Greek Tragedy

In the end, the unwieldy scales of balance and equilibrium all hinge upon the story of poop. It was such a hot day today, and no doubt last week’s description of the summer as a ‘relatively cool and damp’ season tempted the weather Gods to ‘bring it on’. They have an awful sense of humour those weather Gods, because this afternoon reached 37’C / 99’F. And tomorrows forecast is set to reach the even giddier heights of 40’C / 104’F. Having become accustomed to a cool and damp summer, the heat was quite the shock.

Still the juggernaut that is Fernglade Farm must go on, and we quickly adapted to the heat as best we could. Candidly we’ve experienced far hotter and drier conditions. As true stoics, we don’t have any air conditioning in the house, and rely upon ceiling fans and the heavy insulation in the walls, floor and ceilings. Still, insulation and fans can only do so much to ward off such hot weather, and eventually the heat ever so slowly finds its way into the house.

The work around the farm still has to be done though. I’ve heard that some people can wake up of a morning and wonder what the day may entail. It’s an awesome prospect to consider, and way outside my own personal experience! Most days, even the most stonking of hot days, there are mundane tasks about the farm which need doing. They’re not particularly noteworthy tasks, but if they’re not done, systems soon become unstuck. Mostly these tasks are never mentioned in the essay out of fear that they may be viewed by readers as tedious or inconsequential.

From the first moments of the morning, there are things that need doing. Once those tasks are done (breakfast, coffee, dog food, bread loaf, attending to the chickens needs) and fortified by a strong cup of coffee in those early foggy moments, a person can force themselves to scan the headlines of the news of the day. It’s nice to get a feel for general goings on in society. You’d have to have been living under a rock, or more than the usual level of apathetic, to have missed the political ructions going on in Australia’s major ally this week. As an outsider to that story, a person can have only the most fleeting of emotional investment in the outcome. To my surprise, such an observation could hardly be applied to our media given their general obsession and coverage of the topic.

It is possible that our media expects the fine citizens of this country to care far more about the politics of another country than they might? I’d suggest that as an alternative perspective, we have enough of our own problems to deal with, without becoming embroiled in another countries business. That however, may be an unpopular point of view given the obsessive coverage of events. Still, if a firm opinion one way or the other was demanded of me, I’d venture that the political ructions in our major ally, have all the elements of a fine Greek tragedy. The protagonists in the tragic narrative are the politicians and aristocracy of all stripes, and they circle repetitively around and around the prize like vultures waiting to seek but a moments advantage. However, despite their best efforts, machinations and intrigues, their personal failure is that they appear to not notice the day to day failures and future challenges that beset the very thing that is in their care. It sure will make for a gripping future tale told around some far distant future campfire, hopefully with a mead or ale ready to hand.

To me they appear lost in their various intrigues and belief systems. It must surely be a beautiful place to hide, but mostly it suggests to me a lack of long term vision. It is hardly comforting to observe. A decade or so ago, one of our Prime Ministers used to bang on and on about his belief system of ‘values’. Yeah: like what values? who’s values? and how does anyone expect to even implement a coherent set of values? As a deeply pragmatic guy, such talk sounded like rubbish talk to me. Political leaders do talk a lot of such nonsense nowadays as a smokescreen, and then they go off and do some other stuff.

As to the other stuff they get up to, well, they appear to be reactive to events as they present themselves. To be fair to the politicians and aristocracy, they’re merely products of the culture which produced them. In a crisis being reactive is probably a useful tool to employ, and it may even solve some immediate and simple problems. The flip side of that story however, is to be proactive. Sorry to say, but being proactive goes against the very grain of our culture. In order to achieve a proactive response, a person has to has to know where they want to go, and what they want to do to when they get there, not always an easy state of mind to achieve. And to know where you want to be heading, is to hint at the possibility of there being some sort of a vision in play, which as mentioned above is sorely lacking.

Yeah, so little vision seems to be the way of the world and unfortunately when applied to serious matters, well let’s just say that the outcomes are hardly good. A few months ago, on one fine afternoon that played out on a youth radio news program. The Federal minister for energy provided an alarming statistic that something like half of all calories on peoples plates, were directly attributable to fertilisers obtained from natural gas. Given that natural gas is a finite resource, this news should be ringing alarm bells. But no: The journalist wanted to discuss renewable energy technologies instead; An academic entirely ignored the not inconsequential issue of conversion of natural gas into fertiliser and instead he spoke knowingly and confidently about wind and solar technologies; and the Federal minister for energy pushed the need to increase mining for natural gas. Nobody discussed the elephant in the room (using finite energy resources to feed the population), but maybe it is too much to expect.

And all the while, the local media continues to bang on about the political ructions in another country.

Still, the tasks that need doing on a stonking hot day here on the farm, still need doing. And so in the heat of midday, I found myself lugging wheelbarrow loads of the chickens soiled bedding straw up the hill. The organic matter, rich in chicken poop, will provide a fine fertiliser to the orchard growing up in that corner of the farm. It is a heady fertiliser. When our civilisation stops flushing their poop into the ocean and redirects it all back to the agricultural soils, I’ll believe that we have leaders with vision.

The firewood job has been completed for the coming winter

Despite the warmer weather, one day earlier this week was cool to mild and we went hard and completed the job of bringing in the firewood for the season. It is a real pleasure to have access to a shed (or two sheds to be precise) worth of dry and seasoned firewood. Winter is never far away. And interestingly, next week looks as though the weather Gods will bring a significant chunk of rainfall, so the firewood job was finished in a nick of time. Damp or wet firewood does not burn very well at all, and damages the steel in a wood heater.

Another day was utilised moving large rocks. The large rocks are being placed as a support for the soil used in creating a low gradient ramp leading down into the orchards. Without the rocks, heavy rain may potentially wash away any soil used to create the ramp.

The low gradient ramp project is a long way from completion, but at this stage the ramp is usable. Rocks are being placed on the downhill side of the ramp:

Large rocks are supporting the soil in a low gradient ramp project

It is hard to see in the above photo, but we have also placed rocks at the upper end of the ramp project. One day in the future, the two lines of rocks will meet, but that possibility is a few months/years away.

Large rocks were placed at the upper end of the low gradient path project

Even in its current far-from-completed form, we’ve made good use of the low gradient ramp.

A month or so ago, the editor nabbed some matching second hand cabinets and set about restoring them. Despite being 18 years old, the two cabinets were in excellent condition but were unfortunately stained an awful walnut colour. I can’t imagine what the original owners were thinking, but the manufacturers markings suggest that they were ordered to be that colour. The cabinets were sanded back to raw hardwood, and they revealed two very well made items of furniture. They’ve received five coats of Tung Oil, some polishing, and we replaced the very office-like handles with some way funky solid brass lizard handles. The job of restoring them is now complete, and they look really good.

The two matching cabinets have now been completely restored

Fruit preserving activities have now been completed for the summer. It is a pleasure to see the cupboard full of sun ripened and tasty fruit waiting to be consumed when the winter mornings are cold and dreary.

Preserving of fruit has been completed for the summer

In addition to this, jam production has also been completed for the summer, and we had so many blackberries this year that we did yet another run of blackberry jam. It tastes superb on freshly baked bread.

The stone fruit season is coming to a close (with the exception of some varieties of plum). This morning in the heat we walked around the orchard and nabbed the remaining stone fruits before the heat tomorrow causes them to ferment. This fruit will be consumed at breakfast time with home made toasted muesli and yoghurt.

A yummy selection of Stone fruit

In prior years we have had a lot of trouble growing peas. Most instructions relating to this plant suggest that it is a winter crop, however when trialled in earlier winter seasons, the pea plants die. Turns out that in this area, peas are a summer crop. And they’re very tasty and prolific.

Peas are a summer crop here – and prolific

We may have another good Kiwi fruit harvest come late Autumn and the vines are full of slowly ripening fruit.

Kiwi fruit vines are prolific producers

Another late autumn fruit is the Persimmon, and they are a very reliable fruit tree.

A non astringent Fuyu variety of Persimmon

The warmer weather this week has finally produced the first few corn tassles:

Finally, the many corn plants are doing something!

The two ginger tubers have sprouted and are beginning to grow shoots. This plant can only survive here in the greenhouse.

A Ginger tuber has produced some sprouts

We’re also trialling some sugar cane in the greenhouse, and so far it seems to be doing what it is meant to be doing.

Sugar canes have produced some growth in the greenhouse

Onto the flowers:

Most of the vegetables form flowers like this Chive plant
Salvia’s love the heat, and the hotter the better
A cheery Geranium hides among the Feverfew herb
Daisies also love the heat
Foxgloves produce a nice splash of colour in the fern gully
European poppies are prolific and self seeding
The Roses are a lovely sight on a hot summers day

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 26’C (79’F). So far this year there has been 79.4mm (3.1 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 78.8mm (3.1 inches).

76 thoughts on “Greek Tragedy”

  1. Chris,

    Thordog demanded all sorts of treats. He didn’t get bakery items from us, though. He did get those 1 meter long rawhide chews. Those are the things that keep a dog with normal jaws occupied for days and days and weeks. Thordog had one of those all eaten inside 45 minutes.

    Right now I’m getting into the “I need to just chill” mode. After 28 years of one job, I’m finding that I’m rather tired. A friend told me this morning that I better contact the retirement fund people asap, even though I don’t intend on using that for a few months. SO there is still a list of retirement thingies to do, which I’m finding to be tiresome. But I DO have carving project plans after the walking stick is done.

    Yes, Viking faces are appearing on the walking stick. It’s fun seeing what pops out of the stick and its character marks.

    I realized Friday that my final week consists of 1) take Monday off, 2) work Tuesday morning, then Tuesday afternoon off for an appointment, 3) take Wednesday off to avoid office politics, 4) work Thursday, 5) oh, wait, Friday the 29th is the First Day of Retirement. Yup, you added correctly: 1.5 working days left. Fortunately, I watched both my grandfathers have wonderful lives outside of and after the job. My uncle’s identity was also not wrapped up in the job. Good teachers, they were. I think I learned from them what to do. We’ll find out soon enough.

    Ya know, it’s the mundane stuff, say at Fernglade Farms or here at what I call Alandale House, it’s the mundane stuff that gives us the bits of structure that we need. Take that away and “Oh, heavens, what do I do now?” mentality can creep in with its attendants lethargy and ennui. But I do beg to differ with you on one thing. That first cup of coffee or two are NOT mundane, nope, rather, the elixir of wakefulness is a blissful nectar of the gods that is quite necessary in the mornings.

    Those cabinets look wonderful. That type of project takes time and patience, but that’s the only way to do it right. Yet I find that kind of work to be rather relaxing also.

    That IS a good feeling to have a bunch of food stored up for the winter, isn’t it? I’ve been enjoying some of the apples and peaches I dehydrated. They add an interesting flavor to soups and chili, too.

    I DID get industrious Saturday. I baked a loaf of Irish soda bread from some of my gluten free flours. The house smelled good and the bread tastes better.


  2. @ Pam,

    Yes, almost there!

    I keep written copies of most of my contacts, but have gotten lax. I better update the written records soon.


  3. Yo, Chris – Your shot of hot weather might be just the thing for the corn and tomatoes. The snow forecast for tomorrow (Monday) is off the table. Still on for Tuesday and Wednesday. Maybe. Prof. Mass has an interesting article about a mini hurricane that hit our coast. Almost due west of here. Must not have made it over the Willipaw Hills. No wind, here. Just steady drizzle, all day.

    Ah, yes. Those mundane tasks. Tedious and inconsequential. But if they’re not attended to, the plot gets lost and unravels. Some of it gets done on automatic pilot. Other things need paying attention to. But sometimes I’m asked, “What did you do, today?” Well, nothing seems worth mentioning, so, I appear to be a gentleman of leisure, but then why was I so darned busy, all day? Of course, personal grooming tasks, are probably best left unexplored. 🙂 .

    Yes, some of the headlines about the goings on in our country might be a distraction to draw attention away from what’s going on in yours. Like the academic and government official you mentioned further down your post. “Don’t look here, look over there!” But also, it’s been such a freak show, over here. Has a certain entertainment value, to some. It’s like driving by a traffic accident, and trying not to look.

    Over here, they added a bit to that “values” stuff. Here, it’s “family values.” Gosh knows where that leaves you, if you don’t have ankle bitters, running around.

    Fertilizers. They think I’m nuts, plowing every bit of organic stuff back into the dirt. They’d rather just sprinkle on some granules. There are 2 4×4′ beds that grew tomatoes, this year. It was where I got most of the small tomatoes. The bed the original planter had abandoned, who knows why. Well, now that the tomato crop is done, that is the deadest dirt. Won’t even grow a good weed. I don’t think I’ll bother with it, other than plowing what’s left of the tomatoes back in. I’ve got enough other plots to worry about.

    Here, we’ve got a tremendous amount of poop. But, like collapse, it’s not evenly distributed around. The factory farms have tons of the stuff. But, there’s the problem of labor costs to move it around, and transportation to wherever it’s needed. See: manure lagoons. But, on the other hand, it’s so full of antibiotics, and other stuff, would you really want to use it? Out toward where my friends in Idaho used to live, there were a few farmers that sprayed their fields with liquid manure. It’s heavily regulated and permits are required. Sometimes, when I’d drive out that way, the smell would make my eyes water. Not like nice fresh cow manure, at all. Sharp as it is, I think it’s a good thing. Every time they do it, there’s a big brewhaha, as it seemingly offends those with more delicate sensibilities. And you wouldn’t want to be showing a property, down wind, when it’s applied. 🙂 .

    So, your two rock lines. Did you call a surveyor? Will they meet nicely in the middle? Or will they be slightly wonkie, and keep you up at night? Calling Dr. Damo, surveyor extraordinaire.

    Oh! The cabinets are beautiful! The handles might not be to everyone’s taste, but I think they’re super!

    Your bottled fruit is very pretty. Your jars are probably about comparable to our one quart jars. But yours are taller and thinner. I think they look a lot more … elegant.

    Yummy selection of stone fruit, is right. Looks like the peas are going to give you some good tucker. Kiwi, persimmons, ginger and sugar cane. Yup. Your most decidedly several climate zones warmer, than us. Chives are so interesting. There was a big patch that needed to be tamed, but I kept three little bunches, and replanted them elsewhere. Soon, I’ll have three big bunches. They do add a bit of zip, when sprinkled on things. And, the dry seed heads are little explosions of garlic / onion flavor.

    The flowers are lovely, as always. So much red … Lew

  4. Hi DJ,

    Hey mate, it’s the awful mid week hiatus, but at the start of the week! Confusing huh, well imagine how we feel? 🙂 It’s the Australia day public holiday tomorrow, so I’m not interested in that, but the public holiday is a real bonus. Went to the cinema this evening to see the film ‘The Dry’, and it was pretty awesome. Hamburgers may also have been involved, but the upshot is got home late. Will speak tomorrow.



  5. Hi Lewis,

    It is the dreaded early-week hiatus this evening, due to a public holiday tomorrow. As someone who is self employed, public holidays doesn’t mean I get paid for them, it just means that there is no paid work to be done that day.

    Anyway, both the editor and I were in the big smoke today and so we decided to go to the cinema this evening and watch a local film: ‘The Dry’. It has the local well known actor Eric Bana, and it was an outstanding film, really enjoyed it. Afterwards a gourmet hamburger was consumed, and all up a good evening was had.

    The cool change arrived at about mid afternoon, and it is now raining here, although the really heavy rain forecast may not eventuate. Oh well. On the radar it looks like the rain will travel east of here, but they need the rain too. You’re right too, from what I could see of the garden in the dark, the heat has caused many of the plants to grow. I even spotted one or two additional small tomatoes in the torchlight.

    Now you may ask what I was doing trudging around the garden in the dark and rain at almost 11pm – and that would be a good question. So the story goes that I hadn’t been in the big smoke for many weeks and the coffee ground supply had built up, quite a lot. The car was full of coffee grounds and coffee roasting husks. I took as much as I could, and it was a first not to have cleared them out. So , I thought to myself, why not? In the dark I spread the huge load of coffee grounds and husks over the new orchard and fern gully up above the house. Such is the dedication to the cause of improving soil fertility. 🙂 Others may feel that this is mildly crazy, but I’d prefer eccentric to be the descriptive used.

    Oh, did I mention that I recommend the film highly? The cinema was packed, although socially distanced which meant that I enjoyed a bit of space around us – cinemas can be a bit packed in sometimes like an economy airflight nowadays (haven’t been on a plane for over a decade and then some, and I only imagine that things are more squeezy than they were back in those more carefree days).

    No, didn’t think you’d be much interested in the music, it was the side story about the marketing which really had little to do with the music, but more about the curious memes getting implanted into young brains. I’m uncomfortable that such thoughts are being inserted and it is a foolish thing. I’ve heard that story about the origins of the concept, and that particular mob has a dark stench attached to them – the things we learned in the Royal Commission are truly shameful acts. It is possible that there is something rotten at the core of that lot.

    The white kangaroo is fascinating, and although this joey has a very rare and different condition, I’d heard of and seen photos of albino kangaroos previously.

    Actually I know very little in regards to albinos. An omen? Surely you jest! I’d have thought the fireball shooting star the other evening was more of an omen! Hehe!

    Gotta run, me tired. Speak tomorrow.



  6. Hello Chris
    I really should stop listening to the news on the radio and television as it goes on and on and on about the same old things
    I accidently caught one of the television programmes designed for home schooling. Nausea made me turn it off, it was asinine. Designed for 11/12 year olds, I would have been appalled by it at age 5. It certainly revealed the low standard of education in our schools today. However a child friend has just learned about homophones this way and I had to admit that I had never heard the word before so they can educate me.
    I love the handles that you have put on the drawers and the work that has gone into making the wood look wonderful.
    Bitterly cold outside.


  7. Yo, Chris – A good nosh and a movie night out? You’ve more than earned it. Given all that rock and wood moving, and who knows what else. “Gourmet” burgers. I presume beet root was involved?

    “The Dry” sounds interesting. A mystery! Biggest grossing movie weekend, so far, in Australia’s history. I see it’s distributed by Roadshow Pictures. Our library carries those, so, when the DVD comes out, maybe …

    Eccentric? I’m cultivating an aura of “rabbit-a__ out of my mind.” Keeps the Inmates at a respectful distance. Not a bad thing to strew coffee grounds around in the dark. Gives you a chance to settle your meal, and ruminate over the film. I do a bit of strewing (well, pouring) in the dark, myself. 🙂 .

    Anything in nature, out of the ordinary, seems to be seen as an omen, by someone, somewhere. White buffalo figure large in Native American beliefs. A few years back, I dreamed of wolves, elk bones and that I touched a white buffalo. My friend in Idaho, Ron, has some Native American roots and connections. So, Debbie did some checking around, and I got a fairly detailed analysis of my dream. But DJ may have a more first hand take, on importance and meaning.

    Snow if off the forecast, for tomorrow, but still on for Wednesday. We’ll see … Lew

  8. @ DJ: congratulations on your last few hours of paid employment! I wish you an excellent retirement with many fulfilling hours of doing the things that are important to you!


  9. Hi Chris
    Belated answers to your questions. I fooled around with other stuff and was closed out buy the comments ended police before I could send. HeHe

    I learned the canning /bottling method from my folks. Like wise with my Wife. The only thing we do now is some Italian plum jelly which comes from our sole fruit tree and is only when the bees are out early in the spring and if sufficient pollination takes place and then the tree squirrels don’t ruin the developing fruit. The squirrels are fairly recent and not native to our area. The jelly is really popular with the recipients. I may study up on paint brushing the pollen from blossom to blossom. We need about 6 pounds of plums or 55 to 60 of them.

    Residential freezers are a pretty simple. A single knob for on /off and temp control. I think all have compressor unloaders which delay restart under load. Also the high efficiency motors that insure soft starting and light power surges.

    Inverters at your level should pretty immune to appliance effects. The charge controllers are built really tough. Your dealers who have done right well from your business should be really really helpful with recommending equipment protecting strategies.

    The power input solar cells are subject to all manner of variances . Environmental dirt and dust, uneven cloud shade ,rain, snow,. Bird poop , Chem trails🤫 oops

    My Li battery testing is about completed. The Dc Voltage / current regulated solar panel simulator worked very well teamed up with the $26.00 charge controller from a Chinese Amazoom vendor. The controller has very few features. user selects battery type of Which is LiFe Po4 in my case. Charge /discharge limits. Load operation time duration. Apparently bat temp info which is communicated from the BMS to the controller. The connection terminals look exactly like configuration on your Plasmatronics Co. Dingo 20amp model in their manuals. Hnnnmmm.
    I’ve being having a geeky good time with the stuff😀

    How’s your new battery system doing,?
    Cheers Al

  10. Hi Al,

    Ah yes, the forces that be, possibly moved against you and your commenting efforts. I set a policy for the website that older blogs cannot be commented upon – and have to fess up to doing so out of pure and sheer self interest. 🙂 In these circumstances it is best not to prevaricate, and dare I use the word ‘dither’ (! 🙂 ). Or simply confine commenting from Monday to Saturday might be the way to go. Computers can be unforgiving in their application of rules.

    The Italian Plum Jelly sounds superb and you led me into an interweb rabbit hole of tastiness. Talk of your jelly is like music to my taste buds, and by the end of the processing we probably put away about 80 pounds of jam for the winter. It’ll be enough at a guess.

    Many years ago as a gift, I gave away over a dozen beautiful glass jam bottles to someone interested in making jams, and didn’t seem to get anything in return for that gift, and so now hearts have become hard and containers must be returned. Such a world does not inspire me.

    Apologies I failed to explain. Yes, residential chest freezers are a genius chunk of technology. And as you quite rightly point out, they are superbly crafted with soft start functionality – which is an advantage which is no small matter.

    Yes, you are correct, the inverter can supply up to 15kVA for a brief interval and 5kVA continuously (or RMS as it was once known for Root Mean Square, I believe), so it is hardly bothered by high current demands.

    And the four solar charge controllers are happily idling along most days doing their thing without the need for continual oversight, although I check them twice per day.

    The solar panels firstly, and the heavy duty copper cables secondly, are the most exposed elements of the system. They sit out in the weather day and night all year around, and very few items of the suite of technologies that western civilisation is founded upon can withstand that much environmental punishment.

    So the precautionary principle comes into play and I pick and choose what additional strains I’ll demand of the system, and a chest freezer is just not a necessary item here. Never had the need for such a machine. Hope that explains my decision making process?

    I’m having a geeky good time with the technology too! The dingo’s are a solid unit and I’m sure the guts aren’t too dissimilar to the controllers here. The ability to continue working without de-rating when ambient air temperatures are at bonkers hot levels is one plus that many other units can’t quite achieve. I’ve met the engineers a few times over the years at the business and the devices have few if any capacitors, and so what does that tell you about longevity?

    Thanks for asking and the new batteries are doing well. To quote the book ‘Cold Comfort Farm’: Tes’ not natural. The internal resistance of the new batteries is low enough that the voltage climbs rather rapidly which is how I guess they can access the lower percentages of charge. I’m keeping this lot of batteries so that they always stay above the 90% full mark, with the occasional dip down to 80%. Underneath the flashy technology, I still see the old limitations of batteries.



  11. Hi Inge,

    The news down here is more or less the same. What else do you do? It is hard to walk the middle ground between keeping an eye out for the currents moving and swirling all around you, and the darker side of becoming embroiled in it. Isn’t embroiling something that happens to chickens in a pot? 🙂

    Aren’t homophones one of the awful tricks of the English language, which also make it really hard to learn for non-native speakers? Love the word asinine, and have to confess that I’ve met a few people like that over the years.

    There are times where I do wonder if George Orwell’s book 1984 hasn’t been taken as a ‘how-to’ manual. My own experience of the delights and depths of the English language and its use, came from reading books and developing my own ear for the use of the language in practice. Candidly, this was more of a personal bent / interest than anything taught to me in school and admittedly it is no hardship for me to bury my nose in a book. As I’m sure you love your books.

    As I age, I look upon from afar at the second hand tales recounted to me, and also the first hand experiences of the outputs of our educational system, and do wonder if the people in charge of such an edifice haven’t lost their collective minds? That may appear to be a harsh criticism, however it is not lost on me that those who cannot express themselves via the language, find other more tactile and visceral ways with which to do so.

    Perhaps I expect too much, and I do freely acknowledge that literacy rates are now far higher than in the past.

    Thank you and it was the editor who performed the vast majority of the work on those drawers, and I will forward your kind words. And she is very pleased to hear the praise. We often have furniture projects on the go in the background and have over the years obtained some truly astounding pieces of furniture on the cheap because people had no idea how to restore or better them. We did the same with old houses up until we were priced out of the market.

    The rain returned late last evening and truly outside today resembled winter like conditions. Slightly more than half an inch has fallen and it was a grey old day. As of about 6pm, the murk has lifted slightly.

    Stay warm!



  12. Hi DJ,

    Stay strong and avoid the awful temptation of feeding the likes of Thordog (in a future situational tense, of course) bakery treats. I’m weak, and the fluffies look at me with pleading eyes. Once sated with portions of the finest of bakery treats, the pleading eyes soon turn back to calculating eyes, and thus the balance is restored somewhat. 🙂

    And when I make a batch of Anzac biscuits, the batch includes biscuits for the dogs consumption without all of the yummy, but very bad for canines, ingredients. Each week I also bake up another batch of biscuits for their dinner. Dog food is super easy to make.

    Thordog was an impressive specimen to have done so in such a short period of time. And between you and I, a 1m long rawhide treat sounds like the sort of thing that a person could use in a Viking raid to club somebody resoundingly over the head! Mind you, having Thordog along for the raid would certainly assist matters. I’ve noted that the very gentlemanly Ollie is often mistaken by strangers for a hound from the depths of hell. Some are judged by their looks and not their actions.

    The fluffies enjoy the rawhide chews (albeit at about 0.2 metres long), but mostly they enjoy off cut bones sourced from the local butchers. I trialled lamb bones with them a few weeks back, and they loved them.

    Exactly, need to chill for a while is the way to go. It’s a shock that’s coming for you due to the loss of a primary purpose, and it takes a while to adjust to, so chill away. Good to hear that future plans are in the works. Hey, it is a public holiday here today so this was a very rare day that both the editor and I awoke with no plans whatsoever. I feel that this goal has been achieved! 😉 A truly rare day of total blissful chill out time.

    You know I reckon there is serious art in listening to what the timber has to say about how it should look. The farm here is a lot like that process. You get to see a bit, but not everything all at once and you have to pay attention to what it is saying.

    Avoid Wednesday at all costs! You were warned, and if you get dragged into the political quagmire, I shall happily inform you that: I told you so. And I’ll enjoy every minute of your reaction from hearing that! 🙂 But, I guess you’ve already decided to dodge Wednesday. Bummer for me. It’s not worth it you know. Hope they take you out for a farewell lunch?

    Years ago during the recession of the early 90’s when the entire gobarmint department I worked for was made redundant (i.e. they designed and built infrastructure – go figure) we had an epic send off. It was a very messy drunken experience and there were a lot of laughs and tears, and I walked home late that night out of the city. I was even nabbed by the police on the way home. I’m sure I was a bit messy at the time, and after questioning they sent me on my way – walking home out of the city to the inner burbs. An unpleasant hangover ensued the following day, but then a new life begins. And having become accustomed to working with engineers, for some reason I scored work afterwards with engineers despite the high unemployment levels at the time.

    Hehe! Spare a thought for the lovely people at the local general store who occasionally have to deal with my lack of clarity prior to a first of the day and very necessary coffee. Once or twice after a lack of clarity was displayed for all to see, I’ve then remarked: I shouldn’t be let out in public without first having a coffee. It is such a good line that I’m very careful not to over use it and save it for the very worst of occasions. Some it should be noted, are early morning folks, and that is nice for them. 🙂 I hear you bro!

    The editor did the vast majority of work on the cabinets, and I shall pass on your words to her – and she is pretty chuffed at the result. Tracking down the handles was an interesting project of itself.

    Yeah, preserved food stuffs from the summer months perks up a winter dish! Never thought about dehydrating apples and may give that a go. Who’d have thunk it?

    Yummo with the bread! 🙂 And the smell of freshly baked bread can cure all manner of ills in the world.



  13. Hi Lewis,

    Shopping malls will most certainly provide a wonderful ready made supply of some useful steel in the future. I note that Mr Kunstler made this prediction in his essay today, and I’ve heard it also said elsewhere and I reckon he’s right. It will be a good thing if the steel is of a high grade too. Maybe last century in my travels, I came across a very old iron sculpture that Indian metalworkers had produced. It was astounding to think that the pillar had survived as long as it had done so, and the level of ingenuity and understanding behind the construction of it is amazing: Iron pillar of Delhi. It’s awesome to see as the pillar is huge.

    As a suggestion we may require some class action funders in order to fund your whiplash weather class action? They’re up for it too, I bet – the cheeky scamps. Speaking of whiplash weather, yesterday 102’F and today it looks like winter has settled over the farm. Mid this afternoon the thermometer was recording an anaemic 55’F and over half an inch of rain had fallen since midnight. My head hurts at such changeability.

    It is a public holiday here today, and so we awoke to find that thick fog and drizzle was the way of the world today. No plans were made for the day, and we believe that this heady goal was achieved. Some things were done, of course, but things of note? Maybe not. Yeah, a rare day where not much happened. It feels kind of naughty. 🙂 I see by your reply that the snow was a fizzer. Have you tempted the weather gods to produce a city stopping snow storm?

    The Roman’s had their beliefs that’s for sure. Funnily enough, years ago the editor and I went to see a comedy show done by a comedian who candidly had gone off the rails over the years, but was now claiming the dual titles of ‘best dad ever’ and ‘clean for two years’. I was and am not a believer, but he mentioned a story where he worked at a club long ago doing stand up routine which was owned by a really bad person (eventually gunned down in the gangland wars). Anyway, apparently the story went that the previous evening at the club a person has been allegedly murdered and fell from a balcony to their demise. The story went that the owner remarked to the comedian that he didn’t yet know whether the person was: ‘stabbed’; or ‘stabbed off’. Like there’s a difference to the outcome for the victim. A chilling insight into the mind of a very unpleasant person. Anyway, I’d suggest that Agrippina the Elder had been stabbed off in that historical instance, and recommend not to use that particular name in future for progeny. It does seem like a name endowed with ill luck.

    Thanks for the teaser with the series! The choice sounds perfect for the editor. I see that the new Dexter series has not begun filming yet.

    It seems like a big call as to “how to orchestrate the rebuilding of a technologically advanced civilization”. Me thinks that there may be some technical, resource and energy difficulties in the way of such a heady outcome, but I await to hear what you have to say about the book. Of course technologically advanced, might refer to the technological level achieved in the era of Victorian Farm – I mean it is not as if the English Empire didn’t control one third of the planets surface using a far lower technological base than we enjoy today. At the back of my mind I feel that there is another aspect to this story other than technology, and it was one of the reasons I mentioned the salient quote about pain in an essay or two back.

    I do rather hope that H’s brain has since dried out. One of George Romero’s more recent instalments included zombies who walked across a river bed (under water).

    You’re spot on too. The shot of hot weather (all two days of it) doubled the size of many of the vegetables, and I noticed a few more green tomatoes lurking around. The chilli’s and eggplants loved the extra heat. We picked the timing with the firewood well, as rain of one type or another looks set continue to fall regularly for the next three weeks. Mate, what a crazy season!

    The good Professor’s latest entry suggests that snow will fall east of your ranges and that precipitation will head south to California, which I had not realised was still in drought. It is odd that there is no coastal weather radar in Oregon. Weather forecasting is a federal activity here.

    Hehe! Yes, talk of personal grooming habits may scare the kiddies! 🙂 But yeah, a day where nothing much happened is something to celebrate. Too much excitement can raise a person’s blood pressure.

    Mate, I’m doing my utmost best effort not to look at the circus and finger pointing going on in your land. It really is none of my affair so I rarely venture even the mildest of opinions – if I can help it. I once enjoyed working in the aftermath of a spectacular fraud. I had little emotional investment in the situation, but every man and their dog wanted to point fingers everywhere else but themselves and their own actions. My take from that experience is that people reap what they sow and that can easily be as large as a country wide event.

    We’re both stuffed on the family values front. 🙂 Maybe we should have tried harder? But oh well. Such talk from people spruiking such values does make me wonder what is thought of people who fall outside that narrative? Beats me, and it is probably not worth considering anyway. It is quite freeing in some ways to not be included under that values umbrella, because mostly the talk is used to sell people stuff and I ain’t buying. And candidly, the values aren’t delivering so crash hot right now so it hardly surprises me that this aspect is ignored in favour of inclusivity arguments. Maybe seeing what is involved in the narrative, and having a glimpse of the future prospects for society, I never wanted to go to that party.

    I’m with you with the fertilising. Whatever you can get your hands on and get it into the soil seems to be the way to go. As a soil practice it’s often not pretty or technical, but it works.

    Ah, of course with the poop. I’m unsure we have that problem down here and most of it I believe is trucked out of feedlots. Of course when I obtain a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of compost, it will most certainly have a dodgy history, and sometimes when applied it actually slows the plant growth. But eventually and over the course of a few years it all does benefit the soil. Keeping farm animals on a farm was as noted in the Victorian farm book, a good way to get ready access to poop.

    Yeah, liquid manure is a hoot to encounter. 🙂 But it’s effective alright when used with care.

    Ah ha! That would be telling of our rock secrets. I will tell you that a 13ft chunk of steel is used as well as eyesight and string lines. That stuff all works.

    Thanks for saying that about the cabinets, and the editor did most of the work in their restoration. The handles are awesome, and we had to go to the shop to see them as it was impossible to tell whether they’d be in proportion to the draws (they had several sizes of lizard handles).

    The jars are 900ml number 27 Fowlers bottles and haven’t been made since the 1970’s. They’re in superb condition and the company still makes the stainless steel lids (a necessity as the tin lids corrode) and the rubber rings. It’s a good and very simple unit that machine. It’s a pleasure to open a cupboard and see that it is full of such bottles. The rings are the weak point and who knows how many extras to keep a stock of?

    I can’t work out what climate zone you are at, because we use a different system down here. The local gardening club has a simple guide to climate zones down under (Cold Zone 9b and Heat Zone 4): Diggers Club Climate Zones.

    I may have done too many links, but here’s another that might interest you more than climate zones: Why understanding blue flowers is crucial for bees.

    Yup, I recommend the film. It is good to see an Australian film where the actors weren’t caricatures. A little bit is a good addition to the depth of a character, too much and it can become a joke and their actions become over the top and inconsistent with reality. That’s my rant for the day, and the film did not trod that sorry path.

    Wise to cultivate your reputation. A person’s reputation sticks to them like glue.

    A total teaser with the dream. Tell and then say nothing. Thanks for that! 🙂



  14. Hi, Chris!

    Like Lew, I think that the focus of your country’s media on our asinine (thank you, Inge) problems is being used as a distraction from your own difficulties. Besides which, as far as I can tell, most of the media exists as professional fear mongers. Shame on them.

    The first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning is a list of things a mile long that I need to do that day. I don’t mind, though. It helps me sort things out.

    It looks so nice and cool under the trees by your ramp project.

    I envy you that chicken poopy straw.

    What a fine – it looks perfect in the photo – refinishing job. Do you all usually put 5 coats of tung oil on your refinished furniture? The lizard drawer pulls are a rare find. What a wonderful touch.

    How exciting that at last you have peas. They are a summer crop here, too – early summer.

    Sugarcane – how neat. When I was a girl in Texas I always looked forward to going to the farmer’s market where we could buy sticks of fresh sugarcane to gnaw on.

    Oh – the flowers!


  15. @ Lew:

    That is why we revere what is essentially a rat of the trees. Charlene the White Squirrel (not albino) is heads and tails above all other squirrels. It is interesting that she stands out not only for her color, but that she is head squirrel here. She is mean as all get out and spends her days chasing and menacing all other squirrels. I wish I had her energy. She’s not young either, being in her seventh year.

    Charlene only has one litter a year, which appears to be unusual for a rodent. She seems to spurn most suitors until one literally dogs her footsteps for days, which is one of the most entertaining sights we have around here as the poor fellow seems to mostly give up eating for awhile, he is so lovesick.



  16. @ Inge:

    Thanks so much for “homophone”. I had to look it up. I didn’t know what one called words like “new” and “knew”.

    And thanks for the reminder of “asinine”. If it doesn’t actually mean “like an ass”, it could certainly be remembered that way.


  17. @ Pam – All hail, Queen Charlene! 🙂 . The White Queen. Our local squirrel population crashed, about two years ago. Who knows why? But, there were a few last year, and this year looks like a good year for squirrels. Lew

  18. Hi Chris,

    Yes, it sure is hard to acclimate to sudden temperature shifts. Now in the dead of winter the 30’s are balmly while in the summer if we had a sudden drop to 50 is would seem freezing. How do the chickens do with the sudden changes?

    Even in retirement I’ve got my time mapped out for about a week.

    The news here mostly focuses on just the US. The nightly news shows used to be called World News Tonight. Now it’s just the National News. Out of habit we usually watch the nightly news and find the same news and video shown on several different nights!! It’s become somewhat of a game for us.

    I well recall hauling wheelbarrows full of poultry and goat poop all over. Now we only have the poop from our one batch of brooding meat chicks and believe me I use every bit. I know you enjoy Gene Logsden. Did you ever read his book, “Holy Sh*t”? In the early years of our book club when the members actually read books we used to hold a discussion of the current book on our local radio session. We were admonished harshly for uttering the word, sh*t as the station could get into a lot of trouble with the FCC.

    The cabinets look great and I love the handles.

    As usual all the photos are wonderful and cheering here where it’s just brown, grey and white.

    Things have opened up here at least for the time being and Doug is making noises about going to a film. However, there just isn’t much being released and as masks are required it would have to be something I really wanted to see to be masked for several hours. Now I’m not opposed to masks – they make sense in some situations but we have a couple streaming services and there is plenty to watch at home.

    We keep getting several inches of snow every few days so it’s been piling up quite a bit – over a foot now.


  19. @DJ

    Best wishes for a happy and restful retirement doing what you want to do.

    When I officially retired I always said it was in name only as I still had the care of three brothers and Doug’s mother. Right after we moved to our present much smaller house, a second brother passed away. Doug’s mom had passed away a few months prior. That change was so abrupt that for a time I just thought “Well now what.” Took some time but I’ve adjusted. I’ve got plenty to do but also have time to read, watch the birds and even take a short nap each afternoon.


  20. @Inge
    I hear you about the state of education now. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when all the kids get back to in person learning as only the most motivated would be getting much from remote learning.

    I’m happy my daughter choose to homeschool my granddaughters and had the ability to invest the time and effort to make it successful. As they are 15 now they are mostly self directed. They take classes online and with other parents. A new one this year is debate class. Their homeschool team competes with other public and private school teams. Now where they reside they are in the district with the highest ranked high school in the state. Their debate team is required to do all their own research on the topic while the team from this top ranked school has others do their research and only has to present their arguements.


  21. Yo, Chris – The iron pillar in India is really something. I don’t know too much about Indian archaeology, but I do know that they’re finding some of the oldest civilizations, there. And that they had a bang on tradition of metallurgy, going way back. Malls have a lot of iron, but also huge amounts of aluminum. Most of the interior walls have aluminum framing. I’ve seen them being built. All aluminum framing with sheet rock slapped on. And, it’s not just commercial spaces. Aluminum framing is pretty common in residential properties, too.

    Well, I want to see the manager, and get a refund. Snow is entirely off our National Weather Service forecasts, for the foreseeable future. But here’s the thing. We’re having frequent periods of rain, for the next week, and the overnight lows are going to be slightly above … or slightly below, -0-C. Maybe I’ll go read some political news, just to take my mind off the weather 🙂 .

    Romans weren’t very creative when it came to women’s names. Which historians moan about, including the author of the book I’m reading. Antonia, Drusilla and Julia, appear again and again. They try and keep them sorted, by designating mother/daughter relationships as elder/younger. Sisters are often referred to as major and minor. Sometimes, context reveals who the Roman historians were talking about. Sometimes, not. I’m sure that within families, there were probably nicknames, to keep everyone sorted. But those haven’t come down to us.

    I started watching a new series called “Sanditon.” I don’t know if you have any Jane Austen fans, around your place (Ruby? Plum?), but it’s the only Jane Austen book that hadn’t been filmed, to this point. Why, you might ask? Well, Austen wrote eleven chapters and then died. So, they gave it to a fellow who has done many Austen adaptations, and he just spun it out to it’s conclusion. By chapter eleven, Austen had laid out all the characters, and their personalities. Austen, was laying new ground. It was a bit racier than her previous books, and moved out of the usual country houses, and to a seaside town, which is attempting to attract the upper crust. Also, Austen introduces her first major black character. An heiress from Antigua, with an income of 100,000 pounds, a year. I’m quit enjoying it, but it’s not as amusing as “Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies.” 🙂 .

    I got a little further into “The Knowledge.” I’m a little miffed with the author, as he revealed that you really need a Goldilocks, collapse. Population mostly wiped out (but, you need about 10,000 to kick start things, again) and lots of stuff lying about. So, forget astroid strike, or nuclear exchange. Pandemic would be, ideal. I’ll see where it’s going.

    All that water going to California. Due to all the fires, there will be many landslides.

    Well, we’re probably lucky on the family front. Come zombies, alien invasion, or reconstituted dinosaurs, we won’t have ankle biters, screaming and wailing and drawing attention. Not following simple directions, and endangering everyone. 🙂 .

    The reek of liquid manure, separates the men from the boys. The women from the girls. The Karens of the world, from the rest of us. The country folks from the city folks.

    Climate zones can be useful, I suppose. But which one? United States Department of Agriculture, seems to be the one most used.

    My Old Farmer’s Almanac calendar has a zone map … with only four zones for the US. I notice the article above mentions the “Sunset Western Garden Guide”. Which I have. They parse the climate zones down even further, that the USDA.

    That was an interesting article about the color blue and bees. I’m glad I planted a lot of bachelor buttons (corn flowers), forget-me-nots and Love-in-the-Mist, about. I also found interesting, the sidebar article about the Invasion Day Rally. I see you have some of the same whack job groups, as we do. The net spreads as many (if not more) bad ideas, as it does good. Depending on your point of view.

    Speaking of Australian caricatures on film, I see there’s a new Dundee movie, coming out. Last year, it was “Son of Dundee,” which sank like a stone. That reminds me. I watched a trailer for a new movie, “Godzilla vs. Kong.” Looks like it might be worth a bowl of popcorn.

    Well, according to reports, my dream of touching a white buffalo was very powerful. Or, at least lucky. The elk bones had to do with adult matters, that you don’t want to hear about. The wolves? Can’t remember. The dream stood out, as I don’t dream a lot, about wildlife. I think I made a copy of the interpretation. Wonder where I put it? Maybe with that astrological chart I had done, 50 years ago?

    Well, here’s a mystery. I made another double batch of banana muffins, last night. With plumped up dried fruit, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. When I did it, a couple of weeks ago, I got 3+ dozen muffins. Last night? 2+ dozen muffins. I can’t figure out why that happened, as I used the same recipe. About the only difference was the bananas were slightly larger. Muffins were the same size. That’s going to keep me up, for a couple of nights. 🙂 . Lew

  22. @Goran & Chris

    RE: 5G and Digital from last week

    As an FYI, 5G is an encompassing term that includes *both*:
    – new protocols on the existing 4G frequency (no new antennas required)
    – short range, higher bandwidth “improved” system that works on different frequencies and requires different antennas, chips etc in the phone. Plus a much denser network of transmission towers

    As such, you can expect everything will be “5G” at some point, but only the super dense parts of cities will be covered with the “better” 5G. Fun fact, phones that support the brand new 5G have worse battery life due to the processing requirements of the receiving chips. Complete waste of time and money…..

    RE: Digital radio and TV gives us a lot more channels for less space on the public spectrum, but areas with marginal analogue reception will just get static. Like you, I don’t have an antenna plugged into the TV, but I do use a digital Fm radio to listen to Double J from time to time. Unfortunately, in order to fit more digital radio stations, the ABC lowered the bit-rate on Double J to 64kbps, 1/3rd that of most mp3 files. On a good stereo, this makes the sound quality noticeably lower. I guess that is a nice flexible advantage of digital over analogue transmissions, but annoying for someone who doesn’t care about the 30 different unearthed stations….Thankfully the radio also receives standard FM signals, and I just use it in the garage where sound quality is not crucial.


  23. @Chris

    I was about to write a panicked message warning against keeping your batteries at 80-100% permanently. But then I remembered you are running LiFe, not LiPO.

    Certainly, LiPOs are not happy fully charged (or empty) for extended periods of time. My personal experience with LiFE battery packs is they do seem happy to sit at 80-100% for at least a year – which frankly is amazing. On a related note, I now only charge my phone every second day. I used to put it on charge every night, no matter the battery level. But, this doubles the number of charge cycles, and on my last phone, the battery life had halved by around 12-14 months of age. My new (second hand) phone is still going strong at 30 months on this modified charging regime.


  24. Hey Chris,

    Democratic governments run on the principle of ‘better to ask forgiveness than permission’. I’m sure there’s plans that politicians would like to implement but the political capital requirements are always high as there will inevitably be losers for any plan and they will all pin the blame on you. Remember Howard and WorkChoices? By contrast, look at corona. Many politicians are at their highest opinion poll ratings ever. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

    The chickens got through the first really hot day of the summer OK. The ancona and australorps didn’t seem to care much but the rhode island red didn’t look particularly happy with situation. Can’t blame it. I’m not much of a fan of 42 degrees either.

    I’ve decided to let them free range and so far it’s going well. I expected I might need to bribe them back into the coop with treats but they just go by themselves which is convenient.

    Interesting that you can’t grow peas over winter. I got a nice crop of them last winter from a small planting. I plan to go hard on the peas this year as I’ll be turning the soil at the side of the house into veggie beds. Gotta love fresh peas.

  25. Hello Chris
    I have also understood that English is a difficult language to learn. But, hurrah for ‘the’. Thank goodness we don’t have to remember whether it is ‘le’ or ‘la’, or der die or das etc.


  26. Hi Pam,

    How good is that word? I defer to you and Lewis in this matter, and honestly, I’m yet to hear a better answer – or even an answer that makes any sort of sense. It is super weird encountering people down here who are in a high emotional state about affairs in your country. A very odd experience. And yeah, shame on them for pushing such heavy emotional buttons. I reckon they just may have no other tricks up their sleeves!

    Lists are good and useful things, but I’ve heard it said that if they stay in your head then that’s one extra thing to remember. When I wake of a morning, I’m usually like a zombie hankering for coffee. It’s true, but despite the early morning mental fog there is enough brain power to sing the best dog ever song to Ollie – and he loves it. But more than, is too much, so I salute your superior skills with the list of things to do.

    The greenhouse is located near to that ramp, and interestingly it is shaded by a large tree from the afternoon sun. That fortunate effect is an unexpected advantage of the greenhouse building. The trees in that location on the farm are epic sized.

    Hmm, the chicken poopy straw is a fine soil additive, and can’t you imagine all the little soil critters coming up from the soil depths at night to have a good feed on it? The coffee grounds are superb too.

    Thank you, the editor did most of the work with those draw units. The number of coats of Tung Oil depend on the surface finish and whether it polishes up evenly. The dining room table which we purchased for $100 went through the same process and it is the same species of hardwood, but it is just that tiny bit denser and so it required six coats of Tung Oil. Hope that explains the why of it all. Don’t tell anyone that we only put three coats on the floorboards… Have to fix that one day.

    Normally peas would be an early summer crop here too, and note that Simon who is not far away but in a warmer locale can get his peas to over winter.

    Oh yeah, the sugar cane is super tasty! Yum! Hopefully I can get the cane to survive over the winter in the greenhouse, but I might bring it inside the house too. Dunno yet.


    Hope Mr Dumpy is soon crowned best dump truck in your area. And need I suggest flame vinyl decals on the doors? 😉



  27. @ Lew:

    I expect that you had a bad nut year that year and the squirrels moved off in search of food. That is what happened to our wild nut-bearing trees in 2013, when virtually every kind – oaks, hickories, walnuts, etc. – produced almost no nuts. We call it the Great Squirrel Migration and had only one squirrel left, a sick one that we cared for all winter and spring. That was Charlene’s mother.


  28. @ Margaret:

    I would say that the homeschool debate team has an obvious advantage, as in doing their own research they will know their subject so much better.


  29. @ Margaret
    My son claims that the only benefit he got from school was the ability to deal with assorted human beings. I taught him to read which is clearly the one absolute essential. I could imagine home schooling up to the age of eleven but after that it must get difficult if one has a science oriented child unless that is ones bent.

    A.S. Neill who ran Summerhill the free school where a child could do as he pleased, said that some children did nothing until at about the age of 16 they realised that they needed to pass exams to go where they ultimately wished. Then they learned everything that they needed in 2 years.


  30. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for understanding, and it is a very strange climate here that can drop 50’F in a matter of hours. It is actually very hard on livestock, as you probably are already aware. Last year I saw a brief snowfall after a warmish day, and watched as the local cattle, goats and sheep huddled in packs for warmth that day – but it is very hard on them all the same.

    Hehe! I hear you about mapping out ones time, I mean how else do you accomplish anything? Friends have got stuck into me over the years about not being spontaneous, but I don’t see them doing much good with their spontaneous choices. Although I might be too harsh in that observation.

    That’s interesting because it happens here with the news as well. The interweb is a vast echo chamber, and I now note that news websites are repeating content across differing websites. Journalism is apparently not a wise career path me thinks. One of my faves is how tweets have become newsworthy – that makes no sense to me at all, because it suggests that news has become the same as an opinion. But all the same, you still see it happening.

    Margaret, Gene Logsden’s book Holy Shit is a superb read and it may have been you who recommended it to me. I love the guys writing as it is so approachable, and it was a bit sad that I missed the chance to drop in a line and say ‘G’day mate’! Oh well, his words are still with us. Anyway, it was in that particular book that my eyes were opened to the sheer volume of poop required to replace lost minerals in the soil from gardening / agriculture. I’m now reading Steve Solomon who moved from Oregon to the island state of Tasmania to the south of here and his work is excellent too. I might have to adjust plant spacings from what I’m reading, and my mates of the big shed fame have likewise criticised that aspect of this farm.

    Thank you, and I’m always amazed that perfectly good furniture gets dumped because I’m guessing people don’t know how to restore them. Have you had any recycling drives recently? The handles are super cool, and thanks for noticing. 🙂

    Margaret, up until recently masks were required all over the shop. Things have eased up since there are no cases down here, but I struggled with wearing the mask for hours too and my face felt wet from condensation. At times it made me feel ill wearing it for extended periods, so yeah I would not enjoy watching a film either whilst wearing a mask.

    Happy snow days! Just keep an eye on the functionality of the heater. Just sayin… 🙂

    It was a superb day here today 72’F and sunny. Not enough heat to grow vegetables, but at least it is not fire weather.



  31. @ Chris and Pam
    Lists: I only make shopping lists and a quick list of topics to mention when Son turns up. The latter is because I often thought ‘oh drat’ when I realised that I hadn’t mentioned something that I had been requested to ask him.
    Son makes no lists with the result that he always forgets things when he shops.

    I used to make a list of things that needed doing until the occasion when I noted that I had done nothing on the list. I then added the things that I had done and crossed them off while laughing at myself.


  32. Hi Damo,

    Thanks for the 5G explanation as I seriously had no idea at all. Glad that the antennas don’t need to be replaced yet again. Those 22 dB high gain Yagi’s were not cheap and you know as I removed them from the roof mounts the other day I had this awful feeling that I should simply insert new elements so as to align the Yagi’s with the correct frequencies. We have the technology and understanding to do so, but the replacement antennas were $30 delivered, and so a rather rude word was used and what was said may have rhymed with the words: ‘truck it’. But those weren’t the actual words used on the day. Keeping abreast of this technology has been an almost yearly incremental learning experience.

    Just to geek it up for a bit, and I know this is like catnip to you, we now regularly get 30Mbps download and 20Mbps upload via 4GX which is good enough for my purposes. The speed varies with the traffic volumes, and late at night, it can sometimes reach 40Mbps. So the other day I was in the big smoke and tested the speeds and they were getting 100Mbps, which is bonkers fast.

    Honestly no telco in their right mind would install enough towers around here for 5G to make any economic sense. I’m sure the wallabies in the depths of the forest would enjoy the streaming services at such speeds, but it hardly seems necessary. I’ll bet you get some good speeds at your place? So yeah, it makes economic sense only for super dense parts of the city.

    Damo, such discussions are like total catnip to me. I’m sure I’ve mentioned re-capping the Yamaha T-80 FM Tuner project which goes on behind the scenes with rarely a mention? 64kbps is not anywhere near where it should be for music, but then I don’t listen to Double J despite their recent promise of replaying the 2000 list, and candidly would only settle for 192kbps at a minimum. How does one listen to BomFunk MC ‘Freestyler’ at a low bitrate? Me thinks not. Even mp3’s in the mid 90’s were recorded at higher bitrates (128kbp), although it took overnight to decode 10 wav files in those days.

    FM signals here are a bit difficult already due to a big mountain ridge to the north which blocks off Bendigo signals 90.3MHz, another mountain to the south which blocks off Mount Dandenong signals 107.5MHz and so that leaves Ballarat 107.1MHz which is candidly a long way away from here. As you do, I made a custom FM Yagi tuned to that exact frequency and then added in a high gain FM signal amplifier just to make sure of a proper signal. The sound is pretty good. Anyway enough geeking it up! 🙂

    I had no idea about the lithium chemistry in the mobile phone batteries. Mate, you gotta be over everything. What a pain. The editor is now feeling rather smug as she was charging at your suggested schedule through natural inclination. We have both the same phones and so will find out one way or another, who’s right.



  33. Hi Simon,

    I’m quite partial to that saying and have used the technique to advantage occasionally. Years ago an architect confided in me that many planning application permits were processed by councils so as to confirm what had been done, rather than asking for permission to construct something. And I do recall Workchoices, when that particular gobarment held majorities in both houses of parliament. Interestingly that bloke may also have said that the only thing we have to fear is hubris. Didn’t work out so well for him in the end.

    And yeah, they’re riding the wave alright. Hope you are taking proper advice from our glorious leader: Get on the Beers?

    Chickens are pretty hardy to heat, and how is the Ancona going now? As long as they are in the shade and have water, they seem to cope with hot days like that one. A decade ago, the first day we got chickens was 40’C, and far out it was hot, but the chickens coped OK. Do you have plans to use the chook poop on your garden? And yeah, I’m no fan of such hot weather either. The overnight hot weather was rough going.

    Nah, chickens always go home of an evening to their roost. It is quite amazing to watch. Sometimes, they’ll get a bit disorientated, but I grab a branch with leaves and shake it above them, and they return to bed.

    Your area is a bit warmer than here because of the elevation above sea level, so winters produce a few days of frost, and that finishes off the peas. You could grow proper sub tropicals at your place.

    And yeah, fresh peas are really tasty.

    Hey, a commercial orchard has come up for lease: Established orchard business available. Seriously hard work. But these guys are my plan B when the orchard here fails. Hope it doesn’t fail next summer!



  34. Hi Lewis,

    India was an assault on the senses, and mostly in a good way. The spice markets and merchants were amazing to see and smell, but the sheer mass and quantity of people made me uncomfortable. It is not for no reason that we live in the middle of nowhere! But it is a beautiful country and the trains were easy to get around on, not flash, but pleasant. The food was a bit rich for my tastes actually as the locals wanted to feed westerners with food they thought westerners should eat, when all I wanted was some well cooked lentils. Oh well. History was everywhere and it was hard to escape from the weight of it.

    Exactly about the aluminium, it is definitely used to hold up sheet rock plaster. Seen plenty of that in my time. As a system it is quite a contrast to the old lath and plaster where timber battens were nailed to the building frame and a plasterer would build up a layer of solid plaster on top of the battens. There is a real art to it, and I once had the pleasure of being able to watch how an old school tradie in that skill repaired a wall made that way. It is very impressive to see them in action. And the walls made that way last a century or more – the plaster has hairs in it, I’m assuming horse hairs, and that acts as a binding agent.

    You got ripped on the snow. I’d definitely complain to management. But then every time I’ve teased the weather gods with my works every time saying (I urinate more than this storm), then all hell breaks loose. Some folks have no sense of humour, so be careful what you wish for with the low land snow – you never know.

    I wasn’t aware of that aspect of Roman names. Interesting. A bit of a shame that all we have are the formal names of the people. As a funny side story, when the kelpie sheep dog pups were very young I had a lot of trouble telling them apart – it is easier nowadays, but back then. Anyway, after a while I’d just look at them and say: “You, stop that!” Not knowing which pup I was addressing.

    No, but one of the editors mates is a Austen fan, and it was she who loaned me Pride and Prejudice and zombies. A fun book – I hear you! Interesting, between you and I, I had wondered whether one or two of the final Robert E Howard stories were completed by another author. Having read so many of his stories in quick succession, there were one or two oddities, but overall the authors skills grew with every story. It is sad that such a prolific author never got to show us all where things could go. The old timers used to quip that ‘practice makes perfect’, although perfection is candidly over rated.

    Goldilocks collapse, not too harsh, nor too soft, but just right. I’m not a believer in such things.

    Hey, the tree dudes turned up this morning to do some work about the farm. They’re good those guys and they work super hard.

    The California fire problem with landslides is also a problem over in this part of the world when heavy rain threatens after a fire. It is a good way to fertilise river flats…

    Not following simple instructions in a crisis is so true. I’d hate to imagine your inmate Sue who always has a better idea countermanding and undermining basic instructions in a crisis. Yes, good luck with that!

    Manure, it’s just a thing, and I’d prefer to see more of it being spread over farmland, than less. I have to clean out the chicken enclosure every day and manure is unglamorous, but at the same time it’s important and to be respected.

    Ah thanks for the US climate zone, and that would put this farm in the ’10’ category of a minimum temperature of 30’F to 40’F. That would be about right.

    Your next paragraph caused me to sit in the forest for a while tonight and cogitate. More on this tomorrow. It is a loaded subject, that’s for sure, but I’m curious about it.

    Bedtime unfortunately.

    Until tomorrow.



  35. @ Pam – I didn’t know it could be a poor year for nuts. Across so many varieties. I thought it might be a disease (squirrel pandemic!), or, as the squirrel population increased, so did the predators. I often hear owls in the woods. And, we have eagles around. Ravens and crows. There’s been a few coyote sightings. Lew

  36. Yo, Chris – I’ve lived a few places where I could see the underlying lath and plaster. Not sure if it was “Victorian Farm”, or, “Secrets of the Castle,” but mention was made of horsehair as binding agent.

    LOL. The forecast, yesterday, changed, hourly. But, we saw not snow. Prof. Mass has a pretty good explanation, as to why. Chinook Wind from the east. Although it wasn’t in evidence, here. Portland, south got a bit. Some places north of us.

    I finished up “Sanditon,” last night. Hmmm. Most of the stories were wound up, but there were a few major loose ends. Making a shallow dive down the rabbit hole, I see they were plumping for a second season. But I can’t tell if it’s got a green light, or not. Sources, vary.

    Back when I was in the book biz, sometimes, a major author would spin out book after book. After they had popped their clogs. I often imagined their brains in a vat, somewhere, hooked up to a computer.

    Go, Tree Dudes! Did you mention your reptile run-in? If so, what did they think?

    I have a good Sue Who Always Has a Better Idea, story. You know, she races around the parking lot in her little red scooter. I always have the Wicked Witch theme, from the Wizard of Oz, running through my head. Well, anyway. the other night I heard the rumble of the fire truck and ambulance van. So, I switched into best curtain twitching mode. Just to see what was up. There was a lot of activity, over by the smoke shack, and I could see that it involved Sue. She seemed to have everything well in hand. The thought crossed my mind that I did not envy the medical folks. But, they didn’t haul her away. I happened to see her the next day, and as “inquiring minds want to know…” Well, somehow or another, she had managed to get her feet caught, between the scoter, and the curb. Then she pitched off the scooter, and into the garden and a large pile of hoses. Which she became entangled in. It took three or four of them to get her back on her scooter. All told, she did end up with a cut foot, which bled profusely, but, they patched that up (under close supervision) and she appears, fine.

    Can’t think what drove you into the woods, for a good think. “All will be revealed, in time.”

    Jackpot! Several things showed up in the library catalog, yesterday. “Freaky,” “Greenland,” “Breach,” “Lovecraft Country,” “Songbird,” etc. And, much to my deep shame, “The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee.” I put them all on hold, and, they’ll be dribbling in over the next month or two. I number one, on the hold list, for all of them.

    Happened to see an article, that reminded me of something. On companion planting. Topping the list was roses and garlic. There is even a companion planting book (which I have), titled, “Roses Love Garlic.” Not that your roses look like they need any help. They’re smashing! Lew

  37. Hi Dj
    Congratulations on your Retirement! Not having to deal with the administriva of the the work world my be your biggest thrill of the advent. Enjoy the chill time and the freedom.

  38. Hi Dj
    Congratulations on your Retirement!! Not having to deal with workplace Administrivia is one of greatest changes.
    Enjoy the chill time and the new freedom.
    Cheers Al

  39. @ Lew,

    Many years ago, my first boss on the soon to be former job, well , we both rode bicycles to work. We left at the same time most days and our route coincided on some of the bike trails in town. Ours went by a park…One day we were zooming along when cheers came from a softball game at the park. We both raised our hands in the “bicycle victor’s pose” to their cheers.


  40. @ Claire and Marg,

    Thanks. I’m looking forward to the important things, yes. And these include birds and an afternoon snooze among other things.


  41. Chris,

    There were many times when I was sorely tempted to use one of Thordog’s giant rawhide chews as a weapon. However, I had a better one. One dreadfully cold spell in the winter, when I was driving to the job, cars would NOT stop for us in the crosswalk near the job. Allegedly, pedestrians have the right of way, but cars are bigger, so when the car doesn’t stop, either back away or get dead. But…I had a 2 liter jug of water in the car. At -25C (yes, nights got that cold for 10 days), that plastic jug froze solid. So, I held it in position ready to throw at the cars that wouldn’t stop for the pedestrians. Cars stopped out of range and let us cross the street.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the free day with little on the schedule. After Tuesday, in which I only worked the morning but had to deal with the mismanager at the job, I NEEDED an avoidance Wednesday. We’ve had a dusting of snow each of the last 3 days, Wednesday’s being the largest at about 2.5 cm, half of the 3 day total. So I was glad to get outside and push snow around.

    The Princess already has plans for where we’re getting take out dinner after my last day. So a nice dinner it will be, probably with a good Scottish ale or two.

    Most of my (soon to be ex) coworkers learned very quickly after they got hired that it was best to ignore me until after I’d had my first cup or two of coffee. Most learned not to schedule a meeting with me until after my morning break, during which I always went for a walk. Not that I’d be surly or anything, just more or less “not there”. Unless I got sucked into an early meeting, at which time I’d have to continually swallow my “Viking tendencies”, often accompanied by some not quite decipherable muttering. Although the phrase, “Where’s my axe” got blurted out once as an appropriate moment for a joke.

    Yes, dehydrated apples. And pears, and peaches and apricots and onions. The house smells awesome whenever I dehydrate fruit. I don’t mind the smell of the onions, but the Princess told me NEVER to dehydrate them again if she’s home.

    That bread turned out good. We had the last of it for breakfast as French toast. Gotta bake more this weekend.


  42. Hi Inge,

    🙂 Hurrah! At High School I took French language lessons and was very lost in why some word was male, and another was female. It all seemed rather arbitrary to my mind, but it is possible the fault lay within my understanding. The thing I never really understood was that if a word was used to describe an inanimate object, did it matter whether it was male or female? The word used to describe the object is the word, and isn’t that the important thing? Of course it is not lost on me that one can develop a facility for another countries language, but there are subtleties of culture reflected by the language that an outsider will never know. So yeah, hurrah for ‘the’. 🙂

    Hey I must fess up here to the reality that it is the editor who makes lists and sees that the items on the lists are actioned. Of course over the long years I have seen the wisdom in this technique, but on my own I would have been much like your fine example.

    Well yes, as a contrast to your experience we have short term and long term plans, and they get reviewed. It’s not fun, but it works.

    A large storm may hit here tomorrow morning. The forecast rainfall looks a bit scary, but we’ll cope, mostly because we have to cope.

    Excavated (by hand) and moved soil today on the new shed site up above the house. The soil is an excellent resource and is being used to create the low gradient path down to the orchards.



  43. Hi Lewis,

    Of course! You made a throwaway comment about the invasion day article on the side bar. I didn’t really sit out in the forest and cogitate upon the concept. What happened was that I finished paid work at about 5pm Wednesday and realised that Friday morning the weather forecast is such that heavens look set to open and dump some serious rain here. So I spent the next 3 hours until 8pm cleaning up after the work that the tree dudes did. Those guys do a lot of work around here, but you may have noticed that we are neat? The tree dudes don’t quite achieve the same level of neatness, but I’m really cool with that. So I was out working in the forest for 3 hours and had a good long think about what the side bar story was and wanted to see whether I came up with any meaningful thoughts.

    It is such a complex and nuanced subject and the more I dwelt upon it, the more complex it appeared to be. In some ways it is an attempt to rewrite history from a different perspective, and I thought to myself that rather than reaching for that goal, how about embracing both perspectives and use that day to promote their own interests? It seems very weird to me that nowadays people have this odd notion that everyone can win, when clearly this is not the case and history bears this out time and time again. I tend to believe that at the core of that particular story is that somehow there is a large portion of the population who want to see themselves as the ‘good people’ or the ‘nice people’ – whatever that means. There is also an underlying reality that dispossession is an actual reality, and it is not merely physical, but when cultures are tied inextricably to land then there is a certain amount of cultural dispossession too. And candidly western culture which is seeking to supplant the indigenous culture is not so crash hot these days, and probably getting less so as time goes on, especially as resources and energy per capita declines. There is also an element which suggests that our culture somehow progresses if we embrace this story, but the reality is that our culture is at odds with ecological realities and so as painful as it may be, the culture in its current form is toast in the long term, and if I were the indigenous folks instead of publicly gunning for change I’d be working in the background on developing the culture that is to come in the aftermath of the wreckage, but you know people can do what they want in that regard – and I’m no activist, as the system can eat all of a persons energy and then some – and it is set up to resist a fight, so why give it one? It is possible I’m underplaying the reality, but I don’t really see a massive nationalistic culture down here, there is little in the way of ra-ra-ra go us! But at the same time I can also understand that indigenous folks reject the western culture, and perhaps that’s what they should be elucidating, but then and I’ve experienced this – it is really hard to get some distance from the dominant culture and each time you do it pulls you back into its clutches. Dunno. Any, it is a complex topic which generates a lot of hot air, and I do hope that you or nobody here skewers me for what I’ve just observed?

    The original Crocodile Dundee films were a hoot! Paul Hogan was the right actor to play the character, and he used to do a risque comedy show in the 70’s.

    I like the dream interpretation, and have never encountered a buffalo before white or otherwise but they do play a large part in your culture, ah but your lot are bison. Who knew? In any case, it sounds like a good omen. How do you know they were wolves and not coyotes?

    Are you sure the muffins tasted the same? Did you work out what happened? Occasionally I slip up with the bread baking and in the course of a decade I’ve once or twice forgotten to add ingredients. Try making a bread loaf without yeast and you end up producing a very dense damper. Tasty fresh with jam, but not the sort of fluffy loaves that people expect. Actually I most bake dense old school loaves as the really fluffy requires the addition of too much oil in the mix for my happiness. Despite using olive oil I have to cut back on stuff from time to time.

    With the rain predicted tomorrow morning, we got up early and dug another four feet of soil from the site for the new shed up above the house. 21 feet left to go which is about a week of digging. All of the excavated soil was moved down to the low gradient ramp and flat work space (against all of the rocks in the photos this week). Had a late lunch at about 3pm and went to the pub for a pint and feed tonight. I actually really enjoy the creative process in writing here and developing the farm. Plus it gets easier to live here and more productive each year.

    The soil was moved down to the ramp using the low centre of gravity mower and a trailer. As happens one of the tubes in the trailer wheels blew and the tyre went flat. Took the wheel off and used tyre pliers to get the tyre off the steel rim of the wheel and the wheel bent. I have a spare tube to chuck in, but that’s a bit of a waste of time. Turns out I’m guessing the entire trailer has not been constructed to be repaired. I took the wheel down to the farm machine repair guys and they have the same problem. Tried to obtain a better quality wheel, but nobody makes them… I smell a rat. And what really hurt was that the spare tyre and tube cost more than the replacement wheel I picked up today. Hmm… I guess the trailer will be a good starter trailer which is in for a good time, but not a long time.

    Yeah, the old lath and plaster is easily repaired and it is super strong. I’ve had to remove some and oh my gawd – that stuff doesn’t go anywhere unlike sheet rock which you can put a hammer through if you wanted to.

    Had a mystery visitor turn up at night and it was a cat who is marking his territory on our veranda. The moggy has an extensive territory.

    Chinook wind, you get them from time to time. Hey, this is super weird: Dangerous wind in southern Victoria tonight. And the winds are on this rare occasion coming from the east (which I’m protected from).

    Hehe! Elvis apparently made more money after he died, it seems like an impressive feat for the estate. There was a recent rap guy who died of a I believe a heart attack in an airport and he seems to be continuously releasing new tracks and collaborations. He was clearly busy, but a lot of his songs refer to mental health issues. Brains in a vat! 🙂 How handy would that be, and if they became too annoying you could threatening switching them off.

    Nah, at this time of year the tree dudes and I talk about snakes anyway – no need to scare them. Yesterday we both looked at the pile of logs which can be seen in the blog photo two weeks ago and said: Yeah, nah – winter. They’re alright those guys and it is in my interests that they don’t get bitten so we have pick the right job for the time of year, and they have to be happy to do that work. I hardly order them around or micro-manage them. Micro-managing is a personal hate of mine. Have you ever had a boss do that to you?

    Poor Sue Who Always Has a Better Idea! Oops! Hey, at least she wasn’t bitten by a deadly snake. See you could have mentioned to her that things could always have been worse.

    You’ve got some good films coming. Isn’t the Lovecraft country the one with Nicholas Cage? That scored some decent reviews, but down here the cinemas have not been open all that long due to the health subject which dares not be named.

    Thank you and the roses are growing really well, but I’m a bit slack on companion planting, which some people swear by. We grow too many different vegetables to spare the space for the flowers and just hope that predator insects visit – which they seem to be.

    The cat seems to be whittling down the rabbit population and I reckon it left us a rat two days ago. The little blighter tried to get in the front door in the middle of the night. A very creepy noise it made too. The good thing is that the dogs clear off the cat during the day so it doesn’t have much of a chance to stalk the birds during the daylight hours. However the cat may raid nests at night.



  44. @ Inge:

    They could call me the List Lady. I love lists! And I love to see a task done crossed off the list. It gives a sense of accomplishment, even though I might be doing the same task again soon. I also am a fiend for putting the date on every food item I cook or open up. Drives my family nuts (I sometimes sneak up on them and label what they have just opened). But it helps me be sure about freshness since sometimes you just cannot tell when a food has started to go bad. I am not obsessive about anything else, and my memory is actually pretty good. It just helps me be organized.

    My husband and son are not as good about notes and often forget to do something. Ha!


  45. Hi DJ,

    Mostly by contrast, drivers are pretty good with pedestrians down here. But your frozen water idea was a goodie and sometimes you need a bit of extra authority to sway recalcitrant individuals. Imagine leaving a person and dog standing on the intersection and not letting them cross in that sort of weather – it’s kind of mean spirited.

    How is big Bertha the snow plough going? Do you get it serviced at the start or beginning of the season – or doesn’t it require attention?

    Congrats on your surviving your final day tomorrow. 🙂 Do not under any circumstances attempt to live by the choice: May the bridges I burn light the way forward! It’s all very Viking and stuff, but you never know when you might need them again at some unspecified point in the future.

    Hope the dinner and ale is an enjoyable experience. Went to the pub for dinner and a pint tonight.

    Where’s my axe? What a hoot! 🙂

    Down here they used to pickle onions and those are very tasty items.

    Yum! Yes, homemade bread is da best.



  46. Chris:

    Mr. Dumpy is a professional truck; sorry, no flames. And Mr. Dumpy still has a fair amount of work left to be finished. My son and his assistant, my husband, are “shade tree” mechanics – we have no garage (yet), so the work depends on the weather. This winter it has rained about every three days, so almost as soon as they pull the tarps off of everything and bring out their tools and do some work, they have to take their tools back in and cover everything back up again. It’s been a really slow-go.

    And, besides his other work, my son built my husband a luxurious office in our basement so that my husband would not have to pay rent or commute anymore. I can hardly get my husband out of his new “den”, he loves it so much, and says that he doesn’t even mind going to work anymore. You can imagine the jokes about “Don’t get lost on your way to work!”


  47. Chris:

    I enjoyed looking at the orchard for lease near you. It made me think of our baby fig trees. My son has been buying fig cuttings from the neatest site – – and we now have, I am not sure, 16 different varieties of cuttings growing, also some 4 foot trees in pots that he got elsewhere. Figs are my favorite fruit.

    That site is interesting because one actually bids for the cuttings (like ebay). He says that there are some very rare fig variety cuttings that sell for $150. It made me think of tulips . . .


  48. Oooopppss
    Closed the iPad cover by accident the edit time was still running. When I picked up the tablet a few minutes later the comment was gone “somewhere”. So I dun anuter.
    Sorry old old al

  49. Yo, Chris – Offhand comments are like pasta. Throw it against the wall, and see what sticks 🙂 .

    Mr. Greer, has occasionally commented on “The Good People.” They do things that cost them little, and pay a lot of lip service. As an example, they recycle their garbage (into little bins, provided by the local governments) and use low watt florescent bulbs. Therefore, they are mighty warriors against climate change. That’s just one example. Mostly, flash and no substance.

    As to the demonstrations, actually, the participation of the indigenous people, didn’t catch my attention, at all. I mean, as an old white guy, I have … how can I put this … as they’d say in court cases, I have no standing. They’ll work out their own problems (or not) from within their own communities.

    What caught my attention is that one of our home grown nationalist groups has a presence, in Australia. The group with the initials PB. Not to be confused with a very tasty spread. 🙂 . I’m heartened that you don’t think they’ll get much traction there. In a related story, I saw a headline, that appeared and vanished. Apparently, one of their leaders, here, had a pretty robust criminal past. In return for judicial lenience, he occasionally worked as an informer, for the police … and the FBI. If true, that won’t go down well, with the rank and file. Or, is is “fake news” to discredit one of their leaders? Anyway. Onto less head hurting topics.

    I found the interpretation of my dream, by a tribal elder, via my Idaho friend, right where I thought it was. Will wonders never cease? Tucked in my daily meditation book. Actually, a lot of aspects of the dream were things as they are. So, a lot of the “message” was, keep on keeping on. Or that certain aspects of my life will remain the same. It was a lone wolf, in my dream. That symbolizes me. Wolves are basically pack animals, but, I’m pretty much a lone wolf. I had forgotten there was also a bear, dragging a rope. Bears show indigenous people, natural medicines. It has broken away from medicines that are not natural. And, is also a symbol of eating healthy. Things that I do. And should continue doing. Being allowed to touch the white buffalo, well, that’s very powerful, and, it was giving me a blessing. Which is ok by me, as I need all the help I can get 🙂 .

    The muffins tasted the same, and had the same texture. Spongy. As I substitute unsweetened apple sauce, for oil. I gave a few to Eleanor, and she said they tasted the same, as before. Tis a mystery …

    Writing here gives you an opportunity to mark progress. And, also, maybe, to “think out loud.” Explore a lot of possibilities. Also, to kick around a lot of ideas to try and make sense of the world. Which often doesn’t make much sense.

    Gazing into my crystal ball, I see a trailer build, in your future 🙂 . A trailer that is repairable, and has replaceable parts. Something to think about while your driving the old one, into the ground.

    That’s really good news about the moogie hanging about. And, reducing the population of rabbits …. and rats! Nice that he/she is sharing a bit of the kill. She’s paying rent. Also, you’ll know if she’s had much luck with the birds.

    Speaking of creepy noises. We have an Inmate, who’s getting crazier and crazier. Luckily, he lives down on the first floor. So we don’t see him up here, in the cheap seats, much. But he’s always lurking about. Seems to think the lobby is an extension of his living room. But the creepy part? Some of the Ladies down on the first floor said he has a habit of tapping very softly, at their doors. And, if they don’t answer, he starts scratching. That sent a shiver, up my spine. Eleanor has been locking her door, a lot more, lately.

    Well, our weather has been the usual. Rain and sun, on and off. But I noticed something this morning, on the radar, that I don’t remember seeing, before. Usually, the rain move in a west to east, direction. I can’t remember seeing what I saw, this morning. Clouds (and rain) moving from due south, to due north. Wonder what that’s about?

    I’d guess your a good bloke to work for. If the Tree Dudes thought otherwise, they’d just stop showing up. Oh, yeah. I’ve worked for a few micromanagers, in my past. They usually don’t hang around, much, as they’ve got so many other people to race off and micromanage. So, I just nod, make affirmative sounds, and, once they’re gone, do what needs to be done … in my own way.

    Nick Cage was in the recent “Colors Out of Space.” Which is a Lovecraft story. The film was awful. I mean, really awful. “Lovecraft Country” is a new series. I have reservations, given what little I can find out about the content. But, I figured I watch an episode, and see what I think. Lew

  50. @Inge

    That is one of the major advantages of home schooling – the opportunity to work at one’s own pace. One of my granddaughters was having a terrible time when she was 7-8 understanding basic arithmetic. My daughter just kept on encouraging and one day it was like a light bulb going off. For a time it was difficult to keep her from doing anything but math. When teaching I saw time and time again students who couldn’t understand math concepts or even read at their supposed grade levels get moved on to the next grade to become even more frustrated.


  51. Chris,

    Drivers vary here. I don’t trust them when I’m walking. Or driving for that matter. When stopped for a red light and the light turns to green, the rule in Spokane is “Slowly count to 3, look both ways, then proceed.”

    Haven’t use Bertha since the last big storm about a month ago. I’ve changed oil once or twice since I bought her, that has been the bulk of the maintenance. So far. That said, my neighbor also has a snow blower and is a retired aircraft mechanic. I’ll ask him for maintenance lessons later this year. Probably cost me some large branches for his fireplace the next time I prune trees.

    My plan was to slowly fade away from the job and leave quietly. Alas. The Big Boss of my section decided to become the Supreme Mismanager this week. I got figuratively backed into a corner and told to do a large body of work and assigned new projects, few of which I could possibly have completed, this directly after his agreeing to a “transition plan” that should have been implemented 6 months ago. Which brought to mind this phrase with a picture of a heavily armed Viking: “If you back a Viking into a corner, there’s only one way out: right through you.” Bridges are still standing, although slightly charred perhaps. Not what I had in mind. Such is the way of things.

    I’ve pickled onions. They are AWESOME pickled. The Princess recently found me a recipe for pickled vegetables in a magazine she was perusing. I’ll give it a try after I’ve emptied enough dried fruit from some of our jars. The recipe includes a healthy amount of onions in the mix.

    My stomach is rumbling in anticipation of my retirement dinner. 3 hours to dinner.

    I wish “Where’s my axe” was an original. I picked it up in graduate school in New Mexico. 3 of us in our program lived on the big Interstate 90 highway. There was a guy from Erie, Pennsylvania across the continent, then the Viking from Mullan, Idaho (140 km east of me) and me. The Viking carried a double bit axe in his car. If we had an outdoor party, after drinking a few, he’d exclaim “Where’s my axe” and grab it from his car, stand back about 10 meters from the nearest large cottonwood tree, and throw the axe. It always stuck in the tree. Oh, he was half Norwegian and was 2 meters tall.

    I emailed some last minute “wisdom” to the junior techs today. This included: When asked a direct question from a manager in a meeting, NEVER reply with, “You’re right! Diet Dr. Pepper DOES taste more like regular Dr. Pepper.” My first boss did that once. I did that once. Neither result was terribly good.


  52. Hi Chris,

    Yes, 64kbps is not civilised at all! Like all, free thinking, sensible people, I too would only accept 192 as a minimum. Most mp3s these days are at 320, and VBR as well!

    I don’t listen to Double J often, but sometimes if I am stuck with the breakfast or afternoon drive shows, I will change. Too much radio DJ talking and zany hi-jinks ruffle my sensitive feathers! Although I will admit Triple J DJs are light-years more tolerable than their commercial counterparts. I don’t know how people listen to that @&@!

    Kudos on your antenna nerd-out. I have never bothered with that, but am familiar with the theory. I had an old teacher who tuned his old style telescopic car antenna with a tape measure to his favourite station! Now days, modern cars seem to have hidden the antenna and you can no longer do this. In fact, on reflection, I haven’t seen an old-school telescopic car antenna for a long, long time.

    I saw your “Invasion Day” comments. I am sympathetic to the “cause”, after all, Australia was forcibly and violently colonised. But, like most modern causes, it does seem to be basically lip service. I really doubt many white people would be happy to give up their sweet lifestyles which are funded by said invasion. Much easier to change the optics on a public holiday and keep living of the fat of the land.

    On another note, human history is basically a story of violent conquest. This doesn’t make it right, but you have to start unpacking a lot if you go down that rabbit hole and expect to come out still a saint, if that is even possible.


  53. Hey Chris,

    Yeah, industrial relations reform was probably the only issue Howard really cared about for his whole career. He had a once in a lifetime mining boom, massive budget surpluses, a booming economy and both houses of parliament and he still paid the price for it. Tough game, politics.

    The ancona is doing well. Funny chicken. It seems to be outside the pecking order. I haven’t seen it peck or be pecked. Meanwhile, the others are going for it all the time. The chickens are finally roosting on the bars I put in. The others all roost facing the door while the ancona faces the wall. If it was a sheep, it would be black.

    Had a heap of rain here. 50mm and counting. I actually had to put some sandbags down near the house as I was worried the water was gonna come in. You probably got more where you are?

  54. Hi Pam,

    No flames, me thinks equals ‘no fun’! 🙂 On a serious note though, the old dirt mouse Suzuki which died the death of a thousand cuts, had vinyl ‘go faster’ stripes, and under the harsh sun down here the stripes broke apart and candidly didn’t look all that crash hot by the end. The car was a demo model way back in the day so it was much cheaper than a newbie model, otherwise we would never have optioned ‘go faster’ stripes and low profile tyres which also did not last all that long before requiring regular replacements. The whole mess goes to prove that what appears cheap at first, ain’t necessarily so!

    Nothing wrong with shade tree mechanics, and how else does one become intimately acquainted with the ins and outs of the machines we rely upon? And I’m certain your son will be far more gentle with the machine when it eventually gets up and running. There is no mojo to be gained by breaking machines – I heard someone years ago claiming that was the case, and they were wrong.

    I hear you about the rain, and today over two inches fell – not an outside work day here that’s for sure. I guess that is La Nina for you.

    Hmm, basements for me are very uncommon down under and have a dubious reputation in my mind mostly because of The Amityville Horror. Yeah, that’s true for me, and hope your husband does not discover a door to the underworld in the basement? You never know. And like my near to hand list of snake catchers, I recommend to you to implement a list of near to hand exorcists, but watch out for the pea soup spitting incident with the little possessed kid from another horror film as that seemed like an awful waste of good split peas.

    Hehe! Very good! Very good indeed and I applaud your insights into the situation. 🙂 I have a rare African fig growing in the orchard which was a gift from a local person who scored it by way of her dad, and it grows well but has produced zero figs. Hmm.



  55. Hi Al,

    Oh no! The loss. Ook!

    I suggest that you search for the lost comment as it may have fallen behind your couch? You never know.

    Checked the system here and the comment is not to be found.

    Lots of rain here today. A truly crazy summer. I note from experience that it is easier to grow in a drought year when you have stored water, than a wet year like this one. Oh well.



  56. Hi DJ,

    By way of contrast, mostly the drivers down here are pretty good with pedestrians and cut them a lot of slack. But I have noticed that of late, pedestrians don’t appear to be looking when they step onto the road. Clever devices may occasionally be involved, but not always. When I was a kid we had this annoying but oft repeated song on the TV with the gruff sounding Hector the Road Safety Cat. The advice to pedestrians is perhaps still relevant today. The advice down here was slightly different to Spokane advice and of course back to front as we drive (as is proper) on the left hand side of the road, but it began: Look to the right, look to the left, then look to the right again, then if the road is free of traffic, walk straight across the road – don’t run. Brainwashing in action me thinks!

    Hey, most servicing these days involves changing the oil and giving the machine a once over just to make sure that nothing critical will fall off. And your neighbour is a handy bloke to know. I hear that in recent years such maintenance was shipped (excuse the pun) offshore.

    What? That’s crazy talk. The editor resigned from a job years ago with a difficult boss who made a similar request: ‘I expect all this work to be done before you leave’ with an imperial sweep of the arm to boot. I guess it proves that some people may ask, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll get. As an alternative perspective layers of hierarchy rarely prove to be effective, otherwise such foolish statements would not be made in the first place. Oh well, it is all in the past now and best to move forward.

    Pickled onions are really tasty, especially in white vinegar, although admittedly the editor enjoys apple cider vinegar. I grew up splashing white vinegar onto hot chips and salt or with the occasional potato cake, and it is a heady experience.

    🙂 Hope the retirement dinner was enjoyable.

    A person of 2m in height would tower above me, and unfortunately they’d have a naturally longer reach. A dangerous person to back into a corner, especially if they are handy with an axe. Can’t say I’ve seen that, although I had a mate who played LARP games and an axe like that would be handy.

    Your last minute wisdom hints at the awful truth (and noted by the author Mr Adams) that nobody like a smarty pants! 🙂



  57. Hi Damo,

    320kps is a heady quality compressed signal, and admittedly due to limited hard drive space I stick to 192kps. Far out, we are in dangerous territory here as a quick search proved that this is a fraught topic, and studio quality monitors and amplifiers need not become involved in 192kps discussions. Actually I’ve never listened to a DAB+ radio, and was wondering if you found that different stations broadcast at different bandwidths? I’m assuming your radio tells you the bandwidth?

    Hehe! As a general rule I ignore breakfast radio of all stripes as they are too upbeat for my tastes. For years I have had this thought that they might be feeding them way too many sugary drinks, caffeine or uppers. It is too much for my tastes, and hopefully one day in the future someone might come up with the bright idea that such hours of the day need not be so perky. Of course I’m hideously anti-early mornings and this is a noted personal failing. By the time the drive show arrives later in the afternoon, the world appears more settled! Others experiences may vary.

    Who doesn’t love a proper nerd-out from time to time? 🙂 The signal reception here is so weak that I really had to do something seriously nerdy about it all. And as a friend I tell you this: On ebuy there is a Yamaha T-85 tuner for sale and that is the best of the best. Now I have a Yamaha T-80 which candidly is not as good, but is still very good indeed. Damo, I’m tempted. What should I do here?

    Hey, do you recall the old telescopic vehicle radio antennas which were clearly destroyed by vandals, but the cheeky replacements were made of coat hangers and bent into the shape of a map of the Australian continent? Due to technical difficulties Tasmania was rarely seen on those vehicle antennas!

    Mate, I’m sympathetic to the cause too, however to fight city hall is an effort that absorbs any and all energy. The system as far as I understand it is set up in such a way as to accommodate such a possibility and I have long wondered if the pot is deliberately stirred with that outcome in mind. I mean look at the protests over the years and few if any have been effective. I recall marching against the war for oil – that didn’t work out so well. And what about the occupy movement? There are easier and more effective avenues, but each involve accepting loss – and as you note (for other reasons) this is an unpopular consideration.

    Exactly, we have a violent history and it seems odd to pretend that it was and is otherwise.



  58. Hi Simon,

    Howard was dirty for the change, and it was as far as I could understand it, a long held ideological goal for him. Few Prime Ministers have lost their once safe seats before. I’d heard that winning WWII was not enough for the Winston Churchill led government to be re-elected, and so there is a story in there. It’s a tough game for sure.

    You know, many of the freebies and give away’s of those carefree days are costing the country plenty today, and some of them seemed very much like pork barrelling to me and have benefited some members of the community at the expense of many others. I recall serious news articles suggesting that pensioners on allegedly $100k were unwilling to give up on their advantages. To remove them has been mooted, but the howling and backlash was err, quite loud and despite the bad optics seemed to be the way of the world.

    Hehe! The world of chicken is a way tough school. I’ll be curious to hear how your lot work out, but sometimes there has been a boss chicken, and a second in command who does all the physical confrontations. The boss chicken never seemed to get involved, but was clearly the boss. The Ancona might be outside the pecking order, or the other chooks are suggesting that to fight her is beneath their dignity. Silkies can sometimes end up doing their own thing oblivious to the machinations going on all around them – they tend to live long lives too so there might be something in that approach.

    Actually it has been only a little bit wetter here. Guess neither of us will be watering the garden over the next few days! 🙂 Glad to hear that the water didn’t make it into your house (I’m guessing).



  59. Hi Lewis,

    Hehe! True about the pasta. Also it is true of the 1980 comedy film ‘Airplane!’ which was amusingly re-titled down here to the more risqué title ‘Flying High’. Anyway there was a scene where the poop really did hit the fan. A messy cleaning job to be sure.

    Exactly, people have gotten to the point where effective protest for them means clicking on a ‘like’ button, as if that is somehow a meaningful response, although it seems to be as effective as a protest march. Other people are being revved up, but I’ve long since known that the system is very well set up to counter any level of active resistance, violence is of course their stock in trade. And so people feel happy when they fall into either camp, even though it rarely produces an effective outcome. By my very nature I am not an activist.

    Years ago in a Jack Vance book of all places, I discovered the very minor sub plot where a group (the shadowy Historical Institute, from memory) deliberately set about absorbing the energies of people as a way of keeping a lid on the worst excesses of the people involved – and some good got done along the way. It was candidly a disturbing concept, but not a bad idea either!

    I see that the legul system is sometimes used to bind people up in knots so there are plenty of responses ready to hand. But yeah, as you quite rightly suggest, their own communities need to come up with a solution which is workable, and then extend and build upon that as further experience is won. How could it be otherwise? But to waste energy in protest seems like a digression or distraction, but if that is their path, so be it.

    🙂 Tasty spread. Yeah, there was some sort of camping trip for that lot up in the far west of the state recently. Bet the camping trip sucked as one day was in excess of 104’F and that could not have been a pleasant experience. The authoritas are looking for funding and have been talking up the far right threat. I’m concerned with far anything, and note that historically the far left have had a pretty decent body count as well and they might even be winning that one. After all I’ve stood in the killing fields in Cambodia and wondered deeply about that particular ideological experiment. An ugly day in my life, that experience.

    Yeah, the leader might have some ‘splain to do to that group after such a report was released in the media. Generally official sources are never released, as if that genuinely happened nobody in their right minds would ever come forward and assist the authoritas with their investugations. Why would they? Makes no sense.

    Respect for your systems to have discovered the interpretation after all these years. Out of curiosity, did some incident cause you to recall the dream? Nothing wrong with being a lone wolf, and sometimes it accords a freedom in which to take risks that other animals more encumbered with packs would not be able to take. Wise to eat healthy, and possibly this was an important message to you at the time? But your brown and black bears – please keep them to your part of the world. A person couldn’t take a stroll without feeling a vague unsettling sense of impending dread knowing that such critters were around. Good stuff to be so blessed.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve recounted the story of being in a lift about two decades ago with an Indian bloke who looked at me searchingly and suggested that I was somehow very lucky and that he’d happily read my future for free. I thanked him politely and declined the offer, but his searching gaze was uncomfortable and unsettling to behold. Not sure that I’d really want to know what is in store, and would rather face things as they eventuate. Plus I could get the interpretation wrong and who knows what then might eventuate?

    Tis a muffin mystery! Have you had any insights? Do you reckon that it might be possible that you added the wrong amount of ingredients to the mix? Can’t honestly say that I have not done such a thing. Repetition of outcomes is of course a goal of the kitchen, but is it always achieved? Even commercial kitchens have days when things don’t quite go according to plan.

    Alas the world does not make sense sometimes, and yeah the long form essay is a good way to delve in and out of topics, or come at them repeatedly from different angles. Hopefully unlike the average philosopher, the writings here are perhaps clearer than some philosophical ramblings? I’m currently reading about an authors deep dive into philosophy and the cheeky scamp makes some fine and I can’t quite be sure whether he is intentionally sending them up, but my gut feeling suggests that this is what he has set out to achieve.

    Like your idea for the trailer. Could do that too. Hmm.

    The moggie seems highly effective so far, and the territory is perhaps extending out a quarter mile from its home based on what I am observing of its activities. Quite astounding really. Possibly stirring up the dogs at night is an unwise strategy, but the dead rat was well received. The rat looked as though it had lived in a good paddock and enjoyed its seconds, and possibly even thirds.

    Very wise to keep ones door locked at night anyway. It is possible that if he was stupid enough to try that here, I’d go out and thump him resoundingly for having the temerity to disturb my sleep. The ladies at your place might not be able to respond that way unfortunately. What a pain, and I’m now wondering about what sort of past the guy had lived? I knew remotely of someone who had suffered during their life in various ways, and once they got dementia, mate they let loose and were apparently a pretty nasty piece of work.

    I remember that fiery ball up in the sky. What was it called? Oh that’s right – the sun. Glad to hear that you’ve seen it, because the thing has been missing in action down here this summer. Two inches of rain and then some today. Far out. Does the good professor have anything to say about the clouds and rain?

    It is possible that the tree dudes need the money, but yeah if I was a pain they’d ditch the job or give me a ‘go away’ price as happened once long ago. Over the long years we’ve worked out a good way to work together, and mostly I leave them to their own devices so it is a relationship built on trust I guess.

    Hey, that’s the secret with micromanagers – they are very demanding, but at the same time they seem unable to be able to perform the function of management. So simply agreeing to the demands and then doing something else can work wonders as a strategy. Once long when I was much younger I took a combative approach, and it did not end well for me. Oh well, one of life’s necessary lessons.

    Oh! Yes, that film. Not good.



  60. Hi again Chris
    Thanks for the Blog and photos great as usual. The Editor and you both have great eyes and minds for the art of repurpose.
    The cabinets are stunning. I think the use of such hardwood may be handy in choosing the bookshelves that you are contemplating. The mixed tone assembled wood look is nice. We like the soft satin finish look here also.

    Great harvest! Yumm. Our canning /bottling is all sealed with the plated rubber sealed one use lids in our standard glass jars. It works well.

    You and Damo both need to look at the Frequency Spectrum Analyzers available available in USB or Blue Tooth connect ability . They come in wide price ranges. They show signal level in sub micro volt through Volt levels and frequencies from audio to microwave. Very handy for seeing level and qualities and bandwidth that antennas are receiving. Also Periodic checking of antenna quality and the aiming for best signal are great uses of the technology. The spectrum and level depictions of the broadcast bands is amazing. I have a 70+ pound boat anchor surplus model that with plugins covers from audio to 5ghz and much higher ( I don’t have any where near a whole set). The ham radio industry is a good source to look for reasonable cost for the modern models
    Our FM radio spectrum is packed to the max and modulated to the legal band width. You get the quality you pay for in receivers. You folks apparently have more DX broadcasting in Au.
    Our house is hooked up to fiber optic for internet ( 100mbs down 40 up) . House phone, and HD TV and FM. About $230us per month. Not cheap but does work well.

    Another piece of test equipment I would find invaluable with your DC current solar is the DC clamp on ammeter. I’m guessing you already have that area covered. If I even continue to dabble in solar I’ll get one .

    The COVID vaccine subject is getting really hot here. Public distribution is popping and looks to be developing into a full scale CF. I hope that goes good for folks down there.

    Winter weather here but longer days. Luckier than most of our country.
    Sorry your getting so much rain.


  61. Yo, Chris – As far as the Jack Vance novels go, we look for inspiration and direction, where we can find it. Not a bad thing …

    The legal system. I just happened to run across a quote, yesterday. “Laws are like spider webs catching the small creatures while the big creatures easily break through.” Valerius Maximus, who I had never heard of, before. A historian / philosopher, who wrote during the reign of Tiberius. Interesting. His writings survived, because they were great for teaching Latin. To quote the title of a recent book I read, “Are We Rome?” More than we would like to think.

    The P&B camping trip = maneuvers. At least, in their own minds. The heat would have been killing. But, a few days romp in the woods would take the edge off.

    Why did I recall the dream, now? Well, it was all that talk about white kangaroos, and the mention of omens, and … well, you see how my mind works (?). I’ve always eaten pretty healthy. But, I could do better. There are lapses … 🙂 . Speaking of bears, did you see the news report about the bear chasing a skier?

    Reminds me of what happened, not to far south of here, on the Kalama River, a few years ago. A fisherman with his creel stuffed full of salmon encountered a cougar. He thought it best to just abandon the creel. Apparently, the cougar preferred fish over folk. There’s a bit of folklore, about bears. They’re front legs are shorter than their back legs. So, if possible, one should run downhill, away from a bear. Didn’t seem to work very well, in the incident with the skier. So much for folk lore 🙂 .

    The flour was the same amount, and type, as before. The only thing I can think of, is there’s this one part where I beat together sugar, apple sauce and eggs. The quality of the eggs might have been different. Not bad, just different. And, perhaps I didn’t beat the mix, long enough. Though it was pretty frothy, before I added other ingredients. Oh, well. In future, I’ll just keep in mind that I can’t count on three dozen. 2-3 is more like it.

    Go, Moogie! Nell once left me half a rabbit. Looked like Mr. Rabbit had lost his pants.

    I think most of the Inmates keep their doors locked, at least a night. I keep mine locked, all the time. I have a key to Eleanor’s place, and after we have our nightly jaw wag, I lock her door on my way out. So she doesn’t have to get up. Generally, she leaves it unlocked, during the day. So her caregivers and daughter can come and go. But, I’ve noticed she’s locking it more, during the day.

    The fellow seemed ok, when he moved in. Which wasn’t that long ago. Then he was gone for a few days, as he had a stint put in his heart. After that, he mentally seemed to go, downhill. At one point, the Good Rev whisked him away, for about a week. I’d say he was getting his head meds adjusted. Administration, per usual, is ignoring the situation, until something unforgivable happens. We had a similar situation, a couple of years ago. A crazy old dude shoved one of the Ladies. She slapped a restraining order on him. He was moved, to another Providence Institution, further north. He died, soon afterwards.

    Prof. Mass had poked the political can of worms, again. But, he also had an article on The Blob. Apparently, that warm spot off our coast is weakening. Made me wonder if that has more impact on our weather, than the Le Or La? Maybe I should add that to my calendar frost dates?

    “Love and Monsters” is waiting for me, at the library. I see a popcorn and ice cream night, in my near future. See: food lapses, above. 🙂 .

    Just for poops and giggles, I did a search for “supply line disruptions.” Came up with this … among other articles.

    National Geographic is usually pretty hard to beat. Lew

  62. Chris,

    Growing up, and I mean like age 3, my mother taught me that before crossing a street to “Stop, look and listen.” Sage advice. I still follow it. It still works.

    There’s a major arterial in Spokane that underwent a “road diet” a few years ago. It used to be 2 northbound lanes, a 2-way left turn lane, and 2 southbound lanes. But, there had been several fatal automobile vs. pedestrian accidents. Interestingly, ALL of these occurred in the middle of the night near either of the 2 bars on that road, featuring pedestrians stepping into traffic in the middle of the block without looking, most dressed in dark clothing. I drove there southbound in a work vehicle once on a sunny afternoon and saw a bar door opening and hit the brakes, stopping a meter short of the bar patron who exited the bar, looked south (not north toward the closest lane of traffic and me) and jumped into the street. He thanked me for not hitting him, but he did deposit a load in his trousers.

    Just before the “road diet”, I drove northbound after work. In a one block stretch in heavy daylight traffic, 5 people jumped in front of cars. One was in a crosswalk but, like the chap I almost hit, looked the wrong way before jumping into traffic. The “road diet” widened sidewalks, added street parking and reduced the road to 1 lane per direction and a 2-way left turn lane. Still some pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents, but no fatalities since the remodel. Yet. You can’t engineer away stupid. The narrower streets have reduced traffic on that road while adding to traffic and congestion on other roads.

    “Oh well, it is all in the past now and best to move forward.” I was thinking that as I read your comments. It was nice to wake up this morning and immediately realize, “I don’t have to check in at work today. Or Monday, or Tuesday, or…” Dinner was very good, except they left out one of the side orders of what you’d call chips. (Which are always spectacularly enhanced with some vinegar doused on them, as you said.) That restaurant will likely make up for the oversight the next time we order from them. What did Joe Pesci’s character (Leo Getz) say in “Lethal Weapon 2”? Oh yeah, “They #&^% you at the drive through!” Human error happens.

    Oh, and due to the unmentionable and the governor getting a dollop of sense, certain restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol with take out meals. So we were both able to have a rather tasty margarita with dinner. With refills of mix and tequila from our in-home stash. We don’t often do that, but then, how often does one retire from the paid work force?

    Hehehe. I liked the smarty pants story from Mr. Adams. I first read it when I was an undergraduate physics student, so it was highly appropriate. I remember reading a book written in the old USSR about graduate physics students. A lot of stories and anecdotes were in there. A common theme was that the graduate student was tasked by the research scientist/professor to go into the lab and “find the leak”. The graduate student I shared an office with in physics grad school complained that their lab equipment wasn’t working correctly and that his research professor had tasked him with “finding the leak”. I laughed and laughed and explained the book I’d read. He was then miffed that I was acting like a “smarty pants”. Which made me laugh some more because Douglas Adams.


  63. Hi Al,

    My pleasure, and the blog allows for enjoyable chat-fests with folks such as yourself. 🙂

    The hardwood species is very commonly available, but the diversity in grains and densities depends much upon where the trees were grown and how well they were prepared in the milling and drying process. The species incidentally is known down here as Tasmanian Oak, but that is merely a wonder of marketing, and in reality refers to a grab bag of the sort of Eucalyptus species which include the ones that dominate the forests here.

    We use some of those lids with the built in o-rings too when we make jams and they are very hardy and can be used many times over. A few years ago we stopped using the lids that came with the glass bottles originally as the acid in the jam caused them to corrode, and so secured a bulk buy of 82cm lids, and those replacements are super tough and the seal can sometimes be very hard to break. The original lids were not as good.

    Thanks for mentioning the radio Frequency Spectrum Analysers as I had no idea that they had come down so much in price over the years. The technology is amazing.

    Interestingly, the FM band is not as packed down here and so the IF band can be quite wide producing very high quality sound. The radio station that I prefer to listen to prides itself on the quality of the transmissions, and using my Kenwood tuner you can definitely hear the difference, particularly in the top end of the audio range.

    I’m seriously looking forward to starting the re-capacitor project on the Yamaha tuner and have warmed myself up with many utube videos where trail blazers in the repair of vintage electronics have already blazed a fine trail for us mere humans to follow!

    I don’t need to worry about a DC ammeter as the solar charge controllers have those built in. It may interest you to know that I calibrated the external shunt readers so that they provide a consistent reading – and I took the controllers back so that they were fine-tuned by the electrical engineers that made the devices in the first place. I tell you this: It was a lot of geeky fun!

    Who knows how the whole shemozzle will work out with the vaccine. Not too far from here, is one of the largest worldwide producers of vaccines (and was once gubarmint owned) and if they can’t get it right, well we’re in trouble and will just have to deal as we’ve always done as a species.

    Good to hear that your weather is normal – conditions down here are anything but normal, and we just make do. I’m cool with that.



  64. Hi DJ,

    Your mum was onto something with that advice. It is super odd that people don’t seem to understand the risks involved as a pedestrian, who will always come off second best in any interaction with a vehicle. Oh well.

    DJ, we had a back road that was once a major highway go on a road diet from four lanes to two lanes, and oh mate the uproar could be heard from space, and maybe even as far away as the planet Neptune! The freeway caused the once major highway to be bypassed, and the whole road diet mess became an election issue and the now quiet and bypassed road was eventually restored to the four lanes. Now being in a very rural and remote area, the powers that be forgot to include provision to overtake slow moving agricultural vehicles. So where the idea fell down was that a vehicle could be stuck behind a tractor toodling up the road at low speed, but then be possibly fined for overtaking. Fines are a thing with driving down under and the likelihood of getting busted is never far away. The locals went bonkers over the decision, and the road was restored. If the authoritas had considered provision for overtaking slow moving agricultural traffic then I doubt anyone would have complained, but for some reason they didn’t consider that aspect.

    But yes, in a built up area, high speed and busy roads are not compatible with pedestrians so the response makes sense. I guess you hint that every decision has winners and losers. In some inner urban areas in the big smoke, the speed limit has dropped to 30kmh and that equates to 18.6mh and candidly this might be a step too far as it is hard to operate a vehicle at such a speed for any length of time. Still it does no harm running the experiment.

    🙂 What else can one say other than it is a workable philosophy?

    Hmm, chips are good, especially the thick cut chips which you might never see in your part of the world what with the preponderance of fries. But vinegar on chips is even better! Joe Pesci’s comic observation might also be another example of a workable philosophical perspective.

    The take out trade on alcohol has by contrast not been relaxed down here, but you never know – you guys might be the trailblazers? Of course some outlets such as the local pub were already able to offer this service and thus this was how we sat outside of a frozen winters evening with the driving rain and drinking craft brews and eating taking away pizza. Dunno about you, but I’m guessing that as time goes on things that were once sacred cows are put upon the table for discussion or possible dissection. How could it be otherwise? And exactly, how often does one retire? Not often as far I can tell, so it is an event of import and something to be celebrated with aplomb.

    Douglas Adams nailed that story about the smarty pants. And I have heard of apprentices being sent off on fools errands to find such items. When I was a very young bloke, a boss asked me to find the verbal agreement form. Very funny.



  65. @ DJSpo:

    Congratulations on having finished that race, and now you can “Just do the next thing.” And be sure to keep to a schedule; that will keep you on track.


  66. Hi Lewis,

    You never know when or where an idea might pop into existence, and it can be surprising just when inspiration strikes.

    Went into the big smoke today to catch up with my friends from the Green Wizards group and had a lovely chat fest over lunch. The train journey and also the walking around the big smoke was quite an interesting experience for all sorts of reasons and I may write about it tomorrow.

    My mates of the big shed fame were in the news again today. In the article you can see their cooking school. It’s looking pretty awesome: Big Shed Fame! The article discusses how the health subject which dare not be named impacted upon their business.

    Imagine poor Valerius Maximus having to pen such flattering prose about the ruler? He was probably on safe ground to have done so. The saying you refer to is very astute though and possibly a reflection of the reality of the times. To be frank with you, there was a sentence in the wikipud article upon the author which left me feeling rather uncomfortable. The sentence was: ” Direct and simple statement is avoided and novelty pursued at any price” Of course I am relying on a second hand critique, but even so such a critique does not fill me with confidence. Anyway, I might not be smart enough to understand what the guy was trying to say due to the novelties. It’s true! 😉 But yes, comparisons to Rome are not that far off the mark.

    Actually I have not heard anything about that lot’s camp out in the woods in the far west of the state other than what was in the news, although it is hardly likely that anyone involved in the goings on would talk about them to the likes of me.

    Of course, I forgot the white kangaroo, but that makes a lot of sense as a memory trigger. Some folks have good fortune, and there is little to account for that state. Years ago I read about an escaped convict who lived among the local indigenous folks for many decades. William Buckley.

    Hehe! I’d already seen an article on the bloke being chased by the bear whilst skiing. It is an impressive effort that the guy is still in the land of the living as the bear was going seriously hard and the ski trail was of limited length. Well sometimes the old lore works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Like the ammonia and snakes which has been disproven down here, although it may work in your part of the world. The testing with such lore is never easy, sorry to say.

    Dunno about your muffin mix, and it beats me. I do most of the baking here, but I don’t really have much experience with making muffins. The cafe in Melbourne which supplies the copious quantities of coffee grounds produces really lovely muffins of which the secret I’m told is that they use sour cream. Do I want the recipe at home where it may be a temptation? Dunno. Made a batch of Anzac biscuits today and you may have put the ‘kiss of death’ on my baking activities, but the tray was short three biscuits. Perhaps something has changed on the planet? Dunno, usually I have too much mixture and have to squeeze in an extra biscuit or two onto the full tray. Suggestibility (or more likely lack of time and attention to detail this morning) may account for this lack.

    Oh yeah, half a rabbit is not a pretty sight!

    It is probably not a bad idea to keep the door locked. Sometimes people have minor brain injuries and their personalities suddenly change – it happens, and I’m sure you’ve encountered some folks whom that might have happened to?

    Ah, the good Professor weighed in to what is going on in his home town. Fair enough too. Violence is the stock in trade of gubarmints as distinct from mobs and if they don’t put a stop to it, it kind of looks as if they tacitly support it. We live in a system based upon some common rules of social engagement and I note that trashing businesses and running riot generally aren’t in that rule book.

    Hehe! Enjoy your future food lapse and movie – if you watched it, was it a good film? The trailer looked like fun.

    Oh my gawd! The article you linked to on the impact upon food supply is horrendous. What the heck are people eating if not that stuff? It gets stranger: Australians left waiting nine months for contraceptive pills.



  67. Hi Pam,

    Wow, thanks for the article as to the introduction to the symbiotic relationship with the insect and figs. It is an interesting problem and may account for the lack of fruit in the many trees here. I’ll have to have a look around and see whether the insect is present in Australia, although I’d have to say ‘yes’ to that because people grow figs and have done so for a very long time.

    Fig jam is one of my faves too! Lovely stuff, and not too sweet.



  68. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder, I’ll say this about pedestrians vs cars. Besides DJ’s mums saying, which has been in wide circulation for a long time, here in the Land of Entitlement, whose national motto seems to be, “You can’t tell me what to do,” we also have another widely said saying. “Pedestrians have the right of way.” Which seems to inspire many Darwin at work, situations. Of course, when we all enter techno nirvana, all cars will be self driving, and everyone will carry a device to fend them off. 🙂 .

    The stock market seems to be doing strange things here, and I only understand about half of it. But, it seems to involve lots of short sells and bubbles inflating all over the place. And internet methods of stepping around the buy and sell market, currently in place.

    There’s a house between here and the library, that was for sale. Then the sign came down. I was curious. It’s a ramshackle old place, and I wondered what the asking price, might be. $300,000 plus.

    Take a look at those pictures. To quote Miss Bette Davis, “What a dump!” Those marble looking counters in the kitchen? I bet they’re plastic contact paper. Quit a few of the houses along there, are packed very close together. Not a living situation I find appealing.

    I’m happy you could get together with your Green Wizards friends, and hope all is well, with them. Yes, a bit about the pulse and look of the city would be interesting.

    Your friend’s long house is just spectacular. I particularly liked the blue room. Because … well, you know. Blue. 🙂 .

    Valerius Maximus knew the way to security. Flatter the ruler. It gets you invites to dinner. Many creative people go that route. Even Shakespeare had to figure out which of the current ruler’s (Elizabeth I) ancestors were well thought of … and which one’s weren’t. Maybe whoever contributed that bit to Wikipud about Maximus dishing out novelty, was a poor Latin student? 🙂 . He must have had something going for him, as so many of his texts survived, as teaching tools. When I took Latin, our text was “Caesar’s Gallic Wars.” Dour, spare reporting. Not much novelty there. But all very straightforward.

    That’s a rather frightening portrait, of Mr. Wm. Buckley. And what’s with all the banging on about how tall he was? Let it go! The man was tall! But, that being said, he certainly led an interesting life.

    I quit like making muffins. As opposed to bread. The entire batch isn’t riding on one loaf pan 🙂 . How’s that for risk averse? It seems like, often, the “secret” to some baked goods recipes is sour cream. Or, buttermilk. A couple of months ago, Eleanor’s daughter gave me a small loaf of banana bread, that was super. And, different from other banana breads I had, had. It was the buttermilk.

    I was happy to see that most of the comments Prof Mass received, were positive.

    I watched “Love and Monsters”, last night. Well worth a bowl of popcorn with melted cheese and a bit of soy sauce 🙂 . So. There’s an astroid, but rockets are sent to destroy it. Success! But some weird combination of chemicals from the rockets, and maybe the astroid, cause all the insects, reptiles and amphibians on earth to instantly mutate and get very (very) large. Don’t bother your head too much about that. It’s a 15 second explanation/set up. Moving on … It’s 10 years later and what’s left of humanity is hold up in small groups in makeshift underground shelters. An ill prepared, inept and clumsy young man decides he’s going to fight his way across 85 miles of monsters, to re-unite with his lady love. There’s a great dog, and a shifty Australian. I quit enjoyed it, and it’s well worth a look for pure entertainment.

    The drug company you mentioned, the shortage of some medicines, is probably due to the fact that they were throwing resources at developing a vaccine, for You Know What. Which they developed and are distributing. As far as the shortage of that drug, there’s always Queen Anne’s Lace, seed. 🙂 . Mileage may vary. I usually keep a small supply of nicotine gum, around. For those melt down moments. It was not available, anywhere, for quit a few months. I thought maybe it was from The Land of Stuff. But, it turns out it was from New Zealand! Never did find a good explanation of why there was a shortage. But, I carefully shepherded my small supply, and now it’s available again.

    I finally got that book, “Extraterrestrial:TheFirst Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth.” (Loeb, 2021). About the space object, Oumuamua zipping through our solar system. Well, the author has the credentials, to postulate theories. He’s no armchair astronomer. But the wonky object just had so much weirdness. It was from outside our solar system, which is pretty rare. Most of the stuff we see zipping around is from within our solar system. Either from the astroid belt, or, the Oort cloud, which is way out there, and surrounds are entire solar system. It didn’t out gas. No bits falling off, no tail. It was ten times more reflective, of light, than any comet or astroid. So it’s surface is very shiny. Once it rounded the sun, it’s speed was greater, than what is accounted for by the sun’s gravitational push. But, did the object rush at us, or did we rush at it? Our solar system moves through space, at very rapid speeds. It may have been a stationary object, that we overtook, and bumped out of it’s stasis.

    The book is pretty readable, as, the author keeps the lay reader in mind. But did get in the scientific weeds, from time to time. But, he explains much, in layman’s terms. As much as he can. So, what does he think it is? Well, could be just about anything. Could be just a piece of space junk, from a distant and long gone civilization. Might be a bit of a dead communications array. Might be a buoy, as it was static in space. Or, a trip wire? Or just a kind of traffic sign, for navigation. So, now we’re on the lookout, for any other objects from outside our solar system. There’s been at least one since, but it was just a garden variety comet. I’d like to say, “more will be revealed,” but, maybe not. Lew

  69. @Chris
    Treasure the high frequency hearing while you have it. Early age 1960s garage band rock and roll lead guitar playing along with high speed driving with the windows down and other stuff has drastically reduced my hearing. My music skill level was adequate at the time. Not comparable to the kids seen on U toob today😁.

    The people who do those old electronics restoration are good. I’ve done a few of those on pre WW2 radios, in the 70s you could buy reprint books of period schematics to help. On a 80s tuner I would want several 5 ft long spools of solder wick and a good solder sucker to help with component removal along with good documentation to find my way around. Today a lot of the service manuals are online one way or other😊

    During the shut down of Hanford operation in the 90s, I went to periodic public live auctions and made good purchase of a number of test instruments some in lab standard quality. There is one small box resistance bridge called a Kelvin / Varley resistance bridge. It can accurately read down to 10 micro ohms . It can check the best current shunt calibration.
    The metal leaves in the shunts are made of an alloy called manganin (sp.) that has a very low temperature coefficient. When hooked to the bridge and grabbed in your hand the heat from your hand causes no variation of the shunt resistance in the bridge balance. A quarter inch copper rod when similarly grabbed unbalances the bridge from the heating changing the resistance of the bar that very very small amount. The main practical use for tool is checking resistance of high current switchgear contacts. I had several shunts that were all different current values with 50 Millivolt outputs at the rated currents. When doing the ohms law math for the shunt out to 5 or 6 decimal places it’s kind interesting to see the accuracy. The manufacture calibration is done by grinding off metal from the leaves while watching the balance of the bridge.

    Were the external shunt reader cals and the reutuning of the controllers on account of the battery chemistry changing to
    LiFe replacement ?

    I better get this wrapped for now.More on the use of the dc clamp on ammeters on another geeky comment

    Cheers Al

  70. Hi Lewis,

    Off to a very late start this evening. Ollie ate a chunk of rabbit today and is doing the most remarkably fetid air-stenches from both ends of his rather large canine body. I fully expect to see the contents of his stomach again with the next 12 hours.

    Oh no! Another school of thought in relation to pedestrians suggests that might is right and unpleasant outcomes can occur for pedestrians exercising their rights. As a contrast, down here pedestrians are expected to cross roads at designated crossing points, although the other day the traffic halted to allow an elderly lady to cross the road near to the supermarket. Like your fellow countrymen, she just kind of stepped out into the moving traffic with a devil may care attitude, but most people read what was going on and cut the lady some slack. Fortunately most of the road speeds in built up areas are restricted and all but a few outliers accept that. Since the health subject which dare not be named, traffic has been much reduced.

    Hmm, there are plenty of folks without a device, and some folks choose to shut their devices down to the barest of squeaks. I guess they might end up as road kill. I don’t see autonomous vehicles in the future as I reckon the cost of such a machine would exceed that of just employing somebody to drive a machine if that is your bag.

    The Green Wizards spoke about that particular stock market event. You know, perhaps hedge funds shouldn’t advertise so blatantly that they are shorting stocks – I provide this observation because I operate in a world where I don’t believe that other people are stupid. Dunno, maybe those funds just got greedy, or careless? It kind of looks that way to me. And a pathway to ruin has been forged. I doubt very much whether it will go away anytime soon.

    It happens with the house, and the awful awfulness is that expanding the money supply has always had one end point – and it is an ugly place to go. But when that is the trick used, why not? My gut feeling suggest that you should expect to see more of that.

    My mates place is a one-off, and I absolutely have 100% respect for their vision. They’re ramping up production too, so all I know is to expect the unexpected from them. The cooking classes look as though they were a lot of fun. And yes, the room is blue! 🙂

    Makes you wonder who William Shakespeare had to ask to obtain that particular information as to the standing of the former rulers? Like Arthur, he’s a slippery fellow, and I noted that he was wise to have married the more mature Anne Hathaway. Ah, scholars appear to have lost countless hours in debate over this fact, and that’s their loss – You go, William! Nuff said!

    It is very possible that later scholars were difficult sorts of the jealous variety. If so many copies of an ancient Latin text had been preserved intact, well the facts speak for themselves in this case.

    Mate, the authoritas had it in for poor William Buckley, and there were several accounts as to his poor intelligence. Now, as a naturally cynical type, I’m of the opinion that a bloke cast into a hostile and unknown environment, who can subsequently survive off the land for months leading to several decades whilst learning the ways and language and making peace with the locals, he was no dummy. It speaks volumes of the insecurities of the historians to have labelled him so inaccurately.

    Hehe! The same could be said for biscuits, and just to chuck out a few unnecessary details the tray here holds seven biscuits in five rows, whether they are dog biscuits or Anzac biscuits. But very occasionally due to lack of concentration a loaf of bread can go way off the rails. By the way, never cooked with buttermilk and I’m now curious about the stuff.

    Love and Monsters has been duly added to the ‘must watch’ list and a review will be forthcoming. Hope the shifty bloke came to a bad end, and don’t worry about him, we’ve got plenty more where he came from.

    Yeah that idea had occurred to me, but companies must continue to respect their existing markets. The search for the new and exciting markets may sometimes mean that existing markets are left ignored. And best not to ignore existing markets otherwise generic items which prove to be just as good move on in. I heard a rumour that in India some factories in that field came to an unpleasant end.

    New Zealand is a lovely country with little to no fossil fuels. They’re pretty good with the geothermal energy especially given the activity there. A geothermal power plant would be an exciting prospect, and hope nothing goes wrong.

    It’s a shame that we couldn’t get a closer look at Oumuamua before it zipped on again and out of the solar system. Glad to hear that the book was clear for the layperson. I’m grateful that the object proves that the Universe is far stranger than we ever imagined. Hope we don’t encounter a planet sized object travelling at such velocities. Imagine that! Ook!

    Better get writing…



  71. Yo, Chris – Seeing the contents of Ollie’s stomach. Always something to look forward to, at Fern Glade Farm. 🙂 .

    Here, pedestrians have the right of way … if they cross at designated crossing points. Otherwise, it’s open season! Crossing at undesignated points, is called J Walking. I know not why. Several times, the city of Centralia has raised extra revenue, by having an officer (in deep undercover mode) cross at a designated crossing. If the cars do not stop for him, voila! – ticket.

    Hmmm. I thought I provided a link to the Horrid House. It’s like a traffic accident. Hard to look away.

    Shakespeare usually had “noble” sponsors. I suppose they tipped him off, as to what would play at the palace.

    Someone must have appreciated Wm. Buckley. I notice he got a pardon, in pretty short order, when he emerged from the bush.

    You can turn regular milk into buttermilk. Add one Tbls. to one cup of milk. Let sit 5 minutes. A reasonable facsimile. Also works with non dairy, such as, almond milk.

    I finished watching Helen Mirren’s “Catherine, The Great”, last night. A four episode mini-series. Quit good. Quit different from the series, “The Great.” Which makes no bones about not striving for historical accuracy. Both are quit good, in their own way.

    I think it’s going to be another popcorn night. The library, in it’s wisdom, ordered copies of two older films. Both are about pandemics. I’ve got them both on hold. Or I should say, one came and the other is on hold. Up tonight, is “Outbreak.” Dustin Hoffman, et all. The other one is “Contagion.” That’s the one where Gwyneth Paltrow does the funky chicken, on the kitchen floor.

    Planet sized objects striking earth are the stuff of several sci-fi novels, and the occasional film. A real classic is “When World Collide.” (Wylie & Balmer, 1933). The next year, there was a sequel. “After Worlds Collide.” The first was made into a film, in 1951. I vaguely remember reading the books, and enjoying them. I vaguely remember seeing the film, and being underwhelmed.

    I see a large chunk of Highway 1, slid into the ocean near Big Sur.

    I drove that road, once, about 50 years ago. It is one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever been on. Even though I was quit car sick. Due to massive quantities of Southern Comfort, and popcorn, in Santa Cruz, the night before. I did something I don’t usually do. I picked up a hitchhiker. I wanted to have someone to talk to, to take my mind off my stomach. A hippy dude with a big knapsack.Turns out, he lived at a small commune, back in the hills. They mined jade, and about every three or four months, someone would take a sack of it, to LA, to sell. That was their income.

    Big Sur always figured large, in the writings of many of the Beat authors. “Confederate General from Big Sur,” et all.) It is a magical stretch of coast line. Lew

  72. Hello Chris,
    Here is a maybe last comment of this week’s thread.

    Thanks for sharing your thinking around the clash of cultures going on in your country. It led me to cogitate for a few hours when working in my piece of the woods. Especially your claim to not being an activist, pulled on my attention.
    I would like to give you some recognition to your cultural leader status. You are maybe not a shouting, sign-carrying protester, but you are more active than most “activists”. And you lead by example.
    Hauling firewood is an expression of your values. Keeping to the weekly schedule of postings is another. Maintaining a courteous tone and friendly style a third.

    I have had the fortune to live in many different countries and many different cultures. I believe very strongly in the “Geert Hofstede model of culture”. He observed all people everywhere value the same things, (e.g. love, respect, autonomy, independence, tradition, truthfulness, tact, …), but the *relative priority* is different.
    In one culture, (Dutch) truthfulness is more important than tact. (In Swedish mainstream culture, it is just the opposite…). And he saw that there are several sub-cultures in each country at the same time. Many conflicts arise when people’s value priorities are different.

    You show that you prioritize your values differently than most countrymen and differently than most people in the Western World, and thereby I would boldly claim that your personal (or family-) culture is different from the mainstream.
    You prioritize autonomy above comfort. (e.g. You haul your own firewood.)
    Here are some other guesses – based on your writings and self-provided photographic evidence: You prioritize health above leisure. You prioritize saving above spending. You prioritize long term above short term. You prioritize content above surface.
    All of which are different priorities, compared with the priorities of a typical “western consumer culture” person.

    In a time of crisis, many people rethink their priorities, but not all. Some adapt and adjust. Others give up.

    I saw this from close, in St.Petersburg in the 1990’s, during the aftermath of the Soviet collapse. My friend S. had a father who had been a colonel in the Nuclear Forces, but was now mixing cement on building sites. He could not handle the change and drunk himself to death. On the other hand, the mother of S. was a pragmatic fixer, who made ends meet by a variety of gigs and connections that she developed. She did not give up, and she managed to keep the pack together.

    I guess we will see the energy descent play out in different rhythms around the world and we will see which cultural expressions of relative priority will be most useful. Many “indigenous cultures” have a long-term time perspective and an ecological grounding that is in short supply in the Industrial Growth Society, as Joanna Macy frames it.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your observations. Every incident where your values and norms clash with your neighbors or with the official story makes for interesting reading. Each incident exposes norm-collisions or value-priority-differences.


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