Sick Fest 2017

The day started off like any other normal day. Other people seem to enjoy early mornings, alas I am not one of them. Ordinarily when the world is not going mad, or I’m feeling distressed about having to get a dog put down, I generally sleep well and deeply. And that was the case back on that fateful day in 2017.

The alarm went off in those early hours warning me to get my act together and get into life. For some reason dogs seem excited about greeting the new mornings, and that’s nice for them. Most probably it has something to do with their breakfast. Bounce, bounce, bounce with much excited barking. Yes, I hear you guys, go on, get outside and get out of the kitchen.

Dunno where it began, but of late when instructing the dogs, I’ve begun calling the kitchen by the name: The food pit. If you were around here of a morning, you’d hear me calling: Go on! Get in the food pit! And the dogs race into the kitchen in anticipation of their breakfast.

The dogs wait patiently (or impatiently depending on their personality), for their breakfast because I refuse to deal with them before a hit of caffeine makes its way into my blood stream. The world is rarely in focus before that enjoyable moment. Then the dogs get fed.

Breakfast also gets made. Most of the year there is some fruit on the trees in the orchard. Winter is a nice time for citrus and bottled preserves, summer however produces diverse bounty. The time of this particular story was early winter, when frosty mornings occasionally ruled the world – or at least as far as the eye could see. Breakfast at that time of year involves homemade toasted muesli, homemade yoghurt, fresh citrus, bottled fruit and bananas (which are miraculously brought down here to this frosty locale, from the tropics up north).

Lunches are also packed at that time for an exciting day in the big smoke. Lunches are usually rice, vegetables, and plentiful greens and herbs from the garden. Plus each day a small loaf of fresh bread is made and baked, and the loaf is just big enough to squeeze a few slices into the lunch box. The chickens enjoy a few slices of bread too.

Speaking of the chickens, they also have to be fed, and have their bedding and water cleaned. There’s a lot to do in a morning, but eventually it all gets done and if need be, we head into the big smoke to sail the wide accountant-seas.

Of course on the way in, it is best to stop off at a cafe. One coffee is good, two is better. Plus the cafe in question supplies the nicest muffins around. Sometimes however, there are no muffins, and woe is me, the day takes a dark turn. Still, resilience requires occasionally missing out on a muffin, and there are people around who would suggest that this loss builds character. They may be right about that, but a quality muffin up my guts would be better.

The cafe keeps all of their used coffee grounds for me, and it is not unusual for the back of the small dirt mouse Suzuki to be weighted down by a substantial quantity of coffee grounds. If you take but a moment to consider the minerals in the coffee grounds, it might astound you to realise that some farmer in some remote north-eastern locale on this continent, or some impoverished tropical locale in a far distant country, is having their soil minerals end up on this farm. And that is but one cafe in the big smoke, most of them usually have to pay to send their used coffee grounds to landfill.

It’s an old story though. When the Europeans first arrived down under, they enjoyed the benefits of millennia of land management practices which worked to improve the fertility of the old soils. Our ancestors squandered the soil fertility growing sheep and exporting the fleece and meat products to markets in the United Kingdom. It took a few decades to squander the natural riches, and in the process a lot of people got mega rich. However, unfortunately the soil got poor.

After the second coffee I head off to do some work. Work that day was in a cool and largely un-gentrified part of town. Beautiful old solid brick wool store buildings were being converted into rough and ready office space. As a person who appreciates old school construction techniques, the little careful details that the old timer carpenters employed were a source of fascination. The place had a good vibe.

Mucking around is for other people, and with breakfast and two coffees in my guts, once at work I hit the ground running. Greetings are mandatory and people expect such things, but in small business they also expect you to work.

Looking over at the young lady at the desk next to me (I’d known her for a few years) I inquired in a gentlemanly way as to her health: “You look sick!”

“I feel like my throat is full of razor blades” came the reply.

“Go home, you shouldn’t be here!” was the admonishment.

However, control of the situation was not mine, and alas for me, the young lady did not go home. Snuffle, snuffle. Cough, Cough. Sneeze, Sneeze. A lot of that went on during the day. It was a long day.

Maybe a day or two later it became clear exactly what was meant by: “A throat full of razor blades”. Then the wooziness and headaches hit. Before I knew what was happening, my desire for coffee had gone, and it was all a person could do to lie on the couch under a blanket shivering from fever in a fog of sleep and half sleep. The dogs kept me company during those long days. The blog comments were on hiatus during that time.

Slowly I recovered, it took several weeks to fully recover as fluid had settled in the lungs and I was short of breath. As I began to recover, the editor went down like a sack of spuds, with the same influenza virus. Maybe five weeks later, the house began to return to a sort of normality.

That was no common cold, and every year since then, the editor and I line up gratefully for the influenza vaccination. Turns out that year that in Australia, 1,255 deaths occurred due to influenza, recording a standardised death rate of 3.9 per 100,000 persons (according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics). I believe that worldwide that year, there were approximately 1.6 million deaths due to the influenza virus. It was a nasty virus. And nobody blinked an eye lid at the deaths, there was certainly no panic in the streets. Hmm. There must be something in the water these days.

Earlier in the week the weather was superb, but that rapidly changed and the latter half of the week was feral. It was as if autumn had left the building, and the ghost of winter visited, if only just to remind us all who the real boss is.

The first frost of the year settled in the valley below the farm
How’s this for thick clouds descending over the mountain range. It was a big storm
By Sunday, the sun had begun poking its nose through the thick clouds

The rainbow even landed in the shady orchard. Try as I might, there were no pots of gold to be discovered in the shady orchard.

A rainbow landed in the shady orchard

The upgrade to the solar power system is now complete. The excess aluminium was trimmed off the structure if only because it looks neater.

The excess aluminium on the new solar power upgrade project was trimmed for neatness

Several hours of wiring in the intermittent rain meant that all 18 solar panels are now connected up to the house batteries. The project began due to a chance conversation with a bloke in a pub. It is a shame that the pubs are now closed…. What great conversations are not taking place?

The wiring on the solar power upgrade project was completed

The power company spent about half a week clearing the trees away from the electricity lines in the area. They had their work cut out for them as the job hadn’t been done in any meaningful sense for as long as I can recall. And they left us with an epic pile of chipped up organic matter. If anyone had set out to give me a better present, they’d be hard pressed to beat that gift. The pile is enormous and will supply fertility for the several hundred fruit trees in the two orchards.

The underside of the epic pile of chipped up organic matter
The upper side of the epic pile of chipped up organic matter

A huge load of coffee grounds has already been added to the pile, and tomorrow (if the weather holds) I’ll add half a trailer load of compost onto the pile. The organic matter is full of water from the heavy rains and is happily steaming away.

Two huge old rhubarb plants were moved this week. Rhubarb is a plant that copes well with being transplanted.

Two huge old rhubarb plants were moved to a new location

The rhubarb plants were too close to the editors new succulent terraced garden. So, whilst the power company was working up on the road, we worked on the succulent terraced garden. The yellow powered wheelbarrow moved several large rocks back up the hill for the rock walls.

Five large rocks were brought back up the hill using the powered wheelbarrow

There are now five rows of rocks in the succulent terrace garden. The fifth and highest row is a bit hard to see in the next photo.

The fifth and highest terrace in the new succulent terraced garden has begun

Several demijohns of Rhubarb wine were made this week:

Several demijohns of rhubarb wine were made this week

Given the short supply of seeds in developed nations (running out of seeds is hardly what I’d describe as being developed), we’ve continued along with our seed saving processes:

Seed saving activities continue – it’s not a difficult process

One particularly cold and wet day, Scritchy the elder had not got out of her beanbag for a few hours. I was beginning to wonder if she’d died, but no. She was rather angry that I disturbed her slumber, but also somewhat grateful that I carried her outside to go to the toilet. She ain’t heavy, she’s my Scritchy.

Scritchy – not dead, but sound asleep on a cold Autumn day

The Currawongs have a beautiful and haunting bird call, and they are one smart bird. Of late they have been enjoying the plentiful harvest of Elderberries. I do discover Elderberry plants growing in strange locations. The birds don’t mind.

A Currawong consumes the plentiful Elderberries

Despite the colder weather there is still produce coming out of the garden. One of my favourites are the Chilean Guava’s, because when they are ripe they taste exactly like lemonade. Picking the tiny fruit is time consuming so you’ll probably never see them in the shops, and that is a loss.

Chilean guavas are now ripe and very tasty

The blackberry canes are continuing to produce berries, but at a much slower rate than a few weeks ago.

Blackberries are continuing to ripen

There are a lot of kiwi fruit on the vines, and whilst we grew the vines, we have no idea about harvesting and storing the fruit.

Kiwi fruit hang off the vines. I have no idea when to harvest and how to store the fruit

The zucchini (courgette) beds were cleared, and a lot of monster fruits were discovered. We use the zucchini in our dog food right throughout winter. This variety stores well (except for the one or two fruits that split due to the heavy rain). Those fruits will be used sooner rather than later.

Huge zucchini (courgette) fruit provide plenty of fill for the dog food

Onto the flowers:

Feverfew, one of the many herbs growing and naturalised in the garden
Pineapple sage is a super hardy and beautiful plant
Daisies grow really well in this climate
This creeping rose is a stunner

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 8’C (46’F). So far this year there has been 370.0mm (14.6 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 287.6mm (11.3 inches).

74 thoughts on “Sick Fest 2017”

  1. Hi Pam,

    Nobody really wants a cold cross bun! Hehe! Don’t laugh but it had been so long since I’d toasted anything in the electric oven, I had to muck around with the toasting settings. Nobody wants a burnt cross bun either.

    Thanks for that, and they’re an interesting machine. Very useful. The talk here is of establishing a larger enclosure for grains, but we’ll see how that goes.

    Life is a crap shoot, and none of us know our final hour. Dunno about you, but I worry less about the final curtain call, and far more about forgetting to live whilst we’re alive.



  2. Hi Lewis,

    Most days I listen to the national youth music radio station, and I suspect that it might not be to your taste. However, the conundrum of house mates has been an unusual and interesting discussion that has been going around and around for a few weeks. Recently the police union spokesperson came out and said something along the lines of: “We don’t want to get between lovers”. A nice way of suggesting that domestic arrangements can be complicated.

    There is a bit of despair in the community right now, and at times it is hard for me to shake the feeling that there is a canny old horse breaker out there who is dealing with a rambunctious wild mare who just wants what she wants. Society is bizarrely going through that breaking process, so that it might come out the other side poorer, but far less expectational and far less obstreperous. Certainly there is a lot of changing of consciousness going on right now. The well to do have unfortunately not got the memo and are making themselves easy targets. An unwise strategy in these times. Plus it is wise to have “a story” ready to hand, as things have gotten a bit strange.

    Speaking of cramped quarters, I see someone brought up the potato famine in Mr Greer’s fine blog. The sixth rule of fluffy is: Don’t mention the freakin’ potatoes! William Catton Jr wrote to the unfortunate ecological consequences of those people and days, but most folks hold the grudge from one generation to the next. And that ties in nicely with the first rule of fluffy which is: It’s not my fault, it’s yours. That particular rule doesn’t generally work so well.

    I’m so with you about the three month rule with hires. To this day I have not encountered anyone who could dissemble effectively in a workplace or house, for longer than that period of time. They give themselves away in all sorts of subtle ways.

    Another way of putting that story is that: People just want what they want. And a brush with the natty skinny bloke with the scythe and the going-out hoodie is enough to convince some folks of the errors of their ways. We’re going through that scenario as a society but on over-drive right now. Anyway, the question really becomes: Is it too late by that stage? Does AA have a perspective on that question? Wasn’t that awesome observation you mentioned also raised by the Greek Seer at Delphi? It’s good advice.

    Made the joke the other day that the patterns aren’t right, except the folks didn’t think that it was funny – no sense of humour these days as everyone seems pretty wound up. Anyway, it probably wasn’t funny because the patterns aren’t right. Anyway, enjoyed getting back the lost hour, and I note that you returned it in good condition. Respect. Hope we can do the same for you in several months time, and most likely we will. Maybe. Hehe!!!! What sort of circumstances would you consider being necessary that you wouldn’t desire getting your lost hour back? You are lucky that you are at the beginning of your growing season. The parrots recently dined upon the broad bean seeds. They got a lot of them, but not all of them fortunately.

    Well that is the thing with social credits – people have long memories. It was one of the little learning lessons that comes with living in a rural area. Yup, tread carefully in social circumstances as you never know when outrages will come back to bite you. Fortunately I am very gentle with other people, and have only made a few local enemies. For what it is worth those enemies are generally regarded as bad eggs and mostly they leave me well alone and push on to easier targets. I suspect they feel that I am bad news if provoked, certainly that was the intended impression.

    It ain’t just you with the rolled oats situation. I have a huge collection of organic oat seeds, but the steaming and rolling process is a bit beyond the average small holder. A year or two back I read a lot about grains and have settled on three: wheat; corn; and fat hen (which is like a quinoa but super hardy). I have a long established relationship with someone who can provide me with organic rolled oats in huge sacks, but until the oats are delivered…

    My math skills are probably less well developed than yours, and so in this awful situation the only sensible strategy becomes to look to your store of oats – and take a guess. As they used to say: Your guess is as good as mine. Oats are really handy grains and they get added to biscuits, dog food and toasted muesli (yummo!).

    Happy belated recovery birthday! 🙂 It is not just the pigs in a blanket that are a bit odd right now. That happens sometimes with recipes and you never know. I tell ya, I bought some milk the other day and I swear I could taste that palm oil had been added to it. It wasn’t the usual milk due to lack of availability… I turned it into yoghurt and fed the rest to the chickens. What is interesting is that the yoghurt tastes a bit like cottage cheese. It’s all a bit weird and hard to explain. Scored some sausage rolls in the local bakery the other day, and they were at least of a consistent excellence. I suspect that there is not much in the way of meat product in such foods, but cereals are OK by me.

    Hey, I’d intended to watch a film tonight, but had to work quite late, so ended up not having the desire to do so. It was the Seth Rogen film you mentioned last week with the great line: Stay in your lane. You intrigued me, and I’m a bit of a sucker for rom-coms.

    Listening to Bob Marley tonight. What an artist!



  3. Hello Chris
    That pile of stuff left for you by the power company is incredible! I had no idea that it was so huge.
    Weather is still glorious here which makes keeping people indoors difficult. It appears that everyone from the village is using our road for their one exercise out per day. Normally one wouldn’t see a soul. Poor Son is having to get up earlier and earlier to walk the dogs. I made other suggestions but was told that it is still too muddy for more private areas.
    I wish that I didn’t think that anarchy is just around the corner. Meanwhile there are not only no aeroplanes and helicopters overhead but also no boats on the Solent except I assume for the giant carriers. It is so wonderfully quiet.


  4. Yo, Chris – That was an interesting story about the flu visiting your house. I remember it well. The addition of the bit about land management, thrown in, adds depth, interest and color 🙂 .

    That’s quit a picture of the rainbow landing in your orchard. What? No gold!? I’d lodge a protest with the Little People. Your garden gnome is not on the job, and you might remind him he’s on a three month try out. On the other hand, don’t you get a kind of gold, out of your orchard? Value you can eat.

    I’m glad the solar upgrade is off your plate. Onto the mulch! That is an epic pile. And, a kind of gold. Gold in, gold out. You may have found the Philosopher’s Stone.

    I’m glad to here that rhubarb transplants, well. We have a venerable old patch here, at the Institution, that will have to move house, probably next year. Ollie looks very skeptical about the succulent terrace. As if he has reservations, but is too polite to mention them 🙂 .

    The colors of the rhubarb wine are a real knock out. And the glass in the window. And, it’s blue! The colors, the colors. Ooops. Flashback to the 60’s. The zucchini looks pretty formidable. You could do serious damage, swinging one of those around. And, more glass in the window. And, it’s blue!

    Why I couldn’t see the Currowong last night, but can today, I don’t know. Looked them up, last night. My, they have beady little eyes. I guess they come in black, piebald and gray. The gray one’s are the rarest. They eat baby snakes. According to what I read, magpies and carrowong’s have an uneasy truce. Mostly, the magpies stick to the ground, the the carrowongs, higher up. Cont.

  5. Cont. Here, if the police are called to a “domestic disturbance”, someone goes to jail. For at least the night. And not always the fellow, involved 🙂 .

    I saw a good example of people not always getting what they want, in our paper, yesterday. The County Council was really pushing the local Deputy Director of Health and Human Services to provide more details, of those who are infected. Which he is prevented from doing, do to federal patient privacy laws. The Council’s frustration dripped through the print. I hope the Deputy Director took some quiet pleasure in that. I would. They’re a pretty stodgy old bunch. But, he did come up with some statistics. While emphasizing that he’s dealing with a tiny sample. Just 400+ people have been tested, in the county. 2.6% have tested positive. Of those, 40% are, or were in, hospital. So, we’ve got 16 cases, and, our first death, today. Some old guy in his 80s, who had “underlying causes.” Yeah, his underlying cause was, he was old.

    Yeah, I saw that tempest in a tea pot over the Irish potato famine. I’d say someone is buckling under the stress of lockdown.

    People want what they want. Scott is still finding reasons to go out. He’s never too specific on what dire want, needed to be met. Pretty minor, I’d guess. My friends in Idaho are headed out to the next larger town, to hit the Dollar Store for Easter decor and supplies. Really? I hope I don’t get the last laugh, and if I do, it will be very bitter.

    Awesome observation? Which one? There are so many 🙂 . Animal, vegetable or mineral? Larger than a bread box, but smaller than an elephant?

    Yes, in times of crisis, how soon is too soon for humor? And old question that has puzzled comedians, down through the ages. Well, we’d like to stay on Daylight Savings Time, year around. On a State level. I believe it’s already passed our State Legislature. But, we have to go hat in hand to Congress, to get permission. And, as things are tense between our Democratic governor (any state Democratic governor, for that matter), it may be a problem. Maybe we should just do it, and ask permission, later?

    The return of the plague pits? I saw an article, today, that things are getting so bad in NY City, that they’re going to start burying people in the parks. As a “temporary” measure. In a respectful manner. Ten caskets to a trench. On the other hand, new infections seem to be peaking in Italy, and New York.

    You’ve mentioned (and I agree) to the value of quirk. Well, the Atlantic Magazine had an article on just that!

    There’s also a side bar article (right side) titled “American Weirdness” that’s also pretty interesting.

    I keep meaning to mention. I hope that parrot the Fluffy Collective did in, was not one of the $3,500 ones. More gold in them there hills. Lew

  6. @ Margaret (from last week) – I checked into the rules of the International Olympic Limbo Committee. Paragraph 42 addresses restrictions for the “vertically challenged.” (Defined elsewhere as anyone 5′ or under.” To level the playing field.
    a.) Vertically challenged (as defined elsewhere) women, shall be required to wear 4′ stiletto heels (any color.)
    b.) Vertically challenged (as defined elsewhere) men, shall be required to wear disco shoes (any color) with 4″ heels.
    c.) Those who do not identify with the evils of binary gender, are required to wear Birkenstocks (any color) with a 4′ heel.
    d.) Under no circumstances are such heels to be made of plastic, containing live goldfish.

    Seems pretty clear …. Lew

  7. Hi Chris,

    What an awesome pile of mulch. To paraphrase the great Jeff Goldblum from the original Jurassic Park when examining a giant pile of dino-poo, “that is one big pile of $#@”. Hmmm, a nearby dinosaur park supplying all your organic material needs would be pretty good!


  8. Chris,

    I remember CSI: Las Vegas well. It was mostly filmed in Hollywood and surrounding areas, and in dert areas near Los Angeles. I’ve been in and through Las Vegas several times. There are no trees of any kind in the surrounding hills. Evergreen trees are hours away. What makes for good tv might not be factually accurate. And don’t even mention Zombie Nation, which was filmed in Spokane and had abysmal editing as far as scenery was concerned.

    Snow gums look nice. I’d forgotten that they were evergreen.

    That is one BIG pile of compost. Ollie didn’t look impressed, however, or else he is a very good actor. That pile will be good eating for the trees. And with coffee grounds, too! Nice score, that.

    I like that description “introvert with a side serving of chattiness”. That describes me pretty well, and totally describes my mother’s dad and his brother and apparently several generations of menfolk back on that side. We were visiting mom’s dad one summer in southern California, and his brother was very late arriving. He’d had car trouble. I had him pop the hood open and I took a look. Radiator hose split, something easy to replace. So the 2 older relatives and dad and I hopped in our car and got the parts. Upon our return, I fixed the problem. I had never heard my great uncle talk so much! Ditto my grandfather. They were great chatterboxes when it was only men.

    Oh no, you invoked the Total Perspective Vortex in a reply to Lew! Very nasty punishment it is, very nasty. Although, I dare say most of us that frequent this place likely have a good perspective on things, so maybe, perhaps, maybehaps even, we *might* survive it fairly well. Or not, it is supposed to be mind boggling.

    I know where the pot of gold was. It was at the rainbow’s OTHER end. You got the Grand Tease End of the Rainbow, something with which I am intimately familiar.

    I’m always impressed by your succulent garden. I’ve got to get mine weeded again. That is an ongoing endeavor.

    Nice photo of the creeping rose. It is spectacular.

    Been rehabbing my raspberry area the past few days. There were some volunteer “weed trees”, which is what I call maple trees here. They were quickly cut down. Now it’s slowly dig out as much of their root systems as I can in the hopes that these trees won’t return.


  9. Hi Chris
    Got a fresh start and finished the tax form yesterday. In the mail tomorrow.

    Nice Blog entry today. Also thanks for Missey Higgins track. Great Powerful Singer! I enjoyed.😁
    Off tasting milk: My wife since childhood has had a problem with off tastes in milk. We find a brand that doesn’t have the problem and that’s our choice. I searched The problem and found an article on “ customers taste complaints in blow molded plastic milk containers.” There I found a lengthy paper that was written by a researcher associated with a manufacturer of the material and production equipment. The paper detailed various mistakes and problems and solutions. That could cause product tastes and quality of milk. The blow molding is done right in the milk plant. So as to lessen all kinds of quality and safety issues. As I recall the were about fifty covered problems that could be solved by following the manufactures instructions closely. After a brief read I realized all this was in the SEP category and retreated to something of more pressing. I believe that a lot of the milk taste problems my wife has are caused by handling in the store and storage temps.

  10. Hi Inge,

    Yeah, the pile is very huge. The blokes that did the work on the lines were really lovely blokes and we had a nice chat. Those blokes all worked extraordinarily hard for three solid days. The job hadn’t been done for years and some of the trees were very close to a dangerous power-line. Honestly, the blokes just didn’t want the hassles or lost time of driving terribly far with several huge truck load of mulch so they dumped it in a few spots on the road.

    One neighbour, looked rather upset this morning that the power company did not place any mulch where he had apparently explicitly directed them to do so. Hmm. The neighbour was in a very high state of emotion about the lack of mulch, and I offered him if he wanted to take some from the pile, but apparently that was not convenient. He was very upset and casting untrue accusations in my direction. However, opportunity often turns up wearing overalls and looking like hard work.

    Your weather does sound rather lovely! It looks like the next seven days here will be more or less dry. Your son has a point about the mud especially after the wet winter you just had. Still people resist change, and I suspect that much of what is going on right now is about that story.

    Anarchy is always a possibility, but I sort of feel that people would prefer to submit to tyranny well before anarchy is on the table as an option. What is your opinion regarding that perspective?

    I’m enjoying the quiet too.



  11. Hi Lewis,

    Thank you, and the editor was half way through the edit process and remarked rather bluntly: Where is this story going? I was enjoying a bit of a ramble along the way to the finish line. Interestingly the large manor house I visited recently was part of that sheep / soil story.

    Tolerance and care is called for when dealing with the Little people. If you feel like lodging a complaint, I strongly urge you to go first. Of course, I’ll wait to see what eventuates from your complaint. Definitely you’d be doing a brave move and I can only but salute your strength of character.

    You’re right too. Ask and the Little People provide, of course it can occasionally turn up wearing overalls and looking like hard work. Neighbour’s noses are out of joint in relation to the mulch piles, and I offered access to the piles, but that apparently wasn’t good enough – and dark accusations of favouritism and co-opting were thrown about earlier today. Not happy at all about that. Wasn’t one of the big sins: Coveting something?

    Ruby caught and ate a field mouse this morning. Those two dogs are amazing. She looked very pleased with herself.

    Oh my! Plum has now managed to catch a field mouse (it is now night time). At this rate those two dogs will soon be self feeding.

    Thanks for mentioning the Philosophers Stone. Yes, Magnum Opus indeed, and such folks would have learned a lot along their life’s journey.

    Rhubarb is one of the easier plants to transplant, you just have to conduct the transplant at a damp time of year – or provide a bit of extra water.

    Ollie is a gentleman and would never disparage any project. Of course that is in public. His private persona may harbour serious misgivings. Fair enough too, he is entitled to his thoughts.

    The colour of the rhubarb wine turned out really well. We were as surprised about it as you are. It is quite nice tasting too, a subtle taste rather than a strong flavour. I’ll let you in on a bit of a secret though with the rhubarb wine: All we could find in the supermarket was refined white cane sugar. Normally we use raw sugar, and the initial emulsion formed by the mix had a strange sort of look as if it was mimicking one of those old school glass snow scenes. You know the ones that you turned upside down and shook the snow trapped in the liquid. Growing up in a city that never saw snow, the little glass scenes were quite captivating.

    Conan himself would appreciate the heft and weight of the zucchini’s! A right and proper caveman clubbing tool. Ugg, opponent wants clubbing with a huge marrow! Ugg!

    The grey Currawong’s are only found in Tasmania where once Damo used to reside. Magpies and Currawong’s are from the raven family so they are all whip smart birds, although the magpies are more on my side than the feisty Currawong’s. Yup, I encourage the larger birds as they both warn of snakes, and eat them. Bit of a fan really. The magpies will attack some birds on sight if they feel their young will be threatened, and for a small bird they are tough as, and think nothing of flying sorties against the huge Wedge Tail Eagles. A lot of people down here have dramas with the birds, but allowances for their predation, feeding and habitat makes for an easier life all around.

    I feel for the police having to attend to domestic disturbances – and interestingly such things cover all socio-economic strata. Some of the most unpleasant people that I have ever encountered hide behind suits. I recall working for a transport company in my youth and I was always respectful with the guys working on the floor, and that was reciprocated. The guys in the office were feral and really unpleasant, and I have not seen such a workplace since those days – thankfully. Didn’t work there for long.

    Old. Yeah that factor is a problem unfortunately. But it is coming to light that we are not the fit and healthy population that we’d like to think that we are. Some people have asked me what Mr Toothy died of, and the only reasonable answer I can give them is old age. Mate, this virus is no joke and you can get unlucky, but death walks among us all of the time even before the virus. Best to acknowledge the dude and remember to live.

    Probably, but all the same: Don’t mention the freakin’ potatoes! Today’s advice would probably read: Don’t mention the freakin’ mulch. Far out the guy was angry as this morning – he was way out of line acting that way. And I said as much.

    Scott runs the gauntlet, and his risk profile is his to concern himself with. Bizarrely enough I’m an essential service on two scores. Given the police are fining people I suggested to a friend that it would be wise to have a story if confronted. I also suggested that it would be wise not to flaunt wealth as I have a gut feeling that fines are sometimes levied on the ability to pay those fines.

    Mate, there is no upside to getting the last laugh on that score with Scott. Sorry to say, but you already knew that anyway.

    Comedians get to push the boundaries of good taste, and that is their job. So I say, go hard or go home! Oh, a quick search of the interweb says that they’ve already begun… Your mission Lewis, should you choose/decide to accept it, is to find the wrongest of the wrong joke relating to the current pandemic. As always, should you or any of your Fluffy-joke-force be caught or killed, Chris will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape/disc will self-destruct in five/ten seconds. BOOM! 🙂

    Ooo. The images of the temporary morgue in NY City remind me of a scene in Dexter. Must be how my mind works. Anyway, I noticed that you are getting in towards spring, and umm, there were a lot of air conditioning plants next to the temporary morgues. In one Dexter episode the dastardly fictional psychopath destroys the morgue air conditioners to cover up one of his own misdeeds. So far it appears that the capacity of their morgues have not been over whelmed.

    Free toilet paper. The authors old man is probably rolling around in vast riches right now! Thanks for the link to the excellent article. Really enjoyed it.

    Nope, the parrot was one of the very common parrots. The dogs run risks too from the kangaroos and deer, although not that either would eat them, but they might be able to put an end to them. Yup, it is a dog eat dog world. Some cultures enjoy consuming dog, and I’ve seen some odd markets in Asia. They’d probably laugh at me being a mostly vegetarian.



  12. Hi Damo,

    Beware zombies at clubs. Have been seriously bored by a few of those in my time. 🙂

    The mulch is quite warm, and I might have to take a closer look tomorrow just to be sure it doesn’t ignite.

    The organic matter would be awesome. Being a pragmatic bloke, I’m not entirely convinced that they’d do a nice pruning job on the fruit trees. Hope the dinosaurs don’t bite either. Imagine dying from being caught under the rear of a huge dinosaur that had a bad case of the runs… 🙂

    Had some good news on the work front today. Bonkers and really exciting!



  13. Hi DJ,

    What? Could have fooled me about the filming in Hollywood, but I was a bit suss about the pine trees at higher altitudes. Oh well, what do they say about not letting the truth get in the way of a good story? Years ago I read an article about folks working in real crime labs, and they observed that the show created a lot of false expectations in people from a swiftness of response and also a technology front. I believe the show ran a bit fast and loose with technology, but again is the story any good? Don’t adhere to such a policy myself, but others do – and that’s cool with me.

    DJ, fast zombies are a bit disconcerting. Slow shambling zombies are one thing, fast zombies are another thing altogether. Never read those books (and apparently they have quite the cult following) or seen the film. Some things you can’t un-see!

    The alpine areas down here are all ever green, right up to the highest peaks (which aren’t that high compared to your lot). Mostly at the really high elevations there are a lot of bog type plants, and in the island state of Tasmania, there are bogs with bonsai, but seriously old trees. A harsh place to eek out an existence with a very short growing season.

    Put more bins of coffee grounds on the epic pile today. Should I be worried that it is steaming after all the rain last week? I’ll keep a close eye on it over the next few days. I discovered a nest in it earlier today where I suspect some animal enjoyed a toasty warm and soft bed last night.

    A lot of people believe that introvert means that such people don’t enjoy social situations. That is a big misnomer. What introverts need is quiet time with which to recover from the social situations. How does that sound with you?

    And yup, that is true. Some blokes clam up talking when the editor is around. Incidentally, they’ll also happily talk to the editor when I’m not around. There is certainly something in all that.

    Perhaps less mind boggling, and err, perhaps more unfortunately mind expanding? 🙂 Lewis does not deserve such a fate.

    What? Who knew that I was investigating the wrong end of the rainbow? Them Little People play some nasty tricks on us mere mortals. Best not get messed up in their business.

    Thanks, and if the plant nurseries were guaranteed to be open we’d fill those succulent terraces with plants.

    Weeding never stops, it is like a lifestyle choice in that you just have to roll with the work. I pick an enclosure and have a bucket and a long handled garden hoe and then just start at one end and move through the enclosure. But I wouldn’t want to attempt doing all of the enclosures in a single day. Oh my!

    That rose is a little ripper and I suspect that it is slowly growing through that particular garden bed and becoming established in different areas. Creeping roses are not as easy to purchase as the more usual suspects. Not sure why that is. One day I might have to learn how to grow the plants from seed.

    I’d appreciate those maples. Hey what variety are they? Do you cut your raspberries back in autumn?



  14. Hi Al,

    Well done with sorting out the tax paperwork.

    Thanks and Missy is a great local performer. Really strong voice. 🙂 Both Missy and the bloke who originally performed the song are from Melbourne. I do wonder whether after all the dust settles the local music scene goes through a renaissance. Perth which is one of the most isolate capital cities in the world has a strong local music scene.

    Far out! I had no idea about the blow molding of plastics in large scale dairies. Makes sense in a strange way. As well as all those reasons, a local farmer also told me long ago that the cows can produce less pleasant flavours in the milk depending on what weeds were growing in the paddocks at the time. One plant he named and shamed on that front was cape weed.

    But yeah, once the milk has left the dairy, who knows what happens to it. It is not for no reason that we pay almost $3.50 Litre for organic milk.



  15. Hello again
    My initial reaction to preference re. anarchy and tyranny was, I have no idea. Further thought produced the idea that one might go for which ever one had not experienced. The English are particularly individualistic and would probably not succumb to either in the long term as anarchy, I think, rapidly becomes a form of tyranny. I am probably writing utter nonsense!


  16. Yo, Chris – “Sick Fest 2017”. Did you get the t-shirt? Sounds like a punk rock music festival. Mosh pit, and all.

    Your orchard, your rainbow, your (potential) gold, your little people. I’m not petitioning that lot, for anything. If they decide to freely give, that’s one thing. But to ask or whinge? No.

    Your neighbor sounds like a real … that “W” word, which, apparently, is not uttered in polite society, Down Under. But which is thrown about with abandon on the BBC. See “Doc Martin” for examples. 🙂 . Your neighbor probably has a few thread bare and shiny suits in his closet. Takes them out from time to time, strokes them, and thinks of the good old days. I’d say, “A pox on his house,” but, probably, not the best time to throw that meme around.

    Oh, yeah. Snow globes can be quit cool. One of the Ladies collects them, and, any time I run across one that is christmas, small and cheap, I pick it up, for her. Finding the one’s made of glass, and not plastic is a challenge. I was going to say I had none, but then I remembered. I have a Halloween, resin, Boyd Bear that is a fortune teller, with her crystal ball. But when you shake it, it’s a bit of glitter … and tiny black bats! Very cool, I think.

    I’ve decided that when it comes to frolics into the outside world, I’m going to ignore mention of them from Scott, or my friends in Idaho. I’ve said my peace. Their look-out.

    Humor and the current pandemic. I’ll leave it alone …. for now. There’s enough humorous stuff in the news reports. Like the guy who wouldn’t stay home. They slapped a monitoring anklet on him.

    A bit of drama in the bog, yesterday. Without going into TMI, I managed to plug the toilet. Now, I have your standard plunger (plumber’s helper), and it works on all my drains … except the toilet due to it’s weird configuration. Another Adventure in Modern Plumbing. Now, there is a correct plunger, down in the public rest room, on the first floor. Which is locked up for the duration. And, of course, the building manager and night manager were not on site. Hmmm. Well, a bit of bleach, a bit of dish soap and five pans of boiling water, did the trick.

    So, my list of “things I could have dashed out for, but decided not to”, grows longer. Oats, bananas, red onion sets … and, a plunger.

    Without attracting the attention of the god Hubris, or the goddess Nemisis, I think HRH has finally got with the program, and comes when I crack open the door. The cuddle and bit of a carry routine, seems to have worked. For now.

    I noticed what you said, to DJ about roses, and growing them from seed. They’re as bad as apples, when it comes to “breeding true.” From seed. You need a slip, a clone, a cutting from the parent plant. Lew

  17. Hi again Chris
    With a LARGE quantity woody chipped mulch you might talk to a fire expert about heat production and storage hazards. Staging it to smaller quantities for placement might be a good plan. Your power hauler will Enjoy that kind of work . Those friendly woodmen might have a contact or two for private loader owners that might work cheap to help with bulk moving. That spontaneous decay heat can be Real .problematic when it gets out of hand. The coming winter weather may be your friend with any problems.

    Different subject: what’s your total system wide panel power gen. capacity with the 16 new panels?

    Cheers Al

  18. Hi Al,

    Unfortunately such expert folks don’t come cheap, so I’ll keep a sharp eye on the pile. Fortunately water is not a problem as it has rained a lot over the past few weeks. That water may actually add to the bacterial action though.

    Nah, we’ll end up moving most of the pile by hand – it is all downhill from where it is currently located. The little low centre of gravity mower and trailer may also get a look in, but it is currently at the farm machine repair shop for an electrical fault.

    Don’t rightly know. A few panels are 180W. A lot are 200W. Another bunch are 190W, so let’s stick to the middle ground: 42 panels at 190W = about 8kW’s of potential generation. That’s about 110 Amps at the newer voltage. A much more reasonable current rating. 🙂 Everything is now running much cooler and the inverter can max out at 15kVA, although I have not tested that limit for obvious reasons.



  19. Hi Inge,

    Honestly, I have no idea either. No, I disagree and please do not feel that your thoughts stray into the realm of nonsense. From an historical perspective (or should that be ‘a historical perspective’ – never really sure about the letter ‘h’), mostly societies that crash and burn, favour the Feudal system because at least as a peasant you know who is pushing you around. Seeking justice now days is a complicated business – and certainly not cheap.

    I’d be more comfortable right now if some of the locals around here (who appear to be unencumbered by employment), got off their backsides and began planting some winter edible gardens. They seem to lack a sense of urgency in that matter. No doubt, you are seeing similar things in your part of the world?

    As an interesting data point, I was unable to obtain organic rolled oats from my long term usual supplier. The delivery they received was less than what they had expected and I got dropped from the list. Ouch. I feel for what they must have had to deal with.

    There is a bit of sun expected over the next week, and I’m crossing my fingers that the wheat seeds germinate.



  20. Hi Lewis,

    Hehe! For a while I was tempted to begin the blog essay: (Cue deep voice which would be much deeper than my own which is at the higher end of the continuum): In celebration of the centenary of the 1919 Spanish Influenza pandemic, Fernglade Farm brings you Sick Fest 2017. It seemed a bit bad taste given all the suffering and stuff right now, so I quietly shelved the idea. Mate, I have been deeply feeling the suffering of others of late, and it is wearing down my defences. But on the other hand, at such times you get to find out who is genuinely on your side. I recall in the Camulod series that the characters were always a bit dodge on the motivations of Symacchus who ended up doing them all in, and frankly I would have knifed him when Lance had the chance to do so and with impunity. But when the chips are down, that is when you know, and mate I’ve been letting folks know I’m on their side over the past few weeks – and it brings me a lot of warmth in what are otherwise difficult days when ill winds blow through the landscape.

    So wise, so very wise not to petition the Little Folk. Not to criticise them, but blessings can be equal part gift and curse. Free gifts on the other hand are to be celebrated, but even then that lot keep an honest person on their toes. And whingeing at them? Oh my goodness, I would never deign to be so foolish as to conduct myself so poorly. The ramifications are not good. Interestingly, Mr Kunstler wrote recently about the need to concern oneself with one’s reputation. He put it differently than I, as he put it thus: ‘The need to be perceived as a fine upstanding member of society”. There is a lot to be gleaned in that single short sentence.

    Yes, yes, I’d like to use that word, but am unable due to breaching my own code of conduct. It binds me as much as everyone else, if not more. In the world outside this blog I can occasionally be a swear bear, but I hold such words in reserve so as to effect a mood which probably needed mooding! An old timer farmer around here once pointed out to me that I did that, and whilst he refrained himself he actually said to me that he really approved of the deft usage of such slips into potty-mouth-isms that were part of being around me. It is complicated, but the words are best kept in reserve until needed. I did a bit of that yesterday too on the front we were discussing. It is rare that I get so annoyed, but if people throw accusations around loosely in a rural area, then there are consequences.

    I’ll tell ya a funny story. The bloke set up an honesty farm gate stand a few years back selling apples that he didn’t know what to do with. But instead of placing it outside his property, he placed it in such a way that people naturally assumed that it was my stand. Over the years I’ve endured several complaints from locals about the prices and quality of the produce. The thing cast a long social shadow, and despite it having been gone for a few years, I heard about it two weeks ago from a neighbour, who I’m on good terms with. They had been too shy to raise the issue with me until then. Yup, reputations and memories are long in a rural area.

    Yah, snow globes are really cool, and they were a big thing when I was a kid, but nowadays you don’t see them much around. The ones back then were probably glass too. The bats and glitter sounds really cool. Yeah, I’m a sucker for such stuff. 🙂

    Hey, that’s a wise choice. I head out, but when I do so I don’t really have a lot of choice in the matter. Interestingly too, because the people I visit are also in social isolation, they talk my leg off! I secretly love it though and just keep a respectable distance. Had to drop off the low centre of gravity ride on mower this morning for some electrical work (it has been an issue since I purchased the machine and I suspect that is why it was sold on the cheap). In the shops down here there are taped indicators on the floor showing exactly where you should stand relative to other people. I just do what I’m told and use hand sanitiser because that is what people expect.

    Hehe! A nice repercussion for the recidivist go-out-whilst-infected-sorts! Some arsonists down here are subject to serious monitoring too during a summer. A wise precaution as they are not to be trusted. Speaking of which I cut off all avenues of attack that my neighbour was boasting about. The problem with some folks is that they think they’re smarter than other people. As a comparison, I hold my own, but I’ve met plenty of folks who run rings around me intellectually and so I do not underestimate other people. The person was alluding to making complaints about the forestry workers, and I had an awful feeling that such words may affect their employment – and at this time too. Nobody wants bored or unemployed forestry workers. It was not lost on me that last year the state government announced an end to forestry jobs, and then by coincidence in that part of the state there were epic fires during summer. I’m not suggesting that the two factors are linked, but all other considerations to the side, the forests here have had people working in them for tens of millennia. The bloke would have been smarter not to have alerted me to his plans, which were easily defeated.

    Thank you for not getting into TMI. But yeah, where is a proper brush and de-clogging agent when you need one? Toilet pipes here are normally four inches in diameter and it is pretty hard to clog one of those up.

    Interestingly you mentioned bananas, but the other day I encountered the first exposure to the dreaded fungi that are at large in some banana plantations. The banana was not good and the fungi had gotten into meat of the plantain. From the outside the banana looked fine. Yup, not good.

    Dogs love feeling special, and your cuddle and carry routine would work a treat. When Ollie turned up here I showered him with love exactly like that, and also gave him some freedoms and boundaries. For a dog that spent his first six months of life going from one cage to the next, it was a heady mix – and also exactly what he needed and wanted. HRH would be no different as they are a wilful breed with strong ties to wild stock.

    Thanks for the tip, and I’ll have to look up all of those terms! On my mates farm of the big shed fame, they get wild roses growing. Very hardy plants.



  21. Hello again
    Just to complicate life even more, my landline has packed up. Result was frantic people worrying because I wasn’t answering the phone. I have had to e-mail where, I can, to those who phone me. A friend has got in touch with the phone company and they were aware that there is a problem and said that it might take 4 days to remedy.


  22. Hi, Chris!

    It’s wonderful how quickly dogs learn our human language.

    I enjoyed your trip into the Big Smoke.

    I am especially glad – and sorry at the same time as you and the editor had to endure it – to hear about your flu experience, which generally matches that which myself and others I know have had. It hits you, knocks you down for awhile, then most recover. The death tolls right now are not unexpected, nor do they sound unusually high. As of this morning my state, Virginia, has 3,333 cases of coronavirus – undoubtedly there are many uncounted cases – and 63 deaths. This is out of a population of 8.5 million people.

    What a cold, dark, wet day the photo shows. What looming heavy clouds. You certainly do get your rainbows, though, but right into your orchard is incredible. You should have set the parrot and mouse bane pair Ruby and Plum onto that rainbow; they would have grabbed it by the tail.

    I had no idea the chips mountain was a – mountain! And three dogs are very obedient sitters. You have so many more big rocks than we do; maybe we just don’t dig enough. We now have a mountain of gravel at the bottom of the driveway to put on the back road down the “cliff” where the new orchard is to be. Mr. Musty the Toyota pickup has been having a tough time going up and down that part as it is so often wet.

    That is bad news about your nasty neighbor. Does he happen to be the same one with the fruit stand?

    An odd thing at one of my grocery stores is that they have a rounder near the front door just full of seed packets on sale and no-one is buying them but me. I still go into town once a week on Mondays like I always have. It is very quiet everywhere, which is nice except for the tension of people. But not all are tense – I am not, so far – and I still get to talk to people, though from a distance. On that trip into the Little Smoke our favorite Thai restaurant is still open for take-out and I get us some and drop off a portion to my youngest son at his little rental house in town. We chat for awhile – outside! (weather’s lovely). Last week I called the Thai restaurant with my order and they tried very hard to discourage me from using cash, but I persevered and they let me. This week I called them and stated: “I’d like to place an order if I may use cash.”
    There was silence for a moment and then the fellow on the phone, with resignation in his voice, asked: “Is this Pam . . . ?” I got my Thai food.

    That’s a nice zucchini harvest. I used to put them in the dog food, too.

    I love my pineapple sage. It grows to be huge, with flowers, and besides attracting pollinators it attracts tons of Japanese beetles which I can then easily pick off of it and squoosh.

    Sorry to hear about the parrots and the broad beans. I have a method, besides Lew’s plastic forks, for protecting my newly planted seeds and seedlings: I put sticks all through the bed and run string in a kind of maze from stick to stick, crisscrossing the string. No squirrel has yet dared tried to walk through it, though it might be kind of fun to see one running by with sticks and strings dangling all over him.

    That is good news about your work.


  23. @ Inge:

    Anarchy is a hole that soon becomes filled. I don’t think the state of anarchy ever lasts very long. Someone is always happy to take control.


  24. @Lew
    So if I was 60.5″ I wouldn’t be subject to these requirements. Maybe I better go measure myself again just to be sure.


  25. @ all
    When I hear the word ‘modelling’ I want to puke but I would be interested if anybody can tell me that I am wrong and why.


  26. Hi Chris,
    That pile of mulch is amazing. What a score!!
    Why is the rhubarb wine different shades of pink/red?
    Ruby and Plum – mousers supreme. Do they pounce on them as Salve does?

    Your experience with the flu sounds quite awful. I can’t remember when I last had the flu but one must not rest on one’s laurels. A man we knew quite well (a very good friend of two of my sisters) passed away yesterday from Covid 19 though he did have some significant cardiac issues. This is the only person that we know who has/had the virus. Doug had an unusual cold back in January with a bad cough, headache and achy like he had a fever but he never developed one. About a week and a half later I had something similar but not nearly as bad. Only thing is we had significant nasal congestion. One has to wonder …

    I’ve got my two garden areas all prepped and some seeds planted as well. We have had some pretty nice weather but that ends tomorrow for the next 9-10 days with below normal temps and threats of rain on and off. We worked quite a bit up to now getting things in shape outside.

    Apparently there is a shortage of dogs for adoption right now and get this, our youngest and her fiance have decided that now is the perfect time to get a dog because “we’ll never have this much time at home again.” I have pointed out that this might not be the best time to take on additional expenses but that advice was unsurprisingly ignored. Due to this shortage there aren’t many dogs to choose from either and dogs are being shipped from other states.

    Other than that things are pretty much status quo here. We are so happy to be living out in the country at this time.

    Stay well.


  27. Yo, Chris – Yes, there’s always a pay off to being supportive to those who don’t abuse it. Or, use it. Small kindnesses cost nothing. (™ Lew?).

    “Perceived as a fine upstanding member of society.” Yup. You can be just as wacko as you want to be. In the privacy of your own home. :-). Just not in the street, where it might spook the horses.

    I had kind of the same situation, the last place I lived. When I first moved out there, there were four households within shouting distance. But, due to some arrangement and perception, any questing traffic, ended up on my front porch. Neighbors bull gets out? Girl Scout master is on my front porch. Two lost boys from the local caravan park? My front porch. Drunks in the middle of the night? My front porch.

    But I think it’s interesting about the fruit stand. I agree that news travels and memories are long, in the country. But isn’t it interesting that corrections, and the true story, travel so slow? It’s like when a newspaper prints a retraction … on page 15, at the bottom, in small type.

    Yes, just before I went to ground, I noticed that the food stores I went to, all had tape on the ground. To mark out safe distances. And, at least two checkout counters had barricades in front of the check out, so you couldn’t get too close. You had to lean over, put your money on the counter and then lean over and retrieve your stuff. Also, “sneeze guards” were up in two places. All sensible measures, I think. I wouldn’t want to be a front line clerk, in these trying times.

    Well, an exciting evening, last night. Full of false alarms, raised and dashed expectations, and dashed plans. The fire crew showed up about 7:30, last night. I could tell they were at Eleanor’s, but all seemed pretty calm. A fireman came tapping at my door and said they were taking her to hospital, and I was the designated dog wrangler.

    So, HRH and I planned a sleep over. Do each other’s hair (in my case, a hot 30 seconds), she was going to call boys on the phone, and we thought we’d try out the latest dance steps. Bake banana bread. Watch a movie. After the crew left, I retrieved the illicit key and moved HRH’s food and water dish over, placing them in the same spot that Eleanor has them in her apartment. Plans dashed! At 10:30 we hear Eleanor is coming back. I thought she’s at least be overnight. So, back went the water and the food … The glimpse I got of Eleanor, going and coming, she seemed fine. So, I don’t know what the story is. I’m sure I’ll get all the details (in excruciating detail), when we have our nightly talk, after the dog walk. My guess, an anxiety attack. Don’t know if I can do anything to relieve any of that, but I’ve been poking around on the net.

    I did make the banana bread. Two loaves. For some reason, the crust was tougher than the muffins. Might be because I think I got the sugar wrong. Added to much, by accident. But, it was tasty, and I now have a loaf and a half in the freezer.

    Moment of clarity … aka DJ’s “Total Perspective Vortex.” Which I quit like, but will be hard to remember. LOL, the only thing about those events is, usually you have to do something, about something.

    There is a Roman mystery. Want to try your hand? DJ and Al might want to take a look in. I forgot to do the copy and paste, so, be right back ….

  28. Back to our regularly scheduled programing.

    They find these mystery objects, quit frequently. Another turned up on a recent archaeology website. Obviously, they were of high craftsmanship, and, probably expensive.

    They don’t appear in any sculpture or wall painting, thus found. You can read all the theories. None conclusive. They don’t appear to be part of a surveyor’s kit. There are wallpaintings of those.

    I think it’s interesting that they’re often found with coin hoards. Since the holes are different sizes, I wonder if, maybe, they were used to detect bogus coins. If the coin didn’t exactly fit a particular hole, maybe it had been fiddled with. Too small and it was maybe “clipped.” Too large, possibly gilded or silvered.

    I think it’s a hoot that they are often consigned to that catch all classification, “ritual object.” 🙂 Lew

  29. Chris,

    I had this wonderful reply all written to you yesterday, then hit a refresh button or something instead of the “Post Comment” button and it went “ZIP!” into Never Never Land where it is apparently enjoying flying around with Peter Pan and teasing Tinkerbell and inciting a crocodile to chase Captain Hook.

    Anyhow, your Bonsai Bogs totally have my interest up. I mean, an early Jarl of Orkney was known as Turf Einar because he taught a lot of people how to hack peat out of peat bogs and dry it and burn it for fuel, and I’ve been hip deep in muck and water and whatever in other bogs, but a Bonsai Bog? Cool! But I have this mental picture of your garden gnome disappearing after dark and going to the Bonsai Bog, dressed as Miyagi from Karate Kid, and snipping the Bonsai trees into Shapes.

    I think you’ve given a very good definition of an introvert. It’s not that we can’t talk, or don’t enjoy talking, it’s that it can take a lot out of us so we need a lot of quiet time to recover. I have to pace myself or else. But if the editor looks anything like that picture of hers that you posted last week, I would talk to her when you weren’t around, too, but would probably be so tongue-tied I’d make more of a fool out of myself than usual.

    Ok, you have a point…perhaps instead of the Total Perspective Vortex, maybe the Expansive Perspective Eddy or something?

    I hate to tell you, but ALL of those little people are in cahoots. That includes your Garden Gnome, who was probably laughing behind your back when you were looking for that pot of gold at the tease end of the rainbow. I mean, the little guy dresses like Miyagi and disappears to the Bonsai Bogs at night, so he’s got powers left well enough alone.

    The maple weed trees are probably Norwegian maples, as we’ve got a lot of those in Spokane.

    Sometimes I’ve cut back the raspberries in the autumn, not always. I noticed today, during a break from working at home, that the neighbors piled a bunch of junk atop the wonderful raspberry patch from whence mine came, effectively killing those. I also saw no signs of life from the raspberries in my patch. It may be a bit early yet, or maybe the finally died off. I’ll keep you posted. They were sure prolific last year.

    The weather took a big turn for a few days. +18C today and should be +21C Thursday and Friday. The Princess told me to get outside on my breaks and try to get some color into my legs, as the glare from them was nearly blinding her. I told her I was busy taking an intergalactic cruise from my office at home, but she replied, “You can’t. Your towel is in the other room.” She won; I went outside.


  30. Hello Chris
    Our city has our own compost facility. They run a separate set of trucks to pick up yard waste including green stuff and tree waste on each route every two weeks. They chip and grind and start fermenting the green stuff on A huge concrete area. They have it in long wide windrows They water it after it takes off good, then monitor it and mix in the wood waste. Then cook it till it’s done. turning it with machinery. At the right time they add MSW (treated poop sludge) then run the self heating process up to a uniform 165 degrees F for some specific time. then the finished compost is sold to commercial companies. The citizens can’t purchase it from the city directly. We have to see one of the companies. A pretty rotten set up!
    The whole purpose is an initiative to divert volume from the dump space. That pushes back the timeline for closing the dump and paying for hauling it to off site dump space.
    I have not used any of the compost my self but have seen the results in community gardens appears to grow veggies really well. I’ve heard that it’s really potent though.

    I see a lot of black compost spread along the drip irrigation lines In the local wine grape vineyards. They get it in dump truck loads I have never seen the application on going.

    Your solar stats look very nice and conservative. Well done you folks!! Congratulations on the completion of a well planned and executed project. You’ve come along way on a difficult and expensive undertaking.

  31. Hi Lew,

    What a great Roman mystery!

    Out of interest, I watched a film doco last night that tried to explain what the successful Broadway play “Cats” was all about (and where the movie failed). For people such as myself, the appeal of Cats was a bit of a mystery, is it a subtle metaphor on our culture? It *has* to mean something surely? Turns out, it is just a play about Cats singing songs and dancing. A cat is just a cat?

    In that light, maybe the mysterious Roman dodecahedron is just a mysterisous Roman dodecahedron? They do look like they would make a nice candle holder 🙂 I still don’t get the appeal of Cats….


  32. Hi Inge,

    It is very lovely that local people are checking in on you at this time. Your phone line has been a bit of a problem for a few years, and after such a wet winter, you have to admit that it is pretty amazing that it hasn’t been down more often before! 🙂

    Four days is quite the wait, but really I doubt the phone company has much of an idea what has gone wrong and where. A few years back the huge power cable between this state (Victoria) and the island state of Tasmania broke (it is called Bass Link as it crosses under Bass Strait – a truly rough stretch of water because it is shallow). Anyway, initial estimates were that the problem would be fixed in two months, but from memory it may have taken around six months. Tasmania relies mostly on Hydro electricity, and unfortunately the cable broke during a drought and the Hydro dams were getting low. Ook! They had to bring in huge diesel generators to make up for the lack of Hydro electricity.

    Infrastructure is a wonderful thing, when it works.

    Dunno about the word ‘modelling’ and its effect on you. There is an old saying that the map is not the territory, and it’s true. Do you believe that may have something to do with your reaction?



  33. Hi Pam,

    Dogs are pretty smart to pick up the English language, but at the same time they also teach canine communication skills to us thick humans. A few weeks back we were discussing how getting down low and calling to a dog to come to you, was their way of feeling less threatened and they were generally more responsive to voice commands. So it is a two-way street.

    Thanks! 🙂

    Your health system pretty much guarantees that folks who can’t afford to pay, don’t seek help when it is needful, and so yeah, I hear you about the unreported cases and deaths. But we have a similar problem down here and folks can have no symptoms but are still carriers. And death always stalks and walks among the living. My math is not so good, but if 0.25 million folks die from the virus, that still leaves 326.75 million folks alive. That is a lot of people.

    The clouds were especially thick that day as the storm had originated in the now warmer Indian Ocean way off to the north west of the continent. Far out, I never thought of setting Plum and Ruby onto the job. Oh yes, they could ferret out a pot of gold. But do you take the pot of gold, or leave it for the Elder folk and their tricksiness? Maybe I watched too many Twilight Zone shows and/or read way too much dodgy fantasy fiction, but I reckon the pot of gold might come with some undocumented features – AKA new and interesting problems. Would you want such gifts?

    The dogs are getting there with their training. A lot of people work at breaking Kelpie’s spirits – and need I mentioning chaining the breed up for hours on end? I tend to train them so that their interests align with my interests – and then just hope for the best. It usually works out OK, although they’ll never be show dogs with my training.

    Actually, as a little side story, the excavator driver who cut the house site out, pushed all of the rocks downhill that were dug up in that process. Been bringing them back up the hill for years. It is such a good example of act in haste and repent at leisure.

    Mr Musty is a fine workhorse, but yeah wet paddocks are a nightmare.


    Except for the seeds, we could well be in the same town. Over the past two weeks, the supermarkets have been almost normal. Yes, the tension is palpable. You can smell fear in the air. I’m with you, I tell you this, you can be very unlucky and that is just how life goes, it really is a crap shoot with this one. But then getting in your car and driving is a very risky activity too. It is funny how we accommodate ourselves to some risks, but not others and certainly that music is getting played right now. I’m enjoying not having aircraft fly overhead, and the quiet allows for the other noises of nature to get a look in. I can hear the frogs going about their froggy business.

    Between you and I the banks must rubbing their greedy hands in glee that they have brought about the cashless economy. It is like someone watched the old superman film where the nefarious folks skimmed a small (read tiny) percentage off each and every transaction – and the banks took the fictional tale to be a how to manual. Let’s not discuss George Orwell…

    To be known is a good thing in these days. 🙂 I tell you some folks already understood that story, and others, well they want what they want – and it ain’t working for them.

    Your honey-eater equivalents would love your pineapple sage. Please keep your Japanese beetles to yourself. However we could do a swap with my Portuguese millipedes? Don’t worry about them, we’ve got plenty more where they came from.

    I wouldn’t have thought about doing that. The parrots have been into the wheat seeds too. Not happy, but I over sowed with that possibility in mind. Over the past day a whole bunch of radishes have sprouted!!!! Yay!

    Thanks, and I will tell you more about that when I can do so. It is genuinely amazing.



  34. Hi Margaret,

    Thank you and the mulch mountain has caused a bit of a stir with one of the neighbours. I did mention to him that if he spoke to the guys like he was speaking to me, I can see why they did not accord with his demands. All the same I offered him free access to the pile. On the other hand, I asked for some mulch with the forestry workers and we had a lovely chat with all of guys. I got to know them and hear about the strange difficulties they had working in rural areas. Some folks had lawyered up against them, when clearly it was not in their best interests as vegetation was too close to the power lines. In the group was a couple of old timer forestry workers and we had a lot in common and could trade war stories. I tell you this, I treat other people the way that I would like to be treated, but if they show their inner dark souls, then such problems have to be nipped in the bud. Mr Kunstler wrote recently about the necessity to maintain the perception that a person was a ‘fine upstanding citizen’ in the eyes of others, and I really can’t argue with his return to the historic norms. Other folks just want what they want, and haven’t we all come across such people?

    The rhubarb wine used white sugar which produced a very strange looking emulsion. Generally we use raw sugar which is less bleached and less refined, so the plant dyes came to the fore in that wine mix. I wish I’d taken a photo of how it looked beforehand.

    Respect to Salve, slayer of field mice! Plum and Ruby send greetings and cordial tail wags. 🙂 I didn’t get to see how they dealt to the mouse, but I did see it exiting the hen house with the pups on the outside. Mice can get into the tiniest of spaces. I’m very impressed with the two littlies. Years ago we had dogs for looks, now we have mostly working dogs – because they work as hard as we do.

    Oh Margaret, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Without a doubt over the past few years you have had a hard road to travel, and I am genuinely impressed by your stoic nature. The outcome has been much the same down here with victims of the virus. If it means much to you, in late December last year I too had an awful bout of the cold virus. Usually I can shake off a cold with barely any symptoms, but that one got into my lungs and left me short of breath for a while. As someone who works hard physically, the hard work was excellent for bringing up awful lung biscuits. But for a few days it was truly awful and that was when I destroyed my nice clickety clackety expensive keyboard. One does have to wonder. I don’t really know but something somewhere has broken and requires this time out. Maybe one day we will find out what it is, but does that really matter? Already we knew that what can’t be sustained, wouldn’t be sustained and so this is just another episode on that path. Do the details really matter?

    Hehe! Yes, I too followed your good example. The parrots ate more than their fair share of broad bean and wheat seeds, but over the past day a whole bunch of radish seeds popped up. You followed a wise path.

    Honestly I too was wondering about the dog story and the Lost Dogs Home sent me a letter request for funds. If they could but wait a few more months I’m fairly certain that many households may be offloading their dogs – and the associated feed costs. Today was the very first day that I began wondering whether I should obtain a rooster. Fortunately I know a guy!

    Me too, and plenty of city folks are making that same comment to me about living in such places as we do.

    Stay safe yourself and Cheers!


  35. Hi Lewis,

    Really appreciate your fine saying about small kindnesses, and work hard at such things myself. Some folks and we have named and shamed them as grifters, want more than their fare share, but I don’t generally believe that they get an advantage from such an attitude. And dunno about your perspective and would be curious to learn it, but I sort of feel that such folks feel that they may be smarter than everyone else. Such thinking is a fools errand because I’ve met plenty of people who are smarter than I, and I’ll tell ya, some folks who were not as smart have serious reserves of rat cunning, so yeah, best not to underestimate other people.

    Exactly! Yup, didn’t they used to call that back in the day: “Keeping up appearances”?

    better run, will continue later…



  36. @ Inge:

    I think of modeled as an imitation of something, or a prototype – something that is not real. So maybe, I think Chris said also, that is what bothers you? I don’t mind the word; it is useful sometimes.

    Our land line goes out occasionally. I can understand that; where I am trees fall on lines all the time, if nothing else. So much of our county is forest and woodland still. I wish I could know what the cause is when it happens (and the power going out, too) just for my own interest. The same result happens anyway – at some point it is fixed.

    Your are welcome re anarchy.


  37. @ Lew:

    I am glad that Eleanor is back already. However, your “sleepover” has me in stitches.

    The dodecahedron has me completely stymied.


  38. @ Lew:

    You might check into Niacinamide (not Niacin) for Eleanor, as I mentioned awhile back to Margaret for her daughter. Both are Vitamin B3, both are anti-anxiety, but Niacin has a flushing/possibly itchy side effect for about 20 minutes. Niacinamide does not.

    It also calms one enough to sleep better, if taken at night. I have never had any side effects when taking Niacinamide.

    Disclaimer: Maybe it only works for me.


  39. Hi Chris
    The Corona Virus is giving no end of consequences.
    In our news paper and on local TV news. Local city sewers are experiencing problems with clogging in the machinery that removes non dissolving wipes from the incoming waste before it goes into the digesting equipment.

    Apparently customers wipe off contamination from where ever then chuck the wipes into the toilets which flush them into the sewer pipes eventually into the sewer plant. Along the way the wipes get snagged in pipes and eventually clog the lines. The plant managers were issuing warnings to the public to not place any thing besides real toilet paper and normal sewage into the sewers or dire things will come to pass . Completely blocked backing up sewers flooding into their homes and possibly financially the responsibility of the owners. Listen up folks !! Please tp And sewage only.😱
    The pictures showed huge quantities that had to be dug out manually by workers. Nasty work.


  40. @ Damo – I don’t “get” “Cats”, either. And, I like cats. Never had the slightest urge to see it.

    But, you’ve got to see this! About four minutes long. It’s a mashup between Hitchcock and Kubrick movies. Seamless. A fever dream? There is a bit in the middle that’s not family friendly. “Not Safe For Work”, as they say. A bit of flesh. Otherwise, worth a look. If the link doesn’t work, Google, “Red Drum Getaway.”

    Somehow, I missed it. Saw a trailer for a new movie called “Peninsula.” Which is a sequel to “Train to Busan.” Which is a South Korean, zombie martial arts film. Turns out our library has one copy of “Train.” Come the thaw, I may get to see it. Lew

  41. @ Margaret – I’ll have to check with the Olympic Committee. 🙂
    Also, were you wearing socks when you did your measurement? Were they thick socks? I think there’s a paragraph in the rules, about that. Lew

  42. Yo, Chris – Oh, I think grifters may get a big score, from time to time. But generally, I don’t think they end up any more ahead of the rest of us, in the final analysis. There are outliers. Look at Wall Street. 🙂 .

    Got the rest of the story, from Eleanor, last night. She called the EMT’s because her heart rate, and blood pressure were through the roof. I probed gently. Asked if she had always been a worrier. She says, it’s not worry, it’s anxiety. A term came into my mind, from long ago. “Free Floating Anxiety.” I need to look into that. Don’t know if there’s anything that can be done, besides drugs. I suggested she try a little piece of a very special brownie. 🙂 . That that would mellow her right out. I baked banana muffins, last night. Took her three. Other than nutmeg, there was nothing psychoactive, in them.

    I’m glad you had the Green Wizards Meeting. We keep in touch, as we can. Scott and I swap e-mails, every other day.I posted a couple of interesting things, to Damo. Take a look.

    Here’s an article you may find interesting. From the Atlantic, natch. Part of the subtitle is, “Everything is Up for Grabs.”

    It’s a bit of a comparison to the beginning of the French Revolution, and our times. Analogies between the first few months of the Revolution and our current moment.

    Atlantic also had a photo essay. I’d call it, “Coffins Around the World.” Pretty sobering. What was a bit touching was several shots of the burial crews, stopping for a moment of respect. But I did have a thought. The death toll may be similar to the seasonal flu, but it’s the time frame, that makes it seem so overwhelming. This is happening in a small window of time, compared to a year’s statistics.

    We had another case and another death. So, we’re 17 for 2.

  43. @Lew

    The Kubrick/Hitchcock mashup was great! And the Atlantic article was interesting as well, it will be fascinating to see what changes remain in place after the crisis passes.

    Train to Busan is great, hopefully you get your hands on it soon.


  44. Hi DJ,

    Ouch, well there is no recovering that lost comment. Was it your Magnum Opus? You may not have seen the old blogger website that this blog used to be hosted on, but towards the end I too was losing comments as they just used to disappear. This new platform seems far more stable than that one. Paying for the service is probably part of that particular story, and free services have been known to be a bit on the cheap side.

    How’s your Easter going? It’s Good Friday and things are quiet. Moved all of the raspberry plants into the old corn enclosure. There were hundreds of raspberry plants to move, and towards the end of the job I was kind of hoping it finished – and soon! 🙂

    The alpine bogs are pretty cool (in most cases they are very cold) places. One of my favourites is: Cradle Mountain – Tasmania. The scenery is awesome, but the photos rarely tell the true tale of awesomeness. To visit and stay in the rustic cabins is to experience cloud filled days. I’ll bet the photographers had to stay there for weeks on end just to capture mountain scenery with contrasting blue skies.

    Hey, it ain’t just you, I too have to pace myself. The current lock down is hardly an onerous experience for me, but I know a few extroverts who are not happy with the circumstances.

    Hehe! “Vell, the editor’s just zis gal, you know?” 🙂 Deep down the editor is as big a dork as I am, and she is very happy to talk gardening, booze making, and farm machinery if need be – and is forgiving of foibles and quirks. She has a zero tolerance policy with aggressive people and grifter’s.

    No! No! No! The Expansive Perspective Eddy sounds equally quite horrendous. Hey, the pups ran around outside all day today. Haven’t quite worked out how to tap into that energy stream, but I’m working on it. Anyway, they are now out for the count behind me on the green couch. There is not even the slightest signs of excess energy.

    Oh! I hope not about the Little People. Today I planted half a dozen Blackwood trees into the fern gully as a peace offering. The Acacia Melanoxylon trees are pretty clever as they can snatch nitrogen out of the air and get it into the soil even in the worst conditions, so one can only hope that the Little People are mollified by the offering. Of course they could always want more, it’s an option, I guess?

    Norway Maples seem to be rather troublesome trees. Good luck! If it means anything to you, they are pioneering species and from a plant perspective they burn bright and then burn out. I have a couple of sugar maples growing here, and they love the conditions – one is nearing a decade of growth. Sycamore’s have become under-story trees in the more fashionable end of the mountain range.

    My gut feeling is that it may be too early yet for your raspberries. They really produce fruit in good quantities during December (your June), but from what I observed today, they have very shallow root systems and need extra watering if the growing season is hot and dry. Raspberry jam is my absolute favourite. Best to keep them watered and fed.

    Our weather is running about the same right now. Your lady may be right, and I read somewhere recently that exposure to the sun can have good implications for your immune system. We were never evolved to spend all our days indoors. Get thee outside and into the fresh air! With three sleepy dogs in here it does smell a bit doggy and a bit of outside air might not be a bad thing…



  45. Hi Al,

    They’re doing that now with green waste and compostable waste in Melbourne. A month or so back those folks scored an extra bin for compostable waste. What happens to the stuff from the collection point is anyone’s guess, but I suspect that our system operates much like how you described your system. I can’t see how it could be otherwise. And yup, I can’t purchase wholesale quantities either. For your interest, the compost sets me back about $56/cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards). It truly is an excellent product. It is certainly without historic precedent, and so I avail myself of such greatness whilst it is being bizarrely treated like a waste product. Over the past fourteen years I’ve probably brought back 600 cubic metres of the stuff, maybe more. Our great grandparents would have killed for such a product.

    I’m aware of the possibility that some of the organic matter is contaminated with who knows what residues and chemicals. That’s life on a poisoned planet.

    Dunno about your part of the world, but you’ve raised an interesting point and landfill space is rapidly filling up down here. Only a month or two back, the state gubarment was investigating options to deal with the contaminated (I’m assuming heavy metals) waste from two recent tunnel projects (road and rail).

    Not a bad idea to use the organic matter in vineyards as the stuff holds moisture and replaces lost minerals from regular harvesting. Oh yeah, a return to how things were done in the past is possible, but at lower yields. I know a commercial orchardist who once told me they apply 70 cubic metres of compost a year to their orchards. It is not as much as you’d imagine.

    Thank you, and as you are all too aware, solar energy is not for the faint of heart.



  46. Hi Al (cont),

    Oh who’d have thunk it? Fat bergs were a problem beforehand, but I can see why folks would do that and not think anything of it.

    The house here has a worm far sewage system, so only compostable stuff (i.e. once alive) can enter that system, and there are no pretending that it is otherwise. Guests are read the riot act on that score, and I peer into the system most days – it has very little to no smell.

    The forces of incorrectness are strong with that lot: ACCC loses flushable wipes case as Federal Court rules they pose ‘insignificant’ risk.



  47. Hi Lewis,

    Heeee’s Back! Said to the crazed sounds of: Here’s Johnny… A bit overly melodramatic and a whole bunch scary, but you get the point. 🙂

    Dunno about you, but right now in these times it is not a bad idea to be perceived as a fine upstanding member of society. As access to energy and stuff declines social capital becomes more important. If you’ve annoyed people who have control over something you may want or need and supply is limited, they might just go ‘stuff it’ and then that is that. Hmm, I’m considering writing about that story based on my recent experience. It does not reflect well upon the other person.

    I remember when all manner of strangeness ended up at your doorstep at all sorts of weird hours of the day and night. Hey, let’s not even recall the dreaded water situation. Dunno about your part of the world, but Easter here is dead quiet. I thought that this afternoon I could hear a distant motorbike (with no muffler) and that’s been about it. Bizarrely enough, earlier this morning three aircraft flew overhead in short succession and it was unusual enough to be notable. I suspect that it was people heading out of the country.

    One of the lovely folks from the Green Wizards sent me an amusing email this morning. It was of a sign plastered to a plate glass window in a bookshop in your country. The sign read: “Please note: The post-apocalyptical fiction section has been moved to Current Affairs”. Very amusing.

    Well that’s the thing isn’t it? It was two or maybe three years ago, and by sheer chance I heard about the apple stand, and in a disparaging way, only two weeks back. Retractions are a legal thing rather than anything done with any level of feeling. I politely set the people straight about the apple stand and they looked troubled, but the social damage had already been done. The neighbour is probably thoughtless, or more concerned with their own affairs, and I copped the blame. This time around I nipped the problem in the bud before it went anywhere. Let’s face it, that neighbour has always been a problem.

    The droplet barriers are a neat idea in these times and I’ve seen them used, but mostly we have tape on the floor. To be honest and it must be my sense of humour, but every time I encounter the tape on the floor, I feel like I’m in a Seinfeld episode waiting to be served by the infamous soup nazi. At the cafe in Melbourne, which I’ve known for a long time, the staff had placed chairs against the counter so as to provide a physical distance barrier. And um, it looks like plans for the cashless economy are well underway. It won’t do the survalence (sic) folks any good you know.

    Best wishes for Eleanor and hope that whatever happened is minor and soon over with. Ah, glad to read that the emergency turned out to be less of an emergency and more of a minor incident.

    Of course, this does pose the awful situation that HRH missed out on a serious house party. HRH would have loved it too!

    Anxiety is a tough school, and Mark Twain had an interesting take on the mode of thought: “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe. I have spent most of my life worrying about things that have never happened. Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.” Seems like a good bit of advice, which he clearly failed to follow by his own admission. 🙂

    Dunno about the crust, but I’m finding that baking at a slightly higher temperature produces a more solid crust with the bread. So have no real idea as to what might have occurred in your banana bread. There sure is a lot of science to cooking, but there’s just as much art. But also, I’ve begun using Spelt flour to roll the bread dough in before setting it in the pan to rise. It is an interesting flour that produces a nicer crust than bread wheat flour (and I use an untreated flour).

    I crashed and burned with the oats supply (despite knowing a person), but still have a few months supply up my sleeve. It is not an infinite supply though. I’ll try again after Easter. Few businesses are open until then anyway. I keep thinking that today is Saturday, and I can’t shake that feeling. Have you ever experienced that? With the current restrictions in place it could be easy to lose oneself in the days, but I have a suspicion that this part of the process.

    Tomorrow is an entirely free day with which to pursue whatever takes my fancy. As we’re around a lot nowadays, we’ve decided to have a day a week to spend some time alone doing our own stuff. Not a bad idea. Hey can you imagine being stuck in a small apartment with a whole bunch of people at this time? There was an experiment done a long time ago about rats in a box and what happened if the scientists kept adding more rats to the limited space. Yeah, not good.

    Hehe! Yup clarity, comes and then it goes again. Seriously, who wants clarity all of the time? It would be equal parts blessing and curse all at once. It is funny but last week I had this great idea for a story for the blog, and before I had the chance to write it down, it had evaporated. Gone. Seriously. Just like that. I mentioned it to the editor and she wiped my whiteboard clean. I use the whiteboard and notes which are usually ready to hand to capture good ideas. The whiteboard had not been wiped clean for a while, and it was a tad full. Yup, not much free space at all, and my brain is most certainly not up for retaining all the ideas that float through it. Oh well, there is plenty of space on the whiteboard now.


  48. Hi Lewis (the double secret cont… edition, with a splash of dodecahedron for good measure),

    What fascinating and intricate devices the Roman’s made. To be honest the construction suggests great care was put into the fabrication. What interested me was all the little nobs sticking out of each intersecting edge. They are probably unnecessary, so they indicate some sort of deliberate purpose. My mind suggests that there was a deliberate intention to be able to look through the holes at something underneath the item – I mean you can look straight through the thing albeit through differing sized holes, and having the nobs means that it is elevated off the ground and that would allow light to get in under the device and allow you to see what was under the alignment of holes. With no nobs, you wouldn’t be able to look through it as easily as it would be perhaps too dark.

    Can’t imagine what it would be used for, although I’m leaning towards some sort of high roller game of chance.

    Dunno, what do you reckon is the possible use of the fascinating item.

    Interestingly, the icosahedron does not appear to have the larger holes, but the small pin prick sized holes could produce interesting light effects with candle light shining from the side. Dunno.

    And yeah, ritual object is a very snooty way of saying: We don’t have freakin’ clue! 🙂

    Ooo, I can’r argue with your solid analysis of the grifter mindset, and I like the example too. Solid. Hey, there is a school of thought which suggests that folks who’ve won the lottery get this strange story in their head that they can win the lottery a second time. That story says an awful lot about our current predicament.

    Anxiety seems to be on the rise these days, not sure why. Perhaps Eleanor should keep away from the news for a bit? The messaging therein is not so nice of late. Hehe! Such stuff is not legal down here, but it is not a bad idea. We all need a little bit of extra assistance every now and then. I don’t partake personally as I did a cookie once that left me feeling time paranoid, and my sister had an episode as a late teenager, so I dare not pit my genes at the stuff and find myself wanting… Plenty of everyday plants have assistance products in them that can take the edge off if needed, but mixing and matching with prescribed medicines is probably not a thing that anyone knows much about. Fortunately I rarely take medicines, and even then only when there are unpleasant options for not doing so. Haven’t had anti-biotics for many years, when you need them they’re good, but I feel they are over prescribed and they kill the goodies as much as the baddies.

    I’m glad for the group too. They’re a really great bunch of people and we have a solid core of regulars. Plus it is a great chat fest. 🙂 I’m sure your club is a bit like that too. 🙂 I’m an introvert by my nature, but the social restrictions right now are a bit of a pain in the rear, and not at all to my liking. Interestingly I listen to the youth music radio and I’m hearing a lot of anxiety in all sorts of people. I guess pushing fear leads to that outcome. I do wonder the hard question though: What next?

    Thank you for the most excellent article. I very much enjoyed it, although historian’s sometimes guide, although subtly, when giving analogies. We’re all a bit guilty of that though.

    You hit the nail on the head, and perhaps systems are being overwhelmed by the volume which is no longer being spread out across the year. I thought it was fascinating just how many people had been buried in the paupers cemetery mentioned in the article. It looked a pretty bleak place.

    Stay safe.

    Moved all of the raspberries today, from the blackberry enclosure, and then into the old corn enclosure. The two plants had to be separated as they were not playing nicely together. Now we’ve got a bit of extra space to spread plants out, I’ve found that we are planting like with like. I realise that there are downsides to this strategy, but there also upsides when it comes to maintenance and harvesting. Years ago we used to plant edible plants all over the place, but the randomness made for serious difficulties. The concept of doing that is a bit of a holy-grail project for some folks, but fortunately I ain’t no purist. And yields are going to become more important as time goes on.



  49. @ Chris and Pam
    I think that I am wondering about modelling being used as an accurate projection of something in the future, this seems to be where it falls down for me.

    I think ‘a history’ ‘an historical’ but haven’t a clue as to why.


  50. @ Pam – I’ll look into the Niacinamide. I don’t think Eleanor would take it, as she frets enough over interactions between prescribed medications. I’ll also look into what foods (if any) have a lot of B-3 in them.

    Hmmm. If I approach it from a vitamin angle, she’s probably more likely to give it a whirl. Thanks for the tip! Lew

  51. Yo, Chris – My neighborhood is still pretty noisy. Sirens. Trucks and vans of all sorts. People carrying on in the parking lot, which is on my side of the building. I have to remember the grounds keepers come early on Thursday. Yesterday I was jolted out of bed by, what I thought was someone grinding away on their car starter. It was a blower that wouldn’t kick over. Not for lack of trying. And, trying some more.

    Yes, it used to be the only place I saw sneeze guards was in restaurants. Salad bars and buffet hot tables. I think it’s a good idea, for heavily traveled retail stores. Wonder if they’ll stay up, when this passes? Probably not. “Corporate” will decide it’s a bad thing to have a barrier (even transparent) between the clerk and the customer. Loses the personal touch, ya know? I see a grocery clerk at a Trader Joe’s, hipster grocery chain) caught the virus and died. Retail clerks are getting restless. “If we’re so essential, why aren’t we paid more, and have better benefits?” But, when this winds down, there will be plenty of desperate people, willing to work for any wage, under any condition.

    That’s a great Twain quote. I’ll probably pass it on. I floated the term “free floating anxiety”, last night. Eleanor’s got what sounds like, a pretty good doctor. He takes the time to listen to his patients. She thinks he doesn’t quit “get it” when she talks about anxiety. But “free floating anxiety” might get them both more on the same page. I also mentioned it to her grand daughter, yesterday. She’s a smart young lady, and will follow up on it, I’m sure. Right tool for the job … right word for a situation.

    Losing track of days is pretty common, especially for us retired folks. Routine has been disrupted. But, if even happens among the gainfully employed. Set points in time change or disappear, and things feel unmoored. Holidays throw everyone off.

    Yup. The Roman Dodecahedrons have some pretty high craftsmanship, involved. As to their use? A Roman Rubic’s cube? 🙂 . One of these days, someone will figure it out, and everyone will be going, “Well, of course!” LOL. I wonder if some archaeologists uncover those things, and say, “We’ll just pretend we didn’t see that.” 🙂 .

    I may be giving HRH a bath, in the near future. I offered, so, I’m committed. Don’t know when it’s going to happen, but it’s getting pretty warm here, in the afternoons. May do a bit of trimming up, too. She’s getting some awful mats.

    I saw a documentary, a few years back, about what LA does when they find a poor deceased person. Usually in a poor state of preservation. People who pass away in small apartments with no visible friends or families. More often than not, men. They’ve got a system set up. An investigative team, clean up, apartments cleaned out and any stuff worth selling, sold, to cover costs. Cremation. The urn sits on a shelf for a certain period of time, to see if anyone claims it. Then, when time has past, they collect a bunch of them and they go into a common grave. It was a very quiet, respectful and kind of sad film.

    Well, the moon was pretty nice, last night, but to get the full effect, it’s usually as it rises. And, I didn’t go out until it was well up.

    Rather than having some kind of a planting scheme, you really have to pay attention to the plants, and the land. I got an e-mail from Territorial Seed, yesterday. They closed their retail store, a couple of weeks ago. And, closed down their phone orders desk. Just doing internet orders. All employees were set to the task of packaging and shipping. And, they were still so overwhelmed, that they are not taking any orders for two weeks, til they catch up. Then they’ll go back to internet orders, again. Lew

  52. Hi Chris
    That tharr were a big ole moon😁 !,

    One of my neighbors mixed half garden soil and half compost in several raised beds. He grew Some of the best looking plants I have seen. Our cost is about the same as yours $45 us per yd. I’m thinking about amending the old soil in several 1/2 wine barrel planters this year. It’s been a few years. I’ll probably grow small red and yellow tomatoes. If it goes well I’ve got a idea for using plastic 4ft square by 16 in deep orchard bins with perforated walls and lined with landscaping fabric liners on the bottom and sides. They hold about 16 cu ft of volume. They have fork lift slots which would make them movable on my concrete surfaces ‘using a pallet jack. I will probably buy one new one and if they work out look for some used ones. New about $150 to 175 last I checked. 4×4 square is a nice size for me. The bins weigh about 80 pounds.

    A little more on the city compost. They have extensive testing and certification. Bacteria , processing temperature, probably cya legal stuff.
    Cheers Al

  53. Hi Inge,

    Like you, I’m also uncomfortable with models purporting to reflect reality. Bias and simplism (I reckon I just made that word up) are built into such things and so they can spin a preferred narrative. I read recently in Mr Kunstler’s latest fine book that being able to measure something does not infer that there is any ability to control the variables. Very true!

    It reminded me of a gobsmacking moment years ago. Of course it relates to solar power, and I mentioned that the sun here provides only a single hour’s peak sunlight for three weeks either side of the winter solstice. Some contrarian piped up and suggested that my observations were incorrect because he (it was a guy comment!) has this model which suggests that things should be otherwise. It was quite the eye-opening exposure to faith-based modes of thinking.

    Then there was the time I was driving (almost a decade ago) in the nearby area and knew those roads pretty well. My mate who was in the car with me at the time became quite agitated that I ignored the GPS recommendation on his phone which demanded that I drive down a rotten dirt road as it was a short cut. It was no short cut that road, but the faith was there to be seen.

    Dunno, models are useful, but they are not the be-all-and-end-all that people believe them to be.

    Hey, I noticed police confronting tourists this morning and turning them away. It was a couple clearly intending to go on a bushwalk, and the young lady did not look like a local as she was scantily dressed in the freezing cold morning wearing bright cyan leg warmers. Blending in with the other locals would not have hurt their cause. I noticed that the boyfriend had a look on his face which suggested that it was her idea. The police are handing out hefty fines for such things and they’re apparently something like $1,600. Not cheap. The state coffers have probably taken a serious hit of late.

    The joining of those two words in each context sounds right to my ears, and I have no idea why. As a general rule of thumb, I use the word ‘an’ before a word that begins with a vowel. However the word ‘historical’ does not fit that rule of thumb, but all the same sounds right. Is this a conundrum?



  54. Hi Al,

    The moon was pretty awesome. Got the camera out, and haven’t yet managed to check the images yet. There was a lot of cloud that night. Did you have clear skies?

    Compost is not cheap to make, even when the ingredients are brought to the operator. The machines used to turn the piles are massive and massively expensive.

    Hey, late last year I spotted that sort of set up with the orchard boxes being used to grow a whole different bunch of demonstration strains of wheat. It works.

    Of course, I’d forgotten about that side of things. Yup cya is the word that you’ve heard.



  55. @ Inge:

    As a prediction, I am there with you about modelling. I think most of it is completely bogus, as most predictions are. Science cannot predict the future except for broad pronouncements, which is probably why the models they make are always wrong. I wonder why it doesn’t bother them, and why they don’t feel foolish?

    Even common sense can’t really make predictions except in small ways.


  56. @ Lew:

    Thanks for the Mark Twain quote. Right on the nose.

    When things get better you can open up your own dog salon.


  57. Hi Lewis,

    Small motor repairs and maintenance is a serious skill, and not to be lightly ignored. In the early days of this century, I used to live next door to a commercial pilot and he always told interesting stories. But one story gave me pause for consideration and it related to an airline that collapsed down here. He alleged that before the collapse was widely acknowledged the airline reduced maintenance on the planes so as to save cash. Not the sort of thing you want to hear. It makes you wonder if maintenance is being done on the grounded aircraft right now.

    Taking on new farm machines here is always a bit of a concern as the initial purchase is a beginning and not an end point. They have to be stored, maintained, and also used in a considered way. There have been times I’ve learned the hard way that a particular machine has certain limits, and that sort of knowledge is rarely covered in a manual.

    I’ve never seen a sneeze guard anywhere before these days. And for your comparison, salad bars and buffet hot tables are rarely seen anywhere down here. I’ve encountered one or two such arrangements in my years, but they are not the norm. Mind you, I recall a really nasty bout of gastro (or whatever the heck it was) after eating at a hippy cafe well over a decade and a half ago. It was a notable experience and the equal of some bouts of gastro in odd corners of the planet whilst travelling. You may wonder why I fear concerns for where the next toilet might be, well wonder no longer. Revolting, and can’t say I’ve been back there to that part of the world where the hippy cafe was since then. Man, I was so sick for a few days. Typhoid Mary was in denial about her asymptomatic illness too I believe. Hmm.

    One of the undocumented features of this current period of time is that at the conclusion of it, wage rates will be all that that much lower. Forget about that, the capital city of Perth – which has a reputation for being the remotest large city on the planet – in Western Australia just had its hottest April day on record. 39.5’C / 103’F. Ouch, and bonkers for this time of year.

    Interesting, and I’ve not encountered anyone with free floating anxiety. I might not be getting out enough though, but now that you mention it, some folks do like to worry about unknown, unknowns, and even unknown, known’s. Such health concerns may be outside the doctors purview and as such he may be unable to consider such matters without prescribing mind altering medicines? Dunno. As a suggestion, is Eleanor’s anxiety something that needs to be fixed, or can a state of acceptance be reached? I don’t necessarily believe that such a question is easily answered.

    That’s it alright! Good Friday holiday did my head in, and it is very quiet up here. I’m kind of enjoying that. Whilst picking up my newspaper, milk, hot cross bun supply and checking the mail this morning at the general store, I encountered police questioning a couple who clearly had intended to go for a walk in the area. There is a long all day walk starting not too far from where they were. Anyway, the couple got turned around by the police, and I can’t but wonder whether they got fined or just warned or what. Dunno. The couple looked as if they had their own personal thunderstorm hovering over them. What a strange world we live in nowadays. Mind you, because of how they were dressed in the freezing cold morning, they stood out like a sore thumb and you didn’t need to be too bright to discern their intentions. I keep telling people if you want to be ignored, look like you belong in a place and have a reasonable story ready to hand. Nobody listens to me.

    Hehe! Yup, the rubric’s cube was at the back of my mind too with that intriguing contraption. Out of curiosity, are archaeologists taught how to construct things? The craftsmanship on those Dodecahedrons is nothing short of amazing. The circles engraved into the metal were beyond good, and it hints at a level of tool use that would surprise us in these enlightened times. But yeah, the central tenet of your thesis “Well, of course!”, holds strong! 🙂 Funny stuff. Ooo, I’d never considered that option might be taken, but yeah possibly so. But then I recall that at the excavations of Pompeii, it took a while before any archaeologists thought to fill the cavities with plaster and find out what they were. Imagine being there, that moment at the reveal!

    Good luck! The dogs here spend so much time outside in the paddocks and orchard that they rarely have any noticeable smell. Yesterday they were a bit doggy smelling because I gave them huge bones to munch upon and that is a different thing altogether. Does HRH enjoy getting a bath and some grooming? Some dogs do, and some dogs don’t. Hairdressing scissors do a fine job of clipping a dog coat. A few years ago I looked into getting clippers for Sir Poopy (of the double coat) and mate the technology is not good enough. A dog like that needs shears.

    The treatment of the deceased sounds respectful which is a nice thing given that the people are either poor or unknown. The folks doing the clean up job and initial investigation would have a strong constitution. It is possible that right now with the things as they are, people are encountering the dead and it can be a very shocking thing for a society that does not discuss or consider such matters.

    I’ve heard serious people discussing the apparent size of the moon when close to the horizon, and it does appear to look larger than when it is higher in the sky. It was a bit cloudy here last night to get a really good look, but all the same I took the camera out, and we’ll see. Are your nights warmer now?

    The climate is cooling down here now as we slowly edge closer to the winter solstice. Today was just unpleasant as the wind howled and the rain fell in splats. Not much rain was recorded in the gauge, but it was wet outside more often than not. And the wind was as bad here at ground level as anything the weather gauge had recorded for at least two years. The trees were thrown around, and not a day to be outside working under their canopy.

    Hey, the lack of seeds is a problem down here too, and my local gardening club closed its books to orders. They know what they’re doing, and they would have only had so much stock to go around. Mate, I read reports that people were buying tomato and chili seedlings not realising how far out of season they were. Now if they had an old timer heated glasshouse they might get away with it, but they’d have to hand pollinate. Hundreds of radishes have sprouted! Yay!

    Spotted an interesting article on shacks that you might enjoy. It is from the island state of Tasmania. Years ago, I met a bloke who told me that he didn’t have to get any permits to build his house (which we were visiting) and he just began construction one day. Imagine that! Anyway, here is the article: From a glorified tent to a reason for pride, Tasmanian shacks have had a long evolution. There is a discussion of the local usage of the word: ‘shack’ as it means a different thing here than in your part of the world.

    The glorified tent arrangement was what my grandfather and his WWII buddies had set up in the remote high country. They didn’t ask for permission, they just got on with the job of setting up their camp site there. I was very fortunate to have been taken along, and was kept busy running errands for them – gotta earn your keep, and then slip off into the forest whilst the adults attention was elsewhere! Nobody minded. The camp was on the side of a river, and nobody thought anything about drinking the water straight from the river.



  58. Chris,

    I remember the old blogger version. It routinely ate things. This booboo was all operator error. 🙁 It wasn’t just a Magnum Opus: it was The Greatest American Novel Ever. Well, that’s the story I’m sticking to. 😉

    Easter is quiet. Too windy out for me to work in the garden today (Saturday). I ventured to Safeway at 6:00 a.m. when it opened, chatted with a friend I saw there, then meandered to the other end of the parking lot (do you call those “car parks” in Australia like they do in the UK?) and ventured into the Dread Mallwart just after it opened. Great trip, as I got EVERYTHING on the list except liquid hand soap, which we still have in good enough supply and have workarounds for.

    Cradle Mountain looks spectacular. Thanks for the link. It reminds me of a few alpine lakes I hiked to back when I was young.

    Nice use of a Gag Halfrunt quote! Dude, I bow to your creativity! The Editor and The Princess would probably get along well, as the Princess also has huge amounts of tolerance for Persons of Foibles (such as me), and has no use for aggressive jerks and grifters.

    Puppies and toddlers have two speeds: zoom and sleep.

    I’m betting that you more than mollified the Little People. And adding the Giant Mulch Pile with Coffee Grounds Additives, even if not in the fern gully, should help.

    You nailed the raspberry situation here. I noticed on Friday that they are showing bits of green. Perhaps more will sprout out of the ground. Patience is necessary here, especially while trying to rehab them.

    Sun exposure does wonders for the immune system. The natural Vitamin D is a good bit of that. I started both of us on vitamin D several years ago, increase it during the dark months and decrease it starting about mid April. It has made a visible difference in our immune systems as well as our overall mood in the winters.

    This is shaping up to be one of those pleasant and necessary days in which we’re both indoors but doing our own thing. A reconvening for togetherness usually occurs in the late afternoon. Both the Princess and I enjoy quiet and both of us enjoy and need alone time. Indoor chores and carving projects…



  59. Yo, Chris – Every time there’s a plane crash, they go over the maintenance records, and usually find gaps. The FAA *Federal Aviation Administration (?) is supposed to keep track of all that, but there are tales of bribes. Records can be fiddled. Budgets are cut on the government level, so there aren’t as many inspectors around (good or bad). “Free business from over regulation!” is the battle cry. Let’s face it. Just about all big business will get away with, anything they can get away with.

    Of course you don’t have sneeze guards. You’re Australians! You’re tough! 🙂 . Don’t need no stinkin’ sneeze guards!

    Well, puppy didn’t get her bath. Eleanor went to hospital, again, last night. Out at 8, back by 12. So, we didn’t make plans. You probably wouldn’t notice free floating anxiety, as it’s not noticeable unless someone is having an attack. We’ve talked before about how drugged the general population is, prescription that is. A lot of those drugs are anti-anxiety medications. A lot of addiction stems from people “self medicating” for this or that.

    But in Eleanor’s case, it’s racing heart and blood pressure through the roof. And, the pandemic is complicating, everything. No one wants to go to a clinic or emergency room. Doctor’s appointments are a problem. When Eleanor fell, family rallied around. She has four grand daughters, who could take her pressure on a regular basis. Which has a calming effect. Well, they all work in health care, so, can’t come around anymore, for safety sake. It all gets very circular.

    Myself, I have a tooth that probably should come out. It’s not too bad. On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain is only a 3. And, not all the time. So, it’s manageable. But I baby it along, as, there’s probably nothing to be done til “after.”

    We had a resident die, yesterday. Here. Usually, they’re in hospital or a nursing home, when that happens. We have an old Ukrainian couple. They pretty much keep to themselves, as they speak very little English. She always gives me a smile and a wave. He died. He’s been having a lot of health problems, all along. But, we have a fairly good sized Ukrainian community, here, and they are rallying around. I guess it was quit a circus, out in the parking lot, for awhile. Somehow, I missed it.

    Depends on the archaeologist. 🙂 . Quit a few are really fascinated by ancient technology, or, even not so ancient technology. They do a lot of recreation. Interesting how people are coping with the quarantine. One Classics / Archaeology web site I check out is having a Roman bread baking competition. Who can bake the best loaf of Roman bread, like Pompeii’s. Hopefully, not carbonized 🙂 . Other people are recreating scenes from classic paintings, sculpture or frescoes, using stuff from around the house as props. Imagine swords or scepters, using a plumber’s helper as a stand in. Funny stuff.

    The nights are warmer, but, if there’s the least little breeze, feel quit cold. Rumor is about that the Institution, in it’s infinite wisdom, is not turning the garden spigots on, until “after.” They’re afraid (us poor ignorant old dears) might congregate. Master Gardeners are going to see what they can do about that. Probably nothing. Administration can not be negotiated with, on any point.

    Makes sense that “shack” comes from “ramshackle.” But I might take exception with the idea that shack is a negative term. And, it might have a bit to do with class. I’ve heard the term, all my life, and, coming from a blue collar, working class background, I never caught the drift that it was a negative term. Gender might play into it, a bit.

    I hear stories that there are still places in the hinterlands, where one can build without too much interference from the authorities. Instead of trying to protect people from themselves (or, rake in income), they pretty much just take the stand of “your lookout.” Could you say the Tasmanian shack has been gentrified? 🙂 . The line that caught my eye was, “escape all the pressures of status.”

    I finally got serious and sat down, last night, and ordered in red and white onion sets. Ran across another big seed company that is closed down, to orders for two weeks, while they catch up. LOL. But I found the onion sets at a bulb farm that usually specializes in tulips and daffodils. Think outside the box.

    I also ordered three different biological controls. Thrip traps, like last year. And, I got a couple of traps for apple maggots and codling moths. We have our one apple tree, here, and I’d like to see if I could get a better crop out of it. Yes, I could spray, but the logistics of that is just too difficult, given the water situation, etc.. Lew

  60. Hello again
    I live in a wooden one bedroom shack and absolutely love it. My telephone line is still out. The last time that this happened, I was told that I would have no further trouble as they had put in a new line. Haha!


  61. Alco44
    Hi Inge
    On the 26 of January this year, our wire line phone stopped working, the phones showed “ No Service available”the DSL internet was still operating normally. I tried for 5 days trying to contact anyone in the company to tell me any info regarding the phone outage.No luck with that! During the third day I I contacted our cable TV company and scheduled a service change of the wire line phone and internet onto the cable system. The change took place on Feb 7. The house phone and wi fi router connected into the newly installed cable modem and everything worked again. A few days passed and I found out that the telephone Company was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and had been adding large termination Fees and charges to the final bills of fleeing customers,. Concerned I started digging into our Washington state government . Utility regulatory commission I found a number in our phone book that was for a phone company office in Neighboring Oregon State. The woman who took the call was apparently pretty high up connected me to a person in Everett WA. He listened to my story and immediately took steps to cancel my phone/ DSL bill and all charges. Also said there was one remaining $ 16.00 that was involved in changing the 911 emergency connection To the cable co from the phone. He also gave me his company phone number with a 5 digit extension that would connect him directly if there were any more charges other than the 16 bucks.
    So far so good
    Find your government regulatory agency and file a formal complaint. I went through that route with a predecessor phone company and got a rebate for a overcharge that’s had been made. Some times the squeaky wheel gets the grease, ( a very very old saying )
    Best Luck

  62. Hi DJ,

    For your information as far as I’m aware, nobody has yet complained that this software platform has eaten their comment. Of course that may be because the software platform ate their comments. You’d be amazed at what goes on behind the scenes with the administration of the website (which I fully control). Some people have annoyed me and the website has disappeared for them, they can’t even look at it from their current device. Simple and effective – and manners and courtesy are thus ensured! 🙂 Incidentally such folks are mostly one time commenters and quite often they look like bots to me – or people trying to hack into the guts of the website. Boorish people. HAL 9000 would be a total pain to have to deal with.

    Hehe! Both big calls on your part, not suggesting you’re not capable of writing such fine and esteemed works, but it is hard to ignore the fact that often these calls are made after an author is deceased. I for one would prefer you in the land of the living!

    Yup car parks it is, although I can speak your language. Top score with getting everything on your list, such a thing is a rare event down here nowadays. Need the recent run on stock cubes be mentioned?

    Such a beautiful place, and the cabins are really rustic and given we always travelled there in winter (the off season), they were super quiet. We’ve walked around Dove Lake and climbed Cradle Mountain. All good fun, be gee the weather sure can turn on a dime (down here that would be ‘turn on a cent’ although nobody says that and one and two cent pieces were phased out of circulation a while back).

    Exactly! Yes, they probably would and those folks are to be avoided, or kept at arms-length because they’re bad news. Funny you mention that…

    Fingers crossed the Little People don’t come and get us all. A truly unpleasant experience full of awkwardness and sheer mischief.

    Hey have you fed the soil the raspberries grow in? Their root systems are tiny and I had no idea that was the case.

    Word on the street was that down here Vitamin D was being over prescribed and suggested as a course of treatment, but out winters are nothing like yours, although they are not warm. Although there are a whole bunch of people down here that don’t seem to get outside during the day.

    That was exactly my day yesterday. Good stuff.



  63. Hi Lewis,

    Not sure that I have the nerves required to read up on air safety investigations (as it is so politely called for a huge chunk metal falling out of the sky and killing a whole bunch of people). Air travel has never really excited my senses and it was no loss to give the experience up. As a side story, my grandmother took me to the cinema to see the disaster / hijack film Airport 77 and I must have been very young. Before the film I was utterly oblivious that aircraft can crash, but then some things you can’t un-see, and that was one of them. Can’t say that I’ve ever enjoyed flying after that experience, although back in the day on the business flights at least they served a decent breakfast. One company used to send me to Sydney once a month, and it was such a pain. Everyone else seemed to think that it was some sort of gift, but 4am starts does nothing for my personality. I used to think to myself, if this experience is so great how about you do it? Sounds a bit peevish and I didn’t work there long.

    We’d like to think so, but it might just be we never thought about sneeze guards in the first place. Back in late January I was on a tram (you’d call them an electric street car) and a young Asian lady sat next me, and she was constantly sniffling and wiping her nose with a tissue. I thought to myself on that tram trip, oh well, here goes. But no! I had a really bad cold about a month beforehand, so I was just hoping it was the same thing.

    Oh, well that makes sense about ‘free floating anxiety’. Unfortunately I have this awful habit when other people are discussing their anxiety concerns with me, to offer helpful solutions. That’s what people get if I don’t know them well enough for them to be leaning on me. If I know them well, I tend to offer consolations in the form of: “That’s no good, how are you holding up?” Anxious folks rarely want solutions to their anxiety concerns. I do wonder whether they have constructed solid pathways in their neurology that ensures they stick to well trod paths?

    Shoot! That’s not good about your tooth, but manage as best you can for the moment, and keep the gums clean – or as clean as you can keep them.

    It is nice that the widow has a community to rally around her at this time. Best not to get involved.

    Didn’t Ruth Goodman have two young historians (apart from herself) working on the practical side of things in one of the shows you linked too? It had something to do with a giant lime kiln where the lime was burnt in a low oxygen environment and then applied to the paddocks. Yes, couldn’t agree more that it depends upon the curiosity and predilections of the archaeologist. I’ve always been interested in technology and whilst the appropriate technology movement was a bit before my time, I’ve sort of tried to stick to old school ways – and been disparaged for it more than you’d imagine. Hey, we moved a ginormous rock today just using hand tools and leverage. The rock weighed far more than myself, but I take my hat off to the builders of Stonehenge. They sure knew what they were doing.

    Does Roman bread differ from our current expectations of bread? I’ll bet the Roman’s had selected for some of the best wheat seeds from around the Empire. Actually I’m a bit worried the wheat seeds have not yet germinated here yet. I may head up there tomorrow for a closer look and perhaps over sow the rows with more seed.

    Nobody wants to experience what it felt like to be in Pompeii on that particular day. I’ll bet the bread baked fast that day!

    Wow. No water for your garden. Ouch. It is perhaps a good post apocalyptic test of all of your plant varieties. 🙂 Your plots, having been well fed with organic matter, might do far better than pretty much everyone else’s. The organic matter holds water, unlike the other beds. Yes, welcome to my world of water restrictions! It sorts out the real furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, from the mere fluffies. Perhaps the soil enrichment point needed to be made to the garden Goddess? You can always take buckets down, that’s what I have done in the past, although they are heavy.

    I never thought that the word ‘shack’ was a negative term either, so that was as much a surprise to me as well. And yes, the issue raised in the article about escaping the pressures of social status did sound a bit strange to my ears. Anyway, the tide has turned and people have expressed outright respect for the choices made to enjoy living here. Is it a time of reconsideration? It was not always thus you know about the choices we made. Long term I believe that the control part of that story will recede into the rear view mirror. To be honest, it appears a little over the top to me right now, and the local council workers appear to be in hiding – they still want their property rates paid though. Apparently they dodged the recent road grading (a once a year thing) as apparently it had already been ticked off as having been done, when clearly this was not the case. They charged me a small fortune to get Plum and Ruby registered because they have not been fixed up. It never occurred to the council folks that they are too young for that procedure to be done on them. Oh well. Don’t fight the system – it will wear you out.

    Onions are yummy! Yup, mate I’m thinking outside the box too. You know I told someone the other day that if you need, you can get seeds from the supermarket. They looked a bit blank. and then I explained to them that if you want to grow onions, you could just replant onions, and the bulbs will reproduce. People these days…

    Fruit trees are a whole ‘nother dimension of issues. Out of curiosity, do you know how old the tree is? It may just need a really good feed – they often do. I gave up spraying fruit trees years ago, and instead just keep feeding them. They’re hungry plants those ones. I’ve read historical accounts of orchards being played out for minerals, and those accounts were a big wake up call for me. Once I get the mower back from the repair folks, I’ll begin feeding the orchard from the huge pile of mulch. Funny that this is being mentioned. Ooo, it is getting late (almost 8pm) I seriously better get writing!



  64. Hi Inge,

    I love it too! 🙂 The world can have its cares. I remember that about your landline, and from hindsight it sounds like a big call.

    Gotta get writing, will speak later.



  65. @ Al
    Thanks for suggestions and info. I definitely don’t want to change my phone company. Have been surprised that my broadband is working okay as it is supplied by same. I shall not be paying for the service that I haven’t had. Meanwhile I am leaving my annoyed friends to deal with attempting to get on to the phone company again. Not helped by the fact that it is Easter.


  66. @Lew
    Sorry to hear about Eleanor. Has anyone thought to get her a blood pressure monitor. I have one and it’s quite easy to use. My mother had very high blood pressure. In fact she had a hypertensive crisis in her 40’s where her bp was so high she temporarily lost her sight. Most of my siblings have mild hypertension as well. Mine usually runs about 130/80 which technically is too high. Fortunately my doctor says to just watch it and not to be concerned unless it’s consistently over 140/90. My MIL had the same kind of monitor and she was able to use it herself.

    Be careful with that tooth. I imagine dentists are taking emergency appointments.


  67. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for the kind words. The fellow who passed away though was really a good friend of two of my sisters so we knew him through them.

    Following the discussion about anxiety with interest. Seems like so many people now suffer from anxiety. I have my doubts. Who isn’t anxious from time to time but there are ways to deal. I do believe my older daughter though. She’s never taken any medication and has learned how to manage it.

    My younger daughter and fiance did get a 9 week old puppy yesterday. She is annoyed at me because I’m skeptical as to whether this was a good idea at this time but time will tell. The good news though is they’re considering changing their wedding plans to something much more simple.

    Weather is turning cold for about five days. Harvested chives and hosta shoots this morning though. The pigs arrive next Saturday.


  68. Yo, Chris – Well, it’s Easter Morn. Pretty quiet around the old Institution. Usually, the Ladies do up a big Easter potluck. Plenty of ham, etc.. Not that I participate. But it’s nice for them. But not this year.

    Yup. One of the archaeologists that worked along with Ruth Goodman was an Industrial Archaeologist. He was always poking into, and trying out all kinds of old tech. Hands on. When I think about it, I always see myself as not very high on technology. But, on reflection, it’s all the new electronic tech that gets me down. Stuff I can wrap my head around and put my hands on, is different. That, I enjoy.

    Roman bread came in all kinds of varieties. Most of the folks had a nice, heavy dark bread. But the rich had an over milled white version. One of the wonders of Pompeii is a fully kitted out commercial bakery. They even found the skeletons of the two poor old mules who turned the grind stones. There’s a very fancy tomb, in Rome, of a wealthy baker. It’s built to look like bakers ovens. 🙂 . Each baker had to mark their loves, to insure quality.

    Even though we’ve had a few days of sun, my garden is still looking pretty good. And, the soil isn’t dry looking. They haven’t locked up our laundry room, and it’s not a far hike from my garden. I have a big watering can. Well, I was pretty chuffed, yesterday. I have potatoes coming up! Won’t have to plant any of those, this year. I thought I’d combed the dirt pretty thoroughly, but, I guess I missed a few.

    I was thinking about what you said about fertilizing the apple and pear tree. Compost mulch probably wouldn’t fly. But, if I scatter around some bone meal and blood meal, before a good rain, I can probably get away with that. And, there’s always self produced liquid nitrogen. 🙂 . Lew

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