Love Bites

Hi everyone. I’m Plum the serious sheep dog, who just happens to be sister to Ruby the fun loving sheep dog. The two of us girlie sheep dogs came to Fernglade Farm when we were about 12 weeks old. Back then the farmers may have been of the prejudiced kind, because we were judged as the runts of the litter. Ruby and I however, well, we go way back, and we’re survivors baby. So when the opportunity to jump ship and take up residence at a new farm arose, we took it, and ain’t never looked back.

Here’s us three rapscallions back in those early days:

The sheep dogs Plum and Ruby, at 12 weeks old

In a world full of everyday boring specimens, my sis and I have always been above average looking dogs. We set the canine world on fire. And the competition pales into insignificance. I mean have you ever seen a French Bulldog? Freaky strange looking dogs those things. It’s almost as if one day they were looking up into the sky and something heavy fell onto their face and flattened them! Freaks. Not to blow my own trumpet, but my perfect ears and long legs proves that the farmer didn’t know nuffin anywhoo. Runts of the litter, what a fine joke that was – my sis and I, we were the best of the best.

Here’s a photo of me today:

Plum, the now adult sheep dog

My colouring is superb, I mean if a gal had to attend a masquerade ball or rob a bank, I am like yo’ dog. Some snooty party goers or bank robbers may hide behind a domino, mine’s built in. And the tongue, well, let’s just say that I know how to wield it to good effect. My chest is broad and powerful and overall if I had to rate my general countenance, it would be in the totally superb category. And that is me just being modest.

Friends, this farm is way sorted. Bouncy marsupials who need chasing off – tick. Deer herds which need chasing off – tick. Identifying poisonous snakes – tick. Walks – done. Cuddles – onto that gear for sure. There’s just one thing that bothers me. Ollie likes my sis Ruby better than I, and he says he only wants to be friends with me. Like what the f!@# is with that?

Plum, the third wheel

I don’t know what he sees in Ruby. Sure, she may be more fun than I am. So what if I’m more serious than Ruby? The farm boundary needs to be patrolled, and this is serious business, fun can occur after the work is done. If you were going to be in a knife fight, everyone who is anyone knows you’d take me, whilst Ruby would sit it out on the bench. Ruby is just a little less caring about such farm stuff things, but when the chips are down, a farmers gonna need a reliable dog, and that’s me: Plum sheep dog extraordinaire!

Yet Ollie just wants to be friends. It’s hard on me, Ollie must have feelings, and Ruby is my sister after all and we share a pack bond that goes way back. Maybe Ollie just hasn’t searched the depth of his feelings enough? He’ll come around eventually, after all I have perfect ears and a regal snout. It’s not polite to talk about Ruby’s floppy ears, but they are kind of floppy.

A few days ago, I asked Chris the hard question: “Why doesn’t Ollie like me the way he likes Ruby?” Glad I asked the question because it’s been eating me up of late, big time. And so Chris sat me down, gave me a consoling beef jerky, and said that: “You know what Plum. Sometimes dogs don’t always fall in love at the same time. You might just have to wait this one out.” My shattered nerves were soothed by his words, but then why did he have to add: “Plum, you’re a catch.” Oh no, everyone who is anyone knows that these words are the polite way of saying that I’m a total loser. Now I’m freaking out all over again!

What does Chris know anyway? Maybe I should do some short courses or training on how to become a more likeable canine? But I’m already perfect, aren’t I? Perhaps after all, Ollie has done me a favour and there is another dog waiting for me in the future, but it sure feels messy way deep down in the heart. And I’m hurtin’, as this unrequited love sucks.

Thanks for that update on your love life Plum, and we can only but wish you well.

Summer has hardly made an appearance this growing season. The other morning, it was sort of warm at this higher elevation, but frost could be seen way down in the valley below where the cool air pools.

Summer frost down in the valley below the farm

Over the past month or so, we have been slowly excavating a new shed site up above the house. At one end of the site which has not yet been excavated sat a massive rock. You could say that the rock was an inconvenient rock. The task we set ourselves for this week was breaking the massive chunk of granite into smaller and easier to move chunks of granite.

A large chunk of the much larger rock was removed

In order to break the rock we drilled many holes into the granite. Then I use a jackhammer to work open the holes and break apart the rock. The chunk which is removed can then be used elsewhere on the farm. You can see the eventual outcome in the next photo where another chunk of rock was broken off.

Another one (love) bites the dust

Breaking apart such dense and hard rock is no easy task. At one point the editor described my reactions as a ‘hell cat’ before then walking off and doing something else with her time. We usually work together very well, but breaking rocks like this one is really hard work. Concerned readers can rest easy knowing that apologies were made and ruffled feathers were soothed. Chocolate may have been involved as well.

After almost a days work the rock was broken into five large chunks.

Five large chunks of rock, an Ollie dog and a Hell Cat!

The power wheelbarrow was then used to move the rocks down hill where they were used in the new low gradient ramp and utility area project. These projects demand lots of large rocks in order to retain the soil on the slope. And being well past Peak Rocks, there just aren’t that many large easy rocks to be had on the farm.

The rock soil retaining wall on the utility area and low gradient ramp projects are coming along despite the awfulness of Peak Rocks

The editor scored three new roses which have now been planted out on the garden terraces. We’re coming around to the perspective that plants need far more growing space than they get in most of our gardens. When we planted out the original rose garden, we took measurements for plant spacing from a nearby botanical garden. The plants were originally spaced at 800mm (31 inches) centres, but having observed them growing over the past year, we believe that 1 metre (39 inches) centres would be better for the health of the plants. Over the next few months we’ll dig up all of the roses and replant them at the more distant centres, and in a different location.

Three new roses get planted out

Observant readers will note the healthy looking row of tomato plants on the left hand side of the above photo. Because of the cool and damp summer most of the fruit remains green, but there are signs that the fruit perhaps may ripen soon.

Some of the very few ripe tomatoes

A few months ago, a good friend spotted me attempting to grow peanuts in the greenhouse. His response was to laugh at my audacity whilst at the same time implying that I didn’t have a hope of producing any peanuts in this climate. Well, the plants grew in the greenhouse, but this week I faced up to reality and planted them all out in one of the garden rows. We’ll just have to wait and see – but the probability of them producing anything is candidly not good.

Peanuts grown in the greenhouse are now in the full sun

The state government has finally woken up from its year long coma, got off the couch and begun to attend to the nearby forests. A large forest burn took place and it covered quite a huge area. I only hope they know what they are doing.

A forest burn took place this week

The burn continued throughout the day and by the time evening fell, it looked kind of awesome against the back drop of the setting sun.

The nearby controlled forest burn

Onto the flowers:

The roses have enjoyed the brief warm summer sunshine
The dozens of roses fill the air with their perfume
A few of the roses climb through the garden beds
Pink and white Californian Poppies
Californian Poppies happily grow in the many garden beds
A delightful Ollie flower, and um, oh yeah and some Salvia flowers

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 211.2mm (8.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 208.8mm (8.2 inches).

61 thoughts on “Love Bites”

  1. Yo, Chris – Thank you for the, errr, interesting insight into the psychodynamics of the Fluffy Collective. As far as Plum, in specific, I suppose even a pup needs a good whinge, every once in awhile. 🙂 . I dreamed the other night that H and I were in a shopping mall (school?) and we were observing a dancing bear. That’s it. Beginning, middle and end.

    “You’re a catch,” is right up there with, “She has a pretty face.” Or, “He has a wonderful personality.” They probably told Henry VIII, something similar, when they tried to fob off Anne of Cleaves, on him. At least that turned out well.

    Fog in the valley. I think I detect a small space alien, in the lower left of that shot. The cool air can stay in the valley. Your garden still has “miles to go, before it sleeps.” 🙂 .

    Rocks. And more rocks. Looks like you’ve got a proper stone yard, going there. You know, if you slop a bit of buttermilk on the rocks, they’ll grow moss, faster. If you’re shooting for the picturesque.

    Finally! Red tomatoes. Let’s hope it’s a trend.

    Peanuts. Also called “goobers.” You know, THE expert on peanuts (besides one of our ex-presidents, who was a peanut farmer), was George Washington Carver. Only Still in print. “How to grow the peanut and 105 ways of preparing it for human consumption.” Whence comes the peanut butter cookie and peanut butter pie. Only 64 pages.

    Those were spectacular photos of the forest burn. Yes. Let’s hope they know what they’re doing. I remember you saying your coming up on a dry period.

    The roses are quit pretty. What are the colors of the new ones? I have to prune back an old rose, that’s growing into a blueberry bush. Last year, it prevented me from harvesting quit a few blueberries, and, stuck me a few times. What I noticed when considering the project, yesterday, is the number of rose hips, on the bush. Rose hip jelly? Always a thought.

    About a year ago, we were kicking around the Bayeux Tapestry. It’s been digitalized, and put on line. 1066 and all that.

    The link is at the bottom of the article. Get a closeup look at that arrow going into King Harold’s eye. Ouch! Lew

  2. Hi Inge,

    Many thanks for the book referral. A copy is now on its way here.

    My intention is to read the book with an eye as to the identification of technique. However, I’d imagine that some folks might utilise the book as a ‘how-to’ manual, which would be sort of sad.

    A few years ago I read a book by the author Michael Lewis. The book was titled ‘Liar’s Poker’, and I had the impression that the book was penned as a warning to others. Unfortunately I’ve read that other folks considered the book as a ‘how to’ manual. If nothing else, my fellow humans continue to surprise and amuse. Oh well.



  3. Hi Goran,

    Mate, the Boerenkool looks very tasty and would be a delightful meal on a cold and dark winters eve. If you don’t look too closely at the details, many Asian dishes are not dissimilar. For example, take the Vietnamese dish Phở and substitute the rice noodles for potato mash, leafy greens (I grow Vietnamese mint here and it is really tasty) for kale, then it is more or less the same meal without the broth. That’s what a lot of people in the world consume on a regular basis, and the quantity of sausage varies in accordance with income.

    Good stuff! Years and years ago, Lewis and I read a series of books written by the author Annie Hawes. The author was an English lady who moved to a remote mountainous Ligurian town in Italy and immersed herself in the local culture. There was a cultural taboo on consuming more than a single coffee and the author was forever attempting to circumvent the local taboos and order a second coffee. I’ve long suspected that the taboos are in place so as to preserve resources until they are necessary or are not over used, but you already know that. In India I discovered that cows were treated as being sacred and this is simply another example. Taboos have a serious side to them.

    You’ve got me there, and in all my travels I have not encountered a Dutch restaurant. However, your cuisine is not unknown here and at some of the agricultural shows I attend (I miss them) it is possible to purchase Poffertjes from vendors who hail from your part of the world – the accent is a dead giveaway. 🙂 If it means anything to you, I rather enjoy consuming them.

    To be honest French cuisine is often a bit rich for my tastes. Down here French food is often really well prepared and extraordinarily tasty, but the serving sizes are perhaps larger than was ever originally intended – and I usually consume a diet which is low in fat, and the fats I do consume are derived from butter and olive oil. So the food does not agree with my guts. And I suspect that I’m missing out, but the effort of adaption is more than I can be bothered.

    Ah! Well there is much in a name. Hazel who lives far to the north and east of here also recommended Italian ‘cavalo nero’, which down here is known as Tuscan Kale! 🙂



  4. Hi Al,

    So I put in an order for a replacement machine today. And yes you are correct, the clutch is a mechanical device not dissimilar from how an old school drum brake used to work except that it relies upon centrifugal force. You may remember those brakes? 🙂 My first Suzuki used to have drum brakes all around, and adjusting the brake shoes so that they didn’t drag on the hubs was a real pain and a fine adjustment of only a few millimetres here or there. And there is a reason that disk brakes have become the norm.

    Economics entered into the purchasing decision and I’ll stick to mechanical components thank you very much for stump grinding. Although some of the machines here on the farm utilise the powers of hydraulics and they’re amazing. Anyway, between the repair folks and myself, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the clutch in the replacement machine in the future. Unfortunately this will add to the future maintenance costs because there is no way to assess the condition of the clutch without closely listening to the machine and then disassembling and physically inspecting it. Ouch!

    Anecdotally, parts are becoming harder to source and this also factored into my decision.

    Those hydraulic machines are very clever, and a local earthworks bloke once said to me that it is not the size of the motor, but the power inherent in the hydraulics which could perform the amazing feats which the machines did.

    Oh yeah, such a setup as you had would make for easy lifting of heavy items. Out of curiosity was that crane setup on the back of an F-350?

    Same here with the hydraulic jacks. Oh yeah, I dream of flat land!



  5. Hi, Chris!

    It is so neat to see the puppy pictures, and then the adult pictures, all in one place. They did grow up to be beautiful, the Three Rapscallions.

    Plum, you are a beauty above all beauties. And you do have perfect ears. Plum, you must also remember, that though you do most of the work, you are a queen. That is how one stays queen. And queens are above the frivolousness that the peasants often indulge in, such as dalliances with the opposite sex. I have this from a monarch above monarchs – Queen Charlene. Er, except for occasionally. Nothing serious, mind you.


    I cannot believe how you all see a rock and just take off and attack it, and then it is smaller rocks. I think that you are lucky if the editor only called you a “hell cat”.

    Just how much does the government do right? I am pretty sure that prescribed burns are no different.

    Thank you for the flowers, Ollieflower and all, especially the roses. Ollie has made it into a lot of photos this week. In her present mood, I hope Plum doesn’t notice.


  6. Hi Lewis,

    I can find no flaws in your logic! 🙂 With the original spacing’s of the roses we didn’t understand that aspect of the plants and never imagined that they would involve so much regular labour. Some things are only clear as mud from the awful perspective of hindsight.

    Lewis, reading John Bellamy Foster’s reply leaves me feeling as if I’d been sullied by a shower of ideology from a true believer. It is not lost on me that mad cash transactions have usurped social obligations – with all that that mess entails. It is very possible that both schools of thought are wrong – the results are just not in on one of the schools of thought yet.

    Over the years I’ve had to pay others to demolish a structure, usually because it is beyond economic repair. Being the canny sort that I am, this action is course of only ever taken as a last resort and the building is then replaced with something that is a better option which also fits the existing streetscape. Many folks wish to make their mark by standing out in a crowded space, and I am not one of those. Oh, but the larger point is that I have noticed that it is far cheaper to demolish a structure than it is to construct one.

    The carriage from Pompeii has created quite the stir and there was even an article on it in our national news. Thanks to you I went on an interweb rabbit hole as to Roman weddings and family life and what we know about their customs. Fascinating. And interestingly many of the family patterns are still much in evidence today. You may note that being from an historically Barbarian culture I tend to believe that the paterfamilias should not be merely granted a monopoly, the cheeky scamp has to prove that he is worthy of holding such a monopoly. 🙂 I’ve met a few of those over the years. Robert E Howard summed it up nicely when he had one of his Conan characters suggest that: “Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.” Always makes me chuckle.

    One of the paterfamilias once confided to me that he was so good, that he could break machines because he could push them that hard. What an oaf. The trick is to work with the machine and keep it going for as long as possible. There is little pride to be had in breaking stuff. And I noted he was similarly careless with people.

    Thanks for the article on the mental health. Down here most of the forest firefighters are volunteers and my experience was that there were a lot of costs, few benefits, and a whole lot of whingeing from the community. I don’t do twelve hour work shifts here, but that seems the norm. In any other workplace it would be a problem as it is too much without the benefits or pay. It used to be part social club and part emergency services, but somewhere the social side was frowned upon – and the editor and I got skewered for suggesting and organising a social event (what a drama that was) – and it became an unpaid job. If they maintained some semblance of the social benefits, the mental cost wouldn’t be that high as people could talk through issues. Rant, rant, rant! It’s a fine rant! 🙂 Anyway, our time is better spent getting our own house in order, they won’t venture where we live as there is only the single road in and then out again, so we are on our own. I’d use more ungentlemanly words, but that word breach my own code of conduct.

    Have you heard any news from the folks at the library?

    I recoiled at the sight of Enis House. It was as if the ancient Aztecs or Mayans had arisen again and whipped up some concrete and then puked it up. I have no doubts that the place is genius, but I just don’t understand it.

    Hehe! Halloween all year long! 🙂 That’s genuinely funny.

    You know you actually had a hand in the production of this weeks story? The other day we may have mentioned mopey teenagers, and whilst Plum is far from mopey – she is actually a very upbeat personality – the idea began formulating in my brain for the story after you mentioned the subject. Her relationship with Ollie is as stated, but the details are a bit anthropomorphised so to speak. Plum is a follower and Ollie and Ruby are leaders and that is where they fall into the pack order. Ollie and Ruby vie for pack leadership, but I reckon Ollie might be the actual pack leader and Ruby nips at his heels and keeps him sharp.

    The story was fun to write, but I had to dig deeply into other peoples feelings and thoughts in order to formulate the details and fit them to the dogs voice. I’m a fairly upbeat character myself and if someone doesn’t like me, that is their problem as I don’t go out of my way to poke others, but it is a truism that you can’t get along with everyone. Anyway, I had to listen to some very sad music yesterday in order to get into the mindset so as to recount the tail (sic) in full. At the end of writing last evening I was moderately pleased with the results. 🙂

    Ooo! Wonder what a dancing bear signifies? Is this an economic predictive dream given the significance that some place upon animal spirits in the gentle art of speculation?

    Hehe! Yeah, I had that ‘you’re a catch line’ in mind and had to work it into the story somehow. It was really fun writing the story. Anyway, nobody wants to hear their parents saying that about them. Or the salient examples you provided. Oh my, it’s game over man, game over (when you hear those words!)

    Thomas Cromwell played a dirty game with Henry VIII who was clearly displeased, but to his credit he lopped the correct head and appears not to have blamed Anne. It seems like an unwise move to play the fool with someone who is a bit free and easy with the guillotine. And Sun Tzu mentioned not to back an opponent into a corner. Anne appears to have had a cooler head and was notably pleasant with her servants – a commendable point.

    Hehe! Space alien. I think of the device as a tugboat on a stand.

    Moss does grow on many of the rocks and it has a pleasing aesthetic. Never considered feeding the moss, but you might be onto something there.

    There was another ripe tomato today, so it might be a trend. Discovered some autumn raspberries today which were very tasty and might have been over looked.

    Really? I’d never heard of the term goobers before. Why? Seems to be the question here. George Washington Carver was a clever bloke who knew his stuff. Yup, peanuts capture nitrogen out of the atmosphere (if the right bacteria is present on the roots of the plants). And getting people to grow their own food is a wise move. Manually plowing 17 acres is an astonishing feat. I doubt peanuts will grow here this season. Some plants are like that here where things are a bit marginal.

    One of the new roses is a multi-coloured pink and white flower. And it was mislabeled too. The other two are David Austin roses which have superb aroma. Actually a number of the roses are producing a huge amount of rose hips so we might have a look into what to do with them. Outside of Turkish delight, rose hip sees little use.

    Kin Harold copped it bad for sure. I’ll check out the tapestry and it is amazing that it has been kept in good stead all these years.



  7. Hello Chris
    Oh my goodness a ‘how-to manual’! You are so right. I was slow there. Am now sure that the book resides on the bedside cupboards of our politicians.

    My mind is reeling as I have just discovered a box full of all the letters that I ever wrote to my mother. Had no idea that she had kept them all right from when I was evacuated for 6 weeks when I was 9 years old. Have started to read them and am amazed at how much I had completely forgotten.


  8. Hi again Chris
    I was looking at the Aussie made grinders more exactly centrifugal clutch cost. Saw the Baumr -AG SGR -750 on sale and out of stock at Your Edison’s for less than half of Sticker Price.
    Your power wheelbarrow is made by the same folks. I remembered them from looking it over last year!😁Looks good. The drive belt clutch cover box comes off with 2 lock tite nuts . Pretty easy for frequent inspections of clutch. The consumable blades would likely get triple life as your scotch blood would have you sharpening the tiny cutter tips using you skills already developed for rock drill sharpening.

    No the truck need was first going to be a medium super duty F350 or 450 with a 12 to 14 foot flat bed with removable racks and power lift gate and ramp sockets.
    One day I spotted a Dodge pick up with a foldable 1 ton hydraulic crane. In talking to the owner.he told me of a another truck he had recently installed a larger crane on. I took his card and went and saw it. Then owned it for for the next 15 years. It was Ok. At the end the State of Washington tightened the
    rules for crane operation requiring commercial drivers licenses and medical exams and for proof of experience for gawd sake!
    I would have been grandfathered but didn’t want the hassle. Hey! I was retired you know!,😁 the guy that bought the truck was an arborist. Tree work was exempted from the new rules. Go figure!😟
    Cheers Al

  9. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder, I got curious about Dutch cuisines. A quick dive down the rabbit hole, reveals that there are Dutch restaurants in the U.S.. Mostly in the upper Midwest. There are even Dutch cookbooks. But, sometimes, there is confusion between the “real” Dutch, and the Pennsylvania Dutch, who aren’t Dutch at all, but German. That arose back in the early days, when someone would ask about a person’s origins, and they’d say they were Pennsylvania Deutsch. The linguistically challenged, thought they were saying “Dutch,” not German. But, it stuck.

    Ideology. The best of people, and the worst of people. But, anyone who beats the drum of ideology too loudly is just … tiresome.

    Having had a roof demolished, I found it was very thrifty is I did the clean up and hauling, myself. Taking on the fiddly bits, saves money. But then we have a recent scandal, involving cleanup. And, it relates to the Paradise fire.

    Some of the Pompeii chariot articles mentioned something I had forgotten. The patron goddess of Pompeii was Venus. And Pompeii was a bit of a party town. 🙂 . And then we have this. Only 9 seconds. Don’t let the Fluffies see it. Might give them ideas.

    Maybe you could tart up the power wheelbarrow with roses, and rent it out to brides? You’ll split the proceeds, right? 🙂

    Some people seem to take great joy in running machinery into the ground, and, generally, smashing things up. People who are best steered clear of.

    No news from the library. If nothing shakes loose this week, I’ll get a bit raspy.

    I quit like Ennis House. Some monumental buildings speak to a flake of religious awe, hiding somewhere in my psyche. Decades ago, I visited Simon Fraser University, up in British Columbia. Wowzer! It’s on a hilltop. Something about walking up those steps …

    I took a shallow dive into why zombies are so popular. Well, besides the “shock your mama” aspect, it’s all about survival. They don’t sometimes refer to it as the zombie apocalypse, for nothing. I found something interesting. Our CDC (Center for Disease Control) has a page on their website, for surviving the zombie apocalypse. The reasoning goes, that while some people might not take disaster preparedness seriously, any preparedness for a zombie apocalypse would probably put one in good stead for any other run of the mill apocalypse.

    So, I had a hand in this weeks story. I’ll try and be more careful, in future. 🙂 .

    Sometimes a dancing bear … is just a dancing bear.

    Sometimes, Goober is a term of endearment. AKA: Peanut.

    I did not know that rose hips were an ingredient in Turkish Delight. None of the rabbit holes I ran down, mentioned it. Seems like a terrible oversight. Lew

  10. Chris,

    What a wonderful writer Plum is! That was a very enjoyable read.

    So, an entire day spent breaking and moving Inconvenient Rock? Ouch! I hurt just thinking about that, although, as you mentioned, all of the work is keeping you fit. As our weather is warming up rapidly, I’m looking forward to outdoor work. It better utilizes muscles than does any exercise program I’ve ever done.

    “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot!” Hehehe. Earl Grey happens to be the favorite of the Princess, although she also dinks a lot of black tea. I drink black, oolong, Earl Grey and the occasional chamomile in the evening. On rare occasions we’ll break down and drink green tea with pomegranate. My favorite is a tie between oolong and Earl Grey. Well, really the favorite we BOTH have is a mug of black tea properly laced with Yukon Jack.

    Yukon Jack for some reason brought to mind one of my favorite Robert Service poems, “Athabaska Dick”. It is the 2nd poem on this page.

    Yeah, snow loads on roofs…removal is not economical, but neither is rebuilding the roof structure. So it’s a case of, “Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky! I’ve gotta play with the roof rake or else the roof will cave in and we’ll be rather homeless!” Normally with the weather, well, being weather and the snow is deep and I’d rather be enjoying a cup of tea properly laced with Yukon Jack!

    I got my mother reading the Belgariad when she was a bit younger than I am now. When the 1st Mallorean book appeared, she said that “reading it was like coming home again”, which I still find to be a good summation. The familiarity, as you mentioned so astutely. But Robert Jordan? Never could get into his books.

    Yes, George Martin needs to man up. He has repeatedly said that he disliked some of what the HBO series did. So, maybe he should do it right and finish the series. But ain’t gonna happen.

    Back to Plum’s discourse. I loved her take on French bulldogs. I’ve never considered anything with a smooshed in face to be a proper dog. For some reason that breed has become exceedingly popular in this country. All they seem too do is snort and slobber.

    Ollie dog, Ollie flowers, one hell cat, large rocks, and smoke from a prescribed burn. Amazing variety for the week, yes? Although that sunset picture with the smoke…all I could think of was that it looked like Mt. Doom and Mordor off in the distance.

    Looks like the season has been good for the roses!


  11. @ Inge – what a lovely find! Enjoy reading the letters!

    @ Chris – I’ll drop a comment in here sometime this week, but not till I have gotten the first set of seeds planted into flats and placed on our version of a greenhouse (the front porch). It’s that time of year!


  12. Chris,

    Indeed, the Dutch “poffertjes” are sweet, buttery mini-pancakes. Excellent street food for all kinds of events.
    We even own our own special cast iron skillet with 25 depressions to make our own poffertjes at home. Butter and batter, and covered in icing sugar. Favorite of the kids.

    I think the Dutch cooks are strongest in the dessert section.
    Another culinary delight is the “oliebollen” – deep fried buns served in the winter – which also are served under an avalanche of icing sugar.

    And indeed, taboos and cultural restrictions seems to be the only way we humans have ever managed to live within ecological limits. I suspect that this is the key fallacy of the “Enlightenment” – that we understand everything so that we can throw away all “backwards superstition” and do whatever we fancy. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

    Have a great week!

  13. Hi Pam,

    🙂 The dogs send you cordial tail wags for your kind thoughts!

    From Plum – Greetings Pam and Charlene the white squirrel from down under. We heard the stories of your recent bout of wicked winter weather and can only hope that your nests were warm and the larders full. Winter will soon be in the past and you can both frolic among the trees in the weak spring sunshine – of course one of you will be on the ground and the other will be high up in the foliage, which is how these things should properly roll. When the dark heavy clouds of winter obscure the sun down here, I shall think of you two whilst I am positioned in front of the wood heater. One has to make room for my sis who is more enamoured of the heater, and thus is the burden of royalty. Fare thee well my friends until the next installment!

    Thanks for that Plum. 🙂

    Yeah, that rock was super hard granite and it may well have been brought in when they re-made the road many decades ago. Working on a rock like that takes an entire day and then some.

    I wonder about that too. From my reading of history, the indigenous folks never burned more than small patches. However they were at that task far more frequently than our gobarmint has the resources or inclination to do so and so, and thus they covered a much larger area if not the entire continent on a fifteen year cycle. I get the logic of why it was done that way. But today if it isn’t hundreds to thousands of acres at a go, well. On that level we’re a bunch of numpties because we’re attempting to do an important job on the cheap. A lot of our infrastructure is dealt with that way.

    Ollie-flower also sends cordial tail wags! Plum might not notice because she is busy with her own dramas. Sometimes, Plum takes over photo duties and then there are the inevitable questions from other readers as to what happened to Ollie? It’s a fine balancing act. 🙂



  14. Hi Inge,

    You know, if you’d left me for a hundred years to consider that side of the story, I too would not treat such a book as a ‘how-to’ manual either. The possibility only came to mind because in the past I have encountered dark souls seeking dark paths. It won’t end well for them, but you know it is none of my business to stop them from attempting their journeys. And they would not thank you for doing so.

    Out of sheer curiosity, where were you evacuated to? I’d heard of such things happening during The Blitz. Just dived into a interweb rabbit hole on the subject.

    Memory is notably hard to recall, but you letters would have brought much of it back. Have you had any insights into the times?



  15. Hi, Chris

    Belated congratulations on 27 years – way to go, author and Editor!
    I think you may be getting your rosehips and rosewater mixed up. Turkish delight is traditionally made with rosewater, which they distil from rose petals. They use rosehips to make a high-vitamin C syrup, so you don’t get scurvy while the Luftwaffe are bombing you. Or so my mother tells me.🙂

    I loved the photo of the Ollie flower, and can totally understand Plum’s unrequited passion – he is a handsome fellow.

    Lew’s story about the CDC’s zombie apocalypse page was so good, I just had to share it with my sons, who also like the zombie genre. A nice bit of lateral thinking!

    Good luck with the rock-splitting, and give my regards to the Fluffy Collective,


  16. Hi Al,

    One must intuit that at half the price, some quality may not be up to comparable levels of other more brand name machines? Before the machine died an unnatural death, I had a parts order in with that mob, and they cancelled it. Hmm. I’m hearing anecdotal accounts of parts shortages all over the place anyway, but that is like the story that nobody wants to mention. Oh well. The story also informed my final choice of replacement machine. One must be prudent in these days.

    Ah, did you know that for a short while there, Dodge products were converted to right-hand drive and sold down under? Very occasionally the behemoth Ram will be seen on the roads. It’s a beast of a machine.

    Initially I read the description foldable crane as formidable crane! Just the thing for lifting heavy items sold off on the cheap by the gobarmint.

    Exactly, it is nice that they had grandfathered arrangements, but I’ve seen such nooses tighten over the years.

    I can see that about the forestry exemption. Had a similar experience with fire fighting in that I was certified to use a chainsaw, but there was always some weirdness which I never understood about carrying a chainsaw on the truck. Blind Freddy knows that in a forest, you might need a chainsaw, and in a hurry. Seriously strange.



  17. Hi Claire,

    No worries at all and best wishes for the coming growing season and may the spring warmth shine upon your porch. 🙂

    And, the great re-mineralisation project continues at the rate of about 220 pounds per week. It doesn’t go as far as you’d imagine it would! 🙂

    I must thank Steve personally for the insights.



  18. Hi Goran,

    Yeah, the Poffertjes are very tasty, and down here they are usually sold exactly as you describe them to be as street food at fairs and agricultural shows. But then such places also regularly sell the German sausages in buns with onions and mustard and Bratwurst is a fave, although kudos to the Polish for their Kransky’s. My favourite mustard is not the continental varieties which are a bit soft, but the English variety which can blow both your tongue and mind from the heat! 🙂 I’ve heard the reasons the mustard was developed that way and it makes for unpleasant reading.

    Goran, oliebollen look superb! A total yummo explosion of taste.

    Exactly, we moved from a working system to a ‘the old rules no longer apply system’, except that they still do apply. Hey, I’m watching that story play out in the money markets. Far out, crazy stuff. Oh well, re-mineralise the soil and plant next year’s edible garden seems to be the best way forward.



  19. Hi DJ,

    I shall pass on your kind words to Plum. Who knew that she had it in her? The background music to the story was candidly a bit on the sad side. Oh well, Plum leads a very enjoyable and charmed life.

    Work on the rock took a bit over a day, and possibly with another half day I could smash up the final boulder into I’m guessing two or three pieces. Dunno, but I reckon the rock was brought in from elsewhere when the current road was constructed – looking at maps it used to be an old Cobb and Co coach road and the road at the point of the rock broke into an upper and lower road. I can sort of see why as a large gully was filled with rocks.

    Exactly with the outdoor work. Catch some rays and catch some good health. Just start slowly and don’t overdo it. I used to run long distance and at the start of every event there were those who went too hard early on and by the middle of the course I’d over take them. It always happened. You’d think that they’d learn, but no.

    Glad you got my little tea joke! 🙂 It is a lovely tea and for some reason I used to believe that the flavour came from the Bergamot flower, but no it’s a citrus of some sort. No chance of growing citrus tree that here, let alone at your place!

    What an interesting drink. I’d never heard of it before. Did you know that honey contains around 80% sugar and it would add to fermentation and also moderate the whiskey taste. I reckon it would be quite nice tasting. When I was sick, my mum used to give me a tea with lemon juice, honey and whiskey and it certainly was a powerful sedative that’s for sure.

    Thanks for the laughs, and Athabaska Dick was a real character with carefully honed sensibilities!

    Raking snow off roofs is a concern that is far beyond me. However, I can tell you that one day in the future at someone unknown time, I might have to be fending off the forces of fire off the roof, and that will likewise be an interesting experience where I hope the roof does not cave in. Just goes to show that roofs are possibly at peril at some point in their lives. 😉

    Yeah, they were really fun books. They were hardly serious at all and the author kept the amusement up for both series. The two old sorcerers used to amuse with their antics, and long ago last century when we walked in Nepal for a few weeks, there were two old blokes in the group who used to sit up and talk rubbish and drink rum at nights. The next day they’d be first up and kick sand in the face of us younger folks. I was a bit in awe really.

    Years ago I once sold an old computer to a mate. After a few months he then on sold it to someone else. After I’d sold the old computer what happened to it was none of my affair, but I kind of think of George Martin’s series a bit like that.

    I don’t get the French bulldog thing either. Freaky looking dogs and Plum summed it up nicely. Never owned a dog with a squooshed snout (that is the technical description), and um, yeah I hear they have difficulties in that nose department.

    The smoke against the sunset was pretty epic wasn’t it? The stupid thing is, that if the powers that be which take on board this job as their own and nobody else’s, burned a bit more frequently and in smaller areas, well they wouldn’t have to do such epic scaled burns. At one point I even thought I saw a helicopter whizzing around. I have serious reservations that animals could easily flee such a scaled fire and then when they do, where are they meant to go? Crazy stuff.

    The roses are doing really well, and we’ll give them more growing room soon.



  20. Hi Lewis,

    Interesting, and groups did tend to congregate in areas after emigrating. Down here for some reason the Scottish and Germans descended upon this mountain range and general area. I read a history of the area a few years back and many of the German settlers who’d been in the country for many long years had to drop the ‘Von’ from their surname around the time of WWI.

    Didn’t Bill Bryson write a book upon language in your country? For some reason the word ‘Toosday’ for ‘Tuesday’ has stuck in my consciousness. No doubt as dementia kicks in that’ll be the one thing I can recall, but certainly it will provide hours of entertainment or puzzlement for others. 🙂 Far out.

    Hey, you suggested something a long while back about looking up my granddads service record and I dug up an obscure reference to him. Thought you might be interested, and who knows someone here might be able to dig up other stuff. The birth date and location is him alright: The old bloke. The listing for the name is back to front, with the surname first.

    Oh yeah, haven’t we all encountered the person with true fervor in their eyes and they just want to beat you around the head with their unasked for opinions. Yup. Boring in three dimensions. Mind you, the editor does not encourage me to talk about soil. Hehe! Just kidding, I spend very little time talking about soil, and far more doing something about it. It would however make for a very dull blog if I mentioned the sheer sameness of activities that go in relation to that activity.

    Ouch! The story you linked to regarding the contractors and big power did not make for comfortable reading. Of course many of the details went a bit over my head and it is possible that we may never find out what exactly takes place in the court system. Down here I’ve noticed that after a really big disaster, the state gobarmint takes charge of the cleanup. That can be both a good and bad thing depending on how fast you want the job done.

    Thanks for the video. Toothy was a long haired dachshund and he would have been up for that job for sure. For a dog with short legs, he could run super-fast. The Chihuahua looks like the real deal and is probably having a blast. 🙂

    Our fortunes are sure to be made with the idea, and of course I’ll split the proceeds. So you came up with the idea and I’ll do the thing to the wheelbarrow. How’s a 10-90 less costs split sound? 🙂

    I avoid such people too, as they are bad news. The person in question treated other people as machines too. He had a nefarious plan, and I hope that none of us are involved. Anyway, I had nothing to do with the guy but I got to see how it played out and didn’t need to be told a second time.

    The library is being very odd. It is impressive that they’ve kept up service given the sheer strangeness of the past year. And mate, it has been strange alright.

    Those Canadians sure know how to do proper earthworks. 🙂 OK, I’m impressed and now that the trees have grown it all looks awesome. The quadrangle is particularly interesting to me as it is a very English concept in places of education.

    For a moment there I thought you were messing around with my mind, but no you are totally serious – as is the CDC. Well, I never, but zombie preparedness is not a bad idea at all with proven real world benefits. I’ve been reading about the lone star grid in the SE corner of you country and yeah it would be hard to prepare for the eventuality they did have to deal with. Down here they’re going hard for large batteries, but the capacity it buys is for only a short period of time, whereas generators are continuous. People forget that, unfortunately. Mind you, I’d hope the frozen turbines were turned out of the current and forecast wind before the power was cut and the mechanisms froze.

    🙂 An insight into my mind and also yours! Story ideas sometimes come from the most innocuous of circumstances. And the briefest of mention of mopey teenagers was enough.

    You’ve got me beat with the dancing bear comment. Good stuff. I was going to add something or other about paranoia and it ain’t if its true, but that was your line too. Going to have to get some original thoughts here. 🙂

    The word is perhaps lost in translation, but for some reason my mind hears the word ‘goober’ but thinks ‘booger’. My brain is not wired for those word games which mix up letters in a word, and some people can just see that stuff, but that game gives me nothing. My inner 12 year old humorist is perhaps suggesting the booger reference. Actually I just wanted to see how many times I could work the word booger into a paragraph. Readership has increased of late and I might have to do something about that.

    Ah, I see try a gargle search on ‘how to make traditional turkish delight’. The ingredient is rose water. Ah a bit of conjecture here. Most folks call for the use of the petals, and some recommend the hips. What do you reckon? I found an interesting interweb site on rose hips: Everything You Need to Know About Rosehips. I never knew the plant was that edible.Who knew?



  21. Hi Hazel,

    Thanks for your best wishes and it’s been a lot of fun.

    Yeah, thanks for the correction about rosehips and rosewater. I may have inadvertently started something here and we must all immediately head out and harvest some of the rosehips and run some experiments. 🙂 Actually one of the roses is full of hips and we were looking at them the other day and wondering about them.

    How good would the David Austin roses be as they have massive amounts of aroma.

    You should see Ollie when he is out walking with his two ladies. His head is held up proudly and Plum is on the left and Ruby is on the right. They are a good collection of dogs.

    It was pretty funny and a neat way to get a whole new audience thinking about disaster planning. They could be doing worse things with their time, that’s for sure.

    Thanks and the fluffy collective sends you and yours cordial tail wags.


    Chris and the fluffies

  22. Hello Chris
    I also thought that you were mixing up rose water and rose hips. Rose water for the Turkish delight and rose hips for rose hip syrup which children were given during the war. It was delicious.
    I was evacuated to a place called Kidlington and think that there is a large air base there now.


    @ Chris and Claire
    The letters are incredible. What really surprises me is that things which I remember aren’t in them and a lot of what is in them I had totally forgotten. Does this mean that the act of writing down causes stuff to drop from memory?
    The most amazing example is the smuggler that we met on the beach in Tangier (it was an international city then almost devoid of laws). I remember the smuggler but not his complete story which would have been lethal both in political and financial terms. I assume that all the protagonists are dead now as I was 16 at the time.


  23. Yo, Chris – Here’s a movie poster you really need!

    That poster reminds me of another movie … “Kitten with a Whip.” 🙂

    My mom’s folks moved from all Finn, New York Mills, Minnesota to the “Finn Town” neighborhood of Portland. My dad was from Gering, Nebraska, which was mostly Volga Germans. Often, in those ethnic enclaves, some enterprising person would open a store with “food from home.”

    Most of my mental activity seems to be obscure facts. Oh, dear. It’s the dementia kicking in. “Slight “vascular flow problem.” That’s an obscure reference to the TV series, “Golden Girls.” See what I mean? 🙂 .

    I tried the link to your grandfather, and got “Session Time Out.” With four possible reasons for that to happen. None of which sound very plausible.

    Yes, but, it all starts with the soil! “…sheer sameness of activity.” Like rocks? 🙂 .

    As far as complicated goes, I saw an article yesterday about mining rare metals in Greenland.

    There’s an Australian, involved …

    Some of the articles about the Pompeii chariot are descending into hyperbole. Referring to it as “…the Lamborghini” of Roman chariots. Some of the articles mentioned that they’re taking plaster casts of some gaps that they think were flower garlands, decorating the cart. It’s like puzzle pieces. The decorated cart, horses, some in harness and two dead blokes, sprawled on the floor, nearby. There’s a story there …

    I spent quit a bit of time, in and around the University of Washington Quad …

    It’s not mentioned by the terraccota decoration, contains many gargoyles … opps! grotesques. Here’s a 4 minute tour …

    Goober, booger … one could wax poetic 🙂 .

    Rose syrup. Hmmm. One kg, which is just over 2 pounds or 4 cups. Maybe I could cut the recipe, in half. Lew

  24. Hi Chris,
    Well it’s just typical sibling jealousy. I’m sure over time Ollie will recognize and grow to appreciate Plum’s fine attributes.

    We did have a great time working at the Jr. High. When I had all my brothers living we me I left for five years. When I found them other places to reside I went back and wow had the atmosphere changed. Everything was testing, testing, testing. Sadly a lot of back stabbing as well. Many of the older teachers had retired and those remaining were just counting the days.

    You mentioned that it’ll be quite some time until you get the vaccine and those of us getting it earlier could be the guinea pigs. Really since it’s those of us who are older have are most likely to have a bad outcome it makes sense that we take the risk first. I did get an appointment for Marty finally. He won’t be able to have Gwen over until he’s fully vaccinated so he’s quite happy. He’s really gotten no assistance from his caseworker and to be fair I’m sure she’s swamped with the needs of people with far less ability than Marty. I don’t think he could have done this on his own though.

    The wedding was topic number 1 as expected but all in all still a nice visit. Ruth is better behaved each time she comes and Leo and Salve seemed to have fully accepted her now.


  25. @Lew and Pam
    “Are You Being Served” – another favorite. Have either of you seen “Waiting for God”?


  26. Chris,

    Got outside for some yard work Tuesday afternoon. About an hour. It felt good, but…I clearly am NOT 25 any more! 😉 I get plenty of exercise daily, but it is not the same as actually working. So now I’ll have to slowly work myself into working condition.

    Yes, I’m aware of honey’s sugar content. When I used to brew my own ale, I made a batch with an extra kilogram of malt and about 2 kg of honey. The alcohol content was, ummm, very high. Even after a heavy meal, I couldn’t drink a pint of that brew by myself. We used it as a dessert drink. The fermentation was very aggressive and explosive, resulting in a lot of “burn off” from my blow out tubing. The normal 4.5 gallons bottled become something short of 4 gallons. I named it after Cheyenne, the Finnish Spitz: Cheyenne’s Volcanic Ale.

    Yes, I always liked Athabaska Dick. He knew precisely what his priorities were and precisely what to rescue from the mishap!

    Thanks for the Nepal story. I’ve known some older gents like that. In fact, the next door neighbor was like that until he was 90. Then he began to slow down.

    I appreciate the education on the proper meaning of squooshed. Some words even sound like what they mean, and squooshed is one of them.

    Goobers and boogers? Interesting turn the conversations take here. One year when a counsellor at a camp for teenagers, one of the 3 young men in my group had the reputation of being somewhat wild and untameable. Well, more than somewhat. (Let’s call him “Jim Smith”. Jim and his older brother and his younger brother were all long distance runners and all three got track scholarships at universities with premier track programs.) One of the other counsellors worked for a motion picture company (Yes, that company in Spokane has worked on several Hollywood hits.) So other counsellor was filming the week as a “documentary” to be shown later to all the parents and participants. I had a major part: I was regularly asked throughout the week “What do you think of Jim Smith?” My reply started with “That little booger?” Booger was bleeped out. By the end of the week, the interviewer would mention the name “Jim Smith” and I’d run away in terror.

    Actually, the the young man wasn’t bad at all. I knew the family pretty well. His dad let the kids explore different activities, and he helped them with these. He gave them a pretty large “box” to experiment within, but the limits of the box were well defined. Any stepping out of bounds was strictly discouraged. I simply let Jim know the limits, enforced them, and things were fine.

    His younger brother was in my group a couple years later, and we felt comfortable leaving him alone in charge of the boys’ camp for an hour of counselor-only meetings. Which amazed his dad, but really shouldn’t have.

    I noticed today that the cherry tree has new growth. I’ve seen this type of winter before…there might be one last gasp from winter, but it’s pretty much spring now.


  27. Hi again,

    Forgot to mention that I just rediscovered the Belgariad. Thank you, gentlemen, for the reminder!


  28. Hi Inge,

    The story regarding the rose hips came to me second hand. Clearly my sources were incorrect, but who knew that the humble rose plant was so edible?

    A year or two back ago before everything went super-crazy, the editor and I were invited to a Moroccan themed dinner to celebrate a significant birthday of a friend. It was a lot of fun, and traditional Turkish delights were served up for dessert. It is possible that I had consumed enough drinks that I misheard the ingredients for the dessert, but with many rose hips ready to hand right now, I’ll take a deep dive into the experiment. After all there are many other plant sources of Vitamin C on the farm here and the experiment is worth the effort.

    The Luftwaffe spent their energies on the target of London and so evacuating you to Kidlington was a wise move. Like the Japanese bombing the northern city of Darwin down here, the enemy forces were seriously stretched with overly long supply lines – which was only clear from hindsight, of course. At the time, history suggests that the true situation was murky and perhaps unknown. The differences of opinion in the responses of your command was quite a fascinating story. At one point in our history during WWII the command decided to fall back to a line running through the continent around the latitude of the city of Brisbane.

    Yours and Lewis’s discussions of the past over the years has likewise sent me on a similar journey over the past few days to your old letter re-reading. Hmm, is this a pleasant experience, I’m not entirely certain. By and large I’m a pragmatic bloke and deal with the world as it decides to present itself, but at the same time acceptance of the past as being in the past is part of that nature. Others may feel differently. It is nice to re-read the letters with more experienced eyes which have a better command over the English language than when I was a younger person. Can you view the emotional eddies as if from a distance?

    I recall your mention of being in Tangier at a young age and can only salute your utter chutzpah! Some people are perhaps less domesticated than others, and so I hear you. As a kid I too ran a bit wild – although not to distant countries – and a formative memory was the unfortunate time where permission was sought for an adventure as a courtesy. What a drama ensued and the lesson was learned and not repeated. I was probably about 12 years of age.

    The protagonists in your story are hopefully quiet and resting now. You know, as a gentle suggestion, I’d keep the secrets quiet as I’m not a great believer in the possibility of justice. In our system, people talk of such outcomes, but unless you have nothing to lose, well by default you have something to lose. Always has it been thus.



  29. Hi Margaret,

    I defer to you greater experience in these sibling and family matters. I had two older sisters, one of whom went right off the rails, but they liked each other well enough but there was always an undercurrent of competitiveness and a few years between them. And being the only male in the house, and the youngest member to boot, I was largely left to my own devices – which was a good thing. At least Plum and Ruby appear to be fine and upstanding members of the Fluffy collective. Between you and I, I tend to believe that Ollie likes Ruby because Ruby gives him ‘what for’!

    The testing thing has become a thing down here too from what I hear. And in a really strange and bizarre twist, a lot of the results of the continual testing is now posted online for all of the parents to see where their kids fall. It’s a tough school that.

    And interestingly enough I’ve heard from a few sources that the parents who had to home school their kids last year have discovered what an unusual education they were receiving. I’m sure it wasn’t all bad, but I understand that the constant testing has forced kids to be marked in groups so as to reduce the marking load on teachers, and well let’s put it this way, some kids are lazy and groups for them can be cosy experiences.

    Yeah, I checked last week and there were something like 9 million people ahead of the editor and I, so this is not a short or quick process! Please don’t mistake me, my thoughts are that if you are in a high risk group, well you should be higher up the list as that is simple risk management. Other than that, I have little thoughts in the matter one way or another, and based on the mortality statistics we’re in a very low risk group so we’re super chill about the wait.

    Respect, and I really feel for Marty being separated from Gwen. Us humans are social creatures and the separation has certainly taken a toll on peoples mental health. Hope he’s doing OK.

    Margaret, you are like super-tough to have listened to such talk. 🙂 However, this is an exciting time for Carla and you do have obligations in this matter! Hehe! Two words, err, good luck!

    Ruth the pandemic puppy would have a ball turning up to play with Leo and Salve. So much fun.



  30. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the tip off about the bikie film. An impressively complicated story line, and best not to be involved in their plans seems like the wiser move. Years and years ago, and I recall mentioning this to you at the time, the editor and I were at a Mexican restaurant and a bikie gang just also happened to be eating there. What fascinated me about the group was they looked like a bunch of rough nuts, but not one of them had their heads buried in a device or phone. And they seemed to be having a fun time.

    Ah yes, a fine warning, beware of felines wielding mighty whips. Now that I’ve typed that out, it sounds a bit sort of wrong, somehow… 🙂

    The food from home is a bit of a thing down here too. And if you know where to look there are often aisles in the shops devoted to New Zealand produce for the homesick. And having known plenty of folks from those lovely islands, they can seriously talk up Tuimato Tomato Sauce (which is actually pretty good), Lemon & Paeroa, and the infamous Lolly cake. The editor is pretty handy at making a Lolly cake, after NZ related research and we took one to a group of NZ friends who reckoned it was as good as the real deal. The entire cake was eaten which is a better judge of the situation than mere words. It’s a bit sweet for my tastes.

    Hehe! Slight vascular flow problem indeed! And thanks for the reference. Ah yes, but I note that whilst you may recall obscure facts, you can also see linkages which make for a bigger story.

    No worries at all he was Geoffrey William Dewar. Dewar’s of course being from the low land branches not that I would have mentioned that to him of course.

    Exactly, it would be like if I wrote about what I’d done that day. How many interesting coffee stories are there anyway? Mind you, it was quite cool here this morning and I enjoyed a delightful coffee outdoors in the quiet whilst softer folks stayed indoors. The side serving of fruit toast was notable, whilst I enjoyed perusing the seed catalogue which turned up in the mail. Whilst it is interesting to me, that would hardly be noteworthy to others.

    Mind you, on the way home I stopped by the local nursery and picked up 220 pounds of garden lime and dolomite. I’m serious about this re-mineralisation strategy. Oh yeah, it’s happening. But who really wants to hear such stuff. Anyway the editor sets an upper time limit of maybe 30 seconds to talk about soil. Proving that the ladies are smarter than us blokes. 😉

    I’ll have a look at that article after replying. But it doesn’t surprise me because the land of stuff controls the largest source in I believe the land of the Mongols. A mine up in the north west of this continent is also being opened. Hmm, my gut feeling is that there just is not enough of this stuff available for event he merest fraction of any green new smoke deal. And processing the stuff is super toxic.

    But it also hardly surprises me that an Aussie is involved. We do mines big.

    Flower garlands and Lamborghini’s on ancient Roman carriages? Maybe it is me, but I was just hoping they uncover some more naughty bits. 🙂 And yes, there is a story there. Possibly the story is that the two unfortunates left it far too late to leave. I can almost hear them now through the mists of time: Mate, yeah let’s just wait and see, how bad could it be? 🙂

    Alright, the University of Washington Quad is really attractive and it looks like a proper University. The trees in bloom are a delightful addition to the pleasing buildings.

    Thanks for that, and I never knew that there was a difference between Gargoyles & Grotesques. And I would seriously love to poke my nose into that shop mentioned. So much fun.

    Wax poetic and boogers? Are we about to descend into discussions of ear wax? Which reminds me of the time…

    That does seem like a lot of rose syrup, and yeah go half, and maybe then some. We’ll give it a go and experiment with the rose hips.

    PS: I reckon I was wrong about the rose hips and rose water, but who really knows?



  31. Hi DJ,

    Ah, well I’d like credit for having prescience, but no it was just a lucky guess about your yard work. Mate, go easy before going hard! 🙂 You knew. Hey at least you didn’t injure yourself. And yes, I absolutely agree, the work does feel good. Hope there was some sun too?

    Hehe! Hey, they make high alcohol beers and brews down here too, and extra sugar and malt goes a long way towards that outcome. Brewing is a fascinating art and the editor is the brewmeister here – the best use of a industrial food microbiology degree that I can think of.

    I hear you about the Pints. The first time I encountered such a heady brew was a Canadian maple stout which I didn’t know was 12%. Strong stuff, and it was not meant to be sold as a pint, but these things happen. The pint may have been $22 or $28 too, but the tab was a little blurry by the time I settled it. Anyway, the next week the manager of the pub who had heard the story said to me that we got stitched up and he just laughed about it. Strong stuff.

    Oh yeah, doesn’t the muck in the airlocks look unappetising? Not easy to clean either. Oh well.

    Athabaska Dick, yes he certainly had a good handle on his priorities.

    Such folks are an inspiration to us all, and hey I’d like to get to that age in as good a condition too. I once heard a story from a former Olympian who remarked that she never realised that her and her husband were old until one of them had an accident in their 90’s. She may have been an equestrian competitor and the accident involved a horse.

    Jim Smith sounds like a very highly likely name. 😉 Well done you. That’s a funny story. Actually I didn’t realise that booger would be a word that was bleeped out. Mate, you should hear the language on some of the current music these days. It is nice that the kids can express themselves fully. 🙂

    Exactly, Jim understood the rules as to boundary setting. There is power in accepting limits and boundaries and unfortunately that is an unpopular point of view these days. Sad to say, but if you want people to do nothing, tell them they can do anything. Seriously, adults used to tell me that rubbish when I was kid, of course I never suggested ‘how’s that working out for you then’ as the response would have been swift and I may have not taken proper care to turn and run as I would have been gloating at my own cleverness. Is this an act of Hubris? Maybe. It’s certainly foolhardy!

    Yes, people underestimate the younger folks. I have a sneaking suspicion that they do that because at one point they were wiping poo from their bottoms, but having never done that… I recall as a young bloke that I would make a concerted effort not to under estimate the young when I was older.

    Yup, when the sap rises, the trees put on wood. That goes on here for most of the winter, and it took me by utter surprise when I first encountered it. Are you getting wood or buds growing?



  32. Hi Chris
    Hopefully the replacement stump chipper gives a long productive life on the farm.
    One of the important take always from my assessment is that stump removal is a wood milling operation. The cutters must always be sharp and cut clean long shavings like all chisel tools. Sharpening or replacement is a necessity for smooth safe operation as well as operator ease and comfort. One video showed a owner grabbing a handful of long clean shavings and placing them in front of the camera. I was impressed . Later they showed the shop made tool for ease and precision of their in house routine cutting tooth sharpening operation. When the blade gets dull it acts more like a hammer. When ever I see someone using a chain saw I always look for the output of lighter thin shavings. The sign of a good operator.

    Those whiny adolescent dogs can sure blow up their trying existence. If Ruby and Ollie are constant bed partners they would be Mr Alpha and Miss Alpha ! Plumb would be Ms Beta. It’s ok Plumb, Maybe they some need little collar charms of Greek Alpha & Beta letters. A family presentation with honey flavored homemade dog biscuits would make all concerned satisfied😁 or Not😰

    I got shot two yesterday. Told my wife we both got our new immunity clothes now we can run free maskless in the sun. Not So Fast ole man. We’ll see ,she said. Cheer up about the wait for Au vaccination the supply chain from US should help when added to your domestic highly competent suppliers output. Things are working well here. So far. If it’s all True?.

    Cheers Al

  33. Hello Rose (hip) lovers,

    Back in Sweden, where I grew up, lots of people drink a rose-hip-drink called “nyponsoppa”. Sugar and dried, ground rosehips.
    Even the English wikipedia has heard about this tradition:
    My mom sometimes cook this from rose hips, but most people buy it as a freeze dried powder, available in all supermarkets.

    I suspect that the vitamin C content of rose hips kept people alive over the winter back in the days before imported orange juice… (And probably will fill the same function at some undefined time in the future.)

    A tip for those of you who want to eat more rose hips: Beware of the seeds. They itch. (We were three brothers who used it to “treat” each other to a surprise every now and then…) I cut the rose hips in halves and dry them in the food dehydrator. Then the seeds stop itching and can be easily removed. The dried rose hip flesh can be stored for years if needed.

    And regarding traditions and fearless breaking of taboos, just like Chris, I think that the central bank currency waterfall is a blunder. The powers that be seem intent to make 2024 a re-hash of 1924, but not localized to one contry…
    Let’s see where it lands. And when. I had also not anticipated this continuous avalanche of credit to corporations and countries… I thought already in 2015 that the hyperinflation would start within months! 😉

    In the meantime, we build as good soil as we can!


  34. @ Margaret – I’ve seen a few episodes, over the years. I thought it was quit funny. Now, living in a similar situation, not so much 🙂 . Lew

  35. Yo, Chris – Biker gangs. Ah, yes, reminded me of the most famous line from “The Wild One (1953), starring Marlon Brando.

    Once, when I was working at the cafe, about 25 motorcycles, rolled up across the street at a local bar. About five of the fellows came across the street to the cafe. (A hush fell on the crowd.) I grabbed my order pad and marched over to the table. What did they want? Oh, milk shakes, sodas and banana splits. Tipped well, as I remember. 🙂
    At the cost of true “hogs”, these days, most of the “gangs” you see are doctors and lawyers.

    Speaking of films, the tsunami is approaching. Yesterday, 12 items on my hold list, slid into “in transit.” Which means they were processed at the service center, and, depending on which way the wind is blowing, should arrive anytime between now and Saturday. Much popcorn will be consumed. Film reviews to follow.

    Last night, I dug through my small DVD collection and decided to watch “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000). I had seen it when it came out, but had forgot a lot of the details. It takes place in the South, during the Great Depression. It’s supposed to be loosely (very loosely) based on Homer’s “Odyssey.” It really hits a lot of high notes of American mythos. Weird Old America. I quit enjoyed it, and think it’s well worth a look. It also has a lot of really good folk / country music.

    I see Thimato sauce is beer based. Well, they make beer and ale out of a lot of odd things, so, why not. The Lolly Cake looks tasty, but, lethal. 🙂 .

    Hmmm. Dewar’s is a quit well known Scotch whiskey. Your (another) fortune is made! You can start distilling, and call it “The OTHER Dewar’s.

    I think I told you I picked up a 40 pound bag of garden lime, in the off season, for $20. Year before last. I kept enough to keep me in lime for a couple of years, and gave the rest to the Master Gardeners. You probably know, it’s also good for killing moss.

    I think it’s fascinating how they keep piecing together the stories of Pompeii. There was this household group ..

    There was a BBC drama / documentary, a few years back called “Pompeii: The Last Day.” This group, was one of the threads followed in the film. Apparently, the son-in-law (?) had a small vile of poison, on his person. It’s available on U Tub. About 50 minutes.

    The U of W quad was quit a nice space to spend time in. To study, to people watch. When it’s not raining. It was in one of those buildings, that I was quietly having lunch, when it (and me) were taken over by anti-war activists. One hasn’t lived until one has clambered over a barricade, to get along with one’s business. 🙂 . It’s right up there with being tear gassed. Who says there are no more rites of passage?

    I didn’t know that there was a difference between gargoyles and grotesques, either. Easy to tell apart. Gargoyles spout water. Grotesques, don’t. Somewhere, I’ve got a copy of Stephen King’s “Gargoyles.” It’s a photo essay of the beasties, text by King.

    I don’t know what was going on in our building, last night. About 11pm, I started detecting a horrible stench. Smelled like someone had set dog food on fire … or, maybe a dog. I could hardly get to sleep. Whatever it was didn’t set off the smoke alarms. The two people I asked about it, this morning, both have olfactory problems. So, no joy there. A mystery … Lew

  36. Chris,

    Glad the editor is putting her education to good use. The “good use” of my physics education was to talk quantum theory to my boss whenever he irritated me. The physics lessons gave him migraines. 🙂 The Editor’s use of the degree is much more practical.

    The Tireless Neighbor grew up on a farm that straddled the North Dakota/South Dakota border and was nearly in Minnesota. Only tough people could survive faring there!

    Ah, hmmm, “booger” is not a word that would normally be bleeped out. But, look in the mirror and say “Booger”, watching your mouth and lips carefully. Then say the bleepable “f-word” while watching the mouth and lips. They look very similar, and on screen are indecipherable. So, I said “booger” and the audience thought, well, you know, especially when aided by appropriately placed bleeps.

    Then again, once upn a time, “booger” was not an acceptable word. “WKRP in Cincinatti” made good use of that with the Dr. Johnny Fever character.

    Wood AND buds on the cherry tree. It has been between 10C and 15C for two straight days now, with plenty of sun. So I did a lot of trimming of shrubs today for a bit over an hour. And a fair amount of listening to birds and just enjoying. Easing into the outdoor work is fine. Without a job, I don’t have to get it all done over a 2 or 3 day weekend. Average 2 or 3 hours a day, eventually, and I’ll get more done that way at a comfortable pace.


  37. Hi Lewis,

    Well I never. So The Wild One was loosely based on the 1947 Hollister riot. The naughty hoodlums, and it was of note that despite the public outrage, very little actual harm came to the citizens – who I note in later years invited them all back. Good for local business other than the cleanup afterwards.

    I’d read that some of the football matches down here post WWII were pretty rough games. It is hard to find mention of that now (like some of the riots I’d read about during WWII in the cities – kind of a general melee from the account I read) but here is a source (search on 1945): Era, era on the wall – 1939-1948: A war of attrition.

    Only the super tough want milk shakes, sodas and ice coffees! 🙂 I would have done no less, they’ve gotta eat too and they’re probably mad cashed up, as you note. Sometimes it is the best dressed who can be the worst. Years ago I worked at a transport company and the guys in the office, well let’s just say that they felt they had something to prove, and the guys on the floor were generally pretty decent folks. I didn’t stay there long at all.

    Actually a lot of the blokes I see on bikes nowadays are older. I used to ride years ago for about a decade and the final bike was an old 1982 Yamaha XV-750, a beast of a bike, but with mechanical dramas. The bike was used to commute to and from work, and I lost most of my nine lives during that time. You have to keep sharp on a bike, so sometimes I don’t get how the older blokes are riding them.

    That’s like a total film binge fest with popcorn and no pumpkin ice cream. Good luck! What are you planning to watch first?

    Thanks for the first no-films-yet-delivered review. Haven’t seen that Cohen Brothers film in many years and might have to do something about that lack. Education these days! Pah! ‘I am a man of constant sorrow’ If you know, you know! 🙂 In 2004, it was even played on the youth radio station. Great stuff.

    Speaking of beer, today by sheer chance I came across a hops vine in full flower. Me being me, grabbed one of the flowers, pried off a seed and chucked it in my mouth. Those seeds have a lot of aromatic oils in them. Might see if I can get the seed to germinate. We were discussing growing some passionfruit vine (a better variety than the current one which I’ve been told by a reliable source is rootstock) so why not hops vines?

    Ah, yes the name of the whiskey is known, but where are the royalties? He used to drink the stuff too. Ah, I see they would have used rye grain to produce the mash. Makes sense in that cold northerly climate on the edge of the Arctic circle.

    Hey, we’re paying about the same price for lime. Thanks for the warning about the moss, that plant seems to love the coffee grounds, but mostly the plant dies back in summer only to reappear in the winter. A very hardy plant to grow in the drip line of the tallest of tall Eucalyptus trees on the farm.

    Plans are to spread about 70 pounds of a lime + dolomite mix with blood and bone into the coffee ground mix each week and then spread around the orchards until the end of the year. Then I’ll sit back and watch what goes on. Today the mix ended up in the sunny orchard.

    Thanks for the history of the family caught in the back of the Pompeii house. They would have known their time had come. I was interested to learn that some folks had survived the first wave, escaped the city only to be caught outside of the city walls. That would have been a brutal trudge through the raining ash.

    Yes, that was a rite of passage. You were lucky you weren’t further caught up in the excitement and could make a hasty exit. Ah Seattle, well that explains the rain. Err, good luck! It’s been dry here for the past few weeks, although March is traditionally the driest month. I began watering the vegetables less and they’re down to 5 minutes per day on drip irrigation lines. I’d read that watering cool soil makes the soil colder again, so with the cool weather one must adapt.

    I bought a bunch of seventeen Stephen King books for the editor for her birthday. She’s been thoroughly enjoying ‘The Stand’.

    Unusual stenches from inside the building is not a good sign at all. Has there been any further developments in the case? It could be a rat caught in a cooking appliance?



  38. Hi Al, Goran, and DJ,

    Confession is good for the soul, although candidly it would be an easy way to gain information on events? So I have to ‘fess up: We went to the pub tonight for dinner and a pint. This of course means that the dreaded mid-week hiatus is now in force. Yes, truly awful, but from my perspective kind of fun. 🙂

    Will speak tomorrow.



  39. Hi Chris
    Here are the delivery commitments for Moderna, Pfizer,both two doses and Johnson and Johnson single dose the Three vaccine majors in US.

    400 million doses each this year. 1.2 Billion for 370 Million US pop. Looks they can help some friends also.
    😁Cheers AL

  40. Hi Chris,

    I enjoyed hearing from Plum. Do pass on to her my regards. She really does have the best ears. 😉

    Of the two citrus trees I left on the front porch during the long spell of sub 32F / 0C temperatures, one of them, a satsuma (a type of mandarin orange), looks completely undamaged. It’s rated to zone 8b, which means hardy to a minimum of about 15F, and it was better sheltered than the other citrus tree, being hard against the common wall with the house and surrounded on two of the remaining three sides with the concrete steps to the door and a 55 gallon drum of water. Apparently it remained just warm enough in that location to allow the tree to escape undamaged.

    The other, the ‘Lisbon’ lemon, was as near to the house wall and two 55 gallon barrels of water as I could get it, but it’s a much bigger tree and so had wood extending farther out from the wall. It had a sweet bay tree and then the glass west wall to one side, so it was less well sheltered than the satsuma. It’s rated as hardy to zone 9, 20F; the porch got colder than that. Almost all of its leaves have shriveled up and are falling off. None of the flower buds survived, nor did the two small lemons that had formed earlier in the winter. However, most of the wood seems to be alive. If there are live leaf buds in that live wood, it may leaf out this spring and survive, but we won’t get any lemons from it next winter. A pity, because we just got our first crop of lemons from it in the 6 years since I bought it; I picked them off the tree during the extreme cold weather, although they weren’t fully ripe, so we would at least get something from them. The juice was pretty good, so I hope the tree survives. If it does, I’ll have to consider how I prune it so I can put it where the satsuma was next winter.

    In the last two days I sowed all the seeds I’ll start on the front porch for this spring. Last August, during the time when my mother was dying and after her death, I seriously considered not growing a vegetable garden this year. I thought that instead I would grow cover crops on those beds and take a break from all of the tasks associated with that form of gardening for one growing season while improving the soil for succeeding years. Later on, however, I re-thought that idea. Possibly it had a lot to do with grieving for my mother and the usual tiredness I feel around that time of year, when I have already worked hard on the garden and yard for several months, it’s still hot, and I’m facing another three months of yard and garden work before the end of the growing season. So here I am, starting the garden process once again. I’m still doing the winter and early spring clean-up outside.


  41. @ Inge: I’ve noticed the same thing when I read my diaries from years ago. The bit of reading I’ve done on the science of memory suggests that memory is not well described by comparing it to storage in and retrieval from a computer’s memory. Instead, to a large degree we actually re-create our memories each time we remember them, and each re-creation changes them a little. If that is the case, then what we write down at the time an event happens is closer to what actually occurred than our later memory of the event is. It’s an interesting hypothesis at any rate.


  42. Yo, Chris – So it is, so it has always been …

    The Pompeii sports riot. The details are a bit off, but the fresco reveals that there was an awning, over part of the amphitheatre. Not the cheap seats, in the shade. The colosseum in Rome, also had one. They hired old swabies, to deploy it. (Favorite naughty sea chanty … “Friggin’ in the Riggin’.) 🙂 . Wow. Pink Floyd and Frank Sinatra played Pompeii. Who knew?

    A few years back I read excerpts from a book about soccer hooligans. “Among the Thugs.” (Buford). Frightening stuff.

    Older blokes on bikes = mid-life crisis 🙂 .

    No joy at the library, yesterday, but I see things are beginning to slide into the “On Hold” column of my account. Don’t know which I’ll watch first. See what my mood is.

    “I am a man, of constant sorrow.” What a song. Especially the way it was done in the Cohen movie. But, I also like, “O, Death.”

    Wouldn’t that wind them up at Karaoke night?

    Did you find the hop vine, or acquire it? There was a hop vine, at the last place I lived. Really old. Trunk as thick as my wrist. Once they get established, they spread a bit. And, can be a bit invasive. At least here. They probably need as much tending, as grape vines.

    I saw a bumble bee, today, among the blooming heather (?). Thought I heard frogs, way off, but none so far from the ditch that runs behind the Institution.

    Will you recognize the Editor after 17 King novels? “The face is familiar, but …” Will Chris also read 17 King novels?

    Well, I found out something interesting. Half the building is deaf, and the other half can’t smell. Haven’t figured out what the stench was about.

    I wondered if they call French toast, eggy bread, in England, because of the, errr … on again off again diplomatic relations. Going back centuries. Here, when France wouldn’t get on board with our adventures in the Middle East, toast, dressing, fries, etc. were all renamed Freedom Toast, Freedom Dressing and Freedom Fries. I kid you not. Though the people who plumped for that were … well, they were. Some restaurants changed their menus.

    Here’s another interesting article, about supply lines.

    Gives one a case of the fantods. Lew

  43. Hi Al,

    That’s the plan with the stump grinder, and word on the street is that it may arrive next week. The old machine has now gone to a good home, and I just didn’t have the time to part the machine and then sell off the parts + extras, so I’m grateful for that effort saving outcome and the little bit of mad cash.

    Many years ago I spent two days in the forest with a crusty old forestry worker (who knew his stuff) and he drilled me in the proper usage and maintenance of my chainsaw. He was like a drill sergeant! But I learned a lot. Not to put too fine a point upon the matter, but a person should not be allowed out into the forest without having firstly been so drilled! Mind you, I owned and used a chainsaw before going on the course, yeah there was a lot to learn. So yes, your observations match what I’d expect to see and I know the value of keeping timber cutting tools in a sharp state and how to keep them sharp – and what causes them to blunt in the first place. I only ever went through two sets of teeth with the old grinder, and the first set was a total write off by the time I replaced them.

    🙂 Plum is accepting of the entire situation, despite her gripes. Some dogs were born to lead, others can grow into that role, and then there are the followers, and Plum is a follower. The upside of that is that Plum is actually the best behaved of the trio, although she can occasionally spit the dummy.

    Hehe! Well done you two.

    Mate, I’m unfussed about the whole vaccination thing and it will take the time that it takes, and not one minute earlier.

    Thought you might enjoy this story from the fire ravaged areas down here (the fires were last summer): Timber mill brings hope and support to fire-affected farmers at Sarsfield.

    The Lucas Mills are actually reasonably affordable, so I’d hope that the charity purchased more than one machine.



  44. Hi Goran,

    Nobody down here is probably even aware of the Vitamin C benefits of rose hips, sorry to say. You’d be really hard pressed to find properly prepared rose hips for sale, let alone in a powdered form. Of course in reading the history of plants, it is not lost on me that before the ubiquitous Vanilla orchid took over the role, rose hip flavouring was more widely used.

    As you know, all things that were old eventually become new again, and it is way too cold here to grow Vanilla orchids, although they can be purchased to grow in indoor environments. Reading up on how the flowers are actually treated so as to produce the pods brings me little hope that in the distant future these delights will be seen down here.

    Which brings us right back to rose hips. 🙂 The hips here at the moment are still a bit green, and not yet red, and I see no risk of frost until maybe April, but maybe May. Not sure really. The cloud cover due to La Nina is producing lower day time temperatures, but higher than average night time temperatures as the cloud layer traps in the day time heat.

    We’re getting about one day per week with no thick cloud and sunny blue skies, and this situation does not make for an encouraging growing season.

    That’s true about oranges and Vitamin C, and whilst oranges won’t grow here (due to the winters) further north along the Murray River in semi-arid locales the trees are grown. Vitamin C is available in plenty of sources in cold environments and rare meat is one such source, among others. Us humans gained an evolutionary advantage by not being able to produce the necessary Vitamin.

    Thanks for the warning about the rose hip seeds as I have zero experience, but I also have no desire to suffer from an itch. There are plenty of things down here which will sting or bite and produce an epic itch without adding in plants!

    Exactly, before zombies, enrich soils. After zombies, enrich soils, and grow stuff you can eat. 🙂 The Modern Monetary Theory folks just leave me feeling slack jawed in a state of awe but also kind of wondering how they could so blatantly disregard the lessons of history? Even the Roman’s gave it a go, and how did that turn out for them?



  45. Hi DJ,

    The editor has recounted the story to me that on a few occasions the lecturers at University way back in the day, made the process of wine making into an extraordinarily difficult, complicated and time consuming process. She is honestly uncertain nowadays as to why the subject was taught that way when from hindsight it should never have been, but occur it did. The upshot of presenting a very simple process as something that was totally bonkers hard, was that few students took up the challenge and became self-sufficient.

    One of my regrets, and there are only but a very few of them, was that we didn’t get into this production process earlier. It amazes me that so many stories are thrown into the path of this high margin economic value activity, and the few stories which we’ve heard don’t stand up to too much poking. But the stories are repeated often enough, and so people inevitably repeat them to us.

    Oh yeah, the physical line and the general locales between North and South Dakota would challenge any farmer. And I’m a bit in awe of anyone who could make a go of it in such a hostile environment. The winters would be super brutal.

    Booger! Just had to add that word again and interrupt the otherwise polite environment here. 🙂 I’d not considered that aspect and yes, who knows what the lip readers are interpreting, other than them? Surely they have a sense of humour? I see that the actor James Hong played the character Snotty: Revenge Of The Nerds – Booger meets Snotty. Grass-snotter, when you can walk upon this rice paper trail without leaving a mark whilst hocking up a disgusting lung biscuit, only then you shall be ready to head out into the world. 🙂 I loved that show as a kid.

    Exactly, space the work out and enjoy it more. 🙂 I expect to do six hours of digging tomorrow, but in another decade that might be down to four hours, maybe less! Such is life. Enjoy the journey for the destination is always there. And one day you may be required to walk down a hall floored with rice paper. Hehe!



  46. Hi Claire,

    Thank you for the kind words, and Plum also believes that she has the more perfect ears of the two Kelpie dogs. The other day, Plum took me aside and whispered to me conspiratorially. Plum said to me: ‘Chris, Oi! Over here’. To which I sauntered over before replying: ‘What’s going on?’ A simple reply, but also effective at getting to the nub of the dilemma. Plum looked very excited, and she leaned in to me and said: ‘Upright ears are the sign of being closer to wild stock, and thus proves that I am the superior canine’. ‘Sure Plum, that sounds right to me.’ Oh Plum. As a true gentleman I refused to discuss the truth of the matter with the young dog. And she’ll be fine, and she is a fine dog.

    Ouch! 15’F is like super-cold for citrus trees and possibly at their absolute lower limits if kept out of the wind – which you did. Oh my! Can’t say that I’ve experienced -9’C here, although historically such temperatures for this area have been mooted, but not experienced by myself. Global warming can be thanked for that.

    But yes, I too once grew a Lisbon lemon in the orchard and it was knocked out dead by a 28’F snowfall, but really it is hard to know what root stock your particular tree was grown upon and that will influence the eventual outcome. I’ll be very interested to hear if the tree does re-form leaves when the spring weather arrives. It may need some assistance. Having put the various varieties of lemon trees to the test over the years, the Meyer lemon is truly the cold hardiest lemon tree, although the taste is good but not quite a true zingy lemon.

    The lemon Eureka was the next cold hardiest tree with a much better flavour, but the root stock was susceptible to collar rot and it is now in the process of dying. A truly sad thing to see for a decade old lemon tree, and I often wonder whether there was something which I could have done to prevent this. Oh well, last winter I planted out another Lemon Eureka tree which was certified to resist collar rot and in a sunnier and drier location.

    I used to provide Eureka lemons for people who made lovely muffins for me, and after the tree succumbed to collar rot, the supply stopped and not that long ago I suspected they swapped in lemon essence flavouring. So they’re now receiving Lemon Meyers as they taste far better than lemon essence.

    Oh Claire, I’m so sorry for the loss of your mum and the pain which you’ve endured. Getting out into the garden is a good way to get some time alone in your head in order to process the emotions. You know, the pain and memories never really go away, but it does get easier over time.

    Respect for again starting the garden, and hope that your summer is warmer than the super-crazy summer we have endured. This week there was a single day of strong sunlight which has yet to arrive. Sunday I believe. Yup, just one day. It’s not good. But oh well, moving on and there is always next season.



  47. Hi Lewis,

    I couldn’t work out from the fresco depicting the riot between the Nucerians and the Pompeians, who won the melee? Given the ban extended for a decade, possibly the local lads didn’t fare so well and needed the intervening time to recover and build strength before a rematch? 🙂

    Oh! You sent me on an interweb journey enjoying the sounds of Pink Floyd (who I grew up listening to, the David Gilmour days) at the ancient site in 2016. He shredded it, and Comfortably Numb was just astounding to see and hear that epic guitar solo. It brought on goosebumps. Wish you were here is one of my all time fave songs. Extraordinary music. I’ve been thinking about the subject of music over the past few days.

    Frankie looked pretty pleased to be performing at the ancient site! The guy who brought him out to Australia, died only a few days ago. The music industry is doing it super-tough, and when people tell me in all seriousness that the economy has bounced back I often wonder about the venues, the performers, the stage hands, the tour managers, the equipment hire places, the sound engineers and the promoters. People seem to have forgotten them all in that recovery story.

    Oh yeah, the soccer hooligans sure know how to throw a riot. That used to be a regular part of after game activities for the crowds down here. Maybe it is just me, but the game itself appears to me to be characterised by little relief – and the crowds might be seeking a form of catharsis in the after party. But you know, just idle speculation on my part. The English probably well understood this as they created the game of the cricket test match which plays for five days. And they can get right down to nail biting finishes. But sport is in the rear-view mirror for me these days as there is only so much my brain can wrap itself around. Nobody wants to see a brain explosion, do they?

    I dunno about the mid-life crisis thing, but I stopped riding because I just didn’t have the sharp reactions anymore. But that is my story and other people may have more natural grace than I, and that certainly would be an advantage on such a machine.

    The rotters at the library, may they get back from their holidays and attend to the business at hand! 🙂 Of course for all you or I know, there might have been an incident which caused them to stop the flow of stuff?

    Both the movie and the song were great. At least the red bloke in Oh Death could hold a tune, albeit not a pleasant one to hear, especially if you happen to be on the wrong side. And yes it would most certainly shock the average Karaoke goer. But the Sirens, hmm, beware the Siren call.

    The hop vine was growing in an unexpected place, and we’ll get the seeds started over the next day or so in the greenhouse. Thanks for mentioning that the vines could so age, and we’ll give them plenty of growing space. Vines down here are generally quite invasive. The passionfruit vine variety we originally planted was a grafted variety and now only the root stock has survived and the fruit is not good. But the vines have extensive root systems and pop up all over the place. With enough eradication, the vines eventually will die back. Most plants need a bit of tending, it’s only us humans who believe that it might otherwise be – I mean that is what happens when once wild plants get domesticated.

    The bumble bee is way early, and go the frogs!

    Hopefully the editor doesn’t read all of the novels at once, this could be a problem (as you suggest) for the day to day arrangements in the household. I doubt it will happen, but am also now alert for the possibility.

    There is an inappropriate joke about people who lack the sense of smell! How do they smell … ? Bad Chris! I knew a bloke years ago who suffered sun stroke (i.e. extreme heat exhaustion) and lost his sense of smell and taste. His cooking was awful as everything had way too much salt, the food made me feel sick. As you can imagine he died well before your age.

    Yeah, the cheeky French copped it bad down this way with our easterly island neighbours after the Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. I dunno, I was quite impressed at how hands on they were, but um, err for secret agents being detected by a neighbour watch group does not inspire confidence in that service. And unfortunately one bloke was killed on the ship and the French handed over some significant mad cash. Truly and utterly crazy stuff. But I recall that much boycotting of French stuff and things occurred due to the continual testing of nuclear weapons in the immediate area. The British, well they did pretty good at bombing the outback, but that was many years earlier and I guess the point was made – we too can blow things up.

    Yes, well I recall the days of the first steel imports as I worked in that industry and I thought to myself at the time that this would not end well. Possibly the world needs less University graduates and more fitters and turners and boilermakers. It surprises me that so few people are talking about this part supply shortage issue, but maybe I talk to people whom the media generally avoid? And a lot of integrated circuits come from the disputed part of the land of stuff – that one is worth watching.



  48. Yo, Chris – When I go to the chemist, I get the vitamin C tablets “with rose hips.” The citrus industry has done quit a job convincing people that the only source of C, is citrus. Thank you, Anita Bryant. A truly awful woman. Even a potato (with skin) provides just about the daily requirement of vitamin C.

    H was just delivered for an unexpected visit. Eleanor just got the call to hustle down to the chemist, and get a shot for You Know What. Me, I’m rather relaxed about the whole thing. Bringing the vaccine to us, here at the Institution, is still in the works. Or, I’ll just wait til I can waltz into my local clinic, without a lot of drama, and get it. We’ll have fun. Practice the latest dance steps … she’ll call boys on the phone … 🙂 .

    When describing people who cling, and are hard to break away from, I often describe them as “Like trying to shake a booger off our finger.” (Lew, ™)

    Well, I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess the folks at Pompeii “won” the riot. Home team advantage, and all that. One thing that was interesting about “Among the Hooligans” is that, the whole thing was directed by a rather shadowy, psychopathic character.

    I must be living right. I had one eye on my library account, and one eye on the incoming rain. About 11, titles started appearing in my account. I nipped on down, and picked up seven DVDs. Just as I got home, the skies opened up. Whew! That was a close one.

    I watched “Greenland,” last night. Hmmm. “2012” did it better. Sure, cool explosions, but not enough CGI. They spent way too much time on the psychodynamics of the leads crumbling marriage. And the mandatory irritating little kid, had too much screen time. At least I got a bowl of popcorn (with cheese!) out of the deal.

    I also got one of the Great Course lecture series. “Warriors, Queens, and Intellectuals: 36 Great Women before 1400.” I watched a few of the lectures, last night. Quit good.

    So the hop vine just appeared, from no-where? Birds?

    Hmmm. Interesting story from the world of archaeology.

    Pet sematary? They don’t know what they’re messing with. 🙂 .

    I saw some daffodils and crocus, on my walk, yesterday. Spring is rolling in. Lew

  49. Chris,

    I ran into physics professors making things harder than needed, also, so that seems to run across academia. Early in the course, my undergrad quantum physics professor talked for 2 weeks about this one problem that was gonna be in a homework assignment and then on a test. Due to various (most people would say arcane) quantum theory ideas, we had to calculate how far from the exact center of a target a dropped object could land. Professor made it sound like an excruciating problem. Then it was assigned. I stared at it, stared at the proper paragraph in the textbook for a couple minutes, then spent 3 minutes with pencil and paper solving the problem. Total time required was about 5 minutes. It was so anticlimactic that I felt cheated.

    Then next year, in senior electricity and magnetism, our professor decided to spend 2 or 3 days on “principle of least action”. At the end of the discussion, he remarked that all of classical and modern physics could be derived if “least action” was used as the underlying basis. I asked if that included special relativity, general relativity and quantum mechanics. When he replied in the affirmative, I asked why, then, do theoretical physicists spend so much time looking for the Theory of Everything, if Principle of Least Action already did this?
    Someone else quipped that nobody could get any research grant money for theoretical physics if the money guys knew the problem was already solved on an understandable level. That was the only time I ever saw that professor get irritated.

    But yes, brewing alcohol isn’t hard. My very first attempt was to boil some water and sugar and some apples, let the pot cool, add yeast and cover the pot, then wait for a few weeks. I think there may have been some mock orange blossoms included in the boil. Although it wasn’t the best tasting, it did work out, was drinkable, and, most importantly for a first try, didn’t make anybody ill. My neighbor of Dakota farms fame told a brewing story once. They had a gob of extra potatoes, so he and his brother cleaned out a trough , peeled and cut up the potatoes, then put the potatoes, and water and yeast in the trough, then covered it. A few weeks later they had an alcoholic brew that was drinkable, even without boiling the taters first. It isn’t that difficult.

    Our booger conversation paid dividends. I had a bit of nasal congestion Thursday, so the Princess called me “Snot Head”. Which is worse, “Snot Head” or “Hell Cat”?

    After three days of pruning with a hand pruning saw, no climbing involved, I took today off. Picked up more books from the library’s curb side pick up service, filled out a required form online for my medical insurance stuff. Now to attempt to hang a picture without knocking a large hole in a wall. 😉


  50. Hi Lewis,

    The ancient pet semetary is a fascinating find. Hope nobody expected their kitty to come back from the grave – they’d make for unpleasant company, so yeah I agree they don’t know what they are messing with. The care and grave ornaments sort of indicates to me that the mostly felines would have been well cared for before being interned. But then you mentioned to me long ago that we can’t necessarily view the ancients activities from our own perspectives. The possibility also occurs to me that the felines could also have been sacrifices – there was mention that a lot of the cats had damaged bones.

    Ooo, I’d never before heard of Anita Bryant, and my brain is now a trifled sullied after reading about her belief systems. We probably wouldn’t be mates her and I, and I have this awful feeling that she’d come for us for not having produced any kids. It’s been my observation over the years that the most vocal folks usually come with the most baggage and secrets. She sounds like hard work.

    But yeah, your point is well made. If you don’t overcook meat, it too comes with Vitamin C. A few years back I wrote about scurvy and it is an impressive achievement for a person in a first world country to actually have a deficiency of Vitamin C. Still, upon consideration over the years I have encountered some very strange beliefs espoused about what people put into their mouths. Someone once told me earnestly that fluffy white super market bread has more fibre than a multigrain variety. That left me scratching my head and pondering the human condition.

    Did about six hours of digging and hauling soil today on the new shed site up above the house. Our run of good luck came to an abrupt end today as we half unearthed an inconvenient Moby Rock. I guess after the next day of digging we’ll get a better idea as to what we are dealing with. At this stage it looks deal-able, but right now it looks like hard work. Maybe I should call these things Anita Rocks? Worst comes to worst, we can get a demolition dude in to sort out the rock. What else do you do?

    From what I understand, those shots have to be stored at some phenomenally cold temperatures, so yeah perishable – which leads to not much notice time. I have this vague feeling that at some point in the future people who don’t get the shot might end up being economically excluded. Hmm. But I don’t really know, and things are rather strange down here and the state gobarminet managed to extend the state of emerguncy powers until December – oh my gawd we are in for some serious trouble. We’ve got a locally made one shot jab which is the one I’ll probably wait for, but mate the decision is months and months away and there are about 9 million people ahead of me in the queue. My faith in the gobarmint to get things done is not great and their track record doesn’t appear to be all that good.

    Like your trademarked saying! And haven’t we all encountered a few of those from time to time?

    Your logic is sound, but if the Pompeii home team won the melee, why the decade long ban? Your argument disregards this fact. We’ll never know the truth of the matter, so I’ll stick to my gut feeling about the home team being the losers and needing the intervening decade to bolster their responses to the away teams. Hey, in watching the video of the performers at the ancient site, I noticed that there seemed to be city lights in the near background. Mate, that blew me away as the current city is more or less in the same general location, however there are now millions of people living in the vicinity. I guess the risk of bushfire here is quite high and far more frequent than volcanic eruptions, and I constantly work on managing that risk, but there are few people living in this area. Evacuating millions of people would be a logistical nightmare.

    Wikipudding has a list of Decade Volcanoes, of which Mount Rainier scored a notable mention. Where do you go when nowhere is safe or risk free? 🙂 I note that Yellowstone didn’t rate a mention. The photo taken from the ISS of Mount Etna going off is spectacular.

    You called it, after reading the synopsis of the story it appears that the kid endangered them all. My thinking is that it would have been better if they’d just got on the plane and dealt with the details later. It reminded me of an awful scene from the series Breaking Bad – which I had to stop watching because the characters just seemed to keep making the exact opposite decisions that I would make, but you know it’s not about me, however the continual escalation of the story line became too much for my brain to handle so I stopped watching it. Sorry I digress, at one stage in the story, the chemistry dude protagonist was about to be kidnapped by a Mexican cartel bigwig. The protagonist protested (before killing the cartel bigwig, as you do) ‘what about the wife and kids’ and the bigwig replied ‘don’t worry about it, we’ll get you a better one’. Yes, some people (in this case both parties) can come up with unusual solutions to seemingly complicated problems.

    As to the Greenland film, well I have a great respect for engineers and have worked with many over the years, but in that particular scenario it might not be a bad idea to have people who know how to grow food. Maybe I’m biased? And anyway, and also maybe I’m being too pragmatic here, but in a life or death situation, interpersonal difficulties and relationship problems kind of have to take a back seat. Hey, did the kid make it through?

    Good stuff with the Great Courses – did you have a favourite?

    The hops vine was growing in the vicinity of a pub which has an attached brewery. 😉

    Spring has sprung for you! No more snow or frost for you, seven months!



  51. Hi DJ,

    Some people just want to delight in the complication or take industrial processes and then attempt to overlay an aesthetic look on a process, which candidly may or may not work. Industrial processes are usually, well industrial looking. The editor has a signature brew which is the Asian rice wine, Sake. We’ve mucked around with the technique for many years and come up with a workable and consistently repeatable process. It just doesn’t look all that great or use fancy ingredients, and therein lies the problem. People have great expectations about the product and so they want the manufacturing process to be more fancy than it is.

    At a party many long years ago by sheer chance, we had the pleasure of speaking with a genuine Sake master who had worked in Japan (he and his lady were doing the catering). The editor and the Sake master went into deep discussions over many hours as to the finer points of making this brew, and turns out that the processes we used were how things rolled way back in the day. Although we do use electrical assistance to maintain the more or less constant temperature for the fermentation.

    And yeah, the beliefs people hold as to the complexity are all too real, whilst the reality might be much as you note – an anticlimax. This is what you get in a world of over specialisation.

    Mate, I tried really hard to understand the principle of least action. The closest understanding my poor brain could comprehend is the concept that: ‘Nature is thrifty in all its actions’. My poor brain now hurts, however when you stop for a while and consider biological photosynthesis, there is probably a really good underlying reason why plants are able to produce at best a surplus energy of around 2% of the sunlight which they nicely convert to sugars for storage. That might be about as good as it gets on a long term basis.

    I’d be curious as to your perspective, but it is possible that we have discovered and thus learned as much as we can understand. Observations of nature indicates to me that we all ride the inverted bell shaped curve and this tells a story of diminishing returns over time, although I freely admit that knowledge can ever so slowly build. What replaces us is also an interesting question. Dunno, it is possible that we are not meant to know.

    Good stuff with your apples way back in the day, and a key element is allowing the concoction to age properly. 🙂 One of our earlier attempts was making Plum wine, and after only a few months it was not good. We’d first attempted mead which produces a nice result after only a few months of ageing, fruit wines on the other hand require at least a year. But four year old mead is beyond superb – although we don’t have much of that drop for obvious reasons relating to practical considerations such as storage.

    Never used potatoes to make wine, but most organic things can be used so good on them. And no it isn’t that difficult, although word on the street is that it is believed to be that way. There is a long history as to why that belief has been allowed to become firmly and incorrectly entrenched.

    Sorry to hear of your nasal issues, and please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m siding with your lady in this matter and will vote for ‘snot head’! 😉

    Oi! Did you ever get that pole saw we spoke about? Hmm? Just asking the super hard questions here!



  52. @Chris
    I also got my field training in chain saw safety from from experts. An uncle and his son my cousin on a two month visit on my own in central West Virginia in the summer of 1960.
    We cousins were logging and hauling,in a 3/4 ton 1952 Ford pickup, specified assorted varieties and sizes of eastern hardwood to a local charcoal briquette plant where the wood was burned for use as feed stock for their product. The chain blade was hand sharpened with a special file several times each day (mostly by me)🙁 It was welcome mad money that didn’t have to be asked for from home In Richland.😀Good Times!,

    The Saw mill story was moving. That type of aid is needed universally. My dad was always interested in small commercial lumber mills. He would have loved the modern ones. I get frequent emails from our Wood-Mizer maker of bright orange saw mills up here. Nice! I see a lot of that brand on our various “building off the grid” cable TV shows.

    Hops for beer: top for your area.

    The area around Yakima Washington eighty mile distant produces 73% of US Hops and 40% of World supply (their account).

    Info about remineralization of orchard soil and direct application of calcium to tree and fruit (calcium chloride solution a common inexpensive ice melting compound just mix with water and spray all over. Tree, Fruit, in the soil .lots of stuff down in this wabbit hole

    Cheers Al

  53. Yo, Chris – As near as we can tell, most Egyptian feline sacrifices were mummified and wrapped up. There was even a market in just buying an already mummified animals, for offering. Some recent studies have discovered that some of the “offerings on sale”, didn’t contain what they claimed to contain. Talk about truth in packaging! As far as the broken bones, well, cats and their nine lives … Any more sightings of your ghost moggie?

    Ms. Bryant messed with the wrong group of people, and, financially came to a bad end. Pity 🙂 .

    Another Moby Rock! Maybe you should rename your place, Stony Farm?

    I’m sure the shots will sort themselves out … eventually. When I talked to Eleanor last night, she thought some back pains were just the normal (an on-going) side effects of age. And then, later, thought they might be a side effect from the shot. Always looking on the sunny side. 🙂

    I watched a documentary, a couple of years ago, about what would happen if Vesuvius erupted, again. There are between 3 and 4 million people, in the area. The coast is as built up (if not more so) as in Roman times. Gotta have that beachfront property! The documentary talked about the difficulty of evacuating that many people. They monitor the mountain, very carefully.

    I don’t worry much about Mt. Rainier. Depending on what it does, it might take out a bit of our east county. Or, do real damage, far to our north. I’m more concerned about a good shake. We haven’t had one in 20 years.

    Nero closed down the Pompeii arena to punish everyone. It drew people from far and wide. No more a stop on the traveling gladiator circuit. Interestingly, Nero’s wife Poppaea Sabina probably came from Pompeii. Or, at least her family did. The House of Menandro in Pompeii, probably belonged to the family. There’s also a huge villa, in Oplontis (another buried city), that probably belonged, to her.

    Well, the family in Greenland was blocked from getting on the planes, as it was discovered the kid was diabetic. And, in the initial screening, it was overlooked. No one with chronic conditions, allowed. Yeah, the kid made it through, but what they were going to do about his future insulin, was unexplored. Oh, I’m sure farmers were included in the initial sort. They wanted a cross section of useful trades.

    I’ve only watched six of the 36 Great Courses, lectures. So, favorites? Too early to call.

    Watched “The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee”, last night. I can’t recommend it. Pretty silly. I suppose it made some sociological comment on celebrity and Hollywood, in a round about way. Hogan was his usual charming self, and he does have an endearing laconic way of acting.

    I didn’t sleep very well, last night. We got a memo, that if we wanted garden boxes, this year, to contact the office. “First come, first serve.” The Master Gardener’s usually showed up in February, to talk boxes. They didn’t. Don’t know why. I’ve got an e-mail in to one of them, to see what they say. I left a message, at the office, this morning that I wanted the same two boxes that I’ve had all along. And Eleanor wanted her’s, too. So all that soil building, for the last three years, and the perennials, might all come to naught. I checked last night, and there are no allotments in our area. Just in case.

    Well, we can still have a frost, as late as April 1st. The last one, (light), was the 27th of February. Lew

  54. @ Chris
    Sorry about
    At second look they appear to be maybe a start up that hasn’t quite started yet. They had pretty pictures!
    I’m sure you and the editor have long time preferences for beverage supplies 🥂🍺
    Cheers Al

  55. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the correction regarding the Egyptian felines. I had known that they had played a large part of their culture and beliefs, but had not known about the market for pre-mummified remains being sold – but it makes a sort of sense. Actually with the ancient pet sematary for some reason my brain recalled the story of the angry young printers going on a cat hunt all those centuries ago. Some disgruntled folks back in ancient Egypt may well have associated cats with the ruling class and taken it upon themselves to even the score. Just a speculation. I’ve known plenty of cats over my life and not one of them had a broken bone, but of course times are different.

    Hehe! Yes she did, that’s for sure. Ms Bryant’s story had a sort of sad irony to it, because I read some reference to her suffering emotional abuse in relation to her divorce, and the irony of her complaining of that on one hand, and yet dishing out emotional abuse to other people on the other hand, seems sort of very sad. Haven’t met the lady, so I can’t make any judgement on the matter, but over the years I’ve met some people who don’t like themselves, and they spend a lot of their time disparaging others and flicking poop like a dirt bike, especially if you show them any kindness. I guess their brains tell them that they don’t like themselves, so anyone who displays any kindness towards them must be lower in the pecking order. It’s a weird worldview, but I’ve encountered it often enough over the years.

    That’s a good name: Stony Farm. Says it all. One of the local creeks is named: Sandy Creek (wonder why?) 🙂 I quite like the name Stony Rises, as it has a little bit more something or other – not sure. You’ll see the photo tomorrow! 🙂

    I’m not worried about the shots in the least, and am just working on the ‘I’ll do what I’m told to do basis’, on the grounds that I have a vague suspicion that not getting the shot will lead to economic exclusion.

    You confirmed my darkest thoughts about Mount Vesuvius. It is an almost possible task to evacuate so many people in a short period of time, like where do you put them, how do you feed them? I’ve eaten army ration packs back in the day, and they keep you alive…

    I hear you about that, and feel much the same about the bushfire risk. The stump grinder machine is used in the activity of fuel reduction risks, but sooner or later a fire will arrive and test all of the systems on the farm.

    You already knew the story behind the Pompeii gladiators running amok. 🙂 Nero had a poor reputation, but as we’ve discussed before, history is written by the victors. And reading about Poppaea, the hate shines through – even today. Nothing could be too great an offense to heap upon him. Kind of reminds me of your politics. 😉 And speaking of which, I noted that you may soon come into some wealth and yours and our politicians seem super-keen to discover the upper limits of Modern Monetary Theory. Honestly, give the experiment a go and see what happens is how I view the world. I’m amazed that the show has gone on as long as it has already so why not find out the upper limits? We might be able to return to a semblance of sanity after these limits have been reached.

    Exactly, insulin is not easy to manufacture from what I understand. My mate who died late last year had type II.

    Paul Hogan is a charmer and yes he can turn on the charm that’s for sure. Thanks for the review.

    Oh, what the heck? Honestly, if you and Eleanor are organised, you’ll don fine in such an arrangement. On the negative side of things, you just have to remember to follow the process exactly. How else does one navigate the murky seas of bureaucracy?

    Better get writing!



  56. Hi Al,

    Thanks for the lovely comment, however tonight I must write, otherwise what the heck is Monday morning going to look like? 🙂 Imagine a blog post, Yeah I’d did some stuff, but ran out of time to write about it – here’s the pictures though!



  57. Yo, Chris – Well, if Vesuvius decides to “do it’s thing,” as with most natural disasters, about 20% of the population will refuse to evacuate. (“How bad could it be?”).

    You asked if I had a favorite, so far, in the “Great Courses”, famous women before 1400. The frontrunner is … (Pompeia) Plotina. She was the wife of the emperor Trajan. As far as we can tell, they had a pretty happy marriage. Both were from Hispania (Spain.) Two things impressed me, about her. When she entered the imperial residence, for the first time, she apparently said something along the lines that she would leave, the same woman she went in. In other words, imperial power would not change her. The other thing is, Trajan’s sister (a widow with a daughter) lived with them. In apparent harmony. None of the “knives out,” of other imperial families. She was also a devotee of the Epicurean School of philosophy.

    Interesting family name, Pompeia. It was a sprawling family “gens.” Which loosely translated can mean clan, kin or tribe. But, indicates they probably had their roots around Pompeii. Even more interesting is that the bulk of the scrolls, from the Villa of the Papyri seen to be about Epicurean philosophy. But, the eruption happened when she was either a very little girl, or, just before she was born.

    I’m not going to bother psychoanalyzing Ms. Bryant. She was a very bad person, and I hope she had a bad end. Karma is a b___h. 🙂 .

    Ah, yes. The Great Cat Massacre of the 1730’s. I remember some snippet of some Disney animated thing, about cats. When I was a wee small lad. And how they were hunted down, as they were thought to be in league with the devil. Or, representatives of. Of course, the Great Cat Massacre had more to do with disgruntled apprentices. Little did they know that fewer cats = more rats = plague.

    They’ll divert the creek underground, build a housing estate over it, and call it “Sandy Creek Estates.” 🙂 .

    Well, the incoming filthy lucre will go the same place as the last batch. Savings. I’m beginning to think I ought to sell all my tat, and try to put together about $20,000. Better than losing it all in an earthquake. Surely I can find a small sliver of out of the way land, for that amount. A bolt hole. A decompression chamber. And, hey, even if that doesn’t work out, I’ll have a bit in the bank.

    I watched “Breach,” last night. Using my highly technical and scientific movie rating system, I give it a “Meh.” Mr. Willis seemed to be “phoning in” his performance. There were a couple of military types, that were caricatures of military types. Over the top, chew the scenery. A couple of scenes, of people spending way too much time creeping around a darkened ship, I hit the fast forward button. Maybe worth a look, if you have an hour and a half to waste, and can watch it for free.

    I phoned the office yesterday morning, and left a voice mail that I want to keep my two garden boxes, and Eleanor wants to keep hers. I got an e-mail back from the Master Gardener’s. I had quoted the very short memo, we got. Their response was, “But that’s what we do.” They’re going to get ahold of our building manager, and see what’s what.

    Write on, Garth! 🙂 Lew

Comments are closed.