Prediction 2021: Zombies

Maybe it is just the odd corners of the Interweb which I read, but predictions for the coming year seem to have become part of the traditional landscape. I’m all for tradition, if only because the recent past seems so much like the future, except that it can be different.

Anyway, you heard it here first. My prediction for 2021 is this: Zombies. If you think about it for just a little while, zombies makes absolutely perfect sense. Like, at this time last year who could have predicted the craziness that has gripped us all over the past dozen months? I wouldn’t have, that’s why my money is on zombies for this coming year. Yes, things could always get stranger than they currently are. And the beautiful thing about the prediction is that if zombies don’t actually take over the streets of your town, next year in all innocence I can claim that I was referring to the release of a zombie film. I can’t go wrong with this prediction, but hopefully during the next year a zombie film does actually get released. Shouldn’t be too hard… Maybe?

Traditional zombie lore states that clamouring for brains seems to be what motivates the average zombie. And only removing the head from the body seems to be able to stop the pesky monsters in their tracks. I’m adding that last bit of useful zombie lore in to the text, just in case it wasn’t known and a reader encounters a zombie. But anyone who is anyone knows this to be true – so the less well read are perhaps zombie fodder giving the rest of us here a strategic advantage!

But last year, you have to admit, was actually super-weird. Personally I’d always believed that the decline of western civilisation was going to be strange, but I thought that meant decaying infrastructure, unabated corruption, heavy metal music, and unhappy teenagers. What actually has happened wasn’t even in my darkest dreams where zombies, and bizarrely enough also robots (think Terminator), occasionally lurk. Zombies are at least honest, as a person knows where they stand with a zombie’s motivations and unholy desires. Robots are more deceptive in that they can pretend for a while that they are your mates, just before decisively proving the truth of the matter.

A couple of days ago I had a minor accident on the farm (more on this later). Later that night I awoke not from a nightmare of zombies or robots behaving badly, but from a bit of shock at having not smashed my face against the side of a very large rock that I’d been moving. My face would have lost that battle. The time spent in a mild state of shock was put to good use cogitating over what had almost happened.

It’s all good though, and I’ve learned my lesson and will be careful not to repeat it. Unfortunately like the decline of western civilisation, I’ll be sure to make new and more interesting errors in the future! But one idea popped up out of the murky swamp that was my thoughts on that dark night. The idea was that I’m very grateful for the time and experiences that I have had. It is true that things could always be worse.

At the start of last year, things actually were far worse for many people down under. Drought had gripped the land the previous two years. By early New Year’s 2020, epicly scaled bushfires tore through the far eastern part of this continent. The scale truly was epic and approximately 46 million acres of land burned. Not good. The forest surrounding the farm was unscathed, and it was hard to ignore the thick smoke in the air which persisted day after day.

January 2020 and thick smoke was a constant

Into that smoky world of a bit over a year ago, a litter of Kelpie pups were born on a farm in the drought ravaged north. Two of the pups were candidly not good working dog material, and those two puppies fortunately found their way onto this farm.

Ollie keeps a close eye on his two new pup friends

In January by sheer chance I had a conversation at a pub with a bloke who is a long term acquaintance. He wanted to offload eight used solar panels, but for free as they had no resale value. Maybe the pint of beer caused me to mishear that offer, but no. Turns out our society is crazy enough to place no value on perfectly good working solar panels. What else could I do? A further eight solar panels were tracked down for very little mad cash. By March I was constructing a huge solar panel array in the paddock down below the house.

A huge solar panel array of 16 solar panels was constructed below the house

It surprises me sometimes how little value our society places on second hand items. In the previous November of 2019, we purchased a second hand low centre of gravity mower which had barely been used. The lady who was selling the machine was happy to be rid of it, and we were happy with the reasonable price. The machine was made for use on 17 degree slopes, and whilst it is steep here, it isn’t that steep. The machine is not without its faults, but for the price it is amazing. However, we’ve had to modify many of the access paths in order to accommodate the machine. With this in mind, in April we widened and completed the path up above the house which leads from the driveway to the garden terraces.

The path up above the house was widened and completed

And in May a lower gradient path leading from the house and down into the two orchards below the house was commenced.

A low gradient path leading down from the house had begun to be constructed

By July, the health subject which dares not be named caused some serious craziness down here. It became a regular feature of my life to have to show my identification and also papers at checkpoints manned by the military personnel and the police. Can’t say that I was a fan of such measures, and they went on for months. Fortunately, no zombies were harmed in the process.

A police checkpoint on a rural back road

A few zombies however can’t stop the juggernaut that is Fernglade Farm, and in the same month (July) we constructed a massive soil bridge and ramp at the end of the widened path which was mentioned above.

A soil bridge and path was constructed at the far end of the path up above the house

In August it snowed. Makes you wonder how zombies would handle the cold? Would fast zombies still be fast zombies in the cold winter months? The laws of thermodynamics might just have something to say about that.

August is the coldest month here. Brr!

When snow is on the ground here, spring is never far around the corner. With warmer weather approaching, the editor and I constructed a new greenhouse. From hindsight, that greenhouse has been a lifesaver this summer. The vast majority of our annual crops were raised from seed in that small building.

As Spring weather took hold, we completed the construction of a greenhouse

The following month (October), the old lead acid gel batteries which had powered this off grid house for the past decade, were retired from service. We replaced those batteries with new fangled and much smaller, but no less expensive, lithium batteries. Four months on, and I’m very impressed with the batteries. However, don’t believe the hype because underneath the petite good looks of the smaller lithium batteries, they still have all the same underlying flaws shared with the older lead acid batteries. The newer lithium batteries have many advantages, but they still share the same disadvantages, just not to the same extent.

New and much smaller lithium batteries were installed in October

It is a truth universally acknowledged that on a farm, a person can never have enough sheds. In December we began excavating soil along the path up above the house so as to be able to construct a new shed.

Ollie admires the newly discovered Moby body Rock II at the rear of a new excavation

We may also have done some other stuff during the year, but I can assure concerned readers that no zombies were harmed.

This week the weather has been sometimes warm, and sometimes downright tropical. Such a massive difference from last summer. This morning an inch of rain fell in only a few minutes.

Humid skies prevail following a sudden tropical downpour

More large rocks were placed upon the side of the newly constructed low gradient path leading from the house to the two orchards.

Ruby admires the developing low gradient path leading into the orchards

One of the rocks was huge and weighed far more than I do. The editor (edit – against my better judgement and after considerable whinging from the author!!!!) and I were slowly rolling the huge rock up hill when I accidentally slipped and almost landed face first on the huge rock. Despite a few deep scratches up the length of my right arm I was rattled but unscathed. After the blood stopped flowing we got the huge rock into position.

That huge rock sans face imprint

That is the last really massive rock I’ll try and move. The projects still require huge rocks, but an idea occurred to me to split larger rocks into smaller and more manageable rocks. The idea was put into action and I split three larger rocks into six smaller rocks. Given the number of larger rocks we have access to, we may have postponed Peak Rocks by using a super nifty fracking technique. Splitting larger rocks is not easy, but it is possible.

Like breaking an egg, just a whole lot harder
Two more large rocks were split

Spring produce update:

Greens for use in the kitchen are grown right alongside the house

The old sapling fenced tomato enclosure is being used to grow a combination of tomatoes, chili’s, eggplants, zucchini’s, squashes and pumpkins. There may even be a water melon growing in there, but with this colder summer I don’t hold out much hope for the fruit.

The old sapling fenced garden enclosure

It interests me that the corn grown from seed saved last season is now almost double the size of the open pollinated heritage variety of corn we’re trialling alongside it.

Our open pollinated corn seems to be growing faster than the trialled variety

The production of strawberries and raspberries appears to have slowed. However, now blackberries are becoming ripe. I have not watered the blackberries this season, and you wouldn’t know it by the way they are growing.

Blackberries are now becoming ripe

Pears and apples seem to be having a good season too. Hopefully the parrots living on the farm leave some to become ripe.

Asian Pears are producing well this summer
This is the first summer that the European Pears have produced some fruit

We’ve picked a few Apricots in order to test whether they have ripened.

The first Apricots are only days away from becoming ripe

A very reliable producing tree is the Anzac Peach, so named after Australian and New Zealand soldiers in WWI and WWII.

The Anzac Peach is covered in almost ripe fruit

Onto the flowers:

The Roses are loving the heat and rain
We have a large variety of Roses growing among the vegetable terraces

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 12’C (48’F). So far this year there has been 1.6mm (0.1 inches). Last years total rainfall was 1155.4mm (45.5 inches) which is a very damp year.

65 thoughts on “Prediction 2021: Zombies”

  1. Brainzzz! grrrrrr Brainzzzzz!

    I will further acknowledge the truth that farms can never have enough sheds. I have been accumulating materials for a 12′ x 16′ ( 3.6m x 4.8m) shed to be built next summer. I’m sure it will not be big enough.
    I’ll also second the grateful feelings. My wife and I have been saying that even more than usual this infamous year. I try not to take the next step of worrying about the future prospects for our kids and grandkids. Zombies or no, the ride is going to get bumpy.

    I don’t catch all that much pop culture these days, but watched more in years past. I guess my favorite zombie fest was Shaun of the Dead. Just good silly gore. And slow zombies are much less scary than the fast ones.

    I had a close call last year, and to this day, I take just that extra little pause before starting a task that might involve some degree of risk. But, the cold uncaring universe being what it is, the next brush with danger will probably come from out of the blue and still surprise me.

  2. Yo, Chris – Well, zombies are all well and good, but my vote goes for … Triffids. After all, we did have that “strange visitor from another galaxy,” back in 2017. I figure they’re in out of the way places, quietly gathering strength.

    From my observation (purely armchair) there are many ways to dispatch zombies. Of course, whacking off the head is very satisfying. But a good, solid whack to the head, also seems to work. Cave it in like a melon. Or, the “Zombieland” method. Double tap. Right between the eyes. And, a new one. An industrial strength wood chipper. Warning. A bit of bad language, ahead.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0hkO5UjSpw

    You get a glimpse of it, at about 30 seconds in.

    Hmmm. As far as I know, there’s no new zombie films on the horizon. Have we reached peak zombie films? Maybe, they’re just giving it a breather? Time will tell.

    Western Civilization may be crumbling, but things seem pretty good at Fern Glade Farm. Kelpie puppies, almost free solar panels, low center of gravity mower, soil bridges, a greenhouse, batteries, and more rocks. You forgot the power wheelbarrow and log splitter. To quote Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

    Things may be crazy, but, the wins, large and small should elicit an “attitude of gratitude.” Which I think you mentioned, somewhere along the way.

    Yup, I can clearly see the scrap on your arm. Wear gauntlets, next time? I was hoping for a shot of the blood drenched rock. πŸ™‚ .

    The sapling fenced garden enclosure looks like it’s going to produce, quit a lot. I that garlic flowers I see lurking, on the right side of the photo? Or is it … Triffids?

    It looks like your going to have a bumper crop of fruits of all kinds. If you can keep the parrots off. You mentioned nesting boxes for owls. I wonder if they’d deter the parrots, a bit? The apricots are very pretty … and, I bet, tasty. Lew

  3. Hi everyone,

    My brain hurts! As a minor bit of website administration the website now utilises encryption with all traffic coming to and from the server. Yes, it is amazing the tech geek stuff I’ve had to learn. If anyone has any dramas with the website please send me an email to anyaddress@ferngladefarm.com.au

    But otherwise it is business as usual! On with the show. πŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Chris

  4. Hi Pam,

    Woof! Woof! Long have the rats taunted my trusty sister and I. Always were they just one paw from our reach. Ever have we sought them. Yesterday the rat under estimated my pedigree. Serious is the mission. Respect for your understanding.

    Tail wags and Toothy grins to you and yours. Good things I have heard.

    Plum

  5. Hi Xabier,

    It just so happens that over lunch today, which incidentally was freshly baked bread and home made strawberry and raspberry jam (one must test the mix – well that’s my excuse) and peanut butter, I read a section of the book ‘Victorian Farm’ by Ruth Goodman.

    The most excellent author delved briefly into the role of women on farms during the Victorian era, and it was a more complicated and nuanced story than our current beliefs may err, believe. There is an old saying about ‘idle hands being the devils workshop’, but I gather that on a Victorian farm there were never any idle hands, male or female – at least such folks didn’t reside on the farm for very long. πŸ™‚

    The breadth of skills required to live on such a farm is quite astounding.

    I hear you about rainy winter days – which is generally when I work the forest. Today, the rain drizzled all day long, the wind blew and it barely surpassed 54’F. What the heck?

    Cheers

    Chris

  6. Hi Steve,

    Hehe! Zombies, pesky critters. πŸ™‚

    That’s a good sized shed and reasonably useful too. Most of the sheds I construct are around that size, and contents and needs just seem to pile up. Dunno how that works, but it does seem to be the case.

    Yeah, a touch of humility and a sense of gratefulness that things could be far, far worse, is not a bad way to go. As to the longer term future, I really have no idea what to think other than it might get even stranger.

    Shaun of the Dead was a hoot! Simon Pegg is da man. Such a funny film. And sometimes I find myself quoting the film: Plans, I’ve got plans. Yeah, like what? πŸ™‚ A salient point was thus made.

    John Carpenters Dawn of Dead with the fast zombies, just yeah, scary.

    Glad to read that likewise, you survived your close call to live and fight another day. It is a bit of a wake up call, and sometimes I guess we all learn by trial and error – and then hope to gawd we survive not getting mashed. But like you write, bolts can occasionally arrive out of the blue.

    Hope it is not too cold in your part of the world, and I see that you have a new blog post. πŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Chris

  7. Hey Chris,

    I think last year was the year that proved that zombie movies are documentaries: one day you’ll wake up and everything you thought you knew about the society you live in will be wrong. Actually, I’ve never seen a ‘real’ zombie movie, only the Simon Pegg ones.

    Glad to hear the rock didn’t do too much damage. Close calls like that can be a good reminder to be grateful. I had one once where I was on the roof of a factory (don’t ask why). Most of the roof was zincalume sheets but there were also some polycarbonate sheets. Partly because I wasn’t being as careful as I should and partly because the sun was in my eyes I took a step onto what I thought was going to be metal but turned out to be polycarbonate. Not only that, it was old, degraded polycarbonate. Naturally, my foot went straight through.

    How I didn’t fall through is still a mystery to me but I didn’t even get a scratch, just fell straight down and my butt landed on nice, sturdy, gravity-defying metal. I sat there for a little while looking at what was probably a five metre drop straight onto a table saw (the people below were woodworkers). Come to think of it, that table saw would probably work quite nicely on a zombie.

    Cheers,
    Simon

  8. Hi Lewis,

    I spent a brain numbing hour or so upgrading the security on the website this evening. I don’t know much, but I do know that zombies are bad – but hackers can be bad too. Pesky creatures, and I can only but stay but one step ahead of them. If ever you are having a bout of insomnia, well fear not as all you need but do is begin reviewing security flaws on the interweb… A very dull chunk of reading and it is sure to put anyone to sleep.

    Flopsie the cheeky wabbit has excavated a warren that leads directly into the vegetable terraces. This should not be. I constructed and set out two wabbit snares today. Have to admit that utoob is actually pretty good for getting into the nitty gritty of such activities. And I now know more about wabbit snares than any sane person possibly ever should.

    We have a handful of cases of the health subject which dares not be named in the entire state, and masks have become compulsory indoors again. Sigh. Oh well. I have this tune that’s stuck in my head and the melody is ripped straight from the 80’s film: The never ending story, except that the words are: The never ending problem.

    Today barely passed 54’F, and the rain drizzled all day long. It looks and feels like winter outside today. A very odd summer. Had a day of pottering around doing various activities that needed doing. Sometimes it feels freeing on my mind to knock over a few tasks that would otherwise be burdensome. Some of the farm machines required attending too, and rugged up against the winter, sorry summer, chill and drizzle, I attended to those activities.

    Hehe! Maybe chuggers need a parrot on their shoulders, and then they can threaten passer-by’s with pirate like speech and acts. Take that, me hearties (or something pirate sounding like). Shaking the Spanish galleons down for mad gold worked for the pirates (for a while at least)!

    Yes, the wabbits diner at Fernglade Farm is seriously a bit of a worry. I looked up the dimensions for the local owl nesting boxes and I might add a few of those to the surrounding trees. The local owls can apparently snack upon wabbit. Anyway, two snares are set, and the furry cheeky scamps are constructing a third tunnel. It is the third tunnel theory. I’ve been tardy in my reaction due to being kept too busy, and so put my foot down today and just sorted the snares out.

    No, you do see budgies in some of the more feral parks alongside creeks in the big smoke – not even that far out of the city, but up here, they’re not really seen. There are some interesting colours with the birds. I believe the birds prefer more open country than the forests here. They make good pets, but I’d have several in an aviary otherwise they’ll get bored/distressed and the screeching will send you bonkers. Seriously. Cool, aren’t they all the same? The ones I’ve seen in the city are a predominantly green colour. The photos were awesome.

    We’re having about the same sort of weather as you. Looking out the window it is like a scene from winter. Bonkers, and the pups required towelling down just like H. Ollie was far more sensible.

    Hehe! You’d make a good hermit. Takes one to know one! πŸ™‚

    Way up in the north of the continent, Tropical Cyclone Imogen appears to have delivered a deluge of almost 8 inches of rain so far. Not far off what you have recently experienced, but in a shorter time-frame.

    Sublimation is a fascinating concept. It’s a bit like the old bait and switch routine, or distraction technique, but much subtler. Anyway, I have no idea why slasher films were viewed in the media studies subject. The school was very odd and way out of the usual, no doubts about it. I see now that the school was established for disadvantaged and homeless kids (I fell into the former, I guess). I left there in 1983, and by 1992 due to the underlying value of the houses combined with the economic recession – the school was closed down and the houses sold off. It was an interesting experience going there and a far less aggressive culture than at the more English than the English school. Funnily enough I never thought of myself as disadvantaged, but there you go. Just seemed all normal to me at the time.

    The problem is that after 95 years, who even knows who The Great Gatsby even was? Like the beach towel idea though. Our fortunes are made!!!

    Forgive my naivety, but don’t your fellow inmates run the serious risk of going way, way down to somewhere spiritually nobody wants to end up – it being toasty hot and all that, just because they feel safer in their own beliefs? One of my take away’s from the sermon on the mount was that the Big J was pretty much telling people to worry about their own affairs in that particular regard. Or have I erred in that understanding?

    I reckon everyone gets taken on the long working hour’s story at least once in their working life. I hear you about the insane working hours, and been there and done that, and the thing is, at the end, no matter how hard or long you work – it is never enough to feed the hungry ghost. Exactly age and experience to know that something is very, very wrong, and then what to do about it. We don’t have a very supportive culture when it comes to such oddities, and certainly at the time nobody suggested to just leave and go work somewhere else – as you suggested.

    Hey, I’m with you about the ebuy feedback. There are some odd people out there in the world – and you can’t please everyone. I only tracked the guy down because he was like whack a mole and kept popping up – eventually I just got rid of all interweb advertising. From my perspective it is a stupid platform where that can happen, so all I have now is a presence which says: We’re here. And not much else. The thing that annoyed me about the whack a mole guy was that it was a client who noticed the reviews. It never even occurred to me that people would do that.

    Hehe! Good point. The Italians know a thing or twenty about farming on the side of hills. πŸ™‚ The low centre of gravity mower is unsurprisingly of Italian origin.

    Who knows what the astrophysicist might come up with. We spoke about this object at the time, as it was quite awesome to consider that there were objects hurtling around the interstellar space at high velocities. Glad it didn’t hit the Earth. The jury is out on whether you should get the book. The mathematics would be beyond my brain. Hey, tell ya what though. The artists impression looks like an interstellar chocolate bar. Kind of like the one Bill Murray pulled from the infamous pool scene in the film Caddyshack. Watched it again a few years back and switched it off before even getting a quarter of the way into the film.

    Haha! Of course, how could I have been so dense. Yes, you are correct. The Triffids are the ones to keep a sharp eye out for in 2021. It is all now clear as mud.

    Go on. Get the book on Oumuamua. You’ll love it! πŸ™‚

    An excellent use for an industrial chipper – you could see the rotating blades. Hope they don’t get clogged up or bad things will happen to the dozer driver.

    Lewis, I cheated. True. So I did a bit of digging and found some website devoted to the latest release zombie films. Mate, this one is in the bag. Nerd Much: All Upcoming Zombie Movies of 2020 & Beyond . There is even a zombie + robot film. With a website name like that, these guys know their stuff.

    Hehe! Thanks for the Seneca quote. That guy was onto something. πŸ™‚

    No rocks were harmed in the incident – only the single human was harmed. There was a bit of blood though…

    Ah, the garlic style flowers on long scapes are actually a new mild variety of leek I grow. The old variety was feral strong, and I was weak. Yeah, the parrots seem to be interested in the apples this year, but I suspect that all being well, in subsequent years the apple crop will get even bigger. A very prolific tree and there are at least thirty of them, but maybe more.

    The apricots are a fave, although it is only early days for that stone fruit. They should get better in a few weeks – if the sun shines again.

    Cheers

    Chris

  9. Hi, Chris!

    I am glad to say that I don’t know any zombies, though undoubtedly they are lurking somewhere.

    Sherlock that I am, I am able to deduce that that rock purposely caused you to trip, and was going to attack you while you were down. But, nimble fellow that you are, you avoided its clutches and escaped. However, I would keep my eye on it. It is well known that rocks are never to be trusted. I say “good job” on the split rock (take that you fiend!), and that’s a nice patch on your overalls.

    I am glad to know about the battery comparison.

    Your roses just never stop giving.

    I read in “Edwardian Farm” that one can preserve eggs by keeping them in lime water.

    Pam

  10. Hi Simon,

    Hehe! So true. You wake up one day to discover the world has turned to poop – and even worse you’ve made it in to work that day before you found out. The question then is, would have gone to work knowing that the zombies weren’t far away?

    I suggest: John Carpenter’s version of Dawn of the Dead. Fast zombies and from the opening scene to the final scenes, the film does not let up. The stuff of nightmares, if you dare…

    Far freakin out! You got seriously lucky that day and may even have used up several of your nine cat lives. A five metre drop is enough to break your back. Roofs are dangerous workspaces, that’s for sure. And onto a table saw too. That would have been seriously messy. Were you in a bit of shock after that?

    Did you get much rain today? It’s like winter up here.

    Cheers

    Chris

  11. Hi Pam,

    I don’t believe they are there, but it might not be a bad idea to check for zombies lurking behind the couch – you know, where the dust bunnies are. Well that’s where the dust bunnies are found here. Maybe zombies could even be bribed to consume dust bunnies rather than brains? Still it would make for an uncomfortable existence because you’d never quite know when they might turn from dust bunnies back to brains. That would not be good for us, the living.

    Anyway, Lewis believes that we should be more concerned about the Triffids. Yes, large gardens, and who really knows what might be lurking in the darker corners of the garden? It’s a bit eerie really.

    Pam, I’m usually very polite to the rocks. That particular rock as you deduced, has a mischievous nature. And yes, it’s not to be trusted. But hopefully upon seeing it’s other large rock mates split into two, well let’s just say that sends a strong message. πŸ˜‰

    Thank you, and the overalls work very hard.

    The batteries are like all of that suite of technologies in that they are good, they’re just not good enough.

    On the other hand, the roses are good. Expect more flowers – if the sun decides to shine.

    A large black locust tree split and fell today in the winter-like rain and wind. I don’t relish chipping that tree up due to the thorns. Oh well, some jobs don’t do themselves.

    Fascinating stuff about the egg preservation. Are you enjoying the book – and would you recommend it?

    Cheers

    Chris

  12. Yo, Chris – Upgrading security sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry. And, I think paint has the edge as far as excitement factor, goes. But, the security is just one of those jobs that needs to be done.

    Rabbit snares, rabbit stew, rabbit pelts? You know, in your spare time. πŸ™‚ .

    Looks like they got the rain gage, up and running again. Cleaned the spiders out? Now that they’ve done that, how about the temperature gage? The record for rain is incomplete, but looks like we had about 5″ in the last 36 hours. We might get some clearing, Wednesday night and into Thursday. We’ll see.

    If you Gargle “colors of budgies”, it’s a real eye opener. Some look like they could glow in the dark. I looked into Budgies. Yup. If you have one, you have to play with it one to two hours, a day. So it bonds with you. If you get to, they bond with each other, and pretty much ignore you. So, keeping all that in mind, I have so far resisted the siren call of the Budgie. Outside, it’s the season of the LBB’s. Little Brown Birds. They are everywhere.

    Well, the “Great Gatsby” ought to live in memory, for quit awhile. It’s been filmed four times, most recently in 2014. And, it’s often on reading lists for high school and college students.

    Whack a mole. It’s all part of Big Tech’s “we’re only a platform,” defense. Which I’m happy to see is being, more and more, called into question. And, even legislated against. You put something like that in the world, and you’ve got to take a bit of responsibility for outcomes.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/12/facebook-doomsday-machine/617384/

    Well, I might get lucky with the comet book. Between all the tech stuff, there might be a bit of “for the layman.” Free from the library, so, I might as well take a look.

    By the way, the Nashville Bomber sent packets to several people around the United States, which are just arriving, now. Apparently, he subscribed to a smorgasbord of conspiracy theories. That 5G will give you cancer and spread Covid, that 9/11 was an inside job, and that lizard people, secretly rule the earth. I’ve got one of those living down the hall from me. Not a lizard person, but a conspiracy theorist. In her case, also throw in that the Holocaust never happened. My Dad would have begged to differ. I steer well clear of her. I only hear of her nuttiness, second hand.

    Ohhh! That was a tasty selection of zombie movies. Of course, I noticed that the article was written, before You Know What. A lot of the productions sounded a bit tenuous, to begin with. But, a few of them ought to make it through “development.”

    Be sure you wear gloves, when you pick those apples. A parrot might have taken a bite out of the side you can’t see, and wasps may be sampling what’s on offer.

    I see my Territorial seed order is “out for delivery.” The postie ought to show up with it, anytime.

    I watched three more episodes of “Crashes and Crises.” The Tulip Bubble, the South Seas Bubble and the Mississippi Bubble. The professor, given the historic distance from those events, wonders if they were true bubbles, or not. But, with a lot of extra detail, they were overvalued assets and there was a lot of buying on margin. And, of course, the “Wise Fool” was in play. I’d never heard of the Mississippi Bubble. Or, John Law, who pulled the whole thing off.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Law_(economist)

    Smart fellow. And one of your countrymen πŸ™‚ . Lew

  13. Hi Lewis,

    Upgrading security took another four hours this morning for my business website as whilst it is a basic website, it has other useful software running on it. Paint drying. Exactly. πŸ˜‰ What was interesting was that I was alerted to the security hole via two different sources, one of which happened to be a bounty hunter. So, turns out there are folks trawling interweb sites looking for security holes – no matter how minor – to possibly exploit. As a side fun fact, they then demand (or politely request in this case) money in order to fix the security holes. Is this an act of extortion, or are they genuinely concerned citizens? I dunno, but they were the real deal and something/s had to be done.

    Where they messed up was that I already knew about the minor hole, but had not had neither the time or knowledge to plug it up, and most likely they wouldn’t have been able to get into the guts of this website anyway. But then I don’t know what they are capable of doing. So I plugged up the hole by sorting out the issue/s. Just a pain and loss of time for me.

    Anyway, it continued to rain all day long again – second day in a row. Another inch and a half of rain has fallen over the farm today, and it is very damp outside. A black locust tree has broken and fallen sideways onto the strawberry enclosure. I’ll chip that tree up later in the week when it is a bit drier. Not looking forward to it due to the spikes. And it is cold outside too. Today was warmer than yesterday, but not by much. How’s this for a summer’s day: 55’F The wood heater was fired up about an hour ago, it isn’t cold inside the house, the fire is more to reduce the humidity inside the house which was around 70%. Outside has been 99% humidity for the past two days. Next Monday the 11th Jan is forecast to reach 95’F and with the humidity, and that should feel very unpleasant.

    Hehe! A fine point indeed, and spare time has been rather in short supply at the moment, but that has sadly been the case for a few decades. Alas for the competent, for they are busy. Ruby chased a wabbit today, but wow are they fast or what, and the wabbits are predominantly residing on my neighbours property as they retreat there at high speed when threatened by the dogs. Oh well. But yeah, a wabbit fur coat from sustainably managed wabbits – that would really annoy a whole bunch of people. But then, why not?

    Hehe! You may jest, but the digital rain gauge here (I also maintain an old school rain gauge) does attract spiders webs. It’s a devil of a machine to clean out as it has to be dismantled, but I never even considered that the gubarmint machines would likewise suffer from spiders. I’ve seen maintenance crews with what looks like giant bottle brushes attached to long poles cleaning spiders webs out from traffic lights. Imagine that job, you’d start at one end of the city and then wind up back again there in a month or two’s time only to repeat the entire process all over again. Maybe the automated weather gauges require such maintenance crews too? Always interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes.

    It is wet here, but far out it is much wetter where you are. That’s a substantial chunk of rain. The good Professor mentioned your locale to in his latest missive.

    The infrastructure here on the farm has survived the soaking fairly well, but the main road leading off the mountain is looking a bit worse for wear due to erosion. I can’t even begin to imagine how Cobb and Co horse drawn coaches traversed the road in the depths of winter during the Victorian era.

    Oh my! Who knew that collectors of budgies had delved into the genetics of how the different colour mutations had come to light? It’s an extraordinary effort. From memory, the green and Cobalt blue varieties are the birds that are usually collected. In the wilds of parks in the big smoke, the birds resembled the green colour. I have a hunch which colour you’d go for! Interestingly, the elusive red colour is present in the parrots who happily snack upon the fruits.

    My education is sadly lacking as I know not who the Great Gatsby is. Dare I mention that we spent an inordinate amount of time reading a certain, and not to be named, tortured teenage book instead? So who is this Gatsby dude? Oh, the poor unfortunate author – mate, he got shafted, not to put too fine a point upon the reality. Ouch. Ah, the character Gatsby had a morally flexible, entrepreneurial talent, and not to put too fine a point on it, was a bloke who could flourish in difficult times. Ah, the story is a tragedy of longing for which the protagonist could never and should never have. My question would be for the bloke: Would he have been happy had he achieved his ambitions? And I believe that the answer would be in the negative. He is a character who lives to strive, and success is not part of that story – thus the tragic nature of the protagonist. And no, I have not read any reviews or read the book or even watched the films, it is just what my gut feeling tells me of the character based on the synopsis I read. What is your brief take on that side of the story? And the story lead me to reading about the Hundred Day’s Offensive of WWI. Not good.

    Thanks for the Atlantic article. The noose is being drawn in upon such companies for they are a rich target. You won’t find me on Faceplant, Twithead, or Instafool – or any other number of such ‘free’ plantforms. Nope. Those are all ultimately self limiting forums as their failure is built into their success. And from what I hear the kids are abandoning them, because their parents are present. One day they’ll just fade away, and the energy and resource stories guarantee that outcome.

    I’ll be interested to hear what you have to say about the interstellar visitor. My gut feel is that it would be too small to be an article of alien technology, but I’m no expert.

    Never met a Holocaust denier, but when I was a kid I used to live next door to an old (well to me anyway, it was the 1970’s after all) Jewish bloke who had navy tattoo’s up his arms, and candidly he was a bit of a rough nut. Anyway, he used to tell me stories of those days, and such a dark cloud hung over and stuck to him that I never once doubted the veracity of his claims. And as an adult I’d visited the killing fields of Cambodia. Mate, people can make all the claims they want, but I’ve seen what people are capable of doing to their fellow ‘objects’, as they probably had to consider other people.

    Yes, the zombie film teasers were a hoot! But I hear you, and things have been rather odd for the creative industries. In another year we can test the reality of the prediction. πŸ™‚ But I reckon I’m on safe ground.

    Actually, the summer has been so cool and damp that the wasps are nary to be seen. Put my hand on a group of feeding wasps once years ago, and fortunately they were all too busy feeding to worry about retaliation. The wet weather kills many a hive of the wasps. Pesky critters. Saw a native blue banded bee the other day.

    It won’t be long until you are starting those seeds. πŸ™‚ Happy days!

    Those Scots were canny, and Mr Law had a deft hand for modern monetary theory – the cheeky scamp. It didn’t end well for him, and no doubt that had something to do with deriving from the lowland branch. πŸ˜‰ My dad derived from that side, but my mum’s side was the highland folk. A confusing mix, that’s for sure.

    Speaking of MMT I notice that with all of the money printing going on, house prices are continuing to rise despite all the while youth unemployment which is at high points not seen since the recession of the 90’s. It won’t end well you know. Of course, a sad whimper may also be how it all ends. That’s equally possible too. I noticed that Mr Law sparked a general and sustained rise in prices for basic commodities.

    Cheers

    Chris

  14. Hey Chris,

    I have a theory that what saved me was that the whole thing happened so quick that I was unable to consciously respond and therefore didn’t fall forward, which definitely would have been a big problem. I’ve had a similar thing with bike accidents over the years. On my worst fall I went chin first into the ground. I still have the scar to show for it. But it happened very quickly and so I was kind of ‘relaxed’ when I hit. I think they say the same thing applies to babies who fall from height but don’t realise what is happening and so don’t tense up which reduces the severity of any injury. Never underestimate the ability of the conscious mind to make a bad situation even worse.

    Had some great rain here. A nice, steady soaking inch or so yesterday and some decent amounts the days before. As somebody who is not a fan of hot weather, this is the best summer ever so far. Although, it looks like it will be heating up in a week.

    Have almost got the chicken coop done. Ended up turning the area around the shed into an outdoor run. I’ve put up some shade cloth to give aerial protection. Just need to finish the door that goes from coop to run and then it’s good to go. Hope to pick the chickens up on the weekend.

  15. Chris:

    I am enjoying “Edwardian Farm” very much. However, since I have not read “Victorian Farm” I do not know if there might be some similarities. The farms are in different counties, this one in Devon, so there are sure to be some quite local differences, Dartmoor, the fishing industry, etc.

    Pam

  16. Hi Simon,

    Computers, pass the beer nuts… Since the website security was upgraded from HTTP to HTTPS, the images can’t readily be copied from the browser into Word. I keep a backup of the blog text in Word format. It’s been a headache to come up with a work around… Oh well, must stop complaining Chris!

    Mate, you got so lucky that day on the roof. What were you even doing up there in the first place? Please tell me that it wasn’t for the view or fresh air! πŸ™‚

    But yeah, I’ve heard that story too about relaxing in an accident after you’ve had a few brews – haven’t experienced that myself so can’t verify the claim, and this is a good thing.

    Like your saying in relation to the conscious mind. Things are getting worse though. Had to wear a mask today during several experiences. Some commenter over at Mr Greer’s was saying that it was no big thing, but I’m not a fan – especially when there are no cases in this rural area and the air is very humid.

    The rain was good stuff and it just drizzled all day today and yesterday. Up to 50mm here at least and it is still raining.

    Not a fan either, because when it gets hot down here it gets crazy hot, like well into the mid 40’C+ weather which is kind of bonkers to experience.

    Good stuff and I’ll be interested to hear how you go with the chickens. Did you settle on a particular breed of chicken?

    Cheers

    Chris

  17. Hi Pam,

    Thank you for the words regarding the book. Ah, I see Devon is further south than the farm in Victorian Farm. I’m guessing that may make some differences as well. Interesting. Good to read that you are enjoying the book.

    It’s rained all day today and yesterday. It sure is wet here for a summer. There are now puddles of water around the place. What a difference to last summer. Adapt must be the watchword!

    Cheers

    Chris

  18. Hello Chris
    I had no previous knowledge re. zombies but am learning fast in our current world. As of tonight we are in lockdown for about 7 weeks. Much worse than last time as the weather is bitterly cold and the great outdoors will be much less inviting. I am wearing fingerless gloves as I type. Very unhealthy for those who are stuck completely indoors.

    I am so glad that you survived the intent of the big rock. Simon’s roof adventure was potentially horrific. I am lucky as I fall completely relaxed like a baby and have always wondered at that.

    Inge

  19. Hi Inge,

    Glad you are enjoying the zombie tales and they are, and also I guess will be a recurring theme from time to time – except when as Lewis suggested we should be discussing Triffids instead (which originated fictionally in your country). That Triffid story put me off fireworks when I was a kid!

    Yes, I saw the news today for you, sorry to say. 7 weeks is a long time. The lock down here went for 112 days the Editor just informed me. Candidly I was getting a touch of cabin fever by the end of that time, and I still had access to the city one day per week.

    The lack of sunlight is not good for a person’s health either. Stay warm, and hopefully your son can provide some firewood?

    Thanks, the large rock and I are no longer friends, and I sent a strong message to the other rocks that I’m prepared to crack their heads – and did just that to a few of them to prove my point. My right arm is very scratched up at the moment. Simon’s roof story was alarming, and he was very lucky.

    You have a good and useful skill there. People are trained in that technique at martial arts dojo’s by the process of actually getting thrown to the mat often enough. You’re a natural though. The bodies learned techniques often come automatically to hand when needed.

    Stay warm, and you have my sympathy for all of the situation unfolding around you, as it seems to be down here too.

    Cheers

    Chris

  20. Good evening

    Let us take warning from the terrible fate of the comedian Rod Hull, of ‘Emu’ fame: sitting at home watching TV, smoking like a chimney and surrounded by many a sad and empty beer can, he decided to climb up onto the roof to fix the TV aerial.

    It will be no surprise to learn that copious alcohol+ roof+fiddling with an aerial was not a recipe for longevity……

    The most stupid and unnecessary injury I have ever inflicted on myself was several cracked ribs from trying to get too many big logs in my arms: I flicked a last one on from the main pile with too much force, it whacked into my chest and bang went some ribs. Months of agony after that! I was surprised at how easily it could happen. A friend did the same thing when he fell half-way into a cess pit and banged his chest hard against the side.

    Strong boots, gloves and something padded are always a good idea doing anything physical. I split logs in thick old boots that come up to the knee, as every now and then the axe can slip – potentially even worse if it is a heavy splitting maul!

    Signs of growing rebellion here over the new business and freedom-destroying national lock-down, but all I can hear is the Dalek voice: ‘Resistance is futile!’ When people persist in something that doesn’t really work, it’s not madness, but because they have a plan……

    All the best

  21. Yo, Chris – Well, at least you weren’t held hostage for mad cash (or bitcoin.) Here, that’s happened to many city governments, and hospital organizations. There is fear and trembling in computer land. I see that there’s to be an upgrade of the Tenth Window. What, they’re going to make it easy to use? Work?

    Hoorah! The temperature gage is working, again, at the airport site. I mentioned the spiders, because I remembered your go around with the little beasties. And your rain gage. I had heard this morning that this latest round of rain brought us 10″. I see the gage reported 5″ over the last 72 hours, so, I guess that’s fairly accurate. I’d missed that bit over at Prof. Mass’s. I’m going to look into it, as an alternative for the next time the airport goes down.

    My friends had half a tree come down, at their new place. Snow load. A cottonwood tree, I think. I asked if they heard it come down, but she said something about a tree falling in the forest. But, as I astutely pointed out, they don’t live in a forest. So did they hear the tree, or not? No. They were over at their old place, at the time. Their new son-in-law moved it out of the street. They’ll hack it up for firewood, later.

    Rabbit skin coats. Brought to mind the love of fur coats, from my favorite eccentric artist, Edward Gorey.

    http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2011/01/04/the-coats-of-edward-gorey/

    “The Great Gatsby” was pretty much a good snapshot of the foibles and excesses of “The Roaring Twenties.” Plus an exploration of the human condition. I’d say you’d pretty much nailed all the high points. Which is why it is still read and discussed. I suppose it could also be read as a look at the social conditions, in a run up to “The Great Depression.”

    I don’t really participate in all that social media, either. But I did have to get a Face Plant account, when I wanted to go on that retreat, a few years back. They posted all the information, on that vehicle. So, it’s still there, but I don’t think I’ve looked at it, in over a year. I was very disappointed when Rogue Classicist moved from a blog, to an all Peeper format. I still read it, but don’t participate. I must say, when Face Plant goes down, I’ll quit enjoy the tumble of the smirky little troll, who invented the thing. Bad Lew! πŸ™‚ .

    Well, I’m going to launch a conspiracy theory. Don’t worry, your “only a platform.” So you’re in the clear. πŸ™‚ . I Gargled it, and, apparently no one has trigged to it, yet. Here goes. “The comet Oumuamua brought You Know What, to our fair planet.” ( β„’ Lew). Oh, sure, other people have speculated on viruses riding in on comets, but not that specific virus on that specific comet. Boy, my fortune is made! I ought to be able to eat out on that, for the next 95 years, as long as I keep the copyright renewals, up to date. Launch the meme, full speed ahead! πŸ™‚ .

    Sounds like LA County is a real nightmare. Someone dying every 15 minutes. Ambulance crews have been told to not take the hopeless to the hospitals. Also, to conserve oxygen. Even if they get to the hospital, there’s hours of wait, to even get in the door. Until a bed (or chair in the lobby) opens up. Glad I moved out of there in ’73. I knew it was going to not end well. We had another 85 cases, Friday through Sunday. No deaths. Our hospital is getting pretty overwhelmed, due to number of cases and staff shortages. One of Eleanor’s (great?) grand daughters works at the hospital and got “you know what.” She’s back to work, but said everyone treats her like a leper.

    That’s the trick with genocide. First you have to turn your targets into objects.

    Sigh. People up on the heights always look down on people on the flats. I noticed something interesting about John Law. He’s got Galbraith’s in his genetic woodpile. About three generations, back. Interesting. Listening to the professor, I get the feeling that sometimes, these people don’t set out to deceive. They have an idea, the markets don’t act as they expect them to, they get desperate … and then start cooking the books. Not in all cases, but in some. But that’s just a feeling.

    The politics this week are going to be “interesting.” I’m ignoring as much of it, as possible. So what did Lew do, while Rome burned? He baked cookies. Last night I baked 3 1/2 dozen orange sugar cookies. I used the lemon sugar cookie recipe, and just substituted orange juice and zest. They were … subtle. But, it might just be my semi-dead taste buds, or not enough orange zest. Maybe a sit overnight in the fridge, will help. We’ll see. Still, as a sugar cookie, tasty. Lew

  22. Hi Xabier,

    Mate, forgive my sadly lacking education, but I had not encountered the very naughty and occasional dark, but also lovable character Emu. And for a while Emu worked at a television station down under. Now, it just so happens that at or around the same time we another version of Emu on the very same station, but of course same, same, but different appears to be the rule of the day: Ossie Ostrich. Must have been something in the water?

    Kind of reminds me that a UK band – The Wombats – very good too incidentally, has usurped the name of a marsupial which is frequently found in the orchard. Maybe someone down here needs to have a band with the name: The Badgers? Sounds better than: The Beavers! Imagine that? πŸ˜‰

    Rod Hull appeared to have had an about face in fortunes prior to the unfortunate incident. And note to self: Stick to water for several hours prior to climbing upon a roof.

    Absolutely, and I hear you about that. Accidents can happen at odd moments, with short notice and little warning. A bit of a shame that. But after reading your words, I was feeling the echoes of the blow to your chest and the dull whump sound which may have been felt more than heard, followed immediately by an oooph (the technical word to describe an exhalation of air from your damaged internals) which the log may have produced.

    I’ve been trained in the use of a chainsaw so as to reproduce the effect of a cross cut saw. Yes, two days in the depths of a nearby forest with a crusty old alpha male cured me of all bad habits with that particular machine. The guy was like a drill sergeant… Anyway, prior to that training, and you may guess where this is going, but I set up a cut which flung a chunk of timber at my shin at high speed. Left a dent in the bone – and that is not a good thing. Nowadays I wear chaps and am careful not to ever repeat the error knowing that new and interesting errors are always a possibility. It was totally my fault too. Note to self: Don’t be let near one of those machines without proper training. Of course other folks may feel differently.

    Hehe! Doctor Who was a fave when I was a kid, and despite the dodgy special effects, the unrelenting nature of the Dalek’s, was the stuff of nightmares. Of course they required smooth surfaces in order to conduct their reign of terror. I’d suggest that a few well placed rocks would unsettle them. Now the Cybermen were a whole different batch of horrors as they could have clambered over the rocks. What’s with all these robots behaving badly? Surely they can be our friends? Did Marvin the Paranoid Android harm anyone? I don’t think so…

    Cheers

    Chris

  23. Hi Lewis,

    That’s true about being held hostage by some unknown source hankering like a zombie for brains, but instead they wanted bitcorns. Those have reached astronomical highs too, and yeah Mississippi bubble and all that. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the history lesson too, as that was an unknown incident to me. Oh, anyway, the bounty hunter folks suggested the possibility, but may not have had the actuality of a response without probing further. I’m not sure, but plugging up the gap became a higher priority after receiving the email than responding to the email.

    It’s awful, but I’m still looking through the seventh window. The view is beautiful and clear. The glass has rarely been smudged, by I don’t know what, cooties? Time is moving on though, and the winds of change may have picked up a whole bunch of dirt from other corners, combined it with some heavy rain which might have spattered against the clear window. Awful. Like you I see no reason to change, although many like change for the sake of change itself. Hold out against the Viking barbarians, the Norman’s and their ilk, and just keep on fighting to the bitter end is one possible strategy. Well that may have worked for a while historically before Plan B and C had to be put into operation. Hey, do you reckon we might see the 21st window? πŸ™‚ Probably not, but the tenth window sure is unfortunately slow as I use it elsewhere.

    Glad to hear that the maintenance crew sorted out the spider webs in your local weather station. Pesky critters must be something to do with excess eyes, and I better have a look at the gauge here, which is a job I have to do most years. A dirty job to be sure.

    10″ of rain is no small thing and it would be a disaster zone here. Check this out, up north due to the cyclone, they got that much rain in one night… Ook! Tropical Cyclone Imogen delivers falls of more than 200mm to Queensland Gulf communities. Not good, and I’ve experienced the sort of rain you’re writing about in 2011 when that much fell in 5 days. I have never seen so much water before – everywhere. I was just grateful we weren’t washed down the hill… The farm is holding up pretty well after the recent heavy rain, the main road leading up here is not so good, but still usable. As I observed the damage, I was kind of thinking about how the roads in Britain fared after the legions retreated to the continent.

    Ah, cottonwoods are a variety of poplar. An interesting and super tough tree – despite it half falling over. Around these parts I spy the White Poplar which is a quite a beautiful tree, although there are reports that the tree is invasive. As a valid comparison in this quest: The editor and Ruby did indeed hear the black locust tree break and fall. Interestingly I was outside at the time and closer to the tree, but had earplugs in due to machinery work, and did not hear a thing. However, it should be stated for the record, that it is hard to miss the fallen tree which is now leaning upon the fully caged strawberry enclosure. This is the second time that the tree has done this trick and so it is best if it were removed. I do like the trees and have heard good reports about the timber, so will plant another elsewhere. Wicked thorns on the locust tree. The tree is apparently weedy, but I have never seen this.

    Thanks for the link to the Edward Gorey coat auction and the author looked pumped with the outcome. Good on her. πŸ™‚ I’ll bet that coat brings a smile to her face every time she encounters it.

    The synopsis of the Great Gatsby felt like I was immersed in a Greek tragedy, or some sort of other morality tale. The human had encountered a siren and the human’s heart was eternally held in thrall – that’s what it looked like. Daisy is probably not worth it, but obsessions I guess, can be all encompassing and stay beyond their use-by date. I have high regard for the actress who played Daisy in the recent instalment – her and her hubby apparently raise heritage piggies in the UK. Lovely folk.

    Ah, a mate swears by twit, but by my nature I’m a long form discussion kind of guy. Smirky little troll! Well, the whole thing has an end date, if only because that really is built into the arrangement, and such platforms become eventually irrelevant – history proves that time and time again. I wonder if in their darker moments they all realise that possibility? They might not, you know.

    Oh, you are good, and our fortunes are made. What do you reckon the best merch item will be? I’m thinking a line of t-shirts, but this thing could go international. And yeah, I’ve read the theory about organic matter hitching a ride on a comet. Who knows, the reality might be weirder than we can even imagine.

    Yeah, it’s not good and looks like about a 2%-ish mortality rate, which is about what we are seeing down here, although with lower numbers of cases, the patients are probably getting better attention than up your part of the world where the system is overloaded. Still 98% chance of recovering is pretty good odds all things considered. Smallpox appears to have had a 30% mortality rate and according to wikipud: As recently as 1967, 15 million cases occurred a year. At 30% mortality rate, that’s 4.5 million deaths per year by the way.

    Interestingly, I note that in the Victorian Farm book that the health outcomes and life expectancy in those days for people living in rural areas was generally far superior to those who resided in urban areas.

    Exactly, once someone (or group of someones) becomes an object, they can be hated. I note that your media has spent an inordinate amount of energy describing your current prez by the exclusive use of his surname, rather than his title. Regardless as to what you may or may not say about the person, I’ve long since been very uncomfortable with that particular treatment as it is a red flag in my book – all other considerations to the side.

    I agree with your feeling in relation to Mr Laws and the Mississippi bubble. I’d be interested to read your opinion of the matter, but there is a desire in the population to ascribe evil intent to people who may have simply been foolish or greedy. I guess there is actually a degree of evil in both, but then intent is very hard to prove as that ascribes a certain amount of precognition. I noted in the history of the Mississippi bubble that towards the latter stages of the episode, attempts were made to wind things back slowly – but the uproar could possibly have been heard from the moon. And this suggests to me that the people involved may have been aware that they unleashed the beast, yet knew not what to do. Modern Monetary Theory is a bit like that. I wouldn’t relish the job of being in power trying to do something to reign it in.

    Lewis, you are super naughty with that orange recipe. Well, you can’t say that you don’t live in interesting times!

    Cheers

    Chris

  24. Hello Chris
    I didn’t know about that aspect of training for falls in the martial arts and found it interesting. One other oddity is that I always fall to the left. Haven’t discovered any inherent weakness to account for this. The result is that I never put anything hard in a left side pocket.
    I also find it interesting that time seems to slow up as one falls, often seeming to give one time to make a decision.

    Inge

  25. Hello Chris et al.,
    Regarding John Law, I would like to recall that he set up the first national “Banque Centrale Royale” in France and the MMT experience was an important starter(or levain) of what is now called the French Revolution, where the owning classes literally lost their heads…
    The parallels to today’s Central Bankers are stunning and disconcerning.
    I hope for another year with <10% inflation before our currencies follow the New Years' rockets.
    Goran

  26. @ Pam – There’s something satisfying? Soothing? Homey? about baking cookies. Makes the house smell, good, too! Lew

  27. Chris,

    I agree with Pam and you about the Malicious Tripping Rock. Now, splitting rocks is a good thing, albeit exceedingly hard work (I’ve done it), but will it really be a deterrent to Malicious Tripping Rock? I mean, split the MTR and you then have multiple smaller MTRs.

    Good prediction on the zombies. That is one prediction that is virtually guaranteed to come true in one shape or form.

    So, Calvin of the old Calvin and Hobbes comics was always battling with “Monsters under the bed.” Are “Zombies behind the couch” a distant cousin of Calvin’s monsters?

    My dad carried a carbine and radio around parts of Holland and Germany during WWII. While his unit never liberated a concentration camp, he did see one or two a few months later. Very sobering. He met a holocaust denier once. Things got rather tense and ugly and the denier left the encounter well educated and no longer denying.

    Our 22 cm of snow is all gone. It has been warm, up to +7C, and rainy. Had some high winds, also, and the lows have been above freezing for several days. Snow disappears quickly under those circumstances. The Princess was asking me on Monday if this means winter is over. I reminded her that the last La Nina winter really didn’t start until February 4, dumping 100cm of snow on us between then and early March. I remember that day well, as she and I caravanned to the Mercantile near Al, it was snowing, and when I started home, I was stopped on the highway due to a plethora of wrecked semitrucks clogging the road. Took 5 hours to get home on the normal 2 hour drive.

    Interestingly, the worst was right about the same spot where the Princess and I ran into snow last week on the same route when caravanning home from the Mercantile. Right near the town called Lind. Lind, Washington, the town that the governor has scheduled for a massive solar array, “because the sun always shines in Lind”. Riiiiiggghhht. The sun always shines there except when it doesn’t.

    We’ve had a busy week. Work has been busy (3 weeks and 2 days left), and I’ve been assisting the Princess with paperwork regarding her deceased brother. This afternoon is work free, due to dental and medical things, so we’ll get take out for dinner tonight. Gotta try to support the local quality eateries. It looks like indoor seating hereabouts is off the table for quite some time, at least according to the newly released revamped “recovery” program. Take out is our preferred option right now anyhow.

    DJSpo

  28. Yo, Chris – I’d never heard of the Mississippi Bubble, either. The professor touched on the idea, that given the distance in time, it’s really hard to gage intent. To address what you said a little further down, I wonder if those folks were also a bit smirky πŸ™‚ . When the professor talked about the reasons for bubbles, the first thing he mentioned was that they’re usually launched by a charismatic individual.

    As far as our current crop of high tech moguls go, some must have some idea of the shaky platforms they are occupying. At least, given the number that are constructing (hi-tech, of course) bolt holes, in case things go south. Quit a few in New Zealand. But, a lot of them, I think, think they will stay on top of the heap, by constant “innovation.” Of course, as with the bubble inflators, they never take into account that the public might loose faith. Sure, they can sit in their offices and moan about people being “stupid,” but that won’t stop the “this sucker is going down,” event. Why does the word “hubris,” come to mind? πŸ™‚ .

    Well, 10″ is rain is nothing to sneeze at, but we take such events pretty much in our stride, here. Business as usual. But, with Imogene’s winds in the mix, it might be a bit of a blip on our radar. Perhaps it’s because, here, everything that can wash away, washed away … long ago? πŸ™‚ .

    Maybe if you ignore the tree in the strawberry enclosure, it will go away? πŸ™‚ . Attention may encourage it to linger. But your plan is a sound one. Get rid of the thing (due to repeated bad behavior) and plant another one, elsewhere.

    Merch items. T-shirts were the first thing that came to my mind. Tea cozies? Refrigerator magnets? Of course, most of that swag comes from The Land of Stuff, so, there may be supply issues. πŸ™‚ .

    Better medical attention in your part of the world, is right …

    https://slate.com/business/2021/01/contractors-emergency-rooms-supermarkets-hotels.html

    What’s interesting, right now, are the number of different after effects of You Know What. The most recent is a spate of people with psychosis, even in milder cases. But, unlike garden variety psychosis, the patients seem to know they’re having a psychotic episode, and, they seem to fade, with time. Of course, we won’t know the full range of after effects, for awhile. By the way, I’ve been advised that getting my truck fixed, might take awhile, as my mechanic is closed. Due to cases in his family.

    Heard from my friends in Idaho, this morning. They’re a bit miffed. They needed a new dish washer and refrigerator, for their new place. They checked the usual suspects, and there were none in stock. They could order … with an estimated 1-3 month wait. I can understand their feelings. If you make a high ticket purchase, like that, you kind of want to check out the merchandise. Well, after a lot of calling around, they found a small dealer with the items, on hand.

    I tried to order stamps, from the postal service, on-line, last night. And, this morning. “System Error.” Whatever that’s all about. The usual other on-line retailers have them, but at twice the price. LOL. I can probably get some from Safeway, but I want pretty stamps! You know, flowers, birds or vegetables. I’m afraid I’m going to have to settle for flags, or something.

    I watched an interesting documentary, last night. It’s one of the Nova science films. “Polar Extremes.” Pretty much a climate history of the Antarctic and Arctic, through the ages. Interesting stuff.

    If your not totally fed up with “The Great Gatsby,” just for poops and giggles, Gargle “What is the symbolism of silk shirts in the Great Gatsby?” Gatsby introduces his silk shirts to Daisy, and she bursts into tears. From our “well, that didn’t take long,” department. Saw a review (scathing) of a new book, told from the perspective of one of the minor characters in “Gatsby.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/books/2021/01/05/prequel-nick-takes-advantage-expired-great-gatsby-copyright/4133956001/

    Through most of history, country living has been a lot healthier than living in the cities. I have read some, that no matter if Rome during the Empire, London or New York in the 1800s, they needed a constant influx of population. As, people who moved there died like flies. Due to poor water, air quality, over crowding, lack of sanitation, etc. etc.. And, today’s ear worm is …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umS3XM3xAPk

    A minute and a half. Probably, before your time. The series ran for SIX years. Beginning in 1965. Lew

  29. Hi Chris,

    Certainly thankful the rock didn’t get the better of you.
    My Plum and Ruby sure have grown.
    Looking back you and the editor sure accomplished a lot in 2020.
    Ollie’s stances in the photos remind me of Leo.
    I love apricots but it’s not something I get very often.

    We’ve had the most beautiful hoar frost the last two days. The frost is an inch thick on most branches though to see it on a sunny day would have been even better. The fact that it’s been cloudy, foggy and very light winds for the last two days resulted in it hanging around for so long. Our weather has been uneventful to say the least. The temps have only varied a couple degrees F from day to day and it’s been cloudy and calm. Looks to remain that way for the next ten days too.

    As I’m writing this protesters have stormed the capital so I’m off to watch this serious situation.

    Margaret

  30. Hey Chris,

    Actually, I was on the roof to clean some rubbish out of the gutter which was causing water to flood into the room I was renting. The final straw came when we had some particularly heavy rain and the whole room was under an inch of water. They ended up replacing the roof and gutter the exact same day I moved out :/

    Yeah, I’m with you on the masks. I was reading an interesting article on Melbourne in 1919 the other day. Apparently Spanish flu never really made it to Melbourne but, of course, the news of it did and there was a multi-year panic that included mask wearing. The border with NSW was also closed several times and restaurants and shops were forced to close. Interesting to know that this kind of thing isn’t unprecedented (although locking healthy people in their homes is the one thing that’s a genuine novelty this time).

    Will probably got with Rhode Island Reds for the first lot of chickens. I figure it’s a good way to start and those are the ones we had when I was a kid.

    Can’t really help you with the wordpress stuff. I’m still running without https. (Actually, I probably should take a backup of my site one of these days). Was there a reason you decided to change?

    Cheers,
    Simon

  31. Hi Inge,

    Fortunately dojo’s have padded floors, but still you often fall with force. That’s an interesting point – and one I wouldn’t have considered – as I too tend to fall to the left, as I did that day with the large rock. What are your thoughts on that? The main upper body force that day was coming from my right arm being right handed, although the left arm is no slouch either, but still the left side braced for the fall whilst the right side disengaged from the rock – and ended up far more scratched as a result.

    A very wise adaption to reality. It was the second time I fell in two weeks too, the first time though I was being very stupid, so no need to go into details, but let’s just say that the facts do not reflect well upon my actions with the packaging for the log splitter…

    Yeah, that happens to me too, and events move in slow motion. It’s a bit eerie really, and I’m not sure I’d enjoy being that hyper-alert. Something in your brain must take over during such a brief episode?

    The sun finally shone today, albeit for but a while late this afternoon. I’d forgotten what the big fire ball in the sky looked like. But far out, everything is very damp and steamy.

    Cheers

    Chris

  32. Hi Goran,

    The French treasury must have been a right mess, and the aristocrats must have been even more clueless than the usual lot. πŸ™‚ Things certainly flipped the switch, and look what they eventually ended up with: Napoleon, and his initially successful and then ultimately disastrous forays into the north east.

    Mate, I’m no fan of MMT if only because every other time in history it has been tried it has eventually blown up spectacularly. So, I’ve heard the claims that this time it is different – and I’m a non-believer. But all the same, I wouldn’t have imagined that it could ever get to the scale that it is currently at. Would you have imagined that possibility?

    There must be something in the water… Despite increasing unemployment, reduced economic activity, house prices are escalating. This should not be. It won’t end well, you know.

    Cheers

    Chris

  33. Hi DJ,

    Well of course it is not lost on me that the MTR is of course a malevolent entity of ill-will, and possibly sheltering one of the more pesky varieties of elder folks of the forest. So needlessly splitting the MTR so that it can be in several places, may result in getting up to double the mischief – seems like an unwise move. Now sending a strong message that its rock mates can be split, well that should keep the MTR in line for a while at least. Do you see any problem with my logic?

    DJ, I can’t possibly lose this zombie prediction. Hubris – yes! But I feel I’m on very solid ground here. πŸ™‚

    Hehe! I too enjoyed the Calvin and Hobbes comics, and yes who could forget monsters under the bed. Better than having a staircase leading down, not into the basement, but into the underworld. Very unpleasant.

    I’ve never met a holocaust denier, but I’m sure they’re around – somewhere. People hold all sorts of strange beliefs. In some respects your dad had the right way of dealing with such folks, and could probably get away with it. I’d probably be charged with assault – and that would not be good. It’s funny how it is legally ok that people can assault another person with words.

    Yeah, 7’C+ is definitely snow melt territory, and would make for some slushy conditions. A metre of snow is a mind-boggling experience. You were lucky that you could make it home at all. The other week I saw some footage from Japan where drivers were stranded overnight in their cars due to heavy snow. Vehicles actually use quite a bit of fuel whilst idling their engines and eventually fuel tanks would become empty, and do you have any idea how people get through such conditions? Beats me. And an electric car would be a nightmare in such a situation.

    Hehe! Those large solar arrays are good when the sun is shining, but like you say, and I experience every winter, the sun don’t always shine. I watched the sun dip below the horizon this evening. Very pretty. But ain’t no sunshine, when it’s set… The technology is good, but it isn’t as good as fossil fuels which produce rain, hail or shine.

    Glad to read that you are both on top of the paperwork for your ladies brother’s estate. It is a bit morbid, but the deceased can produce an astounding and complicated amount of paperwork at a time when there are other things on people’s minds than administrative activities. More dental things. Teeth are important for one’s health. Yup.

    Indoor seating is possible here, but once away from your table you have to wear a mask. Went to the pub this evening, I feel for the staff when the weather gets up to 40’C+. It is not unusual for Melbourne to have many summer days over 40’C+. It is cooler up here in the mountains, but not that much cooler.

    Cheers

    Chris

  34. Hi Lewis,

    Met a few smirky sorts in my time. Unpleasant creatures. It is good that the Professor touched upon intent, because that’s an important question when the final analysis is done. But then it was a long while back in history, and also a very new experiment. Did the Professor suggest that there were any historical precedents which Mr Laws may have drawn upon? I noted that he was a notorious gambler, and I do wonder how much of the funds ended up on the table? Possibly quite a bit.

    Something that I have noted about people who believe they are the smartest kids in the room: They usually haven’t gotten out into the world as much as they should have – thus their error of belief.

    Tech moguls – charismatic individuals. Two separate paragraphs, two not so easily divided concepts. πŸ™‚ I know a few people from New Zealand, and house prices there are bonkers – and rising. A good chunk of their population whom resided overseas, have returned home, thus putting demand pressure upon their housing stock.

    But the bolt holes over in New Zealand seem like a total farce to me. Good for the New Zealand economy though with all the construction. Have the people constructing these bolt hole bunker things not stopped to check out what sort of energy and resource story they are dropping themselves into?

    Quite a number of folks from your country have established themselves up in the north coast of New South Wales in Byron Bay. Very weird, but a delightful part of the world – nice climate, and very productive soils. Around those parts they can even grow coffee – I know somebody who’s parents used to own and run a coffee plantation up there. I didn’t much like the area myself and the hippy town of Nimbin which is nearby just kind of annoyed me. I felt very disturbed after that visit, but it has been a long while since I’ve been up that way.

    As an interesting side story, our gobarmint appears to deport New Zealander’s who have been behaving badly and have scored criminal charges over here – regardless as to how long they’ve lived over here. As they don’t require a Visa they can stay as long as they want and vice versa. The policy of deportation is causing a bit of a stir and social problems over there. It is kind of ironic given the original intent of the English when colonising Australia as a giant off shore prison for the UK.

    I’ve heard stories about how wet it can get up in your corner of the world. I’m not used to such wet weather… And you’ve got a point there – and we’ve discussed that mega flood event/s. Oh my, wouldn’t want to be there that day. At least with Pompeii something would be left of you, but not those mega floods.

    Thanks, and I’m no fan of cutting down trees, but that one has split twice now, and I’ve peered into the future – and it’s not good. I cut the tree out today. I do like the Black Locust tree and will see if I can get a replacement. They grow very fast, and are nitrogen fixing so it is hardly any wonder they grow that fast.

    Speaking of fertilisers, I enjoyed the section on this very subject in the Victorian Farm book. And also ordered 13 cubic yards of composted woody mulch which I’ll use to feed the orchards. There are a lot of fruit trees so that won’t go as far as you’d think. And an apple tree looks like it is falling over (thanks wallabies). I’m intending to cut it back hard and then pull it up right again and then surround the roots with clay and tie the tree to strong posts. I reckon I’ll break a lot of the root system, but the tree won’t last the way it is going. And it is finally producing well… Oh well.

    Especially the fridge magnets will come from the land of stuff. Rare Earth mines are, dare I say it, rare these days! We’ve got one over in the far west of the continent, but there are only a few on the planet.

    I haven’t heard of such things in hospitals down here, but it is possible. I read all sorts of things about that particular topic, but it really is a thing for big business, and it is not good. Most of the ubar delivery folks are apparently considered independent contractors and I dunno. The times, they are a changin: Uber settles out of court with driver who alleged unfair dismissal for late delivery. The Justices words were heartening.

    Yeah I’ve heard about the after effects too. It is apparently quite common with serious illnesses, and that was something that I was previously unaware of. No doubt peoples brains can cook a little bit with fever, and that can’t be good for them.

    The second hand market seems pretty robust for such white goods. And you know my thoughts about dishwashers – don’t need ’em and the chemicals used in them are atrocious. I am rather enjoying Ruth Goodmans take on the use of chemicals in the home. She’s all right.

    What? No way? If I want postage stamps, I have to go down to the Post Office and purchase them. You guys have all the best stuff. Aren’t postage stamps the same as legal tender?

    Lewis, I told you Daisy was no good – why would anyone cry over silk shirts? Calm assertive leadership is called for in this circumstance. Did Daisy sprain her ankle at any point in the story, thus endangering everyone and possibly causing them all to be eaten by a huge monster that is just out of the view of the camera? Right, just read about the silk shirts – so I’m guessing that they’re both bad apples? Probably perfect for each other then, but perhaps she should save the tears for something more worthwhile than up market gentleman’s wear.

    Hehe! Green Acres was a bit before my time. I must say that Eva looks like she took the move with good grace. Also, Eva looks very expensive.

    Bed time, went to the pub for dinner tonight.

    Cheers

    Chris

  35. Hi Margaret and Simon,

    Thanks for the lovely comments, but I went to the pub tonight. It does no good me lying about why I’m not responding tonight, but yeah, pub. Nice pint and meal, despite all the mask business. Tomorrow!

    Cheers

    Chris

  36. Hello Chris
    Interesting. I hadn’t considered that my right hand might be in use when I fall and hence a tilt to the left. Am trying to think of past incidents with this in mind but no luck. I’ll have to wait for my next fall!
    32F outside all day today so far.

    Inge

  37. Chris,

    Perhaps the MTR understands that your splitting other rocks is a mere threat, Or maybe the MTR would prefer to be split and thus be able to perform numerous smaller events of mayhem. Not splitting the MTR leaves a large nuisance. Splitting the MTR results in many minor nuisances, which might collectively be worse than the large MTR. Mate, you’re between a rock and a hard place. πŸ˜‰

    Well, yes, the zombie prediction appears to be a sure thing. But I do expect an end of year discussion about this year’s prediction. Although, when running an errand yesterday, I’m quite sure that the Princess and I encountered several zombies at one store, which will remain nameless but might be known as “Mallwart”.

    Oh, on “monsters under the bed”, stray trees in the berry patch, ravenous bugblatter beasts of Trall, etc., if you don’t observe them, they aren’t there?

    Ah, yes staircases. I like the imagined staircases from the song “If I Were a Rich Man” in Fiddler on the Roof: “I’d build one long staircase just going up, and one even longer going down. And one more leading nowhere just for show.” Nice idea, as long as the downward staircase stops short of the underworld, of course.

    Losing 22cm of snow in just a few days did create a lot of water. Monday was the worst day, as it was raining hard all day with the melt. There were some areas of urban flooding, but nothing serious. Of course, “raining hard” in Spokane is nothing like “raining hard” in Lew’s neighborhood. I can count on 2 fingers the number of times we’ve had 5 inches in a month. 5 inches in a few days would paralyze things here.

    We travel with some survival gear in the cars. This includes heavy blankets, some of the higher quality reusable foil (not mylar) space blankets, as well as some food and plenty of water. Oh, and candles and matches. Wrap up in the blankets, make a sort of tent out of the space blanket, light a candle, so that the space blanket reflects the candle heat and body heat. I’ve done the candle and space blanket thing while in the snow, and it works.

    We both ordered breakfast for our take out dinner. Very yummy! And the restaurant was extremely busy with take out orders, I’m happy to report. While the high profit margin items are, of course, alcoholic drinks, at least they’re getting enough take out orders to stay in business. And “outdoor” dining is allowed, such dining actually being in tents that are heated.

    DJSpo

  38. Yo, Chris – Might as well get the big news, out of the way.

    http://www.cnn.com/2021/01/07/us/insurrection-capitol-extremist-groups-invs/index.html

    I like the guy in the horns, and fur. Too bad there’s no picture of the crazed old bag, dressed like the Statue of Liberty. I thought I was living in Argentina, or somewhere, equally volatile, for a hot moment. Many of the older Inmates were pretty upset. Not the country they remember. I noticed a couple of interesting things, as the mob was trooping orderly through the rotunda, of the Capitol. 1.) Several seemed pretty awed by their surroundings. 2.) There was a lot of phone waving and selfies taken. You know, a little something to post on social media, and send to mum. And make them easy to identify. But, I fully expect a blanket presidential pardon. President Trump has been passing those out, like Halloween candies, lately.

    THE King of Smirk was Sackler. It was his drug company that started the plague of OxyContin over prescribing. He smirked right up til the prison doors closed. He asked for an early out, due to You Know What, ripping through our prisons. Request, denied.

    The professor mentioned no historic precedents to John Law’s maneuvering. No historic precedents were harmed, in the making of that lecture. πŸ™‚ .

    Looks like my friends in Idaho have their house sold. Got the full asking price, and there was even a bit of a bidding war, at the end. In further land news, there’s a small town SW of here, called Winlock. The Old Order Apostolic Lutheran Church is building a huge church, there. All volunteer labor and materials. At least 55 families will be moving to that area.

    I did a bit of poking around. The OOALC is, about like the Mennonites. As far as “tenor” goes. But not as much fun. I also discovered that that denomination arose among my ancestors, the Saumi (aka Reindeer Herders), up in northern Finland. Then I remembered that my great grandfather was a OOALC preacher. My, how a family can deteriorate in just four generations! πŸ™‚ .

    That was interesting about the rapid growth of Black Locusts. Correct me if I’m wrong, but rapid growth in organisms, of all sorts, can lead to weaknesses, of one sort or another?

    A tipped over apple tree, is my “happy place.” The place I go when visiting the dentist, or trying to get to sleep. When I was a wee small lad, in an out of the way corner of my Uncle’s farm, was a creek and a bit of bottom land. There was an old apple tree that had tipped over. But, it was held up by the crown of the tree, and the trunk was at the perfect angle to lie on and dream. Or, just hide out. I imagine it in all seasons.

    That was an interesting article about the delivery driver. Delivery drivers are not employees, big tech only provides platforms, corporations are people and your check is in the mail. I was going to say something about unions, but I see it was a union, representing the driver. I saw an article that Gargle is trying to beat back a unionization effort.

    Oh, I agree. Second hand is the way to go and dish washers are the work of the devil. πŸ™‚ . My friends in Idaho worked hard, and are very thrifty. But, they have a few blind spots, that we don’t talk about, if we’re to remain friends.

    Yup. Eva was, what we call here, “High Maintenance.” She was one of the “famous” Gabor sisters, a hungarian Mother / Sister Act from the 1950s and 60’s. They all made an art of being High Maintenance. The tradition lives on. Paris Hilton is one of their descendants. LOL. There’s a young (well, young, to me) lady at the Club, who I’ve nicknamed High Maintenance. Always looks extraordinarily well turned out. She takes my teasing, with good grace.

    I wonder if “Green Acres” had anything to do with the “Back to the Land” movement, in the 1970s? Lew

  39. Hello Chris,
    Regarding MMT and money printing:

    >> But all the same, I wouldn’t have imagined that it could ever get to the scale that it is currently at. Would you have imagined that possibility?

    I had no clue. I was sure of a deflationary crisis in Europe early 2000s, when the dot-com bubble burst. But then the seeds were sown for the later disasters. Private housing price increases was starting to accelerate as a driver for consumer spending – the brick-ATM that all house owners had access to.
    Stupid me did not buy a house or an apartment in the 1990s, waiting for the price to go down, and then it just accelerated upwards.

    My financial imagination was also completely insufficient when it comes to central bank money printing, which started as an “emergency” in 2008 and has continued ever since. When the Euro-printing restarted in 2015, I was outraged. (Probably because my limited brain could not have conceived of the idea of tripling the money supply to handle a small downturn.)

    And 2020 blew my last sliver of self esteem when it comes to financial matters. I now am utterly convinced that I know nothing about pecuniary matters. How could we all of a sudden print another doubling of the monetary basis M1? Where were all those monies lurking, when we needed dough for a carbon transition or a nation-wide building-insulation campaign? Or for the transition to all-organic agriculture?

    I predict nothing, since I have proven my incompetence in these matters. But I have a hunch that real inflation is on the way this time, which usually needs a restart of currencies, which is a lot of hassle for ordinary folks…

    Goran

  40. Hi Chris,

    Only a week into 2021, and it’s already “interesting.” JMG is right to avoid making predictions about this year; it may be one of those years where no one would believe it if it were fiction. Mike and I decided that eating home-grown popcorn was the best response to the events in Washington. I hope there is enough popcorn left to cover any other “interesting” events that may occur before the crop I’ll raise this year comes in.

    I have to admit that I have no interest in zombies. But I support the right of all zombie fans to produce, distribute, and watch as many zombie films and TV shows as each wishes. πŸ˜‰

    Our lockdown just got a little gentler. Our county executive has now allowed restaurants to re-open for interior dining, albeit at 25% of rated capacity and closing by 10pm. We are still supposed to only have 10 or less people that we visit as a support bubble. Cases in the metro area appear to have peaked and are trending downward, but are still high enough that there is no talk yet of further relaxations.

    Mike was high bidder on seven orchid plants being offered on an online estate auction in the area. Yesterday we picked them up. Four of the seven have flower stalks on them, and one of those has good-sized buds not far from opening on it. He got the lot for a good price given their size and the flower stalks. All of them were in the thin plastic pots in which most orchids are sold these days, and two of them had roots growing out of the holes in the bottom of the pots. Plastic pots aren’t good for orchids because their roots need air, so after we brought them home I re-potted each one into a terracotta clay pot to promote healthy root growth. Hope all of them survive; I think all but one have a good chance of doing so. The orchids are an early birthday present for me (my birthday is next month).

    Claire

  41. @ Lew: Green Acres is the only TV show whose theme song I remember in its entirety. Be grateful that you can’t hear me singing it. πŸ˜‰

    Claire

  42. Hi Margaret,

    As you and Doug probably already know, accidents can happen rapidly and without warning. It’s funny though how with some jobs you sort of pay a whole lot more attention to, like opening a bee hive – best to keep calm and relaxed at such a time – the bees can sense when you’re not in that state of mind.

    Weren’t the two pups tiny in that photo? So lovely those two, and they have Ollie wrapped around their paws and maws.

    Thanks, and there’s never a dull moment here. I guess one day I’ll stop, but until then, it’s all systems go!

    Is Leo a relaxed dog with a super chill nature? Dogs have wildly different personalities, and we just try and run them all out of energy. Ollie is out for the count behind having run around in the hot sun for a bit today, but the two pups out did him.

    Apricots are delightful, but over the past few years I’ve been having to transition to the more reliable plums. You probably don’t recall but a heavy hail storm combined with a frost knocked off quite a bit of the apricot crop this year – here and elsewhere I’m now hearing. I have to fall back to Plan B with that fruit and should be bottling some fruit late next week.

    Never seen a hoar frost, but it sounds lovely. And stable weather is a good thing in my books. This summer has been all over the shop, but leaning towards the cooler side of things. After the heavy rainfall last week – things are growing. It’s like a jungle sometimes…

    Cheers

    Chris

  43. Hi Simon,

    Well, you got lucky that day on the roof. And yes, the tenant experience is not all it’s cracked up to be. Some landlords are good and they get onto repairs, and others are just recalcitrant – but heaven help you if you decide to object by holding off on the rental payment.

    The masks are becoming more of a thing around other parts of the continent too. And I hear that parts of Brisbane is going into a 3 day lockdown. And Monday is going to be 37’C here, the mask rule is not right in those conditions. Working in small business you can sometimes enjoy offices, warehouses etc. that have inadequate cooling on such days, and try wearing a mask all day long in such a place. Not right at all.

    Hate to be the one who calls it, but if the outcome of bringing people back into the country from affected areas is that dire, just close the borders and wait them out. Is this fair to everyone, no. The funny thing about it all is that the gobarmint seems to be able to lock up asylum seekers pretty effectively, but putting sick people into quarantine seems a step too far for them logistically. Back in the day, there used to be a tuberculosis sanatorium in the upper remote reaches of this mountain range. I’ll bet winters were tough up there.

    I’ve had a few Rhode Island Reds over the years and they are really good birds. Incidentally, the sort of weather last week is the reason you keep the chickens run dry. Seriously wet weather combined with soiled bedding straw is a toxic brew.

    Yes there was a reason I decided to change to HTTPS. A bounty hunter emailed me informing me that there was a security hole which they might take advantage of. A polite request for funds to assist with patching up the security hole was made. They were the real deal too. The interweb is a strange place.

    Cheers

    Chris

  44. Hi Inge,

    The incident is in the recent background of my mind so the details are fresh. And I also had to spend some considerable mental energy cogitating upon how things had come to be that day. Of course I was there because I’d made a bad call as is often the case with accidents. Anyway, at the end of the day, the rock is now in place.

    Be careful what you wish for, but you already knew that. πŸ™‚

    That’s some cold weather. Brr! Today was 75’F and I worked outside all day, although frankly in the late afternoon hot summer sunshine, it felt like a 100’F. During the day I managed to bring an apple tree upright which the naughty wallabies had pulled over to an unfeasible angle. It’s like having a bunch of vandals in the orchard night after night and those marsupials keep me on my toes. Hopefully there are none loose on your island like they are on the mainland?

    Cheers

    Chris

  45. Hi DJ,

    Hehe! Between a rock and a hard place sums up the predicament with the MTR. For your info, after the accident, and also a short while after I’d managed to stop the flow of blood, I kept at working the MTR, and I can inform you that it is now in place. Take that, ya cheeky scamp of a rock. πŸ˜‰

    What? I’m very uncomfortable with this loose talk of being held accountable at some later time for this earlier prediction of zombies. It seems all a bit harsh to me? Hehe! Anyway, don’t you worry about it, this one is in the bag. You’ll see. If nothing else I will prevaricate like a very earnest twelve year old!

    It is not for no reason that the traditional zombie lore suggests setting up a story within a shopping mall. Fortunately in your country there are plenty of empty and abandoned shopping malls. All year I may have to keep dropping broad hints to aspiring film makers to take advantage of these circumstances and produce a zombie film. πŸ™‚

    And many thanks for reminding me of the ravenous bugblatter beasts of Trall! So much fun in that Universe, if of course you can ignore the actions of the Vogon’s. Tiresome folks who want to bore our brains out with awful poetry.

    Old Europe has attempted to expand beyond its ecological limits for so long that it is a sad old and oft repeated story which may be – beyond the pale. Thanks for introducing me to this history as I was unaware of the origins of the term. And nobody wants to venture into the Underworld without the sort of serious preparation that most folks these days would be unable to achieve.

    Hey, 5 inches of rain in a few days does a lot of damage here too, and in the big smoke the systems are brought to their knees. I’ve experienced a super cell storm deliver slightly less than that much rain in an hour in the big smoke and as you could imagine in those days I paid little attention to the weather forecasts – and had the kitchen cabinets – all stored outside. It was an exciting experience, and the continual lightning strikes was something to see.

    Thank you for the winter survival information, and that possibility is not even on my radar. However kudos for you for accepting the occasional reality of the area in which you live.

    Ah ha! This is true, and food pays the upkeep, but drinks, coffee and dessert provide the profit. πŸ˜‰

    Cheers

    Chris

  46. Hi Goran,

    I’d heard such deflationary talk down here too. And people were adamant that this deflationary outcome was going to be the case. The talk never made much sense to me, because expanding the money supply ahead of any increase in real world wealth has always had an inflationary effect, and it becomes worse when real wealth is declining. At best I feel that the talk was either wishful thinking, or naive.

    The thing is though, with MMT the inflationary effect is being channeled into various real and financial assets, and the policy is largely being cheered on by the population. Increasing prices for houses or property is the very definition of inflation itself. Yet at the same time it produces unearned wealth for some and so there is confusion.

    If say a house or parcel of land increases in price due to such monetary expansionary policies, then it is an unfortunate outcome that some parts of the population benefit, whilst other parts of the population do not benefit. And yes, sorry to say, but you made an unfortunate oversight.

    Other financial assets I have noted are apparently benefiting as well, such as equities and especially bonds in your part of the world.

    If it means anything to you, I could have done ten times less work over the years, and produced ten times more wealth than I currently have done – for much the same reasons that you cite. But then would I have the skills I can wield today? Probably not.

    The only guide we have here is history, and it tells a brutal story. If I can suggest a book to you it would be the economists: John Kenneth Galbraith’s book – The Great Crash, 1929.

    Cheers

    Chris

  47. Hi Claire,

    Oh my gawds, or in this case Beli! πŸ™‚ We are in interesting times, aren’t we? And yes, Mr Greer was very astute to have posted no predictions, and yet at the same time he made his predictions for those with an ear to hear.

    Oh yeah, if you’d told me twelve months ago that things would be as they now are, sorry, but I would have questioned your sanity. Things have become very strange of late, but you know, the plants and land still tell their stories and I’m fine with that. And actually those stories of the land are less crazy than the brief sticky beak at the news I force myself to read most days.

    Hang onto your popcorn supplies, because things could possibly get weirder. Or at least stock up in advance!

    Hehe! Zombies are rather dull creatures, who it should be pointed out have a monomaniacal streak in their desire for brains. Boring, but effective – especially the fast zombies. Keep your brains safe from the pesky critters! πŸ™‚ I made the prediction as a bit of a laugh, but all things being equal, the prediction is in the bag.

    Restaurants are unfortunately a volume business which makes profit only after a certain number of covers. At 25% seating capacity, my gut feeling suggests to me that the businesses are open, but they’re losing money.

    Well, the news down here is that the more infectious UK strain has somehow managed to escape into the broader community despite the quarantine precautions in some states. So goalposts may change without warning or prior notice.

    Isn’t Mike nice to have sorted out such a thoughtful and lovely birthday present. πŸ™‚ Hope the slightly dodgy orchid survives, although I have a good feeling about that. A good idea to re pot the plants into larger pots, and I’m guessing the existing soil around the orchid plants will inoculate the new soil?

    Happy birthday for next month! πŸ™‚

    The naughty wallabies have been working on an apple tree over the past few years. And with the reasonable apple harvest this year, the pesky marsupials have managed to pulled the tree over so that it is not quite horizontal with the ground, but it wasn’t far off either. Anyway, today we savagely pruned the tree and brought it back upright again. I feel good about this, and the soil the apple tree was growing in was superb. Always something new and interesting to learn and do.

    Cheers

    Chris

  48. @ Lew:

    Thanks for the “Green Acres” theme song. I just love that show. Was there ever anyone like Arnold the Pig, star pupil of Hooterville Elementary School? Gives one some idea of the status of Hooterville . . .

    I, too, have wondered about “Green Acres” influence on the Back To the Land movement.

    Pam

  49. Chris:

    News from the Squirrel World: Well, not really anything new. It is all politics, all the time, every day, except for the occasional time off for a bit of carousing, and a dalliance here and there.

    Queen Charlene the White Squirrel has her hands full, that old girl. At 6 1/2 she is no spring chicken. Yet she can spend entire days chasing the opposition around to ensure that they stay on their toes, and the rest of the day grubbing around to increase her supply of nuts. And every 6 months or so she has a few kids, gets them weaned, shows them how to acquire their own nuts, and instructs them how to build a house. All the while she never lets up on her daily duties.

    Pam

  50. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah I read that in the news today. Haven’t riots been part of your national political discourse for a while now? It seems like an inordinately foolish strategy as it trains people in all the wrong things. The riots do however provide an outlet for the disenfranchised or the folks who feel that they have no voice in the system and are being squashed by it – on all sides of the political spectrum. It is not for me to provide advice, but things could get worse.

    And mention of reading the news today reminded me of: The Beatles – A Day In The Life from Sgt. Peppers. Loved that album.

    The guy with horns was referred to as a Shaman, and he certainly looked the part and carried himself that way. Some folks are drawn to such a potential. Don’t they have full on martial arts punch ups in the Taiwanese parliament? That’s doing things properly. Yeah, were the older inmates upset by the recent riots in other cities? If you were a small business owner and a group of folks came along to smash your stuff, you’d be pretty upset that the authorities weren’t responding, because after all that is what they get paid for and if they are ineffective, they lose legitimacy and someone might just come along and sort the problem out – except they might have fancy uniforms, kooky ideas, and a penchant for violence. I suspect that you are in for some strange days in the future. The circumstances which gave rise to President Trump have not been addressed, and I see no reason why they would suddenly disappear with a change of leadership. Mate, we’ve given chucking in plenty of new leaders over the past decade or so just to see what happens, that’s giving it the right Aussie go, but yeah, the problems remain the same. I expect not much will come from this incursion.

    Limits were put on prescribing that stuff pretty early on down under. The gobarment after all supplies pharmaceuticals for the very real reason that some companies possibly aren’t to be trusted in such matters. But all the same I have heard stories of people getting addicted to that stuff, and when it is not available they substitute heroin. Yeah, real nice to let that beast loose on the population. Your king of smirk would do well to take the lesson that is being meted out in the land of stuff, as I noted another billionaire has been chucked into a place where someone may not return from for a while – and then when they do, they might be a bit different – like the baby in Pet Sematary.

    Good stuff, and it warms my heart to think that a canny Scotsman came up with the idea for Modern Monetary Theory before trying it on the French in the 18th century. I’m sure you’ve mentioned that the Roman’s debased their coinage over the years of their declining Empire? I’m pleased that no historians were harmed in the lecture. πŸ˜‰

    Congrats for your mates in Idaho. I assume that they have somewhere to go, but given they are purchasing a dishwasher, well they must have a place to put it? Things are very weird down here in rural areas: House price boom as demand outstrips supply in Tasmanian regional towns.

    That’s fascinating about the Old Order Apostolic Lutheran Church at Winlock. Wow, for some reason the news leaves me with a few goosebumps. Hope they are nice to their neighbours. The bones of church looks like an aircraft hangar. Ah, yes your families moral fall has been as great as my lot. It is a true credit to the moral fortitude of the both of us, however, and at least you have H, and such a breed comes with the heritage. Yup, ’tis true, so maybehaps you haven’t strayed that far from your roots? The past is always with us.

    Of course, you are entirely correct about the Black Locust. However, I hadn’t really told the full story. The tree began as a weeping variety of Robinia pseudoacacia called down here a ‘mop top’ and the wind took the top off the tree. Now of course the trees are extraordinarily tough as old boots, and so the tree regrew vertically from the top of the trunk where it had previously had a weeping form. So the tree always had a weak spot at the top of the trunk, but they are a bit of a thing down here in the weeping form. Alas the weather took it out for a second time in vertical form, and so I finished it off. My gut feeling as to its future was not telling me a happy tale.

    Thanks for the lovely story of the horizontal apple tree you loved as a kid. πŸ™‚ Mate, I have no doubts that the tree would have survived, but it was a bit logistically awkward in the orchard. Anyway, we pruned the tree today, and then both the editor and I pushed the tree trunk upright again, and then further over in the opposite direction. The soil around the trunk was then packed down, and bizarrely the apple tree was again upright of its own accord. Gave the tree a good feed, and then tied it to two steel posts. I reckon it will turn out just fine for the tree. The wallabies started this process with the tree. And the soil around the tree was superb looking. Really nice stuff.

    Interestingly, I don’t believe kids are much allowed these days to explore the natural world around them like you and your apple tree. I’m grateful for the trips my grandfather took me upon into the remote depths of the forest. Of course I had to fetch water for his WWII drinking buddies, but once that chore was done, I ran wild and learned heaps about the bush.

    Legal action is a funny business. There are folks who invest in legal action in order to bring cases that were otherwise financially impossible for the folks involved to take to the court system. As an opinion, it was a decent thing for that union to bring that action to the court system – and I can well understand how it came to be settled rather than producing a precedent. But the message would not be lost.

    I saw that about the union at gargle. Interesting.

    Well what do they say about discretion being the worst part of valor? Sometimes I accidentally bring up subjects with people that I just plain forgot are no go subjects. Then you have to backpedal and just go with the flow. What else can you do? Some people have hot button subjects, which produce more hot air that Mount Vesuvius ever did.

    That ‘high maintenance’ term is used down here too. May you never be beholden to one such! πŸ˜‰ The young lady in question may believe that your gentle natured teasing just goes to confirm her own world view?

    Cheers

    Chris

  51. @Lew

    My late sister, Mary, always refered to her place as Green Acres. She and her husband bought a 2 acre property and large home and they neither knew how or had the desire to take care of a place this size.

    As kids (well maybe as adults too) some of the family had a repertoire of songs we would regale people with whether they wanted it or not. One such example is “Green Acne” sung to the tune of Green Acres. Here are the lyrics.

    Green Acne is the face to see.
    Zit pickin is the life for me.
    Zits spreading out around the chin.
    Keep Noxzema just give me that pimply grin.

    Margaret

  52. Chris,

    Haha, sounds like you’ve got a relationship going with MTR. Oh, and you’ve definitely put MTR in its place.

    Well, ya know, I’m having a VERY slow start mentally here on Friday. Dunno why, but just starting slow. Ummmm, please tell me it’s NOT approaching zombieism? I can accept aging, I can accept allergies, but maybe becoming zombified? Say it ain’t so!

    Better make those suggestions about zombie movies soon. Macys is closing more stores nationwide this spring. This will include the Macys that is at the mall that is about 3km from us. That will mean gobs more empty space in a mall full of empty space. I can imagine them filming there already. Although, “Z Nation” was filmed locally. That group may already have first dibs on the mall.

    The initial BBC radio version, when first discussing Vogon poetry, mentioned that the 3 worst poets in the Universe were Vogons (3rd worst), Azgoths of Kria (2nd worst) and Paul Neil Milne Johnstone (worst). There’s some background about Johnstone here: https://literature.stackexchange.com/questions/6408/why-did-douglas-adams-call-paul-neil-milne-johnstone-the-worst-poet

    My dad often told me that I had gotten beyond the pale. Those moments were always in rather close proximity to his telling me that I was the “family throwback” and/or the “family barbarian”. He was usually, but not always, joking at those times. I must admit, I totally miss the old Capital One credit card commercials featuring “the Goths”, or as the Princess said, “Honey, it’s your cousins on tv again!”

    I see that you had about 45 inches of rain in 2020. That’s close to normal Seattle level of rain. We average 16.5 inches per annum. (Please forgive the lack of metric today. I said I’m having a slow start mentally.) A wet year is 18 inches or so. A very wet year is 20 inches, by which time we’re complaining that we’re growing webs between our fingers and between our toes. If we got 45 inches in a year, it’d be the end of the world! For comparison, Al’s neck of the desert averages less than 10 inches of rain per year, Wikipedia suggesting a smidge over 7 inches.

    Ah yes, the winter survival stuff. Good stuff to know. Those people who die of hypothermia each year because they got lost and then decided to “hike back to civilization”? Ummm, proper preparations make a big difference. The car keeps one dry and out of the wind. One thing I learned quickly, though: one can dress so well for the conditions that the head and legs and arms and torso remain nice and warm, but if the feet start getting cold, the misery starts to creep in.

    DJSpo

  53. Yo, Chris – When you mentioned you “read the news,” the Beatles song came to mind. And then you helpfully provided the link, in the next paragraph. πŸ™‚ .

    All kinds of thoughts are tumbling about in my head, about the recent unpleasantness in Washington, D.C.. Not only the line we’re fed, as we come up, but also the book I’m still poking at, “Are We Rome: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America.” There was a bit in there about Roman ideas of exceptionalism … and American exceptionalism. (Hmmm. I wonder if one could just call it hubris?) We can thank our old friend, de Tocqueville, for mentioning it, early on.

    We have been prideful, about a “peaceful transition of power.” Sometimes described as “bloodless.” According to one study, since 1786 (about the time of our founding) 68 countries had never had a peaceful transition of power, due to an election. Our long string of peaceful transitions of power, ended yesterday. It’s quit a shock to the body politic.

    As far as the Inmates, here at the Institution go, any kind of civil disorder upsets them. I don’t think they make the mental leap to considering the property and business owners, but more it disturbs their feelings of personal safety. And they, like a lot of people, given recent history, are willing to trade freedoms for a feeling of safety. Some of that is due to their poor grasp of geography. They think mobs of people “not from here” will be raging up and down Market Street, and beating down the doors of the Institution.

    No, I don’t think the circumstances that lead to the present moment, will disappear due to a change in leadership. And, as Mr. Greer speculates, it’s quit possible that a “strong man” will arise, who has a lot smother edges than the outgoing administration.

    I predict “The Shaman” will have a long and prosperous career in the adult entertainment industry. πŸ™‚ .

    You can delete all that I’ve said, as, it is a bit political. And I do think, sometimes, that we ( I) should just stick to weather, soil, crops, and the occasional zombie movie. Lew

  54. Yo, Chris – But I digress … πŸ™‚ .

    I watched another couple of episodes of “Crashes and Crises.” The first was fiddling stocks. Mining stocks were used as an example. Basically, penny stocks that were traded “over the counter.” Pump and dump operations. Bucket shops. The “Wolf of Wall Street” was mentioned. There was a bit about mines in, what was called then, Westralia. Western Australia. One of our ex-presidents, Herbert Hoover, was a mining engineer, and, a watch dog for a legitimate mining investment company. But even he was fooled, at one point. There was something I had never heard of. “The Curb Exchange.” Penny stocks that weren’t listed, that were actually bought and sold on the sidewalk, outside the New York Stock Exchange.

    Then there was the segment on bank panics. A pretty common event, back in the day. It was due to in “inelastic” money supply. Over time, it became more “elastic” (thank you, J. P. Morgan) and bank panics became more rare. Part of the problem was a gold backed money system. Gold is rather difficult to shuffle around.

    Well, my friends in Idaho have a little house, in town. Smaller, easier to manage, as they age. They bought it from their daughter, and had it as a rental, for awhile. They’ve been steadily working on it, since they decided to sell their house.

    That was pretty interesting about people moving to Tasmania. A couple mentioned moving, as one factor, due to the heat. Could they be considered, in part, as climate refugees? They all commented on the “slower pace of life.” Something I noticed when I moved here, in ’83, or so. I hope they maintain that attitude. You really have to embrace it. Or, you end up being very unhappy.

    Well, your apple tree wanted to be upright πŸ™‚ . The apple tree on my uncle’s land, was on a scrap of almost waste ground. Only used for pasturing a cow or two. It was on the back end, of his land. There was the cow barn and chicken shed, and then a steep slope. And I mean steep! Much steeper than your pitch. The cows had worn a switch back path down to the bottom. Where there was a creek, and just a scrap of bottom land. The creek frequently flooded, in winter.

    Kudos on the soil in your orchard. The tree falling over gave you a look at what was going on, below the soil.

    Oh, High Maintenance glows with the recognition of all her hard work. Though she admits, pulling off the look is down to a science, and she can pull it off in 15 minutes, or so.

    Things have finally started moving again, at the library, as far as new titles go. “Love and Monsters” and “Avenue 5” showed up, yesterday. I’m number two, on the hold list πŸ™‚ .

    Kunstler is kind of interesting, today. Oh, not so much his post. Which is a potage of conspiracy theories. But the first 20 comments, resonated, with me. The one’s that start out, “I was raised in a Democratic household…” Yup. That was my raisin’. I also read the last two days of comments over at Mr. Greer’s. A slightly different take, on things. Lew

  55. Hi DJ,

    I do hope that the MTR and its friends have been put in their places. There’s only room for one boss on this here farm – and that’s the editor. MTR’s can apply for residency elsewhere.

    Have you ever wondered whether zombies know that they are zombies, and were once human? It would make for an intriguing tale, which candidly has probably already been told.

    The thing about empty retail space in a mall is that it can spread like a proverbial cancer. Malls are funny places and I’ve never had a client with a lease in a mall, but I hear stories. The mall owners can demand the monthly financial accounts from the shops, and thus I guess they know what each shop can bear to pay. Also, if revenue slides, I’ve heard stories that the mall owners can demand new frontage fitouts at the shops expense with all that entails, and they can sometimes just boot stores off to other areas of lower foot traffic without apparently renegotiating the lease. The difference with main street shops is that those sorts of activities aren’t a possibility due to the lack of concentrated ownership. Other people can do what they want, but I personally wouldn’t get involved in such an enterprise – although such an arrangement might work just fine for some.

    Didn’t realise Z nation was filmed in your corner of the world. I have to fess up to avoiding fast zombie films, because they scare me a bit.

    You know, other than releasing Paul’s address into the public domain – and I listened to that broadcast too (and watched the BBC series), you know, it’s kind of nice in an odd sort of way. The poem about the dead swans kind of brought to mind: dead swans. And who thinks about dead swans?

    Hail Barbarian brother, and well met! Let’s drink some mead and go and stomp some I dunno, things like monsters and stuff. The goat chomping away at the paper like a shredder was a nice touch.

    Glad to note that someone is reading the rainfall data. πŸ™‚ Yeah, you and Al are in dry country, but you both have rivers in both of your parts of the world – and they are not to be found in these parts. That’s a bit of a difference. The local Macedon River which oozes from the bottom of my property only to be renamed Riddells Creek at some unspecified point further along the watercourse actually dries up most summers – especially since the authorities removed the willows which shaded the water and kept it in nice neat and evenly distributed pools.

    The thing is, it is a wet year this year. Looking back at the records, 1937 and 1938 produced only about 23 inches. Unsurprisingly 1939 produced an epic fire, the scars of which can still be seen here today. Nothing is guaranteed here, and averages are just that, averages. Reality can vary wildly.
    I hear you about sitting in a car on a cold night. Yes, it does protect you from moisture and wind, but the cold can become entrenched, and thus my question to you. One evening years ago I drove into the big smoke to pick up the editor from a girls night out. She was unable to drive, and that’s how girl’s nights can sometimes go. Except that the big smoke had had a sudden winter cold snap and the air temperature was 42’F. I waited patiently in the car until the girls night was done, and you called it: The cold travelled up from my feet. I was feeling a bit irrational which I guess is an early sign of hypothermia – I just had failed to dress properly, especially for those extremities. Yup, lesson learned.

    Cheers

    Chris

  56. Hi Lewis,

    The Beatles song was floating around in my brain when I penned the reply to you. Nowadays I just sort of skim the news trying to seek what is going on other than your countries politics and the health subject which dare not be named. Easier said than done.

    Alexis de Tocqueville is a very complicated man. Like seriously complicated, but then he lived in very troubled times, and had some strong ideas about how things should roll and had to navigate extraordinary changes – and survive with his head intact (not always easy to do). It would be fascinating to interview him and discover his opinions of the current state of affairs. Based on his well documented views, he might approve of how things have played out – well at least that’s my take on the matter. What is your opinion on that?

    Mate, the unfolding story over in your land is hard to escape. There are days where I wonder if our media has forgotten that things go on down here too or elsewhere in the region? It’s possible that they have forgotten that, or that there are no so few reporters that it is easy to report on the doings in your country. Early on in the health subject which dares not be named, someone whom I’ve known for years and years, quipped to me that they just wanted their family to be safe. That sort of sums up for me as to how people see the world. The thing is though, the world is not a safe place, and it never was.

    You’ve probably already noticed that I’m writing more fluff pieces these days and not delving into the health subject or your politics unless it affects me personally. I’ll keep at that just until things settle down a touch. But overall as you suggest, eventually someone strong enough and ruthless enough will arise – ever was it thus. And the people on all sides of the debacle are complicit in that outcome. But you and I know after the six Emperor’s in one year drama way back in the day, a change in leadership might help, but it won’t resolve the underlying problems. The editor also suggests to stick to more fluff pieces as people actually do need to look elsewhere. Happy to oblige.

    That’s funny about the Shaman! He had a certain look that’s for sure. The problem with reducing social activities for the young is that they can sometimes take matters into their own hands and the outcomes can be astounding for the young and old.

    Have you ever watched the film: The Wolf of Wall Street? It’s very good, although I’m more partial to: The Big Short (which is in my top ten fave films – and books). Michael Lewis tells a ripping yarn. But yeah, they were flogging the penny stocks. A huge volume of stocks and bonds aren’t listed and are privately traded.

    In my lifetime I’ve encountered and been involved in two bank runs – with no great losses to speak of. I’d call those times an instructive experience to watch them playing out. Both plugs have been filled by the system, however who knows – there might be new and interesting holes in the system? Gold is good as a store of wealth, but it comes with some downsides. Worked with a business a couple of decades ago that dealt with unfeasible amounts of mad cash – and that was a nightmare of a job. Portable wealth, as the Norse folk way back in the Dark Ages might point out, is kind of portable and easy to abscond with. πŸ˜‰

    Your Idaho friends are sensible to know when to throw in the towel and move to the nearby small town. That’s how farms used to progress, although I’m unsure whether their property was put to productive use. Before that option, if family sizes weren’t too large then the kids would take over and then look after the farm and oldies. Large family sizes puts an incredible pressures on the farm, and thus the inevitable expansionary outcomes such as the Norse or the English for that matter.

    I’d have to suggest that they are climate refugees. Actually a mate of mine is doing just that and up-sticking her family and taking them to Tasmania. But yes, a slower pace of life is something that you have to be attuned to, and things are slower, even up here in this mountain range. And dare I ever forget that I am known and consequently have a reputation to uphold. I kind of enjoy that aspect of life, and also being more in touch with the climate and seasons.

    Hehe! The apple tree had one plan – to grow vertically. The wallabies had other plans… The parrots are enjoying the huge apple crop this year, but there is still a vast number of fruit ripening on the trees. The orchards will get more productive and easier to maintain in future years, so I’m not too fussed at the volume of fruit the wildlife enjoys. I picked a hundred or so Anzac peaches the other day. Unfortunately, they are an older variety of clingstone peach with soft flesh. Generally the flesh has to be cut from the stone, and there is no other way around that. Because the skin on the peach is thin, twisting a cut peach of this variety is not easily done.

    Thank you! The soil is beautiful and a rich black loam – so very unlike what we encountered when first we arrived here. And interestingly, the farm is jumping with life. I often think about the folks at The Biggest Little Farm, as they had a good approach to wildlife.

    Love and Monsters looks great! A bit of dark comedy never goes astray. Thanks for the recommendation. Avenue 5 looks pretty funny, but a series is a big commitment… Are you still watching Star Trek Discovery? I see that a new season will be released soon.

    Thanks for the heads up as to the comments. I rarely engage with them because they’re OK folks, there’s just an environment of point scoring going on rather than dialogue – which you may have noticed I’m a bit of a fan of? Hey, takes one to know one! πŸ˜‰

    Cheers

    Chris

  57. @ Claire, Pam & Margaret – I was raised in the Golden Age of TV Westerns. I can sing (sort of), or dah, dah, dah dozens of those theme songs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3knN-Qi5mIw

    Magaret – That’s a hoot! Kids had a cottage industry going, inventing new lyrics for TV show tunes, and advertisements.

  58. Chris,

    I know it’s getting late in the cycle and you’ve got to start writing soon, so I’ll keep this brief. I hope.

    We watched part of one episode of Z Nation. It started in the forested park across the river from where I grew up. I hiked there A LOT. Recognized the exact spot they were in, they crawled up a hill in sparse pine and limited undergrowth to look down upon, not the river which is below the rise they were climbing, but upon an abandoned sanitarium 30km away with furs and spruce and a groomed lawn. That was enough of that show for me!

    Let’s build us a Dragon Ship, do some plundering and pillaging. I’m sure we can find people who need to be relieved of their gold reserves and other hoards of portable wealth. All while imbibing in some good mead and ale, of course!

    The powers that be do NOT understand that cutting the natural plant growth from streams’ shorelines cause more evaporation and warmer water and dry riverbeds. Not to mention loss of fish habitat and water that is too warm for the native fish to survive in.

    Confusion is one of the first sure signs of hypothermia. I’ve fallen asleep in a windstorm and air temperatures near -10C. However, I was dressed for it and found a wonderful microclimate: a large tree had blown over and it was an easy climb into the hole. The sun was shining and had dried out the hole. So, out of the wind, in a dry, sunny spot where the heat was reflected from the dirt walls and the tree rootball? Toasty. Until the sun moved. That woke me up fast!

    And in a car? Feet off the floor and on a seat if at all possible. That’s my motto for that. The seats are padded with nice insulation. The floor sucks in the cold.

    Thanks also for keeping to more lighthearted things here rather than the ongoing disasters that are occurring. It’s good to have a place to meet without talking politics or the unmentionable.

    DJSpo

  59. Yo, Chris – I watched that “Great Course,” on de Tocqueville, last year. I found it interesting that he is frequently quoted by the left side of the political spectrum … and the right. I’d say, he’d be a difficult interview. As far as pining him down, I imagine him saying a lot of, “On the other hand … ” πŸ™‚ . But he had a genius for talking to people of all classes and social stations. Which gave his writing real depth.

    Fluff pieces? I must have missed that. I thought this blog was all serious farming stuff! πŸ™‚ . But, I must agree, news is pretty two note, these days. And the thought is, these days, that the only way for small local news sources (such as our newspaper) to survive, is to go, and stay local. Also, cultivate as many local (unpaid) writers, as you can.

    I read an essay, in the “Best American Food Writing, 2020,” the other night, about small, local, mostly family owned grocery store mini-chains. Usually up to 5 or 6 regional stores. There are more of them “out there” than I imagined. They’re doing it tough, these days, due to the rise of internet sales, and even The River, getting into brick and mortar stores. And, the big box stores. But the essay had to do with a small outfit, that redesigns and rebrands those small chains. To much success. The trick? Develop a local identity.

    My last word (promise!) on the recent doings in our capitol. The poor Shaman! Hardly had the recent unpleasantness ended, than rumors were flying around the ether, that he was actually a left wing plant, or paid actor, bent on stirring things up. He’s quit miffed.

    But I must say, even I went in search of a bit of comic relief. So I rummaged through the library catalog, looking for seasons of “The Simpson’s” or “South Park.” I was never a big fan, of either, but did catch an episode here and there. I was quit surprised to discover that the library offerings are quit thin. Given the former is up to 32 seasons, and the latter, 24. Just a handful of each, and only one or two copies. But I did manage to acquire a season of “South Park.”

    I’ve watched so many films and documentaries about Wall Street, I’m a little unsure what I’ve seen, and what I haven’t.

    Great amounts of mad cash. Wish I had a nickel, for every cash till, I’ve balanced. Sometimes, several a day. I wouldn’t be living, here. Then turning the raw data into daily, weekly, monthly and yearly sales figures.

    Well, just for fun, and maybe of interest to any bee keepers, among the commentariate.

    http://www.wga.hu/html_m/d/durer/2/16/2/11cupid.html

    Durer’s “The Honey Thief.” Early 1500s. How’s that for gentle, comic relief?

    The last season of “Star Trek: Discovery” ought to be out any time, now, on DVD. Can’t say I’m really revved up, to see it. The first two seasons were kind of ho-hum. But I am looking forward to “Star Trek: Lower Decks.” And, another season of “Orville.”

    Well, it was clear last night, and down to 32F (-0-C). But our weather service is predicting another round of atmospheric river, with possible attendant flooding. We’ll see. Lew

  60. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for understanding. Sunday evenings are generally the time I write for the following day. πŸ™‚ Depending on circumstances, replying to comments can be difficult.

    Have you read the Z Nation books? Who knew that a series was created from that fictional world? The premise looks good, but then if the only known survivor of the plague survives, then that puts the actors and everyone else involved in the production out of a job. My gut feel says that the survivor doesn’t make it.

    Some cheeky scamp pointed out that in one episode of another well known zombie series that some of the lawns were neatly attended too. Yes, how could this be at such a time?

    Here’s to mead and ale, but the rest of it sounds a bit strenuous and dunno about you, but I’ve kind of been busy of late. Maybe later?

    Exactly about the water temperature and the fish. It doesn’t work, and I’m very sorry to hear that such things go on in your part of the world too. Sigh. Where the vegetation is removed down here, the streams and pools dry up in the hot summer sun. When the Europeans arrived down under the reports were that the streams and creeks were full of vegetation – think the sort of work that beavers do when creating dams. So water slowed down as it moved across the landscape, sometimes this lead to floods, which is natures way of returning water and minerals to fertile flats. For some reason we continue to apply European land practices in countries where they just don’t work. It’s bonkers, but it is also hardwired into the culture – and barring some ability to do the clearing works, it’ll keep on being tried right up to the bitter end. And then the land will go back to how it wants to be and work. At every point on the farm water is slowed and allowed to infiltrate into the soil and that works.

    Thanks for the information on hypothermia – and I probably would have died if in similar circumstances. Ook! Hey, we have heat exhaustion, which is the flip side of that story. He writes as the ceiling fan spins at a reasonable velocity above his head. Ceiling fans and high ceilings work in hot climates. Most house ceilings are crazy low down here at 8ft or 9ft, but the older houses (and this one) are generally 10ft due to the heat concerns.

    My pleasure, and it ain’t just you – I need a break from the news too. However, at the same time if people want to talk about it all, I’m happy too. I just don’t tend to bring the subjects up in the first place.

    Better run. Cheers.

    Chris

  61. Hi Lewis,

    The guy would have had the gift of the gab – as they used to say – and if folks from various political corners are claiming his ideas and words as part of their tradition, I’d call that act alone – an impressive achievement under very trying circumstances. That’s good too, and the bloke genuinely sets the bar for us mere mortals to attempt to best and ace him at his game. We’ve got this, maybe. On the other hand some folks are put on this here planet in order to remind us as to what is possible.

    Finished reading Victorian Farm yesterday. The awful dilemma becomes: what to read next? Cue in a touch of cogitation music. Many months ago now, Inge recommended reading: The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham. So that’s next up. Should be interesting.

    Yeah, well that’s the plan anyway. I’ve been busting to write about the economics of small farm holdings, but the editor says: No. May have to sort that one out next week, but this week’s idea is in the bag – and heck I better get on writing… As a bit of background notes, the recent security update to the website went smoothly, but I can no longer copy and paste the pictures from the blog itself so as to keep a word processor version of each blog – as I have been doing for years. Anyway, had to fork out $180 of software to get some software that would do the job. All part of disaster management planning – hackers can be a pain. Anyway, I just now got the process working correctly and can move on with my life. Still, wasn’t as exciting as what happened yesterday… A bit of an Adrenalin buzz, which is not something that I enjoy.

    A mini chain is where we shop for groceries – they’re an independent and I kind of like that and have always shopped there. Interestingly, during the panic buying, it was they who just closed the shop to outsiders and you had to have a shop loyalty card in order to purchase stuff there. Me being me, I had previously avoided the loyalty card arrangement, but yeah I can be flexible if required. πŸ™‚ Crazy stuff, but from some perspectives it did keep the shelves stocked at a time when that was a problem. A big name germun store is setting up not too far from the shop too. Won’t be going there myself: How multinationals shift billions in revenue offshore. I believe nothing came of the proposal, but I tend to feel that the first paragraph sums the situation up nicely. As a general observation it becomes a race to the bottom. But then I don’t actually know whether cheap stuff for the populace and reduced tax bases is actually a policy being actively allowed. It’s possible.

    No dramas at all about the politics – I only mentioned my general worldview because you asked the question. Clearly politics is an important subject to many people, and I’m more than happy to discuss the subject and have my own views. For the nonce, I have decided not to include the general goings on in the main essay, but the comment section really is a bit of a free-for-all within limits which we’ve discussed and explored over the years. Good fun! And it is not as if your parliament wasn’t invaded. That doesn’t happen every day. I’ll bet the shaman bloke was miffed, but on the other hand, he might just learn a lesson there in how narratives work and whether or not they can be controlled. I’d be curious as to your perspective, but it is possible that narratives can spin out of control – and I’m curious to see where the general incitement from both sides of your politics in your country will eventually lead. The shaman, well let’s just say that he learned a good lesson and needs to bone up on proper lore if he wants to keep up that title.

    Hehe! Confession time: The editor and I went with a bunch of friends to watch the South Park movie years and years ago. I was giggling throughout the movie whilst the editor was not amused. It happens. I linked to a brief south park skit in a recent reply to DJ – and it shows how Cesar Milan’s dog control techniques could be employed on the obstreperous Cartman. So much fun. I now find myself saying: Ignore the dog (whilst making some zsst sound). That stuff works! The amusing thing is that people can get easily offended if you employ such dog controlling techniques on their kids. πŸ™‚

    Wally Street is boring. Do they know the first thing about a Mangelwurzel? Well, what do they know then?

    Yeah, well the mad cash business had so much mad cash floating around that it really did produce headaches for me and others. You may have had a tougher time of things because I recall that many operations seemed to somehow be always out in their balancing by just enough mad cash to buy lunch – i.e. not much. It was a headache because you had to balance up having someone do the job versus them nicking their lunch money every day. Things may have been different in your part of the world.

    Venus was right, whilst cupid was very naughty – and probably never again repeated upsetting the bee skeps.

    Lewis, I have to admit to not having watched The Orville, but you and Damo are selling a hard line here. πŸ™‚ No, I’m afraid to wish for more hours in the day in case the elder folk perform one of their – delivering, yet not as you’d expect it – tricks. For example, a person could enjoy more free hours in each day from a hospital bed. Just sayin…

    Mate, I hear your zero and raise you the full ton tomorrow: 100’F is forecast.

    Better get writing…

    Cheers

    Chris

  62. Yo, Chris – Well, as I’ve said, I’m using old software, and so far it hasn’t been a problem. Except for some ads, and photos. Big whoop. But, twice this week I’ve run across something, that may be more serious. When I get to the payment screen (by card), it’s blank. Or, I should say, the “field” for card information is blank. But, I can always fall back on the tried and true. Mail or phone call.

    So, what happened yesterday, to cause a spike in your adrenalin? Return with us tomorrow, for another exciting adventure at … (dah, dah, dah) FERN GLADE FARM!!! πŸ™‚ . Brought to you by the Fluffie Collective. A wholly owned subsidiary of Really Big Something or Other. Local taxes may apply. Not available in all areas.

    Interesting article. Offshore industry, workers and money. I found the sidebar article about a certain shoe company, particularly enlightening. Same thing happens here, but it’s mostly “whack a mole” to try and plug the holes. And, there are Powerful Forces arrayed, against that happening.

    The big foreign grocery you mentioned has not made any inroads in this part of the US. None, in the Pacific Northwest. But quit a few on the east coast. Yup. A race to the bottom and cheap stuff for the populace. And, yes, an eroding tax base. It’s amazing how much towns are willing to give away, just to draw the big business. Sometimes, in order to lure them in, they provide property tax relief and, foot the bill for infrastructure. Wave the local cut of the sales tax. The Powers That Be always bang on about all the jobs that will be created. Never mind the jobs that will be lost, by local businesses. And, it turns out that the jobs are so poorly paid, and have such poor benefits, that a lot of the workers end up drawing some sort of public assistance, or another.

    But a thoughtful person can make some choices. I shop the sales (hard!) at the local Safeway. Which, I know is a big chain. But I also hunt and gather at the two “cheap food stores.” One is wholly locally owned and the other is a small American franchise. So more of the money I spend there, is kept local.

    Well, “South Park” is, perhaps, Men’s Business :-). It is rather Dude-ish and rather Lad-ish. Appeals to the male, inner 10-12 year old. And it was the link you sent to DJ, that gave me the idea. I just needed a bit of comic relief.

    Ooops. Something out of order. Can’t say I’ve read much Maugham. Inge and you will have to carry the ball on that one. Cogitation music? A quiz show theme came to mind. Kind of a cheery, tick-tock musical theme. Sticks in my mind, but I can’t for the life of me remember which quiz show, it was. There were so many.

    Balancing tills. We were only paid for 15 minutes after official closing, at night. We often ran over. If there was a big gap, sometimes we’d pass it off to another person. Fresh pair of eyes, and all that. Or, leave it for the next morning, when we had 45 whole minutes to figure out the previous days tills. But, at least the places I managed, by years end, we were $10 or less, one way or another. And, they didn’t make a big deal, out of that.

    Oh, I know. It’s a big ask, given your busy life, to commit to a series. Which is why I like getting an entire year, all at once. I’m watching “Father Brown Mysteries”, right now. Season 8. 10 45 minute episodes. I’m watching two a night. And, usually doing something constructive, in the meantime. I got into season two of “Babylon Berlin”, watched an episode or three and decided, “Well, this is rubbish.” And tossed it back. I’m also watching the “Financial Disasters and Crises” in small doses. All that monetary theory is likely to make my head explode.

    It was 10 degrees, warmer, last night. It’s the warm air, coming in ahead of the atmospheric river. Which should arrive in full force, tonight, or tomorrow morning.

    Well, this might give you a giggle. I walk H, behind our building. There’s a light on the exterior wall, that’s been out for about a year. Low and behold, it’s shining, again. But, the good part is, they put about 6 of those solar stakes, along the path. The one’s with the little solar cell on the top. On the dark side of the building. Since being installed a week ago, they have not given a flicker. πŸ™‚ Lew

  63. Hello Chris,
    Thank you for the tip to read The Great Crash 1929 book by Galbraith. (It was available at Archive.org)

    Very interesting chronicling of the buildup phase during the boom. And it was most instructive to read about the various optimistic official statements from several institutions, both during the boom *and* the bust phase.

    I think we are in a different kind of conundrum today for a few reasons:
    * The credit mainly comes from central banks (not from savers and corporations and abroad as in 1929)
    * The borrowers are mainly corporations, banks, governments (not private speculators as in 1929)
    * The money flows to an assortment of assets (real estate, stocks, even bonds!) In 1929 it was mainly the stock market.
    * The mood is different. Not very optimistic today. A lot of talk about crisis and rescue and support.

    Therefore I think inflationary crash is more likely than deflationary.

    I would like to recommend another book – Fiat Money in France, by Andrew Dickson White, who chronicled the crash of 1793.
    http://www.libertarianpress.com/fiatmoneyinflation/Fiat%20Money%20Inflation%20in%20France%20by%20Andrew%20Dickson%20White.pdf

    The government was printing money and tried to convince everybody that there was no inflation risk.
    It worked pretty well, all up until it did not.
    In the end, Napoleon took power and re-instituted the gold standard to base a new currency.
    I hope we can do without Napoleon this time…

    Of course, there is also a parallel with the inflationary crash in Weimar Germany and we all know who emerged out of that wreckage.

    Am I missing something?
    Could there be a deflationary crash anyway, starting with house mortgage defaults now that unemployment is rising? Could there be state defaults, when interests rise, which they invariably will?
    Will the resource-bottlenecks finally make the economic shrinking a permanent feature, so that nobody really wants to borrow anything to anyone else?

    In the meantime, I quite enjoy our winter season, grafting trees and preparing for the next growing season.

    Best wishes,
    Goran

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