We made plans

A car and trailer had pulled over by the side of the road. It endlessly amuses me that large utility vehicles are oft seen towing trailers. Maybe the owners don’t want to scratch the trays of the vehicles. Who knows, but what is known is that the large utility vehicles are expensive to own and maintain.

The vehicle was in a quiet area. The only building in the area is the local hall which is used nowadays for weddings and other events. It is a beautiful old weatherboard hall of simple construction, and has withstood the tests of time. The background is one of alternating paddocks and forested blocks. It’s not far from here.

A middle aged couple were wearing the sort of work gear you don’t much see in offices. The man was cutting timber into firewood sized chunks with the chainsaw, whilst the woman was hauling the chunks into the trailer. Love is a wonderful thing, and the weather was nice.

The local council is a bit weird about people harvesting fallen firewood from the side of the road, and so the couple went about their task with an air of efficient furtiveness. Eye contact was avoided because after all the local council is a bit weird.

Economic times sure have turned. Of late, husbands and wives, fathers and daughters and various other combinations of family members have all been spotted with their oversized vehicles and attached trailers, scrounging for firewood by the side of the roads. It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that a shed full of dry and seasoned firewood is like an account at the bank (perhaps the Cherokee Bank of Firewood, or CBF to those in the know). Like being full of mad cash, only better.

Spare a thought for the good people of Melbourne, something like five million inhabitants all up, for they are in lock down. Slightly more people have died on the roads in this state already this year, than of the subject that-dare-not-be-named for the entire continent. However, for six weeks, there are only about four reasons that the inhabitants in that large city can leave their houses. And today the wearing of masks – any mask at all or even scarf – has become mandatory. The mask rules had to be flexible because there aren’t actually enough masks to go around.

Fortunately the army and the police are there to assist the population comply with the new rules, and there are fines for those who dissent (and why would you not want to wear a jaunty scarf?) Are you meant to wear a mask whilst driving a car? Apparently so, and even owners of large utility vehicles driving around scrounging for firewood aren’t exempt from the fines.

The army guys looked really bored at the checkpoint. A little devil on my shoulder whispered into my ear: Who did these guys annoy so that they ended up at this cold winter roadside deployment? It would be unwise to voice such an opinion, if only because after all they have large and powerful guns and know how to use them. The local police seemed nice enough, and it amused me to have an enjoyable chat whilst the cars ahead departed the checkpoint, and the cars behind piled up. The sense of pressure was palpable, but it is nice to meet folks who know what it means to have a lovely chat. And such things should not be rushed.

In such a cold locale as that godforsaken checkpoint, it only seemed an act of kindness to chuck in a bit of entertainment by suggesting to the police that: “Mate! You don’t get a car this dirty by living in the city.” That earned a few chuckles. The facts of course spoke for themselves as the Suzuki dirt mouse was indeed filthy and covered in mud from the simple fact that the editor and I reside in a rural area not subjected to the lock down and unencumbered by asphalt roads.

Compassion is the sympathetic concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others, and it is needed right now. If the economics of a household mean that the folks have to scrounge for firewood from timber fallen by the side of the road, well they have my support, even if their choice of large utility vehicle looks like an odd economic choice.

Plenty of mates and business associates in the city are locked down tight like a can of sardines waiting to be opened up again. It would be a bit squishy in there with all those sardines, and it makes a person wonder what they’ll find when they do open up the can.

Things are different up here as we’re not in lock down. However, birthday’s have been missed. Significant anniversaries went by. Living in a rural area, at least the local pub is now open with an appropriately socially distanced seating arrangement. We’re often the oldest people in the pub nowadays, whereas we used to be some of the youngest patrons. It makes you wonder if the local retirees investment incomes have dried up or vanished down the toilet where unmentionable things go. Maybe the former clientele of the pub weren’t locals?

We lead a modest existence. There are no large utility vehicles, and the trailer is very old and has been repaired many times. Most of the work done on the farm has the goal of producing as much from the property as we possibly can. We don’t have to scrounge firewood when it is damp in the middle of winter. We stored the stuff away during the summer months when it is dry. But mostly, we just attempt to be self reliant. It is worth noting by way of contrast, that self sufficiency is a fools errand.

Both of us experienced redundancy during the recession in the early 90’s. It is a tough thing to hear that your existence is surplus to societies requirements, but that is what redundancy means. The words “Don’t come Monday”, are not words that you ever want to hear, but plenty of people have probably heard them lately. However, with that known painful experience, you never really trust the narratives which play so big a part in society. There is no over committing, over extending your resources, or even giving yourself entirely over – if only because you’ve known what can happen despite everyones best intentions.

And unsurprisingly, in these times, it is a strategy that has worked well for us, so far.

The weather at this time of year is very changeable. Some days are sunny and very nice despite the cold winter air, and other days the wind howls and the rain drives against the windows in waves. The sunny mornings are often very foggy around here:

Foggy winter mornings produce the most amazing dawn sky. Why are we up at dawn? Only because dawn happens relatively late at this time of year!

We continued cleaning up the surrounding forest which is adjacent to the farm. The fire burned for about three days continuously. Some of the fallen timber displayed scorch marks from the most recent bushfire, which was in January 1983.

More cleaning up of the adjacent forest took place this week

It was a mess in the forest, but is now slowly cleaning up. A few months back I read an interesting book on indigenous land management practices by the indigenous author Victor Steffensen. In the book the author made the excellent point that many of the plants in the forests have medicinal uses as well as being food stuffs, and the animals know which plants are which and how they are used. Of course the animals know, it is us humans that don’t! And as we clean up the forest, the herb and vine layer of the forest are enjoying more light and are beginning to grow.

A very large moss is gaining ground in the cleaned up forest
Native Dichondra and a native grasses have become established with the extra light
Native Clematis vines send searching shoots out from the forest floor

Near to where the fire in the above photo is located, we began the process of constructing a wide path and soil bridge. The area where the soil bridge is set to be constructed has a serious downhill dip.

Adjacent to the bench, the soil drops away at rather a steep angle

The soil bridge is being constructed with sods. A sod is basically a square section of grassy soil which we cut out of the ground and then flip upside down. The grass root systems ensure that the soil is very stable. Rocks are then used to retain the sods. The project still requires another days work before it is complete.

Ollie and the author admire the ongoing soil bridge construction

In the above photo a black park bench seat can be seen. The path where the seat is located was also widened, but unfortunately for us, we uncovered two large Moby (body) Rocks. The Moby (body) Rocks will have to be drilled and broken apart, but that is a big job for another day/s.

Path widening plans came to a halt with the discovery of two Moby (body) Rocks

Speaking of rocks, last week a humongous rock was unearthed on the highest garden terrace. The large rock was then rolled downhill to the next and lower terrace where I intend to use it to support the edge of the terrace.

A large squarish rock sits in the middle of the garden terrace

In order to utilise the rock so as to support the edge of the terrace, an even larger hole had to be dug.

The author digs a large hole so as to place the rock on the edge of the terrace

The rock was then rolled into the hole. Plans were made regarding the exact positioning of the rock. Unfortunately, the rock had its own and completely different plans. The rock fell into the hole. We then spent half an hour with two 6 foot steel house wrecking bars slowly levering the rock to a more useful position than where it landed.

The large rock ended up in a rather odd position in the hole. Wabi-sabi rock!

Near enough ended up being good enough. Well that’s our story because the rock was so heavy we could barely move the thing, and by the end it was not budging.

Only a small chunk of the large rock now sits above the ground

The rock will provide solidity to the edge of the garden terrace. And eventually the soil to my right in the photo above will be excavated and a shed constructed.

The end of the garden terrace looks pretty good when you are standing on it, and the large and now useful rock can barely be seen poking up out of the ground.

The large rock can now barely be seen

Onto the flowers:

Leucodendron leaves are forming flowers
Roses in the depths of winter
Even more Roses in the depths of winter
This Rose would be stunning even in summer, but it is deep winter right now
Broad beans in flower
A lovely and shy Penstemon flower
How nice are these Hellebore’s?

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 4’C (39’F). So far this year there has been 695.6mm (27.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 691.2mm (27.2 inches).

76 thoughts on “We made plans”

  1. Yo, Chris – So, to your practiced and experienced eye, did the fellow appear to know what he was doing, with that chainsaw? Furtive wood harvesting. Not much of that goes on around here, as, we just have so much darned wood. Someone knows someone, or a friend of a friend and you’ve got wood for the cutting and taking. Very cheap permits are available to cut wood on public lands. At worst, you can buy a truckload, fairly cheap, from fellows who park here and there around the town.

    But yes, I feel for the couple, and also the people of Melbourne. Things are strange now, and bound to get stranger. Desperation levels, and crime along with it, are bound to rise. Desperate times, desperate people.

    So what’s the return on certificates of deposit, at the CBF? Are they government insured, against lose? 🙂 .

    Really? Mask while driving? Our Governor just declared that all should be masked, in public, inside or out. Cars, no, unless your hauling someone, somewhere, that you don’t know very well. I don’t wear my mask when I’m outdoors, unless there are a lot of people around. More businesses have “no mask, no service” signs up. And, generally, I think more people are wearing masks. I don’t think it’s so much the laws, as the increasing numbers. We’re getting to the stage where “someone knows someone, who knows someone, who has the virus. Most police folks have declared there not so much interested in citing people, as in educating them. At least, at this point.

    I can see it now. Bang! “He told a bad joke.” Not a jury in the land would convict. 🙂 .

    I never clean my truck. There’s a reason. I park right next to “Dick” (get the inflection right,”) and he has a spotless, white car. I swear he pets it, before turning in, at night. I know the state of my truck drives him nuts. So, letting the externals go, serves a purpose. Ditto, my garden patch. I heard him raving about it, to a couple of the Ladies, yesterday. Always at volume, so I can just hear. I just smile.

    So, did you sleep next to your three day fire? Best tend it through the night, so it doesn’t get away.

    “Soil bridge.” OK. I can see what it is, but somehow, soil bridge just doesn’t sound right. Turf retaining wall? You think the Moby rocks would have the decency to, occasionally, come in smaller sizes.

    The roses are lovely. Providing a bit of unexpected cheer, in deep winter. Who knew? So, are the broad beans edible?

    Well, we had a bit of excitement, around the old Institution, tonight. About 8:45pm, all the fire alarms went off. They’re inside and outside the apartments. Drive any thought right out of your head. I grabbed my go bag, checked for heat or smoke, and headed downstairs. What a circus. There was a very battered young lady (in her 20’s) and, of course, all the denizens of the place milling about. Suzanne Who Has A Better Idea, was flying around the parking lot on her motorized chair. Always, somehow, reminds me of the witch from Wizard of Oz. Any-who.

    The young lady lives in the neighborhood and was badly beaten, by her father. She came to our door, and started punching numbers on the key pad. Somehow or another, she got 911 and the door opened. She then came inside, and yanked the fire alarm. I’m sure some of the details vary. So, we have an ambulance, several police cars and a fire truck, and dozens of residents wandering about. I should have sold tickets. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    I hadn’t heard that story about linking masks and satanic rituals. For the record, it is a long bow to draw, but maybe the folks deserve 10 out of 10 for imaginative effort. Down here, mention of satanic rituals would probably just create interest. The curious public would probably demand evidence of demonic intervention, and then quickly grow bored. Nope, for some reason the same folks would be attracting people with 5G concerns.

    Mate the long slow tilt into decline was always going to be a strange journey. Imagine the true weirdness that the good citizens of ancient Rome put up with that they’d let Alaric I into the gates and then cheer him and his merry band of marauders on.

    The virus is out there in the population just doing whatever it is that viruses do and sooner or later we’ll probably all encounter it. How we face that challenge is a story that will be unique to all of us. Bear in mind, death counts from relatively recent bouts of influenza surpass this virus by a considerable margin. And it is not even close to the body count from the Spanish flu in 1919. The numbers from your country look not so good, but at the same time your population is something like 327 million people and there is always middle ground in responses to imminent threats. The loss of the energy gleaned from the shale oil story is one threat that is not lost on me and that continues whether we acknowledge it or no.

    Back in 2017 I was forced to work next to a young lady who was suffering from the infamous influenza virus of that year. She told me that day that her throat felt like it had razor blades in it. As you’d expect I came down sick a few days later. The editor fought the virus off until I was marginally better and could look after her, and then she went down like a sack of spuds. For five weeks the house was in chaos. 1,100 Australian’s died that year, and something crazy like 1.6 million people worldwide also died from the virus. A nasty customer and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but worldwide we are not even close to those sorts of numbers. So what gives with the response this time? Nobody gave a rats that I had to work sitting next to a very ill young lady that day, in fact there was a bit of mirth about the situation.

    I recall that last year there was an article in the papers about a bloke younger than I am, and in perfectly good health, who died from the influenza virus. There is a part of me that suggests that compared to historical events, our species currently enjoys very rude health. Things were not always thus, and any step down the ladder of progress, nay it might be called regress, brings us one step closer to that historical reality.

    Well, retail and hospitality jobs are dominated by younger folks and right now they are taking a huge economic hit. The seas are rough and stormy out there.

    I know a person who is a scientist who works for the gubamint and is currently researching the subject that dare not be named. Anyway, what I’m told is that nobody knows the long term consequences of this current affliction. Of course the person in question was rather worried and concerned about the situation. However, not knowing, means just what it says, the outcomes are unknown because this thing is new. I find it very odd that the cautionary principle can be applied to this thing, but not to other also very pressing issues facing our society. That in itself is a red flag warning sign.

    Note to self: If ever Oberon or Titania are encountered, don’t annoy them. Between you and I, they seem like bad news. Arthur Rackham is an amazing artist, and thanks very much for the introduction and continuing education in the arts.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that two different people (or groups) can run the same business in a very different fashion. I once encountered a charity group who for all sorts of reasonable reasons held a vast sum of money. What interested me about the story is that some folks within the management of the group appeared to wield the money as good as I’d wield a 6ft house wrecking bar. For some folks never know how large a provision is the true path on the quest for prudence.

    Yeah, well the wealthy might want to get around to recalling the concept of noblesse oblige because it might serve their long term interests. Years ago I read about an English noble guy who escaped the guillotine of the French revolution because he’d accrued a considerable amount of goodwill in the population. Can’t for the life of me recall who it was…

    Exactly, as costs increase, substitute products in your magic food box make an appearance. And if farmers have to choose between selling your lot produce for some return, well that’s what will be. The banks are always hungry. Best not get involved with the feeding process. Mind you I’ve been reading The Grapes of Wrath. The author had a story that needed telling.

    Small houses appeal to my sensibilities, and hydro plants are an off the table idea due to the lack of flowing water anywhere round these parts. Water is an issue and one which I keep a sharp eye on.

    Speaking of which, I reckon after your good advice the word ‘I’ barely makes an appearance in the blog essays these days. One must blow their own trumpet from time to time, lest the efforts not be noticed. 🙂

    Yes, things have gotten rather strange, but why would it be otherwise in the final hours of Empire?

    It was unfortunate that I was unable to take a closer look at the activities of the firewood harvesting bloke and his lady. They seemed to be making a good account of themselves and the trailer had a goodly quantity of firewood. If they had half a brain they’d make long term local contacts and offer work for firewood. People however just want what they want and they try and dodge the costs.

    As a comparison firewood is extraordinarily expensive down here. And I am unable to sell the stuff due to legal niceties.

    The CBF is good for it, you’ll be fine, just you wait and see. 😉

    Yes, apparently that is a requirement. I’ll test the systems over the next few days and try and not get fined. I’ll try a jaunty red scarf should do the mask trick nicely. It is made from Alpaca wool so hopefully I don’t overheat. Fines are all the rage down here, and it should be noted the state coffers have taken quite a hit.

    Dick is shorthand for Richard is it not? I don’t get how that change came about as it makes little sense to me. Such a response is a bit passive aggressive for my tastes. If the guy has a problem, he needs to talk straight and direct, otherwise in my books Dick might do well to keep quiet.

    Fortunately outside right now it is too wet for a fire to get away. Makes life easy, for now.

    Hehe! Moby rocks are a burden for those that know them. What did they say about life was not meant to be easy. One of our Prime Ministers during the 70’s may have said that. I see that the Governor General’s and the Queen’s letters have only just been revealed surrounding the sacking of the Federal Government in 1975.

    Ouch. I hope the young lady is OK? Yes, I read anecdotal accounts that lead me to believe that domestic violence rates have risen since the subject that dare not be named put a halt to economic activity. I believe one to two ladies per week die due to such incidents. And of course people are spending far more time with their partners of late.

    I’m of the opinion that the partner that a person chooses (or does not so choose) makes one of the biggest impacts on a person’s life. My first girlfriend had an eerily close personality to my mum, and that is not good. Fortunately I wised up and sought fairer shores. Not everyone has that realisation and patterns can be repeated over the generations.

    Cheers

    Chris

  3. Yo, Chris – “Demand Evidence?” We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence. Just spin a tale that matches a world view, and, there you go. LOL. When I checked on Eleanor, she said she wouldn’t have known what’s going on, except for Liz and Elma. Liz and Elma, who can’t make it off the third floor and whose apartments do not face the parking lot. I told Eleanor, perhaps I should go down and find out what’s really going on.

    Re: Body counts. Early days, yet.

    Oh, yeah. The retail and hospitality workers are doing it rough. The one’s who are still employed, well, one month they’re disposable, and the next month they’re “essential.” Might give the “proles,” ideas. Our congress is hassling over if to extend unemployment benefits. $600 a week. There are pros and cons. one pro is that tracking the payments, the lower wage people pump that money right back into the economy.

    “Long term consequences:” Wasn’t quit sure if you were talking about society, or, health of individuals. As far as health goes, there are some strange tales of people who have “recovered,” but display some long term damage to organs, including the brain.

    “Continuing education in the arts.” Well, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. 🙂 . Well, part of it is, there’s a lot of artists who I think should be remembered. And, I like to share really cool art. (Value judgement, there.) In the 1960s, “everyone” knew who Rackham was. And, Maxfield Parrish. Old Max seems to still have some recognition, but, Rackham seems to have fallen off the radar. I have a little print by someone named “Marigold.” 1920s. Not much is known. Probably, a British woman … maybe more than one, who did kind of fantasy / Persian paintings. But with a Deco, feel. I guess at one time her designs were slapped on everything from tea cozies to playing cards. LOL. Someone needs to dig and do a dissertation.

    Well, I can sure see a difference in the Home / Institution. The Regime of No replaced the more caring personal.

    Things getting strange … doesn’t quit cover it. Weird? The other day at a Fred Meyer store, up in Tumwater (north of us. A suburb of Olympia) a rather large man was asked to put on a mask and began waving a gun around. It took 5 policemen, to subdue him. Here in town, someone was asked to put on a mask, and they pepper sprayed the employee. We haven’t quit figured out which business, as the paper is so cagey, about that.

    Richared > Rich > Rick > Dick. 13th century.

    Was the Prime Muppet the one that was eaten by the shark? To paraphrase “The Wizard of Oz,” “People come and go so quickly, there.” 🙂 . Or, and old American saying (I think), “Can’t tell the players without a scorecard.” Lew

  4. Chris,

    The succulents started to bloom. They’re looking good. Got derailed over the weekend by various things so no the roses. (More in a bit.) And it has gotten seriously hot, and it looks as if we’re stuck between 30C and 35C for the daily highs indefinitely. I’m now using the barbecue early afternoons for the main meal of the day.

    That was one seriously big rock, although clearly not the size of the Pod of Moby Rocks that you’ve found. As soon as I started reading your tale about the big rock, I KNEW it would drop into the hole precisely unlike how you wanted it. Very like the Sirius Cybernetics Corp machine repeatedly dispensing to Arthur Dent a drink almost exactly unlike tea. And since you’ve got the Original Moby Rock, as well as the newly discovered Pod of Moby Rocks, this one, indeed, needs to be named Shark Rock or something similar.

    What the blazes is Anglo-Saxon culture?!? That sorta got squished after 1066? I do recall getting called a WASP, the dread White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, to which my stock reply was, naturally in Scots, “Oi, I’ve got enough Scots and Welsh and Viking and Irish in me, I don’t know if there’s any Anglo-Saxon left!”

    Your forest is looking good. Isn’t it amazing how quickly the native plants spring up as soon as there’s enough light? I hope the critters enjoy the upcoming foods and medicines you’ve made room for.

    Yes, Lew beat me to the quick with that article, which also appeared in the local newspaper online. The house they were at is that of my sister’s Biggest Boss. The alleged organizer hails from Idaho. The Blowhard who was bellowing into the Bullhorn, is awaiting trial in Portland, Oregon, for rioting, and is also being sued $1 million by a business owner for damages and loss of business due to that same riot. He lives across the Columbia River from Portland, so lives MUCH closer to Lew than to Spokane. “Outside Agitators” sums it up. Plus maybe some local fruitcakes, which is unfair to fruitcake.

    We don’t need to mask outdoors, but indoors in public is required.
    In cars, no. We had a carving session in a local park Saturday. Limited to 5 people, but we had 12. However, 9 of us were masked and we were spaced over an area larger than my house. (Masking unnecessary, but out of concern for some with health issues, overkill was warranted.) Some auxiliary police on horseback were patrolling and said we were ok spaced like that. There was also a Kendo group of 10 or so practicing, but very well spaced. But Spokane had 134 new cases on Friday alone, so things are exponential here and threatening to get seriously bad.

    I did the normal weekly shopping Saturday. Got some extra things. So I’ve been drying apples and onions in the electric dehydrator. And trimmed a tree that gets ill if I don’t keep it trimmed. And hornets. Eradicated several nests over the weekend, as I do NOT need to wade knee deep in hornets when walking in the lawn.

    Chris, as you were questioning the mask mandate in Melbourne, it sounded to me as if you were sorta saying, “Why masks?” Here’s the deal with the masks. I wish the powers that be would actually explain it coherently. My info comes from studies that a local epidemiologist whom I know has done recently, as well as some other locals I watched on tv.

    Some background first… We’re finding that this thing is now attacking EVERY age group. Teenagers have died, as have healthy people in their 20s and 30s. A local healthy and active 33 year old had this thing 3 months ago and was sicker than she’d ever been in her life for 3 weeks, saying that it’s much worse than any flu she ever had. Over 2 months later and she is still feeling side effects, mostly breathing difficulties and bouts of severe fatigue. This seems to be common among any survivor of the version that is more severe than the sniffles. Upwards of 20% of the cases fall into the nasty category. “Nasty” is my word. The local lady was told her case was “mild”, therefore she didn’t need to be hospitalized. There also is evidence with ongoing speculation from the medical community that those who survive the 20% variety might end up with permanent lung and perhaps other organ damage. This is NOT the flu or a cold.

    The Princess is on her normal monthly venture to Toppenish to see her brother. Cousin died of the Covid over the weekend. There were no available ICU beds in Yakima when he first got sick 3 to 4 weeks ago, so they shipped him to Tacoma, near Lew.

    Therein is the BIG issue as I see it. If this thing is not slowed down, then, as happened in New York City, Yakima, and is happening now in Miami and nearly so in Houston…the hospitals are overwhelmed and if someone gets in a serious automobile accident with treatable injuries, too bad, so sad, because there’s no room at the hospital.

    Herd immunity is looking unlikely. Some people have gotten the virus twice. Antibodies from those who have had even severe cases disappear within 2 or 3 months, meaning the person might get it again and probably has no long term immunity even having had it.

    So, the masks. Sorry for the long preamble…The virus is transmitted almost exclusively via aerosols from exhalations. Reduce the aerosol, the droplets, that an infected person exhales into the air, and there’s less concentration of germs in the air, and the likelihood of anybody getting infected goes down. In other words, because so many people who have this are asymptomatic but can infect others, if the infected person wears a mask, that person is protecting those surrounding him/her. 90% of the effectiveness of the masks is for a potentially infected person to protect others, 10% is protection from others. The epidemiologist study shows that I can sneeze droplets up to 6 or 7 meters away. Wearing something as simple as a bandanna worn like an Old West Desperado (the absolute worst of the masks, by the way), reduces that distance to about 1 meter and reduces the volume of droplets sneezed or breathed into the air. Thus, masks plus social distancing.

    Outside, there’s normally some air movement and an endless volume of air to exhale into, so that the chance of outdoor transmission is low. Indoors, with recirculated air and large crowds, and lots of talking loudly like in bars and restaurants, the rate of infection transmission skyrockets. That’s why bars and restaurants are closed or, as in Spokane, restaurants have severely reduced seating.

    So, to recap…This thing is hitting every age group, hospitalizing even teenagers, and upwards of 20% of cases cause symptoms that are worse than any flu. If an infected person wears a mask, the amount of infected droplets put into the air is drastically reduced, which reduces the overall concentration of the virus in the air and reduces the likelihood others will get ill. Because nearly 80% of cases are asymptomatic or barely symptomatic, it’s best if everyone wear a mask in public to protect everybody else, even the young and robustly healthy. Slowing down the transmission rate might keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and might gain some time in finding a vaccine or at least treatments that make things more like the flu than 3 weeks or more of living hades.

    Next post, more Normans.

    DJSpo

  5. @ Pam,

    Jeeves and Wooster series? We enjoyed that series immensely! I’ve got a few of the books lying about somewhere.

    DJSpo

  6. Chris etal,

    I appreciate the feedback about the other Norman post. As Inge astutely observed, the Normans in Ireland quickly assimilated, within a few generations integrating with the “commoners”. And that nearly exhausts my knowledge of the Normans in Ireland. Twas a different story in England.

    So, here’s more on the Normans (and Welsh, as it happens). This is a study of a few families and how their eventual descendants became assimilated as people rather than Normans. Recall that there was Llywelen the Great, Prince of Gwynedd in the latter 12th and early 13th centuries. He was the Big Dude in Wales at the time. (I’ll refer to him as Llyw the Great, not to be confused with the Great Lew of this forum.) One of his daughters Tangwystal, married Sir Ralph Mortimer. The Mortimers were Normans who had settled on the Welsh border and interfered with all things Welsh. Why? Because they were Normans and that’s the type of thing Normans did.

    Llyw the Great had a grandson, Llywelen the Last, aka Llew the Last. He was so known because he was the last truly independent Welsh prince. Llyw the Last had the extreme misfortune of being The Dude when Edward I Longshanks of England decided to take over the entire island, picking on Wales first, Scotland later. Longshanks was successful in Wales in large part because 2 of Ralph Mortimer’s grandsons (great-grandsons of Llyw the great and cousins of Llyw the Last) used their relationship with Llyw the last in order to betray him. So, yes, these Normans were related to the leading Welsh, but they were Normans at heart. Later Mortimers married into the royal Norman family. Why? They were Normans and therefore ambitious and that’s what ambitious Normans did.

    Moving into the 1300s…For several generations, a particular Welsh family, with royal Welsh ancestry, had been marrying various Norman families like le Strange (not to be confused with Bellatrix le Strange from Harry Potter!) and d’Eiville and Audley. Other minor Norman families had been marrying Welsh families, these Normans including the Scudamores and Baskervilles (before the famous hound of Sherlock Holmes fame). Meanwhile, one Thomas ap Llewelen (ap means “son of”) was the Lord of South Wales and apparently descended from several royal Welsh houses, but not Powys. He had 2 daughters. Margaret married the head of the Welsh Tudor family, Tudur ap Goronwy. The other, Helen, married one Griffith Vaughn, who was descended from the Princes of Gwynedd in various ways, had le Strange and d’Eiville ancestors, and lived in the vale of Glendourdy. One of their sons is known to history as Owain Glendower, and his is a story.

    Owain studied law in England, married a vaguely minor Norman named Margaret Hanmer, most of whose ancestry was Welsh, and later had legal trouble with a neighboring Norman, surname Grey. The courts were biased in favor of the Normans, so eventually Owain took up arms against Grey. This led to an overall Welsh uprising, right after Henry Bolingbroke had staged a coup against his cousin Richard II of England circa 1399, becoming Henry IV. Glendower had been a Richard supporter, so now Wales posed a threat to Henry. Glendower was able to get Henry “Hotspur” Percy from the north of England to start another uprising there. Victory followed victory for Glendower, and many English castles were taken in Wales. He was called the Prince of Powys (a region of Wales) and even signed treaties of alliance with France. Alas, for Glendower, even though yet another Edmund Mortimer was on his side (for real, even marrying a daughter of Owain’s), Hotspur’s rebellion fell apart, Glendower lost a couple battles and failed to take a castle held by Sir John Scudamore, and the bulk of the uprising was ended by about 1410. Glendower seemingly disappeared from history.

    But wait, Glendower’s daughter Alys had secretly married the Norman Sir John Scudamore. keeper of the castle that didn’t get taken by Glendower, but soon after the siege was lifted, he married Alys. After the rebellion, Alys was the heiress to South Wales, Gwynedd and Powys. The marriage was secret until 1432, at which time Henry VI of England found out and stripped Sir John of his lands, having married the daughter of the “traitor”. That wasn’t all, as it seems that the “priest” that was living near John and Alys Scudamore and tending their family was none other than Owain Glendower himself!

    Henry VI takes us to the Wars of the Roses, that silly war for the English crown between the cousins of the House of Lancaster (Red Rose emblem) and House of York (white Rose emblem). After the death of Henry VI’s father, Henry V, his widowed mother married (or not, there’s no record of a marriage) one Owen Tudor, grandson of that Margaret whose sister was Glendower’s mother. Owen Tudor’s grandson was Henry Tudor, who became Henry VII of England following the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, at which Richard III was killed. Henry’s claim to the throne was through his mother, who was from what at the time was an illegitimate royal line. So he quickly married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Richard III’s deceased older brother Edward IV. That Norman custom of marrying the heiresses to solidify royal claims was still in vogue 400 years after Henry I!

    Meanwhile, at Bosworth Field, Richard II is said to have been killed by one Rhys ap Thomas of Wales, head of a regionally powerful, but not royal Welsh family, who were originally of the Yorkist side, but decided to side with a Welshman, thus becoming a Lancastrian. Also, the descendants of John and Alys Scudamore (thus Owain Glendowers descendants), had been intermarrying such “lesser” Norman families as Osborne and Minors, as well as other English families, not necessarily Norman. Eventually, one Sybill Scudamore married Phillip ap Thomas, a grandson of Rhys ap Thomas. Their son John or Ewan married Gwenllian Herbert of Carmarthenshire, Wales. Gwenllian was descended from Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, who was beheaded in 1469 during the War of the Roses, as his Yorkist forces were defeated by a Lancastrian army. Later Herberts included sheriffs of Monmouthshire. Gwenllian’s ancestry also included Milbournes and the as yet houndless Baskervilles.

    The Norman assimilation is nearly complete here in the 1500s. Additionally, the Tudor dynasty spoke English. (Yes the Normans from William the Conqueror through the last Plantagenets spoke French, although some could speak Englsih sort of starting in the 1300s.) John and Gwenllian had a son Ewan Thomas, who was either undersheriff of Glamorganshire in Wales in 1615, or was a member of the Awenyddion (Glamorgan School of Bards) in 1620. (Most likely undersheriff, as there were sheriffs and similar authoritative positions held by his recent ancestors, but “member of the Awenyddion” sounds way more cool.) He had a son Phillip, a businessman, who married one Sarah Harrison, which is more the surname of a “commoner” than a Norman. They moved to Maryland in 1651. So the descendants of earls and princes and Normans of varying levels had become regular folk who moved to the Americas for a new opportunity. Norman assimilation complete.

    What caused the eventual assimilation of the Normans? Intermarriage with other leading families, for starts. But the bigger thing in England and Wales was the end of the Hundred years War between England and France, and then the end of the War of the Roses between two competing sets of royal Norman cousins. After 150 years of nearly nonstop wars in England or France, the Tudors had something akin to peace in their realm. Population grew, business grew, commoners were upwardly mobile, whereas the noble families had more than enough offspring and not enough land, so downwardly mobile nobles married upwardly mobile commoners and became people.

    I figured a study of several leading families, and their eventually becoming normal people of varying ancestry, might be instructive as to how the Normans eventually assimilated.

    Yes, other than the royal Tudors of England, that is some of my family tree. Genealogy is a great way to learn history. So, yeah, along with probably everyone of British Isles ancestry, I’ve got some Normans in the family tree. But if you call me a Norman, I’ll read some Vogon poetry at you! My nameplate at the office says “Heir of Glendower”. I’ll answer to that. 😉

    DJSpo

  7. Hello Chris
    It is now so dry here that some leaf fall has started. My runner beans are trying to die though I water thoroughly.
    Yesterday in town was hell on earth, huge queues everywhere. One man in the supermarket looked at the queue for the checkouts and walked out abandoning his heavily laden trolley. I bet that his wife was pleased!!
    All this because the tourists have finally been allowed to arrive. Many are not going abroad so we have them. Son is more charitable than I. He is correct, the Island needs them; but it was more pleasant before. Lets see if that raises the infection rate here. From Friday we shall have to start wearing masks in shops. It would have made a lot more sense way back than starting now, but little is making sense to me.

    Inge

    @ Jo
    I knew the version ‘If you want to hear the Gods laugh, tell them your plans’.

    Inge

  8. Hi Chris,

    As a young lad I had the ‘play’ album by Moby. No mention of peak rocks, although he carried on about veganism a lot in the liner notes. Body rock was a good song!

    Cheers,
    Damo

  9. Hi Lewis,

    Very funny, but at the same time I see mooted around me many narratives from news sources that are patently false, or at least don’t accord with what I observe. Or they lean towards one outcome when the story is a complex and nuanced story. The main problem with that outcome is that it leads to an overall loss of credibility. That was the whole fairy tale about “The boy who cried wolf.”

    There was a scene in an film that I saw as a kid, it may have been called ‘War Games’ where a rogue AI had taken over your countries missile system. Anyway, the AI had a melt down and just repeated a losing scenario over and over, except nobody knew that. But with each repeat of the losing scenario, the effect of watching the scenario became lesser on the viewers. It’s a bit like that with the media.

    Oh yeah, exactly it is early days.

    That debate is going on down here right now. The Federal gubarment folks with their fingers on the printing presses have decided in their wisdom to reduce unemployment and job support benefits. As you do at this time. I recall the grumpy feelings I had at the lack of support during the recession of the early 90’s. That recession was caused incidentally by the same nice gibarment institution as they jacked up interest rates. It certainly re-oriented the economy away from actual production of goods and services and into financial assets and speculation. That was the left leaning folks and one of them may have used the word: ‘banana republic’. I tend to feel that things are worse now as a result.

    A bit of both really (health and society). One of the core themes that I see playing out is that there is a belief that risk can be eliminated. Risk can certainly be minimised, but with each ratcheting up of risk reduction the costs increase – often exponentially. I face that predicament with the systems here. At what point does gold plating a system become unaffordable? That is a tough question.

    Thank you very much for the continuing education in the arts. As a side observation it is not taught down here, unless one sets out to undertake a fine arts degree. There is little discussion of the arts, and mate they are doing it super tough right now. I have wondered whether that outcome is a deliberate strategy. It is certainly a vicious response.

    Ouch. Cultural change can be quite noticeable and the contrast is often not nice.

    Oh yeah, the large guy has probably lost the plot. And pepper spray seems a bit of an extreme reaction. We’re pretty law abiding down here, and the editor tells me that already about 80% of people are wearing masks. I’ll take my jaunty red alpaca scarf and use that. When in Rome and all that business. I’m not sure I’m comfortable about it though.

    Yes, that actually happened in the 50’s where a Prime Muppet disappeared and was presumably eaten by a shark. What a mystery huh?

    Cheers

    Chris

  10. @ DJ – Thanks for the info on your demonstration in Spokane. I thought it was a bit top heavy. Didn’t think you had that many home grown wackos. Also, thanks for the medical information. I think it’s the clearest and most detailed overview, that I’ve seen thus far.

    Wow. That was quit a discourse on the Norman assimilation, in Britain. A good start on your dissertation for your Masters of History. 🙂 . You may have heard of (or even had) Thomas Costain’s 4 volume series, “The History of the Plantagenet.” Every once in awhile I see a boxed paperback set of the series, kicking around the used bookstores. It’s a very readable series. Not only does he ransack the historical records, but also includes any gossip or scuttlebutt, going at the time. He took the “dry” out of history. Gave it a good hosing down, in the yard. Lew

  11. Yo, Chris – “War Games.” Great movie. I should probably give it another look and see if it holds up. Another good film, having to do with gaming is “Ready Player One.” 2017. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s well worth a look. Although, me as a non-gamer, pretty much just kicked back and enjoyed the spectacle. You as an old hand (ret.), might find much to criticize.

    Banana Republic. They’re snatching people off the streets of Portland, in unmarked vans, with no uniform patches. Reminded me of tales of Argentina. Although, apparently, as yet, the people aren’t permanently disappeared.

    I may be wrong, but risk reduction can also lead to greater complexity. And, as we know, the more complex a system, the more chance of breakdown.

    One thing I’ve got to say about the Hippies, is that they really unearthed, and made popular a lot of art that had fallen off the radar. Everyone had forgotten Art Nouveau, until the 1960s. And many interesting artists from that time, and earlier. When push comes to shove, art in the schools is the first thing axed. Followed swiftly by the library. The last to go is that third rail of education, sports.

    The Prime Muppet Mystery? Call Miss Fisher! Or, Ms Fisher, her more up to date (1950s) niece. My money is on … alien abduction. 🙂

    I watched a few episodes of Dr. Who, season 12, last night. They had an episode with Edison and Tesla … plus aliens! Very cool. But, an interesting contrast with “Current Wars.” Edison is still and old poop.

    I saw my first green Ukrainian tomato, today. The peas are about played out. There are a few tomatillos, beginning to form. And, there’s a volunteer that is some kind of a squash. You may remember, the first year I got three pumpkins (round, orange). The second year, the volunteer that came up was … three acorn squash. So this is … don’t know. Hope it makes it to the end of the season. Time to harvest some of the garlic. And, start picking blueberries. Lew

  12. Hi everyone,

    By way of explanation.

    The house batteries are having dramas…

    Nuff said really. 🙂

    As a gentle reminder: anyone at all suggesting that we can run an industrial civilisation on this technology needs to be institutionalised.

    Chug, chug chug goes the generator. Actually it sounds more like a constant burrrrr sound.

    Cheers

    Chris

  13. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the film nod. Sounds pretty good. Ben Mendelsohn and Simon Pegg. Mr Pegg is da man! 🙂

    Who knows if War Games holds up? Some films are hard to date in time, which is a pretty nifty trick that good directors can do. The ending sequence of the looping computer game left an impression on me as a teenager, especially as the repetitive nature of the game ensured that there was no misunderstanding that it was a game – which was not known at the beginning of the ending sequence. The media today runs the risk of having that story play out.

    Had to go into the big smoke today to pick up supplies for here and for work, and um, yeah. Things are odd and tense in the big smoke. I did my best to make people laugh. Spoke to a guy I know who is into Star Wars and Zombie films and we had a bit of a laugh about zombies, and how it ends up when authorities try to contain them on the cheap. Usually doesn’t end well. The joke was a nod to the alleged hanky panky which went on at the quarantine hotel. Wise sages in the media suggested that the current outbreak was related to that, but it sounds like a long bow to draw.

    Speaking of Lewis’s law: someone always breaks quarantine, I’m allowed past the road blocks, but for some reason there was no road block on the back road. Is this a sign of containing zombies on the cheap? Refer to previous paragraph for possible outcome.

    Oh no! I heard about those goings on in Portland in our news. At least the folks haven’t been disappeared. How much rioting can a Koala bear? It is a more important question than it first seems. Yeah, you wouldn’t want to be a foreigner in a foreign country when things go off the rails! I recall when as a kid I heard the story that a couple of adventurous Aussies were captured by Pol Pots forces (the navy I believe) and they got permanently disappeared. Not good.

    Well that is the thing isn’t it? It is possible to respond to a crisis with a return to a simpler state. Speaking of which the house batteries decided this morning that they’d sulk their socks off in the corner. The lights went out. The warning screen began flashing the information at me, and I just watched the system respond and it shut down within a minute or two. I might have to replace the batteries which is a frightening thought. At least I can reuse the existing batteries in a different system, so it is not a total loss, but still.

    Over the years I’ve met some older back to the land folks who were usually living on the outskirts of rural towns. The old Open Garden scheme was a good way to meet them. Most of the folks who stuck with it are very cool people. I hadn’t understood that point about the hippies and their connection to the art world. Make sense. But yeah, when I was at primary school there were Art classes, but by High School that was just a no-go as it was not even an option. Teaching kids about aesthetics and different ways of seeing the world is probably not a bad idea. The editor went on a guided tour of the National Gallery with an art historian / comedian many years ago, and she really enjoyed the tour. As you’d imagine with the tour led by a person who is both an art historian and a comedian, the naughty bits weren’t left out of the stories behind the art. Good fun.

    Hey, you may laugh, but alien abduction was actually suggested. You’d love this too, but there were apparently suggestions of commie submarines being involved in the heist. 🙂 I couldn’t make that stuff up it’s so good. Like, who loses a Prime Muppet? Imagine if you guys lost your President! Where did he go, did anyone check behind the couch? 🙂 Unfortunately such a dire situation would mean that you guys don’t have anyone to fixate on – and then what would happen?

    Never heard of the term: ‘Old Poop’, before. In the urban dictionary the definition was amusing. For the record, there are no Old Poops here at this here blog. Good for us! Hey, the context quote was that: In the movie “On Golden Pond,” Katherine Hepburn addressed Henry Fonda as “you old poop.”

    Your tomato is reasonably early. Respect! Cucurbits readily hybridise so you are only as good as your neighbours. Although I believe that there are three groups of varieties that don’t cross pollinate, that is of course if you and your neighbours stick to one plant from each of the three groups.

    Three acorn squash sounds like more of an apple sized squash than a proper pumpkin. 🙂 Given the English’s predilection for naming fruit after apples, perhaps it could be renamed as an apple squash? It might work.

    How is the garlic looking? Don’t the chemicals get into the soil that they are grown in? Very pungent. Keep an eye out that the birds don’t get into the blueberry patch. The birds here love blueberries and although I grow a number of plants, I’ve kind of given up on them and let the birds enjoy.

    I began eating the kiwi fruit harvested a few months back. They had to sit and ferment ever so slightly in the kitchen for a few months. They’re really good and tasty.

    Batteries… Gotta put some brain cells into that story. Had a chat with the solar guys today. They’re cool.

    Cheers

    Chris

  14. @DJ

    I also enjoyed the diversion into Norman history. It gave me more context to the historical novels I (strongly) recommended a few months go, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy. In those novels, Cromwell, is of course from the “lower” merchant classes, and for a time was the most powerful man in the kingdom, and a key driver of the ongoing reformation (if not also much maligned by history if Mantels occasionally sympathetic portrayal has any elements of truth to it). In the story, on occasion, Cromwell wonders at the difficulties he has in “managing” Henry VIII, and thinks that perhaps the weight of Henry’s ancestors achievements, conquests and battlefield successes made him feel inadequate. Such is the burden of peace! Is that why he picked a fight with the pope?

    Cheers,
    Damo

  15. Chris and others in the Blog/Fluffy Collective!

    Good news, after weeks of patient form filling, document submissions and phone calls. Then doing it all again, not once, twice, but three times as the rules on interstate travel continue to be a political moving target, Mrs Damo and I finally got our approval to enter another state in this fine country with less than 24 hours till the plane leaves. Tense stuff to be sure, but done now. We get on the plane tomorrow and by Friday should be in Perth settling in for another 2 week quarantine. This time, we have more space with a entire house and backyard. Plus I will be officially working from home, so might even have tasks to complete. Yay! 🙂

    Is anyone looking for something new to read? No? Don’t worry, let me help anyway!

    Read: H is For Hawk by Helen McDonald.
    I am only half way through, and already love this book. Is sort of about falconry, sort of about dealing with grief and sort of about humanity’s relationship with nature. Either way, it is very well written and for some reason I want to train a goshawk now….

    Cheers,
    Damo

  16. Hi Inge,

    Sorry I couldn’t reply yesterday, there were a few dramas involving the batteries for the house. Of course it is always dark when these things happen. And for your interest I had to bring out the petrol powered generator which soon breathed some life back into the batteries and got the lights back on. Then we had to spend time working out what went wrong. Turns out the batteries are just getting on a bit and we were asking too much from them. What do you? Anyway, then we had to ask the hard question: What next from here?

    That happens here with really dry summers. The trees get water stressed and drop their leaves like snow flakes. When the wind blows, even more leaves drop. It is quite a neat self-defence thing for the trees as the dry leaves build up on the ground and shade the soil thus keeping it cooler and retaining moisture. Isn’t nature amazing? I just have to mow the leaves up here at such times as they present a considerable fire risk – at the worst possible time of course.

    Wow! Thanks for the description from your part of the world. It is not good.

    As a contrast I went to the market earlier today and it was eerily quiet. About maybe two thirds of people were wearing masks, although as of midnight tonight everybody has to wear one when outside the home. That means wearing them pretty much everywhere. Went through checkpoint Charlie today and it was raining and the unfortunate lone soldier was looking rather drenched. I suspect the other contingent had huddled under the command tent – a wise move given the conditions). At least he was able to stand next to the brazier (which is exactly what we use here because it came from the same supplier – who I know) which was cheerily burning firewood – also from the same supplier. He’s a good bloke to consider the police and army at such an exposed site.

    That happened here with the tourists from Melbourne. It was not pretty and perhaps also an unwise thing given the circumstances. I read somewhere that people are still pouring into your country. Anyway, if cases go up, the upside is that your area will probably get quiet again. At least the weather sounds nice for a holiday.

    As a contrast, we don’t really have a tourist based economy in this mountain range. There are things for them to do, but the economy here is not based on providing goods and services to their needs. Other parts of the region that are based on tourism are doing it really tough.

    Little of this makes sense to me as well.

    Cheers

    Chris

  17. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for the fantastic history lesson, and I enjoyed the humour peppered throughout the history. It kind of makes things more personal and you explained the dilution process well. I dare not use such a word (Norman) to describe either you or your ancestors fine pedigree, lest ye charge at me with ya Viking war axe in one hand, and raging Scots blood pulsing in yer veins as you yell at me (just before the true unfriendly action takes place): “Do yue want to get a Glasgow kiss, *tsk* da fuac I ain’t Normun!” 🙂 Hehe!

    A truly fine essay on the Normans.

    How do your succulents cope with such prolonged heat? And indefinitely is a bit of a problem. Has the good professor (Cliff Mass) indicated that a high pressure system has stalled over your part of the world? Hey, do you get 28 days temperature forecasts? We get 7 days forecast, but only an indication of rain out to 28 days (you can tell where our priorities down here are – yes, it will be hot, but is it going to rain?)

    Oh! Mate, I had plans about that rock. Seriously, I was talking big to the editor about how it would all work, and then, well it was a bit of a fizzer and we had to really work hard to get the rock into the position it ended up in. Lewis, would probably tell me that the Roman’s would suggest that the rock is where it is because that is where it is meant to be. I like that kind of logic – it makes perfect sense to me. Like the name – it has an ominous tone to it: Shark Rock!

    That was a good ongoing joke about Arthur and the tea. I like those sorts of recurring in-jokes and there is something pleasing about them.

    Thanks for the correction, and yes you are correct and the culture is a bit of a mish-mash of whoever turned up and could wield the most effective battle axe (or long bow). You’d think that after all those long and continuous years of warfare, the locals would have been particularly good at that business. I guess their Empire eventually got pretty massive, and even eventually stretched all the way down here at the underside of the planet (that sounds a bit odd to my ears – and maybe it is you lot who are at the bottom of the planet? Hmm?)

    I am genuinely amazed at how quick the growth of the herb and vine layers has been in response to the additional light. I’m observing this process closely and it will help guide future efforts.

    Fruit cakes are much maligned these days. Honestly, how can people riot and damage property and not expect a response? Guberments over history are particularly good at dealing with violence and so one perspective is that it is probably not wise to engage with them on that particular level. Best not to feed the beast.

    Wise to take precautions. Did you enjoy the carving session? It is good to get together with mates (a difficult thing right now – although with this blog, friends are rarely far away 🙂 ). I’m doing a lot of phone and other forms of communication calls, and am trying to generally check in with people.

    Yeah, cases are rising fast down here, so word on the street is that we may be going into a hard lock down. Dunno, but the situation is fluid: Victorian coronavirus cases hit new record high with 484 cases, two more deaths.

    Yes, hornets – not fun. Just to keep in mode: I wonder if they’ll be friends? (Whale scene falling to the ground).

    DJ, I ain’t arguing with you or Lewis over the masks. I keep a low profile at the best of times. Sorry to hear about your lady’s cousin and you have my condolences. I do hope that her brother recovers.

    The entire situation is outside of my personal or learned experience and I only have my learned narratives to fall back upon. There is also input from many different sources. At the same time, at this point in history, the media has lost, and is losing some credibility, so that is another added complication. But overall there is a school of thought which suggests that humans have trouble adapting to new situations and circumstances. But generally, the decline of Western Civilisation was always going to be hard for all of us and also very strange. Mate, I’m learning and just trying to do my best.

    The capacity of the house batteries looks a bit on the low side. After almost 11 years of continuous operation they don’t hold the charge they once did. Voltage drop shut down the inverter, and such things usually happen when it is dark (for practical reasons – not that lights these days require much energy). What to do. What to do. A decade ago I ignored lithium based battery technology, but today I’m not so sure. I’ve found some locally made units that are rated to a 50% depth of discharge for 10,000 cycles. That is a 30 year battery in my book. So yeah, I might look into that as lead acid can’t compete with that story. Nickel-Iron batteries will last longer, but the voltage drop is even worse. Dunno, I’m confused and my brain is overloaded. The vibe in the city is very, very odd (for obvious reasons).

    Cheers

    Chris

  18. Hi Damo,

    Top album, and yes you are correct.

    The sign of a true artist is that they can talk rubbish. Even when it is about veganism in the liner notes. The film clip for Body Rock is funny as, in an awkward dorky sort of a way.

    However, there was another more obvious Australian rock band reference slipped in this week… I know you and Mrs Damo are good at crosswords 😉 So, I’ll give you a clue: The bands name has a word in it, and it is something that you have been feeding recently. That is too easy a clue in my book. 🙂

    Congratulations for flying the NSW coop. Respect for persevering. You and Mrs Damo are made of tough stuff.

    Cheers

    Chris

  19. @ Damo – Congratulations on your immanent escape. Will call off the A-Team, rescue. I think we get a partial refund of costs, due to squeeking in, just under the refund window. Of course, hours will probably be spent in phone tree hell, just to squeeze the bucks out of them.

    Your digs sound positively spacious. Compared to the last. At least, should lock down despair strike, and you go out the window, you probably won’t do much damage.

    A whole new genre of books! Novels that will inspire Damo to take up odd hobbies and interests. 🙂 . I’ll have to put my mind, to that. Maybe not. Mrs. Damo would probably not thank me, and the bake goods supply might be compromised. Lew

  20. Hi Chris,

    The Land Conservancy and other similar organizations has many work days on their various properties to clean up high quality woods of underbrush and invasive species particularly buckthorn and honeysuckle. Sometimes the burn piles are huge. Here’s an example of one of their better known and popular sites. https://www.thewoodstockindependent.com/2018/09/time-to-let-out-your-wolf-oak-howl/
    However, we do leave some dead trees around as they are homes for various critters and insects. Fire isn’t really a danger here. I could go to a work day every day if I wanted to (I don’t – enough work around here) though occasionally I’ll attend.

    Very sorry to hear about your battery issues. I confess my eyes often glaze over when your describing the details of your system.

    Your mask requirements are awfully stringent. In the car – really!! Masks have become quite a fashion statement with their different designs.

    I don’t know if I ever mentioned that I’ve been taking yoga lessons for quite a few years. The spiritual aspect of yoga isn’t emphasized here but that’s not what I was looking for rather I wanted to retain my balance and flexibility as I age. Our class had only 5-6 students and usually all in our class were seniors. Our instructor who was in her 50’s tailored each pose for the individual so it was quite nice and as most of us had been together for some years it was a fun social event as well. You might notice that I used the past tense. My instructor is closing her studio next week which I expected. My guess is that she was just making it before the virus. I’m guessing my BIL’s restaurant won’t make it either especially if we go into lockdown again.

    Garden’s doing very well. It’s still kind of dry but I’m able to keep up with the watering and have a big pile of leaves from last year that I’m using for mulch.

    Margaret

  21. @Damo
    So glad you are able to move forward. Thanks also for the book recommendations. I’ve read many a book suggested by various people here.

    Margaret

  22. @ Chris – (Pssst! Don’t tell DJ. Normans were the descendants of Vikings who settled in NW France, in the 10th and 11th centuries. Which may explain some of the wanderlust and tendencies toward territory acquisition.)

    Containing zombie outbreaks on the cheap. That jumbles up all kinds of things in my head. Shark rocks, land sharks, “Saturday Night Live,” and mayors of resort areas who say it’s ok to go back in the water. (Just mind the 20′ Great White shark.). Make of all that what you will, if anything. 🙂 . Fever dream?

    No one maning the road block? Drones? Trail or traffic cams? Satellite surveillance? The micro chip they stuffed up your nose? 🙂

    Traveling to foreign places. When I read about our tourists, getting in trouble in foreign lands, I always think, “Well, you pay your money and take your chances.” Our Foreign Office keeps an ever changing list of “countries you might want to think twice about, before visiting.” Or, at least, getting your affairs in order before venturing off our shores. Not that you couldn’t get hit by a bus, crossing the street.

    I’ve read a science fiction story or three, about westerners stranded in foreign places, when everything falls apart. Usually doesn’t end well, but, maybe one or two of a group figure out how to adapt. “Go native.” 🙂 . I hear people on other blogs, banging on about becoming expats. And how wonderful and welcoming the “natives” are. It always crosses my mind that I wonder how wonderful and welcoming they’ll be, when the checks stop coming from home?

    Another Lew’s Law. “Teeth (and maybe batteries) always go bad on the Friday night … of a three day holiday weekend.” Judging from what you said to me, and other posters, you’re in quit a farrago, over the batteries. Choices, choices. Never fear. We have faith (or, more accurately evidence…history) that you’ll figure it out. But, in the meantime, your head will probably hurt. But I doubt it will explode.

    Well, I think the old Hippies that are still around, discovered that some of the old ways are better. And, most importantly, were up for the work that involves. I don’t think a bit of art appreciation hurts anyone. Gives one a bit of a sense of history. (I always have to remind myself, that when Italian artists were cranking out masterpieces, the Pilgrims were landing on Plymouth Rock. And Shakespeare had just about completed his plays.) And might give someone the idea of looking, really looking, at not just art, but the world in general. How many people stop and take a good long look at what’s going on around them?

    Oh, we’ve had a president or two who might of wandered off, if not looked after, carefully. Just luck they didn’t. We had an old duffer with dementia, who wandered off from his care home, a couple of weeks ago. They still haven’t found him. I’m sure the personal injury lawyers will be baying after the family.

    Getting the gardeners to agree on plantings, would be impossible. Heritage breeds and saving seed, isn’t even on their radar. Well, our acorn squash are pretty good sized. Three good sized apples would equal one acorn squash. Hmmm. Have I invented a new system of measure? 🙂 . Lew

  23. Hi Chris,

    The band Crow I am not familiar with, although no doubt one or two of their singles have filtered through osmosis into my brain at some point. Our friendly crow bird however, just got its last feed of chicken from the hotel window. He now gives a little squawk to announce his presence outside and we rush to drop tasty morsels his way. Clever birds, if he had arrived one week earlier I had grand plans of training food retrieval missions, sending out coded messages and otherwise causing mischief.

    We are about to take a walk in the adjacent park before heading out to the airport to wait six hours for our flight. We have no appetite to wander the city even though we are allowed to – the risk is too high and reward too low!

    Cheers,
    Damo

  24. @ Lew, Damo, Chris,

    Thanks for the comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the Normanization of Fernglade!

    If memory is correct, Henry VIII got knocked off his horse* during a tournament and had a severe head injury. He was also (apparently) quite syphilitic. The combination of the disease and the permanent brain injury as well as being a rather arrogant arse even for a royal, well, he became excessively combative. So, when not beating on Scotland or trying to beat on France, he decided to beat on the Pope.

    *Yo, Henry! Give back Neville’s thingamawhatsis or I’ll knock you off your horse!” Henry didn’t return it, so got knocked off his horse. DJ’s apocryphal version…

    DJSpo

  25. Chris,

    The way I’d say it…”Och ye feckin numptie an wha air ye callin Norman!?! Aye, Ah’m yellin at ye, ye richt bawbag! Here’s a wee Glesca kiss. Noo awae an boo yer heid, afore Ah’m rerr scunnert ye tumshie !” Or…I think the first 3 sentences are understandable? Then “go boil your head before I’m truly angered, you turnip”

    The succulents do fine in the heat. They need water once every 7 to 10 days. Due to their locations, they get watered more often than that. Well, then there’s the weird succulent that spreads through the entire area. It can thrive with water once a fortnight or even less often.

    The government weather, NOAA, gives forecast for 7 days. Their website also gives longer term “climate” forecasts. Hot and dry into September/October. Maybe a mild chance perhaps of a thunderstorm before 9:00 a.m. Thursday. I’m not holding my breath for rain and think it’s more the type of storm to cause fires. For most weather related things, I rely on weather dot com. They get our weather forecasts more correct than most. They give a 15 day version, also, that actually isn’t bad. I find them pretty accurate for most of Washington east of the Cascades.

    Coming soon, to a theatre near you…the tale of a rock, a very wily (cue the theme from Jaws) rock, a rock unlike other rocks. It has a tail. It Has Fins. It Even Has TEETH. It’s SHARK ROCK!

    Ah yes, ongoing jokes are good. They can even be full of wisdom and answers. 42

    It’s that Eurocentric view of the planet, mate…the view that north of the equator is up and you lot south of the equator are upside down. But you do bring up a good question. The majority of land on the planet is north of the equator, hence so is its mass. So it is a top heavy planet. If it’s in equilibrium, it is unstable equilibrium. Quite likely, the plant has flipped arse over teakettle a few times due to the top heavy nature. That means that, if the planet is in stable equilibrium, the southern hemisphere is right side up and those of us north of the equator are upside down. And that would actually explain a whole lot of recorded history!

    It’s called consequences. At least in the USA, we’ve got at least 2 generations that think consequences don’t exist.

    Yes, the carving was fun. Being president, however, means that if we get more than about 5 people, everybody wants to talk to the “face” of the organization, even when said face is covered. I spent the time visiting, which was good, letting people I’ve not seen since March have some face time. Oh, and I left my project sitting on a shelf at home. Interestingly enough, when I returned home and found my project, it was having a lively conversation with my sense of adventure, which I feared had been lost.

    Will they be friendly? “Splat!” (Scenes of whale blubber overwhelm the imagination.)

    Didn’t think you were arguing. You sounded more frustrated or confused (maybe not exactly the right words, but something akin to those?). This whole thing sucks, and the powers that be are not giving great explanations, and what they do give is never the entire picture, just little slices. And the media is fixated on the wrong bits. And nobody understands how exponential growth works (where’s Dr. Albert Bartlett when we truly need him?) So, I figured putting the entire enchilada out for everybody to see (or at least my understanding of the enchilada) might assist in the “adapt and improvise” category. Writing it helped me. Add to the ongoing decline which few even realize is occurring means that observing and accepting and adapting is HARDER THAN NORMAL.

    Thanks for the condolences and thoughts about my brother-in-law.

    I dunno enough about modern batteries to say anything. I’ll start educating myself and if I have an idea I’ll let you know. You’re much more up to date than I am.

    Vibes are different now, and some of the reasons aren’t known. Feels like something changed 7 or 8 weeks ago. Sitting back, staying as rooted and grounded as possible is my course of action right now. Or maybe that’s a course of inaction, which is often the best action. Or else it leads to another “Splat!” incident. Dunno, but there’s no guarantee that nature is friendly toward humans.

    DJSpo

  26. Hi Margaret,

    If I were in the area, I would most certainly have dropped past on the day and let out a mighty howl of appreciation for the stately tree, and also tipped some much needed funds into the kitty. It is a ripper looking tree, and the Land Conservancy group is to be commended for their foresight. It would be a shame to lose such a parent tree.

    Exactly, the same thing takes place here too with fallen trees. The logs provide habitat and feed. One of the main dramas I have with the fallen logs at the moment is that many of them were damaged by the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires and the charcoal exterior has perversely protected the log – they generally are hardwood after all. From then onwards, the log doesn’t provide feed for the little critters that eat and live in such a place. In fact, the timber becomes very dry and hard, and even the ants reject the timber (as they prefer damp timber). As a comparison, piles of rocks – including the steel rock gabion cages are like giant hotels for critters and the difference is that the critters can access the damp soil underneath the rocks without having to bore holes through dry and hard timber.

    Eventually the plan here is to drop a few small regrowth trees. Cut the logs into reasonable sized lengths and then place and stack them on contour. The critters will go crazy for such a nice place, and as they break the logs down into feed and housing, the soil fertility in the forest will reap huge benefits. That’s the plan anyway, but first clean up what is there so that it can be more easily maintained in future.

    It’s good fun stuff and I hear you about the work. Demands are many, time is short! 🙂

    Hey, incidentally the really large old dead trees are equally precious as they generally provide some of the best housing in a forest for all sorts of birds and animals – due to the hollows.

    No worries at all! Your eyes glaze over, my head spins and that leaves me with a headache. It is a very sub fluffy optimal situation.

    Yes, yes, it’s true. Demands have been made. I don’t have to wear a mask in my area as there are so few cases (4 apparently out of something like 17,000 households). Anyway, I’ve already been made to feel guilty today for not doing so. If I were sick, I’d stay at home.

    Ouch. The same story is playing out down here too with businesses. A true bloodbath and it hardly even gets reported on. However, there have been reports in the media that some people are abusing gobarmint benefits, and I am yet to see that take place in my awareness. A new term was also introduced recently: Zombie businesses – which refers to businesses that were just hanging in by a thread. Anyway, those benefits look like they will be set to be reduced soon.

    A good rule of thumb to follow in such times is that if things aren’t working – go back to basics and see what can be salvaged.

    Good stuff with the leaves. Out of curiosity, do you have to mulch them up a bit before they break down in such dry weather?

    Things are very wet this year. No more rain for a little while would be helpful. If things keep going the way they are so far this year, we’ll end up with an annual rainfall somewhere between three and four feet. All of the summer seeds are on order, and we are on tenterhooks about whether we should just grab all of the timber supplies for the greenhouse project – further lockdowns are possible.

    Cheers

    Chris

  27. Hi Chris
    Sorry about the batteries! The choices might cause a head explosion. ☹️
    Awhile back I was digging around for info on the largest storage cells. That led to the submarine battery category. In lead acid they were 15x 21 by 54 inches tall and weighed in at 1650 pounds each 5300 ah cap.
    Some time in the 1990s the navy switched to Lithium Cells. Apparently, selected what worked best for them.

    Searching today in solar lithium there seem to be a lot of people selling Lithium Iron Phosphate chemistry for off grid solar. I am pretty cautious about lithium batteries for lots of reasons, the mentioned technology sounds reasonably safe.

    If you could adapt you existing charge controllers to whatever category chosen could possibly lower the cost.
    Good Luck
    Al

  28. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, those Vikings had an ever outward expanding mindset. Their land must have been harsh as. Out of curiosity, was anyone brave enough to take the fight to the Vikings? I would have assumed that if their main fighting force was elsewhere, the home fires would have been left unattended, but can’t say that I’d ever heard anything about that story. I suspect destroying their crops and homes whilst they were elsewhere would have garnered a response.

    Your Fever dream is most prescient – and the words of the resort managers could be heard whistling in the wind. Don’t you reckon that it is funny that snake oil salesmen never quite disappear, but they pop up again and again? There have been a few of them in the current batch of troubles.

    Pah! What microchip up my nose? Although I’ve heard such stories. Anyway, out in the boonies such things just don’t happen – maybe. Maybehaps they just don’t happen whilst we are aware of them happening. On a serious note there are a number of roads with no checkpoints. It seems a bit of a farce.

    Back in early March, some of the state Premiers (your Governor equivalent) suggested that people come back now, or not at all. Those statements gave me the chills when I heard them – and yet people still went travelling overseas. You may recall that my New Zealand friends left Melbourne in a hurry. The editor and I had a serious phone chat with the lady of the couple one morning and said you have to leave, now. It seemed like good advice, and so they jumped on one of the last flights. To delay was a bit of a gamble and whole bunch of stress and headaches – just ask Damo how that worked out. I haven’t travelled overseas for well past a decade and then some. When I was travelling the long term average for departures from down under was something in the order of 3 million departures per year, but last year it was apparently 11.3 million and that just ain’t sustainable in any way shape or form. It wasn’t sustainable when we used to fly, but it was a whole quieter back then. There was an article about people stuck overseas: Stranded on their own. That lot – and the others – might not be able to get back, and then they’ll have to go native.

    Heck yeah. The natives are happy for the income from off shore, but expats should fear if they switch to becoming a burden on the local population. I wouldn’t want to experience that particular fate. The locals might well be hasty in coming to a decision about an expats fate.

    Hehe! Mate, you are on fire as you called that correctly. Early on with my solar journey, and this was almost a decade ago, when I first encountered the horrors of cloudy early winter weather, the generator had been sent to the farm machine repair shop just before Easter… Nowadays I keep two working generators just in case. The battery story is a true horror story, and I am wondering about a claim for a particular battery as it sounds too good to be true. After replying here, I’m going to try and find some opinions on the claims.

    Well, you’re right there too. Something will have to be worked out. The thing is that few people have serious hands on experience with the renewable energy technology and so until systems are built, then run for their entire life cycle, then nobody really knows how the stuff will work. You see, systems are rarely constructed as an entirety, and instead they are cobbled together from all different sources and you just hope that all of the different chunks of technology work together and have the same lifespan – not always the case.

    Not many, but I feel that the hippies that stuck to it, may have taken a sneak peak at things around them and said: No thanks, I’ll go do something else with my time. I’ve often wondered if the hippies who managed to pull off the trick of living that way, won. Dunno, it has been a long term thing that I’ve been interested in. Anyway, it is hard to take an objective look around you at the things going on if your pay packet and standard of living relies on you ignoring vast inequities. Of course, the way things are going right now, plenty of people look set to be forced to take a good hard look around themselves, but all the same plenty of people in those circumstances won’t.

    It amazes me that such high standards were achieved in the arts, so many centuries ago. Have we surpassed those achievements? There is a solid case to be made that innovation ceased quite a while back. Sure we are finessing, but that is hardly what I would describe as innovation. Hmm.

    How do you just lose an old duffer? But then the bloke does have dementia so who knows what might have happened there. At least it is not winter.

    Hybrid varieties of vegies are often quite good, so I can understand how your gardeners might think that heritage open pollinated varieties are a bit ‘low tech’. 🙂 We almost exclusively stick to open pollinated varieties as the el-cheapo factor comes into play and they just work when seed saving. Hey, I was reading in the seed raising book that Claire recommended (an excellent book by Rodale) that they were suggesting that hybrid varieties can be brought back to open pollinated varieties. I hope that such an outcome is not necessary, but to know it is at least possible is not a bad thing.

    I was talking to the editor about Cuba’s special period tonight. Not sure that I have a couple of stone to lose…

    Cheers

    Chris

  29. Hi Damo,

    Of course, I made that too hard. Birds of Tokyo – Plans. An Aussie rock classic.

    Wise, very wise. Run Damo and Mrs Damo, run! 🙂

    Hope the flight was OK, and I hear that check in at Perth can take a couple of hours. Watch out for the microchips up the nose. 😉

    Cheers

    Chris

  30. Hi DJ,

    There was another theory chucked around recently about Henry VIII and it was that he had type II diabetes. Someone was suggesting that his corpulence and actions were consistent with that particular disease.

    Thanks very much for the English language interpretation of your Weegie talk. And I sort of understood the last sentence, well at least and a bit, and also some of the early bits from the other sentences. So from what I understood of what you were saying, you were asking me whether I knew a bloke by the name of Phil? Can’t say that I do, he sounds seriously notorious though and hope he returns your lost turtle. The poor little fella needs his terrarium and turnip. I must say those Weegies talk some strange stuff! 🙂

    Some of the succulents do that spreading trick here too. We have one called ‘pig face’ and it is super hardy and produces plenty of flowers for the insects. Well there you go, some varieties are native and they produce edible fruits. Who knew?

    Ouch! Yes, thunderstorms during summers are a mixed bag. Sometimes here as you note, the strikes can set fire to trees which then smoulder waiting for the right hot dry winds to set the fire off. The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts here are pretty good, and like you I also check other websites for the very local observations. Rain can be exceptionally variable in these Central Highlands, and some parts just get more rain than others. I’m in one of the wetter parts of the area, but there are slightly wetter areas of the central highlands, and I look on those with envy during hot and dry summers. They have newer soils than here too. Some places get all the fun.

    I see Mr Greer hinted at an earlier book which suggested that the number was indeed 26, and not 42. Our fortunes are made if only we could argue endlessly about what it all means.

    The Earth flipping on its axis is a story that makes my knees weak and I’m getting that feeling in my guts – like you know when you’re on a roller coaster and it takes a sudden dive and your stomach feels like it has smooshed into your brain. Yeah, well the feeling is like that except multiplied by a million times. Yeah, that is exactly what it would feel like. Hopefully the planet doesn’t get knocked off its axis as that probably hurt.

    Makes sense. Consequences aren’t much fun, like planets flipping over suddenly. Incidentally as our resident physicist is it actually likely the magnetic field can move around and flip?

    Talking is part of being the leader of the group. Good to hear that you all enjoyed the catch up. Everyone is in hiding down here – seriously. A sense of adventure is what makes us feel alive, but it always comes with risks. The Hobbits understood this conundrum.

    I am actually not sure how I feel about the situation and my perspective is probably closest to Inge’s who said much the same, and glad that writing out your understanding of the enchilada put things further into perspective. I was awake an hour or two last night cogitating upon your words. I watched that most excellent lecture and he leaves no stone unturned. In fact the story is also spelt out in the most excellent book by William Catton Jr. which is titled: Overshoot. I had to read it twice in quick succession just so that I had not misunderstood his words. A beautiful book, but frightening at the same time. A mate of mine loaned it to me, and I advised him to only read it when his mind was in a good place.

    Seriously, there is grief and loss in your household sorry to say. I do hope that your lady’s brother recovers.

    Shoot! A claim was made that the batteries chemistry could last for 10,000 discharges to 50% and that is an astounding claim which I know of no way of proving. The claim has confounded me as it almost seems too good to be true.

    Exactly, we have used our resources to keep nature at bay, and should our resources ever become lesser per capita, nature will sneak in and strike. This was part of the story I was cogitating upon in the wee hours of last night. Earlier tonight I went to the pub for dinner and a pint and that provided no clarity whatsohaps!

    Cheers

    Chris

  31. Hi Al,

    My brain actually is exploding from this stuff.

    Lend me your ear! A claim was made about a battery, it is a high end lithium battery and apparently it can be discharged to 50% capacity 10,000 times. That sounds like an extraordinary claim which I have no way of proving. Seriously not sure what to make of it. Have you heard of such claims?

    Hehe! Yeah, those batteries are probably a bit beyond what I need or could use!!! 🙂 Nice one, some of those diesel electric subs run really quietly. One of our less than a handful of subs (getting crew is a difficulty apparently) took out one of your big ships in a naval game. We thought it pretty funny, but the US navy was not amused.

    I have no experience with the battery chemistry. But what interests me is that there are now far more lithium batteries being sold, and far less large scale deep cycle sealed lead acid batteries around. My hand maybe forced on this choice.

    Yes, the charge controllers are seriously programmable (they are locally made devices and super hardy) so lithium is no off the table. What are your hesitations with the chemistry?

    Cheers

    Chris

  32. @ Chris, DJ & Damo – Henry VIII broke with The Church, because Anne Boleyn had bewitched him. She had a sixth finger. Proof positive that she was in league with the Devil. 🙂 Lew

  33. Hi Chris,

    I too am sorry that you appear to be at a point where new batteries are the best fix to an issue. And sorrier to hear that your brain may be in danger of exploding as you research what to buy. I hope your brain doesn’t explode. The editor would have to clean up the mess, and I do not wish that on her.

    A lot of people and businesses are doing it hard, no question. Our school district has decided that it can only offer online schooling for the time being. This could not have been an easy decision to make, because my end of the district has a lot of families who cannot afford home internet access and/or cannot afford internet-accessible computers or tablets for children to use and/or have no adult at home for much of the day to keep watch on children who aren’t at school. The nearby elementary school didn’t try to do online classes after it closed in March; it just made paper packets of lesson plans and sent them home with students. Who knows how effective or not that might have been. The district doesn’t have the money to reconfigure the schools to allow for sufficient social distancing for in-school learning. Congress is debating whether to provide extra aid to school districts (and states, and cities, and individuals). If any aid does get passed – and some might, because it’s an election year – who knows if it’ll be enough to be effective. And so among other things, I think a lot of children will get even less schooling than they already do. This can’t work out well.

    So far no more lockdowns here, but businesses and public spaces like libraries continue to close either temporarily to deep-clean after a staff member is diagnosed with the virus or permanently because of the consequences of the earlier lockdown. We got a take-out pizza from our favorite restaurant last week; last time we were there was either January or February. The restaurant does have indoor table service, so our next assignment, should we choose to accept it ;-), is to go there for sit-down service. Maybe we’d better do that soon, before our county gets the idea to lock us down again (at least the restaurant is in the next county over, said county being slower to lock down). I’m also hoping we can go camping once before the summer ends. And I finally got my first haircut since the lockdown this week!

    We had dry weather in June and for the first half of July. Then it started to rain and the wind started to blow, and the corn lodged. It was so good-looking in the photo on my blog; now stalks are cattywaumpus. The peaches are not ripening as fast as the squirrels are eating them; I can smell fermenting peaches on the ground as I type. But the tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and summer squash are producing and peppers will ripen to red soon; the potatoes will be ready to harvest in a week or two; and Mike just made over two gallons of strawberry wine and I made a quart or two of strawberry cordial from the strawberries we froze during the May harvest season. Summer is good!

    @Damo – congratulations on flying the NSW coop! The next quarantine spot sounds positively luxurious compared to the previous one. What happens after you complete this quarantine? Will you be ready to settle into a new place to live, and do you have it yet?

    Claire

  34. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder. Yup. The earth flipping arse over teakettle is a possibility. It’s happened before. And, in what seems like a fit of poor planning, just looking at the globe, we’re kind of top heavy. Some of the plot of one of my favorite disaster flicks, “2012” had a bit of that as a plot device. The magnetic poles reversing? That’s happened before, too. On slow news days, there always seems to be a few articles about either eventuality. Scientists seem to run out of ideas, as to what either of those will look like “on the ground.” But, like the Yellowstone super volcano going off, it’s really kind of pointless to worry about all that. Although I admit I’ve had a bit or rising dread over the fact that we haven’t had a good earthquake, in quit awhile.

    Well, since most of the Vikings didn’t have a centralized government (except now and again. Tended to come and go) there was a bit of inter tribal turmoil, from time to time. There was some recent archaeology about a wealthy Viking settlement, that came to a bad end. Some evidence points to their being done in by envious neighbors.

    There’s been a lot of films and novels, that revolve around “last train out of …” or “last flight out of ….”. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen footage of, or read about, the evacuation of Saigon, at the end of the Viet Nam war. There are documentaries, and, a film or two. I just finished watching season one of “World on Fire.” Season one was the kickoff to WWII. Following people in Warsaw, Berlin, Paris and England. A lot of the plot devices revolved around people trying to decide if to go, when to go, is it to late to go, and how to go. And, where. There’s a lot of that that goes on over at Mr. Greer’s blog.

    Speaking of Mr. Greer’s blog, there’s an extra Wednesday, in this month, so, he’s taking a poll on what to discuss next week. Oh, please, gods, not Hesse! That’s about as interesting as Dion Fortune. Or, bicycles. There’s also a lot of votes for some kind of sex thing. But, I voted for synchronicity. There’s also a lot of votes for “forecast” of coming events. Wouldn’t mind that. I noticed someone has the handle “accidental Hippie.” I know being called a prepper gets your back up. But maybe, you’re an “accidental Prepper?” 🙂 .

    That was quit an article about Australians, stranded overseas. Here’s one about a group of Dutch teenagers, who ended up sailing for five weeks, across the Atlantic, to get back to Holland.

    http://www.cnn.com/travel/article/dutch-teens-wylde-swan-atlantic-crossing-coronavirus-scli-intl/index.html

    I guess it’s all a case of things can move very fast, and time might run out, in short order. It sure was a shock when our library slammed their doors, with not even a 24 hour notice.

    I don’t know if I’m sending myself up, or, am having a fit of precognition, but I’ve started laying plans for holding up for a month, this fall. I did 14 days, pretty well. And, learned a lot. So I’m doing a bit of stock piling. LOL. 42 rolls of untouchable TP. 🙂 .

    Well, you certainly have a valuable skill set, as far as the solar goes. The rich will probably have solar, for quit awhile, if things really fall apart. Someone will have to keep those systems up and running.

    I think, maybe, the old Hippies were just a bit before their time. But they’ve kept skills going, that may come in handy, in the near future.

    Well, as far as art goes (value judgement and personal opinion, dead ahead), I think we’ve matched the ancients. As far as technique goes. But I’m talking about realism, here. I think abstract art is kind of a dead end. Eventually. And anything computer oriented, can vanish in a flash. We’ve got some new materials (like acrylic paint), but I wonder how it will hold up, over the long haul. I wonder what the Romans would have made of Impressionistic paintings? But then, on occasion, they more than skated along the edges of that style of painting.

    LOL. I see history and archaeology are getting all politicly correct. It’s no long “the barbarian invasions.” It’s now, “Migration Period.” Dark ages has become “Late Antiquity.” Well, whatever floats your boat and makes one “feel” better. 🙂 .

    Well, you loose an old duffer when someone leaves a door unlocked. We’ve got a couple of facilities here, for folks with dementia. Exterior doors are pretty well controlled, but, accidents happen. There’s a river nearby. Or, maybe he’s together enough to spin a tale and got a lift somewhere. Or, maybe a relative sprung him. There’s enough films that have that premiss. Grandma gets it in her head to take a cross country trip, and young relative springs her, to grant her wish. While learning a lot about “life” along the way.

    The archaeology world is agog as some cave in Mexico has yielded evidence that shoves the peopling of America back another 11,000 years. To 30,000 BCE. Some of the DNA evidence (not from this site) is pretty interesting. A lot of Native American DNA is mostly related to NW Asia. With just a hint of Pacific islanders. And now, a whisper of Australian Aboriginal genes.

    Sometimes, I feel a bit sad that all these discoveries we’re making, will be, eventually, swept away and lost. Not that I’ll be around (probably) to notice. Yesterday, I picked peas, watered, dug a bit of garlic and trimmed back the horseradish. You know, horseradish makes quit a striking ornamental. Huge crinkly dark green leaves. Ah, you asked about garlic and soil. Well, I certainly notice that the soil sure smells of garlic, for awhile. I really don’t know what effect it has on the soil. But, since garlic “gets along” with just about all plants, I suppose it’s beneficial? Lew

  35. Chris,

    Henry VIII had many problems. Ya know, maybe his weirdness and fighting was due the big 3: brain damage from the jousting fiasco, syphilis and Type 2 diabetes. That combination would explain a lot, wouldn’t it? Although something perversely cynical in me much prefers the idea of Henry VIII, the Brain Damaged Monarch. Coming soon to a book store near you. 😉

    Hehehe! Funny. But maybe you’re onto something…all Weegies are named Phil and need to be returned to their terrariums with a fresh turnip. And making that suggestion to a Weegie would have immediate consequences!

    I think I have that book that mentions an early version of the Ultimate Answer was 26. IIRC, it was in a biography of Douglas Adams, which had access to some of his notes and manuscripts and stuff. I’m glad he decided on 42. 26 doesn’t roll off the tongue quite right.

    Actually, the Earth’s magnetic poles are not static. The magnetic north pole weaves around a bit. There’s evidence that the polarity has flipped several times in Earth’s history also – south magnetic pole becoming the north magnetic pole and vice versa. And then flopping back. In other words, the Earth’s magnetic poles might be very well be this planet’s original “flipper floppers”.

    As far as the Earth getting knocked off its axis, well, yes, I imagine that would hurt! How would this planet act if it suffered from a severe axis ache?

    Yes, the Hobbits were quite wise. They had ample senses of adventure, but knew enough to keep them stored deep underground in a closet in the depths of their underground homes. Yet they knew where the senses of adventure were stored and could retrieve them upon dire need. Can’t imagine a Hobbit going off half cocked and tilting at windmills, but lopping off the head of the Great Goblin and inventing golf with it IS a Hobbit thing!

    Thanks again. The grief and loss is a story with which we’ve been much too familiar starting in late 2005. It seems to be the current normal for us. That is one of the hazards of coming from a large family with huge amounts of cousins of varying ages. The good side is that we know that we must stay grounded, we know (usually) how to do that, and adapting to change is easier than it was once upon a time. A lot of things that most people think are important really don’t matter one bit.

    Once upon a time, I was very much a part of what is called the fundamentalist religious right. A friend was teaching a class called “The Problem of Evil”. He had once been part of the religious right and wanted someone articulate from that mindset in his class. Anyhow, he suggested to the class a book “Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff. It was an eye opener and a thought changing book. One phrase in it in particular is foreign to most thought in English speaking countries “Things are the way they are.” Sometimes I have to go back to that phrase when things get too heavy for me and adapting is harder than normal. That and Greer’s idea that the decline is not a problem that can be solved, but a predicament that must be worked through. For somebody with a problem solving, mathematical mindset, those 2 concepts are humdingers!

    Or there’s always this: https://friesian.com/no-shit.htm

    But a pub dinner and a pint ARE necessary things at times! Drinking ale and eating a good meal IS an act of clarity in insane times! Hopefully they allowed you to understand that the battery claim sounds too good to be true so likely is too good to be true. However, is that battery an improvement over what you’ve got now? Is it safe? I’m waiting for Al’s reply to your question about his chemistry comment.

    DJSpo

  36. @Lew

    Thanks for the link on the teenagers sailing back home across the Atlantic. Mrs Damo and I half-joked that was our backup plan to get back to Australia if we really got stuck in NZ. Turns out there are plenty of websites you can register as “crew” for private sailors who need a few extra hands for ocean crossings. Normally you are expected to pull on ropes, keep watch and contribute to the food kitty. Other than that, usually free. Reminds me of the (paraphrased) saying, “it is better to have a friend with a boat than one yourself”.

    Cheers,
    Damo

  37. RE: Travel

    Chris, I read that link on the Australians stranded overseas as well. On a related note – today is the first day I can open the news page without dread of some latest “development” or new travel restriction.

    The general vibe of the story I find accurate. It is all very well to say “come back now”, but if you have a job, house, family all sorted it is not that easy (or perhaps even advisable) to run back home at first sign of trouble. Indeed, the official advice at the time was to stay in place if you are safe. And anyway, did they really want 1 million ex-pats to come back in March all at the same time? As usual, it boils down to politicians say all sorts of opportunistic rubbish 90% of the time. The other 10% no one knows since they are all making it up as they go along anyway.

    As for people who chose to go overseas for a holiday in March, hmm, that is a little more problematic. But, hey it is literally an unprecedented global pandemic and most people make poor decisions at the best of times. Let he cast the first stone and all that.

    Cheers,
    Damo

  38. Hey Chris,

    Nah, I was never gonna get that reference and I like Birds of Tokyo! I’m not saying the blame is with you or anything, that can remain unsaid 🙂

    Cheers,
    Damo

  39. @Pandemic Travel Update

    Mrs Damo and I made it into Perth late last night (11pm local time). The large Airbus A330 had less than 50 people on it and everyone was “advised” to wear masks during the flight. On arrival at Perth, we walking past dozens of police, navy personnel (there is a nearby base with an oversupply of bodies if you need something to look official and scary) and medical looking types. There was lots of bright fluro lights, temporary walls and fences plus a hint of chaotic/paniced energy to the whole thing.

    We got our temperature taken then were shuffled along to the Police who looked at a our papers and credentials. The lovely sergeant gave the “stay in self quarantine or get a 12 month prison term and $50k” fine speech (everyone was actually quite nice). After that, we got shuffled along to the “clinic” for 5G bio-chip insertion, otherwise known as Covid testing. Then we were free to catch a taxi to our temporary rented house. Whole process took about 30 minutes, although apparently it was chaos Monday night when 4 planes arrived at once.

    @SLClaire
    The new place has a native flower garden surrounding a little courtyard – so there is lots of birdlife and we can sit in the sun. Mrs Damo is organising a delivery of groceries this morning and I plan to cook something this afternoon. Luxury! 🙂

    In 14 days, we can venture out! Priority tasks – buy a car and rent a long term house. Luckily, we can do the legwork during isolation, and come up with a short list on both for when we get out. We are usually pretty quick at this sort of thing – I anticipate both car and house to be sorted on first or second day out – but moving in will no doubt be the following weekend waiting for for paperwork etc.

    @marg
    I have read a few books based on recommendations here as well 🙂

    @Lew
    We made friends with a pair of crows a few days before getting out of the hotel – they would visit 3 times a day and get fed the leftover dinner I kept for them. On our last day, we walked around the area surrounding the hotel for a few hours before going to the airport – and when we were having lunch the same two crows came up and hung out next to our table while we ate. They wanted food of course, but I like to think they were friendly 🙂

    Not sure what that has to do with Anne Boleyn or the A-team, but I thought it relevant!!

    Cheers,
    Damo

  40. Hi Chris
    That life rating looks pretty wild! The conservative life span for the popular LiFePo4cells is 3000 to 6000 discharges to 50 %. And calendar life of five to seven years. Those companies may have problem with exaggeration 😊

    The Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) cells which are rated very safe, non fire and explosive, non toxic. Seem to be real popular as lead acid replacements. I’m guessing also over priced and profitable. You may find some really good deals in the present situation. In my purview of the topic recently, some good baseline information:
    Search ;”LiFePo4 life ratings”
    Result : batterystuff.com. Good General info From a seller of vehicle lithium Iron Phosphate replacement for Lead Acid batteries.
    Another Result: solicity.com more LiFePo4 life info.
    Quite a few others to look at also

    After my limited reading I have no safety concerns with this newer type technology. The older varieties are being over turned So it looks. Your situation puts you in a time crunch to keep the house hold going. May take some extended generator charging runs to get the battery bank a little ahead of the solar deficiency. If you can determine the weaker cells with a discharge test (requires an automotive carbon pile Battery tester. Fairly cheap at an auto part store.) you might able to find a few used sealed lead acid single cells to replace your weaker cells from some solar supply place. Might get you by while procuring the new battery cells.

    Two earlier versions of lithium ion cell had potential fire and explosion hazards that were handled by addition of on device shut down circuitry to prevent the event from developing. The chemistry in the LiFePo4 cells cannot support the development of the hazard. Therefore a safer battery. simple answer 🤨

    The LiFePo4 cells have a few requirement to be placed in the controller programs that the battery an plasmatronics folk can help you with. I hope This little bit is of some help. 😁

    Cheers Al

  41. Hi Claire,

    Thanks, the whole battery thing almost exploded my brain, and as you note that would have been very unpleasant for the editor who presumably would have had to clean up the mess. Sticky. Yuk. With an exploded brain, my concerns would be elsewhere. You know, these devices can have variable life spans, and until the system has been installed, run, and then finally reached the sunset years – nobody really knows how things will turn out. There is a lot of talk, but often the talk does not match the reality. I reached out to some off grid techno hippies I know this morning (Lewis triggered the memory with his talk of hippies) and rang them up and just asked the hard questions (politely, of course as my social capital with them is low). They responded equally politely and just told me like it is.

    Ouch! Online schooling down here as a contrast has apparently favoured the kids in private schools as more resources are being thrown at those kids. I have heard anecdotal accounts of kids finishing their daily school work in under an hour, and/or being left in the dark. If the anecdotal accounts are true then it is very sub fluffy optimal.

    And that is the thing isn’t it? Not every kid has access to a computer and an internet connection.

    Mind you, when I was a kid due to the circumstances there was not an adult around during school holidays and I turned out just fine (hopefully so)! Out of my two sisters one turned out OK, and the other did not, so it is a bit hit and miss really. Not every kid wins a prize. But yeah, it won’t work out well in the long run. A lack of education produces an under class in the population and there is a serious question of equity in that outcome.

    It must be the week for haircuts as I got one on Tuesday evening. Life has to go on, sorry to say. With the subject that dare not be mentioned, life has become something of a crapshoot and it adds an additional layer of risk. But then we had this bizarre notion that as a society the risk could be abated somehow, and that takes a lot of energy, resources and layers of complexity. We can’t keep that up in the long run.

    Your corn looked superb and I was impressed at the neatness and sheer productivity of your garden. The work that you have done on re-mineralising the soils in your garden is producing results. The corn occasionally lodges here too, and of late I have been wondering whether that was part my error for not planting the seeds deeply enough. And just to show what a small and tiny world it is, I now know somebody who is good mates with Steve Solomon. The world is too small sometimes.

    I pick peaches slightly under ripe and then bring them into the house and place them on a tray to soften. Otherwise the birds will take all of them. They taste pretty good. Over the past few years I’ve used the parrots to let me know when fruit is ready to harvest. It seems to work and they get some and I get some.

    Strawberry wine is really top stuff. Respect! 🙂 We’re still experimenting with strawberry jam as last year we put slightly too much lemon in it and that was an error.

    Cheers

    Chris

  42. Hi, Chris!

    I haven’t seen anybody – yet – scrounging wood by the side of the road. Maybe that is because it is summer and not many people plan ahead? I like how you have that fire set up, with the large stumps all around the perimeter. And the soil bridge is very clever.

    That’s a big hole to fit a Chris in it!

    You have the very best cloud views in the world.

    My son bought a secondhand gas powered chipper, which is something that I have always wanted. Now, as we clean up the dead and cut-down trees, we can make our own mulch. Yesterday he also went up to the medium smoke and bought a used dump truck, which also comes equipped with a snow shovel and some other accoutrements that I don’t know about yet. We used to get lots of snow, not so the last 3 years, so we shall see. He didn’t buy it for that anyway.

    Pam

  43. Hi Lewis,

    Really? Such an upside down, or possibly back to front movement of the Earth’s axis would be a remarkably unpleasant experience to endure. Not sure that I’d want to see that, but then life goes on and all that business. I’ll bet the Earth shook the day the massive dinosaur finishing off meteor impacted on the surface 65 million years ago. A mate lives in an area in New Zealand that is subject to earthquakes (as is much of those islands – some parts more than others) and it would make for a nervous existence. Mind you I’m hanging off the side of a hopefully dormant volcano. Life can be risky…

    Arthur may well have also been done in by envious neighbours. There is a lesson there. I was speaking with a mate tonight about having electricity in an area that does not have electricity, and that would make the stuff hard to use at night. Moths to a flame and all that stuff. Best to switch the lights off in those circumstances. No doubts zombies would be likewise attracted by artificial lights at night.

    Yes, I have seen the footage of the last flights out of Saigon. They made for sobering footage and the desperation on peoples faces was palpable. Been to Saigon, and I felt a strange vibe there and could never put a finger on what it was. When to depart the sinking ship is always a fraught topic, and it may be that there is no right time, there is only time. I can live with that name, it was never my intention though to be an accidental prepper, although some outcomes can look very similar. Mate, I’ve been in a few places at times where I ended being the accidental ! 🙂 Well just proves that like prepping you can learn on the job and what doesn’t kill you and all that stuff.

    Thanks for the link to the epic and very clever journey by the Dutch kids. Mate, when I was that age I didn’t know anyone who went on a sail/study program around the Caribbean. Sailing across the planet was surreal, but original concept was also itself quite surreal, but then many things are a mystery to me.

    Speaking about moving fast and supply cliffs and all that stuff, I decided and moved today to order replacement batteries for the house. And, in a show of support for local manufacturing, whilst the cells are not made here, all the rest of the batteries components and electronics (yep, these batteries come with electronics – go figure) are made in Melbourne. I spoke to the folks at the business and liked what I heard. Best to support local manufacturing where you can. They’re busy too, as you can imagine.

    But incidentally your talk of accidental hippies triggered a memory that I know of some folks who live in a very hippy part of the country (think Ashland equivalent) and they’ve been mucking around and selling this renewable energy stuff for years. I bought the original system from them. So I got on the phone to them this morning and politely asked some hard questions about these batteries. It is nice to speak with people who have decades of experience behind them, and that they take the time to speak to you. The company name is the Rainbow Power Company. I kid you not. Been around for decades.

    Well, best to have experienced an earlier lock in so you tested your systems – mate I get that story. Few battle plans survive engagement with the enemy, so best be prepared if that is what it comes down to.

    Whether someone is ahead of the curve or behind the curve, it really just is hard to tell where the curve is actually at. There is a lot of noise.

    I feel a bit intimidated by abstract art as I just don’t understand it. Meaning gets attached to form, I get that, but I can’t see it myself. Possibly my education is lacking in this respect. Our computer records will eventually disappear to wherever they will go – it is somewhat ironic because the databases on people are generally quite frightening and if they were lost… I saw how that operated recently, and it was a strange world.

    Political correctness can be taken too far. I’d be chuffed to have come from a long lineage of Barbarians. Cool.

    The premise for the springing Grandma out of the institution is too good not to have actually been a film. Yes, a youngster would learn a lot about life on that trip. Years ago I watched a film about a grandma who took in two of her now adult grandchildren. The mother of the two now adult grandchildren had passed away many years beforehand, and the grandmother slowly spilled the beans on the mental health story behind that death. People sometimes forget that parents can be a bit mentally unhinged and still have kids.

    That doesn’t surprise me. Humans were on this continent for tens of millennia before those dates, so clearly us humans got around a lot way back in the day. They were no less smart than we are.

    I get that, but you know I was speaking with a friend tonight who’s a bit older than I, and I said that it has been a pretty wild and fun ride to be living in these times. Historically life has been very uncertain and risky, and really it is only been the last decade or so that the larger cracks are really beginning to show. I feel that the future will be pretty good too and certainly our society could benefit from being more social and local. Locals need work too.

    Cheers

    Chris

  44. Hi DJ, Damo and Al,

    Sorry everyone, but I have run out of time to reply this evening. I promise to reply tomorrow when things will be less busy. It is almost midnight now and bed is calling.

    Cheers

    Chris

  45. @ Damo – Glad you liked the article. Plucky kids! 🙂 . Another old saying is, the two happiest days in a boat owners life are 1.) when they get the boat and 2.) when they sell the boat.

    I’m so happy Mrs. Damo and you are in more salubrious surroundings. Yup. Cook something up. Always makes you feel more “at home.” Lew

    PS: There was a book I read, recently, that was about the zombie apocalypse, told from the point of view of a pet crow. I liked it, but, maybe because it was set in Seattle. I hope my Korean zombie movie, shows up at the library, today. Continuing the 2020 Zombie World Tour …

  46. @ Inge – Bill Bryson is always worth a look. He seldom disappoints. Don’t know what you’d make of his couple of books on Britain :-). He lived there for quit awhile and wrote a book about it. Came back to the states for, mmm, 20 years? Then made another long trip back to England and wrote another book as a comparison. I haven’t read the body book. Do I really want to know? Lew

  47. Yo, Chris – Yup. A bad day for the dinosaurs. Another favorite disaster flick, of mine, is “Deep Impact,” (1998). Starts a bit slow, but then moves right along.

    Yes, I’ve often thought being a “shinning beacon” during electrical breakdown, might not be such a good idea. Of course, if it’s an EMP or solar storm, it’s back to candles, for you too! 🙂 . Actually, light could be used to lure zombies into a trap, and you could clear a vast swath with one clean sweep. Take clean up, into account.

    There was quit a bit over at Mr. Greer’s, this week, on city vibes. The reports on Portland and Seattle, made me quit sad. The places I remember are no longer. Best stay away and linger in the glow of memory.

    The Dutch kids, were plucky. But, I think we’ve all been in the place where all we want to do is get home, and sleep in our own bed. The Romans really weren’t much, for sailing. Other than in their big pond. I watched a DVD about the Roman invasion of Britain, last night. There was Julius Caesar’s little foray. Then Caligula’s aborted attempt. And, finally, the Claudian invasion, that “took.” In all cases, there were problems getting the soldiers, on the boats.

    Congrats on making a decision on the batteries. You’ve done the best you can, with the information, available. Rainbow Power? Wonder if they named any of their kids, that? I hold the Hippies responsible for the plethora of weird kids names.

    Well, if we get a heavy lock down in the fall, I’m sure I’ll have forgotten, or run out of, something. Oh, well. Adapt or do without.
    Substitute. Improvise. We had another 6 cases, yesterday.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about abstract art. I think the whole thing is a scam, to enable a group of people to feel superior, as they think they have “inside knowledge.” Though I don’t care for abstract art, I have read a bit about how the markets work. Smoke, mirrors and PR. Arcane language and concepts.

    Oh, the film genre of springing grandma (and, sometimes grandpa) from the evil old institution is a pretty well established story line. Generally, it’s the grandkids that help them go on a runner. The kids want them solidly locked down, “for their own good.” It’s interesting watching guilt play out, in Eleanor’s family. But, mostly to her benefit. She feels more … paid attention to, and valued.

    Once we’re past the getting sick and dying bit, some things might be better. Not so much lip service to “buy local”, but an actual necessity to do so. I’ve always found, that even if it doesn’t seem so at the time, I’ve always had an uncanny ability to fall face down in good fortune. I really don’t see that changing, as long as I can keep breathing, in and out. 🙂 .

    Well, I filled out my election ballot, last night. We have a primary for State and local positions. It sorts out the wheat from the chaff. The really silly part of the ballot is that there are 36 people running for State governor. Yup. 36. The filing fee must be really low. I pretty much knew how I was going to vote, but, for a couple of positions, I was bouncing between three websites, trying to get a fix on the contenders. The next three months will be very interesting. Lew

  48. Hi Chris
    I’m so glad you were able to make the new battery system selection and with local folks. Also to have some answers from your old acquaintances at The Rainbow Power Co.
    Hope it all goes smooth and quickly through the whole process.
    Cheers Al

  49. @ Lew
    Agreed, Bryson is always worth a look. His 2 books on Britain are superb, particularly the first one. I was disappointed by ‘A walk in the woods’ which became tedious. ‘The body’ is as said, utterly fascinating though I want to add notes at points where he seems to be puzzled and I know the answer or could add info.

    Inge

  50. Hi Lewis,

    I reckon the shock from the meteor strike would have been felt across the globe. For some reason I hadn’t considered that the meteor was very big at something like 10km (6 miles) relative to the planet, but you mentioned a while back that it was equivalent to Mount Everest (and then some) smacking into the Earth at high speed, and that put a whole new perspective on the circumstances as my minds eye grappled with what that would look like. Turns out that it would be no good, but the Earth recovered in time and here we are today.

    Deep Impact was a favourite. We saw the film at an outdoor cinema at night in the small town of Broome in Western Australia – as you do. At one point in the film, and this was a classic moment, the meteor was rapidly heading towards the Earth. And then right at that time an aircraft flew low over head over the outdoor cinema on its way to the outback airport. Timing is everything and that sure made me jump (man, the special effects are like, awesome!) 🙂

    Broome has apparently been inundated with tourists since those quiet days and I’m not sure that I’d want to see it now.

    Hey, Plum is super favourite dog tonight. We worked up until the sun set. Moving rocks and soil, and all the usual stuff that goes on here. Came inside the house and had a coffee and Anzac biscuit to mark the end of the working day. So Plum had to go outside to go to the toilet. All good, so far. Except that she does her business and then stands on the veranda barking like a crazy dog. Fortunately we don’t have rabies on this continent so whilst she may be acting crazy, it is not rabid Cujo style crazy, and so we brought her back inside and then took a good look around. Holy plops! There were eight deer in the orchard. Grabbed Ollie and set him in motion. Sometimes you need a bit of extra authority, and Ollie sure provides that. He charged down the hill straight at the deer, turned at the last minute so that he came up behind them and his deep bark set the deer running. Ollie chased them into the forest for about a minute and then returned triumphantly looking as happy as a pig in poo. The stag was making very unhappy sounds out in the forest as he called his ladies back to him. Beef jerky all around for such fine canine efforts. 🙂

    Exactly, EMP storms happen and that’s life. Our species will get to experience that one perfect day, and um, yeah, fertile soils, knowledge and seeds is about the best hope to get through such a drama. It occurs to me that zombies – with the head disconnected – might make some fine fertiliser for the fruit trees in the orchard. So, entrapments wouldn’t be a bad idea. The idea was not mine as I saw that idea in Zombieland 2 (like the first but with less Twinkie’s – whatever they are).

    Speaking of zombies, the editor is currently reading the book: Hidden Kingdom. I specifically instructed her not to give me any teasers. But then I’m intrigued because she is laughing at some points in the story – even when we were at the local General Store enjoying breakfast the other day. It is no doubt complicated and hard to explain.

    Yes, I’ve been doing my best to keep up with Mr Greer’s comments and I see that Mr Kunstler also wrote about the crazy goings on there. As a wild guess, mayors are often voted in with the support of local small businesses and developers. For the life of me I have no idea why such an august institution would side with people rioting. The story makes no sense to me at all.

    Been there and done that. We never travelled to fancy first world locations. There were times that I have been struck low by a local health condition when travelling in a remote spot and wondered what the heck I was doing there. Not so easily answered! Travel can be over rated and the lack of travel nowadays is seriously no skin off my nose.

    Only the hippies would so call a business, and all respect to them too. Years ago I had an email address which had the letters ‘bs’ in it and with my puerile sense of humour that was endlessly funny. But then the very letters set in motion reactions that were more of a nuisance than the benefits I reaped from the amusement. So the email address was quietly ditched as a bad idea. Names are like that too. I recall that in New Zealand some unfortunate child was allegedly named ‘Bus Stop Number Sixteen’, although frankly I have no idea what that was all about. Yup, names must be changed to protect the innocent. It is not lost on me that proper diction is not taught these days in school for the words: spell, spelled, and spell binding have much weight behind them and there are interests abounding the landscape that know this to be true.

    Thanks, we mess around on some things, but not others! I’m now on tenterhooks hoping that we don’t get chucked into a New Zealand style lock down as I would struggle picking up the batteries from the factory. There are ways and ways though.

    Ah, down here we have reached 7,700 cases. An impressive achievement to be sure.

    Out of curiosity, how does arcane knowledge enter the fray with abstract art?

    Good to read that Eleanor is enjoying more attention from her family. Mate, I tend to feel that people get lost in the detail. Of late I have been reaching out to many, many people and you know what, I reckon people have forgotten how important it is that connections are nurtured during these sorts of difficult times. It is hard to balance all of the competing demands upon me.

    Well that is it isn’t it? Things can come out the other side looking better than they are today, and I have a sneaking suspicion that that may be the case. Of course plenty of people measure their status by things that take a lot of resources to maintain, but then as a rising tide lifts all boats, so can the receding tide take all down along with it. Status is of course a relative concept.

    Your good fortune may also be the ability to adapt and improvise as the circumstances require. Takes one to know one! Hey, I was never unemployed during the recession of the early 90’s as I took whatever work was on offer – even if that meant ringing people up and trying to work out how to extract money from them, which they said they were otherwise going to pay, but had not. Not a pretty or glamorous job, but someone had to do it, and it kept a roof over my head and food on the table. Plus I learned a huge amount about the human condition. I’m sure you’ve been there too. Other folks preferred to wait for the perfect job, and so they enjoyed the dole.

    Good luck and low expectations accounts for a percentage of our existence. 🙂 If it works…

    Ha! You have not seen one of our Senate voting ballot papers. The things are three feet across because there are so many candidates. Every once in a while a truly cheeky scamp lodges a donkey vote where they draw an enormous anatomically correct male appendage across the three feet of ballot paper. Alas I lack the artistic skills to be able to draw so well, but when we counted the votes everyone enjoyed a chuckle at the silliness.

    The soil bridge was completed today! Who would have thunk that a one day job ended up taking three days. Epic stuff – and we ran out of rocks and will have to scrounge some more.

    Cheers

    Chris

  51. Hi DJ,

    It is a toxic mix of health unpleasantness that Henry VIII had to put up with. And yes, it would explain quite a bit, but some good came of it and he seemed to have survived his many travails. Anyway, you know the drill with any zombie: Take the head. From some accounts and by his actions good old Henry probably felt that he was surrounded by zombies. Best keep a low profile when encountering such delusional folks as not many people survive having their head lopped. But there was that one headless chicken (with just enough brain stem left over).

    You go first with that suggestion to a weegie!!! Why are all the naughty kids called Kevin? I dunno why I used the name Phil, it just seemed right somehow. We had a Prime Minister not that long ago with the first name Kevin, he seemed alright, but was eventually toppled. Don’t worry about them, we seem to have plenty more where they came from. Actually we went through so many in such a short succession that rules had to be changed. The population was beginning to get rather tired from the political mayhem.

    Yes, the number 26 believe it or not has something weird to do with the Bavarian Illuminati which is a fictional reference, so I concur with the good authors decision to quietly add an extra 16 so as to get the proper answer to the question of life the Universe and everything. And yes, it does sound better to my ears as well.

    I’d heard that about the magnetic poles, and also that the north pole actively moves around. The thing is, does it matter? Life goes on I guess.

    Last spring was without doubt the strangest spring weather that I can recall if only because it was non existent. So how do I know that the axis was not indeed altered? 🙂 There is logic to my logic, but of course we might have just had really rubbish weather. I reckon this spring might make up for it and provide us with a really long spring. Is equilibrium thus restored, or is a blip in time?

    Haha! I too recall that Hobbit story of was it grandfather Took lopping off the head of a Great Goblin? A beautifully told story and I have read it many times over. Actually I used to take it with me when travelling overseas as it balanced off the confrontation of sheer exoticness with that of a known story. Made my head feel better during the journey, that’s for sure!

    Both you and your lady have been doing it tough on the grief story. Incidentally tragedy is part of the waking story of the human existence. None of us escape its clutches, although we may try. The attempt usually comes to naught.

    Adaption to change is very wise for countering such a wall of grief. I get that.

    to be continued…

  52. Hi DJ (the double secret cont edition),

    Life is a journey and not a destination, so your journey on the religious right is just part of the path you travelled. The more English than the English school was very Church of England and yes, strange journeys involving church twice a week. Can’t say that I was taken by the spirit of the institution, but I did like singing the hymns at full voice, which was very rousing, but mostly unapprecaited by the authorities and often lead to detentions – so my experience of church was that it should not be an enjoyable experience. Oh well. Ah, you know I have read references to the book ‘The Tao of Pooh’ and it hardly surprises me to learn from you that it is such a thought provoking book. A predicament is like the ultimate problem, which is only resolved by adapting to the new circumstances. What else can one but do?

    Without repeating myself I got onto some folks I knew who have had many decades of experience with this technology. They of course live in a very hippy town in the state to the north of here. The feedback on the batteries was good, but nobody really knows what the ultimate lifespan will be. Is this not a predicament that I find myself in?

    Anyway, I’m taking what could politely be referred to as a leap of faith.

    Cheers

    Chris

  53. Hi Al,

    Thanks for confirming my thoughts on the chemistry of those batteries as the claim does sound pretty wild to my ears too. I would have expected maybe something like 6,000 cycles to 50%, which frankly is 2 to 3 times better than the sealed lead acid gel batteries I currently have. But 10,000 seems extraordinary.

    Yes, they are that particular chemistry. And I hadn’t realised the thermal runaway problem had been resolved. Visions of aircraft on fire whilst sitting on the tarmac come to mind…

    Thanks for the nod / confirmation of approval in relation to the safety. There is an economic dimension to replacing the faulty 2V cells in the existing 48V battery bank. My gut feeling tells me that perhaps there are at least 3 faulty cells in there. But replacing them with brand new batteries when the rest of the bank is nearing its end of life is an economic conundrum.

    I’ll keep all the good cells and reuse them in another 24V off grid system here. 😉 Plans!!!

    I’ve been onto the Plasmatronics folks already about some aspect of the programming. No point destroying the new batteries.

    Thanks for the well wishes, and mate until the system is up and running and then completes its entire life cycle – I have no idea how long any of this stuff will last.

    Cheers

    Chris

  54. Hi Pam,

    True about the firewood, although we used to cut and haul the firewood during summer. Now we cut and split it during winter (when such work doesn’t cook ones brain – although I’m told by reliable sources the zombies don’t mind) and then only haul and stack it during summer (usually in the mornings too). Things must have gotten pretty dire down here for people to be doing that, but at least the people are exercising initiative.

    Two to Three years planning ahead with firewood – side of the road stuff is very telling.

    Your culture has infiltrated my brain and when I construct those sorts of fires I go with a teepee arrangement. The cores of the fires get very hot. The ash from that fire will incidentally get distributed around tomorrow.

    The soil bridge is now almost complete after another day of digging and hauling soil. Tomorrow the locally quarried crush rock will be placed over the surface of the soil on the bridge. It is a nifty system that works.

    There was that one time I was stuck upside down in a 6 foot deep hole in the house foundations. Fortunately the editor could assist pulling me out of the hole. Never again. All the blood rushed to my head – the zombies probably wouldn’t approve.

    Thank you! The weather variability makes it a dynamic place to live. No doubt your part of the world is equally changeable?

    I dream of such machines too! A wise purchase, the mulch will be good. Keep your wits about you with such a machine. They’re really good. Does the purpose of the dump truck involve rocks?

    Cheers

    Chris

  55. Hi Inge,

    Haven’t read that book myself, but Dr Bryson is an excellent author and I have read many of his books. His travels down under were very funny and enjoyable – and he saw the country at the same time we did before hordes of tourists changed it.

    Cheers

    Chris

  56. Hi Chris,

    Good for Plum and Ollie. Always great when dogs earn their keep.

    The leaves that Doug collects in his leaf collector are chopped up but not the ones I rake up.

    We had our first recycling drive in months today. As expected there was much collected as people were cleaning out their homes during the lockdown. The lines were very long for the first couple of hours. Also plenty of styrofoam especially from take out. Sometimes you could tell what was a family’s favorite place for take out. Masks were required the entire time by all. This was the first time I’ve had to wear a mask for multiple hours. It was pretty hot too but we all survived.

    Doug will have no extra honey this year. He’s had many set backs. Hives without queens, swarms and then a pretty bad mite infestation in one hive. It’s been weird because even though hives were quite full we just didn’t see them out and about like past years. Others in the area are doing pretty much the same as always. As you can imagine he is not happy.

    Margaret

  57. @DJ
    Been thinking of you and your wife during these difficult times. Believe me I can relate.

    Margaret

  58. Yo, Chris – Somewhere I read that when the dinosaur killing asteroid came down, “the planet rang like a bell.” How they know that, I don’t know. If and asteroid falls on a planet, and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? 🙂

    From our things could be worse, department. Well, you seem to run through Prime Muppets, as through Kleenex on a bad cold day. But then there’s the Roman, “Year of the Four Emperors.” 69 CE. Recently, I ran across a reference to the “Year of the Six Emperors!”
    238 CE. Had never heard of it. At least your lot probably all died in bed. Unlike any of the emperors. Other than the one who was abducted by aliens. Your Muppet, not an emperor.

    Always pay attention to a madly barking dog. Go Plum! Go Ollie!

    We’ve talked about the Carrington Event of 1859. The world was rather low tech, then, but it still played hob with the telegraphs. Imagine what it would be like now? Kiss your solar electric system, goodbye. Unless you’ve got the whole thing surrounded by a Faraday Cage. Wonder if you can get insurance, for that? Probably not. But if so, better keep a paper copy of the policy, as all insurance records would probably be wiped out.

    Hostess Twinkie’s are a sponge like cake with a cream filling. None of the ingredients are anything found in nature. It’s speculated that they will survive any apocalypse the universe might throw at us.

    I wondered what had become of “The Hidden Kingdom.” I feared that you thought it was absolute shite, and was just kind enough not to mention it 🙂 .

    Weird names. I was hung with quit a moniker (Don’t ask. The secret is going to the grave, with me. You don’t search out my “real” name, and I won’t go in search of the infamous bubbles picture. Deal?). I informally changed it when I was about 20 and did it legally, about 15 years ago. Occasionally, some piece of advertising rubbish shows up, with my old name on it. Now that’s an old mailing list. Seeing it is like being struck, and I ceremoniously burn it in the parking lot.

    Well, we had 4 more cases, in the county, yesterday. Bringing us to a grand total of 149. For the State of Washington, we’ve had 50,804 cases, 5,301 made a turn through a hospital and 1,495 have died. Those are cases we know about.

    Arcane art knowledge. It’s an unholy alliance between art dealers and academics. They work out a patter … jargon, that is opaque to the punters, but, they (the punters) pretend to understand what it all means. Nodding sagely. Of course, that kind of art buyer is only interested in, “Is it a good investment.”

    “Just connect”, as E. M. Forster stated. I’m feeling rather guilty. I’ve got three or four messages simmering in my e-mail inbox that I need to reply to. People I really like, but I just can’t seem to … pull it together.

    In several places on our ballots, there a slot for “write in votes.” After an election, there’s always a humorous little article on the wide range of those. Everybody from Mickey Mouse to Attila the Hun.

    I also once had a very naughty e-mail. I saved it for those places that make you “register” so they can send you a bunch of e-mails you’re not interested in. But, luckily, retailers smartened up and gave folks the option of not signing on. The legitimate ones, respect it.

    Well, here’s an interesting article, in our local paper. Apparently, grain growing is going to make a come back, to our side of the mountains.

    http://www.chronline.com/business/port-of-chehalis-grain-project-clears-milestone/article_e1beeba4-ce0f-11ea-a4cb-27d1da25f0e6.html

    What the article didn’t make quit clear is that the local farmers, were growing things like carrots, corn and peas for the two local frozen food packing plants. Which have both closed. So, now they’re going to try grains. Now, when they say “port”, it has nothing to do with rivers or water transport. I don’t quit know how to explain it. DJ might have a succinct explanation.

    Well, I went out and bought two flats of blueberries, this morning. We get $40 in coupons from our local Senior Citizen Center. But, they have to be used at a farmer’s market. The people who run the fruit stand, also sell at the Olympia farmer’s market, so, they get a pass and we can buy fruit, there. This year, a flat is $27. So, I used my coupons and kicked in another $14, in cash. So, I got them for $7 a flat. Don’t know how many gallons I’ll get out of that. Can’t remember from last year.

    So, I’ve washed and de-stemed the first batch, which were put through a salad spinner, and are now doing some additional air drying in strainers. Then I’ll put them on cookie sheets, in the freezer, before bagging them.

    Nice looking blueberries. The first batch was about 1/3 flat. Only found one berry that was bad. Hardly any stems. Once I work through these, I’ll start picking off the bushes here at the Institution. The jungle drums have already started to beat. “Lew picks ALL the blueberries.” How tiresome. Never to my face, of course. Luckily, I’ve got a few defenders who point out I pick the one’s off the ground, and from the back of the bushes where the less spry can’t get at them. There’s plenty along the path, for those who want to go to All That Effort, of picking their own. Lew

  59. Chris:

    That would account for your accounting prowess. All the numbers settled in your head.

    I’ll say, changeable.

    This dump truck (he’s picking it up right now) is probably for so many things . . . business ventures, as well as it home. It is 4-wheel drive, which seems to be pretty rare.

    Pam

  60. Chris,

    Will catch up after your next blog installment. We got VERY busy – bought 40 pounds of peaches and have been working on those, the dehydrators and the garden.

    DJSpo

  61. Hi DJ,

    No stress at all. And Sunday nights I usually write, so it is kind of hard to reply. However, just to add a bit of randomness into the mix, sometimes I can reply. So anyway, take it easy and don’t work too hard and/or over do it. 🙂

    Cheers

    Chris

  62. Hi Pam,

    Hehe! Yes, the profession does tend to force a person to take a deep dive into the detail, and then try and form a coherent narrative (or incoherent picture as the case may be in some limited circumstances of course – it is a truth universally acknowledged that some people just like mess).

    The definition of the word ‘Changeable’, has sometimes had the additional caveat added: “subject to change at short notice and without warning.” Yup, not fun hearing those words – and to live in such a climate is complicated. 😉

    Good stuff and four wheel drive is a very wise choice. Business ventures also sounds very intriguing to my ears. A bit of advice in relation to the dumping of product: Just make sure in advance that people know that product will be dumped – and not stacked neatly as some folks might want and desire. Always a few grifters around just waiting to try it on.

    Cheers

    Chris

  63. Hi Margaret,

    Plum did well for a nine month old pup. She is still small, but fortunately Ollie is neither young nor small, and he went at the herd of deer hard – and from the rear with early warnings, which is a wise choice for his own personal safety. Stags are not to be lightly messed with. I took a photo of the aftermath of the event and both dogs looked rather pleased with themselves.

    That makes sense about the leaves, although like you we use a rake and then hit them with the mower, but nature takes care of them too as they do eventually break down. Only the paths get cleared of leaves. Speaking of paths we’re having to widen all of the paths because of the low centre of gravity mower and its small trailer. The soil bridge was completed this afternoon, and that bridge is in place so that the mower can turn around at the end of the path. The mower would not have been able to navigate the previous state of the path as it exceeded 17 degrees.

    You get to intimately know waste don’t you? 🙂 And yup it sure does tell a story. So far I haven’t had to wear a mask, but the editor sewed a couple up this morning. Even in winter they make for hot conditions and for that reason she chose linen material to make them from. The masks have a paisley pattern – so it looks all proper hippy like. It beats the pink love heart patterns she wanted which candidly send the wrong sorts of messages. I have to wear the hated thing when visiting clients, but you know stoicism and all that. The people I’ve encountered wearing them look hot and bothered.

    Sorry to hear that about Doug’s hives. Makes you wonder why Doug’s particular hives suffered whilst the other local hives did OK? Of course it is possible the other local beekeepers are being less than honest about the condition of their hives. I’ve heard of people substituting sugar syrup for honey and it can be hard to tell. One of the reasons for all of the flowers here is reliable food for all the insects that rely upon them. Given one of my neighbours used herbicide on blackberry bushes on the road which were in flower at the time, I have absolutely no idea what is going on elsewhere around here. So we plant more and more flowers. What else can you do?

    Cheers

    Chris

  64. Hi Lewis,

    Not saying that the dinosaur killing meteor had the same effect as Arthur’s sword striking the stone and ringing its note, but there is a lot of iron in the planet and so it might well have done so. Ear drum shattering would probably be the least of the problems for the life on the planet which had to deal with the ongoing situation from that day onwards. Maybe my brain is somehow attuned to music, but the title: “For whom the bell tolls”, sprang into my consciousness. Oh! The title was originally an Ernest Hemingway novel. Who knew? Just read the plot summary and there is tragedy in there. Speaking of which…

    Perhaps with six Emperor’s in a single year (an impressive feat), the facts thus spake and Emperor’s were a thing of the past? I see that the Praetorian Guard intervened and off’d a couple of them in a very public manner. Ouch. Mind you, the public may have needed some reassurance that things would settle down somewhat. Actually there was also the Prime Muppet who allegedly died in bed, and the hinted at circumstances caused much general mirth in the population.

    There is a photo on tomorrow’s blog of the aftermath of the deer clearing off incident. Both Plum and Ollie look inordinately pleased with themselves.

    Yes, another Carrington event would not be good on the solar power system. However, the rain water system works through gravity and so we’d probably muddle through somehow. Firewood is plentiful. With no work or taxes I could focus a bit more on the plant side of the story.

    Hehe! Nothing ordinarily found in nature explains why the Twinkies were used as a plot device in Zombieland I – Go Woody, he can do no wrong. Heck I even loved the series: ‘True Detective’, but it may have appealed to my rather narrative heavy complicated brain. But just between you and I, it took a second watching before I actually understood what was going on in the story.

    It’s a deal. 🙂 Mate I’d do the same too. Parents can be cruel. An old mate of mine used to be nicknamed: ‘Icky-boo-boo’, by his parents. As a kid I used to wonder what that was all about, but as an adult I used to wonder what was wrong with the parents that they’d share that titbit of information. So much wrongness.

    Mate, the health subject that dare not be named is out and about down here and stalking the quiet streets of Melbourne. We are now in the ‘having to deal with it’ stage of the story.

    Unholy alliances. Thanks for the warning. I had an encounter with a successful artist a few years back as he sent his minion to purchase a disused wood heater off me. Anyway, the minion got into mechanical trouble, and I helped him out. But you know what? Despite all of that, the guy never left feedback for the purchase. I was outraged and I even had to pick up the tools that I’d loaned the minion to help him get out of his mechanical trouble. That incident told me everything that I needed to know.

    It ain’t just you that has an inbox with several excellent communications waiting to be replied too. I give preference to people conducting online conversations as this is public forum after all.

    Exactly, legitimate retailers use email communication sparingly.

    Thanks for sending me the article on the local grain growing. Did you notice how flexible the truck to train device was? I was suitably impressed. Not that far in the past I used to get regular views of how the train to mill processing facilities worked via an old pedestrian bridge over an inner city railway. Your machine looks like it is more easily relocated and far cheaper to maintain than the arrangements that looked as if they had been in place since the Victorian era.

    The article spoke of the difficulties the farmers had when their major buyer went into liquidation. Years ago I knew of an organic farm which supplied certified organic carrots to the Japanese market. One day they stopped buying. That story told me everything I needed to know about the risks of relying on a sole buyer.

    How much does a flat weigh? It is hard for my brain to interpret how much you are paying for blueberries.

    Well people talk whether you like it or no. I too have heard that ‘All That Effort’ speak, but down here it sounds like: “Oh my gawd, you two work hard”. Seriously, we do not work hard enough. I have a good understanding of the historical perspective of subsistence farming.

    Better get writing!

    Cheers

    Chris

  65. Hello again
    A nasty problem has arisen with the compost that one buys here. It has been found to contain weed killer and is doing people’s veg. growing no good at all.

    Inge

  66. Chris:

    Thanks so much for the last bit of advice about making it clear that one is only dumping, not stacking. Wise words, indeed!

    Pam

  67. Yo, Chris – I never really cared for Hemingway, as a writer. Of course, I don’t care for Tolkien, either. So, my likes and dislikes may be suspect. 🙂 . And, maybe, as the old saying goes, “Your (my) taste is in your (my) mouth.”

    The humorous demise of your Prime Muppet reminded me of what a governor of Louisiana (Edwin Edwards) said to a reporter, when asked about his chances of reelection. “The only way I’ll lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with a dead hooker, or a live boy.” 🙂 .

    Grain handling can be a bit dicey. Besides the mechanical end of things, everything has to be pretty well grounded. Grain dust is highly flammable, and one spark can cause quit an explosion. But yes, the machinery is pretty fascinating. It all looks like such a Rube Goldberg, device, but I’m sure through trial and error, over many years, it’s the optimum way to handle grain, at this time.

    “Major sole buyer.” The old saying, “One should not keep all one’s eggs in one basket,” came to mind. Wonder where that came from? Oh, that’s a surprise. Cervantes, “Don Quixote.” Which I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve never read.

    A flat of blueberries weighs about 10 pounds. Which is 12 pints. 8 pints to a gallon. So, 2 flats x 12 pints = 24 pints. 24 pints ÷ 8 = 3 gallons. I think I’m going to get slightly more, as the flats were quit heaped with berries. The second batch is frozen and ready to bag. So, time to clean another batch. Onward!

    It’s going to be 90+F, most of the week. Will cool down next Saturday. Don’t think I’ll be doing much cooking, this week. But … today is my birthday (and, Happy Birthday Mick Jaeger!). 71. Gosh, I am an old … fart. Thought of another word, but, I figure I’ve skated enough along the edge of “family friendly” for one day. The library did not deliver the Korean zombie movie 🙁 . So, not much to watch, today. The library has streaming movies, that I thought I’d give a spin. No dice. My browser is too old. Oh, well. I’ll probably find something worth watching on YouTube.

    I usually get a pizza, but, the pizza joints prices have finally hit the point that I just can’t bring myself to order in. So, I picked up a frozen one, from the store, last night. But do I want to run my oven up to 400 degrees, on a 90 degree day? Yeah, yeah. I know. Could have made my own. But … blueberries. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :-).

    H gets her bath today. Always fun. Lew

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