Greedy Salt Chip Scab

How did that famous song sung by Bob Dylan go, oh that’s right: ‘For the times they are weird-ing’? Possibly he might not have sung those exact words. Given a vast portion of the population is in lock down (due to the subject that dare not be named) he might have been better off belting out the words: ‘Despite all my rage, I’m still but a rat in a cage’. A salient observation on the current state of affairs, but hardly an effectual point of view. Some things are just bigger than individuals.

It is not lost on me that right now a lot of the people I encounter are distracted and in a highly emotional state. Take last Saturday morning for example. I travelled to the local General Store / Post Office to check on the mail and pick up the weekend newspaper. Speaking of the weekend newspaper, the print vampires have been clearly sucking hard at the blood of that particular institution because every week the newspaper seems to be getting thinner.

And so much of the reporting these days is about the subject that dares not be named, that I almost missed the beautiful story of Wandi the pure bred Alpine Dingo (a local indigenous dog). Wandi is a pup who was dropped by a wedge tail eagle into an unsuspecting persons backyard. Wandi the Dingo now has an extraordinary number of Instagram followers. Fortunately I am not distracted or in a highly emotional state, and so I got to enjoy the story in the newspaper.

So, Saturday morning I was at the General Store and whilst I was there I thought to myself: Why not order a take away coffee? And I did. Winter is just around the corner and the weather was filthy. Cold winds and heavy rain make for an unappealing morning. But having lived in a cool mountain climate for over a decade I’m sort of acclimated to such cold weather. It is just one of those things that happen.

And being hardy sorts, the editor and I waited patiently outside the General Store under the shelter of the veranda whilst the staff inside the toasty warm building produced our coffee. The rain fell heavily, however we were dry and wearing warm clothing. Other less hardy sorts waited inside the building. I’m cognisant that only so many people are allowed inside the building at any one time and think that it is best not to push matters in the strange days that we find ourselves currently in.

Our take-away coffee orders were produced, I entered the building to collect them, and to my utter horror I noticed that a lady who had arrived after us and spent her entire time waiting inside the warm building suddenly grabbed both the editor’s and my coffees thinking that they were hers. Not so. I was outraged at the affront. The lady apologised for her gaffe, but then tried to make light of the matter. You’ve all seen such entitlement displayed before and know the story: “It doesn’t matter, how amusing and delightful am I?” Yeah, not so. It is not lost on me that these present times are forcing people who would otherwise not be concerned about other people, to be concerned about other people!

Of late I have been practicing the gentle art and state of being that is: Taciturn. That is the fancy name for saying nothing or very little. It is a very effective strategy to deliver a rebuke by saying very little, yet delivering an icy cold stare. Of course the truth was that I hadn’t had any caffeine that morning, so my brain was a bit sluggish, if somewhat mildly outraged! And also due to the lack of caffeine, my eyes were probably a bit unfocused and staring in a zombie like manner (instead of clamouring for brains I was clamouring for coffee). In such trying moments though, saying nothing is a tried and tested path, whilst avoiding the pitfall of getting caught publicly saying something that you may later regret. We’ve all done that before…

INTERMISSION – Yeah intermission!!!!

Are you feeling distracted and in a highly emotional state? Possibly you’ve been spending too long isolated in your home, all alone with your own thoughts? Have you run out of things to watch on your streaming service? Well, we can help you. Call us now on 1800-wak-e-up with your credit card details and look forward to a new you.

We now resume our regular programming.

So yeah, people are a bit odd right now, and their normal patterns have been rather tossed aside. The editor and I have for many years made a habit of enjoying the simpler pleasures in life. As a strategy in these strange times, so far it appears to have worked well. Apart from the local pub (which is closed) we’ve merely had to adapt our previous simpler pleasures to the new circumstances. Instead of enjoying coffee in a porcelain cup whilst reading a book, we get take away coffees and stand out in the cold weather enjoying the beverage. At least we haven’t tried to take another person’s coffee order.

The other night we were both in the big smoke of Melbourne, and on the way home we stopped off at a gourmet burger restaurant to order a take-away gourmet burger and chips. The burgers are good, but again it was a cold night, and we ate the food on the walk back to the car.

The burgers are gourmet and the chips are also gourmet. The chips have sea salt crystals on them mixed with rosemary. They’re very tasty and just the thing for a cold night. I mentioned previously that people are in a distracted and highly emotional state right now due to the subject that dare not be named. And unfortunately the chips had a lot of salt on them. And I mean a lot.

As I greedily picked off the top most chip in the take-away cup I thought to myself, my that sure is a lot of salt, but scarfed the chip down my throat anyway. I’m tough and hardy and a bit of salt wont hurt me. It was an exceptionally salty chip, and so were many of the other chips which I continued to munch away on.

As you can imagine when I got back to the car after all the chips were finished off (only a short walk), I was feeling rather unwell. I thought I was going to be sick, but no, I valiantly fought off the waves of nausea hitting me hard like rogue waves. Fortunately I had a bottle of water ready to hand, and with a few sips of water, the nausea receded and I was able to enjoy my gourmet burger.

I haven’t learned much in life, but one thing I can be sure of is: don’t consume out-of-control salty chips. And also I’ve learned that if you live in a strange world where people are even more distracted than usual and in a highly emotional state, it is probably not a bad idea to spend a bit more energy keeping an eye on the people around you and their actions.

Fallen branches due to days of windy weather

Earlier in the week, the cold Antarctic winds just blew and blew. The farm is in a location that is very protected from the winds, and so when they do blow in from just the right direction it can be quite startling. And lots of dead branches fell during those days.

Due to the summer bushfire risk and also the fact that insurance premiums appear to be increasing at around 18% per year, we like to keep a very neat and tidy property. The small branches and dead Eucalyptus leaves burn with an astounding amount of energy. Over a day we collected all of the fallen branches and dead leaves and piled them up so that they could be burnt off at a later date. Even we were surprised by the volume.

The yellow power wheelbarrow was also used to take some cut firewood from the larger branches back up the hill.

The yellow power wheelbarrow makes lifting heavy loads uphill easy as

Once the machine reaches its destination, the contents of the yellow power wheelbarrow can be easily dumped.

The contents of the yellow power wheelbarrow can be dumped

In the above photo you can see two large Eucalyptus Obliqua trees. They’re big and old and the farm has many such trees. However none are as big or as old as the biggest of the lot. It is a big old tree and is certainly hundreds of years old. It was never harvested by the timber workers because it has a hollow core. That’s no problem for the tree though and it quietly watches the world go about its crazy business.

A very very large Eucalyptus Obliqua

Observant readers may note that the trunk of the tree has been scared by bushfire. That probably would have been from the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires (or possibly the 1939 or 1851 bushfires). The tree survived the fire, although the fire worked its way into the hollow trunk. What interests me about the tree is that there is no other tree located within its drip line. And if you look carefully at the thick forest of young saplings behind the trunk you’ll notice that they are all of a uniform size and height. This indicates to me that they were all regrowth from the 1983 fires. And most of those trees have zero chance of surviving the next drought, if only because they are too closely spaced together and the competition will be too great. The dead trees will simply make the next bushfire all that much hotter and put the larger and older tree at serious risk. And in the forest here, only the really large trees provide any shelter for the many birds and animals that live here.

The storms that rolled in from the south and south-west this week were cold and brought moisture laden air.

A storm rolls in from the south-west

Last week we purchased a whole bunch of ferns to plant into the fern gully. During the storm I left them out in the rain where they could enjoy a good drink of water.

The ferns enjoy a free drink of water courtesy of the rain

The fern gully received 100 crates of the chipped up organic matter which was the stuff left over by the power company. And into that fertile soil the new ferns were planted.

The recently purchased ferns were planted in the fern gully

Some of the older ferns have begun the process of reproduction. The mother shield ferns are interesting plants as new plants form on the very end tips of the fronds. The fronds bow towards the ground, and if conditions are right, a new fern gets established.

Yellow arrow – new plant forming on the tip of the fern frond
Red arrow – new plant established from last seasons frond

In breaking Fluffy news: Scritchy the elder was busted teaching the impressionable Plum (the younger) how to break into the cupboard containing the dog food bucket.

Plum to Scritchy – You are super bad, girl! Thanks for the idea though.

Leaf change is here and it is real:

Japanese Maples produce great autumn colours
And they’re a favourite plant

It’s mushroom season too (all toxic):

Mushroom season 1
Mushroom season 2
Mushroom season 3

Despite the cold and rainy weather, many of the plants are continuing to grow:

Globe Artichokes continue to amaze and delight
A huge number of Bread Wheat seedlings germinated this week

Onto the flowers:

Irish Strawberry Trees produces vast numbers of flowers
There are plenty of culinary and medicinal herbs in the garden
An Alpine Heath appears to be growing through the bark of this young tree
The stunning flowers of a Silver Banksia – so named after the botanist Sir Joseph Banks

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 487.6mm (19.2 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 477.8mm (18.8 inches).

73 thoughts on “Greedy Salt Chip Scab”

  1. Bread wheat seedlings – are you moving on to growing grains as well at The Farm?
    We had to rethink our dog food storage this week as well – Benson waited until we were out to perform his guerilla tactics, and by the time we got home he had eaten about half a week’s worth of dinner and was not happy.. however, will he learn anything from this event? He will not.

  2. Hi Jo,

    Yup, I’m trying to grow grains. You may be interested that I’m growing the bread wheat in nice neat rows just like any other edible garden plant. There’s no reason why not and if you don’t plan to use a combine harvester then it seems like a no brainer to me… I’ve had a bit of trouble with getting the seed to germinate and also the birds and insects have been having a lot of fun in that garden bed, but the last really big rain a week or so back finally got most of the remaining seeds started. I have a hunch that the soil was too warm when I first planted out the seed, but I don’t really know. They’re in first year soil too, so that may be a problem down the track, but one hurdle at a time.

    Corn is a grain too, just like a huge grass plant – but more finicky and less hardy. And I’ve also been mucking around with Fat Hen which I may have encountered first on your delightful blog. The chickens love that plant.

    Well done Benson! But the gut pain may have been a rather unpleasant side effect of that escapade.

    You sure know your canine companion well! Aren’t they fun? 🙂



  3. Hi Lewis,

    Worked in the big smoke again today. Apparently restrictions are easing this week. Things won’t be the same as before the biz that dare not mention its name went down, but still slowly, slowly as they say. Work is getting a bit more thin on the ground for me, and I dunno how restaurants and cafes are expected to open with limited seating. Limited seating means limited revenue and they most likely won’t be able to make a profit as the revenue won’t cover the costs of running such a place – and down and down we all go as the cash cycle totters and stalls. Perhaps the gubamint expects such venue owners to stand at the door to their establishments and hand out cheques (checks in US speak) to patrons so that they don’t step foot inside the business? It’s possible and would save the business owners much work.

    Anyway, on the way back home we stopped off to get a souvlaki which was very good (and take away of course). There is very little waste as the contents are wrapped around pitta bread and served in a paper bag. All very civilised. We went for a walk back to the car via a big old park and upon encountering a bin I chucked the scrunched up paper bag into the bin. The bin then ejected the paper bag. That was odd.

    As someone with a mind attuned to considering curious events, I took a peek into the mouth of the bin and discovered that I’d manage to affront a possum. The cheeky little scamp was sitting in the mouth of the bin and the possum somehow managed to eject the food wrapping paper back out again. The possum looked rather unimpressed that I’d disturbed its foraging in the bin! They’re herbivores so I would have thought that there were easier foodstuffs in the park, but who knows?

    The Pompeii video sounds fascinating. The towns are almost like a partially abandoned but mostly intact freeze-dried insight into Roman life two millennia ago. The description of the tavern keeper jumping off the balcony and into the pyroclastic flow sounds horrendous. I mean what a choice to have to face: Out of the frying pan and into the fire (as the old timers used to say). I began wondering about just how things went down that day for the individuals who didn’t flee beforehand. Turns out it wasn’t so good but probably very quick, and I was unaware that there was even debate regarding their demise: Did Vesuvius vaporize its victims? National Geographic. A bit of a grim read.

    Hehe! Personally don’t know the guy, so I see no upside to naming the tree after him. 🙂 He’s just this guy, you know. 🙂 It is funny you mention that, but Major General Lachlan Macquarie was a great one for tacking his name all about the landscape down here. He was a smart bloke too and soothed ruffled feathers after the military coup of the Rum Rebellion which frankly could be attributed to Bligh’s possibly heavy handed approach to day to day matters. Honestly, to be mutinied against twice in his career (and survive both attempts) is candidly not a good sign of the health of the British forces at the time. And then he scored a promotion – as you do!

    Oh sorry, I digress. There is a mountainous area not too far from here with the name Kinglake. People inevitably go looking for the lake not realising that the area was named after an English politician from back in the day. There’s no lake or king there!

    Exactly, you don’t have to tell me about the economics of such places. Interestingly, those food establishments are reputed to make cash payments to staff (although no client of mine does that). I have no idea how they manage such things these days as payrolls are all now electronically reported to the tax authorities. Anyway, the thing about guboment assistance packages is that businesses have to fit within the system in order to access the assistance and cash payments to staff are definitely outside the system. Interesting times. But no, I really doubt such places can make money with limited seating. And yeah drinks and desserts subsidise the food. Affordable meals bring the punters in to an establishment, but if you can’t convert those people to purchasing drinks and/or dessert, then you might as well just write them a check and not feed them in the first place and save yourself a lot of work.

    86’F sounds quite nice to me! 🙂 It barely scraped past 55’F here today. Brr!!!

    Hehe! Funny and oh yeah do I hear you about that. A watched pot never boils. 🙂 Does your parsley pop up in the same place in the garden each year? The parsley here has only just begun growing again. Hot summer days kills that plant here.

    I don’t see why the Celts wouldn’t have had a culture before, during and after the Roman’s. It makes you wonder what they thought of the Romans? Have any Celtic records survived regarding that story? We’ve spoken about the period of the Dark Ages off and on for a few years, and I’m coming around to that point of view. To my mind and apt comparison might be (and I’d be interested in your perspective) that just because something can’t be scientifically measured, does not mean that it does not exist. The Dark Ages seem like that to me, and the folks of the time just didn’t leave us a vast horde of records. And I’ll chuck this theory out there: It is possible that the Dark Age folks turned their backs on recording of such things because the Roman’s (like today’s culture) use bits of legal paper to beat people around the head with. Dunno. It is possible. What do you reckon about that?



  4. @Lew
    Thanks for the info re: “The Stand” though I see it’ll be on a streaming service. Maybe I’ll have to sign up for the free trial and just cancel.

    I, too, like Whoopi. She was excellent in “The Color Purple”. However, now she’s on that talk show, “The View” which I don’t think much of.


  5. Hi Chris,
    Glad to see all the wheat seedlings. Here winter wheat is planted in the early fall and it just begins to grow before winter sets in but now even with our rather chilly spring it’s well on it’s way. Did you know that glyphosate is now sprayed on wheat shortly before harvesting to speed the drying process?

    Very amusing intermission. I liked how you responded to the lady who tried to make off with your order.

    We have a few oaks that are several hundred years old.

    I miss going to our local coffee shop. I don’t go all that often but our book club meets there. It’s a cozy place with a jigsaw puzzle table set up at all times. They host open mic nights and other entertainment in the evening. I sure hope they make it through this.

    Well I did break quarantine once again this weekend. I went to youngest daughter’s house and spent the night as I had committed to helping her plant her new native plant bed and I had the plants from several orders I had placed that we shared. Saturday morning I headed in to the farmers market to pick up my herb plant order (some of which were my daughter’s) and headed out to the city. Luckily it was in the upper 50’s and sunny. My oldest daughter and one of my granddaughters stopped by to visit outside. This is the first time they’ve been out in two months other than walks in the neighborhood. My other granddaughter is too scared to go anywhere. It was great to see all of them. Ruth, the pandemic puppy was thrilled with all the company. My daughter and her fiance aren’t disciplining her enough nor are they real consistent so she is a handful. Apparently my suggestions are “old school”.

    I may have mentioned that I had really lost my confidence driving on the big multi lane expressways but as I don’t think public transportation is the best idea right now I’ve driven to her house the last few times. As the traffic has been much less it’s gone well and I feel much better about driving there now.

    Yesterday was pretty awful – mid 40’s, windy and rainy but we did get 1/2 inch of much needed rain and things look to be changing in a big way starting Wednesday so all the rest of my plant starts will go out on Wednesday and I should have everything planted by the beginning of next week.


  6. Yo, Chris – The title of this weeks blog sounds like a medical condition 🙂 . Well, change throws most people off. We are creatures of habit. Yesterday was Mother’s Day, here. Quit a few of the Ladies seemed a bit down at the mouth. The one’s who don’t have families, usually have a big potluck “do.” Which is off the table, this year, do to you know what. The one’s who did have families, well, there was contact, but it “just wasn’t the same.” But, there was a lot of mutual “bucking up”, which was nice to see.

    Eleanor called last night! As much as they could, her family pulled out all the stops. Car caravan, three times around the building, banners. She said her room is full of flowers, candy and cards. By my skillful manipulation of the dead raccoon squeaky toy, I even got HRH to give a few barks. I don’t know if she’s going to come home, soon, or not. She can get around in a wheel chair, and several do here at the Institution. But, it would mean a major overhaul of her apartment, re: getting rid of a lot of stuff. I just don’t know if that’s a go or no go. Her choice.

    That looks like a good start on next year’s firewood. I do hope you throughly checked out the canopy, before posing for that picture in front of the big tree. Could have been captioned, “Two seconds before the widow maker, came down.” 🙂 .

    The fern gully is looking very smart. That’s an interesting rock, front and center. Such a uniform shape. Cleaver dogs! Time for the child proof latches.

    I don’t think your leaf change is that spectacular. I think you’ve been playing with photoshop, again. 🙂 . Huge number of wheat seedlings? Hmmm. I guess “huge” depends on context.

    The Irish Strawberry Tree is very pretty. Does it come in blue? 🙂 . Is that medicinal herb, camomile? Why DO so many plants look like daisies? That’s quit a trick the Alpine Heath, performed. Ain’t nature wonderful? If you tried to get it to do that, intentionally, you probably couldn’t pull it off. (Cont.)

  7. Hello Chris
    I have always loved trees and believed that they talked to me when I was young. So your huge ones are wonderful.
    Freezing cold here as a gale came down from the Arctic yesterday evening,
    My parsley is doggedly remaining at 1mm tall.


  8. Cont. But to your missive …. Kunstler’s post, today, is pretty good. More economy and less politics. There’s a Australian commenter. Caughhil (?). Nothing new that you haven’t mentioned, but, interesting to see.

    It’s good your possums are more benign, than ours. Our’s would have tried to rip your face off, and tear off an arm. That must have been startling to have your trash come flying back at your. When I first started reading the story, I wondered if some poor soul was sleeping rough in the dumpster. Maybe the possum was looking for some salty chips? 🙂 .

    One of the Ladies was looking for “Pompeii: Disaster Street.” Said she couldn’t find it. I think the colon is important. I’ve seen those articles on vaporized victims, and have been studiously ignoring them. Some things I don’t need to know.

    Is your bathroom decor lacking a certain something? A finishing touch? Well, the Roman’s have an answer. Not from Pompeii, but interesting, anyway.

    Ride in style! Feel like an emperor or empress! 🙂 . (Just make sure to re-enforce the floor.)

    That’s funny about Kinglake. Well, when people assume …

    A lot of small businesses, at least here, keep as much cash off the books, as possible. It’s not so much greed, as survival. Some businesses are pretty up front … “discount for cash.” There’s a couple of small businesses that I pay cash too (which shall remain nameless). I have no idea if they claim all, part, or none of it. Not my business. And, it appeals to the larceny in my soul.

    I think I’ve mentioned that in all the bars and restaurants I’ve worked in, tips had to be claimed as income. Usually, on my first day of work, someone would quietly take me aside and let me know, in general, what percentage of tips was reported. Just so everyone was on the same page. As my mother had done a stint as a waitress, I knew of the tradition.

    Parsley in the same place? Got me. It’s the first year I’ve had it.

    Well, the Celts were pretty much an oral culture. So they just didn’t have a tradition of writing things down. Later on, some of it was recorded. There was probably quit a bit of writing going on, but given the climate of England … and the Vikings later looting and burning everything in sight, not much survived. The Church managed to preserve what we have left, but a lot of that was pretty … boring. Saints lives, and such. But even those can be useful, if you sort out the wheat from the chaff, and do a bit of reading between the lines. But, even now, every once in awhile, something interesting turns up. Fallen behind the paneling, miscatalogued or stuffed in something else.

    They’re beginning to find more huge timber buildings, from the 4, 5 and 6 hundreds. They’ve been overlooked, as, there’s not much left but huge post holes. Which by now are just subtle discolorations in the soil. But archaeologists have caught on to that, and now are on the lookout for those very subtle signs.

    It hit 88F (31.11C), yesterday. Yup. Not so bad if our outside. But I have no idea how warm it got in my apartment. I don’t have a thermometer, inside. Part of it is, I don’t want to know. Today is much cooler, and there’s even been a bit of rain. Far more pleasant. Lew

  9. Yo, Chris – Well, here’s an interesting article. About 1,170 BC, quit a few of the civilizations around the Med, collapsed. This article has some interesting bits toward the end about collapse and literacy, that may apply to your speculation about Celts and Romans. Also, there’s a bit about local supply lines.

    I hope this has been cleared for export. 🙂 . The New York Times has weird pay walls that apply in some places, not in others, and seem to come and go. Lew

  10. Hi Chris,

    Nice Offspring reference! Fern gully is looking like its namesake now, very nice.

    I had thoughts we might be working from home for the foreseeable future, but it turns out, in the interest of staff unity, everyone has to be in the office from next week. Bit of a shame, I enjoyed not driving in traffic. With luck, it will still be low anyway.


  11. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks and I was really excited to finally see the wheat seeds germinating. They’d been in the ground for a while, and the soil was only getting cooler as we head ever closer to winter so I was a bit iffy about whether they’d germinate. They’re strange plants and seem to cope well with colder temperatures, and some people start them in spring anyway, but I believe the crop is better if they over winter. But honestly I have no idea. I got the idea for growing them in rows from Gene Logsdon. What interests me about these plants is that the very old school varieties were quite hardy to heat and dry and I’m developing some ideas as to how to get my hands on those seeds, but I’m not ready for the cost of that. The fabled variety down here is called Federation Wheat.

    Nooooo!!! Not good.

    🙂 One does what one can in trying circumstances, and I really didn’t have a good response that wouldn’t get me into local social trouble (the situation was not of my making though, but that is how life goes sometimes). What do you do? Sometimes trouble comes to your door unbidden.

    Must add in that I’m nearing the end of Earth Abides, and am fascinated by the story. Should finish the book sometime in the next week, and then the time will be just right to ask the question. Will keep you posted. 🙂

    Cool, I really love old trees as they have a certain gravitas about them that is not present in a young forest.

    Sorry to say but such businesses are set up to hopefully make a profit from a certain number of customers, and if there are restrictions on that number, then they might not survive in their previous form. I had that conversation the other day with a bloke who owns and runs a cafe. It’s a world of hurt, but then I feel that that is the point of the exercise. I take no joy in making that observation.

    Oooo! Plum and Ruby are hearing your story and they’re saying: You’re super bad Girl! But then they also say that with the deepest respect. 🙂 Between you and I, I’m also encountering the full gamut of emotions and responses. This is just something we have to get through – think of it as an exam where you’re not quite sure of the subject content.

    It isn’t just you, I too feel a bit weird driving in the big smoke now and the traffic is very light at the times I travel. Casts the experience into an interesting light huh?

    Not nice weather and we’re almost enjoying the exact same experience on that front. Brr!



  12. Hi Inge,

    None of us know where insight and creativity well up from, and few people consider that we are all but part of a greater whole. You know over the past week or so I made an active decision to utilise graciousness and compassion as a response to people who are lost in the current state of things. Anyway, whatever, I too love the big old trees of the forest because that is where the life springs forth from in this forest. Very little diversity of life lives in the younger regrowth forests. I’d be almost certain that the same situation holds true in your country too.

    Stay warm (the wood heater is rocking along here), and parsley is a winter plant here, although the flat leaved Italian variety prefers the warmer weather.



  13. Hi Damo,

    Not saying that you earned the Gold Elephant Stamp of recognition for getting my little joke, but mate you freakin’ nailed it and now own that beast of a title! Well done you. 😉 Twas an album that stood out among the lesser offerings of the time.

    Thanks about the fern gully and in previous years I’d planted out tree ferns, but this year changed tack (a salty sea dog term chucked in for good measure) and planted out a large number of the local ferns. Sometimes ya have to go with what works…

    I hear you about that. And the editor likewise has sympathy for your point of view. But mate, as an essential service I have been dragged hither and yon over the past six weeks or so. Never before have folks worked so hard for so little return! Mate, the whole point of the exercise I believe is an epic bad hangover case of demand destruction. I’m yet to hear a story that fits the circumstances as well, but you know if that happens I’ll be only too happy to admit that I was wrong (and secretly I’d like to be wrong in this matter).

    Anyway if it means anything to you, the traffic in Melbourne is much lighter than it once was only recently.

    Good luck and hang on to your hat!


  14. Hi Lewis,

    Firstly I’d like to say that it is mildly uncanny that the NY Times reported on a subject that we were theorising about only just recently. For sure we were there first, but it matters little to me. The cheeky scamps made me sign in using a Gaogle account in order to read the article and then they tried to shake me down for mad cash. We’re not friends the NY thing and me. The article was good though, and I can see why folks in those days would turn their backs on extremes of behaviour and then in that reaction they flew to the other end of the story and ignored the technology of the written word. You can’t blame them for thinking that.

    Hey you may laugh and scoff, but it almost was a medical situation as I genuinely felt rather ill. The editor is made of hardier stuff again, but I may have suffered from the heaviest salted chips (we’ll never know). Anyway, after the dust had settled and I’d persevered through the gourmet burger we discussed whether it would be impolite to enjoy the gourmet burger whilst the other was ill. I’m sure that civilisations have turned on such important questions. But for the salt the King fell from his horse…

    I’ve heard those mothers day stories and they’re meant to pluck at the heart strings. I don’t say that as a criticism but more as an observation that restrictions were lifted after mothers day and not beforehand. Perhaps I am cynical – it is possible. However, people actually do need to buck up right now. I’m not really sure but it feels like the next few months are a transition time to a new state – and who knows what that may be.

    🙂 It is really lovely that Eleanor’s family are rallying around her. And HRH being of an intelligent species, well she knows. Squeak! Squeak!

    Such things happen with the widow maker. There is a famous photo of a bloke only moments before a salt water crocodile got him. And in the photo the guy is oblivious as to his demise. Life is a bit like that.

    Hey, I spotted this article I thought you might enjoy. It involves historical hermits: Victorian man ‘Crayfish Dan’ spent 40 years living in a coastal cave near Warrnambool. That’s a town along the coast that is about four maybe five hours to the south west of here.

    Thank you and I hope that the gnome is appeased by the additional ferns. Probably not though…

    Nope, the medicinal herbs are: Balm of Gilead, Feverfew and Californian Poppy. Alas there are no Californian Poppies in blue as they would look really cool. And it is amazing that the Alpine Heath can rip a chunk out of the bark of the tree. The bark is very rough and thick, but plants have time.

    Mr Kunstler’s post today is awesome, and the essay well suits the times. I can’t fault his logic, although I’d wish that I could. Speaking of which, the editor and I had a long and free wheeling discussion yesterday about oil, debt and history. From some perspectives it’s a rough story, but you know, people knew about this stuff in the early 70’s, they just pretended otherwise. I can’t say for sure why that happened, but the story makes for unpleasant hearing. But then here we all are today.

    Hehe! Actually once we knew the possum was hiding in the entrance to the bin (it was a small entrance) we watched whilst the possum rejected our waste as being not worthy of its time! The cheeky scamp had carved out a new niche. Our lot are herbivores and they’re quite timid, although when they fight at night the screams sound like the very felines of hell. I’d like to believe that I was tougher than the possum on a salty food front, but yeah possibly I’m just deluding myself! 🙂

    Oh apologies it was a morbid topic, and dead really is dead. It is not a thing that I would study myself, I was just trying to understand the circumstances as to how the tavern keeper would want to jump from the building and into the pumice. It goes without saying that the circumstances must have been horrific to have thought that was a good option.

    Hehe! The amusing comments attached to the Roman bathroom throne were almost as good as the speculation regarding the item itself. I must say that some folks have a nice way with words.

    Dunno about your part of the world, but businesses are getting a bit weird about taking cash down here due to virus risk, so not as much of that goes on as the powas-that-be believe. As far as I understand the matter, the tax folks have most of the statistics from pretty much every business in the country divided into industry categories. So for them I guess if they wish to uncover fraud all they do is investigate results that are outside the norm, or results that just don’t stack up. For them it is relatively easy, and I’m fond of pointing out that it is not for no reason that they apparently have the biggest computing power in the southern hemisphere.

    Well, you are in for a surprise if at the end of the season you let the parsley go to seed and/or cut the plant and leave the root system intact in the ground. You just wait and see, a lot of plants are like that.

    I recall that during the hot and dry summer in the UK last year, lots of the remains of interesting buildings could be seen from the air and using ground penetrating radar. The world during those days was probably far more interesting and far less dark than we’d previously imagined. There are advantages to maintaining an oral historical tradition too, it just can come unstuck suddenly, but I do wonder whether the ancient Celts wanted other folks from other cultures and times poking around in their business? It may have been a choice that they made.



  15. Yo, Chris – Usually, I can find an article from the NY Who-sit, somewhere else, that doesn’t have such high barriers. The Atlantic magazine is a lot more lenient. Five articles, I think, and they start begging for money … or, your e-mail address. I discovered that if I clear my cache, turn off and turn on my browser, I’m good for another five. There was a link to another story I wanted to read, but, they the cabosh on that. One article to a potential customer, I guess. But, I found it elsewhere …

    Oh, no. No laughing or scoffing at your sodium OD. Occasionally, stealth salt sneaks by my radar. Burns the top of my mouth and has me running for the water. I use very little salt, as a matter of course. So, it doesn’t take much to put me in distress.

    One of the Ladies was complaining. She had heard from every relative, save one, and was outraged. Glass half full or half empty? I just nodded, made sympathetic noises and kept my counsel, to myself.

    Re: Crayfish Dan. Those were the days. When you could go off and carve out a little niche for yourself, and social services wouldn’t show up and cart you off, “for your own good.” I thought Dan’s parting words were astute. Looking at the dates, and that he was American, I wonder if he was a Civil War vet, with some PTSD? A Bush Vet. They are still with us.

    Actually, there are blue poppies. From Tibet. I’ve been tempted to give them a whirl, but the cultivation sounds pretty tricky. But, I guess they’ve been grown in British Columbia, just north of us.

    Well, the Pompeii tavern keeper waited so long, that the level of the pumice was pretty much even with the floor of the balcony. All he had to do was step off. He also had a gimpy leg, which might have contributed to his hanging about, too long. They think there was a slight break in the pumice fall, just before the pyroclastic flow. He was found with a bag of money. The last takings from the till.

    So, are you telling me, if I cut the parsley to the ground, it will come back? No seed saving? Although, I’ll probably save the seed and contribute it to the library seed bank.

    Maybe the Celts were avoiding cultural appropriation? 🙂 . I noticed the article on “Karen”, just had to throw a sop to the overly sensitive Social Justice Warriors, by throwing in a bit about maybe not using it, as, it apparently, came out of the African-American community. And might be cultural appropriation. I’m noticing more of that. A kind of “head them off at the pass.” “Forewarned is forearmed.” Nip the criticism in the bud. LOL. Must take the wind out of the sails of the SJWs.” 🙂 . I noticed there was a bit of bandage, over at Mr. Greer’s, about cultural appropriation. If I were ever called on such a thing, I think I’d say, “Don’t care.”

    The first green bean seed, broke ground. I am so excited I could just plotz! Several of the pea seeds had to be poked back into the soil, as they were making a break for it. Lew

  16. Chris,

    Kelly’s Heroes is one of my favorite movies. Hope you get to enjoy it soon.

    Once upon a year there was a restaurant hereabouts called Thaddeus Fuddthuckers. I never went there, but am now wondering if their signature dish was plucked pheasant?

    Olives don’t grow here. Lilacs love the climate. Go figure. And this year’s annual Lilac Festival has been cancelled. It was postponed from May until July, but was just axed for this year. So it’s back to our usual annual lilac festival enjoying the lilacs in our own yard.

    Several years ago at the annual outdoor event for the carving club, some drama occurred. We contract each year with a food wagon to provide breakfast and lunch both days of the event. For lunch, our best pyrographer, James (all names changed to protect the innocent), ordered a deluxe burger. He sat and was waiting. Several minutes later, Billy ordered a deluxe burger and before he could sit down to wait, they announced that a deluxe burger was ready. Billy took it and immediately took a bite out of it. James was miffed, Billy offered him the burger, and James said, “Not after you’ve bit into it. Bleeping Billy Burger.”

    Note: there is a small hamburger place in Wilbur, Washington, called Billy Burgers. There was a Billy Burgers in Chimacum, Washington on Puget Sound in 1976. Same logo. I now expect, due to this free international advertising, to get free Billy Burgers whenever I travel through Wilbur, Washington. Back to the story.

    A couple years later, James asked me if Billy was gonna show up for the event. As Billy had told me his schedule, I told James that he would. So, James grabbed a spare piece of wood, turned on his wood burner and proceeded to wood burn a beautiful deluxe Billy Burger, complete with a bite taken out of it and ketchup dripping. Billy arrived just as the lunch break was starting. James walked over to him and said, “Hey, here’s your Billy Burger. Leave mine alone” and then handed Billy the wood burning of a burger. Billy’s only comment? “There’s a bite out of it!” Uh, yeah.

    Your intermission was priceless.

    I had a similar experience once with a salty meal. It was NOT a good feeling. My belly let me know how insulted it felt. Lots of water helped, mostly by taking the edge off the nausea. Not a good feeling.

    Good, good, firewood! Oh, did I detect a wobbly branch trying to detach from the Big Tree right above Chris’s head? Oh wait, nope, twas an eyelash in my eye.

    The fern gully really looks good. What a great idea to do that to “store” the groundwater. Most people in North America don’t understand the interplay between ferns, beavers and water control historically. More water around, controlled burns by the Native Americans, better forests for all.

    Aha, Scritchy IS teaching the pups something! Unfortunate that it is how to get in trouble for Scritchy’s benefit.

    Phlox and forget-me-nots are in bloom now. The thyme is starting to bloom and the heather is still in bloom. The bees are happy. I didn’t plan the flowers this way, but once the heather starts blooming in late winter, there is at least one variety of plant blooming until sometime in October.

    Light rain Tuesday morning here. More showers expected for several days. Not large amounts, but enough to keep the pollen down and help all the plants.


  17. @ Lew,

    Thanks. That agrees with what I’ve been seeing for longer term forecasts starting in December. The last time Spokane saw an autumn like this past one and a spring this dry, the following summer was nasty hot. So, yeah, I’ve been expecting a hot one this year. Ugh.


  18. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, I hope so too. The economy is slowing noticeably and whilst my house is well insulated and there’s energy and some to spare, I’m not immune to the cold economic winds that are blowing over the land. Anyway, work is beginning to slow, so whilst I’d never watch a movie during the daylight hours (it’s a warped work ethic thing), who knows what the future will bring? And in the future I do hope to have some free time to watch the film. Apologies for the long and convoluted response to your otherwise simple statement but these here are strange days.

    That’s funny! I’ve seen some amusing business names over the years. Do you know that some people frown at such clever wordplay? Surely people thus complaining are pedants? An awful apparition of the darkest night and evilest of deeds.

    Yeah, that figures about the olives not growing in your part of the world. I assume that it is the winters that kill them off?

    Hehe! It ain’t just you, I’m enjoying the leaf change spectacle minus all the tourists.

    I’m with James in this matter, and would posit the theory that Billy (appreciate changing the names to protect the guilty) was careless, thoughtless and had made an assumption. Out of curiosity, are they mates or acquaintances? I’m guessing acquaintances. James is making a bit of an amusing statement with the carving, and providing Billy with a permanent reminder to be slightly less self-absorbed in future. Cheeky, but also good.

    Well before we agree to deals on international advertising arrangements, you didn’t answer the important question: Are the burgers any good? Over the years I have enjoyed some ripper burgers, but alas, such meals can also be average. Mind you, there is an inverse relationship in the search for a late night burger. As the hours go up, expectations as to quality must inevitably lower. There is something in there… I used to live around the corner from a late night burger bar, and it did a brisk trade and I enjoyed many a feed there. The ambience was, yeah, basic and largely unchanged for decades. I quite enjoy that lack of change, and if they’re onto a good thing then why make change for changes sake?

    Hehe! Glad to entertain you. It sure keeps me entertained.

    The salt was over the top, and yeah it isn’t a nice feeling is it? Apart from bread I don’t really add salt to any of the food we make.

    It’s a fair concern to wonder about whether the tree may choose that very moment to crush me to death. A year or two back I heard about someone being killed when a tree that had blown over, and then at a later stage bounced back upright again due to the pressure in the trunk. It would have been quick – and unexpected. I’m very respectful of the trees, they deserve to be treated with respect.

    It’s the same crazy story down here too with forest, water and soil management. People just want what they want. The fern gully smells very nice with all of the rain. Earthy and damp in a nice way. In fact the whole forest smells nice and the Eucalyptus Oil scent is unmistakable. They used to export the oil to the UK way back in the day.

    Scritchy is a bad apple and prone to leading the two pups astray, but then if there is mischief on the go, they’re into it. So they hardly need encouragement, and Scritchy is happy to oblige.

    Nice to hear that about the garden flowers. Had a look at your summer climate outlook. It doesn’t make for good reading, but you know it is just something to be gotten through. Summers are getting hotter on average down here too. What do you? Anyway, even though it may be hotter on average, the rainfall can vary wildly so you just don’t know how it will turn out until it’s over.

    Yay for a bit more rain for you. It’s a good time of year to get rain.



  19. Hi, Chris!

    Do you always keep beef jerky in your pockets? Those fluffies always look at you so adoringly.

    I tell you what, I am sometimes rather frazzled in the current unpleasantness. It would be just like me to try inadvertently try to take away someone else’s take-away.

    I have been looking for an apartment for my elderly parents, for when we move them here. It is not going very well.


  20. Hi Lewis,

    Like your style with the NY Times and clearing your cookies and cache. Never thought of doing that myself, but like you say there is a huge amount of repeatedness on this interweb and somewhere somewhoo is guaranteed to mirror the work. I’m not really sure how I feel about that as the interweb never made much financial sense to me and there is quite a bit of piracey going on, but then I can also well understand that there has been quite a bit of restricted supply going on in both volume and channels. It is not a sustainable approach, but they’re giving it a go.

    Incidentally, I just thought that I’d drop in that I can actually spell, but some words I deliberately misspell. The reason for that is that the search indexes on the interweb operate on key words and indexes, and there is no point feeding the hungry data monsters. They’re full enough already and need no seconds. Way back in the day before SQL database engines were handed over ready made to software developers I’d actually written my own version of a database – and was paid for doing so. It tracked computer usage by job / project and the main customer was duty bound to pay for it, so the database netted the company I worked for a nice earner. Anyway, you don’t need to be Einstein to see the march of the robots in the background of this here electronic web.

    A small digression (it’s a bad habit), but one that will be indulged in over the years. 🙂

    Work is slowing down for me now, but in a bizarre turn of events I was listening to the youth music radio today and in the hourly news the story was repeated several times that the economy was now beginning to recover. Took a look out the window at the cold economic winds blowing over the land and thought to myself: Yeah, Nah. Somehow repeating a mantra on the hour every hour of the day is not enough to convince me.

    Lock down restrictions were slightly eased today and that was followed by dark talk in the media of second waves. You have mentioned this risk before, and it was certainly the case in 1919. Anyway time will sort all of it out.

    Hey, I finished reading Earth Abides this morning. What a fine read, and I liked the protagonist far more at the end of the story than at the beginning. He’d let go of the feelings of intellectual control and superiority. And the symbol of the hammer was a nice plot device as it wove the beginning with the end. Hope the characters recall to keep the potent icon out of the rain? I was feeling some heavy emotions at the concluding chapter which is always the sign of a good read.

    Conan would have shrugged off the heavily salted chips, but alas my strength was tested and found wanting. But far out, those chips tasted sooooo good, but the cost. Not good. Yes, the taste sensation was a true Devils bargain. Now redemption was achieved because the gourmet burger was consumed. It is mildly disrespectful to not consume an animal that has been sacrificed for your dinner, and it was actually a very fine burger. Anyway like The Who sung: We won’t get fooled again! I must say that there was one amusing song from those days where the lead singer claimed that: “I drive a Rolls Royce cause it’s good for my voice”. Oh the irony! That lyric made quite the impression on my young and impressionable mind as it contrasted the view on the ground with the words which were used to explain the view on the ground. And there was a little bit of teensey weensey disparity.

    It is a wise policy to enjoy salt in moderation. The old timers used to quip: Everything in moderation, although such words are not heard these days. A bit of shame that.

    Ah, like you, in public my thoughts are kept to myself, but yes such stories have been heard before. Sometimes it is the absent folks that draw the most attention. When I was a late teenager, my sister went right off the rails and slid into a nether world of not good stuff. It happens to the best of us. But during those days her shadow hung tall over every minute and took all of the available energy. I do wonder why that was the case, but at the same time can see how it happened. But as you have noted it is only when a situation is acknowledged can anything be done about it. Interestingly, the state gubarment noted that support groups are perhaps far more important than they’d previously acknowledged and the previous restrictions had caused a lot of suffering and they have allowed them to now take place under certain restrictions.

    So true. Mate, so very true. I put as much distance as I could muster and it really isn’t that far as the noose has grown strong on the back of Oil and money printing. Old Crayfish Dan, well he had that act sorted out right and proper. Glad you enjoyed the story and yes, I too was wondering about what he’d seen and survived. Down here, nobody seemed particularly interested in his background – which would have been exotic. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’d jumped ship from a sealing or whaling crew, and then made his home in the cave. PTSD would take a lot of one on one care to attend to, and frankly we as a society don’t provide enough support. But then there is Crayfish Dan and who is to say he wasn’t meant to be where he hung out for decades?

    Can’t say that I’d appreciate being faced with the choices the tavern keeper made that day. However, by noting what he had taken with him, we get a glimpse into his soul.

    Pretty much so with the parsley. When the hot summer sun wilts and shrivels the plant, you’ll know. Just cut the dead plant off at ground level with scissors and then wait. Of course I’d recommend letting some seeds drop too.

    Do you know, nobody around here other than me keeps a seed bank. Makes you wonder what they all think is so darned important they can’t get around to doing that task?

    Surely you jest with me? Cultural appropriation? That idea is like a hammer that is used to bluntly beat people over the head so that they don’t adapt in place. If you encounter another culture that has an adaptable way of working with the local environment, then only a fool would ignore such advice. Don’t care sums it up beautifully. Incidentally I began reading the book on Indigenous fire practices in the landscape today and the author tells an engaging story. Why would our society want to ignore a culture that coexisted in the land for more millennia than we’d care to imagine? Possibly because we can’t imagine…

    Cool! I’m as excited as you are. Beans and peas have really stumped me. It is like a joke that everyone gets but I’m left wondering what they’re all on about. 🙂



  21. Hi Pam,

    Never thought of doing that. Actually I bind the dogs to me (and me to them) through love. I’ve heard of people training kelpie pups by tethering them to a pole and chain for up to seven hours per day. It’s an option I guess. But another option is to ensure that all of our interests align in more or less the same direction. I don’t seek to dominate the canines, but meet them on their level as equals. We don’t always agree though! Plus you guessed right as they do enjoy a small strap of beef jerky at the end of the work day.

    Hehe! Well, now you know and won’t make that mistake. 🙂 I’m rather fond of saying that I won’t make the same mistake twice, I’ll make new and interesting mistakes!

    Hey, I’m feeling drained by all this situation too. How could anyone not be drained by such a bizarre state of affairs? That I suspect is the entire point of the exercise. However, getting back to the earlier paragraph, we are like in the biggest horse-breaking exercise ever attempted. I wouldn’t pursue such an option, but it is a valid option and historically far worse alternatives have been thoroughly tested. So perhaps it is not all as bad as we might imagine it to be?

    Not good, and that is a seriously difficult proposition. You have my sympathy for your plight. And in these days too.



  22. Hi Margaret,

    Finished reading today! I really enjoyed the book, and liked the protagonist more as the book progressed.

    I hope you weren’t going to discuss the probabilities of canned food being OK after two and a half to three decades? My gut feeling suggests that it wouldn’t be good, but you go first with testing the food and all that!! 🙂 Hehe!

    So what’s the question and/or discussion points?



  23. Yo, Chris – Maybe all the piracy on the net is another indicator of the general atmosphere of abundance and waste? Just a half formed thought, there.

    So, when you developed the data base engine, that made your company a lot of money, did you get a bonus? Or just a certificate of appreciation? 🙂

    LOL. How many times have I said … “But I degress….”

    The economy is recovering! Hold happy thoughts! Sunshine and lollypops. Maybe they’re launching the mantra, as an experiment in sympathetic magic? The Power of Positive Thinking!!

    I’m sure Crayfish Dan would have quit an interesting story, to tell. Last night I stumbled on something on YouTube. “Making Georgia Howl.” It was about General Sherman’s siege, capture and burning of Atlanta. (See: “Gone With the Wind.”) Then he went on his famous “March to the Sea.” A 50 mile wide swath from Atlanta to the sea. Scorched earth, all the way. It really broke the back of the South, and it was pretty much all downhill, from there.

    I poked into parsley. A biennial. Doesn’t seem like it grows back from the main root. Must just freely reseed. There was a note that the root is very tasty. Shaved on salads, and such. I now have both peas and beans, coming up. I think the germination was about a week.

    Hmmm. I’m puzzled at your difficulty with those two crops. Might try soaking them overnight before planting. And, you might look into inoculant. Might be timing. Warm, but not too warm. Also, if they get too much water, they rot in the ground. I ran into one of the Master Gardener trainees, and he mentioned he planted two or three weeks ago, and his seed rotted in the ground. But I wonder how well drained his soil is.

    Here’s an interesting article about our meat situation. Turns out, Smithfield Meat (an old venerable company known for it’s Smithfield hams) was bought by a Chinese investment firm, back in 2013. (Who knew?). Well, we have a meat shortage, but in March, they managed to ship 13,680 tons of pork, to China. Hmmmm …

    We had two more cases of the virus, in our county, yesterday. 32 and counting …

    Magic Food Boxes come on Friday. I think there may be fireworks!!! 🙂 . Lew

  24. Hi Chris,

    Well no I wasn’t going to ask about the canned food though one could wonder about the quality and how canned food that old could even be palatable.

    It’s been four or five years since I’ve read it and I’m about 2/3 through now to refresh my memory. Every time I’ve read it I’ve been struck by how much happier and content Ish’s contemporaries and their children are than Ish and maybe Joey. Why is this? They all seem to take things as they come. Their needs are simple and they seem very satisfied with what they have. Only Ish seems driven to bring back civilization as he sees it.

    I wonder if one is always striving to “improve” their situation works against just be happy and content. If I recall Ish seems to accept more how his children are living towards the end of the book.

    I’m thinking this is pretty relevant to our present situation.

    I just completed “Dred”, Harriet Beecher Stowes’ novel written in response to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Quite good.


  25. Chris,

    Aye, these are very weird times, very weird. What were simple things 2 months ago aren’t so simple now. Adapt and improvise seems to be what I’m trying to do. That, and trying not to get caught up in the emotions from the extremes.

    My dad was one who didn’t enjoy that wordplay at all. I had to work really hard to keep from smiling and laughing whenever we drove by the place. He could get quite *distracted* by the name.

    You got it on the first try. Our winters kill off wonderful things like olives.

    Does the dearth of leaf tourists mean that you might avoid outsiders climbing onto your porch to take photos of the changing leaves? I bet the quiet this year will be enjoyable for you.

    Oh yeah, Billy and James had known one another for years at the time of the Great Billy Burger Escapade. They still get along well and the permanent reminder of past transgressions is used by most of us if (when) Billy has a rare bad moment. I think that our carving club should have as a motto “We are cheeky!” with a carving of a chipmunk with fat cheeks filled with nuts.

    You would ask the question about the quality of the burgers. My answer is, “Well, the Billy Burgers in Chimacum 300 miles west were good in 1976, but I’ve never eaten at Billy Burgers in Wilbur.” Ugh, so, well, I don’t know! We usually stop at Doxies Diner at the other end of Wilbur. Very good burgers and other choices, relatively comfortable indoor seating. And pictures to color and they provide the crayons!

    Yes, respect the trees. Very good idea. Perhaps that chap was very disrespectful, the tree had been irritated too many times, and was able to channel its inner Ent, bend over and play whack-a-human one time? Respect goes a long way and is very important.

    I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that a raven was frequenting the area. I was enjoying some quiet moments outdoors on Saturday and heard the crows going nuts. Then I heard a raven. The crows cornered the raven in a large pine, but the raven found a good defensive spot and the crows moved away a short distance. The raven made a break for it and the crows gave chase, disturbing a soaring hawk in the process, who then chased the crows briefly. Then I heard another raven. And another and another. So, the local murder of crows now has competition form a new conspiracy of ravens. This is getting fun. It might take some time before a new accommodation is made.

    It’s uncanny how the rain makes everything smell so good. I bet the fern gully is really pleasant when it rains, and with that wonderful eucalyptus smell added to the mix! More rain off and on today, so the yard smells nice.

    Summer, hot or hotter or cooler, what can I do about it? Just make certain that I keep the important things (trees, vegetables, flowers) properly watered. Adapt to it as well as possible, can’t do anything else, really.


  26. Hello again
    I had been surprised by your statement that parsley can re-grow from its roots. I agree with Lew, it is a biennial that grows from seeds. Am guessing that you hadn’t noticed the seeds digging in.
    We have just had the coldest May night for 38 years.


  27. @ Lew
    The virus figure for the Island is supposed to be 157, yours is very low by comparison. Our figure is highly debatable, do you place trust in yours?


  28. @ Margaret
    I would reckon that there is a reasonable half way house between being happy and contented and trying to improve ones situation. Either extreme could bring its own problems.


  29. Hi Lewis,

    Energy conservation and local sourcing is a number one priority with us, so we’ve been having this long and drawn out conversation about the two forms of local cooking energy that we have available to us. I’ve been favouring wood and the editor has favoured electricity. And today we finally bit the bullet and purchased a small electric induction hot plate which will be powered by the sun and batteries. Never used one before, but it should be interesting that’s for sure. And testing the various items of cookware with a magnet we discovered that many of the saucepans we have, don’t have enough ferrous in them to be useful for the induction cooking process. Easily rectified.

    It was a decision that was not easily or lightly made, and we still don’t know the right path forward through the fog of future. But the thing is we’ve actually burned out a combustion chamber in a wood fired steel oven far quicker than the various electricity system failures, and so odds are that the electricity system will last longer. And there are future plans for the batteries which I may not have discussed or implemented yet. Oh yeah, it’s happening. Of course like the Roman’s, at some point in the future I’ll have to construct an outdoor masonry wood fired baking oven for use over summer. How hard can it be? No doubt it will also be useful for pizzas.

    Have you ever used an induction hot plate for cooking? Never used one before myself.

    Ollie and Ruby are literally in the dog house tonight because they disappeared off into the forest for over an hour today. And to add to the confusion, there was a dreaded horse trail rider earlier today who’s tracks looked as though they may have travelled through my neighbours property. Horses are easy as to track. I have no time for the horse trail riders and have put the word around that they can traverse my property as long as they bring horse poo as payment for that access beforehand – but none of them ever did and they just want what they want with no cost. Life don’t work that way as they have discovered the hard way. Anyway, they were a problem long before the incident. Now they know. And we had the incident. They didn’t take me seriously before the incident.

    I read a really interesting article on the insurance industry down here today. Really interesting and the ‘cat-bonds’ are an interesting gamble financial product option for high net wealth people and funds which I had never previously heard of. Insuring your home may get harder and more expensive as climate change increases risks. I don’t get a discount for having constructed a crazy fire retardant house and maintaining the land around the house. It’s all a bit strange, but 18% year on year increases are a hard pill to swallow.

    Restrictions have eased a bit today, so we went and nabbed a gourmet pie and stopped off at another bakery to enjoy some very tasty fruit tarts. Oh they’re good and about the best I have tasted. And it is not even Christmas time when fruit tarts are traditionally seen! 🙂 Anyway, not much has changed for us, we just didn’t need to carry an officially certifiable reason for being on the road (not that we travelled far). The countryside is looking better than I have seen it for many long years due to all of the recent rain. Amazing stuff.

    I can’t fault your logic about the piracy and it is a good point.

    Actually, now that you mention it I may have been allowed to take my girlfriend at the time out to dinner on the company books for developing and writing the database. I was young and naive, fortunately now I’m much older and naive. The change is scientifically measurable. 😉

    🙂 We both do professional digressions as a lifestyle choice. It works…

    ‘A ticking time bomb’: Fear of mass evictions once economy starts back up.

    Far out. Sherman’s march to the sea did not make for pleasant reading. I noted that of particular interest was that the army had abandoned its normal supply lines and instead relied entirely on foraging from local farms to feed the army. Little wonder they travelled so far and so fast. It is of interest to me that the 1860 census data for livestock and crop production became a tool used against the farmers and may be pertinent to our discussion on the future of reading and writing. What a use to put such innocuous data to. A young lady once reminded me that this is exactly what happened to people in farms like mine in ‘The Walking Dead – Season 2’. She looked rather pleased at the observation too.

    Inge has also corrected me about parsley, and you’re both right and I’m wrong in my belief. I hadn’t honestly noticed the flowering and seed production of that particular plant and it hasn’t spread beyond its initial planting zone. I’ll look closer at it this year and sorry for leading you astray.

    Thanks for the suggestion, but such seeds are rarely provided with inoculating fungi and bacteria down here. But I will try your suggestion of soaking the seeds first before planting them out. The soil here is fairly well drained, but I’m also having a very wet year so all manner of strangeness is to be expected.

    Did I not mention to you late last year about your country’s trade war with China? I’m pretty certain I did, and strange things have been happening since then. The Chinese have slapped restrictions on our exports of beef and barley just in the past few days. And have threatened LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) and Iron Ore exports. Hmm. There is not much left, but I’m guessing they probably need the coal more than the LNG and no threats have been made in that direction. Yes, strange days indeed.

    Hehe! How cool would it be to find fireworks in the magic food boxes? As a kid I used to be able to buy them at the milk bars and then set them off at the footy ground. A fun thing to do for a kid on a cold winters evening after footy practice.

    Have you come across any Spelt flour in your travels? It’s good.



  30. Hi Margaret,

    Oh yeah. My thoughts exactly about the canned food. None of the characters seemed even remotely interested in planting an edible garden, and/or maintaining the land around their houses so that it was more productive and somewhat less risky. Even though they acknowledged the risk. Beats me.

    Thanks for suggesting the book and I really enjoyed reading it. And the concluding chapters were beautiful.

    Yes, there is much in what you say about the changes which took place in the people born after the incident. But then I know people who are just like Ish and they can’t seem to connect the intellectual processes with actual physical activity and actual outcomes in the environment. And it is worth noting that Ish carried his inabilities in that direction as a matter of personal pride. However, towards the end of the story he began teaching the younger folks useful skills and so may have gotten over that affectation. Dunno. I’d be interested in your thoughts on that subject.

    Between you and I, I was rather concerned that the kids weren’t taught to at least be able to read. I do accept that they may not have been able to master writing skills – and our current teaching methods also appear to dodge those skills from what I’ve heard. However, reading is an easier skill to grasp than writing and one does not necessarily produce the other outcome, and so I disagreed with the Tribes perspective on that skill. Ish put too much faith in Joey when he might have done better to accept a ‘good enough’ but better prepared result from all of the others. He wanted a perfect solution which failed abysmally.

    Haha! What a fascinating insight. Is not envy one of the seven deadly sins of which the ancients once spoke? In these enlightened times however some of those deadly sins are considered virtues! 🙂 “always striving to “improve” their situation works against just be happy and content”

    Wow, a truly deep question. I can only respond from my own perspective whilst noting that one must reach within oneself to establish their own goals that are within their own reach. Ish was unhappy because he had goals of course, but generally wished that other people lent their backs to achieving them. I disagree with such an approach because it smacks of power and control. However, look at the change that came over Ish when he sneakily taught the younger ones how to construct and string a longbow. I tend to feel that the author was making an observation on our own society by providing that example of change. In effect he was holding a mirror up to us, or at least I’m guessing he was doing that. And yes, absolutely it is entirely relevant to our situation. I may write something about this on the next blog, but in my own vague and wandering style. 🙂

    Never read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but far out did the book kick up a stink or what? However, I know absolutely nothing at all about the book other than the historical reaction to it. My education is sadly lacking… Can you enlighten me?

    I’m reading a story about Indigenous fire practices and it is a fascinating and beautifully told story. If you’re interested I can link to a short video of the author discussing his journey and how he came to be on it. Some people are chosen for a specific task, and he is one such.



  31. Hi DJ,

    You betcha, weird as. Funny you mention that, but I’ve been thinking about the house batteries of late. All this stuff is subject to entropy and it is a bit of a worry, because like you say 2 months ago things were easier. I do really wonder about the spare part story, but you just don’t hear about it. I am aware of some stock items that are difficult to purchase anywhere on this continent, but my view is not that all encompassing and so I only ever see a tiny portion of the whole. Anyway, batteries. There are plans…

    Hey, the high emotional content is hard for me to block out especially when I’m indirectly connected to it. Acceptance is the end point of all that long journey don’t you reckon? I’m not quite there yet, but will probably get there soon. How about you?

    Hehe! That’s funny about your dad not getting the wordplay and even getting annoyed at it. I must say that I’m glad that you received some input from your mum’s side of things otherwise I’d be trying to have all this witty banter with you, and then you’d go off scratching your head and muttering something under your breath about how irritating the blog is! Like where are the technical details for instance!!! 🙂 Anyway, the important question of the day is: Do you currently have available to you 42 rolls of toilet paper? 😉 See what I mean? Hehe!

    For you interest, the olive trees can cope with -2’C and snow, but I doubt that they are much hardier than that. You never know how the climate will shift in your part of the world. I wouldn’t have predicted last summer down here what with the expansion of the Antarctic moisture to this little corner of the continent. And having that compete with the crazy hot weather from the centre of the continent. It was like being smashed from pillar to post – as they used to say.

    This year has been quiet, but earlier this morning there was a dreaded trail rider. They have been something of a problem here in the past but haven’t been around for a long while. There was an incident.

    We are cheeky! Like it, and it is worthwhile celebrating. Not enough of that goes on nowadays.

    300 miles is so far that I can’t recall the last time that I was that far from home. Seriously. I must say that there is something a bit Mr Ed about that town name… Good burgers are a thing of greatness, but my mind is struggling to come to terms with the colouring by numbers gear and the crayons. As a bit of background I have worked counting votes at elections and have seen all manner of drawings and given this understanding of the public and the general artistic flair of some individuals, well let’s just say that I wouldn’t give the opportunity to express themselves artistically. 🙂 You’d be amazed at what I’ve seen in that job.

    It is possible, but to be honest I’d never realised that a fallen tree could spring back without warning if the tension was great enough. Respect is the right frame of mind.

    Your area is clearly hot property and also a good sign of the pickings. I quite like the mournful call of the Australian Ravens and they are massive birds. It is a sad call that reminds me of dry lands and hot winds, with maybe the occasional rolling grass chunk drifting across the scene. They don’t last here long because the family of magpies shoo them off. More bird diversity is a very good thing.

    I’m currently reading a book on Indigenous fire practices and the author tells a really lovely story. So far the book has read like a story and it is an enjoyable read. I have a lot to learn about the as it is called “country”.

    The fern gully is pleasant smelling and the mulch is nice and damp right now. It is soft underfoot too. The new ferns appear to have established themselves and are growing. You can tell the new fronds as they are a lighter colour than the older fronds which are dark green.

    Exactly and I hear you about that. About the only other thing to do is build your top soil so that it retains more water and the plants are less stressed, but even that policy has its limits when it gets really dry. And mulch any exposed soil so that it stays cooler.



  32. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for the correction and I am incorrect in my belief. I’ll have to look closer next season and look for the flowers and seeds.

    Are you having an Arctic blast? It is only 37’F outside right now and winter is fast approaching.

    For some reason the two pups have decided that they need to eat the organic fertiliser pellets and are beginning to raid the bag for the stuff. It must be like dog chocolates to them.



  33. Hello Chris
    The Coffee thief thinking ; “Oh there’s my two coffees That didn’t take any time at all, time to get out of here!” A good hate stare is about the only appropriate reaction,?

    The Clumsy fry cook. Probably just refilled the big salt shaker. Jammed the first thread ,thought lid was tight.dumps big batch of chips into salting pan. Shakes one time, lid falls off salt dump on chips. Tosses the worst affected some place the boss can’t see. Fills Chris. And Editors order. Covers his Axx. Probably not his first time. Probably trained to never put out defective food. Training failed.?
    Tell the owners. They need to know.

    The PRB 880 is a great farm tool. Similar gas powered cement buggies started being used on jobs I was on in the early 90s . They were 1/4 yard concrete cap. They had fully adjustable dump control so the flow could be regulated to fill small volumes. Also used for sand, and gravel. They caught on with the workers pretty fast. The power dump and retract has some safety issues that are probably involved . The omission in Braumr ag s unit is probably a liability thing. It’s plenty useful On your farm. I really like it.. the skid steering makes you to add a new right shuffle left shuffle dance step as you glide around the mountain. 300 kg is a pretty big load. Price looks ok too.?

    The fern garden areas are beautiful. Good work !

    The 107amp reading from 42 panels this close to your solar minimum. Looks pretty good. Did the remote panel get fixed?After pouring over the manuals on the Plasmatronics site I was quite impressed with them. ?

    Some time ago, while looking for hard red wheat berries , I found a site for them called Azure standard that sold the hard red wheat. As well as it’s seed ,and different grades of flour. Plus a whole lot of other organic food and stuff. They are in 500 pop. town called Dufer Oregon that is south of The Dallas Oregon about 150. Road miles from my home. They were just swamped from CV business crush at the time . Last week I got my order with apologies for the delays with a nice long letter from their CEO and family Patriarch explain how the got through the business crush. The wheat berries are great but 1 to 2 hours cooking time. yum!

    Your Freedom Wheat variety test looks like it needs some bird protection maybe plastic film cover? The freedom wheat and its inventor , Mr Farrar made quite an effect on Au wheat production. There was a 2018 news article about a group of bread bakers cross breeding varieties using freedom and others to get improved bread recipes. That’s always a good idea,

    Yesterday I masked up and went to the Great Grocery Store Party. The deep pantry peanut butter dun run out. Natural oil top pb was all gone at the big store also.
    The resident Queen of remote grocery procurement with cheerful delivery to the store parking lot came through. Delivery today! Yea!?

  34. Hello Chris
    It was I who recommended ‘Earth Abides’ to you, says me with an aggrieved sniff. Margaret came in later in agreement.
    The wretched wind did veer to the north again.


  35. Hi Chris,
    I see what you’re saying about Ish especially in regard of how they lost their water source. You would have thought that a thinker like him would have kept an eye out for any problems as he seemed to know pretty quickly what the problem was. As far as teaching reading though he didn’t get any support from the other parents. Speaking of being laid back – how no one really was overly concerned about the loss of water was really hard to believe. I still have 1/3 of the book to go in hopes of refreshing my memory.

    I guess the question I’m trying to ask is whether being an intellectual as Ish could be characterized would somewhat a hindrance to happiness with all his worrying about getting civilization (as he saw it) going again. The others seemed to just take things as they came. I’ve known a few people who would be considered extremely intelligent and they didn’t seem nearly as happy and/or content as someone with more typical intellectual abilities.

    Here’s a link to a summary/description of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

    One criticism by blacks was she was a proponent of educating and freeing the slaves but then sending them to Liberia to start a colony there. This opinion had changed by the time she wrote “Dred”. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. I had also read
    “1493” by Charles Mann and it there that I learned of “Dred”. It was his opinion that it was the better of the two books. I’m thankful for Thriftbooks as I’m able to get used books (that being one) for under $5. I’m also hoping that the library will be able to open soon.

    Well we’re getting rain today but we need it so planting has stopped but next week looks to be really nice.


  36. @ Inge – I think our numbers are low, in the county, as, there hasn’t been much random testing. Another couple of things I thought of is that given the state of our medical industry, I think a lot of people just stay home and “tough it out.” Or think it’s flue, and not the corvid virus.

    I think there’s also a bit of social stigma, involved. if you were home sick, you might not be too vocal about it.

    I’m surprised we don’t have more, given we’re on a major highway, about half way between Portland and Settle. Pretty much a “pit stop” for travelers.

    I’m also hearing things about how ineffectual, some of the tests are. False negatives, false positives, in high percentages. Lew

  37. Yo, Chris – How hard could constructing a baking oven be? Oh, probably no harder than constructing a solar electric system. 🙂 . I’ve read a bit about the construction of all kinds of different wood fired ovens. I think there’s a lot of options, tips and tricks to getting an optimum result, with the least amount of fuel. And the whole cooking process is different. Recently, I read something (Ruth Goodman?) about how a brick oven was heated very high for bread, then as it cooled, pies. And, finally puddings.

    Trading horse poo for access? Makes sense. Hmmm. I wonder if I should be trading toilet paper for kitchen scraps, instead of canned goods? 🙂 .

    So, instead of having a regional insurance pool, we’ve moved to a global insurance pool. Globalization. The gift that keeps on giving. I’d never heard of Cat Bonds, either. But then, given anything that moves seems to be turned into bonds, these days, I shouldn’t be surprised. I had heard of municipal bonds, which sound like they work the same way. I looked into those, once upon a time. For a long time, they were a pretty “safe” investment. High yield, at the end, and not taxed as income. But they took a lot of money to get into. There were outfits, that pooled municipal bonds, that smaller investors could buy into. Smaller, meaning, $5,000 minimum payment. And that was quit a few years ago. Of course, there were administrative fees. And then, there were several municipal failures, and they didn’t seem quit so “safe”, anymore. We had a huge failure, here in this State, a couple of decades ago. It was bonds for a nuclear power plant. Costs went up, demand for power decreased and the whole scheme collapsed. Thousands of people lost their life savings … retirement funds took a big hit. I forget what exactly the name of the project spelled out, but if you said it, it sounded like “Whoops!”

    The fruit tarts sound yummy. I suppose the baker, perhaps, realized that people go for a bit of comfort food, in these uncertain times.

    That was a pretty interesting article about rents and evictions. Here, we have a few more laws protecting renters. And plenty of information on staving off eviction. But, on the flip side, there’s also a lot of information for landlords on the steps to go through to legally evict renters. I just don’t know what’s going to happen a few months down the line. How grim and desperate is it going to get? I keep an eye on the crime reporting, but it doesn’t seem to be bumping up … yet.

    Yup. Those property records really helped Sherman out. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Doomsday Book, in England. When the Normans came in, William the Conquerer wanted an accounting of everything of value in the kingdom. Right down to the number of chickens a small holder had. Sherman’s March was, in some ways, all about supply lines. He had one long supply line, and wanted to get to the coast, where he could be resupplied by sea. And, he wanted to cut the South in half. And, destroy as much of the agricultural and manufacturing base as possible. Before the Civil War, as a young officer, he had been stationed in Northern Georgia. And had paid attention to the lay of the land.

    Re: Parsley. Oh, I don’t mind a stroll down the garden path, from time to time :-). Besides, along the way I found out that parsley root is very tasty. We’ll see.

    All my peas and beans are now coming up. Even the ones down by the garlic. But, I wonder what the yield, will be? I think I mentioned that both seed companies I checked for the pea seeds, advised using inoculant. But neither of them carried it. Seems like they’re missing a trick, there. I would have ordered it, right along with the pea seed. Instead of buying it from a third party.

    Thinking about China and globalization, in general. In fact, thinking about a lot of things, a biblical verse came to mind. From Genesis. “Trading your inheritance for a mess of pottage.” Pottage, by the way, is lentil soup. We’ve traded our future due to greed, cheap prices and the willingness to accept shoddy merchandise. Sow and reap, also comes to mind.

    I think I mentioned I found some oatmeal with spelt in it. But, as to flour, I see that Bob’s Red Mill carries spelt flour. Sounds like good stuff, for a lot of reasons. Hmmm. I just took a look at the Bob’s Baking Book. Spelt has a tough husk, that’s hard to process. So, it’s more expensive than wheat. Bob’s also makes several kinds of spelt flour.

    Almost forgot. Induction hot plate. Don’t think I’ve used one. Is that the flat plate, rather than an electric coil? Nope. Never used an induction stove, either. Seems like black magic 🙂 .

    Well, here’s a little something to take your mind off what’s going on in the world, right now.

    Most of these come from Roman Egypt, first century CE. It would be centuries, before portraiture reached this level, again.

    I talked to Eleanor’s daughter, yesterday. Her insurance is running out, so, they’re tossing her out, tomorrow afternoon. Not that she’s ready to come home. The way it works here is, every nursing facility must have a certain percentage of medicare beds. But right now, there are no medicare beds, available at that facility. Talked to her grand daughter, briefly, this morning. They’re looking for a medicare bed, in another facility. I asked how Eleanor likes that. She doesn’t, but what’s to be done?

    Someone mentioned a book to me, over at Mr. Greer’s. “Snakefat and Knotted Threads: A Short Introduction to Traditional Finnish Magic.” I found ONE copy for sale on the internet. The price wasn’t too eye watering, so, I ordered it. Should be here next week.

    Oh, we missed it. Yesterday was the final day of the Roman festival of Lumuralia. It was a festival to banish vengeful or restless ghosts. The head of the household had to wander about at midnight, tossing black beans back over his shoulder. While the rest of the household banged pans together to create a lot of noise. Those Romans had some funny ideas of a good time. Lew

  38. Chris,

    Plans are good. And flexible, I hope?

    Acceptance is good. Without it, we as a society can’t truly work through this properly. I got to the acceptance stage (mostly) quickly, but then again, I’ve not missed any work. But, it IS an emotional time, and it’s still hard not to get swallowed up by others’ emotions. It’s extremely concerning that our elected officials seem to be using this for political purposes and will not work together. That idea is where the bulk of my fight with emotions comes from.

    Dad was very prudish about most things. Mom didn’t dare get the least bit cheeky. I learned cheekiness extremely well when I first read Douglas Adams. Cheekiness is good. And yes, I have 42 rolls in storage, as I’m trying to adhere to Lew’s Law of TP.

    Once upon a year, the people in the US who robbed stagecoaches and other travelers were called “road agents”. You might have to act like a road agent with the trail riders. Or maybe sic the garden gnome on them.

    There’s ART and then there’s what you were talking about. There’s much too much of the latter. But when it’s simply a children’s book and crayons to color the pictures with…well, I guess I would tend to stay within the lines but using the weirdest colors I could find.

    I’d never heard of that with trees before either. Sounds more like a sasquatch attack or something than a tree that bends at the waist.

    I expect the crows to win eventually, as there are a LOT more crows than ravens. However, the ravens have attempted to move in as the crows have been elsewhere. Empty space means new claimants.

    Thanks for the suggestions about mulching this summer. I’ve got things composting that should be of use when it gets hot.


  39. @ Margaret
    You have drawn me in to the contemplation on intellectual ability or lack of it re happiness. I actually think that you have a point but the complexities are massive. I find it possible to think of different examples that pull me either way.


  40. Hi Al,

    Delivered a death stare at the coffee thief with my best ‘Dirty Harry’ impression minus the witty one liners (that is about the best that can be expected before caffeine enters my system). I tell you another funny coffee story. Near to the cafe there is a little park bench that the locals have been sharing (at appropriate social distancing). And the bench is nabbed on a first come first served basis. So there is this guy that takes along a laptop and I see him there surfing the web a lot. The other day we managed to nab the bench before him, and so he encourages his dog to come and annoy us. Fortunately I’d had a sip of coffee and could think clearly because I looked at him and said: “Get rid of it”. And that was that. Strange days…

    Hehe! Hey you’re possibly more correct than you know about the lack of training. Of late some accusations in the media have surfaced about that particular restaurant, and in a bizarre twist of fate a few years ago I met one of the original guys that set the business up, but was possibly cut out of the business. Unpleasant and ungentlemanly words were mentioned in the media. Who would have thought that burgers could produce such intrigue? Nope, won’t get involved with telling the owners – it is not my problem.

    Yeah got that machine out today, and it is a great machine that makes lifting the big rocks back up the hill easy as. Apparently it will happily navigate a 30 degree slope but I don’t really want to encounter such a slope. The gearbox is a bit finicky, but if you persist it works brillantly.


    Ah, you are onto things. So I dismantled the remote data unit the other night. I couldn’t see anything visibly wrong with the unit so gave the connectors to the cable a squirt of WD40 and that fixed the problem. Whilst I had the device dismantled I was also able to slide the LCD screen a little bit to the left so that it is a bit easier for me to read. The data reader sits above a hydronic heater and so possibly the heat affected the connections.

    The same thing is going on down here with flour. I’ve been dealing with a business for many many years, and despite them being smashed with orders, they give me a priority over other orders. It is a good thing to establish and maintain relationships.

    I’m honestly not sure how the growth and harvest will go with any of the plants, including the bread wheat. It has taken me over a decade to get to this point, but I really just try to out-produce the birds and animals and it more or less works. And yes, I too noted that article and it was what alerted me to the possibilities and then I read a few books on the subject.

    Hehe! Well done with the peanut butter. I make my own from roasted unsalted peanuts. Two cups into the food processor, and then in a minute or two later peanut butter is produced. Next summer I’m going to try growing some peanuts. The last time I did that the dogs ate them all…



  41. Hi Inge,

    Thanks again for the correction and you of course are correct as usual. So given we are discussing the book, what do you believe about the observations that I have previously made about the protagonist: Ish?

    I’m curious, because I have known several people who are far brighter than I am, and far more academically recognised, but in their personal lives they seem to really struggle. And science is a particularly hard career path because of the grant process, a person has to re-apply for their job every couple of years. I tell you that it would wear me down.

    I thank you for the book recommendation as it was an excellent and was wondering whether if you were in that situation would you have taught the children to read?

    Education is an interesting topic, and I’ve run a graduate program for a large corporate, and the thing that stood out to me was that everyone learns differently. Our current systems tends to favour a one size fits all policy, and that is not necessarily a good thing, but it is economic.

    Beware those Arctic winds. When the wind blows up from the Antarctic, I fear their ferocity.



  42. Hello again
    Oh heck! Can you tell me how far back you made the comments on Ish, so that I can find them easily? Lazy me.


  43. Hi Margaret,

    I’m with you in that regard, and look at what happened after the water source disappeared, and sanitation went out the window – they ended up with typhoid fever. That indicates to me that their water sources had become contaminated somehow, but they blamed Charlie. That particular disease ran riot through the population down here in the late 19th century, and it (and Cholera) was one of the reasons that wealthy folks spent their summers in the more fashionable end of this here mountain range.

    That’s true about the lack of support from the other parents, but interestingly I noted that the older folks in the story stuck to their expertise. I do not believe that that is right – I mean look at your own mothers approach to cooking and gardening. I mean there was also no discussion that George had taken on an apprentice for carpentry, and within only a generation the descendants went back to living off the land as hunter gatherers. I do suspect that it was a bias of the author that he considered that there could be either civilisation as he knew it, or none. There is a whole bunch of middle ground he basically overlooked. What do you reckon about that?

    Ah! Thanks for elucidating your question. As a general observation, in the story we only have Ish’s perspective shared, and he tended to look down his nose on the more practical day to day matters. He saw himself as apart and above his contemporaries, but from my perspective such a perspective is false, but plenty of people give it a go. You know, being smart is just one tool in the human toolbox and it is not necessarily the be-all and end-all, and most certainly it does not bring happiness. In some people it may produce a feeling of superiority which may not comport in the real world, and I don’t personally feel that that is an acceptable state of being. At a wild guess what brings happiness is the state of contentment and acceptance. Dunno, but your question gets to the core of much concern in the current population and society. If it means anything to you, we as a society are fed a narrative and told that that is the tried and true path. But if you can see that narrative for what it is, and then have the courage and conviction to step outside it (whilst not alienating those who are enjoying the journey of the narrative) then I reckon you are doing OK and about as well as can be expected. It is not like we aren’t bombarded with messages all the time telling us to conform.

    For your curiosity, both the editor and I have topped subjects at Uni. Prizes are nice to receive, however Ish tended to consider that his smarts were an end point, but like everything such a state of achievement is only a beginning point. And despite all else the old adage about ‘chop water and fetch wood (sic)’ is a not too subtle reminder that enlightenment will only ever arrive after we are comfortably fed and warmed in front of the fire – but maybe not even then. The story gets to the heart of a lot of issues in society, but the question is how can we find the lost middle ground? It is not lost on me that you happily raise pigs and chickens and turkeys. And I’m out there chopping firewood.

    Ah, thanks for the précis of the story. Wow! So as someone who lives in a country where the English banished convicts in order to open up the continent with free labour to European settlement, the Christian moral overtones of the story would probably annoy the daylights out of me. And then just for good measure I’d ask the hard question as to why none of the angels depicted in the 1870 edition artwork were black? And why was the only guy helping old Tom whilst he’s dying a white guy? Yeah, probably a good thing that nobody asked for my opinion! 🙂

    Look, what do you do, history is brutal and full of the most horrendous deeds. I’ve stood in the killing fields of Cambodia not long after the Vietnamese left when the country was first opened to westerners and seen clothing sticking out of the ground with my own eyes. I dunno, but life can be pretty ordinary sometimes, and pretty good at other times. It is complicated and you never really know where you’ll come unstuck.

    Cheers (not quite appropriate in this instance, but you know customary greetings and salutations are good things!)


  44. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, you sure made me laugh with that solar power system joke. Very natty! I tell you a funny story. So years ago I decided to construct an extension on a house in the fancy inner burbs. The editor and the neighbour both enthused about using bricks for the external cladding. I was very luke warm about the concept, but gave in. The neighbour offered to pay for the bricks, and that was a generous offer and the deal breaker. So the plans were drawn up and submitted to council. Approval was given for the construction work, and then the neighbour moved out. So here I am left with constructing a brick wall that I didn’t really care too much for. And no funds were seen for the bricks.

    So me, being me, I purchased a massive batch of recycled century old bricks. It would have frankly been cheaper and easier to purchase brand new bricks, but as you may know by now: it isn’t cheap to look this poor! I actually really liked the bricks as they were all unique and individual in their own way. That individuality slowed the construction down massively.

    However, I took great care and lined all the bricks up neatly and it was just one of those slow and hard jobs that eventually got done. How commercial brick layers can keep up with that trade as they get older is beyond me. The walls were eventually completed and they looked really cool (being made of recycled century old bricks).

    Once the brick wall was complete, the new neighbour however attempted to shake me down for some mad cash, and approached the council and the building surveyors, and it was just one of those things that really showed me the depths of some people’s souls. They’ve got this awesome looking wall, and so how much was enough for them? Anyway, an outdoor brick oven (they used to call them Scotch ovens down here) must be far easier than that…

    My mates have a wood fired masonry pizza oven and it looks to me like the fire is set inside the oven. When the fire dies down, the fire is pushed to the rear of the oven. The bricks retain the heat and some Scotch ovens are so large you can chuck in many dozens of loaves. It seems simple enough as a concept, but as you say the devil is in the detail.

    And thanks for mentioning the sequence of cooking as I might have missed on that concept.

    Hehe! Hey you may joke around, but I was serious about the horse poo offer. It was just a-step-to-far for those folks who wanted what they wanted for free. One of them even suggested that I could grab the horse manure from their property. Hmm, they had not even twigged that I wanted nothing from them, and yet here they were wanting something from me? Things that make you go hmm…

    Oh shoot! I’d never looked at the insurance arrangements like that, but ouch. Not good. Who knew that there were even things like cat bonds? Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen (please excuse the pun). Woosh is definitely the sound that disappearing money makes. Thanks for mentioning that sad municipal bond failure. The failure is epic in scope. Ouch. Did you know anybody who lost in that scheme (I almost typed the word scam)?

    Interestingly the product lines in the bakery was much reduced. The tarts have a longer shelf life than most bakery products so they’re a safe bet. You know, it is not a bad response to the crazy times.

    Interesting and as a comparison, rental properties are really treated like an investment and renters have limited rights. I personally hated the experience of renting, but what do you do when that is your only option? It was very invasive and not that much different from what you experience with the constant inspections and people in your business all the time. Not a fan. Well yeah, the what happens a few months down the line is an important question that we’ll all find out sooner than we’d like. If you can get your head around the statistics here then you are smarter than I: 600,000 jobs lost in coronavirus shutdown, but unemployment only rises to 6.2pc. The population of the continent is something around 25 million, so with 2.7 million affected I just don’t understand the statistics.

    Oh, we have mentioned the Domesday Book before and it was an epic accounting exercise. I’ll bet the scribes were unhappy the day that job was completed! 😉 “And had paid attention to the lay of the land. A rare quality in these GPS and outsourced brain days.

    Well that I’ll be interested to hear about. I suspect that our societies current general knowledge of edible plants is not that good. Who knew parsley roots were edible?

    I like the old saying about “pottage and inheritance”. A lot of old sayings are bearing fruit these days, and one that keeps recurring in my mind of late is the old story about: Killing the goose the lays the golden eggs.

    Ah, I had not known that about spelt husks, however such a trait would make the seed less likely to be scoffed down by the birds and other critters. It is more expensive than wheat here too. I’m serious about tracking down some seeds though, and have a few ideas, however time is a bit tight.

    Spent today working in the forest and burned off the huge pile of fallen limbs and leaves. We just slowly fed the fire and so it never really got very hot. However we scored a huge number of very large and movable rocks. Peak rocks is still here, it is just like finding a small field which you can exploit for a while until it runs out.

    Sure! You are on fire tonight. Love it. It works on magnetic induction and hopefully next week I can put it to the test. Today was a spectacular autumn day and the sun shone and there was not the slightest bit of breeze. Just the day for a burn off and there was plenty of solar power to spare. Things can change rapidly on that front.

    The artwork is amazing. I’m really impressed at the level of detail. Thanks for that! And you can see that the art work influenced later periods of art.

    Oh no! So much of life is like that and we get blown by uncaring winds. I do hope that Eleanor gets good care.

    The book will be singing to your blood! Hey, if you come across any interesting snippets then please do share.

    Funnily enough that you mention that about the ghosts, but in the book I’m reading there were eight houses for the indigenous folk (apparently numbering a 100 people) and one of the houses was haunted by a woman wearing a white dress – so nobody used the house. Ghosts can make for unpleasant companions. The film Poltergeist scared the daylights out of me as a kid. Why would anyone construct a housing estate over a cemetery?



  45. @ Margaret again
    Erich Fromm’s book ‘To have or to be’ might be relevant in this context.


  46. Hi DJ,

    Plans are good, but flexibility is better – just like the tank – bank crashing scene in Kelly’s Heroes. 😉

    I tend to feel that the working from home thing is helpful for many people, but economically the whole mess has been a bloodbath. And we are probably only in the early days of things. But yeah I take your point and I too try to reach acceptance, especially if I’ve run out of options – even the Sun Tzu out of left field options! I do wonder how folks who have grown up in a long series of year in year out growth will handle such ill winds? It takes a lot of experience to know how to live on the cheap, and when all you’ve experienced so far to date in your life is living large it can be a real mental health problem. But you know, we may all be surprised by the outcomes.

    Ah, well politics is a very divisive thing in your country so I can see how that particular narrative may get trotted out. Take a leaf out of our book and kick back, relax and know that no matter how you feel about things, you’ll end up getting done over. Then you can spend all that energy getting on and doing something more interesting than arguing about politics. But we are an apathetic bunch down here on that front, and the preferential voting system tends to produce the most preferred outcome for the community even if there is a bit of whingeing about the election outcomes. Not liking our politicians is an equal opportunity thing down here and we don’t like many of them! 😉 When I was a kid there was a politician who regularly ran for the Senate and his slogan may have been ‘keeping the b@#$%rds honest’ and at least you knew where you stood with that guy and his minor party.

    Mr Adams was clearly a gateway to your true humour! 🙂 It is funny where our influences come from. There is an English comedian who also lives down here by the name of Ross Noble, and I’ve seen him perform a few times. I really like how he ties his stories together in a circular way, plus chucking in digressions. A man who tells stories after my own heart and is always enjoyable and entertaining!

    Stay safe. Stay strong DJ. And most of all stick to 43 rolls… No was that 42… Arghhhhhh!

    The road agents were called ‘bushrangers’ down here, and the most famous of the lot was: Ned Kelly. Road agent sounds like an official title of some sort?

    Hehe! That’s exactly what I would do too with the lines and colours. Takes one to know one, I reckon!!! 🙂

    Possibly, a sasquatch was involved with the tree, but the results were still the same. I tell ya what, plenty of things down here are really seriously poisonously lethal and they will kill you most certainly dead and in a short period of time. But in your country things are not that poisonous, but far out they can rend you limb from limb. I guess it’s all the same thing at the end of the day though?

    Do you reckon the birds are moving into your area because the weather has been dry of late? I saw some strange migrations with the birds last year and for most of summer a small family of Black and Yellow Cockatoos were hanging around – although most other birds tried to clear them off. Massive birds with huge wingspans. And an unforgettable screech.

    Good stuff with the compost. A fine option and useful in many ways for the soil and plants.



  47. Yo, Chris – Well, as the great sage and poet, Dolly Parton stated, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” 🙂 .

    Here’s a bit about Whoops!

    I didn’t know anyone personally, who was swept up in the boondoggle. But a few at third hand.

    Not to take too deep a dive in unemployment figures, but some how or another part time positions figure in. Are they counted as one job? 1/2 a job? Do you figure number of hours, and divide by 40? Do you just count people looking for work? Or include those who looked for work, and gave up? What did Twain say about statistics? 🙂 .

    I think spelt will grow here. I see it in the seed catalogs. I asked the Master Gardeners about it, and they said someone was “experimenting” with it up in the east end of the country.

    That level of art work was lost. Buried deep in desert tombs. Artists had to pretty much reinvent the wheel. But, when the Popes got interested in digging up art, in and around Rome, it gave artists something to aspire, to. Especially in sculpture. 15th and 16th century. If you Google “Fayyum Mummy Portraits” and click on “images”, there are a lot more examples.

    Well, our first round of boxes came, this morning. There will be another round, this afternoon. I got a 4lb. bag of good cane sugar, a bag of walnut pieces. A bag of dried “trail mix.” Think granola. Peanut butter, eggs and different canned fruit and veg. There was a lot of other stuff I took back downstairs, to swap.

    I’ve had a tooth that is bothering me (should probably go) and I’ve been babying it along until the current crisis is over. Pain level, 3 or 4, and not all the time. Well, it’s begun to shift into high gear. Now, I’m not one to take antibiotics at a drop of a hat, but if I had some, the infection could be beaten back. No appointments til next Wednesday morning. And, I can’t get the dentist I wanted, so, it will be pot luck. It’s probably a risk to go to the clinic, but what is one to do?

    Otherwise. I went out slug hunting, last night. Got 16. Several were making for my green beans! Back! I say! Back! Lew

  48. @Inge

    I get what you’re saying.
    Also I’m not familiar with that book. Another one for the list. Thanks!!


  49. Hi Chris,

    First off I forgot to request a link to the video you mentioned in a prior comment.

    Agree regarding author’s binary bias, either civilization or not. However, when a civilization has collapsed in the past don’t they as a rule lose much of the skills they had prior? I may be wrong.

    Ish did recognize Em’s strengths which were quite different than his.

    I certainly see close up people who follow society’s narrative lock step even when it’s not working for them. My SIL comes to mind.

    My oldest daughter said she would be valedictorian of her graduating class and she did just that. 25 + years later she can’t understand why it was so important. Of course the upside to that for both her and us is she was awarded many scholarships that just about paid for her tuition for college.

    I’m enjoying the conversation about the book though I find it ironic that I am speaking to people on other continents rather than friends and family. I am still finding that reading other than online has really dropped off.

    On another note I made two trips out for supplies this week, one to Costco and the other to a nearby big grocery store. It’s interesting to see what’s in short supply. There was meat both places but a fair amount of items were in short supply. Canned tomatoes were not to be found in either place and my sister said they were not a Whole Paycheck either. I took advantage of the senior hours at both places which is quite nice. As it’s the first hour they’re open the store is as stocked as it gets. Oh yeah, certain fresh veggies were not available or were of poor quality.

    I should have everything planted here by early next week. We do have kale and asparagus and other greens shouldn’t be too far behind. We had 2 inches of rain yesterday as well.


  50. Chris,

    “Adapt and improvise.” Very useful advice. It about sums up my approach to the changing tides of life, the universe and everything. It’s right up there with “Don’t forget to breathe, breathing very important.” And I always enjoy the bank and tank scene.

    I’m thinking we can get in very dire straits very quickly. I’m hoping for better than that. People might still have some clues. As you said, we’ll find out. Adapt and improvise.

    It used to was that people could have civil discussions about politics and know that there would be disagreements and continue on. With rare exceptions, that has vanished, and it’s the “my way or the highway” approach. Methinks it’s related to peak oil, climate change, cognitive dissonance. Adapt and improvise is what I do with politics nowadays.

    I credit Mr. Adams with a lot of my cheekiness, or at least helping me release what was already there. It’s a good way for me to balance my tendency to be too serious at times. Poking fun at the situation and/or myself helps a lot.

    Ned Kelly was quite the desperado, and I see that he was popular amongst certain crowds in his lifetime. He certainly terrorized certain groups in a similar fashion to the Jesse James gang and others in this country.

    I have an ancestor who moved from sedate Iowa to wild and nasty St. Clair County, Missouri, in 1866 with his wife and children. That was the area in which the story in “The Outlaw Josey Wales” started. It was still seething and raw in 1866. There’s no record of what prompted the move. All I know is it had a disastrous end: my ancestor was shot in the leg by a wandering horseman and died of gangrene a few days later. As St. Clair County, Missouri, is where the James Gang got its start circa 1866, I often wonder…

    We have our share of poisonous thingies in some areasof the US: rattlesnakes, cotton mouth snakes, water moccasins, coral snakes are all nasty venomous. Scorpions. But you seem to have more of the poisonous beasties. At least you had Skippy the Kangaroo TV series (I visited the Wayback Machine again) while we got stuck with Gilligan’s Island.

    Yeah, the weather might have something to do with the raven invasion. My house is not too far from the forests, just a few kilometers, and I think that the raven population has been growing, so they need to expand. I’ve also not seen as many crows as usual, for whatever reason, so the growing raven population and a potentially smaller crow population might be what is setting up The Great Corvid War of 2020.

    The Scottish carrots I planted have began popping out of the ground. Green shoots like a normal carrot. Dunno if the actual roots will be in various tartan designs or not.

    Mate, I found it. Doing some web surfing at a site I’d bookmarked some time back, I found this wonderful article about a Medieval Cure for Old Age! Yes, and the cure is from the eminently scientific Franciscan Friar Roger Bacon of the 1200s. Apparently the single best cure of old age is…Is…IS… properly prepared dragon meat. There’s even a recipe, as well as other old age cures. On my last birthday I advanced from being “unyoung” to what is considered old. So, any cures for this malady are welcome, although I don’t feel any different than I did a week ago?


  51. @ Margaret
    The book seemed relevant but I am probably not an advocate for immersion in Erich Fromm.


  52. Hi Margaret,

    You can see Victor Steffensen here: Victor Steffensen on Indigenous Fire Practices. It’s a good interview and asks the hard questions.

    I don’t really know – and that question may be better answered by Lewis (as our resident historian). I tend to believe that some skills are lost that are not useful in declining times, whereas other skills are maintained if they are useful. Take for example complicated legalise, well I tend to feel that that may not have a long lifespan. But even after the fall of Rome I suspect that reading and writing skills were maintained – if only because we never had to re-learn those skills. Someone kept them going otherwise writing from that time would be indecipherable.

    Yes, Em was the emotionally tougher and more resilient of the pair as to be expected. Ish was a touch neurotic and spent more time in his own head than applying those skills – but that makes for a good story as we got to travel along with his perspective. What interested me about the story was that people stuck to their lanes and never tried to learn new skills, and some of those skills may be emotional and resilience based skills. George and Maud were solid examples of people clinging to the dead past despite the evidence to the contrary.

    I see that story too of people sticking to the narrative even when it doesn’t work well. I honestly don’t know how to break the reliance of people on that narrative and believe me, I’ve tried. Have you ever tried to alter someone’s perspective on this matter?

    Yup, motivations can change over time! Oh yeah, not to bring the discussion back to myself but it is hard to speak of other’s motivations as people dissemble and you have to instead look at their actions in order to judge what their motivations are, but I tell ya I was a mercenary little brat when I was younger! What a shift to today, so old dogs can learn new tricks. 😉 Maybe we have to travel a path, and the path needn’t be comfortable or cosy and warm?

    There is irony in what you say, but at the same time how many people do you know want to ask questions about the world around us? We live in a society that kicks that habit out of its children, probably because it is a very annoying habit! But there are downsides to stomping on such behaviour – and as a society we pay a cost for that peace.

    Dunno about other parts of the world, but we had one of the worst tomato harvests that I can recall, and we did better here on this property than most did. It is possible that there is a genuine shortage of the product rather than a run on the stores. It is a product that relies on natural supply lines, and so it is not as if anyone can suddenly up production to make up for the shortfall.

    What is meant by a Whole Paycheck?

    Fresh vegies have not been in short supply here – in contrast it was the canned product that was in short supply. I have this odd feeling that people don’t know what to do in the kitchen with fresh vegies! I really hope this is not the case. For your interest, the supermarkets look more or less back to normal – and toilet paper was a managers special (clearly trying to get rid of excess stock).

    Well done with the rain – and such rain at the time of year you are at is really great news. Kale and asparagus are great plants. 🙂



  53. @Chris and DJ

    Your talk of the tank scene in Kellys Heroes is corrupting my computer. Tonight, on my Youtube front page, it was “suggested” I watch a clip from Kellys Heros – “Showdown with a tiger”.

    I mean, we all know there is no privacy on the internet, but some things are just a bit too blatant….

    @Everyone else
    I finally compiled my photos and videos from the Japan trip just before Covid. I had fun making it and really like the soundtrack, so check it out if you are interested in a 4 minute Japan holiday 🙂


  54. @marg, inge and Chris

    RE: The Earth Abides

    First up, what a great book. Like Chris, I was initially frustrated with Ish’s (and the groups) approach to certain things. But by the end, I knew what the author was trying to say, and there was possibly a few things stuck in my eyes, dust probably.

    I always took the sickness as a new strain of something that Charlie (?) bought into the group. I took it as a salient lesson on why small communities are not trusting of strangers – they don’t know the customs, and in an isolated age with no vaccines, were a genuine threat to safety on occasion. But yeah, I would not have being so careless about water supply – they could have installed a network of water tanks for minimal effort, but instead decided to rely upon the magic of the tap.

    As for the question on “intelligence” vs adaptability and happiness. Hmm, you certainly do see a certain type of depression in intelligent people. And there is something to be said for ignorance in some situations. But, I think there are plenty of unhappy people across all aptitude/intelligence levels – often covered up with chronic drug dependencies.


  55. Hi Lewis,

    Well there you go. I never realised who originally made that most excellent quip. Dolly is one smart lady, and years ago I read an interesting article on her current activities and I was very impressed at her expansive worldview. It was a very well formed worldview, and few people have serious resources behind them, and then choose to engage with the world. Very interesting. There are a lot more Smaug’s around these days – and things are not good right now for dragons.

    Hey, you warned me. You said it would happen. Now it has happened! Oh yeah. So early on in, and many years back you predicted that all the photos would eventually fill up the interweb, and whilst that is not a technically correct point of view, you may have had a point. So on Monday afternoon (my time) I plan to upgrade the web hosting plan and so the blog may disappear off the web for a few hours whilst that all takes place in the background. No doubts I’ll lose a lot of readers in the confusion, but they don’t comment anyway so it is all numbers to my brain. Yes, the monthly cost of web hosting has gone from two coffees and a muffin to four coffees and two muffins. 🙂 No need to seek subscribers at this stage, but then I do all of the web behind the scenes admin so it is no real drama. I’ve learned a lot about the interweb doing that so I reckon that is a big side benefit. I might have to put out a comment out to regular readers though that the blog might disappear for a few hours next Monday. Hmm. Oh, one thing about the blog is after Monday you may find that it loads slightly faster, although I personally doubt the veracity of the claim as it loads pretty fast now.

    A battery charger for the house finally arrived in the mail. These things are not as easy to nab as they once were, but there are still supplies around. Anyway I wired the thing up today and now that it is dark outside I’m running the generator just to test the machine. And the noise from the generator reminds me just how quiet it has been around here of late. The neighbours may hear the noise of the generator and chuckle to themselves that something has gone wrong with the off grid power system, but not so.

    The restrictions were lifted a bit today and I felt mildly confronted by the sheer number of leaf change tourists heading up and down the more fashionable end of the mountain range in their cars. Plus there was a stream of push bikes pitting themselves against the might of gravity.

    Not good. I’m a bit the same as you with the scams in that I don’t know anyone directly affected by such things. However, third hand I do know of people taken down by the Nigerian Oil Scam, and what sort of story do you have to tell yourself to fall into such a cesspit of lies and deception?

    All of your points are valid about the statistics, including Mark Twain’s very clever and brutally astute observation. I now retire from the field scratching my head in sheer wonder despite having a solid higher education in statistics with excellent results. I guess if it seems weird, it probably is weird.

    Hmm, my thoughts too about the spelt plants, but obtaining the seeds may be more of a problem for me than first thought. Incidentally thicker hulls and more diversity in the genetics also probably makes for hardier and less disease prone plants.

    What? Did you just write that the Pope’s became interested in funding archaeology and investigating the works of the ancients? Makes you wonder what changes motivated them to act so? However given that they were patrons of the arts in those centuries, then it makes a strange sort of sense. I can see how the Royalty may have turned against them.

    What a great haul of stuff, and that lot would be most welcome here too! 🙂

    If you have any cloves they are good for numbing your tooth pain. But seriously, take it seriously. I know someone who recently suffered some serious health problems from ignoring a tooth ache. It was a close call for them and they have been a bit shaken since. The bugs I note are fighting back. I could go all Star Wars and suggest that ‘The Bugs Strike Back’ – that would be episode two or would that be episode five (?) in dork speak? Not sure although I thought that I was pretty handy at dork speak. Not mucking around though, get it looked into because there are risks in not pursuing such things and some risks are bigger than other risks. But then what do I know of statistics?

    Well done with the slug hunt count. 🙂 Take that ya sluggies!



  56. Hi DJ,

    Mate, am having a film night tonight and so my interweb time is very limited.

    I tell you an odd story from today though. We used the little red Honda push mower yesterday and I saw the editor holding up the pull cord in her hand from a distance. It wasn’t meant to be in her hand separated from the machine. The machine is now fourteen years old and we only get two maybe three uses out of the thing before it packs it in in some way.

    The aluminium case has cracked and broken on either side of the machine too. It has previously been welded to repair earlier cracks.

    So I saw the editor holding the pull rope for the engine in her hand and realisation dawned on me that the thing was kaput. So we went down to the farm machine repair place this morning and ordered a new hand push mower, but we went in there and said we had no idea what would be a good machine for us. And the owner of the store who has known us for years steered us in the direction of a really basic all steel machine.

    And then here is the thing. We then asked what do you do with the old machine? So his guys are now going to dismantle the old mower and keep the perfectly working engine for us which we can chuck on other machines we have if those engines die. Who would have thought that was the way to go?

    The funny thing is that over the years I’ve learned that it is best to ask other people what the best way to go with situations. It is not hard to do such a thing, but some people never get that memo.

    Better run! Will speak tomorrow.



  57. @ Inge,

    As soon as I 1) find some dragons, and 2) figure out how to “harvest” a dragon without becoming dragon food, then I will be happy to ship some dragon meat to you.


  58. @ DJ, if you’re going to eat dragon, you’d better get a dragon hunting license and obey all regulations, otherwise the game wardens will be on your case. Plus you’ll need the proper weapon, whatever that is, and know how to use it. And you’ll need to research where the dragons are and where is the best place to lay in wait for them. Once you’ve killed one, you have to gut it, and cut it into pieces and parts. And cook it. Might have to cook it in a special way, in case there is a poison to detoxify.

    I humbly suggest that it might be easier to just accept your entry into the ranks of the elderly.

    Claire, fellow aged person

  59. Hi Chris,

    It’s May, my busiest garden month, between preparing beds for planting and planting them, harvesting strawberries, weeding, and attempting (usually failing) to keep up with lawn mowing. On top of that is new organizational responsibilities this year, and I decided to take an astrology course by correspondence, as if I wasn’t busy enough already. Hence the relative lack of comments in the past weeks.

    This morning and early afternoon I weeded the carrot patch and was quite pleased with completing that before heavy rain moved in. That’s why I have time to comment now. If there is a long enough rain-free period, I’ll weed the lettuce and endive patch this afternoon as well. That will catch me up on weeding and allow me to start on lawn mowing and bed preparation while the moon phase is unfavorable for planting. It’ll be that way till next Friday, by which time I hope to have the bed for beans ready for planting. If nothing else, moon phase and sign gardening forces me to plan properly to get everything done. And it may have subtle effects as well.

    The county Mike and I live in will begin slowly relaxing the stay-at-home order on Monday. We can gather with 10 or fewer people as long as we practice social distancing. Many businesses can reopen, as long as they follow crowd-control guidelines (25% or less of maximum occupancy for those with less than 10,000 square feet of space, 10% or less for those with more square feet, for one). Businesses can require customers to wear face masks. Hair and nail salons can reopen as long as they maintain social distancing, which means no walk-in business, reservations only. Sports events are still prohibited, events with more than 10 people still aren’t allowed, there will be no summer school or summer camps, and playgrounds are still closed. Most but not all of the county parks have reopened and the state parks will allow camping again. It’s a beginning, at least. I have already extended invitations to get together with friends (following guidelines, of course), as that is what I have missed the most. The one restaurant Mike and I go to will reopen for curbside service in June, so we are glad that they will be back in business. Meanwhile, because we know a gal and have been buying meats from her and her husband’s small ranch for something like 25 years, we had a nice supply of meat in our chest freezer, and she will hold onto oxtails for us for the next time we come in to make a large purchase.

    Oh, and Whole Paycheck is the sarcastic name for the grocery chain that begins with the word Whole and is now owned by the Evil Empire of Seattle, because you had better have your whole paycheck available when you shop there. 😉


  60. @ Damo – That’s a great piece of footage! Next employment option … working for the Japanese tourist board! The opening scenes with you and the vending machine, I thought, “Damo goes native!” 🙂 .

    I really liked the shots of the canals. And, the castles. And, the shrines. And, the food. Overall, just a great piece of film. Lew

  61. Yo, Chris – I’ve always admired Ms. Parton for the way she has handled her private life. For years, it was known she had a husband, but not much was known about him. Turns out he’s got a business of his own, laying asphalt drives in their neck of the woods. He avoids the limelight and glitz, and she’s fine with that.

    Got it. Blog temporarily down for maintenance. LOL. I’ll be cutting and pasting for a few days, so I don’t loose “content.”

    I am so sorry they lifted the lockdown, before the leaves were off the trees. And that you have to contend with the yearly onslaught of Leaf Peppers.

    I had a bit of a brainstorm (always dangerous.) I felt “moved” to suggest establishing a food pantry, at The Club. Oh, we’ve always had a bit of clothes and canned goods, but pretty informally tossed on a bench. Lots of cans of beans … So, I packed up two boxes of pretty good canned stuff (not a tin of beans in sight) and took it down. Talked to our Club manager Bill, about it. He thought it was a great idea. He’s going to build some shelves.

    We’ve always had a few homeless, drift in and out. And, a lot of our members are scrapping along. Given these trying times, I think it will come in handy. I asked Bill if he’d noticed if the building had any problem with rats or mice. Not that he’s noticed. But, if they’re a problem, we’ll just have to stick to canned stuff.

    I sat on the bench outside, for quit awhile. Drinking coffee and talking to “H” (aka HRH). I’d hoped someone would show up to chat with, but it didn’t happen.

    The Club is in a complex with the Sunbirds store. I think I’ve mentioned it’s kind of a department store. My gosh, the parking lot was jammed, and people were running in and out like they were crazy. I was going to check for petunias, but thought better of it. It can wait til midweek, when things are calmer.

    And, counting. We had two more cases in the county, yesterday. So, we’re up to 34. I’m not looking forward to going to the dental clinic, on Wednesday, but, I’ll glove and mask up and hope for the best. Lew


    The blog has been running continuously every week for 6 years. Now most weeks I upload at least 20 photos, but generally more photos than that are uploaded. Anyway that works out to be (and someone please correct my math if it errs): 20 photos x 52 weeks x 6 years = 6,240 photos.

    Far out, that sure is a lot of photos and they take up a bit of space on this here interweb thingee. I actually pay for this space, and manage the website administration and I’m totally cool with that.

    However, the current website plan is rapidly running out of space and the nice local business who hosts the website has upgraded the plan. The cost increase is equivalent to a coffee and muffin (and a half) per month so we’re not talking sheep stations here. And I can absorb that cost, so not to worry there most certainly won’t be advertising or subscription drives or anything like that anytime in the foreseeable future.

    The only thing you will notice is that website may disappear off the interweb for several hours on (my time) Monday afternoon. There is no other way around it.

    On the upside the website will get double the processor capacity (not that I’ve ever noticed any problems on that front) and gain the capacity for another six years of photos!

    I look forward to sharing this journey and all the lovely conversations we have for another six years. 🙂



  63. @Lew

    Glad you liked the video, it was a fun trip with lots of great food!

    The shots of the canal (and the beer vending machine) were taken at a small town called Kinosakionsen. It was one of our favourite spots, the sound of wooden clogs “click-clacking” up and down the willow lined streets at night was very atmospheric. You can read a little more on the place if you like (unfortunately, our budget did not extend to afford the ryokan the average Forbes reader might choose :-p):


  64. Hi DJ (continued more or less over a day or so – all very exact terminology!),

    Hey, the website upgrade may affect you in particular, so if it disappears for a few hours, it is all part of the background website administrative processes. For all we know the process may take 5 minutes…

    I see Damo has received interwebbombed suggestions for watching the tank and bank scene. It’s a bit uncanny really and we can all hope that it is merely coincidence – maybe…

    Well, I feel that we are already in a changed landscape, and yet here we all are enjoying a good chat (the main purpose of the blog, really) and like you say, we are very adaptable. And some of the adaptations can be quite good. For example, I’ve nabbed a bit of spelt flour and have been thoroughly enjoying the taste mixed in with my more usual unbleached bread flour. It reminds me just how bland normal flour is. So that is a change for the better and I’ll chuck in a photo of the bread wheat seedlings tomorrow. Those things are Triffids. You just wait and see…

    It is also very possible that divisive discourse is encouraged in your country. Dunno, but as an act of catharsis, it drains the emotional energies away in the population in moderately harmless ways. A cheeky person might suggest that it is a ‘mostly harmless’ activity! 😉 I can’t emphasise enough the sheer comparison that is the general level of apathy down here. And because voting is compulsory at risk of a fine, election campaigns rarely extend past 12 weeks.

    Glad we don’t have Bobcats and Mountain lions down here as they seem a bit perilous to encounter whilst wandering around the forest at night.

    Yeah! I often resort to self-deprecating humour, because it is a very English response to awkward situations. Although there are downsides to that response because people tend to have this odd belief that if they are not exerting their very alpha-ness at every opportunity, then they are low in status. That is a complicated and difficult response. And if it means anything to you, I appreciate that you are not overly serious as that would get a bit tiresome, so I reckon you’re striking a nice balance.

    Ah interesting, the Jesse James gang seem to have struck rich veins of pickings. I have no doubt they had rural support otherwise they would have been unable to survive because one cannot loot and farm at the same time. And locals are far more alert to local mischief than distant authorities are. A few years ago a very well regarded crime reporter put it thus when he was discussing the matter with a notorious crim. The crim asked the reporter to disclose the content of his pockets, he then assessed his cheap car, and basically suggested that there was no return on investment for taking on the risk of robbing the reporter. Things that make you go hmm.

    I’d forgotten that you know of Skippy the bush Kangaroo! Don’t think of the theme song… 🙂 I grew up watching that show! But then just to balance off my brain waves, you lot inserted Gilligan’s Island too. I can see that you traversed such troubled waters too. Only those that know, know.

    Yes, definitely there must a sudden rebranding of the current ills to Corvidae-20. All I can say is that it is intense living in the future, and Ravens and their ilk may one day earn their day in the sun.

    Interesting. A carrot that may be sort of like a carrot – tartan jokes to the side. Many of the wild carrots that spring up around here are of diverse colours from parsnip off-white to the purple one we chucked into the dog food earlier today.

    Mate, you go first with the dragon and I’ll cover the rear and perhaps stick to those rocks over there that look a lot like a cave that an angry dragon might not be able to stick its grumpy snout into. But should you come unstuck and get roasted, I promise to recover your bones and return them to your homelands. Phew, that’s better and you’ll be dead anyway so I won’t have to worry overly about the fine print of out err, understanding as to the imminent dragon slaying. But I applaud your courage!



  65. Hi Damo,

    Sadly few things on the interweb are really free of surveillance and oversight, we just have to adapt as best fits. And possibly intermediate with strawberry pi’s! 😉 Not to stress, nobody other than true techo geeks will understand what we are going on about. Anyway, did you enjoy the video? And why haven’t you yet watched the full film? I stood in line outside a bakery today and mentioned to a bloke in the line that I was enjoying ‘catching some rays man’. There are times that my humour is totally lost on the general population – and it is their loss too!

    Thanks for the link and I’ll check it out tomorrow, but I seriously better get writing or I’ll run out of time.

    Mate, I hear you about the ending, oh yeah. Anyway, Ish was just some bloke who spent far too much time in his own head and forgot to get the good ideas that were in there, out into the real world. It is possible that he was unable to do so – and then the question becomes thus: What is the value of those ideas? I see plenty of people like that and have no idea what to make of it. It is a good thing being smart as, but if you can’t action those smarts, then: What are they?

    I only finished that section of the book last week and the narrative was that the disease was identified as Typhoid Fever. Way back in the mid to late 1800’s, that disease as well as Cholera was a serious problem in Melbourne. So the population banded together and installed an epic sewage and water system which is still in use today. The characters in the book may have been wrong because Typhoid Fever originates from faeces contaminated water and it is possible that Charlie had little to do with the outbreak. Although I too thought to myself that Charlie was going to be a problem that needed sorting out permanently, but perhaps for more honest reasons than the characters suggested.

    There is another word for their response to their water failure. It is a very unflattering word, but nonetheless it is true – and they paid the price. The word is: Lazy.

    Hey, I too reckon that it is a complicated and fraught topic. I’m not really sure but I believe that unhappiness stems from a reaction to realities versus closely and deeply held expectations. I have heard it remarked upon that few people adopted by native American Indian tribes wished to return to a more European way of living, so I suspect that the desire to grasp stuff is a fraught path, but I don’t really know. Anyway, I’m not really wired to feel unhappy for long periods of time.



  66. Hi Inge,

    I too would have made the effort with the kids in teaching them to read, but then it is a fictional work and the author had a barrow to push. Joey picked up the knack of reading far too easily and Ish was guilty of perhaps not trying hard enough early on. Anyway, the conclusion of the book was not lost on me as the narrator wrote of the various different Tribes emerging from the disaster. Yes, diversity of responses to the environment as they found it is probably a good thing. But reading comprehension is a good thing too.

    Took a photo of one of the large trees from underneath it whilst looking high up into the canopy late this afternoon. It is a big old tree and has benefited from living in a good paddock. I’ll include a photo on tomorrows blog.



  67. Hi Lewis,

    Wow, well that was as much a surprise to me too. I tend to believe that celebrity status might be a bit over-rated, and I would scorn it if confronted by it. On two occasions in the past few years I have had requests for interviews, and basically told the mainstream media to go and shove it. There is nothing to be gained in such exposure. Between you and I, it took a lot of careful consideration (about three years) before deciding to begin the blog here. And it was the conversations with your good self which were the deciding factor. Believe it or not, I’m a very private person and the editor is far more serious in that regard. As an amusing side note, she sometimes suggests that she is astounded at what a sharer I have become over the years!

    What do you reckon about people confusing the concepts of intelligence with that of wisdom? We were discussing that subject here in relation to the book ‘Earth Abides’. And have I just drawn you into that discussion! 🙂

    Very wise to cut and paste for the next few days. I was pretty sure that I gave the website folks the option of Monday afternoon for the upgrade, but then something strange happened. So yesterday I wired in the back up battery charger to the solar power system. I tested the noisy machine at night basically because there is no sun competing with the generator which may also want to get electrons into the batteries. So at the end of the test everything was shut down and put away.

    Woke up this morning, and by mid-morning went to check in on how the solar power system was going. Well, things were a bit odd because instead of switching off the battery charger, I’d inadvertently switched off the array of 18 panels below the house in the paddock. Best not to do such work late at night maybe the lesson learned…

    The news these days reads like a horror story, so with some restrictions lifted I went over the more fashionable end of the mountain range to see what the result was, and um, yeah. Lots of leaf change tourists had descended on the more fashionable end of the mountain range. All of the gardens up on that side are closed, but there were people everywhere. And I spotted one local walking his dog in the throng of folks.

    Your brainstorm was genius. Really nicely done, and the food will go directly to a good cause. It may also get people in who need the time too. With emotions being strained across the community, the assistance would be of great benefit to those (and their families) who need it. Rats and mice are a problem everywhere, so you never know and just have to wait for them to strike. Then you get the fun of responding, whilst knowing that they’ll eventually win. I realise you are getting shelves, but cupboard doors are an elegant technology with which to exclude our rodent friends.

    Kudos for “H’s” new name. Neat and sharp and also to the point. And it also has the side benefit of not allowing her to get an over-inflated sense of self-importance. Plus when she is being called too, you can simply yell: “H” (pronounced Aitch down here). Much easier rolling off the tongue than HRH, but I always enjoyed the joke.

    What was the weather like when you were hanging out with H drinking coffee?

    Today was the most beautiful autumn day imaginable. 59’F, blue sunny skies and not a breath of wind. It was such a nice day that we just ditched the idea of working, and instead went for a long walk around the property. Observed many interesting things going on. And also before checking out the more fashionable end of the mountain range, we stopped off to purchase a sausage roll each and a lamington to share later with coffee. There are lines outside the bakery as the store only allows 2 people in at a time in these days.

    Some bloke in front of me in the queue was on his phone and he was so absorbed by whatever was on the device screen that he hadn’t noticed the queue had surged forward. This is a dangerous time because queue jumpers may attempt to jump the queue. So I barked at the guy: Mate, the queues moved. It was like a scene from Seinfeld with the NY Soup nazi guy. Crazy stuff and I can’t say I have much tolerance for people oblivious to the world around them whilst they are on their phones. In the big smoke such folks often don’t walk in straight lines and they do very unpredictable things. I once heard an amusing comedy sketch about the comedian bumping into people wearing street camouflage wear and he’d say: Sorry mate, I didn’t see you! 🙂 Funny stuff.

    Yeah – nah, mid week is a wise choice. The supermarkets down here almost seem back to normal as a comparison. In fact I’d have to suggest that customer numbers are lower than what I would have expected. And I see more middle aged males around the town during the week than previously – for obvious reasons.

    You gotta do, what you’ve gotta do. Hopefully you’ll be fine. Fingers crossed.



  68. Hi Chris,
    Thank you for hosting this wonderful blog. Also, thank to everyone else here. After checking the weather it’s the first place I come online.


  69. Yo, Chris – All this talk about dragons. Best check in with St. George, and see if he has any pointers …

    Maybe The Editor is closer in time and space to that good old English reserve? 🙂 .

    Nope. Not getting sucked into the “Earth Abides” conversation. I read it so long ago, I really have nothing to contribute. I just remember it was a good read.

    Oh, yeah. I get the difference between intelligence and wisdom. I have plenty of the former, but very little of the latter.

    The weather yesterday was coolish, with intermittent rain. And when it rained, it rained! H and I just happened to hit one of the better periods. The “cover” over the benches at the new Club are much better than at the old. Also, I discovered that what with the discount for paying a year’s rent, we’re actually paying $200 less, per month, than at the old digs.

    I nipped out, last night, to just check around my seedlings for slugs. Got three. I think it was a bit too rainy for slugs. If that’s possible. I got one big fellow, heading for my peas. That would have been tragic. Well, it was. But only for the slug.

    Going to call my regular doctor, tomorrow, (as opposed to dentist) and see if I can squeeze some antibiotics out of her. That’s what they’d do anyway, before messing around in my mouth. I’d just feel so much better if that were underway.

    I have a book to recommend to Damo :-). But, it’s late in the blog week, so, I’ll save it for a few days. Blog Week. A new unit for telling time. Lew

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