedling passionfruit vines and provided them with a sturdy steel structure to climb upon.
Tuesday was a public holiday, so we had a bit of extra time and were able to bird proof the greenhouse. The parrots living at the farm know every trick, and they are best defeated using steel mesh. There were a few areas around the roof of the greenhouse where air needs to enter, and birds can no longer enter.
Here’s one of the varieties of parrots now – A king Parrot in a Tree Lucerne (Tagasaste).
Inside the greenhouse are a number of strawberry plants in a raised bed, and the soil around the plants was mulched with sugar cane mulch. Some diatomaceous earth was also added to discourage critters which probably want to eat the berries. Everything loves strawberries!
One of the earliest berries to ripen here are the Black Currants, and we use them to produce a very tasty country wine. Probably good for you too, as long as nobody tells the puritans. Party poopers!
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 16’C (61’F). So far this year there has been 1,225.0mm (48.2 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 1,210.8mm (47.7 inches)