Take away cake

A nice looking dark cake was sitting precariously on top of a collection of boxed goods as they were juggled by the pedestrian walking up the road. My guess was that it may have been a chocolate cake, or maybe even a darker version of a banana cake. But whatever the case, the icing was thickly layered on, and most certainly would have contained a delightful amount of butter. Food, I have noticed does taste better when cooked with butter.

The cake along with the many boxes was being held by a young bloke. He had previously walked past me and towards the business where he collected the boxes. He returned past again with not only the boxes, but the mysterious cake, so I made note of him. His shoulders were ever so slightly slumped forward, and without more information I could not work out whether this was a result of too many hours spent huddled over a screen, or whether he just felt really defeated. Who knows? There seems to be a lot of both of those things going on these days.

Then there was the black face mask which from a distance I mistook for the sort of facial hair as sported by Captain Haddock in the French cartoon Tintin. As a kid I loved that cartoon, and Tintin was of course drawn as a scrawny looking ginger with what looked like a Mohawk hair do. Yeah, I could relate to that.

Captain Haddock in the cartoon series didn’t look to me like a young bloke though, and he most certainly loved a drink. But, perhaps he was never confronted by government edicts which possibly and somewhat unexpectedly ensured that his life didn’t turn out the way he’d planned? I wonder what he would have made of those edicts? The young bloke sure looked defeated.

My own perspective on the edicts is that whatever was not sustainable probably won’t be sustained. On the other hand it would have been nice to curb the larger excesses of society in the first place – but honestly who would seriously go along with such a program? And so here we are today. From an ecological perspective, as a species and a civilisation we are just now getting to discover where the new equilibrium may be, and it certainly wasn’t where it only recently was.

I feel though that I must add that if my spirits were low, a nice dark cake would perk them up no end! Equanimity is how I’m feeling about things. However, I do love a good chunk of cake. Friends who know me well, would know by now how much I value cake, and one of my favourites is tiramisu. The cake is of Italian origin and makes use of stale biscuits by dunking them in marsala wine and layering on a good dose of mascarpone cheese as well as some other yummy ingredients possibly including espresso extraction. How could you go wrong? It’s probably not good for your health, but when done well, far out the Italian cake tastes good. But yeah, a number of friends are by now probably sick of hearing me decry the lack of tiramisu in my life.

The desire to avoid change is perhaps what I’m actually decrying when I amusingly (to me anyway) repetitively bang on about a lack of tiramisu. And any movement in an ecological equilibrium probably involves change, and possibly loss – otherwise there would be no change.

The funny thing is that before all the current edicts and restrictions, we in a First World country had things pretty darn good. The goodness wasn’t shared quite so equally among the eight billion other humans (or all the rest of the life for that matter) on the planet. And that wasn’t lost on me. And now when the goodies, like tiramisu just for one example, are unavailable, well loss is the name of the game.

When I was a kid I had a formative memory of a Twilight Zone episode. The editor likewise had the same formative memory, possibly because she also watched the same show. In the episode, a stranger left a box with a young couple. The box had single button upon it, and the only instruction provided was that should the button be pushed the young couple would receive $10,000, however the consequences were that someone elsewhere unknown to them would die. I guess that was a lot of money back in those days, but the young couple clearly hadn’t seen my recent house insurance bill which has increased 20% in price over the previous year. Inflation is real.

Anyway, as you’d imagine the young couple resisted the temptation to push the button. But then life got in the way, and there were emergencies and exigencies. With heavy hearts the young couple pushed the button – and received the mad cash. How easy was that solution to their problems? Except that the mysterious bloke who delivered the box in the first place, retrieved the box and also mentioned that he’d make sure to deliver the box with the same instructions to someone else who was unknown to them. Chilling stuff and it’s a good reminder to proponents of Modern Monetary Theory that mad cash produced from thin air with little in the way of work to show for it, is probably a bad thing.

But overall the larger message in the episode was that the Golden Rule of: ‘do unto others’, might just have real world implications. Who knows? What I do know is that as a society we have been going through a readjustment phase of late where lots of people are learning to live with far less stuff and experiences than they were previously used to. Have we yet reached a new ecological equilibrium of stability, it’s hard to say. I do however know however, that it has been a long while since I’ve enjoyed a really good tiramisu.

The roof timbers were installed as were the windows. Ollie is suitably impressed

The greenhouse project has continued apace. The timber frame which supports the roof was constructed and then secured onto the greenhouse. We then installed the three windows. The windows were seconds and second hand, and we had thoughtfully managed to acquire them before Melbourne was locked down tighter than a wombats den on a damp winters evening. Due to the various restrictions, I’m unsure whether we could now purchase or obtain such windows now. Obtaining the door for the greenhouse earlier in the week was a total drama, but we eventually got there.

The cladding around the base of the greenhouse was installed as were the two timber posts which will support the door

Now that we’d managed to obtain a timber and glass door for the greenhouse, we were able to cement in the two timber posts which will support the door. It is worth noting that doors are often constructed in different sizes, and so the timber posts used in the greenhouse could not be cemented in until we knew the exact dimensions.

Also, we began installing the steel corrugated cladding which goes all the way around the greenhouse. This lower layer of cladding runs in a horizontal direction, and the plan is to install the next and upper layer of cladding in a vertical direction, and we reckon the aesthetic effect will be very pleasing on the eye.

But whatever the case there is still a lot more to do before the greenhouse project is completed and the seedlings can be raised inside the purpose built shed. We needed more materials for the project and decided to recover some by dismantling the firewood bay which sits conveniently next to the house.

The large firewood bay which sits next to the house contained a lot of materials which we could easily recover and use in the greenhouse project

Having so much dry and seasoned firewood sitting next to the house was possibly a fire risk, so it was no hardship to dismantle the storage bay. Anyway, the thing took up a huge amount of undercover outdoor space, and candidly we hadn’t really needed it for the past two or maybe more years.

The table with the white stone top will soon be placed in the greenhouse for use as a potting table

Observant readers will note that in the above photo there is a stainless steel table with an electric oven which is used for baking on hot summer days. The table itself is also used for food preserving purposes when the summer conditions are such that you don’t want to heat up the kitchen unnecessarily.

Some of the garden beds were attended to in preparation for the coming growing season. The asparagus beds were weeded, fed and mulched. And the plants immediately responded to the care and attention they received.

The three asparagus raised beds were weeded, mulched and fed
The asparagus plants responded well to the recent care and attention they received

As an experiment we decided to divide up one of the globe artichoke plants. One large plant produced six new plants, and I do hope that this technique works as they are very tasty and prolific vegetables which we only began properly growing and harvesting last summer.

As an experiment, one Globe Artichoke plant was divided into six new plants

In our travels on a quest to discover the local areas best bakery products, we spotted two Emus just wandering around a paddock that was otherwise full of sheep. Didn’t expect to see the flightless birds anywhere near here, but there they were.

Two emus were just hanging around a nearby paddock

Onto the flowers:

Daffodils are now looking their very best
This weeping Cherry puts on a great show
A lone flower on this flowering Quince
The editor planted this lovely plant in one of the vegetable terraces
Geranium flowers are as lovely as ever
Leucodendron flowers
Echium flowers are much loved by the bees

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 824.6mm (32.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 808.0mm (31.8 inches).