A Christmas Tail

‘Twas the months after Christmas, and all through the night

Small dry brown pine trees, were dumped in plain sight

They were thrown from vehicles without any cares

Safe in the knowledge that tip fees would never be theirs.

It is all right, in fact everything is all right, the struggle continues but we’re making solid ground. Victory is near in the War on Waste. Push unhappy thoughts from your mind, and focus on the goodness within. Fear not.

I don’t worry about the War of Waste, if only because last summer some cheeky scamps showed the true way forward: They dumped their dried up and deceased Christmas trees in the forest.

It is genius really, because one day in mid January, dead Christmas trees began sprouting in the forest. The editor and I began spotting dead Christmas trees by the side of roads all over the mountain range. We’d even spotted one by the side of the road in an outer Industrial estate of Melbourne. Like Star Trek’s famous Tribbles, they were multiplying and could be seen everywhere!

Here’s one now:

A sad discarded Christmas tree

The closest dead Christmas tree to us was located in a picnic ground deep in the forest. It is a lovely and scenic picnic ground with a creek meandering through it. As an interesting side story, the creek begins near the bottom of my property where very tall trees grow over an under-story of ferns and shrubs. It is a beautiful and wild place.

But then things got truly weird. That particular Christmas tree began moving around all of its own accord. It was if the Elves or the Fairy folk of the forest had decided to play tricks on us rubbish dumping humans by moving the Christmas tree randomly around the environment. And no it wasn’t the wind.

It never travelled far, but it travelled far enough every couple of days for the editor and I to take notice. It was a bit of a mystery really, and every time we ventured near to that picnic ground we began keeping a sharp eye out for the mobile dead Christmas tree. It was quite entertaining!

Hither and thither the tree moved, and where it stopped nobody knows. At one point the tree crossed the bridge over the creek, and I hoped that the Elves or Fairy Folk recalled to pay the bridge troll? But sadly they may have forgotten this most important aspect of their journey because the dead Christmas tree was dumped next to the gate of a rather orderly looking property.

Sadly within a few days of crossing the bridge over the creek, the Christmas tree was no longer to be seen. It had moved about the area for months, but I suspect that once the cold weather of winter settled in and burn-off restrictions were lifted, the tree became toast. There are still so many unanswered questions…

This dodgy Christmas tail (sic) is brought to you by Ollie the Australian cuddle dog (of course long term readers will know by now that he is an Australian cattle dog, but did you know that he is also a good sport?)

Ollie gets into the Christmas spirit whilst looking oppressed

Speaking of getting into the Christmas spirit, one of my favourite things to do during this festive time is to check out the outrageous displays of Christmas lights in the area. It is summer down here and so I always try to find the unusual Australian themed Christmas light displays because I seriously doubt that anyone in the Northern Hemisphere has ever seen a Kangaroo and Emu Christmas themed light display accompanying a very cold looking penguin?

A Kangaroo and Emu enjoy the company of Reindeer and a very cold looking Penguin

OK, and I’ll bet you cold Northern hemisphere folks have never seen a Christmas Koala light in a tricked up Eucalyptus tree? Didn’t think so!

A Christmas Koala high up in a tricked up Eucalyptus tree

And whilst Santa appears to have thiefed off with my old 1982 Yamaha XV-750 motorbike (a nice choice but shame about the starter motor), two Deer are busy browsing a tree.

Santa on a chopper whilst two deer eat from a tree
The views towards Melbourne from that nearby town are amazing
Neat AF! Those boxes on either side of the maypole are huge

Hope you enjoyed those as much as we did!

The War of Waste is clearly being won! But on a darker note, the forces of Evil (Ollie and Toothy) have struck a blow for the resistance and the Wart Wars has continued. This time the little rotters are using a wart on Sir Scruffy the charming, as a fast food outlet by licking his wart. The Evil Empire (the editor and I) have struck back and are treating Sir Scruffy’s wart with castor oil. And nobody is happy about it. The wart however is now half the size that it once was.

Warning – yukky warty dog image ahead!

The War on Warts continues…

This week has been rather cool, and mostly cloudy. But when the sun shines, the solar hot water panels suck in the heat, and the solar photovoltaic panels suck in the photons.

Saturday was cool but sunny. 17’C / 63’F outside

The solar power system is both extraordinarily simple and extraordinarily complicated, and during such cold and sunny weather over summer, the PV solar panels can occasionally produce far more electricity than their maximum rated output. And on such days, the circuit breaker for one circuit of 12 PV solar panels occasionally switches off. The original circuit breaker accommodated the maximum ratings as shown on the back of the panels. These ratings are to be taken with a grain of salt because of the over production effect during cold and sunny weather near to the summer solstice. This week I replaced the four circuit breakers with much higher rated components. That should fix the minor but annoying issue.

The four black high capacity circuit breakers replaced slightly lower capacity circuit breakers

Observant readers with good eyesight and an enjoyment of all things techno geekery, will see that the controller on the right hand side is displaying a reading of 170A (amps). For 30 panels, that is 5.67A per panel and they’re meant to produce only a maximum of 5.2A per panel. Incidentally 170A at 36V = 6.12kW which sure is a lot of electricity.

The strawberry and grape enclosure has been completed. Cement pavers were cemented at the doors on either end of the enclosure. The cement stops birds and other burrowing animals from gaining access to the strawberries from underneath the door.

Cement pavers were cemented in at either end of the strawberry enclosure

The remaining three stainless steel grape wires were installed into the enclosure. The ten grape vines planted inside the enclosure will climb up and along these wires one day. The wires run from end to end and there are two on either side of the enclosure.

Stainless steel wires were installed so that the grape vines could climb along them inside the enclosure

The grape vines are growing very fast. They maybe related to Triffids… I use twine to encourage the vines to grow up and onto the stainless steel wire.

Twine is used to encourage grape vines to climb up and onto the stainless steel wire

Oh! And we purchased a nifty second hand electric preserving unit. It is quite an old unit and can hold a dozen 900ml (0.95 quart) bottles which can be seen sitting next to the unit in the next photo. The unit is manufactured from stainless steel and it should have a very long lifespan. We were looking for an electric unit for a while so that we can make use of the plentiful electricity that we have at this time of the year.

We purchased a second hand electric preserving unit

And hopefully we’ll bottle some of the organic apricots that we purchased a few days ago. We usually have plenty of apricots from the trees here, but frosts early in the season knocked the blossoms off the trees.

We’re hoping to bottle these organic apricots over the next few days

In other produce news:

The corn is growing strongly and the germination rate is now 60%
Raspberries have been incredible this year. Jam ahoy me matey’s.

Onto the flowers:

The geraniums are producing many different colours and varieties of flowers
More geraniums producing many different colours and varieties of flowers – see I told you so
Hydrangeas are really enjoying the damp conditions
This bush rose is a stunner and it just crawls through a large garden bed
Poppies are nearing the end of their season
Rhubarb happily self seeds here and the plants turn up all over the place
Feverfew is a useful herb that produces a great flower display
European and Californian poppies fight it out among the daisies
The lavender is recovering slowly from Ollie’s parrot chasing antics
How awesome is this penstemon?

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 24’C (75’F). So far this year there has been 945.6mm (37.2 inches) which is higher than last week’s total of 932.4mm (36.7 inches).

78 thoughts on “A Christmas Tail”

  1. Hi Inge,

    And Christmas wishes to yourself and your son, and also to the remarkable Ren, young boss dog extraordinaire! 🙂 Poor Ollie was thoroughly oppressed by the tinsel over his tail, and I do wonder whether Ren would put up with such nonsense?

    It is quite hot and sunny here today and I’m hiding from the sunshine – as is the rest of the Fluffy collective. Cooking is best done outside on such a day and we are road testing the new second hand electric hot water bath unit. So far, so good!



  2. Hi Lewis,

    Many thanks and I appreciate the feedback. And would the blog and comments be the same without the occasional mention of Star Trek? Probably not! It is a real pleasure and I likewise enjoy the ongoing lovely dialogue, and yes, who knows what the next instalment holds in store? I hardly know myself, and only really start thinking about the story a couple of days before I write it. However if inspiration doesn’t strike, I keep a list of possible stories handy just in case. There is always something going on. 🙂

    Did you uncover anything in your investigation as to the schism regarding how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I have heard of that debate, although it sounds very odd to my ears. Very occasionally I have been known to quip: “It’s a bit like: how long is a piece of string?”, as it is a question that is unable to be answered because one or more of the variables are unknown, and in point of fact, it can never be known, unless an arbitrary position is taken on the matter. But yeah, people can get a bee in their bonnet about the strangest of things. I mentioned before about a group I was involved in many years ago that had a long standing problem with aprons (of all things – seriously, it was bonkers). The leader of the group most likely wanted the aprons worn and someone who wasn’t even part of the group was pushing the issue, whereas the majority of the group didn’t want a bar of the things. A vote on the matter was never taken (for obvious reasons due to the matter being possibly defeated) and the issue escalated until the group broke apart. I did suggest that the group should vote on the matter and then move on with their lives… Interestingly, the Federal Government, which is now in a minority voting situation, have apparently put forward a timetable for Parliament before the next election with as few working days as possible – about two weeks in something like six months. I genuinely wonder what we are paying them for. But yeah, power and control is often at the core of these things, and also pursuing unpopular pet projects can be part of that story. What do you do?

    Hehe! Not sure that I want to see a photo of anybody doing that! 😉 Hey, the electric hot water bath unit successfully completed its maiden voyage – and it worked to perfection! The unit itself is probably around 40 years old but everything just worked, including the thermostat which I was a little bit concerned about. That part of the unit is a simple device, but I’m unsure about how repairable it might be. Dunno. The element should be easy to find a spare, the thermostat not so easy. However, I just checked the website of the supplier (who have been around for a bit over 100 years) and it seems like the unit can be modified to take the current components. Interesting, and it looks like the unit I have got has already been modified somewhat from the original specifications. Anyway, it works very well and it is nice to use the power from the sun which would otherwise have simply disappeared.

    Your leader of the resistance could possibly do with a copy of Sun Tzu’s book on “The Art of War”. At the very least it will provide some food for thought and possible counter strategies. In such a position of weakness, I probably would wait until things blow over and not make myself a target, if only because time really does heal all wounds – because we ourselves eventually disappear from the story. Or do something entirely unexpected such as replacing the lost art and icons with flowers, because it is a mean spirit indeed who isn’t moved by the power of flowers. Although having just typed that, I have encountered a few sorts like that, so it possibly not a good idea to continue poking the person in question – especially if the outcome is eviction, because what is gained by that? Is there CCTV in the common areas in your building? Martinet’s have a way of eventually being deposed – or removed mostly because people eventually get sick of them. What would be the feminine version of the name: Che Guevara? Anyway, that would make for a good nickname. Honestly and in all seriousness, I do hope that you are all OK and muddle through this period of craziness.

    Incidentally the first paragraph (following the poem) was inspired by George Orwell’s book, 1984. It somehow seemed appropriate as an introduction to the story.

    Oh! That’s a good idea about the paper being easily removed after a night in the refrigerator. You know I do a similar thing with the dog biscuits as I sit the mix in the refrigerator for a few hours and then when I plate the biscuits out before they go into the oven, the mix doesn’t stick to my hand as much as it otherwise would if the mix was freshly made. And yeah, you can’t please everyone all of the time.

    Mate, when I was at primary school one of the kids had a mother who was infected with German measles when she was pregnant with him. I didn’t need to be told a second time about such matters, but memories are short. And yeah, polio wasn’t that long ago. And other diseases appear to be becoming resistant to antibiotics: Fully Sick Rapper and Bondi Hipster Christiaan Van Vuuren has life changed by battle with tuberculosis.

    I’d never considered that they may have been swapping their labour for land rental. An interesting idea, and you’re probably spot on. The bloke leases the orchard and I was wondering how that worked out with volunteer workers who trade labour for skills, accommodation and food. I may ask him about that.

    Like it! Dorky!!! Yup. 🙂 I recall going to a museum in Laos and seeing some of the gym equipment that their glorious leader used. It was a strange exhibit, but perhaps it was just lost in translation.

    Interesting indeed. Out of curiosity, where the buildings themselves ever reused? Or, like how did the author determine that the site was an earlier place of worship for an entirely different religion?

    Did you see that archaeologists have unearthed the petrified remains of a harnessed horse and saddle in the stable of an ancient villa in a Pompeii suburb. It looked like quite a rich villa that would have had views.



  3. Hi Claire,

    Happy Solstice and Christmas to you too. 🙂 Thank you, and I too enjoy the ongoing dialogue with lovely people such as yourself.

    That was a fine rant! And of course, you are entirely correct. It is a bit lost on most people these days that they have to get their own houses in order first and foremost, and if they don’t lead by example, well let’s just say that there is a lot of that going around.

    It is funny that you mention vehicle manufacturing but if I had worked in the vehicle manufacturing industries that were only just recently shut down in this country and noticed this article, I’d feel very disgruntled: New imported ‘luxury’ vehicles for federal MPs to be trialled in 2019. I sort of suspect that they must be a bit out of touch to even consider such an option.

    To be honest I wasn’t entirely sure whose comment you were referring to, but I suspect that it may have been Damo’s comment: “For myself, I am fully aware my lifestyle is not sustainable for the planet if multiplied by 7 billion. But then, this is true of anyone reading this. I am not sure what getting hung up about tinkering with numbers on the margins will achieve. Am I too cynical?”

    From his perspective, and like your view, his is entirely correct, and his actions reflect his words. There is also an element of tragedy in that story, and you would not be aware of that, but it is there and I suspect the comment may come from that place. Plus Damo, despite being professionally employed, has been effectively locked out of the housing market – it really is that bad down this way – and so I have a lot of sympathy for the difficulties he faces. It is not easy at all.

    However, I can’t really know Mr Greer’s motivations but he has stated in the past that he prefers a dissensus of responses to the predicaments facing industrial civilisation, if only because some strategy for the future will prove to work. Who knows, the future ain’t what it used to be.



  4. Hi Bev,

    The raspberries were a gift from a lovely local lady who I happened to bump into at the shops this morning. I have no idea what their origin or variety is, but they’re doing well.

    Interestingly, at the end of last season, I cut them back to about two feet above the ground, whilst removing the dead canes. Then I fed them compost which is far higher in carbon than nitrogen, on the basis that they are forest plants. The previous summer I’d fed them manure rich compost and they produced a lot of leaf rather than berries.

    Hope that helps. If you can wait until autumn, I can post you some canes?



  5. Hi Claire,

    Almost forgot to mention a passage I read in Beowulf this morning. The story originates from around the 9th century (or about that time). Translated into modern English an excerpt from the story read: “he sees… the hall of feasting, the resting places swept by the wind robbed of laughter – the riders sleep, mighty men gone down into the dark”. The author of the poem was expressing the vision of deserted and ruined halls and all from a perspective of our antiquity, the author is in fact telling a story of greater times in the past that were at that time lost. That is pretty much our future looking back at us. We can save some sparks of this golden age and that is a task worth setting our backs to, but inevitably there will be a fall for what can’t be sustained, won’t be.


  6. Yo, Chris – I can see another children’s book, in the offing. “The Wandering Christmas Tree.” I suppose, long term, they compost down. Tucked out of the way to not be unsightly. Unless they provide fuel for wildfires, first. Several of our landfills, or tips, here, provide a seasonal free chipping service for Christmas trees.

    Ollie tries to hatch tinsel! He’ll be laying Christmas balls, next. I always enjoy your pictures of the Christmas lights .. with an Australian twist. Speaking of pictures, I think you should maybe enter a photographic contest or two. National Geographic is always having them. There are others. If there are not entry fees or, if they’re very small. Just a thought. You know, in your spare time :-).

    Good luck with the pavers keeping the local wildlife out of the S/G enclosure. Your corn is looking good. Just as a tip, make sure and have some light rope around, and a plan for how your going to tie it off and support the plants, in case of wind. I had a bit of a scramble to get mine lashed down. We have a few raspberries around The Home, but only enough for an occasional handful. Not enough to make jam or put some by.

    I wondered if the canning jars that came with the preserving unit are Australian standard? They look a bit different than ours, but I figure that may be due to different units of measure. If they’re special, you might start keeping an eye out at the op-shops for replacements. Something you may already know (but I learned from my Idaho friend) is that even the smallest nick in the rim of a used jar can prevent a good seal. She used to run her finger around the rim, as often you can feel the slightest nick, before you can see it. Same technique applies in the antique biz.

    So tell me. Do geraniums come in different colors and varieties? :-). I quit like the blue hydrangeas, which, as you know, have more to do with soil composition, than variety. Sometimes. Our master gardeners run a seminar, every year (open to the public) instructing what to add to soil to get different colors. There are methods of preservation that retain the color for dried arrangements. Cont.

  7. Cont. Angels dancing on pin heads refers to “useless scholarly debates.”


    I’m say, any silly debate.

    Schism. There’s a saying in AA that all you need to start a new group is two drunks, a coffee pot and a resentment :-).
    If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, check out the Wikipedia entry titled “Subgroups of Amish.” They seem to have turned schism into an art form :-). Affiliated congregations follow the same Ordrungs (loosely, rules). Sometimes it has to do with obscure points of religious doctrine, but often has to do with acceptable levels of modern technology. Which, on reflection, is I guess, to them, religious doctrine. This is reflected in distinctive lifestyles or outward symbols (dress.)

    Flowers are a nice idea, but entail small tables, vases and water. A possible problem for Emergency Medical people with their equipment. Also, doddering oldsters with grocery carts and wheel chairs. “Do you have a license for that thing?” :-). Which is the reasoning The Beast used to remove chairs from the stair landings and elevator. Though, depending on which Fire Marshal you talked to, didn’t pose a problem. I think basically, it boils down to anything she perceives as “clutter.”

    Thanks for the reminder. I used “martinet” in conversation, recently, and when pressed for a definition, really couldn’t come up with one that was satisfactory. “A strict disciplinarian”. I’d add, “who enforces stupid rules.”

    I’ve run on, long enough. I guess I’ll put off Romano-British religious customs, drug resistant TB, collapsing buildings and flogging dead horses, until tomorrow. 🙂 Lew

  8. Hi Lewis,

    Glad to read that my humour is not lost on you, although I’m unsure what kids would make about the story? I suspect that it was the local kids who moved the tree about the place, but as I said so many questions remain unanswered. 🙂 It was the fire risk that the trees posed – pine forest fires are extremely hot.

    Ollie may also have had a case of tinsel flatulence? It is surprising what canines eat. Thanks, and I enjoy the Christmas lights too and the number of people who travel to the area tells me that a whole bunch of other people like them as well.

    I’d never considered submitting any of the photos to anywhere other than here. Nietzsche would no doubts be very grumpy with me, although you’d think that he would have some sort of category to chuck me into? Dunno.

    Oh! You might not be able to see it, but the corn enclosure is in the lee of the overflow shed which was built last year, so the corn is spared the worst of the winds from the south. I have to make sure that I don’t get too much nitrogen into the soil because that may cause the corn to lodge. They’re just big grasses after all. Incidentally, yesterday was 97’F but the place is still looking quite green due to the recent heavy rainfall. Further north they’re having a heatwave so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

    Raspberries are a bit of a mystery to me too and this is only the third year I’ve grown them. I’m thinking that they need lots of rich soil, but again not too much nitrogen (manures) because they’ll produce lots of leaf but not much in the way of berries.

    Absolutely, the bottles are an old standard and I have a lot (seriously – people sell them off in huge batches which is a bit bonkers) of them already and all of the same size. The lids are made from stainless steel (check) and the rings are the weak link. One seal failed on the batch we did yesterday, but the fruit will be eaten over the next week or so. The apricots tasted very good too, and that particular organic orchard is the only one that I’m aware of that grows and picks for flavour – and it took me a while to track them down, but they’ve been consistent for at least a decade.

    Yes, geraniums come in a number of varieties and colours. The fragrant variety are a good deterrence for the wallabies who really don’t like them at all. The ones in the photos have the best colours, and some of them smell like lemon sorbet, mint, pyrethrum. A diverse bunch that. Those hydrangeas are about six or seven years old now and they’re so reliable and the flowers last for months.

    The angel thing is very silly, worthy of a Monty Python skit – if only if it weren’t true. I had a good laugh about the AA saying! Very funny.

    I wonder about how the Amish are going to deal with the problem of over population because otherwise they’d always need new land to expand into? You can’t divide farms up into ever smaller parcels of land. Other than that I reckon they’re doing pretty well.

    Ah yes, the orderly mind probably struggles coming to terms with ‘clutter’. I’d be curious about your thoughts but there is a point at which you have to say that something is “good enough”. I mean it could always be better, but sooner or later a person encounters diminishing returns and further energy is probably wasted given the return. Your martinet hasn’t quite worked his/her way into that place.

    Well, we have a long history of them down here. Think of Governor Bligh, mutinied against twice, which is hardly a glowing endorsement of his leadership skills.



  9. Yo, Chris – Merry Christmas! A kind of quiet day, around the Home. A lot of The Ladies are off visiting relatives. There will be a bit of a potluck, later. Ham provided. The Club is also having a potluck. Me, I’ll just steer clear of all that. Too much noise, too many people. I spent about 2 hours fooling around in the garden, yesterday. General clean up and turning stuff under. I’ll probably do the same, today.

    I like the look of your canning jars. A bit more thinner and taller, than ours. Do yours come in a range of sizes? We have jelly and jam jars, for small batches of same. Usually with a bit of impressed decorations, for gift giving. Then half pints, pints and quarts.

    Here’s an article about Amish expansion, in America. I’ve also heard about colonies in Central and South America. Odds and ends I’ve run across also seem to indicate that the Amish, while keeping farms going for family use, also have expanded into more businesses. Construction, bakeries, etc.. I’d also surmise that they still can find land. Marginal, but then they “prove” (improve) it up. Moving as a community, there’s man and woman power, available, and isolation kept at bay. Unlike the rest of us who strike off in the wilderness, alone. 🙂


    In general, I’d say the changes here are stripping the homey, out of The Home. At least outside our apartments. Giving it a more institutional feel.

    Getting back to “Sacred Britannia”, the Romans were a superstitious lot (from our point of view) and when they moved into an area, really inquired into who the local spirits were, and how to stay on the right side of them. And, there was a lot of, “Gee, that sounds just like our god or goddess “X”. So, you had dual names applied. Just to make things clear. Sulis Minerva. Jupiter Taranis. Mars Nodens. There were a few mixed gender situations. Mercury Rosmerta. Those were thought to be consorts, to each other.

    Some British gods retained their identities, as they were pretty sight specific. Coventina. The Romans and British had a sense that some places were “thin” spots, between this world and another. Some British worship places were in isolated areas … but on the boundary between one tribe and another. Perhaps they were neutral zones.

    So. Did the Romans reuse Celtic buildings and were the gods, the same. Probably. The author is pretty careful about speculation. The Brits built mostly in wood, so there’s not much archaeological evidence, left. And, very little written. Same spots, yes. Buildings? No. As wood broke down, the Romans, and newly Romanized (and wealthier) British replaced structures with stone.

    Must have been a slow day in archaeology news. :-). The horses at Pompeii made quit a splash, about 6 months ago. Most of the new stories seem to have quit a bit of speculative embroidery. Ohhhh! A Roman general! Name, please. It sounds like the villa is going to be pretty spectacular. But that’s not so unusual. Then, as now, seaside property was desirable. We tend to forget that Pompeii and Herculaneum were sea side towns. Since the sea is now about two miles away. These villas tended to spill down the seaside on many levels. Some, semi subterranian. Fancy dinning rooms (cooler in summer) with ocean views.

    The Villa of the Pypyri at Herculaneum is one such. They’ve had problems excavating on the lower levels. Water tables, poison gas. Having to shore up everything overhead. That one even had a long portico that you could meander out to a belvedere (gazebo) to view the Bay of Naples.

    Drug resistant TB is becoming quit a problem. In good times, the treatment was months long. It became entrenched in the ever expanding homeless population. Given their problems, mental, addiction, mobility, entire courses of treatment were hit and miss. Hence, the rise of drug resistant TB. I’ve heard of some cases where the people were taken into custody, for the course of their treatment. Which can be 7 or 8 months long. And, that’s expensive. I read an article, recently, about Hepatitus C. There’s now a treatment, but the pills are $1,000 dollars a piece. $85,000 for the full course. Some states are paying for it, through their medicare programs. But it’s rationed. Only a certain amount of people, per year. There’s been a lot in the news, lately, about the PREP pills. Which prevent HIV infections. Just out of curiosity, I checked on the cost. $1,300 to $2,000 per month, for the pills.

    Opal Tower doesn’t sound like much of a shining jewel, anymore. I’d say that door that are so out of true that they can’t be opened, indicate some serious structural problems. I’d say, they’re going to have to take the whole thing down. Controlled demolition. It will be quit spectacular. Reserve your seats now Lew

  10. Hi Chris,

    Good score with the preserving unit. We had a similar one in my childhood, I still remember entire shelves of preserved apricots, plums and pears along the top, just out of reach, shelves in our pantry.

    On a similar note, Mrs Damo and I have decided that we should acquire a *proper* bench top mixer. Random internet comments suggest we should look at a Kenwood Chef or Kitchenaid mixer. Brand new, it seems these devices start at about $800 ($550 with boxing day sales), but I note on the used market units start from about $120. One of them is (I kid you not), 50 years old, and still in clean condition and good working order. I might take a punt on something like that. The new ones are now built in China, although apparently are still reasonable quality.


  11. Hi Lew,

    Real men drive stick, or something like that :-p

    Sorry to hear about your dramas with the home – it just all strikes me as pointless and petty. But with real impacts for the residents such as yourself. It looks quite nice in the pictures though 🙂

    Yeah, virtue signalling is the right term. It is all the more annoying because, like most virtue signalling, it has its basis in a core tenet that is correct or at least somewhat correct (in this case, “use less”). But, like reaching for a third helping of Christmas dinner, I know it is wrong, but I do it anyway 🙂


  12. Hi Chris,

    Yep, the electric car batteries are huge. The Tesla we hired had a 75kwh battery. At the special charging stations, you could get it 80% charged in an hour or so. At home, you would need three phase power to even make a dent in it overnight. And people say they will throw a few solar panels on the roof, buy a Nissan Leaf and be completely off-grid. Hah, clearly they have not done even the most basic calculations!

    RE: the wire. It truly is great, although after a while you do get sick of people telling you that “you must” watch such and such show. All I will say is that each season is interlinking, but self-contained and often with unrelated characters.. Stop at season 1 is no problem, it wraps up just fine.

    RE: Good for the planet
    Well, unfortunately, when you really cut down to it. What is good for the planet is a lot less of us. Like, by at least an order of magnitude. In short, I won’t quite say I have given up, but X 7 billion, never seems to equal anything sustainable. Did the Romans ponder the same thing when they thought of all the slaves, client states and wealth pump effect?


  13. Hi Pam,

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Ollie says, “Hi!” and also sends thanks to you for the compliment. 🙂 He’s been hiding inside the house today keeping out of the sun. Not so for myself as there is work to be done getting the irrigation set up.

    You know how last week was cold and rainy here, well, this week has surely made up for that. Yesterday, Christmas day was around the mid thirties Celsius here (95’F). Too hot for an egg-nog, or any drink other than water for me. We had a lovely feast with friends, and there was even an Eton Mess for dessert. Yum!

    I hope that you enjoyed a full table and pleasant family day! 🙂



  14. Hi Inge,

    Ollie loved the attention, so don’t feel badly for him! He’s a puppy and spends an inordinate amount of his time ensuring that he is in the thick of things…

    I’d bet that Ren the Clever, would enjoy a collar of tinsel to celebrate the festive season?

    There are no Christmas lights around these parts of the mountain range, but down in the nearby towns it is a different story. The street that the lights are the most intense has an electrical sub-station and I always note the intense hum from the device as I walk past it. The solar power system could handle the lights easily, but a person must pick their battles, and batteries last a long time if they’re not used… There is a paradox in there.

    Do they do Christmas lights in town?



  15. Hi Lewis,

    And a Merry Christmas to you too! Pottering around is a delightful way to spend a quiet few hours. Boxing day was ultra quiet here, although one of the neighbours let off a few rounds this morning, and it is not hard to guess what they got for Christmas!

    Yesterday was about 95’F which is quite warm, but then Christmas day is usually hot these days. I stuck to water because of the heat, and the editor and I had a long lunch extending into the evening with friends. It was a delightful occasion and the food was superb. We were served roast pork that they’d raised, as well as roast turkey. You don’t often see turkey served as a meat down here, and it is very tasty. Mostly people roast chicken instead. And not to tease, but dessert included an Eton mess. Being an experienced trencherman, and having paced myself over the hours, I sucked back a second helping of dessert. Needless to say the food, conversation and ambience was very good.

    Today was again warm and we installed the irrigation system for the various terraces. So far this summer there has been so much rain that we haven’t had to water. But with exceptionally hot weather, watering becomes necessary. Incidentally the germination rate for the corn is now at about 67%.

    Yeah, the preserving bottles come in a variety of sizes that are differentiated by numbers. I use number 27’s with number 3 lids. Seriously, it works like that. Interestingly, I did notice that your canning jars have adornments on the glass, and put that difference down to economic and wealth differences. Just for your interest here is a list of the different bottle sizes: Bottle Sizes. The one’s that I’ve collected (no. 27) ceased manufacture in the 70’s and people sell them off in large batches and the glass is so thick that they are awesome and very hardy. Truly it is bonkers that people don’t put value on this stuff.

    Hehe! The Amish are clearly survivors, and I’d have like minded people around me too, if there were any. The article was very interesting and I see how their society works from that perspective. I suspect that pressures will build in an existing colony until a new colony sets forth, although I do wonder how that is all financed. Interestingly, I was speaking yesterday with some people who were small business owners during the recession in the 90’s, and we shared horror stories of that time. Still, as Yogi Berra quipped, the future ain’t what it used to be! And he’s right too.

    The twin demons: Power and Control; are clearly at play in your domicile. My advice: Don’t annoy them.

    Weren’t the Roman’s clever to be sensitive to the local deities. That would surely smooth a few ruffled feathers. I recall that Annie Hawes wrote about the Roman Goddess of hunting Diana was so similar to a previous local deity that everyone just absorbed the difference and got on with their lives. It is nice to read that the Gods and locals are that flexible. Some spots in the land probably are thinner than others, if only because people have been summoning or worshiping deities for so long in that location that it is a bit foggy.

    Stone probably is a better material to have constructed for the ancient Britons places of worship than wood, which if untreated in such a cold and wet part of the world probably wouldn’t have lasted long at all. In the mountain range to the east of here I have spotted an old timer log cabin which even has the mud daubing in between the logs. I haven’t looked at it for a number of years, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t still be there.

    Don’t you think that it is strange that as the ancient Britons became wealthier along with the Roman occupation, their society became less resilient, and more prone to decline when the wealth was removed?


  16. @ Damo
    I have had my Kenwood chef for 50 years and it is working beautifully. Don’t know about the ones that are now made in China.


  17. Hello again
    Son hates Christmas so no chance of Ren getting a festive collar. Son’s friends have laughed at Son’s Ba humbug and he has been deluged with Christmas cards. I am guessing that his favourite pub has got together over this.

    I have never been in to the nearest town after dark so am ignorant about its possible lights. I believe that it manages a Christmas tree.

    Am a great lover of the dark. Admittedly one needs a cave to experience true darkness though I was in the woods once when there wasn’t even a hint of light. Getting myself home was an interesting experience.


  18. Oooo! I’d seen images of the Villa of the Papyri, but never understood the significance. What an astonishing find of Papyri within the villa, so tantalising and so close, but yet so far. I did enjoy how earlier efforts were rubbished and yet despite all of the high tech gizmo’s we can chuck at them, we’re still miles off the mark. What a find, and I’d never heard of them before. If I had to sum the situation up, I’d suggest that we have done better than our forebears, but not that much better.

    I understand that cases of Hep A, B, and C are on the rise too – especially in certain at risk sectors of the community. And I note that there is some sort of article relating to a NJ surgery centre and possible contamination… Not good, some mistakes are more easily recovered from than others.

    In a bizarre twist on the apartment block story, some residents have been allowed to return and others have not. I’m unsure that I’d be comfortable sleeping in the building, but I guess people have to sleep somewhere. Here’s an update: Sydney Opal Tower crack photos emerge as NSW Government launches investigation. The repairs will be interesting. I saw a bridge that appeared to have tilted slightly get repaired and it looked like a big job. I do wonder what will eventually happen to the large apartment complexes because deconstruction is probably no small matter. Would you live in the building? There were some accounts that the residents of the Grenfell building fire were told to return to their apartments whilst the building was ablaze.

    Did you cook up anything interesting for Christmas?



  19. Hi Damo,

    Mate, this preserving unit is as old as the hills, so it might actually be your old unit, passed on from hand to hand. It worked perfectly too. I was really impressed. It chews up the electricity though, which is to be expected, and anyway what else was I planning on doing with the electricity?

    This is not a product review, but my mates of the big shed fame, have a Kitchenaid mixer and the bevel gears are plastic and the teeth wear and tear to save the motor from being overloaded. Mind you, there is a school of thought that suggests that the motor shouldn’t be overloaded in the first place – but it is more easily done than you’d think. Anyway, be prepared to replace them. They eventually bought a second hand commercial mixer for just slightly outside your price range, but you know, it works… We used to have a mixer and the blades kept breaking which drove me bonkers and I eventually sold it. And I was only using it to mix up the batches of dog biscuit mix. Now I just mix by hand in a large stainless steel bowl with a wooden spoon and I can mix more than the machine ever could, but Mrs Damo may appreciate the Kitchenaid, just don’t overload it – or get used to fixing it (and as a friendly suggestion buy the spare gears up front).

    The brushes in the older unit may be a bit dodgy, but given the age it’s probably really well constructed. If the motor smells a bit ozone-y then that is usually a sign that the brushes should be replaced.

    Oh yeah! I spoke to a firey recently about the batteries in houses and he said that the authorities have concerns that given people want to install the devices in their garage, it is possible that people may back their cars into them and crack the cases… What a crazy situation that would be! 🙂 75kWh. I just had to delete an expletive!!! Far out. The best the 6kW panels here have produced in a single day was about 20kWh (an epic day of consumption and I ran out of things to do with the electricity). They may have produced more if they were grid tied, but we’re not talking sheep stations.

    Three phase down here will deliver 400V at 63Amps (but apparently you can go higher with the amps but you have to justify it!) That’s 25kW (someone please correct me if I’m wrong) which is a humongous amount of electricity. Definitely don’t put your tongue over those contacts… A permanent ouch!

    I only know of one person who lives off grid with an electric vehicle (incidentally it is a Nissan Leaf – no kidding), but they charge up from the grid on one side of their journey, and off grid on the other side. Needless to say that their off grid system is bigger than mine by an order of magnitude. And I’m guessing it makes little economic sense.

    What is unsustainable, generally isn’t sustained. Hashtag just sayin… I wish it were not so.



  20. Yo, Chris – The Getty Museum in S. California is a replica of the Villa of the Pypyri. The Wikipedia entry has spectacular photos of the sculpture, also found on site. Getty Museum also publishes books on different aspects of Pompeii and Roman Life. “Gardens of Pompeii”, etc.. A few years ago, I saw one on translations of some of the scrolls. Mostly Epicurean philosophy. But there was one little bit about the civil war between Antony and Cleopatra / Augustus. They’re having pretty good luck with something called phase-contrast x-ray imaging, to read the scrolls without having to unroll them.

    Most public and private Roman libraries were divided into Greek and Latin sections. There have been no signs, yet, of the Latin section of the library. I do hope they find it, in my life time. Might be some real gems, there. There’s some speculation that Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, one of the Piso clan, built the villa.

    Speaking of life at the seashore, along the Bay of Naples, there was a small sea side town closer to Naples that didn’t suffer from the eruption. Baiae. Playground of the rich and famous. But it did suffer from land subsidence and rising sea levels. So, a lot of it is underwater. A couple of years ago, the “Secrets of the Dead” tv series had one called “Nero’s Sunken City.” It’s available for free viewing, on line. About an hour long.

    I puttered around in the garden, for a few hours, on Christmas. Mainly, cutting down and cutting up corn stocks. Hacking them into bite sized pieces, for the worms. They mouths are so tiny :-). Also planted some garlic. Our winter has been so mild, I thought I’d give it a go. Just some cloves from a commercial head. It’s kind of an experiment. Didn’t cook anything special. Inspiration did not strike.

    I realized that fireworks should start, any night now. They’ll continue on through New Years.

    Most of our canning bottles have highly embossed fancy lettering, and maybe a motto from ether the Kerr or Ball company. Most are clear, but you run across some greenish colored ones, from time to time. Lately, I see they’ve been issuing them in other colors. The glass in the newer ones seems a bit more brittle. I brought quit a few old ones, with me, from the last place I lived. There were boxes of them kicking around, all over the place. They often show up, very cheaply, at op-shops, estate sales and auctions. People collect the older examples. There are price guides, etc..

    Some Britons became wealthy. Usually old tribal royal families and anyone who could figure out how to make money off of the army. The British became vulnerable, as over time, Roman law forbade citizens from being armed. Also, after the revolts, most cities were forbidden to have walls. You see a lot of city wall building, in the time period, just after the Romans left.

    No, I wouldn’t want to sleep in the Opal Tower. But given the price of those apartments, I don’t think it will be something I have to worry about :-). Controlled demolition can be pretty spectacular. Here’s 5 short videos of the demolition of old Las Vegas casinos and hotels.



  21. Hi Chris,

    Poor suffering Ollie. We’ve decked out the dogs sometimes and they’ve had a similar expression.

    As with Lew, there are collection sites for Christmas trees and they’re chipped for mulch. Ours will most likely be burned at some point. You could have used a few motion activated trail cameras so solve the mystery of the moving tree.

    Yep, no koala, kangaroos or emus around here. There’s a family not too far from here that decorates acres of their property. I can’t imagine what the electric bill is. I mentioned awhile back that our bill went up considerably when Patrick lived here and that was just for his room. Here’s a homemade you tube I found of the property.

    The corn is coming along nicely.

    Made it through three Christmas celebrations in four days. I’m pleased that gifts are continuing to decrease each year and quite a few are books including a fair amount of used books. I got a large bag of books for $12 – finding something for everyone’s interest. I received a fine recycled book from my daughter’s boyfriend, “Does it Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence”. I’d be happy to pass on interesting facts if anyone’s interested. Seems to be a year of people dressing up in flashy Christmas outfits and/or pajamas. I was at the grocery store a few days before Christmas and a young couple was shopping in slippers and Christmas PJs. My niece and her husband came to Christmas Eve in a gaudy Christmas dress and suit accessorized with large lights and on Christmas morning my daughter and her boyfriend waltzed out in their matching PJ’s as well. My frugal self thought “Well that was yet another unnecessary expense.” but knew better to express that out loud. Anyway it was all fun but I’m happy it’s mostly over for this year.


  22. @Claire

    Very much agree with your comment last week. It’s easy to become complacent and/or rationalize why we make some of our choices. I watch people in our town get all excited whenever a new chain fast food place comes to town when there’s many locally owned restaurants that serve similar food. I shudder to think what’s down the road as Amazon insinuates itself into more and more areas. Here’s a link to an article that was posted on Naked Capitalism the other day.



  23. @Lew
    Very sorry to hear what’s going on at your place. I imagine some of the residents have been there for quite some time and have a really difficult time with changes.

    Doug had Hepatitis C apparently from a blood transfusion when he was 16. He went through the new treatment as soon as it was approved. By some miracle our insurance (and it was a very expensive Obamacare policy with high deductible) covered all but $10. We have no idea why. At any rate he’s been clear of the virus for almost 3 years now and the treatment had no side effects either.


  24. Chris,

    Thanks for the pictures of the Australian themed Christmas lights. Those were enjoyable and, as you surmised, I’d never seen kangaroos, etc., all lit up like that. I expected “lit” koalas due to your descriptions of their diet, however. 😉

    The Opal Tower situation looks like a, ummm, cluster mess. You couldn’t pay me to even set foot within 100 meters of the building. From what I’ve picked up from my department’s bridge engineers, repairing structurally unsound concrete like that is more than a chore.

    Poor Ollie. I once took an old pair of running shorts, cut a hole in them for the tail, and dressed the Samoyed in them. She got used to them surprisingly quickly, but looked quite ridiculous with those green shorts contrasting with her white fur. But then, she began sniffing. Not just sniffing, but the type of sniffing she reserved for a BIG JOB. She patiently allowed me to remove the shorts before she commenced “jobbing”.

    It was interesting reading the comments to Mr. Greer’s post of last week. I appreciated reading through the insights that you, Damo and Claire added here. Doing what one is able to do while attempting to do more when possible, along with dissensus, are two big ingredients.

    Most of the things I’m able to do come from 2 reasons. First, my dad’s background living destitute in the Great Depression led to my being raised in somewhat of a “Green Wizard” environment. The rest is very pragmatic for cost savings or healthier food, or not having to drive in rush hour traffic, having another hobby, etc.

    First real snowfall of the season is hitting right now. It should total about 7 cm here by the time it’s done. It’s wet, nasty stuff that packs well and turns to ice immediately on the roads. Score another reason for riding the bus!


  25. Hi Inge,

    I have heard similar comments about the Kenwood Chef. And like Chris mentioned, I also heard to be careful with the loading, especially if doing bread (apparently 600 grams of flour is the rated limit). The model I looked is priced at $100, so probably worth a punt when a new one costs $700, and is made in China to boot!


  26. Hi Chris,

    Well done on dressing up Ollie. We used to subject our Siamese cats to similar indignities at Christmas, and the facial expressions were uncannily similar!

    I really like some of the commercial mixers – but Mrs Damo did not approve. Apparently she doesn’t want something that looks like a drill press in the kitchen :-p

    Your Nissan Leaf friend would surely be appreciating just how much more energy a car uses when compared to a house 🙂 If I had excess mad cash, I would consider doing something similar. Although I would probably look at electric scooters or motorbikes instead, and keep a petrol powered car for the utility tasks, perhaps a Suzuki Jimny 🙂 To be honest, I am reaching for a reason *why* I would like such a setup. It certainly wouldn’t be economic, and makes no sense for the planet (whatever that means), but I still like the idea. Like today, I had not one, but two servings of trifle. Makes no sense, I wasn’t even hungry. Explain that!

  27. Hi Inge,

    That’s a shame because I suspect that Ren would enjoy the attention whilst at the same time look really oppressed by tinsel. Still, respect to the Christmas grinch’s and may they continue ba-humbuging loudly and clearly! 🙂

    I do respect the amusing trick that was played on your son. You have to admit that it was pretty funny?

    Fair enough, most nights find me sitting up in the forest, so whatever happens in the nearby towns is a bit of a mystery. I see a lot of concrete pumping going on there, and project housing is sprouting up like wallabies in a fertile orchard. I wonder what the future holds for those people?

    You may have heard of the minor problems with a large building in Sydney which caused it to be evacuated (I hope your daughter is not in one of these things), and today I spotted an interesting opinion piece on these buildings: ‘Huge pressure’: Developers cutting costs are root cause of defects. Not good. I do wonder how those buildings will be de-constructed at the end of their lifespans?

    Hey, it is as dark here too. The night time sky is full of stars, and some folks rarely get to see them and you have to admit that it is a thing of wonder.



  28. Hi Lewis,

    I saw that the Getty Museum in S. California is a replica of the Villa of the Papyri, but it was such an immense undertaking that I couldn’t quite get my head around the claim. The original building took the word “lavish” to an extraordinary level, and the people must have been serious ‘somebodies’ to have concocted such a building. Incidentally I didn’t seem to recall reading mention that anybody had been found within the excavations. Were you aware of any archaeological finds in that regard? The building was covered by at least 100ft of the pyroclastic flows so nobody would have escaped such an event. The Epicurean’s certainly looked like they enjoyed their Earthly pleasures and one statute was notable for the exotic embrace the gentleman (who frankly looked a bit like a devil) was conducting with a goat. After noticing that statute I thought to myself that those Ancient’s could dish up some serious ‘shock yo mama’ gear that would make your overly self-important rap crew blush! 😉

    I certainly hope that someone continues the excavations there too. It is a truly fascinating find, and I’d almost use the word: Unparalleled. The articles that I read mentioned that funding for the work was assured, however permission was a whole ‘nother thing.

    The other day I thought that I spotted an article suggesting that Mungo Man and Mungo Lady been returned to his community for re-burial, but now I can’t find the article.

    There must have been a lot of ancient towns and cities submerged in the rising sea level (and I guess there will be again in the future). Are any others of them known about? I’ll try and check out the video later. Thanks for mentioning it as it sounds fascinating.

    The sun sets late now. Last night I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of the cicada’s and that is a sure sign of hot air descending over the mountain range. They were pretty loud. I had to close up the windows because it got hotter and hotter today until it reached about 100’F. I spent the afternoon inside working on accounting jobs because it was just so hot. There was little point being outside in that weather. Australian heatwave sees temperatures soar above 40 degrees Celsius across southern states. The place still looks reasonably green and there is a wallaby outside the door teasing Ollie, who is frankly disgruntled at the presence of the marsupial. The chickens are getting to bed quite late now – past 9pm. And there are insects everywhere!

    The corn stalks were quite interesting as they took a while to break down. I cut them at ground level and left them out for the wallabies and other marsupials to enjoy, but they do prefer them greener. Still, they eventually disappeared. Worms do have slightly smaller mouths and guts! Hehe! Yeah, now is the time to get garlic in the ground for you guys up there. My mates had harvested all of their garlic and they’d tied the many bundles up and hung them off a wall.

    Hey, I noticed one kiwi fruit had formed from the flowers! It will be interesting to see whether the fruit matures? The rain last week knocked most of the flowers off the vines, and who knows what a hot week like this will do to them? The weather is officially bonkers.

    Fair enough, I hear you. Some lunches, I just grab some greens out of the garden and fry up a couple of eggs with a few chunks of homemade bread and that’s plenty of food for me. Of course, breakfast is never to be missed, or grumpiness will ensue… Everyone has to have a kryptonite! 🙂

    The colours in the glass are a bit of a mystery, but like your manufacturers the company down here produced them for more than a few decades. I see browns, greens, clear, and blues. I have a suspicion that you’d enjoy the blue ones! Are your mason jars generally of a consistent colour in their manufacture? And yes, I too feel that the newer glass is a bit brittle. The demijohns in particular trouble me, although I’m yet to break one. Speaking of which (all things blue) it is almost agapanthus time and they are currently in the early days of producing hundreds and hundreds of flowers. The bees enjoy them. The bees are on the olive trees at the moment and what I’ve noticed this year about those trees is that they have a vaguely lemon-ish fragrance to the flowers. The hum is audible and I dare not annoy the bees.

    The experience of the ancient Briton’s and their interaction with the Roman’s was probably quite the unwinding of ancient ways. Of course the Roman’s defeated them militarily otherwise the Briton’s would not have been occupied. But the thing is, the whole self-reliance thing was probably slowly deconstructed in order to supply more consumers who relied on whatever the Roman’s could produce and in turn needed their protection most likely because the locals now had more stuff.

    We’ve been talking about this recently: Christmas beetles are slowly disappearing, and we’re not sure why. I wonder if anyone noticed the photo in the article that claimed that “Christmas beetles larvae feed on grasses and adults feed on mature gum leaves.” Except that the photo shows the larvae munching and burrowing their way through a chunk of tree? Probably not, which is why the species is disappearing.

    Hey, me neither, you wouldn’t catch me in those apartments and I should add that those apartments are way outside my budget. There was an update to the story that I put in my reply to Inge. The building has been apparently evacuated again.

    Thanks for the links to the controlled demolitions. Awesome stuff! One went a bit wrong down here a couple of decades ago: Royal Canberra Hospital implosion. The editor and I watched the demolitions slightly awestruck and then it was a rabbit hole of: Dangerous idiots in heavy machinery. 8 million views can’t be wrong…



  29. Hi Margaret,

    Poor Ollie loved the attention, the look he gave was for effect! He has many other expressions such as: Hungry Dog Face Number Five, which is quite effective. The question becomes who would go for the tinsel first: Leo or Salve? 🙂

    I’d probably burn the Christmas tree too, but the local tips do collect and mulch up the green waste – and at some points in the year they do accept the green waste free from tip charges.

    The tree moved a lot as it was near to the kids school bus drop off and pick up area (just sayin!), but I would like to think that it may have been the Elves or the Faery Folk!

    Yeah, the electric bill would be bonkers, epic or perhaps both all at the same time. OK, that video was feral, I’m impressed, but would have walked instead of driving. You never know there might be a Christmas Kangaroo in there? The housing estate in the nearby town has distant views of Melbourne, so I suspect that the residents are reasonably well heeled. I’ve seen both better and worse uses for electricity in my time! We couldn’t power those sorts of light displays.

    The recent week of hot weather has caused the corn to grow and then grow some more. They really like a good drink of water and hot weather. The beans planted around the outer edges of the enclosure are doing well too. Plus melons have sprouted! Yum!

    Nice work and you are made of sterner stuff than I, as two events would have been my limit. That is really nice about the gifts reducing and books are lovely gifts aren’t they? I assume that books were not randomly selected, but were selected with some care as to the likes of the recipient? Animal flatulence, hehe! Nice one! And yes, I’d imagine your experience with the animals would have given you plenty of exposure to and thoughts about that. 🙂 You don’t see too many folks shopping in their pyjamas, but my neighbour regularly walks his dog wearing a dressing gown. We are on dirt roads, so I’m not sure where he is going with that look, but you know, each to their own and all that. Hehe! It is extraordinarily hard to get people to focus on getting their fundamentals in order, what someone once described to me as: getting their ducks in a row, although you rarely hear that said nowadays, so I hear you.

    It is very hot here today and it got well over 100’F outside in the shade. At least the night time air seems a bit cooler. I hid inside the house today and just worked on accounting stuff, although I’m meant to be on holidays, but what do you do?



  30. Hi DJ,

    Yes, one would want to be very careful smoking too close to a Koala as the fumes from the eucalyptus oils they ingested would be quite potent and possibly a future energy source! 🙂 I spotted a koala a week or so back and I’m interested to note that they are moving higher up in the mountain range. Eucalyptus oil used to be a major industry and it is not particularly complex.

    It is an epic disaster and I note that the building has been apparently evacuated again today. I honestly cannot imagine how the building can be fixed, but all credit to the builders if they can sort it out. Lewis got me watching building demolition videos. Awesome. Exactly too! I occasionally got to see a bridge over a freeway being repaired (and it was a reasonably new bridge) and it seemed like a very complicated job.

    Ha! Don’t feel sorry for Ollie, in another life he would have to work far harder than he does! There is no such thing as a free lunch Mr Ollie! Hehe! Is there a maxim in there that suggests that Big Dogs, do Big Jobs? 🙂

    Thanks, I encourage a diversity of responses and opinions and generally only reflect my own feelings in the stories. I suspect that things have progressed, and that is not necessarily a good place to be… But yeah, there are huge enjoyments to be achieved and honestly there is a lot of low hanging fruit!

    Hope you stay warm in the snowfall? It was over 100’F here today… But records have tumbled elsewhere on the continent.



  31. Hi Damo,

    Ah yeah, Siamese cats are a haughty bunch full of self important opinions of their feline business! Mind you, if they want to be fed… I suspect that the cats, like Ollie, enjoyed the attention and at the very least it gave them something to be extra grumpy about.

    I never said that they didn’t look… commercial! Very large motors. Actually we use a Breville kitchen whizz pro 15 for food processing and that one has a 2kW motor… Even the electric chainsaw (the little chopper) has only a 1.7kW motor.

    There used to be conversion kits available for converting Suzuki Sierra’s to electric drive. I used to know of a bloke who was a friend of a friend, who converted an old Barina to an electric vehicle. There sure are less parts. I’d be tempted to convert an old fibreglass kit Purvis Eureka which sits on an old VW chassis to electric. That would look the biz, but you probably couldn’t get too many batteries on board due to the small size.

    I really like the Jimny’s and noted that there is a new model coming out soon – it looks pretty good.

    I salute your trifling efforts and clearly you are a fellow trencherman! 🙂

    Have you encountered a lolly cake yet?



  32. Hello again
    All those Christmas cards arriving for Son was indeed funny.

    The news about the high rise Sydney building has been in the papers here and my daughters certainly don’t live in such a building; they don’t live in a town either. I would be terrified of such a building. Actually whenever I have been staying in a hotel, I note the escape routes. Does this mean that I am a scaredy cat or just sensible?

    A parcel arrived today from honorary son in the US. Among other things, it contained some socks for Son which claim to last ones lifetime. Son doesn’t believe a word of it; we shall see. I had a jar of maple butter which I love. One can get maple syrup here but not the butter.


  33. Hi, Chris!

    I loved your mobile Christmas tree story so much. It is the quirky things like that which make life so much fun. You could really turn that into a creation of your own.

    Down under holiday lights are better than here. 🙂

    No thanks for the wart, but thanks for the flowers.


  34. @ Damo – For the full testosterone effect, the standard transmission must be in a truck, with gun rack in the back cab window and a black lab riding in the truck bed. Empty beer cans rolling around on the floorboards are optional.

    I got quit a laugh out of Mrs. Damo taking exception to a bread mixer in her kitchen that looks like a drill press. Could you keep it in your shop? :-). Lew

  35. Yo, Chris – Ooops! I forgot about the goat. Sorry. The 18th century excavators were a bit startled by the Roman’s habit of slapping phalli, on everything. Near as we can figure, a.) they thought they averted the evil eye and b.) they were funny. At one point, all the erotic stuff (including the goat) was chucked in a forbidden room at the Naples museum. Until quit late, even scholars (men only, please!) had to get written permission from the King of Naples, to get a gander.

    Other sunken cities? Well, there’s Port Royal, in Jamaica. There are a couple of others, but I forgot to look up the names, so, I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    100F!? I’d say, summer has arrived, like gang busters. Hmm. I detect another linguistic rabbit hole, to go down.

    The color range of canning jars is pretty spectacular. They can make a nice window display. Who needs stained glass? I think the original intention was that colored glass did a better job of keeping out the sunlight. In the last few years, Ball (or was it Kerr?) did a special issue of purple and lavender jars. There’s been some cobalt blue. Emerald green.

    It was a good 100 years between Julius Caesar’s forays into Britain, and the Claudius invasion. In the meantime, some of the British tribes became client kings, or, at least allies. There were some sticky family situations where one royal spouse supported the Romans, and the other didn’t. I couldn’t find it, but the author of “Sacred Britannia” speculated that some tribal chiefs may have sent sons and daughters, to Rome, for “education.” Or, they were kind of “honored hostages.” Not unusual. Augustus’s sister had a whole household of royal children, from all over the Empire. Including at least two of Cleopatras. Must have made for some interesting household dynamics.

    You might take a gander at the Wikipedia entry for “Fishbourne Palace.” Especially the bit down toward the bottom, “Owner of Palace.” The ancient ways, lingered. Not only among the lowly, who’s lives didn’t change much, no matter who was in charge. But also in Wales, Ireland and Northern Scotland.

    The beetles are quit beautiful. All that iridescent and gold coloring. Grass, leaves, wood … apparently, copy editors are becoming as extinct as the beetles. :-).

    Oh, dear. Looks like the Royal Canberra Hospital demolition went sideways. Hmmm. I wonder if, as a cost cutting measure, they didn’t call in the professionals, to do the job? Here, there are whole dynasties of families who do demolition. Same with civic fireworks displays. You can see how some people might think the Twin Towers were a planned demolition. The way they came straight down. Cont.

  36. Hi Chris,

    I appreciate that you allowed my grumpy comment to be published; it’s good for me to deal with what happens when I realize, later on, that it might have been best to keep my fingers off the computer keys just then and written it on paper where only I would see it. I’ll mention more on why in my response to Margaret.

    We had only one Christmas event to attend, the gathering of Mike’s family, most of whom live in the area. That occurred on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day we were treated to partly cloudy skies and a high of 50F or so (10C), well above normal, so Mike and I went on an afternoon walk. We chose a walk along the Mississippi River on a bicycling/walking trail, which wound from the parking lot to a pond in the flood plain, then partway up the bluff that marks the edge of the flood plain and back down the bluff to the old US Route 66 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66) bridge across the Mississippi. The bridge was closed in 1970 – Mike remembers being in a car riding on the bridge, but it had closed by the time he learned how to drive. In the 1990s it was leased by TrailNet, a local nonprofit that establishes pedestrian and bicycle trails. After safety modifications the bridge was re-opened to walkers and bicyclists around 2000. We walked about halfway across the bridge to its famous dogleg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_of_Rocks_Bridge) and then walked back from there to the car. Only two other people were on the bridge along with us. It was a good walk and on the way back, we saw what we believe was an immature bald eagle. Bald eagles seem to consider the Mississippi River frontage in Missouri as their version of a winter resort, where they can stay warm (!) while enjoying the local fish resources. In mid January the bridge will host Eagle Days, an event for people to learn about bald eagles and to look for them from the vantage point of the bridge.


  37. @ Margaret:

    Thanks for your response! After I had already written and posted the comment, I regretted it a little. Although I didn’t make the connection until today, an event a day or two before had prompted my grumpiness. I was talking with K, one of the people with whom Mike and I volunteer to do litter pickups and water quality monitoring on the local stream. She happened to mention that a mutual acquaintance, B, had given a talk on climate change while he was in town to visit his parents. I know B just well enough to know that he’s in the category of folks who talk about climate change while they live a life that denies it, and K well enough to know that she lives her values and that I admire her for it. She seemed to be impressed by B’s giving these talks and not noticing that she was doing much more good by what she does than he is by what he says, so I pointed this out. Thus it was already on my mind when I read JMG’s post and then read the comments here … and you all got to read what happened then. So I apologize for my itchy fingers and will stick to figuring out what I can do better in the next year.

    Also, thanks for the link! I had no idea how many pies Amazon has not just its fingers but its entire corporate body in. Looks like Amazon is the foremost competitor for the title OnlyCorp, the last corporation left standing after it eats up all the rest.


  38. Cont. I finally got a look at what an Eaton Mess, is. Sounds yummy. I think it works on the same principle as some pumpkin ice cream. Only instead of digging about for bits of sweet crust, you dig about for those meringue morsels. I’m currently reading an entire book about meat loaf. “A Meatloaf in Every Oven” (Bruni & Steinhauer, 2017). Interesting, but I don’t think I’ll add it to the collection. Too many ingredients, in some of the recipes, that would be hard to find, here, or, are expensive. But, some of the basic meat loafs are ok, and they have a veg section. With, to me, exotic ingredients. I was curious about fish, but they start off with “you cube up a ahi tuna…” As if one of those is going to make an appearance in my kitchen, any time soon. More useful to me would have been, “you take a can of cheap tuna…” They also mentioned in the forward, using oatmeal (instead of bread) as a binder. And, then in the recipes, didn’t deliver.

    I also knocked off a small paperback, “Nobody Wants Your Stuff” (Parker, 2017). I really got it from the library, just based on the title. Interesting fellow. Taught computer programing in a college for 20 years and now owns a comic book store. And, like me, had a lot of other weird and interesting jobs, along the way. Unlike me, he was a DJ at a college radio station, for quit awhile. So, some of the essays have to do with music. And each essay ends with a paragraph of some kind of music trivia.

    In one essay, he reviews “Orville” and “Star Trek Discovery.” Although he thinks the abbreviation of STD is, rather unfortunate :-). He sang the praises of “Orville” but really didn’t, in the end, review STD. As he was quit miffed with CBS. First they delay releasing the series, and then they “broadcast” the fist episode and then put the rest of it behind a pay wall ($6 per month with ads … $10, without). He just should have been patient. Mine is going to show up, any day, at my local library. Complete first season, “free.”

    He also had a chapter on real estate (no surprises. No down payment loans are madness. Ditto adjustable interest rates.) And, a chapter on buying and selling vehicles. Also, good common sense.

    I also checked out the “Bondi Hipsters.” Very naughty. Very wicked :-). There are several of their sketches, on YouTube. But I did find that after 4 or 5, they wore a bit thin. The one on being organic, was a hoot. What’s really frightening is that there are actually people out there, like them. :-). Lew

    PS: First seed catalogue hit the mail box, yesterday.

  39. Chris:

    I didn’t know that electric hot water baths existed. I might like to get meself one of those. Except – where to store it . . .?

    That building in Sydney looks like a pile of tuna fish cans. How deplorable was that construction job? I don’t believe I would want to continue to live in it even if some parts of it had been passed as safe.

    An Eton Mess – what a gorgeous cake. Yum!

    We did indeed have a full and relaxed table for Christmas and enjoyed watching a Christmas episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies”, which was hilarious. No Eton Mess, but we did have a chocolate cake.


  40. @Lew

    Hmm, I missed Bondi Hipsters, and down the Youtube rabbit hole I go! The organic song reminded me of Flight of the Conchords.

    Yeah, the pickup truck with gun rack fits the bill. Although when you wrote black lab, I am pretty sure you meant a kelpie!


  41. @Chris

    A Purvis Electra – the lifting canopy will never go out of style! I am pretty sure you can fit a boatload of lithium ion batteries in that thing 🙂

    I saw the new Jimny as well (for some reason, Youtube keeps suggesting I watch videos about it). From the sounds of it, Suzuki is keeping the tradition alive. A slightly bigger interior and 1.5L motor instead of the 1.3 are the biggest changes. 4wd ability is unchanged. Locking diff’s would have being nice instead of the torque vectoring thingo though. I feel like the old model I had was modified to have this, I had to get out and lock the front hubs…there were many laughs when I attempted to climb a sand dune before locking the front wheels.

    I mentioned to Mrs Damo (who loved our old Jimny and drove it far more than I did) that with the new model, perhaps there will be a price drop on the used market in the next couple of years?


  42. Chris,

    My guess is that they will try this and that and the other, none of which will work, then reluctantly demolish the building. Expect weird excuses along the way.

    By Spokane standards, it isn’t cold. Temperatures fluctuated the past 2 days between -5C and -2C.. That was good, because it was dry and sucked the wet out of the snow. Dry, fluffy snow was a lot easier to clear from the sidewalks than the wet and heavy that fell! Another round expected Friday night, then up to +7C Saturday. These temperatures are actually pleasant, especially compared with what they could be.


  43. Hi Inge,

    It is funny, and also the almost perfect gift for a proper Christmas grinch. Has he always felt that way about Christmas?

    I’d suggest sensible is the right way to describe your reaction. People get things wrong, even the most experienced of us stuff things up. Sometimes the consequences are horrendous too: Grenfell Tower inquiry: Residents wrongly told to ‘stay put’ during the blaze, report says. Not good. The editor and I have been on the wrong side of a serious medical misdiagnoses, and so we no longer accept opinions if they don’t seem right.

    I would have thought that sugar maple trees would grow well in your part of the world? They do grow well here and I have two of them, but should grow more. Mind you, I’ve never seen or tasted maple butter. It sounds tasty. How do you normally consume it?

    The claim with the socks is what I would call: A very big call! 🙂



  44. Hi Pam,

    I do but entertain! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the story, it was fun wasn’t it? I took that photo last summer and waited for the right time to put pen to paper (or keyboard clicks to, actually, I don’t know what this stuff is)! Anyway, it’s all good.

    They do lights proper like there, and the street has some serious stalwarts who raise the bar each year for the other residents. It is only a short street. There was some dude in another part of town that I have not seen who times his lights to techno music. Let’s see if I can find an article on it: Inspired by Gangnam Style, these Christmas lights are dividing a Melbourne street. I’m truly impressed at the display, and also, never knew I was a techno fan (apologies for the music pun, which you may or may not get!)

    The wart was horrible. Toothy started it, and I was very happy when Toothy became quite ill from consuming Castor Oil. He recovered and I have had words with him about further licking. Horrid!

    The electric water bath is going right now. We went out to an organic orchard today, and by tomorrow should have put away another 24 bottles of apricots (36 all up). Given this year might be a huge apple year, we may put away a years worth of apples in the hot water bath too. Have you ever preserved apples? Look, and ye shall find a place to store it – just sayin. Long term, my money is on the stove top unit which could be heated by an outdoor wood fire.

    There are some angry folks because of that building, and many residents were renting. I read of one account of someone letting an AirBnB room in the building. I’m not suggesting that such a move is unethical, but it sure does look that way to me. And people always remind me of the bushfire risk here…

    Chocolate. UGG! and YUM! Chocolate is good. 🙂



  45. Hi Lewis,

    Yesterday was hot. Last night was hot. And it is hot right now. Sir Scruffy the charming is telling me a tail (sic) of woe, as he has quite a thick coat of hair and is also just hot. Ollie the cattle dog hates the heat too and has slumped on the green couch. Even I fell asleep this afternoon for an hour or so and just let the day drift away. There is only so much that you can do on such a day. Earlier in the day we travelled north to pick up about 33 pounds of organic apricots direct from the orchard. Also picked up a gourmet pie for lunch, and not to tease you but they now do a Beef Chilli pie which is very good. Plus on the way home we picked up a delightful coffee scroll to share with a coffee. Yum, but very hot.

    After bottling half of the apricots, I was done in, and that was when snooze time and bed called me. A siesta is a very sensible strategy in hot weather.

    Don’t you think that it is strange that the French Revolution so quickly devolved into the reign of Napoleon? As to the restoration and concordat, well, all I can add is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The wealth inequality in that kingdom seemed obscene. The movement of people out of it would have bolstered your country.

    But yeah, perhaps the Roman’s were more into realism and less uncomfortable with their own nature and inner natures? The goat matter appeared extraordinarily anatomically correct! Censorship would only serve to titillate the public and increase the notoriety of the collection. I’ll bet that the King didn’t have to seek approval to view the works of the ancient Roman’s? 🙂 Way back in the day, the poor ladies who were exposed to such things may have required treatment for hysteria.

    Port Royal, what a rabbit hole that was. Who would have thought that ‘Letter of marque’ differentiated the privateer from the pirate? I’m particularly impressed at how the English managed to enlist the forces of the buccaneers! A very clever stratagem. And then a proper bait and switch strategy returned the port to the English overlords. Fascinating. And then wealth got sucked out and decline set in before the earthquake finished it off. Of course, by that time it is not lost on me that the buccaneers would have become stale and prone to over extending their reach – and possibly against their English and Dutch sponsors.

    Ye Gads! Another linguistic rabbit hole relating to radio programs from 1936 onwards. What far reaching grounds we cover here.

    We put another dozen bottles through the electric hot water bath preserving unit and to be honest on such a hot day it is a real pleasure to be able to do that task outside the house. I can’t see myself installing air conditioning.

    Thanks for the history lesson, and I don’t really see anything wrong with ‘honoured hostages’ / ‘education’ in that context. It is a form of indoctrination into a culture, and I guess the people sending them were also gambling on the outcome of the future. It happens today although we tend to look the other way and pretend it is otherwise. The Fishbourne Roman Palace was another fascinating look into the machinations of the Roman Imperial workings. The pay off appeared to be immense, but then likewise the fall was pretty big too. My lot came from Northern Scotland.

    The editor and I were scratching our heads at the photos of the insects in pupae form, because that lot in this corner become moths, but you know, I ain’t arguing with copy editors as they get paid the big bucks!

    That was the suggestion with the hospital demolition and I read recently an article that suggested that someone high up in that decision chain had a ‘small business mindset’. Can’t find the article now, but it was penned by an excellent author who writes regularly in the newspaper, has many books, and basically tells an engaging tale.

    I’m of the mindset that not many buildings aren’t constructed well enough to withstand a direct impact from a passenger plane. I’ve heard the theories and basically don’t have the experience to comment upon them.

    What is this about sweet crust in pumpkin ice cream? That sounds intriguing. But Eaton Mess is a very tasty dessert. I’ve never tried Meatloaf and can’t honestly say that I’ve ever encountered the opportunity to taste it. The thought of exotic ingredients turns me off too. I thought meatloaf was a basic dish of humble origins?

    I’d never even heard of ahi tuna! Far out, yeah, that fish is probably outside my food budget! I’m with you… Most palates probably wouldn’t be able to recognise the difference between that fish and fresh farmed tuna.

    Nobody Wants Your Stuff sounds like a good read. DJ’s can get a bit lost in the detail of their trade. 🙂 It happens… And oh yeah, I’d never quite thought of the anagram that way, but it is unfortunate. The STD show’s future was I believe based on the funding received from the pay to watch nature of the delivery. Honestly, I haven’t watched it, but I did watch the Peter Dinklage film the other night and thoroughly enjoyed it. On the other hand I now know that I would not enjoy Palm Springs, and it would have made a good location for a zombie film!

    I’ll have to check out the Bondi Hipster’s going organic video as it sounds like a hoot! 🙂 And yeah, I meet people who put on the hipster accent, which if they knew it is borrowed from another part of the community. A few years back there was a guy who called himself the Bedroom Philosopher (and he still writes books today) and he did a song which had an amusing line: Riding along on the 86 (a tram route number reference through a hipster part of town), so hung over… Oh the irony.

    Did you discover anything in the seed catalogue which pricked your interest?



  46. Hi Claire,

    You’re very lovely for writing that. I thought that you’d just had a bad day or something like that, and clearly you had. No stress at all, and you have plenty of social credit.

    I’ll tell you a little story. A long time ago the local transition town folks wanted someone with experience with solar power to conduct a talk with locals about the realities of solar power and what they could expect. They were in the process of organising a large buying program of solar power grid tied installations or something like that. Now, me being me, I said to them that I’d take the talk but they might not like the contents and then proceeded to explain what I meant by that. Well, I never heard from them again, the cheeky scamps. So yeah, I hear you!

    Your Christmas day sounds lovely. You know, we’ve even heard of Route 66 down here, and I wasn’t aware that it was not still in usable condition and also hadn’t realised it’s historical link with the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s, but had understood the cultural link to the concept of escape. The bridge sounds fascinating and the dog leg looks really cool. But what is the building that sits high above the water level next to the bridge used for? Ah yes, I expect eagles to do quite well in the future. We have wedge tailed eagles here and I always see and hear them flying high over the farm. Bizarrely they sound like little chicks cheep, cheep, cheeping away.



  47. Hi Damo,

    They look way cool and I always harboured a secret ambition (which I’ll never quite manage to eventuate) to get my hands on one. It was the good looks combined with the simplicity of design that made me think it would be a good idea in the first place. Insurance? Maybe not so much… The petrol heads used to drop Mazda rotary engines in them, and oh boy, did the machines fly or what? Stopping with VW brakes may have been a minor problem. The petrol bills would also have been quite scary too.

    Haha! Sure, that is what you reckon… 😉 Mrs Damo may have searching for them ,and cookies and trackers on computers are a real nightmare these days! Thanks for that, now they’ll be suggesting Jimny stuff for me too. Hehe! 1.5L is a good size motor for such a beast. The new Swift is a 1.2L and the lighter weight makes it feel more grunty than the old dirt mouse. There is something to be said about free wheeling hubs, and not having to get out in the mud and sand and lock them. The Australian specs have not yet been released, so who knows what it will be? Diff locks are very useful devices, but I’m yet to bog a Suzuki, but it will happen one day. I can’t imagine that you bogged your old Jimny?



  48. HI DJ,

    It will indeed be interesting to see where that building story progresses too. Possibly nowhere good. From the overhead maps I’d have to suggest that there is a distinct possibility that the land is marshy or swampy.

    Far out! That upper temperature of -2’C is as cold as I’ve ever experienced here. By your standards it ain’t cold, but this is clearly a relative concept, because by my standards it is beyond freezing. 🙂 Relativisim is a fun concept is it not? It was another hot day here, but there looks like a bit of rain is forecast for tomorrow and Sunday which is really good. I stuck the electric hot water bath preserving unit outside in the shade and just switched that baby on. And an hour and half later, another dozen bottles of preserved apricots are cooling down and waiting to be put in the cupboard for enjoyment over the time of year that you are currently in (a nice return to topic!)

    Out of curiosity, what happens if you don’t clear the snow off the sidewalks?



  49. Hello again
    I have had to think about Son’s reaction to Christmas. He certainly loved it as a child. After that, I really don’t know. Once he left home, we didn’t live near each other and we have no family tradition of coming home for Christmas. He had an ill fated marriage during this time. I returned to the Island in 1988 and he followed in 1997. It is only since then that we have formed a close adult friendship.

    Re: Grenfell. I would have got out regardless of instructions to the contrary.

    I have not heard of sugar maple trees growing here. Maple butter is something that I plaster on bread and biscuits.

    @ Any who are calling Eton mess a cake. It is a dessert and too broken up to be a cake. Undoubtedly invented by someone who had had a disaster with their meringues.


  50. and again
    I forgot to mention that Son’s dislike of Christmas does not extend to the food. I receive requests for the biscuits and puddings that I only made for Christmas. Yet he claims not to have a sweet tooth!


  51. Hi Chris,

    That building in the photo of the Chain of Rocks bridge is the former intake for the city of St. Louis’ water treatment plant that supplies water to city residents. When the plant was modernized I don’t how how many years ago, the intake was relocated. The building was left in place. I’m sure it figures in many thousands of photos taken by tourists over the years.

    The water plant is located in the flood plain along the river just downstream of the bridge. The reason the trail we walked on crosses the road (Riverview Drive) and goes halfway up the bluff and back down and across the road again is because the city would not give permission for the trail to be located on the property of its water plant. I can understand the reasoning.

    The city runs the water utility, which is good for residents: it doesn’t need to make a profit, just cover its costs, so city residents get good water for a good price. Even though the water comes from either the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers (the city has an intake and plant on the latter as well), both of which receive inputs from cities and agriculture upstream, the plants do a good enough job of treating the water that St. Louis City’s water is considered among the best tasting in the US. (I have to differentiate between the city and the county because they are two different political entities. The county, where we live, has a privately owned water company that supplies water to its residents, but its water is also very good.)


  52. Belated Christmas greetings to all!

    I was shocked by the degree of brown crispy-ness on that mysterious moving tree until you pointed out that it´s high summer down under. I can´t quite reconcile summer and Christmas, but there you go.

    My neighbor gifted me a peach tree today, but I don´t really have an ideal spot to put it, so it´s temporarily planted at the back of the flower patch. Any recommendations on special requirements?

    Wishing you all a prospero año in 2019.

  53. Hi Chris,

    The house with the light display is on a major state road so walking by it isn’t an option but traffic is light enough especially at night that one can drive slowly past. Also people can drive up the 2nd driveway to get a closer look.

    Yes most of the second hand books are chosen with the individuals interests in mind though I will throw in a couple of outliers to daughter’s family as they will usually read something new.

    Sorry about the heat but then I don’t think you’d like it here too much either 🙂

    That Eton cake looks pretty decadent. I checked out other images and see they can even be made in an instant pot (not that I have or want one).

    Our Christmas dinner was interesting as we had one vegan, three very low carb and one gluten free (me) person for dinner but we managed to have food for everyone. Low carb and vegan does not go well together.

    Well speaking of books it’s time for me to get back to some of my new ones.


  54. @Claire
    I understand your frustration as I see the same thing with friends and acquaintances from some of the environmental organizations I’m involved in. There are some who truly “walk the walk” and others who are flying and/or driving hear or there for trips, conferences or meetings. About a week ago my sister was saying that young people really have to step up to mitigate climate change. My response was “so those in our generation can just keep flying all over?” She had no response. There are some areas she does well with but they are the low hanging fruit imo but mostly she just rationalizes her choices. I’ve called Amazon the Walmart of the internet but it’s gone way beyond that now.


  55. @ Damo – I had to look up kelpie. Seems it’s either a breed of dog, or, a rather under dressed young lady. I suppose either would be appropriate in the bed of a tricked out truck. 🙂 Lew

  56. @ Inge – I’m also like your son in that I don’t care for a lot of the trappings of Christmas. I put it about The Institute that I didn’t appreciate Christmas cards. Still got quit a few. I think some of the Ladies run on the premise of “Oh, he REALLY doesn’t feel like that.” Surprise! I do.

    In my case, even going way back, there was always a vague feeling of not getting what I REALLY wanted, for Christmas. So now I buy a few little somethings, for me.

    I think a bit of it is also a sensitivity to superficial emotion and hypocracy. As in the recent outbreak of hugging anything that moves. Lew

  57. Yo, Chris – You might take a look at Methylethyl’s post over at Ecosophia. 12/27, 10:57AM. It’s an on the ground look at a hard hit Gulf Coast town, a few months after a hurricane.

    I got an alert on my little flip phone, last night, that 911 (our emergency number) was down. Pretty much nation wide. It’s still spotty in places, 24 hours, on. Century-Link is the tela-com company, responsible. Explanations range from “network issues” to “glitch.”

    So, what set you ruminating on the French Revolution? Is it the heat? :-). I don’t care for the heat, either. I think it’s a lot easier to deal with cold. Throw on a jumper, another blanket on the bed. But the heat? You just suffer through.

    Well, Safeway does a “pumpkin pie” ice cream. And, just to get across the idea that it’s pie, it’s got little chunks of crust in it. I tried a brand or two that didn’t have the little chunks, and it wasn’t near so satisfying. If I ever get around to trying to make my own, it will have a bit of crust in it.

    Well, that was fast. I’m glad you enjoyed “I Think We’re Alone, Now.” That was a bit of a twist ending. Did you catch the little bit about the lame solar power? And Miss Fanning exclaiming, “Why didn’t we think of this, before!” :-). I thought that was a lovely little town it was filmed in. Somewhere in upstate, New York.

    The first catalog came from Territorial Seed, which is a pretty good outfit. Still family owned, and they go heavy on heirloom breeds. But, I usually get my stuff from Nichols, which is similar … but a lot of their seed is grown south of Portland, so, I figure it’s more acclimated to my climate. Territorial does carry Turmeric root. And, they have some “seed tapes” that look kind of interesting. Mixes of lettuce, beets. That kind of thing. They also have a good selection of poly tunnels. Cont.

  58. Cont. By the way, I ran across Carl, who retired from our own Raintree Nursery. The one that I heard had sold. Well, it sold after Carl retired, but he’s “heard” that it was bought by some 27 year old guy who made a pile of money building sky scrapers in Seattle. His parents (retired doctors?) moved to Randal, and, he wanted to be closer to them. So, maybe some family money? But, Carl said that anyone he’s run across who still works there, is happy with the new owner.

    Here’s another find from Herculaneum that you might find interesting. It was a few years ago, but I can remember photos of it being excavated.


    Sunken cities. I ran across an article on the web. “10 Ancient Sunken Cities.” Which provided the names I couldn’t think of. Dunwich, England, of course. Heracleion and Canopus, which are east of Alexandria, Egypt. There’s a few others in Greece and Crete.

    And, of course, right here in little ol’ Lewis County, we have the lost cities of Mayfield, Rife and Kosmos. :-). Lew

  59. Chris,

    Yes, the relativity of how people experience weather is fascinating. Those of us who get out in the weather experience it differently from those who insist on remaining in the artificial controlled indoor climates.

    Several years ago, we had a cold snap complete with an Arctic blast. We typically call it a “Polar Express”. Air temperatures were -20C with wind chills approaching -40C. Most of us on the bus were dressed for it. We dropped some people at one stop every morning where they could transfer to another route. The ladies were dressed for 23C office environments, not for the bitter cold. The bus driver waited 7 minutes for their bus to arrive so that they wouldn’t freeze. Each successive day was progressively warmer and without wind, but the driver waited for their transfer, which meant some of us were late for work. When the temperatures were back to normal for our winter, the driver was STILL going to wait. Two of us threw a hissy fit. My comments were that when it was the “Polar Express” was one thing, but just because these people were too stupid to dress appropriately for the weather shouldn’t make the rest of us late. The driver actually listened and told them to exit, then proceeded on with the route.

    Uncleared sidewalks? By city statute, the property owner has 24 hours to clear the sidewalks once the snow has ceased. Fines can be levied, although they never are. However, if someone were to slip, fall and sustain an injury, the negligent property owner would most likely lose the ensuing lawsuit. If the driveway remained uncleared of snow, it could become impassable due to the accumulated depth. And driving on the snowy driveway (mine is fairly steep) would result in compact snow and ice and make it difficult or impossible to drive up the driveway from the street due to the ice.

    I’m enjoying your discussion with Claire about Route 66. My wife and I drove the entire stretch from Gallup, New Mexico to Las Lunas, which is just south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. That bit is known as New Mexico State Highway 6. Several miles of the road near Las Lunas is packed red clay , which is extremely slippery when wet. There was light rain most of that day, and the rental car didn’t handle well going uphill on the wet red clay. We couldn’t dawdle, as there was a nasty looking thunderstorm rolling toward us. We made it to pavement and then Interstate 25, the main highway, just when the Big Nasty hit. ALL traffic pulled off to the side and stopped for 20 minutes, as visibility was zero! We continued on when we could, stopping at a nearby casino. We had to park some distance from the entrance, and it was still raining hard. We dashed for the building; it took 30 seconds to get under cover, by which point “soaked to the bone” would’ve been an improvement.


  60. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for the explanation, and I have little experience with Christmas traditions of big family gatherings, so like your son, I probably can’t really get my head or bearings around them either. I do enjoy hearing other people’s accounts of them. Occasionally I’ve been asked if I’d like to attend another families Christmas gatherings, but honestly, I would probably avoid them, because neither the editor nor myself want to provide a fulcrum of stability for the acts of others. Christmas is usually a friend time for us, which is much more fun. I sort of understand how your son might feel, given the circumstances you wrote about, and relationships can be very complex and a lot of the time they fail, and that really is part of life, and I’m sorry for your son that things did not work out for him on that front.

    As a child of a single mum, I’ve sort of grown up with an air of brutal pragmatism about these matters, mostly because I’ve experienced the extremes of where they can go. And if children are involved, all I say to people in those sorts of ructions is to put your grievances to the side, and remember to spend some time with their kids. Humans are extraordinarily resilient.

    Out of sheer curiosity, do you ever feel that you could have made the move to the island sooner? By chance I was considering that matter here today, and perhaps that is a sign that I am getting older! I doubt that I had the skills years ago to live in a place like this.

    Me too! I once heard a policeman quip that there is no shame in running from danger (good advice).

    Ah! Your maple butter has intrigued me and I shall plant more sugar maple trees.

    The lid of a large meringue often implodes anyway and the disaster is covered by layers of cream, so the Eaton mess is only a short hop, skip, and jump away. Down here we make Pavlova instead.

    Sure he doesn’t have a sweet tooth! Very funny. 🙂

    It was cooler this morning and so we moved rocks. One of the rocks was as large as anything that we could move and I had to get out the 6 foot wrecking bar. I’m feeling it tonight.



  61. Hi Claire,

    What struck me about the images of the bridge and the building was that the structures had a certain sort of solidity and beauty to them. Imagine converting the former intake building to a house! How cool would that be? But rather hard to get into and out of. To my eyes it looks like an old Victorian era double fronted house sitting on a man made pillar in the middle of a very large river.

    You know I can understand the logic behind relocating the path away from the treatment plant. Down here we have closed catchments around the water supply reservoirs and that means that the forests near to the dams are off limits to people. The water quality is pretty good in Melbourne and the animals and wildlife would enjoy a break from humans. That policy was enacted well over a century ago.

    You are lucky to enjoy town water. I watch the water tank levels like a hawk, and also the moisture in the ground. The corn is doing very well now, and all but two seeds have germinated. Fingers crossed for a goodly number of cobs! Now that the heat has arrived in full, the strawberries are smaller, but still have good flavour.

    I have always enjoyed your writing and appreciate your thoughts. 🙂



  62. Hi Coco,

    Yeah it is shocking. The other day the temperature reached 41’C, and so any dead Christmas tree (Pinus Radiata) unfortunate enough to be confronted by that sort of weather ends up looking pretty crispy quite rapidly! I haven’t spotted any new dumpings yet, but it is still early days.

    Well peach trees need good drainage and lots of sun. In fact, they like a whole lot of sun. As a suggestion, if you don’t like the variety of peach or the seedling doesn’t produce much fruit, then they are really easy to summer graft buds onto with varieties that you do like.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness too! And hope that you are scouring through seed catalogues. Spring is not far away, although it may feel that way to you! I shall continue to entertain you with many flower photos as the new year progresses.



  63. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for the explanation. And as a point of difference between here and your country, houses generally do not front freeways. And the highways usually have a walking path where houses are located. What an interesting difference. The light display was epic! And so a second look would definitely be on the cards.

    That is really nice about the books having been individually chosen for the recipient. I’m currently re-reading the “World made by hand” series of books as I quite enjoyed the story, and also I might have been born a bit out of my time! Oh well.

    Hehe! Yeah, you got me. I wouldn’t know the first thing about surviving the sort of winters that you experience, and I take my hat off to you for doing so. To be honest, you do get used to the heat, as I suppose you do the cold.

    The dessert was as good as it looked – and I wasn’t shy about a huge helping of seconds (life is short!) Do you have any sort of equivalent dessert there? Do you ever see meringues? The most common form of that dessert down here would be pavlova and I have absolutely no idea how the commercial ones stop the meringue lids from cracking during the baking process. It is a bit of a mystery. We pile on the cream and sun ripened berries, and like plaster bog, the problem disappears!

    Oh my goodness. What a dilemma of a menu for your guests. And no, low carb and vegan does not go well together. I know a lady who is a vegan and I always take her fresh produce from the garden. It is a tough school that path. Hopefully your vegan guest did not proselytize, which is something that I have not encountered. If I did, I hold the big gun in store which is: Plastic is derived from dead sea critters. Nuff said really. Anyway, never had to use that one, and most vegans I’ve encountered are extraordinarily polite.



  64. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, moved rocks today. What more needs to be said, other than I’m feeling the exertions tonight? One of the rocks was as big as I’ve ever moved, and because we’d excavated it from the recently constructed shed site, it was just sitting around asking to be used. It was as much as I could do to roll the thing using the six foot steel wrecking bar, but eventually it rolled into place in a newly constructed rock wall. I was a bit worried at several points that the rock might have gotten away from me and rolled down the hill. The number of things that it would have destroyed on the way down hill was an uncomfortable thought.

    Thanks for mentioning Methylethyl’s comment. It makes for sobering reading. Mate, I live in a disaster prone region and that story is not lost on me at all. On the other hand I have dismantled buildings and recovered components and have enough experience to be able to rebuild without a design in hand. And interestingly, both the editor and I have discussed this at some length and we are of one mind in this matter and would rebuild a simpler design – if push came to shove. We’re very pro-active. Did you know that after WWII, when the soldiers returned, most houses were constructed by their owners, and neighbours often got together and built the houses in a street. Humans are extraordinarily adaptable. It wasn’t lost on me that a number of the residents in the high rise building up in Sydney that appears to be having some trouble were renters. I saw that happen here after the Black Saturday bushfires when a number of renters were asking what could be done to protect their rented houses….

    Who would have thought that digital telephone exchanges are vulnerable? Government to investigate Telstra triple-0 outage after emergency calls go unanswered. Your 911 is our 000. If it looks like a banshee, and sounds like a banshee, it probably is a banshee.

    Oh! French Revolution. That’s right, you sent me down this rabbit hole last night when you mentioned the King of Naples and his apparent censoring of the naughty (but also anatomically correct) Roman sculptures excavated from Pompeii. But the heat is probably as likely a cause of my regular digressions. Anyway, where would we all be without a proper digression – that’s right, that would be a clinical lack of curiosity. I’ve met a few of those types in my time! Although, I ordered a coffee at the local cafe this morning, and rather amusingly suggested to the lovely lady serving, that “I should not be allowed out in the morning without first having had a coffee”. But I was also being serious… 🙂 Oh well, most people function better in the mornings…

    It actually rained a bit here this morning which was nice, and the air cooled off. Thus the rock moving business.

    Yes, I can see that with the pumpkin ice cream. You’d be reaching for the crunchy bits, and not finding them! It was a bit like the coffee scroll yesterday, the underlying fruit bun was good, but the icing was thin on the ground – and I was left reaching to achieve my expectations. Anyway, next time I’ll try their Boston Bun as that looked like it had more icing on it – although the stuff is usually some form of mock cream, and what the heck is that? Surely nothing that originated naturally from a cow?

    Yeah, I quite enjoyed the film, and Peter was suitably grumpy and distant for someone who enjoyed their quiet time. Yup, I laughed about the why didn’t we think of this before, with the solar panels. And did you notice that the solar panels were arranged so as to face different directions and also support each other in an A shape? It might be my inner geek coming to the fore, but I liked that little detail as one panel captures the morning sun, and the other captures the afternoon sun. Very clever, although they’d be blown away in a strong wind (ask me how I know this!) The town looked lovely and I noted that it still retained its high street intact, although down here there would be more verandas over the sidewalk, and the buildings would only reach two stories. Palm Beach scared the daylights out of me. And white clothes are not very serviceable.

    Exactly, the choice of seed company sounds eminently sensible to me. I generally stick to open pollinated heritage varieties too, but I guess all sorts of vagaries slip in to the seed collection system. We’re currently saving broad beans and mustard greens and plan to expand the plantings of those two varieties over the winter.

    Thanks for the link and I’ll dive into another rabbit hole or twenty! But first I’m beginning to crash from moving rocks earlier today, and so I believe I will hit bed… No wonder mornings are no good!



  65. Hello again
    Hmm, my move to the Island. I had known it most of my life. First holidaying there and then working there during the Summer where I met my husband. So I joined him there when we married. That was when we lived off grid, no car and no mains water. Our property was a ruin bought for £550 in 1957. My husband was a carpenter with many allied skills otherwise it would have been impossible, nonetheless it was hard work.
    We left for civilisation on the mainland in 1971 for many different reasons.
    Came back to the Island in 1988 when my brother-in-law was selling his house. Solicitor wrote to tell us this as apparently we had an option on the property. My husband had given his brother the land. We still owned adjacent land and so bought the house with the intention of selling the total. However I fell back in love with the Island, so here I still am. We sold the house and moved to a shack on our woodland. Son is in another shack on the same woodland. I was surprised that he took so long to come back as he had hated me for dragging him away from the Island when he was 11.


  66. Yo, Chris – I keep forgetting. I think Ollie would look quit smart, in one of those antler hats, for dogs. Especially given his build. Not every dog could carry off the look, but I think he could. Given that Christmas is over, they’re probably on a clearance table, somewhere.

    Congratulations on getting the Big Rock where you wanted it. But, in the vast scheme of things, sooner or later, that rock is going to be at the bottom of the hill. I was recently reading about an old theory of gravity (Greek or Roman?) and it was felt that things ended up where they wanted to be. Or in some “natural” place where they were heading, all along. Don’t try and wrap your head around that, too early in the day. Serious injury could occur. :-).

    We all live in disaster prone regions, of one type or another. Without trying to hard, I can think of about six natural disasters that could dislodge me from where I live. Or, unnatural disasters. As in, the place could be sold out from under us. Not likely, at present, but always possible.

    I don’t remember much about neighborhoods getting together to build houses, after WWII. Mostly, “Dad (and mum) built the house” or “Dad and his brother built the house.” Boy, talk about simpler times. Not much government looking over your shoulder, telling you you couldn’t do it. For your (and any children involved) “health and safety.” Which is code for “we don’t want to get sued” or “we don’t want anything to crazy that’s likely to lower property values.”

    Hmmm. Those cable pit pictures are a bit odd. Wonder how the burned area managed to go right down the fence line, straight as an arrow? Oh, dear. Network redundancy didn’t work. Slap a back up system on the back up system. We’ve had similar problems when a cable “backbone” goes down. Usually, it’s cut by construction. “Things” (systems) are getting way to fragile.

    I have zero interest in discovering the link between the King of Naples and the French Revolution. That’s one rabbit hole I won’t be going down. I guess I’m just an incurious fellow :-).

    Mock cream is probably some kind of petroleum product. There may be a silver lining to the end of oil. That stuff will go away. Or maybe that stuff they make with garbonzo bean juice will get a foothold? I remember you can use it as a meringue substitute.

    I watched a little sci-fi film called “Evolution”. Worth a look if you can find it somewhere, for free. A sci-fi comedy. Just a bit of fluff with a rather high powered cast. I suppose even the Hollywood high and mighty find themselves at loose ends, from time to time. Just worth wiling away a bowl of popcorn. Lew

    PS: One of your comments to Claire, reminded me (somehow or another) that Portland has “always” gotten it’s water from the Bull Run Watershed. I can remember as a kid that access was strictly forbidden. There are extensive websites. Enter that rabbit hole, if you dare. :-). I think I saw Alice, the Mad Hatter and a White Rabbit. Maybe a very odd caterpillar. Might have been an illusion. He seemed to come and go.

  67. Hi Pam,

    The green light in the clouds last week in Sydney was some sort of little understood thunderstorm phenomena, but who knows? It is fascinating stuff isn’t it? The Earth has been around a long time so I reckon there will be both positive and negative feedback loops, and all I can say is to hang onto your hat as the future will be a wild ride for the ecosphere. Cloud cover is on the increase down here – it has been discussed for a few years now with the off grid solar folks.



  68. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, getting outside is not a bad idea, and funny you mention that but…

    Oh my! What a conundrum with the bus journey. You know there is a school of thought that suggests that completely protecting folks from basic risk (such as inappropriately dressing for the environmental conditions) only ensures that the people go onto to take bigger risks, without having understood that they have done so.

    I’d never thought of the difficulties of exiting a steep driveway with compacted snow in a vehicle. Far out! I’ll bet some people have crashed into buildings in those circumstances?

    Yeah, get your kicks on route 66, and all that! 🙂 Rhymes nicely too. Oh yeah, roads in desert and arid environments don’t cope all that well with huge buckets of rain (yes, you probably were like drowned rats). The road system in the centre of this continent is nothing at all like you road system, although there are a couple of main bitumen roads (full of Winnebago’s too from an account I heard recently). So when on the dirt, if it rains, the road gets closed and you get stuck wherever you are.



  69. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Isn’t it funny where life can take you? For your interest, I had no idea about this part of the country, but the editor and her mum didn’t live too far from here, and they used to visit this mountain range and also the general area from when she was a little one.

    We didn’t think that we could afford to buy a block of land here, but the one we ended up with basically scared the daylights out other people and had been on the market for two years. It was very unloved, and people struggle to see potential. We had to fight tooth and nail to get a permit to build a house. Planning is such a strange system down here because all the locals jump into the ring with the intention of failing – and I just don’t understand that mindset at all.

    I can see how such a move would have been upsetting to your son, but then I’ve seen a lot of different places and had to move around a lot due to having a single mum, and I note that we are a resilient species. Although the moving can be hard from the point of view of breaking into social groups – especially if they’re cliquey – which a lot of them are! And your son would have established his life elsewhere, before deciding to return again and having to go through the wrenching process all over again. That is a complicated business.



  70. Hi Lewis,

    I’ll keep the dog antler hat in mind when next I’m near to the $2 shop. The dog is dirty for the attention and he’d love it. He’s an intelligent dog that one and full of his own thoughts on things, but he is definitely not good cattle dog material because of that. That is no slur on his good character, because I don’t need a cattle dog, and he has shown me the benefits of having a larger dog. He has a level of authority with strange or unknown humans that the other dogs do not project.

    Do you have $2 shops in your part of the world? They’re basically full of cheap stuff in only a modicum of order. I rarely have need for such a place. And for some reason they always have a distinctive smell of, I’m not sure what it is, but perhaps is it volatile organic compounds?

    Yeah, maybe you’re right about the rock? Hehe! I don’t doubt it that the rain will eventually wash the rock away to barely nothing discernible at all. It’ll make for good fertiliser though. My brain is already suffering from moving all of the rocks, so I’ll have to ponder the meaning of the Greek and Roman’s theory in relation to gravity. I hope it doesn’t apply to apartment towers? Maybe it does. I must say, many of their buildings are still in existence (if not exactly being used for the purposes for which they were constructed) after several millennia, so they knew something about construction. It makes you wonder what the many nuclear power plants (and all of the other stuff) will look like in the distant future?

    The funny thing about the disaster scenario, is that the bushfire scenario gets raised a lot with me, so I barely have time to worry about other potential disasters like landslides, locusts etc. I have long since suspected that some disasters get pressed deeper into the collective imagination as being somehow worse than others. And bushfires is one of those. But possibly having your place sold out from under you, yeah that could bring all manner of unpleasant changes.

    The sort of learned helplessness that I see, which is a product of capture of one sort or another, makes me bonkers grumpy (a sort of double secret grumpy). It isn’t that complicated to construct a house. And you know, it is less stressful to do the work yourself than to project manage the job and get someone else to do the actual work. I’ve long since noted that people’s expectations are also far too high when they get someone else to do the work.

    Oh yeah, the outage was not good. There were reports that the monitoring on some folks who have monitoring put on them failed during that period of time too. Not good.

    Hehe! I doubt it very much. 🙂 You have the mind of someone who is curious about the world around them. Otherwise we’d run out of things to talk about! I’ve met people like that, the old timers used to say: It’s like extracting blood from a stone.

    OK, mock cream is butter and sugar but with variations involving all sorts of other stuff. Not very scientific… But it appears reasonably harmless which is a surprise to me.

    Evolution sounds like a fun film.

    Hey, believe it or not, it is foggy here today. We are socked in good and proper like. It was nice because we went out and did some more rock work and sewed up another steel rock gabion cage. Only five more rock gabions to go!

    Have to write tonight, so I’m on the fence about diving into an interweb rabbit hole. Ah, I assume you are referring to the logging, well it is a tempting option, but also one that we don’t appear to manage well – and that includes the whole thing up to the end consumer demands and waste. I doubt many folks know how to log (or even source firewood) on a small scale with lots of manual labour these days.



  71. Yo, Chris – We have chains of dollar stores, here. Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree. We have one here, and I just made my maiden voyage, only a couple of months ago. It’s down in the area with all the strip malls and big box stores. Impossible traffic. I go early in the AM.

    Ours has a general organization, to it. Say, all the cleaning stuff is together, in one spot. A food aisle or two. I can dependably get “my” brand of toothpaste, at the cheapest price in town. Packs of sponges with the scrubby side. After things calm down because of the holidays, I’m going to get a pair of reading glasses, there. It’s not far from a grocery outlet store I like.

    The dollar stores are one of those things that caught on, and their expansion has been spectacular. The stock market offerings have been solid. It’s not a new idea. When I was a kid, there was a boom in 99 cent, stores. And then, there was the old five and dimes.

    I saw an article last week where some author was kvetching that the dollar stores moved into poor neighborhoods and didn’t offer very much nutritious foods. That they somehow or another exploited the poor. And that they some how or another, kept more virtuous business out of those areas. I didn’t quit see it.

    Well, maybe that apartment building thinks it’s proper place is on the ground. :-). It’s inherent nature is to reside there. Collapse early and avoid the rush?

    Sure, house building is pretty straight forward. But with all the government oversight, providing employment for all those government employees, protecting us from ourselves, well, not so easy anymore.

    I watched a film, last night, that I stumbled across in the library catalog. “Survivors of the Firestorm.” About your 2009 bush fires, from a mostly nature point of view. Pretty interesting (and horrible) stuff. Got to see a lot of Australian animals I hadn’t seen before. The frogmouth birds have got to be the ugliest, or, at least grumpiest looking birds I’ve seen. And the lyrebirds are pretty spectacular. Any of those about your place? The interviewed a couple who had survived by taking shelter in an almost dry creek. They discovered they were sharing that small bit of sanctuary with two lyrebirds. Everyone bumped along until the fire had pasted.

    It was pretty amazing how quickly the forests started springing back. Plant species that hadn’t been seen in decades. Their seeds quietly waiting in the ground, for a good fire.

    I’ve got the new version of “Picnic at Hanging Rock” on tap, for this evening. I’m a little wary. According to some of the reviews I’ve read, there really isn’t much more resolution in this version, than in the old one. Well, I’ve been warned. And, I guess there’s a lot of virginal Victorian girls, languorously swanning around in clouds of white cotton and linen. I can only take so much of that. Oh, well, I’ve got a fast forward button, and I’m not afraid to use it. Lew

Comments are closed.