Two for One

Scritchy is getting to be an old girl. Scritchy (as everyone knows) is the miniature fox terrier, who of course is the boss dog on the farm. However, it has been a long time since she has actively wielded that title. These days she commands her Fluffy canine crew from the comforts of a bean bag. Most days I unceremoniously bean-bag-tip her, and kick her outside to get some fresh air for a few hours. Everyone is happy with that, except for Scritchy.

But lately, her old mate Toothy, the long haired Dachshund, has been a bit ‘off’ his food. And there is an old rule of thumb which suggests to me that: If ya don’t eat, you’re probably going to die.

We keep good records here, and so I became curious the other day, and dived into the records so as to ascertain just how old these two dogs are. Turns out that Scritchy entered my life back in 2010 at the advanced age of 9 years. Toothy on the other hand was apparently 6 months old in 2006, but I reckon that estimate was incorrect and he was at least a year old then, possibly a bit older.

Advanced mathematics is not my forte, but a quick back of the envelope calculation suggests that Scritchy is now 19 years of age, whilst Toothy is about 15 years of age. Far out! How did they get so old, so quickly?

So, Toothy has been ‘off’ his food of late, and Scritchy is just really old. Candidly, the odds are not looking good for the two old dogs, although life (I have noted) is a trickster, and the old dogs might still have a few tricks up their sleeves (err, sorry paws) yet. But then again, they might not.

Of late I have been concerned that Ollie the two year old Australian cuddle dog (who actually is an Australian cattle dog) may end up being the only dog on the farm. Such an outcome would not be good for Ollie’s mental and/or physical health. Years ago I had a cat that had bonded closely with the boss dog (two boss dogs back). The boss dog was known as ‘The Fat’. The Fat was a Dorgi, which is a Corgi / Dachshund cross and she was a good boss dog, although prone to fits of grumpiness as she got older. But the cat had known her since his first days of life and had bonded with her. They even used to sleep together and hang out together most days. But when The Fat died due to old age, the cat died two weeks later. As a minor side story, introducing the rambunctious Toothy into the household at the time, probably did not assist the cats health.

Anyway, Ollie is probably the new boss dog on the farm – for the moment. It has been said before that nature abhors a vacuum. However it is just as likely that Ollie being a very large dog, he can do as he pleases, so he’s probably the boss dog. Fortunately Ollie has a very pleasant nature and is respectful of the two older dogs. Some dogs would do otherwise. I like Ollie, but as a frank assessment of his character, he’s probably not good boss dog material.

I’ve always favoured dogs from the pound. Such humble origins chucks in a bit of canine personality randomness, and you never really know what sort of personality you’ll end up with. To my mind, dogs are dogs, and they do dog like things and can be great companions and hard workers. These days other people have some funny ideas about dogs.

Nowadays I dread having to go to the pound so as to obtain a new dog. A few years back at about the time Sir Poopy the Swedish Lapphund died, I sought out a replacement dog. Somehow the process had turned into a complex nightmare. My suitability for this process was judged by someone else based on a whole bunch of questions to which I had no prior access too. Then I had to take Scritchy at her advanced age down to the pound to meet the new dog. As we arrived at the pound – and she knew what such a place was all about – she gave me this stink eye look which said: “I so hate you. I always knew it would come to this!” Did I mention that she does not have a warm personality?

The upshot was that Scritchy met a much smaller (younger and poorly fed) Ollie. During the meeting, Scritchy told Ollie that if he mucked around too much she’d kill him, and Ollie in his modest way agreed to her terms. And that was that. We got shaken down for some serious mad cash by the pound ($750) and then we took Scritchy home and picked up Ollie the following day. I’m still not sure why we were forced to return the following day, although there was some muttering about paperwork.

Recently I contacted an animal shelter, and apparently they are so exclusive nowadays that that particular shelter wanted to do a site visit before agreeing to handing over an abandoned dog. It is bonkers. They have unwanted dogs, what do they reckon they have – show dogs? But then it is not lost on me that long term efforts to control dog populations, and the recent shut down of the notorious ‘puppy farms’ have given breeders a monopoly. Economists would suggest that supply has been restricted, and the prices reflect that story. Breeders are asking enormous sums of mad cash for dogs – and I have heard stories of people forking over mad cash to the tune of several thousand dollars for a dog. Maybe there are just no longer enough unwanted dogs around? It is possible.

Dealing with a new dog is not hard. Obtaining a new dog is actually quite a challenge. And I’m very unfussy about dogs.

So we were in the local independent supermarket the other day and saw a ‘for sale’ note on the community notice board pinned there by a local farmer. Two hours later I had two new puppies at home. The puppies are micro chipped and vaccinated, and sometimes I don’t (as the old timers used to say) ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’. I didn’t really want two dogs, but in a moment of softness I decided not to break up the pair. A long time ago I had an incident where I did just that, and about a year later the pound sent me a happy birthday letter to my dog from its brother (whom I didn’t take home). That letter was right up there on the creepy scale. To this day I still have no idea what they were trying to tell me, but my gut feeling tells me that it is not good.

When Ollie met Ruby the Kelpie pup
Plum and Ruby – Sheep Dogs, but more likely wallaby, chicken and rabbit dogs
Ollie has been training the two youngsters – and they fear Toothy the grumpy

Ollie has taken the two pups (Plum and Ruby) under his wing and has been training them in the way of the Fluffy farm dog. And they are learning fast. It is early days, but I predict that Plum will be the next boss dog. The editor and I have also been training the two pups, which is not bad given they are only a bit over 10 weeks old.

We went to the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo. I love that agricultural show and it is aimed at farms our size (as well as bigger and smaller farms). Every year the local poultry group runs a poultry sale, and so we picked up four new hens. Chook-flation (the dreaded yearly increase in the prices of hens) is real!

Two new Golden Laced Wyandottes were added to the chicken collective
And a couple of mixed breed point of lay hens were also added to the chicken collective

Ollie has shown no capacity to act as a good chicken watchdog. In point of fact, I believe he’d actually love to kill and eat the chickens rather than stooping so low as to guard them. Earlier this evening we began training the new pups to be chicken guardians and watch dogs.

Ollie loves chickens

Another huge storm rolled over the farm this week. The clouds were hugely tall, and they brought at least an inch of rain.

Hugely tall clouds delivered an inch of rain

The tall trees (Eucalyptus Obliqua) in the surrounding forest are enjoying the conditions and they have produced an enormous quantity of flowers. I have never seen the trees produce so many flowers before, and you can smell honey in the air.

The tall trees in the surrounding forest have produced huge quantities of flowers

Unfortunately the storm left the farm in thick mist for several days. Solar power does not work well in those conditions.

Thick mist hung over the farm for several days

The recent gift of the freebie solar panels has forced me to consider how to add them to the existing solar power system without it going ‘POP’. Yes, that is a possibility when you are having to regulate several hundred amps at low voltage. I’d become very concerned that the system could handle the new solar panels, but the margin for error had become to thin for my comfort. I spent a day upgrading the solar power system so as to double the voltage from 24V to 48V. This in turn halves the current (amps), and thus increases the margin for error in the system. It’s complicated…

A major upgrade with the solar power system took place over the weekend

It was fortunate that we did the upgrade because I turned over one of the heavy duty battery interconnectors to discover considerable heat damage.

Not what you want to see on the red connector

We began pickling cucumbers in white vinegar for consumption over the winter.

These cucumbers are being salted and will later be preserved in white vinegar

Most days we have been harvesting blackberries which we use for jam and wine making. Very tasty! One days harvest produced the following:

A days worth of harvesting of blackberries (and three strawberries)

I spotted some persimmons slowly ripening on a tree today:

Persimmons slowly ripen on the tree

The volume of kiwi fruit produced by the three vines is just bonkers. I hope I don’t have to harvest them all at once:

So many kiwi fruit – so little time

The corn cobs are slowly filling. Can’t wait to begin harvesting and eating them. Recently a bloke I know in Melbourne gifted us some of the best looking corn that I have ever enjoyed. The standard has now been set! The challenge is on… I reckon I might lose that one.

Corn cobs are now filling out

So far this season I have harvested four ripe (tiny) tomatoes. Usually I enjoy about 100kg (220 pounds) of fruit. Things are not looking good on that front, but there are signs that there will be at least some harvest but maybe in March.

Tomatoes are slowly ripening

Eggplants will probably do really well this year, and the slim variety we grow here are looking good.

Eggplants are looking good

The return of the rains combined with the summer warmth has produced some very unusual fungi.

Fungi have been enjoying the warm and humid conditions

Onto the flowers:

The roses are bouncing back after the recent wallaby smash and grab raid
Stunning Roses
More stunning Roses
A European honey bee enjoying this wild Rocket
Not technically a flower, but a Leucondendron
Spectacular Salvia’s

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 14’C (57’F). So far this year there has been 164.6mm (6.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 134.2mm (5.3 inches).

59 thoughts on “Two for One”

  1. Hi Chris,

    Great pics of the new puppies, they look smart, maybe a little too smart!

    (apologies for short comment, on mobile)

    Your cyclone forecast might work out, a small amount of rain may fall this weekend!


  2. Hi Inge,

    How did your part of the UK fare in Storm Dennis? Hope your forest was OK? I saw photos in our news of storm surges on the coast of the south west of England. Huge waves, and possibly lots of coastal erosion.

    If I was operating a ferry service, I wouldn’t head out in such weather either.

    It is calm and warm here tonight at 70’F at almost 9pm, but tomorrow the weather is set to turn: Severe thunderstorms to hit Victoria, NSW and ACT on Tuesday. Should be interesting to experience and I’ll just have to run around again in the rain ensuring that the drainage systems are all working. They usually do, but it is best to nip problems in the bud on that front.



  3. Hi Damo,

    No doubts the new pups are smarter than I am. Ollie has looked after them all day today and he is now sound asleep. The little rotters tried to wake him up and I had to bring out the big gun – the fly swat. It’s effective. 😉

    No worries at all. Did I mention that I spilled a drink over the old mechanical keyboard? Well despite washing it and then hitting it hard with the hairdryer – it’s dead Jim. The backspace key and Delete key no longer work easily despite repeated cleaning efforts.

    We all carry regrets around with us, and killing that superb mechanical keyboard was one of those for me. Today I replaced it with a lesser – but still good – HP Omen mechanical keyboard.

    Fast typing – We’re back baby!!!! 🙂

    Hope they haven’t sent you too far from home? And fingers crossed for the rain – the season has turned you know, and all those particles we fortuitously dumped into the atmosphere will soon bear fruit for us all. Hopefully we don’t get a glut of rain fruit, but that is how these things sometimes go. After the 2009 fires, 1437mm (55 inches) of rain fell here over the farm the following year. I have never seen so much water before. Bonkers, but I suspect we may be going there… Things could be worse were you are. Hold onto your hat!



  4. Hi Lewis,

    Hehe! Chris needs a bit of quiet time. The pups have other plans. Too bad so sad for them, as I can easily thwart their mischief. Ollie looked after them for most of the day today, and he is now sound asleep behind me. He is actually out cold. The pups tried to wake him up before and I must say he really did look rather frightened by that prospect! Hehe! My favourite image was of ‘when Ollie met Ruby’. Somehow he managed to produce the canine equivalent of ‘Very curious face number five’.

    Scritchy is a malicious old codger. Do you know I caught her earlier this evening weeing on the pups favourite bones? She is one bad egg.

    It is funny you mention that, but I was really surprised that there were no ‘perp walks’ for the really bad eggs behind the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. That aspect of the story never made any sense to me whatsoever. Unless of course the correction with all the collateral damage that was caused, was part of an accepted strategy. I was listening to a youth radio program this afternoon which discussed just how hard it was to afford a house in the big smoke. I would not pursue these economic agenda’s creating this situation, but few would enjoy my particular brand of medicine. Incidentally, General Motors announced that they would pull out of this country today. Three years ago manufacturing ceased, and they have seriously struggled since those days. Community support for the brand is not what it once was: Holden car brand, maker of Commodore and Barina, axed across Australia and New Zealand. I do wonder what they expected to happen?

    Hehe! Yeah, during some era’s it wouldn’t be a bad idea for politicians to know how to throw a fist or two. It would certainly add a bit of colour to debates, and it might actually keep some of them more honest than they appear to be. If I recall correctly, the fictional character Conan the Barbarian had much to say on that subject – and I wouldn’t argue with him!

    As a kid I was dropped into a more English than the English school in year nine and far out I had to learn how to fight pretty quick smart. The kids used to organise fights after school. A local dojo assisted with that part of my education which frankly was sadly lacking. I trained several nights per week, and on the other nights I had to compete in school sports – such as long distance running, plus there was the early morning work. And there was about three hours per night of homework. Yeah they drilled you that’s for sure. But you kept fit, but so were the other kids. It may surprise you, but I still have a punching bag here and it is handy because the old skills get rusty and need refreshing from time to time. Plus you get crunchier in a physical sense as you age.

    Just ate a globe artichoke and it is superb. Plus some boiled eggs, stuffed mushrooms and homemade potato salad. Yum.

    King Arthur in Mr Whyte’s iteration of the story is a superb leader, but he is deeply flawed in other ways and I do wonder whether the power of the story itself arises from those flaws? What do you reckon about that? But as you say he is an interesting character and from some aspects the character in the story challenges us to do better and achieve more. Almost setting a standard to reach for despite the flaws. My feeling as to dim-Arthur characters is that perhaps the other characters surrounding the King would be even dimmer. Possibly something to do with widespread lead poisoning from all those old Roman lead water pipes. 😉

    Please excuse the pun, but he sounds like a bad egg. Over the years I always had this implied threat of unexpected violence out of the person, but such thoughts are only a gut feeling guess thing and I never met the bloke. I was pleased when you moved away from there.

    If I had to make a prediction, I’d suggest that the next financial crisis will occur due to a stalled credit market which comes about because whilst there may be plenty of money sloshing around the system – nobody has any to spare. It is not lost on me that if my income is flat from year to year, and my insurance premium goes up 18% year to year, then the only conclusion I can ascertain from that is that I am poorer. The only rational defence to that strategy is to remove the ability for intermediation to occur. Not that many people are interested in such paths due to the limits it brings.

    Ewan McGregor is a top actor, and thanks for the film recommendation (I recall you reviewing the book very highly too). Oh yeah, fast forward buttons are handy devices in such circumstances. Yes, here’s Johnny!!!! A truly scary film.

    It is possible the bloke was running away from the food. If I was ever in such an institution I would maintain an edible garden if possible, so as to supplement the slops fed to the inmates. If I recall my history correctly, the convicts sent down under by the English were generally fed rather poorly, and there were accounts that the excess produce was then sold by the ships crew to colonists upon arrival of the convicts. Bizarrely enough, they never lost a single convict ship, but the convicts didn’t always arrive in the colony in good health. Mate, it’s an old story and corners get cut in the name of profits. Anyway, we know where he’s ending up. The stupid thing about such folks is that they return to their known haunts – because often that is all they know.

    Oh no! Well Lewis it is time to work on re-energising your tat mojo. A hundred push-ups should do the trick. 🙂 You didn’t really sound that interested in the map to me – a bit on the fence if I may dare say so. Oops, broke my own rule there! 🙂

    I’m on the hunt for another el-cheapo solar power system so that I can squirrel away the solar panels as spare parts for the future. I am genuinely amazed that such things have almost no value nowadays. Bonkers.

    And I replaced my broken mechanical keyboard today. A few months ago I was not feeling the best and ended up spilling a drink all over it. As far as technology goes, the keyboard did not appreciate the initial act of silliness, and the clean up was only partially successful. Lots of clickety-clackety sounds accompany the replacement keyboard which is not as good as the damaged device – but clearly the drink Gods were against me having a quality keyboard. Such things happen.



  5. Yo, Chris – The pups are, in a word, cuuuuute! The picture “Ollie has been training…” gives an idea of the scale of the pups. They’re not much bigger than Ollie’s head! 🙂 Kudos, to you and the Editor. Old dogs = good care.

    That pound fee is just bonkers. I looked it up, and a dog here costs $205. With all the trimmings (is that a terrible pun?). The pounds may find themselves high and dry, as more people find “work around”, as you did. Might be what Mr. Greer was referring to … the end of middle management and “experts.” That birthday card, was creepy. Pure guilt trip. But someone is thinking ahead. “Ah, next time, he’ll take two.”

    By the way, you write quit well, about the inner life of dogs. And always give it a bit of an Aussie twist. Without over doing it, quit appealing.

    You could buy chicks, and save some of the expense. But, they are a bit labor intensive, at first. A lot can go wrong. Chick feed is a bit pricey. I went that route with my last batch. The Wyondottes. Of course, they’re only available at the feed stores in mid Spring. And breeds can be limited. If you want a particular breed, it’s by mail, and you usually have to take a minimum order of 25.

    The sky picture is calendar worthy. Your solar power system looks very patriotic. All red, white and blue :-).

    Salting cucumbers is always a good idea. Takes out a lot of the burp. Well, if you saved a cob from the Melbourne corn, you could always dry it, and plant it next year. Unless it’s a hybrid.

    The roses are real knock outs. Cont.

  6. Cont. Peeing on the puppies favorite bones? Scritchy The Diabolical. Or, creative. Sitting around, scheming, scheming …

    Yup. That there were no perp walks in 2008 angered a lot of people. And stoked a lot of the American people’s … restlessness. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together, and not distracted by the circus of popular culture, pretty much has a grasp of the ever increasing inequality. There’s also a new awareness that the quaint idea of “equal protection under the law,” is an outdated concept. A good lawyer and a lot of money, and you can just about get away with anything.

    That’s more than tragic, about Holden cars. I noticed the article had a lot to say about globalization.

    I never worried about the Evil Stepson, and unexpected violence. He was stick thin, as he suffered from anorexia. Rare in males, but there you have it. I worried more about his weird and crazy two boys. I kept them in line, with a bit of an aura of unexpected violence, of my own. But as they would get older (and, bigger), I expected the balance to tip. Best to make an orderly retreat.

    Flat incomes, inflation, etc.. That’s why I find Elizabeth Warren, so interesting. And, I’m a bit sad that she’s not getting much traction. I was reading her writing, before she got political. She gave the consumer protection agency, some teeth (now all diluted). Wall Street and the big banks, hate and fear her. Which is a great recommendation, in my book.

    Getting back to bread and circuses, I watched “Papillon”, last night. The 2017 version. It’s been long enough since the original came out (Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman), that it doesn’t suffer by comparison. I was really surprised that it didn’t get a single nomination, for any Academy Award.

    I’ve started reading a series, that someone at The Club, gave me. The “Grays Harbor Series,” by James Bierce. It takes place in the present, and it set along the Washington coast. So, I find that interesting. I worked for the library, in all the towns mentioned. And, have visited many of them over the years. It looks to be one of those self published books. Which, I don’t think very highly of. But this one is a slight cut, above the run of the mill. At least the author seems to have an editor.

    Besides the local color, what I’m finding interesting is that it’s an apocalyptic tale. And, a zombie apocalyptic tale. But NOWHERE is the word “zombie,” used. I finally decided that, ok, this is a choice the author made, but why? Would I recommend it? Well, no. I just stick with it, as it’s local. Maybe I’ll see if the author has a web site, and what he has to say.

    The map was quit nice, and I would have liked to have had it. But, I pretty firmly had in mind what I was willing to pay. Some things make me crazy enough that I’m willing to pay (almost) any price. Up to that $200 barrier, that really give me pause.

    Went to the Club, yearly membership meeting, yesterday. The disorganization, drives me crazy. The whole thing could have been done and dusted in 15 minutes. It drug out to an hour, plus, we had a couple of hyperactive children, running around. But, it’s done for another year, and people I wanted to see on the board, are on the board. Lew

  7. Hi Chris,

    That is terrible about your clicky keyboard, and to do both the backspace and delete key! I mean you could maybe live without one of those, but both….(my preference, delete. Almost never use it!)

    The HP Omen looks very “gaming”. Can you choose what colour the backlight is? My laptop keyboard has a white backlight which is very nice, but late at nights maybe a menacing red glow would be appropriate (and night vision safe).

    Still at home this week, I just didn’t want to open up the laptop bag and turn it on – you know, the usual excuses 🙂 I am told today the powers that be have decided on a new office location. A few years back, they moved offices and promptly lost most of their staff due to long commute times. Perhaps not the best decision by the board, and a good argument that benign neglect is not necessarily the worst strategy to run a business 🙂

    From what I can tell, it is slightly easier for me to get home in the new office location, so that would be nice.

    You and Lew might be interested to know the HBO space comedy show, Avenue 5, is very good. 5 episodes in, fun times! However, no Picard update, my interest was killed by episode 1, but will wait for season to end and reevaluate!

    I also enjoyed Parasite, the S. Korean movie that just won best picture. I saw it a couple of months ago and loved it (first half is maybe funniest movie of the year), but the oscar win made me look into the directors other movies. I have added to my list “Memories of Murder, The Host and Okja”. They all sound fascinating, and if are half as good as Parasite should be worth watching.


  8. Hi, Chris!

    I had to see Ruby and Plum, though I can’t write much now. They are so – I have to say it – adorable. Ollie seems to be doing the proud, too. When I think of all the great photos we are going to get to see . . .


  9. Chris,

    The staycation, if that is actually the correct word, is over. And the Princess and I have more or less recovered from over a week of activity far beyond our norm. More on that in a bit.

    There are a couple unanswered questions you left me with before I trekked away. First, on the Beard Lady thing…it was weird because I typically have my “sensors” activated, which they were, and I knew right away she was off, but she just kept plowing ahead. Not a lot of options at that point, and it did work out with no real harm done. The Princess agrees that had she been there, either A) having my wife hanging on my arm might have kept Beard Lady away, or B) it wouldn’t have made any difference and the Princess would have gotten arrested for inflicting grievous bodily harm. So, again, it worked out sort of. Just one of those weird things.

    As far as the film and chickens and the coyotes, I don’t know. When I took care of a friend’s place, the 15kg cat kept the coyotes away from the chickens. The “guard dog” would often get into the chickens and kill one, but not eat it. My experience has always been that, unless scared away, coyotes will eat what they kill. All that’s ever left of the urban cats caught by the coyotes is perhaps a pile of fur near some blood stains. I’ve seen in the woods where a coyote has caught a bird and it’s much the same: a pile of feathers and some blood.

    That said, I wonder if the new farm, in upsetting the preexisting ecological balance, maybe that upset something in the coyotes and they were simply marking their territory by some gratuitous killing? It seems that an accord and a new balance was eventually achieved.

    I noticed the poem about astrophysics in last week’s comments. Actually, I DO agree. While I can be in awe and appreciation of things I don’t understand, that doesn’t mean that I find comfort in whatever causes the awe and appreciation! Methinks that’s why we have mythologies and science and stuff: we feel much more comfortable when we at least think we comprehend.

    Good job on the new Fluffies! Keeping the siblings was a smart and kind move. Introducing them now will give both them and Ollie something comfortable and familair when the old fluffies move on to Fluffy Paradise.

    Scritchy did the big wee wee on the pups’ chew bones? Grumpy old thing! Jealousy? A senile way of showing who is NOT Boss Dog? Not a good thing, doing wee wee on someone else’s food and toys.

    I’ve heard that getting a dog from the shelters here is turning into an ordeal, too. Your situation sounds harder and more unreasonable. I get that they don’t want the dogs going to another home where they’re neglected or abused, but at some point they should look at the track record of the persons who have obtained dogs from them before?

    Okay, the staycation, as it were. Eastern Washington University, in the nearby city of Cheney, hosted the USA Curling Nationals for 8 days. We had season passes, so we watched a lot of curling. Some of the matches were also broadcast on the internet. 10 men’s teams and 8 women’s teams meant that there were either 4 or 5 matches occurring simultaneously each session from the 8th through the 13th. Then came 2 days of playoffs and championship matches. As the evening sessions tended to get us home near midnight, we skipped most of the morning sessions which started at 9 or 10 a.m. We BOTH need beauty sleep. 😉

    The curling was enjoyable, the venue was good and we met a lot of fun people, participants, fans and some of the college kids who worked there. The main downside: at 2 meters above the ice, the air temperature MUST be +5.5C The air handler had vents near the ceiling with a constant COLD wind blowing over the seating area. So the wind got old after awhile. But the level of play and the excitement and the food more than made up for it. (And I ate a lot of things with gluten and drank a lot of normal beer and had NO repurcussions!)

    Two of the teams, one men’s and one women’s, were well known even to the casual fans, so most there were cheering for them. Naturally, we cheered for lesser known teams. By the end of the week, we had a few players find us and thank us for the support, as they could tell after 2 or 3 days who was cheering for them. My voice is not quiet, and my beard is unique, so I stuck out like a sore thumb, apparently. I was having nods and grins sent my direction from the ice during one of the playoff matches, as well as during the women’s championship match.

    And now it’s over, and after 8 days around noise and crowds and excitement, we spent 2 days doing nothing but sleeping and eating home cooked meals and reading books. We’re both enjoying being away from crowds and noise.

    We asked one of the students who worked there for directions. Then we walked around campus and saw how much it had changed since we worked there 29 years ago. So we chatted with the student about that, which she enjoyed. As she is from a small town which we ‘re familiar with, we chatted a lot throughout the week. And gave her some basics on curling so she could enjoy watching it when she wasn’t busy. So, an aging couple appreciated a polite youngster listening to them, and said lonely youngster (first time away from home) was happy to be treated like a person and not background scenery. Something for everyone.


  10. Hi Lewis,

    Ollie has been a real help with the pups and he’ll happily keep them entertained for hours. He’s enjoying the challenge, and Plum even now follows him around on boundary patrol duties. Not a bad effort for a pup. Interestingly, Plum is copying Ollie, and she could do far worse than picking up Ollie’s good habits. Ruby, well some pups aren’t born for greatness, but it is early days and she may well surprise me.

    Exactly too. Dogs are social creatures just like we’re social creatures and so they (and us lot too) require to be trained in the gentle art of socialisation. Scritchy and Toothy have taught the pups that there are some dogs you just don’t mess with, and that’s a good lesson to learn too.

    I wasn’t kidding when I wrote that they shook us down for some mad cash with the purchase of Ollie. Thus the ‘Two for One’ title as the price was about the same. Do you know the other week I used an entirely unrelated title for the blog which made no sense at all, and either: nobody noticed; it made sense in a way that I did not consider; or everyone was too polite to say anything.

    Got up on the roof this morning and wired up the last of the existing solar panels so that they can charge a 48V battery. It didn’t take too long, but even two hours up there can be a bit tiresome. The wiring was set up in the first place with the possibility in mind, but still it was a bit of mucking around. But now all 30 panels are connected up (1 is doing nothing – but which one is something of a mystery – it is one of five). Brought in 8kW hours of electricity today. It rained whilst I was up on the roof and it became a bit slippery, but nothing too scary.

    Anyway the skies were very dark today and the thick clouds delivered almost half an inch of rain. I don’t know much, but 8kWh is plenty of electricity for me, but it most certainly won’t power an average household – not by a long shot. I see that the Germans are talking big about having closed down their black coal mines and future plans to close down their brown coal mines. I’m as green as they come, but far out, reading between the lines the German black coal mines sounded as if they had been mined out – and the remaining black coal was uneconomical to extract. Oil will get like that story. Running out of resources is not a story that should be spun lightly.

    People talking up this renewable technology should have to first live with it for at least a year with no support in place – and then they’d know what the definition of ‘true concern’ would look like. A bit like the people who lived in a dome for a year. Didn’t work out so well for them.

    Thank you, and I am hoping that the sheer volume of words makes me a better writer. It is nice getting feedback as to what works, and what doesn’t work, so I really appreciate your opinion.

    Speaking of which, in The Eagle, I read today that Connor is dishing up some very pragmatic wisdom to the young Spear Chucker in relation to the child Mordred. And Connor also gave a pragmatic assessment of Merlyn’s limitations and his over reach – which elsewhere has been described as ‘mission creep’. I like the Connor character.

    The thing with minimum orders of chicks is that I would have to eat some of the birds. Dunno about your part of the world, but down here you can purchase fertilised eggs, and that is a very cheap way to raise chickens. Unfortunately I would have to set up a nursery chicken run, and there are other more pressing projects waiting to be done.

    Incidentally, the roses have all bloomed with the return of the rains. I stood on the roof today and looked down upon the garden terrace project and thought to myself: I have to bring the camera up here next time. It looks amazing from up there.

    I let you in on a little secret. I had to get the editor to resolve the problem of the layout of the batteries. My mind recoiled at the horror of resolving that problem, but the editor sorted it out in only a few minutes. You will note that there are cables all over the place.

    And the salting process removes the bitterness in the cucumber. Although my mates of the big shed fame tell me that removing the cucumber seeds also reduces the bitterness of the fruit.

    Before the new pups arrived on the scene, I had to ask myself the hard question: What if they’re all bad apples? Turns out that Ollie is not a bad apple and he has stepped up to the plate and is enjoying the new pups. Scritchy and Toothy, well, it’s not good for them.

    The thing I tend to wonder about the whole 2008 debacle was that the pain was not shared equally among the populace. Fair enough borrowers had done stupid things, but then the lenders also appeared to have done similar stupid things. The pain appeared to be pushed downwards, and I felt that was an unwise turn of events. It certainly appears to have set the tone though. When folks can’t turn to the justice system to obtain justice, well, what is the system then? One school of thought suggests that it is an administrative system that seeks to administer itself. Not sure that I can argue with such clear sightedness.

    I know someone who worked for that vehicle behemoth before it ceased manufacturing, and they read the writing on the wall and bailed before the hammer fell. It will be interesting to say the least to see how stretched the global supply lines get due to the novel coronavirus which now has a name.

    Wise. Very wise to have read the story about your former location. Given your circumstances, I would have done the same. There is no shame in an orderly retreat.

    Hehe! Yes, fear in her wake, does speak most highly of real world consequences. 🙂 Your politics does my head in. As a comparison I read an article the other day about a bloke who was volunteering in a fire brigade over in the far east of the continent when he let rip about his opinions of our Prime Muppet. RFS denies volunteer was fired for expletive-laden tirade at Prime Minister. Is that known technically as a back flip? A beautiful use of the English language too. He’s alright that bloke, he just said what everyone else was feeling.

    Papillion is on the ‘too see’ list, and the 1973 version too if I can track it down. Systems are designed with the consumption of personal energy as an unmentioned goal. Best not to get involved with such systems. I came across that particular concept in a Jack Vance book and even after all these years I see no reason to doubt the veracity of the concept. As a youth I was involved in some protests, and they just seemed like a big fat waste of time to me.

    You know your own business better than I ever will. Shame you missed out on the map, but it is only worth to you what you intend to pay for it. And if it goes beyond your comfort level, it’s just not meant to be.

    Far out, your Club meeting sounds like my nightmare! However, at least they got to the end point – so whatever works. But like you I too have experienced community meetings where the participants could have had their heads pulled in so to speak. There are times when our society is very rude, and other times overly polite and a bit of middle ground wouldn’t go astray.



  11. Hi Damo,

    Sure you don’t use the delete key. 😉 It’s a big call. The editor has wielded that key like a weapon on my writing in the past. Editing is such a brutal process, but with quantity the writing process gets easier. The new clickety clackety keyboard is much easier on the fingers. I had to bash the backspace key just to get it to work, and no amount of cleaning helped. Possibly I was just not meant to have such a fine keyboard in the first place?

    Ah, yes I saw those multi-coloured backlit keyboards. With the name ‘Omen’ the keyboard of course has a delightfully ominous red glow emanating from beneath the keys. Hopefully the gateway to Hell is not just beneath the keys – that would be a bad thing… It sure looks like its in there somewhere though!

    Fair enough, I get that. The website comes up pretty well on a mobile. The images on your website are superb. Do you use a normal camera, phone or DSLR camera to take photos?

    Rents can be excessive as you well know, and landlords seem all too willing to jack up rents even if they are enjoying lower interest rates. There is a complicated, yet at the same time very simple story in there. Sometimes commercial tenants get kicked out or also provided new and extortionate rents when the lease period and options expire. I’ve seen it happen several times recently.

    Yeah, less time commuting is always good. Do you ride in some days?

    An honest but brutal assessment, and I’m yet to get to episode one of Picard. I feel the odds are not good, but I’m up for a good space story, so who knows? At least expectations are low based on the feedback from you and Lewis. I note that there were voices praising the series too.

    Yeah, I’m intrigued by the film too.

    Lots of rain here today, and hopefully it works its way down to your fine land.



  12. Hi Pam,

    They’re pretty sweet aren’t they? 🙂 Ollie is doing us all proud and taking the brunt of entertaining the two new pups and keeping his good natural cheer even when they go for his throat. Sharp little teeth those pups. Plum now looks up to Ollie and follows him around on border patrol duties.



  13. Hi DJ,

    Nice to have you back and glad that you enjoyed your staycation. Hope the weather was nice, although talk of ice certainly suggests to me that it was cold, but in your part of the world this is ‘par for course’ at this time of year.

    Well having your wife there probably would mean that you wouldn’t be approached in the first place, so the problem evaporates itself through lack of perceived opportunity. Perceptions are important, and some people are a bit dim witted and can’t take a hint!

    It did seem weird that the chickens were killed in numbers and not eaten. It is very odd behaviour and predators probably don’t want to bring too much attention to themselves by going on a killing spree. I’ve noticed with the foxes here, they tend to set out on a smash and grab style raid from my experience. I’ve only lost one chicken to a fox, and the fox didn’t manage to escape with the chicken as I was gaining on the fox and it had to drop the chicken as I almost caught it as I was running hard.

    It may be that cumulative stock losses are ignored by farmers (and possibly wished away) up until the point that they can be no longer ignored. I just try to adapt to the predators here. Field mice can still get into the new chicken enclosure (not rats though) and I watched this morning as the chickens dug into a mouse tunnel and proceeded to eat the mice. Brutal. Chickens are not vegetarians!

    In the film, I definitely observed a mountain lion sauntering past one of the night cameras, and so they had all sorts of life on their farm. Not sure how I’d feel about walking around at night with mountain lions around…

    They did seem to get their ecological balance right-ish in the end. I note that it is a moving target, and interestingly I still see rabbits in the surrounding area, but not on the farm. Of course the rains mean that they can probably feed in safer places…

    Exactly. That was my number one concern. And Ollie is training the new pups. It is amazing to watch and he is very gentle with them, even when they are not being gentle with him. Sharp pointy teeth that’ll do you up a treat mate!

    The really stupid thing with one of the dog shelters was that I have been a long term donor with them, and have a long history of my purchase of dogs from there. And none of that mattered. Bonkers, I guess they think they know best.

    Ah ha! To be honest I had no idea what you were writing about, and had to dive deeply into the game of curling. Did you know that it sounds like a form of lawn bowls or the French game of petanque, but with ice?

    Decent sleep is a thing of beauty – thus the name. I’ve heard talk of silk purse out of a sows ear, but wouldn’t have the faintest clue what they’re going on about! It sure doesn’t work for me either, I just feel better after a good nights sleep. 🙂 Hehe! Bad Chris!!!

    How did you handle the constant cold air? Not dissimilar from winters here, but the constant cold air I would think, leach the heat from your very bones after a few hours. Both of you are made of stern stuff.

    Hehe! I loved that description: “My voice is not quiet, and my beard is unique” Thanks for the laughs. You two sound like you had a fun time of it.

    Some people are pretty down on the kids, but they’re OK, and in some ways they’re nicer and more pleasant than I can recall being at a similar age. I do feel that there is a level of dishonesty prevalent in the general conversation when older folks talk to younger folks about the future. I am always honest with younger folks – even kids – to the best of my abilities. We all see the world differently though.

    About half an inch of rain fell here today, and before that hit (well during the early part of the rain) I was up on the roof finishing off the first stage of the solar power system upgrade. For your physics interest, I note that doubling the voltage, halves the current – as you already knew, but there seems to be far less energy lost to heat with the higher (but still extra low) voltage. The larger wires are still in place and I reckon that reduces losses over cable runs – and losses are generally experienced as heat. Hey, the heat damage to the battery interconnector suggests to me that I pushed that arrangement about as far as I should.



  14. Hello Chris
    Goodness me, those puppies are wearing masks!
    The wind has dropped here but it is still raining. Squish, squish, squish when I walk out. There is even a squish when I tread on my flagstones.
    The Sunday paper finally arrived in the afternoon. I have been reading a review of a book on alphabetical order. I do like it when my mind receives a surprise shock. I had never thought about the history of alphabetical order. Nor had I realised that the word ‘alphabet’ is made from alpha and beta, which is self evident once one knows.


  15. @ Damo – Years ago, I read a study that said home office relocations were usually in direct relationship to where management lived :-).

    I’ve seen the trailers for “Avenue 5”. And, read a couple of reviews. I’m looking forward to the library getting the first season. Lew

  16. Yo, Chris – Just as a thought, you might want to spend a little quality time, with just Ollie. So he doesn’t feel neglected. But, perhaps he’s made of sterner stuff.

    Well, I didn’t get the title of last weeks blog, but was too polite, to ask :-). I figured you’d either drop a mention, or, that it was some obscure lyric, from some obscure Australian band. 🙂 .

    Last two night we’ve touched -0-C. Fairly clear days, though. Yeah, people who are thinking about living with solar out to try it out, first. Same with tiny houses. What ever happened to the concept of a test drive?

    I’m about the same place in “The Eagle”, as you are. I haven’t picked it up in a few days. Too busy, frolicking with the zombies, out on the Washington coast. I’ve always liked Uncle Connor. Sensible old salt.

    Nursery chicken run? How … fancy. I did ok with a large cardboard box in the laundry room, with a drop light to keep them warm. A thermometer to make sure the temp was right. That was about it. When it came time to move them out with the other chickens, I fenced off an area in the hen house, for a couple of days. So they could become acquainted. I saw what you mentioned to DJ. When my flock was almost wiped out (coyotes, I’m sure), there was a lot of waste. Some birds just had their heads removed, and that was it. It was a real horror show. But, one digs a hole and gets on with it.

    Here’s a slightly long article on private equity firms, and how they operate. It’s pretty much what happened to our Sears and K-Mart.

    From what I’ve read, when inequality gaps get too wide, that’s when there are revolutions, or, societies collapsing.

    I happened to hear an article on the radio, yesterday, about the demise of GM in Australia. One thing the article mentioned is that right hand drive cars, are, all things considered, a pretty small market. With right hand drive, everything from the dash board to transmission system, has to be reconfigured. The other thing they mentioned was that GM is closing down less profitable sections of their business, in order to develop electric cars.

    That was quit a story about the volunteer firefighter. I’m getting a lot more aware of situations where I think, “They were thrown under the bus.” The Prime Muppet had better pray that an email, or phone call, calling for the firefighters dismissal, from his office, doesn’t surface.

    Oh, as far as tat goes, there’s always plenty of more fish in the sea 🙂 . If I just want to spend money, there’s plenty of things I have, that need to be rounded out. The correct finials for the Aladdin electric lamps (plenty on E-Bay), or, replace the missing pieces from the stainless steel flatware I’ve been using since 1968. Or, a mate for the last unmatched book end, I have. :-).

    LOL. When you watch the new version of Papillion, keep in mind that Hunnam, one of the leads, suffers from mysophobia … the fear of contamination or germs. I knew I had seen him in something else, so, I checked him on Wikipedia. Yup. I had seen him in “Pacific Rim” and a few other things.

    How time flies! It’s the Roman festival of Fornaclia, again. Be sure and offer up a bit of spelt, so you don’t burn the bread in the coming year :-). Lew

  17. Chris,

    Adapting to the predators is necessary, isn’t it? Any change in the existing ecosystem causes angst for all, oldtimers and newcomers alike. Not only are you adapting to the wildlife that has been there for a gazillion years, the wildlife is adapting to you, which I know you understand. Most people, unfortunately, simply have the idea that they get to move into a new area, raise the crops and critters they want, and there will be no issues. When the issues of bunnies and coyotes and mountain lions appear, then they are pests that must be put in their place. Unfortunate attitude that.

    I know how I feel with mountain lions wandering around. One of the reasons I don’t hunt any longer is that the mountain lions have gotten everywhere. Grizzly bears have spread beyond where the authorities think they are. Ditto wolves, which would scare me if they came upon me with a freshly killed deer. The experts really don’t know where these predators are, just where they think they are. Heck, I saw a fisher on the Twisp River in north central Washington in 1986. In the past few years, Washington Fish and Wildlife stated that they had seen the first fisher in Washington in nearly 100 years.

    I hope Ollie is also getting some quality time alone with you, so that he doesn’t feel used, abused and put upon. I had to do that with Thordog after we’d obtained Cheyenne. It really helped him out. He, like Ollie, was very happy to train the puppy how to be a dog and part of our “pack”.

    The weather during the curling was mostly wonderful. Some wind, but it was sunny during the day until the final 2 days. And warm for this time of year: +10C in the afternoons, which was warmer than in the seats for the curling. Yes, in winter we went outside to warm up! So, we dressed like it was the depths of winter in January: longjohns, wool socks, thermal shirts and a sweater then a jacket or, in my case, a hooded pullover. And a baseball cap. Yes, the hood was pulled over the cap at times. And I did have another jacket just in case. +6C in the seats would have been tolerable, but it was the fans blowing that cold air that was the challenge. But, dressed appropriately made it enjoyable.

    Some of the curlers refer to curling as “shuffleboard on ice”. But, yes, lawn bowls or petanque on ice are good comparisons as well.

    The beauty sleep keeps the Princess, well, beautiful and looking young. It keeps my voice not quiet and my beard unique, however. Which I think is MUCH better than having a voice that is unique and a beard that is not quiet. Some would say, though, that that also is an apt description of the truth.

    I’m one of the few, if only, oldsters at work who has tried to talk with each of the younger set. I like the energy and fresh ideas. I remember being young once, near the end of the dinosaur era perhaps, when the folks my age were talking about how the kids weren’t respectful or learning anything and were worthless. I did quip, once, that I don’t recall the complainants ever talking to me or my friends, so how did they really know what we thought and knew?

    I’ve also had jobs similar to the one that the youngsters had at curling. People ignore the help unless to give them orders or to complain. I prefer to acknowledge the people as people and, wow, a friend was made. Seriously, by the end of the week, the young men ignored us (as they had all week), the 2 most frequently there young ladies beamed and waved at us and started fist bumping us whenever we walked by, and one of their friends on the only night she was there was also chatting with us. Word must’ve spread that we were friendly and mostly harmless. (There’s my Douglas Adams plug for the day.) Life is more enjoyable to us that way.

    Ah yes, double the voltage, halve the current and vice versa. Conservation of energy, that. I think you’ve also discovered the limits that your system had, and are fortunate to have found the heat damage when you did. My guess is that the lower current *might* help a bit with the heat loss. Maybehaps. And yes, larger wires should help with the entropic losses also.

    My weather prediction for February onwards was for it to dry out and be mostly warmer than normal with a few wintery shivers trying to fool us. As soon as I said that, the Weather Service, echoed by Cliff Mass, said that the entire region, including Spokane, was supposed to be wetter than normal with normalish temperatures until middle of March. As soon as Cliff mentioned that on his blog, the liquid mostly stopped around Spokane. So here we are, in the midst of a wintery shiver with cold lows and normal highs and dry with more sun than we get this time of year, with my forecast to come roaring back into reality by the end of the week. You need it much worse than we do, by far, but I do envy the rain you’re getting.


  18. Hi Inge,

    Your comment about the pups wearing masks made me give their little faces a good poke. The pups appreciated the attention, but I upbraided them for missing their eye brows. 🙂 They may also just be gearing up for a life of highway crime and their masks might just come in handy. The distinctive eyebrow patches might just give the game away for them. One can never be too careful with such matters.

    Saturated is what I’d call your surfaces. A bit of regular rain is nice, but too much rain is a serious problem. Dunno about your part of the world, but the rainfall data for the past hundred years from this mountain range shows an upward swing in average rainfall. But then just to prove that nature is a trickster, every couple of years you get to experience a seriously crazy hot and dry year.

    So obvious from hindsight – and right in front of our faces. However, until you pointed out the obvious, I couldn’t see the words.

    The editor noticed a while back that the names of our months have hijacked the Roman calendar. For example Oct as in October refers to the number eight, but it is the 10th month which probably should be December. Can you imagine the crazy goings on that ended up with that compromise?



  19. Hi Lewis,

    Ollie and I are pretty tight, but after reading your comment this morning, I took him out for a walk and we had some ‘adult’ time (as distinct from puppy time – just thought I might have to explain that because it sounded a bit weird). I will take your point on board though. He’s enjoying the responsibility and I believe that Plum is bonding with him because Plum is copying Ollie closely, including learning to sit when instructed to do so. Ruby is of a different sort and will learn at her own rate.

    Obscure Australian rock bands and lyrics is probably a step too far for people not exposed to such culture. Hehe! Due to the inherent distance from other countries – and the internal distance between major cities, we have a lively local music scene. Plenty of people are nibbling away at the edges of that though. Usually it happens via way of people moving near to live music venues and then complaining about noise and making them uneconomic. Often the venue is converted into an apartment block. Believe it or not, even the famous Sydney Opera House has been subject to such noise restrictions. I often wonder what people think when they move near to such places? Even being a long established venue is no guarantee of fending off complaints. Bonkers and it shouldn’t happen. There’s that ‘should’ word though, but I’m on a rant-roll!

    Haha! Yeah, I hadn’t considered that the tiny houses were in the same league as renewable energy systems, but yeah – that makes sense. I’ve always considered that the tiny house movement is part of the bargaining process in relation to the future. I read an article this morning about increasing urban density and nobody seemed to question how all the infrastructure was going to support the additional folks housed in the city each year. The latest statistics suggests that the number is around 120,000 extra people per year in the big smoke. I recall one prolonged drought when the water supply for the big smoke got down pretty low (into the mid teens %) and things were looking quite dire – and that was decades ago. I don’t think we can test drive how this situation will work out, but I reckon we’ll sure find out. I might be wrong about this, and it would save a lot of future pain for folks. It is not a dissimilar story to shutting down base load electricity generators and then replacing them with wishes and beliefs.

    Say G’day to the Washington zombies – although I’m pretty sure they’re not called zombies! 🙂 How does the author get around that part of the story? Surely the word ‘undead’ cannot be substituted? Or would the author have to describe the zombies every time the protagonists encounter one? So many questions, so few answers…

    The cheeky folks in The Eagle are staging a one sided game to display their prowess! I liked the authors description of Sagramore as not being particularly imbued with the ability to produce long term strategy. All very polite, and lesser person might write it differently.

    You do get a bit inured to death when you have live stock. What else do you do? The foxes will do the same here if allowed, and fortunately there are easier pickings for the foxes elsewhere. The experience serves to remind us of our own mortality and hopefully that reminds us to remember to live.

    I’ve worked for one of those, and there is a school of thought which suggests that the companies subject to their loving ministrations are loaded up with debt and then sold off to suckers. The core problem is that if it is more advantageous to sell a businesses property than it is to run the business, then this is what ya get. Thanks for the link, it was one ugly story, and did you note that there was an IPO. When a hugely expanded money supply goes in search of yield, well, it appears that there may be lots of suckers out there. The government is spruiking increasing the portion of take home pay that gets sucked out of employees wages and into the financial arena for retirement funding. I’m not a fan of that policy. It is however one way to mop up the excess money supply.

    Sure, the market down here is small for vehicles, but vehicle manufacturing took place since right after WWII and there used to be tariffs protecting local industry and jobs. What I noticed about the Prime Muppets visit to a bushfire ravaged town where he looks like he acted like a bit of a numpty, was that in the background he turned up in a huge BMW SUV. It wasn’t a good look and driving a vehicle that the locals could relate too wouldn’t be a bad idea. The inference was that the pigs had their snouts in the public purse.

    Electric cars are never going to be a big thing. But I’d be happy to see the major manufacturers give it a go and prove me wrong. Even basic small electric cars are hugely expensive and draw a lot of electricity from the grid, and I would have thought that the manufacturers would have had serious incentive to lower the prices – and they already have the manufacturing expertise. Most people make the claim that volume production will bring down costs, but I’m not so sure about that.

    I hope someone is searching for such a directive about the firefighter. It would be awesome to see such a thing come to light. It wouldn’t look good.

    You display the detailed understanding of the collector. Good stuff. Do you reckon hoarders miss out on the ability to discern? I’m always curious about those folks and have never encountered one (that I’m aware of). Have you ever met one? And what was your take on that matter?

    I collect too, but try to ensure that the things surrounding me here on the farm work – and that is part of my motivation with systems and things. But I feel that taking on too much stuff would be a burden on my soul. Dunno, it just wouldn’t feel right. Someone a while back told me that cattle dogs have an ability to respond to situations within a particular area (and not outside their area) – and I see Ollie doing just that. And I feel a bit that way, not wanting to take on too much.

    Had an awful nightmare last night about being way up on very precarious scaffolding. Probably had something to do with being up on the roof in the rain yesterday. Interestingly enough in the dream I could relive the feeling of being in that very situation. I once helped out someone who was in a bit of a situation with their scaffolding and it was an unnerving experience.

    Oh! I’d never heard of anyone suffering from that phobia before. Given the extent of bugs that surround us every day of our lives, well the character would have been in quite a state. Imagine them using a public telephone… (if they could find one these days).

    Here’s cheers to Fornax, and may our daily bread be good!



  20. Hi DJ,

    Yeah exactly, I appreciate your excellent description. To my mind it is also a bit like the climate which can shift without warning and so variability is the order of the day. Too bad most of our food crops grow best in stable conditions. Oh well. The local Eucalyptus species are great specialists and they readily hybridise to the environment they find themselves in, but so too do many other plants such as oaks.

    And that is so true. People have sometimes look dumbfounded that despite the volume of edible plants here, sometimes the yields are low due to other critters wanting to get a slice of the action. I guess if you’ve only ever lived in a city, your experience has been that you can completely dominate an environment. Cities are quiet places to my eyes and I rarely spot insects anymore in the big smoke. Dominance looks to me like it is a monoculture.

    I don’t have any idea how this place will work in the future. Dunno at all. The complexity is quite extraordinary.

    You’ve mentioned the Fisher before, and it is amazing to see species that were once considered extinct pop back into existence. I tell ya, the bushfires this summer have probably left a hugely empty slate over in the far east of this state. The rains here have also been dumping solid amounts of rain over in that part of the country. I tend to believe that all the particles being released into the atmosphere provides opportunities for rain bearing clouds to form. Rain drops form around particles in the atmosphere.

    Lewis mentioned his concerns about Ollie too, and never fear he’s doing OK and getting appropriate attention.

    Your winter is definitely sounding like the winters here. 10’C would be a warm winter day for the farm. Mind you, you’re nearing the end of winter.

    Shuffleboard on ice! Like it. How did you get into the sport in the first place? I assume your former employment introduced you?

    Hehe! Here’s to a not quiet voice and a unique beard. We interrupt this reply to announce that something has gone awry at the national youth broadcaster as they are playing John Williams – Duel of the fates. It is a very stirring piece of music, but hardly the stuff of the national youth broadcaster! 🙂 What’s going on? I have the radio playing softly in the background.

    Loved the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy reference, and the entry in the Encyclopedia was a hoot. Puts our larger story into context, and better than being an executive at the Cyrus Cybernetics Corporation! 😉

    Everyone loves someone else to hate upon, and sometimes it is an inter-generational thing. It happens, but sometimes the complaints are real. I use the test ‘can this complaint be put to a specific criticism’? When the complaints are general in nature and vague and formless, then I ignore them. A lot of hysteria gets whipped up over such fears.

    Ah, I had not realised that the higher voltage was part of the conservation of energy story. Interesting, had not thought of it that way. Hmm. Yeah, what is interesting about the equipment is that it is sold as separate components but I have had to integrate them into a system over the years – and that is where things get interesting. I was surprised by the damage – no kidding around. Nothing could convince me that I’d taken the former incarnation as far as it would go.

    Well, the good Professor may be writing about the larger area. Local knowledge always trumps that picture and your story speaks to that. To be honest, the rain is probably 50% more than I’d usually expect for this time of year, but December and January was crazy hot and dry, so I’m scratching my head and thinking that I have no idea about what is going on. It’s not good though and I’d appreciate a bit more middle ground for both of our areas.



  21. Chris:

    I am wondering if Plum might not be the next boss dog, seeing that she seems to have a rather independent spirit. Do you think that Ollie does not have the personality for that job? He does seem to be looking into the chicken house with a wolflike gaze. Certainly that is not bossy behavior? Unless one is a chicken.

    You have quite a kaleidoscopic chicken collection.

    I love the shot of the eucalyptus trees in bloom, with the distant view.

    Your solar system is becoming more complex.

    Is this your first year for persimmon fruit? Your eggplants are so funny (but good!) – they are not eggs.

    Thanks for the flowers. The spring flowers are blooming here, and I have planted radish seeds, the first thing that can be planted directly outside, except for certain flower seeds, which I have planted, also. Last summer I dug and dug in a bed where I knew I had some giant daffodils, because I wanted to move them. Well, here they are now that spring is here. So I started to dig them up and found that the reason I hadn’t been able to find them before was because they were almost a foot
    (30 cm) deep. We had added soil to that bed over the years to make it a raised bed and they had been buried, which daffodils do not mind.

    It seems to help the bitterness of cucumbers if you cut about an inch off of the stem end before pickling; that is the most bitter part. Some folks say to rinse your knife after each cut so as not to pass the bitterness on.

    Somewhere up there you said: “As we get older we get crunchy.” I can vouch for that – you can hear it!


  22. Yo, Chris – It got down to 27F (-2.77C), last night. Pretty frosty out, this morning. With fog so thick you can see less than a city block. When I run down to The Club, to gas with Scott, I’ll have to watch out for freezing fog on the roads.

    Guy time? Bro bonding? Just so it’s not OST … Ollie Standard Time. 🙂

    I had heard about the opera house noise restrictions, somewhere along the way. People move somewhere, and expect things to change to suit them. It’s the whole entitlement thing. Have it your way. Ha!

    So, what are you going to do? Put a cap on city populations? That would be about as popular as general population controls. Probably wouldn’t go over well with developers and business interests. Resource depletion will put a cap on it, in a rather brutal way. Or, as we’re seeing here, costs are so high in the cities, that only the rich can live there. Keeps the riff raff out. 🙂 .

    Well, the beach combing zombies, were created by a virus. A lot of people die outright, some linger in a dangerous altered state. Some appear ok, but are psychotic and crazy as loo house rats. Quit a few can’t stand daylight, and can only come out, at night. The characters spend quit a bit of time, standing around and gassing about all the permutations of the virus. But the word “zombie” crosses no one’s lips. Have these people been living under a rock, for the past 20 years?

    I’m up to chapter 12 in “The Eagle.” The games are done and dusted. Lance has some interesting things to say about how stories … legends get started. I think we may be in for a real twist ending, Having not much to do with the many legends, as they stand.

    The Prime Muppet would have gotten a lot more mileage (that is beyond a pun. That is a groaner) if he’d arrived in a ute. He’s assuming the trappings of the global elite, rather than the trappings of the people he represents.

    Electric cars might amount to something, if someone comes up with a version like the old VW bug. In expensive, you can do some of the work, yourself. I had two in my life, and still miss them.

    Sure, I’ve known a few hoarders. Got one living right next door. My old landlord and his family. I have a tendency toward it, myself. The reasons are many, for people in that predicament. Some have suffered great loss, along the way. Some were raised that way, by hoarders. (Quick question: Would it be better to be raised by hoarders … or wolves?). Other’s identity is wrapped up in their stuff. Who would they be, if they didn’t have their stuff? Nostalgia. It’s more comfortable to live in the past, than in the present. Some people just feel frozen when having to decide what to keep, or what to throw. “How do I hoard thee? Let me count the ways.”

    It’s the actual actor that has the phobia about contamination and germs. He’s also has dyslexia.

    Well, I finally broke down and made the lemon biscuits, that the recipe was on a bag of Bob’s Red Mill flour. Pretty tasty if I do say so, myself. Crisp. Loaded with butter. Now I wonder if I used orange zest, and orange juice, if I could make orange biscuits. I may give that a whir. Lew

  23. Hi Chris,

    That outdoor kennel sounds great. Maybe Doug could build one. At the old place we often put the dogs out in one of the old goat pens as it had a shed in case of inclement weather but of course that was only when weather allowed.

    I think there are too many choices of everything.

    In the same vein as the people of Cuba, Cook was quoted in “The Biggest Estate on Earth”; “From what I have said of the natives of New Holland they may appear to some to be the most wretched people upon Earth; but in reality they are far more happier than we Europeans, being wholly unacquainted not only with the superfluous, but also with the necessary conveniences so much sought after in Europe; they are happy in not knowing the use of them. They live in a tranquility which is not disturbed by the Inequality of Condition.”

    Plum and Ruby are just too cute. It sounds like they are settling in pretty well. That Scritchy – I suppose she is jealous.


  24. Pam,
    Have you found changes in Whole Foods since Amazon’s purchase? We don’t have one anywhere near here so it’s rare I step in one. My sister and aunt, however, in Chicago shop there regularly. My sister says it’s changed a lot and the employees are not as happy. My aunt says it hasn’t changed. Of course the two of the them love to disagree with each other :). Btw PBS Frontline has a two hour documentary about Amazon. I started to watch but as it began at 9 PM and that is my bedtime I didn’t get too far but I did record it.

    Agree with you regarding happiness.


  25. @Lew

    Yeah, management manages to find all sorts of justifications for strange decisions! From the rumour mill, this decision is being pushed by a board member who doesn’t even live in Auckland, he just thinks the office should be near a few major infrastructure projects that are going on, which doesn’t make much sense since most customers never actually come to our office. /shrug Might not be an issue for me soon anyway 😉


  26. Hi Chris

    Good luck with the new keyboard – I actually am a little envious and think my next computer might be a used desktop computer with big screen and clicky-clacky keyboard. This laptop I have is actually pretty swish, but once I no longer need or have a decent work laptop, a desktop is the more sensible solution (and probably would last longer with better cooling etc). Some cheeky scamps might suggest getting a external keyboard for the laptop, but my desk is not big enough to sit a laptop, then place another keyboard in front of it!

    Thank you for the photo feedback from my website. The vast majority of photos just come off a Samsung S7 phone (an aging device these days), which has a good camera, but not as good as my last phone which was an older nokia model. Anyway, the phone has an option for “vivid” mode, which in my eyes, gets the colour close to what I “see”. A lot of point and click photos feel more washed out than what the human eye sees – so philosophically, I guess I am ok with post processing/filters, if it gets you closer to how you perceived things. Purists might disagree.

    Your camera will have similar options, you can also bracket (low – normal – high exposure photos) every shot, and post-process the 3 photos together on your computer to make very nice HDR photos. HDR is good I think (although, again purists can complain) as the human eye is very good at high contrast scenarios, but most cameras are not. The most recent post (with the sailing video from a few weeks back) on my site, has a good example of both HDR and the “vivid” colour process in the cover photo:
    Some people get a bit antsy with the strong blues, it isn’t real, say disparaging things about filters etc – but that is what it looked like on the day to me (maybe just a hint less strong, but not by much).

    I will have to get my act together soon and pop some Japan photos up. We took an SLR as well as phone pictures, we got some real nice shots on the SLR using the 35mm prime lens, but many did not turn out as we are rank amateurs, and will need application of the delete key 🙂


  27. Chris,

    Adaptation is important. Hard, but important. Those eucalyptus and oaks that can hybridize have one huge advantage over many other living things. Change happens whether we like it or not. Your diversity of food crops is a very wise thing during changing climates.

    If I saw a fisher in 1986, I’m guessing that there were always fishers around, just that the experts hadn’t seen them or any sign of them. Rare? Yes, but not gone.

    I agree with your idea about more atmospheric particulates and there being more rain. As you said, there’s more stuff there for the water vapor to cling to and form clouds.

    Our temperatures are more like early spring than the last third of winter. It has been this way sporadically throughout the season. Not that I’m complaining, as having a generally milder winter and less snow than usual to move around has been pleasant.

    Here’s my answer to “Duel of the Fates”: Theme from “the Good the Bad and the Ugly” by the Danish National Orchestra of all things. And I have no idea why a youth channel would be playing John Williams?!?

    My love for curling? Well, the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, started with the opening ceremonies on February 12. Which happened to be the exact day my dad died that year. I took a gob of time off work, and the Princess and I spent a lot of time on the sofa watching the Olympics. They showcased curling that year for the first time ever. The slower paced sport was really what I needed, and we both grew to like it. Knowing that there would be something new and interesting was really a godsend that I needed at that time. They’ve continued to show a lot of curling in the Olympics and we occasionally get some curling on obscure cable tv channels.

    I really appreciate the Hitchhiker’s Guide and its irreverent humor. He poked fun at everyone, even himself. And that entry of “Mostly Harmless” always has me in stitches. It describes us quite well while also putting us in our place in the larger universe. And the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation? A bunch of guys that should be first against the wall when the revolution comes, or something like that.

    Thanks for this one: “I use the test ‘can this complaint be put to a specific criticism’? ”

    Yes, current multiplied by electric potential equals power, or the rate of doing work. (amps times volts equals watts) But work is the change in energy. So, amps times volts equals the rate of energy change and is a rough measure of the energy in the system. (1 watt = I joule per second. A joule is a measure of energy.) So, roughly, the ability to do work, the energy of the system, must be conserved. So, 10 amps times 20 volts equals 200 watts. The energy inherent in the power (wattage) must be conserved, so that if a transformer were to step down the voltage to 10 volts, and since the energy must be conserved, then 200 watts divided by the 10 volts equals 20 amps. Something similar is happening with the changes you’re making. I hope that wasn’t too muddled.

    So, here’s a scary thought. When I store a phone number or a song in my cell phone, it’s in the form of digital mumbo jumbo which is really energy being stored. Per Einstein, energy = mass multiplied by the speed of light squared. Or moved around, mass = energy divided by the speed of light squared. So each new entry of energy I make to be stored in my cell phone adds a miniscully small amount of mass to the cell phone. Much too small to measure, but if you ever drop your cell phone, it’s worth saying that you’ve got so much data in it that it’s too heavy to hold.


  28. Hi Pam, Lewis, Margaret, DJ and Damo,

    Thanks for the lovely comments, but it is the mid-week hiatus and I promise to reply tomorrow. I tells ya, even with a super fast clickety-clackety replacement keyboard I’m still not the typingest type around and have completely mismanaged my time today and I really don’t know where the day went… It’s complicated! 🙂

    Until tomorrow!



  29. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the George Carlin link and I look forward to watching it tomorrow. What a fascinating individual. How could I have not encountered his work before? Fortunately you are correcting my very shoddy education, and I appreciate that.

    Arthur got trounced by some nobodies, and Merlyn is less than impressed. And Sir Galahad copped it bad in the face. I guess that means that there won’t be a Grail Quest in this particular version of the story?

    Oh yeah, I read the Good Professors musings on frozen fog, and I’d never encountered such a dread weather circumstance. Brr! I was talking to a local bloke I know this morning about wood heaters. He’s a very handy bloke and made his own from truck rims, which is pretty clever. Stay warm.

    Ollie Standard Time. 🙂 Funny. I’ll let you in on a little ritual Ollie and I have going. Some may call it nature magic, and that’s fine by me. Anyway, at night Ollie sleeps on the green couch, and just before lights out I settle him onto the green couch and he gets what could be known as a ‘double fluff scritchy’ (a chest and head scritch). And I sing a little nighttime song to him called: Who’s the best cattle dog ever? True. When I watched the NZ film, ‘The hunt for the wilderpeople’, I was reminded of the scene where the lady provided a hot water bottle every night to the foster kid – it’s sort of like that, but with a cattle dog. Ollie loves it too, and he sleeps the whole night through. Yeah, a bit of bro bonding. 🙂

    The story about the Sydney Opera House is just not on. I strongly disagree with the people making the complaints, and if they don’t like the volume they shouldn’t be there in the first place. It is like moving next to an airport or an industrial facility and then complaining about the noise. What do they expect? Bonkers.

    Very few people realise that in not accepting limits, we sow the seeds of our own destruction. It really is that simple. But I can understand peoples reluctance in relation to that matter. I guess people think that it doesn’t matter, and I would like for them to be wrong, I just don’t believe that they are wrong. Exactly, the intersection of pollution and resource and energy depletion will set the upper limit on the whole matter, so we’ve chosen that path I guess. There is a school of thought which suggests that from an ecological perspective, the population is surplus. Not nice, but I read that a year or two back.

    The zombies (for want of a better word!) that can handle the daylight would be an absolute nuisance because how could anyone get anything done if some crazed loon starts trying to bite them. Actually are the zombies in the story a bit bitey? And has anyone figured out how the virus spreads?

    Chapter 11 in The Eagle, and the author has done a great job of showing Lancelot’s character maturing.

    Exactly, the Prime Muppet was entirely tone deaf to the situation he entered into. Not good. I would have gone into the town without the camera crew and minders, and with an older ute. He’s approaching them from the point of view of being a higher authority. And they didn’t like it.

    Better run! Speak tomorrow.



  30. @ Margaret:

    My Whole Foods has stayed the same, with all the same nice people. I think it has everything to do with the management, especially one fellow whom I’ve known for years.

    My mother reports that her Ft. Collins, Colorado one is a shambles.


  31. Hello again
    Gusts of wind and still raining.
    I don’t get bitter cucumbers. I was told that one avoids this by removing male flowers when they appear. Have therefore always done this. Can only assuming that there is no need for fertilisation.


  32. Chris:

    I love your Ollie bedtime ritual. I never used that ritual, but I used to sing all sorts of songs to our dogs – and read children’s books to them (favorites were “Go, Dog, Go!” and Dr. Seuss).


  33. Yo, Chris – Well, it got down to 27F (-2.77C), last night. Beautiful days. The last two days, traffic has been really heavy. Because, we get a couple of nice days here and everyone seems to feel the need to get in their cars and go … somewhere. Anywhere.

    You probably haven’t heard of Carlin, because he died, quit awhile ago. So, it’s only us old duffers that still repeat his riffs. I don’t know if he ever played Australia. My mate Scott and I, resurrect a routine or two, from time to time.

    I’m down to the last, two short chapters of “The Eagle.” I decided to set it down and put of the inevitable end. But, I can still circle back and read “Urther.” AND, THERE’S A PREQUAL!!! To “The Sky Stone.” It came out in January of 2019. Amazon has it. Some of the Amazon reviews have a brief plot outline. It sounds a bit weird. Varus as secret agent? Well, whatever. Our library doesn’t have it, but I might get it on interlibrary loan.

    I wish Prof. Mass would be a bit more … forthcoming. A couple of posts ago, he was banging on about El Nino, and he sometimes refers to what’s “normal.” I wish he’d expound, a bit more. I can’t remember what normal is.

    The weird stuff we do with our pets, when no one is around. When I’d open a can of tuna, I’d always say in a deep, ominous voice, “Tu-na! Tuuuuna!” And Nell would come running to get a little piece. I still think of that, every time I open a can. I’m sure I had routines, with Beau, too. Just can’t remember them. Every time I take HRH for a walk, as soon as we’re out of earshot of everyone else, I ask her “And how was your day?”

    Well, the Washington Coastal Zombies …. everyone’s got a theory. Airborne or contact? Unknown. Things fell apart so fast, no one knows. There seems to be a zombie “scale.” From slobering mindless (and not so mindless) things that eat anything that moves, to people that appear fairly healthy who are a bit psychotic, around the edges. Are they moving up the scale, or down? Those that are so far, unaffected, spend so much time just staying alive, that they don’t spend much time contemplating what’s going on with the zombie menace. Lew

  34. Alco44
    Hi Chris

    Your overheated battery inter connection:
    It looks like a very good quality unit. The Chinese manufacture shows it has a 95 sq mm wire cross sectional area and an M10 bolt connection to the posts. There can be a lot of things leading to problems. Such components are set to a to certain torque values using a torque wrench. Any little particle of dirt between the term and post Can add additional resistance and voltage drop which produces heat at the connection. The greasy compounds used for connection improvement also are dirt magnets. With all the cheap infra red non contact handheld thermometers available I t should be fairly easy to check for even slightly overheated connections when the panels are producing High power levels. Your suppler would be able to help.

    I have been a fan of silicon solar power since the early 60 s when I got my first 1/2 “ by 1/2” single cell solar device i think it made about 10 Milliamperes or so in bright sun. They have come along way.
    You and The Editor have a nice clean installation. I think the conversion to 48 volts and the added cheap panels will Be great. Of course with the inherent constraints of solar.

    Richland, Kennewick , and Pasco the Tri Cities in the dry Desert area of SE Washington State, get most of our Hydro electricity from 16 or so Columbia And Snake River dams.
    Oh I almost forgot also the 1,2 gigawatt nuke plant located in the Hanford nuc complex nearby.

    There is a small amount of large wind energy which feeds their production into the Bonneville Power Administration regional grid. There are some small solar installations locally , not too significant compared compared to the installed Hydro base.
    You see a lot of off grid point of use cross walks , warning signs and communication link equipment which is a good use for alternative power.

    One of my favorite alternative power uses I have read about was from Germany thru Denmark into Norway . Germany had a surplus of Wind and Wave power which they sent thru distribution lines to Norway hooked the power into pumps at the bottom of a high drop Hydro generation installation and pumped the already used for power water back up to the top of the top of the source where it ran back down thru the penstocks and through the turbines turning the generating equipment with the power going back into the grid . It took me awhile to get my head around that concept. Should work anywhere with hydro And ,wind or solar.
    Very cute Pups!

  35. Hi Pam,

    You might be right about Ruby. Plum has a few things going in her favour though. Her ears are bolt upright which is always a sign of canine intelligence. She is also growing faster than Ruby. And I believe the clincher is that Ollie has taken Plum under his wing and is showing her how to be a farm dog, and Plum is smart enough to mimic every move that Ollie makes. It’s uncanny to see. She even copies his stances.

    However, the smartest dog that I’ve ever encountered was the gentle – but occasionally sulky – Sir Scruffy. Now, Sir Scruffy had an interesting background where he spent time in a backyard with just a cat to entertain him. I’m guessing the family were bored of him and kept him locked up outside by himself. Sir Scruffy wasn’t easily daunted by that, and he learned to copy all the moves that the cat made, even to rolling around upside down and trying to play ‘bite my hand’ with me – as cats are wont to do. So when Sir Scruffy was finally shuffled off to the farm, he watched the other dogs closely, and copied every single winning behaviour that the other dogs did. In effect he became a better dog than they ever could be. Early on, Toothy took Scruffy (pre-title) off into the forest on an extended adventure. I’d be certain that Toothy assured him that it would be all OK with us. Alas for Scruffy, he discovered that heading off into the wilds was not OK with us, and he shunned Toothy after that, and never repeated the behaviour. One smart dog, but in order for the new dogs to be OK, they need the reassurance that the older dogs provide to them.

    Too true, did you notice the lolling tongue of Ollie as he contemplated shredding the chickens into little bite sized pieces? Not a gifted chicken dog, and he is rapidly training Plum. I intend to get Ruby out tonight with the chickens. There is hope there.

    The flowering of the tall trees in the forest is the best that I have observed in over a dozen years. The bees and all of the honey eaters are enjoying the easy feed. And I suspect that the parrots are up in the trees enjoying themselves too.

    Nope, the solar power system is very simple, I’m just de-stressing it a lot. After a decade I was asking too much from the older arrangement and something had to give.

    The persimmon is in its second year of fruit. Eggs don’t grow on trees you know! 😉

    Oh my, a foot deep! I had no idea that bulbs would recover from such deep planting. I have no doubts that your top soil has become much deeper over the years.

    Hehe! Aren’t we all? It would be nice if it were not so, but crunchy seems to be a state that follows us all.

    1,000%! Oh my, thanks for the investment tip. Far out! The funniest thing I read in the article was a quote: “The entire investor focus is on the probability of default, rather than the coupon or accrued income a bond provides,” Hmm, be afraid, be very afraid. And also be aware that money ain’t what it used to be.

    Ollie would love to hear the words from the book: Go dog, go! And who can argue with the fine words of Dr Seuss? I learned all I needed to know about pollution from the Lorax. The two pups are tiring him out, so he sleeps deeply. I’ll put some Ollie training photos up on the next blog. It really is amazing to see.



  36. Hi Margaret,

    Yeah, the outdoor dog area is attached to the house so I can just kick them outside and they are in an enclosure which they can’t get out of. Sir Poopy had an amazing set of teeth and he road tested and broke through several iterations of steel fencing until I finally settled on a local product which is known as ‘ARC wire fencing panels’. The panels used to be used as road construction barriers, and a local business was getting rid of their store of second hand panels. In hindsight I should have bought more of them, but regrets are things that you are meant to carry around with you.

    Anyway, the enclosure faces the north east and has a huge veranda over it and a goodly sized run where they can do their business on the ground. It is rare for bad weather to arrive from the north east, but usually when it does the weather is warmer, so the dogs are fine 99.9% of the time there. There are two kennels for the dogs to retreat into when it is cold. Unfortunately, Ollie as a puppy destroyed all of the beautiful woollen blankets kept out for them so they had something warm to sleep on. Nowadays they get to enjoy hessian sacks which I have a ready supply of. I hear you about the anxiety riddled furniture chewing canine business… Dogs!

    All up, they’re OK out there.

    I get that too, and the best thing to do is adopt limits and try to disregard the other choices. If I knew an easier way…

    James Cook was a giant and the insightful observation shows the depth of his perspicacity. Our culture seeks to break bonds – I mean how else could we act as we do? But the Indigenous folks took upon themselves such bonds as you and I would be very uncomfortable with. The little story of my night-time ritual with Ollie is but an example of a minor bond. He’s currently on the green couch wanting to sleep, but being kept awake by Plum who is having play fights with him. Those two are close and good mates.

    Scritchy has always been something of a distant and aloof bad egg. She is just not a warm personality. I got her at about 9 years of age, and unlike a good wine, she has not improved over the years, but there is still a place for her here. The two pups in contrast are just thoroughly delightful.



  37. Hi Damo,

    Mate, I was just about to blurt out the words: “why don’t you just get an external USB clickety-clackety keyboard for your laptop?” and then you provided the note of warning and explanation. ‘Tis the role of the cheeky scamp to be cheeky! Seems only fair to me. But I hear you about the small desk situation.

    A few years ago I wrote a blog entry titled: “The Table Bunch” – a truly dodgy play upon the old “The Brady Bunch” meme which was frankly before my time but I managed to be subjected to plenty of re-runs as a kid. As a general note I was more of a fan of “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” which was far more subversive than the family angst in the suburban US story. Sorry, I digress, the upshot of the story is that second hand furniture is alas, far cheaper than it should be. And I note that your carpentry skills have improved over the years.

    Purists be dammed. The photos are good. As a little blog secret, when I can, I take the photos in the morning or evening as the light is the best for photography. And yup, washed out colours that don’t actually resemble what I’m seeing with my own eyes are part of that story. The path of the Light Side which revels in the midday sun is not for digital devices!

    I totally agree with you, and my eye also sees the vivid blues which cameras cannot capture. Incidentally, every man and their dog seems to be taking drone photos these days. Boring. I did one better and climbed onto the roof today to get some ‘manual drone cam’ shots. Hope they work out.

    Look forward to seeing the photos of a place that I’ve never been too, and may never. It will be interesting to see if there is a marked difference between the DSLR and phone images. I use a Pentax K-r white ‘storm trooper edition’ DSLR for the photos here and it does an extraordinary job. Of course you guys don’t get to see the ‘not seen’ rejected images, so there is something to be said about quantity providing at least something… 🙂



  38. Hi DJ,

    Went to a nearby seedling farm today and picked up many interesting new varieties of plants – and a couple of get-rid-of-these English Oak trees. It is a good strategy with the plants that few people seem to want to acknowledge, and I’m improving upon that strategy with plant breeding for the conditions. If I knew a better strategy for small scale farming I’d do it.

    Exactly! Rare, but not gone. The loss of wildlife from the recent epic bushfires down here has not been good. It will be interesting to say the least to see how the story plays out. There have been rumours circulating that baits are being distributed over some areas so that the forest seedlings can recover without being eaten…

    The cloud seeding folks have been at that game for a while, but I also first encountered the story when I read about the climactic changes that large volcanic eruptions bring. You wouldn’t want to experience the aftermath of a big one. Ook! And possibly hungry.

    Had to laugh as we’re having a milder summer now. Today only reached 14’C here (yesterday was 15’C) and I broke tonight and chucked a few logs into the wood heater. Insulation can’t warm you, all it can do is slow the losses.

    Thanks for the brilliant music – performed even more brilliantly. Far out, they even did for a Few Dollars More. Good stuff. Absolutely stirring music. One of the DJ’s was due to finish up working there at the radio station and was mucking around playing that bit of music. Perhaps not their usual fare.

    Sorry to read about your dad, but sometimes as one door closes in life, another opens. And dunno about your feelings on the subject, but death to me is often a good reminder to remember to live whilst you can.

    Hehe! Mate, I used to rip that line about a bunch of jerks who’ll be first up against the wall come the revolution. For people who were unaware of the origins (and it had me in stitches too) the people hearing that went through this change from shocked to amused. Although admittedly some folks got stuck in the shocked phase, and that was always uncomfortable to experience. Falling flat with humour sometimes has that unfortunate side effect.

    Although from time to time I employ sweeping generalisations, they do lack a certain coherence in critique, and the more I go on, the more they look like a manga cartoon.

    I didn’t know that about 1W = 1 joule per second. Even 1W is a lot of energy, and I’m often amazed by the low power Voyager spacecraft radio transmitters (and amazing battery – not that you’d want it anywhere near you) still working after all these years. Nope, I understood you, except that the system here steps up the voltage. The solar panels are nominally 36V under load. The batteries at their mid point state (50% charge) are 48V. Two 36V panels are wired in series to produce 72V under load. And the inverter takes the 48V DC and converts it to 230V AC. You might laugh, but I have to get a feel for what the numbers on the displays are now telling me at the newer higher voltage. I liked the old numbers…

    Funny stuff about the phone! And let’s hope they don’t get dropped. They seem like very delicate devices (I picked a very rugged version due to the future effects of gravity – think apples falling in orchards) and it is rare to see one that doesn’t have broken glass. People are excited by the technology, but to my mind that isn’t a good enough outcome.



  39. Hi Lewis,

    I had a goose bump moment today over lunch (BLT and a slice of treacle gingerbread cake). I was reading ‘The Eagle’ and reached the bit you tipped me off about. Mr Whyte – nailed it. What an epic sense of history the author has. And just in case I’ll add in the short quote of the musings of Clothar the Frank:

    “It made me realise that when great events are undone by mundane things, people often feel constrained to make the failure larger and somehow more significant by lying about what truly happened, as if what actually occurred were too ludicrously petty to have brought about such awe-inspiring and cataclysmic results.

    Oh my! I was truly blown away by those words. Such clarity of mind is rare.

    Really? If I can avoid driving I do exactly that. On the other hand, if I intend to go somewhere, I ensure that all errands are performed in one big loop. Today as part of those errands I stopped off at a nearby seedling farm and picked up a whole bunch of interesting plants. I intend to clear out the corn enclosure over the next few weeks and replant the entire enclosure with raspberries. It is nice to have more planting space these days, and I’m getting to the point where I plant like plants with like, knowing full well that there is a risk in that strategy, but at the same time acknowledging that if the wildlife takes 20% of a crop, there is still 80% left for me to harvest. Strawberries are the only plants where I have had no harvest despite yields. And now those berries are in a cage.

    Hey, the almonds have just begun to split open over the past few days. Fresh almonds are amazing tasting, and they lack the bitterness that accompanies dried almonds.

    I also picked up a book on citrus trees today at the gardening club. A decade old Lemon Eureka tree has collar rot and I suspect that it is now toast. I wanted to learn why it happened, and turns out I should not have been growing Borage species plants around the base of the tree – airflow was not good and woodlice have been hiding in there and having a party.

    Thanks for mentioning the bloke. He sounds like a smart bloke and I look forward to hearing what he has to say.

    What? A prequel. Good stuff. Speaking of books I also nabbed the Rodale book that Claire mentioned on seed raising and it arrived in the mail on Thursday morning. It looks like an epic read. I couldn’t get the Idiot’s guide down here on that subject. I’m not sure why. I look forward to hearing your review of the prequel.

    Hehe! I can’t remember what ‘normal’ weather is like anymore either. And was it ever normal anyway? It was 59’F yesterday and cloudy and drizzly, and today was a little bit cooler. Forgive me, but it is still meant to be summer here, although the alternative end of the spectrum is far worse. I broke this evening and chucked a few logs in the wood heater. Brr!

    Nell was a smart one to have trained you just so. Hehe! I do things like that too. The new pups have learned to sit when instructed to, but it involves kitchens and possible feeding. You have to start somewhere. I was at the feed store the other day and inquired about a bag of beef jerky strips. I’d bought a bag the previous week and not noticed the charge, although it seemed large. The dogs went through one bag last week and I was curious as to how much it cost. Turns out it was $55, so yeah they’re not getting another one of those, and instead I picked up a bag of off cut bones and have been feeding them those. They love the bones and they last longer than beef jerky strips – the canine equivalent of candy. I should have looked at the receipt but I was rather distracted on the day of purchase last week. One morning, the dogs were mucking around so much in the kitchen, that I forgot to add yeast into the bread mix. What an unusual loaf it was – all flat and cake like, but with a crusty outer loaf. I ate it anyway. The dogs are settling down though and I’m working out the new routines with them. And if they annoy me too much I chuck them into their enclosure to cool their heels.

    The scale is a good idea from the perspective of diversity and all that. Zombieland 2 had a similar sliding zombie scale ranging from the ‘Homer Simpson’ to the Stephen Hawking’ zombies. But then for the fast aggressive zombies you may have noticed the ‘T-800’ breed so named after the infamous Terminator.

    Out of curiosity are the fairly healthy types but with mild psychosis tipping into more extreme forms of zombie-ism? Well that is the thing isn’t it? I’ll bet the population gets a whole lot fitter under those trying scenarios.

    That’s a good point about electric cars having to go backwards in size and weight so that they’re closer to that of a VW. And it might surprise you, but there have been plenty of examples of older VW beetles that were converted to electric. I don’t believe that it is a particularly challenging changeover. I always liked the simplicity of those machines. But the sort of large car with bells and whistles that people expect nowadays is not cheaply or easily converted into electric. Yes it can be done, but it ain’t gonna be cheap. I would like to be proven wrong about that.

    Thank you very much for your insights into hoarding. It has given me some clarity into the thought process behind the eyes.

    Ah, apologies I misunderstood your comment about the actor. As you guessed I believed that you meant the character displayed those traits. That would make for an uncomfortable experience, and I do hope that the actor never reads too much on the subject of micro-biology. It is amazing that we are all as healthy as we are given the circumstances and huge congregations of people in cities. I found out recently that someone I know has dyslexia. I would never have known and they are a very talented technical and in demand person.

    Hehe! Lot’s of butter in biscuits, although I do a mix and swap some butter for a bit of raw coconut. Seems to work fine and I can’t taste the coconut. Lemon is a hard fruit to cook with as the acidity gets pretty low and that can have strange effects. I recall trying to reproduce a Quay Lime Pie a few years back and getting the mix to set was err, difficult as I used a lot of lemon.



  40. Hi Al,

    Yeah, the batteries are pretty good and operating well after almost a decade. The burn was from the negative cable leading to the inverter, and you’re spot on about incorrect torque settings leading to sparking. It is something that is not thought about until it becomes necessary. But at high currents, the heating and cooling effect on the bolts becomes a problem. On my maintenance schedule I check the torque of the battery bolts every three months, and just eyeball the battery room once per week. Better to get onto problems early me thinks.

    Indeed the use of photovoltaic cells has come a long way, and in CERES in Melbourne they have some old panels installed and there is much lichen growing on them.

    But exactly, the change over to 48V has been a long time coming, and I really didn’t want to add an extra 40A at 24V of charging capacity from the extra 8 panels as the currents were getting a bit bonkers. How does 210A work for you? It was a bit past my comfort levels. I’ve noticed on cold sunny days around the summer solstice, the panels over rate easily.

    Hydro is good, and I have no experience or knowledge of nuc’s as there is only the single reactor on the continent and it produces medical isotopes rather than electricity. As a comparison there is a lot of hydro in play in the grid down here, but we also have droughts so that can be a problem.

    I’ve heard that about pumped hydro and it treats the dam like a huge battery. Not a bad idea at all, although it only works at larger scales. Someone once suggested I try that with water tanks, and the rough economic numbers were not promising – and I need the water to drink and for the garden. 🙂

    A long time ago I looked into using a wood fired steam generator as a back up power source, and someone in the state to the west of here was making them. Fascinating machines, but rather expensive. For me it always comes back to – just chuck on more solar panels. But some winter days can produce as little as 15 minutes of peak sun for the day – fortunately they are rare, but they occur. And they are usually still days too.



  41. Hi Inge,

    Is this sort of weather your usual winter? It sounds extraordinarily damp to my ears. Winters produce the wettest weather here. Sometimes it can be so damp as to be very unpleasant. Although one crazy summer I experienced 10 inches of rain in five days. It was a true struggle muddling through those days and the aftermath.

    Thanks for the suggestion with the cucumbers. To be honest I’m finding them to be more pleasing to my taste buds as I’m getting older. As a kid I really hated the taste of cucumbers.



  42. Chris:

    That Sir Scruffy was a character all right, and smart, besides being exceedingly handsome – but was he a boss dog?

    That’s good. Simple solar is what is wanted.

    Ha ha! You forgot the yeast and had flatbread!

    I took some stuff to our recycling center yesterday. My son has been doing that, but he hasn’t had time. They have cut back even more on what they take and I had to take quite a bit back home to put out out for our trash collector. I am very grateful for what the center does take, and it’s free. I noticed that they were quite firm about leaving only clean, dry refuse.


  43. Yo, Chris – It was 28F (-2.22C), last night. The rain is coming back, this evening, and their will be a bump up in overnight lows.

    History is a funny thing. Or, maybe memory. Every once in awhile, I pick up a season of a series called “Finding Your Roots.” A few A list celebs, but lots of B and C list. People I’ve never heard of. The Harvard history professor leads the folks through their family trees. Using everything from an army of researchers, to the most cutting edge DNA analysis.

    What surprises me is how many people know so little about their ancestors. Most, beyond their folks and grand folks, know nothing. It’s amazing how much information is lost along the way. One young lady turned out to be a direct descendant of William Bradford. Governor of the Plymouth Plantation. Mayflower, and all that. She hadn’t a clue. How do you loose that story, from your family stories?

    On a tangent, stories get changed because … well, I see a lot of it around the Institution. And, at the Club. A topic comes up and there’s a lot of speculation, and someone who really knows nothing about the subject at hand, blurts out something with the firmest of authority. Not having a clue what the real story is. I think a lot of it is people not wanting to be perceived as “not being in the know.” Information IS power.

    Interesting plants, hmmm? I think there’s a 12 Step program, for that. Just take that first step. Take a deep breath and admit that you are “powerless over interesting plants, and your life has become unmanageable.” 🙂 . Probably a group for interesting chickens, too.

    Darn. I was going to link to the possible Wikipedia entry for the Rodale Publishing Company. I forgot. They’re an interesting outfit. They do a lot of books on organic gardening, alternative medicine and healthy cooking. Crafts. They had (have?) a book club. The second hand book market groans with their books. And, due to that, the prices are usually pretty low. I have a copy of “Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.” What a door stop, of a book. In very good condition, and I think I only paid 2 or 3 dollars, for it. Just taking a quick look at my bookshelf, I see a Rodale book on Home Remedies and one on herbs. Oh, and there’s Bubel’s “The New Seed-Starters Handbook.” Fancy that.

    Maybe a bag of jerky for extra special treats? Hide it well. Do they have pig ears, for dogs, down under? Rather macabre to run across a barrel of those, at the feed store. But the pups do love them!

    Some of the best tucker comes from kitchen mistakes.

    I steer clear of micro biology. I have no interest in knowing what lives on, or around me. Some things should remain a mystery.

    My hold list thawed out, a bit. Must be climate change. So, last night I put in an interlibrary loan on the prequel. I see I got so excited, I forgot to mention the title. “Burning Stone.” And, it may be about Varus’s father. Oh, dear. I hope it’s not all about his kidney complaints.

    I was hunting and gathering at one of the cheap food stores, last night, when I saw something that gave me a chuckle. “Wiley Wallaby Black Licorice” (gourmet.). I did not buy any. Didn’t want to support high crimes and felonies, out in the bush. Lew

    PS: I see you had a train derailment, near Melbourne.

  44. Hello again
    Rain probably is our norm, it is the wind which is unusual. The problems with flooding have a lot to do with a passion for building on the flood plains plus mismanagement of rivers and the countryside. So many rural skills seem to have been lost. I wonder how much this has to do with increasing urbanisation and less local management.


  45. Hi Chris

    You have all the good maintenance practices covered for your system. Going to the 48 volt setup will put that 210 current back In a much better comfort zone. We’re you able to use your existing inverter?

    I too thought about the use wood fired steam for your dark months back up power, on the How It’s Made show they reviewed a novel 3 cylinder radial steam engine would be great but was expensive. 6k Canadian!

    Another possibility to look at is small diesel fueled with biodiesel made from used fryer oil. It could run dc output alternators that have rare earth magnet equipped rotating parts. They use the standard automotive alternator form. Capable of large amounts of clean power and are available in a range of voltages.. here is a a link with a huge amount of info. The guy has been using the pm alternators for at least a decade. Mostly for wind. But also internal combustion engine driven., he is located in Los Angelas CA. The biodiesel fuel would fit in ok with the principles of the farm. You might even grow your own oil seed like a farmer in New Hampshire. Enough to run his farm tractor. Said the 75 yo guy from his comfortable reclining chair.😁

    Thank you for your blog ! I really enjoy all of metal work skills and work ethic of both you and the editor are refreshing.

  46. Hi Pam,

    You are asking the tough questions this evening. Tough questions ask for tough answers, and without wanting to besmirch the good character of Sir Scruffy, you’re probably right in that he wasn’t good boss dog material. Ruby does seem to have the independent streak that Plum does not. Hmm. Somehow she has managed to end up sitting on my lap tonight. Plum is not happy.

    Simple solar is good. 🙂 Simple is resilient.

    Yeah, the bread experiment (if it could politely be called that) was err, interesting, but not one that I’d care to repeat.

    We sure do live in interesting times and there is an enormous amount of waste. Some of it is even good stuff. The old timers used to say: Re-use; Re-cycle; and something else. Seems like a good strategy to me.



  47. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for the explanation as to your winter weather. As a comparison, it is not dissimilar from here. Wind in a forest can be a scary experience, and the trees sway to and forth about their business, and I’m always alert for cracks or tearing sounds in the trees. But mostly I keep a respectful distance on days when the wind howls. I was relieved when you removed the branch that overhang your house a few years back. A wise move. The other day I was underneath a huge old Elm tree and I was a bit concerned about the long branches.

    It is funny you mention building upon flood plains, but everyone gets in my ear about bushfire risk, but they don’t realise that floods generate ten times the number of insurance claims that fires do, and more often too. When building the house here I rented in a nearby town. The housing estate was constructed upon an old dry creek bed. You wouldn’t know it just by looking at the area, but the creek was there. As happens very occasionally I got to experience the creek filled with water – which almost lapped up to the front door.

    Despite the big talk, we are a very urban folk, so I suspect a huge amount of practical skills have been lost.



  48. Hi Lewis,

    It is funny you mention that about history, but don’t you also wonder that maybe the lack of connection to place in our culture also drives that lack of remembrance which you wrote of? My understanding of the historical circumstances whereby people moved out of rural areas and into cities indicates to me that it was a complicated but also driven process. However from some respects there was a benefit to be gained by moving into a city or town and it was that your past could be forgotten.

    I’ve gleaned that folks in rural areas have very long memories, and for people who have lived in such areas for generations, their ancestors are in some ways still present. And also those histories are known to some and still discussed. In a city this does not happen unless a person is of a certain high social standing and relies upon the good name of their ancestors. Although the example you provided of the descendant of William Bradford kind of blows my theory out of the water, but still I believe that for the everyday person my theory holds water.

    It is such a complicated story this history business. As a rather odd and personal example, I once heard an account of how my mother became a single mother. Nobody ever really sat me down and explained the circumstances to me, except I was later provided with a colourful account from a dubious source. Was it fact or was it fiction? Dunno. Just before my grandfather died, I asked him about the circumstances. He refused to satisfy my curiosity, but nonetheless he then went on to cryptically mention that the situation did not reflect well upon the individuals involved.

    So, I sort of feel that there is a desire in our culture to suggest that we are better than we actually are – being grubby and all – and that outcome is achieved through either attempting to delete actual events, or falsifying events. I’ve often suspected that this is an example of cultural over reach, where good lessons learned go to die.

    That is true about people using a voice of authority note when attempting to fill in the blanks. Are such acts a lie? Maybe, depends on the intention and possible gain that the speaker obtains, but I might be over thinking the process. I’d just prefer if people said that they don’t know, but that’s just me and other people feel differently. There is no shame or loss of credibility to suggest that you don’t know something. It was only when I was a young bloke fresh out of High School that I thought that I knew much at all. I mean at that age, what more is there to learn? Such arrogance is quickly crushed under the weight of endeavour.

    Have you managed to speak with Eleanor or HRH yet?

    Hehe! My secret is now known, and hopefully there is a 12 step program in place. 🙂

    Yeah, the Rodale group produce great books – and they are dirt cheap in second hand bookshops. I first encountered that lot in a dusty second hand bookshop in a town far to the north of here. A lot of ex-city folk move to the town and it has a different vibe from other country towns. If I had to pick the vibe, dunno, it is sort of person moves out of inner big smoke because they can no longer afford the rent, and so they are congregating in the town. Unsurprisingly, it has a good farmers market, I’ll give them that. Oh, and they do a good open garden scheme. And there is the working steam train I guess that adds in a vote, as well as the commuter rail link to the big smoke. Actually it has a bit going for it now that I think upon the subject. Anyway, the dusty second bookshop, you know the distinctive smell of fascinating book discoveries, had a hardback copy of the Rodale Herb book. It is good stuff that book, and hopefully the book will be around long after I’m soil food. Yup, that Seed Starters book is the one Claire referred to and I now have a copy here – and may have to read it next out of sheer necessity.

    I did purchase a bag of pigs ears for the dogs – I’m attempting to see what works with them. The two pups spent hours chewing upon the pigs ears today in the warm sun. Ollie ate his in under a minute – an impressive effort. Anyway, back to bones for the pups, and they love them. The beef jerky is a special training treat. Already the two pups think that sitting equals food, although I have noticed that they now sit without being requested to do so, I’m guessing on the expectation that they will then get fed. Smart dogs.

    Can you imagine the first folks who accidentally created yoghurt from milk left in a very hot location. And then got hungry enough to try the stuff. You go first, no you go first!!! Our ancestors were very smart folks and knew a whole lot of things through sheer force of observation. Then their brains kicked into a different gear as they attempted to repeat their observations.

    Fair enough. Microbiology is a somewhat macabre topic.

    Hehe! Kidney complaints!!! Indeed. You know in the Camulod series, when characters complained about illness, mate things were not good for them and their immediate future.

    What a great name for a proper bushranger: “Wiley Wallaby”. Oddly enough some bushrangers were bad eggs, but the ones that hung around for a while were generally one their way to making peace with the rural populace and earning a name for themselves. War Lords in training perhaps? The authorities took them pretty seriously, but the authorities could also be quite tyrannical if the individuals were of a pedantic or mischievous mindset. Beware the pedant – what a nightmare personality.



  49. Hi Al,

    I could reuse all of the wiring, fusing, batteries and controllers, but not the inverter. The old inverter has been set aside for an interesting future project.

    Wow. That must be the going price, because from memory it was about 6k Aussie too, although I can no longer find a link to them. They were operating out of a factory in South Australia. It was a bit much for my bank balance and comfort levels. 6k buys you a lot of panels, even back in those days when they were $750 each.

    Yeah, it is a great idea. Have you encountered the delightful Listeroid engines? Still being manufactured too. The biggest source of plant oil here on the farm is from the highly productive olive trees. Lots of olives.

    It is only on very rare occasions that I require a generator. Over winter I can reliably expect about one hour per day of peak sunlight, however that expectation is not guaranteed everyday. It’s is pretty good really and fine by me, but other people may find that it is not nearly as good as the usual base load they expect from fossil fuel generators.



  50. Chris:

    I can’t remember the last word in the re-use, recycle, _______ quote, but I remember this old one: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”


  51. Yo, Chris – I agree that people move around, and get cut off from their roots. Especially, when traveling was more of an ordeal. I suppose there are always family secrets. Things people want to paper over, or not talk about.

    Eleanor and I have had a couple of good, late evening sit downs, in the community room. She said she had cabin fever :-). She feels better, all the time, and her doctor is satisfied with her progress. She’s working at getting her strength back, and doing some things to make sure she can stay on her feet as long as possible.

    The pups are teething. 🙂

    Have you finished “The Eagle?” Lance talks a bit more about how stories spread, untrue or not.

    Our Magic Food Boxes showed up, yesterday. I didn’t keep much except some of the veg. My pantry is pretty full, and I might skip one of the boxes next month. I’ve got to get a bit of weight off. And, some of the stuff in those boxes are a terrible temptation. 🙂 .

    The coronavirus, continues to spread. Of course, I don’t know how much credence to put into some of the reports, one I saw said 80% of the fatalities are people over 60. LOL. Not very comforting from where I sit. My advice to you … don’t grow old. I also saw a brief mention in a news report that there was some rioting in the Ukraine, over the virus. Portent of the future? The other night when I was at one of the cheap food stores, some one a couple of aisles over started coughing out a lung. Every one around me tensed up, and there was some under the breath muttering.

    I had an odd thought, the other day. What with MERS and SARS, and now this, it’s as if Mother Nature is testing our defenses. Like your wallabies or the rats at your chickens. Not that I blame her much for trying to figure out how to shrug off some of this burden of humanity. Lew

  52. Hi Chris
    Thanks for the introduction to Listeroid world! Lister Petters looks like a big world wide player in small diesel stuff. The web site for the Lister Petters mother ship (UK) has some really nice gen sets. My new favorite 6.1KW generator in their catalog may push aside my long-standing favorite Yanmar 6,5 10 horse set, ($2990,00 US + a few extra price options).

    The truth is that I am unlikely to ever have real need for a diesel emergency generator in my life😁.
    In my work life I always enjoyed set up and testing of gen sets on new construction projects.

    An olive oil powered diesel that could be used used for different machines as needed could be useful to you.
    A few ideas: emergency or supplemental power, direct power for moderate capacity wood splitter, power winch , water pumping,

    There appears to be a pretty active used market for Lister Petters and others on the internet. Might be interesting to take a look.

  53. Hi Pam,

    I reckon I like your saying better, and had not heard that one before. Yes, do without indeed! Good stuff and an excellent point of view.

    I think I cooked my head a bit today in the hot summer sun. Hope the next blog makes sense…



  54. Hi Lewis,

    There is a certain weight from the past that some people carry around with them. Say for example one of your known ancestors was a societal nuisance, then it is possible you end up gettin tarred with the same brush. It is not nice, but when your family history is known, sometimes it can come back to haunt you – despite your best efforts to the contrary. I tend to feel that it is all part of the ‘status seeking’ game that people love to play, and pointing out dodgy relatives to a person can be a form of putting that person down and back in their ‘place’ whatever that means.

    But you don’t have to head far into city life for all of that stuff to simply disappear. In the city I was more anonymous than today, but conversely in this rural area there are far more people that I know who I can rely upon for assistance. I mean the other day I bumped into a local bloke in the supermarket and we had a lovely chat for about an hour just swapping news and stories and who’s up to what and all that stuff that is part of the bush telegraph. Dunno, I guess it all comes down to costs and benefits, and knowing exactly who needs taking down if ever there was a zombie virus outbreak. 😉

    That is really lovely news that Eleanor is back and slowly recovering her strength. I hope HRH is involved in the rehab?

    Mate, the pups are tired as they’ve been running around the farm all day long. They are absolutely done and sound asleep. It was sunny and 90’F here today and I too worked outside in the hot sun all day long. My head feels a little bit cooked due to the sun, so please forgive me if the next blog makes little to no sense. Speaking of which I better get writing, time is fast getting away from me.

    Won an auction too for some extra cheapie second hand solar panels. It seems only right to stock up whilst they’re available in the older configuration. It still doesn’t fail to shock me that such things have little to no value. It’s not right you know.

    I’m getting there with The Eagle, and have come across Lance’s thoughts as to how people in the future perceive his actions and the lies (sometimes known as tall tales) they tell. Mordred seems OK to me, so I wonder why he went into battle against Arthur. No, no spoilers please, I’ll get there. 🙂

    Your boxes appear to be what I’d describe as a ‘mixed bag’ in that there is some good stuff, but also some dubious stuff. Speaking of which I scored some free mulch, compost and organic fertiliser. And despite the soap and washing, I can still lightly smell the potent odour of the organic fertiliser on my hands. It was a good score too because I planted out the two new oak trees, moved a couple of citrus trees and planted out all of the many plants brought back from the nearby seedling farm. I don’t normally plant during summer, but this summer is different as there is water in the ground and just below the soil surface. It is a form of positive feedback loop after the epic bushfires. The work this morning was much harder again than that, and thus my cooked head state. I had a rehydration solution about an hour ago which helped a lot and also washed my head under a cold water tap. Nice.

    No it is not very comforting at all. 80% may be a bit on the high side. I’d heard there was a one in two chance of dying for folks over 65, it is viral pneumonia after all and not to be trifled with. But generally it would be not good to confront the disease with pre-existing health conditions, sorry to say. Last week I linked to an excellent podcast on the subject: This Podcast Will Kill You – Episode 43 M-m-m-my Coronaviruses.

    Mate, I’m not going to sugar coat it. I have had the influenza virus twice in my life and it hit me hard and laid me low, it was no lightweight disease. This one is out in the world, and our University folks appear to be pressuring the government to lift the travel ban for Chinese students. I hope they know what they are doing. Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine days away from animal testing, Queensland researchers believe.

    I don’t blame her either, when we are ecologically the biggest game in town, we become a target for whatever is out there that wants an easy feed. That’s how it works, it is a reflection of the stored minerals and energy.

    Seriously better get writing. The cicadas are singing up a storm just outside the door.



  55. Yo, Chris – Oh, yes. HRH speeds along Eleanor’s recovery, just by being HRH. Sad news from Idaho. My friends are going to have to put down one of their old dogs. Breast cancer, of all things.

    Hmmm. I wonder if Zombies prefer cooked brains, or uncooked brains?

    I’ll check out the podcast. But first, I want to check out the one from Mr. Kunstler, on architecture.

    No spoilers, but doesn’t Mordred seem a bit young to go up against Arthur?

    Congrats on scoring the cheap solar panels, at auction. Careful with those auctions. They can be a bit addictive. Sometimes, it pays to be slightly behind the curve. Lew

  56. Hi, Chris

    Just wanted to say, the saying is ” Reduce, Re-use, Recycle “.


Comments are closed.