Both no and yes

Of late, a quote from Tolkien’s epic tale: The Lord of the Rings, has been bouncing around my head. The quote was from very early in the story where the Hobbits: Frodo; Sam; and Pippin, were travelling through the Shire and dodging the wicked Nazgul, who most likely wanted to capture or kill them, possibly with a hefty side serving of torture. By sheer chance during this early point in the story, the wicked Nazgul were driven away because the troop of Hobbits met the Elf, Gildor Inglorion and his Elven mates, and they all decided to set up camp for the night and talk rubbish. During the evening, Frodo pressed the the Elf for advice. As can be seen in the following quote, the Elf was evasive.

Gildor (referring to Gandalf the Wizard): “But it is said: Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger. The choice is yours: to go or wait.’

‘And it is also said,’ answered Frodo: ‘Go not to the Elves for counsel for they will answer both no and yes.’

‘Is it indeed?’ laughed Gildor. ‘Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.”

Perhaps it is just me, but reading the news earlier in the week, I noted an article suggesting that miraculously the country had somehow managed to recover from recent economic recession. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past ten months, things right now are definitely not what they used to be.

Anyway, it was such a relief to know that we’d miraculously recovered from the wicked economic recession. All those unfortunate folks on unemployment benefits and wanting to work, probably jumped for sheer joy at the economic good news story.

But then in a dark twist of fate, the very next day there was another article which suggested the exact opposite outcome for the economy. Cheers probably soon turned to jeers, with a side serving of sullen resentment. I don’t really worry about such stuff if only because what will be, will be. What did worry me was the awful question as to whether the Elves had somehow taken over our news reporting services? Stranger things have happened, and in this particular case, the facts perhaps speak for themselves.

No disrespect to the Elves, but it would be unpleasant encountering an Elf in the flesh. There is a casual cruelty to their natures which is mildly disconcerting. It seems a wanton act of cruelty to suggest in the news record of the day that the economy has miraculously recovered, when government borrowing recently went into overdrive, unemployment increased, and the spectre of further increases in unemployment hangs over the future like a bad stench.

Those Elves sure have been busy of late, because I’ve heard some anecdotal accounts of other acts of casual cruelty. Due to the health subject which dare not be named, patron numbers at pubs and restaurants are strictly limited by government edict. Bookings are essential, so that health contact tracing can occur, should it be necessary. And yet given the seriousness of these restrictions and the difficulty of such businesses making a profit on reduced numbers of customers, I have heard numerous stories of people making bookings and then not showing up. It’s extraordinary behaviour, and I’ve heard some people describing it as a ‘dog act’. Although most dogs would make poor Elves, if only because the canines I know are very pleasant and responsible creatures.

Due to the ongoing casual cruelty in society, I recently made a decision to no longer sell items to strangers. When I was a kid, there used to be a printed weekly newspaper which listed stuff for sale by individuals. It was an extensive newspaper and covered all manner of items. Elves were definitely not involved in the printing of this most excellent newspaper. Secondhand items could be easily bought and sold as the newspaper brought these two parties together.

In these enlightened times, people can use all manner of online auction website platforms in order to sell their stuff. And I have to admit that photographs of the items being sold is a very handy feature which was not part of the old school newspaper.

However, purchasers have bizarrely become casually cruel, and the situation has gotten worse over the past few years. It is possible that Elves are involved in this decline. All I know is that difficulties have become a consistent experience over many years. It wasn’t always thus.

The first notable bit of casually cruel behaviour was a bloke suggesting he could come and pick up the item he purchased ‘one Saturday’. What did you just say? So what Saturday are we talking about here? Such loose indefinite arrangements are probably not for me. Anyway, we sorted out a mutually agreeable time and date to pick up the item. But the initial response was a surprise.

Then there was that auction which was ‘local pick up only’ because the particular item was rather heavy and not economic to freight. The email I received from the purchaser came with a note requesting me to drop off the heavy item to them – a road trip which would have taken me four hours for the return journey. Hmm. I don’t think so.

There have been many more odd experiences over the recent years, but the clincher for me was a bloke who recently purchased from me a very highly in-demand item. The item was specifically pick up only. I’d even been blunt enough to suggest that if a person couldn’t pick up the item, don’t attempt to purchase it. Except the initial bloke who did purchase the item, couldn’t pick it up because the good folks in the city of Melbourne were (and still are) in lock down. People from Melbourne are legally unable to visit this rural area, and whilst there is talk of this restriction easing soon, as the Elves might say: ‘talk does not cook the rice’. Nothing is yet set in concrete. The bloke on the other hand had the clever idea to pick up the item, if and when the travel restrictions were eased. Hmm.

In an interesting twist, my motivation for the sale was to create some room by getting rid of the large and highly in-demand item. Without knowing my motivation, when the realities of the situation were raised with him, he delightfully accused me of ‘wanting more money’ for the item. At least that accusation clarified his motivations. I later resold the item to a very pleasant bloke hailing from a nearby country town, for less money.

Whilst ‘all courses may run ill’ has not been my entire experience, enough of them have been difficult during the recent past few years that I’m now done and over selling stuff to casually cruel strangers. It is possible that they’ve all somehow been taken over the Elves, but whatever the case may be, their actions fall below my minimum standards of acceptable behaviour.

This week has been a mix of cooler days and the occasional storm. One afternoon the thick clouds released a batch of intense rain and frozen hail stones.

Hailstones and intense rain fall from thick clouds

The rain was torrential, and unfortunately the hailstones blocked up the inlet filters on the house water tanks. Once that happens, collected water from the roof of the house begins gushing over the side of the water tank. This is a bad thing as it can possibly destabilise the ground which the very heavy waters tank sits upon. I had to rush out in the rain and clear the accumulated frozen hailstones from the filters. My hands quickly froze.

The author freezes his hands whilst clearing hailstones from the water tank inlet filters

‘The Meg’ A.K.A. the huge tree stump left by the loggers from decades ago, was further reduced in size by two burn offs. It is now known as the ‘Mini Me(g)’.

The huge tree stump was further burned off this week

Another cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of compost was brought back to the farm. We used about a third of the compost to begin adding extra soil to the potato bed – which had recently been doubled in height.

Extra compost was added to the potato bed

The very highest garden terrace was also weeded, and compost was added to the rows. Observant readers will spot in the next photo: bread wheat; carrots; radishes; onions; and broad beans, all happily growing.

The highest garden terrace was weeded and then the rows were fed with compost

Half of the old tomato enclosure (which is surrounded by an aesthetically pleasing sapling fence) was weeded and fed with compost in the growing beds, and mulch in the paths. We used to grow our tomatoes in there, but now use this area for growing pumpkins, squashes and melons. The job will be completed over the following week.

Half of the old tomato enclosure was weeded and fed with mulch and compost

The huge job of mowing was also begun this week. The wildlife is unable to keep ahead of the growth of plants in the paddock below the house.

Mowing began this week. Impressive, no!

And a new garden tap (spigot) was added next to the new greenhouse. Having the garden tap nearby will make watering the seedlings and plants inside the greenhouse even easier.

A garden tap was installed next to the new greenhouse

It has been cool this week, but there were also two days of mist and drizzle. The grey forest Kangaroos love this weather, and I spotted these two earlier today.

Two grey forest Kangaroos enjoy the rich pickings at the farm

The European honey bees are well catered to here, and I thought it might be useful for readers to see just how many flowers there are in one of the many garden beds.

The European honey bees are well catered to here

Onto the flowers:

Bearded Irises have produced flowers this week
Pig Face succulents enjoy the sunny spot in the succulent terraced garden
Red Horse Chestnut
Native Sundew’s wait patiently to consume some ants
It’s Rhodie (Rhododendron) time
It’s still Rhodie time
Garden beds flow down into the sunny orchard
California dreaming. Plum admires these Californian Poppies
Canary Island Foxgloves are very impressive

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 12’C (54’F). So far this year there has been 1027.8mm (40.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 1011.4mm (39.8 inches).

54 thoughts on “Both no and yes”

  1. Yo, Chris – The media, the economy, elves. No more of a mess than real life 🙂 . The casual cruelty you talked about. “One Saturday.” Some Saturday? It’s right up there with everyday cruelty. “Let’s have lunch.” “I’ll give you a call.” To ask “When?” makes for uncomfortable moments, as, you’re just supposed to play along with what some people consider “social niceties.”

    “Talk won’t cook the rice.” Are there Asian elves?

    Those on-line meet ups to swap things, can be dangerous. We’ve had cases of people getting robbed, or even killed. They always advise you do effect a trade in a well lit, well peopled place. Best have a friend ride along shotgun. With a real shotgun. Doesn’t have to be brandished about. Just in evidence. Keeps everything civil.

    Your first and second picture are quit the optical illusion. It looks like the circular bed is capped with a plastic dome. Due to the reflections off the water tank. Our brains (mine at least) make patterns where none exist.

    Is that tree stump ever going to go away? Due to all your hard work, it is much reduced. But lingers on.

    You might want to cut the garlic scapes off. Bigger bulbs. You know, in your spare time 🙂 . Chopped fine, and mixed in with something, they provide enough fiber to keep your digestion humming along, for days. Hmmm. Well, that’s interesting. When I was checking the correct spelling of “scapes,” (which spell check doesn’t recognize, anyway), I ran across some recipes. Apparently, there is a garlic scape pesto. Sounds good.

    Your mowing has started, ours seems to have ended. At least, when the landscapers made their weekly trip in, they didn’t mow the patch where I usually take H, for her walk. She always seems a bit confused and distracted, for a couple of days. I have a theory it’s because the grass gets cut and tossed around, along with interesting scents.

    That’s a very smart tap. It will make your life a bit more convenient. The forest kangaroos are so … well, they just seem to ghost around the place, from time to time. So quiet, for such big beasts.

    The iris are quit pretty, and it reminds me that I ordered a blue selection, quit awhile ago. Which have not appeared. So, I guess I need to start harassing them for the product, or, a refund. Sundews are fascinating. As are all carnivorous plants. Any other varieties of carnivorous plants, grow around your farm?

    Your rhodies are really striking. We have quit a few California poppies, around this place. They merrily self seed along. People pretty much leave them alone, as they don’t take up much space and are so cheery. Lew

  2. Hi Pam,

    What an excellent question – and I am so far outside my area of knowledge, that all of that information was completely new to me. At a wild guess, it is possible that the bacteria is found in all manner of mammalian milk. You’d sort of imagine that the scientists have simply not checked into that story because who would pay for such research? But it would make little sense not to be that way, because there are plenty of parts of the world with no cows, and plenty of the world’s human population has lactose intolerance i.e. dairy products – and they’d have to absorb Vitamin D somehow from the sun’s rays otherwise they’d probably die.

    Dunno much at all about protein deficiency as I’ve never encountered it, as plenty of plants contain proteins. I reckon just eat whatever produces a good health outcome for you. My own personal philosophy in relation to that matter is probably closely aligned to Michael Pollan’s take on that particular subject, and I’m not dogmatic mostly because people just want to do what they want to do anyways – and none of us know our futures. I’d probably add on one extra idea though, and that is to eat from the garden as often as possible.

    He’s alright that Dr Karl. I’m struggling to imagine myself in the same job or business after 41 years… Can you imagine that?

    Exactly, phooey to that is my thoughts too. The world changes, and sometimes one species gets a leg up and can dominate, but the seeds of their destruction are sown in the desire and success to dominate. The forests here ten millennia ago would look nothing like what they do today. And forty millennia ago, they’d be different again. So I dunno what people are going on about with that debate, but if it makes them feel good…



  3. Hi Lewis,

    Actually it was most likely legal folks in the employ of the gubarmint who came up with that neat line about ‘fuel loads in forest somehow don’t matter’. That idea seems strange to me because without heavy fuel loads, there aren’t super-hot fires. It also surprised me that the report urged people in positions of responsibility to engage with the indigenous folks so as to benefit from their extensive knowledge in the matter. The main problem is that there is an inherent conflict of interest built into that direction, in that if fires are reduced or eliminated, then the people who fight the fires possibly lose prestige and also possibly their jobs. So I’m guessing that there is an inbuilt inertia in the entire response – and well we might just get to enjoy another commission into the subject of bushfires paid for by the community at some point in the future.

    Truffle boy has focus. Respect. 🙂 I had not realised we were discussing a real person and a book.

    Your social secretary is to be commended for sheer common sense. It was actually really interesting, and being asked random questions by callers would finely hone quality blades. Speaking of which… Hehe! He’s known for his brightly coloured shirts, and if I recall correctly I believe he once remarked that his family suffered from a good case of the eastern European bleak attitude whilst noting that this gene entirely skipped him. Not saying the postal dude had any involvement in the matter, but back in the day that was posited as a likely suspect. 😉 My lot are a miserable loving lot too, but for some reason I got the happy gene and I can naturally blithely ignore them all.

    Oh yeah, I was trying to work around the farm, but the great Vegemite debate captured my attention as well. I did note that the scientist had grown up in South East Queensland – think Florida, whilst I was way down south where winters are a real thing. So yeah, in the pantry with that stuff. When I was a really young kid, butter was kept in the pantry, and that was how it goes.

    In visual media from your fine country, Australian accents do sound rather out of place to my ears. It’s bizarre how accustomed to US accents we’ve become. When I was a kid most of the visual media came from the UK.

    Who knows about the great Vitamin B debate? You may have to develop a palate to the fine taste of Vegemite (or Marmite in UK parlance)? I’d suggest enjoying it on toast with melted butter in its ultimate form. Good luck nabbing a jar of the stuff. You could use it to scare trick or treaters. Imagine them running from you screaming: What have you just fed me! Hehe!

    What surprised me about the public servants was that there were more than a few, so it does raise the question as to what sort of culture has been allowed to form in such public institutions? I tell you a funny thing too, if I was paid $2.5m per annum, I wouldn’t hardly know what to do with so much mad cash. That would become a problem for me, most other folks seem to worry about how to get more of the stuff.

    A mate of mine hails from New Zealand and he mentioned that vote outcome – and how strange it all was.

    But yeah, overall the debate and most of the coverage of your election is a bit outside my minimum standards of acceptable reporting. And so, and I’m real sorry about this, but I just tend to look elsewhere to see what else is going on in the world. I’ve got no skin in that game anyway so what I believe is mostly irrelevant.

    Damo got me onto the Granola shotgun blog, and the bloke has a really lovely take on the world and a remarkably pragmatic perspective. It’s my hope that one day I encounter a Social Justice Warrior in the flesh and then we can have a nice chat about things. Such folks are all talk.

    Incidentally a trio of older blokes tried heckling me today when I was at the local hardware store. They were quite taken aback with my response because I looked them in the eye and said ‘No. That ain’t gonna happen’, and then left it at that. As a bit of background they’d left their items on the counter and pointedly suggested that I pay for them. I’m sure they thought they were being funny, but it wasn’t funny, and the young bloke behind the counter became rather tense. I don’t know what they were trying to achieve, but I don’t and wouldn’t act that way with other people. It came across as extraordinarily expectational.

    Thanks for the correction, and yes it is impressive that the timber frames for your raised garden beds have lasted as long as they have. I mean, they’re out in the sun and rain – and everything in-between for two decades. A Yoda quote is appropriate at this point: “When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not.” That probably sums it up rather nicely, and yeah let’s hope your master gardeners do a good job of the restoration works.

    The blog last night sent me into a Tolkien sized rabbit hole! 🙂

    The 9 by 5 exhibition would have been amazing to have seen in its entirety. It is a bit sad that art works are hoarded. Anyway, I noticed one artwork from that exhibition which was looking across the elevated plains from the direction of Melbourne near to the nearest township to me and then up into the hills where this farm is. You can even see the gap in the mountain range where the road traverses (as it would have been there in those days too): Charles Conder, Riddell’s Creek, 1889.

    H has noble lineage and as such can withstand indignities such as the awful change to the mind which occurs with changes in daylight savings each six months. Us lesser creatures, well we must do what we can and suffer the dislocation.

    True, asking the hard questions does make for difficult social circumstances. It took me a long time to accept the fact that people make social lies all of the time and I just had to absorb it into my worldview. Before fully accepting this state of affairs, it caused a bit of trouble for me. I never really had any social training other than what I picked up from the people around me so I learn as I go. But you know, I’m adaptable and if people lie, well I just look at the outcomes of their verbiage and go from there. The upshot of all that is that it doesn’t worry me.

    The main issue I had with the purchasers was that they couldn’t follow basic instructions. Like really basic instructions, the sort that I dunno, the dogs can follow. I’m not sure what that says about society, but it wasn’t always thus. I tend to believe that the author Annie Hawes had the right of it when she casually remarked in her book that in a small community of limited resources, one person’s advantage comes at the expense of another person’s. And it goes without saying that wealth per capita has recently shrunk and has been shrinking for quite a while, and I don’t have to play that game – it is a choice after all.

    Hehe! Yeah, I don’t mind mixing metaphors or mucking around with good sayings like that one about the rice. All good fun.

    Never felt fear from an online sale pick-up, but there was that one odd time when I out-alpha’d a bloke who came to pick up an item. A few pointed questions suggested to me that the bloke had no idea how to use or care for a very dangerous tool that I was selling because I had no need for it any longer. Anyway, the bloke admitted he knew nothing, so I gave him some instructions on how to use and care for the dangerous tool. But the thing that amused me was that his two boys in the background had decided to have a martial arts play fight. I studiously ignored them, but internally thought to myself that: Boys, your dad ain’t that alpha, but ya know. It was kind of funny really, but the forest can be a scary place for plenty of city folks.

    The hail was epic, and I hear you about that. 🙂

    The tree stump will hopefully be gone in another week. It’s pretty small now, and the forest is looking cleaner. It was pretty warm here today and I won’t be able to burn off for much longer. Thus the secondhand scary old wood chipper.

    Haha! The scapes in the image were actually leeks, and they will set viable seed. The garlic just happily grows in the garden beds and I don’t have to really think about them too much. The patch of leeks is a fairly recent planting as they are a milder tasting leek than the previous variety which were as you guessed: Society garlic.

    Finished getting that enclosure ready this morning for planting out over the next week. It was hot work.

    H is a perceptive soul, and I can see how that can happen with a dog.

    Yes, best not to startle a 7 foot bull kangaroo who may take umbrage to being disturbed. Ollie cleared off deer twice today. The deer foolishly came back a second time, and I could see that Ollie was most unimpressed that they’d done so. He actually managed to look annoyed and chased them a bit deeper into the forest second time around, before bouncing back looking like he’d earned his dinner.

    You’re in for a treat as the blue irises here (which kind of look blue – purple to me) may flower over the next week. Mate, the postal service was slow, and it appears to be getting slower. Good luck.

    Not sure whether there are any further carnivorous plants growing around here. How clever are those plants?

    The California Poppies apparently have some sort of medicinal value. 😉



  4. Hi Chris,

    Our first freeze of the season occurred this morning. As best as I can tell, the thermometer not being as accurate as I would like, the low got to 22F / -5.6C here. That is about the same as other suburban communities according to their 6am reports. All the bean plants died. The pepper, tomato, and eggplant plants would have died as well had I not removed them over the weekend and harvested the decent-sized fruit on them as I did so. There were lots of peppers and a few tomatoes from that work, very much worth doing. Despite the abnormally cold start to the day, we are predicted to have lovely autumn weather this week, with highs around 68-70F / 20-21C starting on Wednesday. A good time to do garden clean-up and begin gathering fallen leaves for compost piles and mulching the allium bed.

    Mike bought his motorcycle from a person who advertised on one of the online platforms. That sale went very well, I’m glad to say, knowing that they don’t always work out so well. I’m mystified as to why anyone would act as they did toward you and understand why you don’t care to subject yourself to such treatment. Mike and I are planning to sell our far too large chipper/shredder on an online platform over the winter because we have no other means to do so. Hope that goes well. In the meantime, I am concentrating on getting the goods I brought home from my mother’s apartment that are intended for my siblings to them, which I had put off till after the first freeze reduced garden work.


  5. @Chris and Pam

    I prefer native plant species but incorporate non-natives as long as they aren’t invasive and particularly if they attract pollinators. Some natives can be pretty invasive as well. This last summer I planted a “wildflower mix” in an area where I removed many hostas. The lack of butterflies and other pollinators compared to my native plants in another area was quite stark. In actuality most of the flowers weren’t native at all. Being that planting zones are changing who knows what will end of thriving.


  6. Hi Chris,
    Sorry to hear about the trials of selling your unwanted/unneeded items. I have to say we’ve had pretty good luck with that. The worst we get is someone who says they are interested and are coming but never end up telling us when. We’ve had the best luck with local Facebook buy and sell groups. Now Doug does get people who think he’ll deliver small orders of honey which he won’t unless he’s going in their direction and knows them.

    I can’t imagine looking out and seeing Kangaroos. How do you store all your potatoes?

    The weather has been quite cold and often very windy but starting tomorrow we’ll have a week of sunny days well into the 60’s. As we are in semi lockdown mode again everyone’s looking forward to being outside. Tomorrow I’m off to my sister who lives close by to help her plant bulbs. She and her husband have about zero knowledge of plants and need all the help they can get. This is the couple who own the restaurant. This particular sister is the one who has Crohn’s disease so she’s often ill. The treatments she’s had over decades have caused pretty bad osteoporosis and serious back issues but she forges ahead whenever she feels up to it. Anyway they are both very appreciative of any help I can give them so I’m happy to do it.

    Cases of that which can’t be mentioned have skyrocketed here in the last few weeks and some hospitals are nearing capacity. As I’ll turn 69 this month I think it’s prudent to take sensible precautions even though I feel I’m in good health.

    At any rate I’ll be cutting back online this week enjoying the beautiful weather.


    PS Only one fluffy in the photos this week. Are they lost in the lush foliage?

  7. Yo, Chris – Before I forget, Eleanor was curious as to if Australia had suffered during the Great Depression. I opined that it’s always described as a “world wide depression.” So, probably. But I said I’d ask. Of course, she was a child during the Depression. But, as so many others have said, that were young, “We didn’t know we were poor.”

    Well, that’s quit a dichotomy in one report. Fuel loads don’t make any difference, but indigenous people are onto something. From what I’ve read, controlled burn offs are often hampered by manpower and money. I’d guess a lot of money and manpower could be shifted from fighting wildfires, to preventing wildfires. It’s just a different mindset. A shifting of gears. But as we’ve talked about before, preventative maintenance gets short shrift.

    LOL. It’s a generational thing. When I was a wee small lad, when parentage was in question, the blame always got shifted to the milkman. Now that milkmen are rather a thing of the past, the blame gets shifted to the postie.

    I keep forgetting to check at my store, as to if they carry Vegemite or Marmite. I’m sure our “health food store” probably carries it. I will eat it, the traditional way. Slathered over a layer of butter 🙂 . I’d guess in warmer climates, cross contamination could be a problem. I’m always careful about cross contamination. The other day, I had some waffles. Some I smeared with Eleanor’s daughter’s apple butter, some I smeared with plane yogurt. I did not use the same spoon, for both. I mean, ye gods!, it’s just one extra utensil to wash. No big deal.

    Oh, they always say that public servants have to get paid the big bucks, so that “quality” people don’t go to the private sector, instead. I’ve always thought that was a rather bogus excuse. What that says, to me, is that the whole system is rotten, and needs to be recalibrated.

    I’d say your dust up at the hardware store was old guys trying to make dumb jokes. Sometimes, they blow up in their face. As when a couple of weeks ago, some old poop asked me how my day was going … at way too early an hour. As an old poop, myself, I always try and be vigilant and not say stupid things.

    Besides the weather, our timber garden frames are also attacked by ants and roly poly. But, as they are mostly interested in decaying matter, and not growing matter, I don’t pay them too much mind. Not that I could make a dent in their populations. There are hoards of them.

    H seemed to take the time change, pretty well, but just didn’t seem as energetic, after her bath, as in past. Usually, I take her for a walk, give her a bath, and if it’s sunny and not windy, let her dry out a bit outside. Well, when I took her for her walk, the sun was setting! So much for a perambulation, after her bath. To me, the evening seemed VERY long.

    Yup. Over the course of my life, I’ve run across a lot of people who don’t seem capable of following basic instructions. Either they are very self entitled, or, very, very stupid. I don’t have time for either type.

    Ah, just out of curiosity… one can also make leek pesto. And, ramp!

    See: basic instructions, above. The deer having a second go … “We didn’t think you were serious.” That’s why Ollie was miffed. “Darned deer can’t take a hint.”

    California poppies can be medicinal, but not as “medicinal” as other kinds of poppies 🙂 . Lew

  8. Hi Claire,

    Your first freeze has occurred at the same time that we had our first two hot days of the season. Today and yesterday both reached 30’C / 86’F and I must confess to being a bit winter soft as I worked both days beginning in the early hours and working through up until lunch time (about 1.30pm). Then I had lunch, and promptly went off and had a short nap to recuperate. It is a truth universally acknowledged that one cannot both cool down from hard physical labour and digest lunch at the same time. My body went into shutdown as it is still in winter mode. By the end of summer, these two days will be considered to be cool days, but I’m not there yet! 🙂

    Your weather sure is cold, and would be a total garden disaster here. I’m not braced for such weather! 🙂 Ook! And yes, the outcomes would have been exactly the same. Just for your interest I checked the soil temperature today and recorded about 17’C / 63’F, so I’m considering planting out some of the seedlings over the next few days which are now happily growing in the greenhouse. And what was surprising to me was that the peanuts and chilli’s needed these past two hot days just to germinate. The greenhouse has given me a massive edge. I can now well understand your covered in porch for seed raising. Oh yeah.

    How funny is this? I’m doing the same work but in the opposite season, although any weeds were dumped into a specific area for them to break down into fine soil – which they will. It’s kind of like an investment in the soil to feed it with huge quantities of mulch and compost, and way back in autumn (your weather) we did the same job as well on the basis that the soil can only get deeper.

    Hey, I reckon it’s a bit of a crapshoot and you never really know how the transactions will go, and Mike did pretty well with his new beast of a machine. When conditions are right, sitting on a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience.

    I don’t really know what is going on down here. Stepping back from the detail the big picture tends to suggest to me that expectations down here may now exceed what reality can deliver, and that is a dangerous time. Usually I can get a good glimpse at peoples motivations, but there are times when that is not so, and then I run blind. You know, I’ll just take a wait and see approach with such transactions and perhaps err towards more local relationships.

    You’ll probably be fine as I’m guessing it is a down under thing. I mean we haven’t experienced economic difficulties for almost a quarter of a century and confronting this can be a difficult and challenging proposition for many. I have a bit of sympathy for people both older and younger than I who missed out on the harsh lessons I copped as a young adult during the last recession.

    It is a very lovely act on your part to sort out the various items from the estate of your mother.



  9. Hi Margaret,

    The more I consider the matter about the transactions, it is probably a down under thing where community expectations have now possibly exceeded what reality can deliver to the individuals. And my gut feeling tells me that they’re floundering, so I don’t feel harshly about it all, I just see no need to get involved until they get their act together.

    There’s probably some differences in recent experiences between your country and here, although the culture does not differ that greatly. We’re really sort of a cultural hybrid between you guys and Canada. But one notable difference was when the 2008 Global Financial Crisis hit err, the globe, we kind of missed that and things went on just as they used to. So I spare a thought for the people down here because they haven’t known anything other than up and up for almost a quarter of a century, and now they are floundering and in a bit of shock.

    On the other hand I and the editor were subjected to these rough waves when we were very young adults, and so we know how to respond. I’m really not sure how much pain other folks need to endure in order to get that memo, and then tone things down a bit. But you know, sooner or later they’ll have to.

    Unfortunately I’m not on Facebaak, so am probably missing out and have likewise heard good things about the marketplace.

    Hehe! Thanks for that about the honey. I’m now left with the amusing idea that someone had possibly asked Doug to deliver a small tub of honey half way across the state! 🙂 Far out, I’ve had to deal with some odd requests from purchasers who think nothing of the effort involved.

    Hey, the local tip shop has not been open for about half a year due to the health subject which dare not be named.

    It’s pretty feral out in the orchard and some nights there are wombats, wallabies and kangaroos all happily munching away. Ollie cleared off a herd of about half a dozen deer the other day, and then the deer really annoyed him by circling around and coming back for more. The second time he chased them much further into the forest. I appreciate having such a powerful dog for such duties. And he does not hesitate, although the second time the deer showed up, he pulled himself up to his full height and he looked really annoyed – then he took off after them.

    I can dig up potatoes all year around and so I keep them in a thick paper bag which sits in a wicker basket in a dark and cool cupboard in the kitchen. The plants loved the recent feed of compost.

    Good to hear that you have some nice weather. Semi-lockdown, sorry to say but at one stage there were only four reasons to be out of your house down here. Yes, your excursion would probably not fall into one of those reasons. 🙂 Just mucking around and trying to get across the idea that things could always be worse based on my recent personal experience.

    Sorry to hear that your sister has Crohn’s disease which is really nasty and unpleasant, and yes she would be more ill than usual, on a semi-regular basis. It is a really lovely thing for you to help them during this time.

    Well it’s a crapshoot that one, and you just have to do the best you can – and remember to eat plenty of plants from the garden and get some sun on your skin which will help your immune system.

    You are an observant reader! The two girls are now in their second bout of warm weather. Last year probably doesn’t count as they were only weeks old coming into summer. They have not yet learned to slow down as the weather warms up, but they’ll get there. Anyway, Ollie spent most of his time this week working with us, and when it came time for photos, well, he was asleep due to I’m guessing heat fatigue. He’s blowing his winter coat too so there is dog hair everywhere.

    Yeah, that’s all true about pollinators and flowers. I rely on the European honey bees to pollinate the early season plants and so I grow lots and lots of flowers they love. You may recall the lavender hedge, and today there were hundreds of bees on the flowers. Plus the native pollinators are now finally out and about. Most of my edible plants come from elsewhere, so the pollinators and other life forms which support those plants also have to come from elsewhere. If I had to rely on the local edibles, I’d probably be very hungry. It has taken years and years to build up a large insect population on the farm.



  10. Hi Lewis,

    Absolutely, we got crushed pretty hard in the Great Depression. About one in three workers was unemployed and I’m guessing that wage rates dropped in response to the over-supply of labour. Not many folks hit the rural roads, but some such as the swagmen did go looking for itinerant rural work (as in Once a Jolly Swagman, camped by a billabong) and they lived pretty rough.

    City folks from what I understand, sort of hung around the cities looking for work during the Great Depression. And just like in the Grapes of Wrath, the gubarmint became pretty good at moving people on especially those groups who congregated in large numbers. Gobarments seem to be quite good at that.

    Unlike your countries experience, people were moving off the land because of the epic drought so inland things became quieter. WWI didn’t help with that either.

    But yeah, Eleanor’s entirely correct and that’s the thing about being poor. If that’s all you’ve known and somehow you still get an education of some sort, meals on the table and a roof over your head, well you hardly notice. It’s when a person was wealthy and then suffered a setback in fortune that they really are a bit out of whack. If you know how to make-do and scramble, well such folks will probably do just fine. As a kid who grew up in a single parent family, I just somehow learned to hustle. The urban dictionary has a good definition of that word (among other surprising definitions): “To strive headstrong and voraciously towards a goal.”

    Since writing the blog essay I’ve been slowly coming around to the idea that due to the recentness of the transactional bout of people strangeness, it is probably the intersection of expectations on one hand and reality on the other hand. It helps writing down the concerns and then having lovely people such as yourself commenting upon them and getting me to probe a bit deeper into the core of the problems.

    Well that is the thing isn’t it? Nobody gets kudos for prevention and maintenance, but urgent repairs and fighting the lack of prevention and maintenance, and people seem to be all over that concept. I’ve heard it said by the indigenous folks down here that to not look after country means that a person’s very soul is at peril. In a fragile and dangerous country, that is a sound philosophy.

    🙂 Hey, a mate of mine who recently moved back to New Zealand – and I’ll probably never catch up again with – used to work on the milk runs as a kid back in NZ. We didn’t have that kid employment option over here because milk was delivered in glass reusable bottles to the local business known as a ‘Milk Bar’. They also used to sell all sorts of everyday stuff in such businesses. There are still some of those businesses around in the big smoke, but they are going the way of the dinosaur. In a rural area that store would be a General Store, like the one I regularly venture to, to pick up the milk and the mail. They’ve got both sorts there (postie and milkman)! Hehe! Actually it is a really good local resource to have that business operating.

    You’re a brave soul to take up the marmite / vegemite challenge. And I can taste the difference between the two toppings. Good luck, and it will probably do you the world of good health wise. Although it is an acquired taste.

    They had a Seinfeld episode on cross contamination, and it may have been called ‘double dipping’. I once noted a lady drinking from a glass of water which was available (there were many clean glasses for use) and then the person put the glass back unwashed. Yeah, probably not right, and I alerted the staff that this had occurred. They looked unimpressed by the actions of the lady, that’s for sure. It never occurred to me that a person would do that. Always something new and interesting. I tend to believe that basic hygiene has been forgotten possibly in the belief that the medical system can patch things up if needed. I have noted that there have been more than a few cases of septicaemia coming to my attention of late, and I am always careful to wash sores and cuts with 93% ethanol as a first aid preventative.

    Too true and I have to be doubly careful with yoghurt as I back slop from one batch to another batch, and contamination can be a problem.

    Recalibrated is a nice way of putting it and a sensible response. Redoing from scratch has often lead to unpleasant outcomes.

    Probably that is how it was. What annoyed me about the old fella’s, and I’m getting to be an old fella myself, is that they doubled down instead of simply letting it go at my response to them. I tend to not engage with people on that basis, but yeah asking me how my day was in the wee hours of the morning before the fog had lifted might really not be a good idea. Some people are morning people, and I feel happy for them, but could they be a bit quieter about it?

    Of course ants and wood lice (roly poly?) would get stuck into the timbers of your grow beds given the right circumstances. I see. Rocks are good, but even they break down. Some large rocks around here have slight hairline cracks in them.

    A lovely Victorian era word that one: Perambulation. Not entirely sure, but I’ve always believed that the word ‘pram’ to denote a baby carriage was derived from that word. H would barely notice the change!

    Me neither. I had a rule of thumb with staff and that was to give guidance and direction, but also give them enough rope with which to hang themselves. I’m not much of a micro-manager and just try to point them in a direction, give them the tools to do the job and assistance, and then just hope for the best.

    Funny you mention that, but we had peanut and rocket pesto on freshly baked bread for lunch. So good.

    Well, we grow both types of poppies here – and both plants are like total weeds, but with beautiful flowers.

    Spotted a few articles to take your mind of politics:

    Reserve Bank cuts interest rates to record low of 0.1 per cent during COVID-19 recession

    Australian Army reservists to be compulsorily called out to respond to more bushfires, natural disasters and coronavirus-style crises

    The army article is fascinating as it touches upon all manner of issues including geopolitics.



  11. Hello Chris
    I am still here just too fed up to think. We lock down again on Thursday and this morning my washing machine played up. Even with the instruction manual it took ages to get the door open, The stuff was unrinsed and included a sheet. No fun finishing off by hand with my ageing hands. Now I am hoping that the rain holds off at least until the stuff stops dripping and I can finish drying it indoors.
    Strange how one can’t read or think when very very irritable.


  12. @ Margaret
    I eat my own potatoes for 9 months of the year and store them in buckets plus any old containers indoors. I place a newspaper between each layer. I do have to check them for sprouting later on and pull the sprouts off. Once we reach March, any that are left can be planted.


  13. Chris,

    Argghhh! Trying to juggle too many things right now and we got one of those dread early morning phone calls to top it off today. You know, it’s 2020 so things have to stay complex and weird…So I’m likely on a dread extended hiatus whilst we cope with things.

    Hope you get the stump burning finished. All our snow disappeared by Thursday as the temperatures hit +16C for a few days with a “nice” wind storm (80 km per hour gusts) to add to the melting.

    Due to the deep freeze we had, it looks like one of those autumns, at least in my neighborhood, in which the leaves were freeze-dried and will simply not change color but fall off the tree. Happens that way sometimes.

    Will catch up soon, I hope.


  14. Yo, Chris – Life is wonderful, and all is right with the world. 🙂 . The pumpkin pie ice cream has (finally) appeared at Safeway. Along with egg nog and peppermint swirl. I bought three quarts and one of the peppermint. Just to kind of give me a break, and cleanse the pallet. I fully intend to junk food out, and watch the returns come in. We start seeing returns, when the east coast polling places, close. 8pm their time, 5pm, ours.

    Either from our “Well, that was fast,” department, or “Is it too early?” department. A trailer for a new film called “Songbird.”

    A time in the near future when Covid-23 stalks the land, and people are in their 213th week of lockdown. Hmmm. Don’t know how I feel about this one. Maybe, I like my apocalypse movies, served cold?

    I’ll pass on your take on Australia’s Great Depression, to Eleanor. Sounds like same, same, only different, from here. Even though our lower midwest was hit pretty hard by drought and dust, the upper tier of states fared better. Farming, continued. There was more opportunity to at least have the basics. Lots of people worked for “three hots and a cot.” I remember that story about the maintenance man, out at our Hoquium library. They thought they were going to have to lay him off, due to no funds. But, they worked out a deal where he lived in the furnace room, and the librarians kept him fed. There’s also an old book “Lady on the Beach” (Berg) about a woman and her husband who moved out to the Washington Coast, during the Depression. They pretty much just built a shanty on the beach. Besides the natural bounty of the ocean, people pulled together, and watched out for one another.

    Yup. A bit of time, distance from initial emotions, and feedback from others can bring a bit of calm clarity, to difficult situations.

    Along with balancing a checkbook and avoiding the pitfalls of credit cards, schools used to teach a bit of basic hygiene. Germ theory. What in the heck are they learning, these days?

    Wood lice (aka Roly Poly, aka Potato Bugs, aka Pill Bugs) are fascinating little creatures. I ran across a statement that said, “…only crustacean that has become completely adapted to spending life on land.” I love the magic trick they preform, to roll into tight, tiny little armored balls. Some of the ends of the wood railroad ties, used to construct our raised beds, are completely hollowed out. And, of course, any crack in the wood, expands and contracts with freezes. It’s interesting what plants pop out of those cracks in nicer weather. Bachelor buttons (corn flowers) and Love-in-the-Mist.

    That was an interesting article about your army reservists. We’ve got army reservists and National Guard. Two separate things. National Guard answers to State and Federal Government. Army Reserve to, well, the army. Both may be called up in times of disaster or civil unrest.

    Interesting that the article referred to “breaking the seals.” That’s straight out of the Bible’s “Book of Revelations”, ie: the Apocalypse. Don’t know if you’ve ever dipped into it, but it’s a lurid, fever dream. Either old John of Patmos got into some bad moldy rye grain, or, perhaps some dodgy mushrooms. Lew

    PS: Haven’t heard anything from Damo, in awhile. I didn’t see anything new over at his blog, Zeehan Manse. Hope he’s ok.

  15. Hi Chris,

    As we were discussing last weekend, it’s quite likely the media site you were reading were A/B testing two different stories to see which one got more clicks. Sad fact is, they make money off advertising and so it’s in their interests to know what keeps people reading. Is it “everything is great” or “everything is awful”.

    Last few times I’ve tried to sell something online I got no takers. But I did have a funny one when I tried to give away a washing machine last year. I actually had two people call me in the middle of the night. We’re talking 3am. Fortunately I had my phone on mute. There’s obviously a huge demand for washing machines because the guy who took it was around first thing next morning to pick it up. He was driving a brand new SUV. I casually asked him what he did for a living and he said ‘repair washing machines’. You know you’re living in a rich country when the washing machine repairman is driving a $50k car around.

    Did you ever consider getting a goat or two to mow that grass for you?

  16. Hi Inge,

    Sorry to hear about the impending lock down in your country. Of course a good argument could be made that your country, and also my country have been particularly naughty, but I do hope that your punishment does not go on as long as it went on down here. It’s been bonkers since late March, and I believe that next Sunday evening – all being well – the word on the street is that the police / military checkpoint between here and Melbourne will be removed. Some of the state borders look set to be opened late next month.

    I’m trying to make light of it all, but I hear you. Looking into my crystal ball, I can’t say with any certainty when all of this will blow over. My gut feeling is not good on this one. The one thing that I am sure of is that we won’t be returning to how it was before all of this strangeness. And an even stronger argument could be made that we as a society pushed things too far and now we have to pay the price and ratchet it back down. If you ignore the rhetoric, that’s what it looks like to me.

    Those front loader washing machines usually take about 20 minutes and some draining before the door can be opened. I recall the older top loading washing machines that occasionally became unbalanced, but were rather simple devices that just kept going on and on and you could open the lid at any time. Tell ya what though, they both sure beat the old washing mangle and copper, which I saw at my grandmothers house way back as a very young kid. I’ll bet you’ve seen some interesting contraptions for clothes washing?

    Dunno about your machine, but the one here has a spin cycle to achieve the same result which you achieved through using your hands.

    And washing horses in front of, or near to, a fire are a constant here if only because we don’t have a clothes drier. I can’t imagine that too many folks living with an off grid solar powered electricity system can operate a clothes drier.

    Years and years ago I read about some hippies who managed their clothes washing by just chucking everything into a large bucket full of soapy water next to a door which lead to the outside of the house. It was customary in that house to agitate the clothes in the bucket whenever a person went into or out of the house. Eventually the clothes were taken out of the bucket and left to drip dry on a clothes line. It all sounds very loose to me, but they claimed that it worked. Hmm, hippies…

    Hope that my story of dodgy hippies brought some joy into your day. 🙂

    Can you imagine living in a hippy commune? I’d probably go postal, and then everyone would most certainly get upset at my actions!!! Hehe!

    Thanks for mentioning the most excellent and in-depth economics blog and I’ll check it out. I’ve almost run out of reading tonight mostly because there is way too much talk about US politics, but the night is also short as I worked until almost 8pm. Oh well, that’s life in small business.



  17. Hi DJ,

    It is unwise to juggle too many things all at once. You never know when you can come unstuck and a ball that you were juggling clops you in the head bad and you go down like a sack of spuds.

    A good mate of mine was once taking an interview, whilst up a ladder pruning fruit trees, when he came unstuck. From what I understand that sure hurt him. Like you, I also advised him to get a pole saw. Now, did you get a pole saw – inquiring minds want to know? The pole saw here is mains electric powered and operates off the house power system and it is seriously good. I already have an electric brush cutter, but am thinking about getting a petrol two stroke one for very remote parts of the farm. Voltage drop on very long electricity lines is a real thing and one of the reasons I use very heavy duty extension cables.

    Avoiding dread early morning calls is one reason why my phone is permanently on ‘do not disturb’ between the hours of about 10pm to 10am. Bad news rarely gets better though. One of the only benefits of smart phones from what I can see is that function. Oh, call blocking is pretty neat too. Hope the news wasn’t too bad or upsetting?

    Well things have hit maximum weird in your country right now, and who wants to experience that? Things are weird enough down here – and Ruby seems to be super agitated this evening…

    Yeah, thanks and I reckon the rest of the stump will burn off quite nicely over the next few days when the wind settles down a bit.

    16’C would definitely mark the end of the early snowfall for you. Actually over the next few days here, the weather is eerily similar – without the 80kmh wind gusts of course. Although last evening a particularly strong gust wooshed into the side of the house and slammed a few doors shut. That sure woke me up, but then I got back to sleep after closing the various opened doors and windows letting the cooler night air into the house.

    That happens here too with leaf change. Some years it can just stretch on and on. Then other years the leaves drop without all of the hassle of the tourists.

    No worries, and life is what it is. Don’t panic! 🙂



  18. Hi Simon,

    I’d like to say that I was making this stuff up, but no. 🙂

    Here is a follow up article which references the media hype to and fro: COVID-19 recession worsened by ‘coordination failure’ as everyone cuts costs to try and save themselves.

    Not a bad article really, but it does introduce the idea that all of this economic stuff going on is somehow a collective fault. It is an ingenious chunk of logic chopping and I applaud such sophistry.

    Hey, just wanted to say how much I laughed at the title of your recent blog post on the economy, or the lack of mention of it. 🙂 The plan is to read it once I’ve responded here, but Inge did also chuck in a plug for the most excellent economic analysis contained in: Notayesmanseconomics’s Blog. The author always has insightful and in-depth analysis.

    The ABC would be no different to commercial ventures in some respects because they too are chasing audiences. To tell the truth, I thought that when I first began writing a blog it would be just me and Lewis having a nice chat. I don’t know who all the lurkers are, and I regularly block the IP addresses of hackers and other nuisance organisations, so the stats are probably fairly close to reality. The comment about Russian and Chinese IP addresses in relation to the podcast was not lost on me.

    Like what would possess (and I use that word in the demonic meaning) a person to call you up at 3am to nab a washing machine for free? There is certainly an interesting story there. 🙂 Thank gawd for ‘don not disturb’ functions. What, really? Who’d have thunk it that there is money to be made in repairing and then obviously reselling washing machines?

    Speaking of giving items away, I usually do a $0.01 auction start just to get interest, and rarely has anything ended up at that final price. For the life of me, I really don’t understand why things have become so difficult on that selling front in recent times. Beats me, and one of the items was an over-locker which is an item in extraordinary demand due to the shift to home I dunno what you’d call it but perhaps: arts and crafts during the lock down.

    Goats would be cool, especially milking goats. Although goat milk has to be consumed fresh otherwise it tastes err, goaty. Not good in coffee. Nah, the fencing would exclude all of the wildlife from getting access to the orchards, and that would slow the spread of soil fertility. So it’s a compromise really.



  19. Hi Lewis,

    Ooo, I feel a bit woozy as I just chipped a tooth. This is not a good thing. I’m not even sure how it happened. Oh well, I’m slowly accommodating my mind to a trip to the dentist – soon. What a nuisance. At least there is no pain just a scratchy tooth. Thought at first I had something stuck between my teeth when the awful realisation as to what just happened came into my awareness. And I really do look after my teeth. Oh well.

    In other news I see that things are super weird in your country right now with the count. Best of luck that things settle down soon for you and your fellow countrymen.

    Tis an excellent thing that pumpkin ice cream has arrived around Halloween, albeit a bit late. And you are putting the fine food concoction to a most excellent test. Are you enjoying the coverage? It is possible that if you can hack that election coverage, you may enjoy watching a five day long game of cricket, test match style. 🙂

    Thanks for the film trailer and no, from my perspective it is far from too early. Looks good, although whether the cinema’s reopen anytime soon is a question I have no easy answer to. Yes, I hear you about that, this film is served way hot. Liked the use of the Bob Marley song in the trailer – I always enjoyed that song.

    That’s true too for down here. I don’t really know how extensive was the drought down under during those Depression years. Oh my, just looking back now at the rainfall records I can see that 1937 and 1938 were two seriously bad drought years in a row. Far out, those years were not good and I can see how there was a hugely bad fire during the following summer of 1939 after those two dry years. If it was that bad here, then elsewhere on the continent must have been horrific.

    Three hots and a cot is a nice way to phrase that particular social and economic arrangement. You know that’s the thing I also notice about Depression era stories, people looked out for one another. I’m sure there were outliers, but most people were just trying to get by as best they could.

    Oh wow, Norah Berg by all accounts sure does tell a riveting tale of hardship and also acceptance and adaption to the world around her. Added to the to-read list. I’ll bet people can’t do that nowadays?

    Distance from initial emotions is a difficult thing to achieve, and of course it involves a certain sort of loss. Mate, I’m feeling the loss of contentment due to the chipped tooth I can tell ya. No pain, just sheer annoyance and concern that I may break the rest of the enamel before getting to the dentist. Oh well.

    You know I don’t recall anyone teaching us students to avoid debt, manage home finances and/or germ theory. Those would have been important things to know. Funny thing is I don’t recall my mum talking to me about such things either. She just used to get angry when I wasn’t saving enough mad cash, but that of course may have been more about her than me.

    Woodlice are very common down here. Oh, they really are crustaceans. Well I never. And they are feed for spiders which makes sense because I find some evil looking garden spiders out in the orchard. Wondered what the spiders were eating. The other night I watched a frog stalk a huntsman spider, but it was a slow dance and I didn’t hang around to see how it played out. My money was on the frog.

    Yeah, army reservists down here answer to the army, who answer to the politicians. The states have no armed forces other than the police – which is a state run body down here. Makes you wonder if the reservists get paid for deployment. Volunteer firefighters don’t and so you have to be cautious as to deployment – and then recovery time. Not sure how sympathetic my clients would be if I were called up to serve, and their interests became secondary. Dunno at all and don’t want to find out.

    Yes, I read that book long ago out of interest. Not really sure what to make of it. I wasn’t entirely sure that the words were even of our time, the long since past, or what, and it is interesting to me to see that scholars discuss this today. I’m not much of a literalist, and I do know that there are other faiths in the world worshiping other entities, so who knows who is right? The world could be a far stranger place than any of us ever imagined it to be.

    Damo is still lurking about. He moved over to the far west of this country, and his almost month long quarantine just to get back into the country was an epic trial. Oh yeah, not good.

    Cheers and I guess I’ll contact the dentist tomorrow.


  20. Hi Chris,

    Ja-nee times are tough.

    If I had known what this year had in store I would have bought a years’ supply of internet connectivity and data, in bulk, up front.

    Oh yes I hope you are right about us getting a good growing season this summer. We need it.  We had a warm winter and very poor germination of broad beans and peas. Leafy greens and marrows were doing well until we had a heavy hail storm that shredded the lot. After the hail I had 2 short rows of peas come up. The brief cold snap must have been enough. Once they got going they produced well. I like peas and, unlike your other commenters, I find they are well worth all the effort of hand watering and spraying for mildew. The board beans, on the other hand, were still a no-show which was disappointing because they are pretty much a winter staple for us.

    My DNA had been sending frequent nudges that after pestilence comes famine. Adding that to a change of diet to include shop bought cheap starchy comfort foods to replace the gardening failures… massive weight gain has ensued. On the bright side I’ll be able to survive about 2 years on short rations (groan) if I survive the pestilence with the weight handicap.

    Ja-nee times are tough.

    If I had known what this year had in store…
    I think I would have registered for an online course/distance learning. Something practical and useful to help keep the mind on the track.

    What would you have done to prepare?

    Cheers Elbows.

  21. Hello Chris
    I would not wish to live in a hippy commune or any other commune.
    First frost today and it is still there this afternoon even though the sun is shining.
    Those twin tub washing machines were great and one could repair them oneself. I do consider a washing machine to be a wonderful invention. Those who have never had to handwash everything have no concept as to what life was like before.
    Son’s dog Ren (the strange one) is even more strange than I had realised. It has taken 3 years for him to come within touching reach of Son and he still won’t come within range of me. I have just found out that he is not a pack animal, he is not interested in the other dogs. Can a dog have Aspergers?


  22. Yo, Chris – Your tooth is not a laughing matter, especially now, when getting in and out of the dentist has extra layers of song and dance. But the first thought I had was, “Now Chris has his Viking name! Chris Snaggletooth.” 🙂 .

    I did a bit of election watching, last night. But now, I just dip in from time to time. Read the headlines. Kind of like watching paint dry. Every State has different laws for ballot counting. A couple of the States, that haven’t declared a clear winner yet, accept ballots with a November 3d postmark. But none with later postmarks. BUT, they don’t declare a winner until Nov. 9th or 10th, just to make sure all those ballots with ll/3 postmarks (and before) have arrived. I checked into our State and Local elections, and was pretty much ok with how they shook out. Mostly. But, I try and keep it pretty low key, on here. I wouldn’t want to offend some of your other American readers. And, I’m old enough where the idea of “secret ballot”, was, well, secret. And outside the family, you didn’t discuss religion, politics or how much money you made.

    When you get around to it, I hope you enjoy the Berg book. LOL. If you tried to build a shanty on the beach, these days, first you’d have to start with the long and complicated “environmental impact statement.” 🙂 .

    When I go slug hunting, I noticed hundreds of woodlice. But, I noticed they just hung out on dead vegetation. Putting 2 + 2 together, I figured they were useful in breaking down dead plants. Maybe they offset all the slugs I kill? Who can’t seem to limit their diet to dead stuff, but have to go after the live stuff, too.

    I really don’t know much about how our State National Guard works (and, I’m sure someone more in the know will fill me in). But, they seem to be run by folks with a military background.

    “Revelations” sure is a fever dream. But I read it too, as it is referenced so often in popular culture. Launched thousands of movies and TV series. Many in the horror, genre. Or, comedy. 🙂 . See “Dogma.” Last night I watched “Fatima”. Which is about the supposed visitation of The Virgin Mary, to three poor kids in Portugal, in 1917. A pretty good film, with high production values. I found it interesting from a historic standpoint. WWI was just winding down, and, as we know, the flu epidemic was looming on the horizon. Two of the kids died in the epidemic. Not that that was part of the film.

    Not my usual day, but I think I’ll wander down to the Club for a cuppa. Restless. Even H has been acting weird. I suppose it’s a combination of the time change, and, I’m sure she picks up the general “tension” in the air. Lew

  23. @Chris and Inge
    Thanks for the potato storage tips. Duh, Chris, of course you can just keep them in the ground and dig as needed. Here the ground freezes too deeply to manage that though back when I grew potatoes a volunteer plant would shoot up from a potato I missed. Actually I don’t plan to plant potatoes here. We really don’t eat all that many and sunny spots aren’t too abundant.

    Chris & Simon
    Goats will not keep your lawn mowed. In fact they eat very little grass from my many years of experience. They liked it first thing in the spring and that’s about it. They are great brush removers though even relishing very thorny bushes. If you want to keep lawn short get sheep though they aren’t nearly as fun.


  24. Hi Chris,
    My sister has suffered from this disease for over 30 years. In the last year or so she has weaned herself off many medications. She also has some mental illness that I’m not sure is properly diagnosed and she got off almost all of the “head meds” as she refers to them. This probably doesn’t surprise you but both her physical and mental health have improved drastically. Used to be I didn’t enjoy spending too much time with her but that has changed considerably. We got the bulbs planted yesterday. I believe her subdivision was built over a gravel pit so digging was a challenge. The soil in addition to being quite rocky is of poor quality as well. At any rate it was a sunny day and reached a temperature of 70 F so was a pleasant afternoon.


  25. Hi Inge,

    No, such a living arrangement would be something of a personal nightmare for me as well. I’d have particular troubles with ideas people who could not convert their ideas into action, but would be happy for other people to action their ideas at their insistence.

    You’re well and truly heading into winter. We weren’t far off frost this morning and the weather barely struggled through to 50’F. The greenhouse is proving itself because despite the outside colder day, it was 60’F in there. I’m now having to judge when to plant out the seedlings. I may try some beans, other legumes and peas over the next few days. Do you have any advice for me in this matter?

    Exactly, the twin tub top loader machines were simple as, and they just worked. Although the clothes did need to be removed from the wash tub to the spin tub, and this may have been a step too far for some people.

    Oh yeah, I am soft on that front, and whilst I understand how to go about hand washing clothes, I have little practical experience. Yes, it would be a massive and never ending job. I’d be interested in your opinion, but I feel that because the task is so easy nowadays, people wash their clothes and linen etc. far too often. If they had to hand wash all of it, they’d be singing a different song that’s for sure.

    That’s possible. I’ve known many dogs over the years, and no two personalities are exactly alike. On the issue which you raised, Sir Scruffy, who is now deceased, was raised in a house without other dogs and he had only the cat to relate to. He gained many cat like behaviours, and was without doubt the most intelligent dog that I have yet encountered. When he arrived here in order to learn how to act like a dog he simply copied all of the winning behaviours of the other dogs. One day, Mr Toothy, who is also now departed, encouraged Sir Scruffy to run off into the forest on an adventure. Eventually upon returning, Sir Scruffy discovered that Mr Toothy was a bad apple, and then from that point on he ignored the other dogs and just did his own thing. So yeah, what you suggest, is probable I reckon.



  26. Hi Margaret,

    Hehe! Well, I got the idea for storing root vegetables in the ground from a long time hippy who I have great respect for. The person actually walks the talk, and years ago wrote about storing carrots in the ground, and then the little light bulb went on for me too. Also a true Doh! moment. 🙂 The ground doesn’t freeze here and also it is very well drained which makes that job easier for me. There are a whole heap of simple preservation techniques which are lost to experience, and might some day in the distant future become quite handy skills.

    I hear you about potatoes volunteering in odd out of the way places – sometimes the dogs assist with that process. Hey, the potatoes here sometimes produce seeds too when the summer conditions are just right. But yeah, sunny spots are at a premium here as well. Thus the older shady orchard versus the faster growing, but younger sunny orchard. Had a walk around today and checked out the fruit set. There are now little tiny apples on many of the trees. The recent hail storm hasn’t seemed to have damaged the apricots (maybe).

    Thanks for the correction regarding the goats. Ah, so goats (with whom I have little experience) fill the same niche as wallabies. My mates of the big shed fame recently scored some goats (Anglo-Nubians I believe). I’ll have to see how they’re going with them.

    PS: Ordered a brush cutter today so as to be able to get into the more wild areas surrounding the farm. The neighbours would have a fit if I burnt off those areas, so this is a good compromise and the forest will benefit from the work. Already I’m seeing a big upswing in the wildflowers growing in there.

    Good to hear that your sister is managing her condition better than what has been the case in the past. You did a really nice thing to inspire that tiny flame of enjoyment out in nature. And all soil can be improved with a bit of time and attention.

    Managed to get to the dentist this morning, and my tooth is now repaired. Yay! The dentist offered to do the repair job without anaesthetic as the nerves weren’t exposed, and I leaped at that offer and was able to enjoy lunch within an hour of completion of the repairs. It was such a relief and I was very distressed last evening not knowing the extent of the damage, and had unfortunately consumed the chunks of tooth in my dinner. Oh well. These things happen.



  27. Hi Elbows,

    Thank you for the lovely word, which roughly translates into Auslish as Yeah-Nah. But your word has much deeper meanings and insights.

    You’ve asked a massive question which I shall ponder this evening and respond tomorrow. As always there is a story in there…



  28. Hi Lewis,

    I’d like to suggest that the broken tooth was a laughing matter, but no, unfortunately I was most distressed. To be candid I was rather thinking to myself that: “so this is where my life has now come to. Chunks of me are falling off”. Nobody wants chunks falling off them.

    The editor used her feminine wiles and first thing this morning booked an emergency appointment in with our long term dentist, and who knew, they regularly keep spots open for such emergencies. I was whisked off to see the dentist late this morning, who it should be said had a similar genetic heritage to myself, and he repaired the tooth. When he told me that the nerve was not impacted and if I was good he didn’t recommend the local anaesthetic, I almost went ya-hoo with joy! And I sat there rigid and unmoving in the dentist chair with my eyes tightly shut for half an hour as they did their work, and one hour later I was able to enjoy lunch. Of course I did have to listen to background music courtesy of an easy listening radio station – that was the hard bit for me. Happy days, as I was so distressed that chunks of stuff had fallen off me, and I presumably had consumed them with dinner last evening. I wonder if my stomach will make friends with the chunks of tooth?

    Of course the rest of the day I was in a mild funk – otherwise known as the ‘come down’.

    I can laugh about it now, but you nailed it and the term snaggle-tooth was actually mentioned last evening, as in the curse of the… Must confess to not seeing the funny side of things at that time, but whatever, the show must go on and all that.

    Our news is full of your election news. Not sure why, but it is, and candidly I can’t make heads or tails of it. I do know that the three dogs have tails, and tails can wag, and that’s about where my understanding stopped.

    Did you know that the ‘secret ballot’ to which you refer was imported to your fine country from down under? Oh yes, and way back in the day it caused a minor outrage. Now where was that story… … Bear with me a second, but unlike unpleasant and grumpy bears from your country, try not to maul me, as having my limbs rend one from the other would hurt more than my recent tooth dramas… … Oh, here goes, for your edification (and don’t blame us): US elections were changed for better (and worse) by the secret ‘Australian ballot’.

    I look forward to receiving the Berg book, although Australia Post is frankly overwhelmed right now with all of the parcel deliveries due to the health subject which dare not be named, so it will take a long while to arrive. What did arrive in the mail this morning was the book Demian, by Herman Hesse. It was second hand and was full of little stickers marking out notable sections with the caption ‘Love it’. Not sure what that means, but discovering that was a first for me.

    Out of curiosity, did anyone return library books with chunks of the book missing? Some of the drawings I’ve encountered on ballot papers whilst counting would make you blush. 😉

    In my more cynical moments I do wonder if such statements are more about ticking boxes? Like, who does the audit to see whether such environmental outcomes are even achieved?

    Wood lice have a reputation for also consuming tiny seedlings but I have not caught them in the act so can’t verify this claim.

    Yes, I believe the reservists are run on a similar basis. Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of engineers, and I recall one who was also a reservist and he was very enthusiastic about blowing stuff up as part of his role. I used to enjoy talking with him about that, and possibly I’d enjoy doing that too.

    Ah, Dogma, well I haven’t seen that film but have only respect for the work of Silent Bob. Did you know that George Carlin was in the original Bill and Ted film? That alone lends the film a certain gravitas.

    Hey, I’m just recovering from the Songbird trailer! Let alone delving back into the serious disastrous 1919 Spanish Flu.

    Did you have a nice visit to the Club? The dogs are weird here too, but that may be because I was having my tooth dramas. Their knowledge of geopolitics is frankly not good. But H on the other hand is living out her best life as the dramas in your country unfold. I’d listen to H and take heed because things are actually a bit weird right now. Bear in mind that things can always get weirder. 🙂



  29. Good afternoon!

    First day of yet another a national lock-down, here in the UK – for once an exquisite day of mist and sunshine with a pleasant nip in the air and almost a frost. It’s very welcome after weeks of rain, mud, and murk. Murk is a wonderful Anglo-Saxon /Norse word that aptly describes much of an English winter. No poncy Norman French needed in this case.

    But enjoyment is certainly diminished – a lot – by thinking of all those who will be fearful for their jobs with this second heavy blow….

    Yes, it’s lamentable when bits of one fall off: but perhaps the question is: Will the repairs leave one looking even more beautiful than before? It’s possible. We all look forward to a photo of the repaired gnashers. 🙂

    Sir Sancho is working on a reply to Ruby’s delightful and romantic letter, but he is easily distracted by, well, anything, and making heavy weather of the dictionary and thesaurus which I left in his foul (but to him no doubt sweet) smelling dog bed.

    Reaching for a random, really thick, book on a top shelf to read on winter evenings, my hand fell on, guess what? ‘Rage to Live’, a bio of Isabel and Richard Burton! Synchronicity? It’s made me very keen to buy a sabre -his favourite weapon – for my daily fencing exercises, but the repros are heavy, poorly-balanced rubbish, and the nice swishy fast antique examples rather pricey. I tend not to have the odd £1k about me for fun purchases these days….

    All the best to everyone


  30. Yo, Chris – Chunks of you falling off. To quote the 93 year old sage, living next door, “Just you wait!” 🙂 .

    You were lucky to have “easy listening,” at your dentist. The dentist I went to for years, had on some “political” commentator. One I didn’t like. But, given that he was a most excellent dentist (took payments!), and was messing about in my mouth with sharp pointy things, I never mentioned it. Discretion, valor, and all that.

    Wow. I did not know that about the secret ballots. And, coming so late. The 1890s? Who knew. I must say, when my state went to all mail in, all the time, two things bothered me. I missed going to the polls. It was the one time I felt most like a citizen. And, the at home filling out of ballots? I couldn’t quit shake the image of someone, standing over someone, in the kitchen, making sure they “voted right.”

    Yup. The post is overwhelmed. The Currier and Ives prints I bought haven’t arrived yet. I dropped a line to the seller, this morning, and just to tell him I wasn’t worried, and he shouldn’t be, either. I told him that when I saw the “estimated delivery date”, 11/3 (election day), I just laughed. I also mentioned that the package bounced around his state, Tennessee, for three or four days, and hasn’t landed in Seattle yet. Where it will go by stagecoach to Tacoma, and then by Pony Express, to here.

    I have seen books in every imaginable (and, unimaginable) condition. It was always amusing to interact with such customers. Sometimes, things were so bad, we’d pop them in a plastic bag, bill them, and when they came roaring into the library to tell us that the book was like that, when they checked it out, well … probably not soaked in cat urine or sopping wet.

    George Carlin. Still missed. Gone too soon.

    H and I are having a morning in. Eleanor is off for a flu shot. I may wander down to the Club, later. I got to thinking. Our pantry at the Club is being hit, hard. Well, I used to spend a certain amount of mad cash, for books, for our library, here at the Institution. Which is now locked up, tight. So, I think I’ll take some of that, and, buy canned goods. Safeway had a good sale on canned fruit and vegetables, this week. So, I bought quit a few. When Eleanor gets back, I think I’ll go gas up, and hit the cheap grocery store, on the way back. The hunt and gather place. Might find some gems. Lew

  31. Hi Chris,

    A lot of modern Elven representations do tend to skew towards benevolent/wise. I ask, why would something that lives for thousands of years give any care factor towards scummy humans who live/breed and die in the blink of an eye? I think you have it the right of it with “casual cruelty”. Fear not though, many (normally European based such as “The Witcher”) tales still show the Elves for what they really are!!

    I hear you with online buying and selling, dealing with the unwashed masses can be very painful. However, in the spirit of Elven advice, may I suggest you don’t dismiss it so quickly? The selling leads to much mad cash, and the buying leads to terrific bargains of high quality goods. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater could lead to the path of a crusty hermit, perpetually shaking their fist at passing young folk, who threateningly walk near the grass. Like the Elves, I make no promise either course will not run ill!


  32. Hi Lew,

    I am still here 🙂 I meant to report back a week ago, I finally got around to watching “Chef”. I enjoyed the movie, I think it captured the spirit of cooking (I liked the scene where the young kid got a burn on his arm and the two older chefs just smiled). Mrs Damo didn’t like it at much, not enough drama. But that was its charm for me, just a guy learning to love cooking again. 4 stars!

    I also had some Japan photos to put on the blog which I thought you and Chris might like to see. It has being 10 months since the trip, I should probably get onto that 🙂

    I see you and Chris talking about Granola Shotgun, did you read the latest post about aged care options in the US? I was going to ask your thoughts on it since you have some first hand experience with the topic?


  33. Hi Xabier,

    Murk is a great word, and living in one of the few misty inhabited mountainous terrains down here, well my friend, the word speaks to me blood. My oath, it is cold here tonight, although I am soft in these matters and 48’F with a stiff breeze during the late springtime weather does freeze ones blood. I can see why the Scottish and German immigrants settled in these parts. I tell you a riddle: When all are clamouring for strife and warfare, where though art the King James and his patronage for the written word?

    I don’t rightly know what is occurring in your country on an economic front, but gobarmint support looks set to conclude at the end of next March. Where will we be then is the question?

    We’ve just been through the worst of the worst lock downs on the planet for the past eight months, and I’m now really not sure what to make of things and events elsewhere. Like, we were in lock down, so we don’t actually know what was going on. Strange days indeed.

    Thank you and yes, I’d like to believe that the tooth repairs were an improvement. Hehe! I’ve always looked after my teeth and annually go to the dentist for a check-up and clean, and for a chunk to fall off – it was a bit disconcerting with a side dressing of distress. Blame for this recent tooth episode can only be laid at the feet of an unfortunate hockey accident when I was 12. The repercussions from that day have travelled a long and circuitous journey. And cost me plenty. My words of wisdom: Don’t play hockey.

    Ah yes, well Sir Sancho has his reasons, and Ruby is a winsome young lass who possibly has better suitors than the tardy Sir Sancho. 😉

    Xabier, you forced me to crack out the Thesaurus yet again for that last sentence! Hehe! And talk of smelly dog bedding uncovered the delightful word for a dog’s world: An olfactory world. Sounds like a dirty old industrial estate to me…

    Ah, you have averred (another dip into the dratted Thesaurus) to a most recent acquisition or two which was bonkers crazy hard and full of mad hoops to jump, but (and you can quote me here) persistence perseveres in the face of pedants (a true mouthful) and um, yeah – we share a common legal heritage so only those who know, know. But done – with aplomb. And thanks to you I spent a pleasant half hour in the dark crawl space of the actor Richard Burton whilst enjoying my breakfast this morning. A truly beautiful voice, and even today I can hear his words recanting the background story to Jeff Wayne’s War of the World and in the cold late spring air of this evening, as it can be Forever Autumn.



  34. Hi Damo,

    ‘Chef’ is in one of my all time favourite films due to the narrative of the journey of the hero following his epic failure and fall, but includes the subsequent quest to find both purpose and friendship on this wondrous thing called life, with a side serving of redemption. That might have covered most of the narrative? Not sure, it may be deeper and Robert Downey Jnr hinted at dreadful ambiguities.

    Mind you, the film does not rate as highly in my book as say: ‘Fight Club’, which has a lot to say about the, I dunno, stuff and events and onion soup. It is possible that I have stopped making sense, and may have to yet again crack out the pesky Thesaurus so as to claim some intellectual higher ground.

    Damo, did you just chuck in a sneaky recommendation for a Polish-American drama series? Respect! Elves may not have our best interests at heart, and it took a Frodo to call them out on that dirt, when all else were in thrall to their majesty.

    Fear not, I may not have been entirely clear, but my decision involved the selling side of that particular arrangement – and not the purchasing side. It ain’t just me though, due to the health subject, which dare not be named, the local tip shop has been shut for a very long time now. One of the central themes behind the Great Depression was the accidental slowing of flows within society. Flows can take whatever form, and Modern Monetary Theorists probably have thoughts about that, but to slow the flows in a society which is based upon specialisation is to throttle all the activities which go to make up such a society. Anyway, what do I know and dunno expresses that nicely.

    All I know is that a parmi must have chicken breast for a base. Anything resembling a nugget is not worthy of a discussion. 🙂



  35. Hi Lewis,

    I defer my proper whinge about stuff falling out of my head – to who knows where (probably my stomach) – to Eleanor’s much great experience of this here thing called life. May we all achieve such a venerable run rate as Eleanor. (That’s a cricket reference too by the way).

    Speaking of the game cricket, you may never have encountered the interesting character of: Sir Donald George Bradman. His batting average was just shy of a century. I note that the entry describes him as a “A complex, highly driven man, not given to close personal relationships”. Interesting.

    Anyway, my grandfather on my dad’s side – the lesser one – mentioned to me once that he went to see the great man play, and he recalled that the great sportsman not score well at all. In fact the terminology used was a ‘duck’.

    Haha! Thanks for the mental narrative of a person sitting in a dentist chair being dealt too (possibly Little Shop of Horrors style) by the practitioner, whilst scoring a double dose of conservative political thought space. That’s definitely known as the ‘double whammy’! 🙂 I was just surprised I didn’t hear the band Chicago playing softly in the background with their sad, melodic and epic power ballad ‘If you leave me now’. I quite liked that song too. Always wise to never annoy a person who has sharp pointy tools and can make your life innocently unpleasant. Yes, very wise. I forgot to mention that the dentist looked and sounded like the actor Domhnall Gleeson, and he had a very pleasant demeanour and whilst the experience was seriously uncomfortable for me, it was not painful. And the sense of relief at the conclusion of the repairs was a great thing. My head had been full of worries before that time as the chunk fell from the back of the tooth. Mark Twain penned it beautifully when he wrote: “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

    Xabier’s mention of the actor Richard Burton sent me on a rabbit hole into that dark crawl space of talent and trouble.

    I usually work the counts on election night, mostly because long ago I became interested in the political process many years ago and firsthand experience is often the best way to satisfy such curiosity. But I haven’t been involved in mail in ballots, which I’d be fairly certain down here are on the up. We have a government department which does all of the work and the pollies scrutinise the count process so it is not really subject to the machinations of various politicians. Sometimes the scrutineers literally are breathing down your neck which I don’t like, but you know sometimes you have to deal. Anyway turns out some other folks in your part of the world appear to be rather excited by polling booths… The Funniest Tweets From Election Night. Fortunately down here, we are onto that sort of funny business and folks don’t get a curtain to do whatever it may be that they are doing in the privacy of that particular voting booth. I have personally seen some err, interesting drawings on ballot papers. The population sure is creative, but maybe upon reflection it is the male side of the population which tends to draw large phallus, and unfortunately some of the ballot papers are three feet wide which gives the naughty artists potential for mischief with their anonymous day in the sun.

    ‘Voted right’ was the inference, that’s for sure. I tend to believe that people now say one thing in public and another thing altogether in the quiet and anonymity of a polling booth.

    That’s a nice thing to do with the seller of the Currier and Ives prints. I had a similar experience down here recently as I decided months ago to obtain one spare house battery in case one of them had an untimely demise. It is very hard to mix in new and old batteries, but a new-old battery which is of a similar age to the rest of the pack would probably be OK. Anyway, the battery is on back order now and has been for a while, and it is like a scene out of the early stages of the World made by Hand novels, but the container is waiting to be unloaded and the battery is still weeks away. If I hadn’t had other experience with other businesses, I’d believe they were lying to me, but no.

    Stagecoach is probably faster. I do wonder how the wheels of those horse drawn contraptions handled the muddy roads during the winter. The road I live on was once part of a Cobb & Co road leading from the railway station up to the mansion / health resort higher up the mountain, and from there, who knows where? The idea for stagecoaches arrived from your part of the world.

    Cat urine and a sopping wet book – a poor and sad excuse for a book, but yeah I can see how that might happen. My cat once urinated on my school bag for some reason, and wow what a stink.

    Did H cope with the attention of the Big morning in? We went to a nearby garden today, had some scones with raspberry jam (yum) and for lunch ate a sausage roll which had an actual German sausage contained in the centre. I needed the day off. Red tape has me snowed under and up against the ropes. One cannot fight off the challenger without having some recuperation time with which to marshal ones resources before getting pummelled again… Ook!

    The flu shot is a very wise idea.



  36. Hi, Chris!

    I don’t believe I have ever encountered an elf, and I have not the sangfroid of Frodo, so I hope I never do. I do, however, remember that memorable Christmas movie “Elf” with Will Ferrell. Just in time for the season . . .

    You have caused great bewilderment among the old blokes at the hardware store. Perhaps they had never met their match, at least as The Old Duffers Gang. Wasn’t there a Don Knotts movie in the sixties called “The Over-the-Hill-Gang Rides Again?”

    I am not seeing the tension around here – and I mean, in town also – that you are seeing. Perhaps that extrapolates to the buying and selling of used items where you are (though we do both by mail, too). But then, our restrictions are not as stringent as yours, so maybe people here are a bit more relaxed.

    Mini Me (g). That’s cute. You’ve done a good job of it and are an example to us all. And please be careful with your new brush cutter – we call that a bush hog here – so that you do not have any more tooth misadventures. Brave you to go off and get it fixed right away.

    That is a wonderful sapling fence. It must have taken some time to construct. Years ago, when Asian bittersweet invaded our property – and if anything is invasive that stuff is; it chokes everything – we thought that we would make a good thing out of a bad thing and wove it into a fence. It looked beautiful, until a few months later the whole fence had rotted. At last, after 25 years, the deer have figured out that it is edible.

    Thanks for the secret ballots article. What an eye-opener.

    Glad to hear that your apples and apricots seem okay after the hail.

    Oh, the irises! And the rhodies! All your flowers always impress.


  37. Hello Chris
    I plant out seedlings, before they get too large, whatever the weather. You don’t want them to get root bound.

    Friends who had a twin tub, used to use the same water for a second or third wash. Husband’s filthy work clothes going in last. I really don’t remember but think that one could rinse in the spin dry tub.

    Washing things much more often:- I remember that my school uniform i.e. tunic and pullover, had to be dry cleaned. This was done three times a year at the end of each term. It does seem incredible now!
    Once upon a time children were sewn into their underwear for the winter.
    Also the reason for the bride bringing a linen dowry as it had to last the winter until it could be washed. I wonder how much one had to bring, how long sheets remained on the beds and whether this only applied to cold climates.

    Our village post office has closed and I read today that the one in town is closing in February though it will advertise for a new site. Life continues to get ever more insane.

    I am glad that you managed to get your tooth seen to. We have limited dentistry here at present.


  38. Yo, Damo – I read Granola Shotguns post on “eldercare.” Yeah, he covers most of the options. But, most of those options do require a bit of money. And, you are in good shape. Once the health care system takes all the money, and you get a bit decrepit, it’s off to “assisted living”, for you. Most old folks seem to know that assisted living is a death sentence, and you won’t last long. A bed, a nightstand, and 350 channels on the TV. With a room mate or two who are completely ga-ga. We all pray for what used to be called a “good death.” Quietly slip away, or keel over, without much fuss. When things get that bad for me, I hope I have the gumption to take matters in my own hands. Luckily, I live in a state where (if you can find one), a doctor will help you shuffle off your mortal coil. I also have all the legal instruments in place, so that no “heroic” efforts will come into play. Pull the plug, in other words.

    I’m sure you posted some pictures of Japan, somewhere? Bizarre architecture and small hot springs towns.

    After a bit of a memory jog, yes, I saw the film “Chef.” A great movie! I see our library still has three copies floating around. All out for viewing, so, it’s still popular. Lew

  39. Yo, Chris – Did they play “Feelings” or “People”, over the dentist’s Muzak system? I think I’d prefer the louche political commentator 🙂 .

    Oh, THAT Sir Richard Burton. I thought we were talking about the explorer, things being so elevated, this morning, what with the dueling thesauri, and all. 🙂 . But from your comment, you may have gone down the wrong rabbit hole. The actor? I am so confused. Not that that’s all that rare.

    “Working the counts.” Sounds like you had a bit of people looking over your shoulder. But, I doubt you had a howling mob, outside.

    The election tweets were very amusing. They about cover it. I noticed in a side bar that it appears Ole made the cover of the “2021
    Dog Pooping Calendar.”

    Actually, I think the Pony Express was more … fleet of hoof. Than stagecoach. They were quit something. “Only orphans need apply.” Didn’t last long. Technology did them in. The telegraph.

    Oh, H’s morning in, was the usual. Good as gold. A bit nervous when Eleanor is gone, but a bit of a cuddle in my lap, and she settles right down.

    You do have good nosh and tucker, in Australia. Nothing like a good pie and desert, to clear the head. 🙂

    Some of the States have passed some interesting laws. Mostly lost in the uproar of the election. Of particular interest …

    Six more states passed the legalization of Mari-hoochie. Still against the Federal law, but, there you go. Two counties in easter Oregon voted to join Idaho.

    But, it would have to pass State legislatures and Congress. Actually, I think it would be good if eastern Oregon and Washington formed their own state. Don’t know how DJ and Al feel about that.

    I saw an article where Australia has had a bumper crop of wheat, this year.

    Finally, maybe a clue in the Roman mosaic chicken headed man, mystery. I stumbled on some seal rings (also, from Britain) that had chicken headed men, on them. It’s still pretty murky, but, apparently, it was called Abraxas.

    Maybe had to do with magic, or philosophy.

    While typing this, my prints arrived! I’ll have to get them open and put the poor seller, out of his misery. It’s nice to deal with a seller who cares. Lew

  40. Hi Pam,

    How does this work? Yours was the second reference to Will Ferrel in one day. Must be something in the water! 🙂 I heard a rumour that the film ‘Wedding Crashers’ was to have a sequel made. Who can forget Will Ferrel yelling into the void: “Mum! Meatloaf!” Indeed.

    The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again film sounds like a lot of fun, sort of like a 1970’s early incarnation of ‘The Hangover’ series of films, but possibly with more western style shootouts.

    Yeah, possibly people are a bit more tense down here due to the health subject which dares not be named. The lock downs have been particularly hard on people’s mental health – there ain’t no getting around that one. It makes me grateful to be living on a farm.

    Further tooth adventures are always possible, but with chainsaw, mower, brush cutter (your brush hog) and angle grinder I use a helmet with face screen + glasses and ear muffs. To be honest it didn’t take much for me to get sick of washing gunk out of my eyes for that safety option to become a no brainer. And on one notable angle grinding experience I lodged a small chunk of metal shard in my eyeball and had to go to hospital to have it removed with a syringe. Some adventures – and I’m sure you’ll agree in sympathy – need not be repeated.

    Hey, here is a riddle for you about the tooth: I don’t like going to the dentist, so I go to the dentist. Mr Greer once casually remarked something along the lines that fear is often realised.

    Thanks and yup, the sapling fence was quite an interesting job. You may notice that there is only one such fence on this farm?

    Ouch! I’m guessing that Asian bittersweet would grow well here too. Hey, everything eventually gets eaten. There was an interesting recent adaption to the most awful cane toads (which aren’t a problem here as the winters are too cold): Adaptations of Australian animals to cane toads. There is good and bad in everything – which you quite rightly pointed out a few days ago.

    Who knew about the down under secret ballots infesting your part of the world?

    I don’t really know how the apricots and other fruit coped with the recent hailstorm and are just guessing that they’re OK. The almonds have put on some size over the past few weeks and I always look forward to fresh almonds. Yum!

    May you enjoy the continuing flower photos through your soon to become much darker and colder winter. 🙂



  41. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with seedlings, and I’m very new to utilising a greenhouse in order to raise seedlings, so appreciate your words. We planted out peas, beans and French lentils seedlings today, but will also tomorrow add seeds in-between the seedlings and just take a watch and observe approach in order to form a view as to what the best approach for each plant actually turns out to be. We really don’t know, but are more than happy to run the experiment.

    I can’t now recall how the twin tubs worked, but it is possible that I used them on a drain cycle and so never thought to re-use the water with a new load of washing. Over the years I’ve experienced some epic droughts and such technologies would be a handy response to water shortages. Having access to tank water, I have a different perspective than those who enjoy water from a municipal reservoir or even an underground well. I can actually see how much water is stored and it makes for an uncomfortable perspective in very dry years.

    Your school uniform story was not different from my own school uniform story. The pants and blazer (jacket) had to be dry cleaned, and so from memory it was a long time between cleanings. The shirt, socks and underwear were all regularly laundered and the shirt was additionally ironed – I should know as I had to do that task. It does seem incredible to me now too. I believe the pants and blazer were made of wool and that probably assisted matters. Synthetic materials for clothes are far more likely to become dirty and I’m honestly not sure why that is, but it is and avoid clothes made from synthetic materials.

    I’m old enough to recall that young ladies had Glory boxes which contained collected linen in anticipation of their future nuptials. Years and years ago I made a Glory box for the editor and we store our linen in there – even today. It is a beautiful, large and very heavy hardwood box which I often use to sit upon. The cast iron decorative handles for the box came from Bali. It is a lovely bit of furniture.

    All good questions to which I have no answer. But my gut feeling tells me that with washing machines and electric dryers, people often over-do this task. I’m pretty sure few people have considered this task in an energy constrained future. But I have visited many cities where the electricity is intermittent. An exciting prospect that one.

    Oh no, it is a double whammy for you, local bank closures and now a post office closure. Hopefully some of the recent new arrivals to your island from the cities can react with horror at the loss of services and throw their weight behind a new post office location?

    Thanks and I was grateful that the dentist could see me as quickly as they did. Care giving was one of the four reasons to be outside of your house not all that long ago, but the dentist was only able to attend to emergency matters such as what I just experienced.

    How are you coping with the lock down?



  42. Hi Lewis,

    Only those who know, know. 🙂 And clearly you have heard this radio music before. Hmm. The other week I was in the supermarket and the Bee Gees were belting out Saturday Night Fever in the background, and for a moment I did wonder how they might feel about that forum for their music? It seemed a bit discordant to me, but it is possible I am overly sensitive to such things.

    Yes, the allegedly three bottle a day of hard spirits gentleman (at one stage) sounds like something of a rogue to me. I’m honestly unsure how one could function after such punishment. But the explorer is another person altogether, and yes at the time you first alerted me to him, I may have mentioned that some people are put on this planet in order to make the rest of us look bad. At a wild guess, Mr Sir Burton had a touch of Asperger’s, or he was an extraordinary polymath. I’m leaning towards my first guess given the troubles he had with other people. He most clearly had his own thoughts and wasn’t afraid to share them. His poetry “Do what thy manhood bids thee do/ from none but self expect applause;/ He noblest lives and noblest dies/ who makes and keeps his self-made laws” suggests such to me. What a giant though. Have you read any of his many books?

    You are most correct with your assertion, and whilst I had to deal with scrutineers breathing down my neck, the finish of the count at around 11pm was a very quiet affair. Given everyone down here has to vote on threat of a fine, we sort of more or less get what we deserve.

    Hehe! Ollie would most happily pose for any camera, but he is a gentleman of the finest breeding and would not stoop to taking a dump whilst there is a camera in play. Hehe! I have this vague and amusing notion that his voice would sound like Scooby Doo.

    Oh my! Each rider rode about 75 miles (120 km) per day. Those young blokes sure were tough, but the pay was excellent. Unfortunately for the riders, the telegraph service sent the physical riders and service bankrupt. Imagine a job advertisement nowadays with the words: “Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily.” Oh there’d be some outrage about that for sure. Buffalo Bill was a character and then some. Thanks for mentioning this service, and it is a shame that technology bopped it on the financial head.

    Some dogs do have a nervous demeanour, and that is how they are. Plum has a little bit of that, and I can see why she was offered for sale as one of two otherwise working dogs. Both Plum and Ruby are perfectly fine for my working dog needs, and they perform their jobs well. There are now no rabbits on this farm, but they are venturing here from a nearby property which is unfortunately separated by a road, so they take their chances those two dogs.

    Yes, the good tucker was just the thing to clear my head of tooth worries. Whilst there yesterday I also picked up a lemon slice and lamington which were consumed with coffee later this afternoon. We worked all day long out in the cold late spring sunshine. All the peas, beans and some of the lentils were planted out. We’re going to do an experiment and plant seeds next to the seedlings and see which method proves the most reliable given the conditions.

    As you may have guessed the pea and bean supports were made from scrap reinforcing metal we had left over from earlier projects. All very heavy duty.

    Plus we planted out some foxgloves in the fern gully, and continued with the hedge of Chilean Guavas. So tasty and on some of the older guava plants there looks to be tiny little berries forming. Spotted the first as yet unripe raspberries as well as unripe strawberries.

    The late spring want time would be survivable here, but the diet would get dull rather quickly. At least the chickens produce plenty of eggs. Hey, I also worked out how to get some new heritage breed chickens, but I may have to join the local poultry group… I am spread a bit thinly. Oh well, not much else for it.

    That’s awesome news about the right to access the data recorded by vehicles. Years ago down here, independent mechanics won the right to repair vehicles which were still within their warranty terms. The manufacturers responded by extending their warranty terms if you had the car serviced at a dealer, but I believe that there are items excluded from that warranty extension. The sheer quantity and mass of electronics in vehicles is an alarming matter.

    I’ve often wondered if a market will eventually open up for a bare bones back to basics vehicle? Dunno, but I have been waiting for such a thing for a while now.

    I can understand how the counties would desire that outcome. It probably has zero chance of success, but you know… The state political leader who was at the helm when I was made redundant way back in the last recession, eventually famously lost support in the rural areas. There was a widely held belief that these areas were being stripped so as to prop up the state capital, and the backlash slowly built. That story has relevance to you guys.

    Bumper crop of wheat is the word on the street. My fifty odd bread wheat plants each have about three heads of seeds, and all I did was plant seeds and feed the soil and that was about it. I’m trying to work out when to harvest the seeds and may have to crack out my Gene Logsdon book on the subject.

    I’m quite predisposed towards the idea of Gnosis, it being after all a more personal journey. Dogma and doctrine tends to make me a bit grumpy, especially when it makes little if any sense. The Abrasax-stones are fascinating. Abraxas is clearly not to be messed with, whilst being somewhat central to things. Yes, that is clear. Very central. Hmm.

    What were the freebie prints like – were they to your taste, or did they involve parrots?



  43. Chris:

    Yesterday evening my son met up with the seller of an electric kitchen stove because he was trying to find a good deal on a used one for a friend who owns a lot of rural rental properties. He and the seller met in the parking lot of our big DIY store, which is in a central location and has nice, bright lights. The store also seems to condone this sort of thing hoping, I imagine, that the deal-making folks will come in and shop, which they usually do while there.

    This stove was the exact same year and model as the one we have in our kitchen – a 1992 GE. Which goes to show that they made a pretty darn good stove back then, as mine has gone all out about 7 days a week since the beginning.

    This stove that my son brought home look so good that I suggested that we switch ours with it and keep mum (ours looks like a deranged wallaby has been cooking on it). No, not kosher. So I still have mine (wouldn’t actually give it up anyway).

    The stove cost $40 and the transaction went smoothly.


  44. Hello Chris,
    Thanks for another excellent post and to all contributors of the lively discussion and your generous sharing of perspectives.

    I would like to share my experience from automotive computers & software, since I worked as a “systems engineer” for automotive software a few years ago, as part of the . We developed software for high end vehicles (think etc.) It was a bit of a sham, and ethically challenging, since we delivered a lot of rubbish that barely worked.
    During the ten years that a car “platform” is produced, the kinks get more or less worked out, and then when it almost works reliably, it is discontinued.
    My company acted as a
    , developing software for various brands, and had no responsibility whatsoever of any software that had been received with an OK from the car-builders… (i.e. no clear incentive to deliver quality.)
    I find this a kind of engineering malpractice, and I moved on.
    I usually avoid talking about this shameful episode of my life, but you opened up the discussion about a bare-basics-vehicle..

    When we lived in China, they launched there electric minicars in 2012, which I think are the least complex contraptions on the roads looking back through the last 100 years. Most of these minicars use wheel-motors (that came from electric scooters), a battery and no other electronics. No gears, no transmission, no ABS. Max weight 500 kg, and max speed 80 km/h, and a price to consumers around 2000 USD. Perfect for city/town people. Wheel-motors are self-contained units that can be drop-in replaced or repaired with bicycle-garage-equipment and skills. Unfortunately, they are not “approved for road use” in , where I now live.

    Low weight and low power is a key to low total energy use, which will become more important as we move along the disintegration of our wasteful civilization.

  45. Hello again
    I had forgotten that synthetic materials didn’t exist when I was young so none of the static that attracts dust and hair etc.

    We seem to have 2 kinds of woodlice one that can curl into a ball and one that can’t. I have never noticed that they affect any of my seeds or growing plants.

    I am sick unto death of lockdown and yet it affects me hardly at all. I do think of all those poor devils who are having their lives and finances seriously disrupted. There seems to be a huge difference between what the news and phone ins tell me people think i.e complete compliance and what those who I encounter think!


  46. Yo, Chris – Nope. Haven’t read any Sir Richard Burton. Either one.

    The Pony Express ads also said, “Only orphans need apply.” Same thing I said, when I was dating. I’m sure now a-days, that would offend someone. Either orphans, or people who are not orphans. Can’t leave anyone out.

    H really isn’t what I’d call nervous or high-strung. When she gets wound up, it’s more just … restless. And maybe needs a bit of hands on reassurance.

    Good you planted the fox gloves. If the old ticker starts acting up, they’re good for that. In fact, some of the modern medications for heart, are made out of Fox Glove. Digitalis.

    Well, let’s hope the local poultry group, isn’t like the gardening group you talked about. But then, you can always join, get in and get your rooster, and get out.

    If I ever have to buy another vehicle, again (gods, forfend!), I’ll be casting about for something really basic. I took a quick look into the rabbit hole, and noticed an article called “Best Cars for the Technophobe.” But the one that really caught my eye was …

    You conversation with Inge, and the mention of wheat reminded me to remind you to look into “hardening off.” Something to keep in mind, before hustling the sprouts, out to the garden. It got down to 32F (-0-), last night. But, once again, I think we didn’t get a frost, up here on the hillside. But tonight, probably will. It’s going to go lower.

    I’d guess Abraxas was some kind of a mystery cult. There were a lot of those kicking about, back in the day. Even the Mithras cult … well, we don’t know about a lot of the finer points. Any cult that’s a mystery cult tends to attract all kinds of wild tales and speculation. The pagan view of what the early Christians were up to, is pretty wild and bizarre.

    The prints arrived safely, and are quit nice. No better or worse than what I expected. Well, maybe a bit better. Well, the extras turned out to be an extra. Not that I’m complaining. It’s called “The Children in the Woods.” Two distressed looking youngsters, in the dark forest. I thought of Hansel and Gretel. And, wondered why it wasn’t called that. Well … Grim wrote the tale in the early 1800s. It wasn’t circulated widely, in English (near as I can tell) until the late 1800s. Judging from the address of Currier & Ives, on the print, the print was done sometimes before the 1850s. The story, by the way, has deep dark roots in European famines, a century or two earlier. Lew

  47. Hi Pam,

    Ah, never thought of doing an exchange that way at a neutral location. Not sure that I could trust people enough to be there when they say they would be there given my recent experiences. Oh well. Interesting, most of the people generally come to the house and I’ve noted that quite a lot of them hang around and have a chat and enjoy the scenery and also the day out of the big smoke.

    Oh yeah, I agree. If the machine is still working fine after almost 28 years of continuous service, then I reckon that is the definition of a keeper. Incidentally watch out for deranged wallabies in the kitchen, they might begin demanding gourmet snacks! 🙂

    Your son probably has the right of the matter, still it does raise the question about obtaining a spare. My thinking is that where there is one, there may be more. 😉

    Isn’t it crazy that quality items can go for a song, and nobody seems to notice. I wonder about that too, but take advantage of the opportunity so presented. Seems a shame to waste such an opportunity.



  48. Hi Inge,

    Nylon has been around for a long while, it just might not be as pervasive as it is today. Static is a good reason and one I’d never considered. But yeah, synthetic materials generally don’t keep me as warm, nor do they stay as clean as natural fibres. Not sure why that may be, but static is a certainly a difference. I stick to natural fibres for clothing.

    Thanks to Lewis, I read about wood lice and there are thousands of varieties of the species and they inhabit most landmasses. Talk about a successful species. My lot do eat seedlings, but I just try to out-compete them. Doesn’t always work though.

    That’s the thing isn’t it? In some corners of society, lock down is enormously popular. I do wonder if such people are enjoying not going to work on a Monday morning and still getting paid, but I am cynical about such motivations. This year I have worked far harder for less returns and I may write about that.

    It may be something to do with the people I speak with, but they sing a vastly different tune to the ‘happy with the odd circumstances’ folks you mentioned. Mostly they understand the precarious economic nature and risks this policy introduces. Surely we as a society somehow managed to get through WWI and WWII, The Great Depression and the Spanish Flu among other lesser later pandemics, and still didn’t end up with such extreme responses. My gut feeling tells me that something in the background has broken – and it might not be easily repaired.



  49. Hi Lewis,

    The Burton explorer is a far more interesting character than the actor who clearly challenged his liver in a most physical way. Actually the tale of the explorers deep dive into Middle Eastern culture to the point where the locals, who to be candid would have dealt to him rather harshly and possibly finally if his ruse was uncovered, sounds fascinating. Is the book still in print? Just scored a leather bound copy. Must get better bookshelves which keep out the dust. Hmm. A future project.

    Mate, I so hear you about that. A person need not have to date the extended family, but over the long years I (like you) have noted that some families just seem to want to get involved into your business. That would be a sore trial for me – and possibly also yourself. Culturally such an outcome does not work with me, but I have experienced such things…

    Ah, of course. By way of explanation, H is possibly similar to Ruby who has a certain sort of pent up energy just waiting to be called upon should the circumstances merit its release. Ollie and Plum on the other hand would happily enjoy their quiet time and relaxation.

    Thanks for the tip regarding foxgloves. I’ve heard a similar thing about Hawthorne which grows wild in these parts. The old timers used to use the plant as a fence – nobody in their right mind would push through such a thorny living fence. I’m giving thought to hedgerows as they are a very clever idea.

    Hehe! Lewis, I do hope that the local poultry group isn’t reading your comment as your suggestion was my plan! Ook! I do have to commence raising chickens and dogs sooner or later – it is inevitable. All journeys have to start somewhere I guess.

    Thanks for the vehicle suggestions. It is good to see that there is a market for basic vehicles, and the discussion has drawn someone out of the woodwork of the thousands of lurkers who read and enjoy my instalments and our ramblings. If the dirt mouse or dirt rat needed replacing I’m lusting after a Suzuki Jimny. Damo would understand and possibly concur with my desires. It is a small and highly practical vehicle. Vehicles will have to get smaller, although that is a story that few people would acknowledge. I’ve long wondered where the tipping point will come in that story, but the story is baked into the cake and will happen.

    Well yes, hardening off is not lost on me and I am now having to water the seedlings three and four times per day. You also mentioned the term ‘fearless gardening’ and yeah I’m into that. I really like watching systems fail if only because I learn far more from that experience than if I bizarrely get things right first time around and don’t get to experience the downsides. Hey, we even mapped out our plantings this year – and that is a first. I can see that we still need more growing space in the future.

    The Abraxas mystery cult must have been practiced by novices all over Ancient Rome because the evidence that there was such a deity lingers today. One of the representations of Abraxas – as in the chicken headed deity – looked as if the head had been placed upon a female human body. I wondered about the meaning of that as other representations looked more male.

    Years ago I read the complete tales of the Brothers Grimm, and their various adjustments to the original stories kind of bothered me a bit. Not sure why it bothered me, but those two authors had an agenda, and they weren’t afraid of publishing it. But yes, years ago you mentioned to me the complexity of having to fend off a pack of hungry wolves, and yes over the years I have softened to that particular reality.

    Better get writing!



  50. Hi Goran,

    Welcome to the discussion.

    Apologies but I had to delete a few specific references in your comment as it breached the code of conduct for the blog. The reason for this is that defamation laws down here are bonkers, and need we test these laws? 🙂

    You may laugh, but there was a recent legal case down here where some numpty had a blog and agreed with a defamatory comment and was found guilty of defaming by doing so. Sounds like a thought crime to me, but this is the world I live in.

    Glad to read that you used your internal compass to navigate the way through what appears to be a challenging and difficult experience. None but ourselves, know ourselves – is possibly one way of looking at the dilemma you faced.

    Your experience with software doesn’t surprise me. It may surprise you to know that with many of the systems here on the farm I have to reach a good enough state, but then the difference becomes that once that state has been reached, I accept the limitations which are a natural consequence of such a state. The idea that such systems get chucked out is a bizarre notion to me, as everything really builds upon the past whether we acknowledge it or no.

    Thanks for sharing your fascinating experience.

    Heck yeah! Mate, I’m utilising an off grid electricity system and the thought of charging an electric vehicle as they are currently manufactured, from such a system gives me the absolute vapours! And imagining too many of those battery chargers attached to the mains electricity grid seems like an impossibility to me. But the sort of light weight electric vehicle you mentioned, is exactly the sort that will have a chance of success. And the repair story is an excellent story to raise. Yes, it is a problem.

    It is a wasteful thing isn’t it. And the surprising thing is that it needn’t be that way. I have a dark suspicion that this level of waste will only be possible, whilst it is possible. Half of all food calories down under now arrive on the table courtesy of natural gas, and we are soon to reach the point where we export more than we extract. Fortunately the recent health subject which dare not be named has provided an opportunity to overturn long term moratoriums on gas drilling. The threat of hunger can motivate people, but this is a one trick pony reaction. Oh well.



  51. Hello again
    Re: hedges. The hedges along the roads around here tend to be mainly hawthorn and blackthorn.


  52. Yo, Chris – Brrr! It got down to 27F (-2.77C), last night. One of those pretty frosts that paints everything with interesting patterns. All gone, now. One more night of frost, and then it’s back to rain and warmer temperatures.

    Hedgerows: Great cover for birds and small animals.

    I also found Goran’s post, informative. I think I’ve mentioned that the standard operating procedure, for a lot of software development companies is, “If it works, it’s obsolete.” I really think someone’s missing a bet. Word on the street is, there’s a lot of interest in a dependable vehicle that’s simple to work and repair … and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles.

    The Brothers Grimm, and other fairy tales, often taught some kind of a lesson. Hansel and Gretel? Don’t go wandering off into the woods. Hmmm. Maybe you should read it to your fluffies? 🙂 .

    Well, I was up til 3, last night (my usual), went to bed. Up at 5am to bid on a C&I print. Won. Back to bed until it was time to walk H. The print I won was “Noah’s Ark.” C&I, over the course of their history, made several versions of that topic.

    I watched an interesting documentary, last night. “The Poison Squad.” About a chap named Dr. Harvey Wiley, who around 1900 led the charge for pure food and drugs.

    He started his carrier when the State of Indiana asked him to look into honey and maple syrup. Turns out 90% of the honey was corn syrup, with a scrap of comb in it. Maple syrup was mostly colored corn syrup. And, he was off and running. He had a terrible time of it, as, government was in the pocket of the big food producers (glad those bad old days are gone 🙂 . ) He finally got a boost over the top, when Upton Sinclair came out with his book, “The Jungle” and also from the help of the Suffragettes.

    I also started watching a series of documentaries, called, “James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction.” Pretty interesting stuff. He interviews just about every director, actor and author you can think of. Of course, now, I’d like to go back and look at some of those films, again. Just not enough hours in a day, or days in a life … 🙂 Lew

  53. Dear Chris,

    I apologize for mentioning the brand names of engineering shame, gifting you with additional editorial work. I will desist.

    I suspect that we engineers are the first ones who notice the energy descent future and the necessity to simplify society, but the last ones to admit it. Our un-earned prestige, ridiculous salaries and general esteem as societal heroes would be gone in a heartbeat.

    For me it was too painful to accept, even though I knew it for a decade, before coming out as a recovering post-progressivist.

    Thanks again,
    the lurker

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