Modern Grain Theory – Basashi the Horse

We continue the intermission from our usual programming…

Our hero Sitting Duck, the cadet reporter, is no longer sitting because he has just been brusquely dismissed by the economic theorist Truman the Turkey. Sitting Duck has been sent by Truman to seek out Roasted the Sheep.

The look of stink-eye that Truman Turkey gave our intrepid cadet reporter implied that: ‘we’re done here’, without actually saying that. Sitting Duck realised that there was no further use in pestering Truman the Turkey. He pondered what to do for a moment. And then he pondered the problem for a few more moments before deciding that he had no better idea. So, with only the briefest of notes to hand, and certainly not enough to impress his Editor at the ‘The Big Swine’, he decided to set off in search of Roasted the Sheep.

It was at that point that Sitting Duck realised what a big property Utopia Farms was. With his trusty clipboard safely held in his left foot and pen held in the right foot, he flew up into the air so as to get a birds eye view of the property. Sitting Duck saw sheep everywhere, but which one was Roasted the Sheep? Fortunately he spotted a young stallion with his head held proudly high. From a distance, the horse looked as though he knew his business.

Sitting Duck headed to the paddock with the stallion, and proceeded to fly around until he could grab the attention of the self absorbed horse. “Who are you? And what are you doing here?” Demanded the proud young horse.

“I’m Sitting Duck, and I’m also a reporter from the ‘The Big Swine’. Pleased to make your acquaintance, and you look like an important horse.”

“Thank you for noticing. And yes I am an important Stallion of noble lineage. And I’ve earned a degree in agricultural science with a major in ploughing and hauling! I’m no lightweight horse. My name is Basashi. Anyway, you haven’t answered my question. What are you doing here?”

“Oh! Sorry. As I previously said, I’m a reporter, however I’m writing an article on the new economic theory being implemented at Utopia Farm called Modern Grain Theory. It’s apparently a school of economic thought where the old rules no longer apply. Anyway, Big Pig authorised the visit.” Replied Sitting Duck.

“Why didn’t you say so earlier?” Thundered the proud and educated Stallion.

“Well, I was a bit flustered because it is not every day that I get to speak with a horse that has an agricultural degree with a major in ploughing and hauling. Respect. I was actually looking for Roasted the Sheep, and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction? But um, now that I’m here, I’d like to ask you the question: What is your take on the new economic theory?” Inquired Sitting Duck.

“Debt. I hate debt.” Enthused Basashi the Horse.

“I hear you and it’s no good at all. I also have and undergraduate arts degree,  and I had to get a student loan to pay for it, so yeah I hear you bro. I assume you had to go into debt to get your technical degree?” Asked Sitting Duck.

“Are you being smart with me? That wasn’t debt, that was a student loan. It’s an entirely different thing and not the same at all. Hey, what are you writing there anyway?” Replied Basashi the Horse.

Notes: Basashi the Horse. Proud stance. Nice mane. Confident. Economically illiterate regarding debt.

“Err. Nothing, just some notes about how your mane is wafting supremely in the breeze. So err, let’s get back to economics. Just say theoretically, you need some extra grain scrip from Big Pig in order to take that mare over there in that paddock out on a date. What do you do?” Sitting Duck searchingly asked the young stallion whilst using his wing to point at a distant paddock.

Basashi the Horse looks thoughtfully over at the fine looking mare in the distant paddock and gets momentarily lost in thought of quiet candle lit dinner for two. “Easy. I’d just use After-lunch”.

Sitting Duck wasn’t quite sure he’d heard the horse correctly, and so he queried: “Did you say After-lunch?”

“Yes. After-lunch. It works like this: If I need extra grain scrip for the hot date with that mare of there, I simply go see Big Pig who keeps a record of pay-day advances, and then he deducts the amount advanced from future pays. Easy. I do the ploughing and hauling, get the hot date, and he does the whole messy grain scrip business. Everyone wins.” Enthuses Basashi the Horse, who’s eyes are still dreamy as he considers the possibilities of a date with the hot mare in the distant paddock.

Notes: Basashi the Horse. Enjoys dates with hot mare courtesy of grain scrip system: After-lunch financing system. Could it be as good as it sounds?

Sitting Duck likewise was on a mental flight of fancy at the thought of After-lunch and dates with hot hens, when troubling winds disturbed his joy. “What happens if you don’t earn enough to meet the regular deduction from future pays?” Sitting Duck searchingly asked.

“Oh that. Well, it’s happened to me plenty of times before, and all I do is pay Big Pig a bit extra out of my future pays to make up for it. He’s a nice bloke that Big Pig and he works it all out for me.” Replied Basashi the Horse.

Before Sitting Duck knew what he was saying, he blurted out: “Isn’t that debt and interest repayments?”

Well Basashi the Horse sure got riled up this time, and flecks of foam were forming at the corners of his mouth as he spat out: “Do you have to be such a buzz-kill duck dude? I told you before I don’t do debt. After-lunch isn’t debt, it’s an advance. It’s an entirely different thing, and not the same at all. Look buddy, do me a favour and get lost.”

Sitting Duck realised that he was indeed a sitting duck as the young Stallion reared up in anger. As he prepared to make a hasty getaway from the now angry horse, he remarked: “Sorry to bring you down mate. Can you point me in the direction of Roasted the Sheep?”

Basashi the Horse suddenly thought better of squashing the fleet footed duck, if  only because it would have made him look bad in the article, and instead he lifted a hoof and pointed in the direction of a distant paddock with several sheep grazing. Sitting duck again took to the air in search of Roasted the Sheep.

Postscript Notes: Basashi the Horse. Possible inability to comply with “After-lunch” system produces a feisty reaction from horse. Maybe date with hot mare did not go so well? Might not be as good a system as it seems.

To be continued…

It was another cloudy old winter week over the farm. So far the winter has been remarkably mild and damp. Such weather causes people in rural areas to begin burning off excess forest organic material (branches, leaves, sticks etc.) Sunday’s seem to be the day that happens and this past Sunday was no exception. A property owner in the valley immediately below the far set off an epic burn off which I could smell here. Better now than high summer.

A property owner in the valley immediately below the farm set off an epic scaled burn off

With the rain arriving in waves, we decided to construct another steel rock gabion cage. Ollie the Australian cuddle (err, sorry cattle) dog assisted with his mate Toothy.

Ollie and Toothy assist the author construct a new steel rock gabion cage

Soon the cage was completed, set in place and even had a few rocks chucked in it.

The new steel rock gabion cage is now in place and even has a few rocks already. Ollie is impressed!

Despite the rain we did another long days digging and moving clay and soil on the new garden terraces project. The project has turned out far bigger than we had first imagined it to be, and we estimate that there are about three to four days of digging left to go. Epic! All of the clay is excavated with the assistance of an electric solar powered jackhammer and then moved using hand tools .

The author stands on the lower of the two new garden terraces under construction
Looking down from above the second and higher garden terrace that is under construction

Near to where I am standing in the above photo, we have begun constructing a concrete staircase leading from the lower to the higher garden terrace. Three steps have been constructed so far. The winter weather means that the cement is very slow to dry. Ollie would like nothing better than to stomp his footprints in the wet cement.

Three concrete steps have now been constructed leading from the lower to the higher garden terrace

For many years now a bunch of lovely Samoan folk who run a tree business, turn up at the farm and assist me with the trees. I’ve known them for years, and they know trees far better than I do. A large 30m / 100ft dead tree had shifted and become caught up in another even larger tree. It was a bit of a problem as the dead tree could fall at any time and without warning, and it would most likely kill you if it fell on your head (or anywhere else for that matter). The Tree Dudes (as I call the Samoan folk) sorted the dead tree out in no time at all and cut it up into firewood lengths.

Ollie checks out the work of the Tree Dudes. He approves!

Speaking of Ollie we took him again on the long rail trail three hour walk (12km / 7.5miles). Later that night, Ollie was so exhausted that he fell asleep and the naughty Scritchy the Boss dog decided to out-alpha him by sleeping on his head.

Scritchy the Boss Dog casually sleeps on the exhausted Ollie’s head. Ollie would not approve if he were awake.

After many years of making my own yoghurt, I have now had two failed batches in as many months. The batches of yoghurt set well, but they were contaminated with Acetobacterium which produces the chemical acetone which does not smell nice at all. I purchase good quality organic milk, but clearly something has changed with the milk possibly between the pasteurising and bottling or storing/distribution process. I now pasteurise the milk for 1 hour at 65’C / 149’F before adding my yoghurt culture. After the first incidence of this bacterial problem, I decided to keep a backup culture in the freezer. It was very fortunate that I had done so, because I was able to use the backup culture to produce a new uncontaminated batch (and replace the used backup culture in the freezer).

Milk now gets pasteurized for 1 hour at 65’C / 149’F before the yoghurt culture is added

At this time of year, the parrots get hungry and they are forever hanging around the chicken enclosure feasting upon seeds in the chickens used bedding straw which is distributed as a fertiliser.

Parrots are very hungry at this time of year

The ongoing mild damp weather has produced an amazingly diverse collection of fungi. I spotted this fungi the other day:

Fungi are all over the farm due to the combination of mild and damp winter weather

Onto the flowers:

Hellebore flowers are almost ready to open
The Irish Strawberry Tree continues to flower
The forest is full of the yellow colour of the Silver Wattle flowers
Alpine Heath adds a delightful splash of colour
Lavender just goes from strength to strength
This is the very first Daffodils of the season

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 4’C (39’F). So far this year there has been 470.2mm (18.5 inches) which is the higher than last weeks total of 460.2mm (18.1 inches) .

61 thoughts on “Modern Grain Theory – Basashi the Horse”

  1. Hi Lewis,

    Your weather sounds quite pleasant to my ears, especially given an Antarctic blast is heading this way and due to arrive by late Wednesday. Brr! On the other hand today was very nice and sunny although cool at 51’F. It was so nice that I spent a while this afternoon ambling around and checking out how the fruit trees in the orchard are growing. They rarely stop growing even when deciduous, although during high summer the best they can do is survive due to the Extreme UV. The goal is to get a little bit more fruit from the orchard each year – doesn’t seem that much to ask for…

    Can you smell the smoke that Cliff Mass is writing about which originated slightly west of Spokane? Given the prevailing wind direction it may be missing DJ altogether.

    I enjoy the Into the Ruins stories too. Joel has cultivated an interesting collection of authors.

    Really? I hadn’t noticed the increased prices for berries, but it is possible because I haven’t had to purchase any for a few years. But each year some berries do better than other years. Last year was not so good for blackberries due to the heat and dry, but the earlier raspberries did quite well. And blueberries are in dream land here due to the summer watering requirements although I keep trying. Berry-flation? Sounds plausible and a lot of frozen berries are imported nowadays, so I’m not entirely sure that is a great idea consuming them. 2 Gallons is an awesome haul. 🙂

    Good luck for the latest inspection in the ever increasing number and regularity of inspections. You’d hope they get it out of their systems soon? About the best that can be said about the situation is that you’ve had lots of practice. But I do hope they don’t waste much of your day and are at least punctual. People can be very free when it comes to other peoples time.

    I didn’t know all that about Montana and just sort of looked at climate, geography and low population. Appreciate your view on the ground. Not many things here will rend your limbs, but certainly there are plenty of things that will poison you, and rather rapidly too. The Tree Dudes asked me whether they’d encounter any snakes at this time of year. It is possible but snakes may be under logs having a bit of a long nap at this time of year. It’s always a bit exciting moving a large old log. You never know.

    I’ve never really thought of your country as having a homogeneous culture. Multi-culturalism brings benefits, but it also has costs, so it is a bit of a mixed bag. I have noticed that over supplying workers tends to keep wage costs low and real estate prices high.

    Hehe! Fragrant soap is a luxury. Nice stuff. We sometimes add in fragrant plant oils like lavender into the soap mix. Incidentally I liked your style with rendering the soap bits into a new soap bar. Nice one. I wouldn’t have thought of doing that.

    No doubt that the horse has some complicated feelings on the matter, but I do hope that people get my little joke. Anyway, I just wanted to describe the sought of peevish reactions that I encounter occasionally when I try my hand at educating folks on complex financial instruments (which usually appear more complex than they actually are).

    Some people are like you and I and other commenters here, in that like a good bottle of wine, we get better as we age. Other people well, sometimes wine can turn into vinegar. And it is not always a nice variety of vinegar…

    As someone who lives up hill on a mountain spur, the knowledge of fire movement in the landscape is something that directly concerns me. You will note that in some images below the house, there is a large clearing between the house and the forest. The interface between the forest and the farm is also a fascinating place. The 1983 Ash Wednesday fires brushed the edge of this property and you can see where and how it travelled if you know what you’re looking for. It is all there, even today. But seriously hot and fast moving wildfires are a real problem and would be a very big challenge if you could even do anything about them in the first place other than preparation and maintenance and getting out of the path of the fire. I can see how the oldsters may have decided not to rebuild. I have a few ideas about the house design should we be faced with the prospect of rebuilding. What were the oldsters doing there in the first place? Like what was the attraction of Paradise? I’ve read a few accounts that the houses were nestled right into thick fire prone forest.

    Read today that the good folks of Camelod decided to ditch the thatched roofs and use tiles instead on the fort. Also the naughty poisoners got their just desserts.

    Your ‘lazy and distracted’ is exactly what we do with the tomatoes here so I absolutely agree with your assessment. They readily take from last years seed, but I have noticed the hybrid varieties ripen a bit earlier, but the taste is usually not as good as what I’m used to. Your lot will be producing well into September.

    Peppers and Eggplant are such a pain because the soil has to get much hotter than it does here for them to germinate, so yeah inside is probably the way to go to get them started. On the other hand if your lot do germinate and grow properly I’d appreciate hearing about them.

    The local gardening club has a seed germinating course on and given they specialise in vegetables, flowers and herbs I probably should get to it. I reckon long term we might have to construct some sort of outdoor / indoor seed raising building, but I’m not sure about greenhouses. I’ve been contemplating for a while just how well my mates of the big shed fame’s place works out and the plants are like Triffids in there. It just works.

    The days are getting longer here too. Where did the time go?



  2. Hello Chris
    Great to have the continuing story which I am enjoying a lot. Plus of course your news, info. and photos.
    You queried the oddity of people who grow food and yet don’t use it. It really is very strange. As far as the couple who gave me stuff goes, I believe it is the wife who just can’t be bothered and doesn’t like many of the items that they grow. She is puzzling as she had quite a hard early life, youngest of 7 and leaving school aged 12. She is highly competent so I reckon that it is an aversion to her past. Yet they live rurally with quite a bit of land and her husband is very keen on growing food that avoids chemicals. I wonder to what extent early life dictates ones outlook; probably massively be it for or against.
    We had a bit of rain last night but are now back to hot sun and a dry pond.


  3. Yo, Chris – Horses and mares. Ducks and hot hens. Mybe the whole thing boils down to sex. Or, at least, display. The horses tale reminded me of something that happened to me. I worked in a bar, and we could put our drinks on a tab. To be subtracted from our weekly pay check. Well … one birthday week I discovered Brandy Alexanders. A very expensive mixed drink. And very tasty. Like a spider, without the fizz. When pay day rolled around, my boss said to me, “Well, I don’t quit know how to tell you this, but this week you owe us money.” :-). It’s quit a tale your telling. Soon to be a case study, in economics textbooks, worldwide.

    That’s quit a bit of dirt to be chucking about. You need to round up “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.” (Burton?). I don’t know if you ever ran across that, when you were a wee small lad. I may be wrong, but I think the same author did another classic, “The Little Engine Who Could.” There was also “The Little House.” In a very simple way, they really said a lot about adaption, preservation. The value of the old in a changing world. Just downright subversive!

    I think Skritchy is entering his second adolescence. Who can forget the joys of breaking wind, in the face of a sleeping mate? :-).

    That looks like quit a high tech yogurt maker. Does it have a GPS? Is it a card carrying member of the Internet Of Things? Can you wile away time, monitoring it from distant places? I think you can remove paint, with acetone.

    The Daffodils are quit lovely. We won’t see any of those, for months. Cont.

  4. Cont. Hmmm. Might be something in the junk file.

    It hit 90F (32.22C) yesterday. But by 11PM, it was down to 64F (17.77C). Supposed to be the same, same, today. I noticed last night, at sunset (not that I could see it. Wasn’t even pretty, as sometimes) that it was quit hazy. I wondered about smoke, and then saw Prof. Mass’s post. I also thought of DJ, in Spokane. But, it sounded like it cleared out pretty quickly, over there.

    I really hustled the blueberries through the whole freezing process. I wanted to get the flats out of the fridge, and the freezing trays out of the freezer, before the (possible) inspection. 2 flats = almost 5 gallons. I might buy two more flats, but wow, $50? We don’t seem to have any U-Pick, in the county. Used to be lot’s of U-Pick, around. I suppose the liability insurance people, got to them.

    Well, the (possible) inspection is anytime from 8 to 5. With the elevator out (for who knows how long) for the State inspection, I’m also on call to walk HRH. Eleanor hasn’t been able to navigate the stairs, without difficulty, for quit awhile. Made no better by the fact they removed the chairs, on each landing. So, I’m pretty much trapped inside, all day.

    Snakes under logs. Here, over on the Dry Side, it’s bales of hay. You have to be real careful, bucking bales, as a rattlesnake may fall out the bottom.

    Well, Paradise was one of the last places in California with affordable real estate. Nice weather. Very scenic. Small enough to have a real sense of community. So it was attractive to seniors and families.

    Well, the peppers are up, but not doing much. They may still do something. Or, not. If not, lesson learned.

    If not something like a green house, maybe you could get by with a couple of cold frames? Or, maybe glass in a small section of the veranda?

    Walking HRH (at 9PM) every night, I’ve noticed the days are getting shorter. Last week, the sun was still up, when I walked her. Not the last few nights.

    I watched an interesting documentary, last night. “Will You Be My Neighbor?” A bio of Fred Rogers. The famous Mr. Rogers. He was after my childhood, so I can’t say I’ve even sat through one episode. But, everyone knows who Mr. Rogers is. Apparently, he was one of those rare people who was exactly what he appeared to be. A decent human being.

    I have the new “Pet Sematary”, on tap, for Wednesday night (ice cream night!). Review to follow. Lew

  5. Chris,

    Nasty, nasty Toothy, sleeping on the cuddle dog’s head! Then again, I understand the sentiment and can appreciate the action and laugh at it.

    Clay is hard to dig up, isn’t it? I much prefer the sand here for digging in. It seems that both clay and sand need a lot of care before they can really grow things well?

    Nice job on this week’s installment. Basashi is similar to many people I know: “Debt is bad. Now leave me alone so I can go put more junk on my credit card. Can you buy me dinner? I have too many credit card payments and can’t afford food until payday in 3 days.”

    I noticed your comment to Lew about the Williams Flats fire near here. Unfortunately, not only did we not avoid smoke from it, we took a direct hit on Saturday night and were getting another direct hit Sunday night before the wind changed in our favor. Saturday night into early Sunday afternoon sported smoke stink, low visibility and questionable air quality. My “handyman’s air cleaner” has been working well, keeping the air pretty nice indoors.

    MSG? That stuff is NOT good for me either. If I want to get seriously ill for a week or more, I’ll go somewhere and have several slices of whole wheat bread, a large helping of something soaked in MSG, with 2 or 3 glasses of regular bovine milk for a chaser. (Yes, apparently I’ve got issues with the protein in bovine milk, not only the lactose.) Such a meal would have me out of commission for a good long time.

    On the gluten…Once I figured out that I need to travel with some snacks and fruit and vegetables on hand, it has made things a lot easier. If needed, I can always default to eggs and bacon and hash brown potatoes at any restaurant. Any inadvertent gluten cross-contamination that might occur with that type of meal usually doesn’t bother me. I DO have to read a lot of labels when purchasing anything at the grocery store, however, as ingredients can change, even in what had been safe brands of packaged foods. Basically, it’s part of life so I just deal with it.

    New ideas? Even Einstein said that he stood on the shoulders of giants. Perhaps some few new ideas occur once every few generations, but most of us rediscover existing ideas, or expand on an existing idea, or adapt it a bit to our exact situation, but most of us really don’t come up with any truly new idea. At least that’s my opinion.

    I’m not sure how many seasons the locals had hereabouts in their traditions. This could be some of the knowledge that has been lost during the past 150 years or so. From what I’ve observed among some who try to keep some of the old ways regarding traditional foods (bitterroots and other regional wild root crops, etc.), rather than thinking that now that it is, say, March 21, it is time to go dig bitterroots, Earth is listened to: weather conditions are observed, so that the trip to harvest might be several weeks earlier or later than what the calendar says it should be. They usually get it right, also.


  6. Hi Inge,

    Thank you for your encouragement in this endeavour and I appreciate it. The character incidentally was a mishmash of some of the stories that I’ve listened to on youth news radio. Financial literacy and prudence are two concepts that are not taught these days. Millennials fear credit cards, but are happy to utilise pay day loan apps. It makes no sense to me at all.

    I was hoping to get some more work done on the terrace project in the next few days, but it looks as though a chunk of cold air from Antarctica looks set arrive. Snow is forecast for elevations much lower than here, so fingers crossed for some snow.

    I also wonder about that question and have no clear answer. In some respects, and much like yourself, I did not grow up in a wealthy home that was full of stuff, however at the same time I respect and value frugality and so for me there is no cringe factor. But then, and I’d be curious as to your thoughts on the subject, I do not invest in articles of status. Years and years ago I put those clothes on (metaphorically speaking) and they did not fit me well, so I kicked all pretence to the side.

    Perhaps there is a little bit of the: ‘more than they are’ in the story? Dunno.



  7. Hi Lewis,

    And to think that I believed that I was being subtle in the story!!! 🙂 Yeah, exactly! The characters are investing in status so as to snare a mate. Is this not how (sweeping generalisation alert) a lot of people act? The horse character is a mishmash of stories that I’d heard on youth news radio about how millennials think about debt. Apparently, they fear credit cards (which is questionable in my mind), but they happily utilise some sort of lay by and pay day loan system.

    I salute your previous good taste in tipples, however the mercenary side of my personality was curious to know whether the tab accorded with reality? But I also note that it is water under the bridge now. I was alerted to this possibility in a Jack Vance side-story about a couple of mates at an establishment where they were forewarned about the dodgy keeper and despite their prodigious feats of drinking, they also kept a written tab that was agreed and signed off upon by the serving staff. Needless to say that when presented with the fictional bill, the written and duly signed tab presented a different story and there were consequences.

    Now, you would think that a mercenary little scamp like myself would not get scammed by such tactics, but many long years ago I went to a restaurant that strangely was a bit shifty about providing a menu with stated prices. The editor and I obliviously dined away and the place was packed. But when the bill arrived we discovered that the seafood dish was a nice $99. Not quite $100, but close enough. We paid the bill and decided that despite the quality of the feed, the arrangements did not suit our personalities. And only the other week we were recommended a house specialty ‘gumbo’ which sounded rather appetising. As an older and only marginally wiser person, before ordering I’d inquired about the price of the house specialty, and all was good with the world. Have you ever been stung by such a dirty rotten trick?

    Yet again, thank you for introducing me to: ‘Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel’. What a lovely story. And Burton was onto something as I too wonder about the ‘lights of the city, which grow ever closer’. Although there still remains a goodly and perhaps insurmountable distance (a big call, but one has to dream). I rather enjoyed the authors sensibilities and introduction of her readers into a better use of their visual perceptions. A very wise author and absolutely I disbelieve the authors protestations about subversiveness, which were largely to the contrary.

    Scritchy has a devilish sense of humour, and poor Ollie must accommodate her.

    Very funny about the yoghurt maker! Do you know, I tried quite a number of slow cookers until I chanced upon that particular device. The dodgyness of devices these days tends to bleed the coffers dry, which I guess may be the whole point of the matter. Apart from the modem and computers, no devices here are connected to the interweb. Other people do otherwise… I’m pretty certain that if I let the vinegar age as I do with the country wines (twelve months or more), it probably would end up tasting quite OK. But right now, the stuff is food for the worms.

    Your mention the other day of hormones had me wondering about our soy sauce experiment which I may not have mentioned before. The experiment was abandoned because the drying soy blocks became overcome by fungi to a level that I was uncomfortable with. What can I say other than it is very biologically diverse and active here…

    In the big smoke the other day I walked past a big patch of Daffodils, and the fragrance was quite strong and pleasant.

    No comments have been lost yet, but there is always the first time…

    DJ has provided a view on the ground regarding the smoke, but I’m glad that it didn’t overly affect you. Hold your hats, incoming: Wintry weather inbound for southeastern Australia. I’ll try to keep an eye out for snow over the next few days.

    Would the inspectors peer into the freezer? That seems like a bit of an extraordinary act, but I really don’t know what they could be looking for in the first place?

    Liability insurance is a real pain in the rear. U-pick used to be a thing here down here too, but not so anymore. Labour in agricultural areas is often provided by backpackers who are able to extend their entry holiday visa’s by working in a rural area for a short while. Of course this destabilises other people who may have worked on such rural enterprises.

    Sorry to hear that you are trapped inside, but hopefully the inspection has passed you by (like sands in the hourglass of time!) and the lift is now working? I trust HRH was well behaved and did not bite any of the inspectors? Fluffies can pack a punch.

    I can see that bales would be a problem for snakes. Same, same but different. Down here the snakes are attracted by the frogs and rodents so you don’t have to wonder why I’m keen to ensure that I have the upper hand on the rodent situation.

    Greenhouses are mostly empty buildings down here for some reason. However I was thinking of a building that was closer in design to the chicken run enclosure, because as a building it just works and is always cooler and warmer in the right direction. My thinking there is that the yield would be lower, but the incidence of plant pests and diseases might also be lower. Not sure, it is just a vague idea at the moment.

    Oh! I saw a preview for the documentary on Fred Rogers last year when we were at the cinema. Alas, I have no idea who he is, but the documentary painted a picture of a bloke who tackled complicated and nuanced issues with kids. Most people run a hundred miles from such a task, so he is to be commended.

    How was the new Pet Sematary? A scary concept from an excellent story and author.



  8. Hi DJ,

    Oh that Scritchy, she’s bad and with a wicked sense of humour. Sometimes she pulls what I call: Sad Old Dog Face Number Five. And it looks pitiful, but then the next minute she is bouncing around as if she were a puppy.

    Clay is hard to dig up and that is why we use the electric jackhammer with a wide clay spade so as to break up chunks. Clay is an extraordinarily sticky substance at this time of year when it is full of water. It weighs less in summer when it contains less water particles. But yeah sand is pretty hard too. Mate, land with highly fertile soils and adequate water is dream-land down here – as I suspect it might be in your part of the world too? Or just very very expensive.

    Yeah, the disconnect is weird isn’t it? And the hostility encountered if anyone ever dares poke a hole in their belief bubble about debt. I wrote the characters as hostile and slightly naïve because that is how it looks to me. Thanks for the kind words too.

    Bummer about the smoke, but at least it has blown away for now. It sets ones sinuses on edge does it not? I assume you have to regularly clean the filter in your homemade filter mechanism? But nothing does a job on a person like MSG. Some people can handle the stuff with aplomb, but alas you and I are not one such people.

    However, the gluten and milk proteins is like a double whammy of unpleasantness. Mate, your adaption options sound well tested to me. Exactly too, what else do you do? I’d be curious as to your thoughts, and it may well be a chicken and egg style argument, but do you reckon food allergies are on the rise?

    Hadn’t heard the Einstein quote before, but nonetheless it is very true. Who comes up with genuinely new ideas? And I feel that there is less genuinely ‘new’ stuff on offer these days. I concur with your opinion.

    Bitterroots are probably excellent for a persons health. I’ve read some suggestions from other cultures which suggest that the Western diet is biased towards a sweet and salt basis. Other parts of the world favour bitter flavours, and I did note in the link to the artificial coffee article that Lewis linked to a while back, that the proponents were suggesting that one benefit was that the artificial coffee tasted ‘less bitter’ than the real thing. In Europe, some cultures value bitter foods as an entree so as to begin the digestive processes.

    Anyway, I reckon the people gardening via observation are onto something. The growing season is extraordinarily variable, so we use previous years notes as a guide only.

    Oh no! An Antarctic vortex of very cold air looks set to arrive tomorrow night. The rainfall forecast has some interesting colours, and it may fill up some of the other garden water tanks that are not yet full. But hopefully we also get some snow!



  9. Hi Chris,

    Mike and I were on a streamboat cruising down the Ohio River from Cincinnati to its confluence with the Mississippi and then up the Mississippi to St. Louis over the past week. I’ll write more about that later, after I finish catching up on everything I didn’t get done during that time. I did want to say hi and that I am following the adventures on the farm with interest. Sitting Duck seems to be an astute observer underneath the somewhat bewildered persona.

    When I got out to the garden yesterday I found many large cucumbers, tomatoes of course, the first ripe red peppers, and the first of the raspberries ready to pick. The corn ears have appeared as well. Might have a decent corn harvest as we continue to get some rain and it isn’t too hot.


  10. Yo, Chris – Oh, I never was concerned about the tab in that bar, I worked in. The owner, Judy, was a no nonsense, straight shooter. A business woman. She could have her warm moments, but you always knew where you stood with her.

    Restaurants with no prices on the menu. Well, if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford the toll :-). Several businesses, at the “high” end, are like that. Usually some “luxury” good, or another. Some antique shops (not that there are a lot of those around, anymore) or even flea market spaces are like that. Once I get the drift, I back right out. LOL. At the level I run in, I think such things are rather pretentious. Good old O. Wilde once said something about people who know the “cost of everything, and the value of nothing.”

    Nice of you to build all those terraces. Ready made for a row of terrace houses, once the city get out to you. :-).

    I read the article about your upcoming weather. Blizzards!!!??? Make sure to tie a rope to a post on the veranda, and the other end to you, before going out to feed the chickens. Midwestern farmers used to do that to go to the barn, or privy.

    Oh, they didn’t peer into my freezer (other than to get twitchy about the fact that when it is centered, the oven door doesn’t quit open all the way.). But they peer into the fridge to make sure your not hoarding rotted food (hence, making my garden scraps vanish, the night before). And the freezer on that, to make sure the vents aren’t blocked. That unit belongs to them, and they don’t want it damaged.

    Well, I had my inspection. Three down, and (maybe), one to go. This time, it was Tara (building manager of the Centralia facility) and our building manager. Tara did my first inspection, our manager, my second. This was interesting, to me, and I tumbled to something. They clearly don’t read their own reports. I’m sure they get filed somewhere and forgotten. They both commented on my non-working garbage disposal (which I never use) and I said “As noted in your two previous inspections.” Ditto, a window blind that has a few bent places (I could care less). As noted in their two previous inspections. “This will have to be replaced!” (For the third time … when pigs fly). I think the whole thing is just a posterior covering bit of paperwork. In case something goes wrong.

    I’ll watch “Pet Sematary”, tomorrow night. Last week, I watched a bio about the author (Schwartz) who wrote the three volume “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” Kid’s books. Which I’ve never read, but used to see bouncing in and out, at the library. I didn’t realize it was so upsetting to some parents. On the most banned books lists, through most of the 1990s. It’s really the re-telling of folk tales, from all over the world. The author even provides notes in the back, telling what their origins are, and where and when they first appeared. I think the illustrations were also upsetting, to some parents. But, I enjoyed the footage of school board meetings. Religious fanatics frothing at the mouth about demonic influences, or elderly ladies getting all weepy about “the children.” And, a few voices of reason. “I don’t care what the kid reads, as long as they read.”

    I am dipping into one of the Great Course, DVD lectures. “Language and Society: What Your Speech Says About You.” (Prof. Fridland, 2014). Pretty slow going. Deep. But, sooner or later, I’ll get to the bits on dialects and social class. I’m also reading “Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States.” (1994). By good ol’ Bill Bryson. So, that at least, will be entertaining, and amusing. More accessible (to me.) One interesting thing I ran across was that many words, that fell out of use in England in the 100 years after the Pilgrims landed, were preserved, here.

    It was slightly cooler, yesterday. It’s supposed to be slightly cooler, today. And, we may even see a bit of rain by Friday night / Saturday. Lew

  11. Hello again
    I also regard status and its trappings as unimportant. In the past I have moved in most areas of society and can fit in fine if necessary but it interests me not at all. Having said that, I must admit that occasionally I have enjoyed surprising people by suddenly fitting in when it wasn’t expected.
    Financial literacy and prudence are definitely in short supply and not just amongst millennials. I hadn’t noticed them avoiding credit cards.


  12. Hi everyone,

    The recycling story has become much darker…

    Victorian councils sending thousands of tonnes of recyclables to landfill as waste crisis deepens.

    I can’t say that I’m impressed at how the ‘powers that be’ appear to be handling the unfolding (excuse the pun) situation. The other thing that interests me is just how few people ‘on the street’ are actually aware of this story. An unflattering assessment of the situation would be that most of the people involved are just hoping that it all goes away… That place called ‘away’ is a beautiful place just waiting to receive all of the err, rubbish.

    The plastic in particular contains an awful lot of embodied energy.



  13. Chris,

    Ach, Scritchy, my bad.

    My experience with clay, all of it many decades ago, is that it’s not exactly easy to dig with when dry either, but dry is better than wet. I remember when about 4, dad was watering the roses. Our soil in that part of southern California was clay. We left to visit relatives, returning home several hours later. Somebody had forgotten to turn off the water. Dad had to wade through the saturated clay to find the end of the hose. I waded in to help and got stuck. When dad picked me up, the clay sucked my sandals off my feet. Although he found my sandals and the end of the hose, he was NOT happy.

    Some of the best soil in North America is just to the south of Spokane: the Palouse region, whose north end is in south Spokane County. Water is the issue there, of course, as this IS the dry side of Washington. Wheat and lentils are the primary crops.

    Much of Central Washington also has fertile soil, but that is even more arid than the Palouse. It is irrigated mostly by the Columbia River, via the Columbia Basin Reclamation Project.

    I wonder, as we continue on our long descent, which will fall by the wayside first: pumping water to these arid areas for food production, or limitless internet for everybody?

    We got about 14 hours of relief from the smoke is all. Air quality was “Unhealthy for All” by early Monday evening. It has improved drastically throughout the day, but will likely get worse overnight.

    And the weather is NOT helping the fire situation. 37C here with 15% humidity. And the closest fire also had access to airplanes scooping up Columbia River water? Too smoky for the airplanes, so the fire really grew Monday. Next update will be available Wednesday morning.

    One of my coworkers is celiac and lactose intolerant. She loves fish and chips, the fish being coated with wheat flour of course. There’s one place in town where she can eat fish and chips without getting noticeably ill, so she says. She resists when I tell her that the gluten is damaging her gut even if she feels okay, and that each exposure takes 6 months to heal. So, not everybody will adapt, which I don’t understand.

    Food allergies? I think there’s 2 different things going on. With things like celiac that are genetic immune disorders, I think that many of us were not truly celiac with the wheat that was grown in the 1940s. Now that the wheat has been engineered to produce umpteen (very technical term) times the gluten per bushel, and hence umpteen times more bushels of wheat per acre, many of us are having problems. Add in the overuse of Roundup (bleeping Monsanto) and other pesticides, there are many different routes in which, say, my gut could have gotten damaged leading to celiac-like symptoms.

    Then there’s the overuse of antibiotics in meat production as well as the overprescribed antibiotic issue for decades. All of these wreak havoc on the gut to one degree or another. So my opinion is that many of these autoimmune issues may have correlation to these other things that go into our commercial food production.

    In addition to the autoimmune things like celiac, I think these “additives” may cause an increase in overall food allergies that are true allergies. I hold the same opinion about some of the increase in respiratory allergies, although a good chunk (another precise technical term) of the increase of respiratory allergies is (probably) proven to be due to climate change.

    My handyman’s air cleaner is a 20 inch square Merv 13 filter sealed with duct tape to the intake of a 20 inch box fan. I got a box of 6 filters for $30. An air cleaner with HEPA filters and Merv 11 prefilters goes for $200 to $500 depending on volume of air it can handle and other factors.

    My central AC via heat pump is filtered through Merv 11 filters. I keep the furnace fan on constantly with the smoke, so the air is always getting recirculated and filtered. Merv 11 removes (allegedly) about 65% of the smoke size particulates. Merv 13 removes (allegedly) 85% of that size particulate. If I need it any better, then I need to go with HEPA. Haven’t needed to replace the Merv 13 yet.



  14. Cont…


    I’ve got a PDF copy of a scholarly article about the traditional Nez Perce tribe diet. Most of the Natives from this region had a very similar diet. This was an exceedingly healthy diet, providing a wide variety of foods, high fiber, high nutrient content, and a good mix of sweet, bitter, and other flavor categories. It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost the taste for bitter in the USA.

    Good luck with the rain. Some snow might break the monotony, but you don’t need one of our normal 10cm snowstorms!

    Thanks for the article on the recycle problem. We’re having issues here, too, mostly because of the single bin we have to use for the recycling. It really isn’t hard to presort the stuff after cleaning it, but Americans refuse to do that. IIRC, Mr. Greer had several articles on the old ADR site in which he talked about our culture’s belief that if we got it out of sight, it was “away”, and therefore not a problem.


  15. Hi Claire, Lewis, Inge and DJ,

    Thanks for the lovely comments however this evening I am hibernating whilst the mass of super cold Antarctic air descends upon the farm. If nothing else, the weather over the next few days should be quite epic with snow fall possible down to 400m to 500mm (I’m at about 700m above sea level). For those of you who disagree upon the importance of good bakeries (and also the metric system), 400m = 1,320ft and 500m = 1,650ft.

    I’ll be sure to keep the camera readily to hand, but it looks like snow is incoming for Friday…

    Snow to low levels later this week.

    Lewis – Went out for dinner tonight to a Vietnamese restaurant and the rain kept the punters away. On the other hand the food is usually excellent, but tonight a quiet kitchen meant that the food was exceptional. Singapore noodles with veg was really tasty. Yum!

    But we got rained on a bit during the long walk in the big smoke and I’m now feeling a bit tired so I’m going to sleep early tonight…

    Glad to read that the inspection more or less went well, but have you seriously got another possible inspection coming up in the future? Bonkers.

    And I look forward to reading your review of the latest Pet Sematary film. Can you consume ice cream with such a film? That is the important question! Incidentally have you managed to track down a copy of the latest Bill Murray zombie film? It hasn’t been released at the cinemas down here yet. Anyway the editor tells me no films at the cinema for the next three weeks because the nearby lolly shop closed and is in the process of relocating…



  16. Yo, Chris – Lost in translation? I don’t quit get the connection between the cinema and lolly shop? Time, ice cream and scary movies wait for no man. :-).

    Sounds like a yummy dinner. Make my reservations.

    The Bill Murray film is due out on DVD, soon. I think it is already on my hold list.

    Yup. Possible HUD inspection, next Wednesday. There’s a massive push to do some repairs. In my case, two little things need fixing. Stuff I could care a fig about. So, unless I give permission to have them come and go as they plese (pigs, wings) I’ll have to hang out at home, all day Friday and Monday. Good times. Lew

  17. Hi everyone,

    It is now cold enough here that when outside I can see my breath. The wind is really howling and hail has been falling on and off for most of the day. I really had great intentions of working outside today, but no cigar… Instead I snuck into the big smoke to do a sourcing day and picked up a whole bunch of things that the projects around here require. It seemed like a good idea. Because Ollie chews furniture if left inside and unattended, he got to consider the downsides of that personal choice whilst Scritchy and Toothy hung inside. All up this makes for an unhappy (but still dry) cattle dog.

    However I digress and the pub is calling. Will speak tomorrow and should have plenty of time with which to do so.

    Victoria weather: Residents urged to prepare for severe windstorm, polar blast.

    According to the article, snow is forecast to fall at Mount Macedon tomorrow (I’m at the less fashionable middle spur bit of the mountain range). Fingers crossed, it’s going to be exciting!



  18. Hi Lewis,

    A very true observation about the tab in the bar: Some people are honourable, whilst others will take you for a ride. It is nice to work with an honourable person and be aware of those that are not in that basket.

    Hehe! You’re nailing the observations and yes, not knowing the price tends to make me uncomfortable about what the bill will end up looking like. When I do work for other people, they generally know in advance what I expect to achieve in the time allocated to them and they are thus aware of the cost. Managing expectations is a very complicated business. But I have noticed that sometimes expectations go awry when I don’t manage them. I had that problem recently and it isn’t good to have to deal with after the fact, and you know I just went back to the old faithful routine and ask them what they want to achieve and I discuss what is possible. In many situations, I usually inform other people what I intend to do and ask them if they’re OK with that? As I said, it is a complicated business managing expectations.

    But really expensive items are not for me. And often the maintenance and upkeep of them leaves me feeling uncomfortable that the expensive item is not a long term sustainable proposition.

    Run from those antique establishments seems like a good idea. 🙂 Oscar Wilde was quite astute with the quote.

    I do hope that the mountain side is not inundated with urban sprawl, but there is the little difficulty with providing infrastructure up here, so I think it an unlikely possibility. Imagine pumping water up hill here… And mate, the terraces, well they’re possibly good for a tent, but better for vegetables and berries. 😉

    No. A true pedant to worry about such a thing with the oven door. I reckon you’re spot on about them not reading their previous inspection reports. I mean the facts speak for themselves in the matter because if they had read their previous report before the inspection, well the thoughtless observations would never be mentioned. Inspections, phooey to them, I hate inspections…

    Pet Sematary? Did the latest film live up to the sheer creepiness of the original story? The story puts me in mind of the film: “the Hand”. Michael Caine put in an excellent performance and the hand was not happy.

    A bit of a shame that the middle ground was lost in the noise about the book. I often wonder if people who seek to ban something fairly innocuous like a kids book about scary stories, fall flat after achieving their goals? Or do they find a new goal to obsess about? The editor has been discussing some sort of issue that she has noticed in other people where they obsess about not getting something or achieving some sort of life goal. It seems like a path that leads to dissatisfaction to both of us, but I do wonder about that. It is possibly a result of being exposed to too much marketing (which we try to avoid like the plague). Back in the day, wasn’t that called ‘not seeing the forest for the trees’? Or something like that. Have you ever noticed people doing that sort of obsessing?

    The good Professor Bill Bryson is an outstanding author. I’ve read many of his books and enjoyed all of them. I even enjoyed the film adaptation of his book ‘A walk in the woods’. It was quite fun and a buddy story.

    And social class and speech and mannerisms are most certainly linked. I aim for the middle ground with that particular story and I don’t go out of my way to alienate others or lift myself above others (what a fine joke that would be!) I have heard people taking up pretentious accents, and avoiding the use of certain words, and I’m entirely unsure what game they are attempting to win. So have you waded through and into a murky topic and I was wondering if you have come up with any conclusions?

    Incidentally, I thought that you were joking around with me about the religious convention in the Camulod books, but no, Merlyn really is going to a religious convention in 429AD! Far out, what a great trip the book is. And he has wisely decided to arrive with some extra authority (veteran troops) just for good measure and appearances. How this will end will be interesting. Is Merlyn apostate? Possibly so, and the forces may find a common enemy in him and the hammer may fall where it will. I’m personally surprised to find that the Bishops in Rome in the story are still able to wield any clout at such a distance given how things are historically ‘progressing’ in the city at the time.

    The connection is that the cinema is best enjoyed with a small bag of mixed lollies (avoiding the green snakes). I mean, who likes green snakes?

    Hope you nab the Bill Murray zombie film soon (no spoilers please, well maybe one or two).

    Well, it is nice that the HUD people are going to repair the minor defects in your place. Not a bad outcome, just rather inconvenient.



  19. Yo, Chris – Holy-mooly, I’m taking a hiatus, today. Things are a bit nuts. Shopping, HRH visit to the vet, got changed, etc. etc.. But my hiatus probably won’t include good and exotic food. Maybe some junk food …

    But, I can squeeze in a review of “Pet Sematary.” Well. Some differences from the book and the first movie. Really depended on a lot of jump scares and shock your mama. The thing that sticks in my mind from the first movie, is the neighbor, played by Fred Gwynne. This time around, it’s John Lithgow. I don’t think he will be as memorable. The father, right from the first scene (even though a doctor) is kind of weak chinned. You know he’s not going to do the right thing. I’d watch the first movie and give the second a pass. Or, read the book. There’s talk of a prequel. But talk is cheap, in Hollywood.

    HUD doesn’t do our repairs. It’s lazy, shiftless, stupid Jack. He’s a minion of the female antichrist. I haven’t quit decided if he’s some ner do well, shirt tail relation, or her boy toy.

    As Little Orphan Annie belted out, “Tomorrow!!!” There was a musical that even I couldn’t stomach. 🙂 Lew

  20. Yo, Chris – Change of schedule, again, so I have a few minutes to pound out a reply. :-). I went out hunting and gathering at the cheap stores, this morning. As it looks like we may be tied up in this repairs/HUD thing, for a week. Now we’re told the the inspection could be on Wednesday. Or Thursday. Or, maybe Friday.

    The cheap stores, well, I realized today that it’s really the staples I save money on. Freezer bags, dish soap, toilet paper, good brown sugar. But, there are always surprises. Two big containers of California raisins, at half the price of Safeway. Reasonably priced California olive oil. The trick is to avoid the cheap junk food. Not always successful, at that.

    “The Dead Don’t Die” will be out on DVD in September. “Anna and the Apocalypse” in October.

    The bar I worked in, before the honest one, well, occasionally my pay check would bounce. The woman who ran the above board bar, did a little tour of the bars in the area … and picked off all the best employees. Including me.

    A lot of places, especially in the medical field, act as if you broken wind in church, if you inquire into the price in advance. There’s some legislation afoot, to end that practice. Costs will be posted.

    Infrastructure? “They’ll” think of something. :-). A mini fusion reactor in every unit. A thousand foot drilled well to tap the water table. See? Easy peasy.

    Well, I think the whole Buddhist thing is kind of about desires and suffering. My friend Scott is exploring his whole Buddhist side, but I tend to tune him out, when he starts banging on. Of course, he tuns me out on some of my manias. :-).

    I’m poking at the language lectures and Bryson book. I’ve been distracted by “Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination” (Parisi, 2018). Shouldn’t take me too long, even though it’s 500+ pages. I do not need to read a synopsis of EVERY script he ever wrote. And, he wrote hundreds.

    The veteran troops will come in handy. Well, the whole period was all about the bishop of Rome, establishing his authority. By any means necessary. Of course, not everyone wanted to go along for the ride. Which is why their are all the orthodox churches. Greek, Russian, etc. etc.. That’s there major difference in doctrine. Who is the Lord High Poobah?

    Forgo a good movie, because you can’t get your lollies? Can’t you smuggle in a bit of a nosh, to cover the lack? Probably cheaper, too.

    My friend Amanda, the vet, told me an interesting story. She had to make a trip to the loo at the Chehalis library. Upon getting herself strapped in, she realized that a giant spider was eyeing her, from a corner. It was enormous. I saw the picture. Bigger than the top of a coffee cup. Said it was the most uncomfortable expedition, of that type, she’d ever made. The next day, I had to visit the library, and said I was their to see the giant, radioactive, mutant spider, that resides in their ladies loo. I was told they captured it, and returned it to the wild. (Born Free!!!). I told them it was a pity they didn’t keep it, and have a naming contest. I’m sure my entry of “Chernobyl”, would have won. Now the real kicker is, my friend Amanda, lives with a snake. Well, I guess we can’t pick and choose our phobias. Lew

  21. Hi Mount Macedon snow chasers,

    It is currently too warm for snowfall. When I woke up the outside air temperature was 2’C and it is now 3’C at 9am. The wind is also blowing too strongly for snow (it has to get much calmer at this elevation for snow to fall). My gut feeling is that the snow may arrive much later this afternoon or tonight, but until then here is the forecast:

    Melbourne for Friday Mostly cloudy. Very high chance of showers, particularly during the late morning and afternoon with local hail and thunder. Snow possible above 500 metres tonight. Winds W 40 to 60 km/h tending NW 15 to 20 km/h in the evening then becoming light in the late evening.



  22. Hi everyone,

    Just an update on the impending snow situation… At 6pm it is 2’C / 36’F outside and the winds have calmed a bit – and it is clear. Any snow wont fall until much later tonight. Tomorrow morning may look very different than right now. There is a swirling mass of cold air which may bring the snow, but it is still a long way away at around Mount Gambier.



  23. Hi Claire,

    What a delightful way to travel – in style too! I hope the chugging of the steam engine (if that is how the boat was propelled) was gentle and soothing? Most of the steam engines that I’ve encountered sounded quite pleasant to my ears – at the agricultural show we attend in late summer, a steam engine society brings out some of their machines, and they’re amazing. Look forward to reading about your adventures.

    Hehe! Sitting Duck has something to say, but I haven’t quite decided how the story will yet play out.

    There’s always stuff to do that needs doing! Tis the nature of the beast! Hehe! I’ve been busting to get outside and dig clay for the past few days, but no, the weather has been against us. Did accounting work today instead. It all has to be done.

    Congrats with the harvest and your growing season appears to be going well despite the heavy rainfall. Nice!



  24. Hi Inge,

    It is a bit of a skill isn’t it? And like you, I also care not a whit for status seeking games. I tell you a funny story. Many long years ago, I decided to improve my facilities for small talk because I felt that it is a valuable skill (as you yourself no doubt have some mastery of the skill if only because you can fit in when it wasn’t expected!) Anyway, I was fortunate enough to have two house mates who were genuinely entertaining people. I hung out with them for many years and learned a lot. But mostly I learned that people enjoy having a bit of a yak. And getting people to talk is a skill that smooths the murky social waves.

    On the other hand I have encountered some folks (usually guys) where talking to them is like drawing blood from a stone. They give you nothing. I have heard people quip that: ‘Still waters run deep’, but I now just feel that such people have little to say in the first place.

    I’m definitely curious as to your opinion on this next one. I’ve noticed that in recent times there has been an emphasis on building self-esteem. However, I feel that without substance (backed by merit and experience) behind the self-esteem, the resulting communications tend to be interpreted by myself (and thus I’m curious as to how you view these displays) as arrogance combined with a sort of naiveté. I can also see brittleness in the self-esteem in the communications and I do wonder if that is why people tend to quickly resort to hostility in order to shut down dialogue. Dunno.

    The millennials have a difficult set of circumstances because the banks do apparently dangle credit cards in front of them and travel has tempted many a millennial. I have heard stories of fear of those cards, but the fear does not transpose over to the pay-day and lay-by-now app services. I guess the smart phone apps which drive such beliefs tend to deliver the goods in the real world, plus there is a comfort factor in there too. Dunno. I avoid all such things, but I have extrapolated the financial literacy indicators from such observations. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.



  25. Hi DJ,

    Scritchy is like a honey badger in that she doesn’t care and can overcome any and all obstacles including being mispronounced. I had fed her tonight a particularly tasty meal and then the 18 year old dog just gave me stink eye, lifted her passenger side leg and did a whizz in the kitchen right in front of me. I chucked her outside in the 2’C temperatures so that she could ponder the consequences of her actions, but no, I have strong doubts that the thought even crossed her recidivist mind.

    There’s been a lot of big talk about snow down to 500m, but at 700m I see no snow… Mind you, looking at the satellite image I can see a swirling band of something approaching this part of the continent. Talk of thundersnow has been strewn around, and it may be true.

    Oh yeah, clay with water is fascinatingly heavy. Far out! Yeah, I can see that the clay may have sucked your sandals clean off your feet. 🙂 When I’m digging the wet clay, every fifteen minutes or so I have to clean the clay off the soles of my shoes otherwise I end up heightening (a Seinfeld reference)! And my feet get heavier as a consequence. Plus the clay sticks to all of the tools. I’ve been busting to get outside and dig for the past few days, but the weather has other plans. Oh my! I just heard the solar water pump send a bit of hot water up to the solar hot water panels so that they don’t freeze and self destruct. We lose a lot of hot water and electricity over winter because of that process. It is pretty cold outside right now, although not like your winters. I must not grumble! Hehe! Well, maybe just a little bit…

    I’m not going to lie to you. I cannot understand what it would mean to farm upon 75m of loess. It would be extraordinary and almost akin to winning the lottery (if you also had plentiful water). The images of the Palouse area are eerily similar to here between early summer and fall in relation to the vegetation. Even the fire ecology works in a similar way to here. I put in a lot of work on fire preparations, but I dare not provide details because not everyone up here agrees upon my methods – despite them working. It flies in the face of hard beliefs.

    Wow. The Columbia Basin images again, well, you know. They actually put me in mind of: Ord River irrigators say bureaucracy stifling agricultural development in WA’s far north. There is a bit of history in there, but the images of Columbia were not that different from many respects.

    Moving water using electricity as an energy source is quite efficient. I just have serious doubts about the longevity of the water pumps and the supply of electricity. I’ve been mucking around with water pumps and solar power for many years now, and they’re good, but long term, well, I better get some hand water pumps.

    We don’t really have the choice as to where we deploy our electrical energy using the grid. The smart meters are part of that story, but they introduce an inordinate amount of complexity to an already complex system. I read an article today talking about a high voltage interconnector between this state and the state of South Australia, and the voltages weren’t as high as I was expecting them to be. Only 275kV and the cables don’t look like they’d run that high a current (it would be far more than DC, but still).

    I have a gut feeling that the interweb will become a more paid for experience and then it will become a more patchy experience. People are enjoying a lot of free stuff at the moment and it can’t go on forever. That is what I call a bait and switch routine. I regularly pay for this website, but it is funded by my day business and I have no wish for donations or advertising. It is not free of cost though.

    Really? The helicopters and aircraft continue fire suppression down here as long as it is day light. And the fire and emergency website is updated very frequently. Also mobile phones get an evacuation warning in an area whether the people heed them or not. It is not the sort of message that a person ever wants to receive. But yeah, been there and done that.

    Fish in batter is not the only way to enjoy fish. Down here, if requested the fish can be grilled with chips instead of being battered. An elegant solution. But yeah, the wheat plant consumed today is not the same wheat plant that was consumed 70 years ago. I’ve heard recent news stories about serious weed smokers (and I have not partaken of the whacky herb as I have no desire to poke around with my mental health) these days presenting at hospitals with symptoms where they can’t get warm and want everlasting hot showers and they are unable to stop vomiting despite anti nausea medication. The question becomes what exactly are they consuming?

    In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the gut is apparently referred to as the ‘Second Brain’. Have you by chance read the book: “Gut” by the author and scientist ‘Giula Enders’? It is on my too read list, but the editor has read it and you may find the book to be quite enlightening.

    Mate, I have experienced seriously smoky air and I hear you. Your air filter is an ingenious mechanism.



  26. Hi Lewis,

    I hope HRH is OK? Visits to the vet are usually unpleasant experiences for the fluffies? Incidentally I have noticed a correlation between humans that have gut problems and their dogs that also have gut problems. One of the factors I’m guessing at which may cause the correlation is that the houses are too clean (i.e. biologically dead). I was thinking about this the other day when I made the next batch of yoghurt as I now have to pasteurise the already pasteurised milk before adding in the yoghurt culture. I have noticed with these processes that any time a blank slate is offered up to bacteria and fungi, well let’s just say that the strongest go feral and there is no symphony of critters holding them in check.

    What constitutes junk food for you? And do you have many options in your part of the world?

    Yesterday as I was also on the big sourcing hunter gatherer experience, I stopped by a place that produces meat pies wholesale. They’re very good pies, and they have a little factory outlet / sort of cafe where I lunched upon a beef and mushroom pie and tomato sauce. Yum. Life is too short for poor fooding opportunities.

    Hehe! Yup Fred Gwynne was a suitably creepy cast for the role of the neighbour who knew what was going on. Great voice too. John Lithgow can dig deep for some serious creepy acting – like how about the series Dexter where he played Arthur the Serial Killer? Absolute 100% creepy that series. Would the story be the same if the father had done the right thing and not placed the babe in the creepy burial ground? Thanks for the review.

    Lewis, I’m sensing some deep feels here (as the kids might say). I seriously do hope the repairs are done with the least amount of hassle, because it does sound as if the story may escalate into strange territory. And who wants to go there?

    Stop it! This talk of musicals is rather trying. Hehe! Now I have the Annie ear worm of tomorrow, going through my head. It is a very catchy little ditty. Interestingly did I mention that the recent musical I went to see for the comedy festival show of ‘The Aspie Hour’ where the lovely young lady (who sat on my knee for an uncomfortable minute or two), was dressed up like the young lady in the Wizard of Oz? Not quite Annie, but in the same mould. She mentioned something about a black dog, but I don’t think that she referred to Toto.

    The moons have aligned and we are both out upon hunting and gathering expeditions. Is this serendipitous? Sure sounds like it. There has been no snow here so far, but the temperatures are plummeting and it looks like something is heading this way from the west. Not sure, maybe tomorrow, tomorrow, something, something, tomorrow, it’s always a day away… Hehe! Incidentally, any film ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ which maintains deadpan silliness, is ripe for the picking of the brains! But maybe dare I suggest: tomorrow? Mind you, you’ll get your DVD for the zombie film before it is even released in this far distant and remote corner of the planet. Who says that your military and industrial complex doesn’t deliver for the citizens?

    I weighed Ollie (out of curiosity) the other day and he is now 37kg / 81 pounds. He is no lightweight.

    But yeah, I reckon the quality free staples are where the savings can be made. I buy a lot of raw materials in bulk and I was told the other day that we’re soon going to a single use plastic bag free situation. Not a bad thing, because I was also jokingly stirring the stall holder up about how crap their bags were in the first place. I mentioned accidentally putting my finger through one of the bags and how desiccated coconut went everywhere. Anyway, we’re ahead of the curve and just purchased heavy duty plastic containers and the market stall holder just filled them up. Me being me, I continued to stir the stall holder up suggesting that this was ‘the future’. It was all good naturedly ribbing. Anyway, they told me what banning single use plastics actually meant because I was curious and I pressed them on the matter: People will have to pay for more heavy duty plastic bags. I smell a bait and switch arrangement because plastic bags used to be free. When I was a kid, my grandmother used to take me shopping at the market and everything went into reusable bags in a shopping jeep. The times they’ve a changed, and the only way forward is backwards.

    Incidentally I’m loving reading about the travels around Britain in the fifth century by our erstwhile heroes on their way to a religious conference. Some time ago I read someone mentioning an account of a French dude in a similar era returning from Rome to Gaul (although his story was factual) during the same era. Have you ever read that account?

    Back in the day when cheques were real cheques, and accounts were real accounts on paper, some accounts people working in some organisations (alright I fess up) were real nervous about their pay cheque bouncing. You betcha, I got that baby signed and immediately left the office and walked to the bank and presented the cheque. Was I meant to be working – Yes. Were they meant to be more solvent than they were – Yes. It was a match made in heaven although it also made for a rather nervous experience.

    Yeah. Absolutely the costs should be posted and then they’ll have to deal with the consequences and horror and sheer blind outrage that accompanies dodgy billing practices. I say, let the prices be known and the chips fall where they will. They may have to spend more on rent-a-cops to subdue the angry and outraged.

    Suffering seems a bit out of context. Surely all of life is not suffering? Didn’t the Gnostics disappear down that rabbit hole too? I’ve noticed that it isn’t particularly catching on. Mind you the editor may feel a bit that way at the moment. She’s watching the Handmaids tale and so I opened the door a little bit a few moments ago and chucked a chocolate at her. There was a small surprised sound of outrage when the chocolate connected, and then a squeal of joy. I’m in the process of slowly dolling out a box of Lindt chocolates. It is a long story…

    Some people burn brightly indeed and Rod Serling may have been one such. What did the book remark upon the personage? I note a quote: “”Writing is a demanding profession and a selfish one.” And also he desired time alone. A very interesting guy.

    Having noted the dismay from Caius at the extent of dilapidation, well my thinking is that veteran troops is also probably the way to go. He is certainly not discovering long lost friends upon the pilgrimage. And I like how the doctor/surgeon ‘Lucanus’ is acting exactly as one would expect from a person who can speak from outside of the hierarchy to the hierarchy.

    Nope. You can argue that one out about the lollies and movies with the editor. Discretion is the better part of valour!

    Hehe! Love the name for the spider, and so true. I didn’t realise that you got huge spiders over in your part of the world? From time to time videos emerge from the murky display case showing some of the monsters from down this way. Always the huntsman spiders seem to earn the baton. And they’re fast little blighters.



  27. Hi, Chris!

    Our internet was out for a week. When the fix-it fellow finally got over here yesterday he studied the problem all day, then finally found it to be some sort of short in the junction box down the road. I borrowed my son’s (cheap) smartphone and it took me half an hour to send one email. I don’t get those things.

    The mention of college debt in your story reminds me of the not-quite-a-few young college students who view the taking on of a student loan as not really being a debt. After all, they will be making a million dollars once they graduate. The university told them (or implied) so. Besides which, rumors have abounded for years that The Government is going to “forgive” that debt and wipe the slate clean.

    Your: “The plastic in particular contains an awful lot of embodied energy.” has me thinking – how much of the energy is still embodied? Can it be harnessed?

    I suppose that we have that “gabion” wire with the squares here, but I have never seen it. I probably just haven’t looked. Ours has rectangles. I’ll say that terrace is a big project!

    Very nice – more firewood.

    Scritchy must have had a case of Frosty Bottom.

    I think that you have hit upon a very good clue in your yoghurt production – the step of pasteurization.

    I am so glad to see the chicken palace again. What a handsome edifice.


    I hope you do get snow. What fun! Ollie will enjoy that.


  28. Hello again
    Remember we have an incredibly class ridden society here. One has to get the manners, accent and language used correct for whoever one encounters if one wants to be considered one of them. I actually do this without conscious thought.
    Oh no ‘self esteem’! There is a long list of words these days that make me want to puke and that is one of them. I am sure that you can think of many others. On the while they tend to require a ridiculous amount of self absorption.
    My son is frightened of credit cards so doesn’t have one. Nothing wrong with a credit card, it is useful. It is debt that is the problem plus complete financial ignorance.


    @ Lew
    Have you read ‘England, their England’ by A.G. Macdonell? I have just started it and think that you might enjoy it. You can, of course, check him out in Wikipedia.


  29. Yo, Chris – How exciting! Possible snow! Funny how there’s always a (childlike?) anticipation to see the stuff coming down. And, the disappointment, if it doesn’t. A sense of wonder that last about … 15 minutes :-). Prof. Mass in his 8/6 post wrote about our “unusual” weather set up, right now. He’s been throwing that word around a lot, this year.

    When I run across people that are taciturn, I just shut up. Most times, they soon get that I enjoy silence, as much as they do. And then they might open up a bit.

    Things that are debt, that people don’t consider debit. You might have been thinking of it when you mentioned Aps, but it seems like every company and utility here, are constantly pushing for “automatic payment.” “Well, we’ll just lift if right out of your account, and you won’t even notice!” There are so many things that can go wrong, with that. Dodgy companies that you have a struggle to get them to quit. Incorrect billings that take forever to sort out. And, if you don’t even notice, some are likely to overdraw their accounts, incur bank fees, and the whole thing just snowballs. The only auto payment I have is on my old people’s phone. Which comes off my one credit card. No chance of an overdraft, there. And, they send me a monthly paper statement. They’re one of the few companies I can think of, that really goes all out for customer satisfaction. The dealings I’ve had with them, have been great.

    Oh, HRH’s trip to the vet was nothing serious. Lots of unnecessary strung un drang. There’s a shot for a disease that pets pick up from wild animals (parvo?). One of the other ladies told Eleanor terrifying stories about “reactions.” So, I checked in with my vet friend (Our Lady of the Spider). :-). Small dogs might have a kind of allergic reaction. Maybe. A vet who knows what they’re doing, gives a half dose. And, you can even have a benedril (sp?) shot, beforehand.

    I offered to take her to the vet, as, the Inmate who usually does that is a hysteric. Which just feed Eleanor’s stress. If there is a reaction, it’s within 15 minutes. So, I’ve reassured Eleanor that if there’s a problem, we’ll whip HRH right back to the vet. I also constantly reassure her, that we’ve got all the time in the world, and not to feel rushed, getting in and out of my truck, etc.. She needs her walker, and it’s easy to pitch in the back of my truck.

    LOL. So, day before yesterday, the vet office called, and said we’re reminding you about your appointment, tomorrow. Eleanor said, but I thought the appointment was for next week? (And, I’m sure she did). No, tomorrow. So, we hi down to the vets to be told … the appointment is next week. I wasn’t upset, Eleanor wasn’t upset, and HRH got a dog lolly. But with everything else going on around here, I’m willing to do my bit to keep Eleanor, unstressed.

    I read something in the last year about the rise and fall of fermentation. The battles that are fought in the beaker. Might have been Katz’s book on fermentation. Maybe. Cont.

  30. Cont. So, what do I consider junk food? Well, anything highly processed that is loaded down with high fructose corn syrup, and “natural” flavors. (Which, here, isn’t very well regulated. “Natural” flavors can mean just about anything.) Exotic oils, highly processed and likely to clog your arteries. Stuff that is over the top salted. And I’d say that more than 50% of the food out there, falls into those categories.

    My local grocery store has entire aisles of biscuits, crackers, chips, exotic popcorns and candies of one sort, or another. They hang off every aisle end. You have to fight your way through them, to get to every cash register. And, they must be made in great surplus, as every cheap food store I go to has them spilling out of case lots. At deeply discounted prices. Sometimes, I am not strong :-(.

    Yesterday, I bought a small pack of pumpkin spice almonds. And, a box of some pumpkin flavored cereal. Just for poops and giggles, I really paid attention to what happens in my brain, when I catch sight of something pumpkin. Something in my brain, switches on. The pleasure and anticipation centers, light up, a bit. I think it’s the nutmeg. Or, maybe some deeply buried pleasant childhood memory?

    Oh, I don’t need major repairs on my place. Just a jammed sink garbage disposal (which I never use. Which is why it’s jammed.) and, maybe, a blind replacement. But, by law (?) they have to give us three days notice, to enter our apartments. We are given the option, to give permission, to have them come and go, at will. Not going to happen. So the best they can do for scheduling repairs, for us old stick in the muds, is “sometime on Friday. Or, Monday.”

    I wonder why it takes so long for a film to be released, in Australia? Heck, these days, I think they send them by satellite, right to the theatre. Back in the “old” days, when they actually moved film stock around, there was a whole circuit. It could take up to three years for a film to reach the end point, somewhere up in the Yukon. I have noticed that films that don’t do all that well, hit DVD really quickly. “Pet Sematary” went from theatre, to DVD in about 9 months.

    The whole plastic bag thing is a hot topic, here. It varies from place to place. The county north of us, bans them. Good old backward Lewis County gives them away with abandon. But how long that will last. I re-use them for so many things. I’ll be sorry to see them go. But, canvas totes are quit available. They’re often give aways, for one thing or another. If you don’t watch it, you can end up with quit a pile. LOL, and just to make things really interesting, I’ve seen articles about the canvas or other cloth bags being very germ ridden. :-).

    “Voyage to Gaul” by Rutilius Claudius Namatianus. Now there’s a name that rolls trippingly across the tongue. :-).

    I may have mentioned him here, or over on Mr. Greer’s blog. Someday, I’d like to get the Loeb classics volume of his “Voyage to Gaul.” The original, the translation and lots of footnotes explaining things and places.

    I also left my paycheck for collection at the bank. The bar owner deposited money, to cover the weekends liquor order, on Friday. My check lay in waiting. :-).

    Some places don’t like posted prices. Because, then you can shop around.

    Serling had a lot of repeating themes. His early work had a lot to do with soldiers and combat. Given that he was in the thick of it, in the South Pacific, during WWII, that makes sense. He probably came back with a severe case of PTSD, and worked a lot of it out in his early plays. Being Jewish, he had a lot to say about prejudice, of all kinds. He had a bit of fear over drying up, as a writer. So, a lot of his stories had to do with “has bins” of one type or another, who either didn’t change with the world, or the world had passed them by. Everything for businessmen to sports figures. Washed up old boxers and baseball players, past their prime. He also had a lot to say about the abject poor and the abandoned elderly.

    We have very few truly poisonous spiders, in the part of the world. Of course there’s the old (urban?) legend about tarantulas crawling out of bunches of bananas. Depending on which source you read, we either do, or don’t have Huntsman spiders, here. But, things hitchhike in. We don’t have rattle snakes, but every once in awhile, a bit of debris comes floating down the Columbia, from DJ’s part of the world, with a hitchhiking rattler on board. Lew

  31. Chris,

    Ahhh yes, old dogs. They do seem to do what they want and give not a fig about consequences.

    Good luck with the snow and cold. Late one May, my sister and I made a surprise visit to my uncle and cousins in Orange County, California. The evening of our visit, it was about 21C, cloudy with a light breeze. Exactly what we were used to. I was wearing a tee shirt and enjoying sitting outside. Everyone else was either huddled indoors or wearing heavy sweaters and jackets. Cold is relative to what one is acclimated to.

    I hear you about fire preparation in rural areas. It can be almost as nasty a topic as religion or politics.

    I’m glad you liked the Palouse article. That is, indeed, some of the most fertile soil anywhere. I enjoyed the article about the Ord River. That looks very much like the Yakima Valley, where my brother in law lives. Irrigation there looks almost identical to the Ord River, and emanates from the Yakima River. A lot of hops and mints are grown there, as well as tree fruit.

    We’re getting smart meters. I can opt out, but that will cost extra. sigh.

    We got about 2.5 mm of rain today. There were supposed to be endless waves of dry thunderstorms and high winds before perhaps rain Saturday night and Sunday. Instead, this came in calmer and wetter. I looked at state transportation cameras and saw that it was wet all around the area, so the fire fighting received some help. We are supposed to get between 8 and 20 mm of rain this weekend. That should give the firefighters the upper hand! Unfortunately, the wind shifted and is bringing in smoke from Canada, so I still can’t open the windows.

    I got the idea for the air cleaner from Cliff Mass earlier this summer. I was happy to see something that practical on his blog.

    Agreed about the internet. You’ve seen what’s coming, I’ve seen what’s coming and Mr. Greer has talked about much the same thing. With that triumvirate in agreement, it’s almost a fact, perhaps? 😉

    I’ve heard much the same thing about modern marijuana. I really have no idea what is in that stuff. I was never interested in the stuff to begin with, but you couldn’t pay me enough to try the modern stuff.

    No, I’ve not read the book by Enders. I’ll add it to my reading list. I’ve been reviewing TCM ideas about the gut for the past several years, though, and it has really helped a lot. TCM is something I’ve gotten a lot of benefit from over the last 20 years or so. I do a lot of reflexology with acupressure and other TCM ideas for a lot of routine care for both the Dragon Warrior Princess and myself.


  32. Hi Pam,

    Oh no! On the other hand I do hope that you enjoyed the quiet moments that interweb outage brings? It is a complicated gangle of technology this interweb thingee, and the modem here packs it in reliably every two years or so. Makes for an exciting existence don’t you reckon! 🙂

    Hehe! Funny about the email. Some people can apparently drive a car and send emails and text messages. They must be good at it because I see them veering all over the place and inexplicably speeding up and slowing down without warning. I struggle sending text messages on my dumb phone and I tell ya, I couldn’t drive at the same time as sending one of those messages. An act that is far beyond my skills.

    Mind you, I don’t know about the driving bit either because it didn’t snow today at this elevation even though it got as cold as -1’C / 30’F outside. But 900ft higher up in the mountain range there was snow everywhere. So this morning just after sunrise, I’m carefully driving along the road at a slow speed way up near the top of the mountain ridge and then suddenly whoosh, the car spins around and I’m now facing the wrong way. Who needs coffee to wake up… 🙂 Ah yes, it would have been much smarter if I put the car into four wheel drive in the first place, but I rarely see snow.

    Yes, I too have heard those stories, but given that student debt is one of the few debts that escapes the bankruptcy procedures, I can’t see it happening. One of the nice things about working for all sorts of businesses is that I know that there are plenty of people who have less formal education whilst being paid far higher sums than I. It doesn’t bother me at all, but the whole ‘return on investment’ discussion is something that people should consider before stumping the cash for higher education. Alas, they consider status instead which thus opens the path to the dark side of the soul.

    The Japanese have a very high coloured waste incinerator building that also generates electricity from the heat produced. Now where is this building (it is a tourist attraction): … … … Osaka rubbish incinerator Maishima looks like Disneyland but is part of Japan’s waste strategy. How cool is that?

    Thanks! The terrace project is epic and will provide a huge space for growing edibles. Despite the awful weather, we may get back to doing some digging tomorrow.

    Scritchy has become rather unusual in her senior years. The Fluffies have done their very best to spend quality time inside the house during this prolonged Antarctic polar vortex.

    Who would have thought that milk quality would decline? Not I! The yoghurt story over the past decade or so has been a fascinating insight into the decline of the industrial food system.

    Ollie was chucked outside whilst we went to see the snow this morning. He is not trustworthy having succumbed to his base instincts and chewed upon the green couch. Standards must be maintained, and he gets to cool (literally in this case) his heels whilst contemplating the error of his choices.

    Hope your summer is going well. Have you had any rain recently?



  33. Hi Inge,

    The same is true of here regarding the class issue. It just does not look the same as your part of the world. And the average person on the street is unaware of its existence, because like an old school club, you have to be invited in. One does not just amble into the long room bar of the MCC without prior invitation and without proper grooming and decorum. My grandfather opened a lot of doors for me, however I was uninterested in what I found on the other side of those doors.

    But yes, absolutely, I could not agree with you more, a person has to display the social mores, and it is also an option for a person to ‘sing for their supper’, as the old timers used to bluntly put the indelicate matter. If I have to sing, I can sing for my supper.

    Well, I’ve always more or less felt that the point of developing ‘self-esteem’ is so that people can become self-absorbed and thus they may completely miss the context that they exist within. Marketing plays to that story, and yes it makes me feel sad too.

    Don’t you feel that the issue comes down to understanding how to use the tool of debt? Such topics aren’t discussed and so people believe what they want to believe, and then whilst they’re busy believing, they get taken by the sharks…

    There was snow in the higher elevations of the mountain range this morning! Yay! I’ll post some photos on the next blog.



  34. Hi DJ,

    Scritchy is a confirmed recidivist of the darkest stripe. Sometimes, she gives me stink eye and just does whatever she wants. Of course, consequences for the naughty old fox terrier are never far away, but does she care? Nope.

    Hey! I almost crashed the dirt rat this morning when I hit a patch of thick ice on the road and the car spun full around 180 degrees. Who needs coffee to heighten the senses? The speed at which it happened was rather alarming. After that I engaged the transfer case and put the car into four wheel drive.

    Exactly too about the relativity of weather. The state of Queensland is akin to the state of Florida and I have heard amusing stories of us southerners (northerners in your case) heading up there during the winter and wearing t-shirts, whilst the locals are all wrapped up in woollen jumpers and remarking as to how cold the weather is.

    Thank you for understanding. People are bonkers about the subject of preparations. When a huge fire hits an area, there is a sudden change of heart about the matter and then there is a lot of soul searching, and maybe even an inquest, but then it all becomes too much like hard work and people go back to doing what they enjoy – which is not much at all. Believe me, Cassandra was listened to in far greater detail. 😉

    The images from the Yakima valley were uncannily similar to the Ord River irrigation district. The thing is, I’ve noticed that it is easier to grow edible plants during dry seasons when you have access to endless irrigation. Seasons that are too wet are a real drama because plant diseases want to consume the plants, and too dry without water looks like a desert to me.

    I don’t see the point in holding out on the smart meter. It will happen. The problem with them as far as I can see it is that they can be operated remotely. The question then becomes in my mind – who is operating them and how secure is the device? Interweb security costs me and I just try not to present an easy target.

    Ouch. Sorry to hear about the smoke from Canada, but still the local rain is an amazing boon. Compared to some previous summers, you guys are having a pretty good summer, really.

    I enjoy the Cliff Mass blog, as he is an excellent communicator. I do hope the idiot element has found something else to do other than harass the bloke?

    Hehe! I like the sound of triumvirate. It sounds authoritative and my head is expanding to fit the space!!!! Hehe! Not really, but it makes for a good story. 🙂

    Modern marijuana has a THC content of about 20%, and whilst I salute such plant breeding techniques, it is probably a bad idea. From my understanding bush buds used to be around the 5% mark for THC and way back in the day (bear in mind that I have never smoked the stuff due to not wanting to upset my happy mental balance, and have only anecdotal accounts from stoner friends) nobody had psychotic episodes or this latest really weird outbreak of strange reaction. If I could put those plant breeders to better work, I’d recommend increasing the sugar content of sugar beets beyond the 20% mark.

    Well, I recommend the book highly and also TCM has much to say upon the subject. Sometimes western medicine tends to attempt to break complicated interlinked systems into ever smaller parts, but the workings are as a system rather than component parts. It is an over relied upon tool me thinks.



  35. Hi Lewis,

    There was only the lightest dusting of snow here this morning, despite the outside air temperature dropping to 30’F. It sure felt cold, but despite that we woke up at dawn and headed up to the higher parts of the mountain range. They’re about 900ft above the farm so if there was going to be snow, that’s where we’d find it. Stopped off for a coffee along the way, and then hit the snow.

    I managed to spin the car around 180 degrees at an alarmingly rapid rate and also without warning. Yup, note to self: Engage four wheel drive when driving in snow in future. I can’t even begin to imagine how you lot drive with snow and ice as much as you do. It is a mystery to me… Looks like you’re all set for a thunderstorm yesterday and today according to Cliff Mass. Hopefully you get a bit of rain along with the storm?

    Your method of speaking with the taciturn is probably a far superior model than my own shoddy chatterbox methods. Next time I encounter such a person I shall engage your advice. Report to follow…

    The thing with automatic payments is that as you correctly observe, the person isn’t confronted with the bill and they may not see that the price is rising. Years and years ago I worked for a business that used to regularly stuff up such automatic credit card payments. It was a sore trial working at that place, but it is nice to experience one’s personal limits, because then you know when to avoid certain unpleasant situations in the future. As a personal philosophy, it more or less works. You’ve mentioned the telephone company before and such treatment is indicative of a healthy culture – which is a top down thing.

    Ah, parvo shots. I have been recommended that particular shot for the dogs despite the simple fact that the disease is not known to exist in the area. My last visit to the doctor came with a whole bunch of hectoring about pathology tests and I wasn’t there for that purpose. The dentist wanted to x-ray my mouth too the last time I visited them. I keep hearing at the back of my mind: ‘Do you want fries with that?’ I know these things are being offered in my best interests, but deep down I know something is going to take me out sooner or later. Anyway, rant, rant. I hope that HRH was not put out by the experience?

    Ah yes, hysterical people can quite raise everyone else’s stress levels. In genuinely stressful situations I’m blunt enough to tell such people to shut up so that we can all deal with the stressful situation. Works for me, but also does not win friends, but at the same time achieves results. Most of the time I am very diplomatic with people, but sometimes focus is important when things are rapidly spinning out of control. You have a more winning approach with Eleanor, and I too would have likewise tried to just soothe the ruffled feathers. These things happen and at least HRH scored a dog treat. HRH is clearly winning out of the deal.

    Hey, the ‘natural’ business gets chucked around here. On that basis radioactive waste could possibly be described as natural! 🙂 Maybe not, but it is a funny word that can mean all sorts of things. Salt is natural, and as they say, there’s plenty more salt in the sea. Some of the exotic oils are a bit weird, and I for one do not enjoy the taste of palm oil which tastes a bit rancid to my palate, but nobody else seems to notice. I don’t understand that aspect of the story.

    Be strong Lewis! Sometimes a packet of chips can hit the spot, although I can’t recall purchasing one for a long while. I dunno, it is really hard if you’re confronted with such food, the herd mentality kicks in and if everyone else is eating such food, then it’s all cool – it must be OK. I dunno how other people deal with that story, but we just set hard limits around what we eat in the house, and then don’t really stress out about food bought off the property. Like today I had a sausage roll and a lamington from a local bakery and they were really good. What would Alfred E Neumann suggest?

    Was the pumpkin flavoured cereal any good? It sounds intriguing – and I add Pepita’s into the toasted muesli mix. Pumpkin seeds are very good for men’s health. Nutmeg is a superb tasting spice. Yum!

    Yeah, I wouldn’t let them into the apartment either without me being around. It pays to be careful as you have no social relationship with the person.

    I dunno why the release date is so far behind your cinemas. The risk is that people may possibly download the film and the distributor and cinema’s both lose sales. Were the films being stored up in Yukon? I can see why they may have finished their rounds up there. I can’t say that I’m much of a fan of the churn of these products. It is like the book or music market in that it is saturated and some authors do really well and the cost is borne by everyone else in the industry.

    Ah, as to canvas totes, I spotted that someone had repurposed coffee sacks, lined them and sewed in a strong handle and was selling them at the cafe I frequent in the big smoke. They look really good as the sacks were from a supplier up north and a giant kangaroo was printed on the tote bag. Very cool.

    Thanks for mentioning the Roman poem and poet and the subject bears much upon the book. I’ll read the conference first so as to get my head in a better zone for the discussion. Yes, the original with footnotes would be most interesting indeed. Britain 429AD incidentally does not appear to be a safe place to be wandering about the landscape without an army in tow.

    Hehe! Very wise. The business that I worked for way back in the recession troubled days was busy converting their equity into debt, and fortunately I had a good handle on when the cash was flowing into the bank. Interestingly in those days, the banks used to be quite good about cheques if they were a regular enough payment.

    The shopping around in your medical system will happen. Your system would make for a nervous existence – and I’m surprised that there are not outbreaks of violence over the bills.

    Yes, I can see that about Serling and the PTSD. One of the plays mentioned that a parachute drop was stuffed up, and the planes following the first stuff up repeated the error. A very unpleasant experience which he was lucky to survive. From what I’ve heard on the radio, it appears that there is a real lack of support for people who leave the forces. I mean they provide meaning, purpose, routines and friends (or enemies and/or comrades) and then it is all taken away. For some folks that itself could be a traumatic experience. Yes, well the Jews have experienced prejudice in a most brutal way. As an author he may have been correct, because everyone fades, but I also note that those who do so have usually stepped out of the ring. Practice, and continued practice is the watchword! 🙂

    You wouldn’t want huntsman spiders, but given how shipping is these days. Ook!



  36. Chris:

    Yes, my no-internet interlude was blissful – except for missing Fernglade!

    What a scary and exciting moment your tailspin must have been. When I was a college student in El Paso, Texas when we had snow or ice (it wasn’t often) we would find an empty parking lot and do tailspins with car. Much safer than your method!

    The Osaka incinerator is indeed cool. And not just for its architectural design, but that it can dispose of waste and generate electricity, AND produce cement out of the waste. At least it offers one sort of solution for waste disposal, though the construction cost is enormous. After all, for the same price one could just build another embassy (ie. the U.S. Embassy in Iraq).

    We had a rain shower yesterday.


  37. Hello again.
    I suppose that there may be an option to sing for ones supper but I am not convinced; not in the higher echelons me thinks.
    Manage debt if one must but better not to have it at all.
    We are at the tail end of a massive storm. Very little rain but oh the wind. I took my life in my hands to go visiting as I knew that there were vegetables waiting for me. Massives of stuff had come down from the trees. Too much veg. for me to carry back so Son will go up tomorrow.
    Then a friend visited bringing me even more veg. She said that a huge branch was down, too large for her to shift. So that came down after I passed through.


  38. @ Inge – Laughing at myself, I was worried that your recommendation might be one of those dreary public school novels. Young man meets upper class mate, is taken in by his family, and later, brutally betrayed. It’s practically a genre. All the way from “Brideshead Revisited” to “Line of Beauty.”

    But this sounds like way more fun. More like “I Capture the Castle” or “Cold Comfort Farm.” My library didn’t have it, so I put it on interlibrary loan, this morning. I see he also wrote something called “Visit to America.” I may have to read that, later. Lew

  39. Hi Chris and all,
    Haven’t been online much this week. My sister, Mary, died in her sleep very unexpectedly last Saturday. The autopsy found she had some heart disease so probably a heart attack but nothing definitive. I figure the heart disease and all the job stress she’s been under for years was the cause. She was an oncology pharmacist at a big hospital just outside of Chicago. She saw, as she termed it, much ugly death so we do take comfort that she died quickly. She was only 59.

    I know I always wonder when I don’t see a regular commentor for awhile so thought I’d let you know what was going on.


  40. Yo, Chris – When I have narrow misses like your snow slide, I often think, “Well, my ticker is still in good order.” We’re VERY into tire technology, over here. There are special snow tires. There are studded tires. But, by law, those have to go on in the fall, and come off in the spring. There are chains. We have some very good tire stores, here, and when I went in for my last set, I just asked for something medium priced that would be good in rain, and snow. It also helps if you throw a bit of weight in the back end. Bricks, or buckets of concrete. Large logs. Bags of sand.

    Scritchy better watch it. If she acts like a dotty old auntie, she’s liable to end up locked in the attic :-).

    Oh, HRH was very good on our little road trip. She got to take her first ride in Uncle Lew’s truck! She’s a very curious little dog, always up for new adventures! She didn’t even respond to the other dogs in the waiting room. Clearly, beneath her notice. And, she got a doggie lolly. Wash, rinse, repeat, next Tuesday. We do have Parvo, around here. And I’ve noticed droppings from raccoons or possums, around the place. We try and steer clear.

    Here’s an interesting article, from the Atlantic magazine, about probiotics, nutrition, bacteria, etc. etc.. Apparently, your supposed to eat the apple core. They even have a short instructional video! Oh, when I’m out and around, I don’t worry too much about what I eat. I’ve got my knee jerk “No thank you”, down pretty pat. But if the stuff is in the house, it’s gone in no time. I found more of the orange chocolate balls…

    Here, the advertising law is pretty hazy on “natural”, “organic”, etc. etc.. Usually, they have pictures on the package of cheery looking little barns and a contented looking animal or two. The sun is always shinning. It’s the small print, you have to pay attention to. And, I mean small. I carry my small magnifyer, with me.

    Well, yesterday was supposed to be one of the two days Lazy Shiftless Jack was supposed to do my repair. I slipped won to the garden to pick the peas (all six of them) and he was in the hall, when I got back upstairs. I asked if my apartment was on his list for today. He checked his very officious looking clipboard, and said it had already been done! Yup. The garbage disposal was repaired, and nothing, that I could see, disturbed. So, I’m not too upset. I really wonder if some of The Ladies, won’t let a little something or other slip, as far as a standard goes. :-). The last regime got a 97% on the last HUD inspection. Not that we’ll ever probably hear what we get, if it’s lower than that.

    Oh, yeah. The films in the Yukon were stored … in a buried swimming pool. I watched a documentary, about it. The movie studios didn’t want them destroyed, but were vague about the shipping costs back. First they were stored in a local library, then a disused bank vault. That’s circa 1920. In the 1930s, a recreational building was torn down, and the indoor pool (swim in summer, ice hokey in winter) was filled in. With, the films as part of the fill. And, forgotten. Recent construction involved excavating. And, the films started spilling out of the ground. National Film Board of Canada and our Library of Congress split the big job. Some films were totally a wash. Other’s could be restored. There were some real gems. Lost silent films, newsreels, etc.. There was a baseball scandal in the early 20s (fixed game?) and there was film of that. Now, nitrate film is VERY unstable. Getting the films to Toronto and Washington, D.C., was a problem. No haulers would touch them. Finally, the Canadian and American military, were pressed into service.

    Rutilius’s little excursion was decades earlier than the expedition to the religious conference. It was soon after the 410 sack of Rome. I do wish there were more information, about the man. And, more of his writing available.

    Speaking of our medical system, there was an article I just read. Up in Whatcom County, a man in his 70’s shot his wife, and then himself, due to her ever mounting medical bills. He called the police, told them what he was going to do. Said they’d be in the front bedroom and that instructions would be left. They tried to keep him on the line, but he hung up, and followed through. It’s not such an unusual story.

    I stumbled on a very good (to me) movie, last night. “Limehouse Golem.” It’s about a serial killer, in Limehouse. There are some similarities to Jack the Ripper, but it’s set a few years earlier, and no references are made to Jack. It’s about a police detective, hot on the trail. There are twists and turns. A lot of the action takes place in and around a music hall, so that’s interesting. There’s quit a bit of gore, but, being an English film, they don’t linger lovingly on those bits. You can glance away, and get past them. I stumbled on it, quit by accident, and don’t know why it didn’t get more play. I think it’s quit good.

    Picked more blueberries, yesterday. But, as some of my gallons were a bit “light,” I used them to fill in. So, we’re still at 9 gallons, in the freezer.

    We had a bit of lightening, last nigh. But so far off, there was no thunder. And, then, it poured rain. I didn’t have to get up early this morning, to water. Could sleep in, an extra two hours!

    I stopped at a garage sale (an American pass time … you can see bumper stickers that say, “I brake for Garage Sales.”) down the street at the fine old house that sold (or, did it?) for over $300,000. There was some fine furniture. Not my style, but, really nice. Two drop front desks (mahogany, colonial revival, 1920s or 30s). One was a flat top with claw feet, the other had the glassed in cupboard, up above with broken pediment). One was $65 dollars and the other $75. 20 years ago, they would have gone for $350 and $750+, easy. I found a small, blue, depression glass dish, with silver plate handle. 1930s. For $1. Wonder who made it? 🙂 Lew

  41. Chris,

    Glad the ice incident only woke you up and that no damage was done. COLD snow is usually dry and is almost like driving on sand. Wet snow turns into compact ice: it and ice are treacherous, as you well know. Back in the day, I was driving my sister and me to high school. I was a newish driver, and we’d had a nice coating of 3mm of ice on the roads. I had to make a left turn from a stop, and promptly did several 360s while the car moved generally in the proper direction. Sister was screaming, I was just letting the car stop, which it did perpendicular to the travelled way but pointing at an entrance to a parking lot. We entered the lot, started breathing again, continuing to school a few minutes later. Ice 1, DJ 0.

    Irrigation is the great game changer for crops, isn’t it? I just wonder what we’ll be able to do irrigation wise in a few decades if the electricity isn’t available to move the water.

    I like visiting my relatives in the Yakima Valley, although it can be much hotter there than here. But the landscape is interesting, and on clear days Mt. Adams and Mt Rainier are both visible.

    The smart meter? No brainer, just roll with what the utility company wants. The internet security things bother me, but some things realistically can’t be fought with any reasonable expectation of success.

    Very true, this has been a nicer summer than some of the recent ones. It reminds me of what summers were like when I was younger, except there is more wind now. The smoke from Canada turns out to be from a new fire about 90km north of here. If the gathering thunder clouds don’t spark a zillion more fires before the rains come, there should be a lot of relief from the fires the next few days.

    Increasing the sugar in sugar beets or increasing the nutrients in other vegetables would be good projects, but there might not be so much money in them as increasing the THC in weed or the number of loaves of bread per bushel of wheat by increasing the amount of gluten. Those things affect profits greatly, and the things that would be more useful might not?

    The TCM view of a human as a system seems to be infinitely superior to the western medicine idea, as you said. How can breaking it into smaller and smaller parts really tell anyone what is going on with the entire system? But that’s a habit that is endemic to industrial society and not just its approach to medicine.

    Oh, as Lew mentioned, adding weight near the rear axles of a rear wheel drive vehicle does aid with traction. Maybe the Australian Cuddle Dog is of appropriate weight?


  42. Hi Pam,

    Glad to see you back on the air!

    This morning was the biggest snowfall that I’ve experienced here. I reckon about two to three inches of snow fell. Snow is reasonably rare here so it was a lot of fun. Although talk of work became just that, talk.

    Hehe! Tailspins are a lot of fun too, and down here we call them burn-outs. Suzuki’s are not known for producing vehicles that can reproduce that particular effect. 🙂 I was very glad that it was early in the morning and there were few if any other cars around. Incidentally, I was particularly grateful not to have dropped off the side of the road and into the forest because it was reasonably steep at that point in the road. The road was unsurprisingly closed this morning.

    Hehe! Embassies must be a bit of a thing because there was talk about moving the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem. The talk didn’t go over too well with the locals for some strange reason. International politics is completely beyond my understanding. 🙂 The move I believe has been quietly shelved as a bad idea with little community support.

    Japan has many of those facilities and I feel that it is a more honest assessment of the realities. But it also just happens to be a really cool looking building.

    Yay for your rain!



  43. Hi Inge,

    What you say is true regarding the higher echelon’s. It is very possible that they exist within a bubble – and for all sorts of reasons I feel that is a dangerous space to inhabit. But at the same time, for them it is a self-defeating strategy.

    Exactly about the debt. Personal expectations must also be managed at the same time otherwise people fall for the spell of marketing. I assume you don’t encounter much marketing? I avoid it if possible.

    Massive storms appear to be a bit of a thing… Victoria cold weather blankets towns in snow, forces closures on ‘treacherous’ roads. The waterfall in the video is Trentham falls which is not too far from here.

    The wind is nature’s pruning tool. Hope your neighbours have access to chainsaws (and also know how to use and maintain them)? I was a bit worried this morning about trees falling due to the sheer weight of the snow held in the canopy, but the wind appears to do more damage.

    Congrats on receiving the veg. I’m always amazed when people grow fruit vegetables and then either don’t consume them – or they have no idea what to do with the volume of produce. I don’t get that story at all.

    A lovely neighbour dropped by this morning and offered the future use of a bobcat to bring large rocks back up the hill. Happy days! It is a regret of mine that I sent the rocks downhill in the first place. Act in haste and repent at leisure seems to sum up the situation.



  44. Margaret,

    I’m so sorry for you, and you have my condolences for the loss of your sister, Mary. From memory, you two were close. Have you held a wake in memory of Mary?

    Oncology would be a tough area to work in, and as such it would be an extraordinarily emotionally draining job. Your sister got a rough deal departing at such a young age, and I hope outside of work she enjoyed life.

    Thank you for your consideration and I had been wondering, but out of politeness did not want to intrude.

    With sympathy,


  45. Hi Lewis,

    It was an exciting way to test the bodies response to a large shot of Adrenalin. I wouldn’t have considered that aspect of the incident, but yeah. I’ll bet you felt that way after the deer / Ranger incident a year or two back? I only remembered that because it is like a nightmare scenario for me (hitting a deer or other animal). Once I’m in the forest at night when the animals are out and about I drive at no more than 25mph due to the risk. On occasion, other vehicles roar up behind me out of nowhere, and I usually let them go by as they have to run their own story and risk.

    It is funny what a difference half a world away can make. Nobody thinks of snow tyres down here. But up in the much higher alpine areas (not this mountain range that’s for sure), you do have to carry steel chain get ups which fit over normal road tyres. They’re not much fun to fit, but yeah up in your part of the world, something more permanent would be required.

    Hey, at least the dirt rat veered away from the steep slope on the side of the road when I momentarily lost control. Falling off the side of the road and down the hill would have been a problem.


  46. Hi Chris,

    Well done avoiding the steep slope when spinning your car! Mrs Damo and I (would it be impolite to point out Mrs Damo was driving?) had a similar spin in western tasmania. Not even going fast, nice thick 4WD tyres, going sedately around a corner, and the rear just kept going 🙂 After engaging 4WD we didn’t spin out for the rest of the drive, despite driving in worse conditions. There may or may not have also being deliberate hooliganism on deserted stretches of thick, snow covered roads…


  47. @general discussion

    I was reading the comments on Greer’s Blog yesterday and found his comments on Greta Thunberg bemusing. She is saying much the same thing Greer is saying, and seems to actually walk the talk (not flying etc) but apparently she is a selfish teenager, tool of Davos set, etc?

    /shrug, I don’t know enough about Thunberg to have strong feelings either way, but I can’t help but feel Greer, consciously or not, is doing a bit of trolling here.


  48. @DJSpo

    RE: bread and pies in land of the free

    Yes, I definitely agree with you on sugar content in American breads. Also, cinnamon. Like, in everything 🙂

    Your theory on lack of good pie options seems as good as any. Maybe one day the humble pie will become a hot trendy item in the US, like Sushi, or matcha flavouring, and suddenly you can’t throw a cat without hitting a gourmet pie store 🙂


  49. @ Margaret
    I am so sorry to hear of the death of your sister, she was much too young for that. My thoughts are with you.


  50. @ Lew
    I am only a quarter of the way through Macdonell’s book and can’t think of anything to compare it to. The humour is quintessentially English but more erudite than ‘I capture the castle’ or ‘Cold comfort farm’ both of which I re-read at intervals.


    @ Damo
    I think that I agree with you re Greer’s comments about Greta Thunberg. It might have been wiser not to comment on her. I do fear for her though and am not sure how she will cope in the future.


  51. Hi Lewis (the double secret continued edition),

    Did you recall to feed dotty the old Aunt? I may have forgotten to feed her as well for a bit. Hope she is OK? She has been rather quiet of late. 😉 Dot used be short for a ladies name. I believe it may have been short for Dorothy? You don’t hear that name much anymore.

    Sorry to hear that parvo is in your area, and it is rather unpleasant for our pooch companions. But two visits to the vet in short succession with treats. HRH is winning. And ignoring other dogs and acting like the better canine is part of the way of the Fluffy. Sir Poopy used to have that trick down pat, and he knew just how close he could get to in order to really annoy other tethered and rabid acting pooches. Old Fluffy on the other hand used to engage and mostly win the bout regardless of the size of dog – with the single exception of the Crunchy Beagle. Don’t tangle with a Crunchy Beagle.

    Yeah the food issue is a serious problem, and you may note that I try to consume as much produce from the garden as is humanly possible. The apple core result is surprising, but food fibre, like charcoal / carbon additives in soils has a lot of surface area, which is home for bacteria and fungi, so it makes sense. Interestingly, the gut problem is also the same problem playing out in industrial agricultural soils. Same, same but different.

    The word ‘organic’ is highly regulated when it comes to food, but ‘natural’ has about as much meaning here as it does up your part of the world. When I see that word I tend to think: radioactive. 🙂 Hey, what is it with font size these days? This is a bugbear for the editor and I and we tend to feel that just because we have the technology to print 1 point fonts, does not then mean that it is a good idea to do so. Some of the labelling these days is bonkers small.

    Good to hear that Jack fixed the disposal unit and more importantly had not disturbed anything. And the ladies do need to maintain the high standards that your crew have achieved. I usually hang around if tradies are working on the house, inevitably I can pitch in and assist, with the exception of the plumber who has apprentices running around and has no need for me to get involved.

    Wow! I’d heard of the Yukon film repository (!) and it may have been you that mentioned it. If the military can’t handle a lot of canisters of nitrate film (no small or risk free job, moving that stuff), then pretty much nobody could do it. It is nice that the two governments chipped in and rescued the footage that could be saved. Sometimes taxes are well spent. And the arts need patrons.

    Don’t you feel that there is a story behind why that particular section of Rutilius’s expedition was copied over the years? On the other hand the scribes would have been faced with an enormous task.

    Hmm. I have heard such stories from down here. Check out this one: The mystery of the Miles family and a Margaret River murder-suicide that has shocked the world. Some people seek neat endings.

    Thanks for the mentioning ‘Limehouse Golem’. I rarely watch series, but I’ll take a peek.

    9 gallons! I’m impressed with your haul of blueberries. Another four months and ye shall be hearing vicarious stories of raspberries and maybe even some strawberries this year (if I get my act together with the irrigation system!) Speaking of irrigation, you should see a funny snow indicator tomorrow with the water tanks…

    Sleep ins! Nice. Early mornings are a sore trial. Who created these things? No doubt that whoever did so was a sadist of the worst stripe. Your part of the world is enjoying a very damp summer. Some crops will be doing very well because of that.

    I almost forgot to mention it but… The Antarctic anomaly produced the thickest snowfall today that I have yet experienced. By late morning there was between two and three inches of snow over everything. There were even snow drifts. And the solar panels did nothing, so I had to drag out the petrol generator and put a bit of charge back into the batteries. I had plans to dig today, but nature had other plans in store for me. 🙂 It was really beautiful and there is still snow in some places even now at night. Who would have thought it though? Ollie enjoyed the snow more than the other Fluffies and he has a very thin coat. That surprised me, but he was bounding around the place in the snow enjoying himself immensely.

    I like claw feet on furniture. It was very late Victorian era furniture down here and the claw foot was often an eagles foot clutching a ball of some sort. Back in the mid 90’s claw foot baths used to be a thing. Heavy steel blighters they were, but with a good coating of enamel they would probably last forever. But as you note, they’re out of vogue nowadays. I’ve read a theory that such items come in and out of fashion in line with the economy.

    Better get writing!



  52. Hello again
    Seems that you had some moderately serious snow, I assume that this is unusual.
    I think that the fallen branch was by the road. Son hadn’t seen it and it has gone. Using a chainsaw has become a no no here. If one is heard there will be an immediate investigation. Part of the problems we are having that I don’t want to go into.


  53. @ Margaret – I’m so sorry to hear of your unexpected loss. You’re in all of our thoughts. Lew

  54. Yo, Chris – “Dotty”. First used in the 15th century (but probably around in spoken form, earlier.) From the Scots “dottle” = fool. Or, Middle English “dotel.”

    Well, packaging can be small, and after you’ve blared “New! Improved! Natural!” in 20 point type, there’s not much room left, for the label. Also, I don’t think the food companies really want to draw attention to the contents. Or, maybe (doubtful) they are really ashamed of the ingredients. I try and remember to carry a magnifying loop with me.

    So, why did Rutilius’s work survive? Pure speculation on my part, but like the poor, the armchair traveler is always with us. :-). It sure worked for Chaucer. And Mallory. All that questing about. People didn’t travel, much, so people who did were a wonder.

    “Limehouse Golem” is a stand alone movie. Not a series.

    So pleased you didn’t slide into a gully. We hear stories of such, here. Stuck for days. Best carry a device, with a GPS tracker. And, pray for good reception. I watched the video of Trentham Falls. Now, all that footage … that’s what our snowfalls look like. With the global weather change, I wonder if that will become more usual, in your part of the world.

    Our weather has been cool, and temperate. 70F, or so, with clouds. Supposed to be that way, all week, but little or no rain in the forecast. But it makes me a bit uneasy. I wonder if we’ll have an early fall, and hard winter? Does not bode well for some of the crops in the garden. But, others will be bumper crops. I think I’m going to get a lot of Hubbard squash, this year. Don’t know if it’s worth saving seed. The Ladies have so many other flowering vines, about. I doubt they’ll breed true.

    I’ve got about a gallon of strawberries, ready to come off the freezing trays, and be bagged. Probably between a quart and a gallon. I think I’ll go out and pick another gallon of blueberries. The weather is perfect, for it.

    One of my neighbors down on Tower Street ran NW Tubs. He renovated, or repaired claw foot tubs. Wonder if his business is as booming, as in the past? I’m sure he’s doing fine. Steve always had his finger on the pulse of whatever trend or fad was going. Made a bundle out of garden sheds, made of recycled barn board, for awhile.

    Animals encountering snow is always fun to watch. Dogs, cats, chickens. Step, shake a foot, step, shake a foot. The chickens would always peer out of their hen house in a highly skeptical way. Then a brave soul would take the leap. Or, they crowded some poor hen, low in the pecking order, out the door, to test the stuff. :-).

    I don’t often follow up on advertising banners, but saw one that I did. It might provide you with a few moments of pleasure. An east coast firm. “Hats in the Belfry.” :-). I think it was the name that got me. More hats than you can shake a stick at. Some quit expensive, but many, not so pricey. Lew

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