Apples and Oranges

Once upon a time there was a bloke who planted an apple orchard. It was a large apple orchard full of productive trees, all of whom he knew well. All of the family worked on the orchard and after so many years the trees produced enough apples that they could all happily eat apples any day of the year. Even the local birds enjoyed the bounty of the orchard.

Yup, the family had many apples. In fact, they had enough apples they could swap apples for grains with their neighbour, and had done so for many long years.

One day, a fat man arrived at the apple orchard. He sought out the bloke who had planted the apple trees and when he was brought before him the fat man said: “Mate. Things are changing round these here parts for the better”

“What do you mean?” replied the apple orchardist.

“I’m the boss. From now on all trade will be made in oranges.”

“But I can’t grow oranges here, it is just too cold” again replied the apple orchardist.

“No problems mate. From now on, you give us your spare apples, and in return we’ll give you oranges.”

“Oh I don’t know about this orange trading business. I only know apple trading.”

The fat man had heard such complaints before, because he stated: “We’ve got that problem sorted, you get all of your oranges from us. And remember them oranges don’t grow on trees, you know. If you don’t agree to this, my business associates will happily burn your apple orchard to the ground”.

The fat man’s business associates flexed their muscles and one even displayed their prowess with a flame torch.

“You make a cogent argument, my friend. Here are my spare apples and I’ll take me some of these oranges, although I note they are of a lesser weight and of a dubious quality”.

“Well spoken. We’ll surely make fast friends, and remember the one rule of orange county is that no trade is to take place other than in oranges, or else my associates here may make an impromptu call and demand reparations. And remember our business moto is: Don’t look at the quality, look at the width of the crypto-orange-fruit.”

Affairs soon settled into the new orange trading regime. However, after a few years, the orchardist complained to the fat man that he now received less oranges for his apples than in previous years. He also pointed out that people were demanding more oranges for their produce in trade.

“Yeah, that’s inflation for you. Deal” with a meaningful nod to his business associates. The orchardist had noticed that the years had not be kind to the associates as they appeared to have been living the high life and seemed a bit edgy and strung out. But even so, they were still threatening and not so easily dismissed. The arrangements continued.

One day many years later, the orchardist sought out the fat man because he could no longer provide enough spare apples to exchnge for enough oranges to cover his and his family’s needs. Even the birds were no long able to consume apples from the orchard. They were all going hungry.

The fat man, who had become even fatter by this time, explained the situation this way: “Look, I told you that oranges don’t grow on trees you know. My business associates ensure that your orchard doesn’t get harassed and that takes a lot of oranges. I’ve got an idea. It’s called a loan.”

“What’s a loan?”

“Good man, that’s the spirit. It’s a financial innovation. It’s genius really. I’ll give you as many oranges as you need right now. Then, in the future, when the seasons are better and you grow more apple trees, you give me enough apples to cover the amount of oranges that I’ll give you now, plus interest.”

“What’s interest?”

“You’ve got a sharp brain. I told you that we’d get along well. Interest is a regular payment to me of apples that covers the cost of the oranges that I’ll give you right now in advance. You pay that interest until the loan is completely paid. Everyone knows that oranges don’t grow on trees and so they are in short supply. Mate, I’ll tell you a little secret: Wherever I go, people want more oranges. It is a problem that is driving me to distraction, and do you want the sort of hassles that I have to deal with?”

The orchardist took his borrowed oranges, the fat man went off in the other direction, and both were happy.

Many years later… The orchardist again sought out the fat man. “Friend. I need more oranges, but I’m not sure I can afford the apple repayments” he said.

“No problems at all my good friend. You may be interested in this new financial innovation that we’ve dreamed up. We provide this innovation only to our most sophisticated customers, and you and I have had long acquaintance. I mean, we haven’t had to burn down your apple orchard, have we? It’s called an interest only loan”.

“Wow, that sounds awesome. How does one only repay the interest in a loan? I can well afford the interest”

“I’m glad you asked. Well, my good friend, here’s how it goes: we give you the oranges you need now, and you only pay us the interest on that loan.” And then the fat man added quickly in a quiet voice: “At some point in the future you either repay us the amount borrowed in full, or you begin paying me much higher installments than otherwise due to the fact that the loan is for a shorter period of remaining time.” Then before the orchardists eyes glazed over in incomprehension at the words just spoken, the fat man concluded by saying: “See the big short orange product disclosure statement for further details.”

“I didn’t quite hear that, did you say sign where?”

And everyone lived happily ever after – until the loan switched back to requiring the orchardist to repay the principal of the loan to the fat man. Then there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

A few years back I read Michael Lewis’s excellent book (The Big Short) on the rollicking good fun times of high finance and the Global Financial Crisis. The author tells a great story and the film adaptation is excellent too. In the book there is a throw away line which describes interest only loans as: “A rental with debt”.

I’ve long been curious about interest only loans after learning about their wide spread take up within the community. No less a website than the Federal Government’s, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, provides some sobering facts on the subject in a very entertaining and informative way: Australia’s interest-only mortgages.

Eventually, those loans will revert to principal and interest loans. I have serious doubts that some of the recipients of those loans will be able to meet the much higher monthly repayments. I wonder how that situation will end up? Possibly in a fruit salad!

This week the weather has been so different from last week. The days have been sunny and the skies are clear. But the nights have been very cold (at least I feel that it is cold. Maybe my bones are just getting old.) One evening we got back home late (after eating dinner in the big smoke) and outside it was very humid and 2’C / 36’F whilst inside the house it was 10’C / 50’F.

A very cold night inside and outside the house

That cold night, even Scritchy the boss dog who is frankly a very independently minded girl, was happy to play “Alien 1977 style” whilst huddling for warmth inside my woollen jumper.

Scritchy the boss dog plays “Alien” whilst huddling for warmth inside my woollen jumper

Incidentally that is the desk and chair where I sit whilst typing away writing this stuff! Anyway, we soon fired up the wood heater and ran one or two loads of firewood through it. The next morning, the results speak for themselves:

The next morning, outside it was 1’C / 34’F whilst inside it was 11’C / 52’F

I was feeling the cold that night for sure! Still, I mustn’t complain because my fate was better than the drones. Yes, fans of the Handmaids tale may rejoice at the fate of the many drones (i.e. male bees) that were quietly killed and disposed of by the European honeybee colony. The bees practice such pragmatism during cold weather.

The European honey bees kill off and dispose of the drones during winter

The rats have continued to enjoy an outstanding winter supply of grains and fresh water in the chickens enclosure. I really did originally feel that the chickens enclosure was going to be rodent proof – and it was for a while, at least. In order to thwart the rodents twitchy nosed ambitions, we’ve begun laying a concrete slab over the chickens run inside their fortified enclosure. So far we have covered a quarter of the area with a concrete slab:

The formwork for the concrete slab in the chicken run inside their enclosure was set out
The cement was poured and a concrete slab now stops the rodents from entering that part of the chicken run

It is a nice concrete slab, is it not? Already the rodents have tunnelled just beyond the edge of the concrete. I’m slightly in awe of the rodents.

The rodents have opened a new tunnel just next to the new concrete slab

Shh! Don’t tell the rats and mice, but over the next few weeks, we’re going to cover the entire chicken run with an impenetrable concrete slab. That’ll stuff ’em! I hope.

The new self propelled mower also scored some brand new all terrain tyres in the past few days. The original tyres were appropriate for sports fields rather than farms, and they slipped a quite a lot. The tyres were remarkably easy to change over. I kept the old tyres and tubes as spares.

The self propelled mower scored new all terrain tyres. They were very easy to change over

We also managed to cut, haul, and split about half of the fallen branches from last weeks wind storms. I reckon that provided about two weeks worth of firewood – which can be used in about a year and half when they’ve seasoned properly (i.e. the gums and sugars in the timber have dried out).

Some of last weeks wind fallen wood has given us about two weeks worth of firewood

The remaining branches with leaves that were not good for firewood were burnt off:

The author hauls fallen branches with leaves to a fire pile so that they can be burnt off

In more breaking plant news (excuse the dodgy wind fallen timber pun):

The patches of garlic appear to be growing and spreading
It is mandarin season!
‘Tis also the season for mosses in the orchard

Onto the flowers:

These gumnuts are not flowers but seed capsules for Eucalyptus Ficifolia. Note the frost damage to the leaves
A silver banksia provides winter food for the honey eaters
A silver wattle provides a splash of colour in the forest
I forget the name of this spikey native. No doubts the spikes are affecting my memory
Alpine heath comes in both pink and red form
An alkanet is flowering way out of season
Lavender are the garden show offs all year around
How cool is this little salvia bravely facing the recent frosts and providing a splash of winter colour?

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 3’C (37’F). So far this year there has been 495.4mm (19.5 inches) which is higher than last week’s total of 475.6mm (18.7 inches).

59 thoughts on “Apples and Oranges”

  1. Hey Chris, your spiky native is still a needle bush, aka hakea lissosperma:) Apples and oranges, eh? I knew there was something dodgy about those oranges.. you have captured the history of economics magnificently. The fat man is the perfect combination of bonhomie and menace. Absolutely brilliant. A sinister fable.. this is, of course, why you and I and many of your readers are trying to create our own corner of the economy where oranges are not the prime currency, instead we chop our own firewood and grow our own apples, but very, very quietly so the fat man doesn’t find out..

  2. I am shocked, shocked to find financial shennanigans going on, again. Do they ever stop?

    We´ve just had a bit of a setback that means my planned infrastructure investments for this fall will be postponed, again. I can only hope the whole global financial edifice doesn´t come crashing down in the meantime.

    Oh well, at least I have lots of pretty flowers and veg coming on. Harvesting courgettes now and the tomatoes have made an appearance. Another break in the weather means its suddenly a lot cooler, which will slow things down a bit, but we needed the rain.

    Glad you and the furry posse are keeping toasty.

    Good work on keeping the varmints out of the chicken house.


  3. Hi Inge,

    No worries at all about Geoffrey Chaucer. The Beowulf link was my misunderstanding, and perhaps a sign from above that I was ready and roaring to write the week’s blog. What a fascinating person Mr Chaucer was, so thank you for the introduction. His language is unfortunately almost incomprehensible to my brain.

    Lucky you with the thickets of hazel, but adding bramble to the mix would make for a heady and difficult combination of plants. Out of curiosity, are your hazel thickets growing in sunny positions? Have you ever harvested the nuts and did you enjoy them? To my eyes the plants look like an under story plant, and so I have grown them in a shadier part of the farm which may explain why they are so slow growing. That may have been an error on my part, but I don’t really know.

    The authorities have issued a severe weather warning for tomorrow. That should be an interesting experience.



  4. Hi Lewis,

    Nope, I really do blame ‘The Rocky and Bullwinkle show’ for their very subversive Fractured Fairy tales for today’s story. Before I wrote the story, I picked one of them to watch at random – The Story of Little Red Riding Hood. Well, it turned out that in the Fractured Fairy Tale, Ms Hood was a right little psychopath. I began feeling sorry for the hapless wolf. It was all very amusing. I used to really love that show when I was kid. You knew that it was slightly ‘off’, but in a good way.

    My head is spinning (exorcist style) at the thought of 96’F. Mate, things really are upside down here because they’ve issued a severe weather warning for strong winds tomorrow. Let’s hope that it is not too exciting and that nothing gets blown away. We’ve had a lot of wind here recently. Your weather is almost sounding idyllic to my wind blown mind.

    The farm engineering efforts do you credit. It is amazing how many items these days break, but are largely still functional. You surely are displaying the ingenuity which is in your blood – and is of the same sort that guided Apollo 13 back home again. I was always a fan of the story about the air scrubber that was rigged up out of odds and ends on that mission, but then I also despair at the lack of standardisation of the units. I do hope that Jeff has a spare for you, despite your work around. I keep spares for all sorts of odds and ends things and it never surprises me just how much of that stuff I need floating about the place (in an orderly manner of course) just to keep things ticking along.

    Exactly. Mr Logsdon called that one. Maintaining appearances is perhaps not a meaningful or necessary task? I really enjoyed the interplay in that discussion too and he was asking the hard questions – which would have won him no friends, but also got to the truth of the matter. I struggle with that aspect too, and have to work myself to a ‘good enough’ position on most projects. Sometimes I feel that I am ahead of the curve though, and local folks who once berated me for my use of firewood now appear to have experienced a ‘road to Damascus’ moment of their own – and I have witnessed a few recent examples of that. To be brutally honest, if the folks up here had half a brain to share, we’d all get together once a year and assist all of the immediate households with the processing of each other’s firewood. Our current culture is basically dysfunctional. Oh, apologies, I’m ranting… 🙂

    Thanks for the film reference. I’ll track that one down. You know, when first I read your comment, my eyes read: “French baking scandal”. And my mind seethed with the possible intrigues over tasty French pastries and cakes and whether the population were revolting at the thought of substituted food-like products. But, non! Yah, finances as they stand represent the availability of energy per capita, and debt is the jokers mask (as in Batman style) to cover up the disparity.

    A lot of corporate “top end of town” sales cultures can be very lad like, and yeah, I dunno. Such a culture ain’t for you and me. Honestly, such folks rarely do well when the chips are down.

    Hehe! Yup, the English have sent us all manner of delightful folks over the years. It was a thing, you know! 🙂 Apologies for my sarcasm, it is a base form of humour but I’ve read my history. It doesn’t surprise me at all, what I was actually surprised at, was that Queen Victoria, didn’t get them quietly hung. Maybe these were the ones that were deemed mostly harmless, but made for a good public lesson at the futility of the exercise? Did the story cover that?

    I envy you your ability to skim read whilst taking in the important chunks out of a story.

    Mr Twain has a very sharp mind. Oh my goodness it is nice to read such a display of humility – the cheeky scamp! Thanks for the quote. I’m really enjoying the Tom Sawyer story, his story telling is sharp as, and my reading ear has now accommodated his language which is quite different, but still much the same as the language used today.

    The air is remarkably clear tonight and the stars are putting on a great show. I spotted an award winning star scape photograph from a remote corner of the island state of Tasmania. The photo looks amazing: David Malin Awards: Milky Way over Tasmanian wilderness tops astrophotography competition. It is an awesome image.



  5. Hi Jo,

    Thanks for the information. I’ll leave the spikey hakea plant to its own business, if only because the sharp spikes make me feel that we won’t be friends. 🙂 Oh my! Well, this is interesting. The plant is quite rare here, actually very rare. The local hakea variety is ‘decurrens’, and the fruit on my tree very looks different to that variety, but incredibly similar to the ‘lissosperma’. Doubly thanks for the identification, and I’ll keep a close watch on that rare plant and its family. What a nice surprise.

    Oh yes, the oranges are as dodgy as they come. Make sure you do your best to steer clear of the fruits wicked ways. And everyone blames the apple too, shame on them for besmirching such a humble and prolific fruit! Glad you enjoyed the story.

    If there was another option, well, unfortunately there is not, and I have meditated long and hard on that subject. I freely admit that I may have missed something though. Exactly, quietude is of the essence! 😉



  6. Hi Coco,

    I was shocked too at the sheer extent of the mischief when I researched the situation last evening. It is not good and promises to make for an interesting future.

    No, not at all. Yes we will have financial meltdowns, and all sorts of other spectacles, but you know, people will still have to go to work, trades in oranges will continue, and infrastructure projects will go ahead. I reckon it is best to do the work when you are ready to get the work done, it makes no sense pushing one’s self beyond natural limits.

    Hope you receive some decent summer rainfall, and that will surely give the garden a massive boost. I’m salivating thinking about your courgettes and sun ripened tomatoes. Yum! Hope you are learning heaps of things in the garden this summer?

    All fluffies are presently keeping toasty warm inside the house! The wind is slowly beginning to pick up now and it may get to quite epic wind speeds tomorrow.

    Thanks, and I’ll keep the updates rolling in on the rodent activity over the next few weeks.



  7. Hey everyone!

    Surfs up down here… Huge waves bound for Australia.

    Good luck for the folks on the ferry between Tasmania and the mainland. That is one rough stretch of water – and fans of the original “Point Break” film, may note that the film apparently ended up off the south west coast (although it looked like it was elsewhere to me) of this state.



  8. Yo, Chris – Your little morality tale should be widely circulated. Was it “The Big Short” that had the blond in the bubble bath, explaining bundling derivatives? Sometimes the simplest stories (or, visuals) get the idea across. Your a regular Aesop!

    The few times in my life I have talked loans, the “variable rate of interest” is front and center. And, when I insisted on fixed rate of interest, there’s always this … undercurrent of “more fool you.” I don’t know where I developed the thought that those were not a good deal. Something in my head went “Danger! Will Robinson!”

    How will it all end? In many tears. A replay of 2008. Maybe, worse.

    Another installment of War Against The Rats! Nature finds a way. Nature should give it a rest. The flower pictures are very appealing. Even in winter, Fern Glade Farm has many charms. Not so bleak as our patch. Cont.

  9. Cont. It was 95F (35C), yesterday. Another hot one, today, and then cooler temperatures. The heat really makes the garden flourish. I think the pumpkin fines put on a good 6″ in a day. They and the Hubbard Squash are making a break for it.

    “Fan mail from some flounder?” What was better than “Rocky and Bullwinkle?” Between them and Mad magazine, a whole generation of skeptics and cynics came forth :-). Hmmm. Maybe that’s where I picked up my ability to avoid things like variable rate loans?

    I hope your incoming breeze isn’t too bad. But there may be more firewood to be had. A French baking scandal isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Soon to be a major motion picture. Cast of thousands!

    The introduction to the book on assassins mentioned rummaging through the old records of a few Australian insane asylums. So I guess I can guess at how those story end. The attempts actually really helped Victoria’s reign. Because she and Albert showed bravery and continued to make public appearances, the people rallied behind her. Among other reasons. It was Albert that pushed for a monarchy that was “above” politics.

    Twain was a master at using dialects and regional accents to convey lots of information about his characters.

    It’s been a weekend of tech problems. Besides the air conditioning. For the second time this month, I got a DVD that wouldn’t work. And, it was fresh and I was the first user. Sometimes, they have a coating. Applications of alcohol and even soap and water didn’t help. And, the converter box for the electric cord is so heavy, that it keeps loosening in the plug in. So, a good connection isn’t made. I hesitate to try to spread the prongs, with too much vigor. Might break the darned thing. I’m trying an application of duct tape, to the bottom of the plug to tip up the convertor box, a bit. We’ll see.

    I hope your wind storm isn’t too bad. We lost our power, yesterday morning. Don’t know why. It just flickered out for a moment. Just long enough to have to reset the clocks. Nothing on the Net as to what was up. Lew

  10. Hi, Chris

    What a wonderful parable you have given us! That has to be one of the best financial stories I’ve ever read – definitely explains some features of modern life that tend to slip by.

    That’s a nice load of firewood, for the cost of cutting it up. If you do get high winds, hopefully any new “firewood” will fall as safely as that lot.

    Canberra continues dry and extremely chilly. -7C a couple of nights ago, and we seem to be averaging around -3C at night, and about 12C during the day. But really sunny, so it seems better.

    Have to run, my car needs servicing! Stay warm, and watch out for falling branches and drop bears!


  11. Hi Chris,

    Your apples and orange story is also a very good analogy for the US dollar. Forcing the world to trade in paper that you have exclusive printing rights to has worked out to be very lucrative. A wealth pump by any other name that would make the ancient Romans blush, but well disguised today as free trade and so forth.


  12. @Lew
    On your recommendation I’ve ordered the plastic traps. Thank you. We are overrun with chipmunks.


    Thanks for the kind thoughts. We are supposed to find out today the date for Michael’s procedure. Lucky you not having chipmunks. They sure are cute but …

    Groundhogs are one pest we don’t have though I’ve seen them around from time to time. The rabbit population has exploded but the dogs do a good job discouraging them to hang out around the garden.


  13. Hi Chris,
    I’ve sure seen a lot of people getting into big trouble with debt. Doug’s now boss and friend, the new assessor has to work both this job and his construction job. He and his partner of many years (who built our house) went into debt to buy lots in town and I think they put up some spec houses too. Well they can’t sell houses or lots at a high enough price to pay off the debt so Doug’s friend has to continue as the partner in the construction business for two years. and work as the township assessor – all this at the age of 60.

    Seems like rodents are causing many of us problems this year. Good luck with the rats. I did catch 4 chipmunks yesterday with the old traps. Can’t wait until the ones Lew recommended arrived because there’s a lot more chipmunks to be caught.

    Weather here has finally improved from the hot and humid conditions we’ve had most of the summer.

    There’s yet another follow up doctor appointment today for Michael – this one to address his breathing issues and get a refill for his inhaler. As Michael will have the procedure at a much larger hospital my sister will stay overnight in the room with him. You have to be careful when someone has limited intellectual abilities as often they don’t understand what the staff is asking or give the wrong information. Patrick for example was at a large hospital some years ago and my sister wasn’t able to stay overnight with him. He didn’t know what it meant when they asked him if he felt nauseous and when he was asked to rank his pain level between 0 and 10 he answered “14”. Also, at large hospitals the staff seems much busier and stressed. The hospital were Michael goes usually is quite small and as he’s been there several times the staff and doctors know him quite well so I feel comfortable leaving him.


  14. Hi Lewis,

    The cameo’s in the film were part of the fun of the story. I reckon Margot Robbie summed up the situation nicely, and then ended the cameo with a commanding performance – and commanding instruction! It was very amusing. Thanks, and that it is high praise too! I hope that circulation doesn’t go too far because I’m quite fond of the small and intimate space that we’ve all created here. I really tried to pare the story down into its absolute basics, I mean the story is more or less how it all works. I was particularly pleased with sneaking in the bit about the birds and wildlife missing out on their feed.

    Exactly! Danger Will Robinson indeed. Honestly, I have no idea where these stories get into our heads either. It is all a big mystery. Some of those stories don’t stand up to much poking either, but people do want to hang onto them. The Borg might suggest that: “Resistance is futile!”

    Who knows how it will all end up, but eventually some part of the money supply has to be disappeared in order to avoid hyper inflation. What form that process takes is beyond my ken, but 2008 was a good preview. The thing I wonder about is just how many resets the system has in it before people walk away from it. Probably quite a few. Dunno. I mean it is not like we haven’t got back to where we were in 2008, but on a slightly more grand scale. It is all very impressive really, although I would never have personally suggested or recommended this particular option that we as a society appear to be taking. On interesting aspect of the problem is that each round destroys some support for physical infrastructure.

    The rats are so clever, and they can react to new situations within only a few hours. I’m quite the fan of liquid rock (i.e. cement) and I reckon the rats will be out of options within a few weeks. And I may get some eggs again.

    Speaking of rodents, we were handed back the repaired dirt mouse this morning. Yay! I was really worried about the potential for serious wastage with that minor incident. Oh well, at least now we understand the risk that we are running and have formulated some possible responses to that episode happening again in the future. The rats can learn pretty fast, we’re not quite as fast as them, but we’re no slouches either. 🙂

    I do complain about the cold weather, but that act is a spectator sport down here. Our winters are relatively mild, and it is nice to have all of the flowers growing in the depths of winter.

    95’F is a very hot day. Oh my. Did you notice that a few weeks back a new record for the highest minimum temperature ever recorded was broken? It was in a part of the world that is just too hot for me to even think about.

    That is the thing though, with the heat comes solid growth in the garden. Yeah. I’ve experienced an unusually cool summer and the plants did not grow as fast. The funny thing about plants is that they’ll happily grow in the heat as long as they have enough water to drink for their needs. I mentioned to someone recently that droughts can often be very productive years, if you’ve stored enough water before hand to get through them. In the state to the north of here, they’ve pretty much run out of hay for feed and the word on the land is that there is none (or only very little) for them to be able to truck in from other parts of the country to feed the cattle.

    Yes, your misspent youth learning from The Rocky and Bullwinkle show and reading Mad magazine put both you and I in good stead to avoid such silliness as debt. What could possibly go wrong? The other day I read that household debt down under is something crazy like 120% of GDP. Far out. I read an analysis somewhere that debt in excess of 90% of GDP is indicative of a failed state. And that 120% was purely household debt.

    In the valley below there were a few big trees down. I spotted the state emergency services returning from a job earlier tonight as their truck looked full of people. Down in the valley below a huge tree had come down across the road but had been neatly cleaned up by the time I saw it. Do you get a lot of trees down during such windy and stormy weather?

    Maintaining appearances is a very clever strategy. I can’t even imagine how awful a 19th century insane asylum would have been, but then their acts certainly pointed in that direction. You know I recall when such things as asylums existed and it wasn’t all that long ago. I’d hate to think that people were tipped onto the streets, but I suspect that they may have been.

    Albert was a Lutheran and was quite progressive and clearly instituted many sensible ideas. It is nice to be chucked into an orchard with low hanging fruit! How astoundingly clever to realise that one must set a moral, if not political example. What a pair those two would have made.

    I’m observing Mark Twain’s writing style quite closely, and one thing that stands out to me is that early on he used the kids dialects and accents, but has ever so slowly backed away into a more generic form of English. I’m really impressed with the story, and he doesn’t shy away from the emotional states of the kids either. It is good stuff.

    Oh no. Your new DVD player sounds like a rather dodgy contrivance. 🙂 The connectors on power packs aren’t what they used to be, so be careful as they may not take too much bending. The dogs had a fight under the desk a few weeks back and destroyed a power pack. I was very displeased with them as it is boorish behaviour and they know better. Your solution with the tape is genius.

    The electrical grid as we know it is set up for base load supply. Somehow the policy makers appear to have forgotten that. Those sorts of outages are apparently very common up here.



  15. Hi Hazel,

    Thank you and I really appreciate the lovely feedback. You know, that is pretty much how the system works in its most bare knuckled and uncompromising form. It is pretty ugly really, but in some respects it works.

    In the valley below today some very large trees toppled over in the wind. Did you get much wind up your way? Fortunately I couldn’t see any trees down here as I’m under the pump and having to do too much accounting work. That makes for a very dull Chris! And who wants that? Certainly not I. 🙂

    Far out, that is cold. Can you imagine the sort of whingeing that would go on if such cold overnight temperatures were felt in Melbourne or Sydney? You could hear them scream from either up your way or down here!!!

    Very wise to keep the car well serviced. I salute you!



  16. Hi Damo,

    That is a very astute observation – and not one that I intended, but it is applicable isn’t it? There were some suggestions that Libya attempted to trade Oil in Euro at one stage, and what a response they appear to have received.

    Australia appears to be up to its eyeballs in free trade agreements. For the life of me such a trade objective is well beyond my understanding. It just makes no sense to me.

    Thank you very much for your kind words and you are always welcome.



  17. Hi Margaret,

    Ouch. What a story. As a disclaimer I never expect to be able to retire, and the pension is not available I believe until a person of my age reaches the age of 70. I have no idea how that will affect me and whether I’ll cope working at that age. Dunno at all. I was surprised that there was no immediate reaction when the laws were changed to lift the retirement age for people of my age. Perhaps they’re busy, or something like that? Yeah, you know, I’ve noticed that as a person gets older, holding debt becomes an ever more risky venture. I hear stories (not from anyone that I know, but more acquaintances and over heard conversations) about holidays, cars, and house upgrades and I really do wonder about them as I have a reasonably good handle on what people can and can’t afford. Dunno. I reckon the risk is a bit like the game of musical chairs and you never quite know when the music will stop and you’ll find that you are left without a seat. Incidentally, I approve of you and Doug downsizing as it is a good idea for all sorts of reasons – finances just being one aspect. Incidentally, I believe my mum retired in her mid 50’s. Far out.

    Your chipmunk’s look like rats – but smarter again, and their front paws are very adaptable. Please keep them in your part of the world. The images frighten me at the sheer potential for mischief. I expect the concrete slab will deal to the rats, but I don’t really know, and no doubt they’ll be waiting for the merest of weaknesses – and then strike.

    I assume your weather is now warm and dry, rather than humid? The humidity sure does add a lot of extra heat to what would otherwise be a relatively cool summers day. How are your chickens coping and are you planning to move them?

    Best wishes for Michael’s visit and procedure. You know, it never occurred to me that Michael would provide unusual answers to what are actually quite complex questions (although they are framed as simple questions). It is very nice that your sister can stay overnight with Michael and it is a real act of kindness.



  18. Hi, Chris!

    I couldn’t eat my breakfast, I was giggling so much. Ah – Rocky and Bullwinkle, eh? And you are presently in Frostbite Falls . . . Seriously, you did a great job with your story.

    My husband and I were debating a couple of days ago what would be acceptable uses of debt. The problem is that we are looking at it from the ages of 61 and 62 and we have accumulated over those many years an awful lot of tangible stuff, including land and a house and the things that go with that, and two pickup trucks. The land and house were funded through debt (28 years ago), also one of the trucks (31 years ago). In the early years of our marriage (38 years ago) I was naughty with the credit card . . . once that was paid off, I never used it except in traveling or for a large medical debt ( Ah ha! I had forgotten that medical debt). My point being? I am not sure, except that judicious debt can be used for long term, tangible investments?


  19. @ Pam

    I don’t think that there is such a thing as a ‘judicious debt.


    Hello Chris

    I loved the apples and oranges parable, excellent.

    Oh yes we eat the hazel nuts but leave masses for the red squirrels. The hazel bushes grow like mad here, shade or sun, it makes no difference.

    Weather still hot and completely dry.

    Son has been attacked (not for the first time) by a very dominant cockerel. Normally he carries a shovel and wears armour when he goes into its enclosure. Nasty wounds on Son’s legs. The cockerel does not attack Son’s girlfriend so it distinguishes between the human sexes; clever.


  20. and again

    I complimented you too early; it seems to be only Kunstler and the Arch druid that you are telling us have a new blog up. What about ‘All the blue day’?


  21. @ Margaret – Wish I would have mentioned this yesterday .. The brand is Victor Quick Set. I’m surprised you had to order them. I even see them in the Safeway, here. Garden stores. Maybe your sources were out? Or, you needed bulk? A less expensive price? Gosh, I’m nosy :-). Lew

  22. Yo, Chris – I’m glad the Dirt Mouse is back home, safe and sound. Yup. Forewarned is forearmed. A heads up so you can develop a plan B. (Or, C.)

    It hit 95F (35C) again, yesterday. But for the next week it’s supposed to be a more comfortable 70s-80sF. But, the breeze kept up all day yesterday, so outside, not so bad.

    There are always articles about cattle feed being short in this or that part of the country. Is it available, elsewhere? Can it be trucked in? Will the costs make the game worth a candle?

    I see frequent articles on household debt, here. It’s up, it’s down. After the 2008 meltdown, it was down, for quit awhile. Then, started creeping back up. I don’t know where we are now, but it’s high.

    The asylums here were pretty much closed and emptied out in the early 80s. It was a perfect storm. Social Justice Warriors on one side calling for their abolition, and cost cutting politicians on the other. “Oh, the local communities can take care of them. People will rise to the occasion.” Sure, some of them were awful places and there were abuses. But unless closely monitored, a lot of damaged people can’t stay on their meds. A lot of them fell through the cracks and ended up on the streets. And, getting them back in care is a real song and dance due to lack of beds and “patients rights.” Basically, unless it can be proven that they are a 1.) danger to themselves or, 2.) a danger to others, no dice. Cont.

  23. Cont. My second lesson in country preparedness came during the Inaugural Day Storm of 1993.

    I really hadn’t picked up on the fact that a bad storm was coming in, and was merrily on my way down a back country highway, to go to a friends house to watch the inauguration of President Clinton. I came around a corner, and much to my surprise, a tree was down across the road. Two or three vehicles were backed up on either side. Guys jumped out of their trucks, grabbed chain saws out of the back, zip, zip, zip … haul, haul, haul, and the road was open. Doesn’t everyone carry a chain saw in the back of their truck? Needless to say, due to power outages, the inauguration went unwatched.

    A new movie you might watch for. “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.” Atlantic Magazine gave it a poor review, but I’d like to see it anyway. John Callahan was quit the character. He had a terrible accident that left him quadraplegic. Then he became a quit popular cartoonist. Another equal opportunity offender :-). But he got away with it, because he was, you know, disabled. He once said that when people asked if he preferred being referred to as handicapped or “differently abled”, he said he quit preferred maimed. :-).

    I actually had a Callahan, sighting, once. Imagine a quiet street at night in downtown Portland. I’m waiting at a red light, just spacing out. Suddenly, a wheel chair shoots through the crosswalk at about 50 miles an hour, with a young lady clinging to the back end, screaming with laughter. It was Callahan! I was thrilled. He’s passed on now, and will be missed. His bio was (to me) inspiring.

    Yeah, when I bought my little portable DVD player, it was clear to me that it was pretty flimsy. So, I treat it with kid gloves. Little did I know that it would be the AC/DC converter box and cord that would wear out. Or that the replacement’s box would be so much heavier that it might pull out of the plug on it’s own weight. And, there aren’t that many outlets in my apartment to set it up, in comfort. Hmm. I just had a thought. A short extension cord, the box resting on the floor, and problem solved? Worth a spin.

    Victoria had followed a string of “bad” kings, and the monarchy, early in her reign was really in trouble. Unrest was widespread due to economic and social conditions. And, she and Albert really did have a certain amount of empathy for their less fortunate subjects. Even before she became ruler, she was trotted around the country to “be seen”. And, she saw. According to her diaries, the state of the people in the coal country horrified her. She was pretty hemmed in by constitutional restrictions, and established old power. But she and Albert, using their influence, managed to, very slowly, effect some change, with the aid of like minded people in power. Sure, she had her (many) faults. But she made sure she was well informed as to what was going on, and made changes where she could. Lew

  24. Chris:

    Hallelujah! Arnie the groundhog has been captured! I just found him in the Have-a-Heart trap. I found a very sneaky burrow inside the garden yesterday morning and spent a long time helping my son smoke him out (with burning paper towels yet), with one of the two burrow holes covered with the trap. There was no sign of him when I went to bed, but I heard a slight bang outside about daybreak; no doubt that was the cage door.

    He is about to depart on Flight 747, non-stop to a foreign destination (aka the next county).

    Arnie, it was a privilege knowing you. Sort of.


  25. Hi Pam, Inge, Lewis, and Pam (again – well done with Arnie).

    Thanks for the lovely comments. As is my occasional Wednesday evening activity I whisked the editor off and out to dinner of a delightful New England clam chowder served in hollowed out loaf of bread. It was very nice.

    Ollie of course, did not eat any chowder this evening and is now unhappy about the situation, and as a consequence he has been continually attempting to sit on my lap whilst I am typing away. It is is an extraordinarily complex feat for such a large dog. I blame any and all typos this evening on Ollie the cattle dog. Usually the blame is all mine, but a problem shared is a problem halved (as they say) and Ollie can take the criticism.

    Lewis – Occasionally I am quite pleased to see little acts of spontaneous quirkiness. The other morning I went in a completely different direction to pick up the dirt mouse in an industrial estate (which I’d never been to before), and I looked over at some gum trees by the side of the road. Then I did a double take. It was such an unexpectedly lovely find that I enjoyed a good laugh. Yup, the suburb of Keilor on the outskirts of Melbourne has a gnome village. How cool is that? It even had a tiny little gnome village store.

    Do you have anything similar in your part of the world?



  26. Yo, Chris – I really like all the bad puns in the gnome story. :-).
    Nope, as far as I know, there is no gnome village, in The States. But I bet if I Googled around, I could find one.

    I bet it is a gnome rescue outfit? Or, maybe, it’s a gnome homeless camp?

    I ran across a twist of phrase I quit liked, the other day. “performative vegetarianism”. Used in the same sentence as “virtue signaling.”

    A bit cooler yesterday, and, this morning, overcast and very much cooler. No rain in the forecast, however. Lew

  27. Chris:

    How nice of those folks to put together a little gnome village for passerby’s enjoyment.

    Do you always put a bunch of big rocks (and with peak rocks, too!) in place before you pour concrete or is that extra rat prevention? Do your stairs have rocks under the concrete?

    I like your new tires. I just got two new tires for the rear of my pickup truck. I am so excited; I can already tell a difference.

    The power was out all day yesterday. That is the fifth time in 6 weeks. Do I win a prize (unless it’s a booby prize . . . )?

    We have an interesting cross-pollinated squash. I looks like a white zucchini, so I am guessing that our green zucchinis and white patty pans crossed. It tastes like a zucchini.

    I see that Scritchy brought her guitar with her when she came in to hide in your jumper. Or perhaps it is Ollie’s? That I would probably believe.


  28. Hi Inge,

    Ooo, it is a parable isn’t it? Well, they have a nice long history of use, so the story form must work.

    A massive lightning storm is about to hit the mountain range. The outside night sky which is ordinarily quite dark is being occasionally lit up as if it were daylight. I hope no trees are hit by the lightning.

    Yum! Your story of the hazelnut harvests make for very encouraging reading. It is interesting that they appreciate sun as well as shade, perhaps my lot are not well fed enough or they lack reliable summer watering? Dunno.

    Stay safe in that weather – and your undisturbed forest is a real asset in those conditions. How is it comparing to other parts of the island? Vast tracks of grass do not do well in those conditions. I have to keep the stuff cut short like a golf course because of the fire risk, but if I could rule that risk out, I’d keep the grass very long indeed.

    Cockerel’s are not my favourite creatures and angry ones can be quite the trial. Good luck to your son. I’d put an end to that particular cockerel, but your son may feel differently.

    No worries at all about a link to that blog. The author is an outstanding and prolific author who I respect and admire. I am uncomfortable providing a link because the comment section is unmoderated.

    Oh my! It is torrential outside. This storm is something else.



  29. Hi Pam,

    Hehe! Glad to entertain you. And I shall continue to do so right now because Toothy the brave stepped outside with the editor and I to observe the lightning storm (from shelter) and he is now sporting little chunks of defrosting hail on his back. It is feral outside.

    Thanks for the nice words. Yes, Rocky and Bullwinkle were very entertaining and one of the better cartoons from that period of time. 🙂

    You know I see no easy way around the debt problem with property. The entire situation is just bizarre. The trick is reducing ones exposure (in volume and time) to the tool of debt. Judicious is more or less the right word as it introduces the concept of uncertainty when dealing with the tool. I mean how the heck do we navigate the system given that it has built in traps set for the unwary to fall into? I don’t know and would appreciate your thoughts in the matter? On an ATM bank machine today I saw and advertisement that suggested that it was a good idea to use the equity in your house to go on an extended overseas break – it was curious to me that the word holiday was not used.

    How did the capture and release of Arnie (the herculean) ground hog end up? I’ll bet Arnie was discomfited…

    The gnome village was pretty cool wasn’t it? And so unexpected.



  30. Hi Lewis,

    Mate! A few minutes ago a massive storm rolled over the farm. Lightning, thunder claps, heavy winds, and torrential rain all mixed in with hail. What a show nature puts on when she wants to!

    We’re glad to have the dirt mouse back to, and it is always interesting to discover where the risks actually are in life because often we can be quite oblivious to them – until the hammer falls (like it did this time). It is interesting that the market value for the vehicle will continue to drop. I reckon given that it is still on the road after all these years, I would think that the car is intrinsically worth more, but markets function in different ways.

    Your weather sounds perfect to a person who is full up to their eye balls in the depths of winter. 🙂

    The hay / feed situation is quite interesting because I believe the upper economic limits of that story are reaching their nadir (is that the correct word?) I’m finding it to be quite strange because it feels colder here than in previous winters, but overall rainfall has been more or less average. But up north, rainfall has been almost non existent. I came across a national farming program on the government’s broadcaster ABC (not be confused with your ABC network) and I may have a look at it. It had a program on the heritage wheat and baker. It is called ‘Landline’.

    Don’t you reckon that the asylum story is just another story where things are done on the cheap? I feel very sympathetic towards the police who are having to deal with mental health issues in people who are often quite unexpectedly violent. And sometimes activists can have their causes taken up for reasons that they themselves probably did not consider. I read a story years ago about inner urban neighbourhoods being cleared of people during the early 1950’s and the government and developers then descending upon the land. Activists were involved and then despaired at the outcome. Some pretty awful public housing high rise buildings replaced those old neighbourhoods and I reckon they’re nothing special to look at – or be in. We once conducted the census in one of those buildings and I rather vividly remember the ‘dead meat’ man who’s apartment stunk of rotting meat. My head reeled whenever we encountered that place.

    Yup, events going on in a far distant place – such as an inauguration – fall into a very distant second place if local extreme weather events take over. I rarely take my chainsaw in the back of the car because someone will probably break into the car and attempt to steal the chainsaw. How rubbish would that be? I usually clean up fallen timber around these parts too. It is amazing just how much falls during heavy storms. Hey, the storm has passed, but when it was overhead it was feral. Looks like it will run through the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. I’ll check the papers tomorrow (there is talk of sharing printing presses and closing some competing ones down – things must be tight).

    Thanks for the film tip off. It sounds like an interesting story. We all like equal opportunity offenders! Why get boxed into one side or another of someone else’s making when there are just so many targets on either side! Better to run your own race, don’t you reckon? It is nice to read that the bloke still had a lust for life even though he had been served a rough trip. He sounds like quite the character, and so nice that you had a brush with fame – at least he didn’t run you over.

    Hey, I’m going to sneak off to the pub! Will reply in full tomorrow. 🙂 Happy days…



  31. Wonder your opinion on the “chicken treadle feeder” solution or do you recon the rats would sus that idea out too quickly ?

  32. Hello again

    I am assuming that the hazel bushes must love the clay soil, they have grown 6ft so far this year.

    The cockerel remains because he breeds superbly, no doubt because he is so dominant. Son found a hen that had been seriously attacked (not by the mentioned cockerel) by 2 other cockerels. It was so grievously injured that Son had to finish the job. On closer inspection it turns out that the hen was developing spurs. I knew that hens could change sex but clearly this is not appreciated amongst poultry.

    Puzzled by your response to me: I agree that Kunstler is worth reading and one does give up after a certain number of the comments each time. My query was as to why you had not indicated that ‘all the blue day’ had been adding to the blog. I like to read the blogs that you list but it is a real pain to check them all each time to no avail.


  33. Chris:

    I think that there is only one thing to do concerning all those traps out there – and that is to tread warily! Which is really no kind of advice at all because how can one avoid traps that one can’t see? Or give in, look for the best terms – if terms are what you are looking for – and hope for the best, like with our house and property and the debt required to acquire it. Darned if I would have liked to see all that money over the last 28 years go into paying someone rent. That might be kind of silly, really, as when I say: “I refuse to be in debt to some landlord.” but I don’t mind being in debt to some banker. At least the bank loan is temporary, with a tangible asset at the end (And property taxes into perpetuity – and being tied down. One has to accept being tied down). Sorry, I do go on about house debt. It made a great impression on me because it wasn’t easy for us, but we are very happy that we did it.

    Ol’ Arnie behaved better than our dogs on his journey in the car. He sat and munched his favorite mulberry leaves most of the time, never made a mess, and seemed relatively unperturbed when released by a stream in a meadow at the foot of the mountains. Mulberries grow wild here, so he will probably find one and dig a hole by it. I can learn a lot from that animal if I just put my mind to it.


  34. and again

    Just back from a hot country walk. I started off through my woodland and took note of the hazel. Yes, it grows much better in sunlight. The undergrowth is just beginning to die from the drought. I like this as it does a useful clearance job.

    A man whose land abuts mine has put in a planning application for 40 houses. I have known that this was coming since last year and have felt anxious. Now I know that it is not coming near my land (he has about 260 acres) so I no longer worry. Meanwhile the population near the intended development is having apoplexy. One thing that I didn’t know about has arisen, archaeology is interested. Fascinating; I knew that there had been a Medieval settlement but not that flints and other pre-historic items had been found there. This is going to prove interesting.


  35. Yo, Chris – Exciting weather is always fun as long as it doesn’t do any damage. Not so exciting, here, but interesting. It got down to 52F (11.11C) last night. Yesterday’s high was 77F (25C). It’s overcast this morning (as, yesterday) but it will “burn off” (as we say) by afternoon. Quiet comfortable, but when the sun comes out, it still gets pretty hot, inside and in cars.

    Nadir is the lowest point. Keeping with an astronomical theme, apogee is the highest point. I had to look it up :-).

    Asylums closers were interesting, if you take an overview. And, cost probably played in there, somewhere. Urban Renewal is what they called it, here, the gutting of the inner cities. And, the building of the interstate highway system didn’t help. Most of that happened in the 1950s and into the 60’s. I saw that up close and personal, in Portland. When they rammed I-5 through north Portland, I lost a four block wide swath of my paper route. “They” always bang on about how it decimated the racial ghettos. What you don’t hear about, much is how they decimated blue collar working neighborhoods. Cont.

  36. Cont. A couple of names in that battle were Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. In New York City. I watched a DVD about it, a couple of months ago. Kunstler adapted (lifted?) quit a few concepts from Jacobs. Walkable cities with neighborhoods.

    Getting back to the current state of mental health, there was just a letter in the newspaper, here, about a fellow who was arrested and put in jail. The letter writer was a family member who had tried to get the fellow committed for, at least, observation. Hospital, instead of jail.

    When I was inhabiting Tower Street, in Centralia, we had a regular everyone called “Crazy Woman.” Word on the street was that her husband and baby had died. Lost her husband, lost her baby, lost her mind. Her behavior would deteriorate to a point where the police would finally throw a net over her and haul her off to Western State Hospital (our local asylum), where she would be held for 3-6 months while getting her back on her meds. Then she’d show up again, and the whole cycle repeated. Wash, rinse, repeat. I still think I see here, from time to time, but she looks as if she’s fairly well together, these days.

    The deer have been nibbling at my potatoes. Must not be to their taste. They didn’t do much damage. Oddly, there are no squirrels around. Last year, I’d see dozens of them behind the Home. It dawned on me the other day that I haven’t seen any in a few months. Maybe, disease. Or, whatever was setting Princess off, a couple of weeks ago. Might be a bobcat.

    Or … a few weeks ago, I thought I heard coyotes. Yesterday, coming back from the library, just a few blocks down the street I saw what I at first thought was a very bedraggled dog. I even slowed down to get a good look. It may have been a young coyote. Hard to tell at that age.

    I’m through the first three of Queen Victoria’s attempted assassins. But the story is more complicated than that. All three fired guns with no bullet in them. Just wadding and powder. And, they came in quick succession. It finally dawned on the powers that be that there was a certain amount of copy cat crime, going on. And, a “morbid craving after notoriety.”

    And, they were a bit clever. If bullets had been involved, it would have been a capital offense, involving hanging, drawing and quartering. In theory. No bullets brought lesser charges. It’s interesting that the fellow who took 6 shots at Queen Elizabeth, a few years back, used blanks.

    Off to the auction, tonight. In search of the willy Chinese sewing basket. Lew

  37. Hi Lewis,

    Did you end up getting an extension cord for the heavier power pack on the DVD player? Sometimes I reckon the physical dimensions on the connector pins on power packs and their ilk can be a bit dodgy and they don’t retain enough friction in the wall socket. Given the serious risk from mains voltages, anyway, I’ve seen that problem a time or two on some devices. And don’t laugh, but I’ve seen more than a few power point (wall sockets) that have broken where the plastic has cracked behind the wall plate. Nice. That is always an impressive spectacle to behold. I’ve had to think long and hard about how all of the solar power components are physically connected up and it is always the little details that bring a person unstuck. Incidentally, you can purchase replacement power adaptors, and even ones that have adjustable output voltages.

    The pub last night was very enjoyable, but I discovered that the manager had moved on and another manager had moved on in. All things change. The previous manager and I used to have an occasional ‘hat off’ competition to see who could wear the cooler hat. I reserved my royal blue hat for the grand finale hat show down. Again, you may laugh but I’m not sure whether I wear that royal blue hat, or it wears me. It is a complex problem and I have this sneaking suspicion that the hat is cooler than what I can easily handle, and I always feel mildly uncomfortable when wearing it. The beast has a life and mojo of its own. 😉

    Until I’d read your thoughts about Queen Victoria and Albert, I’d never quite realised the precarious nature of their reign and the good grace with which they had used their perquisites and influence. There is certainly a story in there. I often wonder how well informed on current events – as well as historical events – our erstwhile leaders are? They seem a tad oblivious to the consequences of their actions to my mind.

    Haha! Well a gnome village encourages delightful gnomish puns. It was really lovely to encounter such an unlikely turn of events in a very unusual location. The area abutted an industrial estate of all places which was frankly pretty ugly. But someone, or a group of people, had decided that visitors attentions should be directed to the gnomes under the gum trees. Good stuff.

    I know a few vegans and they’re really lovely people who have never once sought to beat me over the head for my omnivorous ways. And people delight at attempting to subvert the dominant narrative here of eating a vegetarian diet at home (what I call the mostly vegetarian diet) by bringing up meat to cook here or professing confusion at our values. It is all cool. Actually, what I do like about the vegans that I know, is that they were honest enough to admit that they were having digestive issues, which I read the other day affects about half of the population who seem to be suffering, and the vegans choice has assisted them greatly. Everyone is different on that front. My take on that is that few people seem to realise that food is no longer what it used to be. Oh, I’m considering trialling the three sisters arrangement with the corn this year. The seeds will go into the ground in a month and a bit. Time flies.

    The storm was brief but intense. Despite all that, the storm produced absolutely no damage at all to speak of this morning. The rain continued again today, and it was cold as. I’d have to suggest that it was another greeting from the frigid continent of Antarctica. I’m not suggesting that your weather sounds superb, but the signs sure are pointing in that direction! 🙂

    Thanks, and I’ll rip the word ‘apogee’ off somewhere blindly in the future, although my gut feeling tells me that we as a society are moving to a nadir.

    Oh my goodness, the I-5 is an epic project that the Romans themselves would have been proud of. I had absolutely no idea of the sheer extent and reach of that road. Well yeah, I recall back in the recession of the early 90’s that many older inner city residents were forced to sell because they could no longer afford their annual property taxes. Apparently such things no longer happen but a person’s estate must hand over the cash, but until then the debt to the local government authority continues to grow. The land here had an arrears of property taxes which we had to settle when we bought it.

    None of us are sufficiently gifted to not have to build upon the legacies, voices, and lessons of the past. I really enjoyed the Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses combative story. It is really interesting. I often feel that people know deep down that if they back away from the policies that keep them currently in comfort, then they won’t be in comfort anymore. The thing is, most of the policies in play have diminishing returns which will eventually end up in negative returns. But I ask you, who wants to be the one to prick that bubble? I mean how often do I hear the catchphrase: “Far out, you two work hard”? Do we?

    Oh yeah, when we lived in the inner suburbs, there was a guy that walked around that we dubbed “meth man”. At times he was OK, but other times I’d seen him terrifying his girlfriend and breaking the local street trees. Mate, there was enough material in there for an entire symposium on mental health. You should try the scenes I’m confronted with whenever I have to park at the car park at the mostly empty shopping mall.

    Potatoes are pretty toxic plants and I note that your deer are akin to the wallabies who have also decided to munch down hard upon the potatoes. The editor and I had discussion this evening about planting arrangements for our winter crops in future years. We really fluffed it up this winter and the population of local wildlife has increased significantly in the previous summer. We’ll adapt – as will they. The battle will be long, there will be sacrifices…

    OK. So at what point do wild domestic dogs join with the coyotes? I reckon it is a distinct possibility.

    What a way to get notoriety. You’d think that there would be easier ways than that…



  38. Hi Yif,

    Thanks for mentioning the “chicken treadle feeder”. They’re a good idea, but some of my chickens – which are a motley collection incidentally – are a bit light to set off the feeder. My understanding is that the contraption requires the chickens to step upon a plate which opens a lid and provides access to the grains. Dunno.

    Also the kitchen scraps that the chickens are fed may not work well with such a device. Chickens enjoy the scraps and greens as much as, if not more than, the grains.

    I reckon the rats are smart enough to work out how that device works.



  39. Hi Inge,

    Oh my! 6 foot is impressive growth for most plants, although I have seen creeping rose bushes perform that trick. They definitely fall into the “triffid” family of plants! 🙂

    I kept cockerels for many years, but the truth is that the arrangements for breeding chickens in the current enclosure are not good for that purpose. My mates of the big shed fame breed chickens and have provided me with some good point of lay birds, but eventually we will have to reconsider the cockerel matter here. It really can’t be gotten around.

    Yeah, I hear you about the hen with spurs. Some of my hens have spurs, but they don’t seem very cockerel like, and I put that down to a breed trait. For example, silky chickens all seem to develop spurs. My experiences with commercial breeds on the other hand are not so good. They live short lives and have very aggressive tendencies, although they lay a prolific amount of eggs. I put that story in the ‘with benefits comes costs’ box. And who knows, I may just have had bad luck with the birds? Dunno.

    Of course, and I would like to remedy that scenario and can easily do so. The author unfortunately has not taken adequate steps to protect themselves from trolling, and until they do so… Look, the person in question is strong enough to sort that problem out, but I just have no desire to be the vector for that potential problem. I don’t get much of that social silliness going on, but over the years I’ve encountered a few trolls. I do hope that you understand my stance and I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter?

    Thanks for sharing the observations of your walk, and that happens here too. It is funny that the canopy forming and other larger trees really show just how much better their root systems are at harvesting water during the sort of summer that you are having. When the over story trees look water stressed here, I begin freaking out.

    Your description about the abutting land sure does sound like growth to me. Whatever that is. I’m told by reliable authorities that it is a good thing, but sometimes in the dark hours of the night, I do wonder. It will be fascinating to see what the archaeologists uncover in that area.



  40. Hi Pam,

    Hey, speaking of traps have you ever wondered about the likelihood of encountering a rusty old trap out in the middle of nowhere? I bet it happens from time to time. It would make for a good horror story… I’m with you too, because rental or debt is pretty the same thing, except that at least debt has a finite end point – if one does succumb to the temptation of using their home as an ATM of course. Incidentally I saw an advertisement on an ATM screen the other day which was advising me to do exactly that. Yes, what could possibly go wrong?

    Being tied down is an interesting point – and I see a lot of fear inside people on that subject. And I guess therein lays the beauty of stories like the 20 league boots – it is all about escape. But escape from what, and what are you escaping into, is a subject that few people want to consider. I reckon it is important though. What do you reckon?

    Ol’ Arnie was a true gentleman. May he enjoy his new patch of wild mulberry, and may he kick some ass and find a new home there. 🙂



  41. Hello again

    Of course I understand you where trolls are concerned. Your blog and therefore your absolute right to do as seems best.

    It reminds me of how difficult it is to hold a conversation in this way; how easy it would be face to face.

    Still hot and dry. We keep being told that thunderstorms may arrive but they don’t.

    I am digging up potatoes and getting lots of French and runner beans.


  42. Hi Inge,

    No worries at all. I haven’t acted out on your request because of a general level of concern at a possible outcome for someone else who’s work I admire. It is not for me to tell them how to conduct their website.

    It is a bit of a long story, but I’d only previously written for many years in the print press before getting on line. The print press was a beautiful place of unicorns and rainbows and appreciative readers. However, when I first began writing online I was quite shocked by the sad state of human affairs that was the general low level of discourse over the internet. People said things to me on line that they would never dare say to my face, and at first the forum I chose to write for meant that I had no control over comments. The comments were an outrage to polite discourse and general decency. I am in debt to Mr Greer for showing a way forward out of that swampy and murky land, and believe I have refined his methods somewhat to my own liking. It is a nice corner of the internet that we’ve all created here. 😉

    Hey, we’re almost in real time too!

    It is night here and I’m sort of kicking around just doing a bit of admin and generally having a quiet night of it.

    That may be a blessing. I worry about thunderstorms during hot and dry summers because the lightning can set off forest, peat, and grass fires. That may be more of a concern for me than in your part of the world.

    Oh! Total yummo! Enjoy your produce. The wildlife has been hungry this winter and we don’t seem to considered in their plans… Some years are like that. I’ll get onto the next phase of the rat-slab tomorrow. That is code word for the concrete slab in the chicken enclosure. Have you mentioned my rat troubles to your son? I’d be interested in his opinion?



  43. Yo, Chris – Yes, I replaced the old adapter, awhile ago. The cord had frayed where it enters the adapter. But, much to my surprise, the new unit was twice as big … and the cord much shorter. Adding an extension cord and resting the heavier unit on the floor, seems to be working out.

    Change of regime is always stressful. I think I mentioned that The Warden is retiring. After 30 years. I’ve only been here a year, so, it’s not impacting me, much. Many of the other inmates are rather unsettled.

    The 1840s in Europe were rather unsettled. Revolutions and changes of constitutions. The author of the book I’m reading mentions that Victoria took in royals from all over Europe. Running a bit of a royal refugee camp. Most of them eventually went back home. Can’t blame them for being skittish. The French Revolution was still fresh in everyone’s minds. At one point, when the Chartists marched on London, the royal family quietly decamped to Inge’s neck of the woods.

    Well, I’m pretty much a vegan, these days. But certainly wouldn’t foist my food foibles on anyone else. I have noticed that I feel rather off kilter, in the digestive department, if I stray.

    I’m glad your storm didn’t do any damage. Yup. Our weather has been just about perfect, of late. We’ll be back to temps in the 90s, on Sunday. Cont.

  44. Cont. I can see I-5 from where I sit. :-). When it was built, “Old 99” (the highway) fell into disuse. It used to take a day to go from Portland to Seattle. Winding it’s leisurely way through dozens of little towns. A lot of the commerce died. Main streets withered. Centralia is a bit lucky as it is just about exactly half way between Seattle and Portland. A handy pit stop, on the way. Sometimes, there’s a wreck on the freeway, and traffic gets detoured through town. Always exciting times. There are stretches, now, where there is no good detour route. During the floods of 2007, the freeway was closed for three days.

    Dogs and coyotes don’t like each other, much. But, I’m sure there’s the occasional cross breed.

    Speaking of banks and dodgy things, I got a letter from my bank, yesterday that I’m such a good and responsible person that they’ve bumped up my credit limit by $2,000. Lucky me. I could run it up to the limit and buy a Tiffany lamp! :-). Or one spectacular piece of French cameo glass. Isn’t going to happen.

    I’ve been following the discoveries in Alexandria. The article I saw was “three warriors.” Early days. They’ll sort it out. Still within the time period that it could be … I was hoping for Marc Anthony. Now that three bodies have been revealed, I’m hoping for Anthony, Cleopatra and Caesarian. Or, Cleopatra and her two handmaids. It’s a bit odd to have three bodies tucked in one coffin.

    I went to the auction, last night, and bagged the wily Chinese sewing basket. Life is complete. For the moment. Lew

  45. Hi Lewis,

    I’m absolutely pumped tonight! The weather was superb here today, it barely made it past 50’F, but the sun was shining and the air was cool. We completely excavated the terraced site for the new garden shed which will be constructed over the next month or so. Then just because that wasn’t enough work, we began excavating out a large old tree stump in the terrace above that area that will hopefully be used for a small temporary corn enclosure. I really want to trial the three sisters native Americans method of growing corn, but I need a dedicated enclosure for it and so we have had to dig out another flat site on the same terrace level as the strawberries. It would have been much simpler to have purchased flat land in the first place, but alas for that finances thing which sort of put the stomp on that idea! The Rolling Stones once said something about not getting what you want, you get what you need. They may well have been correct in that observation.

    Plus we set up the timber formwork and rocks for the new concrete slab inside the chicken enclosure. Hopefully the cement gets poured first thing tomorrow. That’ll fix the rats! For the moment anyway… 🙂 We can’t pour the cement too late in the day at this time of the year because the rats may be able to dig away at the crumbly cement. I mean it does take a few days to cure.

    Top work replacing the adapter for the DVD player as that is the least wasteful option. I tell you a funny story. Years ago my opinion was sought on a matter. Two people were arguing over a strange situation. One person filled up an electric kettle and proceeded to heat up the water for only a single cup of tea. The other party then stopped the process and tipped out the water so that only a smaller amount of water was heated up for the cup of tea. They then proceeded to have an argument. I heard about the story later and replied that I reckon both choices were poor and created waste. It was a brave move and suddenly I became the enemy. Pah! The lesson here is not to get involved in other people’s business. What are your thoughts in relation to that story?

    To be honest, you seem like a rather adaptable sort. 🙂 Change is hard though. I hope your new warden is not a pedant. Pedants are rather dull individuals. The new warden may also look for an example to behead so that everyone knows that they mean business. It happens. The other thing I’ve noticed about change is that some people attempt to change how you yourself feel about the potential change. A problem shared is a problem halved after all! How resistant to that sort of gear are you?

    I can well see how the 1840’s would have been troubled times. Did you know that (according to Wikipedia) “after 1790 coal output in the UK soared, reaching 16 million long tons by 1815 at the height of the Napoleonic War. By 1830 this had risen to over 30 million tons The miners, less affected by imported labour or machines than were the cotton mill workers, had begun to form trade unions and fight their grim battle for wages against the coal owners and royalty-lessees.” I’d have to suggest that the energy available per capita had risen to unprecedented levels and, well, people could see the differences in wealth for themselves.

    Yeah, I’m mostly vegetarian, but I respect anyone who can achieve a vegan diet – as long as they’re not trying to beat me over the head with their dogma. Fortunately, I rarely encounter that spiel. If it works for you, that’s cool. Food ain’t what it used to be so it is hardly surprising to me that I read an account that apparently over half the population down here have suffered some sort of digestive issue within any recent twelve month period. Hey, I watched the video last evening of the folks producing bread from landrace wheat and I was very impressed. They mentioned that although they had experienced a wet spring, most of the grains survived. Although I could detect signs of rust on the wheat stems in their patch. I really have to get some of those plants in the ground next autumn. So much to do.

    How is the hot weather influencing your garden? Are you getting much extra produce?

    I read Cliff Mass’s blog entry on the Oregon fire tonight – and absolutely the wind is a major factor. Not good, and I hope they get the fire under control as the winds die back down.

    That happened down here too when the freeways bypassed the towns. The old highway system used to travel through many country towns, but not the freeways. Some of the commercial activities in the towns just up and died. I have no idea what to make of it. There is a town to the north of here that was bypassed a few years back and the bakery had to lure the punters in with really quality product sold at a price which reflected the quality. I respect that. A few years ago there was an older lady in front of me in the bakery who was complaining to the staff at the high cost of the fine bakery products. I don’t know what the lady expected and how she believed that the business could do otherwise. I often advise the Green Wizards folks to pay in cash, but I don’t quite feel that they believe me in my assertion. No matter.

    I didn’t know that about coyotes and dogs. Down here the dingoes (our coyote equivalent) happily interbreed with domestic dogs.

    Hehe! Lead you not into temptation! Run Lewis, run! Fortunately you have a cool head in these banking matters.

    How cool would that find be? Unfortunately in our digging today we didn’t unearth anything as exotic as that weighty casket. You have to admit that the casket weighed a huge amount so it must have been someone important? Anyway, we unearthed many useful rocks, and one epic tree stump… I wish eucalyptus timber wasn’t quite so hard and enduring… Other lesser trees would have rotted away to nothing, but not eucalyptus.

    Hehe! Top work with bagging the willy Chinese sewing basket! 🙂

    I’ve got the live broadcast from the festival Splendour in the Grass at Byron Bay going on in the background. Fun stuff, and Franz Ferdinand is a very good band. Vampire Weekend will play later tonight, but that is past my bedtime. How unreasonable of them! 😉



  46. Hello again

    We had some rain last night; not a lot but it has freshened the ground a bit.

    I haven’t mentioned your rat problem to Son. Rats are a sensitive subject with him as they eat his animal feed. He used to poison them when things got too bad but can’t do that any more. One now requires a licence to buy a poison that works, anything other is a waste of time.


  47. Yo, Chris – What is the purpose of the new garden shed? I’m sure you’ve got a use, in mind. More fire wood storage? :-). In hindsight, maybe you should have called your place “Terrace Gardens.” Or, “Hanging Gardens of Outer Melbourne.” 🙂

    Best stay out of squabbles (especially between couples), if possible. Of course, some play power politics in those situations, behind the scenes. Not your modus opperendi, but something to keep in mind. Some like to just keep the pot stirring. They thrive on drama.

    Yup. The new Warden may be a pedant. The outgoing Warden has waned the ladies that she was a bit slack about some rules, and they may now be enforced. I don’t think heads will roll, but, some may be unhappy enough to leave. The Warden’s boss, Tim, (who know one has met) is apparently a bit of a stick.

    Well, the 19th century. You had the industrial revolution going on. Diet improved. There were advances in medicine. The Corn Laws were repealed. Literacy increased. Mass media came into play. It was fits and starts, but in general, the standard of living, right across the board, rose. Cont.

  48. Cont. We had our monthly infusion (transfusion?) of the food pantry at the Home. It’s open season on whatever turns up. I checked it out, last night. Mostly, canned stuff. Some bread and eggs. One could probably live entirely out of what’s on offer. But … The canned pork & beans, chili, small tins of smoked ham and chicken looked rather tempting. But, a few moments investigation of ingredients with my magnifying glass and I thought better of it. I ended up with a few cans of diced tomatoes and a can of black beans. As long as I can, I’ll opt for better (to my mind) quality.

    There hasn’t been any produce coming in from our local garden spots, as yet. Except for a few snow peas. But given another month, there will be lots of stuff.

    OK. Backing into the next couple of topics. I’m not really too keen on most comics. We had a fellow here, during the 1940s and 50’s named Red Skelton who was quit popular. Broad physical humor, etc.. He also made a bit of a splash on television. The library got two of his movies on DVD, from 1951 and 1953. Not that long after I was born. One movie was set in 1895 and involved the invention of the automobile. The other was set in the early 50s and involved the mass movement out of the cities and into the suburbs.

    I decided to watch them as a kind of … sociological study. I was looking for subtext. The one on the car was rather simplistic. And, a forgetable musical, to boot. It extolled the virtues of insular small town life, and then demolished them. There was a short rift on how billboards would take over road sides. But basically, it was “you can’t stop progress.”

    The other film was a bit more complex (Half a Hero, 1953). Our hero is a young family man who has just gotten a job as a writer on a magazine. He lives in New York City. His boss feels that thrift, and living in the city is the way to go. He secretly (at the urging of his wife, and reluctantly) moves to the suburbs. They buy a house that stretches there income, a bit. And, there’s the mortgage. The hidden costs of maintaining a house are overwhelming.

    There is also an interesting three minute bit that was rather startling, for the time. A neighbor couple .. the wife is extolling how she’s helping by returning to work. The husband quietly takes our hero aside and lays out just how much it cost for her to return to work, and that, given the costs, it’s actually putting them in the hole $20 a week. (Which is the premise of Barbara Ehrenreich’s books, “Two Income Trap.”)

    In the end, the boss sees the error of his thinking, and everyone goes merrily into debt and buys lots of stuff, on time. It really was one big propaganda piece boosting consumerism. Of course, not everyone (like my parents) fell into that trap. But, eventually, those that didn’t were considered a bit odd and stodgy. Lew

  49. Hi Inge,

    Glad to read that you got some rain and hopefully the dry spell doesn’t continue on for too much longer. Do they ration water usage in the UK during a drought? They do down here and that generally means about 155 litres (40.8 US gallons) per person per day. Which is quite a lot of water really. I do wonder how we’ll cope during the next drought given the population has increased so much since the last one.

    Oh no! I totally understand. Yup. I don’t poison the rats near to the chicken enclosure because the owls or chickens may eat them, and then the poison will surely enter our food supply. But yeah, the rodents can eat a lot of grain. We laid the other half of the concrete slab in the chicken enclosure this morning. The rats here attract the snakes so there is another aspect to that problem that I want to get on top of. You are lucky not have to live with such extraordinarily deadly wildlife. Why one snake bite would be that toxic is beyond me. Of course I do understand that the local wildlife has adapted to the bites… We’re a bit behind the times on that front.



  50. Hi Lewis,

    Absolutely. There is always purpose and direction with the projects here, even when it looks otherwise. Of course, I may just be putting a good front on things. But in this instance, the yet to be constructed shed is officially titled the ‘potting shed’, which it isn’t really going to be used for, but that is its name and it has stuck.

    Haha! I have wondered what exactly is a hanging garden? Wasn’t there an historical hanging garden of Babylon? If all the plants were hanging around in the air, I’d probably bump my head a lot! 😉

    Exactly too, it ain’t our Modus Operandi. We tend to talk problems through and see where the chips fall. Of course things do occasionally go off the rails for us because nothing is perfect and that is part of the human condition. I have noticed that some couples use me (or us) as a safe space where they can argue over otherwise non discussable topics and that annoys the crap out of me. I tend to pipe up and say: “Are you two having a domestic?” That ends that problem for me anyway. Hey, I tell ya, up here the worst topic that gets argued about between couples in front of either or both of us is… ta da! … Cold houses. Yup, and our winters aren’t anywhere near as cold as yours. I tend to note that the houses up here are inappropriately constructed for the conditions – on so many fronts. Oh well. Oh yeah about the drama. I am not one for drama. Yuk! Drama is boring.

    Some will leave if the new warden proves not so good? Seriously? It seems a bit extreme to me. I wonder where they will go. Don’t you wonder that?

    Exactly too. The standard of living in that period of time increased in direct proportion to the available energy per capita. Yes, all of those issues are spot on and I totally agree with you. It is funny that you mention those, but I may write about them tonight. I haven’t quite figured out the story yet… Inspiration may yet strike me, but then again, perhaps not.

    Speaking of product ingredients, do you get English descriptions of the chemicals and molecules used in ingredients, or numbers such as Emulsifier 235 (I made that up so any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental)? The numbers have a certain mystery to them, don’t you reckon?

    Well, that is an interesting comparison. Snow peas are usually ready to harvest here before Christmas (which is your late June). Are you having a normal summer weather wise?

    Hehe! Yes, forgettable musical is a very apt description. Sorry, I am biased in this matter – musicals really don’t speak to me and I have no idea why because I quite like music. Ouch, you know I hear people say that you can’t stop progress, but sometimes I feel like mentioning that a person can’t stop regress either. On the other hand they probably have no idea what the word “regress” means and then the joke would be wasted.

    The second film does sound interesting doesn’t it? The messages are subtle and hard to ignore. You know I reckon that was an early example of “Guerrilla marketing”, where a concept is promoted and presented as desirable, or even inevitable, and it is hard for people to see through to the underlying message – as you have done. I’m not that old, but I recall a time when the inner city suburbs were once full of long established immigrants and they were generally also blue collar neighbourhoods. The first house that the editor and I could afford was in such an area and you know, we saw what it was like. It sounds absurd now and the area is extraordinarily desirable, but at the time friends and family refused to visit – and even friends who were renting in better suburbs, looked down their noses at us two. From a social perspective it was quite a complex and difficult choice and we were ostracized for our choice of living there. I saw the desire to move out in people and knew people who fell into that trap. Mate, I tell ya what, we are now so far out (but on a long established train line) that it would be very hard to imagine the suburbs extending this far. It is possible, but I don’t know how it could work.

    Lewis, lead me not into the land of book temptation! OK, just a little bit of temptation is good for the soul… I hadn’t heard of Barbara’s book about two incomes, but mate I see that gear playing out as the kids nowadays say IRL (In the Real World). All I can say is that the social arrangements for raising children nowadays appear to be very dysfunctional to me.

    I recall the day that a bank sent a pre-approved credit card to my mum and it had a (then) massive limit of $1,000. It was as if the Devil himself had entered the backyard and was setting up a massive free for all barbeque. Of course people soon wilted under the temptation and now here we are today with household debt at something crazy like 120% of GDP. My opinion my friend is that is an unpayable amount. I could be wrong and would like to be wrong on that opinion, but I dunno.



  51. @Lew
    I don’t know if the rat traps are the same as you suggested but so far the new ones are working much better. Thanks for the suggestion.


  52. Hi Chris,
    Things are continuing to progress around here though Michael’s procedure has added an extra layer of complications. It’s been scheduled for July 30th and the movers come on August 3rd. Between those two dates will be three trips of a minimum of 1 1/2 hours each to the hospital and doctor’s office for follow ups. I’m glad my sister is staying overnight but frankly she is also Michael’s guardian but due to the fact that she lives in Chicago and doesn’t drive I take care of just about everything for him. She did, however, do much of the work other than financial for Patrick as he was closer to her for five years.

    The painting and wallpaper is done at the new house and the carpets get cleaned on Tuesday.

    Weather here has cooled but is very humid which seems to be the norm lately. I have a limited garden here but am harvesting onions, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini and beans.


  53. @ Lew:

    I watched “Half a Hero” about 10 years ago and again a couple of years ago. It made me rather nervous both times. All those folks in the time it was made of 1953 seemed to have such a bad plan for their futures. And I think that we can see the results of their planning. It wasn’t all fiction by any means.


  54. @ Inge – Thank you for the correction. Elizabeth Warren, of course! Such a silly mistake to make, especially as I think so highly of her. There was a push to get her to run for president, last time around. But she has the sense, not to. Lew

  55. Yo, Chris – Terrace Farm? Sounds rather posh. I’ve never quit got the “hanging garden” bit, either. Because they appeared to “hang in the air?” There were lots of hanging baskets? A few years ago I watched a DVD about an archaeologist who made a pretty good case for the famous gardens to have been in another city, besides Babylon.

    Oh, people here at the Home are always making noise about moving somewhere else. I do myself, on occasion :-). And, some do. For one reason or another.

    Some ingredients on food are rather mysterious. “Natural flavors.” “Textured vegetable protein.” A great many mysterious chemical compounds that are hard to pronounce. 15 letters long with too many consenents. (sp?) Sometimes I look them up on the internet, but mostly, just avoid them.

    Well, I guess the weather has been pretty normal, so far. Not too wet in the spring. Pretty much within possible norms. Nothing too startling. It’s supposed to get to 90F (32.22C), today, and stay around that temperature for the rest of the week. Our warmest months tend to be around end of July through August, into early September. Cliff Mass seems to keep on top of the “is it normal,” question.

    I just fast forward through the musical numbers. :-). Cont.

  56. Cont. The husband in the film about the suburbs seemed a bit … well, maybe hen pecked? Or, at least it was the wife that drove most of the changes. We have a saying here, that seemingly popped up out of nowhere, a few years back. “If mama isn’t happy, no one is happy.” Some bit of pop culture whose origin I missed.

    I miss identified the author of “Two Income Trap.” One of the authors is Elizabeth Warren. It’s a bit old. I’m sure the concept is still valid, but the statistics might be a bit stale. Like Ehrenreich, Warren has written a number of good things. And, they usually have to do with individual economics. She ran the consumer protection agency, under the last administration. Gave it teeth. The big banks hate her. So, she must be doing something right. :-).

    There were a few other points I was going to mention, about the freeway bypassing the town. Even though we were lucky enough to be half way between Seattle and Portland, it really doesn’t add too much to our local economy. Commerce shifted out toward the freeway, but it wasn’t locals. It was mostly big box stores and chains. Wealth pumps that shift money out of the area. Oh, sure, a lot of jobs were provided. But they’re mostly part time and low wage. Management of those stores (as with so much management in general, here) tend to live up in Olympia. So, they’re spending power doesn’t impact, locally. Lew

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