Flat out

Of late it has been hard to shut out the constant noise of fear from the media about the novel coronavirus. That’s not to suggest that the virus is not something to worry about, because it looks as if it will be a problem for many folks. However, the result of all that constant dumping-on of fear by the media, is that most people are carrying around with them a form of mild anxiety. And the anxiety is distracting from other important goings on.

The mild anxiety is working itself out in all sorts of unusual ways. If you want a few laughs, try buying hand sanitiser at the pharmacy. Or how about obtaining a pack of toilet paper at the local supermarket? Saturday morning, a trip to the supermarket in the nearby town revealed empty shelves. Truly, toilet paper was not to be had for either love or money. Even the stuff I prefer which is made from recycled office paper was not in evidence.

Fortunately for us, we don’t use that much toilet paper in the first place, and so require but a tiny supply of the stuff. Years ago I wrote an essay asking the hard questions as to why are people using so much of the stuff, when at the same time they profess a love of the forests? Seems like an important question, especially when people are using forest products to wipe their bits. The issue was brought to my attention early on when in a share house, a house-mate used an astounding amount of toilet paper.

Me, being me, I asked the hard question of my house-mate: What are you doing with all that toilet paper? To which she enigmatically replied that: Toilet paper was useful for so many things. Turned out I didn’t really care why so much toilet paper was being used, I just had no desire to continuing funding her wasteful addiction. So she had to buy her own supplies from then on. Such wasteful behaviour grates upon my very soul, and we weren’t house-mates for very long afterwards.

But seriously, the mild anxiety that people are feeling is a very familiar feeling to the editor and I. On hot windy summer days, the editor and I often wonder whether some numpty is going to do something stupid and set fire to the forest around these parts. It is a valid concern, but something only shared by people living in rural areas.

But now, every man and their dog appears to be suffering from a similar low level anxiety, but this time around it is because of the virus. It makes them do odd things like hoarding toilet paper, which I’m guessing makes people feel better. Upon reflection it is a fairly harmless activity. And it is worthwhile noting that humans have done far worse than this fairly harmless activity, and have done so time and again historically.

If people really wanted to worry, perhaps they should have taken note that a few months ago, a rather innocuous sign inside the local bank advised that large withdrawals of cash were now required to be organised in advance. And the cash withdrawal limit was not high. Of course there are plenty of innocent reasons as to why that limitation was put in place. But then there are also some not so innocent reasons too. The innocuous sign did not divulge the reasons as to why this new requirement was put in place. Some mysteries you just have to carry around with you!

In 1990, my mad cash (what little there was) was held with a bank that suffered from a run, and to be candid, the scenes from those uncertain days seem an awful lot like the recent run (please excuse the pun) on toilet paper. It didn’t look that much different, except at the bank you had to stand patiently in queue.

Racing down to the bank in those days to withdraw what little mad cash was deposited, didn’t hold much appeal. And had I done so, it would have made little to no difference to my life. Nabbing huge quantities of toilet paper is probably the same in that it will make little to no difference.

All the same, we are having troubles shutting out the low level anxiety caused by the constant concern over the virus. The other day in a rare moment of distraction, the little red dirt mouse Suzuki hit (with some help from the distracted driver) a sharp edged granite roadside curb. The tyre began deflating really quickly. It was a big puncture. The first order of the day was to get the dirt mouse Suzuki into a nearby car park so that there was little chance of being run over whilst replacing the tyre with the spare.

The tyre was soon dead flat, and very sad looking. It only took a few minutes to replace the tyre. The replacement was a very tiny looking spare tyre that frankly should not be used for more than a minor trip.

Lunch was then necessary to soothe the now even more elevated and tense nerves. It was a good lunch of organic scrambled eggs on sour dough toast with a side of mushrooms. Unfortunately, lunch was interrupted by the need to track down a replacement tyre, so relaxation was not to be had. And a lady two tables away was snuffling and hacking up a lung, and soon left – to everyone’s vast relief.

Fortunately a nearby tyre supplier could replace the tyre with an exact match, and so we dropped off the car at the suppliers and then went for a walk.

Walking is a favourite activity of mine, although looking at all of the vehicles on the road these days, it is possible that my enjoyment of the activity is not shared by others.

The walk took us through an area of the big smoke which had been constructed post WWII as all the buildings dated from that time. The primary exception was the old bluestone (a local grey/blue coloured granite) walls of the notorious old Pentridge Jail. The site has now been converted into a swanky new housing estate. Who knows what was meant by the advertising boards proclaiming in bold lettering: Come live the Pentridge Lifestyle. Is it a clever play on words, or are they being serious? It is possible that a few older crims and former residents of the jail may not see the amusing side of that advertisment.

Whilst on the walk we passed by a huge shop which had a massive collection of cement and stone figures. It was a truly fascinating business. And in the collection we discovered a Gargoyle which uncannily resembles Ollie the Australian cuddle dog (he’s actually a cattle dog). Had to get that.

Uncanny or what? Which is the Gargoyle, that is the question?

So yeah, you could suggest that something good has come out of all this anxiety about the coronavirus, and who knows where this road will lead.

For curious readers (and I’d like to think that includes everyone who reads the blog), the Chinese Guard Dog and Gargoyle now do a proper face off competition.

Chinese guard dog versus Gargoyle – who will win?

And who could resist a cheeky gnome figure? The gnome now resides in the fern gully? What’s with the gnomes always appearing as if they are up to socially challenging mischief?

Why are gnomes always doing public acts of indecency?

It is with sad news that I have to announce that the delightful elderly dog Mr Toothy passed away this week. He is sorely missed. Over his grave was planted a flowering gum otherwise known as a Corymbia Ficifolia.

The beautiful flowers of the Corymbia ficifolia AKA flowering gum

The remaining Fluffies have been a bit despondent, but the antics of the two new Sheep dog pups (Plum and Ruby) are providing a great distraction. To put it mildly, Plum and Ruby do not appear to be despondent in any way shape or form, but that is to be expected due to their youth.

Plum’s (centre) antics are an antidote to despondency
Ruby has the face of an angel and the mind of a sewer rat

As we’ll all discover sooner or later, life and time moves on. Speaking of which, the winter vegetables have begun germinating.

Winter vegetables have begun germinating

Another days work was done on the new steel stand for the additional second hand solar panels. It is hard work drilling structural steel, and so I’m doing the project when the mood takes me.

Another days work was done on the new stand for the extra solar panels

A new orchard was established this week. The new orchard is sited next to the new garden terrace project. There were a number of fruit trees about the farm that were not doing very well due to factors arising from their location. One such example was the Quince tree which had been pulled over to a near horizontal position by a wallaby (a smaller forest kangaroo). Relocating an 8 foot tree is no easy matter.

A new small orchard was established on the farm

Several plum trees, a couple of olives, some citrus, a nectarine and a quince tree were soon established in the new orchard.

The large trees needed a bit of extra support in the new small orchard

The editor had an idea to convert an old steel frame into a support frame for beans and peas.

Looks a bit dodgy. An old steel frame

The old steel frame looks a bit dodgy. However, with a bit of work, more steel drilling and cutting, and the use of the welder, the bean and pea support frame looks heaps better!

Ollie and Ruby admire the new bean and pea support frame

Regular readers will recall that a raised asparagus bed was recently moved. Moving the raised garden bed created a bit of a mess. The locally quarried crushed rock with lime was placed over that area and now you’d never know where the garden bed used to sit.

The mess in front of the recently moved raised garden bed was repaired

The new path up above the house that leads from the driveway to the garden terrace project was also extended a little bit this week.

The new path up above the house is nearing completion

The weather swings from warm to cold, although there are in between days which are almost perfect conditions. As we slip into autumn, the garden continues to produce (albeit at a slower rate):

Forest berries are nearing the end of their season. This year has been the worst for tomatoes that I can recall due to the short but intense growing period
Figs are beginning to form on the trees
I’m letting this Pear ripen and soften inside the house for a few days
It was an off year for apples, but some of the young trees produced some fruit
This small squash is a real long term keeper and the vines are prolific producers
How good do these butternut (or Jap) Pumpkins look?
Queensland blue Pumpkins are a reliable local variety
This growing season we grew a huge pumpkin patch

The recent combination of intense rain and then some heat has produced a bumper crop of very strange looking fungi, like this one:

A very unusual flower shaped fungi

Onto the flowers:

A Belladonna Lilly popped up in the middle of an established garden bed
Californian Poppies are always cheery
Geraniums are the hardest working plants in the garden
This variety of Lavender has a long flowering period
How amazing are these Salvia’s?

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 280.0mm (11.0 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 274.6mm (10.8 inches).

98 thoughts on “Flat out”

  1. Chris,

    I remember the 1968 flu epidemic. I was 8 and had mono that year. My parents kept me away from everything with crowds due to my already compromised immune system. They were the only people I recall being in a panic. Nobody that we knew got the flu that year.

    I think Inge hit the nail on the head: we (as a society) are not mentally capable of dealing with even mild illnesses any longer. I take that further and think that our current society is so fragile that any mild discomfort turns into a major ordeal.

    Like others here, our library systems, both City and County, are closed until at least April 24. We keep getting email notices that more books we’ve ordered will be held until later this week. We just laugh. Automation…

    Our Big Arctic Blast (BAB) was worthy of respect. The wind blew and quite heavily. Then there were the gusts. Temperatures didn’t get quite as cold as they had thought, but -10C with 40km per hour winds plus heavier gusts is bad enough, thank you. And the snow. Well, the deepest I saw here was maybe 5cm, but there were a lot of bare patches due to the wind and the drifting. The official depth was 12.5cm. Whenever BAB hits and the actual snow depth is well short of the official snow depth, one always wonders, “Where did the other 8cm or 10cm of snow go?” The answer is that it all blows south of here and totally fills to the brim a mostly unknown geographic feature called Hole in the Ground, Washington. https://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/424 Yes, it’s a real place which I have driven through on many occasions. The Native Tribe mentioned in the article, Palus, is pronounced more like puh LOOSE.

    I’m glad your hot cross bun mitigation and containment strategy worked. I quite understand that rural sentiment you mentioned. Let one boo boo like that go without fixing it and you’re known forever as that selfish $@#%$#^ without any manners who ought to be swatted.

    Yes, the power of maths! Wonderful stuff, it is. Then again, maths and logic can prove that black is white and white is black and get one run over at the next zebra crossing!

    What? Human mortality rate is 100%?!? Jeepers, way to burst my bubble! OMG! 🙂 Oh, wait, sorry, you’re right. Treasure the moments of life that we’ve got is the best way to live.

    Ya know, my dad used to refer to me as the “family barbarian” and the “throwback to the Viking Age”, so I think you’re right about the castle. I’m more the type who would raid it and sack it and enjoy the loot. Plunder and pillage, mate, plunder and pillage. So maybe Lew better not move into the tower, unless he’s the one who opens the gates for us and shares in the looting.

    Dogs all know, don’t they? After Thordog the Irish Wolfhound died, Cheyenne the Finnish Spitz was terribly out of sorts. Then one evening about 3 weeks later, she was taking a nap on the living room floor. In her sleep, her head lifted off the floor and she let loose with the most mournful pitiable howl I’ve ever heard. She awoke looking totally surprised and really woebegone and confused, so we naturally fussed over her liberally. And she improved rapidly after that.

    I spoke with my friend who lives at the north end of the Seattle metro area today. Our weekly chat. His wife said that shopping for any of the hoarded items has turned into “combat shopping”. And people there are getting pushy and bumping into people in the stores, whereas most are usually polite. We’ve got normal fresh fruits and veggies to pick up on Monday, but that should be fine. And books to get at the local library oh crap it’s closed for 6 weeks. Oh, maybe a trip to a book store.

    The Fed lowered short term interest rates to near zero % today. They also announced they’re buying oodles of government and mortgage bonds. There is speculation that they’ve already been propping up the stock market one or 2 days a week. QE without the helicopters yet.

    In today’s column, you alluded to the low level anxiety of fire season. Now that has been replaced with low level anxiety of covid19. They summed it up in the first “Men in Black” movie: “There’s always an Arckilion death ship aiming a death ray at us.” It’s just part of life. Embrace the challenge, don’t panic, muddle through as best we can.

    Amazing how even the best lunch isn’t relaxing when you have to worry about getting a proper tyre. At least you got in a good walk! “Come live the Pentridge Lifestyle” indeed! That gave me a good laugh!

    Ollie does have rather a gargoyle look about him in that picture. While the Princess and I disagree on which of the 2 is better (she prefers the Chinese guard dog and I prefer the gargoyle), she did answer your question about the typical public indecency of gnomes and I quote, “Because they can. Who’s gonna stop them?”

    I see that Plum is already learning to ham it up for the cameras. At least you’ve seen through Ruby’s “innocent angel” look and see the plotting that’s really happening.

    Looks like the pumpkin family crop will be good this year. And thanks for the photo of the poppies – that cheery photo was much needed today.


  2. Hi Inge,

    It might surprise you to know that your experience matches mine, despite us being half a world away. I can’t recall wide spread antibiotic usage when I was a kid, and most certainly other medications like pain killers were almost non-existent. Antibiotics were reserved for really nasty and unpleasant conditions, but I hear that they are heavily used in the food chain these days. Interestingly, it may surprise you, but pain killers have little noticeable effect on me, and I am unsure why that is. People swear by ibuprofen, but for aches and pains or fevers they just have no noticeable effect.

    Hmm, there is much in what you say, and perhaps the ability to survive diminishes the capacity to deal with complicated scenarios? It is a consistent theme with the systems here on the farm in that adding increasing complexity, diminishes the resilience – and there is no way around that quantum. Does your son observe that with his farm activities?



  3. Hi Chris,

    I love the chinese guard dog and gargoyle!

    I was on a short haul flight for work today, there were two ‘coughers’ in row 8. So if no one hears from me in 14 days….


  4. Hi Jo,

    Many thanks for your kind thoughts.

    Boon companion Mr Toothy may be,
    but his spirits lifted all,
    and despite his fading eyes,
    a light shone through.
    He romped upon the fertile fields,
    occasioning upon a bindy,
    chasing the bouncy marsupial,
    and giving them what for.
    Now his light is gone.
    And in his place grow pink flowers.
    The bees sup upon the nectar,
    the sun shines upon their glory,
    and brings new life to the forest.

    My little matey will be missed 🙂



  5. Hi Damo,

    Stay safe my friend!

    I visited a few businesses today and witnessed some seriously mad scenes. But at the same time I had some solid chats with the folks who both run and work at the businesses.

    Word on the street, is that they’re preparing to be locked down – and soon.

    I remarked to one person today who I’ve known for a very long time, that I hope that the smoking crater of destruction that is left from this surprising turn of events is worth it.

    It is curious to see the different paths that other countries are taking. My gut feel is that the UK and the US are bizarrely taking a very hard road, but it might be one possible way forward – although it reveals much about the culture. I don’t really know.

    And if you disappear off the radar in fourteen days time, we’ll come hunting for ya bro! 😉



  6. Hi Chris,

    I am sorry to hear about Toothy. He seemed like a witty guy! Congratulations on the new puppies but they look like puppies no more? They must get a good feed at fernglade!

    How do you layer your raised beds? One-third sticks and stones, one-third leaves and the top, er, top soil? Our ecosystems are actually quite similar, just different animals. We were loading up the raised beds with material und then realised, hang on, what if some numptyroo throws a ciggy in (or worse)? Have decided to do each one in one go…

  7. Hi DJ,

    Mono, huh? Well it happens. Tell the truth, I myself came down hard with mono as a late teenager. My girlfriend at the time, travelled to Sydney – where she eventually married and moved, and much later again I believed divorced – and brought that little nasty back. Oh yeah, a nasty business and I went down like a sack of spuds, so I hear you! After a week of being flat out in bed, I had the insight that if I don’t get up and out, this could be a longer term thing. By sheer force of personality, I dragged myself out of bed and got back into life after a week – but it took serious effort. Two weeks of horror, but yup, you would have been very susceptible to other unpleasantnesses.

    In a funny side story, during the second week, I caught the train into the big smoke to purchase some tickets for a U2 concert. When I returned and eventually got back to the car (a Datsun / Nissan 1600) which was parked at the train station, a bunch of the local detectives pulled me up and asked a whole bunch of questions. Needless to say I was not feeling very well at all, as you yourself would perhaps know. Turns out that it is not a smart idea to keep tools visible in the car because the police thought I was into car theft! I was barely functional and was put through the third inquisition, and eventually they all left me to drive back home and go to bed. A truly strange two weeks of my life. Some folks go down hard with that one for months and months.

    Likewise, I agree with Inge in that we have somehow lost a cultural memory, and the story of progress is failing so badly, that the adherents are prepared to wreck all to ensure that they’re not caught out in their failure. I hope that it is worth it.

    Mate, the rumour on the street (and suggestion in the media) is that there will soon be a lock down here. And I have spoken to a few people today and last week who also mentioned the possibility.

    You win! -10C with 40km per hour winds plus heavier gusts. Rotten weather, no doubts about it and worthy of a proper Arctic blast.

    Wow! The gorge is massive for obvious reasons, but with fertile river flats – and horse rustlers. A rich history. Such activities may come back into fashion sooner or later. I read a dystopian sci-fi story where a central characters chickens were consumed. Not quite the same as horse rustling, but same, same but different.

    Yeah, at the supermarket today I spoke with a lovely young lady at the cashier who mentioned that yesterday people were attempting to purchase 20 pats of butter. Needless to say, she looked and sounded disgusted by the antics of the customers. There is no milk now.

    Dogs mourn in their own way, and Cheyenne the Finnish Spitz knew the fate of her best mate. With Mr Toothy now passed on, Plum is already challenging Scritchy for position of top dog. They waste no time. But yeah, attention is a great idea and Cheyenne the Finnish Spitz would have seen you two as pack.

    Yes, zombie films are often shot in malls!

    Well, the thing is that the banks are not ‘the people’, and the banks may demand a bail out for their foolishness, but are the people likewise going to be bailed out for their similar acts of foolishness? As far as I understand economic policy, it is all subject to diminishing returns.

    A wise observation, and muddling through is usually not a bad idea at all.

    Hehe! That particular prison had a notorious history, and surely the developers were messing with people when they suggested that outrageous claim? You’d hope they were! I used to have a post office box at the same post office that the notorious crim – turned best selling author (and subject of the film Chopper) had his own post office box. I made a joke once to the staff about ears – it seemed appropriate at the time – and they went white and said I shouldn’t be saying such things there, and then explained… Who knew?

    A cage fight really does need to be called for in the Gargoyle versus Chinese Guard Dog battle unto the death. How else will the matter ever be resolved? I must admit that your lady is onto something as the dog does have a lower centre of gravity.

    Plum is a real character, and whatever she was doing that day was lost on me too. The other dogs were looking at her as if to ask the hard question: What the…? Ruby is sheer mischief, personified.

    Tis in my nature to be upbeat. In fact I’m rather enjoying the prospect and challenge of a lock down. And the flowers are always with us (although to be fair there are a lot less after the winter solstice).



  8. Hi, Chris!

    I haven’t finished reading everything yet, but – oh! – what a beautiful poem for Mr. Toothy!


  9. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, I too have noticed this, and I’d describe the visit as caught in something of a sneezy hiatus! Damo is indeed a capable person and I’d describe him with respect as a survivor, that’s for sure. Events can sometimes overtake even the best plans. Today I have had chance conversations with several small business owners and they are of the belief that we will soon be in a lock down situation. Should be interesting, that’s for sure. The media is suggesting the possibility, and I tend to believe that they are possibly paid to leak plans in advance. Soften the blow a bit, I guess?

    A trip to the supermarket this evening was an interesting use of my time. The place was quite busy, and limits have been put in place for two of any items. Fair enough too, as the lovely young cashier was describing the incidents of the day before. The events did not reflect well upon the demeanour of the population. Someone apparently tried to purchase 20 pats of butter. Had to laugh as most people wouldn’t have a clue how to cook, let alone cook with butter. What were they going to do with that much? Bonkers.

    What? No late fees? What happens if someone is too lazy to return a book to the library? Does the library send out someone to collect the book from said lazy person? I disagree with such a policy as it makes everyone subject to the lowest common denominator in the community who benefits from being lazy and disinterested. I vehemently protest such a policy!

    I’ve noticed that people who are not curious, or indeed even vaguely interested to learn, don’t tend to engage in the snappy catchphrase: “Lifelong learning”. It is a continuum of experience, not a goal in and of itself.

    Ooo! Like your style. Go on, what is the biggest of the huge disaster DVD’s that you picked up? The Great Missoula flood would have been very unpleasant to have experienced firsthand, and possibly very fatal. Talk about surfs up! I heard a news report suggesting that on the north east coast on this continent, the swells are huge and the big name surfers are unable to take advantage of them due to travel restrictions.

    Out of curiosity, do you feel that international travel will return to its heady heights of only a few months ago? My mate who moved to New Zealand recently, has his wife back here sorting out their various affairs. If I were her, I’d probably hightail it to New Zealand whilst she still can. Although I guess back in the day they used to have passengers on ocean going freighters between the two countries. The accounts I read of those passengers did not sound like a luxurious experience – it was far from it and very fundamental. Still, they got there in the end, and I guess that is what counts. And sometimes hard journeys that are survived, builds character.

    Adam Sandler is a pretty good actor, and he played a great role in the film Spanglish which I quite enjoyed. But who can forget the Wedding Singer? To quote: I’ve been listening to the Cure a lot lately… 🙂 Hope you enjoy the fluff in between all of the disasters and Satan stomping across the landscape.

    Hehe! Well when used in context based upon its original meaning, and not used as a character slur, it’s a word like any other as far as I can understand the matter. It’s a bit like saying that Plum, Ruby and Scritchy are all bitches, because that is technically what they are. It is definitely not a character slur, because they are of the finest canine bloodlines!

    Sometimes I see dogs that are a mixed mashup of two dogs that I have known. At such times I poke the editor and suggest that the dog in question, is clearly the B….d love child of the two particular dogs that we have known. Always amusing, but not particularly family friendly.

    You know that there is a new Ghostbusters film that looks like it gets back to basics! Woo Hoo!

    Exactly! Talk of comets in that timeline certainly makes me think of Iron infused with Chromium, Carbon and some other stuff. Makes for bright swords, although I have often thought of Stainless Steel as a softer metal, and was always perplexed about the sharpness of the edge with Excalibur in the story. Although there is another school of thought which suggests that I was over thinking things.

    There was mention in the story about Varrus’s, was it father or grandfather, who was able to forge the particular steel in the skystone. Good stuff and I am intrigued.

    Speaking of books. Lewis, I am weak. It is true. With all that is going on in the world, I began Mr Kunstler’s book this morning. It is engrossing and the author tells an intriguing and accessible story. Yes, what indeed did happen to Peak Oil? Have you noticed that capital is running from oil exploration? I’m surprised that would be the case given how cheaply capital appears to be dolled out these days. But I guess drilling is not a cheap activity, and perhaps glossing over the actual purpose of the capital used in drilling meant that people forgot why such an activity was taking place. Then they got rational about only part of the picture – the economic part.

    Always the temptation for the secret sect of the Mithras cult to over step their usual mission – which is a fine mission too. Not enough of that goes on nowadays.

    Far out. Not good, and that neighbour situation would make for some very antagonistic conditions. Ouch, and you have my understanding. The problem with such folks is that they don’t know when to stop and accept that they have lost the fight. And sometimes, they just like to fight because that is all they know. And you have to know when to ignore their antics. And sometimes respond creatively.

    The supermarkets here announced that I believe tomorrow they will open for an hour or so specifically for the elderly and disabled. Yes, things have gotten ugly down here.

    Like your style with the hacking cough! I mentioned someone doing just that in this weeks blog, although I suspect that they actually were sick.

    Interestingly, the fresh food side of things was OK at the supermarket. I don’t purchase frozen vegetables so have no idea what was going on there. Pet food is in very short supply too. Milk is non-existent. Yes, it is bonkers.

    Incidentally, it was not lost on any of the business owners that I spoke with today that the sudden possible stoppage of cash flows will leave a smoking crater of a wreck. Poor communication was often mentioned in the discussions.



  10. Hello Chris
    Oh dear, I don’t like the gargoyle, guard dog or gnome, wouldn’t give them garden room. Ollie on the other hand, is fine.
    The fungus rings a bell with me, shall have to see if I can find it.
    Have never taken ibuprofen so don’t know whether it would work for me. It would give Son anaphalactic shock as does aspirin. Pain killers don’t work on nerve pain.

    Toilet paper is being rationed by the stores. A woman rang up to ask what could she use if she couldn’t get toilet paper! Words fail one. It has been suggested that all over 70 year olds should self isolate for 4 months though it is (not yet) obligatory. I reckon that 2 thirds of the shoppers in town this morning were in that age group.
    I really don’t get the fear thing and nor do the people that I know here. What will be will be.
    Son doesn’t go in for complexity so no point in asking what he thinks about the results of increasing it on his land/animals.


  11. Hello again
    Aha, the fungus is an earthstar of which there are a number of varieties. Not edible but debatable as to whether it is actually poisonous.


  12. Yo, Chris – There’s mild anxiety, and then there’s high anxiety. Wasn’t that the title of a film? One of Mr. Kunstler’s commenters, this morning, suggested that, for clean up, that you take your I-whatever, open the Sears website, and then use the pad for clean up. 🙂 . As the catalogues are no longer available. Hmmm. Wonder where that tyre came from?

    Your gargoyle is quit buff. Wonder if it was steroids, or just insane workouts? Or, perhaps he skipped all that and just sold his soul? I’m sure we’ve seen the temple dog, before. Quit nice. The standoff placement is really great! Two falls out of three? Bets, anyone? I’ve expanded my screen, pulled out the magnifying glass, and still can’t quit figure out what the gnome is up to. Having a wee? A bit of a tinkle? Is that a back view? Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂 .

    The flowering gum is quite lovely. And, put to a lovely use. Plum is perfecting “Cute Pup: Position #3.” Dogs just seem to have the overwhelming urge, to occasionally get a view of the world from a different perspective. Upside down. I’m sure they have their reasons.

    When I saw the bean/pea support, at the top of your blog, I wondered if it was some kind of a grill arrangement. Something you could fire up and throw a haunch of wombat on. Beans and peas must be very heavy, in Australia. 🙂 .

    The berries and tomatoes are very pretty. So, some crops were a bit off, this year. What did you get bumper crops of? The fungi is truly odd. Cont.

  13. @Pam
    Thanks for your concern about my daughter. She is hanging in there and fortunately her husband has been on his good behavior.

    Sorry about your library. Just got word that ours has too.


  14. Hi Chris
    Great Blog this week! Great Job on the solar panel rack. Also the repurposed frame as a well designed and fabricated bean and pea climbing rack. Comment from Olie “ hey Ruby I see Three good Pee places on this thingy just from this side of the path”

    In my town. A mega solar installation breaking ground 4 each One Mega Watt solar PV Arrays . A mega Watt experimental battery, Utility owned Grid tie and inverter system. Also a facility for training new solar new solar system techs.
    Owned by federal energy administration , Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (4700 employees) ,and The City of Richland Electric Utility a public owned entity. 20 acres of land area.

    PNNL already Has a 127 KW solar electric vehicle charging station on their campus.
    Pretty big deal .big gumint

    Virus news on our front. I went out Sunday morning to attempt some shopping for groceries. Store 1. Parking lot about 80% full and busy. Customer basket loads leaving lightly loaded. Decided not to go in as the store had not been restocked from previous Days sellout.
    Store 2 (4 miles from store 1) I entered ,fresh fruit and produce gone some restocking no fresh meat , dairy gone.
    Store 3 (3 miles west of store 1) found some food stocking and able to get most of needed stuff.
    My wife did that trip . The checker told my wife that the previous day the store did about $500,000 in their last four hours. My wife wondered why she was getting that info🤔oh well.
    To me It looks like 3day grocery supply story during crisis is probably a valid situation.
    Cheers Al

  15. Hi Chris

    Plum’s pose is very similar to Salve’s. In fact she often sleeps like that for quite some time.

    Things seem to change by the hour. Restaurants and bars will close this evening except for carry out. This will be quite a blow to my BIL’s (and sister, Kathleen) restaurant though they do have delivery and carry out. He has another pizza restaurant in another town close by though and business there should boom. I heard today that people are driving out this way to get food from grocery stores out here now that many are empty in the city. We’ve got two months of food except fresh fruit and vegetables. So far there is still fresh produce but that staff of life – frozen pizza is pretty much gone. Next up – possible domestic airline trips shut down. Anyone who had a domestic flight scheduled has canceled it in fear of not being able to get back.
    Marty is a concern and now he has a cough. He has assured me that he has enough food. His caseworker’s agency’s facilities are closed except for the group homes but she said she’s still planning to get groceries with him on Tuesday – hopefully something will be there.

    Seedlings are up under the light in the basement with more to be planted this weekend. I always seem to plant tomatoes too early and they get very leggy before the weather has warmed up enough to plant out.

    Breaking news!! Now there’s a run on socks and underwear. The rumor is that socks will be used if toilet paper runs out.

    My daughter (the one with anxiety) has just texted that she got her first email from a neighbor asking “How do you homeschool?”

    Best of luck to us all.


  16. Yo, Chris – Well, it’s here. The announced yesterday, that our county has it’s first case of the virus. Not many details. Patient confidentiality, and all that. One news report said it was a “person” who is 88. Not even a sex. The other report said it was a man in his 80s. I figure there will be more details by the end of the day. Due to some health care worker having a bit more jingle in their pocket, from revealing more details.

    Our state governor announced this morning that all bars and restaurants are closed down. Take out and delivery, only. And no activities or gatherings of more than 50 people.

    My friends in Idaho have developed a new spectator sport. Going to the grocery store every day, and seeing what they’re out of. They’ve always been folks who put extra by, so they’re in good shape. I called them, last night. Their store is putting out the idea that they’re out of things as “outsiders” are coming and raiding the store. From as far away as Boise and McCall. Quit a trip. Sounds like a bit of xenophobia.

    There have been reports of people buying up Costco (a big warehouse store) toilet paper and then selling it for a higher price, in the parking lot! Police were called. But it occurred to me that we’re seeing the start of a lively black market.

    The library has dropped fees, before. While I was working for them, as it happens. Then they brought them back. Now they don’t, again. They say it costs more to administer than what’s taken in, but I wonder if they figure in the cost of lost material. I doubt it. When it happened before, I inquired as to the wisdom of that. I was told that they felt the materials would wend their way back to the library … eventually. It’s the same with the constant catalog snafus. The percentage of error, is acceptable. To them. Wouldn’t have been “in the old days.”

    The big hole DJ mentioned, was created by that flood. The flood deposited a lot of rich silt, in the Willamette Valley, south of Portland. Which is why it’s so good for agriculture. They also study the flood deposits, as the types of deposits effect earthquake severity.

    Adam Sandler was pretty good, early on. Then his films got very … uneven. And I pretty much stopped watching them.

    Well, I finished watching that series, “Ghosted.” Sadly, it was canceled after one season, and, it was left on a bit of a cliff hanger. Oh, well. Maybe in one of the multiverses (which play a part in the series) it’s still banging on into it’s 15 season.

    I read another chunk of “Burning Stone”, last night. The Varrus in this book, is the father of the Varrus that kicked off the series we read. The old guy who eventually hides a lot of gold in a couple of spears. Just read a really nice description of his (future) father-in-laws forge, in Londinium. A bellows driven by water power. Who knew?

    A couple of interesting points in Varrus’s family tree. He is a descendent of the Varus who lost the three legions up in Germany, during Augustus’s reign. What isn’t mentioned in this book, is that, that Varus was a relation of Augustus. By the way, they added an extra “r” to their name, after the disaster. Also of interest, this Varrus’s grandmother was a Seneca! You remember that lot? This Varrus refers to her as “an evil old sow.” 🙂 .

    I am so tempted to order Kunstler’s new book. As it doesn’t look like there will be any Inter Library Loans, for awhile. Hmmm. Maybe I should just put in a request that our system purchase the book?

    Well, I started working on my garden, yesterday. Pulled all the t-posts, cleaned them up and found a place to store them. Took down all the fencing. Ripped out the peas. Which was like ripping out my heart. (You have realized I have a tendency to over dramatize, sometimes. Right?). Today, I’ll harvest the last of the potatoes and beets. I see I can also eat green garlic. But keeping it … Need to also harvest my plastic forks 🙂 . They cost money!

    My tub is still dripping. About a gallon an hour. I was told to inform the office, this morning, if that was the case. Well, first they called and said the plumbers wold be here tomorrow. Then just called back to say, since it wasn’t an emergency, they’d cancel as they’re leery about having people in the building from outside. I must say I was a bit concerned about that, myself. But the waste of water bothers me, but I’ve just had a few ideas as to how to use. it. To flush the toilet, if nothing else. At least it won’t go entirely to waste. Lew

  17. @ Pam – Don’t know if you saw my reply to you, that the audio in the links to the Italian balcony singers didn’t work. Probably my old software. But, I found plenty on YouTube.

    I found the videos quite moving. Even got a bit misty, in spots. LOL. The occasional dogs, howling in the background, was a nice touch. Everyone’s a critic! lew

  18. Chris,

    All bars, restaurants, gyms and cinema theaters closed per our governor as of today. I smell a lockdown coming.

    Our libraries, like Lew’s, don’t charge late fees. However, if 3 weeks late, then they send a bill for the cost of replacing the book. The bill gets waived if the book is then returned.

    Gotta run accouple errands with the Princess. More later.


  19. Hi Chris,

    Pretty much the same news re the virus from here. All gatherings of more than 50 people prohibited. Closings of museums, libraries, and other institutions just announced this afternoon (they were still open this morning). Some stores have closed, many have reduced hours. Colleges have sent their students home. Anyone who can work from home is working from home. There are supply shortages at the big box stores and the regional grocery chains, but the small markets that Mike and I favor don’t seem to have experienced any shortages. Another friend who also shops at the small markets agrees with me that we will not reveal the names of these stores. 😉

    The biggest blow of all in this very Catholic town: the St. Louis Archdiocese has suspended all public Catholic masses. That’s bad enough, but it’s Lent, which means fish fry season. Because there are so many Catholic churches which hold fish fries, there is a lot of competition to hold the best fish fry, which means they are all really good. Lots of folks, Mike and I included, enjoy them. If they close down the fish fries, well, that will be serious. Hopefully they can do an all take-out business.

    Because the St. Louis metro area includes counties in both Missouri and Illinois, we can see how responses differ at the state level. Many restaurants on the Missouri side have closed but so far no requirement to do so as long as they don’t go over 50 diners, whereas they are required to close to in-house diners on the Illinois side. Also schools have to close on the IL side but apparently don’t have to in Missouri yet (this will probably change, and the local school district is closing after tomorrow’s classes). So far only 2 confirmed cases on the much more highly populated Missouri side, with 2 confirmed cases now on the Illinois side of the metro area.

    In other news, it is still raining and the soil is saturated. No garden work will be done till it stops raining and it dries out a bit. There is still winter pruning to do, which I have been doing between rains. I also have seedlings growing on the front porch. Looking forward to the equinox!


  20. Chris:

    I love both the guard dogs, especially the one with the freckles, but the gargoyle gives me the willies, fine specimen though he is. I could see myself going outside for a stroll at night and forgetting he’s there. I do like how you set them up across from each other.

    I was given penicillin for anything and everything as a child, though I was not a sickly kind of child except for migraines sometimes. I became very allergic to penicillin and assume I still am.

    I like Mr. Toothy’s tree. What a pleasant place to sit by.

    Plum – you are plum crazy (think corny Hollywood westerns)! Ruby – one would indeed think you were an angel.

    That’s an enormous steel structure for the solar. I
    can’t imagine how you are managing it.

    Where I live sounds just like what everyone else is going through in the U.S. I hope not to go back into town for quite awhile. One of the oddest things was that there were no children in town; usually there are lots of small ones when I shop.


  21. @ Lew:

    I would like to hear more about your $8500 house.

    It’s a shame the audio didn’t work for you with the Italian singers; I’m glad you found it elsewhere. I thought the dogs were singing.


  22. Chris,

    Now that we’re back from doing that…before we left I saw an email from the County Library. They were open Monday, so we went there and the Princess stocked up on books on CD, as she has at least 3 round trips scheduled to care for her brother in the next 4 weeks.

    Meanwhile, we visited 2 grocery stores, looking for items like chicken for her to take to her brother this week. No chicken. Meats and eggs almost nonexistent. Ditto potatoes, pasta, rice, dried beans and lentils, and of course toilet paper and cleaning supplies. It turns out that the local warehouse for many grocery chains did NOT get any trucks restocking them on Sunday. At least that is what staff was telling customers. My thinking is that as soon as it was announced that restaurants would be closed except for take out, everybody panicked and bought en masse the only items they know how to cook. I told the Princess she could take some of our stock from the freezer to her brother and I can refill when the supply chain has at least moderately caught up. I think my scenario is the likely one by adding our experiences to those of Alco44 in Tri-Cities and Lew’s friends in Idaho. I’m glad we’ve been planning ahead.

    Oh, I’ve taken a lifetime of teasing from my younger sister about getting mono when I was 8. “Who were you kissing when you were that young? You’re such a social misfit, which 8 year old girl could possibly think you were a good catch?” Ya know, things like that. Since she also calls me the “family barbarian” and the “family Viking”, I just smile while muttering things under my breath about the “northern predilection for pyromania”, which she mistakes for pyrography, and then we have a good laugh.

    I was one of those who was down due to mono off and on for most of 2 years, as severe allergies entered the fray also. Very difficult for an 8 year old! I think that explains why to this day I try to power through the early morning slow starts unless I just plain can’t move. This current round of virus has me rethinking that…mostly because the Princess has been busy beating me into submission for the past 3 weeks. Picture us as a good bit of Helga and Hagar the Horrible.

    Hole in the Ground is really fun to drive through. When I worked at Eastern Washington University in nearby Cheney, I drove our asbestos waste to a landfill in Whitman County south of the big hole. I tried to drive at through the hole one direction or the other each trip. One trip was with my boss. I drove back through Hole in the Ground. There was a cow almost blocking the road on the hill on the northwest edge of the hole. It was warm and the windows were down, so I stopped next to the cow, which was outside the boss’s window, and asked him if he’d like me to stop for a few minutes so he could pet the cow. His response, priceless as it was, cannot be repeated on this forum.

    Ears? When I was growing up, we ate a lot of dried fruit. Did you know that dried peaches look an awful lot like human ears? After my dad made that observation once, my sister quit eating them (dried peaches, that is. I dunno if she ever ate ears or not) and I couldn’t get enough of them (dried peaches that is. I never tried human ears.)

    Oh, Thordog would sleep in that same position Plum was in. Not often, and never after we got Cheyenne.

    The recent snow has almost all melted. The robins found the crabapples again during the storm, right on the same schedule as last year. Some shrubs and trees are slowly awakening, the heather has nice pink blooms, and the tulip, which somehow became three tulips last year, has poked above ground. Things to enjoy.


  23. Hi crowandsheep,

    And they’re sheep dogs too! Kelpie’s have their origins in English Collies but were bred for Australian conditions. Yes, the little pups each eat more than Ollie! Far out, but they are growing fast. They live in a good paddock.

    Thanks for your kind thoughts about Mr Toothy. 🙂

    Nope, the entire raised bed is soil built up over many years. I have to fess up to being something of a soil dork, and when I had the chance to dig deep into the asparagus beds all I saw was very deep and rich black soil. It was a real pleasure to see, but then I am a self-confessed soil dork and such things please me.

    Yeah, who knows what unpleasantness is to be found in any of the organic materials (or what happens to them, as you quite rightly point out) that we chuck upon our gardens. Such is the way of living on a poisoned planet. You are limited by the lowest common denominator.

    How did you proceed with your raised beds?



  24. Hi Inge,

    Fortunately for me I have enough land to be able to indulge the whims of the Gargoyle, Chinese Guard dog, and the Gnome. Best not to mess with the business of the Elder folk, and it was their suggestion anyway to end up where they did! Plus the Gargoyle enjoys the challenge of the never ending face-off. 😉

    Thanks for the fungi identification. We just don’t know, and the people that did know are now not around and so they’re all off the table. It is possible the indigenous folk knew how to prepare some of the fungi (and truffles) for consumption, we just don’t know and were too stupid to think to ask.

    I’m not exactly sure what nerve pain is. When I was a kid I used to do long distance running for a sport, and in competing in that sport I unfortunately learned the trick to switch off feelings of pain and see them from a distance as if through a cloud. From hindsight it is perhaps not a good tool, and I have had to relearn listening to my body over the years. I gave up running as a sport when my knees could do less than my spirit, because I had known plenty of older runners who hadn’t got that particular memo. It happens.

    Surely the lady is kidding about the toilet paper? There is a certain learned helplessness that people don as a mask of status – and that is not a wise idea in these now changed times. Words failed me too.

    Yes, what will be will be. I believe that a second Great Depression is being engineered out of this mess.



  25. Hi Lewis,

    Mr Kunstler’s commenters are sharp as a tack, but at the same time they are a rough and rowdy bunch. Mind you, that comment was a goodie! 😉 It is very unfortunate the old catalogues are no longer available. The old housemates who used to use the telephone book for such wiping activities are both laid low with colds. One was sent home from work, and he was not polite about that situation, because that is where he caught it!

    Possibly work outs, although I have it on good authority that gyms are not doing so well right now due to lack of customers. I wouldn’t dare suggest human growth hormones were somehow involved in the buffness of the Gargoyle. So to cut a long story short, and end the speculation here and now, I simply went outside and asked the Gargoyle (politely of course) the hard question: How did you get so buff? Fortunately we are on good speaking terms (I make a habit of not annoying entities of any stripe) and turns out the purported excuse was (and the answer was a touch garbled) something about eating Elves. Best not get involved in such fights.

    There are three flowering gums growing in a row. Not sure why I planted them there, but it seemed like the right thing to do. And the cherry flowers will remind me of Mr Toothy.

    To be frank, I’m not really sure that Plum would provide a coherent answer as tow why she was upside down, but your guess is good. I’m only going with my gut feeling there. The birds muck around here too, and sometimes I see them hanging around upside down, and they can flip themselves up the right way again quick as a flash.

    The steel had to be heavy duty because the peas and beans have to work harder here to enrich the impoverished old soils from the nitrogen they collect from the atmosphere. Spare them a thought at how hard they need to work!

    Speaking of impoverished, after tomorrow my work has dried up. Over twelve years I’ve worked at building my own business, and now by gubment decree it is now over. Just like that. I guess this is what I began working towards in 1992, but to confront it in the flesh is an unpleasant feeling and leaves a knot of stress in my guts. I’ll be fine as long as I don’t get too sick. I’ve been speaking with small business owners all over the shop over the past week or so, and it is a bloodbath out there. Cash is seizing up left right and centre just like in 1929. There were easier ways to accommodate the energy story, but nobody asked for my opinion.

    Out of consideration for the general unfolding situation I intend to dump that section of the blog about bumper crops. I have plans you know.



  26. Hi Al,

    Hehe! Many thanks for the feedback. In the late afternoon sunshine this afternoon I climbed up and began adding the heavy duty nuts and bolts that hold the rails onto the structure. My arm is feeling the efforts of drilling half inch holes through four layers of steel whilst up a ladder…

    Yeah, they’re all into that wee thing and any target is fair game. Mr Toothy a few months ago tried that trick on me. Not impressed.

    Industrial scale electricity generation leaves a big scar on the land, all other considerations to the side. Yeah, sorry to be a buzzkill, and those systems are big, but they’re not big enough for what people are used to enjoying.

    Thanks for the supermarket news from the field, and I noticed that the local stock feed place had had a run on dog food. What surprised me the most was seeing that compost – and I get the stuff by the trailer load – had been almost cleaned out.

    I just wanted to get my usual supplies, but what do you do? This is perhaps the new normal. I read an article where the grocery chains had suggested that this was the equivalent of a Christmas run, but those they have months to prepare for, not this time they only had days and aren’t coping.



  27. Hi Margaret,

    Hehe! Yup dogs know how to enjoy themselves! 🙂

    It ain’t just your BIL. I’m feeling the pain too tonight as work has almost evaporated and may not turn up again for months. Still, both the editor and I made up our minds to deal with such a scenario in the early 1990’s and have worked towards that possibility for a while. Where did the years go? But to be confronted by it in the flesh makes me feel a bit queasy, so I’m not quite my normal chipper self tonight as I’ve spent a lot of this week having conversations with business owners.

    Yes, there were suggestions in the newspaper that the same thing is happening here and people from out of the area are stripping the shelves. It won’t end well. I managed to nab some milk this morning, but the supermarket was crazy – elsewhere was quiet.

    90% of flights here are grounded. How the airline industry can respond to that is a mystery as I believe most aircraft are leased – and that requires servicing the debt.

    Sorry to hear about Marty. Could you bring him and Gwen back home if necessary?

    Hehe! Seedlings are a complicated business – and the more I know, the less I realise that I know… Ook!

    What? No! Oh well, it seems mostly harmless using a sock. Hope they remember to wash it. Yuk! Sort of like a handkerchief, but a bit more scratchy.

    Well, the decree has come from down on high in your country to home school. Kids aren’t necessarily vectors for this one.

    Thanks and best of luck to you too. Hope this is worth it for the destruction it will leave behind. There were better ways.



  28. Hi Lewis (again),

    It is exciting times, or is that interesting times? Anyway, it is not good.

    So I was at the bank this morning exchanging a ripped ten dollar note that a local retailer handed me with a freshie note. Anyway, the bloke in front of me was withdrawing the maximum cash allowable ($3,000 I believe) at the branch. I counted, it is a professional hazard. Dunno why, I just wanted to alert the guy to the silliness of his choice, and so I locked eyes with him as he left the branch and followed him out the door with my eyes. No doubt I looked deranged, and that may have been an advantage. Dunno. I rate him pretty high in the idiot stakes because he withdrew only $100 notes. Does he not realise that people may recognise it as legal tender, they might not have change? Sheeze, some people!

    Ouch, cases are increasing down here too. Word on the street is that by next week we will be in lock down, but no official decree has been provided. I tend to believe we are walking into the Great Depression mark II. I listened to the radio today in the background whilst working – and this is a youth music station – and people are losing their work left right and centre. It is a common problem. The word for naysayers is cynical, and I just wish everyone were more honest about things.

    Yeah, down here they are suggesting 500 people, but no doubts the number will go down. Way down.

    We have that problem too with folks from the outer burbs coming up here and apparently stripping the supermarket shelves. When I was in the supermarket I was going who are all these people? They’re not normally around. Fortunately I could enjoy a coffee and fruit toast this morning at the local general store. Most shops (other than the supermarket) I’m known by sight and name, and that is how I like it.

    We all swim among the sharks, although sometimes they are hard to identify.

    What kind of philosophy is the she’ll-be-right-mate school with the return of books – if the folks are up for it? Bonkers. It is a public asset, and people are gaining personal advantage by abusing the library system if they don’t return the book. I’ll bet they’re glad I’m not in charge…

    Yeah, I realised that the Big Hole and the Flood (capitalised) were one and the same event/s. Synchronicity or what?

    Mate it would be hard to continue performing for a crowd, and Adam Sandler would have to keep on giving and giving in his performances to stay on top of his game. Writers get some time out, although they have to produce more quantity. Mind you, the entertainment and events industry (which I’m exposed to) is now dead in the water, so perhaps it is all a moot point.

    Oh that is clever about the water driven bellows. Over in the north on the other side of the mountain range there are a few old mills sited next to rivers. And evil is not tied to gender, it is an equal opportunity thing.

    Mr Kunstler’s new book is good. Very good actually. The explanation of the oil story is very clear.

    Man, I’m crashing. It has been an emotional day, and I’m certain tomorrow will be just the same for all sorts of similar reasons. I’ll tell ya more about it tomorrow.



  29. Hi DJ, Claire and Pam,

    Apologies but things are a bit fluid right now, and I’m feeling it tonight for sure. My business just hit a grinding halt. I’ll be fine, but far out things are escalating rapidly. I hope this response is worth it.

    Oh, will try to reply tomorrow.

    The next few months I should have plenty of time to think about things! And get some stuff done around here.



  30. @ All:

    Just in case anyone was wondering:

    “But U.S. health officials have said that there is no evidence to support the transmission of the new coronavirus through imported goods.

    “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for Disease Control’s Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press briefing.”


  31. Hello again
    Tooth ache would be an example of nerve pain. I am fascinated by your account of how you distanced yourself from pain. I can do the same thing but have no idea as to how to describe what I do. I can stop all headaches the moment the start, which is wonderful as I have had migraine all my life. Can remove myself from most other pain. I think that the subject of mind and pain is absolutely fascinating.
    Am sorry to hear about your business problems. Assume that this is because the businesses that you serve are going to be in dire straits. That is certainly happening here. Globalisation will be a disaster not a wonderful asset.
    The intent here to ask/make all those over 70 self isolate produced the most powerful response that I have ever heard on a radio phone in. It was from an elderly holocaust survivor. He compared this with making Jews wear the yellow star of David in Nazi Germany. He had a lot more to say, most of which I agreed with.
    Out in town yesterday, I noticed that the majority of people were in this age group. Of course the Island has a very large retired population. Most food was available, toilet rolls were rationed.


  32. @ Chris, I know you are as well or more prepared for what you are going through than many. My best to you and the editor. I will think about you and send you vibrations of stress relief.


  33. Hi Chris
    Please keep up your careful work habits on the structure. ‘Tis a dangerous task!

    No buzz kill for me. It is strictly a publicity driven endeavor. The location is at the intersection of the main entrance route to the Hanford Project and the road to the plant training facility. As much traffic twice a day as the work force to PNNL. Lots of visibility.

    2 miles across the Columbia River there is a small scale Hydro electric installation. Privately built an owned and using waste water at the end of the irrigation project originally from the Coulee Dam pool. It was permitted and built over a ten year time period. It uses about 90 feet of hydraulic head (45 psi ).in a 36 inch dia pipe. It’s electrical capacity is around 900 kilowatts. I think the money income is about $50.00 per hour 24 hours 365 days per year. Let’s say $440,000.00 per year. Developed cost $1.5 Million. No water cost. I want one of those!! The guy that co developed that has another plant on another site in the planning stage. Hope he gets it done!

    I’m very sorry about the downturn in your business. Successful business is a very fine strand of life to keep intact.
    The out look is presently darkening on many fronts!
    Best wishes Al

  34. Yo, Chris – Well, we’ll get the light stuff out of the way, first. 🙂 .

    Speaking of Kunstler jogged my memory. The Daily Impact is posting again. His MO seems to be, do a clutch of posts, and then fall silent for awhile.

    I hope the gnome is well hidden in the Fern Gully? Did the gargoyle say what elves taste like? Chicken? I took a look around at gnomes, on the net. Hmmm. The world has changed. These days, they don’t look anything like what I think of as a “traditional” gnome. For starters, they’ve all gone on diets. Here’s the gnome you wish you would have bought ..


    Maybe there’s a bat, in Plum’s lineage? A bat in her woodpile?
    I can see her on the program, “Finding Your Roots.” Prof. Gates would intone, “Ms. Plum … it may be upsetting, but according to the 1860 census, your four times great grandfather was … a bat. He was perhaps passing as a small dog … such things happened.”

    Oh, Chris. Your business. I’m sure the Editor and you will land on your feet. You’ve always had plans B and C. You had more than an inkling that this was coming. But, it’s still a shock when it actually arrives. Stay busy (no problems there) and think about this all, a little bit at a time. To look at it all of a piece is too overwhelming.

    Having worked retail for so long, I think there’s a special place in hell for people who are incapable of saying “small bills please”, at the bank. Unless he was buying a truck load of toilet paper, in some back alley.

    I’m sure you heard me curse, down in Australia, last night. I had decided I wanted saurkraut and wienies. So, I chopped up the wienies and fried them up. Gotta get that Mallard Effect, going. So, I take the brand new 32oz jar of kraut, and was struggling with the lid. When it gave, the glass jar flew into the front of the stove. And broke. Saurkraut, glass and juice running everywhere. The clean up was epic. My first impulse was to run to the store and get another jar (they were on sale!), but reminded myself, I’m pretty much “in.” So, we went with Dinner 2.0. Wienies with rice and veg. Tasty.

    Stopped by the Club, yesterday, to find it closed. They’e going to go with morning meetings, and evening meetings. But close mid day. At least, for now. Several meetings around the county have closed down. I just happened to run into Scott, in the parking lot. He usually works mornings, but was there to say he wasn’t coming in, for awhile. His wife has health issues and he doesn’t want to carry anything home. We’ll keep in touch by e-mail.

    We have a second case, in our county. A student at the local two year collage. Here at the Institution, they’ve pulled all the furniture out of the lobby. Too many of The Ladies were gathering. Saw the Master Gardeners, this morning, and, it looks like major changes won’t start until two weeks. Depends on how much of the budget gets approved. It might not effect some of my garden, this year. It’s the unknowing …

    We have a new group of whack jobs, over here. Corona Virus Truthers. If you want to know what’s REALLY going on, check in with them. Break out the tin foil hats! One of the Ladies was pretty wound up, yesterday, over bogus infected and death rates for our county. Susanne and I got her calmed down, and told her to stop listening to her third cousins great aunt, and just go to the CDC website.

    I’m trying to figure out how I feel about all this. Not frightened, particularly. But know that when all this calms down, life may be very different, and I don’t know the details of that different.

    Read another chunk of “Burning Stone” last night. I’m learning so much about forging. More than I ever wanted to know. 🙂 . Watched one of those “C” movies, last night. Danny Glover? Really? It’s called “Toxin. It’s about an evil big pharma company, that finds lethal virus in nature. They develop a vaccine, and then release the virus, on the public. There’s a lot more to it, but, it’s silly.

    Still a lot of traffic, on I-5. Maybe not so many cars, but plenty of trucks. Wonder if any of them are carrying toilet paper? Lew

  35. @ Pam – The $8,500 house. Well, let’s see. It was in the late 80s. I think, when I saw an ad in the classified section (remember those?) of the newspaper. Some rich old guy was dumping 32 rentals that he had around the county. The cheapest was a abandoned “house.” And, he was carrying the contracts. So, no fiddling with banks. Not that a bank would touch it.

    The “house” was cedar shake and 365 square feet. One for every day of the year! According to neighborhood legend, the block was once owned by a widow, and was a small farm. That building started out it’s life as the chicken coop. The first tenant was an old Finn, hired man. I’m half Finn. And the peeling paint was blue! It seemed fated. Did I mention I was still drinking, then? 🙂 .

    It had a new electrical box, but, beyond that, the wiring was pretty dicey. I didn’t do much cosmetic, but made it habitable. The first winter I was there, the water in the toilet froze. My needs are small. The lot was very long and narrow. The property taxes were very low. LOL, I looked up the record at the courthouse, and someone had made the notation that it was taxed like a beach cottage … without the ocean.

    I had three very near misses with flooding. At one point, I was entirely surrounded by water, but had none in the yard. Even though the neighbors called it “the house in the hole”, as it was the lowest point in the neighborhood. So, I put it on the market, at three times what I had paid for it. It sold in about five months. A weird deal. I never saw the new owner. Neither did anyone else. Income property? Four months after that, it had 18″ of water in it.

    But, it’s still there, and someone has really made it “cute.” Given the way my life has run, I wish I would have kept it. Oh, well. Any more questions, ask away. Lew

  36. @ Lew:

    Thanks, Lew, that’s a fun story – and an itty bitty house! It did seem fated to be your house. I am surprised that it is still there.


  37. Chris:

    I sure am sorry to hear about your business woes. Can you do any of it from home?


  38. Hi everyone,

    Please understand that over the past week I have been speaking with people who are taking some body blows, as have I, and it has been very emotionally draining for me. My mind is irritated about this unfolding scenario, possibly I am in the anger phase, although I am remarkably quick to recover my usual equanimity. There is a story sacrifices not being shared equally that is bubbling away in my brain, but it is not a palatable story. Anyway, will speak tomorrow as I’m calling upon the mid-week hiatus in order to cogitate.



  39. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, twas an excellent read and thanks for the heads up.

    I’m feeling a bit prickly tonight, although I did break the rules and head out to dinner. I tell you a truly fascinating thing, the editor and I were the oldest people out and about that we noted. It was beyond notable. The food was good, and there were plenty of young folk about. They may wake up from their slumber and roar you know? Stranger things have happened. Spoke to a homless guy and he was doing it tough as he has been a bit abandoned, I’ve spoken with him for a few years. He’s alright.

    The gnome is an odd fellow, and I do hope that he doesn’t move around the fern gully as that would be disconcerting. There was a thing a few years back when people used to steal gnomes and take them travelling – and send back photos of the gnome in exotic places. As good a use of fossil fuels as any other.

    I hear anecdotal stories that leveraged folks are getting slammed on stocks – that’s an old story. Even if interest rates are near zero, that does not allievate margin calls, and if the folks have no assets they may not able to acquire more debt – no matter how cheap.

    That gnome is like a Mr Miyagi of the gnome world. Wax on, and wax off my friend! 😉

    Prof. Gates in Finding Your Roots sounds very diplomatic. It takes real skill to deliver bad news in a pleasant sort of a way. Plum’s up for it though, if she wants the role of Atilla the Fluffy, a bit of dodgy lineage is probably a character plus.

    Thank you. We’ll be fine, I have been planning for such a scenario for a very long time. Of course I can’t cover all contingencies, but who can? A lovely young lady was reminding me today that in The Walking Dead Series 2, they took down farms like where I live. Cheeky lass, that’s the last time I’ll take fresh almonds in for her. Nah, she’s alright.

    It might get to that! Imagine there is toilet paper on the shelves, and nobody can afford to pay for it. It is not like such things aren’t the norm for excesses of pushing the button on “go” on the printing presses. It is so consistent that it is boring. This time around though, they’re trying not to look like the bad guys and blame some little microscopic critter. It is an impressive feat and displays how little actual capacity the powas tha be have.

    Yes, warding off scurvy is an excellent use of your time in the kitchen and I applaud your common sense. 🙂 Alas for the sticky jar lid. I’ve got a little metal stainless steel lid lifting device for such purposes. A dog would have assisted the clean up, although the glass shards would have been a problem for them. Our dinners are not that dissimilar, except I did a burger and chips tonight. At this time of all times, restaurants need help because they’d be fools to think that the gubment has their back.

    That is very wise of Scott, and vulnerable people, or people with vulnerable people have a special obligation to avoid bringing nasties back home.

    The number of cases down here are escalating. Our resident math expert DJ could probably explain the exponential effect too.

    Wow! Truthers, mate depending on their age and health, they might come to a nasty end. There is a real possibility that un-vaccinated folks might suffer some pretty horrendous dual infections. Ouch. And they probably have not considered the possibility.

    I’m not really sure that we can go back to how things were, isn’t the sort of the point of all of the wreckage?

    Haha! Well Forging does play a role in the story. 🙂 Thanks, you’ve picked me up tonight, I appreciate it.

    Heard a funny story about a lady who hoarded toilet paper. Her young kids chucked them in the bath. Kids know, they have less filters. 😉



  40. Chris:

    That is a surreal article about the country grocery store – your country grocery store! It reads like a war story. Next to that story is a heading: Related article – ‘Stop doing it. It’s ridiculous!’: ______ blasts hoarders, panic-buyers

    I leave the position of the authority blank as I have a feeling that he/she might not like the fact that I think we have a case of hypocrisy, as who are some of the people fueling the panic?


  41. Chris:

    I thought I was a pretty conservative soul, as a general rule. You should see me now – I’ve got everybody on rations.


  42. @Alco44 – Yo, Al – You might find some of this interesting. The City of Centralia (just north of where I live), has an old hydro plant.


    It used to provide the City of Centralia, with all it’s power. Now, it’s about 1/3 due to growth. But if you live in the city limits of Centralia, power rates are pretty low. Even lower than PUD. Every once in awhile, someone on the City Council starts making noises about selling off the plant. So far, cooler heads have prevailed. I guess whoever might be interested in buying the hydro plant, isn’t interested enough to slip a bit under the table, to the Councilors. 🙂 .

    We also have a coal fired steam plant, here. I actually worked there, circa 1997, as security. Contract security, so, not really an employee of the plant. It was a pretty neat operation. There was a coal field, right next door. At that time, it was owned by the Mormon Church. They sold it to TransAlta. Who, closed the coal field. Two weeks before Christmas, 300 people lost their jobs.

    We also have a new gas fired plant, south of town. I don’t know much about it. I knew a fellow, years ago, out in the east part of the county. He had wind and solar. And, since he had a spring, gushing out of the ground on his place, also, hydro.

    Where I live, Chehalis, we’re on PUD and quit a bit of our power comes from Bonneville (sp?) Power Administration. We lost power, twice last year, from their feed. All very mysterious, and no reason, that I ever heard. I figure it’s aliens, sucking the power out of the pylons, that go marching across the land. 🙂 . A more likely (but I hope not) reason would be some foreign power, doing a test run of hacking the system. Lew

  43. Yo, Chris – Well, you have good reason to feel prickly. Even when you know something like this is going to happen, when it arrives, it’s still quit a shock. One of those events where you know everything after, will be different. But not know the details of “different.” Like 9/11. I wonder what Mr. Greer will have to say, today. The voice of reason.

    Let’s hope the gnome doesn’t become a wombat scratching post. Is he well anchored? I’d heard about gnomes going on world tours. Must be interesting, getting them through airport security. Does one need to buy an extra ticket? Overweight baggage charge?

    Prof. Gates has taken some of his guests, off camera, in particularly sensitive situations. Had they not wanted certain things to be revealed, it never would have made it on air. Gosh, that’s refreshing, in our reality TV world.

    That young lady, was cheeky. Doesn’t she know that rural memories are long? Must be from “away.”

    I’ve seen a few articles about the exponential spread of the virus. The honest articles state, up front, that there are just too many variables, to make any kind of accurate predictions. Like forecasting lowland snow. 🙂 .

    “Burning Stone” forges on. As a pun, that’s a groaner. A funeral, a wedding, corrupt officials brought low, an invitation to join a secret society. There’s even a secret handshake. What, no decoder ring? But there is a secret code. Ancient Brittanicus has entered the scene, but he and Ancient Varrus haven’t met yet. Dollars to donuts, they’ll meet cute, and “like and admire each other.” Is Wyatt getting predictable. Don’t care. Still a good read.

    Got to watch the cats, dogs and kids around toilet paper. It’s not a good mix.

    The gas exploration article was interesting. There were some hints of farmers (usually pretty conservative) and greenies (usually pretty liberal) joining forces. That’s actually worked out, a few times, here. As long as everyone stays on topic (stopping gas exploration) and doesn’t wander too far afield, they can be a pretty powerful coalition.

    I wonder if you showed your local driver’s license, if that would be enough to prove local residency at the supermarket. Might inquire. Or, just sign up for the darned card. I resisted the Safeway card, for years. Finally caved in. I may get two e-mails from them a week, which I usually delete without reading. Last time I was in, I saved 35% of the price I would have paid, without the card. Just a thought.

    LOL, I keep having these urges to get out and do something or get something. Then I remind myself that either the place is closed, or, it’s something I really don’t need. I’m glad I’m walking puppy, three times a day. Not that I don’t have things to do, but it lends structure, to my day.

    Watched another “C” movie last night. “Storm Tracker.” Luke Perry and Martin Sheen (!). Rogue elements of the CIA and Military want to weaponize hurricanes. Perry’s character is a young scientist who holds the key to making that a reality. But, he doesn’t want to play. I’ve never “got” the whole Luke Perry thing. A Frank Sinatra Syndrome? Lew

  44. Hi everyone,

    Apologies, the mid-week hiatus continues apace. Things are moving, err, faster than I had anticipated, but changing tack is part of things. Yes, the Great relocalisation continues.

    Please bare with me at this time. Tomorrow there are far less things to do, so I will reply to everyone’s comments then.

    Cheers – and stay safe and keep a cool tool (not so easy to do, but it sounds catchy).


  45. Hi Lewis,

    Yes indeed, there is no finer way to put the matter. Anyway, humans are adaptable and new routines will soon be in place. Will things get to being like before? I doubt it, the underlying energy story belies the actions although few are honest enough – or astute enough – to acknowledge that matter.

    Things are moving much faster than I had anticipated. Today, I got the two pups vaccinated and also began laying in and fertilising the winter garden. Plus managed to begin dehydrating some of the meager tomato crop. Down here we are going into this on the back of a poor growing season, but not many folks realise that. Looking into my crystal ball, I believe that more people in the future will be involved in agriculture. It takes decades of experience to get your head around growing plants – it is most certainly not a weekend course no matter how bright a person is. Best to begin learning.

    The wombats would love putting their scent of the gnome – however it would add a delightful sense of mystery to the Elder folk up there in the fern gully. Tell ya a funny story about that fern gully. After the processing of the firewood earlier in the season, we dumped a lot of the left over organic matter up there, and the ferns have responded to the excellent feed.

    Looks like our borders are now closing, and overseas Uni students can’t make it here. The higher education section is toast. It would not bother me one bit if my profession went back to the apprenticeship learning model.

    I suspect a lot of people got wiped out on the share market recently. The gubermint has announced that they’ll begin printing money and they reduced official interest rates. I certainly hope that big investors aren’t getting bailed out on the public’s purse, but you never know. The exchange rate has tanked and we are facing the beginning shots of the: Great Re-Localisation / Depression mark II. It is ugly and going to get worse. I note that our gubermint is making overtures to our New Zealand friends across the sea.

    Yes, it is part of life that people have some dirty laundry that need not be aired publicly. I rather enjoyed Mr Whyte’s amusing comments made by characters about a grandmother getting overly friendly with a Hun at some stage in the now forgotten past – thus explaining the build of the Britannicus family. All very funny, but should it be aired publicly? 😉

    She’s alright that young lady, and I owe her a debt of gratitude which I might have to pay one day, which she knows about. I suspect that she reads Mr Greer’s work, but I’ve been too shy to ask. Not knowing makes little to no difference anyway, so some mysteries you just have to carry around with you.

    Getting good information and guidance on the virus is difficult. Although I suspect that there is more to this story than meets the eye.

    Well that is possible about the farmers and environmentalists joining forces. Although the way things are with people ever more socially isolated, it is gonna be hard to do that, although there may be some civil disobedience at some stage in the future. I tend to feel that it gets down to whether people can hack the pain factor of this rending of the usual social fabric. Dunno.

    Nah, I woke up in the middle of the night as my brain must have processed the problem. I’ll just get an old receipt from the store. And I have a pretty reasonable reason for not joining their loyalty program in the first place.

    A lot of stuff is closing here too. I hope the supply of compost continues, and I’ll guess I’ll find out – and soon.

    Yeah – nah. Luke Perry. A spent force.



  46. @Claire
    I saw Marty yesterday to bring him his monthly money. His cough was mild and otherwise he’s fine. Luckily he’s within walking distance of a grocery store and it has instituted senior and disabled hours from 7 to 9 AM. He said he had enough food for awhile too. Thanks for your concern.

  47. Hi Chris,
    As I said to Claire, Marty is OK for the moment. Gwen lives in a group home and has returned there. She stays with Marty one long weekend a month. I was surprised they let her come. She’s with the same agency as Marty. As far as him coming to live with us – well no. He lived with us at first for a year and a half and he’s not easy to deal with. He and Doug clash as well. It was too bad as out of the three brothers he really was quite helpful. I doubt he would want to come here either. If we had the room of our old house – maybe. At any rate if anyone needed to come it would be our daughters and granddaughters. I’m pleased to say that they are all weathering this situation quite well. My son-in-law has been on his good behavior and as far as how they’re dealing with this he and my daughter are on the same page there. Of course the twins have been home schooled all along so there’s no adjustment in that regards unlike most kids.

    Things pretty much the same here as everyone else has reported. I went into town yesterday to bring taxes into our accountant. The train station parking lot was about 5% full and very little traffic.

    If all of us are well I’m going to stay over at my younger daughter’s house Saturday night but will drive instead of take the train. I really haven’t had a reason to drive on the expressway for quite some time and subsequently have lost my confidence. However, there is so little traffic this is the perfect time to do it. Eggs are sometimes in short supply in the city so I’m picking up extra from my egg lady down the street to bring in.

    We got quite a family texting group now to stay in touch. I know it’s been helpful for many. My aunt lives downtown Chicago in a condo and is totally alone. Her only daughter lives in California.

    I’m so sorry about your business collapse. Just a world of hurt for so many.


  48. Hello Lew
    Thanks for the link to your interesting town ,Centralia. The 12 MW hydro system is such a great asset. I hope the city leaders continue to care and protect it. That river diversion model couldn’t begin to get permitted today. The Kennewick Irrigation District has a similar diversion of the Yakima River to pump their water up to the canal level prior to distribution.They divert a portion of the River into a 10 mile canal to get the required water head.
    I was aware of the coal fired plant with the nearby coal mines. I thought that plant was clean enough to stand the critics I guess not.
    There is pressure from the executive branch to privatize the BPA. My thought is for Washington , Oregon, Idaho, Montana to put together a joint proposal to buy the BPA and operate it as a co owned agency. Finance through bonds sold to individuals.
    Your area certainly has an interesting history.

  49. Yo, Chris – Well, you’ve had a major kick in the teeth, twice in your life, now. This time around, your much, much better prepared. Hold that thought …

    Yup. Gardening is a long, steep learning curve. But, there’s plenty of information around and people to help along the way. If one but looks and asks. But even with a firm grip on some things, there are good years and bad for some crops. Learn something new, every year. I’d say the two most important things I learned last year was a.) pay attention to those seed planting depths and b.) parsley makes a wonderful (at least here) winter green. A bit finicky to get started (at least here), but once it gets a grip, it goes gang busters. I’m still harvesting a handful a day, from two small patches. It has re-sprouted from the harvested areas, all winter.

    Makes sense the firewood leavings would be welcome in Fern Gully. It kind of mimics typical forest floor.

    One of the sites I check daily is called “rogue classicist”, twitter. I can read the posts but don’t have to sign up, or tweet. Whatever that is. It’s mostly classics academics, but, there’s plenty of archaeological stuff, thrown in. The higher ed classics and archaeology profs, are moving a lot of their teaching, on-line. Podcasts and such. There’s a lot of mutual aid. Things like, “If you’ve never done a pod cast, this is how you do it.” Discussions of best software, etc.. In an unrelated article, I read that internet traffic is really up. As so much is moving on-line. The fiber optic trunk lines must be groaning, under the load 🙂 .

    Well, they certainly are spinning the money printing presses, here. There’s talk being bandied about, about sending every citizen $600-$1,000. It was done, once before. Can’t remember what that was all about. It was awhile, ago. Bread and circus.

    Well, as far as New Zealand goes, always best to be on good terms with your neighbors, if you can. Especially in trying times.

    LOL. It occurred to me that Whyte’s whole series is one bromance after another.

    Not getting too much out of Mr. Greer’s post, this week. Enough odds and ends to keep me reading, but it is a slog through all the astrological stuff. Per usual, everyone wants a prediction, that relates directly to them. Date and hour, please. But he’s too wise to fall into that trap. I was … comforted to see that he didn’t think the US would default on it’s loans, for at least 10 years. I always wonder if China will just take the whole west coast, in the bankruptcy settlement?

    Well, I dug into my stack of “C” pictures, last night. Pulled out something called, “The Kid Stays in the Picture.” I thought it was a bio of Rudolph Valintino. Well, there was a picture of a matador, on the back! Nope. It was a documentary of Robert Evans. Headed up Paramont, in the 80s. Produced a long string of hits and took Paramont from 9th profitable studio to number 1. “Chinatown,” “Marathon Man,” “Love Story,” etc. etc.. He was married 7 times, most notably to Ali McGraw … before she ran off with Steve McQueen. An interesting documentary, if one is interested in the behind the scenes workings of old Hollywood.

    Not much going on here. It’s a go on getting our two Magic Food Boxes, tomorrow. I’ll probably be doing a lot of box deliveries, and will probably be in and out of a lot of apartments. So, I’ve decided to mask and glove up. More to calm The Ladies fears, than much thought of protecting myself.

    Decided to tackle a packet of something called Turkey Stuffing with “Real” Turkey broth. Almost made it with wienies, but thought better of it and browned up a can of chicken. When I made the stuffing, it turned out to be the consistency of wall paper paste. Remember that? Not to worry. I threw in the chicken, a handful of parsley, chopped up three stalks of celery, garlic, cranberries and dried shiitake mushrooms. A bit of rice. All that made it a lot more palatable. Tasty, in fact. Enough for three meals. Lew

  50. @ Chris – it’s the autumn equinox where you are and the spring equinox here. Wishing you a beautiful autumn!


  51. Chris,

    They closed us to the public today. Appointments only and I am not one of those who will necessarily have to see the public. I am working from home indefinitely. Which means I have to be logged into the job during my normal hours. Not a vacation but much better than being in the office.

    And apparently too many people have been reading Mr. Greer and they are taking to heart his suggestion to “buy more popcorn”.


  52. Hi Inge,

    In an odd way it is funny that you mention tooth pain, and that makes sense about it being nerve pain. Dental care is pretty good and available down here near to the big smoke, although plenty of people skimp on that. My mum for some reason ensured that we always got an annual check-up and clean at the dentist. In fact I barely recall ever visiting the doctor as a kid, nowadays people go all the time – and we’ve spoken about that, but far out I knew the dentist and he was the same bloke for well over a decade. It is an odd change.

    Pain, oh that’s right. As a young bloke a girlfriend had her wisdom teeth extracted whilst under general anaesthetic. Recovery was very slow from that procedure and I was told that the jaw is dislocated during the process so as to make it easier for the dental surgeons.

    So, when I got the four wisdom teeth removed (one was impacted, whatever that means but people quail in fear when they hear that term) all done under local anaesthetic, and the day after the procedure I was fine. The procedure was uncomfortable, but the dentist could hardly outrage my mouth and jaw because I was awake! Dunno, but people make their choices I guess, and prolonging pain often makes the final tally far worse.

    “I can do the same thing” As a suggestion there may not be that much difference in the mind-body relationship that distance swimmers achieve compared to distance runners. Same, same!

    Thanks, and you guessed it correctly. The businesses I serve have just been jolted into serious contraction. I’ve been through this sort of economic pain before and am much better prepared for it today, and should be fine. It is however a very rude shock when the hammer falls out of the blue, and thunks ya hard on the head. I actually was in a bit of shock earlier in the week due to the speed of it all. Anyway, I made the decision in about 1992 not to be vulnerable again, and then focused on achieving the goal of achieving a respectable distance. Living where you do I’d hope you understand my goal. It has been a very nice journey too. 🙂

    Globalisation is indeed a disaster, and can’t say I’m a fan having seen the end of many manufacturing ventures. Not many accountants probably know anything at all about manufacturing accounting these days! The way our exchange rate is heading, the scales will be tilting in favour of doing things more locally in future.

    Yup, the Nazi’s were so very weak that they had to project fear of the other, and the repercussions of that were horrific. A good example of a society in decline after WWI losing its collective marbles.

    Hope you scored some toilet paper? We just don’t use much of the stuff… Locally, most folks out at the local shops are older or mums and bubs. In the local pub, the folks were generally younger. And in the big smoke, the editor and I were the oldest folks that I could observe. Fear is a tool that can be over used.

    I went today to many of the local small businesses that I support, and I even joked with one of them who’d sent out a text message to customers promoting a special. I said: Mate, I saw your text message and came on down to spend some money. 🙂

    Ollie caught and ate (half, leaving the other half to his charges Plum and Ruby) a rabbit today. He’ll make a fine farm dog that one, and I ask you the tough question: Should he be knighted for his services to the farm? Sir Ollie rabbit bane has a nice ring to it. I intend to take a poll of the readers, so we’ll tally the results up and see if he gets the gong. He is full of rabbit and sound asleep tonight.



  53. Hi Claire,

    Thank you, and candidly earlier in the week I was in a bit of shock at the sudden turn of events. To quote Ernest Hemingway: ‘How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.’ I came across that quote courtesy of Mr Kunstler. I quite like the quote and fortunately things are not that dire by any stretch of the imagination. We’ll be fine.

    Both the editor and I had the rug pulled out from underneath us in the 1992 economic disaster, and we both are of one mind to avoid being caught out a second time around. No doubt, other things that were never anticipated will get us!

    Happy Spring Equinox to you too. 🙂

    How are you going? It is a bit crazy down here.



  54. Hi Chris,

    Mrs Damo and I are very impressed at ollies rabbit capture and subsequent sharing (or perhaps it wasnt sharing, are we seeing a new boss puppy already?) A top effort either way! May i advise against too hasty a knighting? Must keep Ollie striving lest he settle too early into a life of ease and torpor.

    Day one of work from home completed today. All road trips and office visits are cancelled until further notice. Head office assures us there is no immediate risk of staff redundancies etc. My only worry is how to leave new Zealand in July. Pretty much all commercial flights are grounded in the next couple of weeks. Still, there are other ways…

    I suspect there will be significant structural changes which remain in place once we get through this. Government programs, once deployed, tend to remain. And businesses which see they can operate online without physical branches or staff, may just stay that way – especially if this drags on for 6-12 months. Do you think banks etc will reopen branches they managed to close without fanfare?

    Unfortunately, I may need to venture out to the shops soon, we have only enough flour for 2 cakes!


  55. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for your thoughts and concerns. The shock was rude, and all rather sudden like earlier in the week. One day things were going along swimmingly, and then only just better than bupkis, but yeah, not good really. I was in a bit of a state of shock at the rate of change. Dunno about you, but it takes me about maybe four days, maybe five to incorporate really shocking news into what I call my worldview. My worldview is sort of like a lens with which I view the crazy goings on and it gives me insights into how I should react. My sleep has been less sound than usual over the past few days, but my brain is processing responses overtime and when else is there really quiet time to reflect and posit the hard questions. I slept much better last night, although for an early autumn night it was 23’C / 73’F. It is not normally warm at night here, and especially at this time of year…

    Fortunately the days of the early 1990’s when noisy garage bands who you probably weren’t into ruled the airwaves, both the editor and I took a massive economic swatting. Yup, we were brushed aside with little care as to our personal concerns. Being that young we probably quite annoyingly arrogant. But then BAM! Arrogance was revealed as hubris. It was all very unpleasant, but plans were hatched so as to be able to respond to such a circumstance, and here we are today. Will the plans survive engagement with the economic enemy? Maybe, I’d like to believe that I know a thing or two (one of the few benefits of getting older), but time will tell. Anyway, the upside to the harsh new economic order of those long since past days was that I met and married the editor. Ill winds don’t always blow an awful stench. 😉

    I completely fertilised the two highest terraces today with compost for the growing beds, and composted woody mulch for the paths. The work has taken hours and hours and was an antidote to stressing out about viruses and economics. Broad beans are sprouting in the highest terrace, but the soil is still a bit new to be really a top notch grow anything sort of soil. It needs another year I reckon, but we should get something good growing there over the winter. I’m thinking broccoli and radishes would be nice.

    How are you enjoying working from home? I do a fair bit of work from here and quite enjoy it, but I am not easily distracted. Over the past few days I’ve had the youth music radio station playing softly in the background, and the reports from the field of people working at home in quarantine have been rather odd but also amusing.

    Think of it this way too, it saves using the fossil fuels to get you into the office in the first place! That has to be a win for the environment. Although you do frequent the bus service and car pool so I applaud your good sense.

    In breaking fluffy news: Ollie caught, killed and ate (part thereof) a rabbit today. Well done him, as rabbits are a right nuisance and have no place on the farm. In some cases they eat the bark from the fruit trees which eventually kills the tree. The big question of the day is: Has he earned a knighthood for his services to the farm? I’m asking the hard questions here, and results will be tallied (spare a thought for my poor math skills) and the results will be announced. So what’s it to be, yes, or no? I warn you, ambiguity or dithering will count as a yes vote. Hashtag just sayin!

    Hehe! I read Mr Greer’s fine essay (and comments) whilst sitting in the bath today. After all of the composted woody mulch I moved – all by hand – I was covered in a fine black dust, and so a bath it was. Yes, grab some popcorn and enjoy the spectacle, although indulging in the activity might out someone as a literalist! I’m actually glad that Mr Greer moved to a more sensible part of the country.



  56. Hi Al,

    Thanks for your concern regarding working at heights on the new-old solar panel structure (which I intend to progress tomorrow). Mr Greer once mentioned that old mariners used the adage: One hand for the task, and one for the ship. Don’t know where I learned that, but I have always known that to be the case. Recently when painting the gable ends on the house whilst standing on the sloping veranda roof, I had to break that rule, and it was unsettling. Anyway, when drilling the holes for the bolts high up in the solar panel structure (well over 4m / 13ft) up in the air I was hugging the steel posts whilst simultaneously drilling the steel. Short bursts of such work is the way to go as the mind needs to concentrate whilst the body deals with the situation. Old mariners would know a thing or two about risk taking… At least the ones that survived to tell the tale.

    Hydro power is awesome. And your math stacks up too! Mate, that is the cheapest energy out there and the return on investment is well good. Please correct my math but at $0.055/kWh it is pretty cheap in anyone’s language. As the solar power system here ages, the return on investment is improving, but it has been a long and expensive journey.

    I dream of hydro power. I live in a really old and dry continent. Even this mountain range, which attracts more than its fair share of rain from the Southern Ocean, struggles to keep water flowing in the dry years. The local creek at the bottom of my property dried up this year, but is now flowing. The mountain range really lacks the plateau required to slowly infiltrate and release water consistently. I do everything I can to get water into the soil, and the orchard trees do not need to be watered even in the driest summers, but the experiment really needs to be replicated at scale over the entire mountain range. And such an idea offends too many people for it to be ever attempted.

    Yes, who can forget the end of the original Terminator film where the storm clouds were gathering over the mountain range in the distance and the enigmatic comment was made: Looks like a storm is coming.



  57. Hi Pam,

    Yeah, I can do work from home. Nah, there is little work to do. Such is the dastardly act of business disappearance.

    However, I am not one to get down in the mouth about such things, and despite being shocked by the speed (for a few days), I had plans in place to accommodate this outcome. It is not ideal, but it is survivable. Over the past two days I’ve fertilised the top two terraces using about 2.6 cubic yards of compost (for the raised beds) and composted woody mulch for the paths. Me tired, but the physical exertion involves does wonders for the mind. Clears away the fog, so to speak.

    Now, I have an important question for you. Ollie hunted, killed and ate his first rabbit today. I’m impressed as the rabbits were making good inroads onto the farm since Sir Scruffy passed away. And Ollie has obviously tasted the economic winds and decided to assist the budget. Does he get a knighthood, and the title rabbit bane? Already it has become the most contentious issue facing society (I see Damo is sitting on the fence)! Don’t let the weight of opinion sit heavily on your shoulders, make a decisive vote from your gut feelings. A tally will be taken and the results will soon be posted.

    Hey, is that going on in your local grocery stores? It is crazy. The other day I was there and was asked for a loyalty card, and I said I never wanted such a thing. Well, I got a look from the lady at the cashier, and much was implied in that look. I’m going to have to address this matter by taking along with me a receipt from a while back. Should be easy enough to do, and I thought up a good story as to why I don’t have a loyalty card. Stories are powerful things. Like the scouts, tis best to be prepared. How are the supermarket shelves going in your part of the world?

    Exactly too! It stinks of hypocrisy, but the core reasons allude me, as there are so many possibilities. My mind is settling on the energy side of the story in that the scare will change habits and cut off everyday things that were once extraordinary possibilities – like overseas trips at the drop of a hat. Re-localising is probably another way to describe it.

    Rations is a good idea in these times. I once heard it described of in a story from your country as: Family Hold Back. It was from a radio story where visitors got to enjoy the largess so as to maintain appearances. My one regret is flour. I have plenty of wheat seeds, and I probably should get them in the ground. Autumn is the time here as wheat over winters.

    Thank you, and everyone needs a proven long dead military genius with which to draw upon strategies for these trying times. Sun Tzu is right up there. Have you ever read the Art of War? It is a quick read, but very dense in the telling.

    Mr Greer is indeed super chill, and I take my lead from him. Hopefully it is not too draining on him to lead by example. I needed time to absorb the new information into my worldview.



  58. Hi Margaret,

    Good to read that Marty and Gwen are doing OK. And if Doug has already tried the arrangement, and Marty is likewise leery of the arrangement, then it clearly ain’t gonna work. The daughters and granddaughters sound like a much better arrangement. 🙂 Incidentally, the restaurant industry is taking body blows, I mean it is not as if leases don’t have to paid even when the doors are shut. And restricting the numbers of customers just undermines the viability of the business in the first place. Mind you, when we went out to dinner the other night, a lot of takeout orders were being moved out of the kitchen. It was very strange being the oldest customers there that night. So weird.

    The same thing is true here too, and the other day I noticed – during a workday – that the station car park had good free parking spaces near to the entrance. That never happens on a weekday.

    That sounds nice about the stay over, and eggs are always welcome. Fortunately one of the recent new girls has just come on the lay. It is still a long way to the winter solstice when they begin laying again. I’d be pretty certain the eggs you are taking in are better quality than what they’re used to seeing in the city.

    I hear you about the texting group. Over the past few days I have been reaching out to all sorts of people, and that includes some people up here in this small community. Some I note, are keen to make contacts. Yup, perhaps the times they be a changin?

    Thank you and it is a world of hurt. I’ll get through fine as this was a contingency plan, but not everyone shares my conservative nature and attention to detail, and I’ve seen a lot of people laid off. Actually, way beyond a lot. Just randomly I was at the local general store this morning and overheard a young lady saying that her housemate had been laid off. Strange days.

    Onto serious fluffy business. I really need your opinion in an important fluffy matter. Ollie hunted, killed and ate his first rabbit today. Since the rather robust and lightly fed Sir Scruffy (he sure was self feeding on all sorts of stuff right up to his final few days!) died, the rabbits have been going feral. Does Ollie deserve a knighthood for stepping up to the plate and filling in the shoes of the sadly departed Sir Scruffy? I think Sir Ollie rabbit bane is a fitting title, but I’m putting the question to you and also the other readers and we’ll do this democratically. So what is it: Yes or No? Indecision will be counted as a yes vote (sorry, my bad there). 🙂 I tend to feel this is the most important question facing our society today. And the stench from Ollie’s flatulence this evening is a potent force. Please spare a thought for me…



  59. Chris:

    I say that Ollie’s feat is worthy of a knighthood. It will encourage further such endeavors and show to the fast-growing pipsqueaks what a courageous and manly example he is. Not that they haven’t already noticed.

    I have loyalty cards at all my stores. However, I managed to not have my name connected to them by asking for the card and the form you fill out, saying that I didn’t have time to fill it out now, could I bring it next time and use the card now? Which was okay with them. Thus the card is in the system, but not me. I always pay cash, so still no connection with my name.

    The one store that has me on record sends me such fantastic coupons in the mail that I don’t mind them having my name and address.

    No, I haven’t read The Art of War, though I have long wanted to, since you first mentioned it. Someday . . .

    I went into town yesterday to pick up a gift for my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary, and to get a couple of things for us and for neighbors whom I had asked if they needed anything.
    Traffic was back to about 70% of normal, the stores were quiet, about half of normal. It was a beautiful 80F (27C) day and I think people just wanted to get out for a bit. Then I worked in the garden.


  60. @ Margaret:

    I am glad that things are going all right for Marty and that your daughter’s situation seems okay.


  61. Hi Lewis,

    So true. Hey, what do the old timers say about: Once bitten, twice shy? It really is like that for me with the sudden lurch in the economy, but mate the past few days has made my head spin with the speed at which this nightmare has unfolded. Thank you for the advice, and I am holding that thought.

    Today I actually put down another cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of composted woody mulch onto the top two terraces. It gets placed onto the paths in between the long rows and the organic matter feeds the plants via the action of the fungi. But it also makes it nicer to walk on during wet winter weather (which is not far away). Anyway, the top two terraces are set for winter greens, radishes, and I’m thinking I should plant out some of the wheat seeds. They should be right for spring too. Down here, the wheat plants can get started in autumn, survive winter and then grow strongly in spring. Apparently it makes for a better crop, and is perhaps closer to how nature intended things. I might try planting the wheat in rows rather than a block.

    Knowing who to ask about gardening is not as easy a task as you’d imagine. A bit like sorting the wheat from the chaff – as they used to say (although few people would understand what I was talking about). Sometimes you just stuff things up, or the conditions are just no good. For example, there are no melons this year, even the short season water melons didn’t work. And despite it being so late in the year we’re only just being able to dehydrate tomatoes for storage. A truly horrendous growing season, although your last one was crazy wet, and that is no good either. A bit of middle ground weather would be nice.

    Oh yes indeed. I have a patch of parsley that grows for most of the year, and happily self seeds. Super reliable and really a good addition. It survived the snowfall here too.

    I chuck a bit of ash into the fern gully too. The fern fronds are really bouncing back with a good feeding. One of them I thought was deader than a dead dingoes kidney, but it recently produced a new frond.

    Not to mention the server farms. It took three hours to back up the website here this morning. And the phone network did a few odd things and didn’t connect a few times. And here is the kicker. The gubermont introduced a new id authorisation standard and then under staffed the call centre due to crazy reason and didn’t extend the deadline. I lost an hour of my day mucking around with them and just had to be polite about it, otherwise they may have hung up and I’d have to wait another hour…

    Don’t knock the helicopter QE. It works and kept us lot out of recession during the 2008 fiasco. I might have said this story before, but the Prime Muppet at the time was Kevin Rudd (actually he was pretty popular and seemed OK, but at a wild guess he burned out) and one cheeky electronic store described a TV special as: “The Kevin 37”. Meaning a 37 inch screen and the price matched the helicopter QE amount. Can’t say they don’t have a sense of humour! But the debt load just keeps getting piled on. The exchange rate is copping a hammering down here.

    Yes, neighbours are good things. The New Zealanders have had a few issues with us of late. Sometimes NZ folks come over here from a young age, but fail to get citizenship. Nothing wrong with that because it is all perfectly legit and we can do the same over there. Now unfortunately some of the NZ folks get in trouble with the law, and despite them having lived here for most of their lives, we deport them back to NZ. Apparently the sob story goes that the policy is causing social havoc over in NZ.

    Nothing wrong with a good bromance story!!! Hehe!

    Well people are rather self absorbed in their requests of Mr Greer. Do they pay for that service? Mind you, Mr Greer has a good business model, and I respect that.

    The day the default becomes a reality, things will not be good. I get the upper west coast, but California? A true Devils bargain.

    Ali McGraw! Who can forget the film Love Story? Although being a rom you may not have seen it. And it has a proper ending too.

    Mate, if the ladies have the dreaded lurgi, then things are not good in a most visceral sense. The gloves and mask are probably a nice touch, and who really needs to raise other peoples blood pressure?

    Ollie and the pups are doing some epic flatulence tonight. I can ordinarily deal with such canine matters, but this lot is making me gag and feel like retching. So what happened was that Ollie hunted, killed and ate his first rabbit today. He looked very proud of himself, and the two pups looked up to him with adoration – plus he let them rip into it after he was full.

    So the question is (and we are having a poll here): Should Ollie receive a Knighthood for services rendered to the farm? A dithering and evasive answer will be treated as a default yes. So I’m bringing it back to a binary yes / no position. Don’t be influenced by Damo who is asking for more from Ollie, just go with your gut feeling. Results will be announced in the mail shortly. Tis the most pressing and urgent decision in these times.



  62. Hello again
    NO to the knighting of Ollie, he is too young. In this country honours tended to be given only to the extremely elderly as that left them less time to blot their copybook and disgrace the honour.
    More later.


  63. Yo, Chris – Just a quick look-in, before the polls close. Should Ollie get a knighthood? No! Not yet. Three rabbits (and maybe a dragon) and THEN he can be knighted. (Beknighted?).

    Was in the Safeway before 7am (I feel soooo dirty!) and, HRH needs a walk and the first round of food boxes will be here, in less than a half hour. So …. later! Lew

  64. @ Al – The coal plant has always been under fire from the Greenies. Even when they put in scrubbers, and the possibility was maybe, one person in a million would be effected, they still kept pushing. I’m kind of an old leftie, but even I thought their objections were over the top. I worked out there, and the forest around the plant was really healthy. The best part was I got to spend three evenings a week, up in the woods, guarding a dam. All healthy up there, too.

    I forgot that out in the eastern county, we have another dam. The Mossyrock Dam. That’s owned by Tacoma Public Utilities, and most of the power goes there. There’s also a wind farm, being constructed, out in the western part of the county. Hmmm. We sure do provide a lot of power, yet, we’re one of the poorer counties in the State.

    “Interesting” is a good way to put Lewis County. I’m not from around here. I’m from away. Only been here since 1981, or so. Yup. Lots of strange and interesting history. Lew

  65. Yo, Chris – Back! I was telling someone about Ollie’s potential ennobling, and they wondered if there was any special ceremony, involved. I suppose you could fly in the Queen. She likes dogs. 🙂 .

    Yup. Head spinning here, too. And, I don’t think I’m possessed, and I’m not spewing pea soup. I was thinking. So, I’ve been through a couple of major earthquakes, the Columbus Day Storm, floods and a volcanic eruption. I guess I can cross pandemic, off the list.

    Winter wheat. We have some varieties here, that are sown in the fall, for a good start in the spring. Have you found any information on how they grew wheat, around your parts, back in the day? I’m beginning to think gardening is like beekeeping. As 5 beekeepers a question, and you’ll get 4 answers. Best take it all in, make a decision, and forge ahead. Might work, might not. Either way, you learn something.

    Well, when you stuck in phone tree hell, it’s always soothing to grab a good book. Cuts the irritation down to a manageable level.

    Well, as nice as it is to have a large chunk of cash laid on me, it just doesn’t feel right. About the only thing I can come up with, for my unease, is that it isn’t good for the country. But, perhaps that horse has bolted. A long time ago. Back in 1963 when they started debasing the coinage, I had the same feeling. I can’t remember if, at that time, I knew that Rome had done the same thing, and where that led. There’s a bit of a conversation, about that, in “The Burning Stone.” Emperor Diocletian (reigned 284-305) reestablished the soundness of the coinage, and revitalized the army. But it didn’t last. By the way, Varrus and Britannicus have finally “met cute” and they’d better get with the program. Only 100 pages, to go.

    Well, New Zealand doesn’t want their crims back, either. if it’s unpaid parking tickets, or something, that’s one thing. Armed robbery, rape and pillage would be something else.

    I did not see the film “Love Story”, nor did I read the book. But, the theme song was everywhere, when the movie came out. Funny, story (now.) I’m sitting in the kitchen, and have just received a phone call, that brings an end to a relationship of mine. And just as I hang up, the theme from “Love Story” comes on the radio … and it begins snowing outside. Which I understand is quit prominent in the film. Snow and the musical theme. If I hadn’t felt so miserable, I would have laughed out loud. Now, I just laugh out loud. 🙂 .

    Any way to harness that epic flatulence? Run a generator, or something? Seems like a natural resource, going to waste!

    Well, I hit the Safeway. Busier than I thought it would be, at that hour. And, as the other day, everyone terribly polite, with a bit of underlying tension. Once more into the breach, I picked up another jar of sauerkraut. See if I can get it open without smashing it into the front of the stove. HRH needed some of her dry food (oh, so special, of course), and I got the last bag. The dry dog food aisle looked like the toilet paper aisle.

    Speaking of which, I scored a 12 pack. Which brings me to …. 42! Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket, today? They were just about gone. I really didn’t need it, but, there may be people here at the Institution that will. Let’s see. I paid $7 for the pack. If I sell each roll for $5 (after all, they are double rolls) that’s $60. Minus $7 that’s a profit of $53. What percentage of increase on my investment, someone else will have to figure out. That’s beyond my maths. 🙂 . But what I really think is that the social capital will be worth far more than that, if I just give it away, to those in need. A few rolls at a time. Otherwise, everything else I went after was in stock. The frozen veg case was still empty.

    Our first round of Magic Food Boxes, arrived. I wasn’t the only one, running boxes here and there, so, the task wasn’t that onerous. The usual mix of stuff to keep and stuff to put on the swap table, and stuff I agonize over. The usual box of mac and cheese. Throw enough veg in it, and I can almost convince myself it isn’t too bad. A really nice tray of fresh ground turkey. Had some of that, a few months ago. Fry it up with an onion, and dole it out into this or that. A mysterious can marked “pork with juices.” I’m guessing that’s some kind of canned ham, or spam like product. Half a pound of raisins. Always welcome. Odd cans of veg, chili and such.

    The true horror is a six container “snack pack” of some kind of pudding in colors not found in nature. It is touted as “Dragon Treasure infused with Dragon Magic.” (Naturally flavored pudding.” Not a clue as to what the flavors are. Oh, here we go. “Green Emerald or Ruby Red Treats.” I always wondered what emeralds and rubies tasted like. There’s also dragon games, at some web site. And, “Surprise Tattoos Inside!” Hmmm. Wonder what the target audience for this sludge, is?

    There’s also a can of some kind of drinking chocolate crystals, that is clearly a refugee from some high end gourmet shop. The packaging screams that it’s not for the likes of you or me. “Organic chocolate … authentic … chocolate alchemy .. fair trade certified!” Well, that I’ll keep, should I feel like putting on the dog. Also, 4 pounds of good cane sugar. A keeper.

    I wonder what wonders the afternoon box will contain? I’ll report, tomorrow. Lew

  66. @ Chris: I vote for knighthood and the title for Ollie. Go Ollie!

    It’s astonishing how fast some things can change. Outdoors, spring continues unrolling as it always does, somewhat early this year due to a warm winter. On the other hand, thought-structures that everyone thought could not change have been dissolved, all on account of a virus, something so tiny that it’s not even clear that it’s living. The contrast between the mental and the physical worlds is enough to cause anyone a bad case of mental whiplash. Eventually the mental changes will be followed by physical changes such as closed businesses, vacant houses, and the like. No way to know yet how much change there will be, just that change will happen in ways we didn’t believe it could two or three weeks ago.

    Our county executive has declared that gatherings of more than 10 people, public or private, are prohibited for the time being. That means no public events: no sports, music, bars, theater, and so on. For the time being we can still get together with a few friends; parks are still open. Restaurant dining rooms have closed but it’s OK to offer takeout and delivery service. No fish fries as all the Catholic churches closed. Elective surgeries are all postponed. At least one area university has cancelled the spring graduation ceremony. I wouldn’t be surprised if schools and colleges remain closed for the rest of the semester. Mike said he noticed a reduction in rush hour traffic while he was doing some grocery shopping yesterday (he wouldn’t have been out that late but traffic was slowed by an accident as he drove to the store). Tax day has been postponed to July 15. The April municipal election has been postponed to June. And so on.

    As I’ve noticed before in difficult times, people are generally rising to the occasion. I’ve hardly heard any sirens; it wouldn’t surprise me if crime drops. All of the people who consider Mike and I to be their honorary parents called to check on us this week. We joke about that: now we’re the elderly people others are told to check on during rough times. People end calls and emails with “stay safe” and really mean it.

    I’m probably about the least affected as anyone. I rarely leave the property anyway because I enjoy it so much. The handful of events I would have attended this week and over the next few weeks are all cancelled, but I have so much to do now that spring has arrived that I’ll not mind. The volunteer work I do for one organization is done by computer since the people I work with all live in different states, so that goes on. By the end of the month I should have another blog post up, since I just received the results of this spring’s soil sample. (Glad I mailed the sample last week and the lab was still open!)

    I am sorry for you and everyone else who is facing no or reduced income during this situation. I hope that the measures being taken do enough good to outweigh the harm they are also causing.


  67. Chris:

    The State of California, first, followed by the State of New York (where my sister lives), is on lockdown.


  68. Chris,

    Ollie knighthood? Normally, one rabbit is not enough. However, Ollie voluntarily has taken on the training of the pups. AND he voluntarily shared the rabbit with the pups. In light of the training and sharing, all voluntary, this is definitely a vote YES for Sir Ollie.

    More later.


  69. @ Lew,

    If I may, I think I know what the “natural flavors” are, or at least some of them, in the “Dragon Treasure infused with Dragon Magic” stuff. Probably includes dragon slime, fairy dust and unicorn toots. Taste at your own risk.


  70. Chris,

    It takes me time to come to terms with some things, too. Time and a lot of quiet and being by myself. The rate of change overall is not good, and it seems to have been even more rapid for you. Sorta like you haven’t picked yourself up from the first hit in the teeth before the second one hit you in the sensitive parts and then a third to the ribs.

    Noisy garage bands? Heard OF them but never heard them. 🙂 Yes, at least the good of meeting the Editor came out of your 1990s ordeal. And a lot of knowledge and wisdom. Now if that was said about me and the Princess, someone would quip that all of the knowledge and wisdom is a natural part of her Princessness and that she shares it with me.

    Good job with the soil and the planting. Playing in the dirt always relieves some of my stress and always does some god for the earth and whoever.

    The first day of “homework” was fine. Setting up the programs to allow me to remote my work computer took 45 minutes, but I got everything working. And got a lot done. My best friend from work, who I take walks with during our breaks, lives nearby. She texted that she was taking a lunch break and was walking by with her dog. So I joined them and we wandered to a local park and enjoyed the sun and the walking and the grass and trees. Then I went home and work continued. Not a bad day, actually.

    The week was bonkers at the job, but didn’t have the gobsmacking result that your week had for you. But the rate of changes was hard to cope with, so I reverted to providing comic relief and calmness and reason. There are 4 techs that work for my boss, 2 senior and 2 junior techs. (I call us “Monty and the Four Techs”. Sound like a garage band?) All 3 of the others separately asked me to arrange a meeting with the boss on Wednesday, so I did. He was more than willing. He’s been very frustrated and angry with his superiors for the lack of action and communication. The meeting was actually good. Boss and I chatted for awhile longer, and he asked why the others had come to me and not him directly. I told him that they’re scared, 2 are very angry about some stuff (deservedly so) that boss has no say about, I’ve been there longer than all of their tenures multiplied together, and I’ve trained them all. So I’m the senior of the group. Oh, and they know that I’m keeping calm and rational and that I am fearless about bringing things up and will push when needed. He totally understood and was glad I could explain it. AND, as a result of the meeting, he pushed harder for us to be allowed to work at home.

    But the situation was changing hourly with no word from on high about what we were supposed to do and the highest ups were pretty much ignoring the actual crowds that my 2 coworkers were angry about.

    Meanwhile, I’ve got a close relative who is fairly high up in the regional health district. Pretty much, they’re finding that this stuff is BAD. At least in the US (and China), it is NOT confined to the older crowd with prior health issues. The data has been meager, but that is improving, and it’s getting clear that about 40% of the most seriously ill and hospitalized are from the 40% of the population between about age 25 and 55. And with no underlying health issues before contracting coronavirus. So I’m hunkered down (except for a quick store visit early Saturday), and the Princess is hunkered down with her brother and will return midweek.

    The Princess was at a Walmart with her brother Thursday. They are rationing some items. Brother was low on TP, so Princess stood in a line and was given a 4 pack of TP. Brother was in a different part of the store, Princess turned her back and the TP had been stolen from her cart. She said something to a staff member, so staff and store security looked at the videos (our Walmarts record everything), saw the theft, found the guy (who couldn’t figure out how to do the self check out), and took the TP back from him and tossed him from the store. Princess got the 4 pack. Combat shopping is what this is.

    Oh, and Walmart and 2 Safeways were totally out of ice cream. Combat shopping at its worst.

    Yes, it’s looking as if Rhode Island is rather a good place to be right now. I’m staying away from his comments this week, however as there’s a tone there from many people that is irritating me. There is no way to make accurate conclusions and predictions about this until we have more data, and we will have that within about a week say my relative and others I know from other medical groups.

    Hunkered down in Spokane,


  71. Hi Chris
    That adage is timeless and true. In the mid 90s OSHA (occupational safety and health administration ) after much study of work place safety instituted wide reaching changes in working off the ground rules. Ladders , elevated platforms, scaffolding, every where except two feet on the ground was covered. One of the biggest change was adoption of the use of movable work platforms powered and manual.
    Within a few years the motorized man lift in all its forms replaced the use of erected scaffolding on heavy construction.
    Overall safety was improved. Workers routinely don harnesses hook up to safety lines and incorporate all manner of fall hazard protection. A lot of the changes carry over to diy work of home owners. Things like tying off and properly stabilizing adders. Checking for overhead and tipping potential falling stuff. Just keeping situational awareness.
    Common Sense.
    In your present task. Tying off ladders, using cable or strap com alongs for lifting and placing cross pieces, “C” clamps, pilot holes before finished size drills, environmental safe drill compounds none are real expensive aids.😁

    The Utility power buy from the contract was $64.00 per Megawatt. Hour.In a Utube video the developer made he said the actual power level at the moment was about 600kw. thats where my calcs were based. His water source has some variances but stays pretty constant year round. After the poor guy got the power plant up and running he passed away in 2015 or2016.☹️
    These type of hydro projects are probably the last of the backfill type available in my region. Any added wind or large scale solar will be pretty insignificant compared to the hydro rich river system although the powerful left sides of Washington and Oregon would like to see all the dams removed from all the rivers in the west,

    I have wondered about your ground water situation in your region. Your rain fall looks pretty good in comparison to our 4 to 6 inch yearly average. The snow runoff from Canada and our cascade mountain range are all that makes life possible at modern levels here.

    The lack of plateau area in your mountain range limiting rain fall charging the aquifers makes sense. In our area the most prominent geological feature is an anticline of 3600 feet elevation named Rattlesnake Ridge. It was formed by underground forces pushing up forcing layers of solidified basalt flows laid previously upwards over time rising to the present elevation. The northeast facing surface is a steep slope. The opposite (southwest slope is less steep and presents a plateau like nature. There are several small springs on that side.
    I don’t have any knowledge of springs on the steep northeast face. In the lower northeast area there was some natural gas drilling that found some small commercial quantities of gas but didn’t prove to be sufficient for continuing the effort.

    Did you mention that farm ponds and such tend to attract dangerous snakes in your area? Properly designed and built ponds helped farm in many places of US.

    Chapter 3 of JHKs new book is pretty interesting. On the farming side of things.

  72. Hi Damo,

    That’s a NO vote from you. I make no moral judgements about anyone’s votes and respect their perspective on this most important of matters. It is actually a part of the larger scheme to distract folks here.

    Hey, you know how I was telling you about my mate who moved back to NZ? His wife was still back here sorting out their affairs, but has now wisely decided to grab a flight next week whilst she still can.

    Glad to hear that the road trips (and cough-ey in row 8 flights) have now been cancelled. Best to err on the side of caution in these times, but keep sharp. I must say though that social credits have improved in value over the past week or so. A wise investment and better than indexed managed funds. From a longer term perspective, social credits have always stomped the daylights out of monetary exchanges, but few consider that story. Mate, I have had some really lovely emails and conversations over the past few days.

    Well, yes indeed there are. Back in the day commercial freighters used to take on board the occasional passenger or two. It wasn’t luxurious accommodations, but it generally got you to where you needed to be. 😉

    Of course, things have shifted for better or worse. You and Mrs Damo, my friend are surfers on the next wave. Keep your eyes open and alert for possibilities, and far out, recall that cash is king in these times – all else is Bupkis.

    There have been developments on the flour front down here and I have drawn deeply on social capital and the obligation was acknowledged. Need I remind you that social capital is of a more permanent investment than this fluffy paper stuff? Recall the mines my friend, recall the mines. You know what you have to do.



  73. Hi Pam,

    That’s a YES vote from you. I make no moral judgements about anyone’s votes and respect their perspective on this most important of matters. It is actually a part of the larger scheme to distract folks here.

    The two girls look up to Ollie, and he loves them to bits. There are times when the two girls are completely out of control and they are both hanging off his muzzle by their very sharp and pointy teeth, and Ollie just gets this long suffering – but also strangely enjoying the interaction – look. There are other times when they are playing with Ollie and he puts their heads in his giant maw, with the unmistakable inference that he could rip their heads off if he so chose. Except he doesn’t so choose, and they climb all over him like fleas. He has found himself in poochie heaven with those two girls, and they run rings around him. And people shy away from him because he is so scary looking. Go figure that one out.

    Too good. I like your strategy with the loyalty cards. Over the years I’ve paid at the store with credit card, and so will take my bank statement with me the next time I go there. It shows regular purchasing. I’m coming around to the perspective that the longer term social credit system stacks up pretty well in these trying times. I have received the loveliest contacts in the past few days, and I work at forging those bonds, because they mean something.

    The Art of War might have much to disclose upon the current circumstances. I have heard of this someday business! 😉 Hehe!

    What a lovely day you have had. Like you I have also been going about my normal business. Continued work on the new-old solar panel frame today. Oh, it is such a huge job, but other people have told me that opportunity turns up wearing overalls and looking like hard work. What sort of plants did you get in to your garden?



  74. Hi Inge,

    That’s a NO vote from you. I make no moral judgements about anyone’s votes and respect their perspective on this most important of matters. It is actually a part of the larger scheme to distract folks here.

    Oh my! Inge, you are like super bad with that comment, but so spot on the money. Hehe! Thanks for laughs. One could indeed look no further than: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/mar/01/keith-richards-apologises-mick-jagger-vasectomy. Those two would be very entertaining guests at table. 🙂

    It is not a bad idea to get some honey.



  75. Hi Lewis,

    That’s a NO vote from you. I make no moral judgements about anyone’s votes and respect their perspective on this most important of matters. It is actually a part of the larger scheme to distract folks here.

    There is a tally going here, and you would be especially pleased to know that the results are recorded on paper. No fancy and rather mysterious phone apps to confound the public. Mind you, that paper objective doesn’t seem that difficult.

    Ollie is not amused by your suggestion! He is of noble birth and breeding whilst his lineage is impeccable. Hey, I’ve heard it said that dogs are the best people. 😉

    Glad to hear that you are not spewing pea soup, as that would be unpleasant for the rest of us, and we’d be left figuring out whether we’d have to take your head or smoosh in a silver laced (the coinage has been long since debased) cross near to your heart? Of course the cross would have to have a very sharp and pointy bit and that might look a bit odd to the casual observer. 🙂 Yes, a cynic might suggest that your personal experiences suggest that you have indeed done the Grand Tour. Hehe! Bad Chris…

    Nope, no information at all is to be found on growing wheat around here. Back in the day this area of the mountain range was planted out to strawberries and potatoes (indicative of good soils). North of the range (not all that far) was planted out to wheat. Anyway, there would have been vast fields planted to wheat around these parts, otherwise why all of the water powered (and one wind powered) mills? It is a mystery, but there they are. You know, I’m suspecting that there may be a shift back to rural land. I overheard a chance conversation this morning at the local general store where somebody mentioned that the local real estate agents have been inundated with inquiries.

    Your description as to how to learn the process of gardening nailed it – and it is a rule of thumb that I follow. I’m coming around to the awful feeling that not many people know.

    Easier said than done, it was the editor who was on the phone and the person on the other end of the line refused to be on speaker phone. The editor looked at me and said: I don’t how to use this phone, you sort it. Hmm, tensions were high due to the prevailing circumstances and the inanity of that particular change. One interesting thing has arisen out of this id change is that folks overseas are not going to be able to pass themselves off as citizens very easily. Interesting huh?

    Who can forget the magic of supply side Reaganomics? I was only a youngster at the time, but it made little sense to me. Despite my own personal misgivings, most people seem rather excited at the prospect of the old economic rules being thrown out. Wasn’t Alaric I eventually invited in the gates of Rome by the despairing citizens so that he could sort things out and return things back to normal (whatever that was)?

    If the original Varrus and Britannicus met, how come the sons did not know of the other? I’m sure all will be explained before the 100 pages is over. I actually really enjoyed Mr Whyte’s fast paced style because I’d really be hard pressed to pin point any page that didn’t need to be there. The alternative is a bit like: “and then not much happened for a bit” few pages which might extend on to several chapters before you began questioning why you were reading. 🙂 Do you chuck the book down in that sad case, or even worse accidentally drop it in the kitchen sink? The dilemma would be neatly solved by that unconscious, but somehow deliberate act, don’t you reckon?

    It is rarely minor offences that the NZ folks get deported for, and they are welcome to their fates. At one point a year or two back, folks from that island country compromised the largest contingent of folks awaiting deportation. They made it too easy to become easy targets. Too bad, so sad for them.

    Sorry to hear that you received such difficult news, and it is sad when things have run their natural course. It is funny you mention that though, as I was going to write about that story tomorrow, but include the bigger virus picture. Dunno, what do you do at such times? It has always stumped me and left me looking like the worst-off side of the story. When I was a young bloke I always took the initiative, but then I woke up and realised that if responses are known in advance, then you can be easily played by others – and most times their motivations do not reflect well upon them. A very hard lesson to learn. How are you doing anyway?

    Sometimes you can be right, but then by doing so you are wrong. It happens.

    Capturing Ollie’s epic stench of yesterday is perhaps not a task that I wish to bend my mind towards. But oh yeah, I recall the methane gas digester in the British TV show The Good Life. As a kid I thought to myself, what a good idea.

    Lucky you! Your safety is assured now that you have nabbed the correct number of rolls. To be candid, we’re under ten rolls now and I feel a bit edgy…

    So, to avoid such feelings I got stuck into the new-old solar panel project. It is epic that project, and after another days work, the rails have been installed and all that need be done is mount the 16 panels and then spend another day wiring them up. Hope I don’t run out of wire… Ook!

    Your math and your logic is sound, and I salute your canny mind. Top work! Never thought of that myself but saw a cabbage for sale at $5 the other day. 🙂 I tell ya, over the past few days, all the efforts I’ve put into social credits have been paying dividends. Just a few hours ago, I got the loveliest email from a business I’d supported for many long years that despite being swamped said that they’d do me a solid in recognition of the long relationship. It is fascinating this unexpected and completely unlooked for turn of events.

    Good stuff that the food boxes arrived and that other hands were on deck to distribute the goodies. Pork with juices reminds me of that time I was in Laos when I read on the menu: Rice with meat. What exactly did it mean? Some mysteries you just have to carry around with you, but there was no way I wanted to find out the answer to that one – I’d seen the markets. Was it any good?

    Dragon treasure!!! Far out, are you entirely certain that the manufacturers had not discovered an ancient and previously untapped source of Dragon scats? Surprise tattoos sounds a lot like grooming to me. The Jesuits used to say something or other about indoctrinating early.

    4 pounds of cane sugar sounds like heaven to me. The shelves have been bare of late of this most basic of stuffs, and you may approve, but our booze making has come to a sudden halt. I may have go back to mead, or experiment with sugar beet syrup if this continues for a few more months.

    Lucky you for another box!



  76. Hi laire,

    That’s a YES vote from you. I make no moral judgements about anyone’s votes and respect their perspective on this most important of matters. It is actually a part of the larger scheme to distract folks here.

    I’m astounded at the sudden change and note that it provides all manner of sudden new possibilities for society. Dunno about your part of the world, but down here lots of people have suddenly found themselves without work. As I have previously noted, the bills do not stop rolling on in. Earlier today I read that in your country at least, car repayments are being suspended for a few months. However, I doubt, but could not discern from the article as to whether the interest was not accumulating behind the repayment holiday. At a guess I reckon the interest would keep accumulating, and that is how it has been financed.

    Similar measures are being put in place down here too.

    Crime will probably drop, and then rise once the money runs out for individuals. The authorities know that is the case.

    Hehe! It is funny when someone calls you old! Oh yeah, I hear you about that. I randomly came across some review of the blog a long time ago and the person said something: “He’s this old guy just doing the best he can”, and it was all very genuine and stuff, but it sure gave me a belly laugh. I tell ya, when I was a late teenager, folks in their thirties appeared to be old to me and my friends! Ah, social filters are wonderful things that take years for the young to develop.

    And you’ll get a laugh out of this. A few years ago I called another business on behalf of a client and the lady on the other end of the phone complained bitterly about this young man haranguing her. Despite the uncalled for complaint, she was lovely to have said that ‘young’ bit!

    And yup, people are reaching on out. Social capital is back in fashion. 🙂

    Thank you for your concern. On a serious note, the broader economic damage is pretty widespread, but we may be adjusting to new and lower energy and resources at a guess.



  77. Chris:

    Ollie is blushing.

    Our peas, spinach, mustard greens, and radishes are up. Potatoes and asparagus are planted, and lettuce seeds. Mostly I am planting flower seeds here, there, and everywhere.


  78. @ Inge:

    That is a good point that you make about maturity being a factor in bestowing the honor of a knighthood.


  79. Hi Chris,
    It’s a yes for me. Extraordinary times mean extraordinary measures. Those pups will learn much from him. Who knew that rabbit caused gas.

    My trip to Chicago is off. My daughter had a brief contact with a person who had a contact with someone else with the virus so she said she wanted to play it safe. We start “shelter in place” here in Illinois at 5 PM today as well. Not a whole lot different from what many have been doing but wonder how it’ll be enforced. Many non essential business that may still have been open will no longer be. My BIL can still do take out and delivery from his restaurant. I hear that his pizza take out place is doing a bang up business so maybe that’ll make up for the dining establishment.


  80. @DJ

    “I’m staying away from his comments this week, however as there’s a tone there from many people that is irritating me. There is no way to make accurate conclusions and predictions about this until we have more data.”

    I’m glad you said this. In fact as much as I respect him I feel JMG has been a bit sanguine about this situation. Back during Ebola he thought that it would be a game changer. Considering Ebola doesn’t spread as easily as Covid 19 I’m not sure why he’s as optimistic as he is. There wasn’t the economic impact then as we’re seeing now. But that being said I’ve been surprised before how TPTB have managed to keep this house of cards standing.


  81. @Pam
    Thanks. It’s funny, Marty is quite unflappable in serious situations. It’s the little things that get him in a tizzy.

    My daughter’s family has set up a schedule of homework/work time, virtual visits with friends (especially the twins) and two daily walks. It seems to be working well so far.


  82. @ DJ – When I was in our Safeway, early in the am, the other day, their ice cream situation was fine. Canned beans, dry dog food, frozen veg, and, of course TP, not so much. So charter that bus … 🙂

    I’ve been passing around the tail of the Walmart Toilet Paper thief. Names and identifying details, changed, of course. Although if the name of the perp is know, THAT should be splashed all over the place. Lew

  83. Yo, Chris – Re: Ollie’s incipient knight-dom ( judging by the way the wind blows). Think of how hard King Arthur’s knights had to work, to attain that status. Years of training and valor in battle. It’s kind of like when I see a very buff guy. I know how many hours in the gym that took, and how much sweat was spilled. Oh, I’ve never questioned Ollie’s noble lineage. No bar sinister on his chevron. 🙂 .

    Yup. Seen a lot. But I’m sure not everything. I shudder to think what I’ve missed.

    Do you have ag schools, there? They might have some information, or, maybe even someone interested in, or working on the growing of old varieties of wheat.

    Trickle down economics. Give a lot of rich people even more money, and they’ll spread it around. Like manure. That worked out well, didn’t it? Those who yearn for the “prospect of old economic rules being thrown out” don’t seem to realize that there will be a lot of “collateral damage”, and somehow think magically, that it will not touch them. Same with the lot that yearn for the total collapse of Western Civilization. Somehow or another, they’ll come through ok. “Let’s reduce the world’s population by 6 billion (just not me).” People like that are best ignored, as, they are fools.

    Oh, remembering back to book one, Varrus and Brittanicus go their separate ways. Varrus stays in Colchester (which is known by two other names, depending on who your talking to), smithing away, and Brittanicus is sent here and there, on business for the Empire. Their sons “meet cute” in the sands of North Africa, and, we’re off! What I’m finding interesting about this book is that there’s plenty of signs that things are unraveling. Infrastructure. At least outside the big cities. out in the hinterlands, trade is slowing, as the roads are not as well patrolled. The old mansios are either run down, or abandoned.

    What do I do if I run into a book that is “not much happened for a bit?” Well, if it’s been interesting to that point, I just skip a few chapters until the pace picks up, again. Otherwise, I throw it back and pick up something else. It’s kind of like the production companies not putting out some series on DVD. I can live without them. Plenty of other things to watch.

    Well, from the point of view of age and experience, when life hands you …poo, it’s ok to roll around in the blues for a few days, and then get up and get on with it. Also, as I found out, circa 1990, after about two weeks, your friends don’t want to hear about it anymore. More recently, I’ve finally got to a place where I don’t ruminate and chew over the past, over and over. Now, a good “Oh, gosh, think about something more pleasant,” usually works. Takes practice.

    Pretty soon, if not already, your solar project will be visible from space! 🙂

    Well, I quietly put it about that if anyone gets caught short for toilet paper, I’m good for a roll or two. Hmm. Well, I’d decided to pass along the “pork with juices”, as, I don’t eat much meat if I can help it. Interestingly, I mentioned it to Liz, and she said she’d like it. Told her I hadn’t decided, yet. Then Eleanor mentioned she’d like it. So, I’ll slip it to her on the sly. At least she offered a trade. Thinking of what both women said, it seems like they both had previous experience with this pork stuff. And, it was at hard times in their lives, and it was a … high point. A bit of joy in bleak times. Interesting.

    I threw the Dragon pud on the swap table, and it disappeared in a short amount of time. I wonder if it’s made from dragon’s milk. Dragon milker. Now there’s an occupation that is probably fraught with hazards. The afternoon box had a surprise. Not everyone got them, but there was an over gallon bag of white mushrooms! At first I was thinking of making up a big pot of mushroom soup, and freezing it, but, from experience, it can be grainy. Talking to one other person here who does a lot of cooking, the way to go seems to be, don’t wash them, but wipe them off, slice, freeze on trays and put into bags. So, that’s the way I’m going.

    I try not to whinge on about the administrative pettiness, around here. Who wants to here that? Even before the virus. But, all the stuff off the swap table disappeared, and I found out that our building manager had swept through (unexpected on a Saturday) and seized the stuff, and swept it off to who knows where. Not unexpected, but I’m still a bit gob smacked.

    Well, I find I’ve got 5+ four pound sacks of cane sugar. (Note to self … bake more.) LOL. Oh, lighten up. I thought I’d made it clear that I don’t give a fig about other people’s consumption of alcohol, or, the brewing of such. I find it interesting, and who knows, if we lapse back into more of a barter system, I may be brewing stuff up in the kitchen. But some other lucky person will have to test it. Just to see if they go blind 🙂 Lew

  84. Hi DJ, Al, Pam, and everyone really,

    Please be patient with me, and I will respond to your comments tomorrow. Things are far from normal – whatever that is anyway! 🙂

    The state of Victoria is in lock down. There are worse places to be stuck than here at the farm. Victoria moves to shut down non-essential services, end school term early amid coronavirus pandemic.

    As a general note to everyone, John Michael Greer writes about what he likes, and you know I can handle a difference of opinion. Someone once mentioned to me that true community is learning how to live with the bad person down the road. There are some of them up here, but fortunately not many. Thank Gawd!

    In point of fact, Mr Greer has stated in the past on numerous occasions that he’d be surprised if everyone agreed with him all of the time. How funny would it be to do that with him though? No doubts it would make him worry for our collective sanity. 🙂 But wouldn’t it be funny all the same! Hehe! Bad Chris. One of the good things about him as an author, druid and futurist, is that he makes predictions publicly and then compares his predictions down the track against reality. Not many folks have the courage to do such a thing, and I suspect it keeps him sharp. It is sort of like honing a tool. If you’re troubled about his earlier Ebola prediction (and the swine population across the globe has been decimated by the disease, not that anyone is talking about it), then simply ask him about it.

    And from my discussions with him over the past dozen years I know full well that at one point in his life he worked in an oldies home and got to see how such respiratory diseases play out. It is an ugly business for sure, and I too have seen my share of human death in my time. It is not nice at all, and I feel that people are fearing for their own mortality, and fair enough too. But the thing is, as awful as it seems, if we pass on, the world simply goes on about its business. What do you do? Acceptance my friends, acceptance. 🙂



  85. Hi Lewis,

    Mate I have to keep it short and sweet this evening. We worked late until almost sun down on the new-old solar power upgrade project. I had this strange feeling that if extra cables were required, I could get them tomorrow. Alas, tomorrow looks like we are all in home prison. From a really big picture perspective, an observer might suggest that we have been very naughty indeed to suffer this fate. There are worse places though to be than stuck than on the farm here without paid work. I might get down into the forest and begin cleaning up for the summer. Burn off restrictions have been eased tonight. Yay!

    Ollie is not offended in the least. He is more of a gentleman than most gentile folks that I have met over the years. I’ve met and been introduced to a genuine Lord you know. So, the early tally is in and it looks like Ollie isn’t going to secure the support he needs. So, in this instance I’m thinking that he be granted the title ‘Esquire’ which in the UK used to refer to: “a title of respect accorded to men of higher social rank, particularly members of the landed gentry above the rank of gentleman and below the rank of knight.” A ceremony shall be cooked up, and possibly beef jerky will be involved. Ollie Esquire has a nice ring to it, and he has plenty of time to catch more rabbits. Hope nobody is freaked out by the Ollie and half eaten rabbit photo! Hehe! Living in the country… 🙂

    Haven’t we all seen a lot? You can add pandemic to the list, but from all accounts it doesn’t appear to be as lethal as the 1919 Spanish influenza. Wow. That one was seriously ugly but nowhere near the plague, and I’ve read a few accounts of the times, but people moved on despite the death toll of 50 million (more than WWI casualties).

    One step ahead my friend. 😉 I already have some organic wheat seeds and will plant them out over the next week or so when the rain looks forecast to return. Unfortunately a local bakery put together a two day discussion on rare varieties of wheat last year and I completely missed it, but managed to see some of the varieties grown in the raised garden beds. I noticed the fabled Federation variety was grown front and centre, and could only feel envy at seeing such genetic prowess. However, they were in a hurry and planted spring wheat, and wheat down here is best planted in autumn so that it over winters. But still the plants looked really good.

    Trickle down economics is a bunch of dead dingoes kidneys. It doesn’t work because people hoard monetary units thinking that is wealth. Money needs to flow for things to be better. Smaug just sat on the hoard like a proper Dragon and nothing came of it other than war among the humans and dwarves.

    A suitably wise strategy with books, and other writing sources (better get a wriggle on with writing myself!)

    There was a beautiful sentence in Mr Kunstler’s latest book which was something along the lines of: “Perseverance in the face of adversity”. So true, but rarely seen and it speaks to what you were writing about getting off the couch and kicking the stuffing out of life.

    No doubt, Gaagle sneak images will make only too clear the new-old solar panel array. Mate, that job is bigger than Ben Hur. There are times that I feel that I am only just ahead of the tsunami wave that is pushing me onwards to higher ground. If I hadn’t started it all those weeks ago, it would be impossible to do today.

    Yes, over the next week contact will be made with all of the locals that I know. Your toilet paper idea is a goodie. It is funny you mention the ‘a bit of joy in a bleak time’ thing…

    We consume a lot of mushrooms and sometimes bake them in the oven with mixed herbs from the garden and bread crumbs from bread we bake. You should try that, it is beyond good. Washing mushrooms is not for us, we just scrape the chunks off and that is that. I’m told by reliable sources that many people peel the skin off the mushroom – so very wrong, they know not what they do.

    Feel free to whinge away about petty administrative processes, you have the social credits on the board and can freely indulge your whims. Although, on the other hand we may ignore such comments!!! Lucky you with the cane sugar. We’re torn about whether to turn the frozen blackberry harvest into jam or convert other harvested products into wine. Such are the conundrums of short supplies. 🙂 We’ll get over it though!



  86. Chris:

    I have been trying, since Mr. Toothy left us, to find time to make a very special muffin to raise in his honor. Yesterday I did. They are my Mr. Jackson’s Tough Mush Muffins.


    Mr. Jackson – a very naughty Shetland Sheepdog/Jack Russell
    Tough – makes you as tough as a very naughty Jack Russell

    Mush – But you still are the sweetest thing on earth

    This recipe has 21 ingredients and is a doozy to make up, but Mr. J loved them. Mr. Toothy’s name has been added to it.


  87. Hello again
    I wish everyone well and hope to get in again next week. My broadband keeps dropping out and mucking up these communication attempts . Television is cutting out as well. Collapse?


  88. Yo, Chris – A couple of things before I forget (’cause I’m old and addlepated), how are your friends The Guys in the Big Shed? Hunkered down?

    Second, I saw a very interesting essay by a historian on the “Mother Jones” website. Fall of Rome and us. Mother Jones is an old leftie magazine, that’s been around since the hippy dippy days. They’ve won several awards for investigative journalism. It’s not their motto, but it should be, “discomforting the comfortable.”


    So, I take it Australia is in lockdown? If it’s anything like here, “lockdown” has more holes than Swiss cheese. Lockdown makes it sounds like they’re doing something … but enforcement is another thing.

    Esquire had a nice ring to it. I’m in favor of that. Ollie can add Esq. to his paw print. With a flourish!

    Not to be a Debbie Downer, but the 1918 flu came in three waves. The second wave being the most lethal.

    Federation Wheat has a nice ring to it. Long may it wave. In a breeze. But not too much of a breeze. Amber waves of, etc..

    Of late, you seem fixated on dead Dingoes kidneys. Taste like chicken?

    But how big is Ben Hur? Bigger than a bread box, but smaller than an elephant? Cast of thousands?

    People who peel mushrooms should be avoided. It’s indicative of more serious underlying mental problems.

    I’d go with the blackberry wine. A comfort for all you normie folks in hard times. Or, you might be able to swap a bottle or two for something that your in need of. Haven’t you mentioned a few wild patches, well away from road spray? Nope, you won’t catch me singing “Lips that touch liquor (wine), will (shall) never touch mine.” Today’s ear worm? It’s an old Temperance tune from the 1870s. “Wine” and “shall” are used in some variations.

    No, I think today’s ear worm should be The Stone’s “Mother’s Little Helper.” Just for the refrain, “What a drag it is, getting old.” Lew

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