Heart’s a mess

Last week the tale was told of the intersection of a personal loan, a personal computer, and the editor. The editor stuck around, the loan from the bank was paid out, and the personal computer had a really fascinating journey. I learned a lot about the nature of some folks during the computers journey, so I guess the pain was worth it.

Accounting was good, but a career in computers would have been the financially wiser move. As a kid, my wealthy grandfather gave me a Commodore 64 personal computer for a birthday present. Best present ever!

The games on the Commodore 64 personal computer were amazing. I could spend days battling out monsters in vast dungeons in the Ultima world of games. Or head out into the depths of space in the game Elite, of course I did that in my ever upgraded spaceship battling pirates and aliens. Yeah, days and days went by and I was absorbed by the activity of the computer.

I still hung out with my friends, worked various jobs and kept on top of my homework. But the computer called to me in the off hours and it took more and more time. After a while I began to get into the real guts of the computer, and even sold my stamp collection – thus proving what a massive dork I was (stamps and computers). The funds from the sale of the stamp collection were used to purchase a book on machine language programming for the computer, and I read it back to back several times.

Word got around school that I knew a thing or two about coding, and so I’d swap code which I’d written with some of the other kids that were normally outside my social circle, but were also into computers. They never really accepted me into those social circles, and that was cool, because I had a computer.

In those days there used to be businesses that were wall to wall arcade games, and as a young bloke you’d head in there, battle aliens and monsters and without noticing it, you’d spend your hard earned mad cash. And such places sure did eat my hard earned mad cash, because after a while, I didn’t have any mad cash left. Hanging out with mates was complicated because they did have mad cash, although their parents were often the source. As a comparison, I had to hustle, and was up in the pre-dawn hours getting paid jobs delivering newspapers before school. But all the mad cash disappeared.

It was a bit of a problem really, and so I eventually sold the computer through a classified advertisement, and never stepped foot in an arcade amusement business again. It did wonders for my stores of mad cash, but at the same time I had to let it all go and get more involved with friends, study and sports. It was not an easy choice to make.

So years later when I purchased the personal computer mentioned in last weeks blog, I did my utmost best to ignore it during breaks in between semesters at University. In those days I had plenty of friends who played computer games, and whilst I dabbled a bit, I never really wanted to indulge again. My friends could never understand my reluctance and there seemed no reason for me to explain it. One of them much later suggested to me that I should get with the times and join them in their multiplayer games. Yeah, nah. I lost a few friends out of not joining them on that journey.

But on one of those summer breaks, a very good mate asked if he could borrow the computer. I had no hesitation in handing over the computer, we’d been mates for years and years. It was no hardship at all, and so the computer that I was paying for headed over to my mates house. I didn’t give the machine a second thought and didn’t ask for anything in return – we were mates. That’s what mates did.

Although I worked full time, the summer holidays in between semesters were long. During that time, another mate was writing custom software for a hotel chain, when his computer suddenly packed it in without warning. He needed a bit of help quickly and he asked me if he could borrow my computer. I had no problems with that. I agreed to help him then and there.

However, there was one minor problem. My computer was residing at my other mates house, and he bizarrely refused to give the computer back until I was due to go back to University. To say that I was dumbstruck by the response was an understatement of the depths of my feelings. Clearly I was naive because I had not even asked for anything in return for the loan of the computer. It was a true unexpected dog act.

Anyway, I explained the pressing need to get the computer back, but he did not budge. Then he thought he could deflect my attention away from his extraordinary greed via the dialectic technique known as a furphy. A furphy is the technical description for an erroneous or improbable story that is claimed to be factual. And so he began arguing that we had some sort of contract in place, and I was a bad person for trying to bring it to an end early. Indeed.

I despaired at my friends response, and it was one of the final few nails in the proverbial coffin of our friendship. My other mate (who desperately needed a computer for his business) even contacted him (we were all part of a larger group of friends) pleading with him, but no.

I eventually got the computer back, but ever since those days I am wary of loaning anything to anybody. And our friendship was very luke warm after the incident. However, I had the last laugh because the editor was also a friend of this person, and it was through him that we met. I call that winning!

The editor is a mysterious person who for her own obscure reasons desires to have a very tiny interweb footprint. She can’t be found, although there was that one time when a friend mucked around with some security settings, but that is another story. Here she is:

I always think of the editor when I see this cartoon image

No, just kidding, that isn’t an image of the editor, but I do think of her every time I spot the image. The editor after all is no slouch and knows how to wield a chainsaw, wedges and a log splitter. So she is pretty handy out in the forest and around the farm. The label is from a local brew-pub that was shut down in these crazy days of the great re-localisation. I decided to support the brew-pub by purchasing a six pack of their most excellent brews. For the moment they are still also selling their famous gourmet pies – but for how long that can continue is an open question.

As a postscript to the above computer story, the last time the editor and I encountered my computer hoarding mate was at a wedding reception of another friend. At such places meals are brought out without concern for the attendees preferences. The wedding reception was in the early days of winter, and I’m guessing the business was clearing out the refrigerators of old stock as they headed into the low season. Anyway, whatever the reason, the fish was stale. It wasn’t off, it had just been frozen for far too long and tasted a bit unpleasant.

I scored the fish meal, and I noted that my mates wife also scored the fish meal. As a mostly vegetarian, when away from the farm I eat whatever and don’t make a fuss about things. However I draw the line at stale fish – it was not good. The editor concurred with me that the meal was not good, and I shared her meal of roast lamb, which was quite good. My computer hoarding friend however refused to share his meal with his wife, and she went hungry. Hmm.

Earlier in the week we secured the eight second hand solar panels onto the upper rails of the steel structure that had been under construction over the past month.

The upper eight solar panels were lifted into position and secured

You don’t realise how high the steel structure is until you’re hanging onto a heavy solar panel and lifting it whilst perched at the higher end of a ladder. The ladder only slipped once, and that was an exciting feeling!

The six solar panels on the left hand side have been wired up

Wiring up is not yet complete. However, six of the sixteen solar panels are now connected to the batteries. Another three or four hours work should see the job completed.

Speaking of dog acts, the new sheep dog pups received their collars a few days ago. To make it is easier for us to identify which near identical pup is which, the collars have different colours. Ruby has a pink collar, and Plum has the blue collar. And both pups were depressed.

Ruby and Plum despair at their new collars and seek solace in Scritchy

Scritchy the elderly miniature fox terrier is without doubt the least warm canine personality that I’ve known. But, yeah, for the two pups to seek solace from her is indicative of the deep feelings they had upon receiving their collars. Scritchy on the other hand was annoyed by their presence.

The following day, all was forgotten and the two pups were enjoying life on the farm again. And they caught and ate a parrot.

With a possible lock down impending I rushed around fertilising all of the garden beds. The raised potato beds scored a good feed of quality compost.

The round raised potato beds scored a good feed of quality compost. Blue collar = Plum

The old corn enclosure was stripped of plants other than the kiwi berry vines and a single large broccoli plant. The corn stalks were chipped up and applied to the rows, and good load of compost was also added to the rows. The intention is to move all of the raspberry plants into this enclosure soon, and it will then become a dedicated raspberry enclosure.

The old corn enclosure is being converted into a dedicated raspberry enclosure

The winter vegetables have been germinating over the past week or so. This week we planted out the remaining winter vegetable seeds only moments before a heavy rain storm drenched us.

Broad beans have begun to germinate and grow in the early autumn weather
A few peas have germinated in the past few days

The blackberry harvest is finishing up for the season. There are still a lot of berries on the plants, but I’m not really sure that the farm will enjoy enough sun and warmth for the berries to ripen.

These blackberries may not ripen

Earlier in the season we stored blackberries in the freezer. Last week blackberry wine was made, and this week we made the very tasty blackberry jam.

Blackberry jam! Just the thing for a cold, cloudy and damp winters day – on hot freshly baked bread of course!

Persimmons are beginning to slowly ripen as the leaves begin to turn towards the colder times.

Persimmons are slowly ripening

I discovered a nest of European wasps. I hate those insects.

We discovered a nest of European wasps

Onto the flowers:

Geraniums with a Japanese maple in the background
More Geraniums
The beautiful flowers of a Broccoli
The roses are going from strength to strength
Delicate Gernaiums enjoy the heat stored in this huge rock
The Hydrangeas have produced flowers for months

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 287.6mm (11.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 281.6mm (11.1 inches).

99 thoughts on “Heart’s a mess”

  1. @ Pam,

    The way I took Chris’s comment about the rez was that a lot of other areas are going to start looking like the rez as the long descent continues. I’ve seen it happening in different locations in Spokane since the big reset of 2008-2009 as many yards and some houses have been allowed to, well, decay. Infrastructure is getting increasingly more difficult to keep in repair. Things like that. Take a look at what the residences and buildings look like in, say “Thunderheart” from 1992 and we’ll begin seeing things like that everywhere. Displays of wealth in that type of setting are not good.


  2. @ Lew,

    “Cranky old person ” is a title they’re yet to give me at work, but I fear that I might fit in anyway at old duffers’ hour. 🙂


  3. Chris,

    Those new-old panels look good. I bet you’ll be happy when they’re wired and you’re done climbing around up there.

    I got my friend’s Commodore 64 when he upgraded. Then I gave it to yet another friend when I upgraded. I still miss it.

    I’ve had some friends like the Computer Hog Who Won’t Share with His Wife. They’re no longer my friends. I’ve never figured out why they act like that, nor how they have friends, much less spouses.

    I envy you the flowers. My heather has been blooming for over 5 weeks, but everything else is on slowdown. We had a skiff of snow during the week. Temperatures aren’t cold, but spring is on its own schedule. Enjoy the flowers and thanks for posting their pictures!

    Dogs are funny. It looks like Ruby so badly wanted to be with Scritchy that she can barely stay on that chair. I’ve seen other dogs do that, and they’ll keep sliding off, climbing on, sliding off, and then the Big Dogfight starts, and then I have to enter the fray bellowing to get their attention, and my voice is so loud that when I bellow the ground shakes and buildings shiver and the neighbors think that a 4.5 Richter scale earthquake hit. So I began early intervention when dogs would try to be in unsustainable positions and BEFORE they were asleep. Gotta let sleeping dogs lie, mate, as they got lots of pointy bits everywhere!

    Our shopping malls are closed. Well, other than restaurants with take out and “essential” shops, all of which need to have entries from the outside and not from within the mall. I have no idea what’s going on with rents and such. I like your term relocalization, as that may very well be what happens as a result of this.

    Oh, the Princess ignores me when I’m on a ladder or on the roof. She just tells me to be careful before I start the project, with the admonition not to try to fly. Although, I’ve had the idea for decades that if I fell and were to get distracted at just the right moment, I’d forget to hit the ground and then I would be flying. But I haven’t tried that, as failure might hurt a lot.

    Exactly with the neighbor kid. I’ve said all that can be said and now it’s an SEP – theirs – if they choose not to figure out how to properly interact with her.

    Yes, Ents and restraint. Good ideas, but sometimes not so easy to recognize that those are needed. As you said, keeping one’s guard up all the time is exhausting. I’m finding it easier to sort out my end of these things and come up with what might work better since I’m working from home and don’t have to go into the workplace.

    Good on the pups! Ollie catches rabbits, pups catch birds. Cheyenne the Finnish Spitz caught a lot of birds. She was sly and could even snatch them out of the air as they flew past her.


  4. Hi Al,

    Hehe! Lock down blues indeed. A bit of quiet time is a thing of excellence. 🙂 Is this cabin fever? You’re lucky you are not here, I’d put you to work!!! Hehe!

    Before the current virus stuff, you should have heard the customers at the local cafe with all their coughing, sniffles and sneezing. If the virus gets up here, it will cut a swath through polite society at the more fashionable end of the mountain range due to the age related risk factors. Yeah, so your respirator is not a bad idea at all. And down here social distancing appears to be the policy that is being followed. Plenty of businesses that are open now have signs saying exactly how many people can be in the shop at any one time. If it works, then… Your long standing BFF is onto something with the advice.

    They’re doing local oldies hours down here at the supermarket, and after the recent raid by city folks, there are bouncers on each door. One of whom I believe is the owner. I get where Kris is at, and you may notice the seriousness that is fixing the coffee machine when it occasionally breaks. It is funny how you get to know machines and their quirks by fixing them when they go wrong. I’ve replaced enough parts in the machine by now that it is questionable whether it can still be called the original machine that it once was. 😉 Shovels are like that too!

    Yup, I know of MeanWell and they make great power supplies. Who can argue with ripple free regulated power supplies? They apparently have this weird policy of not delivering to post office boxes (which may no longer be the case) and it caused me a major headache last time I got a 24V to 12V DC to DC converter, because the postal service does not deliver to the street address here. Oh well…



  5. Hi Claire,

    You are in such a lovely time of year. The garden is full of potential and I do hope you get to enjoy some apricots – as they are my favourite stone fruit. The other day I picked a huge sun ripened Golden Queen Peach and the flavour was beyond good. For your interest I’m still finishing off plums, but soon I’ll have to begin opening the bottled apricots and plums. The trees are turning here. Daffodils are really lovely plants and they give year after year without the least care on our parts. Bird song is really nice to wake up to in the morning as they sing in the promise of a new day. Also glad to read that the frogs are chorusing. I accidentally disturbed a pobblebonk frog yesterday which had dug itself into a pile of soil that shouldn’t have been where it was. The rabbits had dug a burrow and kicked out a whole lot of soil onto a path – and the frog had taken advantage of the easy to dig in soil. I relocated the frog to an easy patch of protected ground. And the dogs may have eaten the rabbit. The parrots have been feasting on the dogs business. Thus the great cycle goes around and around.

    Good stuff with the lawn mower. Timing is everything and I tell ya, there are times that I feel that I am only just keeping up with things. Of course it may be that I’m doing far more than I used to do, and that is a possibility? Spoke to the local farm machine repair folks and they said if they’re shut down, they’ll do pick up and drop off of equipment, so it is not all bleak. People are adapting to the new circumstances.

    As a comparison, no stores in this area provide that service of the chicks. A few years ago a feed store used to, but now no longer thus why I go to the poultry sales and auctions. Have you ever had a rooster? The other day a neighbour who also has chickens mentioned that they likewise did not have a rooster. So much to do! It’s not just the eggs, it is also the conversion of plant material into concentrated manure which is valuable. Mind you, I’m still bringing in trailer loads of organic matter. Make hay whilst the sun shines and all that.

    Hey, you have inspired me. On the garden terraces I’ve gone all science like and documented what is growing where. Just before the rain pelted down, we even got a few rows of organic bread wheat in. It will be interesting to watch how all the new crops are growing. A few peas have germinated in the past few days.

    Ain’t nothing wrong with a bit of woo-woo techniques as the extreme other side of that continuum is not doing so great these days! I have no doubts about the veracity of moon planting. Plus it gives structure to the growing season.

    Does anyone have time for two blogs? 🙂



  6. Hi Inge,

    Just had a chance to read about gas restrictions. Turns out that the ban is intended to impact upon new homes and by some future date which may have been 2025, so you should be fine.

    You know I’ve watched enough Grand Designs UK to observe materials such as concrete being poorly used. I mean how many of your new houses get a concrete slab, and then because you are at 50+ degrees latitude north, they then have to install some sort of in slab water heating mechanism? It’s bonkers because the concrete slab is in contact with the ground, and regardless of insulation and all other considerations to the side, who could ever afford to heat the ground at such a northerly latitude?

    The ground here over the depths of winter gets pretty cold, and it is only 37.5′ south… I can’t even begin to imagine what you experience.

    I built this house to be insulated from the elements – as much as that was humanly possible. Historically houses were not that warm over the depths of winter.



  7. Hi Pam,

    Some folks are pretty smart and they can seize opportunities even in the darkest of hours. 🙂

    You know, historically 90% of people have lived a subsistence lifestyle, and by all accounts it wasn’t that hard, so if ever our fossil fuel supply declines then that is what we are going to see. How could it be otherwise is a question that has seemed obvious to me?

    During the Great Depression, the swag-men hit the road in search of a meal and a place to rest their bones in exchange for a few hours farm work. Not a bad arrangement, however most people stuck to what they knew, and that was the city.

    Hehe! Once I was the master, now you are the master of the hippy techniques. I bow to your greater experience, and also your more practical nature. How foolish am I, I took them literally? 🙂 Whatever will the neighbours think? I blush to think! Hehe!



  8. Hi Lewis,

    Didn’t do much at all around the farm today other than a bit of cooking for the week. Now in a farm kitchen this is a bigger task than what would one would suspect. Two loaves of bread. One pizza base. A batch of Anzac biscuits. Five days supply of muesli. A weeks supply of dog food and biscuits. Far out, no wonder I felt run off my feet. Plus there was a lot of running around for clients. My income has taken a serious body blow and the viral economic forces have me up against the rails and I’m taking body blow after body blow. For a while there I was reeling from the blows. But like Sailor Steve Costigan (hopefully a touch brighter though, although this is an open question!) I’ll come back swinging left and right – and offer a meaty settlement discount and a whole bunch of free work. That should soothe some shattered nerves and return some cash. Sailor Steve had plenty of reserves as well as the fightenest of dogs.

    Speaking of the fightenest of dogs, Ollie and I went to meet a bloke scoping out the neighbourhood. Claimed he was from the power company and was going to cut the trees away from the lines over the next day or so. Told him to give me some warning otherwise they might meet the fightenest of dogs. Ollie is a bit scary looking, and the animals here have to also work for their living. I used the bees once to do that particular job, and they were most effective. Who would have thought that people were scared of bees?

    Thanks for the tip about the basil seeds, and yeah that accords with what I’ve been reading about seed starting. Heat mats and lights might be the way to go, but I’m still scratching my head wondering about what the old timers used to do. It is possible that they never ate or grew exotic plants like basil?

    Good stuff. Hey did you have to purchase the inoculant separately? A very wise idea as who knows how the seeds were treated and whether they were a bit too clean? And also whether the critters are even present in your soil? Dunno, I use the natural yeasts that are on the skin of the seeds to clean them before storing them. And sometimes the sun does a sometimes too thorough job of cleaning seeds. For years one of the main strategies behind the soil build up is that it carries a full spectrum of who knows what? Of course there are downsides to that strategy, but there are upsides too and ya can’t grow plants in a dead medium.

    Talk about synchronicity! Several peas have germinated over the past 24 hours. It may well be that I’ve been planting them at the entirely wrong end of the season… Oops! Did any of your peas survive the indignities inflicted upon them by the proposed garden changes and/or winter weather?

    Fluffies… Sometimes when the fluffies here don’t trust me for whatever reason, I get down low and make myself less imposing. It is possible that they are concerned about something that you are not aware of which causes HRH to be a bit distressed?

    Agreed, Tina Turner is an exemplar and sets a high standard which none of us mere mortals can possibly achieve.

    Ooo! The signal language is a great idea. Actually from what I’ve read of your countries history, people began moving back to the land as the Great Depression dragged on. The thinking was put thus: At least farming families could feed themselves. Of course it was not lost on me that such knowledge was hard gained, and also possibly why so many folks stuck to the city despite the deprivations and misery.


    I’m going to have investigate how my coffee ground arrangement is holding up in these dark virus concerned times. The fruit trees still need to be fed regardless of peoples concerns. Who knows?



  9. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, I had plans to finish the wiring today, but then life intruded and the job has been pushed back to Wednesday afternoon. But to say that things are a bit fluid right now is a serious understatement.

    Hehe! Those machines were amazing computers and you could really get into the guts of the machines – if you were so inclined. I’ll tell ya a funny story, computers nowadays are not that much more advanced, they’re just biggerer and fasterer. But under the hood, it ain’t that much different. But here is the thing, most coders don’t know what is under the hood, and the operating systems are complicated enough folks don’t have to deal with addressing particular memory or hardware devices. But it is still all there hiding in plain sight. 🙂

    Such a great observation. Why would people get involved with such people? I mean as a mate he was OK, but to have dealings with him like my computer loan, I got to see a really ugly side to his personality. And I can’t say that I like what I saw. And then once you see that side, how do you un-see it? Like you, they’re no longer friends as that behaviour is below my minimum standards of acceptability.

    I do hope that you don’t enjoy the weird spring that visited here last year. It was very strangely cold, but then in December (your June) a switch flipped and it went crazy hot for about eight to ten weeks – and then got cold again. Bonkers and the shortest growing season that I can recall. I was reading today about flint corn in Vermont and yeah, not a bad idea that variety due to its short growing season requirements.

    Hehe! Yeah, that was pretty much how it was with Ruby – just hangin’ in there. Scritchy is fortunately 19 years old and has to put up with the pups, although she goes the hack from time to time. Sometimes dogs need boundaries, and if you don’t provide them, they’ll never know and keep pushing!

    Thanks about the term, and yes, that was exactly what I meant about the rez. Coming to a town near you!

    Hey, I gotta bounce will continue tomorrow. 🙂



  10. Hello Chris
    I enjoyed the ‘editor’ cartoon. Was too old to be part of the computor game scene, but was involved with playing the board game diplomacy. I still regard it as one of the best board games ever.
    Trust in friends: I have been both done down and helped. It does seem to be an intrinsic trait in a person whether they deal straight or not. I will still help friends who have proven trustworthy and note that they are the ones who will help me.
    I knew that it was new properties re the gas boilers but had understood that those whose boilers broke down irretrievably would not be able to replace them. It doesn’t affect me as mains gas doesn’t reach this rural fastness.
    The countries asparagus harvest is about to go to waste as there is no-one to pick it. In the past, the pickers came over from Europe. The Island has a large asparagus harvest. I told Son that it should be picked by all those teenagers who are out of school. He said ‘You can’t do that’ I replied that ‘I could!’ He reckoned that they wouldn’t do it and I replied that they wouldn’t get fed then. (They can’t all be anorexic). I can think of other inducements not to be published.
    Question: Is it bad or good that I am not the country’s dictator?
    Son brought me down a large sack of manure and spinach seeds which I needed.


  11. & again
    Oh goodness! I have just realised that the game Diplomacy was a disaster for trust. I order to get anywhere with it one had to acquire allies; but finally in order to win, one had to ditch them.


  12. @ Pam – I just discovered my “The Old Farmer’s Almanac Gardening” (calendar) (You have to be careful to get the right one. There are imitators out there with very similar names) has a “Planting by the Moon’s Phrase” chart, in the back. A lot clearer than what’s in the yearly book. There’s a map breaking up the US into regions, and then a chart for most vegetable crops, and the best times to plant … taking into consideration frost dates.

    Or, you can just rule of thumb it. Annual flowers and veg that produces, above ground, from dark of moon, to full moon. Bulbs and other perennial flowers and veg that produce below ground, from full moon, to dark of moon.

    There will not be a test. I can never remember and always have to look it up. 🙂 Lew

  13. Yo, Chris – Amanda, the vet, who I visit at the Club, lives just down the hill from me. She gave me a call last week, so I thought I’d check in. Well, she’s a gamer. Sometimes, at the Club, it’s hard to carry on a conversation, as she’s deep in a game. When I called, she said she couldn’t talk. She was deep in a group game, that couldn’t be paused. LOL. There was an abrupt end, to our conversation. She’s lucky I cut her a lot of slack. She’s just as quirky and eccentric as I am, so, valued.

    Your a wise man to not delve too deeply into The Editor’s obscure reasons for being an internet ghost. We all have quirks and foibles, and sometimes there’s no reasoning involved at all, and it all boils down to “feelings.” Or, “Because I want to” (full stop.) One of the great gifts of living alone, is that I don’t have to explain my quirks or foibles, to anyone. If I had to wade through the reasoning (if there is any) as to why I do things, as I do them, I’d be hitting the road, pretty quick.

    Well, the computer hog is just what was called, in gentler times, a shite.

    Yup, I’m sure that solar array can be seen from space. Exciting feeling? Did you have to change your shorts? Don’t get to enamored with that tingly feeling. Next thing you know, you’ll be out hang gliding, bungie jumping and sky diving. It’s a slippery slope. 🙂 .

    Plum has a blue collar? Don’t you worry she’ll have some issues with gender confusion? Need years of intensive psycho therapy? Maybe hormonal treatments? It’s another slippery slope. 🙂 .

    I’m envious of your winter vegetables. More things than we can grow around here, without a lot of effort and expense. The blackberry jam looks really pretty. Hits the high points of two of the senses. Sight and taste. Those roses are really knock outs. Are they heavily scented?

    Lucky you discovered the wasps, before they discovered you. Cont.

  14. Cont. That is a lot of time, in the kitchen. I feel put upon if I have to restock the rice and oatmeal, on the same day. 🙂 Plus regular meals. The Banana Bread Saga, continues. I looked a quit a few recipes but none of them seemed “right.” To me. The “Sunset Bread Book” came closest. But then I thought (always dangerous) that I was quit happy with the banana bread muffins, and began wondering if … Well, yes, you can use muffin dough to make a loaf. You just have to cook it at a lower temp, and longer. But then I started agonizing over, baking soda, or baking powder. The recipes I had looked at seemed to favor the powder. But, I used soda in my muffins. Reset the question and take a deeper dive. There seems to be two waring camps. But then I ran across a recipe that calls for 1/2 tsp., of each. Quandary solved. Also found a good, short video of how to fold parchment paper, to fit a loaf pan.

    I’ve noticed people are beginning to speak of “before (the pandemic) and after (the pandemic.)” Speech is mirroring the meme that it’s a real turning point. Interesting what you said about how you’re coping with viral economic forces. I’m reading a book right now, where the subject is navigating the same forces. In a way. It’s one of those books I picked up at a sale, somewhere, and now I’m finally getting around to it. “The Girl with the Gallery: Edith Gregor Halpert and the Making of the Modern Art Market,” (Pollock, 2006). She was “just a poor immigrant girl from Odessa,” who came to the US in 1906. By 1926 she had an art gallery, in Greenwich Village. She championed modern American painters, at a time when it was generally thought that American art couldn’t hold a candle, to Europe. She was also bucking supposed women’s roles and opportunities, at that time. I’m getting into the part right now, where she’s trying to keep her gallery going, through the Depression. Some of her tactics seem similar to those you mentioned.

    So, the supposed bloke from the power company? Did he wear a uniform? Produce ID? A card? You might give the power company a call. And, if they’ve never heard of him, give a ring around to the police. Might be a crim, looking for soft targets.

    Hmmm. Did they grow basil in Ye Olden Days? Don’t know. Might have been introduced by Italian immigrants? And probably stayed within that community, until people got a bit more adventuresome in their eating.

    I tore down the Alaskan peas, when they started talking about the garden changes. All that was before. I probably could have let them run longer. Ditto the deer fence and t-posts. Now I have to put them back up, again, as it sounds like we’re ok for this year. Maybe.

    Oh, HRH isn’t shy of me. When she plays her new little game, her tail wags and she just wriggles with anticipation of my chagrin. But I have been thinking about what’s different. When we met, downstairs, she’s spend a bit of time, in my lap. So, now, I’ve been putting her in my lap, when I talk to Eleanor in the evening. The set up is different, so I had to put a bit of thought into it. Once I pry her out of the apartment, I give her a good long cuddle, and carry her a ways, down the hall. Which she likes. I’m hoping her enjoyment of those things will overcome her joy at my exasperation. Which leads us to today’s ear worm.

    Back in the late 50’s and early 60’s dance crazes would sweep the country, usually attached to some one hit wonder. If you didn’t know the most current dance craze, you just weren’t “hip and with it.” After school teen dance programs, on the TV kept you on top of things. Like the film, “Hairspray.” Which you probably didn’t see, as it is, a musical. :-). There was “The Twist”, of course. “The Madison,” “The Pony” (and, the infamous ‘dirty’ Pony), “The Stroll”. And, that one week wonder, “Walking the Dog.”


    I did find that article you linked to, from “other sources.” (Ya gotta know a guy….”). Yup. Pretty much was the same, during the Great Depression. It also reminded me that just a few years ago, when the International Monetary Fund (I think) gutted Greece and Italy, there were several articles about how the young folks were returning to their hill villages, to take up the plow and pruning hook, again. Hmmm. Wonder how much crawling, they had to do? “Mr. Big Shot! Run off to the city, and now he’s home with his tail between his legs!”

    One of the Ladies, came sidling up to my door, last night, waving money and searching for toilet paper. She was nonplussed, when I told her to put her money away, and that I only took trades. She asked what. I said, “Gold, diamonds, guns … or canned goods.” As she has a pretty limited diet, due to health problems, there was a bit of jostling around. I’m getting either frozen peas or corn.

    Last night, I went out to pick some parsley, around mid-night. Don’t ask why. It’s complicated :-). When I went out, I thought, “Gee, feels kind of warm.” Then the rain started bucketing down, and before I could get back inside, the wind began to howl. Looking at the National Weather Services’s stats from our local weather station, it was all over by 5am. But we had wind gust up to 30 mph, and well over an inch of rain. Lew

  15. Hi Chris,

    Ruby looks bigger than Scritchy now. Salve likes she squeeze in with Leo often even though she has her own bed. He has that long suffering look.

    Good to support local business though I’m sure it would taste much better dining in. I returned from my daughter’s yesterday where we supported a local Thai restaurant but sadly I forgot my leftovers. I think I mentioned that I haven’t driven on the expressway to Chicago in years so this was a perfect time to get my confidence back. There was hardly any traffic either way though on Sunday there were high winds blowing the car around. Well I’ll be back tomorrow as it’s time for the family Zoom meeting.


  16. Hi Chris
    It would be an honor to work on your projects😊

    Haven’t seen too many obvious sick people in public . It may be peer pressure from the rest of us. We can only hope!

    We had a call from a friend about our welfare.We told him we were in good shape. For food and protective equipment. Plus close to HEPA Type filtration on our HVAC. System
    He said things were good locally but that are predicted to be deteriorating soon. Also that if we watched the stats for case numbers and deaths for Los Angeles Ca. Our area was on the same trend curves but lagging them by 14 Days (In proportion). Apparently those in the business have a lot of communication on this issue.
    Also said that the local case load is having wide age distribution.
    He said wearing the respirator was a good idea for shopping because there will probably be a rapid tipping point in the case load at some point. Good to know.

    The finished solar array is impressive. Did the project have to be permitted ? With professionally engineered plans? Just curious.? Around here I’m pretty sure they would inspect, critique, oh and charge healthy fee. 😊before you could use it.

    Interesting that you mentioned a the coffee maker repairs.
    Since April last year I have personally repaired a electric range . An electric clothes dryer, paid a repair for an electric dishwasher. Those three were 5 years old. AlsoPaid $6 K for replacement of of outdoor compressor / condenser unit. So far the coffee maker is a winner. Manuals and parts for my repairs were available and reasonable. Me. I just used. some of the ever diminishing brain cells😁

    The blackberry preserves . Yummy! we are hopping for a good plum crop for jelly this summer

    The computer thief guy would been permanently unfriended from my life.
    I stopped loaning stuff out side of immediate family some time ago.

    Hang in there

  17. Hi DJ (cont),

    Well last evening was interrupted for the first of many future Monday film nights. We’re pushing to get the winter crops in and fertilised, plus have responded to a lot of distress over the past fortnight – for free too. It is fascinating to observe firsthand who is coping and who isn’t, and interestingly other accountants that can lose work to us appear to have dropped the ball. I read somewhere long ago that everyone thinks they’re genius investors in a bull market. So true! We’re of the mindset that the distress will soon die down and we’ll enter a strange new state of normality. Whatever that is? Not sure really, but mate we’ve had to work hard to keep up with things of late. Watched the Dead don’t die film, which is a zombie film with Bill Murray. It was OK, but the entire film was done in a dead pan ironic style which really doesn’t float my boat, but as entertainment it was fine.

    The large retail shops are closing here too, whilst some of them are being persuaded to stay open. Where I worked today (lock down is not yet that tight) I heard pleas on the radio for customers to be mindful of maintaining personal space between staff and customers at some retailers. I went to one of the big hardware stores on the way home tonight and the place was jumping. Well down here, if the shopping mall is closed the tenants may be able to get out of paying rent, but so far the landlords are resisting that option. Stores are closing regardless and it is but a matter of time before change steps in. Interestingly about a year or two back the family that owned a lot of these malls, sold out to a bunch of Europeans. Yeah, my gut feeling is that the family may purchase back at cents on the dollar, but I’m just guessing.

    Yes, I’m sure ailing skydivers have attempted the jump-before-you-hit-the-ground manoeuvre, but not sure it works out so well. You can try I guess, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Occasionally such sky diving folks come unstuck, and it is a messy end. I knew a guy a couple of decades back that broke both legs during a tandem dive.

    It is very possible that the folks may have aspects of the young girls personality in themselves and they can’t acknowledge the daughter before first dealing with themselves. Life sure is complicated. I am definitely going to pinch your term SEP (but perhaps with an explanation as to the acronym). 🙂

    It probably works better for you as working from home you have more time to cogitate upon any dilemma chucked at your doorstep? I need time to consider new situations too, but sometimes I just go with my gut feeling and act. Those responses are a bit more base responses though and sometimes time for consideration yields more measured responses and consideration of the consequences.

    Go Cheyenne the Finnish Spitz! She has set the standard that the fluffies can reach with a bit more work.



  18. Hi Inge,

    Thank you, the cartoon is a goodie, and the editor is really quite the accomplished farm gal, although other folks may not recognise her practical nature. But that story may also relate to your asparagus horror story, well that is how it reads to me anyway. I am truly gobsmacked by such a story of waste and lost opportunity. Inge, I am shamed for them and it may be (like I suspect of the people down here) they’re just not hungry enough – yet. It may well get there if there is any interruption to the energy supplies. Historically, it is unprecedented that such a small portion of the population works towards feeding the rest of the population. All other considerations aside, that situation is untenable.

    Your son is wrong in his assertion, and also few would like the medicine that you and I would issue.

    As to an explanation, a good Professor Tolkien quote always resonated with me, and it may resonate with you too: “Instead of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen, not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Tempestuous as the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair!” Not sure folks would appreciate such a ruler and it might come with a huge body count. Does that answer your question?

    It is interesting to me too that folks who have proven themselves trustworthy can be relied upon. Mr Kunstler wrote about that today, and it is part of the larger social contract that people currently studiously avoid remembering.

    Your son would be blessed with a ready supply of manure, and way back in the day before chemical fertilisers, such stuff was cherished.

    Hey, I hear you, we’re down now in the economic sense of that meaning, but I’m still out there helping others that need it. The times call for such measures and as they used to say: Sorts the men out from the boys, or the women out from the girls.



  19. Hi Margaret,

    You have a perceptive eye, as both Ruby and Plum are larger than Scritchy now, although at 19 years of age she dominates those two. Plum however is challenging Scritchy for top dog position – and most certainly the role is almost hers. Strangely enough Ollie does not want the role.

    Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen though! 😉 Far out I visited the cafe down in the big smoke that I know and they were pleased to see me and I took away their coffee grounds (filled the back of the car!) and was heavy enough to lift the front a bit… Anyway, in these times if you have cash to chuck at them, do so.

    The waste problem is not lost on me either. Somehow we seemed to have pushed that to one side in our concern over the dreaded virus. To support them I had to use a take away disposable coffee cup. The plastic lined cardboard is a disaster…

    I pinched the title for this week’s blog from a song, it seemed like a good metaphor for our society: Missy Higgins covers Gotye ‘Hearts A Mess’ for Like A Version

    Stay safe on the express way! And zoom is not too bad, although I used my phone and the other participants accidentally got a good look up my nose. Some things you cannot un-see and I only mention that gaffe on the off chance you accidentally repeat it. Hehe!



  20. Hi Al,

    Thanks mate, I really appreciate hearing that – and there is never a dull day around these parts. 🙂

    Oh well, people can carry the virus without showing symptoms, and that is where the trouble sets in. And yes, the case load is of a wide variety of ages, the mortality however appears restricted to a few groups. Hey, the 1919 flu took out the young and healthy as they had an over active immune response to that particular virus. Mate, life is an uncertain business and you never know when your lucky number turn up.

    Phhhh! Or some sound like that which expresses disdain for such matters. If it falls over, I’m going to have to deal with the consequences, and so yeah… Such red tape can be taken too far.

    Well done you with the repairs. Have you noticed that some devices are more easily repaired than others? There is something in that story… Unfortunately every day we have less of those brain cell things – what were you saying again? 😉

    Sometimes you get to peer into someone’s soul, and all you see is darkness. It happens and they have their journey, and we have ours and best they don’t cross. But also it is not a bad idea to recognise such when you encounter it.

    A cheeky old timer up here once told me: Don’t lend out your chainsaw or your wife, otherwise… Crude, but they have a point.



  21. Hi Lewis,

    You’re made of sterner stuff than I, because my mates played World of Warcraft for three years (and perhaps much more than that) and when I visited them during that time they did not stop playing. Possibly it is low tolerance for such things on my part, but after three years of that I decided to get some new friends. It was a painful wrench of a time. What do you?

    Thanks, discretion and all that seemed like the way to go in relation to the editor. She has her own reasons and it is not for me to question them. Decided not to take my surname either, but such things are not even on my radar as I consider them to be small change stuff. And yes, you hit the nail on the head, my tolerance for her quirks pays off in her tolerance for my quirks and somewhere in all that mess we find some middle ground. Good enough for me.

    Well, a lot of people have fixed ideas in their head as to how things should roll. They never quite getting around to wondering how those stories got into their heads, but you know all the same it happens. And then they try to make the world around them fit their fixed stories, and it never ends well.

    Incidentally, yes, yes, you warned me. So last night I watched The Dead Don’t Die. You may recall the zombie film with Bill Murray that you warned me about. Anyway, despite your warnings, I still watched the film and I’m not sure that the dead pan delivery of lines (or self awareness of being in a film) elicited any great feelings or investments towards the characters. When the zombies got them all, I just sort of went: Well that is how things go during such times. It was an entertaining film, but I really got far more out of Zombieland.

    Yeah, that pretty much sums up my feelings about the computer hoarding ex-mate. You might have mentioned a week or two back that such grifters rarely enjoy any great advantage for all the wreckage they leave behind them. Dunno, and I’d be curious about your thoughts in the matter, but sometimes I feel that they have a very short term perspective and fail to play the longer game? I’m assuming that they always walked among us?

    Hehe! Well, as you would well know, every single freakin’ year we’ve had to do something to the solar power system just to keep it ticking along. I really do wonder about the mental state of folks who suggest that we can scale this stuff up to a size where it powers industrial civilisation? I should force them to live here for a year and get some real world experience. That’d mess with them. It is a true worry that belief system and they’re all too happy to express it.

    Plum has to deal with the colour of her collar, as does Ruby. They may be naughty, but I’ve never heard them suggest that they’re non-binary whatever that means. I saw the label on a tax form today…

    Well winter vegetable stuff doesn’t really grow here over winter, it is more in a state of hibernation where it doesn’t die. The main benefit is that it gets off to an early start when the weather warms up again in spring. Take the wheat, I could sow it in spring and it would produce a crop, but as far as I understand the story, the plants produce better if they over winter. Not sure how things are done down here on that score, but I’ll try the old school methods first.

    Many of the roses were selected for their scents. They’re really good and sometimes when I’m up there I actually do stop and sniff the roses. We’re hoping to get some rose hips sooner or later as back in the day they were reputedly widely used for flavouring. Turkish delight is about the only place you see them used these days.

    Chemical insecticides are rarely used here, however today I poisoned that European wasp nest. Not a fan of them, and nothing around here eats them, so they proliferate. Usually I’m pretty safe from colonies of the wasps and the cold winters kill them, but this was a particularly active colony.

    Who knew that there even was a baking soda versus a baking powder? I don’t actually use either in the kitchen as I don’t really enjoy the taste they impart in the baked goodies. However, having just said that, the editor bakes a pretty tidy banana loaf and so she probably uses the stuff! Proving I know not what I speak of. Anyway best that such distinctions are tidily avoided as you appear to have done. Hey, the most important question of all is: How did the loaf turn out?

    Well, there is a whole bunch of disease carnage as well as some serious economic carnage. And yeah, things are a bit surreal down here. I went into the big smoke to do some work (and take some work away) and it was like a scene out of Zombieland. Very quiet, and here’s me obliviously wandering around wondering where all the people are. I only noticed young folks on the streets again. Picked up the coffee grounds too and some hardware when I was in the city. It galls my soul that I had to stoop to a take away coffee cup. Everyone seems to have forgotten the waste story, and the energy story, and the mass movement of people story, and the economic story. It amazes me that whilst people are focused on the virus – and fair enough too, it seems pretty nasty – they’ve forgotten all of the other stories going on. And somehow we are now a cashless society. How did we get to here?

    Yup, in hard times such strategies just work. The times as I wrote before are sorting the men out from the boys and the women out from the girls. Does this mean we’ll get back to a time when men were real men, and women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri? I believe so. Inge’s story about the asparagus harvest in her area really troubled me.

    Actually I spotted the power company this morning trimming vegetation from around the power lines so the guy was probably legit. It was good practice for my country drawl – city folks don’t much like that intonation. Dunno why?

    Bed time… Snooze…

    Oh and the authorities have put a ban on gun and ammunition sales.



  22. Hi Chris,
    My late sister, Mary, also kept a very small online presence. I’ve now heard that Zoom is providing data for facial recognition – no surprise there. The daily meetings are very therapeutic for some family members; my aunt alone in her condo in Chicago who is very at risk, my sister also in a Chicago condo and my oldest daughter who suffers with severe anxiety. I feel somewhat obligated to attend most days. I did talk alone with my daughter though and she shared that she had never suffered anxiety like she has early on but is doing better. The conversations can be pretty silly sometimes and there are now themes for each day, funny hat day, stuffed animal day and today is old family photo day. You may not be aware of the dreaded turkey neck that some of us older ladies suffer from and I’ll tell you the video on Zoom does not help one look better. Subsequently there’s much discussion how to place whatever device one is using to make one look better. I have yet to see up anyone’s nose though.

    The latest guidelines prohibit bringing your own bags to the store which we always do.

    The bees arrive on Friday and I’m about ready to plant peas and greens.


  23. @Lew
    I’d like to proudly report that I’ve won many a twist contest back in the day.


  24. Yo, Chris – So did anyone get a screen shot, of the inside of your nose? Boogers, boogers … 🙂 .

    Well, like the view from inside your nose, “The Dead Don’t Die” … some things once seen, can’t be unseen.

    Like the poor, the grifters are always with us. Hmmm. “Never a borrower nor a lender be.” Ben Franklin?

    Would you really want a solar experiencer, underfoot for a year?

    I forgot to mention, you advised getting down to HRH’s level. Already do that. I reach in the door and grab her leash (like “Thing”, on the Addams Family) and am either on my knees or hunkered down. But, I’m trying out the cuddle and carry a bit, and more lap time, in the evening. See if that helps.

    Usually, older or wild varieties of roses, yield the largest, most colorful rose hips.

    I’m with you. The only chemical spray, I’ve used in years, was for wasps. Everything else was traps, of one kind or another.

    I realized, yesterday, that my yearly AA birthday, had completely slipped my mind. That’s a first. Suppose I should make something ghastly, to eat. I’m thinking, maybe, pigs in a blanket. I could use pancake dough, or, hold out for the stuff in the cans from the store. To really do it up right. The banana loaf is on hold, as, the two bananas I was going to use headed too far south. While I was fiddle faddeling around with the recipe. Not to worry. Plenty of other bananas that are spotting up.

    I think I’m going to have to postpone, planting the peas. The way it’s been raining, they might rot in the ground. Known to happen. And, we’re getting a cold snap, out of Canada, the end of the week. Might even see some snow!

    Cashless society. Disaster capitalism at work. Take the idea and push it, using the virus as an excuse. I don’t think it will catch on in this county, for quit awhile. Given the general conservative atmosphere.

    With all the immigrant hoop-la, the last couple of years, farm workers were hard to come by, for some crops. Some farmers threw open their fields, to anyone who wanted to U-pick. At a very low, or no cost price. There were few takers.

    Some States have tried to ban gun and ammo stores as “not essential.” Given we’re all gun nuts, here, there’s been a lot of push back.

    I had a fantasy that the Royal Family will be wiped out by the virus. Debrett’s Peerage and the College of Heralds will be beating the brush, trying to trace an heir. It will be discovered that Inge is the rightful Queen. Well, there’s well maintained royal digs, close to hand. And, she could always rebuild the Roman villa as a summer palace. Her flag could be emblazoned with the chicken headed man, from the mosaic.

    Actually, quit a few years ago there was a John Goodman film (“King Ralph” ??) that explored just such a story. I remember it was quit funny, if you have a sense of humor, about the Royals.

    Well, Scott and I were supposed to get together at the Club, this morning. Sit on the bench out front, with appropriate social distancing in place and gab for awhile. He called me from the Wally World parking lot, and said he had to cancel, as he had the sniffles and a head ache. I do think my friends in Idaho, and Scott go out, way to much. But, I haven’t said anything. Heck, I think I go out way too much. Lew

  25. Chris,

    I, too, bought a book on getting into the meat of the Commodore 64. That was fun. Then I had an IBM PS2 on a job, well, I shared it with another guy. He said he knew DOS well. So I played around in DOS and drove him nuts. He didn’t know it so well, apparently, and totally flipped out every time I changed the initial command prompt to “C:\Dont Panic>”.

    In addition to the newer computers mostly being biggerer and fasterer, they’re also further steps removed from the underlying machine languages for some of us. I can still access DOS, but it has been so long that I doubt that I can do anything other than break my computer if I mess around in it.

    Alas, twas another day of snow mixed with rain, with maybe a cm or so of snow expected Tuesday night. I’ve forecasted that we would be warm and dry, but this is acting like a weird spring, similar to the type you had. I’ve seen this happen after the weird, warmish type of winter we had. In other words, a long transition from winter, 3 or 4 weeks of spring, a transition of 4 to 6 weeks, then who knows what for summer.

    From reading over Lew’s shoulder…Whenever my dogs were out of sorts, I’d get on the floor or on the ground with them. That ALWAYS helped, and has also helped with neighbors’ dogs. Good move on your part doing that.

    Everyone is a genius in a bull market, and a rising tide lifts all boats. When I’ve needed an electrician at my house, and at my parents’ when they were alive, a mom and pop firm was highly recommended. All they do is the junk work that nobody likes. Why? As they explained to me, as 3rd generation in the business and the sons joining in, fixes and repairs and dirty retrofitting are necessary even in cruddy economies. If they make their reputation on it in good economic times, they’ll get the business via word of mouth in sour times, too. It takes some savvy to make it.

    Falling but forgetting to hit the ground and thus flying is a concept I got from “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish”. It worked for Arthur Dent, but there’s no way I’ll try it!

    Oh, and SEP -Somebody Else’s Problem – came from “Life, the Universe and Everything”. It went something like this:
    Ford Prefect: “Don’t look now! There’s an SEP over there!”
    Arthur: “A what?”
    Ford: “SEP – Somebody Else’s Problem”
    Arthur: “Where?”
    Ford: “Over there. Don’t look!”
    Arthur (looking): “Ahhhhh there’s a giant spaceship with ugly aliens!”
    Ford: “I told you not to look! Now it’s YOUR problem.”
    Humorous, yes, but there’s a lot of truth to that.

    Yes, I’m having the time to cogitate on things and why my responses go awry into the reactive arena. And see what changes I can possibly make that might actually lessen the negative impact on myself. Extra time around the Princess occurs, which is an added bonus that I will NOT complain about!


  26. Hi Chris,

    That is a very nice solar array you have assembled, and surprisingly large, even compared to Ollie!

    Lock down is going well I suppose. There is a bit of work to do each day, usually go for a walk at some point and do some sort of baking every other day. On the weekend, it was apple+sultana crumble (served with whipped cream of course). I got the recipe from Delia Smith – and I must say, no recipe of hers has ever let me down! This one was simple, apple, sultana, ground clove and nutmeg (plus obligatory brown sugar, flour and oats). Yummo! Mrs Damo is now talking about making a chocolate cake – hopefully it doesn’t remain just talk 🙂

    An ideas guy sounds about right 🙂 I think King, or some other such writer, reflected that lack of ideas is never an issue – it is getting them down on paper into a coherent story that is the problem. Still, if you ever get desperate, let me know and I can always throw a few your way! Usual terms, percentage on gross sales etc.

    Show suggestion for anyone still reading: “Beforeigners”. On the surface a buddy cop show, but the twist is people from the past keep washing up all around the world and have to fit in. The refugee/integration angle is played pretty obviously, but the show is very funny at times (one of the cops used to be a viking shieldmaiden) and is also a nice insight into Sweden.


  27. Hello again
    April fool in local paper warning dog walkers by the river Yar to beware of platypus attacks. Hard to believe that anyone would fall for it but you never know.

    @ Lew
    Oh no!


  28. Hi Margaret,

    Do you have insights as to why your sister felt that way? The editor is just steadfastly private.

    Oh my! The two pups are making strange sounds in the other room – they’ve taken to pulling kindling out of the previously neat pile and then shredding the stuff everywhere. I’m fairly relaxed about it and once a day I just clean the stuff up and put it back in the to-burn pile. They’re actually making very fine kindling which starts easily. It is when the pups go quiet that I begin to wonder what is going on. 🙂 Better than the furniture.

    It’s as good a reason as I’ve heard about Zoam. Such a fantastic system cannot come cheap, and someone is footing the bill somewhere, so something is going on for sure.

    Anxiety is an odd state of mind as it infects other people around them. Do you ever feel that side of the story? And people are pretty adaptable. Actually, for your interest, the folks I know who are doing the best, are folks who are inherently financially conservative (in the old school meaning of that word) by their natures, or who have endured hard times in the past and are better mentally prepared to deal with the current circumstances. The current circumstances will cripple folks whom are over extended, and I suspect that investments will continue to rise and then suddenly free fall. That happened in the Great Depression you know, and people who bought back in eventually lost their shirts.

    I am too much of a gentleman to ever be so rude as to point out such a feature. There is nothing at all wrong with a bit of patina, it is part of life. Mind you I have long suspected that the ladies take photos from on high looking downwards for that very reason. You know, we all are as we are, and it is just nice to be alive. 🙂

    The rotters. Waste is piling up behind this current story, and I am not comfortable with the waste. We always take our own bags and containers to the market and supermarket (the fresh food market I might add is more super than the other one).

    Good stuff and I hope Doug enjoys his bees. Several peas have sprouted over the past few days, but the weather here is soon to turn to much colder with snow in the very highest parts of the state.



  29. Hi Lewis,

    You started it with all your talk of boogers. Everyone loves a booger or a fart joke. I give you: Revenge Of The Nerds – Booger meets Snotty. I apologise in advance, but as someone commented on the clip: “the reall (sic) burp does not come from the stomach, but from the soul.” Wise words. We all face the tough time when the young apprentice challenges our mastery, and then the apprentice becomes the master. What then does the master become I ask you? I don’t really know. Of course it is worth pointing out that Mordred does not survive the encounter regardless of his guise. Does this mean that he was not a worthy apprentice? Possibly.

    Hehe! Some films are keepers, and dunno about you, but I enjoy re-watching them from time to time. I might point out that The Dead Don’t Die does not fall into that category. Fight Club – yea! The Dead Don’t Die – nay! The aye’s have it! 🙂

    Thank you for the Shakespeare quote, and it is still applicable in these times. One must try not to live outside their earnings, and I can’t but shake the strong feeling that we are seeing the consequences of that option playing out all around us. Beware of accepting poisoned swords my friend. This week’s story was about that, and you might note that in those young days I attempted the option of not asking for anything other than friendship in return. My idealism crashed upon the rocky shores of reality. Ouch that hurt! But lesson learned and best to get such messiness out of the way when you’re young enough to recover without undue injury.

    What a question. No. A simple answer, but there is a term used to describe the sheer depth of feelings from having to deal with such a person underfoot for an entire year: Postal. That would sort the problem out. I was sort of hoping they’d experiment with solar energy somewhere else and I could just get on and do more important stuff that needed doing.

    Speaking of the solar, I managed to put a few hours into the new second hand large solar panel array (sounds like something you’d use to speak with aliens in a far distant solar system) and all of the wiring is now done. One or two hours more should finish the project. Yay!

    Thing was a maligned character in the Adam’s Family. Somebody needed to keep the household operating! Dogs can be mysterious for their own reasons, and believe it or not, Ruby is acting in a similar manner. Must be something in the water…

    European Wasps have an advantage in that they have no natural predators other than humans. I have no dramas with using chemicals as long as they are used sparingly. People can get a bit all or nothing, but you rarely have to poke hard with such folks to find hypocrisies. I’m no purist.

    Happy AA birthday to you! 🙂 Pigs in a blanket are more politely called down here by the less fancy name: Sausage roll. Very tasty. And what kind of crust is purchased in a can? Sounds intriguing. Puff pastry is generally sold in frozen flat sheets down here. You can make it yourself, but to my palate I can’t detect the difference, so it ain’t worth it. But a can, that is something else altogether.

    I get that dying back with seeds and seedlings too from time to time. And I am worrying a little bit about the forecast rain here: Rainy days ahead for southeastern Australia. The recent massive / epic fires which have been now largely forgotten by the population, although it is worth noting that the fires have put some serious particles into the atmosphere – particles attract clouds you see. Too much rain can be as much of a problem as too little rain. Oh well, what will be, will be que sera, sera. I do wonder whether anyone has considered the climate effects of halting releasing all that pollution into the atmosphere? Probably not.

    Good to hear, folks are right disturbed about accepting cash down here. I accidentally said a few weeks back when exchanging cash for goods: Oh. So that is how it is going to be. Not sure that was the right thing to say, but I was a bit taken aback.

    The return of populations to rural areas will happen, but who knows when? Do you have any thoughts on that matter? The current situation is not tenable. But when will it flip back is anyone’s guess.

    Gun purchases have to be applied for well in advance of the purchase, and a person first has to have a license and a secure gun locker to store the thing in. The license requires undertaking a course on firearm safety and then sitting a test. There are also police checks in place and they affect the providing of a license. It is a complicated system, but most people are pretty happy with it. And um, new purchases have been restricted. With the economic turmoil the authorities are possibly concerned about criminal and/or family violence acts – both of which the authorities have to deal to. I read the article as using the word ‘restricted’ rather than banned, but I could be wrong.

    Well, Inge would do us all proud in that role. Although as I observed, in the long run we might not like the outcome. The quote was a truly excellent insight from a bloke that endured the hard end of the blunt instrument that is war and geo-politics.

    I saw that film back in the day. Go John Goodman! 🙂 Need I mention The Big Lebowski?

    One of my neighbours has reputedly offered the observation that they have been in self-isolation for twelve years. Indeed!



  30. Hi DJ,

    The old Commodore 64 was a fun machine as it got a person into thinking about limits. OK, well who knew? People are still out there developing games and software for the machine. I’m most impressed: C64 Game Round Up – January 2020 (RGN Episode 133).

    DOS is still there underneath if you use Windows. Haha! What lies beneath. You can get to it with the CMD command. On the other hand it is very wise not to delete any necessary or unnecessary files whilst mucking around trying to recall what was it that was done back in the day?

    My brain hurts a bit tonight as I worked this morning and then finished up the wiring on the large solar new-old array. I keep coming back to thoughts of large scale radio telescopes. The thing sure is big enough! It was getting dark this evening and I wasn’t able to test the output of the array in Amps, but the sun might shine again sooner or later. However, it looks set to rain – heavily over the next few days. Oook!

    Mate, the freezing cold spring late last year flipped the switch at the beginning of December (your June) and wow, when it turned it really turned hot and dry. My one error last year was not using the water on the raspberries. I did them no favours by doing that, and as it turned out I had plenty of water to spare. The year before was much tighter on a water front.

    Dunno how a person discovers dog language, but it must be just sheer observation. Of course some folks are sound asleep at the wheel and never get the memo. They of course are not reading this blog… Hehe! Bad Chris.

    It is funny you mention the electrician, but I have followed that strategy (as you’ve noticed) for the past dozen years, and the times these past few weeks are really showing who are the Real furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, and who aren’t. Possibly they are some sort of slime-mould, but does anyone want to stop and check? I’m genuinely amazed that some folks have dropped the ball during this time. Between you and I, I am seriously wondering how all of the car loan / finance situations are playing out. You may have noted that I am not into flash cars, and that is because I stuck within my means – which are frankly not that large. Thus the dirt mouse Suzuki which is fully paid for. It does the job. But how other households are coping with car finance is a real interesting question that we may get to find out. The finance companies offering these things, package them up into bonds and then sell them off. I believe such things happened with mortgages in 2008, and may still be happening today. I read a cheeky quip once which said: Driving down the road to debt in an over-sized four wheel drive (SUV).

    Of course if you choose to look at such dark financial shenanigans then it may no longer be SEP – as you rightly suggest! Hehe! Ain’t there a bit of truth in that story about SEP? Oh yeah.

    I reckon you’ll appreciate a bit of distance and it might provide you with a lens with which to observe the situation. Over the years I have very occasionally fallen for the trap of feeling for SEP, when I’m not sure my feelings were that invested. It’s a problem, and usually resolved by a bit of distance.

    Did you note the lack of mid-week hiatus tonight? Hmm…



  31. Hi Inge,

    Watch out for the feral platypus! They have nasty little poison spikes on their elbows, I believe. Hehe.

    Funny stuff, and happy April Fools Day today to you. 🙂

    Do you know, I only know of one other person who mentioned this day to me a few weeks back.

    It is possible the population is suffering from a bout of the sulks with a dash of fear.

    How are things over in your land?

    A bit of exposure to sunlight, some fresh fruit and vegetables, and some physical activity is what I would recommend for them. They might not like that medicine though…

    Even now, folks around here don’t seem to be taking their winter vegetable gardens seriously – despite having the time with which to do so.



  32. Hi Damo,

    The Norwegians seem to do things their own way.

    Mate, Ollie is big as. But the new-old solar array is biggerer again. Funnily enough I finished the wiring on it this afternoon as the sun was nearing the horizon. And I was thinking to myself that it is strange the difference that a few weeks can make. If I’d started the job today, it is very possible I may not have been able to obtain all of the materials for it. It has been an epic job.

    Speaking of which, how are you doing over in NZ? It might not have been bad for you and Mrs Damo to head back over to Oz, but it really is hard to know. From hindsight I’m not sure you would have got back again to NZ. To quote Yogi Berra: The future ain’t what it used to be. Although between you and I, I have no idea what he is on about, but it sure sounds impressive.

    Got home from the big smoke at about 8pm last night and on the way back had to pick up office supplies and hardware. The Bunnings store experience was odd, but always enjoyable. On the way out, a guy behind me by about four metres did this loud cough for effect. My grandfather would have called him a very family unfriendly name, and I’d previously marked him out to be an idiot. But underneath his actions I see anger.

    And in the store I noticed a few folks who were like startled rabbits as they shied away from any other person.

    Strange days, but you are in a biggerer lock down than here.

    Hey, speaking of baking how did you go with the flour supply? Your apple and sultana crumble is a favourite of mine. Plus whipped cream. I am salivating thinking about such great fooding heights. And had pasta with vegetables for dinner. Is it the same as apple crumble? Maybe not.

    Damo, dare I ask whether Mrs Damo delivered upon the promised chocolate cake?

    Sure, I’ll let you know when I’ve run out of ideas for stuff to write about. 😉 Mustn’t put the kiss of death on myself though, as I actually might run out of ideas and become creatively bankrupt. But then I could just recycle an old idea – who’d notice? 🙂 You might note that I deliberately don’t have a search facility on the WordPress site! There is no need to make things simple for other people.

    Actually I should write about what I’m seeing about the place. That would be interesting, but maybe a bit of a bummer of a topic.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I watched the Dead Don’t Die the other night (I mention this in hushed tones because I was warned in advance but decided to forge ahead due to Bill Murrays involvement). It was OK, I’ve seen better zom-com’s and I didn’t actually feel that it was that funny. Candidly I struggled to understand what Tom Waites was saying, although it sounded important to the story-line. Overall, yeah I was warned.



  33. Hi, Chris!

    I have run into the problem that you had with your friend and his non-return of your computer, but it has been with books. So many books that I have lent have not come back. I put my name in them, too. Now, I have to know someone really well before I will consider lending a book to them and I usually try to find out if I can replace it, just in case. Most of my books are out-of-print.

    Thank you, editor, for being so generous has to letting Chris put your image up for us.

    Those solar panels are as high as a housetop. It is good that you have had so much experience climbing on the roof of your house.

    How did the puppies catch a parrot? Maybe it was deaf and blind? Poor Scritchy. All she wants to do is have a rest in her beanbag and here they are – already bigger than her – and bugging her. The back of her looks very affronted. I think Ollie is such a scary property protector as he is so big and spotty.

    How big are your European wasps? Ours are huge, and I no longer tolerate them since last year they killed half my lilac bush chewing on it to get house-building materials, and then they stung my son on the top of his head.

    That jam looks so delicious. And that is an especially beautiful rose.

    Now I see what you meant about ” The Rez”. I had it backwards in seeing many reservation people returning to the Rez from other places. You mean that that the outside world will begin to look more like the reservations.


  34. @ Margaret:

    I have stayed off of highways for years, too, but I am always afraid that whichever ancient vehicle I am driving will fall apart right in the middle of it.


  35. Hi Chris
    My cable delivered wire line, tv, internet system has been down on the internet portion for 24 h.
    We are using smart phone “hot spots” as internet . That is billed as added data after some level of plan included amount is exceeded.grr. Cable co. Robutt says their working on it!,🤬

    Chris Martensons’ peak prosperity site has some of his corona virus information videos out side the paywall for free viewing. For those interested!

    The “no delivery to post boxes “problem might be worked out with a trusted town base client friend with a street address. Just a thought!

    Stay safe !think happy!

  36. @ Damo – Beforeigners looks really interesting. Hope it makes it to DVD. Not much to offer up in trailers, today. They’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel. In the spirit of “Human Centipede” (which I didn’t see) and “Tusk” (Which I wish I hadn’t seen), we have …. “Butt Boy.” To paraphrase the “X-Files”, the trailers are out there. Heard about it because the pandemic is messing up the premier. Sad. Lew

  37. @ Inge – Your Majesty!!! 🙂 . (My aspiration is to become a Pandemic Profiteer.) Lew

  38. Yo, Chris – What does the Master, become? Worm food.

    Well, obviously, the new/old solar array receives. But does it send? You could try speaking to aliens in a far distant solar system. But, what would you say? “Is anybody home?” The new array is quit striking. And, it’s blue! 🙂 .

    Early days, yet, but the cuddle and carry might be having some effect on HRH. Time will tell.

    Crescent roll crust in a can. A pressurized can that you smack against a table edge, to get open. Usually found in the dairy case. It is a puff pastry.

    I think the return of population to rural areas is already happening. Much to the chagrin of some locals. Bringing their big city cooties, with them. Saw an article about something that happened in a little fishing village, in Maine. The town had put in an order, that anyone coming from outside should isolate for 14 days. Well, a bunch of folks rented a place, and, did not observe quarantine. So, “vigilantes” dropped a tree on the drive way, to prevent them going out. When they tried to remove the tree, guns were flourished.

    John Goodman has some pretty good movies. Two of my favorites (besides “King Ralph”) are “Arachnophobia” (1990) and “Matinee” (1993).

    Well, my friends in Idaho told me they now have their first two cases, in their county. Adams County, Idaho. Population 4,147, 1,370 square miles. As of yesterday, we’re holding at 10.

    I was thinking a bit more about the urge to go out. Once I put the word “obsession” to it, a lot of things (for me) fell into place. It really is the same feeling I get when I craved a drink, or a smoke, or felt like doing a little on-line shopping. Pressure…and release. If I wanted to go all Buddhist lite, I could do a riff on suffering and the desire for things or situations.

    Well, here’s an article that will burn your grits.


    Turns out the plastics companies knew all along that plastics were difficult or impossible to recycle. But, they contributed a lot of money to recycling propaganda, to stave off bans on plastic. Of course, plastics are a side product of Big Oil, so, you know where those ideas, and the money came from.

    No foolin’ Lew

  39. Hello again
    Things here continue to get worse. Hard to get sufficient sunshine if one is in lockdown in a high rise flat. People are permitted one walk out for exercise but difficult in the middle of a city if one must keep away from anyone else. Children getting rickets?
    Market gardens are having to chuck all their plants etc, this at the time of the year when they make most of their money. It is reckoned that 80,000 small and medium sized businesses will go bust. So it is economy or lives.


  40. Hi Lew,

    I have heard about the Human Centipede – I will not be going near it or other movies like it 🙂 But, another movie was fast tracked to streaming starring Kristen Stewart and involves an underwater base at the bottom of the Marianas Trench and some sort of disaster, possibly aliens. It is simply called “Underwater”.


    I am hoping for competently mediocre (I love both underwater and disaster movies – so easily pleased)!


  41. Chris:

    Thanks so much for staying open 🙂 How wonderful for us to still have a place to safely meet.


  42. Hi Chris,

    I think you are right, it would have been tricky to get back to NZ if we ended up in Australia a couple of weeks ago. Even though we are planning a relocation in the near future, it would be awkward to leave so much back in NZ (and costly). So, I think it is best we are here. One way or another, at least some restrictions will be relaxed in the next month or two and we can begin organising the move. I note, even now, there are still plenty of flights running. And, don’t forget the sea option 🙂

    Like yourself at Bunnings, I notice an undercurrent of tension here. Mrs Damo and I are fine (a daily boardgame*, which, I am sad to say, she usually wins, is a nice distraction), but the comments on local facebook pages are telling – lots of finger pointing and self-isolation shaming, especially at people who decided to take the fishing boat out, or god forbid, go for a swim. I will say it is nice seeing so many people out in the park when we go for a walk, and even better there are few cars now. But, I wonder at how people, especially large families, would be coping all trapped under the one roof. Perhaps that is just my introverted self projecting onto others…

    Our flour is running down, however I am informed the supply shortage is rectified at most supermarkets, so when we wander out in the next few days/week for a food top-up I might be in luck and can start baking bread again. You will be happy to hear that chocolate cake was produced 🙂

    I shared with my work colleagues the process for a “virtual demo” today. Instead of driving, or flying, across country to give potential customers a hands-on with new survey equipment, I am experimenting with running it through a video conference app. The process works reasonably well, and I can switch between the survey software and a camera on the tablet, in real time, so it actually gets you 70-80% there. And unlike a pre-recorded video, the customer can take control of the screen and drive the software remotely. I suspect changes like this will stay on in many businesses after the crisis passes. Maybe it would be possible to do the same for some of your clients?

    A few weeks ago, the topic of boardgames came up, was it a fad or not? My two cents, it isn’t a fad. The “board game scene” has being going strong for at least 15 years, and shows no sign of fading out. To be clear, I am not talking about monopoly, battleship, trivial pursuit, or even old styles war games like Risk or Diplomacy (although they are precursors to the modern resurgence). The current market leaders, are games like “Catan” or “Ticket To Ride”. Developed in Europe, they pioneered the easy to learn playstyle, but with challenging and tactical play (and a mix of luck). They are still very popular today, and most “gamers” will have a copy to bring out when non-gamers visit. If anyone wants to try some of the new style games, I can thoroughly recommend “Ticket To Ride:Europe”. It works well as a two-player game, or with 4-5 friends. The rules take 3 minutes to learn, and everyone enjoys their first game. 2 thumbs up!

    Mrs Damo and I, have being recently playing “Wingspan” a lot, which was released last year and has sold 250,000+ copies. It is a beautiful game where you collect bird species to your habitat preserve. It has hundreds of bird cards, each with a little painting straight out of a bird ID book. And, unlike monopoly, a game for two people is only 30-40 minutes. Truly, anyone still playing the older style board games are missing out. And, great for couples, in Wingspan, it is very hard to make moves that directly impedes the other player. Keeps relationships strong 🙂


  43. Chris,

    Oh, I’ve found DOS on my new machines. I don’t dare mess with it now. I’d gum something up royal. Since I need my home computer to do my job, hands off is a good idea. Now the computer in the office, ooops, that’s Evil DJ peaking out again.

    One of the junior techs in my group goes into the office for a couple hours Wednesdays. She mentioned to me that somebody went through ALL the cubicles and all of the unlocked offices on the 2nd and 3rd floors and took ALL of the hand sanitizer off of peoples’ desks. I need to find an empty hand sanitizer bottle and fill it with something *nasty* and place it somewhere? Dang, Evil DJ is in rare form tonight!

    When I was at New Mexico State University, we took a field trip north to Socorro, and then west to the Very Large Array. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Large_Array Mate, that was SO COOL! Maybehaps you’re constructing a Smaller Large Array?

    We got the promised skiff of snow. It snowed hard for a few minutes, but most of the morning it was light snow and it looked like a snow globe. It died down, so Walking Partner and her husband wandered by so I joined them for a walk. The Princess said, “Keep proper distance. No hugging, kissing or holding hands. I mean with him. Walking Partner is…off limits too.”

    Boogers? Did I hear something about boogers? Don’t forget the first episode, IIRC, of “WKRP in Cincinnati”, in which Dr. Johnny Fever yelled “Boooogeerrrrr!” into a live microphone.

    One year when I was a councilor at a youth camp, one of the young guys was a hellion. He was in my group, and we’ll call him Matthew Broderick. . (I always seemed to get the worst ones, a fact that eventually led me to call the head guy a $^!^^&. He and I are still friends.) One of the other adults worked for a local movie studio, so he did a lot of filming as if for a documentary. A recurring theme was for him to come up to me and ask, “Hey, DJ, what do you think of Matthew Broderick?” My normal answer was to say, “That little booger?” In the version shown to parents of the kids, “booger” was bleeped over. Say booger in a mirror, and then say some nasty word that starts with “f” and, well, you get the drift. Booger is a word with lots of uses. 😉

    I’ve wondered the same thing about people. Some small businessmen seem to be too complacent. Others are trying anything to drum up some business. I’ve always held to a traditionally conservative fiscal outlook for my family, have reasonable vehicles, less house than the bank wanted to give me a loan for, etc. Everything is paid for. It’s making things a lot easier right now, and is a big reason why I will leave the work force in February. I fear things will end badly for a lot of people.

    Synchronicity…the SEP comment was a random thing for a joke, but it came at just the right time to be a theme of my daily meditations for a day or 3. There truly is a lot to it. “Looking at a dread SEP can cause one a lot of angst!” he exclaimed from experience. The physical distance from the workplace and people is indeed a welcome chance to observe, as you suggested.

    I had noticed you comments made on the normal day of the Dread Midweek Hiatus, but was trying not to mention that, hoping it’s not a dread SEP. 😉


  44. Hi Pam,

    Books! Oh my, yup forgot about those particular loans that get converted unwittingly into gifts. Some folks are very free with other peoples stuff. I don’t loan books nowadays either for much the same reason. I hear you about replacing loaned books. And I have endured folks arguing with me because they believe the book is theirs. What do you? Best not to enter into the arrangement in the first place.

    Glad you enjoyed the image of the editor! 🙂

    There was a lot of climbing around the frame of the huge solar panel stand. You know over the years some folks have suggested that I get a tracking device so that all the solar panels face the sun and move with it as the sun moves across the sky during the day. Most of the time such innocent suggestions are provided without the slightest concern for, or knowledge of, the practicalities of constructing such a bonkers complicated machine. Every single solar tracker that I have seen has been broken.

    Hehe! Well probably the parrot was not on its finest game the day Plum and Ruby decided to eat it. There is a bit of irony to those two eating a parrot if only because the parrots consume Plum and Ruby’s waste. This may be the true perpetual motion machine? Maybe not.

    The European wasps are about half again bigger than a European honey bee. How does that compare with your lot? Did your sons head swell up as the sting area inflamed? Do you have any suggestions for treatment? The huge ants down here are more of a hassle, but I generally leave them alone as they have natural predators on the farm.

    Thank you! And yup, that was exactly what I meant. I’ve been speaking with a few folks over the past few days who are beginning to come to terms with this unexpected turn of events not being a short term matter.



  45. Hi Al,

    It is pretty quiet where I am and I get those services through the mobile (cell) phone 4G network. So far reliability has been pretty good. However when I make calls to other areas I have been getting messages that the network (or tower) is busy. I usually get through on the second try. Oh yeah, the system is being stretched, so I hear ya.

    Watch out for them robots. They bite you know. Surely you have seen the film Robocop? Didn’t end so well.

    Yeah, can’t much say that I am interested in the virus. Not to display hubris, but there are plenty of unpleasant critters out there waiting for their day in the sun to feast upon our bleached bones. It is part of the human experience to come to terms with the reality of that story – sorry to say.

    Apologies, I forgot to mention that since I last dealt with those guys, I discovered that the local general store provides such a service to locals. If I’d known at the time, I would have had less hassles.

    Stay safe to you too! 🙂



  46. Hi Inge,

    Such a good question! But there is also the interesting side story in there that sunshine on the skin promotes a positive immune response. Too much sun is as bad as too little sun, and I note that as a species we were never intended to live out of the sun. Dappled sun, yeah, but no sun is not good.

    Your market garden story is completely bonkers, and utterly wasteful.

    Interestingly, I have witnessed the same thing going on with seed sales. Demand has far exceeded supply and I have read accounts that it is both a problem here and in your part of the world. The local gardening club sent me an explanatory apology email despite me not ordering anything from them.

    Bizarrely enough, the editor today concurred with the need to grow a far larger supply of wheat next autumn. Plans were made. Last night delivered almost an inch and half of rain, so I’m watching the winter seeds closely to see what happens. Tomorrow will be sunny and warm, but then I’m getting an early taste of winter.

    Next year we may have to replant our entire crop of organic open pollinated wheat seeds which were planted last week. That is probably likely.

    The supermarkets were quieter today and I suspect that people have maxed out their credit cards, and the stores have been able to re-stock.



  47. Hi Lewis,

    Oh, well worm food wasn’t exactly how I saw matters. One needn’t die to become background colour and eccentricity? Do they? Although that is true of some artists – no doubt when they were around they were very difficult people! Anyway, I was sort of thinking back to how Mr Greer promoted himself to the title of Emeritus. Now from my perspective that sounds an awful lot like: Older wise one who could impart much wisdom if people could but take a moment to listen, but doesn’t necessarily want to be involved in the day to day politics.

    Now as you are our resident historian and all-round knowledgeable bloke: How the heck did the guild trades deal with retiring masters? There may be an interesting story in there.

    As the Eagles sang: “‘Relax’ said the night man, ‘We are programmed to receive’.” Unfortunately the solar panel array is only programmed to receive. Did you know, it could operate in reverse and drain a battery at night? We have these wonderful devices known as: Diodes. They allow electrons to flow in only one direction, and they are crucial but very simple chunk of technology on solar panels. Not sure the transmission of energy would be enough to be detected on Alpha Centauri, but you never know. I mean after all these decades, the little Voyager spacecraft are continuing on their journey with their radioactive batteries and they can hardly operate a high powered radio transmitter.

    It is funny you mention the blue colour of the higher solar panels. I was tempted to mix some black solar panels into that mix as it would have made the job easier, but decided to relent and let aesthetics rule the day. Believe it or not, this caused me a lot of extra work.

    Definitely reckon you’re onto something with HRH, as dogs are creatures of patterns.

    I tell you a funny story about these here new times we all find ourselves in. Today I went out on a one hour journey which ended up taking over four hours. I couldn’t believe it. So on the journey I encountered two folks I knew, and that required a proper chat fest (at a respectable distance!) on each occasion. And then I got speaking with a couple of old timers who I met by sheer chance, and we got to speaking about how things were back in the day, and we had a number of old school skills that over lapped and could discuss how standards had declined in the past few decades. All up it was a thoroughly enjoyable day, although taking somewhat longer than I planned for.

    The power company folks were working on the vegetation near to the dangerous power line on the road up above the house, and I got to speaking with them for a while too. Again we had a good old chat fest about trees and the craziness of people etc. And they were old timer forest workers whom I have only great respect for. To survive in such a job for such a length of time is a mark of a person’s skill. Anyway they must have enjoyed the chat as they left me with almost 13 cubic yards of chipped up organic material. Best present ever!

    All up, I’m quite enjoying these new times, although admittedly it is probably not to everyone’s taste.

    And I tell ya, by the time I made it home again I was positively busting to go to the bathroom. Should have gone before I left the house in the first place. 😉

    Ah, puff pastry! Well there you go, who knew it came in a can? As I mentioned before the stuff is sold down here in lots of flat frozen sheets. It would never have occurred to me to look for it in a can.

    The supermarket shelves appear to be rapidly re-stocking, and it looked far less crazy today. Almost normal except for the reminder that locals get preference. I have this dark suspicion that people have maxed out their credit cards, now have too much toilet paper, and found themselves on a reduced (or welfare) income and have had to reign it in.

    Same thing down here. Fortunately I’ve spent years getting to know the local businesses, and they know me. Anyway: City slickers fleeing homes to sit out coronavirus in the country urged to stay away. Yeah, it ain’t a good look.

    Seeds are in very short supply down here and also from what I hear in the UK. Who would have thought that seed saving is a necessary skill and open pollination is a good idea?

    I remember Arachnophobia. Very cool and he played a good role as the unfazed insect exterminator. 🙂 He’s a good actor with a long career.

    Yeah, the virus is spreading and no doubt we’ll probably all be challenged by the little critters sooner or later.

    Mate, I could happily disappear into the forest, but the gubament demands its property taxes and I do actually rely on spare parts for the many systems here. So, I guess I just have to deal and grit my teeth and cope as best as possible. If you know a better way…

    The editor today agreed to plant a much larger patch of wheat next autumn. The rain dropped about an inch and half today and the force of the downpour last night got me out of bed and checking to see if everything was OK – which it was. Anyway tomorrow is meant to be warm at about 77’F, so I’m watching to see if any of the winter seeds germinate.

    Shhhooootttt! Far out, the unmentionable rotters. Yup, my back is up for sure. For about a decade I’ve followed the Japanese approach to dealing with the stuff. It’s a more honest way of dealing with the mess. For the record I don’t believe their talk of improved technology in relation to transport and electric cars – I feel what we are experiencing is demand destruction, which is another path.

    Who’d have thought they’d lie and dissemble?



  48. Hi DJ,

    Yes, a wise move and after you mentioned DOS, I went back and tested my memory – and found it wanting. Although at the same time didn’t manage to delete any important files. We are of one mind in this most important of questions – don’t mess with the computer.

    It happens and I have heard of businesses were people have stolen toilet paper. Seriously. Interestingly the distillation process at home produces at best 93% ethanol (with some isopropyl alcohol) which is a rough brew and not really fir for consumption. Makes your eyes water it does! I read somewhere someone saying that you need to have at least 60% alcohol content to wipe out critters. Normal spirits off the shelf are about 37.5% alcohol content, so they’re good but probably not good enough. There has been some doubt cast onto some brands of hand sanitisers of late.

    Your lady has a fine sense of humour! It rained about an inch and a half since last night. Tomorrow is meant to be 25’C, so it will most certainly feel unpleasantly humid.

    Cool! Really, really cool! I would have been wandering around in a state of total awe on the day you visited the VLA. As you rightly guessed, my pun was a nod to the beast that is the VLA, although I read that it has been upgraded. The budget was quite small for what was achieved.

    Ah, I have not seen the series: WKRP in Cincinnati, but yes it is very likely that the latter reference derived from that incident.

    DJ, you are like super bad! 🙂 Funnily enough, youth camp is not a thing down here and I’m always intrigued by references to it.

    Hey, scored about 10 cubic metres of chipped up mulch from the power company dudes today. Yay for mulch!

    I wasn’t always fiscally conservative as indicated in this week’s blog story, but got around to that mindset because the alternative was frankly not such a good experience. Most people tend to believe that things can go on forever and anon up and up with no hiccups. I have some friends who are slightly younger than I and they have never known a day of economic hardship. And folks who were a bit older than I – and thus avoided the worst of the early 1990’s fiasco – are also likewise inexperienced for these times. Well, the times they be a changin’ and it may not end well for people who are over extended. Your approach just works and I follow that strategy too.

    Right now there is an awful lot of SEP going on. A whole bunch of the dreaded stuff. Where to look and not pick up upon the emotional load of others? However, in more positive news I’m finding people are much chattier these days, and such a state of affairs is hardly a hardship for me!

    There is much in there for you to consider now that you have some distance.



  49. Hello again
    I don’t understand the great fuss here about lack of testing. The fact that a nurse for example tests as clear, does not mean that she will be clear the next day. Nobody is going to be tested on a daily basis. Am I missing something?
    Ferry services to the Island are being either stopped or cut down in time for Easter.
    I hate to say that the sheer quiet here is wonderful. Aircraft have stopped flying over and I haven’t heard a helicopter for 48 hours.
    A nurse friend who drove to a patient was amazed at the quantity of roadkill that she saw. Son says that these are usually cleared by road workers. I live and learn.
    More and more shops are refusing cash. Son got caught out after queuing and had to use a card that he holds belonging to someone else. He doesn’t have such things so I shall lend him one of mine.


  50. Hi Damo,

    The self isolation thing either end of the journey would have been a serious headache for you. And if you’ve spent two weeks cooped up in a house, what the heck would the world look like to you if you stepped outside the front door at the end of that time? The sea option is a goodie, and honestly I’m not necessarily sanguine that things will return to their former state of affairs. I could be wrong, and would certainly like to be wrong, but my gut feeling tells me something has broken in the world of energy and finance – in particular oil. Exploration has just dropped, and it had been in decline for many years now.

    The tension is palpable. You can almost feel it. Mind you, being in a rural area has its benefits and bizarrely people have become far more chatty. The difference is noticeable. Not sure the city is operating that way though. People are scuttling around there, however the younger folks seem mostly unconcerned with an underlying note of boredom. I’ve noticed lots of dog walking when I was in the city. Not sure how it will all play out.

    Imagine life in a small apartment – with flatmates. Oh yeah, not good.

    Probably right. I saw a large stack of 5kg bags of flour at the local supermarket today. Mind you, I still planted wheat last week. 🙂 Actually over here the panic buying (DON’T PANIC! – Hearing that said aloud makes me panic) appears to have slowed and things were almost normal again today except for the signs restricting items to 2 per customer. Interestingly one of the cashiers was telling me a story about how someone tried to buy many different types of pasta claiming they were somehow different. Didn’t get away with that but 10 out of 10 for Sophistry.

    The future will probably be more of that virtual demo thing as it is probably the wave of the future. Speaking of which I read an article today suggesting that the Zurm application is full of security holes, which is hardly surprising. I do wonder who pays for such services and there’d be a story there for sure. Have you got any advice about a web camera?

    Did you spend the first two minutes going: Can you hear me? Is the camera working? 🙂

    There are shops over here dedicated to such games. I’m dorky enough to know what Warhammer 40,000 is! 🙂 Never played it though. Although one could argue that it is not a true board game from a technical perspective. Hey did you know that back in the day, the original Dungeons and Dragons was considered to be something of a moral hazard? People were saying it was some sort of social problem, but maybe it is just me, but the thought of a couple of mates hanging out, drinking beers and playing board games seems fun!

    Wingspan sounds nice. The editor and I don’t play board games. Unfortunately I’m a bit ruthless in Monopoly, and the editor totally destroys me in Scrabble. Such one sided play doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience, but we’re fine spending a lot of time together and always have, so it is hardly a hardship for us. Anyway, someone mentioned today that our lock down is a Clayton’s lock down (have you heard of the Clayton’s reference before?) You may know that person too…

    I’m embarrassed to admit it but when I was in the big bad corporate days I went to a go-karting day which had some of their clients. So much fun, and being young then and the morally dubious person that I was, I took out one of the biggest clients who was ever so slowly gaining on me. Oops! The situation did not reflect well upon me, but you know, the go karts were made to be bumped into the tyre barriers…



  51. Hi Inge,

    The whole thing makes little sense to me. I have my suspicions but we’ll never really know what is going on. At the back of my mind I can’t shake the feeling that something serious has broken in either the world of finance, or the world of energy, and in particular relating to oil. The policies we are pursuing have the undocumented benefit of addressing both problems, but you know I’m just looking at how things are playing out.

    I have no doubts the current virus is a nasty little critter, but history tells me that the 1919 influenza pandemic killed 50 million. We don’t look on track – so far – for that sort of outcome by a long margin. And there were far fewer people around in those days too, particularly as it followed on from WWI which had a pretty nasty body count too.

    Anyway, whatever the reasons, I do feel that as a species we took things way too far. When I was a kid, expectations were much lower. I tell you, it is the little things that interest me, and earlier today I saw a discarded kid’s stuffed toy carelessly tossed on the side of the road. It rained a lot last night and the toy was looking worse for wear. Anyway, when I was a kid, toys were sparingly received and each and everyone of them were treasured. And that is just toys, lots of things have changed and none of it was done in a remotely sustainable way.

    Yeah, the cashless economy thing is picking up down here too. Spare a thought for merchants who have to pay a larger card commission fee on small purchases. Hmm.

    Like you, I too am revelling in the quiet. It is a real event when an aircraft flies overhead nowadays. Again it is that people’s expectation thing that may have been taken too far.



  52. Chris:

    I was just thinking about your Property Protector Dog, Ollie, and then I realized that eventually you are going to have two more really scary Property Protectors in Ruby and Plum. Nothing scares people like a large black dog. And they have those fiendish spots over their eyes.

    How wonderful that you have scored so much chipped up organic matter.

    It is not raining today so I think I will plant some more greens. My son had ordered some bare root fruit trees, all sorts, that have arrived and are being planted in large pots until he gets the orchard area ready that he is developing at the back of the property. It is a small pine wood and for some reason the pines are dying out; maybe a pine beetle. I hope the sun is going to be as good as he thinks back there. It is still on a north slope, though way lower than the house.


  53. @ Damo – my husband and I met over a game of Diplomacy. He asked me to be his ally. I agreed and from a base of Turkey and the Astro-Hungarian Empire, we conquered most of the rest of Europe. That was 32 years ago … we’ve been allies ever since.

    @ Pam – a former friend, while she was still a friend, gave me a book as a gift on a special occasion, which she inscribed with her thoughts about the occasion. A few years after that, we had a falling out. Some years later, after we had somewhat repaired the falling-out, she asked me to lend her that same book because she wanted to re-read it. I lent it to her. Some weeks later she told me that someone else wanted to borrow it and she lent it to that person, who promptly misplaced or lost it. So she offered to buy me a new copy. I told her no, it wouldn’t be the same as the original inscribed copy. Honestly, I think her lending it to someone else was her way of getting back at me for the original falling-out, which she blamed on me. And I saw no reason for perpetuating a charade of a friendship. Haven’t seen or heard from her since, and I like it that way. Plus I found another copy of the same book at a used book sale. 😉


  54. @ Damo – “Underwater” sounds like a remake of “The Abyss.” Are you sure it isn’t about the collapse of the real estate market? 🙂

    You have a ship. There is video evidence … Lew

  55. Yo, Chris – Guild Masters just worked til they dropped. Retirement is a rather new concept.

    Diodes. Di—ooodes. Di-i-i-odes, Daylight come and you gotta go home. Can be sung at the top of your lungs, to the tune of “Day-O.” 🙂 . So. Diodes are like tiny electronic valves?

    Aesthetics always take extra work. Mostly.

    That chopped organic material is quit a score. Lucky that you didn’t set the dogs on the power people.

    Well, I took my life in my hands, and headed out to the two cheap stores, this morning. I’ve heard the panic buying seems to be peaking. You think it’s because they’ve maxed out their credit cards. Well, that, and maybe they’re running out of pantry space. It’s also just a few days after the end of the month. When lots of people are broke, as a matter of course. Those that have lost their jobs are probably waking up to the fact that what they’ve got, money wise, is what they’ve got. And, are stretching whatever is left.

    The first place is where I always expect to see rats. Never have. They looked pretty well stocked. Plenty of canned goods, cereal and junk food. No flour or sugar. No bleach. I did score a jar of Allspice and a jar of vanilla pods, for less than $2 per. Didn’t think they had toilet paper, but, on my way out, saw a shopping cart full of 4 roll packs … for $4+. I passed.

    The second place I hit looked a lot better stocked than last week. There was plenty of brown rice (.69/lb) and gallons of white vinegar. Both of those were out, last week. I forgot to even check out the toilet paper situation. Plenty of frozen veg. I was running low on shaving cream (not that I use that much. Just the fortnightly shave under the chin). Safeway wants too much for my usual brand, which is pretty cheap. The second place had some … kind of. Barbasol. Made in the USA!!! Didn’t realize it comes in flavors. Usually, I just get the menthol. This is something called “Pacific Rush.” Drives me crazy when there isn’t a clue to what it smells like. Maybe, like dead fish? I see it’s also packed with caffeine and menthol. Well, the menthol I can see, but caffeine? Why would I want caffeine in my shaving cream? Well, maybe if I run out of coffee and tea, I can dilute it, for my morning boost?

    As I was getting in my truck, I saw a young man get out of a nice truck … with a baby in a carrier and head into the store. Somehow, this does not seem like a wise course of action.

    Did a lot of agonizing, today. Some things, even though I have a stock, I wonder, “What if they disappear, in future. What if I can’t get them next month?” But, I tamp down those feelings. That way lies madness.

    Interesting article about small towns. I told you the Maine, story. And, that I advised my friends in Idaho, to block the roads and call out the gun club. We’re up to 12 cases, here. And, maybe one more. Lew

  56. PS: Knew there was something else … I see from Prof. Mass, that there was a small tornado. I think over near where Al lives.

    Here’s a bit of the Pillsbury line of refrigerated dough. You peal the foil/paper wrapper, off the cylinder, and give it a sharp whack against a table edge.


    Better living through Chemistry :-). Lew

  57. Hi Chris
    Last comment launched early. By accident. IPad errors may go back to pc Al

  58. Hi Lew,

    Well, I watched Underwater last night. It was very shiny and slick, but also completely incoherent, and the science hand-waving plumbed new depths (the writers obviously have never seen what submarines that can go to 11km deep look like). On the plus side, it only lasted 90 minutes, and the last scene was very cool.

    I think it was made for the screen-time generation. You know, “watch” a movie whilst endlessly scrolling on the internet at the same time. It just needs a loud noise and emotional music every 5 minutes to make them feel like they have watched a coherent and logical story 🙂


  59. Hi Claire,

    I have heard good things about diplomacy, but have actually never played it. Congratulations on the continued strength of your alliance 🙂

    The closest I have played would be “Game of Thrones”, based on the books (not TV show) which had a similar hidden tactics mechanic and required deft diplomacy (read: eventual and inevitable betrayals, just like in the books) to win.


  60. No worries Pam – they are just a start, but are good openers into how much more interesting new board games can be. On topic, they are a good contender for something that might remain in a resource constrained future, being basically just coloured paper and cardboard after all…

    My theory on why they are so much better than most old games (although some, like Chess, are timeless and cannot be beat), is these days we have a huge market for entertainment, plus a large number of creative types not stuck ploughing fields! In the past, complex games could only be made by the odd lord or rich merchant. 98% of people were too busy to spend time fine-tuning and developing a board or card game.


  61. Hi Pam,

    Not sure about you, but there are times when I can’t but shake the uncanny feeling that I’m only but one step ahead of looming disaster. Now take the pups. Toothy was clearly dying, and whilst I miss him, he did have a long and enjoyable life. He’d had some sort of sudden turn of health and was deteriorating over about two months.

    Acceptance is a difficult state of mind to reach, but we’d worked our way there, when we were at the local supermarket and saw the ad on the noticeboard for the two pups. Two hours later, the pups had been introduced to Ollie – and he was smitten with them and they ran rings around him.

    If we’d waited a few more weeks, Ollie would have been devastated at the loss of his little mate and what would be the chance of obtaining a new pup or two in these times?

    Have you noticed that both Ruby and Plum have spots on their bums that also look like eyes?

    The power company dropped off a few more truck loads of mulch! Can you believe that? There is enough to fertilise the entire orchard. Couldn’t have arranged such a thing if I tried…

    Yup, get the greens in, and I’d be doing the same thing if the world suddenly tipped upside down.

    The property here faces south west, so the north slope at your place will slow the growth, but in dry years – and they’ll happen – your orchard will be more resilient.

    If I encountered those conditions, I’d collect all of the pine needles on the ground, and then burn them off. The burning process will increase the pH. Then spread the ash around and add a bit of urine for good measure. Pine forests are very dead places (other than fungi) so I’m not sure I’d mourn too much for those pine trees. Instead, think of them as starter trees.



  62. Hi Lewis,

    Right, well that figures. Unfortunately I am left wondering if any of the old guild masters ever lost the plot and had to be forcibly shuffled off? Surely there were some such, and how to put this delicately, were arrangements in place for such a situation? I’ve known some folks to have sudden turns of personality, and put it down to a sudden turn in their health which may have gone unnoticed. Dunno, have you ever seen that happen?

    Honestly, the retirement age was quietly lifted for my generation to the age of 70 a few years back. Nobody blinked an eye lid. There were no demonstrations or riots in the street, or whatever. So I’m now expected to work until I drop is my take on that particular story. Someone got fined $1,000 for eating a kebab in a park. Wow, so it has come to this…

    Anyway, people inevitably ask me about retirement, and mostly I intuit that they’re concerned for how much funds they require. I can’t legally answer such a question, so my advice is always: Have some friends; Have some hobbies; and find some purpose. I reckon it is good advice, but far out, people get a bit shocked when they hear such wisdom mostly because they can’t point to any one of those three goals. My granddad I believe willed himself to death – he had a strong will – and to this day I’m unsure of the bloke’s choice.

    Anyway, cruises are (please excuse my awful pun) dead in the water, so perhaps people don’t need as much funds as they think they will. I expect to work right up to the end. Most of the dogs here go that way, and when I was young nobody lingered over a long and gruelling death.

    I always enjoyed the banana boat song. 🙂 Actually the cadence of the song is a stunning work of art. When I’m working I always have music playing as it takes my mind to other levels whilst my body goes through the motions. Brought several humongous rocks back up the hill today and then set them in the slowly developing succulent terraced garden. Rocks are good, but big rocks are even better!

    And in breaking solar news, the solar power upgrade project was completed earlier today. Glad to have that job behind me, and the extra electricity was put to good use in dehydrating tomatoes so that they can be then stored in olive oil. Drying fruits using electricity is an energy intensive process. At this stage of the year clouds are building for the winter, and so a glass cabinet dehydrator will not work. It is absolutely pouring down outside with rain – with more to come. The frogs are chirruping!

    It was so weird that the electricity company provided me with enough chipped up organic matter with which to feed the entire orchard and then some. I have only warm feelings for the people that did that huge job.

    Well about the dogs, I was diplomatic and the incident could have been interpreted in many different ways as befits such an encounter. Ollie and the pups have been couped up in the house and dog run for three days. He is not happy but they all got to finally run around the farm like a proper pack of dogs for many hours late this afternoon. They’re all sound asleep right now.

    That is what I was saying about people maxing out their credit cards. I see unemployment in your country has gone bonkers, just like here. It may well be that the store shelves are stocked, and nobody has the money to buy the stuff.

    Hehe! That’s funny about the rats in the store. You paint a bleak picture with those words. Flour can now be found in the stores here, although I buy my lot through a specialty bakery supply (and have done so for years). Interestingly, in the stores there was white sugar (AKA refined sugar) and raw sugar was less available. Not sure what that means, but I usually only purchase raw sugar (or dark sugar with molasses).

    Vanilla pods are amazing, and I reckon you could grow them inside your place. My money is on rose hips though as they seem far less like hard work.

    White vinegar is thin on the ground here, which is bonkers because before the current concerns, we were probably the only people buying the stuff. It is a useful product as people may have discovered – much to my chagrin.

    Barbasol is an interesting product and it is possible that folks south of you in your country could extract eucalyptus oil. It is potent stuff, and not hard to make. I’ll bet that stuff burns when it hits a shaving cut? Ouch.

    Dead Fish smell? Hmm, I’m thinking of the aroma that is to be found on massive eddy’s of plastic garbage way out in the Pacific ocean. Don’t think it will sell too well. 🙂 And I don’t get the caffeine either? Maybe it is for people who are so time poor that they can’t get around to making a cup of coffee and they were angling for a direct caffeine hit to the blood stream?

    Speaking of coffee, I purchased a new and cheaper brand of milk. Supply for my favourite organic unhomogenised milk was out and one must make do in these trying times – or get a dairy cow along with all that goes with that. Anyway, the new brand of milk tasted as if someone had added palm oil to it as a thickener. It really wasn’t good. So I converted the milk to yoghurt and I’m just hoping the taste doesn’t come through. I pasteurised it again before setting off the bacteria, but I don’t hold out much hope. Tomorrow all will be known. If it is bad the chickens will enjoy a good supply of yoghurt.

    Yes, there are a lot of unemployed working age males seen in the community now.

    Best avoid such thoughts and anxieties and fixate on what you can do in the here and now. What did they used to say about: No point crying over spilt milk.

    It might get to that here too. The roads are easily closed if need be. But that is a two way trip that is.



  63. Chris:

    No, I had not noticed their bum spots. It makes me think of how some butterflies have matching spots, upper and lower wings.

    I suspect that you are the man of the week with those guys from the power company. You have probably saved them going miles out of their way to dump the stuff.

    My son does have the cut-up dead pines in piles for burning. The wind never seems to stop these days – it is spring – and so it will be awhile. We usually have a burn ban in April anyway.
    I can’t vouch for the urine . . .

    My word for this current crisis is – bewildering.


  64. Yo, Chris – Whenever someone has a sudden turn of personality, I figure they’ve either just had their meds adjusted, or, they’re off their meds.

    Gotta love the French. The DID riot in the streets, when the government tried to fiddle with their retirement.

    I think, as I have often said before, that satisfaction with retirement really depends on expectations. Also, sure, I wish my retirement had worked out a bit different, but, it is what it is, and I deal with it. And it isn’t half bad.

    Congrats on completing the solar power upgrade. Are you going to smash a bottle of champagne against the array, to celebrate? 🙂 .

    The snow dropped out of the forecast, yesterday, so not a flake was seen. But, we did get a hard frost, last night.

    That was quit an unexpected score, all that organic matter. Maybe you did something RIGHT in a previous life?

    I headed out to the Safeway at 6:30 am. Everything looked pretty well stocked up, except for frozen food and big holes in the baking aisle. The entire toilet paper aisle was jammed full of TP. I was the only one in the aisle, and people were not throwing themselves on the packs. But the prices! I passed. So, now I don’t have to go out at all, until a week from tomorrow, and that just to the veg store. Unless …

    As of 5pm yesterday, we were still holding at 12 cases, in our county. I have the feeling that when the number of cases hit a certain level, I’ll REALLY stay in. What that magic number is, I have no idea. I’ll know it when I see it. 42?

    I really think it will take an A list celebrity, dying, for more people to take this thing seriously. One of the Big Guns. Volunteers? There’s been plenty of C and D list celebs that hve bit the dust, but we need a big name. Most people didn’t pay much attention to AIDS, until Rock Hudson died. That made them sit up and take notice. Mostly.

    One of the Ladies on my floor, had a birthday yesterday. Usually, there would be cake and ice cream. If desired. I opted out of that nonsense. So, last night I anonymously left a little sack on her door with a nice card … photograph of a 1920s rodeo queen, pulling down a steer. And a roll of toilet paper. 🙂 .

    I see Australia is closing it’s internal borders, to try and keep people home over the Easter holiday. The governor of Florida has locked down the State (conveniently, after spring break.) Locked it down. Except for churches. Lew

  65. Chris,

    I was in awe at the VLA. And an added bonus: the Las Cruces area has no evergreen trees. We got high enough that there were some kinds of pine after we climbed to the high desert west of Socorro. Growing up around pines and other evergreens, it was nice being among trees again.

    I dunno why youth camp is so big here. The ones I was involved with were part of the church/cult I got sucked into when growing up. We’d set the curriculum for religious lessons in March, and camp was July and August. I never taught the curriculum, as we were out in the mountains and there were other lessons that could be taught in nature. I mean, how can you hold a bible study in the morning with 12 year old boys when there’s 3 deer walking up to you? Lessons were adapted to the situations.

    I see you mentioned Mr. Greer’s outstanding admonition for collapsing before the rush. The rush may be upon us! My thinking always was to live collapsed anyhow, or close to it and know what else can be cut out of the budget.

    I had to make a few work related phone calls today. I noticed the same thing you have: people are chattier than normal.

    Ya know, you may have predicted our weather pattern. More snow flurries today at +7C air temperature. It’s that cold air circling over us for the past 6 weeks, and in the spring we often get snow showers with warm air temperatures. It be cold in them clouds! Anyhow, this might be one of those dread summers where it cooler than normal until one day it hotter than normal.


  66. Hi Pam,

    Plum and Ruby would love to be thought of as butterflies, and it is worth noting that Plum has a penchant for chasing cabbage moths. Those two sure can do a lot of digging in the garden. Still, their actions turn the soil.

    Scored a half dozen excellent hot cross buns today! Yay for this time of the year.

    Hehe! The guys appreciated being able to dump the stuff easily on my property. The fuel cost of moving the stuff around would have been exorbitant. You wait until you see the photos of the mulch mountain! Put a huge load of coffee grounds on it today, and will add compost tomorrow. Deep inside the mulch mountain, it is quite warm. I’ll leave it for a few weeks to stew in its own juices (as adults used to tell me when I was a kid and sulking my socks off!)

    In a couple of weeks I’ll begin moving the stuff into the orchard so as to fertilise the fruit trees. The low-centre-of-gravity mower which I’ll use to tow the stuff all about the farm, needs a bit of electrical work which I’ve organised to get done soon. I suspect that was the reason why the machine was sold in the first place because otherwise it is in amazing condition.

    The weather today was crazy wet and windy. Not conducive to working outside, so I sat down at the dining table this afternoon and read the newspaper. Bewildering is the word for sure. Another way to put it might be: The Great Depression Mark II. Hold onto your hat (with fascinator I hope?) as we are in for a wild ride. I read that in your country the number of unemployed rose very fast and passed 10 million souls last week. This is a form of demand destruction. It is hardly surprising as we couldn’t afford to keep going on as we (referring to the ‘we’ of civilisation) were. We’re in the very early stages and expect this to go on for more than the six months that is being mooted about the place. You are lucky that you are in the early stages of the growing season.

    I was wondering about the burn ban as we get them too, although the actual date varies from year to year, and also it varies with the various local government areas. Unsurprisingly, the burn ban has been lifted here a few weeks back as the soil moisture was pretty good. The local creek is flowing strongly.

    Well, yes, I mentioned such uses but never expected a confirmation, so yes I hear you! 😉



  67. Hi Lewis,

    From time to time I’ve heard strange stories of people who are on their meds. Please excuse my naivety, but this is an experience I know nothing about. Anyway, what happens from what I’ve been told is that folks get on meds, and then they feel better and decide to get off meds – and yeah, things don’t work out so well, especially for folks around them. I’d assume that there are Clubs for such recovering scenarios in your country? I do wonder how the opioid crisis is going in your country what with the sudden spike in unemployment? I read an article written by a veteran crime writer in the newspaper late this afternoon, who was pointing out the economic difficulties facing outlaw motorcycle gangs due to current circumstances. No doubt the groups will be transitioning to guns as a source of income.

    Hey, those French riots weren’t lost on me either. Dunno about your part of the world, but it has been many years since there was a riot down under. The mass media can stir up fear buttons, even when there is naught to fear. 2005 Cronulla riots. And some folks are just looking for catharsis. In WWII I’ve read that there were mass fights in Australian cities between US and Australian troops. I don’t particularly care about such things, but when I read a story of someone who was caught in the middle of one I did wonder why I’d never encountered such history before.

    We’re all doing pretty well if we can but take a moment to consider the historic parallels. Unfortunately history is seldom taught these days. Decline is not all that bad – at least we don’t have to deal with the spectre of the Senecca’s getting involved in our business!

    Oh, never thought about smooshing a bottle of bubbly on the solar power project steel. Seems like a waste of a not very nice tasting drink. When I was very young I had an awful experience at a Chicken and Champagne breakfast. That was in my first adult job, and mate it was a messy day. Who drinks champagne before breakfast, and then leaves a young fool such as myself to look after the bar? So many questions, so much headache, and way so much that I don’t remember. You may understand my misfortune. Work was very different before the ‘recession that we had to have’ in the early 1990’s.

    No snow here, but I reckon way up in the high alpine passes in other parts of the state snow fell today. Mate, the wind has howled and the rain fell in waves – sometimes quite heavily. It is only 41’F outside right now, but toasty warm inside the house.

    Scored a half dozen pack of quality hot cross buns, and they remind me how much I like this time of year – for the excellent bakery goods of course. People can have their Easter chocolate, and that’s cool, but the search for quality hot cross buns is a real thing. I must add that from a logistical point of view, the search has been made that much harder now that we appear to live in a police state.

    Fortunately I’m not living in the state to the north of here (New South Wales). Other states are making a laughing stock of them: Western Australian Premier cracks up explaining it’s not unlawful to get a kebab – ABC News. There have long been dark mutterings that something is going on with the constabulary in NSW. At some recent music festivals (fat chance of them happening now) some minors were apparently strip searched by the police and found not in possession. Hmm. It doesn’t look good no matter how it is talked up.

    It would be nice to think that that was the case, but deep down I’m not so sure. All the same it is possible, but whatever the case, one must never look a gift horse in the mouth. Added a huge load of coffee grounds to the steaming pile of organic matter today. Tomorrow I’ll chuck on lots of compost – and then just let nature do its thing for a few weeks. Towards the end of April I’ll begin giving all of the fruit trees a good feed.

    Last year was the first year that the fruit trees were fertilised in Autumn, and they really grew a lot – even during the winter period when they were deciduous.

    Damo raised an important question with me, and I have no answer, so I’ll chuck it out to you: Do you reckon all the people hoarding flour know what to do with the stuff? Dunno.

    Hey, that is the advice for folks in your age bracket down here too. Stay safe.

    That’s the thing isn’t it? For so many millennia folks have thought of diseases as being an indicator of moral standing, that even now they occasionally lose sight of them being just diseases were you can get unlucky. Our media is reporting that some of your big churches are apparently taunting followers into large get togethers for Easter. Not sure that is going to end so well for them. I for one wouldn’t want to end up in your medical system – that lot know what a proper bill looks like! Still, from a historical perspective we’re not anywhere near the mortality rates of say the bubonic plague. The variety of that little nasty which caused haemorrhagic fever was right up there in terms of mortality rates (almost 100%) – you don’t want that one.

    But you’re right.

    A very nice thought and act. We’ve discussed this before, it’s the little things in life… 🙂

    Churches are locked down here. I went past the local church this morning and services have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. Heck Anzac day celebrations were cancelled. Read the newspaper today and talk is that this will go on for months and months. State borders have been closed which is almost unheard of. It’s quiet down here. Must add that I’m enjoying the absence of aircraft flying over the mountain range. Good riddance to them.

    I’m kind of enjoying the slower pace of life, however I can’t shake the feeling that we are in the early days of the Great Depression Mark II.



  68. Hi DJ,

    It is funny you mention the pines, but many years ago I used to enjoy watching the nerds in the TV show: CSI Las Vegas. Takes one to know one I reckon! Anyway, despite the area depicted in the show looking like a truly horrid place to live due to it being desert and all that, there were parts of the area at higher altitudes that had pine forests. Proving that pines are very hardy trees, but somewhat fire prone.

    You almost write about the place as if you spent slightly longer there than a day tour! 😉

    As a comparison, I have never visited an entirely deciduous forest environment and am used to living in areas that support evergreen forests. Even the coldest and most exposed parts of this mountain range (and the rest of the state) have snow gum trees growing on them. Mate, those trees are hardy as and can survive abominable conditions. A few years back I saw a Koala Bear munching on the leaves of such a tree.

    Hehe! I can see that, and three deer in the woods would be far more interesting than doctrine in the hand. 😉

    Hey, it is a strategy that works, and is surprisingly adaptable to the current conditions that we find ourselves in. Most people fixate on the income side of the story and ignore managing the expenses. I’ll bet there’ll be plenty of households worrying themselves sick right now about expenses. It takes a lot of practice to learn to live on the cheap, and also a lot of giving up on status. Few make the choice willingly, plenty will get there kicking and screaming all the way.

    Scored almost 15 cubic metres of chipped up organic matter from the power company. What a score at this time! Today I chucked on a huge load of coffee grounds (another waste product according to our society) and tomorrow I’ll chuck on a good supply of compost. Certainly such a heady mixture of organic matter will get the fruit trees in the orchard growing. I do hope the photos do the sheer size of the pile justice?

    Yeah, with more time on their hands – and sometimes nothing better to do – people are more chatty. For an introvert with a side serving of chattiness like myself, I couldn’t ask for better. We’re going backwards in time though, and honestly I have no dramas with that. The increased social benefits are good gains as far as I’m concerned and the future needn’t look like the worst of the past.

    Really hope we’re both wrong on that weather pattern prediction. Last summer was cold and then crazy hot and dry with epic fires. Then it got suddenly cold again. Without doubt it was the shortest growing season that I can recall. Outside today it looks like the farm is in the grip of winter. It is 4’C outside right now and snow is falling in the higher parts of the state (almost three times higher above sea level than where I am). Brr! Yeah, you don’t really want that sort of a growing season.



  69. Chris:

    It IS cross bun season; good for you to still be able to get some.

    I can’t wait to see your mulch mountain.

    My son is busy working on his second hand tiller AKA rotary cultivator (I saw saw that on the Good Life).

    I do feel extremely lucky that we are in the early growing season, and that we already had seeds, etc.


  70. Hello again
    I am just so lucky. Glorious sunny day. Washing drying outside. Am just in after planting spinach and clearing up around.
    Gave up lending books a long time ago, though I often give them away.


  71. @Lew

    Why yes I can do the Limbo and can still get quite low. Of course being only 5 ft tall helps.


    I just ordered Wingspan for my daughter and her family. One of my granddaughters is a bird enthusiast so she in particular will really enjoy it. I don’t think it’ll ship too fast but will still get there before we’re set free I think. Thanks!!

    @Pam and Claire
    I too, have lost many a loaned book. The only time I loan one now is if I don’t need it back. Well I guess that’s not a loan but rather a gift.


  72. Hi Chris,
    Mostly good weather lately so much to do. With any luck I’ll get all the cool season planting done by early next week.

    You asked about why my sister was so private and I can’t say I know for sure. She was, however, quite a suspicious person somewhat fueled by a couple of incidents. Her husband recently told me he was doing something she would totally disapprove of – using Turbo tax to do his taxes. She would take a week off work to do her taxes each year and would never take my advice that perhaps a tax accountant could do them so she wasn’t using her vacation time – but no that suggestion was always shut down.

    I had to laugh about your long chats. Doug is a very social guy and he’ll often tell me he’s heading off into town to get something saying he’ll return in an hour and to myself I say, “That’ll be three hours.” and I’m usually correct. I’ve been finding myself on very long phone calls and the daily Zoom meetings are now reaching 1 1/2 hours though I often check out sooner.

    One disturbing thing – all the guns and ammo around here have been sold out.

    Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot is one touch cookie and along with our governor is doing quite a good job handing our current situation. She is not happy when people crowd the beach paths and parks and has shut them down. Her firm stance has produced many funny memes and here’s a sample. https://www.timeout.com/chicago/news/hilarious-memes-of-mayor-lori-lightfoot-protecting-chicago-are-exactly-what-we-need-right-now-033120

    I might add she is only 5 ft tall like me. More power to the little people!!


  73. Yo, Chris – Interesting article on your welfare system. Yeah, ours is pretty complicated and Byzantine, too. Anyone who thinks people “on the dole” don’t work hard, for a very small amount, are … mistaken. I forget the when and why, but somewhere along the way I was on unemployment for a couple of weeks. The paperwork! Dealing with wonky computer systems! And I had to attend a very lame seminar on writing a resume.

    Quit a bit of the time, friends or family members can help a person navigate through the systems. I used to overhear quit a bit of information swapping, at the Club. Alternet (.org) had an interesting article, yesterday. Someone floated the idea that the well off are opposed to things like better health care, food and shelter for “those people”, as it gives “those people” access to some of the perks, the well off have.. that they don’t want to share. Besides, if everyone has access to those things, it makes them less “special.” Interesting.

    All the way back to at least Victorian times, there was this idea of the “deserving poor”, and all the rest. Now, who decided who was deserving, and who wasn’t? Then there’s the idea that there’s a lot of grift. In depth studies has shown that there’s very little. And, now days, investigation is getting pretty simple. Some guy claims he’s on disability, because of a bad back. Then posts pictures to his Facebook account of his latest sky diving adventure.

    Off your meds, on your meds. I was thinking more of prescription drugs. The number of people in this country that are on some kind of mood elevating, anti-depression or anxiety drug, is horrendous. I may (or may not) have mentioned a Christmas party I went to, at one of the libraries I worked in. For staff and their significant others. The conversation somehow got around to who was on what. I was gob snacked. I was about the only one there, who wasn’t on some kind of prescribed medication for not physical things, like diabetes, but head stuff. I was going to say I didn’t know many people that weren’t on something, but I have to reconsider that. Anyone who’s deep in a recovery program is VERY careful about medications. They keep their doctors informed, and work out some program of say, pain management, before hand. Eleanor has some kind of anxiety medication, on hand, but she’s VERY judicious in it’s use. It’s not an everyday thing, and, usually, a half tab. Living here at the Institution, she needs it.

    Oh, there’s been some real dust ups (riots) between white supremacists (of all stripes) and anti-fascists (of all strips). Trump supporters, not anti-Trump groups. Not that those two groups are the same, but there’s overlap. Some of the gun rights rallies, have gotten pretty tense. And then there’s the occasional race riot, triggered (or not) by some gratuitous display of police power. Plenty of marches and demonstrations that could degenerate into riots, but don’t. The potential is always there.

    Well, if you’ve been gifted with a bottle of “not nice tasting” champagne, no better use than to launch something with it.

    We had another frost, last night. But, I think that’s it, for awhile. Might have been the last one. Maybe.

    If you can still find hot cross buns, than all’s still right with the world. Did you have to know a guy? Was it a back alley deal? Is there a black market in buns? 🙂 .

    Just make sure your compost heap doesn’t heat up and catch fire. Nothing to spread around, but ash. Though that’s also useful.

    Oh, I’m sure some of that flour will get used. I’m sure a few people have basic cook books, kicking around, gathering dust. And, there’s sure enough information on the internet. People have time on their hands, and, may get a bit nostalgic. There’s always family members, to ask. NPR had an article on what’s selling, now. Yeast sales are up, 400+ percent. There was also an article on how chick raising companies are overwhelmed with demand. There was a bit of good advice, but I thought, made it sound all to easy.

    So many articles to link to. Decisions, decisions. So, I decidded on this one, that has to do with agriculture.


    I hadn’t thought of that angle. Farmers have lost all their biggest accounts. Schools, restaurants, etc.. A lot is being plowed under. Some is making it to food banks.

    Hmmm. The whole churches boondoggle. I had the though the other day that if this ever ends. there will be a lot fewer religious around. Or, maybe they’ll be some kind of crazy religious revival? Some will lose faith, some will gain faith, but how the numbers will shake out is anyone’s guess. Next time Mr. Greer has an open post, I might ask what he thinks of all that. I think he’s made some guesses, before, but I don’t remember what he said.

    I was dinking around the apartment, yesterday, not thinking about anything in particular, when I just had a moment where the whole thing just seemed to … I don’t know. A “moment of clarity?” I don’t know quit how to describe it. The closest I can come is, “This whole thing is extraordinary.” A sense of differentness? Maybe things will become clearer, in time. Or, not. Lew

  74. Hi Marg,

    I hope your family enjoys Wingspan. Mrs Damo and I must have played it over 30 times already in the past 6 weeks (yeah – nearly every day). Before the lockdown, I bought the European Expansion as well 🙂 I am looking forward to the Australian expansion later this year. I expect there will be lots of parrots!

    One thing I really appreciated, inside the box is a small, separate deck of bird cards and a step-by-step quick start guide for new players, which tells you exactly what to do for the first 4 rounds. A life saver if you have a mixed group of new and experienced players, so everyone gets a good game on the first go.


  75. Hi Chris,

    Update on flour, Mrs Damo and I now have obtained several 2kg bags. We are sorted for a few weeks! One of the local supermarkets had completely run out of pre-packaged flour, but was selling 2kg plastic bags with a barcode taped on. I guess the flour is from their bakery department. I heard on the news that flour suppliers have plenty of flour, but the bottleneck is a supply of packaging.

    Mrs Damo and I ventured out today for the groceries. The roads are empty, most supermarkets have a line out in the carpark. But the next suburb over was OK, so we went there. A guard waved people in one at a time and all the cashiers have plexiglass barriers up now. All a bit surreal. How much of these changes will remain in place after the crisis passes? I suspect mobile phone tracking and government backstops for big business. Maybe some form of income support and price controls as well.

    I don’t have any advice on webcams, except, that they are in short supply! I never had to buy a webcam as my laptop as always had one. Perhaps some sort of stand could be made for your phone?

    The go-kart story does you credit! Rough and tumble racing sorts the boys from the small, fluffy creatures from alpha centauri!


  76. Hi Chris
    I took a day to work on My federal taxes, Even though the due date has been moved, I have used Turbo Tax for the past twelve years and been pleased with it. My taxes are pretty easy with few changes year to year. However I have 14 assorted 1099 forms ( non wage income streams). Fortunately, the software carry’s forward all the info to the present version so all I have to do is enter the money amounts from each form. Usually takes me a couple of hours to complete. One bad exception. An inherited individual retirement account.( we have had for 2 Years) The company issues an 18 page report with all the portfolio and transaction info for the year end, last year I was able to get a user name and password that allowed me to connect to the plan company then have all that stuff on the 18 page report directly into Turbo Tax. This year the plan required a new user name and new password, Then Intuit (turbo tax parent) required a additional registration for their security. Directed me to use the same personal info that I used on last years version. They rejected that. So I dropped that effort and picked my way through the multi page thing and made the best effort. Then moved on and finished up. That took up about 6 hours. So I’ll make another stab at that entry another day. Increased Security has its price.
    Looking forward to next weeks entry!

  77. Hi Pam,

    Yummo! These hot cross buns (I noticed you dropped the ‘hot’ preface word, so is that a thing up your way?) have a partial sour dough mixture and they’re so good. It is the little things nowadays that we have to appreciate.

    The mulch mountain – It’s big. Biggerer than Ollie!

    Out of curiosity (and yes, I likewise recall them using a rotary tiller in the back yard) is it hand powered or engine powered?

    Yup, you are very lucky to be in that stage of the growing season. Winter looks as though it has come early this year. Fingers crossed that we get some sun and the winter vegetable seeds germinate.



  78. Hi Inge,

    Lovely to hear about your weather – and dunno about you, but for many years I’ve just focused on enjoying the little things in life. Seems like a good option nowadays.

    Hope you garden is growing in the sunshine. 🙂

    Me too with the books. They’re often not returned and so they become gifts by default. Although I rarely loan anything out nowadays. People, I’ve noted, can be very free and easy with other peoples stuff. And money loans can bring out the best and worst in people – much like weddings and funerals do. I now offer people a bit of advice when confronted by requests for loans: Friends are hard to come by, I don’t want to put you to the test. Blunt, but effective! 😉



  79. Hi Margaret,

    Good for you with the nice weather. A pleasant growing season is a thing of beauty to behold.

    The weather has turned sharply towards winter over the past few days. Brr! The wood heater was ignited late this afternoon, and there was zero chance of working outside (by choice) in the driving rain and squally winds.

    I know not what is this thing Turbo Tax, and I sort of feel that my life will be complete without knowing about it. 🙂 The tax system down here already fills too much of my poor overloaded brain. A week seems like an extraordinary amount of time to spend on an individuals finances. Even the most complicated and byzantine situation I’ve encountered would not take a week of my time. Probably best if she follows your advice.

    On the other hand, some folks love delving into the minutiae, so the journey for them is more important than the outcome. For all we know, it might be your sister’s idea of an ideal holiday?

    Doug’s alright by me! Hehe! I tell you what though, at the start of the journey I picked up a coffee (woe is me for it was a take away, and I abhor the waste and burnt the cup as an offering to the plastic waste Gods) and by the time I got home I kind of needed to go to the bathroom sort of really badly. The journey took far longer than I’d expected by a significant margin! 🙂

    Well, restrictions on guns and ammo have been put in place down here. Unfortunately this will provide a ready source of income for less inhibited folks.

    Good to hear, but have your authorities fined a person sitting by themselves in a park eating a kebab a $1,000? Most things can be taken too far.

    You go girl! The editor is only a few inches taller than your good self.



  80. Hi Lewis,

    The young lady in the article has clearly been through a raw deal and just wants to get on with her life as best as she can. Interestingly, the young lady in the article is reflecting what I have observed in other people, and it is that those who have previously experienced hard times are much better prepared and better able to deal with the situation that we now all find ourselves in. There really is something in that story.

    Byzantine is a policy choice, it needn’t be that way. Down here, so many folks hit that system in the past few weeks that the gubamernt had to set up a system so that small and medium businesses shared the costs of administering the welfare system. Bonkers stuff, but it is happening.

    Interestingly I encountered a US resume recently and it is a very concise and homogenised document. It was very dull to read.

    Yup, that’s possible about folks not wanting to lose privileges by sharing them. It is an ugly story, but there is also a grain of truth in there.

    You know, the story about the deserving poor reminds me about the potatoes. A mate of mine has Irish ancestry and unwittingly I once mentioned that it probably wasn’t such a wise idea historically for the Irish to plant only two varieties of potatoes and then for the population to expand and in many cases rely on those plants for 90% of their calories. Mate, I tell you I thought they got so angry that we were about to get into a punch up. Don’t mention the potatoes is the watchword nowadays. So many civilisations over shoot their resources bases that it is a very old story and it reoccurs with alarming frequency. We just pretend that it ain’t so, and that includes everyone because privilege relies on being able to enforce those privileges, so when things are in decline, stories get made up like: The deserving poor; or don’t mention the potatoes…

    Insurance companies down here employ folks to observe the living situations of claimants. Consistency carries the day, but few can manage that. Hey, it reminds me of the three month rule: New housemates cannot hide their underlying personalities beyond a period of three months! Surely you have noticed such a pattern? The investigation stuff would make for a cushy job.

    It’s not good that situation with the meds. And it is not playing out so well right now. It is equally true down here, and I occasionally hear all sorts of strange stories. Honestly I feel that folks want pills to absolve them of their lifestyle choices. Having just written that, there are some folks that genuinely need assistance, so it is complicated. At the core of the matter is that the health system treats symptoms and few people care for a holistic approach that involves real change. Change is hard for people to adapt to.

    Catharsis is what they seek. And also possibly a reallocation of blame away from themselves. I wish it were not so.

    Hey, I spotted the first frost in the valley below a few days ago. Fortunately I keep a camera not too far away and so captured the image.

    Got my lost hour back last night. Where’s my interest though for loaning the hour out? Not fair. Adapted to the new regime without skipping a beat. Sleeping in is not a hardship. 🙂

    Funnily enough I do have to ‘know a guy’ to obtain the half dozen hot cross buns, and it also involved being in the right place at the right time. Last week I missed that part of the story, and the loss was all mine to bear. It may surprise you, but I spend a lot of effort building and maintaining relationships, even with folks who find me to be more quirky than they’d usually deal to. In these times social capital is important, and being recognised as a bit quirky but otherwise OK is a benefit. Too many folks have spent too long stamping their feet, throwing their weight around, whining and generally demanding without reciprocating. It won’t do them any good you know.

    Hehe! Yah, that would be a problem if the whole thing caught fire. I didn’t get to chuck the compost onto it today and so will try again tomorrow. The weather was feral outside today.

    I hope folks do get to use the flour that they’re hoarding. I see Damo mentions his escapades with the stuff! He needs to get to know ‘a guy’, but given he scored some maybe he doesn’t. I’m scratching around for rolled oats (quality ones not the awful supermarket variety) and fortunately in this case I know ‘a gal’ and so fingers crossed. 🙂

    Thanks for the article. Oh my! If you step back from the story and look at the big picture, it represents part of the seizing up of the money system in our society. This has all happened before in 1929. The farmers need to get to know a ‘guy or gal’ and the purchasers need to get to know a ‘guy or gal’. But can they do that in time?

    Well yeah, the big church get togethers are probably not a good idea for the older and/or members with underlying health concerns. I would have thought that their business model would have been hurt by such a move?

    Maybe? Clarity is a scary thing. Surely DJ can remind us all of the punishment that is the Total Perspective Vortex? Nobody wants that, but yes I agree the times are extraordinary.



  81. Hi Damo,

    Good stuff you scored the flour, and I too hope that the folks hoarding the stuff know what to do with it. Who knows, they might learn cooking stuff? A lot of markets and places I get to shop at sell in bulk and so I generally take my own containers or end up with huge bulk bags. Some of those bulk bags are zip locked and so are really amazing quality and are retained for other uses.

    I dunno, there was a dark report a few years ago suggesting that many ‘freshly baked’ products were in fact freshly baked, but the dough was mixed up and then frozen in some European country with tidy tax breaks often up to half a year beforehand. Not a fan of such practices.

    It is possible about the packaging and I’ve read of supply shortages in the building trades. Interesting times. And mate, I ain’t going out of my way to test supply lines.

    Wow! As a contrast the supermarkets appear to have returned to a calmer phase reminiscent, but not quite the same as beforehand. I have a suspicion that many folks have maxed out their credit cards and may also have spouses cracking the sads about the sheer quantity of toilet paper they have to pay for with little . The toilet paper situation is very odd. It looks like a ritual designed to keep the cooties at bay.

    Talk is over here that this will go on for at least six months. Ah, a new normal.

    Might try the laptop next time as it has a webcam – which I’ve never used. Zurm has security holes – which is to be expected!

    Hehe! Thanks. Not my finest hour, but what the heck the race needed winning. 🙂 I actually have a serious soft spot for go-karting, not sure why.



  82. Hi Al,

    The second mention of Turbo Tax in one day. There is definitely something in the water there.

    As to your obscure 18 page report, well I have noticed an odd trend that may not be entirely true in your country, but the more obscure a report is – the more bodies that are being hidden therein.

    The other week I read one such report which did not indicate how many units were held, how much they were worth, and it also had something called a tax deferred amount. Now in plainer language that can mean return of capital. Capital is sometimes returned because the returns otherwise would look not so good.



  83. Chris:

    The Governor of the great state of Colorado has very strongly advised that all citizens going out in public wear masks. There are no masks to be had, so my parents, who are 81 and 82, have decided to get into the spirit of the thing and my dad dug up two bandanas that he keeps for gardening, which they are wearing over their noses and mouths. They are not worried at all about catching the virus; as they say – you’ve got to go sometime – but they figure it will reassure other people.

    All I can see in my mind now is a pair of over-the-hill banditos. I’m still laughing.


  84. Chris:

    I accidentally left the “hot” out. Horrors – that would make them cold cross buns.

    My son’s tiller is gas-powered.


  85. Yo, Chris – Saw an article on housemates, “in these times.” You have a clutch of housemates, that you’ve picked up off of Criagslist, and don’t know, very well. So, besides all the ups and downs of that, you throw a pandemic in the mix. Every one seems to have a different level of comfort with how serious to take things. When one wants to go out and party, until the last possible minute, when things slam shut, to, how do you social distance in cramped quarters?

    I’d say, three months or less for people to reveal their true colors. Same applies to hiring people. You can interview and check references until the cows come home, but you never really know what they’re going to be like til they’re on the job.

    The holistic approach can be very useful for every thing from heat disease, to diabetes to fallen arches. Usually, it takes a glimpse of the grim reaper, to get people focused. And, sometimes by then, it’s too late. Or not even that gives pause for a reassessment. There’s an old recovery saw about what you have to do to be successful. “What do you have to change? Everything.”

    I don’t think we had a frost, last night. So, maybe the one the night before was our “last” frost of the year? Maybe. I’m glad our lost hour made it to Australia safely. Treat it gently. We may (or may not) want it back in our fall.

    Those demanding folks may not get much help, now that they need it. Make choices, live with the consequences. Good or bad. Reap what you sow. What goes around, comes around, etc. etc..

    One of my regrets is that I didn’t get it together and buy a 25 pound sack of Bob’s Red Mill oats. I can only attribute my sloth to navigating getting food grade buckets, desiccant packs (though you can make those), and clearing space to store the buckets. But, I do have 12+ pounds tucked away, and usually only use 1 cup plus, every 3 days. So I should be ok, for awhile. If I really wanted to strain my brain with maths, I could probably figure out about how long it will last.

    Well, I had my belated recovery birthday, last night. Made up the pigs in a blanket. The dough is very stretchy, so you don’t get anywhere near the nice neat little equalateral (sp?) triangle. But, no worries. Just tuck up all the loose ends around the sausage and cheese. Hmmm. Can’t say it was a stellar culinary experience. Somehow, instead of different high notes of ingredients, it was kind of a monotone. Other than a bit of horseradish, on top.

    My movie pick was also kind of a disappointment. Years ago, I saw “The Fifth Gate” with Johnny Depp. He plays a rather underhanded rare book dealer, who’s working for a client, who wants to assemble a medieval book that will open the gates of hell. I remembered it as confusing, and thought a second viewing might bring a bit of clarity. Well, actually, it makes perfect sense, and is a ripping good yarn .. until the last 10 seconds. And then what? I guess it’s from a book, so, maybe there might be some clarity, there. Oh, well. Like gardening and baseball, there’s always next year. Lew

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