Full circle

We’d had a really lovely day. Sure things are in lock down right now and it is hard to go anywhere, but there is still plenty of time for laughing, loving and living. The wind howled earlier that day and the dark had long since settled over the mountain range. Rain fell heavily just outside the car windows. The passenger side window was rolled down and I said to the bloke standing just on the other side: “Mate. Can you please open those two bottles?” as he handed the two boxed pizza’s in through the open car window. He was getting wet standing outside the car due to the rain, and candidly it was a bit cold. For the record, the rain was also pouring in through the open car window.

The two boxed pizza’s were chucked into the back of the dirt rat Suzuki mere moments before the rain could dampen the boxes any further. “No worries at all mate”, came the accommodating reply. And the bloke promptly headed back into the warmth and dry of the local pub (where we aren’t allowed to enter) with our two stubbies on his quest for a bottle opener. A stubby is the fancy name for a small glass bottle which usually contains beer. Dark Ale was the order of the day, and it was of the highest pedigree. The stubby contained Russian Imperial Stout with an underlying flavour of marshmallow. I kid you not, it was so good and the people who brew these concoctions must be geniuses.

Anyway it was a stormy night after all, and the winds had raged their songs of anger and strength all day long, and trees were down across various roads in the state, so it only seemed wise to take the small three door Suzuki four wheel drive to the local pub in search of take away pizza’s and beer for dinner. You never know what trouble you may encounter on the roads in these crazy days when residents of the big smoke are told to not go further than 5km / 3 miles (doesn’t apply here) from their house and to boil their drinking water. Such are the pitfalls of a night time fooding adventure.

After only a short while, the bloke returned with the two stubbies which were handed over through the car passenger side window with the bottle tops deftly removed. Common sense after all dictates that any pub worth its salt would have bottle openers, and it would be a poor pub indeed that could not open a bottle. The rain continued to pour down, and so we said thanks and quickly wound up the window.

The editor held onto the stubbies and we chowed down and proceeded to enjoy our beer and pizza. The air was quite cold at 3’C / 37’F. Good company, beer and pizza. What more could anyone ask for in these days?

The editor and I that night had somehow bizarrely come full circle.

Way, way back in the early to mid 90’s, the editor lived in a very cool share house in a formerly working class neighbourhood just outside the city limits. She was so cool, that the colour of her dog (The Fat) matched her poo brown 1960’s era station wagon which steadfastly refused to consider going into reverse gear. We were both broke AF, and in those days of grunge garage bands who’s obtuse lyrics we later attempted to decipher and put meaning to, I’d somehow summonsed up the courage to ask the editor out on a date.

My little 1 Litre (61 cubic inch) Suzuki Sierra four wheel drive at the time was marginally newer than the editors beast of a machine, but it too used to add spice to life by occasionally jumping out of second gear if the the driver took their foot off the accelerator pedal. Fortunately the car was so under powered that I always avoided the gear popping fate because I had to keep my accelerator foot pressed hard to the floor just to mostly keep up with traffic.

But we were in the midst of the early 90’s recession that we had to have, and which incidentally we continued to have for about the next five or six years, and so we were both broke AF. Both of us were working jobs that were low status, but we had to do them all the same, and we were not well remunerated. All the same, the editors job status and education was slightly higher than my own, and so I was grateful that she had accepted my request for a date.

With not much spare mad cash due to being broke and all, I decided one night early on in our relationship to treat the editor to an experience. It was a late summers evening and pleasantly warm. The little Suzuki had a canvas roof which could be removed. The removal of the roof was a boon to thieves as I’d lost at least three or four car radios. As an amusing side story, after the first loss of a car radio I no longer reported the loss to the police. After all, I tried to lighten the mood that first time at the dour police station by mentioning that the thief had also pinched my Bob Marley Greatest Hits tape, to which I was menacingly questioned: “Have you been drinking?” Some people have no sense of humour.

Both the editor and I jumped into the little Suzuki (there were only two seats after all, so fortunately no busy body house mates could come along), and we headed off into the sunset in search of pizza and the seaside. For about an hour and a half we drove in the warm summer air before arriving at a little seaside town not far from the start of the famous Great Ocean Road. The road it should be said, lives up to its promise.

The seaside small town had a little take away pizza joint, and we nabbed a large pizza and went off in search of a spot to watch the sun go down below the horizon. Sure enough we found a scenic spot which we could enjoy to ourselves. We watched the sun go down below the horizon and talked a whole bunch of rubbish. The pizza was scarfed down with a hunger that only youth can deliver. We had a lovely time, and fortunately for my newly attained boyfriend status, I had just enough mad cash for the petrol money in order to get back home again.

Petrol money is not a worry for me these days. However, (ignoring the enforced lock down and curfew in Melbourne) the economics alone look perhaps a touch worse these days to my now much older eyes. My older eyes see many things going on now in society that I’m uncomfortable with. None of that really matters though, and in older days, it was oft said that the best revenge is to live a good life. Wise words, and nothing perks up the spirits in crazy days, such as living, loving and laughing.

A warmer but changeable sunset earlier in the week

This week we set out to move all of the large rocks which we’d recovered last week. Moving around large rocks that weigh more than I do is no small feat, and the editor and I rolled all of the rocks in tandem to a location where we could get them into the power wheelbarrow and bring them up the hill. My usual limit for moving and positioning large and heavy rocks is six per day, but that day we moved seven large rocks.

The final seven large rocks were moved into position on the uphill side of the path up above the house

A thick quantity of the woody mulch which the nice electricity company provided to us was placed behind the rocks. Onto the path was placed a good load of the locally quarried crushed rock with lime. And I’d call that new path project by the word: Completed!

Ollie is impressed at the completion of the path up above the house

I actually forget the time period, but we have been working towards completing the path up above the house project for many months now. The path provides all weather access from the driveway onto the garden terrace project, with a loop at the end. All of this can be used with either a wheelbarrow, or the trusty low centre of gravity mower which can not only go up stupidly steep inclines, but can also tow a trailer. And earlier today, we put the completed path to the ultimate test:

Down the driveway and onto the path up above the house
Rolling, rolling rolling . . . along the pathway and into the garden terrace project
Out the other side of the garden terrace project
Around the Blanket Leaf Shrub which marks the loop at the end of the path
Then back through the garden terrace project again towards the driveway

The completion of the path project means that we are now able to bring bulk materials such as compost and mulch onto the garden terrace project really easily.

In other breaking flat area news – the new potato terrace was fully excavated this week.

The new potato terrace was excavated this week

Potatoes are currently grown in three raised steel garden beds. I don’t like those beds as it is very difficult to harvest the tasty tubers, if only because the beds are too high, and the roundish shape means that it is really difficult to get into the centre of the beds. Basically, for potatoes, round beds are a bad idea.

During the day we spent excavating the new garden terrace I pondered the problem, but came up with no resolution. Ordinarily I sleep like the dead, however in the middle of the night I woke up and the answer was right there in my consciousness. Get rid of the steel raised beds and replace them with a lower oblong shaped garden bed. The next day I let the editor get some caffeine and a Lindt chocolate into her system before mentioning the idea that I’d come up with during the middle of the night. Timing is everything when mentioning novel ideas. Fortunately the wicked combination of food stuffs worked on the editors possibly over stimulated brain, and we then proceeded to implement the idea.

An new oblong shaped lower height raised potato bed was constructed

We purchased some very heavy treated pine sleepers and constructed a large oblong shaped potato bed, and placed the bed onto the newly excavated potato terrace. Observant readers will also notice that the bed sits in the middle of an ancient lava flow, and so during the the excavations we loosened all of the soil on the terrace and also recovered an extraordinary amount of rocks of all shapes and sizes.

The excavations on the potato terrace unearthed an unfeasible quantity of rocks

So that the new raised timber potato bed can be put into some context, the next photo shows the new bed with the three older beds in the background on a lower terrace where the greenhouse is to be constructed. Next week we intend to move the contents of those three older steel raised beds into the new raised timber bed.

The new timber potato raised bed with the three older steel beds in the background

Despite it being late winter, earlier today I noticed that the Globe Artichokes have begun to produce tasty chokes. I really enjoy the taste of these interesting vegetables, and the plants are super productive.

Globe Artichokes have produced some very early chokes

The Meyer Lemon tree is again full of fruit. We use the fruit in jam making and other forms of food preservation such as wine making, but mostly the chickens just enjoy the fruit diced into small sizes.

The Meyer Lemon is again full of late winter fruit

The earlier varieties of fruit trees such as almonds, apricots and plumcots are now in flower. And the bees are happily pollinating the trees as long as the weather is warm enough and not too windy.

An early Apricot in flower

Onto the flowers:

Beautiful Leucodendrons provide exotic late winter colour
Echiums are now in flower and the bees are already enjoying these
Daffodils continue to provide colour to the paddock

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 806.8mm (31.8 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 799.8mm (31.5 inches).

44 thoughts on “Full circle”

  1. Yo, Chris – You didn’t have a bottle opener? Made the poor man come out in the rain and cold, twice? Poor planning! Bottle openers are sometimes called “church keys,” here. You should start carrying a Swiss Army Knife. Besides opening bottles, they also come in handy in case you have to perform an emergency appendectomy. Or cut yourself out of your seatbelt.

    So, the Editor and you bonded over obtuse grunge rock lyrics. Well, I suppose there are worse things to bond over. Married above your class, did you? Sigh. No wonder the world is going to hell in a hand basket. But seriously, that was a lovely courting story. πŸ™‚ .

    “Rolling, rolling rolling … keep them doggies movin’, Rawhide!” That’s quit a road construction project, you accomplished. Thanks for the wonderful road trip, around your place.

    So what are you going to do with those raised steel garden beds? Some nefarious plan, I’m sure. All those discovered rocks cry out for another rock gabion. Fire up the welder!

    The artichokes look super market, ready. The Meyer lemons strike a deep cord of envy, within me. The Echiums are lovely.

    Here’s another article about controlled burns, and the resistance to them.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/california-residents-didn-t-want-controlled-burns-near-their-homes-some-of-those-homes-then-burned-in-a-wildfire/ar-BB18vkA0

    Prof. Mass has a posting about the deaths, due to the latest hurricane. He also reveals a recent “sliding doors” moment, in his own life. Lew

  2. Hi Al,

    I didn’t quite understand the reference to City of Lake Forest Park with your emoji, but it’s all good – and that particular area looks like it would have a nice climate.

    Wild blackberries are a favourite of mine and we turn them into jam and wine. I’m salivating thinking of that blackberry pie and ice cream. πŸ™‚ The blackberries are late season berries here and from what I’ve noticed, they tend to do the best in sunny and damp years. Hot years tend to produce smaller berries, but if there is enough soil moisture, then harvest is really good. The canes readily hybridise to new climates and soil types and so yeah, there’ll be wild blackberries growing well into the future despite any chemicals thrown at them. They bounce back within two years of applications of herbicide – not sure what the chemicals will do to other plants in the vicinity. Probably not good. And near to where the neighbour sprayed the patch, a large tree has toppled over a while back.

    It is funny you mention the urban chaos, but the population density in that area does seem quite dense to me, but then I can’t see my neighbours so anything more than that and I get a bit twitchy… I can’t imagine that any recent rioting has occurred in such a place?

    Exactly, that’s the thing. It takes deft hands prepared to get the occasional thorn stuck in the skin to harvest blackberries. Some folks just get a bee in their bonnets about certain plants, and that’s one of them. It is a very useful plant, as are some of the others that get such a reputation.

    Cheers

    Chris

  3. Hello Chris
    It’s bank holiday today so I haven’t made my usual trip into town and could read your blog earlier in the day.
    Your place looks ever more astounding. Can you access the new potato bed from both sides? I wasn’t sure when I looked at it. If not, you will still have to stretch across it.
    Oh! Those lemons; absolutely wonderful.
    I was also surprised that you don’t keep a bottle opener in the car. Are all those pizzas good for you?
    I have been freezing tomatoes this morning. Annoying varieties this year. Son grows them from seed and then brings the small plants to me to do with as I wish. There have been some stunning beefsteak tomatoes but a vast quantity of tiny varieties and absolutely no medium sized ones. Son made a mistake here as he thought that one variety were medium sized and they weren’t.

    Inge

  4. Hi Lewis,

    Of course, Halloween is not so much of a thing down here – and certainly I can’t imagine that anyone at all will be tricking and treating this year down in the big smoke due to the health subject which dare not be named. From what I’m reading they’ll be lucky to be out of lock down and curfew if the gobarmint gets its way. For a different perspective on things you might be interested in this: Australia’s outbound travel ban is one of the strictest coronavirus public health responses in the world. Inge mentioned the other day that a friend was considering travelling overseas, and as you can see this is not an option for us. Anyway, we’re small fry in the larger scheme of things.

    The imminent arrival of pumpkin flavoured ice cream arrives at around the same time as the pumpkin harvest and so another person might suggest that the: moons have aligned!

    I tend to agree with your observation and candy and turkey are not flavours that should normally meet like passing ships in the night. No. I too am very uncomfortable with the suggestion. However, the other day I did enjoy a dark ale with overtones of marshmallow, so you and I could well be entirely incorrect and we might be missing out… It’s possible. Looks like you might have to do the test despite your misgivings and see what the results were.

    Thanks for the reminder of the harmonic tremors. Yes, Pompeii is most certainly a solid instructional guide on not to ignore warnings of larger matters. It’s actually not a bad metaphor for the world we live in today. Anyway, I took a sneaky look at the Geosciences Australia map of earthquakes and noted how common they are but also noted that there were few within the nearby vicinity. The work of that gubarment department is quite solid: Earthquakes@GA. It is worthwhile switching to the 30 day view just to get an idea about how active this old continent is, and as an act of kindness to our nearby neighbours we’ve included them on the map… Wow!

    The small pre-fab temple would have been an interesting find in the shipwreck. πŸ™‚ I wonder if it shook the faith of any of the archaeologists who came across the ancient construction? And putting a good face on the digs is another way of suggesting that these things aren’t cheap and we’ll need to promise stuff in order to keep our jobs in the future. You haven’t mentioned Vindolanda for a while and if they’re anything like the Uni sector they’ll be doing it very tough.

    Thanks for the suggestion as I would not have considered using wax. Hmm. What is wax? Hmm, seems like waxes from plants are derived from hot climate plant species. Of course there is always the bees. I noticed that another small holding in the area keeps bees for their orchard. And interestingly another local house has begun keeping roosters, although the house allows the birds to free range unattended and that will definitely come to bad end. Oh well. We’ve been discussing purchasing fertilised eggs as an option for future chickens. They can travel in the mail as long as delivery is within only a few days.

    Word on the street is that the Maori folks ate all (or most) of the Moa birds, so yeah not good. On their flag or national identity or some such they have a fern frond and the implications of that particular story gives me the chills. Now of course the two large islands there now have a much more diverse collection of mammals with which to eat, and well that might make a difference to the future. I noticed that their lovely Prime Muppet was promoting wearing face masks. It might be a good idea, but those things pain me.

    I have a vague memory that you and I both read the book ‘Cooking Dirty’ many long years ago and yes that particular story is burned into my conscience as well. It was an horrific story of a moments error leading to a lifetimes consequences, and it sure made a lasting impression on me too. The book is residing in my bookshelves, so that is where it got to.

    You’re good. Yup, cherry tomatoes in these environments are the way to go. Some years you might do better, but then again maybe not.

    By the end of August, I’m usually done with winter, and that is a good thing too because tomorrow is out official start of spring! Yay for spring, and this year will be a particularly long spring here. Makes up for last year.

    Yes, guilty as charged because the bloke had to unfortunately venture out of the warm pub twice and it was all my fault. Nobody else can be blamed in this case. πŸ™‚ As an interesting side story I only found about the stubby after searching questions were asked when I was on the phone ordering the stuff in the first place. At the pub I could at least get a taste, but now we’re down to interpreting descriptions over the phone. The outcome however may be an overall improvement in the use of the English language as stuff has to be explained to folks unable to see and taste the produce? Some wine descriptions sound very fanciful to my mind, but marshmallow in this case delivered upon the promise.

    I might have such a knife kicking around somewhere. Very useful, and a big thing back in the 80’s. Your suggestions are sound for the emergency use of the knife, but I’m a bit squeamish and the patient might have to die… I’d feel bad about it if that is any consolation.

    We are so busted for our early days. Glad you enjoyed the story, but alas you are wrong from an accepted point of view. It was the editor who apparently married up and my mum had a blue fit about it all. Something about wrong side of the tracks or some rubbish like that. However, between you and I, you’re right! πŸ˜‰

    My pleasure for taking you upon the trip as it adds some context to the path project which frankly might have been under way for well over a year.

    Hehe! Yes, an astute observation as all of those rocks will end up in a new gabion cage. With the weather the way it is I’m leaning towards getting the greenhouse project done first.

    Ooo! Had an idea and a natty title for next week’s blog so I better write it down before it disappears… Thoughts can be fleeting and momentary, that’s why people talk so much rubbish about say renewable energy, whilst doing so little. The talk is as they say, cheap. And no the topic was not renewable energy, although I do like to so indulge myself in a righteous whinge about the subject every now and then. Makes me feel better. This is a good thing.

    Ah, yes thank you, and I reckon given the exact right circumstances you’ll get away with a Meyer Lemon. Don’t believe the hype about the Lisbon variety, Meyer wins the cold war hands down.

    I really feel for the spot that the good professor Cliff Mass got into. What a fine mess, but I respect his ‘get on with it’ approach. What? It’s a bit Darwinian, although as to large trees I too have been close to a large tree that fell with only a few seconds warning. It was quite an unnerving experience and occurred on a still day after a large storm.

    Thanks for the link!

    Cheers

    Chris

  5. Hi Inge,

    Happy bank holiday! πŸ™‚

    Thank you, and it is a pleasure to share the place with you. It’s like our art project and gives us a nice creative outlet, which my profession frankly does not (although that isn’t a complaint, just an observation).

    That’s a good point about the potato bed, but the timber sleepers are so thick and heavy (3 inches in width) that I can walk upon them if need be. The round beds were a really bad idea as I couldn’t get a shovel in to the centre of the beds and so harvest the tubers. It was a bit of a problem and so we had been buying potatoes instead in bulk from a local farmer…

    Yes, the citrus are amazing and we are just on the edge with what can be grown here. Still, all of the trees have so far survived snow and repeated frosts, so I’m guessing they are very hardy plants. I’ve been told that they need protection from the winter winds.

    The lack of a bottle opener was a problem, which has now been rectified.

    Err, yes, the pizza’s are probably quite good for me, well I’d like to think so. πŸ™‚ And I protected myself by not indulging in breakfast pizzas.

    I hear you about that and we have been breeding the mid-sized tomato varieties for many years. It is a worthwhile project.

    Sorry, I have to run…

    Cheers

    Chris

  6. @ Al
    I am staggered that people don’t pick the blackberries though it does tend to be the elderly who are seen out picking here. My garden is surrounded by the brambles and we have to keep my paths out clear or I would soon be imprisoned and eventually they would completely submerge me and my home. Meanwhile I eat the blackberries, freeze them and make blackberry icecream. Son makes a very good blackberry wine. On the 1st September the devil spits on them and they become tasteless. Actually I believe that this occurs after the first frost.

    Inge

  7. Hi Chris
    The the Seattle and angry Emoji meaning explanation:
    Seattle, Tacoma , Spokane. All grew by land grabbing their smaller neighbors. The neighbors were often let’s say less than happy with becoming part of the big city. In the 50s through the 70s the laws changed so that the neighbors could elect to become state recognized incorporated cities. The big Cities found them selves thwarted from expanding their areas and most important cut off from tax revenues portion.. My son is very quick to tell you that his not so small town is not part of That Damn Seattle Mess.

    In Richland the city owns, the electric utility, the water supply, the fire protection, the ambulance system, the garbage collection service , and the 5 sq mi dump including future dump land. And recycle Collection collection operation. With the black compost manufacturing plant. Plus large tracts of other vacant land for devcopement. The school systems receive per capita student-payments in lieu of taxes that aren’t paid on federal owned property used by the Hanford project. That is the short version. In the present situation can and may deteriorate quickly. Yikes!

  8. Yo, Chris – Interesting about the travel ban. Seems to be full of legitimate loopholes. Pretty much, no extended day tripping. Now, if I was King of the World, I’d say, “Sure. Leave. You just can’t come back.” πŸ™‚ .

    Since you brought up the marshmallow ale again, it sounds ghastly. Were I still of the persuasion, I’d stick with Guiness.

    We have a similar map for the Pacific Northwest. And, there’s always something rumbling, somewhere, under the ground. Maybe they include New Zealand, just to let you know how much better off, you are?

    Well, because of You Know What, excavations got off to a late start, at Vindolanda, this year. But, it just so happens I saw an article, yesterday …

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/aug/29/hadrians-wall-dig-reveals-oldest-christian-graffiti-on-chalice

    They think there may have been a Christian church, inside the fort, in the 5th or 6th century. I think “oldest” may be off the mark. There were plenty of other Christian traces, from even earlier. Whole mosaics and baptismal fonts. But, I think it’s interesting that organized community activity was going on, in the fort, after the Roman’s left.

    “Wax” for canning usually means paraffin. Which is a petroleum product. And, it’s pretty flammable. Probably cheaper than bees wax? Without checking into it, I’d guess bees wax would be more antimicrobial. Ah, not much on the Net, but it seems like beeswax would be ok.

    Well, if nothing else, the free range roosters will probably draw the foxes away from your place. Always look for a silver lining πŸ™‚ .

    So, why does a fern frond give you chills, as a New Zealand symbol? I’m not following.

    Yesterday, I picked more cherry tomatoes, picked quit a few green beans, some garlic, and a handful of plums. I was going to pick some more blueberries, but, I have to take Eleanor to pick up hearing aids, and that blows a hole in my day.

    It’s the little things in life that make it all worthwhile. Like taking a shovel to a zucchini. πŸ™‚ . Lew

  9. Hi Chris,
    No swiss army knife with a bottle opener? I thought that was a requirement for any self respecting guy. I have one in my purse. I have to remember to remove it when going through any kind of security. One time I was going to court in downtown Chicago for my brothers annual accounting and realized I hadn’t removed it. I hid it in a planter but as it was January the soil was frozen so it wasn’t all that hidden. I was pleased to see it still there on my return. Doug has lost a couple of those going through airport security.

    I was able to ask my sister how our mother coped with the huge change in her financial situation. As I thought she said “what else could she do with seven kids still at home.” She did think that having all that responsibility helped lift her from the depths of despair. Our parents had one of the happiest marriages I’ve ever seen. We rarely heard them arguing and it was obvious that they had much love and respect for each other. She also said our mother made a bit of a game out the situation. She made up spreadsheets for the most common purchases and checked out all the stores for the cheapest price. When she found it she would buy the place out sometimes. She had a large chest freezer so she could buy some things in bulk. As we talked I recalled the freezer full of loaves of bread. My parents were breeders of Arabian horses and her stallion was reserve National Champion one year so he commanded pretty good stud fees. As my father didn’t have a will (a fact that really shocked us) the estate was in probate and how the money was spent had to be approved by the judge. She still was able to get some stud fees and had people pay in cash which she put her safe deposit box in the bank. My sister also said to cope with the change in circumstances she would remember back about how poor they were when they were first married. They had been married for almost 24 years. To get an idea of how muh her situation changed my father earnings when he died in 1973 was about $400,000. Doctors were paid considerably more back then and he was the director of the hospital lab as well and got a percentage of the profits there as well – something that certainly doesn’t happen anymore. Even with that income they never handed out stuff to us we had to earn it. The biggest luxury we had was an in ground pool. Even though they could have put air conditioning in they didn’t as they figured that the pool was sufficient for cooling off.

    Today we tilled up additional garden space – about double what’s there now and I planted a cover crop.

    Margaret

  10. Hi Inge,

    Sorry, the editor had decided that last night was movie night and I had to run… The film was “Goldfich”, and we made it through about 3/5ths of the film.

    Home made pizza may also have been involved. Fear not, the three dogs enjoyed the crusts from the made from scratch base, and thus saved me many calories. πŸ™‚

    Honestly, I walk this Earth knowing that something is going to get me sooner or later. I’m cool with that and accept fate as it plays out. As far as I’m aware nobody seems to have escaped fate, although claims were made long in the past, and who is around now to verify such claims? If my eulogy was put to words, I’d be content if the song suggested that despite the odds, I’d done my best. It seems like a nice outcome, more or less.

    We have that particular dilemma with the cherry tomatoes too, especially the yellow variety which appear to be super hardy and well suited to the climate. However, even those yellow tomatoes, we’re breeding to produce the much coveted mid-sized yellow varieties. It’s a challenge and we’ve been at that particular project for about five years. πŸ™‚ After maybe two decades I might suggest that I can talk with authority on the subject. But until then…

    And blackberries are an absolute favourite berry. I’ve often wondered if the plants are so maligned because they are so productive even when conditions are sub-fluffy optimal? Not sure really, but certainly there is the merest hint of the shock waves of intermediation in that story.

    Cheers

    Chris

  11. Hi Al,

    Thanks for the explanation on the ever hungry and ever expanding urban boundaries. I had no idea that such things went on, and as by way of comparison the local gobarmint boundary areas are relatively fixed in place and have been for a very long time. And also incidentally, the local goberments don’t provide the wide range of services that yours do. Like for example, it is the state gabermint which pays for the police and education systems and they’re administered on that state wide basis. So really, our local lot have to deal with the very local matters. It is interesting the difference that this produces in the culture.

    As another interesting comparison, the ambulance service is a subscribers and members service down here, although non-members will enjoy a hefty bill for any services rendered and that maybe something of a surprise for them. Rubbish is of course a local concern, although I’ve opted out of that system as it is err, please excuse the pun: rubbish.

    But yeah, you know in the future things will get more local slowly bit by bit. Is this a bad thing? Maybe, maybe not.

    Cheers

    Chris

  12. Hi Chris,

    That Bob Marley story reminded me of a scene from possibly my favourite movie – The Big Lebowski – only the Dude had, of course, had his Credence tapes stolen (and the f@$%’n money).

    If you’d told the editor back in the 90s that one day the two of you would be rolling rocks up a mountain, do you think she would have kept dating you?

    Cheers,
    Simon

  13. Hi Margaret,

    You are quite correct and a Swiss army knife would do the job – and well too. However, if the police caught me in public with a knife in my possession outside the property, well things would not go so well for me, and I’d probably be charged. And oh my gawd, if I was to take one into an airport, the border force folks would probably enjoy a quality public display of me being taken down – hard, and way down to the ground. Your countrymen have a very different take on that matter, and um yeah it might well be lost in translation. πŸ™‚ Too funny. Thanks for the stories about knives too as I really enjoyed them. I don’t even want to think what might happen if that knife along for the ride story was tested in the court system down here… Far out!

    Don’t you reckon people forget what strangeness occurred back in the day and what has now been taken for granted. The will was a serious over sight and would have caused all sorts of dramas. Oh my, that story gets my sympathy and understanding. My mum took the single mother with three kids approach in the early 70’s, and even by the late 70’s her father (my grandfather) had to guarantee the bank loan so that she could eventually purchase a house in a block of units for us to live in. It wasn’t that long ago. Before that, we rented and moved around and that meant changing schools and having to make new friends over and over again. The judge during the probate probably wouldn’t have put you lot on the streets, but neither would he have made things easy for your mum – and that many kids is a full time job and then some. What a rocky road to travel.

    However, some people are born to thrive in challenging situations, and I also have a hunch at the back of my mind that your mothers skills were possibly under utilised before they were put to the ultimate test. Dunno where I got the hunch from, but it’s there.

    Incidentally the pool versus air conditioning story makes a lot of sense. Never had a house with either, oh, except the rental property we lived in whilst building this house. had to switch the air con on the day of Black Saturday in 2009 as it reached 44’C / 111’F inside the house and the boss dog ‘Old Fluffy’ who I was rather fond of, began having heat related seizures. What a day that was…

    Good stuff with the tilling. A very wise precaution, and I sort of feel that it is better to be prepared and wrong, than unprepared.

    Cheers

    Chris

  14. Hi Lewis,

    Hey, I noticed the loop holes in the international travel story for citizens too. Just to put the travel into a larger perspective, from memory, and please correct me if I’m wrong, the article suggested that 90,000 people had so far applied for an international travel permit (i.e. heading overseas), and only a quarter of permits were approved by border force. He says turning the envelope over and doing some quick math which gives an answer of around 22,500 international departures in the six months to err, now. Last year I believe there were something like 11+ million international departures down under. Quite the contrast. It goes without saying that the airports are very quiet places these days. Actually I’m enjoying not having aircraft roaring over head, but freely admit that other people would like to continue travelling. This desire may not be possible to sate.

    Haha! Yes, Guinness is a fine drop and no doubts about it. Although it is possible that my palate is perhaps a more finely tuned instrument accustomed to ranging far and wide across the adventurous brewing seas. Taking on small batch brewers and testing their mettle. Some of those efforts are sadly lacking and the foes were quickly vanquished, but the marshmallow thing was good and like Devil coming down to Georgia, I knew’d I’d been beat.

    Good point and the lovely Prime Muppet over the seas of the two neighbouring islands was in a video conference a few months back during a quake. It would be unwise to believe that things will always remain as they are today. I learned today that each year the moons orbit is 4cm (an inch and lot) further away. Either way I’m quite amazed to see how active things are.

    In other things which I learned today which may be of interest to you: So talk on the news was that gobarmints and corporaites are seriously discussing mining the minerals on the moon. Yes, it seems like a good way to go broke to me, but I’m not stopping them. Also I learned that the editor is my ‘germ buddy’ and that our property is a ‘germ bubble’, yes please don’t ask me what this means as I didn’t understand the news reports, but they seemed to be seriously suggesting this state of affairs.

    I like a bit of graffiti, and noticed that some cheeky wag in the council area to the west had sprayed the words “coved hoax” on street signs. Possibly the persons grasp of spelling is better than my own, and no point feeding the hungry monsters of digital indexes unnecessarily.

    The rock foundations of Vindolanda stir my cold accounting heart. Oh, they’re good. Thanks for the link, and it is nice to see that being a cheeky scamp is not a recent thing. I’m with you, it is unlikely that the site would be the earliest example. However, it may be all that is left to us now? – that we know about.

    Ah yes, I concur with your thoughts on the subject and bees wax has many useful properties in that regard. Historically it would have been hideously expensive and not lightly used.

    Hehe! Too true about the free range roosters. Actually I haven’t seen any fox activity around here for a long while and was hoping that one would show up eventually to start eating some of the rabbits I see in the local area. The three dogs do a good job chasing them off, but I don’t let them run around at night because that will be a hassle for the local native wildlife. Earlier this evening I saw kangaroos and a wombling wombat.

    Sorry, of course an explanation may be warranted. My understanding of the New Zealand story is that the fern fronds became a major food source after all of the Moa birds were eaten. There was also a sweet potato, but certainly the islands were devoid of mammals other than humans and so dietary options were limited with obvious consequences… Thus the chills.

    It is a lovely thing for you to assist Eleanor. And given the general lack of interest in the blueberries, they’ll still be there tomorrow. Well that’s the theory, anyway.

    Hehe! The chickens would have loved the zucchini once you’d smooshed it with the shovel.

    Watched 3/5ths of “The Goldfinch” film last night which you recommended many long months ago. I’m really enjoying the story and it is slow moving but complex and gripping, but I can’t quite shake a quote out of my head which was derived courtesy of an indigenous hip-hop artist. The guy is a prolific creative, and I believe he even writes scripts and all sorts of other stuff. Anyway, his quote, which I feel is relevant to the characters in the film: What if they’re all bad apples? πŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Chris

  15. Hi Simon,

    The Big Lebowski! John Goodman is da man, although I’m sort of torn a bit now, as I ponder the question further. Yes, a decision has been made. It could be that Woody Harrelson is da man as he gets the nod in my books. Yep, Zombieland is a fun romp of a film.

    Far out. Mate you are asking the seriously hard questions here. Candidly, the answer is probably an emphatic: No. Possibly the lesson in there somewhere is that perhaps journeys can take a while! As a contrast, most people seem to be in a bit of a hurry these days. Is this a good thing I ask you?

    That old Suzuki was an absolute clunker of a machine. Some earlier idiot owner had used a drill to bore holes in the jets in the carburettor so the car used as much fuel as a V8. It took me ages and a whole bunch of fuel to work out what was wrong with the motor.

    Cheers

    Chris

  16. Hi Inge
    I I’m guessing that the numbers of folks in the Puget sound area that make good use of the blackberries is fairly large but on a per capita basis not so much. The predominant variety is Large Himalayan ( actually thought to be really from Armenia) and sent to puget sound by a California mail order guy named Luther Burbank. Now Considered a noxious plant for causing the type of property invasion battle on your place.
    My Son has an on going problem keeping the plants at bay but enjoys the fruit most years. There is quite a bit of info on the internet about the blackberries . Your plants may have a similar origin. If i were was going pick them. I would probably obtain a leather welding Protection suit for my armor of choice.😁
    Typical offer of home grown fruit here. β€œ would you like some ( insert fruit name) β€œ recipient: ( can YOU pick,clean, and ,deliver it?) and so on.

    Cheers Al

  17. Yo, Chris – Things are active. The old earth twitches and moans and, occasionally rolls over. The poles wander, and we’ve got our yearly axis tip, to give us seasons. But for real activity, consider the oceans. Always moving, always restless.

    I saw a lovely article a few months ago, about a couple and their kids who were living at Vindolanda, during the lockdown. General maintenance and to keep the Night Hawks, off. Here you go. The mosaic, I remembered.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinton_St_Mary_Mosaic

    Years before whatever was going on at post-Roman, Vindolanda.

    Remember the bees wax candles, in the Camulod Chronicles? They made several appearances. Sometimes spread about to build up a bit of social capital.

    “Wombling Wombats.” Musical group? A good start on a poem or song. Sounds like something Lear or T. S. Elliot would come up with.

    I’m glad you’re liking the “Goldfinch.” Of course, it hit all the high points, with me. The Tat Trade, furniture restoration, art history. Decades ago, there was a BBC mystery series called “Lovejoy.” About a hip and with it antique dealer, who wasn’t above a bit of underhanded dealing. I tried to watch a few episodes, recently, but, for some reason, it didn’t “wear” well.

    Well, I’m sure you’ll (maybe) like this. Being interested in all things bread. There’s also a bit about brewing beer.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/08/how-bake-ancient-egyptian-bread/615859/

    “Raiders of the Lost Yeast.” πŸ™‚ . There’s also an interesting side bar article titled, “Making Bread Great Again.”

    Well, I picked a big bowl of blueberries, this morning, to round out the gallon I’ve got started in the freezer. Also have two trays of cherry tomatoes, perking away in the dehydrator. Oh, dear. The green beans will have to wait til later, as I need a colander. And they’re full of drying blueberries.

    I watched an interesting DVD, last night. “Van Gogh and Japan.” It was from an exhibition, titled the same, at the Van Gogh museum in the Netherlands. Van Gogh was mad for Japan. And, the Japanese are mad for Van Gogh. What I didn’t know is that he had over 600 Japanese wood block prints. The museum has most of them. You really can see the influence they had on his work. Of course, he wasn’t the only one. A lot of artists picked up influences from Japan. Lew

  18. Chris,

    Repair guy came on Monday, installed the part, the electric clothes dryer works now. We had a very nice chat – this part they were able to get quickly, but the parts pipeline has issues. For some reason, also, it seems like everybody’s appliances need repair all at the same time. The part that went out on my 13 month old machine? He’s never seen that part go out on that brand machine, ever, much less after just over a year. And…YouTube made it look like this would be an easy repair even for me. Ummm, no. Which I sorta guessed. Knowing one’s limitations type thing.

    Had a problem with the work computer at the office – couldn’t connect to it from home. A friend who is working from the office was able to to what was needed. He’s also a union rep for my union and agrees with me that the “early out bonus” has only the one string attached to it – I can’t go back to work for this outfit in a position with benefits if I accept the proposal. No real issues with that in my situation. AND I have 7 or 8 weeks to change my mind once I’ve turned in the paperwork.

    My flowering crabapple tree has a leaf blight problem. The way it has grown keeps the moisture in during the rainy season and the blight develops. I’ve done some pruning over the past years that has helped, but discovered 2 more branches that needed to go. I got on a ladder this weekend with the DJ powered pruning saw to take care of this. One branch was relatively easy, but the other was hung up and tangled with another. The final cut was at the highest rung that I was comfortable with – limitations again and not one of the top 2 rungs. Then it was attach a rope at the right place according to physics and leverage, get on the ground and pull. The tree is wide open now for the prevailing wind to be able to dry things out. Hopefully that takes care of the problem.

    Thanks for the pizza stories. I remember how much pizza and food in general I could easily scarf down when I was young. “A lot” doesn’t come close. A typical home basketball game when in high school went like this: 2 friends and I would hit McDonalds. I’d eat a big mac, a quarter pounder, a large fry, and a giant milkshake. Then we’d watch the basketball. 3 or so hours after the McDonalds meal and we all went to our favorite pizza place, my younger sister with us. I’d eat a large pizza myself, and part of another. I shudder today at how much junk I ate!

    So those 7 large rocks? Maybe call them the 7 Sisters? aka The Pleiades…They look good where you placed them.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades

    Ollie has every right to be impressed with the finished path. Mate, that has taken a LOT of time and effort. It’s good to see how nice it looks completed. Well done. I showed the series of pictures to the Princess, who commented, “How sweet!” That is a grand compliment from her!

    The artichokes are looking good. Whenever I hear the word artichokes, however, I think of this old joke I heard once. Here goes…

    Okay, so there was this dude, right? He wanted to kill his wife, but he didn’t know how to go about it. So he went to his local bar and asked the bartender who to go to with dirty deeds. The tender points to some sketchy guy in the corner and says, “That’s Artie. He’ll knock off your wife for a dollar.” Thrilled, the dude approached him, paid him up front and arranged everything, told him where to go and stuff. So the next day, our anti-hero, Artie came in through the backdoor using a spare key. He went into the bedroom and strangled the dude’s wife. But before he could escape, the wife’s lover comes out of the bathroom and spots him. Artie chokes him too. Then, he’s about to leave when the son comes home early from work. Sadly, he gets strangled as well.

    So Artie’s on his way out, but one of the neighbors heard the commotion and called the cops. Artie gets caught outside and is arrested. The newspaper headlines the next day read, “Arti chokes three for a dollar”.

    DJSpo

  19. Hi Al,

    (reading over your shoulder) If the editor and I did not harvest the local blackberries, then the birds and animals of the forest most surely will. And if they do get to the berries before we do, that generally means that the seeds get cleaned in a birds or animals gut and then deposited out the other end in a fertile seed bed. I see scats full of blackberry fruit most years and that is most likely from foxes, but the birds will also leave little purple lumps of guano, and that’s just how plants move around the landscape. And unfortunately when the berries are full and ripe, spraying the plants with herbicide at that time just ends up poisoning whatever eats the berries – and the seeds probably still get cleaned in the guts of whatever ate them and then left in a rich seed mix. Timing is everything with such responses…

    Mate, I dunno some changes to the local ecology are just far tougher than others – and blackberries are one of those. As an interesting side story, despite growing thornless varieties of the berries here, the canes aren’t running amok anywhere on the property. And that is because I mow and mulch any that do turn up and they don’t stand a chance. It is not that hard to do, but on a larger scale as a society we try to do the job on the cheap – and then wail when it fails (that rhymes!) but at the same time we bizarrely congratulate ourselves for having done a proper job when that is not the case.

    I dunno. It doesn’t seem hard to me to just take a look around and see what works.

    Cheers

    Chris

  20. Hi DJ,

    Good to see that relations with the local repair guy have become somewhat less err, is difficult or obtuse, the right words? Dunno, anyway, such folks do an extraordinary job and between you and I, they have to know far more about most machines than even the people who assemble them. As an interesting side story as a teenager I was quite into electronic stuff and constructed many kits – usually music related which gave me unparalleled access to make lots of noise. When the kit didn’t work as advertised, working out where things went wrong was where the old grey matter had to be put to good use. Perhaps Chris’s rule could be: Following instructions is easy, working out what is wrong is far more problematic. I like that rule, but have no doubts at all that someone smarter than I has already coined the rule.

    13 months is not long at all for a new appliance to fail. Yes, the future of quality ain’t what it used to be. Utoob is good, but not all repairs are easy, despite the promotional blurbs and many can require specific tools or bits. And there are many items these days that were never intended to be repaired.

    It is an odd thing that union membership has declined down here. It needn’t have been that way and membership used to be a thing whereby the interests of the members were looked after, however there are problems when benefits sought become excessive relative to their non-union peers, and that dark story hints at the dreaded over supply issue. I’m not entirely convinced that my professional body is working in my interests given I saw them promoting off shoring work in their magazine as a viable option. I never quite understood that story, and you may have noticed that I don’t shy away from hands on work which is part of what they were attempting to off load to the delightful land of elsewhere. You could say that it’s a lifestyle choice enjoying hands on work. πŸ™‚

    Hmm. DJ powered saws can hardly hold a candle to a pole saw – which are also available with DJ power options. Hmm. A mate fell from a ladder and broke his foot and ended up in a moon boot doing as you did. Just saying. But on the other hand if you’ve escaped just fine to live another day and the job was done, well the facts speak for themselves and you know what you are doing. However pole saws are pretty handy, and the one here is electric mains powered (might as well use all that sunlight).

    My pleasure to share the pizza stories with you. Your story hints at the underlying problem in that there are pizza’s, and then there are pizza’s! And as a little hint, one of the pizza’s had artichoke hearts on them (thanks for the fine joke too! Hehe! Very amusing.)

    Really? Well I once worked for a middle-aged, hot B-type star and was sacked. I tell you, it annoyed me no end and was through no fault of my own, and the rotter bad mouthed me too. But then the person cooled off, and phoned up to apologise for being such an unmentionable. It was around the time when certain media companies were hacking phones. Anyway, whenever I see them in the media nowadays with their smiling little face I do rather not wish them well. Such people are called Pleiades are they? Well I never. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the rabbit hole which left me stranded in the Orion Nebula looking for the nearest passing ship with an improbability drive…

    Thank you for the fine compliment and please pass on my respects to your good lady. Some projects here are lightning quick, whilst others just take a bit longer.

    Hehe! Respect, it is a fine joke. Artichokes are actually quite pricey vegetables down here and I reckon you’d be hard pressed to get one for a dollar, let alone three.

    Cheers

    Chris

  21. Hi Lewis,

    Ooo, I feel a bit sea sick having just read that the Earth’s axis does indeed wobble around a bit. Mind you, over the time period it would be hardly noticeable for the average civilisation. Still it would most certainly produce changes in the climate. Speaking of all things extrasolar: Meteorite crater discovered while drilling for gold in outback WA estimated to be 100 million years old. And there was another article on the page which mentioned that on average, a city crushing meteor arrives every 180 years. You wouldn’t want to be there that day checking out the tourist sites and enjoying a nice coffee (imagine if your last coffee was a bad one) and you look momentarily into the sky and ask the hard question: I wonder what that is? It reminds me of the day the small tornado hit here, I wish I’d thought to get the camera. A nice Christmas present courtesy of the weather.

    It’s a mildly eerie look into Roman Britain. I’m left wondering if the tree in the bottom section of the mosaic is a tree of life motif, or an apple tree given the allusions as to the other characters. The faces in the four corners have an unsettling quality to them that I can’t put a finger on. What is your take on the mosaic? The article mentioned that the building may have once been a villa.

    Yes, I recall the character Merlyn using bees wax candles in a tent and also gifting them on as part of diplomatic envoys. It is a wise strategy to ensure that your neighbours appreciate you being around.

    It’s pretty good, and actually the origins of the word ‘wombling’ was from an English series. It wasn’t specifically a reference to wombats because they don’t have wombats over in the UK and the wombles were more pointy nosed than your average wombat. The theme song was catchy, and the series arose in saner times when other possibilities were, possible. The wombles seemed fascinated with rubbish and putting it to good use – a wise message from a more sensible time.

    We watched the final 40 minutes of The Goldfinch last night, and really enjoyed the story. To be honest I rather imagined that the adoptive mother character as played by the excellent Nicole Kidman, had done a swap over of the painting thus saving it from a seedy fall into the hands of dodgy sorts, but no the painting went down just like the Titanic. But then unlike the Titanic, the painting surfaced again and the hapless fellows were rewarded and I see in the book they put the reward to undoing some bad karma which they’d accrued. Yes, an interesting story which I thoroughly enjoyed full of difficult and nuanced characters who weren’t quite as they portrayed themselves to the public. As an interesting side story, the book polarised opinions and as a learned book worm and one not shy of voicing their opinion, I was hoping you could elucidate me upon the argument behind the polarisation? The arguments made little sense to me. I was wondering – and not to feed you here – but whether the characters dubious moral values presented something of a problem to a society which had become accustomed to believing in only super heroes and villains?

    Raiders of the Lost Yeast!!! Oh, that’s good. It is a truth universally acknowledged that where ever there has been bread, there has been beer. Making Bread Great Again is an absolute hoot! Thanks. As a bit of feedback on the spelt flour I can sort of see why people now prefer the bread wheat flour normally seen. Spelt flour produces a nice loaf, but it is a little denser than what people are used to consuming nowadays. Over the past couple of months I’ve mucking around with mixing the two flours together and the best results so far are where the main dough is bread wheat flour based (untreated flour of course) and I use spelt flour to roll and knead the loaf in. It really is good and tasty that way. But you know, if there was no bread wheat flour, I’d happily eat a loaf made from spelt flour. I use spelt flour exclusively in the Anzac biscuits now – please don’t tell anyone.

    You’re in such a good time of year with all the produce coming in. Breakfast fruit is getting a bit dull now, although I’m adding in mandarins and Australian round limes, but the stocks of preserved apricots are running low and may be gone in another month and a half. Next year I might put away more plums as they were every bit as good as the apricots. Have you tasted any of your dehydrated cherry tomatoes? I usually dry beans out in the sun, but I have to keep them out of reach of the dogs and the birds. Not always easy.

    The history of Japanese wood block prints is quite fascinating (thanks for the rabbit hole) and the early publishers pre-dated the European efforts by a considerable margin of time. And also reproducible if a person had a modicum of talent and some smarts.

    Cheers

    Chris

  22. Greetings Chris,
    Thanks for the full story on your blackberrys😁. I always enjoy and learn from the telling. The competition for sweet crops appeals to all the creatures in the neighborhood. It’s good that you have no Bears.

    A fellow electrician who was an enrolled member of The Yakima Nation once described a scene he had recently witnessed in a reservation wild Huckleberry area, from a distance. Tribal members and bears all taking berries and spaced apart Peacefully. I said β€œ nice My friend not my idea of a relaxing timeβ€πŸ˜Š His reply the bears usually are only interested in eating berry’s

    My sons blackberries grow in the very back of his place. They get good light and water so grow very thick. I have suggested that he use my heavy duty trimmer and rent a rough service mower to clear and make access rows through the vines and read up on proper cultivation techniques.
    I’m guessing that it hasn’t happened to any great level.
    The desire for the rewards of the harvest drive the level of effort with the encountered difficulties. They are pretty busy. Aren’t we all?

    We are having 95 F and Wild Fire smoke from thankfully distant and various locations. Some ash fall on ground and cars. Not unusual for this time of year. Masks a least help some for the effected folks. One fire North of Yakima has grown to 10K acres and threatens some homes. I wish the people luck.☹️

    It will eventually cool and become Fall😁

    Cheers Al

  23. Yo, Chris – We have a similar meteor crater, to Wolf Creek, in Arizona. (I’ve never been). Eponymously names, The Arizona Meteor Crater. πŸ™‚
    They’re making a big deal over here about a meteor that’s to go whizzing by (one hopes) the earth on November 2. The day before our election. It’s supposed to come within 300 miles. Estimates of size vary, but a pretty good source said it’s 6′ wide. Even that small, it would be a real city killer, and, if it falls in the ocean, could cause a tsunami. So, heads up!

    So, what’s my take on the St. Mary Hinton, mosaic? Well, my first take is that it’s a bit on the primitive side. British Roman mosaics run the gamut from very primitive to startling realism. Don’t know how I’d feel if I ordered up a mosaic, (“I want a big portrait of Christ (or Constantine?), right in the middle of the floor.”) and was presented with that, as the final product. I suppose it would depend on how many really realistic mosaics, I had seen.

    The four dudes in the corners are (probably) the four Gospel writers. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Maybe they look a bit worried, because according to (sketchy) reports, of the twelve apostles, John was the only one to die in his bed.

    The tree. Well, the Christ figure has pomegranates (symbolizing “resurrection and life everlasting,” in Christian iconography.) on either side of his head. The leaves of the tree look similar to the leaves on the pomegranates. Might be a “tree of life.” Or, the “tree” Christ was hung on. Or, the blasted fig, pre-blasting? The tree Noah cut down to build his ark? πŸ™‚ .

    “The Goldfinch.” Which polarization? A lot of people seemed to ding it, for a lot of reasons. Some thought it wasn’t “politically correct.” Because it looked down it’s nose at people who have no interest in art, due to other concerns. Classism, in other words. Some thought it shouldn’t have won the Pulitzer Prize. I suppose because it was a rip roaring story, that was cohesive, and wasn’t obscure “Literature.” And, you know, the author looks awfully “entitled.” πŸ™‚ . I see from her bio, that she’s a bit inaccessible, other than an initial book tour. That drives some author groupies, wild. Then there’s the “problem” with art theft and forgery (the furniture.) Some people feel it shouldn’t be done under any circumstances. And, I suppose some of the polarization is just sour grapes. Envy. With a successful book and movie deal, if she minds her money, she’s probably set for life. She hit the jackpot … won the lottery.

    People who don’t like dense bread are whimps. Bad teeth? Dip it in something. Say, soup. Your Anzac biscuit secret is safe with me … unless I get a good offer. πŸ™‚ . Talk about “dubious moral values.”

    I sampled my dehydrated tomatoes. Well, they taste like tomatoes. πŸ™‚
    Nice sharp flavor that appeals to my dead taste buds. Chewy. But that might be the end of the cherry tomatoes. Ruthie has decided to continue gardening. Whiplash! Can I sue?

    It hit 84F (28.88C), yesterday. It’s supposed to get progressively warmer, over the next week, until we’re in the low 90s. If the breeze keeps up, we’ll be fine, at least outside. But, I noticed this morning, that the breeze was coming from the east (The Land of Hot). It takes an onshore flow from the west, to keep us cool. Lew

  24. Hi Inge,

    Thank you as always for mentioning the most excellent author’s perspective on the world down under. I’m not really over the numbers as my brain can only take in just so much information, however, anecdotally I’m seeing those stories play out, whilst the esteemed author is of course referring to the detail in the numbers. He’s right to be cynical too, and I wish him well in getting his question answered by such august bankers. i.e. Good luck with that!

    There is an old adage which suggests that if things appear too good to be true, they might not be true. But in these days you could expand that old adage to suggest that if normally odd behaviour is presented as normal, it might not necessarily be so.

    The weather was crazy windy here today but ever so slightly warmer, and so we took the day off any and all work. A very tasty lemon slice may have been harmed (A.K.A. eaten) during the day. Lemon slices can vary wildly between tasty and cardboard, but there is a special place in Hell reserved for those whom use lemon essence in the ingredients.

    Cheers

    Chris

  25. Hello again
    I had some thornless blackberries in a previous home. A very anaemic plant compared to the wild invasive ones of which, I believe, we have circa 260 varieties here. Make no mistake, invasion is their hobby.

    Inge

  26. G’day Al, πŸ™‚

    Mate, we just went for an hours walk in the dark just to stretch our legs. But I tell ya this, if there were your bears roaming randomly through the forest, we would not be quite so relaxed upon such strolls at all.

    Exactly, whilst I respect and acknowledge the greater wisdom and experience of your electrician friend, but bears can rend a person limb from limb and so must be treated with err, a lack of startlement. That word, which I may have just made up, refers to not poking the bears and irritating them. The worst a wombat will do is bite a person hard, and a huge kangaroo might claw and scratch and get a bit punchy. But even then, you have to back them into a corner – which is an idiotic move.

    Check out this short video to see how kangaroos would deal with affronts: Australia Remastered restores ABC Natural History Unit films, not seen for decades, to share with a new audience. It is a pretty awesome video, and you can see a dingo (coyote equivalent) skulking away whilst the two bucks go head to head. And 2m is almost 7 foot. The kangaroos will do that here too. Best not to get involved in their social dynamics.

    Ah, well all is now explained as I have two mowers that are capable of “rough service mower” jobs, one is self-propelled, whilst the other is not. The one that isn’t can be pushed into very unpleasant situations such as what you describe, and I concur with your suggestion. It would work. It is a cheap and easy way to replicate what I’ve done here with the blackberries in their enclosure but for a fraction of the cost.

    What a question you’ve asked! The answer is not so simple. Take for example last evening, I finished paid work at about 8.30pm having started at an ungawdly early hour. I still found time to respond to the lovely comments here, so I dunno. At a wild guess your question may be answered by suggesting that people make time for things that they believe are important.

    Sorry to hear about the smoke and ash, but it is also good that you are not in any immediate threat. Your summers sound very much like the low level of alertness that you have to continue if people want to live around these parts. I get you.

    Cheers

    Chris

  27. Hi, Chris!

    I do so enjoy Chris and Editor stories.

    You do not have peak rocks. You will never have peak rocks.

    At last! Another notch on your belt with the completion of that path. Though it is actually a road. Annnd . . . mower and trailer fit. I do not see any dump trucks. Poor you. Our driveway and side of the house look like Robot Godzilla exploded there. But the project is moving along nicely. Why – you may ask – when you have 5 acres is the driveway and side of the house covered with dump truck parts and pieces? Because that was where the multi-ton thing landed at the coming-home debacle.

    Chris, your genius is scary when it comes to potato beds.

    What gorgeous artichokes. I use marinated (bought) artichokes on our pizza. Yum!

    I hope I can find some echium plants someday. Do they grow easily from seed?

    Now – the news from the home front.

    Sunday afternoon I was moving briskly and happily down one of the steep garden paths on my way to plant fall spinach seeds (I had just planted collards) when I slipped on a sneaky bit of mud and sprained my ankle. Boy, was it a doozy. My whole foot and a bit of lower leg has looked like a purple balloon all week. But I have been a very good girl and have treated it as though it were royalty and it is much better, and I am making a foray into town today since I missed my regular Monday trip.

    Pam

  28. Hi Lewis,

    The Aussie meteorite crater was also the name of a particularly disturbing down under horror film which you may or may not have seen. It is something of a cult classic, and has the title ‘Wolf Creek’. My brain is not wired in a way that could watch such a film and come out unscathed and free from nightmares.

    The Meteor Crater in Arizona is ingeniously named and is a must for fans of the band REM who also used that Latin word as a title for one of their earlier albums. It amazes me that the climate could have been so different not all that long ago in that particular area. The photos are particularly impressive of the impact site.

    Speaking of the recent past, there was an article with brief personal accounts of the previous recession of the early 90’s: ‘They were terrible times’: How Australians remember the 1990s recession. No grunge garage bands were mentioned in the stories, but one person by the name of ‘Jen’ has a similar attitude to debt that I do. Forgot to mention that the editor and I possibly bonded over stories of vehicles with dodgy gearboxes.

    Plenty of stuff falls out of the sky each year. Quite a lot burns up in the atmosphere, and only a few chunks actually ever hit the ground. Mind you, even one those small chunks if direct hit would probably be fatal. You’d have to be seriously unlucky though. Makes you wonder though, has anyone been known to have died by being hit by a meteorite in recent times? Yeah, turns out the answer is zero, although there are plenty of injuries from a recent meteor in Russia. Sucks to be them, but the meteor would have looked very cool.

    A good point about the realism, and the nod to Constantine which I’d also read referred too. Some folks take such matters to extremes, but hey, that would have been the Roman times, so who are we to argue? I did tend to notice that the guy in the centre didn’t quite look like what I’d been expecting him to look like given the Christian motifs. And as to the tree I defer to your erudite opinion as frankly it looks like a representation of an apple tree to my eyes, but more learned heads have probably argued about the mosaic for far longer than the couple of minutes I spent observing it via a computer screen.

    If that was the case, the Apostles would have led an exciting if somewhat nerve wracking life. And Noah clearly struggled with understanding of basic genetics principles.

    Took today off work, and set forth upon a journey sampling the local bakery products. Apparently a local baker yet again won the national pie of the year award, and this claim must be put to the test. Had a very nice lemon slice, which I’d recommend. Some cooks tend to use lemon essence in place of actual lemon juice, and whilst it is an option the outcomes aren’t the same at all. But generally we took it very easy today. I find myself working weekends now when other people are out and about because the vibe seems a bit off and there is a minor underlying mania. There was a good article on the sheer strangeness of things down here: Melbourne coronavirus stage 4 lockdown sees Victoria Police issue $2.9 million in curfew fines. I hope the guy with the frog scored his fish tank? People are apparently being threatened with jail time for even inciting civil disobedience on social media. Imagine if your rioting countrymen tried their nefarious games down under? I’m guessing the official response would be swift if a mere social media suggestion can get cracked down upon. It appears that the people involved have now provided a form of public apology.

    Thanks for providing commentary and elucidating upon the critique of the novel and film: ‘The Goldfinch’. Interesting. I had a sense whilst watching the film that the city which provided background to the story was seen by the characters as something of a cultural mecca. I’m told that a comedian related to that city had a bit of a sads cracking article recently trying to argue away decline, which so the story went, someone else in the scene pointed out. Is chagrin the correct word to use? Anyway, I’m curious about large cities and their cycles and like everything they must too ride the wild inverted bell shaped curve tiger. I do wonder if the tipping point occurs in that story with the change from a city of producers to a city of consumers? Dunno.

    Fans as we have discussed before can be difficult from time to time, and I get that about the author being a bit reclusive. πŸ™‚

    Hehe! Dense bread is indeed not for wimps. πŸ™‚ I read a book on heritage landrace grains a year or two back and the author gave a list of the chemicals required to produce light and fluffy bread which lasts for days. My lot will go stale within a day and half, so yes, err prepare and bake regularly is the way to go. It’s not hard…

    And now I am at your mercy in relation to the Anzac biscuit recipe and hopefully won’t have to brave the pitchforks? The substitution of spelt flour is very un-Aussie, but the flour is so good as it gives a mildly nutty flavour. Yum!

    Plans are to move the potatoes tomorrow into the new raised potato garden bed. I have absolutely no idea how long that job will take either. If the steel clings too tightly to the garden beds, I might have to cut the rings out. Given our previous experiences with moving other steel raised garden beds, that is probably how it will roll. The rings for the three potato beds were rescued from a neighbours farm as a tree had crushed a water tank and then the steel water tank began to rust away. Anyway, it will be very interesting to see how many potatoes we harvest from the beds. Dunno.

    Sorry to hear that Ruthie has continued to garden, but who knows it might come to a good end?

    Your weather sounds very nice to my winter acclimated mind. πŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Chris

  29. Hi Inge,

    Our soils are old and so the blackberries grow well, but not that well. Things of course may be different in your country. As a bit of background, the most excellent botanist, the good baron, Ferdinand von Mueller was reported to have introduced the canes to the botanical gardens in Melbourne way back in the day. I wasn’t there to confirm this, but rumours are rumours and some stick. Anyway, the canes have been around for well over a hundred years and don’t appear to have taken over the landscape yet. They’d have to take out the Eucalyptus trees in the forests firstly – and I frankly can’t imagine that happening!

    Cheers

    Chris

  30. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Yes, the recent haul of rocks was achieved through digging techniques known only to myself and which may be best described as hardus mattocking ferngladii. A very secret technique known to push back the dreaded fate of Peak Rocks for just that little bit longer.

    Haha! Nice one. The editor would be most displeased at the sight of a dump truck out the front of the house, and I frankly lack the skills to repair such a beast. Good stuff that the dump truck project is moving along, and respect to your son. And yes, I recall that the dump truck ended up where it did, if only because that was where it ended up. I assume Mr Musty is not up for the job of lugging the dump truck further from the house? Although being next to the house is sort of convenient.

    The potato bed idea really did flash into my mind full conceived when I woke in the middle of the night. Million dollar riffs and melodies would be far more useful, but we get what we get and mustn’t complain. πŸ™‚ I’d clearly been pondering the dilemma posed by moving the old potato beds earlier in the day, and they which may get cut up tomorrow if they’re too hard to remove…

    Hey, the artichokes are very tasty, and yes pizza is a good use. But brekkie pizza is right out, although admittedly I am in the minority on that most important of matters. Neither the editor nor does the scientific literature support my views. Oh well, what can I say: they’re all wrong. πŸ™‚

    Ouch. Injuries can happen very quickly and without warning, and also good to hear that you took it easy whilst recovering. Hopefully some chocolate helped you along the healing journey. And trips into town are very important for all sorts of reasons. Down here right now a lot of people are stuck in or near their houses, and I do worry about them. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for you!

    Cheers

    Chris

  31. Chris,

    I put together several radios from kits when a teenager. Putting them together was MUCH easier than troubleshooting problems if they didn’t work. Your rule about that is very true.

    Same issues with declining union membership here, also. IIRC, unions got politicized in the 1980s as a Bad Thing. Working for government as a union member in an area that leans to disliking government and hating unions has been a challenge. I’ve made it work by being open, honest and always following through on promises made – and explaining in detail what I can and can’t promise at my level in the organization.

    I need to buy a pole saw. Some of the limbs that need trimming on various trees are either out of reach from the ladder or are within reach BUT have unstable/tilted footing beneath the ladder. I can also make one by using one of many poles I’ve got with duct tape and a pruning saw. My dad did that once upon a when and it actually worked okay.

    Glad you enjoyed the joke. I first read it in about 1980 and it was probably fairly old even then.

    Okay, so you went down the rabbit hole and found yourself searching for the infinite improbability drive whilst in the Orion Nebula. Glad to have been of service! πŸ˜‰ Two important questions come to mind, however. First, during the search and as an aftermath of your recent venture out for pizza and beer, did you happen to get introduced to that subset of the infinite improbability drive known as “bistromathics”? More importantly, did you have your towel with you in the Orion Nebula?

    Weather heating up here. We’ve had a lot of wind, also, which is NOT good in August and September. Air quality is iffy due to smoke earlier in the week and now the dread mix of dust and smoke. Remaining indoors before work on these 12C mornings is hard as I really enjoy that temperature during a light workout while watching the rising sun shine on the trees. Plan B is that I can get a fair view of the sun on leaves through the windows, but it just isn’t the same.

    Our weekly MC and the Techs meeting resulted in my being given homework via the phone conference. Since I’m leaving that place in January, the Big Boss decided I better start writing tutorials for the junior techs for the main duties they’ll be inheriting from me. Hahahaha! I was already working on such things.

    DJSpo

  32. Yo, Chris – I think our library even has copies of the “Wolf Creek”, DVD. But, I decided to pass. Hmmm. I thought a bit about what I do, and don’t watch under that broad umbrella called “horror.” I guess I’m not interested in the sub-genre of “slasher” films. Maybe because too much of that goes on in real life? I need my horror with a good dose of fantasy or the paranormal. Interesting that the real Wolf Creek has become a pilgrimage site for affectionados of horror films.

    “Those were terrible times…” was a good read. At least the people interviewed seem to have muddled through, one way or another. They found ways to cope. At least the ones here to tell the tale.

    I do remember a story, from decades ago, about someone quietly sitting in the living room (lounge?) when a meteorite came crashing through the ceiling, missing the chair they were sitting in, by inches. Oh, well. Given what meteorites bring at auction, they probably had enough to repair the roof, and then some.

    Early Christ representations never look much like what we see in churches, today. They hit the “good shepherd” theme, pretty hard. And, there were connections to representations of pagan gods. Not long ago, a fellow did a computer generated idea of what he might have looked like, based on lots of male skulls, from that area and time period. Funny. The fellow looks Jewish. πŸ™‚ .

    Hey! Hey! Hey! Saw an article the other day, about a new cafe in our town. Shona’s. The headline “comfort fare with a British flare,” caught my eye. They have pies! Meat (and other) pies! Darn. I tried to link to a Gargle thing, with lots of pictures. Didn’t work. The only other on-line presence is face-plant, and I didn’t want to sully your blog with that. Well, if you Gargle “Shona’s Chehalis”, you might find links. I saw plenty of pictures of the food.

    Ah, here we go. Pictures. Simple URL …

    http://www.shonasfoodco.com

    Here’s the article from the newspaper. More pictures.

    http://www.chronline.com/business/newly-opened-shona-s-food-company-offers-comfort-fare-with-a-british-flair/article_27bf5676-ebd3-11ea-9045-f7ac1d22568a.html

    Of course, I’ll never know how they compare to the Australian pies. But, they sure look good.

    Large cities change. The Portland, Seattle and New York City (though I’ve never been there), exist in my mind, in the past. I just started watching “The Deuce” (which is a nickname for 42d Street, just off Time Square in New York), last night. Third and final season. It’s 1985. The area has become a cesspit of prostitution, pornography, drugs, etc. etc.. “Wolf Packs” of teenagers wander the streets, mugging everyone in sight. AIDs is making inroads through the communities. But change is in the air. Big Money is picking up properties, for a song, razing them and throwing up big office buildings and hotels. Until what we have today. Sometimes referred to as the “Disney-fication” of Times Square.

    So, yeah. Cities have “lives” that change. When I first went to Seattle, in 1968, I had a heck of a time finding someplace to live. I actually went door to door, knocking and asking. One door (here’s that chance thing, again) was opened by the older sister of a high school chum! She knew some guys (a block off campus) who “might” have a spare bed. They did. And, so, my Seattle career was launched. Two years later, due to a recession, some wag put up a billboard just off the freeway with the message, “Will the last person to leave Seattle, turn off the lights?” Lew

  33. Hi DJ,

    Radio kits were quite simple, and there were even crystal radios which required no external power source. There was one kit from that era which was a bit of a pain as it was (and please forgive my detour into the dark side of geekery) a wide band AM stereo radio tuner. Before FM radio put the nail in the coffin for AM music radio stations, there was an attempt to produce better quality sound in stereo for the AM radio stations. The effort involved in the kit and the radio stations just goes to prove that it is not good to get too far ahead of the curve as you can find yourself in a dead end! And thus FM radio seems to have won that round.

    But if the kits did not work, it was an absolute devil of a time working out what went wrong. Our electronics are fleeting gizmos when considered from the perspective of deep time.

    The union support is a good thing, but I dunno I can only speak from my own experience and conditions have sunk over the years for me like the much ballyhooed RMS Titanic. I can’t quite recall the details but when I worked for the state gobarmint I was a union member, but after that I had to fend for myself in the employment jungle, and well everyone knows that the law of the jungle suggests that might is right. And I may have been akin to a mouse or hopefully a rat like equivalent. πŸ™‚ Mate, it has been a wild ride!

    But yeah, your approach is wise as you offer that long sought but rarely seen monster: transparency. It is the wise path.

    Your dad’s ‘once upon a when’ pole saw sounds workable to me, but if you can get a quality pole saw with a reliable battery then it might be the preferable option. I’m assuming that his was a blade – and those are still available too, but the chain works far better. My pole saw runs off mains power and so it has a bit of a strong kick. I actually have to be cognisant that branches don’t slide down the pole towards me as once happened. My hands did not appreciate stopping the branch in full flight. Anyway, moving on, it is worth mentioning that the tree dudes who sporadically turn up here in search of work, can actually climb trees and then do their work from up on high.

    The joke was good. πŸ™‚

    Oh my! DJ, I’m beginning to wonder if you have been taken over by a robot developed by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation? I still can vividly recall the words the doors used to issue upon use. As an interesting side story, the wide scale enforced use of masks has put a sudden stop to such bleating un-pleasantries in commercial premises. People are struggling having to work wearing them all day long. Yes, whilst it is not a towel, I keep blankets in the car in case I encounter injured wildlife, so does that count? Ah ha! The canny take away food providers now get payment upon receipt of the phone order for the take away, and thus blow the entire bistomathics uncertainties out of the water. I believe that in other states not subject to the restrictions that we are, deposits are being taken for bookings and thus an element of certainty gets chucked into an otherwise volatile mix of math that is frankly beyond my ken.

    Ook! Stay safe with the late summer winds (a dubious gift of the weather gods at that particular time of year). I hear you about that as the smoke makes it seriously hard to be outside. Some summers can go easily, and others are a right nightmare.

    Clearly this is your Radar O’Reilly moment. Just saying…

    Cheers

    Chris

  34. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, I’m with you – as you probably already knew. A couple of local lads came up with the slasher / horror concept film ‘Saw’ which was extraordinarily successful in the box office. I dunno, such films give me nightmares, and as you suggest life can imitate art and it would seriously mess with a persons bidness to be involved in such an awful and possibly fatal escapade. The film Wolf Creek was loosely a nod to the outback incident of: Murder of Peter Falconio, although there was another worse case of disappearing hitchhikers. When I was a teenager such films were fodder for the imagination, and I was expected to be a good teenager and sit through them, but I tell ya I must have been something of a rebel because I really didn’t need those scenes in my consciousness and did my best to dodge them.

    However, the most boring day of my life was the day a mate many long years ago cajoled me into watching the entire directors cut versions of the three Lord of the Rings films one after the other. I’m not suggesting the films made for poor viewing, not at all – they were fine films. However, I am not built for such inactivity and became so distressed over the day that I eventually worked myself into some sort of cold like illness afterwards.

    A few months back we discussed β€˜button man’ and in one of the articles there was an off the cuff comment by a constabulary person in the remote area and an allusion was made that a small minority of folks in that area had apparently ‘anti-social’ habits. I was left wondering what the heck did that even mean? Surely the reference was not to people living out in the wilds with obsessions upon the gentle art of flower arranging? Possibly the answer in this case is: no.

    Having leek and potato soup this evening for dinner and it is very good. We’ve had to trial a milder tasting leek as the earlier ones smelled and tasted like garlic, but taken to 11 on the dial. You’d like them, but I am made of softer stuff. The potatoes are all ours as we moved the three raised potato beds today into the raised bed created last week. And strangely the job went much quicker than we’d possibly imagined and so also the four outer posts of the new greenhouse have now been cemented into the ground and the upper and lower timber lintels for the windows were attached to the frame.

    We trialled an entirely new construction method today and so far it seems to have worked well. The new method involved constructing the outer frame for the greenhouse and then using the cement pads to level off and square off the construction. It was an ambitious plan which worked. But far out we worked until the sun went down and I’m seriously feeling it tonight. However, the project is looking really good.

    “At least the ones here to tell the tale.” There is an old school saying that ‘dead men tell no tales’, and this is as true of hapless crims as it is of people not adapting to new and unpleasant economic circumstances.

    What? I had not known that there was a demand for meteorites. Occasionally I am naive about some matters and this was news to me. Maybe a few months back I recounted with you an article which discussed how a couple of kids spent their summer months recovering meteorite fragments after a meteor exploded over their rural neighbourhood. If I’d known that was a mad cash option as a kid I would have been all over that business.

    Thanks for mentioning the BBC’s computer generated image of the guy behind the sheep. And yes, it is hardly surprising that the bloke looks Jewish, because that was how things rolled back then. πŸ™‚

    Hmm, I noticed on the front page of the businesses website that they had what looked like proper Cornish pasties with little Union Jacks sticking out of the pastry on what is hopefully toothpicks – unused of course. I’d try all of the pies, but I was left wondering how a person can add an egg to a pie order. Never seen that ingenious addition, but it sounds proper good. Ah, a breakfast to lunch place sounds good to me. Actually the baps sounded good too. Honestly, I’m reading the menu and salivating, and am left wondering just how good could Appalachian apple pie be? And they had an Affogato to boot. Never had one myself but in a bizarre coincidence I’ve been hearing about them on the radio of late. Incidentally my choice of pie would be the ‘pork sausage’ pie, but rigorous testing has to occur before a definitive announcement can be made. And who knows, the potato pie might best all comers as it just has to work harder. Mate they look good to me, although her pies are what I’d call pasties due to their baking configuration. This is of course a technical matter and the contents remain the same.

    It is funny you mention “The Deuce”, but I was listening to a radio program today whilst working on the greenhouse project and the young folks were having a serious discussion about moving to a rural area. Plenty of people rang in and said that this was a good thing, but the presenters, well they are young and enjoy the city. Anyway, you got me thinking about the past, and there was an area I used to frequent in an inner sea side suburb known as St Kilda. One of the main tourist streets back in the early 90’s was more grungy than your average garage band. I lived in the suburb to the south of St Kilda, but in the suburb of Elwood, yes, just like the Blues Brother. Anyway, in St Kilda in Acland Street the cafes were open late into the evening – unlike most parts of Melbourne, and a lot of the cake shops were apparently Jewish and the windows displayed brightly coloured cakes and in a dark evening you’d marvel at the colours and have absolutely no idea what cake to choose from. There were usually a couple of booths inside each of the stores, but I did take away. There was a late night bar and hamburger joint too, and some of the denizens of that fine establishment looked dodgy AF. One step up from junkies, or they might have actually been in well known rock bands for all I knew. But the burger joint supplied dijon mustard to smother on the thick cut chips, and the kitchen was in the centre of the building where the rough looking chef commanded the bar which was patronised by some hardy and rough looking souls. And there were also booths on the outer edges which I used to frequent. The business is long gone now, but I used to hanker for their comfort burgers. So good. And walking back to the car, revealed that all sorts of soliciting business of both sexes going on just out of plain sight and possibly also behind the small supermarket. You know, despite all of that stuff going on, I never for a single moment felt unsafe. I believe that it was a good thing to have seen such activities, and I do wonder at some peoples sanitised versions of the world. But as you quite rightly point out, such things are of the past. But lo! If economic times get hard enough, then all things new will be old again. πŸ˜‰

    You were clearly an enterprising soul to have captured a bed during such a time. And believe it or not, this was the second time today that I’d read about that particular Seattle sign. Yours was the first, and the second was the brief mention in Hollow Kingdom. I wonder what it all means?

    Cheers

    Chris

  35. Yo, Chris – 86F (30C) the last two days. We’ve been pretty smoke free, but Prof Mass says that’s coming to an end. I notice it’s a bit hazy, today. Luckily, we’ve all got masks handy. πŸ™‚ .

    Some horror, and even sci-fi, I can tell by the reviews or trailers that it’s not for me. And, there were a couple of TV series, that I stopped watching, because they were headed in a direction I didn’t want to see. (“Walking Dead” and “The Strain.”) I have no interest in seeing any of the “Alien” series, or “Silence of the Lambs.” There are plenty of other things, I’d rather watch. By the way, I finished season two of “Castle Rock.” I ended up fast forwarding through a lot of it. Just moved too slowly. But, what it really is, is, Annie Wilkes, the Early Years. πŸ™‚ . You may, or may not, know, that Annie Wilkes was the major character in King’s “Misery.” That was another film I decided not to watch.

    Speaking of films, I started watching one of the Great Courses, “A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome.” It’s really a lot of fun. Starting in the early 1950s, with “Quo Vadis”, the movie studios discovered they could make a lot of money, with these spectacles. So, there’s one lecture on “Quo Vadis”, and then lectures on “Spartacus”, “Ben Hur”, “Cleopatra,” and “Fall of the Roman Empire.” The last two were such money losers that another big budget “sword and sandal” film, wasn’t made for 40 years. There was also a lecture on the TV series, “I, Claudius” and .. wait for it … “Life of Brian.” The lectures basically discuss how much each film follows history, or, doesn’t. The professor comes up with all kinds of interesting observations. As usually in these films, the bad guys (Romans) are played by English actors with their plumy accents, and the good guys are American actors with their broad, midwestern accents. Anyway, it’s a nice break from the grimness of “The Deuce.”

    Of course, there were a lot of low budget “sword and sandal” films. I was gobsmacked when the professor mentioned that there were 19(!) Hercules movies. Mostly made in Italy, and dubbed. “Hercules and the Moon Men.” Really?

    Director’s cuts of LOTR? Maybe over three days .. or three weeks. With lots of discussion, in between?

    Seems like every community has the odd rotten apple with anti-social tendencies. Even our little Institution. We’ll be getting a new neighbor, down the hall, and we’re all holding our breath to see what they’ll be like. Seems they run about 50/50, around here. They do background checks on people who want to move in. I think they should also do psych evaluations. Quit a few years ago, I read about a small town that had a rabid dog of a person, living among them. One day, he was shot down, in broad daylight, on the Main Street. No one saw anything. πŸ™‚ .

    The leek and potato soup sounds really good. I’ve been harvesting and eating a lot of elephant garlic. It’s a bit milder than garlic. And what I noticed about it is, how much the texture resembles a water chestnut. I dice it up, and, even in something and run through the nuker, for 5 minutes, it still remains nice and crisp.

    The computer generated Jesus reminds me of a bookstore story. Managing my first store in a humongous mall, we were right across the street from something called “Leisure World.” It was a chain of large retirement communities. One day, a scrawny old duffer, in a shiny suit wandered in, looking for a book. (He’s in the right place!) Didn’t have an author, didn’t have a title. His brother-in-law had it, in 1927 … and, it was green. What was it about? Well, it proved, absolutely, positively that Jesus Christ wasn’t a Jew. There are moments when one is struck, totally speechless. I really don’t remember how I responded, probably just, “We don’t have it.” But the story has stuck in my mind for low on, these 50 years πŸ™‚ .

    LOL. I needed a bit of help translating your comments on Shona’s cafe. This helped …

    https://mysydneyparislife.wordpress.com/2009/01/03/bread-rolls-baps-and-butties/

    I may stop in tomorrow morning, on my way to the Club, and see what I can find. But I do have a serious question. My inclination is to take a couple of unsullied bites of whatever I decide on, kind of taste test it. And then slather it with either horseradish mustard, sour cream or plane yoghurt. Is this done, or is it very, very outre? πŸ™‚ .

    St. Kilda sounds like my kind of place. But to get the full effect, one must work there πŸ™‚ . (See: “Lew – The Skid Row Cafe Years – Circa 1971). As I told the Rev, when I moved in, I need a certain amount of weird, in my life.

    “What it all means.” It’s that synchronicity Mr. Greer keeps baning on, about. πŸ™‚ Lew

    PS: You might find this bit interesting. Got it from my Idaho friend, this morning.

    Well lumber prices are definitely totally nuts. Talked to Marion at the small local lumber store this morning. She said some things have “doubled” in price. They ordered $5k in materials and only got half of it. My brother in Yelm is a contractor and told my mom that 2×4’s are $10 (went up to $5.59 here from $3.65), he can hardly get plywood or other siding materials because the big contractors are buying it all up, must have some clout. So one must wonder what that does to existing house prices.

    Of course, I think to myself, “What about recycled, material?”

  36. Chris,

    My dad and I built a shortwave receiver one summer from a kit. It worked well. I bought an amateur radio transceiver kit from Heathkit, too. We put that together, but it didn’t work. Couldn’t diagnose the problem. Neither could other guys. Years later, a college mate who had spent 10 years in the Air Force diagnosing that type of thing looked at it. Cold solder joint, which he fixed. Alas, when he put the case back on, a metal shaving fell onto the printed circuit board and shorted the whole radio. I never got to use it…Such is life.

    The union support has been good at times, poor at others. The paid union rep from the Mother Ship sold us a bill of goods once. However, without the union, our medical benefits would’ve turned to bat pooh 20 years ago. Overall, I’d say having the union has been a very good thing.

    I really don’t need a power pole saw. Seriously. Power tool held over my head – something about knowing one’s limitations. DJ powered pruning will have to do.

    Oh yeah, nobody these days gets close enough to do what is required to elicit the bleating unpleasantries. Yes, the blankets count as a wonderful towel substitute. I’ve ordered take out gluten free pizza from a local place a few times recently. Interestingly, I don’t have to pay in advance.

    I heard on the news that there are 800 active wildfires in Washington State alone, which is a record. All of the smoke in the atmosphere turned into a spectacular sunset tonight. No rain in the forecast for at least 2 weeks, just wind Saturday through Monday, with Monday the worst.

    I’m enjoying the Radar O’Reilly moment. Interestingly, the Radar character was from Ottumwa, Iowa. I’ve got ancestors that spent a generation in Ottumwa in the mid 1800s.

    DJSpo

  37. Chris:

    This one – “hardus mattocking ferngladii” – is going to keep me laughing for a week!

    Mr. Musty is a workhouse and he loves his job, but he is still only a light, 4-cylinder pickup truck, even with all the fancy gizmos added to him. So Mr. Musty has not tried to move Mr. Dumpy. In fact, just wait until Mr. Musty finds out that Mr. Dumpy is slated to replace him on the heaviest jobs.

    Now I sound like Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and I should stop . . .

    Pam

  38. Hi DJ,

    Electronics can be a fickle beast. And I too have known similar problems to your experience with the amateur radio transceiver kit. A dab of flux first before soldering may have alleviated the solder issue, but yeah been there and done that. Anyway, I’m not saying that you are to blame, but it kind of looks that way to me. Hehe! So the story goes that after our discussion last evening I began wondering about how long my current quality Kenwood-1100SD FM tuner would last. Turns out that I should be worried – capacitors and all that being what they are. Anyway, so I was snuffling around auction sites and noticed that someone was selling, not the best, but the second best FM tuner made during the 80’s for about $150. Crazy stuff.

    How can this be? Turns out that it is, so on a whim I purchased the tuner (which incidentally is sold on a working basis) and will set about replacing all of the capacitors and possibly also many of the resistors during the lazy afternoon summer months – when I’m hiding from the sun. It will be one of those jobs which gets done one step at a time. Replace, test, then replace the next one, test. Should be easy enough, and that will hopefully give the unit a bit more life.

    And interestingly, I read a bit of history of the electronics themselves and there was a guiding sentiment with the manufacturers during those days to produce the highest quality units that they could. Nowadays, well there are different goals.

    Of course, it would be a most unwise decision to become ill in your country. Until communicating with people from up your way I had no idea how things rolled on that front. Down here everyone pays 2% (some high income earners pay more) of their income to the Federal gobarment and then most of your medical service costs are covered, excluding the physical medicines. Of course there are times when you have to chip in for service costs. So what can you expect to happen after you’re retired on that front?

    Hehe! Yeah, well it occasionally hasn’t always turned out so well with me either, and once or twice a limb has fallen oddly and then trundled down the pole saw with my hands and body to stop its downwards trajectory. Yeah, use with caution is the watchword of the day. πŸ™‚

    Gluten intolerance is I kind of wonder, a factor of the varieties of wheat being grown these days. It might interest you that of late I’ve been mucking around with Spelt flour (blame Mr Kunstler and his fine books for alerting me to this possibility), and it is a very good flour indeed, although produces a heavier and denser loaf than the sort of white bread that people expect these days. But, biscuits and pizza bases, yeah give it a go and you may well be surprised.

    And spare a thought for the local food establishments as they are required to operate at a lower number of covers than might be profitable, so ‘no shows’ are a total dog act these days. Although for the record dogs are more polite than such people. So thus the pay before order is processed is a thing.

    The good Professor wrote about the smoke. I noticed that he is continuing his weather series, despite cancel culture laying him low, and on a more positive note, he may be somewhat freer in the future to discuss various topics. And there is a Patreon to help him along. Actually I was going to check out the wildfires but noticed that the website was struggling with the demand and there is no need for me to add to that load, I’ll take you at your word.

    Monday looks the worst for forecast wind here too. Must be something in the water…

    Radar was my favourite of those characters. A thoroughly good show too. The show elevated the medium.

    Cheers

    Chris

  39. Hi Lewis,

    DJ started it! Projects call to me, and they speak softly the words which suggest: “Chris. Chris. Oi! Chris wake up! And then a project idea gets inserted into my consciousness.” If only I were a stronger person and could resist such suggestions, because last night I purchased an old FM radio from the mid 80’s, maybe early 90’s not sure yet, and it was one of the best ever built. It was $150 too. How can this be? The plan is to slowly recondition it over the summer months in the hot afternoons when I’m dodging the crazy hot sun.

    The thing is I suspect longevity and also quality in manufactured items may have peaked quite a long time ago. It’s only a gut feeling, but I tell ya, I’m guessing my 2004 Dirt Rat will have a far longer lifespan than the 2019 Dirt Mouse. Oh yeah. It is a bit of a worry really, especially if people think that things only get better and better. I do wonder how they’ll cope when they find out that it ain’t necessarily so.

    How is this for a snappy blog title? Brekkie pizza is the work of the Devil. Hehe! What can I say, other than I keep myself well entertained! πŸ™‚ Had pizza for dinner tonight, and I do hope the locals get off their couches and begin supporting the local pub, otherwise it might go away. Surely some of them have enough money to support important local facilities?

    I read the good Professors essay on the smoke. Plus total respect for him. Yes, the best revenge is to live a good life. It’s true and I note that he now has a Patreon page. Well done him.

    Yes, the trailers for such productions do paint a certain picture. Never heard of “The Strain”, but a young lady recently candidly remarked to me that in the walking dead, they (whoever ‘they’ are) came to farms such as mine in the second season apparently. It was intended as a warning, and the young lady in question may be right. But I tend to believe that zombies couldn’t really put in a hard day’s work on a farm. And I mean the sort of hard work day that leaves you hanging for a pizza (where you eat all of the pizza (maybe not the crusts which get left for the dogs), not leaving any for breakfast – no, brekkie pizza is most certainly not happening – even zombies would eat brekkie pizza – it is a known fact), and so zombies go the easy route of brains. All I can say is that ’em city slickers think they’re smart, well the zombies might too. πŸ™‚

    The original Alien film was intense. And my older sisters ditched me in the theatre to suffer alone, apparently going to the films with the younger brother was embarrassing, and who knows they might be right. Silence of the lambs was disturbing, however it should be noted that the actor Sir Anthony Hopkins played an astoundingly believable role.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that very strange things have been known to go on in Maine, and so it hardly surprises me at all that a young Annie Wilkes had been there and made a special guest appearance. And to think I once suggested that Colorado would be an interesting place to live… And Kathy Bates was every bit as believable as Sir Anthony Hopkins in his role. Hannibal looked more assured of himself than the character Annie was, which is to be expected. Annie was just doing what she could, whilst Hannibal had tastes… And I always wondered whether Mr King was perhaps unsettled by his fans to come up with that particular story.

    Films can make it big, and I noted that for the earlier (yesterday) mentioned Saw film, the box office takings were not quite 100 times the budget, but close to. Films can lose big time too. What amazes me about “The Life of Brian” is that some of the amusing side stories in the film are now playing out around us, and that seems a bit weird. Although, education in the past may have covered classical periods such as the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and perhaps that story doesn’t necessarily need to be told nowadays just in case people start making comparisons… And speaking of English actors being the bad guys, err Sir Anthony whilst the good guys as played by Jodie Foster. Hashtag just sayin…

    Hercules and the Moon Men hardly sounds like a credible name for a film, but granted the interpretation may be lost in translation!

    Hey, just for the record the only time I’ve ever had to do a pysch test for an employer, they were the bad apples! I take that as a red flag warning nowadays, and would demand the results be fully disclosed before agreeing to do the test. Mind you at this stage this is not a remote possibility, although all things are subject to change without warning. Mr Greer once mentioned casually that community is learning how to live with the idiot down the road who annoys the daylights out of you. Makes an odd sort of sense.

    And whilst I deeply respect the cast and crew of LOTR, nine hours was just too much for me. No, they thought that such a day would be a total indulgence treat, whilst not understanding that not everybody is wired that way. The editor said I was a bit rattled after I returned home from the epic-movie-a-thon.

    Far out! So, I’m assuming you hadn’t seen the guy before and the visage produced no memories of other people, so I’m guessing the bloke may have been an idiot, whilst also acknowledging that my grandfather would have been more blunt than that in the character assessment. Some people are just bad apples. Being struck speechless was perhaps a wise path, otherwise you might have engaged with the guy and then who knows what other surprising thoughts may have bubbled forth all unbidden like. If you were quick on your wits that day you could have said: “Well, what do you think he was? A space lizard?” That would have confused him.

    Don’t laugh but when I was very young I can recall eating hot chips wrapped in a slice of buttered bread. So good, but so bad… And it is possible Shona’s might produce a certifiable dinky-die sausage roll. I test for them too, and quality can vary wildly, but when they’re good. Yum! I see that the Welsh word ‘butty’ means friend and may be the origin of the word ‘buddy’ which you don’t hear used down here as people say ‘mate’ instead. Interesting.

    Using logic: If you wrote yesterday that you are going to visit some place today and commit some egregious food act – it kind of looks like a done deal to me. But then now I feel under pressure to pick one choice, so I’ll go with the traditional tomato sauce, but if absolutely necessary I’d have to go with the horseradish sauce. πŸ™‚ What was it like?

    I get that about working in such a skid row place as by default you’d become part of the local colour. Happy days! When we left the inner urban suburb – which was very beautiful with lots of amenities, we were disturbed at the changes which had taken place. There is a dark side to living surrounded by many people with grand expectations.

    Very interesting indeed! Supply lines have been rather odd of late, but then the current conditions are impacting upon the larger builders too.

    Exactly, Detroit would have been chock full of recyclable material – it just might not look like what people expect. House wrecking / salvage yards were more of a thing a couple of decades back. They’ll get big again sooner or later.

    Cheers

    Chris

  40. Hi Pam, Plum here.

    It is a well known fact that my neck fur is softer than Ruby’s. True! Also, even those nice humans with their puny noses can tell that I smell better than Ruby. Ruby after all was consuming some unknown digestive tract of possibly marsupial origin earlier today. She won’t disclose where the rest of the marsupial is, and Chris chucked the guts in the worm farm. Not fair! I missed out on my turn, Ruby now owes me big time.

    Oi! Get off the computer you.

    Sorry about that, Plum took over the keyboard whilst I got a drink of water.

    Ah ha! Best not mention such plans around Mr Musty, however I’m going with my gut feeling (it wasn’t my guts that Ruby was chewing on earlier today so I still retain them) that Mr Musty will possibly enjoy a long and pleasant retirement if the heavier jobs get taken on by Mr Dumpy.

    Fun stuff! πŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Chris

  41. Yo, Chris – The radio sounds like a fun project, for those sun blasted afternoons. Might start thinking about a Faraday Cage, in case of those random EMPs. Either sun spots, or a small nuclear exchange. Sounds like things are getting a bit testy, between Australia and your much larger northern neighbor. I seem to remember that a galvanized garbage can, can serve as a makeshift Faraday Cage.

    Oh, yes. The crapification of everything. Sad, that.

    Blog title? How about “People who don’t like pizza for breakfast are in league with the devil.” πŸ™‚ . Perhaps the Editor should call in an exorcist? Any one who throws pizza crusts to the dogs, is denying themselves one of life’s better treats. Especially dipped in milk!

    Well, our weather might be taking a turn toward the weird(er).

    https://news.yahoo.com/weather-whiplash-record-shattering-heat-205518953.html

    Check out the “shocking swing,” graphic, about half way down.That jet stream will be flowing right over my Idaho friends. And, if it drifts a bit west, DJ may see a big change in his weather. Snow? In August?

    Annie Wilkes is actually the main character, in “Castle Rock,” season two. She’s “on the lamb” with a daughter in tow. The “things” that live in Castle Rock can’t hold a candle, to Annie’s brand of crazy.

    We used to hear “buddy”, a lot, here. It seems to have been supplanted by “bro.”

    I stopped into Shona’s, this morning. Around 10am. Saturday, here. I was the only one there. I thought, “Oh, dear.” But by the time I left, just a few minutes later, there were 4 people waiting, behind me. She seemed a bit frazzled, and working alone. If that is the state of affairs, I wonder how long she can keep it up?

    I got an onion and cheese (square packet), a pork pot pie (traditional muffin shape) and a potato/chive/cabbage/sheep cheese (traditional crescent.) I’ll eat them over the course of today, so, a review will have to wait until tomorrow. A bit pricey, but that might be just me. $21 for the three. I see nothing wrong with bread, butter, and chips. I’ve thrown together odder combinations, to good results. Hmmm. I’ve got some sweet potato fries, in the freezer. Wonder what it would be like to substitute them for the potato chips?

    Quite a few years ago, I took a look at my old Skid Row haunts in Seattle. What was blasted and deserted urban landscape is now Disneyfied. Upscale clever little boutiques and shops. Trendy cafes. Good lord, trees growing on traffic islands, down the middle of the street! The whole vibe has shifted from “live” to “buy.”

    I don’t know. My Idaho friends default mode seems to be, “buy new.” And, also a kind of “buy now”. attitude. An urgency. What’s interesting is that there is a town tip, and, unlike some places, one can sift through what’s on offer. I’d guess they don’t really “see” what’s there. Attitude, habit, mindset. What’s funny is that she uses a lot of recycled stuff for her art projects. And, they’re pretty creative.

    Well, here’s something, just for fun.

    http://www.heritagedaily.com/2020/09/the-druids-temple/134920

    Might give you some ideas, for your next folly πŸ™‚ . There are rocks! And, it seems at one time, it had it’s own hermit / druid. Lew

  42. Hi Lewis,

    The radio should hopefully be a simple project that I can do over many weeks whilst waiting for the cool of the evening to arrive. Lock downs and restrictions appear to have been extended today, so summer will be quite strange this year I’m guessing. Plus the project will sharpen rusty old skills, and the worst that can happen is that I completely stuff it up – and hopefully find someone who can repair the thing. Maybe? I doubt that will be an easy prospect. Oh well. Don’t really know much about Faraday cages, but interestingly, the roof is steel, the house moisture wrap contains some sort of metal, and the doors are covered with stainless steel mesh screens, it might have to suffice? It is worth noting that the house could be liveable without electricity, and certainly the gardens and water collection system would be fine. The main problem would become buckets. Yes, the old song about ‘there’s a hole in the bucket’ may take on a new and rather dreary meaning.

    And yes, we are poking the land of stuff hard – and they are poking us back equally hard if not harder, and I’m guessing, slowing the river of stuff and funds. It is not lost on me that the river of funds from the land of stuff has origins in your fine country. Anyway, given what is going on in the big smoke, it hardly surprises me that the fine city hosts the largest container port on the continent. Hmm. It is possible we’re taking a hit for team Aussie-US. The geopolitics of this story is fascinating.

    Crapification is hard to live with if only because you just don’t know what is good and what is not. And some items are amazing quality, however who knows which they will be. I’m thinking about the new batteries and really have no idea how that story will play out. Thus my renewed interest in electronics, as it is possible that at some unspecified point in the future, the electronics inside the battery housing fails whilst the battery cells are just fine, so I’m trying to wrap my mind around what that would look like and how to go about repairing it.

    Hehe! You got me there with that blog title! I’m still chuckling to myself about it. The dogs enjoyed the pizza crusts chopped up into their breakfast this morning – and for the record, milk always gets added to their breakfasts. They get the left overs from the coffee milk jug, and so over winter they enjoy warm milk added. The dogs seem happy enough with the arrangement. Oh no! Speaking of dogs I discovered Dennis the bloodhounds fate in Hollow Kingdom over lunch. It was a bit windy earlier in the day and something may have become lodged in my eye – well that’s my cover story anyway. Such a lovely book. Did you enjoy the story? Crazy as, but a very engaging tale.

    Shoot! That sort of sudden swing and dramatic change in the climate happens down here too, and it is not good. People forget about the animals in paddocks, and many can die of the shock if left exposed.

    Who knew? So originally I believed that your phrase ‘on the lamb’ referred to a possibly delicate biological condition for the hapless Annie Wilkes, but no, take off the letter ‘b’ from the word lamb, and things get a whole bunch more interesting for the character. Well, well, well, Annie has run amok, made her bed of rooty-patooties, and now has to lie in it. Yes, pray that you never encounter one such.

    Interesting. The first time that I’d heard the word ‘buddy’ was in the TV series ‘Six Feet Under’ where the dead dad used to describe his favourite son as ‘buddy boy’.

    I was wondering how that aspect of the business would go, as working alone in such a public facing business is not easy. Mostly because my mind is of a practical bent I do wonder how such a lone operator could go to the toilet, and nobodies bladder is that great that it could withstand 8 hours awake without attention. And also it does help having a super chill demeanour if you have to face the general public.

    How long? Depends on what the motivators and circumstances behind the option of going it alone are, but from experience I’d hazard a guess at around 18 months max. However, it may be that during that time, the business generates enough of a loyal customer base and revenue to be able to afford to pay for someone to do the front of house side of the business? That’s my guess on how things might play out.

    $21 sounds about right to me. The gourmet pies I enjoy set me back about $9.50 each, but oh they are totally worth the spend. You are totally teasing me with the wait on the review, but I’m cool with that. But how was it? Expect some serious hits and some misses is how such things roll.

    The word ‘live’ indicates to me that a person has to hustle and produce, but on the other hand, the word ‘buy’ suggests that all a person need do is consume. Not the same at all.

    Oook! The local council stopped residents from scrounging through the stuff to recycle at the tip due to liability and insurance issues many years ago. On the other hand the lovely neighbouring councils tip shop has been closed due to the health subject which dare not be named for what seems like months. Anyway, with the more local tip, my gut feeling told me that the bloke felt a bit off somehow and I could never put a finger on what was going on. I did him a solid once years ago too, and like an unknown dog lying in a corner, you had to watch closely just in case. A few years back I read an interesting article which suggested that just like the old days of convict transportation, such things still continued even today, so who knows what was going on there, and I’ll never get to the bottom of it that’s for sure. I stopped going there because of all that – just a gut feeling thing.

    The not so ancient Druid’s temple looked awesome, and I’m impressed that at least one hermit scored the position for at least five years. Total respect.

    Better get writing!

    Chris

  43. Yo, Chris – So, your whole house is one big Faraday Cage? Well, you don’t do things by halves! πŸ™‚ . You know how little kids get song lyrics wrong? I seem to remember singing, “My buggies got a hole, in it.” At the top of my lungs. Envisioning a car, with a hole in the floorboards. Happens. They rust out.

    I can see the Land of Stuff offloading as much of our every decreasing in value dollars, as possible. Seems to be greasing the skids in this corner of the world, and that.

    Oh, I quit liked “Hollow Kingdom.” Soon to be a major motion picture? Casting might be a problem. πŸ™‚ . I finished watching “A Historian Goes to the Movies – Ancient Rome.” The final lecture was interesting, as, the films he looked at, (“Roller Ball”, “Matrix,” “Running Man,” “The Hunger Games” series, etc. etc.) had (as he pointed out) less to do with recreating Ancient Rome, and more to do with ideas. That repressive or dystopian governments (or corporations), had lulled the population into quiescence, by that old stand by, “bread and circuses.” A plucky freedom fighter(s), try and bring about a return to older, more (Roman) Republican values. Interesting take.

    No, Annie Wilkes came riding in on an actual lamb. No lambs were harmed in the filming of this picture? :-). Or, maybe it was a cart, pulled by lambs? Not so much of a stretch. The last place I lived had a goat cart, moldering in the weeds, out by my chicken run.

    Back in the late 1950s, in the popular TV series “Father Knows Best”, the teenage son was named Bud. Something that floated to the top of my memory pond.

    On second thought, the owner of Shona’s mentioned there was no mint jelly, for the lamb pies, but that she had sent someone out for some. So, maybe she wasn’t quit so “on her own” as she looked. But, she did seem a bit frazzled. Trying to wait on me (which she did in a quit adequate fashion) while putting together some kind of gift basket, wrapped in an American flag. It is a holiday weekend. Labor Day.

    OK. The votes are in. Tabulated by the absolutely impartial accounting firm of Bean, Bean and Counter. I had the square, cheese and onion pie, for lunch. As suggested, I popped it in the nuker for one minute. Oh, my gosh. My entire apartment smelled like I had a dozen in my oven. Copious amounts of saliva may have been involved. That was the cheese and onion, one. The pastry was light and flakey, and the flavor, sublime.

    Up for dinner was, first, the pork pot pie. The pastry was a bit tough and chewy, and I had to cut it with a serrated knife. Chewy, but, flavorful. The meat filling was nicely spiced, without going overboard.

    The potato, goat cheese crescent had a nice flakey crust, but the stuffing was … kind of like wall paper paste. The flavor wasn’t bad, but small bites had to be taken, as it tended to stick to, and want to clog, my windpipe. I think it might have been quit nice, if the contents hadn’t been reduced to the consistency of mashed potatoes. So the clear winner is … cheese and onion.

    I tried a bit of plane yogurt on all three entries. Can’t say it exactly enhanced the flavor. I was completely out of horseradish mustard. Somehow, with what I got, tomato sauce didn’t seem like the way to go. So, I’ll be going back, soon. To try a few other things.

    Well, I’d keep a close eye on the tip guy. Go with your gut feelings. He’s probably running some bit of business, on the side, that doesn’t bare too close an inspection. Lew

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