Sunday, July 31, 2011

Map my run. So there IS an app for that

I agreed to do the corporate cup this year. To do it properly one really does need to improve one's fitness. So I ran the course today.

A sweet little app, maps the run and gave me 300m splits, with an indicator of my running rate. Handy to make sure the times go down each fortnight which - after all - is what it's all about. I suppose the "serendipity" of getting a little fitter is really what it's all about.

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That's those tamarillos

They're colouring up but it's taking a long time.

But they were selling for a dollar each in Coles a little while ago and I've got about three dozen on. And when I tasted somebody else's last year it was nice. So we'll see.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Next year's firewood


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Sunburst, well due for a trim:

And trimmed:

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Plane tree, bless her:

And after a trim:

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Broad beans ready for some warmth

Planted them just before winter. They'll get tall and leggy into spring, but at least they'll give some early crop.

I've backed them in with some sowings about a month ago that are four inches tall, and I'll get some in now, too.

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Grafted a fig

I went to my father in law's place - he has a beautiful 40 year old black fig in his back yard. I took some wood and top worked my one here at home, which has nice, smallish white ones. So if I'm lucky I'll get a second variety on my tree.

And I might get the same result with my nashi with some wood I bought last week at the rare fruit society.

And managed to give myself a little cut with my bud knife. Whatever.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

The three kids with their three new babies

Mia's guinea pig had triplets last night:

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Seed heads captured from a garden

Tagetes Lemonii - perennial lemon scented marigold. Reputed to be a control for root knot nematodes. I bought one at the abc carpark caper, last yer, nearly killed it with neglect then planted it out. I saw another in a garden with these seed heads on it.

I've taken these few and will raise them over the next few weeks. Then I'll work out what to do with them.

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My marriage is the smartest thing I've done

I am near impossible to work with as a husband, but whenever I hear this song by Casey Chambers I think of my wife Sylvia:

"This flower is my soul but it's not half of what I owe,
I should give you every rose that ever grew,
but take this one here for a start, and you can keep it in your heart,
I have everything I need because of you."

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Nick Cave's Ship Song a little tearjerker

I must be a sucker for imagery of innocent children an the nobility of of being responsible to them.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Ship Song by EMI_Music

In this I feel about the timelessness of the human assets you create and the fact that every day you get the make to make the world a better place, in some small way.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

My brother in France

Is it you, Jean-Eric? I built a blog called "MBAThursdays" in a class tonight to show students how easy it was, and by 11.30pm somebody up your way had had a look.

I hope you're well, brother. I hope you can make it to Australia in Dec when our paper gets picked up.

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Mia's guinea pig is carrying babies

Surely it'll be this weekend that she gives birth:

Or maybe even that night:

Interconnectedness: A religion I can get behind

I'll directly refer - and attribute - this guy's lead picture. The entire field below is only the size of a full moon, but almost all the specks are galaxies.

What a brilliant post - pretty heavy though.

"I realize that there are other popular modes of grappling with the human condition. I’ve worked my way through many of them in my search for peace. But so far every other approach has disappointed me. Material accumulation, professional achievement, and romantic attachments have all let me down; if they had not, I’d probably still be a surgeon dwelling in an oversized house. Living from a sense of personal importance while striving to satisfy desires has never worked for long; sooner or later I fail in my goals or tire of my conquests. Although religious belief provides solace for many, I’ve found faith in anything more particular than vague mystical currents difficult to maintain in the face of disappointment and loss. Only humble recognition of my small but engaged role in this kaleidoscopic universe has led to stable peace."

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Drying some chillis

These are the chillis from Marziah from a plant I gave her from seedlings of this bush:

I have given away about twenty plants last summer- the plants that have given prolific fruit I've asked the owner to give me a couple. I'll grow seedlings from it and hopefully after twenty years I will have selectively bred a highly prolific strain.

But maybe there are too many renegade genes for it to work, or I might lose interest. But whatever, Marziah gave me a half a kilo. So I cut them and will dehydrate them.

UPDATE: done now. Those dehydrators are handy in so many ways.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dad, why's there a rainbow in the lift?

Son/Daughter, it's because the white light is being broken into its constituent spectrum.

There's two ways it can happen: refraction and interference - I think. I think this is refraction - somewhere the sun is shining through some glass and the light is getting bent. The red waves get bent a little more than the blue ones, so they get split out and we see them separately with all the others in between.

That's different to interference, I think, which like when you look at an oil puddle. Becasue the different wavelengths are a little separated, they cancel each other out in different ways and give that funny swirly rainbow pattern. I can't really remember how that one works - it WAS 27 years ago in high school that I got taught that stuff. But anyway, son/daughter, you can Google it now. Try "interference fringe spectrum".

UPDATE: Aha. Front and rear surfaces of the oil film reflect at slightly different distances. When they're a half a wavelength apart, they interfere. That's right, I remember.

No, I didn't have a kid in the lift to ask me that question - but the wonder of the world - and the beauty of it is everywhere. If I think I have the answer I'll offer it otherwise I'll be happy enough just to say "I don't know - let's have a look".

UPDATE 3/8: not as pretty on a black background, or maybe it is.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Today's trip to the rare fruit society

They had a grafting workshop out at Elizabeth. Lovely day for a drive - although my fondest memories of heading north on a weekend was when I'd be heading out for some skydiving.

But I learnt about grafting, bought a knife and some budwood - O'Henry and Blackburn Elberta peaches - and a nashi of some sort.

And I came home and budded the peaches - plus some Angel Donut wood - to a peach that just appeared in the driveway.

I tried to do a bud last year and it didn't take, but I'm encouraged by that golden elm I did a few weeks ago. The tips are swelling on the elm, so I laid in about eight grafts on this little peach.

I will report back. So my normal $280 trip to Perry's nursery has been replaced by about $50 this year with the rare fruit society. I only have one citrus to buy now.

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Green veins on your citrus? Don't panic.

I've heard from Malcolm Campbell

that in our Adelaide alkaline soils the iron is locked up which means as it gets cold we get these green veins.

You can leave it, you can foliar spray with iron chelates from Bunnings or water into the soil with a form of iron chelates that you get from Malcolm, above.

But it's not really a big deal, when the soils warm up things get better very quickly. Then it's about time for a foliar spray of zinc & manganese.

Repotted Cannas

Brother Chad brought me two bags of Cannas in summer last year. They took well to their spots and are set to bolt now. So I dug some out and put them into pots.

This just buying cheap pots and having them lying around has been a great thing for me. And the Cannas that are still in the garden?

Cut them off ankle height. Beautiful. And dropping into a nursery on the way back from the rare fruit society I saw these.

Two cannas per pot. $20. No, I didn't buy any.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Hints of Spring

Hello garden, briefly.

The first daffodil and "is that what hyacinths look like?"

And I'm glad on these frosty mornings that I overcame the lethargy of last autumn to plant those spring flowering bulbs.

Nature is good that way. One generally receives rewards consistent with what one puts in.

Ha! I just worked out what to do with those tangelos.

They're a little small this year. I grew them in a smallish pot. I'll slice and preserve them as I did with those oranges. That means I don't have to peel them.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pulling apart your Cryovac-ed bacon

One of the great technical successes in food. Vaccum packing.

Now it's not bulletproof, you still need to refrigerate your product - danger lies any other way. But by excluding oxygen you can get up to 12 weeks shelf life out of a beef primal - amazing.

And 12 weeks out of bacon is a doddle. For the consumer however - a downside is how it sticks together so hard. Some manufacturers are doing semirigid gas flush packs, good on them, that's a solution.

But if you're just buying $9/kg vac packed bacon - like me - here's a trick. Do a rough split. I generally split to 2x375g, fold it, put it in the Tupperware and then the freezer.

When defrosted, the bacon just falls apart. Easy.

Yeh Yeh. Mundane post. But they can't all be world changers.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Glacé Oranges

In progress

OK then, it worked.

Time consuming, but it is a way to preserve oranges.

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The exquisite pleasure of my own blood orange

There's only been nine on the tree this year but it's a young tree.

But I have to confess to unbridled delight in peeling one this afternoon and eating it in the back yard. Those reddening cells and sweet tartness. Amazing.

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Spanish garlic has started

My friend Marziah gave me a bag full of bulbs a few weeks ago and I kne I needed to get them in somewhere.

This old barrow that had Salvia in it last year looked OK. The garlic probably doesn't need more than about six inches of soil, I suppose. We'll see. And the remnant and self seeded Salvia - well I'll just need to work out what to do with them when it's time to dig the garlic out.

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Hello again garden

It's lovely to see you. I love how we work together, that when I have to go off during the week you stay here, taking in the sun making the most of the environment.

This chilly morning is good for you - many of your stone fruit and even your grapevines need a certain amount of winter chill to "flick the switch to spring" - many thanks to friend Larry for that little insight.

I can only visit you in the evenings during the week, but when I come back to you on Saturday morning you are always here. Now you have some spinach, broccoli, lettuce and rocket starting up.

I'll give some of your lettuce seedlings to Aaron, my brother in law, and I will plant a new row of broccoli I have raised and also give Aaron some.

I'll duck in and out of my work room, I have two courses to write this weekend, but I will also move around some firewood, cut down some more tree limbs and probably pull out last year's tomato plants.

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Fantastic memories of Montmartre

It was a few weeks ago, but when I'd gone up to Paris to meet with my new French collaborator I had stayed in the Hotel Damremont which was - quite simply a long walk to the metro. Serendipities, I spent quite some time tramping the streets of Montmartre. I was IN the element. And this was the element.

A colleague, Marilyn, had a photo print in her office an I recognised it as the terrace I would step down straight out of the Metro. It was only two days I was in Paris while I waited for a flight, but it was a great thing to fit in.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It doesn't get any more cool than this

"I hate to shatter your ego but this isn't the first time I've had a gun pointed at me..."

I can't see that I'll ever be as cool as that but it's something to aim for.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I haz chainsaw

That was a big job. Mostly done now.

Well that's the second silliest thing I've done this year, and certainly the most dangerous. 20ft up a ladder with a chainsaw.

Still I got the job done. That tree limb is now firewood. Ready for seasoning and burning next year.

I'll be getting in touch with my friends at Austral Tree and Stump, I'll get a harness and some safety gear. As I get older

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Lots of compost

Great. Midseason emptying of the compost heap has given me a great start on my new avocado and rhubarb patch.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Footy again

A little to do, this weekend. 120 exams to mark, two courses to write (one from scratch), conference paper to finish, training course to prep for, and two tonne of tree to cut up.

Still I'm here at Jonah's footy, leaning on a goalpost like Grenville Dietrich.

Kids deserve their parents to alter their plans a little. And as a parent when I think I'm giving something away, mostly I'm being given something.

And here's Jonah with what he calls his "juicy mouthguard".

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Friday, July 8, 2011

A tonne or two of tree

A big gum split and fell in Monday's storms.

It has made a mess of the front yard.

I will buy a heavy duty garden shredder to get on top ofall the leaf litter.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

How to plant the bearded iris

It's not that big a deal. Loosely place the tuber in the ground with the green bit facing upwards.

Put a little soil over the roots. Someone has told me to leave some of the tuber exposed to sunlight. Makes sense.
I also think that you could pull that long tuber (with _no_ green on it) off of the main rooting one, and lay that on the ground partly exposed. I think that'd give you green shoots.
I'll find out this season.
It's hard to go wrong with them. I've laid a whole set of tubers (green up / green down) in a shallow six inch trench with some soil sprinkled over them. They still came back to hive me 120 sprouting tubers this year. Plant them and you'll be splitting and giving them away for years.

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Rainbow Lorikeet Rescued

How good is that? Yesterday a rainbow lorikeet was obviously a little injured and grounded in my back yard. I kept the dog off it, put it in an empty aviary for the midday, let it out in the afternoon with the dog behind a gate.

At night it flapped out of a tree where it was hiding, so I put it back in the aviary for the night. Just then it had been sitting on a perch in the aviary and with the sun out I put the dog away again and then went to move the bird back out onto the ground.

The idea here is that if it's a fledgeling that's fallen out of the nest, the parents come down and feed it, the baby gets some energy and can fly back to the nest.

As I went to handle the bird he/she jumped off the perch, out the door and the last thing I saw was a disappearing black spot on this background

over my back fence. I didn't even get a photo of the bird when it was with me. Quite apt really.

And I'm pretty thankful. I didn't want to include hand rearing of a native bird to my todo list.

Halie can come out of the cooch now.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Budding a Golden Elm

After speaking to Malcolm Campbell on the radio the other week I decided to bud some golden elm twigs

onto a suckered root that had come up with a green top. That chest high one in front of the tank.

We'll see how it goes, just an inverted T cut on the rootstock and slide in a whole "plate" of a bud under the bark.

It didn't work very well last year when I tried it with a peach, but this year I'm leaving the top on so the sap is flowing strongly. Maybe then some sap will make it into my new buds.

Now just to leave it alone, not interfere, and hope for nature to do its bit.

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