Defining moments

We’ve all had a few of those times known as defining moments. You know when the world seems somehow different after you’ve been through the moment. And you never really know when they’re going to hit you hard in the guts, leaving you forever changed. And it can be the most innocuous of circumstances.

People who know me well, probably have long realised that I’m a chatty person. A good chat is right up there on my personal list of enjoyments, and it is no hardship to entertain folks for hours at a time. However, the flip side of being chatty is that there is a need for quiet time with which to recover.

Back in the mid 2000’s my large group of mates all collectively decided to begin playing the online computer game: World of Warcraft. It must have been a fun game because three years later they were still playing the game. Leery would be a word that might accurately define my relationship to computer games. As a mercenary kid working jobs before and/or after school, computer games ate more than their fair share of the mad cash earnings, and so once bitten, twice shy is a hard lesson to ignore.

So yeah, all that time my mates spent playing World of Warcraft was very sociable for them, but not so much for me. It is also proved the point that too much quiet time is just as bad as too much chatty time. So yeah, obtaining new friends became a personal goal and priority. Turns out that this is not as easy a task for a person in their early 30’s as you’d imagine.

Such difficulties are part of life though and you just have to stoically face them. Lot’s of ideas were chucked around and eventually new friends were found and the chat-fest could continue. One such idea was contacting a former boss. He was a good bloke and we’d gotten along together well, and neither of us worked in the same business anymore so there would be no fear of long and overly detailed blow-by-blow descriptions of work. Haven’t we all been subjected to one of those conversations?

The former boss acted as a referee for me and so he was easy to contact. We’d arranged to catch up for drink and dinner at a pub near to his house. It is a proper blokey thing to enjoy a pub feed and big beer whilst talking rubbish. All the while the effects of the beer slowly infiltrate the senses and improve the skills of even the most average chat-fest. It is after all a truth universally acknowledged, that even the biggest dullard in midst of conversation, must improve conversational skills by way of beer.

Living in the inner city, meant that my car usage was minimal. With amenities right at the door step, and with trains, trams and buses to take you all over the place, why would anyone need a car? You could walk to the local supermarket. There were at least a dozen cafes within walking distance, some of whom even thoughtfully used to open on Christmas day when good coffee was particularly necessary. The city was about 4km / 2.5 miles away, and it was no hardship to walk to and from there each day to work.

Whilst walking to work, it was a pleasure giving the proverbial finger to all the folks stuck in traffic. During cold wet winters a long woollen black coat and hat used to ward off the worst of the cold weather. That coat was fun to wear, and it used to swish backwards and forwards in time to the footfalls. Darth Vader himself could not have asked for a more swishy black woollen toasty warm long coat.

The upside of the hour long walk into and out of town was the endorphin hit. Endorphins! Yeah. The downside of the endorphin hit was that you’d say stupid things to subordinates such as: Hope the train wasn’t too packed? or Couldn’t you get a seat? Oh, that’s too bad. And the responses to such stupid observations is where conversational skills get to improve. It is hard after all to ignore withering looks that ask the hard questions such as: Do you have to be such an a#$%hole?

Getting back to the pub feed with the former boss. The pub was located not too far from where my game playing mates resided, so the area was familiar. Here is the thing though. Melbourne had been adding something approximating a 100,000 extra people per year. The road from the nice amenity riddled inner urban house to the pub where the dinner and beer was to take place, was a freaking nightmare of horizon to horizon traffic congestion. Who knew that was even possible, and yet there it was.

The congestion was abysmal, and it was hard not to imagine that pedestrians walking along the footpaths were giving the proverbial finger to all the folks stuck in traffic. And who could blame them? The drive was maybe a bit more than 10km / 6.2 miles away and it took well over an hour and half. That time was surprisingly long and entirely unexpected.

Mobile phones were not as common then as they are now, and um, yeah, the former boss was waiting at the pub by himself for over an hour. There was no chance to call ahead and make other arrangements. Nope. And the former boss was not happy at all that he’d ended up waiting all that time by himself in the public bar. Words were spoken, and the relationship was trashed. Note to self: Plan better in future and don’t upset job referees.

In a bizarre turn of events, not that long afterwards, the editor likewise had a similar traffic experience driving in that same direction. Except that her experience was during the day, involved woollen coats, but notably did not involve pub feeds and beer – although a beer and pub feed might soothe the shattered nerves from such a traffic congestion nightmare.

The thing was though, we owned two cars despite hardly using either of them. We had no idea how this had come to be, it was just a thing, and was never questioned. However, following those two innocuous yet defining moments of true traffic horror, we decided to sell of one of the cars. And then did just that. It was no hardship and what had previously been an unthinkable and unmentionable possibility, was swiftly acted upon.

This is what half an hour of peak sunlight in a day looks like

The weather has flip-flopped from sunny to really cloudy and cold this week. The thick clouds in the above photo shows the sort of winter conditions that produce only half an hour of peak sunlight in an entire day. And there have been a few of those days in a row. Solar power is good, but it is nowhere near as good as what proponents will tell you. Don’t believe the hype.

You know it is cold when the two new sheep pups seek warmth from Scritchy the 19 year old bad-grandma miniature fox terrier. That dog is one bad egg.

Plum and Ruby seek warmth on a cold winters day from Scritchy the elder

Earlier in the week it was sunny and also the perfect time to move a massive rock which I’d had my eye on for a while. The rock was one of the larger and heavier rocks that we have moved using hand tools. And to add to the difficulty, the rock was located in a very difficult distant location. It took about two hours of slow work to move and place the rock.

A very strong hand trolley is used to move this very large and heavy rock

The very large rock was one of the final rocks used in the now completed terraced succulent garden.

Ollie is impressed that the terraced succulent garden has now been completed

About three bright yellow trailer loads of the locally quarried crushed rock with lime were placed onto the driveway next to the terraced succulent garden. The angle of the driveway was not quite right and there was a large drain running next to the garden which needed to be filled over.

Three bright yellow trailer loads of crushed rock with lime were placed next to the new terraced garden

Observant readers will note that just behind Ollie and I in the above photo, there are large clumps of agapanthus. These are great plants, however having such plants on either side of the driveway has meant that the gap has narrowed greatly. And the agapanthus plants will be removed from there (behind me in the above photo) and relocated elsewhere on the property.

The fencing surrounding the terrace which is used to grow tomatoes, eggplants and artichokes, was improved. Originally a basic fencing arrangement was put in place to stop the dogs and wallabies (a slightly smaller forest kangaroo see photo below) from getting into the garden beds. The original fencing worked, it was just not a long term arrangement. And so this week we added several new treated pine fence posts and made the gate opening wider at one end of the terrace.

This gate opening was made wider by correcting the gate so that it is at 90 degrees to the path

The gate opening was made wider by installing new treated pine timber posts so that the gate now sits at 90 degrees to the path. The original angle of the gate can be seen in the angle of the wire mesh to the very right hand side of the above photo.

Treated pine posts were also cemented in on the downhill side of the terrace, and the chicken wire was affixed to the posts.

The terrace from the other side showing the new posts on the downhill side of the terrace

Many unripe tomatoes fell to the ground after the dying tomato plants were removed from the garden beds (done a week or two back). Those tomatoes will be left on the terrace and next week compost will be placed over the top of them. A lot of tomato seedlings are expected to germinate next spring from all of the fallen fruit.

Fallen tomatoes will be left in place and composted over. Many seedlings will germinate at exactly the right time for the plants from this method

For those new readers who may not have seen a wallaby before, this fine looking specimen was in the orchard this morning.

A wallaby munches away on the grass earlier today

A friend recently donated a home brew kit to us, and the kit contained the ingredients for dark ale. Fermentation has begun! Winter is a good time for beer brewing due to the cooler temperatures.

Dark ale ferments away in this plastic carboy

Winter is a good time for fermenting lower alcohol drinks such as beer and sake (Asian rice wine). In warmer months due to the higher ambient temperatures, the lower alcohol content of beer and sake when compared to that of wines means that Acetobacter can potentially take over a batch and produce a very nasty tasting acid. The bacteria has a very distinctive smell similar to nail polish remover.

Left to Right: Medlar Wine, Dark Ale; Sake; and Ginger and Plum wine in the background

A month and a half ago I planted out a section of the garden to bread wheat. The experiment was not a total disaster, but it is close to it. The birds have been unrelenting because when they are not consuming the wheat seeds, they are ripping the plants out of the ground looking for the seeds.

The Bread Wheat seedling trial has been something of a disaster

There are heaps of different citrus varieties growing on the trees, and the Meyer Lemon has even produced some flowers:

A Meyer Lemon in flower in winter

A very confused raspberry cane has produced two very bland tasting raspberries.

A confused Raspberry cane has produced several raspberries

The flip-flop between sunny weather and very cold and rainy weather has produced a lot of fungi.

Fungi are having a field day this year and they are all over the farm

Onto the flowers:

Basil mint is a very hardy plant
The Grevillea’s produce small but very intricate flowers
This Silver Banksia is full of bottle brush flowers
A beautiful but also very damp looking Rose
The Gazania’s produce very cheery flowers
This purple Salvia is a stunner
One of the many succulent plants in the new terraced garden has produced flowers

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 4’C (39’F). So far this year there has been 591.8mm (23.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 578.8mm (22.8 inches).

64 thoughts on “Defining moments”

  1. Yo, Chris – Your former boss sounds a bit thin skinned. Best to find that out earlier, rather than later. Real friends cut each other a bit of slack. At least, to a certain point.

    100,000 people to Melbourne a year? Where are they all coming from. Maybe the hollowing out of the population from the interior? That’s been going on for a number of years, here. Rural populations are in decline.

    I run across articles, from time to time. The hollowing out of the center of America. Also, articles about the “graying” of rural America. As all the young folk run off to the big cities. And, of course, climate change and other disasters don’t help. Forest and brush fires. Tornadoes and hurricanes. Offshoring industry. LOL. I still think it’s a vast conspiracy to run us all into the cities, where the people would be easier and cheaper to “manage.”

    There’s been talk about returning vast swatches of the interior to it’s prairie past. Let the prairie grass run wild and the buffalo roam free. The American Bison (aka, buffalo.) They came a hair’s breath away from extinction.

    The picture of the dog pile? Three dog night? 🙂 . My friends in Idaho mentioned they had to throw a couple of blankets on the bed. The day after they were running air conditioning.

    The succulent garden is looking quit handsome. Now that you’ve got the superstructure in, comes the fun part. Plants!
    The succulent flower you’ve got further down the post reminds me of how interesting cacti and succulent flowers can be.

    It’s a lot of work, but the tomato terrace is looking very good. Finally up to the high standards of the rest of Fern Glade Farm 🙂 . Which got me thinking. One of these days, you ought to do a simple map of your place. Post it on the blog. You know, in your spare time 🙂 . It wouldn’t have to be anything elaborate, and who knows, might even be fun. Be sure to include a compass rose, and, “Here there be dragons!” warning.

    I’ve decided to put off the Meyer lemon, this year. I need to study it more, and, with all the garden dislocation that’s in the wind. At least with the current situation, it gives me more time to get used to the idea, and plan.

    The Gazania is really something. You call it cheery, I call it startling. Time to walk H. Lew

  2. Hi Al,

    Corten is good stuff and far more stable than the more usual sheet steel. To be honest, I wish the combustion chamber in the wood heater was made from such stuff or even Bisalloy. You know it is not hard to go the extra little bit, but that doesn’t really push product does it? That’s the thing isn’t it? If the outcome is not known… A metal work artist down here produced a sculpture of a bloke sitting on a post which was meant to rust. Well, the council painted the art work and there was a bit of outcry that’s for sure.

    Nice work obtaining the good quality sheet metal. Machines aren’t as expensive as they once were, and the other day I saw a 2.5 horsepower lathe for something crazy like $500. WTF?

    Oh yeah, the old wood heater was what might be politely described as a learner wood heater. Miss the firewood heated oven that’s for sure…

    Thanks for sharing that observation about the brazier and Plum. Never would have considered that, but yeah the dogs like mucking around and those particular dogs have astounding balance and they look a little bit like coyotes with their huge ears. Get this, they jump onto Ollie’s back and he looks not very amused.

    I hear you about the satellite dish. When I worked at Tandy / Radio Shack in the mid 80’s we were teased with the items available in the US, but not down under. Good stuff!



  3. Hi Chris,

    Your old boss ‘friend’ sounds like a loser. Hardly an inconvenience to hang out in a pub for an hour. 1 or 2 beers, bowl of hot chips. What’s the problem? Mind you, I would probably leave at around the hour in pre-phone days!

    Good luck with the dark ale. My stouts are usually pretty good after 6 weeks in the bottle. Due to the imminent move, I need to finish the remaining bottles off, but it turns out I nearly have with only 4 bottles left!


  4. Hi Inge,

    It’s been said elsewhere that: ‘they know not what they do’. Wow, a fruit cage plus an established raspberry stand destroyed – from my perspective it was a bit sad. I read the words of an indigenous bloke recently who remarked that we do not realise that it takes a thousand years of stewardship to grow a thousand year old tree – and such a perspective was not in my awareness until it was stated so bluntly.

    One of the trees here which I put a photo of a few weeks ago is possibly 300 or maybe more years old, and it is not easily replaced.

    Why didn’t they just cut an access road and construct a temporary shelter to live in? I’m assuming that the caravan was so that they could live on site whilst they constructed a house? And interestingly I wonder whether the trees (I’m assuming oaks?) were milled for their lumber? So many questions which leave me scratching my head.

    The local authorities were snuffling around here like a bad smell when we constructed the house, but we stuck to the letter of the law. A strange business that one. The locals were not happy that I received permission to build where there was no house, but neither did they want to purchase the land either. The view I take is whether the life in the surrounding forest benefits in the long term from the things that we do. Other people want no change without accepting that change is a constant.

    Glad to hear that you received some rain. Town water often contains chemicals that are not usually found in rainwater, and the purpose of those chemicals is to ensure that the supply is biologically inactive. It is a situation that is no different from the wine making we do here in that we don’t kill off the yeast, as the poisons inevitably affect a person’s guts. How could they not do so?



  5. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the history of the word, and I have heard it used when I was a kid. It has been a long time though since the word was heard. Although usually the word back then was used to describe companion animals that had spent way too long in the rain / cold. They were described as looking a bit ‘woebegone’, and the inference was that they were very sad. The two young sheep dog pups love nothing more than getting very wet on a cold winters morning, so they are hardly described as woebegone. For them such moisture laden experiences are a lifestyle choice, although I have personal reservations about joining in with their winter excitement.

    Surely you are referring to: Eeyore? (Woe is me quote).

    Chehalis would sound very different in an Australian accent. I’d probably pronounce the name: Chee-harl-iss. But that may be just me… 🙂

    True, money and/or looks open doors, but the individual with such natural gifts has to be able to utilise their assets. I tell you this: It is not always the case that they can do so.

    No, I didn’t miss the rhetorical question bit about weeding, but for me it is a complicated question so I was freely mucking around discussing several different perspectives. The word itself has no basis in botany from what I can understand, instead it speaks to a preconceived preference that plenty of folks carry around with them.

    Gully washer! Thanks for the term. It is good to hear that H is adaptable to circumstances. And 15mm (0.59 inches) is enough to produce some serious standing ground water. And rain blown in a horizontal direction is no fun at all.

    The muffins sound good and sunflower kernels and pepitas are a staple here as well. Do you use the food processor to blitz them? What was Eleanor’s perspective on the muffins?

    That makes sense about holidays celebrating dead people. It has been said that dead men tell no tales, so who is to argue with the public holiday wisdom?

    Splinters from Ruby! Funny and possibly well deserved. For some reason puppies want to destroy things that are useful to them. As to why they do so, who can say with any certainty?

    The editor almost got sucked into a greenhouse kit this morning. We received an advertisement to purchase a returned greenhouse of about the size we were thinking about (interweb searches!) for cheap mad cash. As a person who likes to get up late on public holidays, the moment was missed… It could have been a teaser offer though. We’re looking at second hand windows for the greenhouse. Such things are crazy cheap – which makes no sense at all and does not reflect well upon our society.

    Ah yes, technophilia. 🙂 Well, strong enthusiasm sounds about right, but I’m pretty sure that greenhouses were used in Victorian England to deliver pineapples to the liege lords (and ladies)? I’ve seen really old ones in the old hill station gardens around here which had heaters built in. Those setups must have cost and arm and a leg to run.

    Well, yeah and good call about the thin skin. And yes, I absolutely agree, real friends do cut one another slack. Everyone has a freak out from time to time, or a bad time. It would be unrealistic to expect that things could be otherwise. Despite working like a dog for little coin of late, I have had one such issue with a long term client over the past week or so. What do you do? I just draw a line in the sand, put things down to the crazy days that are, and then get back into the fray.

    Overseas, that is where the people are coming from. Although your observation is correct too, and the rural areas are also getting kicked in the guts. This does not mean that the rural areas are broke, it means that it is difficult to earn a living and also live in such a place due to high base costs and lower incomes. And yup, the numbers involved in agriculture down here are getting less every year. From memory about a decade ago it was something like 2%, and has apparently since moved closer to the 1% mark which is frankly cutting things a bit close to the bone. Thanks for the link. It does not sound that different from the highland clearances, but with a different mode applied. The centre of your continent looks like it is getting gutted, although from an ecological point of view the environment there could never sustain a huge population. There is truth to the story that people are more easily managed in the cities. The word ‘dependency’ comes to mind. Or more naughtily: Strawberry.

    The Bison might eventually take their own path. It is possible.

    Well, Idaho might have a climate that swings from one extreme to another. Could you cope with such a climate? That happens here too.

    Thanks! It was a pleasure to complete the succulent garden. We have an odd collection of the plants growing in the garden beds – there is even a cactus growing in one of the garden beds. And little chunks of them are being transplanted into the new terraced garden beds.

    Hey the tomato terrace garden scored a massive amount of organic matter today. The paths were filled with chipped up mulch supplied by the nice electricity company, and the rows were filled with compost. The rows will also get a top dressing of coffee grounds, dynamic lifter, and blood and bone. The soil will be in its second year this summer and so hopefully it performs better.

    And the fencing took another step towards becoming complete on that terrace today. It is a huge amount of work, but once it is done, it’s done. There are plans to plant the downhill edge of the terrace with lavender. The plant is self seeding nowadays.

    There is a map of the farm, but I haven’t updated it for a while. Hmm, it is a good suggestion and I’ll see what I can draw up over the next few weeks.

    Fair enough about the Meyer Lemon. There is no hurry, and the plant grows pretty fast.

    Hehe! Yup, that Gazania flower is like a mad harlequin! Good fun, and those plants have survived atrocious conditions.



  6. Hi Damo,

    What do they say about first impressions being lasting impressions? The evening went from hero to zero at a rapid pace. Oh well, lost opportunity and all that. Speaking of first impressions, have I ever told you the story of laptop guy?

    Yeah beer terminology is a bit different from wine terminology. It is a bit like talking to someone who usually deals with equities about bonds. 🙂 Anyway, wine makers use the word ageing to describe your 6 week wait, whilst I believe beer makers use the word ‘proving’?

    Good to hear that your brew was good, and what a problem you have to face. Stay stoic Damo, and remember to share some with Mrs Damo. 🙂 Or at least inform her that it is a bad batch and she wouldn’t enjoy it! 😉



  7. Hello Chris
    It wasn’t just raspberries, there were also loganberries and blackcurrants!
    One is not allowed to do anything in this area and the idiotic fellow knew this. The absolute, is don’t draw attention to yourself. He had a chainsaw going day after day! The trees were oak, ash and assorted others. He was then banned from cutting anything but bramble. Since then he has had to draw up a woodland management plan. One is absolutely not allowed to live there. If you manage to live in a building for 4 years or a caravan for 10 years plus paying council tax without anyone noticing/complaining, you can gain the right of permanent living. I realise that it sounds completely nuts that you have to pay the local tax but at the same time remain unnoticed. But haha the different departments don’t talk to one another.

    Now, here goes on something else. I am feeling sorry for your erstwhile friend. He waited far longer than I would have done. I trust that you abased yourself with apologies, thanked him for waiting and expressed your great pleasure at seeing him again. If you did those things then I take my earlier sentiment back.

    I remember ‘woebegone’ being in common usage when I was young but it is a long time since I have heard it.


  8. Yo, Chris – Back! H seemed to enjoy her outing. Of course, everyone ohs and ahs over her. I keep reminding her not to let it go to her head. I feel like the slave, that used to stand behind the Roman emperor, whispering in his ear, “Remember, you are but human.” 🙂 . As he rode in triumph, through the streets of Rome.

    Yup. I agree. Those with money and good looks must figure out how to utilize their assets. I sometimes sit around the AA tables, and speculate on how someone with everything going for them, ended up there. Recently, there was a young fellow with a killer smile. I mean, talk about light up the room. And, very personable. I told him, “You know, with that smile, you could go far … if you stay sober.” We’ll see. I can not accurately predict, etc., etc..

    Weeds. Oh, I know you were sending me up. And a very clever send up, it was. 🙂 . I’ll often ask the Master Gardeners if some questionable plant is “useful or pretty.” If something isn’t invasive, I plow it back into the soil. Unfortunately, we don’t have a “hot” pile. So, invasive stuff hits the dumpster. I often ask myself if a plant is using up resources, that would best go to another plant. I know. It’s a personal judgement call.

    Eleanor hasn’t sampled the muffins, yet. The sunflower and pumpkin seed went in whole. The toasted walnuts I banged about, in a plastic bag. I have a food processor (or two) but rarely resort to them. Such a hassle to clean. Anything I can do by hand, I do. Unless a recipe specifically calls for it.

    I remember long ago, I mentioned an English manor house, where they were restoring the gardens and greenhouses. Including the pineapple pits. Which were powered by horse poo. Every year they sent the first of the crop to grace Queen Vickie’s table. 🙂 . Of course, to make the system work, you really needed a full staff, with compliment of stablemen and gardeners.

    Another problem with rural America is that our internet access is still so abysmal. Forget starting any kind of a small business, that is internet dependent. There have been horror stories. People move to their dream location in the boonies, and discover (after the sale is closed) that there is no internet service. Dreams smashed.

    My friends in Idaho e-mailed this morning, that they got snow on their (not so high) foothills, around the town.

    What is dynamic lifter?

    Re: Fencing. “You only have to do it once. There is an end.” (™ Lew).

    Before I tell you the next bit, I have to say it ends better than it begins. Yesterday morning, one of the Ladies headed down stairs, very early, to grab a gasper (smoke.) To discover The Garden Goddess laying on the floor, about ten feet from her apartment. The night manger was roused, the Emergency Service called. She was very confused. Sometimes, she knew where she was, sometimes, not. A witness who has some medical training said they checked her for stroke, but that did not seem to be the problem. So, she’s in hospital, and they’ll pop her in the tube (MRI), today, to try and figure what’s going on. General consensus, is, an imbalance in her meds. So, the troops rallied around. Her cat is being taken care of, people are in contact with her daughter (who lives in the area.) Reports are, she’s stabilizing, and will be back home soon. Lew

  9. Chris,

    You’re spot on about the energy variable to the equation. Of course, most people forgot about it long ago, if they ever knew. My new 20 something neighbor (a nurse) and I were talking about the unmentionable topic, and she thought we’d all forget about 2020 by 2030 after 10 years of being back to normal. I mentioned the energy issue to her and she got quiet, thought a bit, and said she hadn’t considered that. After another pause, she said that I was probably right and she’d have to reconsider…

    A suddenly dropping lift? Yes, I’ve experienced that feeling of brief terror and then my guts in my eyeballs for an hour until they decide it’s safe to return to where they belong.

    Walking onions? I had to look that up, as I thought that was a rare onion that you attached to a leash for a stroll around the neighborhood. But now I’ve been educated on another species. Since they appear to have originated in Egypt, would it be appropriate to say that walking onions walk like an Egyptian?

    Dad did tell me about 3 or 4 of the difficult episodes, but I’m sure he left out the WW2 things that got to him the most. It was understood not to ask him about it, but that he’d talk about things if he wanted to. Best to leave things that way with most people.

    Another one liner, with practical usage…if I don’t hear what someone says to me on the phone, I politely ask if they can repeat what they said “because my ears are slow today.”

    Turn into a werewolf while howling at airplanes. Implies airwolf from airplane wolf, then on to planewolf. Sometimes my attempted witticisms get abstract enough that I nearly lose track of how I got there. 😉

    I read the Ruby vs food bowl issue. Puppies…

    Oh the days when we were young and walked everywhere. I once walked about 12km one way in 30cm of fresh snow to meet friends for a pizza dinner. I was so hungry I ate 2 large. Then walked back home. Don’t think I’d do that today. But the endorphin hit was fantastic.

    That was one large rock you moved. Peak rocks, as you keep saying, mean that they’re harder to obtain and move to where you want them.

    That succulent garden is looking good. It’s going to be great when it’s full of plants.

    I second the idea of a map of the farm. You’ve done so much work, and the photos of the individual projects look great. But some type of an overview of where things are in relation to everything else would be good. For the “here there be dragons” bit, don’t forget to have a finger pointing there with some runic script for us to decipher. 😉

    Thanks for the wallaby photo!

    Let us know how that dark ale turns out after it sits for a few months. I totally enjoyed the dark ales when I brewed them.

    The hawthorns have stopped blooming, but the roses have started, as has a peony. And thyme and bachelor buttons. One of the shrubs in the back has gorgeous whitish flowers with a delicate pink tint also. Dunno what it is.

    Too bad about the wheat. But, if you don’t try, you don’t know whether or not it will work. Maybe you’ll figure out a way to protect the wheat seedlings from the birds if you try again?

    Weather still cool and damp, with some rain nearly every day. It’s been nice with the wet, but the vegetables are starting to whine about needing it warmer with adequate sun. I keep telling them to be patient, because once the rain quits they’ll start whining that it’s too hot and dry and wishing for rain. They have yet to listen.

    That gazania is one nice looking flower.


  10. Hi Chris
    The 2013 Map under : About the Author
    Top Left Hand Column
    Is a pretty good little map for general layout of farm 😊

  11. Hi Andy,

    Welcome to the discussion. 🙂

    Mr Greer mentioned those devices many years ago, and they’re a good idea. I believe the Voyager space probe uses one with one side facing hideously radioactive stuff whilst the other side faces deep space. And the machine is still going strong out there beyond the solar system.

    So after reading about the devices many years ago I trialled a few on the old wood heater (the one I destroyed through not understanding anything about using firewood properly – but have now corrected the entire process from one end to the other), and the trouble with them was ensuring that the temperature differential was high enough to produce adequate current. And quite a number of the devices were melted in the experiments. You see the difficulty became that the device itself conducts heat from one side to the other, and when a heat exchange device is needed, well let’s just say that it takes energy to operate a heat exchange mechanism.

    I’m certain that such a machine could work and I have the firewood for such a contraption, but the device would have to sit outside the house so that during winter the necessity for the heat exchange mechanism could be avoided (due to the cold ambient temperatures). Where it snows regularly such and is far colder than here, such a system may work much better. Dunno.



  12. Hi Inge,

    Ouch, and such stories do not make for good hearing. The berry canes that I’ve planted mostly begin producing in the second year, and currants most certainly fall into that category as well. What do you do? Sometimes you just have to stand by and watch the craziest things going on, and there is not a darned thing you can do about it – except of course remark upon the strangeness of it all.

    The same situation is in operation here however I have ‘as of’ rights to firewood collection (but not sales), and there are thousands of saplings so the elder folks of the forest need not be disturbed by such collection – and from a wildfire perspective they are actually safer as a result. And yup, there is much to be recommended from the simple act of not annoying your neighbours and drawing attention to oneself.

    Interestingly, it is not an option down here to formulate a woodland management plan. Such an approach really annoys the daylights out of the Indigenous folks who have other and perhaps better ideas, but you know the law is the law, until it isn’t.

    Ah, a difference down here is that all land attracts council taxes whether it has a dwelling or no. The zoning determines whether it is possible to construct a dwelling upon the land whilst also applying certain restrictions to the usage of the land. It is what might be politely called a: Far too complicated process.

    As an interesting side story, my professional background involved training in reading, interpreting and responding to legislation. A useful skill. However, unfortunately I unwittingly annoyed a massive number of folks through the process of obtaining a proper permit to construct the house on this particular block of land. Who even knew that they were betting against my success? It is a feat that has not often been repeated over the past decade in this corner of the mountain range.

    Most people wish to talk rubbish and ideals when it comes to such processes – and your neighbour may well be caught in that mindset. It doesn’t work, however a better way to go is understand the circumstances and weaknesses in all of the minor iterations, and then respond to the opportunity presented. Your laws are similar to ours in that regard, which is hardly surprising.

    The erstwhile friend was poorly done by and through no fault of his own. The fault lay entirely with me. I actually did express those sentiments, but the damage was already done. It is possible that my foolishness had hit certain raw nerves, but I’ll never know. There was no forgiveness in this instance.

    A sad affair this slow death of language that sinks into the dark abyss as assuredly as did the over confident crew of the Titanic. I’m currently reading Mark Twain’s book based upon his travels in Hawaii, and the authors grasp of the eloquence of the English language and the use of both fair and unfair comparisons in his descriptions of the many goings on and events is leaving me with a sad feeling as if somehow folks over a century and a half ago had a far better grasp of our language than we do today. Such an insight does not leave me feeling comfortable.



  13. Hi Lewis,

    The miniature greenhouse is perhaps smaller than what might be deemed useful to my needs. This does not imply the miniature is not very cool. And yes, headroom would be troublesome for taller folks in the community. The fairy folk of the forest might appreciate the gift?

    Did H enjoy her time at the Club? Ah, she would be the little performer for her audience that dog. Oh yeah, thE particular breed of dog knows how to work an audience. You need not concern yourself with such arrogance for it is already part of the breed, and knows no cure. People used to stop me in the street to take photos of the former boss dog ‘Old Fluffy’, and at such times I thought to myself – without sharing the thought – Old Fluffy had just been in the park consuming Possum Poop. Had the admirers know that true awfulness, they would have fled in horror.

    I’m currently reading Mark Twain’s book of his travels in Hawaii, and it astounds me just how far the language fallen since those heady days. He wrote the words and the audience understood, were informed and largely entertained by the words, and I am in genuine shock at how good the blokes command of the more descriptive side of the English language can be. From time to time, I joke around about poor education, my own included, but reading such well constructed verbal universes it brings about a certain feeling of sadness for what great heights we once strode. And yeah, my education was rubbish. Thanks for mentioning the book to, the words leave me with a sense of awe.

    And at your behest, you may note that in the story part of this week’s blog, the word ‘I’ was not used once. It was part experiment, part challenge, and a very challenging challenge it was too. 🙂

    You only have to watch a few Jerry Springer shows to know that looks and money count for naught if they cannot be leveraged. Whyever anyone would go onto such a freak show is a boggling thing to consider. The internal pressures on the bloke to live up to the promise of his smile may have led him to be where he is today. It is worth noting that gifts extract a price and charismatic people can often caper around in masquerade but are truly scoundrels.

    It was fun describing a few different perspectives on the important matter of ‘weeds’. Between you and I, it feels to me as though the word carries an emotional content – like weeds are bad things. But way back in the day, fields were left fallow for the weeds to do their thing and restore some level of fertility back to the soil. You are lucky to have the master gardeners to fall back upon and/or seek advice. We don’t maintain a hot compost pile either, it is just not worth the effort when organic materials can be had in bulk. Now, if that was not the case, it might be a real serious problem that needed considering and then some proper actioning. Oh yeah. Hey, the whole lot is a personal judgement call – it was always thus, although few people acknowledge that about the land.

    Ah, fair enough about the pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Although blitzing them is good too, but I hear you about the cleaning of the machines. Such foodstuffs are excellent for people’s digestive health as they provide very good roughage and give the old pipes a bit of a scrape and clean.

    A lot of Victorian era furniture has pineapple motifs carved into the timber. And interestingly, in some of the facades of the old Victorian era houses I’ve worked on generally have ferns and pineapple motifs. And also now that I consider the matter, they often had urns on the tops of the facades (a decoration set to fail being out in the weather and all that). Such labour forces can only be dreamed about.

    Oh that’s not good. The gubarmint owns a bit over half of the major telco down here and forces the nice company to provide 4G services in rural areas. Although, over the past decade, the interweb service has gotten better up here. It wasn’t good when we first moved up. For the really rural folks there are always satellite connections, but I have heard stories of download speeds being good, but upload speeds being not so good.

    Small hills for you maybe, but for a fellow living on a rather flat continent, there are many mountains in that state which far surpass the tallest mountain on the entire continent down here. I hope your mates in Idaho enjoy their nearby snow.

    Dynamic lifter is apparently 100% chicken manure in an aged and pelletised form. Probably sourced from industrial chicken farms. It is very good stuff and the local soil folks sell it in 77 pound bags. I usually add it to garden beds that are fairly new soil. It smells interesting and the dogs love eating the stuff.

    Hehe! Yah, too true about the fencing. It is nice to see the terrace take shape properly. I want to continue planting lavender on the edge of the downhill slope. The variety of lavender we grow produces lots of flowers for the bees during the growing season, and it also outcompetes the err, weeds / other plants.

    Oh no! Imbalance in meds sounds like another polite way of saying that someone was almost killed by the health system. Is this healthy to consider such a possibility? Yikes! Glad to read that the Garden Goddess is recovering from her fall. Oh my, and it is also nice to hear that people are rallying around and providing much needed assistance.



  14. Hi DJ,

    Energy is such a strange and unknowable thing that most users of the stuff, know little of its nature. And such an outcome might not be a bad thing. Imagine if you had to tell the truth about it: “I’ve got some news for you. Brace yourself, it’s not going to be good.” Easier just to let the stuff die its own natural death and then there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but at least people will get off the couch and do something about it. 😉

    Good stuff to see that the young lady could at least consider the dilemma.

    Mate, only those that know, know of such terrors. The stupid machines don’t even have to fall far either. Why anyone would want to head out into zero gravity environments is something that I’ll never understand. I’ve watched plenty of Star Trek and only real spaceships have artificial gravity generators. 😉 I always enjoyed the episodes when they lost gravity on board – that’ll teach them for heading to where no man has boldly gone before. Of course it is possible the mice and dolphins had already been there.

    Oh you’re good! So obvious from hindsight, and now I have the annoyingly catchy melody playing through my headspace. Very funny. And the onions really do grow upside down.

    True about not pushing people. When a person is young and dumb, sometimes curiosity about such matters tends to win out over common sense. It is a wise policy not to ask about such matters, and just let be as long as their pain is not being pushed from them into others. There is a line there which can be crossed.

    That’s a goodie your one liner. Very nice.

    Ah yes of course I follow your wolfie mode of abstract thinking. Werewolves might possibly be unable to follow such thought processes thus proving that you and I are not werewolves.

    When I was a kid the concept of ‘stranger danger’ was pushed, and so there is a great fear of the unknown in the community – and it is possibly true to some extent. But even so, exactly like what you wrote I also enjoyed great freedoms and thought nothing of travelling such distances (although not in snow in my case for obvious reasons). It was not even a minor concern, just a thing. I note a lot of people are enjoying the self isolation business right now. As social creatures I believe that it is not good for the communities collective mental health.

    Thanks, and yup them rocks be getting further afield!

    Yes, there does seem to be a demand for the map, and so if I get the time I’ll see what I can draw up. And dragons might get a look in. Some old maps had huge dragon motifs drawn on them.

    That is Stumpy the wallaby, and he has a fine looking coat – all organically fed too.

    Nice to hear about the roses and the peony’s (a much sought after flower that one).

    The birds seem dead set against me growing wheat. Clearly they must know something to act so? Maybe I’ll try for legumes instead – a whole bunch of people on the planet survive on those plants, and I quite enjoy the taste of many different varieties. French lentils are a fave.

    Well yes, must not indulge the whims and fancies of the plants. Who knows what might happen. You may even have to sing to them? Or they may expect you to blow a proper Viking war horn at day break every morning. It might help them grow faster…



  15. Yo, Chris – Clever of Al to find the map! Some evening, I ought to poke around, more, on this blog. Who knows what I might find? I’d say the map is, maybe, an old one? I think your water tanks are placed differently?

    Given your possums are herbivores (unlike ours), at least Old Fluffy was eating vegetarian. :-). Nothing like a good nosh of possum poo.

    To paraphrase … Does it ever end? An important and most crucial question to which I have no answer. You know I’d posit the theory that philosophers have long debated this topic with no discernible outcome. The stoics for instance claim that we should shut up and get on with it. Whilst the epicureans may suggest that we should indeed just enjoy the view of the rocks. A townie might decry the offense to their sight that the rocks represent. A permie might suggest that whilst the rock is a pebble out of place, do we know of any useful properties for the rock? An indigenous person might suggest that the rock should definitely not be there. Your throw-away line produces so many different perspectives, that I’d suggest you take a leaf out of the libertarian’s (close in spelling to librarian don’t you reckon?) perspective and just do with the rock as you best feel.
    🙂 .

    Twain sure was prolific. I didn’t know he wrote a book on travels to Hawaii. And, yes. Other than a few odd corners, language skills have gone right in the toity.

    Years ago, I managed to watch 10 minutes of the Jerry Springer Show. I wanted to see what all the hoop-la was about. The episode I happened to catch was, “Dwarf Family Holiday Food Fight.” Well. If one’s tastes run to viewing dwarfs, beating each other with turkey drumsticks, as entertainment … I’d say his whole show is an advert for avoiding entanglements with family or other relationships.

    The pineapple was a symbol of hospitality. Who knows why? It even runs back into colonial times. Estate gate posts were often topped with stone pineapples. I guess it signified, that if you were the “right” sort, you could at least get a meal and a bed for the night.

    Meds can be a problem, here. You get three doctors, all prescribing different meds, and sometimes they don’t play well, together. The Garden Goddess is home, again, and I heard a rumor that the doctor wiped all her meds and is starting back at square one. I think that is one of the reasons Eleanor took a dive. And why I so strongly resist all meds.

    I forgot to mention I finished the book about Australia, and, the autobiography of the art historian / museum director. I finally picked up “Uther.” What a doorstop. 800+ pages.

    Someone (Eleanor) gave me a box of Krusteaz frozen Belgium waffles, a couple of weeks ago. Not wanting to look a gift box in the flap, I figured I ought to do something with them. So, I toasted them up. Sliced a banana on top. Stewed up some of the garden strawberries with sugar, and sloped it on. Topped it off with plane yoghurt. Called it dinner.

    Did you see the footage of the Norwegian houses, sliding into the sea? Looked like that scene in the film, “2012”, where LA takes a dive into the ocean. Could have been worse …

    I’m heading down to the Club, this afternoon, to gas with my friend Amanda, the vet. Only talked with her once, briefly, since lock-down. She dives deeply into the on-line gaming hole.

    Cliff Mass has a post about our potential wild fire risk, this year. But the interesting(?) part is projected rainfall over the next couple of months. Looks like it may be wetter than usual, til the end of July. Our gardens need heat and light. They’re not getting it. It rained steady, all night, and is on and off, today. When I checked the National Weather Service, this morning, I half expected to see flood watches, up. But, not yet. By the by, that oblong county, half way between the Columbia River and Puget Sound, is Lewis County, where I live. Just inland from that great harbor. Lew

  16. Chris,

    Good idea, letting things happen on their own. Some of us will be somewhat prepared maybe for parts of it, maybe. But most people like to ignore what should be changed until well after the changes are thrust upon them. As you said, however, it was a good sign that my neighbor might think about things in a bigger context.

    Yes, undoubtedly the dolphins were already there, as were the mice. And…Vikings.

    Jerry Tarkanian, aka Tark the Shark, was a very good college basketball coach. He used to grind his teeth during games, so he began eating hot roast beef sandwiches during games. Naturally, he developed weight issues, so he quit the sandwiches and began chewing on hot, wet towels. During the college basketball playoffs one year, I think 1987, a spoof song was aired, “Walk Like a Tarkanian”, in which the perpetually sad-faced coach is featured with towel along with some basketball footage and a few stuffed sharks named Tark.
    And may the ear worm be with you.

    I was dating a young lady once who had an obvious limp. After several weeks had gone by, she brought up that I’d not asked her about it. My reply was that it was her business to tell me or not, and I didn’t need to be nosy. She was happy with that different type of attitude, and told me the story. She was a very nice gal, and the limp didn’t define her in my opinion. No need to be pushy or nosy.

    Yeah, we got taught all about stranger danger. Freedoms but keep some smarts about you. Situational awareness, so to speak. We roamed all over the place, but our parents knew about where we’d be, with whom and when we’d be home. Those were some good lessons about balancing freedoms and limits while being able to explore the local forests.

    Nothing beats the coat of an organically fed wild critter that has been eating well.

    Ya know, I might be able to come up with something to use as a Viking war horn, give it a good blow at first light and totally irritate the neighbors in the interests of aiding my veggies. Maybe bang on a drum and chant at full voice, too, while I’m at it. Full voice for me means that Lew might be able to hear it across the state. 😉 Or maybe discretion being the better part of innocent Viking noise, ahem, maybe I’ll just have quiet chats with the plants.


  17. Hi Inge,

    I’ll see what I can do about the map.

    It was a truly glorious winter’s day today, no wind to speak of and bright blue skies. One of the Manchurian Pears has begun producing blossoms, and it makes me wonder if the tree knows something that I don’t know about the climate. At lower elevations I have noted several orchards where the trees are producing spring growth. The trees will at least be getting enough chilling hours so that is not a worry. Curious and curiouser. How is summer going for your part of the world?



  18. Hi Lewis,

    Firstly let’s get down to the important business of the day. There is to be a third Bill and Ted film. Yeah, that was the important news, I guess some other stuff may have happened today too. The film looks very silly as you’d expect, and it would be disappointing if the story line went all serious like. 🙂

    There isn’t much more else going on with the website, so no need to poke into the dark corners. Plenty of hackers give that a go anyway and discover that I deal with security as seriously as I deal with trolls. Of course just having written that challenge, the cheeky scamps will take down the website.

    It is not a bad idea to update the map. The map was drawn a few years back and there have been changes since then and the original map covered the part of the property under cultivation when I’m not entirely sure that such scale has any relevance. A more appropriate map might possibly indicate the areas that are heavily under cultivation.

    Climate is a weird thing because I noticed that a Manchurian Pear has sported spring blossoms and that seems somehow wrong to me. I’ve noted that orchards at lower elevations already have numerous trees that have sported spring leaf growth. Not good. The capital city of the South Australia which is the state to the west of the one I live in (Victoria) enjoyed their coldest morning since 1944 and the surface of a river iced over: Adelaide CBD records coldest morning since 1944 as ice forms on River Torrens. The other morning I spotted ice on the roads – a trap for the unwary, that’s for sure.

    Hehe! Yeah, that was also my thoughts with Old Fluffy and the Possum Poop encounter. She was alright that dog, although she entered the household as a right little terror. Oh, she was the baddest of bad apples, and her previous owner had let her run amok doing whatever she felt like doing. I have some vague memory that she was ‘rescued’ from a person who hoarded dogs and there were apparently 120 odd dogs in the house, and Old Fluffy was one of them. Many of the dogs were euthanized because they were incorrigible rogues and utterly bad to the bone, and Old Fluffy straddled that border and was given a reprieve – probably due to her natural good looks. We had to break her spirit as she accepted no limits on the basis that such an option was a lifestyle choice for others lesser dogs. But when she eventually got with the program she was truly one of the most fearless and loyal dogs that I have ever known. Her like is rare, and together we encountered far larger hunting dogs, whom she just dealt to swiftly and mercilessly. Once she got loose in the middle of the local dog obedience classes held in a nearby park where we rented whilst building this house. She created quite the stir and ensured that the other dogs respected that she was the alpha of the pack and were thus subservient to her will. It was hard to take her to the vet to be put down, but her seizures left her screaming in pain and that is not right. On her last day she and I spent the day together and I knew then that she would be the dog by which all others are judged.

    Your words have a strangely familiar ring to them, and blow me down but I’m sure I’ve heard them spoken before. 🙂 Oh, you’re good and I enjoyed the word play. The idea was ripped from: Allen Ginsberg With Paul McCartney “Ballad of The Skeletons”. Mr Ginsberg makes some good points.

    The old brain is not the sharp tool that it once was and so perhaps some other lovely commenter mentioned the book on Mark Twain? We have a mystery! To be candid, the authors abilities to describe and paint settings and people using only words leaves me feeling like one of those ratty and annoying kids in a Dickensian setting in that they can see that better was to be had, they just knew not the path.

    Ten minutes was enough for me too with that show, and yes your rather vivid description captured the essence of the circus act. And you make a solid and cogent point.

    Hmm, the ‘right sort’ was once a thing to be proud of and it brings to mind the old story of the Princess and the Pea. Anyone who could prove their merit via the path of whingeing is truly a force to be reckoned with. Run is the best advice should you ever unwittingly encounter such a person. There is a lot of truth to be found in the old stories, and of late with all the crazy economic stuff going on I feel that a Fractured Fairy Tale explaining the story of the Killing the Golden Gooses and the smooshing of the Rotten Eggs (A.K.A. Killing the Goose that lays the Golden Egg) probably needs telling.

    Oh, that is bad news indeed about the lack of holistic oversight and the Garden Goddesses meds, and glad to hear that she has returned. I have heard anecdotal stories that the medical folks like ensuring that there are return visits because that is the stuff of business.

    Did you enjoy the book on our early history? After much pestering I succumbed to peer group pressure and nabbed a copy of Uther.

    You know, maybe it is just me but the name Krusteaz sort of translates into English as Crusty-As, although I admit it may well be a personal failing. Good-As sounds like a better name to my ears. It sounds like a nice dinner to me. 🙂

    No! Wow! And I read that a dog survived the landslide and swum back to shore. Not sure that I’d want to live in a land that is close to the see and shows snow and ice on the nearby hills in summer. Thanks for mentioning the landslide as it was epic. And the Storegga Slide was even more epic, and brings to my mind stories of Atlantis being submerged beneath the waves.

    How was Amanda? Maybe it is just me but I am hearing of many anecdotal accounts that folks are enjoying their time in self isolation and are apparently not yet ready to head back into the real world.

    Thanks again for mentioning the good Professors blog and I enjoyed reading it and concur with his analysis. Nice to put your country into context. 🙂



  19. Hi DJ,

    Letting things happen on their own is a practical way to avoid feelings of a sense of control. The feelings are after all an illusion and they hide the reality that there is little control and a whole lot of other stuff that just has its own momentum. Hey, speaking of which the Norwegian landslide had what I’d call proper own momentum. Our news is becoming more and more localised, and that event entirely slipped by me. The footage was epic.

    You’re onto something with the approach, and the best you can do is sow the seed of an idea and then hope for the best.

    Far out!!!! The Viking / Star Trek image was funny as. 🙂

    Mate, grinding teeth possibly due to the stress and tension of the game is certainly an example of giving one’s all for the game. The video was pretty funny, and the voices were uncannily like the original song. Thanks for putting the music into my head for a second night in a row!!! Hehe! Teeth grinding is an expression of anxiety, or at least that is how I see the situation. As a young adult I attended a drunken Séance and the guy running it could grind his teeth and make the most awful sounds. He had designs on my girlfriend who I’d brought along (sadly to impress) and so the theatrics were in full flight, but it sure was entertaining. Hardly good for the tooth enamel though, and tooth grinders tend to have very flat teeth. I may have misremembered, but the Dexter character (of author Jeff Lindsay’s creation) wore a tooth guard to protect against that.

    Well that is the thing isn’t it? A lack of curiosity and a state of acceptance often gleans far more information than folks who pester and pester. You would have made a good spy. 🙂

    Exactly, it is all about balancing freedoms with limits. The word ‘freedom’ has been notably misused over the years and I doubt many people would be able to define what it means from a practical basis.

    Over in the more fashionable end of the mountain range the wombats have mange which is a skin disease, and probably a parasite of some sort. Despite being not far as the crow flies, the local animals don’t show signs of the disease. Few people over there wonder about the fences which keep the wildlife out of their gardens, all the while the forest is choked up with saplings and so there is little for the animals to eat and they are suffering. And then the animals are at risk because they have to feed close to the road where there are no fences. People just don’t get it.

    Hehe! Quiet chats it is, but if the Viking horn needs a proper airing, fear not and call to your ancestors! 🙂



  20. Yo, Chris – Was there other news besides the new Bill & Ted movie? One must have their priorities, straight. 🙂 .

    Perhaps the Manchurian pear, is a “Manchurian Candidate?” Sent by the evil commies (after brain washing), to lead all other Manchurian pears, down the garden path to perdition?

    That was quit a story about the River Torres. What next? A frost fair? As they had on the River Thames, during the Middle Ages. When they were in the middle of The Little Ice Age.

    Perhaps, Old Fluffy was out to librate the other slaves from the obedience class? “You don’t need to stinkin’ obedience! Rise up and smash your chains!” Old Fluffy Spartacus.

    Your riff on Ginsberg, and my rip off are what I call a “drive” dialogue. George Carlin could do it. Chuck Palahniuk can do it. It’s a knack I’ve never been able to quit figure out. The mechanics. It’s driving movement through words.

    I’m a few chapters into “Urther”. He’s 12 or so, and splits his year between Camulod and the Celts. I figure I’ll read a chapter a night. Unless I get caught up in a cliff hanger … I quit liked the Australia history book. It was a different perspective, from Hugh’s book, “Fatal Shore.” As I remember. Read it years ago. And, a heck of a lot shorter. But then it only covers the first three years or so, of the colony. But the newer book has more of an indigenous perspective. The author clearly spoke with indigenous people, to get their slant on the history.

    Amanda and I had a good chat. She told me which are the best dental chews, for H. But oh, my, are they expensive! But I figured I’d get the chews for the next largest dog, cut them in half, and extend the supply. The chews I was giving her are helpful, but, mostly “candy.” Amanda also lent me King’s new book, “If it Bleeds.” I had just taken it off my hold list the other night. My number was high, and I figured, maybe, I could snag it off the “Lucky Day” shelf. It’s four novellas. So, I’ll be juggling that, and Urther.

    As I was leaving, Mr. Bill, our Club manager showed up. He had got the results from the tests he took, last week. He has a large tumor, behind his voice box. The doc gives him a 50/50. They’ll start throwing everything available, at it, next week. Luckily, he has a friend who went through the same thing … and was able to tell Bill exactly what to expect. So he seems pretty accepting and calm.

    A few years ago, there was lots of media about how the Canary Islands were going to split in two, and cause a huge tsunami that was going to wipe out the east coast and other places. But, more study was done, and they figure it won’t happen for 10,000 years. Maybe. We really haven’t had a huge geological event, in quit awhile. Super volcano or mega tsunami. Well, there was the Japanese tsunami. That was pretty bad. And, Indonesia. But, imagine something bigger. Our Yellowstone Park (a mega volcano) is making noises again. As it does … Lew

  21. @Lew
    My late sister, Mary the Pharm D, preached less is more when it came to drugs. Whenever a doctor prescribed something we’d check it out with her first. She was guiding another sister who has a mental health issue as well as Crohn’s disease, weaning her off the many drugs different doctors had prescribed. She’s down to a small dose of one psych med, medical marijuana and a pain medication that she takes sparingly. She hasn’t been in the hospital for a long time and all the family has noted how well she’s doing mentally as well.


  22. Hi Chris,
    I vote for an updated map as well.

    Didn’t your boss take into account possible traffic delays?

    Fluffy news from here: Leo had a reaction to his rabies shot (a first) and was pretty lethargic and lacking in appetite for about 36 hours. Strangely he took to lying down in unusual places in the house – not in any of the many dog beds. He did recover in time for the visit of pandemic puppy, Ruth, who also spent the night. Neither Salve or Leo are too crazy about her yet (only the 2nd meeting) as she jumps all over them. They also think she’s going to take their sticks and/or bones which she hasn’t. Salve nipped at her hard enough to produce a small cut under her eye and of course there was much hew and cry from our daughter but everyone got over it.

    Doug’s friend from out of town was also here at the same time as well as our friends who used to own the retirement home. This is the most people we’ve been with since the lock down.

    It’s been very dry here but we did get 1.2 inches of rain yesterday in the nick of time. This was the remnants of tropical storm, Cristobal. I guess it’s been 9 years since a tropical storm has gotten this far north.

  23. Hello again
    The daughter who live south of Adelaide had told me about the very cold weather she was experiencing. Here the sky is grey, there are slight showers and it is warm. This feels about normal for the time of year.
    Having eaten strawberries daily for over a fortnight, I am actually feeling that I may have had enough of them!
    Non essential shops are supposed to be opening on Monday, that should be interesting as people will still be expected to keep 2 metres apart.
    I had forgotten that you have land taxes. The idea has been mooted here. I hope not as it would be disastrous for me.


  24. Hi Chris
    Sorry about stiring up the interest in the old map I found it back when I first looked at the blog. I remembered it when I was looking at the replanting of the new ferns and wondered how the swales routed the run off water to that area. It took me a while to refind it😊. Yeh. 2013 is a while back. If you know a local surveyor you might be able to get a blank topographic sectional to start from? Maybe legal to use also ?and maybe free!

    That landslide in Norway had to be a terror. Washington had one in a community called Oso several years back. 43 killed wiped out everything . The the hazard was known by geologists and never brought up by developers apparently.

    We have a bluff area that looms above the east side of the Columbia River and continues north for about 20 or 25/miles .the formation rises from the river elevation of 360 feet to 1300 feet at the top the bluffs. Anyhow irrigation water applied on the large plateau runs into the ground the exits at points in the bluff faces.The water losers the layers of rock and clay causing some pretty big slides over time. Some slides go into the river disrupting the flow also carrying crop lands and orchards that get buried or go missing So far no deaths and events are not frequent. Further development is not allowed there. Could make for a really bad day of pleasure boating for some unlucky people.
    The northwest also has the glacier melt flood hazard known as a lahar (sp.?) on the snow covered volcanoes.

    We , all the world over Just adapt to our earth hazards . sorry about your recent beach losses.🙁
    Some of the old Grateful Dead music called it!

    We’re still on lock down here ,doing ok

  25. Hi everyone,

    In breaking Fluffy Down Under news the pub is open for bookings only (no walk ins) and so we are going to test the waters so to speak. I may not be able to respond this evening, but promise to chat tomorrow when there is less going on. 🙂 And expect a local pub report. Exciting!!!!!



  26. Hi Lewis,

    No, I think not. Sometimes the most important news of the day is the little innocuous side stories that few people notice. And it has been a long time between films for the erstwhile anti-heroes Bill and Ted. Speaking of odd, but important items of news, you and I have long since discussed the possibilities and rural-legend stories of big cats roaming the forests. Well the domestic cats are getting biggerer down here. I don’t believe there are too many roaming around this forest, and the foxes fill their ecological niche anyway, but in the Otway mountain range which is to the south west of here and abuts the ocean, well they sure get domestic cats roaming through the forest. The mountain range also happens to be the wettest spot in the state as it sticks out into the roaring forties like a sore thumb, and some higher parts of that mountain range receive about 74.4 inches or 1892 mm along the ridge of the Otway Range. And they get landslides too.

    Anyway, in that particular forest I’ve seen feral domestic cats roaming around in the middle of nowhere, so they must be commonly distributed. The other day a wildlife photographer caught an image of a big domestic cat: Big cat caught on film in Otways, fueling belief that panthers roam our wild places. Evolution in action that’s what I’d call that.

    That’s funny about the Manchurian Candidate. Be careful of those reds under the bed, you never know.

    The frozen river surface is not something which is ordinarily seen down here, so it was a big thing. The old timers used to say that cold years are wet years, but so far this winter has had extremes, but is mostly warmer. Today was a superb day, blue skies and the sun felt like it had a bit of tooth to it. We headed into the surrounding forest and cleaned up the old logging stumps using an 18 horsepower grinding machine. I’m feeling it tonight as the 18 horses can buck and kick and my arms and shoulders are what is holding them back. Still it is nice to clean up. Like the good Professors observations of your part of the world, there is a lot of ground water here, and we’ve almost had as much rain for this calendar year so far than we had for the entire year last year. So at this stage the risk looks low, but things can change.

    Oooo! The annual seed catalogue arrived in the mail today. There was an article describing how the local gardening club had to deal with orders for seeds that had increase six-fold! And they had to stop supplying the general public, and had all hands on deck working long hours just to cope with the increase in demand. I might order early and soon. Although we save a huge variety of seeds. I used up all of the watermelon seeds last year as they did not produce any fruit due to the short but intense growing season.

    Old Fluffy Spartacus. She would have so loved hearing that! 🙂

    Is the word cadence? Dunno.

    Hey, I gotta bounce, the pub is open for meals and local business needs local support! Well that’s my excuse.

    Will speak tomorrow.



  27. Hi, Chris!

    Friends can be a lot of trouble. And, as you said in these comments, change always happens anyway.

    That’s another nice rock for your “collection”. My battle goes on with W.C. the Raccoon and my compost bins and I think some large rocks may become involved.

    How nice to have a real bed for succulents. As I have mentioned, mine live in pots and come in for the winter.

    I envy you your agapanthuses. I have the one that I bought in early spring and planted out, probably too early, and it looks exactly as it did months ago, healthy, but doing nothing but sit there, though our temperatures have been in the 90s lately.

    The Grevillea flowers are interesting.

    Are wallabies a charcoal color, or is it just the light?

    Your wheat continues to be a sad story. Something like that is happening to my sunflower plants. Though they are 2 feet tall, something is pulling them up to see if the seed is still there.

    Thanks for mentioning endorphins and exercise. It seems to need to be sustained exercise for awhile to really get them going.

    I will say “yes” to a map only if you will not freeze your brain in doing so, as I am doing cooking my head in this hot weather.


  28. Yo, Chris – That looks like a big cat! I wish there was something nearby, in the picture, to get a sense of scale. “Here, kittie, kittie. Stand right next to this yard (meter?) stick.” Probably not advised. I suppose they’ll get bigger and bigger. No natural enemies, except for maybe dingoes … and us.

    I’ve seen a very large orangish cat, head up into the woods, to hunt. I wondered if maybe that was the “cougar” that had been seen. But, I think not. The cougar was spotted by someone fairly compos mentis, and they got a good, long look. And, there were sightings, at the same time, just south of us.

    Ice on the rivers is pretty rare, here, to. They flow pretty fast, so, ice buildup is rare. I think I remember crossing the Columbia River, when I was a wee small lad, in the early 1950s, and seeing ice on the river.

    I got a winter seed catalog, as an e-mail, from one of the seed companies. The paper version will probably show up, any day. Went slug hunting, last night. Got 11, mostly around my green beans. I’ve heard stories of seed rotting in the ground. But, luckily, my beans and peas were well up before the constant drizzle set in. Still raining, today.

    A search for “word cadence” was mostly about voice cadence. By switching to “word cadence in written language”, I got more satisfying definitions. Rhythm. It’s got a good beat, but can you dance to it? 🙂 .

    Supporting your local pub. Well, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. I stand in awe of your personal sacrifice 🙂 .

    Well, here’s an article that will give you a couple of sleepless nights.

    A really good economics article that I (mostly) understood. But if people know this is going on, why isn’t someone putting a stop to it? Yes, I know, I’m being naive. Lew

  29. Chris,

    So how was the pub visit? I visited our favorite restaurant last weekend and brought home our favorite green chicken enchiladas meal. They were happy for the business, we were happy to eat our favorite after 12 weeks.

    That Norwegian landslide was something else. I see that Al already mentioned the Oso, WA mudslide from a few years back. These things happen. The weather forecast is for some potentially severe thunderstorms and heavy rain Friday night and Saturday, with mountain mudslides in areas that experienced the bad wildfires in recent years.

    I ran into that Star Trek/Viking thing a few years back. It ‘s a favorite of mine. Glad you enjoyed it.

    I know the tooth grinding. I’ve worn a “night guard” for decades. The dentist tells me that I totally wore down the big jaw socket on one side and damaged it on the other. I’ve a fair idea what caused the underlying tensions that caused the grinding. The short version is “cognitive dissonance” for a couple decades.

    Thank you! An older cousin once formed a “spy club” with my sister and me when we were children and cousin was an adult. We had a lot of innocent fun with it. Being on the outside looking in at the job several years ago, I found that a lot of observing and listening when not appearing to listen really helped. An interesting talent to develop is to appear to be chatty and joking while actually observing and listening. That and, as you said, letting things take their natural course can keep one out of a lot of trouble. Miagi say, “Best defense is no be there.”

    Ah yes, “freedom” has completely lost the personal responsibility bit, as well as the fact that there can be consequences. A survey for a practical definition of “freedom” would likely get some strange answers.

    Distance is strange in the mountains. Nearness based on “how the crow flies” can mean nothing. I was once camping on the Twisp River in north central Washington, just a few miles from a resort where my parents happened to be staying. Not a terribly long hike, really. But, it was straight up a tall ridge, then straight down the other side, repeat twice or thrice more. I didn’t do it, as the grueling trek up and down with no paths would’ve taken a day or two one way and likely had me staring face to face with Sasquatch. Or worse, a LARGE feline. Discretion and valor…


  30. Hi Margaret,

    Who knew that demand for the map would reach such giddy heights? 🙂 I’ll see what I can do over the next week or so.

    Ah, ordinarily most people would cut some slack for my lateness, but unfortunately this may have been a case of first impressions being lasting impressions. But I don’t really know, but he sure was grumpy and I had to deal with things as they were – unfortunately. It was a lost opportunity. Dunno about you, but some things just don’t work out for me and then there is no second chance.

    Picked up an English Oak tree today, and should plant the tree tomorrow. I’ve got quite the collection of oak trees growing here, and they love the conditions. It has been such a strange year weather wise that whilst most oak trees in the area are deciduous, some are only partly so.

    I had no idea that there even was a rabies vaccine for dogs. Has Leo recovered? Pandemic puppies are especially naughty and toothy! 🙂 Well done pandemic puppy! Hey, Ruby is all over Ollie with her biting, and he is extremely gentle with her, although there are times when she pushes things too far. The pandemic puppy probably just wants to find out what the boundaries are with Leo and Salve – and did so. If there is no permanent damage then pandemic puppy earned a cheap lesson that could have been far worse.

    Good stuff with catching up with people. 🙂 People are getting out and about down here too. I may write about my experiences today…

    The tropical storms are getting biggerer, and thus their extended reach. I hear you about that, and the big ones reach all the way down here too. Always a troublesome, but also welcome bout of rain. Good for your garden! How are the vegies growing? Did you have any trouble buying seeds this year? I’m ordering early this year for the varieties that are not saved.



  31. Hi Inge,

    Glad to hear that your weather is more or less normal for this time of year. South Australia’s winter weather was extreme even for them, and so I don’t envy your daughters experience. Bizarrely it was slightly warmer here despite being well south and east of Adelaide. A few years ago I read about an orchard in South Australia which went through such a warm winter that they were concerned that not enough chilling hours (temperatures less than 45’F / 7’C) would be received by the fruit trees for the trees to set blossoms and fruit. That particular year I too was worried about the lack of chilling hours.

    No! Fresh sun ripened strawberries are a thing of greatness and I strongly disagree with your opinion. Of course, the editor tempered my enjoyment of the sun ripened strawberries by converting much of the harvest into strawberry jam which I’m currently enjoying. Between you and I, raspberries make a superior jam, and now that I consider the matter blackberries are pretty good as well. The secret maybe that strawberries use a lot of chemicals to produce their aroma and flavour. However, being an early season fruit they lack the sugars which the other berries are naturally gifted with. Does this make them a Chimera when used in jam making?

    You’ve slipped into metric with the 2 metre distance advice. Did you know that it is 1.5 metres down here? It is impressive the difference being half a world away makes. What strange days we live in, but it is better to be alive than otherwise me thinks! 😉

    Oh yeah, there are land taxes and local council property taxes down here. Although there is an exception with land tax for the property which is a person’s primary residence. People (or other entities) who own property pay a pretty penny for that privilege. Oh yeah.



  32. Hi Al,

    The demand for an updated map is there for sure. Very wise, as the routing of the water into the soil is something that I have worked at for many years and appreciate hearing that you noticed. The results in the two orchards speak for themselves, and the system just works – even in the hottest and driest of years. The lesson learned out of that experience was that our culture has such strange ways of looking at the various resources they find around themselves surrounded by. Oh well. Shrug and move on. 🙂 The ferns are all part of that particular system, and I fully expect them to get better established as the years go on.

    I don’t know a local land surveyor, but I know of a land surveyor – who occasionally comments here. It would be a complicated act right now to get that particular person to this property, and then put them to work. They may have other ideas of indulgence, enjoyment and slackness if and when they get here! True story. No such thing exists. As part of the permission to construct the house I had to get the property boundaries re-established. It was not as easy a job as you’d imagine!

    Long ago Lewis mentioned the Oso mudslide Washington landslide to me previously. The same warnings apply to myself and the inherent wildfire risk. Oh yeah, the Indigenous folks provide a road out of that risk, but it is hard work and few people wish to hear that story.

    The Grateful Dead sure did call it, but that does not mean that we cannot respond to the challenges presented, it just means a bit of pain and a whole lot of work. I tell ya Al, one day I will be put to the test. Oh yeah. After that test, I’ll let you know how it goes, but until then…

    Lock down has been modified recently here, and there are restrictions in place, but it is sort of like before but mildly different. What we are seeing is the Great Relocalisation, although few people want to be happy with that story.



  33. Hi Pam,

    I’ll be the first to admit that I completely stuffed the first impression up and botched what might have been a fine friendship. But then is this a warning sign? I don’t really know. There is a guy around here who I’ve nicknamed laptop guy. He inspired the story because he made such a poor first impression when I first encountered him. Now he regularly says hello and I give him the cold shoulder. Is this right or wrong? I don’t really know, but sometimes the moons aren’t aligned and things just go all wrong and stuff. All we have to go on are our gut feelings and experience. But yes, change is a constant companion of all of ours, and where it takes us, we know not.

    Thanks, and the rock left my left knee feeling a bit squishy. Fortunately the feeling passed after a few days.

    W.C. probably feels the pressure to live up to its namesake? 😉 Although large rocks might assist the situation. However, I tell you this, a while back at a friends place I noticed a slithery and possibly very long and deadly poisonous reptile entering the compost bin. Rodents and/or warm conditions may have been involved. So, things could always be worse. Why has not Charlene brought W.C. into line? Tis an important question.

    What I rarely show is that after a brief snowfall (usually the month of August) the succulents often suffer a bit of die-back, but mostly they survive and thrive. The weather today was so nice that it makes me feel that we might be in for an early and very long spring? Not sure.

    Ah! Of course, agapanthus tend to do very little that you can see in their first year. They have an amazing and thick root system which looks like really fat white spaghetti. They spend their first year producing that. In the second summer you shall see flowers which the bees will love. And they survive frost and snowfall too. When they eventually form a thick clump, you can use a sharp edged shovel to dig them up and divide them into multiple plants – all of which will happily take and produce new clumps. There are few plants that produce flowers in the hottest and driest of years like those, and the bees love the flowers. You’ll see, they’re survivors.

    Not sure really. The wallabies sometimes look like a deep brown, but at other times and in different light they look like they have a deep charcoal grey colour.

    Yes, like you I too have had such incidences with sunflowers and the local birds. However did Van Gough get to enjoy that field of sunflowers?

    Prolonged exercise, at a lower impact on the skeleton and joints is probably not a bad idea and probably what humans are up for. There is something to recommend pottering around the garden for one’s physical and mental health. 🙂

    Sorry to hear that your weather has been ‘head cooking’. Ouch! And protect your brain cells, they don’t grow back, you know!!! 😉 Been there and done that too. I’ll see what I can do about the map.



  34. Hi DJ,

    Oh yeah, it has been a long twelve weeks hasn’t it? Did your fave restaurant have limited seating? The local pub did really well given the restrictions and I was happy to note that the original staff were again at their jobs. Hospitality workers have suffered hard, especially those down here who were employed casually for less than a year. Always a good time for enchilada’s! Yum!!! 🙂 I ate a Beef and Stout pie with mashed potatoes and bush chutney. Very tasty. The beer had a tropical flavour which I thoroughly approved of. I’m pleased that the business survived the upheaval.

    Lewis got in early and mentioned Oso a few years back. You have to get up early mate! 😉 Hehe! The landslide risk is very high here too especially as you write about once a wildfire has decimated the vegetation. Not good, and heavy rains usually follow wildfires due to I’m guessing the increased quantity of particulates in the atmosphere. A heady and dangerous mix.

    Thanks for linking to the Star Trek meets Vikings image. In the original series they were always heading into Wild West scenes, so why not Vikings?

    The tension is always known, but rarely acknowledged! 😉 Only those that know… I once cracked a tooth due to the other possibility which is jaw clenching. An expensive repair, and the dentist who was a Vietnamese-Australian bloke didn’t bother sparing my feelings about the causes. He was very amusing at the same time which is a difficult road to travel. Immediate and personal action needed to be taken as things looked set to get worse from that point. Ya can’t really ignore such dissonance as it always rears its ugly head in the dark of the night.

    Master Miyagi was correct to advise not to put oneself in front of the coming hammer blow – if only because it might hurt. From what I’ve observed, people I speak with (as distinct from this public forum) are far more candid with me if I don’t pry. And because of my profession I get to hear far more than I’m comfortable with knowing. The lack of interest becomes a challenge I guess, but for me it is a form of self protection and maintenance of distance. Generally most people are not interested in making changes to their lives and instead they want to hear soothing words and condolences I’m sorry to say. When you first discussed your work in negative terms, I took a chance and deliberately poked you particularly hard and repeatedly, and for whatever reason it worked. It is rare for people to entertain the thought that perhaps they can alter their perspective, and yet you did just that. With you I kept getting a mental image of the old story of killing the goose that laid the golden egg, and you had only a bit of a ways to travel still to the end point. It is always coldest just before the dawn. Dunno.

    Far out, what a bun fight you’d get into if you walked the streets asking people about that particular subject! We have no such thing as a bill of rights down here. I’m uncomfortable with many proposed changes to: ASIO legislation to allow spies to question terror suspects as young as 14 introduced to Parliament. The problem I have is this: What if they get things wrong? What are the costs for them with that outcome?

    Ah yes, worry about the Sasquatch, but seriously fear the Big Cat! You guys have such things in your part of the world – and don’t mention the bears… I once walked uphill in Nepal for six long and continuous hours. Before that day it never even occurred to me that such a thing was possible. 🙂 Who knew?



  35. Chris:

    Why give that fellow a cold shoulder? Respect, always – then move on.

    W.C. is 20 times bigger than Charlene and, though she is Queen of the Squirrels, she wisely knows that raccoons are out of her league. Besides, she is in bed when W.C. is up to his shenanigans.

    Ah! Thanks for reassuring me about the agapanthus. I shall worry about it no more.


  36. Hi Lewis,

    You have the right of it. There are few natural predators for the big cats in that particular forest other than humans. To be honest I’ve never heard of wild dogs or dingoes in that part of the world either. For some reason the cats thrive there like no other place. And interestingly there is a native marsupial cat in that particular forest, but I suspect the competition with the domestic felines has done them in. The native marsupial cat is known as: Eastern Quoll. It is of considerable interest to me that the native cat prefers: “dry grassland and forest mosaics, bounded by agricultural land, particularly where pasture grubs are common” because they shelter in tree hollows which only occur in very large and very old trees, but eat elsewhere. Conservation efforts since the days the breed disappeared on the mainland have been laudable, but they’ve generally resulted in a forest that is nothing like what the native cat prefers because saplings and thick growth dominates all other life. What do you?

    It may be somewhat ironic after the previous paragraph, but I purchased a six foot tall English Oak tree today and intend to plant it in a large and rock strewn clearing on the farm. Because of the many rocks, it is hard for me to maintain the area, and so a big leafy tree is just the right thing for the spot. It is clearly the site of an ancient lava flow and has provided many rocks over the years. However the ones left are too big to easily handle. The rocks however, have given the area superb soil as it is very dark and loamy.

    Oh, the vegetation is not dissimilar to here in the image of the big cat and so I have a certain appreciation for just how big the feral domestic cat is. Biggerer than any I’ve known that’s for sure. 🙂

    You have zero chance of out running a cougar. Far out!!!! Let’s just hope that the person didn’t get the identification wrong and the sighting was actually a large orange tabby. Have you ever seen a cougar?

    The ice on the river surface was pretty weird, and an almost unknown phenomena for most folks in that particular city. The ice will form on the dogs water bowls here. Hey, the other day when I mentioned frost one of the outdoor garden taps (spigots) had frozen solid and there was barely a trickle coming out of it. It seems to be working fine now.

    I have no doubts that things are warmer now. When I first purchased this block of land, knowledgeable folks were saying that it was not possible to grow citrus trees in this mountain range, and yet today here I am with a good variety. Got my first Tangelo fruit a few weeks back. Mind you, the Tangelo tree is still politely described as small.

    Took the day off any and all work today. It was a real pleasure to have done so. The weather was warm and the skies were sunny and blue with not a breath of wind. A truly superb day. We went on a trip to a nearby tourist town which was nice. Things seemed more or less normal there, but were accompanied with a strange and unusual vibe. Lots of fodder in the visit for a story.

    Are you tempted by any offerings in the seed catalogue? So far I have on the ‘to-grow’ list of seeds for: Peanuts; Open Pollinated Corn; Perennial Rocket; Cherry Tomatoes; Slim Eggplants; Capsicum; Mild Chili’s; Cool Climate Watermelons; Chick Peas; and French Lentils. With increased growing space, I can indulge a bit. Hopefully the greenhouse gets constructed before mid-spring otherwise I’ll have to raise seeds inside the house again. Not a fan of that activity.

    You may recall the English punk band: The Clash? Well, they broke up and reformed as: Big Audio Dynamite. Some unpleasant folks may have quipped that they sold out, and as to that claim I don’t really know. However, they had a song about rhythm, but stated that was one part of a short song and the other was melody! 🙂 Not sure that “drive” dialogue is in my toolbox either to any great extent. To be frank it has the whiff of poetry about it, but I can’t say for sure. What do you reckon about that observation? It is a bit like fiction writing, some folks can easily produce such work – and it comes difficult to my mind and even harder to make its way onto paper. I do social commentary and enjoy the minutiae and spin out the story of the bigger picture from those minor events. Speaking of which Mark Twain’s book on his travel in Hawaii is a genuinely funny work. He has such a sharp observational facility that I’m in awe. Amazing stuff.

    The sacrifice was difficult. Personal adjustments had to be made, and social distances had to be firmly enforced. I stood at the public bar for a while before being shooed back to my seat. However in my own canny way before the sentencing resulted in me being firmly seated and not going anywhere during the dinner seating hour, I scored a snippet of the most excellent tropical pale ale which had definite hints of coconut and the tease of the tropical flowers. How can one enjoy a pint if they know not what they are purchasing beforehand? Words hardly describe the experience. Dinner was a beef and stout pie with mashed potato and bush chutney. A good feed was had and it was excellent to see that the former staff were back again in their jobs. So from that perspective the local business needs local support.

    Thanks for the link to the banking article. Not sure about your part of the world, but down here the nice banks have allowed people to enjoy a repayment holiday. A very thoughtful gesture, however in an act of indignity, they are also continuing to charge interest during the repayment holiday. So an observant person would note that the banks are continuing to record book entry profits in their accounts whilst the cash is flowing out the door to the bond holders. Book entries and cash are two very different things and I suspect the cheeky scamps at the banks know this. This is perhaps why the banks have deferred their dividend payments to shareholders. I’ll check out the link after I’ve replied. What I find interesting out of this story is that the bond holders are perhaps considered the most important folks to pay first and foremost. There is something in there.

    Oh yeah, the indigenous folks would have had some strong opinions on the First Fleet that’s for sure. History is brutal.

    The book Uther might not turn up down here for another month. No spoilers please!

    I feed the dogs off cut bones that are scrap items from the butchers and only cost me a few bucks. The dogs have hours of fun chewing on them. Not sure what a really expensive dental chew for dogs is? They also get rawhide bones which take them hours to get through. Dogs like chewing things, it comes naturally to them!

    Sorry to hear about Mr Bill and his medical condition. Ouch. Those are not good odds, but where there is life there is hope, so if he can get through the horrendous treatment, it might work. Accepting and calm is a good thing. Had a neighbour years ago who went through the same thing and he came out the other side. He candidly informed me one day afterwards that he really enjoyed the pain killers…

    You’re right and I can’t even begin to imagine what might happen if a Mount Tambora went off today. It’d be big that’s for sure. New Zealand has some pretty big volcanoes too. They’re dotted all over the place and I’m residing on the side of a hopefully dormant one.



  37. Hi Lewis,

    I’d never heard of CLO’s either, but were aware that such bundling of debt was still going on strong. At least the article suggested that credit default swaps and synthetic CLO’s were not a thing (hopefully). It adds an interesting note to my observation that bond holders are being paid whilst others are not.

    As far as I understand economic and energy history, and I could well be wrong, but you (and us lot) never recovered from the 1973 oil crisis. The bizarre financial instruments and/or products are what filled the gap and are used so that nobody took much notice of the real GDP killing event of local energy extraction peaks.

    I have no doubts that if CLO’s implode or explode, there will be a bail out and another round of something else. The thing is every time this takes place the money supply expands at a biggerer rate than it currently is expanding at – and historically this expansionary policy has always eventually failed. Although admittedly the current economic policies being pursued are having a right and proper go at proving me wrong. History suggests that things will eventually get very strange.

    A lot of people assume that there is all some dark and nefarious goings on which allow for all this stuff to take place. But stop and consider the alternative thought that if this had not taken place, our lives would look very different right now.



  38. Hello again
    I agree with Pam. No cold shoulder, courtesy always.
    You write that there is no land tax around a primary residence but I assume that there is a limit to how much land you can include in that? Am I correct or not?


  39. Hi Chris,

    I’m also part of the group who enjoyed their first restaurant meal this week since the lockdown began. Mike and I visited friends in the city yesterday morning. We brought strawberries from my garden and they provided mulberries picked from a tree near their house and donuts from a nearby shop. We ate those while sitting on their backyard patio on a sunny and pleasant summer morning. They invited us to lunch at a local sandwich shop, the aforementioned restaurant, and we gratefully accepted. My choice was a Philly [short for Philadelphia] cheesesteak. Because my family lived near Philly while I was in high school and college, I developed a taste for that aspect of the local cuisine, which is nearly impossible to obtain in St. Louis. The result was mixed. There are two distinctive aspects to this sandwich: the meat and the cheese. To be authentic, the meat is finely chopped, mixed with onions and peppers and flavoring (salt and pepper, maybe something else, I can’t tell what), and sauteed to doneness. They got the meat right. However, the cheese they used was the yellow melting cheese whose brand name begins with V. This is completely, utterly, and totally wrong. An authentic cheesesteak has white cheese melted on it, and the cheese is kind of stringy. It may be mozzarella since many Italians emigrated to Philly back in the day, but I don’t know specifically what is used. Oh, I ate the sandwich. But, sadly, I will have to order something else if I go there again.

    Meanwhile, I have planted corn, green and lima beans, blackeyed peas (also called southern peas, cowpeas, and crowder peas … they love our hot summers), butternut squash, naked-seeded pumpkins, zucchini, a different summer squash, cucumbers, and melons. Thankfully, all of them are up and growing. April and May are always a little tense as I attempt to get everything planted at the right time and then have to wait to see if the seeds and plants take. This year everything looks as good or better than ever; now nature and I have to do our parts to encourage the garden to fruition. I just finished harvesting strawberries; now I’m harvesting herbs, lettuce, endive, sorrel, and bok choy while the cabbages grow. Next week I need to harvest the potato onions and start thinning the beets and carrots. No boredom around here!


  40. @ Margaret – Yes, we’re overmedicated. In general. And, they drugs often work at cross purposes or have bizarre side effects. So far, I have kept out of the clutches of Big Pharma.

    LOL. I had to go have a tooth looked at, and they almost didn’t let me out of the clinic. High blood pressure. Well, yeah. Middle of a pandemic and seeing the dentist? That would do it. They checked it three times. But, I know, eat more garlic, get more exercise and loose ten pounds, and all will be well. Lew

  41. Yo, Chris – I think we’ve talked about Quolls, before. Somewhere in the last year, I saw a bit of film about the “fenced sanctuaries”, for trying to re-establish them on the main land. Good luck, with that. So, since you know the lay of the land, how big would you estimate Big Black Kitty, is?

    I have never seen a cougar in the wild. Though I wanted to. Just not up close and personal. The place I lived before, a few years before I moved in, a cougar was seen laying on what would become my front lawn, and nursing kits. My landlords wife saw one cross the road, about three months before I moved out. I felt a bit short changed. 🙂 .

    A rocky clearing with a good stout English oak growing in it? It sounds really striking.

    Well, you’ve heard the horror stories from a number of posters about our plumbing and cold weather. You really have to be aware and work at it, to keep the water flowing and the pipes undamaged. If you’re forecast for a REALLY cold blast, you might want to have a plan in place to wrap the spigots, for the duration.

    Other than giving late peas another whirl, and making sure I’ve got a good patch of parsley growing for winter greens, I haven’t thought much, yet, about winter veg. I also have a couple of books about winter gardening in the maritime Pacific Northwest, that I need to take another look at. Jog my memory. And then, I have to consider space. Always space.

    Your pub trip sounds very invigorating and restorative. I think, right now, snatching any little bit of “normalcy”, is mentally healthy. I feel very comforted, when I can just sit in front of the Club, and have a quiet cuppa.

    I’m up to chapter 7, page 125 of the Urther book. But, given you’ve got a copy on the way, I can set it aside and pick up the Stephen King, with a clear conscience. And actually, it’s a good place to stop. Without giving anything away, Wyatt has just trotted a whole new bunch of characters on stage, with their own story. I’m sure it will intersect with Urther’s story, in due time.

    Read a review of a new book that sounds interesting.

    Our library doesn’t have it on order, but then, they haven’t ordered anything in at least two months. If they don’t add it to the collection, I can always do an interlibrary loan.

    Well, H has very bad breath, as her dental health has been neglected. Not without reason. It costs about $700 to have a good cleaning done. Part of the high cost is due to the fact that they have to put the dog under. The breath chews I was using helped a bit. But, according to my vet friend, the expensive one’s will do some actual good. Give H a bone? Horrors! She might choke on a splinter! (That’s Eleanor speaking.) The new chews arrived today, and, I hope she takes to them. I can always try to smear them with a bit of peanut butter. 🙂 .

    The money supply expands until …. and then what? How will it effect me? Then our lives will look like … what? LOL. I’m as bad as some of Mr. Greer’s posters, who want a concrete timeline.

    Our stock market took a plunge, did a big rally, and took another plunge, today. More and more it feels like the market is unconnected to news, economic or otherwise.

    After six days of no action, we picked up another positive case, in our county. So, we’re up to 38. Everyone is wandering around, like the pandemic is over. Except for some small inconveniences. But, Texas had 2.500 new cases in a single day. California had 8,000 new cases in a week.

    Signed the paperwork and picked up my will, this morning. Well, that’s taken care of. I still want to do a non-binding codicil. Suggestions, really, as to how to turn all this tat into as much money as possible. And, where to find all the passwords, etc.. What to immediately close down. What to keep going, for awhile. Where small bits of cash might be stashed, in beneficiary clauses, and such. Settling an estate (even a small, uncomplicated one, like mine) is like having a whole new hobby. I want to make it as easy as possible. Luckily, my estate is small enough that lawyers and courts need not be involved.

    Last night was really nice. Eleanor and I sat outside and gassed for awhile. But, this morning, the rain is back. Lew

  42. Chris,

    Yes, there was limited seating. They managed to remain open, as it is also a small specialty grocery store. Additionally, they served take out meals if bought in bulk once that was allowed by the authorities. We had gotten take out steak and rib meals from a chain restaurant for my birthday in May, a place we visit for our anniversary and birthdays. So, two meals out in 3 months. We’re slacking. 😉

    It’s hard to beat Lewis to the punch on anything. He’s alert.

    Some of those Star Trek Wild West episodes were great. The one where they go back to the OK Corral was always one of my favorites.

    I ignored the fact that it was dissonance for a good long time! And I’m paying the price now. Unless one has experience with it, it’s hard to believe that tooth grinding can damage the jaw in addition to the fairly obvious chances of damaging teeth.

    Remember, I dislike posting in discussion forums. I read here off and on for a few years, and Mr. Greer’s posts and comments regularly for 8 years before posting anything there. So when I started posting here, and got settled in, I had a good idea of the character of you and the regulars here. So when you “pounced” on my work comments, I took it from somebody with life experiences different than mine, who had bonafides as a decent person in my book, so I was able to take what you said in the spirit you intended it. The humility discussion we had a few weeks ago? A practical outcome of humility is the ability to learn from others, even if they’re on the other side of the globe. So the comments were, and still are, appreciated. They helped a LOT.

    That link you gave was interesting. I have misgivings…who gets to define who is a terrorist? And age 14? Really? Age 16 is on the cusp of reality, perhaps. It’s a nasty can of worms and the opportunity for abusing the situation is glaring. AKA, there could be rather nasty consequences that those making such proposals haven’t foreseen.

    Ah yes, but walking uphill for 6 hours in Nepal is different than where I was: much much much less oxygen in Nepal!

    We had a great light show last night! Some rain and a lot of lightning. More of both expected tonight, and then more rain on Saturday. We might actually climb back to “normal” for rainfall.


  43. Hi Pam and Inge,

    Why is a good question to which I don’t really have a good answer. Perhaps I did not explain myself well, but I am civil but very distant and do not seek to engage with the guy now. I’m just going with my gut feeling on this person as he really did make a poor first impression.

    Without going into too much detail, I can see that an explanation and clarification is warranted. The bloke wanted the public seat that I was sitting at so he could use the free wi-fi on his laptop in comfort, and so he allowed his dog to harass me by allowing it whilst on a lead to almost put its wet spiky nose in my breakfast. I shooed the dog away and commanded the bloke to ‘get rid of it’ (which was understood to mean away and out of my breakfast).

    It is complicated, but given that some chance interactions are but fleeting moments, and peoples actions give clear indications as to what the general feel as to their internal processes are all about, well that is all you have to go on. The guys behaviour just fell outside my personal standards and his motivation whether acknowledged or no, or even inadvertent, did not look good from my perspective. But other than a mild rebuke, I didn’t and don’t give the guy a hard time or anything like that, and so the next move is for him to redeem himself, which frankly I’d be surprised if he did.

    The long dead Sun Tzu whispered in my ear that should it happen again, Ollie should accompany me to settle matters firmly once and for all.

    Incidentally, this is not the first time that hapless people have allowed their dogs to get out of control. As a contrasting example, a bloke with a massive standard poodle did a similar but different thing a few months ago (which I mentioned to Lewis), and the next time I was in the area the bloke apologised to me and we struck up a conversation.

    It’s not hard, but basic socialisation skills for people living in rural areas are sometimes sadly lacking. Interestingly the bloke who apologised confessed that he’d only been living in the area for a few years, and he is OK that bloke. Gaffes are part of life, we all do them and then the problem becomes the fallout. Need I mention the allegation of ‘prepper’ thrown at me by a local heavy weight (in the social sense of that meaning)?

    I suspect that historically people fled to the cities so that they could be anonymous, but out in the country it is always prudent for people to realise that everyone knows and remarks upon their business, and so you really do have to concern yourself with your reputation. It is a complicated social mess that I thoughtlessly waded into when I moved up to the bush.

    I am curious as to your thoughts on this matter as despite the relatively long occupation of country bumpkin I realise that others see me as a ‘Johnny come lately’.

    Individual responses to follow. 🙂



  44. Hi Pam (again),

    Thank you for the correction on Charlene the squirrel. Raccoons have a notorious reputation and no self respecting squirrel would dare become involved in raccoon business.

    Worry not about the agapanthus. If the plant has survived your winter and still looks more or less the same, then you have what other less polite people might describe as a true survivor. The flowers turn up in my January – February which is your July – August. Basically, they love the heat and the more the better. But they really do need a year to become established.



  45. Hi Inge,

    Ah, there are two taxes related to this issue:
    1) Property taxes which pay for local government services; and
    2) Land taxes which are paid to the state government.

    The first tax is very hard to get out of, and property owners normally have to stump the cash to the local government (Shire council).

    The second tax is exempt if your property is your primary residence, and that is a complicated matter because if your property extends over one or more titles, from my understanding you only get that concession on the title which your dwelling sits upon.

    Hope that all makes sense, but there are also concessions available for primary production and other matters such as I’m guessing putting a permanent protection covenant on the title (i.e. committing the property to become permanently wilderness).



  46. Hi Claire,

    The horses are in the stalls, and they’re off and racing!!! It was nice to eat at a restaurant again using porcelain and proper cutlery. 🙂 You’ve inadvertently answered a question that has been bubbling along in the back of my mind for a number of years. What the heck is a Philly Cheese Stake? There is a restaurant in Melbourne which I have often passed which is so named and I had no idea what they were serving because the combination of words made little sense to me (before reading your explanation). All is now explained though. The place always looks busy and I may try it now having read your words. Anyway, you can read their menu and debate the genuineness of the items proffered, and maybe give me some pointers: Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks – Fitzroy.

    No need to elucidate, but mention of cheeses that begin with the letter V, does not inspire the gentle art of salivation. Unless of course you were referring to Vintage Tasty cheese which I quite enjoy. I’m guessing not though… I’m glad to read that the cheese was not orange coloured.

    The same is true down here too and the early spring seasons are always tense. Is an epic frost going to destroy all of the seedlings? Is the soil warm enough for the seeds to germinate before they rot? Are there plentiful minerals in the soil for the seedlings to grow? As always there are more questions raised than answers supplied. Are you still getting your soil tested for the mineral content?

    Over the past few days I’ve added a huge variety of organic matter to the terrace where I grew the tomatoes and eggplants last year. It is a nice thing to have access to the huge supply of chipped up organic matter which the nice electricity company supplied. The paths between the growing beds feel nice and spongy to walk upon.



  47. Hi DJ,

    Ah, wise for the restaurant to have several streams of income. Such an approach works in these times. Hey the place where I enjoy the gourmet pies has a similar arrangement and the pies are sold from a small building attached to the much larger pub (a beautiful old building by the way) and are supplied through a take away / bottle shop outlet. I’ll bet the owners of the pub were grateful they’d set that small business up a few years back as it keeps the pub kitchen running and employed.

    Happy belated birthday! 😉 Better late than not at all, and haven’t we all made some strange accommodations to such occasions of late? 🙂 I tell you there was a story there which I can’t repeat here! There are times I find myself saying to people (and so may repeat freely here): If you’d told me six months ago that this would all be going on, I would have strongly doubted your sanity! I knew the future might get a bit strange, but these present circumstances takes the cake.

    We can only but try! You have to admit that there is a pleasure to be found in being challenged? Although I wouldn’t want too much of a challenge, so that previous observation was not indeed a challenge – if that makes sense?

    Yeah, the actors must have had a lot of fun making the show. I always enjoyed that the Klingon’s sported goatees. In my early adulthood I sported one of those, but never really felt like a proper Klingon. A sad loss.

    Ouch! Oh yeah, dissonance can be a physical pain. The jaw clenching and cracked tooth occurred after eighteen months at my first very senior job, and mate they saw me coming… I worked like an absolute dog, huge long work hours, and they’d done pysch testing on me before I got the job and they knew every button to push. They were a total mess, the biggest that I’ve seen before and since, and as you may have gleaned I abhor messes and so set about righting wrongs and generally bringing the ship around to a more steady course. Turns out I was an absolute idiot because I’ve since learned that it might not be possible to correct such a mess, but here is the interesting thing: To get into the mess in the first place, one (i.e. them) has to be comfortable with living with a mess – and that ain’t me.

    The job almost burned me out, and I’ll tell you a funny thing, I quit that mob and got another job, and the new job was all so normal after the wild ride I’d just endured. The contrast was a real shock and wake up call to me. It was that experience which forced me to ignore my earlier understandings and instead focus on the motivations which peoples actions reveal. Now I can’t shut the inputs off, but that is a small price to pay. Interestingly, the world viewed from that perspective can sometimes look quite grubby so it is a perspective that is not for the faint of heart.

    Thank you and I’m glad that the chat helped ground you, which was the intention. Hey, I tell you candidly that it took me three years to make the decision to begin the blog, and Mr Greer’s ongoing dialogue was an excellent model. There are not that many good models out there. Not sure why, but like you I value the ongoing dialogue. And writing for the hippy press which I’d done for many years sort of dried up.

    I have misgivings about such things as well, which is why I stated that I was very uncomfortable with the proposed changes. Such departments occasionally get things very wrong, and who is watching the watchers if that happens and bringing them to task for their errors?

    Hehe! I never noticed altitude sickness in Nepal even though we reached at least 5,000m above sea level. The walk was a slow and easy pace and because it was over several weeks and the group stopped trying to prove who was the fastest walker. Short walks are a nightmare in small groups for that reason. Hey, it was very weird looking down into a deep gorge and seeing a light aircraft flying around below! Interestingly damp clothes freeze solid overnight at such altitudes… Brr! 10’C here now at almost 10.30pm and only a week and a half from the solstice… Bonkers warm.

    Good stuff and great news for the garden. Heavy rain just fell here a few minutes back. Looks great on the weather radar (an excellent use of technology).



  48. Chris:

    Ah, then it wasn’t a completely cold shoulder. Civility, with distancing (not necessarily 2 meters, or even 1.5 meters . . .) is fine. We don’t all have to be friends.


  49. Hi Lewis,

    Unless the fenced sanctuary has a huge tract of land, plenty for the quolls to eat, and really old trees with hollows in them for the quolls to live in, well, I wouldn’t bet on the outcome. Not that I’m a gambling guy – too much like the early arcade games machines for my comfort. 😉 Best not to find out is my thinking there. I was reading the book written by the Indigenous bloke who was writing about historic land practices and it was an interesting book that’s for sure. I learned quite a bit. One of the concepts that really struck me in the side of the head hard was that it takes 1,000 years to grow a 1,000 year old tree, and then he went on to discuss how land management practices are not something for one year. Nope, in no uncertain terms he described how restoration of the environment will take countless generations and work every year due to the 1,000 year old tree matter. Such an appreciation of deep time is quite rare to see these days, and it can be mildly confronting. Oh well, as Tolkien wrote, ’tis the job not started as takes the longest to finish’. Wise words.

    That’s a tough question, but I reckon the Big Black Kitty was maybe more than 15kg / 33 pounds but perhaps less than 20kg / 44 pounds. But it could have been bigger. For a domestic cat, anyway, that’s big, and that cat did not look old at all and looked in good condition unlike some of the overfed Kitties contending for heaviest cat record. Basically the cat is not to be trifled with. I’ve actually been attacked by a pair of cats and it was quite surprising and fast. With cats love lives the way they are, the Big Black Kitty is probably breeding plenty of off spring.

    Luck or fate may well be on your side that you missed the Cougar sighting. What would you even do if you encountered a cougar?

    Wow, heavy rain fell before, and now the wind is howling. When the wind blows in the right direction sometimes you can hear the really strong gusts hitting the side of the house like a freak (rogue) wave. Films can sometimes leave lasting impressions and the film The Perfect Storm sure did that. Yeah, avoid small ships was the general takeaway from that film. Do you get seasick? I’d imagine that there would be a few ferries in your part of the world?

    We’ve finished the terrace where the tomatoes and eggplants were grown last year. The fences are done and the soil has all been fertilised. It was an epic job which is probably why it wasn’t completed previously. The huge supply of chipped up organic matter has been really helpful, and the paths on the terraces now feel spongy and pleasant to walk on. The English oak tree was planted today too! And another rose was also planted. It was David Austen variety which apparently is meant to have a nice aroma. Is this bloke a relative of Jane’s? So many questions.

    And right at the end of the day as it was dark, we moved the bee hive from its disintegrating pallet and onto the new concrete slab. Of course the sock which we’d stuffed into the entrance had fallen out of the hive during the move, and the bees were not happy at the jostling of their hive. To think after all I’ve done for the bees, they still hate my guts and were trying to sting me. The outrage! Fortunately we both had the bee suits on and the bees could get as upset as they wanted and it made little difference. Mind you, I’m not walking near their hive tomorrow…

    Yes, thanks to the many horror descriptions of frozen plumbing I at least had an idea of what was going on. Otherwise I would have thought that the water pump had failed. Seriously. It gets cold here, but usually not cold enough to freeze water pipes. Everything seems OK which is good. Touch wood…

    Space in the garden is always at a premium, and I’d be sure that if you had more space, you’d probably grow more plants! That happens to me. Your last winter didn’t sound that cold to me, although I’m sure it was cold enough.

    Exactly, try to keep things more or less normal in these strange days. Your quiet cuppa at the Club sounds an awful lot like my quiet cuppa at the local General Store. Dunno about you, I’ve found the small pleasures in life hardly seemed upset by all of the current goings on.

    New characters? Sounds a bit like a spoiler to me!!! Hehe! 🙂 Hope you enjoy Stephen King’s latest instalment?

    Alaric was certainly a prodigy to have achieved such greatness. Thanks for link. Whyhowever given that Victorian era folks (can’t say Victorians as people might think I’m writing about people living in this state) were so odd about nudity, and yet their painters slathered scenes with all manner of suggestability? Oh I like this sentiment: “Stir the reliable bits and the speculative bits into a yeasty batter of everything else known about society at the time, and a focused narrative can emerge. Good stuff! Hope you obtain a copy through your library system? And I look forward to a review.

    What? Oh well, dogs are meant to chew upon bones to keep their teeth clean. It scrapes all the muck off their teeth, and dogs like nothing better than chewing. Given half a chance they’ll chew all sorts of things that they shouldn’t chew. Here is a point in case: The other night I observed both Ruby and Plum chewing upon the leg of the timber washing horse. The washing horse was originally the editor’s mothers washing horse and so it has been around a long while. Ruby and Plum have both been discouraged from doing such naughtiness in future. H might be slow to take up the chew at first, and then get better over time. I’d probably work her up to such an exotic chew.

    Hehe! Wow, well if I have a quiet night one night, I may just paint you a money supply narrative. Unfortunately the painting might not include the sort of scenes depicted by Victorian era painters. It will be far less interesting. I read an interesting article this morning about economics and almost had an apoplexy. Oh yeah. The whingeing does not reflect well upon the people in the article. They’ll come to a bad end you know.

    Word on the street that there was a plunge. Fortunately we are behind your markets and so I’m guessing that will be Monday’s fun. The sharemarket doesn’t look like investing in the traditional sense of the word to me, but then has it ever?

    It will work out like it will. In the meantime, drink plenty of fresh water, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and get some exercise. What was once old advice can be new again. 😉

    Good stuff about the will. Always wise to get such things sorted out in advance. Oh yeah, the aftermath (probate?) is a complicated process and I’ve seen a few people stuck with that job.

    Even better to read that Eleanor is well enough to sit around and shoot the breeze. Did they sort out her meds?



  50. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for understanding. 🙂

    That’s really the thing isn’t it? I don’t believe such an outcome is even possible.

    The wind is so loud outside I can’t really work out whether it is raining, or the noise is the wind? And don’t want to go outside and find out either! At almost 11.30pm it is still 50’F outside which is not right at all – way too warm for this time of year.



  51. Hello again
    The mention of land that consists of more than one title makes me flinch as I have had to deal with that.
    On to that other subject! I don’t know whether or not I have mentioned this story before. I was in a neighbours’ house having a friendly conversation with her when her husband came in and told me to leave his house. The background to this was the fact that I had put in an objection to a planning application that he had made. Not something that I would normally do but my husband was already bedridden, far from well and most upset by the application. (excuses, excuses but truthful). Anyway I said goodbye and left.
    Now the fellow lived opposite me so we bumped into each other all the time. On each occasion I waved and said a cheery hello and he ignored me. This went on for a long time and he was becoming more and more uncomfortable. Finally he started to try and hide whenever he saw me in the distance which amused me. When he could stand it no longer, his wife told me that he said that he was not going to quarrel anymore. Our relationship returned to the friendly state of the past.
    My important point is that in fairly extreme rural living I think that one should keep everyone on side. I don’t deny for a moment that he should have controlled his dog.
    To the best of my knowledge I am on good terms with everyone who lives here, even those who some regard as quite impossible.


  52. Yo, Chris – I noticed your comments further up, about being a Johnny-come-lately. As I’ve often said, if you move to a small town, or rural area, best marry into an old family 🙂 . Or, have your kids marry into an old family. I watched a film about Joel Salatin. They had moved into a rural area. His wife was quit matter of fact about being made to feel like outsiders. But, observed that things were better after their son married a local girl, from an old family. I still feel that bit of “otherness” from time to time. It used to make me a bit sad. But not so much, anymore. You find yourself making friends, or, at least bumping along with other people who are also “new comers.” Which puts the natives a bit off. I think because you’re not playing their game. And doing quit well without them.

    What would I do if I encountered a cougar? Back slowly away, make constant eye contact and spread my arms to look as large as possible. If attacked, given recent reports, try and jam an arm down their throat. If I spent a lot of time in the wilderness, I’d probably carry bear spray, mace or pepper spray. Maybe a side arm.

    Do I get sea sick? Not as far as I know. Now, when I was a kid and we went on vacations, I’d occasionally get car sick. But the times I’ve been on boats? No problems. When I lived in Seattle, I’d take the ferry across Puget Sound, from time to time. Sometimes, at night as a passenger, just a round trip to see the city all lit up. Very pretty. Even in rough weather, my tummy was never bothered.

    “Stuff a sock in it”, is a rather rude saying, over here. But, the sock must be securely stuffed. 🙂 . The bees will forgive you, but it might take awhile.

    “Plants expand to fill the space allowed.” (™ Lew. ie: see “junk expands…”, etc.) Another law of the Universe. 🙂 .

    I read the first story in King’s book, last night. Meets his high standard of creepiness. I’m a bit into the second story, and, so far, am underwhelmed. The first story has a lot to say about the early days of the internet, and, technology in general. “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.”

    VEF’s (Victorian Era Folks) held two conflicting ideas in their heads, at the same time. Nudes running rampant in paintings and sculptures were acceptable, because they were “art.” The powers that be said so. And, they were in approved spaces like museums and stately homes. Your “betters” said it was art, and “uplifting.” So, it was art. Helped if it was connected to some kind of “good” literature, like myths or history. Maybe biblical.

    The exotic chew went over well, with H. But my, it did take her a long time to masticate the thing. I may go 1/3 or even 1/4.

    Well, you can probably skip the money supply narrative. I a.) probably wouldn’t understand it and b.) can’t do anything about it, anyway.

    My estate is so small that it won’t have to be probated. And, probably won’t even need the help of a lawyer to get it settled. Unless someone contests something. And, there are safeguards built in, to stave that off.

    Well, Eleanor’s meds were adjusted, and between her family and the caregivers, she’s kept on track.

    Just had another deluge, a few minutes ago. Oh, well. On Wednesday, the weather is supposed to start getting nice again. By next week end, back in the 80sF. So, instead of complaining about the rain, we’ll be complaining about the heat 🙂 . Lew

  53. Hi Chris,

    I looked at the link for Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks. Insist on provolone cheese; that’s authentic. American cheese is not right at all. It looks like they got the rest of the sandwich right. Try it; it’ll be as close as you’re likely to get to Philadelphia, and I think you will like it. When I was younger I might have gotten fries along with it, but now eating the entire sandwich is a challenge. As I mentioned, I took part of the one I had home and finished that at dinner.

    @ DJ: I note that you understand the fine points of Philly cheesesteakery. One must uphold the proper standards.


  54. Hi Chris

    The land surveyor / occasional commentor mentioned in your reply can likely supply you with links to possibly available open source mapping tools for topographic and
    other categories available covering your neighborhood. Even before he is available in person.

    Another topic.
    In your beverage production pictures: A copper moon shine condenser coil extending from top of picture off camera downward into the picture as if connected to a still being used for producing harder alcohol beverage. Just added with no caption mention of any sort.😃There’s Al’s sick sense of humor! Stop that HeHe.

  55. Hi Claire,

    Thanks for the tips on the Provolone cheese as I had not previously heard of the cheese variety. The crowds outside the restaurant have always intrigued me, although it is worth noting that many things are popular without being much good. Your descriptions however sound very tasty and may have tipped the balance. Yum!

    Hehe! I hear you about the fries / chips and it is funny that you mention those enjoyable food items… As an amusing side story I once heard one person rebuking another for their consumption of chips (a larger form of fries) and the cheeky scamp immediately replied: Potatoes are a vegetable. Yup, like most good stories there is a grain of truth in there – somewhere.



  56. Hi Al,

    Thanks for the suggestion and it is excellent and I may put the question to them. Never thought of doing that, but neither do I wish to stretch the friendship either. Hmm.

    Well let’s just say that your observation puts you into observant reader class 1 category. Such folks are a rambunctious lot and the classification is often spoken about, but rarely obtained. It is possible that you are correct in your observation, but such delicate matters are rarely spoken about in polite company, and whilst it is not my nature to be mysterious…

    I rarely discuss such matters because basically people get all weirded out and stuff, and from my perspective the general reaction seems like an over reaction. What do you do?



  57. Hi Inge,

    I hear you, and our title system does not cope well with such ambiguities. And I’m guessing that is the case because each property title is treated as unique whilst the only context it is placed in is the zoning laws. The whole system is complicated to a level that most get confused by, fortunately for you and I, we can deal with complicated. It is worth noting that the impossible might take a bit longer to navigate! 🙂 Not sure about your part of the world, but down here people hire specialists to deal with this aspect of the law and I really do wonder if the money spent was worth it. I read and sought to understand the legislation first and foremost – and then responded to that. So many folks talk about justice and equity and I do not recall seeing those words written anywhere in the legislation. It makes a person wonder how such stories got into their heads in the first place?

    You know that makes sense to me and people rarely engage with others so as to ascertain the source of the misgivings. I’d be curious as to your thoughts in the matter, but rather than giving you the cold shoulder, he could have engaged you with dialogue and maybe found some middle ground on the emotionally charged subject. One of the difficulties I have is that – like the mulch bloke here – people just want what they want, and they have a great deal of difficulty giving any ground.

    Years ago I had a problem with the local council. Initially they took the high moral ground and acted like a bunch of idiots. They had to be kicked pretty hard by me before they engaged in a dialogue. After that dialogue was entered into we came to a mutual understanding and the matter ended then and there. It is not hard, but for them it was a situation where they felt that they had incurred a loss, but the loss was all in their heads. Such a strange thing, so I can well understand how your story played out.

    I tell you that even very recently I’ve had to put a very recent disagreement behind me which occurred through no fault of my own – I just happened to be in a bad place at a bad time. It was a strange tale that I cannot recount here, but even so, sometimes you incur loss and that is how things roll.

    Yes, I agree it is prudent not to annoy folks living in rural areas and as a general rule I am very polite to most people that I encounter up here. Unfortunately, the farm is located just close enough to the city that some folks feel that such responses are not deemed necessary requirements for living in such a place.

    The interesting contrast is that it is generally the more recent folks whom have taken issue with me. The long term folks I believe I have made a favourable impression upon. So weird. But there is a bit of turnover with properties and generally people become disillusioned with the winter climate in this mountain range. Softies! You’d probably think my winters are warm as. 🙂



  58. Hi Lewis,

    Actually it was you who alerted me to that story, and we may have been discussing the Norman’s marrying any and all of the local Princesses and/or nobility’s that they came across in their raiding activities. It fascinates me that even today the case is the same. What do you do, other than as you suggest. It has been remarked upon in other quarters that the best revenge is to have an enjoyable life. Inge and I were also conversing about this very topic and for your interest, from my perspective the editor and I appear to have made a good impression on the long term residents and families. It is the short to medium term folks that can be the most troublesome for me. Not sure why, but perhaps somehow the activities we embark upon here at the farm are possibly viewed as activities done by the very poor. It is an interesting perspective that I’m guessing they have chosen, because it may be lost on such disparaging folks that at some point in the long distant past the older families did as we are doing now. Dunno. I wouldn’t have considered that aspect but many long years ago an old timer farmer from around here once grudgingly averred as much about our activities. It wasn’t said in a negative way either. Dunno.

    I’ve met Joel Salatin and he’s a truly lovely bloke and we had a very brief chat. It was a real pleasure to meet someone so passionate about farming. Well, Joel and his wife would probably have had to endure the reality that over the years many long term families and residents have seen people come and go with all sorts of fancy ideas. That aspect in and of itself is a real problem that can’t be gotten around. Plenty of folks make big talk, but very few can convert the talk to action and outcomes, and the old timer families know this. Also it is worth noting that natural systems rarely produce outputs evenly and folks who live in cities rarely consider that aspect when they make big plans. For just one example, drought can knock plenty of big talk ideas out of the water, and the old timers know that. It is a slow process and like you I too am outside the ‘system’. What do you do, but just don’t play the game and live as well as can be as often as possible.

    Please keep your cougars to your delightful continent. If I had to worry about being rendered limb from limb and then consumed by the local wildlife, I’d probably have to construct serious fences! And my night time forays would hardly be relaxing. But your advice is well received on how to deal with a cougar. Side arms are not a bad idea, although I can only own a rifle given all of the various circumstances. Ownership is a very regulated thing down here, although I understand that it is a hot button topic in your part of the world. We elected to choose a different outcome down here. It is neither better nor worse, just different.

    Oh yeah cars can be dodgy, but the only time I can recall being car sick was as a navigator on a car rally for an entire day at speed through forested areas. But from hindsight I was a bit dehydrated more than motion sick. Car rally’s are not relaxing events. But yeah, like you no sea sickness. The trip to see the lights sounds very nice.

    Didn’t realise that it was a rude saying. Ook! Yes, good advice about the sock and bees, and I’ll do better next time. Sadly there were a few dead bees outside the hive this morning, and no doubt they’d hung around all night sacrificing themselves to ensure that no further outrages were committed against the hive. But I can assure you that many more bees turned out of the hive to attempt to sting the editor and I the previous night, so losses were few. And gains for the hove from the concrete slab were far greater. The old timber pallet was barely hanging together.

    Hehe! Like your law of the Universe. Good stuff, and so true.

    Stories about phone and interweb technology are easily countered by solid good advice such as: Pull the battery out! And quickly! I often wondered why nobody did that with the Terminator or Robo-Cop, both rogue robots doing their thang, which was very bad indeed.

    Well, I’m confronted by the VEF beliefs in the delightful Royal Exhibition Building gardens. The building was constructed during 1879 – 80 for the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880–81. It is a truly beautiful building and a testament to the times. The Hochgurtel Fountain which sits in the surrounding gardens with Neptune, nymphs and cherubs is anatomically quite correct for the various entities, and I have long known of it and wondered about the passions and repressions of the earlier VEF’s! Here is a postcard image from 1907, although admittedly it looks much the same today: Postcard – Hochgurtel Fountain, Carlton Gardens.

    Great to hear that H enjoyed the chew. Yes, slower is better with such items as they will get better value for their teeth as a result. Chews they can demolish in minutes are probably tasty, but might not pass the tooth test.

    No worries, you did ask about the money narrative. Suffice to say that it is a rather dull topic and won’t end well. Incidentally the article I read was about a bunch of folks who did not once mention that they were enjoying tax free income and have done so for quite a while. It is not a good look: Coronavirus share market slump leads to anxious time for self-funded retirees. Anyway, as I may have mentioned previously, the current changes are correcting many imbalances. When I was a kid it would be highly unusual for grandparents and retirees to go anywhere, let alone travel for entertainment. I stopped travelling once it became an accepted norm, and people nowadays don’t realise how rare it was before that change.

    Nice thinking about the safeguards. Things can get quite weird, and a charity that is in my will appears to have lost the plot despite being around for a very long time. A bit of me wonders whether they were professionally captured? And I really don’t know.

    It is nice to hear that you and Eleanor are again enjoying your regular chats. Such are the enjoyable aspects of life. 🙂

    You’re yet to complain about the heat, maybe next month? The weather was OK today here, although the wind picked up a bit in the afternoon. We had a quiet day today.



  59. Yo, Chris – That’s interesting that you get more acceptance from the old timers. Maybe it’s because their comfortable in their resources, where, for new comers, it’s iffy. Or, they don’t know what the boundaries of their resources, are? Also, you do most of your own work. Get your hands dirty. Now, the new people, maybe it’s the jumper? 🙂 . The old timers? Would they let you marry their daughter? 🙂 .

    Mr. Salatin was new to the area, and brought in new methods of farming. Always highly suspect to very conservative farmers. LOL. Mr. Salatin has the courage of his convictions, and isn’t shy about spreading them around. I’m sure some people find him rather abrasive.

    When I lived in the boonies, I never ventured beyond the illumination of my porch light. Besides the cougars, there were also bears. Even a raccoon or possum, if feeling threatened, will attack. Packs of coyotes. Which would occasionally howl, right under my widow. Wild times.

    Here’s a little YouTube clip of Seattle by night. Less than a minute. There’s even one of the ferry boats, heading to port.

    I read the second story in the King book, last night. I warmed to it more, as I got into it. But, there were lots of unanswered mysteries. There’s an accountant … 🙂 .

    The Hochgurtel Fountain is art. It has the civic stamp of approval. But, I bet when it was put up, there were a blue nose, or two, around, that objected to all that flesh. Think of the children! 🙂 .

    Yup. H likes the new chews. I gave her 1/4, last night, and the mastication time was reduced. But the package says not to divide them. Might be a choking hazard. Is that real, or is it a ploy to prevent you from extending the (very pricey) supply? Or, a legal thing, to cover them, just in case? Then Suzanne, mentioned the possibility. Of course, I can’t walk across the parking lot, without her warning that I might fall on my tush. Anyway. I sat down last night and watched a couple of short videos on how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on small dogs. Probably a useful bit of information to have.

    Our tax codes are quit arcane. Volumes and volumes of fine print. And things are constantly added or subtracted. Which usually benefits … someone. Stock dividends are taxed … sometimes. There are hoops to jump through to reduce, or eliminate, the sting. Sometimes, if one is not careful, you can get taxed twice, on the same money. There are IRA retirement accounts, but they have many rules and pitfalls. It’s easy to incur penalties. One of our parties dreams is to do away with Social Security, and dump it all in the stock market. Fortunately, the stock market crashes often enough, to make most people leery, of that. I suppose it depends on if your a gambler, or not. Or, greed might have something to do with it.

    The few times I’ve gotten a loan, they always try and push the “variable rate of interest.’ The come on is that your monthly payments are lower, with a variable rate. Higher with a fixed rate. I’m always very firm about getting the fixed rate. They give you this very skeptical look. “The interest rates might go down, and your payments would be less!” That’s the “come on.” Yeah, or the interest rates could go up, and you could be wiped out. Businesses and homes have been lost.

    We had three deluges, yesterday. Real gully washers. 🙂 . Two out of the three times was when I attempted to take H for a walk. How does she do that? Has a talent, I guess. Lew

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