The lights were on

Last Thursday the editor and I travelled in to the city in order to see the stand up comedian Michael Hing. He’s really funny, and whilst much of the show revolved around mental health issues, he kept me laughing for a solid hour. Who knew that death threats and mental health concerns could be funny – but they were. Michael Hing is of course fortunate to be visiting the city of Melbourne for the comedy festival. He is a resident of the city of Sydney which is in the next state to the north. And being a Sydney-sider, he could observe with impunity that after the four month hard lock down last year due to the health subject which dare not be named, visiting the city of Melbourne was like encountering five million people with PTSD! Yes, very amusing.

The editor and I stayed overnight in the city. We enjoy walking, so we drove in from the bush and parked the car about 4km / 2.5 miles out from the city centre. The hours long walk was very pleasant, and the journey travelled through the back streets of the inner suburbs. The suburbs are filled with Victorian era housing dating back to the mid to late 19th century. After a century and a half, the old and candidly small workers cottages exude their own individual character. A sensitive soul can observe the houses and glean something of their history and current and former occupants.

Developers strive hard to make their mark upon those old inner suburbs, what with the developers preference for high rise apartment blocks. I was surprised to see many building sites still constructing. The large cranes were highlighted against the blue autumn sky much like a petrodactyl about to strike its prey. I suppose that funding and approval for these things had occurred in the pre-super-crazy-hard-lock-down last year. Hopefully for the developers they know something I don’t know, because the other day there was some news article which suggested that population growth down under had declined.

Anyway, the walk into the city centre takes about an hour, and at this time of year it’s beautiful. We wended our way through the back streets and hardly saw any traffic to speak of. The people we encountered were just doing their thing. Some walked their dog and/or kids. Others hung out at the small local parks which dot those suburbs. As it was later in the day, it was a pleasure to see people enjoying a drink with friends at their local pub.

The hotel is at the top end of the city, and it too dates from the 19th century. The elegance of the establishment always leaves me feeling a touch bashful, almost as if some formal world had been miraculously opened, and I’d been allowed in. Others can have their glass and chrome modernity, it is formal elegance for me.

Victorian elegance at its finest – The Hotel Windsor

The room had a lovely view onto the former state mint, and the current state Parliament building. Early on in the nations history, a whole lot of gold travelled through the state mint on its way to London. And the state Parliament building once housed the country’s federal Parliament, if only because nobody had gotten around to constructing the building which would eventually house the national governing body. Possibly we should have kept those federal politicians close to hand because the rumours and stories circulating about their current activities do not present them in a good light.

The state Parliament building

Having had to do paid work earlier in the day, we were a bit pressed for time and an early dinner was required, before the later comedy show. Once again walking upon the streets of Melbourne, we walked passed a group of work mates enjoying a drink at a pub after work. The large group were seated at a street table on the side walk. Their attire gave away the origins of the group and for some reason my mind settled on public servants who possibly worked in the IT department. They were having a lovely time.

During the walk from the hotel to the restaurant we passed the Salvo’s building which appeared to be shuttered and dark. Usually outside the building is a cast of characters who are a bit down on their luck, but mostly harmless. This time around, we encountered a lady in her forties who was cackling to herself whilst throwing food. I was grateful that we weren’t targets for her amusement, but then the editor does have a truck-no-nonsense look about her from time to time.

Our destination was Hardware Lane, which back in the 19th century unsurprisingly contained a large number of hardware vendors. Nowadays the lane is closed to vehicular traffic and has been turned over to restaurants with outdoor seating. An enjoyable meal was had, but I did notice that the bloke who used to serenade the seated crowds with his guitar work, was nowhere in evidence.

The enjoyable meal was candidly excellent and whilst the editors attention was elsewhere as she people-watched, I managed to steal a number of fork loads of seafood paella. Snoozers, after all are losers, and when at table a person must keep their eye on the prize. Tiramisu is a favourite dessert, and upon completion of dinner I inquired of the waiter whether they still had the ‘tiramisu’, and could we share a serving? The waiter who had already casually quizzed us as to our reasons for the trip into the city, recognised that this was a question asked by a person who had visited the restaurant before. And the tiramisu was supplied with a complimentary limoncello. You could hear the siren song call of: “Come back! Come back!” It’s true, I’m cheap and can be easily bought by such niceties!

After dinner we walked back to the comedy show where we laughed for an hour. The comedian was so cool that he hadn’t quite worked out how to conclude the show, and said as much before walking off stage. How cool is that?

On the way back to the hotel, the group of IT friends at the pub had now dwindled to two. One of them was clearly heard making the challenge: “I’ll have one, if you do!”

The next morning we walked through the city so as to enjoy breakfast at a lane way cafe in The Royal Arcade. Along the way we passed many large skyscrapers which looked as if the lights were on, but I was hard pressed to see any signs of activity inside the buildings. Many shops were empty, and ‘for lease’ signs were ubiquitous. At the beginning of last year, the city was bustling with people, nowadays there are plenty of people around, but nothing like the crowds back then.

Ordinarily the mornings are rarely in focus, and generally I shouldn’t be allowed out in public before first supping a decent cup of coffee. However, exceptions must occasionally be and this was the case that morning. Fortunately, a decent coffee was eventually obtained, along with breakfast. The editor and I could then enjoy meaningful conversation and general people watching.

The opportunities for the sport of people watching was lesser than it had been in previous years, merely because there weren’t as many people about. Many of the lane way cafes have touts standing at the front enticing customers. I noticed one old bloke loudly engaging the tout in unsought-for conversation. My thinking was that he was scaring away potential customers, and fortunately for the business he moved on.

All good things eventually come to an end, and we finished up breakfast, returned to the hotel, and walked out of the city again.

The walk back out of the city was in cool but sunny weather, and along the way we encountered a bloke in his sixties who had the longest beard that I’d seen in a long while. With such a beard, he could easily have been in the rock band ZZ Top, but perhaps he was just an older biker. The other reason the bloke was notable was that he was walking an American bull terrier. Most people are afraid of such large dogs, but the dog made a bee-line to us and just stood there demanding a pat. Yes, very scary. The owner was dubious of us, mostly because we didn’t look like outlaw bikers, I’m guessing. But once we mentioned that we owned a Bull Arab, the guy transformed and we had a lovely conversation. But we couldn’t speak all day because Ollie the Bull Arab and his two lady sheep dogs were waiting for us at home, and they’re lovely.

The weather which we enjoyed during our brief foray into the big smoke was very pleasant. However, earlier in the week two atmospheric rivers converged over the east coast of the continent and dumped a whole lot of rain. The city of Sydney in the state to the north of this one, suffered a bit of flooding, and other parts of the coast enjoyed almost three feet of rain.

Rain, and then some, was a feature of last week

Fortunately there was no flooding in this corner of the continent, but there was a lot of rain. However, a bit of rain doesn’t stop the juggernaut though, and we set about breaking large rocks into smaller and thus more easily moved rocks.

Putting the new rock breaking technique to work

The now smaller (yet still quite large) rocks were loaded into the yellow power wheelbarrow and then driven down to the low gradient ramp project.

The yellow power wheelbarrow was put to good use

The wheelbarrow makes the job easier, but it is still hard work. We lost track of the time and worked far later than I’d anticipated. By the twelfth rock, the time was around 3.30pm and lunch had somehow been missed. I was feeling a bit tired and the last rock got away from me and put a small dent in the bucket of the wheelbarrow. Then with the same rock, whilst reversing the laden wheelbarrow in a tight spot, I tripped one of the wheels on an unseen rock sticking out of the ground. The wheelbarrow toppled over, and the rock fell out. There were no injuries, but we have now set an upper limit finishing time of 2pm.

The second layer of rocks on the low gradient ramp project has now almost been completed.

The second layer of rocks has now almost been completed

The rock retaining wall for the utility area is also progressing.

The utility area is becoming larger

From some perspectives, the project looks like a breakwater.

The project is beginning to look like a breakwater

Burn off restrictions were lifted on Monday morning and it appears that there was a bit of pent up demand. Actually, burning off is an excellent land management technique which reduces the severity of out-of-control bushfires and gets minerals back into the soil.

Mordor, down under style

The greenhouse is being used to grow some sub tropical plants which hopefully will survive the winter months. Last week the ginger tubers were re-planted in larger pots.

Two ginger tubers were re-planted into larger pots

And miraculously, the sugar cane doesn’t appear to have died – yet.

The sugar cane doesn’t appear to have died – yet

Onto the flowers:

Geraniums are still growing strongly despite the cool and wet weather
The herb Feverfew happily turns up all over the place
Penstemon flowers look great and the plants are super-tough
Daisies grow really well here

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 307.4mm (12.1 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 259.0mm (10.2 inches).

47 thoughts on “The lights were on”

  1. Hi Lewis,

    The nightmares were real following on from the 1980 Alien film, I can assure you. Back in those days it was a real treat to go to the films on a Saturday afternoon. The matinee I believe it was called. Anyway, as the years go on I guess some things will be forgotten, but I can still recall the enjoyment at viewing a repeat of Blazing Saddles. That’s where my view of the west was won. 🙂 And I see that Richard Pryor was credited with screenplay duties for the film. Hardly surprising at all, and little wonder that my worldview is so warped. Anyway, Aliens, can’t live with ’em, pass the beer nuts. 🙂

    Incidentally, the book Aurora by the author Kim Stanley Robinson was the best fictional account of physical contact with aliens which I have yet read. And as a spoiler, the aliens are of course, bad news for humanity, but of course we were poking them and not them poking us.

    It’s odd to believe it, but the Challenger blew up 35 years ago. That morning I was delivering newspapers in the cold pre-dawn and the news shocked me. As an avid sci-fi reading, library attending bookworm, the concept of a re-usable space craft had considerable appeal. Then the reality meant that it didn’t have much appeal.

    Speaking of Challenger and the aftermath, your now long ex-president made an astute observation: “Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short. But we must pick ourselves up again and press on despite the pain.”

    The footage of the engine failure over Denver did not make for pleasant viewing either. I don’t choose to fly anywhere these days but fate is what it is and it can come unbidden and without warning.

    🙂 Yup, it’s good fun, and I learn a lot and the education continues apace.

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your neighbour Liz, and you had not mentioned her previously (that I can recall) so I hope you weren’t close and are suffering loss. Yours and Eleanor’s requirements for a new neighbour might be a big call, but I guess sometimes you just have to shoot for the stars.

    Congrats on the significant anniversary, and respect for making the decision in the first place and then setting the first tentative feet on that long journey.

    Hmm, orange cheese… Tes not natural, but probably quite tasty all the same. 🙂

    Having a quiet night here myself. The incident of the tipped over power wheelbarrow was harrowing, but I was unharmed and the machine could be tipped up right side again – and even continued to work properly, which kind of surprised me. As I stand to the rear of the machine when it is working and ensure that nothing vulnerable is ever beside me, it was more drama than injury. I’ve known folks around here who have been in excavators and their ilk, when they have accidentally tipped them over. There is a bit of protection for that eventuality, and the machine can right itself using the arm, but still not a lot of margin for error.

    A few years back I knew a local lady who’d been involved in an incident where a quad bike tipped over and pinned her to the ground. Not good and she sustained considerable injuries.



  2. Hello Chris
    I much enjoyed the different photos and would love more of them so long as you don’t feel that they are wrong for your blog.

    Spring is finally getting going here. The blackthorn is in flower and the daffodils are blooming.

    Son has slaughtered a pig and oh the joy of fresh liver.


  3. Yo, Chris – Testing, one – two – three. Have sent reply twice(original and a copy), and they haven’t shown up in the comments, yet. Lew

  4. Hi Chris,

    Glad you and the editor were able to finally have a little get-a-way. The hotel looks lovely. As a matter of fact I had one myself this weekend. I stayed at my aunt’s in downtown Chicago on Friday. We dined indoors which was the first time she had in over a year. It was at a place we’ve gone before and the menu had downsized considerably. It was very good though. Doug and I have been out several times now and the prices have gone up noticeably. On Saturday my aunt drove me to my daughter, Carla’s and we both stayed over there until Sunday morning. My sister, Nora, also came by for a visit. My aunt, which I think I’ve mentioned, lives right off the tourist area of Michigan Avenue. It looks more normal than it did six months ago but there are many closed stores and restaurants too. Time will tell I guess.

    We did get a decent rain one night last week but it still remains quite dry and in fact we have a red flag warning today due to dry conditions and high winds. Wednesday and Thursday are forecast to be very cold with hard freezes both nights but then we get up around 70 by the weekend. Another sister, Julie, is hosting Easter which she was unable to do last year. Most family members are coming and we’ll be able to be outside as well.

    Other than that not too much new. I get the almost daily “wedding call” from Carla about this or that detail and I have to go with her next week for her fitting. This is not something that interests me much but a mother has to do these things. It does mean another drive into the city though which I’m not fond of. There are too many crazy fast drivers whizzing in and out of lanes – not to mention all the trucks.

    Leo and Salve send their regards to Ollie, Plum and Ruby.


  5. Chris,

    I looked at your link to the travel restrictions due to that *thing* and my eyes glazed over. Ummm, well, too complicated, you know.

    The robot at the meter read it wrong,
    Another sent a bill and chased me along,
    The robot on the phone said “Pay, pay pay”,
    The robots have entirely wrecked my day!

    Is that what you meant by too much roboticizing? Sorta like too much reliance on robots and technology is akin to the system having had a lobotomy?

    Glad you liked Five Mile Prairie stuff. Two of my closest friends lived there during our high school days when it was almost entirely rural.

    It’s hard to go wrong with Dirty Harry quotes. These can be interlaced with Clint Eastwood quotes from his spaghetti westerns, Outlaw Josie Wales, Heartbreak Ridge, etc. One of the minor characters in a dying mining town from Josie Wales summed it up nicely, so sometimes moving on from Clint’s characters works: “First the silver ran out. Then the people ran out. Then the whiskey ran out, then the beer ran out. It’s been downhill ever since.” Or something to that effect.

    Thanks for the city pictures. Now if only you could have shared some of the food with us. 😉

    Wonderful photo of the rock process in action. Thanks.

    Mate, I’ve done heavy work when I was getting tired. “Just one more” always led to disaster. That was when I started learning about times to do nothing. Plus the Princess would threaten to hurt me in addition to whatever injury I might obtain by overdoing.

    But your stones are being put to good use. Stone walls are always good, even the low ones you’re creating now. I was once part of an online community (Scots language based) which boasted one discussion area “Stone Circles and You”.

    Those reddish daisies are brilliant. Vibrant. Wonderful color.

    We had another Big Blow Sunday into Monday. It blew hard enough that the official wind measuring machines broke for 2 hours. Gusts in excess of 80km per hour. Lotta dust, mostly blowing in from Al’s and my brother-in-law’s region. Then the wind direction reversed Monday morning and blew a lot of it back. 🙂 No damage to anything here.


  6. Yo, Chris – The lights were on, but nobody was home? Maybe they were all just hiding behind the couch? 🙂 .

    It sounds like you had a lovely and well deserved trip into the City. The Hotel Windsor is really something. Who’d want to stay in one of those glass boxes, when you can partake of such elegance and style? It does seem to project an aura of, “Are you sure you belong here? Well, alright then. Just behave!” The towers are really striking. I wonder what they stash up there? Probably, back in the day, the kitchen skivvies. After all that rock breaking, could you even hold a fork? 🙂 .

    Meeting the guy with the ZZ Top beard sounds like a really interesting encounter. “Just connect.”

    The wheelbarrow, almost disaster? That’s what low blood sugar, will do to you. The ginger and sugar cane look very promising. What about turmeric? Good for the joints. Maybe, next year?

    The flowers, as always, are lovely.

    I see there’s going to be a new series, “Irregulars.” It’s another Sherlock Holmes, spin off. According to the review I read, Holmes is a very shadowy figure, and the Baker Street Irregulars deal mostly with Dr. Watson. Apparently, it will also have a paranormal or supernatural slant. Isn’t a good mystery, enough?

    Yup. “Blazing Saddles,” was a hoot. So was “Lust in the Dust.” 🙂 . I’ll be picking up a new western, from the library, pretty soon. “News of the World.” I don’t watch too many westerns, but every once in awhile, a plot catches my attention. Speaking of westerns, Larry McMurtry, died. He wrote “Lonesome Dove”, etc.. He also had a huge used bookstore, down in Texas.

    No, I can’t say I was close to Liz. I mean, we chatted, from time to time. But then, I’m not close to anyone. Given the life I’ve led, I pretty much learned early on (but not early enough), that people come and go. Shed tears will not bring them back. So, I can’t say I’m really … emotionally invested in anyone.

    Master Gardener’s come tomorrow. I turned over and weeded about half the big bed we’re going to use of communal zucchini. Half of what I wanted to get accomplished. Oh, well. It will still be there, tomorrow morning. I need to get as neurotic about weeding as I am about other things. Like hunting slug 🙂 . It’s supposed to be nice, this week, but tonight and tomorrow night we may have frost. The pear tree is about to bloom, and I hope it holds off, two days. The apple tree’s buds are still closed tight. Lew

  7. Hi, Chris!

    Thank you for the foray into the Big Smoke. What a stunning photograph is the opening one (that is Parliament?) and the hotel is exquisite. Formal elegance would be my choice, too. I am also grateful to hear some anecdotes of regular folks, doing regular things.

    Know your rocks. Know your limits.

    The ginger looks good. So, will we see how it overwinters in the greenhouse?


  8. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for the suggestion regarding the photos. However, I’m a bit uncertain what other photos you’d like to see and was hoping that you could expand upon your request?

    Great to hear that winter is receding and the warmer weather is only just around the corner. We regain our lost hour next weekend. I do rather hope that you good folks in the Northern hemisphere have treated our lost hour well?

    Daffodils are such early and cheery flowers. They always produce a smile.

    Yum! Enjoy your top quality meat. You two are probably eating some of the best quality produce to be had. Home grown and processed meat is superior to the commercial product. Few people now experience the difference, but originally years ago I doubt the difference was all that great. The decline in quality has been slow.



  9. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks, and it was nice to get away for a dinner and show. Such a pleasant time and that’s despite the crazy world going on all around us. At this stage we’re just kind of getting on with life and remembering to enjoy ourselves – many seem to have forgotten those basics. Oh well. The hotel is beautiful and very elegant. Adjacent to the main foyer and reception area is a lovely grand old historic staircase – it’s an enjoyable climb up to the higher levels and you can almost squint (whilst keeping a sharp eye on the stair treads) and imagine that you were back in time a century ago.

    Glad to hear that the food and company were good (I’m assuming that you referred to both) and that you were able to eat inside. Outdoor dining here is difficult over the winter months, but that would be like peanuts compared to Chicago. 🙂 Actually for your interest, the menu’s here have likewise been simplified.

    Exactly, time will tell how that story plays out. I’m certainly very curious to learn, but at the same time there seems little point rushing to find out. But yes, down here is exactly the same as you described.

    I’m amazed that it is already dry given you’ve just come out of winter with what seemed like decent snowfall (and I’m assuming snow melt). I’d happily send you some rain – we’ve had more than we need. Hopefully you’d return the favour when we eventually need the rain back again? 🙂

    70’s sounds quite nice. Just to entirely bamboozle my brain, it is forecast to reach 86’F this weekend. Dunno, crazy weather, but at least the tomatoes will ripen.

    Your Easter activities sound nice, and hope everyone has a good time. Easter here is as you’d imagine a bit weird – a city to the far north (two states to the north) has been locked down due to you know what and a hen’s night was involved. Oh well. The message out of all that is stop travelling, or even making plans to do so.

    Hehe! Daily wedding call. Had to laugh, sorry. I’m sure Carla will have a lovely time and um, err, it is worth noting that brains smarter than yours or mine may have suggested that perfection is an over rated goal. But I would most certainly not advise passing on that bit of information. Risky, or something like that consequence. 🙂 Good luck!

    Traffic volumes are nowhere near what they once were down here, although there has been a shift away from public transport which is bizarrely driving (please excuse the pun) up prices of second hand vehicles. Go figure that one out? Beats me. But I note that drivers seem more inclined towards distraction these days.

    Ollie, Plum and Ruby send cordial tail wags to Leo and Salve.



  10. Hi Lewis,

    Of course, that makes so much sense. They probably are hiding behind the couch! 🙂 Did I mention that I went to the Green Wizards on Saturday? Such a lovely group and we had an interesting and informative chat, but no tiramisu because someone in the group was faster than I at the ordering which has to be done via a persons phone. Anyway, I mentioned that being in small business has meant attending businesses, and it seems like the big corporates are staggering employees now and a return to work might mean only going in two or three days per week. I always find the differences quite interesting, but I’m personally far better suited to small business with little hierarchy.

    Went out to dinner tonight and had a lovely Japanese meal with some of the best Pork Gyoza that I’ve ever enjoyed. A really delightful meal, and there were a lot of people out and about walking this evening. The city of Brisbane has been locked down due to the health subject which dare not be named – and given our lusty reputation down here, an entertainer (presumably otherwise known as a stripper) was unfortunately involved. I can’t make this stuff up: How two clusters from one hospital triggered the Brisbane lockdown. The level of detective work which has gone into that story is quite astounding. And it was a hen’s night apparently.

    The Windsor is a beautiful building and also comfortable in its status. The sad thing is that many people prefer the glass and chrome experience, but not I (and clearly you would avoid it as well). You put that idea forward rather well, and yes I do have a bit of that reticence, not for any good reason. I’m not common muck you know, I’m uncommon muck, and was once told that very thing. 🙂

    That’s a good call, and we broke and moved a dozen rocks. That was also known as an error of judgement as it was at least four rocks too many. The editor have discussed limits and they will be in force for the next rock breaking day. I have to be careful I don’t break anything of myself in all that work.

    Yeah, the guy with the American bull terrier was a bit like his dog, all scary looking, but somewhat lacking the force of personality to project that aura. And his dog really was a lovely canine who made a bee line to us to get a pat. I’d hate to think what I smell like to other dogs – it would be a fascinating dog-aural-telegraph.

    Speaking of dogs, the editor watched Red Dog – True Blue. Had Bryan Brown in it. A lovely film, and no the dog doesn’t die at the end of the film.

    The Sherlock Holmes spin off series sounds good, and Mr Watson was always an interesting character. Do you know I’d had plans to purchase the collected works of Sir Arthur and Sherlock Holmes at the paperback bookshop, but we ran out of time to visit the store. Oh it’s good.

    I didn’t realise that Larry McMurtry was also an essayist? Have you read any of his works?

    Mate, too right, that’s a hard lesson to learn, but you know not everyone is like that. The thing with enduring lots of loss is that you sort of learn to move on and just get on with things. I dunno. But eventually the skinny mysterious guy with the sharp scythe and the going out hoodie comes for us all. Best not annoy him, me thinks. But until then, there are many words that need putting forth to paper or the screen or whatever. 🙂

    Hmm, zucchini – a wise option and unsurprisingly it has been a proven performer this cold and damp year when other softer and weaker plants (i.e. cucumbers) were too timid to peer forth from the dirt. Phooey to them, and kudos to the zucchini!

    Onwards brave gardener and fight the good slug and weed fight!



  11. Hello Chris
    Sorry that I wasn’t clear. I meant photos of the city, old buildings and even mean streets.


  12. Yo, Chris – I’m glad you got together with your Green Wizards friends. But so sad about the Tiramisu. I finally broke down and checked out what Tiramisu, is. Sounds lethal 🙂 . In Italian the word means, “Cheer me up,” or “pick me up.” When I make my weekly trip to the store, if there’s no joy in the hot cross buns department, maybe I’ll look around for Tiramisu. Maybe the baker, maybe the frozen food case.

    Poor Brisbane! That was really interesting about the contact tracing, and the detail of transmission, etc.. We never hear about that kind of detail, here. Again, it goes back to our health “care” system. Somebody’s got to pay for all those tests, and our insurance companies certainly aren’t going to spring for it. That was amusing about the tradie, who picked up a bit of extra jingle. All those tips. Untaxed income.

    The formidable Windsor Hotel, reminded me of something. Raymond Briggs is a British illustrator who came out with a graphic novel, called “Ethel & Ernest” in 1998. In 2016, it was turned into an animated film, which I saw. It’s the really sweet story of the artist’s parents, and their life as Londoners, from the late 1920s to the 1970s. Ethel was a lady’s maid, and Ernest a milkman. Ethel, having been a lady’s maid, had an acute sense of class. There are several places where Ethel observes, about this or that, that it “isn’t for the likes of us.” There’s one scene that really stuck with me. The frequently went to park, that had a pavilion with tea room. They’d look longingly through the window, but never quit got up the nerve, to go in. It’s a wonderful film, and if you get the chance, do see it.

    No, I don’t think I knew that Larry McMurtry was also an essayist. But I see he has quit a few collections. I’ll have to see if our library carries any of them.

    Well, if it were entirely up to me, I’d plant pumpkins (round, orange) instead of the zucchini. But people here won’t eat the pumpkins, but will eat the zucchini. So, I’ll set aside my druthers, and plant zucchini for the common good. I’ve already got the seed. Some green, some yellow.

    I played with the Master Gardener’s, this morning, and finished digging that bed and getting the weeds out. The Garden Goddess was always moaning about how poor the soil was, in that bed. Well, after a year of digging in kitchen scraps, and a couple of bags of composted manure, the soil looks very good. I even saw some worms! I’ll dig in some more kitchen scraps and another bag of compost, tonight. Scatter some wood ash, lime. And bone meal and blood meal, if I have it. Lew

  13. Hi DJ,

    Around 1/50th of the population down here has been vaccinated, but we are at a distance far removed from the rest of the planet (and locked off) so it’s a slow process. The travel restrictions made my eyes glaze over too, but perhaps for different reasons. There was a music festival about to kick off in the state to the north of here, and it was cancelled at the last minute due to the health subject which dare not be named. There would be some seriously deep consternation in that camp tonight. The music and events industries have been pounded over the past year and I’m exposed to both. Oh well, plenty of people are doing it tougher, so mustn’t grumble, as they say.

    Thanks for the poem, it cheered me immensely! In a bizarre turn of events I had a run-in with a robot today, and that robot ate hours of my day. So about a decade ago, the business website was hosted with small local company. And for reasons perhaps relating to the old adage that ya-gets-whats-ya’s-pays-for, I changed to a more reputable local company (with local servers and local staff) about a decade ago.

    The original small local company and I had not transacted bidness for almost a decade. They however were recently gobbled up by a much biggerer Singaporean company. I got a welcome email from the biggerer company yesterday. What the f@#$? And the email was the real deal – they’d even set up an account for me. And that is without any authorisation to speak of.

    So I got some help from the local folks I have long since supported (and sing their praises) as to whether the email was the real deal which I thought it was. Turns out it was the real deal. Then I had to spend time extricating myself from the clutches of the biggerer many tentacled bidness. What a waste of this precious thing otherwise known as: Life.

    Mind you, I thought that the outcome was worse because when I originally received the email (last night after an enjoyable dinner), I’d imagined that a hacker had ripped our ID and then was proceeding to hijack the websites. Oh yeah, things could have been far worse!

    So the upshot was that last night I was having a mild freak out, and whilst pretending be cool as a cucumber, much time was given over to the problem which required immediate attention. I can move fast when required. I suspect that many folks have been caught in this particular web. It is the interweb after all. 😉

    Maybe a year or two back I read about lobotomy procedures, and we’re led to believe they are clinical and well understood procedures. Unfortunately the truth appears far from that position. But you know, it might work for some folks. A couple of decades back I encountered someone by sheer chance who had gone through electro-shock therapy and they were very passive. I was uncomfortable with the outcome on that person, but they opted for it, and it is not as if I could make a comparison on the before and after (having not seen the before).

    Yeah that’s funny isn’t it? And I don’t mean ‘funny’ in the amusing sense of the word, more the ‘odd’ meaning of that word. I’ve met people who grew up in areas that are now filled with suburban housing and they told me that when they were kids the area was full of paddocks and small family farms.

    When I was in the big end of town in some important job or other, I had a Scottish-Australian assistant. The editor decried at the accent, but exposure and all that, trains the ear, and no doubt you’d find my broad and flat Australian accent to sound quite odd. Anyway, the assistant was a lovely lady who had a builder construct a house in what you guys know as a greenfield estate, and she remarked to me that: “It was nice before all the other houses were built”. I was never quite sure, but she may have been referring to being surrounded originally by paddocks which were then built upon.

    🙂 Very quotable, and it has been so long since I’ve been exposed to the Clint Eastwood classics that the lack must rectified. A year or two back I watched the film ‘Kelly’s Heroes’, and Clint Eastwood had just the right amount of hard-done-by, but getting on with the job whilst working the system in a difficult situation, type of a character.

    Hehe! Well candidly I’d feel uncomfortable taking photographs of meals before they were consumed for your edification. But, Inge’s suggestion as to photos of the mean streets, might be able to do something about that.

    You know, and only those who know, know. Just one more, is a curse which dare not be spoken aloud. Except that it does get said aloud, and then all hell breaks loose. Your lady is most wise.

    It is funny you mention that, but I have come across two stone circles in the forest here. One of them I back filled with soil and planted an oak tree which is now growing well. The other needs some attention due to an interaction with an even larger rock, but it is most certainly not a natural occurrence. What was their general take upon discovering a manmade stone circle in the forest far from any road – with another stone circle on contour not too far away?

    Camp Muir at 10,000 ft winds gusted to 143 mph, with winds over 100 mph for 15 hours. Nuff said.



  14. Hi Pam,

    The Parliament building is quite imposing isn’t it? The photograph unfortunately doesn’t show the mint building, but it is of a similar style of construction and materials. And I believe the marriage registry office is located at the mint nowadays. On the day we were in the city, a couple could be seen parading upon the stone stairs whilst family members clustered at the bottom of the stairs and photographed the happy couple. It is nice to think that even in crazy days like these, couples are getting hitched and posing for wedding photos outside such a delightful building. Of course, deep down I’m a born romantic at heart and enjoy such sights.

    Thanks for the reminder. If I may be so cheeky as to add to your wise words the short sentence: Learn your Limits.

    Although, now I’ve written that addition, it is possible that it might not be wise to learn about limits at the same time as doing the activities. Oh my brain is now spinning around and around (Exorcist style but sans pea-soup) in an existential plops (whatever that means). The loss of the pea-soup in that film seemed disrespectful to lentils and pulses in general. Few might appreciate the delicacies of this sort.

    Yeah, beats me, but with the ginger I’m just giving it a go and see what happens. It might just surprise us all yet.



  15. Hi Inge,

    Thank you for the clarification. I’ll see what I can do, but with daylight savings finishing this weekend, there might not be much light for such photos for the next couple of months.

    And also, I might be inclined to show photos of Victorian era housing stock where someone spray painted an odd mural on the side of. Those old suburbs are full of interesting oddments if anyone but care to take the time to observe. On some of the very old warehouses (which have long since been converted to housing) you can still see interesting details like the timber joists which once would have sported block and tackles for lifting heavy items. So, I guess I’m saying the outcome of your request may be kind of random seeming. 🙂



  16. Hi Lewis,

    A mate suggested that I was hanging onto the pain of the loss of the tiramisu for too long, and well he may say that, especially given that I saw him tucking into one! 🙂 Well done, and I was too slow. Whatever, when opportunity presents itself, snoozers are losers, and that day I was the loser. It happens and thus the balance is restored. What a lovely name in Italian. Now I’d always considered that the dessert was a useful way to utilise stale sponge-like biscuits and the English dessert trifle is similar. My mates of the big shed fame made a delightful Eton Mess a few months ago (so yummy). Like proper lamingtons, or a prize winning vanilla slice, your patient search shall be rewarded.

    The gobarmint funds that contact tracing, and that was an extraordinary chain of events. It interests me that the efforts are also reported upon in the media, and the spread speaks of a narrative for sure. Actually having had exposure to the gobarmint over the course of my life, I’m amazed at how quickly they can get onto that stuff and follow it to the bitter end. My expectations of their performance is low.

    Interestingly I had a run in with a robot today. It was like my worst nightmare and I recounted the story in detail in the reply to DJ. Have you ever known the like of that story?

    Hey just south of the border from near to Brisbane, a huge music festival was cancelled at the last minute. The hen’s night was apparently held in that town south of the border. Everyone involved in that festival would be gutted right now. And the losses, far out. Brutal.

    Yup, the tradie was seriously workin’ it. 🙂 Good on him, but all very unfortunate how it turned out. Landscaping is seriously hard physical work.

    The editor and I had a rare moment of disagreement this evening. Mate, it’s a challenge to do paid work together, develop a farm together, and just hang out all friendly and stuff. Very occasionally we don’t get it right. Ook! This was about paid work and how we go about scheduling it. We were a bit casual about how that was all arranged and that worked up until it didn’t work. Then it didn’t work. So now we’ll take a more formal approach to the planning of paid work and use the same template which works for the work around the farm. The editor has always somehow avoided the pleasure of managing other people, and that activity is no fun and can be chucked into the: boring but important list of things to do. 🙂 Moving on…

    Finished a lovely Jack Vance book this morning. And what with the crazy days going on around, I’ve decided to re-read Michael Lewis’s most excellent book: The Big Short. I mean if it sounds like a bubble, looks like a bubble and screams like a bubble, what the heck is it? Beats me, so I might delve for some reassurance of my outlier thinking. It is hard to ignore the herd and go off and do something else with your time.

    Just checked out the trailer. Thanks for mentioning the film. 🙂

    Class is a real thing, and I know enough to not show my head up where it is not welcome. People don’t understand, or maybe they don’t want to understand. It’s like a game you play, but you have to play that game, and play it hard and mostly you’ll lose. The other option is to not play it and just go off and do your own thing. I’ll tell you a funny story – I can claim social privilege and actually have quite reasonable social standing i.e. I look good on paper. The thing is, it is verboten to do the work we do around here (which is needful) and also play that game. You can do one or the other, but not both. And so the neighbours look down their noses at us. They never quite come around to the understanding, that if I’m doing this work which I believe to be needful, what does that then tell them about themselves? It is probably a step too far to expect in terms of personal understanding. I dunno.

    Down here just by way of comparison, pumpkins (the orange ones) are consumed, generally by roasting. Roast pumpkin is delicious. Although my mum used to skin pumpkins and then boil the stuff – she was no great cook, and I recall being dragooned into cooking dinner meals on rotation at the young age of about twelve. I’ve heard it said that in other parts of the world pumpkins are considered animal feed. Out of curiosity, zucchini’s can grow rather large, rather quickly, and so do people in your part of the world prefer the smaller zucchini’s, mid-sized, or the freakishly large fruits? One thing in zucchini’s favour is that they store really well. Never seen a yellow zucchini down here.

    Good stuff, and yeah soon the soil will warm up for you and the seeds will need planting. Well done you to, with the digging in of the kitchen scraps. 🙂 All you have to do is feed the soil, nature looks after the rest (except maybe for the slugs!)

    Your fertilising regime is not that different from what I’m doing here, but on a larger scale. It works and you’ve nailed the essential minerals as far as I understand them to be. Go the worms! The other morning I picked up almost two hundred pounds of lime and dolomite to chuck around the orchard over the next few weeks. I’m sure the nursery folk think I’m a touch eccentric. Someone far wealthier than I suggested that they’d like to be wealthy enough to be considered eccentric!

    It looks like it will heat up here for the next three days and so hopefully some more tomatoes ripen. How was that wind at your place?



  17. Yo, Chris – Interesting about the tiramisu. When one’s palate is primed for a delightful comestible, and it’s unavailable, there’s a saying for that. Don’t know where I picked it up, or, even how widespread it is. “But my mouth was set for that!” A shallow dive down the rabbit hole, does not enlighten. There’s probably a study. Or, a dissertation in there, somewhere. 🙂 .

    You mentioned the Melbourne warehouses to housing. The character in “My Life is Murder,” lives in one of those. Quit nice. Too posh for the likes of me 🙂 .

    Yes, I saw what you said to DJ about rampant killer robots. They need to brush up on Asimov’s robot “laws.” Can’t say I’ve had such a tussle (knock on wood), but I occasionally get fishing in my e-mails. Someone has accessed this or that account. Click here, to clear it up. Not on your life. I go to the site, and see what’s up. So far, nothing. Then I go back and forward on the e-mail to spoof@ … whoever.

    That is tragic, about the music festival. A lot of money goes into setting those things up. All lost if it doesn’t come off. Shake your money maker, tradie! 🙂 .

    Yup. Just move on. Discretion is the better part of valor. Someone said.

    Saw an article where some hedge fund here, went TU (a technical and highly scientific term.) Shook Wall Street and several of the big banks lost LOTS of money. And, investment funds. Retirement? I also saw another article about possible shortages, due to the ship stuck in the canal, and the lack of shipping containers. TP, coffee, furniture and some other things I can’t think of. TP (toilet paper, for your overseas readers), again? A lot of it is made in Brazil. Brazil? Who knew? Being here in Wood Products Central, I thought we made our own? I certainly see enough hybrid fast growing alder tree plantations, which are grown just to be chipped and turned into paper of various sorts. Mostly in flood prone bottom land. But, I suppose, like so many other things, it goes to the highest bidder. I’ll have to check out the grocery store, tonight.

    I don’t know if you checked out the comments below the “Irregulars” trailer. Oh, my. Over half were negative. I see Bruce Willis has ANOTHER sci-fi flick, coming out on DVD, next month. “Cosmic Sin.” Hmmm. I wonder if this is what he has to do, due to You Know What, to keep the money rolling in? Wonder if he’ll phone in his performance, like the last one?

    “They” say we don’t have a class structure, in the US. Ha! Ha! I say. We ain’t got no class? I beg to differ. 🙂 . But, yes, I see where you’d be stuck between the rock (you know all about rocks) and the hard spot, as far as appearances vs reality. On the other hand, the folks around your parts (and, I’m sure there are some) who “get” you, are the one’s to cultivate. The rest? Pfff! (Which may be a contraction of piffle. 🙂 .

    I started reading a book last night, someone mentioned over at Mr. Greer’s. Our library system had one lone copy, languishing on a shelf, out in the hinterlands. “Making Home: Adapting Our Homes and Our Lives to Settle in Place.” (Astyk, 2012). It’s very good. She makes some very good points about going with what you have, to ride out disasters, or, gain some resilience for future ups and downs. She made an interesting point about sacrifice, that I kind of had a sense of, but didn’t quit know how to express. That people are more willing to sacrifice (whatever) if everyone is sacrificing. It’s a sense of fairness. Not that life is fair, but people get pretty raspy when one group is not sacrificing, but other’s are. Astyk thinks it’s a human quirk. It’s not so much that other people “get ahead”, it’s that they get ahead by dubious means. An example she uses is rationing during WWII. Sure, there was whinging, but the general feeling was, everyone was subject to the ration.

    I really don’t know much about people’s preferences to size of zucchini. Small, medium or large, it all seems to get used.

    We got a bit of wind, but “only” gusts to 30 mph. And just for a few hours. We had another frost, last night. 30F (-1.11C). The last frost? The rest of the week the days are nice, but the overnight temps are well above freezing. Our pear tree is about to bud, and I had hoped it would hold off, til after the frosts. It did. Barely. The apple trees buds are still shut tight. The Master Gardener’s have a yearly plant sale, that is quit popular. I told them to feel free to take some of my parsley, camomile, Vinca and horseradish. Anything for the cause.

    I saw a head line that Australia is going to develop a guided missile system. With the help of the US. I wonder how wise that is? Lew

  18. Chris,

    Grumbling does no good, as the next person you grumble to could be jealous of how good you’ve got it. Similarly, there’s always going to be someone who is faster, smarter, dumber, slower, etc…Neighbor and I were having a conversation this afternoon, and I mentioned that life is so much about how one responds to adversity and change. After all, change and adversity will always be with us.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. And congrats on the assist from the local folks with the Dread Giant Corporate Robot.

    I do NOT want to see the spider that weaves the interweb!

    To me the nasty part about 5 Mile developing is that…the family of one of my mates from high school owned a gargantuan amount of land up there and they’ve developed every last bit of it. Friend inherited his parents’ home, and he parcelled the remainder of that property too. No privacy, McMansions everywhere. I drove the north-south arterial across 5 Mile on Tuesday (yes, it is called 5 Mile Road) and noticed even more new McMansion developments going in. Disgusting to me.

    Another friend from a former era bought a house on 5 Mile early in the development process. He enjoyed talking about the deer he’d see frequently. No more deer there, too many McMansions.

    I dunno, I’ve had several Aussie friends and used to listen to a LOT of ABC on shortwave, the regional broadcasts rather than Radio Australia. The accents are much easier for me to understand than many of the New York accents.

    I travelled with some friends to New York one autumn for a week. They were born and raised there. One of them took me to his favorite restuarant. I couldn’t understand a single thing the waitress said. She saw my blank look, so asked me to say a few sentences about anything except where I was from. Then she said, much slower than she had been talking, “Oh, you are from the Pacific Northwest your accent says. You guys all talk so slowly I don’t know how you ever get anything said. I will talk very slowly for you.”

    Inge’s suggestion is similar to what I was thinking. I don’t need to see what’s on your dinner plate! 🙂

    The Princess is full of wisdom and the necessary threats to see that I properly partake of the wisdom. Some of the threats are much too graphic for polite company. They do tend to get my attention, though.

    We were watching a tv special about lighthouses in Ireland a few weeks back. Some of those suffered from regular ferocious windstorms. The Camp Muir storm, well, that is epic. Wouldn’t want to be anywhere near one of those.

    Cool! “Stone circles and you” is something you have actual experience with.


  19. @DJSpo:

    This, from you, is hilarious:

    I travelled with some friends to New York one autumn for a week. They were born and raised there. One of them took me to his favorite restuarant. I couldn’t understand a single thing the waitress said. She saw my blank look, so asked me to say a few sentences about anything except where I was from. Then she said, much slower than she had been talking, “Oh, you are from the Pacific Northwest your accent says. You guys all talk so slowly I don’t know how you ever get anything said. I will talk very slowly for you.”

    Did you feel like a foreigner? Actually, being from 3,000 miles away might be pretty “foreign”. Clever of the waitress to guess where you were from.


  20. Hi DJ,

    That’s an eerie thought that someone might suggest that ‘easier’ is a relative concept. I’m sure historically, we’ve all got it pretty easy nowadays. It is after all not lost on me that in the not too distant past ,90% of the population were involved in the uncertaintage (I just made that word up) of the activity of subsistence agriculture. A frightening thought, especially given how difficult obtaining the skills to do so actually is. It would kind of lend a certain focus on outcomes, and induce a fear of novelty – what do you think about that?

    It’s interesting you mention that about change and adversity always being with us, because I’ve read that very sentiment being expressed in books written by now long since dead authors. Since encountering that concept being expressed at other times and ages, it has caused me to stop and ponder the actuality of the situation.

    🙂 And yes, having local folks and local servers was a serious argument in their favour, costs were and are secondary in that equation. They were very helpful too, and even confirmed the security certificate of the email. Such a strange experience which ate about three hours of my time. I kept the transcript of the conversation with the odd company. Very Kafkaesque.

    The built environment need not be unattractive, but unfortunately it often is, and possibly it is you and I who are in the wrong with this view because the stuff sells. Therefore, plenty of folks must like it all. And yup, if your deer are anything like the deer here, they tend to shun built environments and stick to the forests and clearings.

    Thanks for the story and it is interesting that you mention the accents of the PNW, as I too find them easier to understand than some of the north eastern accents. Exactly, the nor-easters are sometimes fast talkers too, almost as if their ideas need to pour forth before the opportunity to pontificate is lost to them. Down under there is little difference between regional accents, although I must confess to modifying my choice of words depending upon whom I am conversing with. Basically, I pitch the conversation to whatever tone they set. It matters not, and my basic goal is entering into a conversation rather than playing social games. You’ve dealt with the public, so I’m sure you understand the why of that option?

    Anyway, speaking of such things, how’s retirement going?

    Ah, see clarification is a wise path, although the many shades of tiramisu might be a worthy long term blog concept?

    We’re still in learning mode and accumulating wisdom, and making plenty of mistakes – as you’d imagine. All good fun.

    145mph is 233kmh – that is some bonkers wind gusts. Best be elsewhere when such a storm strikes.

    I was looking at the second stone circle today and wondering about fixing it up. It’s not massive, maybe about 3m in diameter. Honestly I can’t say for sure what purpose it served, but there are two of them and they’re not far apart. It is possible that resins or some other useful material were cooked up in them? Dunno.



  21. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the most excellent word “comestible”. Always good to expand the internal dictionary, and every time the spell checker does not recognise a word (and it occurs more than you’d imagine), your thoughts about the paucity of the robots language comes to mind. There is a little part of my brain which does wonder if the incessant grammar and spell checker software operating in the background unasked for, is an attempt to homogenise the language skills? Where is the character in following that particular robot? Often the grammar checker does not enjoy my choice of words, and comes up with some stupid label known as ‘fragmented’. Did I ask for this opinion? Nope, but the robot feels the need to interject.

    I’ve never heard that expression used, but you know it could be a local saying? Did you manage to dig up any further information upon the saying? One of the interesting things which I’m learning on the go through our dialogue and the writing is that the language has a certain sort of fluidity to it, and things get added, subtracted and subverted all over the shop.

    Neither you nor I could afford one of those posh warehouses. I recall that a quarter of a century ago, they were quite affordable. Back during the recession of the 90’s we almost purchased a free standing warehouse to house conversion, right in the city on the northern edge near to the Queen Vic Market. That thing would be worth a fortune nowadays, but the property taxes would kill me. I can say that because basically we never purchased a property with the idea that it would be worth more in the future, unless we put sweat equity into it. We must be bonkers to not indulge in speculation, but it just doesn’t call to our souls. There is an edge to people now when this topic is raised. Fear? Yes, that may be what I sense. This bubble may burst soon. Anyway, the old red brick warehouses are seriously beautiful buildings and they fit the area and are often surrounded by houses of a similar age. I’m pondering Inge’s suggestion.

    Hehe! Makes you wonder if people even read Isaac Asimov nowadays? After a while the robots and spacers kind of bored me, and the people appeared to live in gilded cages. I prefer a touch more adventure and less tech in my sci-fi. People can be pretty strange and bewildering without chucking in robots and high tech gizmos that people think are so necessary these days. A harsh criticism? Maybe?

    Hope the tradie didn’t suffer too much as by all accounts he was collateral damage in the entire incident, but antisocial media can be very unkind and that may affect his income and ability to get work.

    Discretion is the better part of having a calm household. 🙂 I’m not the feisty sort, and such emotional hi-jinks leaves me feeling worn out. Fortunately the editor is pretty chill and our disagreements are few and far between.

    Lewis, I have heard this TU term. Doesn’t it mean “Terminator Undone”, and is a vague reference to the final scene in the second film where the robot was dumped into the molten metal? 😉 Pesky robots. Yeah, well this is why I’m re-reading The Big Short as I have a vague sense of unease. Apparently I read an article which suggested that the ship in the canal had previously run a course which produced a rather phallic looking icon. Dunno, you tell me, but if you wanted to slow the flow of stuff in either direction, well it is as good a way as any.

    The vehicle story is an interesting one, and I hear anecdotal accounts that new ones are not so easy to come by.

    No, I didn’t check out the comments below the trailer. This was perhaps an error which must be rectified. I like your review style, you cut right to the chase. An actor has to pay the bills, and work does help in that regard. A lot of films are being produced up north in Queensland, although the recent lock down would put a brief stop on those.

    Who says you lot don’t have class? Maybe it is true of some, but it does seem like rather a sweeping generalisation, and most assuredly you have a very active aristocracy. How could you not? But that is the thing, from a long term perspective we all make choices based on our perception as to what the future holds. Now I know for sure that if I so chose I could enjoy a toasted hot cross bun with melted butter tomorrow on Good Friday. But will I be able to enjoy this same experience in three years time? Dunno. What about ten years time? Most people enjoy their rituals in the hope that tomorrow will be like today, but I’ve experienced the world falling out beneath me, and rarely do I feel that I’m on solid ground. You possibly have also known this feeling?

    I’ve heard of Sharon Astyk but not read her books. Yeah resilience is the word, and also gumption to go against the grain. Testing this stuff is super easy – just stop, or switch the stuff off and see what happens. Practice of course makes perfect. But yes, I absolutely agree with her sentiment. A common call to sacrifice can be made and accepted, but if the costs get loaded onto one or more sections of society and not others… Not good…

    Pears seem pretty hardy to light frosts, but apples just wait long enough until frosts are a thing of the past. I lost most of my apricot crop last season due to a light frost and hailstorm. Mate, tree fruits and nuts are seriously complicated and chancy.

    We’re already a target, so we’re hardly going to become more of a target than we already are. Our Asian neighbours impolitely describe us as the deputy sheriff. Defence is getting some spend for sure, although it all seems inordinately expensive.



  22. @ DJSpo & Pam
    I remember being assailed by beggars in Morocco and the friend who was with me, would immediately launch into Gaelic. Such a useful language! The beggars would be incredibly puzzled and eventually leave us alone.


  23. @ Pam,

    Yup, the waitress made a good guess. However, as she knew my friend, she also knew where he’d moved to, so there was some thought and knowledge involved with the guess.

    Feeling like a foreigner doesn’t even begin to describe it! It was compounded by the fact that I’d spent nearly the entire previous 4 weeks in the forests and mountains hunting elk and deer during early archery season. So when my friend and his cousins (from Boston, another not understandable accent to me due to the pace of talking) and I caught a train from Long Island to Manhattan on a Friday evening, ummm, there were way too many people for me. Add the culture and I was totally adrift. No walking room, crowds…I nudged my friend and told him I needed to get off the streets and that I was about to do a “Crocodile Dundee” and climb the next pole. He said that’d get me arrested for being a lunatic, so he had us all dive into the next store. It was a bookstore. Well, an ADULT bookstore with movies being previewed on various screens. I went back outside and stared at all the people walking by.

    Turns out, that was our planned destination! Friend’s female cousins had heard about the store and wanted to visit it. One of them came outside panting 3 or 4 times. She said she needed to get her breath back.

    The panhandlers were interesting. And magnetic to those who didn’t know better. One had a thick 3 ring binder with those clear folders that cards or pictures slip in? Every slot was filled with money, a mix of 20s, 50s and 100s. Bloke was walking around with more money in that binder than the rest of us had put together as net worth. And Breathless Cousin of bookstore fame had to be forcibly dragged away from him, as she was diving into her purse to give him money.

    My favorite, though, was on one of the subways. A guy was going from car to car with a saxophone case. He’d open it and show that carload of passengers his broken saxophone and exclaim, “Please help me! I need donations! I’m a musician and I ain’t had no SAX for 6 months!” Nobody gave him money that I saw.

    I was very happy to return to Spokane.


  24. Yo, Chris – My grammar check is turned off. I either just don’t care, or, smash conventions so regularly, that it would be a nuisance. Most of the things I’ve read on how to write (King, Palahniuk), advise learning to write … and then smashing conventions. But not too much. I think what they’re saying is, inject a bit of surprise. A new way of saying, or an approach to, “the same old thing.” Because at this point, it’s all the “same old thing.” 🙂 .

    Since I have a problem with spelling, I leave that on. If you knew how often I have to open another window, to check the spelling on something … Spell check often doesn’t recognize foreign terms, or archaic terms. But sometimes I’m amused by what it doesn’t recognize.

    We speak to each other in our own vernacular. And, it is very fluid. And, I’m sure you, I and your other contributors pick up things from each other. Sometimes, subliminally. When I found my writer’s “voice,” writing book reviews, I thought it a very conversational type of voice.

    “My mouth was set for it.” (Lew, ™, maybe?) I did a search, until I lost patience. Gargle didn’t seem to be able to make it past “putting one’s foot in one’s mouth.” I get so irritated when they keep shoving your face into what they think your looking for. Same problem with doing some searches in our library catalog. I was looking for books with “class” in the title. Not the 200 titles with “glass” in the title. Sometimes, in searches, the quotation marks help. Sometimes, not.

    Back in the 70’s, loft conversions were all the rage. Started in New York City. There were a couple of books on how to go about it. And how to fly under the radar, as occupancy was illegal. When I see those (now) very posh and expensive lofts in movies, I always wonder at the vast expanse of windows. How do they keep them heated? And cooled? Same with warehouses, converted into housing. That old school, down the hill from us, has been made redundant. It’s on the market. I wonder if anyone’s thought to turn it into housing. It’s been done, other places, with old school buildings. And, housing is so tight, here.

    Oh, I read a lot of Asimov, when I was a wee small lad. He was o.k., for the time. Not so much, now. If you haven’t checked out his bio, do. He was a VERY prolific writer. He wrote a lot of non-fiction. Science for the layman. And did it, very well.

    TU. Well, this being a family friendly blog, and all … 🙂

    The latest conspiracy theory from the crazy end of the net is that the stuck ship contains (among the toilet paper and coffee), thousands of trafficked children. I do hope they poked a few air holes in those containers, and throw them a bit of tucker, now and again. 🙂 . When I was at the store last night I checked out the TP supply and coffee. There were a few gaps, but both were still available in abundance. And, the gaps could have been from the natural order of things. I go late in the day, before the stocks have been replenished. And, Wednesday is the day the weekly sales change, so the shelves get hit pretty hard, earlier in the day. People also maybe feel a little foolish, about the first go-around. Or, they’re still working their way through vast amounts of hoarded items.

    And, there were hot cross buns. Or, what passes for hot cross buns, these days. There were two kinds. One had a ersatz whipped cream crosses on the top, the other a lemon gel like substance, for the crosses. They were very sticky and doughy. No citron, but, currents. And some kind of green and red small candied flakes. Candied lime and cherry? Whatever they were, they were entirely made of industrial products. It’s April Fool’s Day, here, but I’m not kidding when I tell you about the ingredients list. It was 25 lines long, of very small type. And very little on it was found in nature. About the only thing I recognized was the currents and heavily fiddled flour. Tasty, sure. But not anything our grannies would recognize as a hot cross bun. Somewhere in my food memories, I have a remembrance of a “real” hot cross bun. And, my older cookbooks do have recipes for “the real thing.”

    Sure. What you and DJ were talking about. Change and adaptation. Rituals we enjoy that may go away. I often consider foodstuffs, that are part of my day. And wonder how much longer they may continue. But, at least from my reading, I’ve come to accept those possibilities. And that those changes might be bumps in the road, and not the end of life as I know it. 🙂

    Well, with 300 fruit and nut trees, you might not have what your mouth is set for, on hand, but famine will probably not come knocking at your door. 🙂 .

    I watched the best movie, last night. “News of the World.” I either didn’t know, or had forgot, it’s a Tom Hank’s movie. Without spoilers, it’s about a man, after our Civil War, who’s drifting around the West. And, he has an interesting occupation. He runs across a 10 year old girl, who’s has been captive of the native Americans, for 6 years. He ends up in a position where he has to return her to her original people. A very good movie, well worth a look. Lew

  25. Chris,

    Uncertaintage is a very nice word that perfectly describes the concept. Kudos on coining a new word. I figure since most of us are not sovereign countries who can coin money, we might as well coin new words. Creativity and all that.

    I, too, stop and ponder the change and adversity thing. Quite often, actually. It provides doses of reality that a lot of modern society tries to ignore.

    Funny you should mention Kafkaesque. Your episode and description show that reality is often stranger than fiction. Surreal events happen.

    Yup, the deer try to stay in the forests and avoid the developed areas here, too. There are wooded areas around most of 5 Mile, which is why we get the occasional deer or moose wandering through. There have been cougar sightings there, also. And of course, coyotes, but they are very adaptable and can thrive in urban settings.

    I was telling Pam that there were people from Boston in the group I was with in New York. One of the other students in my undergrad program was from Boston, so I knew the accent. Yet, I couldn’t understand that lot when in New York – they spoke too fast. I came to the same conclusion you did about that – they talk fast lest their brains kick into gear and they actually think. Princess’s youngest sister married a guy from Boston who is a great case study to prove that thesis.

    Ah yes, retirement. Best job I’ve ever had. I get to deal with reality rather than the Kafkaesque surreality that was local gummint employment. Or maybe my concept of reality is fake and Kafkaesque surreality is normal?

    True that, tiramisu is always a worthy topic.

    Who knows what the stone circles were for? The guys that built them, assuredly. Today, who knows. Get an anthropology person involved and they’ll give scads of religious uses of the circles, even if they were simply cooking fires for a group of hunters, or resin cookers, or whatever. Nobody who built them is alive to tell us why. A reverent approach is best, as you’ve done with the one and are suggesting with the second.


  26. Hi DJ,

    Yes, why waste the opportunity to create new words. Plus we then can send the new words out into the world and who knows, some good may come of it all. 🙂

    It’s Good Friday here today and the hordes from the city headed out into the bush – I saw them on the Freeway heading outwards bound. In an unexpected turn of events, we headed into the city today. In fact we travelled through the city to the polar opposite end of the city. You may think that I’m soft, but five hours of driving, and I was done.

    Anyway, we picked up a better quality power wheelbarrow. Between you and I, we’ve been taking a critical look at the parts shortages and the really odd stories like how hard it is to obtain new vehicles. And the only machine we regularly use which was in imminent danger of utter malfunction with a slim chance of being repaired, was the power wheelbarrow. So we made the decision to purchase and the bloke wanted us to come down today of all days, and pick it up.

    I note that Mr Greer intends to pen an essay on peak oil next week, and so yeah change and adversity is an acknowledged possibility for us. Imagine having a need for a new power wheelbarrow, having the fuel to power it, but not being able to purchase one? Hmm. Did I mention that fuel is now $1.60/litre (with 3.8 litres to the gallon)?

    My friend Simon (there is a link to his blog) has also written about Kafka this week. Yesterday I began reading about the author, and he was a really anxiety laden person full of self-hatred and double binds, who on the other hand had a really good eye for spotting the absurd. Anxiety when expressed and emoted into the public sphere, is rarely a state which other people are drawn to. Anyway, it is a truth universally acknowledged that one extreme ideology generally generates it antithesis and I feel that Mr Kafka proved this to be true.

    Please keep you Cougars in your part of the world, and I have this awful feeling that the feral felines present in many forests in this corner of the continent will eventually evolve into their larger brethren. Big cat sightings are part of local legend, like Sasquatch in your corner of the planet.

    And the coyote is already part of the landscape here via the dingo which can interbreed with feral dogs. Didn’t we just discuss earlier that change was a constant? 🙂 Some nights I can hear the fox cubs yipping to their parents, and the vixen scream is blood curdling.

    Haha! Your ladies observations regarding her sister’s choice of partner was no doubt astute. New Yorkers appear to me to be a rather neurotic lot – and there are no readers from that part of your country. Can’t imagine why not? 🙂

    Candidly it is hard to know what is real and what is not real. Example A: The media shouts loudly and repetitively that we have economically recovered. Yet, at the same time I note that in some areas, every third shop sports a ‘for lease’ sign. Who is right then becomes a most important question. I’m re-reading Michael Lewis’s: ‘The Big Short’, as I need a solid refresher as to what it takes to swim against the current. Few of the characters had altruistic intentions, but all the same they were right.

    My gut feeling tells me that the stone circles pre-date the loggers (who arrived in about 1860 and worked to about 1960). The thing about the circles is that they would have taken considerable effort to construct, yet they contain no ashes or fill. There is mystery there.



  27. @ DJSpo:

    You have just made it very clear why I never visited my sister in NYC when she lived there. Yet she loves the place.

    I think maybe Breathless Cousin needs to be kept on a leash.


  28. Hi Lewis,

    It takes a certain level of confidence to be able to disregard the grammar checker. But as you wisely suggest, the pesky robot can be blithely ignored with impunity. Take that ye pesky robot, and bother us all no more! But of course, I too respect the views of Mr King and Mr Palahniuk (believe it or not the spell checker failed on that name – ook, but now corrected) if only that because both authors have the runs on the board and can speak from experience. A grammar checker is a thing derived from programmers.

    Oh no! Despite the most excellent library in my hallway, I do not have a copy of the Fight Club book. This must be rectified immediately. … … I am genuinely embarrassed by this lack and have now corrected it. To err, is to be human. Or otherwise: to correct that biz, is to be onto it!

    My usually sharp brain is a bit rough around the edges this evening as I had to drive for about five hours to get to the extreme further reaches of the city and then return again – all on a public holiday. The editor and I had been discussing the serious difficulty that is obtaining spare parts and new vehicles, and so we decided that the power wheelbarrow which was in an imminent state of potential failure might need to be replaced. We use that failing beast of a machine to move the large rocks around the farm in order to create new infrastructure so it has become a critical machine.

    So we ordered a seriously well-made replacement machine with a Honda engine and US made transmission, and unexpectedly the bloke contacted me this morning and said come and pick it up today – on Good Friday of all days. So I drove and drove and drove to get there and back again. I rarely travel that far from home.

    The guy interested me and we had a nice chat. I had a vague feeling that he was living in his warehouse as a single bloke and wanted to offload his inventory. I was happy to assist with this. He was a cheeky bloke too and was comfortable stirring me up in front of the editor and making me look bad. I retorted by telling him he was doing exactly that. Anyway, the old timers used to say something or other about striking whilst the iron is hot?

    The area that his tilt slab factory was located in, was in an industrial estate in a semi-rural locale surrounded by a weird mix of commercial market gardens that were being swallowed up by tract housing. I live way outside the less popular edge of the city, and whilst freeways got me to where I needed to go today, the endless miles of housing on that more popular side of town left me feeling vaguely unsettled if only because I don’t normally see such things.

    I get that about using the spell checker, and also appreciate the assistance, although the spell checker generally favours US spelling of words. Whenever I write, words pop into my head all unbidden and stuff and so having access to many online dictionaries works as a cross check of the usage.

    Exactly! We feed each other the various usages of the common language, and it all flows and works nicely. What do you reckon about that being a form of collaboration? One of my bad writing habits is that when I am writing whilst tired, I overly use the word ‘that’ instead of the more grammatically correct word ‘which’. Generally, the blog gets a few revisions before publishing! This is a good thing. 😉

    The conversational voice (and please excuse the unintentional pun) speaks to people. It is an effective tool, and when reviewing, using the tool as a creative voice creates an intimate atmosphere of disclosure. Sending concepts up, requires a different voice. And it is hard not to send things up – that need sending up. 😉

    Of course discovering a new book upon the subject matter of glass may be of interest to collectors. The editor made the observation today that she regretted not purchasing a blue Pyrex dish many years ago. The dish was an exact match for the others that we use. You would have liked it and it was apparently only $30, which on a per usage basis would work out to under a cent per use.

    Historically windows have been rare items on the everyday-persons list of requirements for a dwelling. Keeping rain off the head – check. Shelter from the intense summer sun – check. Windows, well if they can be afforded and sometimes they were taxed! Mate the bushfire construction regulations in relation to windows is a real sticking point for many down here due to the sheer cost. People have remarked that we have few windows looking out upon the view, and there is a good reason for that – toughened glass two-fifths of an inch thick is not cheap. Let alone Pyro glazing that some folks use.

    In the suburb of South Melbourne, an old Victorian era primary school was converted to housing and it looked pretty good, although it was done in the days before regulations about energy ratings were brought into place. Nowadays I’ve observed that developers leave the facade, prop it up during construction, and just replace all else.

    I enjoyed Asimov back in the day too, and have a good collection. The fiction just hasn’t stood up well to the test of time. Thanks for the correction and I’ll look that up.

    So many fascinating rabbit holes on that website. And you still hear the expression: “Bob’s your uncle”, but the usage is waning. Down here and in the UK, the word ‘titbit’ is heard, but I’ve noticed that in your part of the world for some unknown reason it becomes ‘tidbit’.

    What’s with the trafficked children? If they were stuck for a week in that inhospitable part of the world, then their fates would not be good. The SJW folk need to get a grip.

    Good to hear that there are no shortages on that front in your part of the world. None here to report upon either, although up in Brisbane there was some panic buying prior to the recent lock down.

    Are your hot cross bun ingredients an April fools joke? 🙂 For your edification, this is what we’re consuming: Good Loaf wins best hot cross buns award at Australian Bakery Championships. They taste exactly like the ones I ate as a kid and we cut them in half, toast them and add a chunk of butter on each side. Yum!

    I agree, and the future involves adaptions when it comes to food, and who knows the offerings might actually get better. For example, it would be quite easy to produce a tastier old-school hot cross bun than the oddity with which you encountered.

    That’s my thinking too with the sheer diversity of plant life here on the farm. And a little part of me suggests that the cross pollination from the diverse but also related plants assists with the overall productive output.

    Tom Hanks is a great actor, and I even enjoyed his earlier forays in the industry, although he is apparently not cool about them. Thanks and I’ll add that film to the ‘to-see’ list.



  29. @ Pam,

    Yes, friend’s Breathless Cousin needed to be kept on a leash. The trip was in October 1990. I lost touch with my friend a year later when I moved to Alaska, so have no idea what happened to his cousins. The northeastern US was and remains a mystery to me.


  30. Chris,

    5 hours of driving is a lot. The 3 to 4 hours to visit brother-in-law is enough for me nowadays. It’s a 5 to 6 hour drive to visit a friend at the north end of Puget Sound. That really does me in regardless of traffic. I used to be able to drive for 16 or 18 hours at a time…but I was young and foolish then.

    Good job on the wheelbarrow. Princess and I have had a running conversation for many months about supply issues and peak oil, etc. So far over here, the supply issues haven’t caused severe price increases outside land, houses and paper assets, but it will come. Knowing what purchases will be needed in future and getting them when they’re available, rather than getting caught in a supply crunch, is very wise.

    It’s good to see Mr. Greer getting back to peak oil, etc. I took a long vacation from his blogs. Petrol prices here are about $0.90 per liter. In the US, driving when we want and where we want with cheap petrol is viewed as an untouchable right by the masses.

    Kafka and anxiety and other issues. One can pollute the interweb or literature or whatever with this stuff, or one can create new words and toss those out in to the ether, so to speak. Which is healthier? 😉 It almost appears that Kafka used his writing as therapy and then made money by selling his neuroses and infecting readers with them.

    Sasquatch a legend? But I’ve SEEN Sasquatch tracks! Okay, they were a gimmick from Washington Department of Transportation (DOT). On the extremely scenic North Cascades Highway, DOT has signs that say “Sasquatch Crossing” and a bit further along DOT painted giant footprints crossing the highway.

    New Yorkers? oi! When the amateur boxing nationals (and women’s Olympic boxing trials) were held here 2012-2015, I found that the boxers and coaches from California were better grounded for life than the NYC boxers.

    Economically recovered? Bwahahaha! Closed shops, others limping along? Ummm, not recovered by my definition. Swimming against the current is a useful skill…but remember not to swim directly against the current always, but to swim from eddy to eddy when possible. Old kayaking trick for moving upstream. But sometimes the current is too much and takes us all with it.

    No ashes in the stone circles? Wonder what they were used for. What a wonderful mystery!


  31. Yo, Chris – I am shocked! (Shocked I tell you), that you don’t have a copy of “Fight Club.” You refer to it, so often. Next you’ll be telling me you don’t have a copy of “The Art of War.” 🙂

    That sounds like a terrible drive, but, I see your reasoning. As far as the power wheel barrow goes, strike while the iron is hot. But a drive like that, and no baked goods in the offing? Or a quick trip through a far flung plant nursery? A useful and necessary trip, but deadening, none the less.

    Is Bendigo a ways, from your place? Might be time for a Baked Goods Safari. 🙂 . Now those hot cross buns, that won the prize, looked like a hot cross bun, should. And it sounds like they have other yummy things. Nope, as I stated, not an April Fool’s joke. 25 lines of ingredients, very few found in nature.

    Elinor and I had a bit of a go around, last night. She insists that “citron” is a mix of different candied fruit. I say, it’s the candied rind of a particular fruit. Now here’s something interesting. I checked on-line for citron, for sale. And, it says that our local grocery carries it. Now I looked in our grocery in all the logical places, and did not find it. Before checking on-line. Next time I’m in, I’ll have to ask the manager.

    Collaboration and cross pollination. LOL. Early on when I started reading Mr. Greer, I mentioned that he kicked off a lot of sentences with “Still.” Ohhhh. He got a bit raspy. And, I may be imagining it, but I thought he was a bit “cool,” for quit awhile. But I noticed he still doesn’t overuse it. Not as in the past. 🙂 .

    “Speaks to people.” Well, there are good puns, and then there are the other kind. 🙂 . That was a pretty good pun.

    Just a year ago, I discovered I didn’t have a particular size baking dish. How I overlooked that, I don’t know. So, I started keeping an eye out, in the op shops. Didn’t take me long to find one. And I was looking for Pyrex. And, preferred blue. It was $3. I still see them, quit often. Do check the bottom, for country of origin. It will be impressed in very small print. Some were made in the Land of Stuff. They seemed to me, not as deep a blue, and more … brittle.

    I would imagine the huge windows in the posh lofts are climate control glass. And probably reflective, on the outside. One problem with renovating old buildings, here, is sometimes they’re stuffed with asbestos. And asbestos removal can be very pricey.

    Maybe if Asimov doesn’t “speak” to you, anymore, it might be time to weed (a highly technical and scientific library term) them out of your collection. To make space for things that better serve, this time in your life.

    When you see “News of the World” it takes place in Texas. But I looked it up, and it was filmed in New Mexico. Both look pretty much like Mars. 🙂 .

    Can’t tell your conspiracy theories, without a program. 🙂 . The child trafficking theory oozed out of the Q rabbit hole. In fact it pretty much kicked off the whole phenomenon. Child trafficking with a side of fiddling, Satanic sacrificing and cannibalism. Perpetrated by a cabal of Democratic party luminaries and Hollywood stars. People believe this stuff?

    I noticed you were talking about the stone circles, again. Were it me, I’d be on the phone to the archaeologists. But, your monkey, your circus. And you wouldn’t want your patch declared a national monument, or something. But I got to thinking. I wonder if the circles aren’t foundations for brush shelters? From the footage I’ve seen of your indigenous folks cooking, it seems to be an outdoor activity.

    Nick Cage’s new film, “Willy’s Wonderland,” hit our library catalog, yesterday. It’s on my hold list. I’m number one! I’m number one! It will be a popcorn evening, when it shows up. The animated “Star Trek: Lower Decks” should show up in the catalog, pretty soon. I watched the trailer for Bruce Willis’s “Cosmic Sin.” I think it’s about doing a genocidal first strike on an alien planet. Or, something.

    Elinor is getting her second shot, today. H is coming for a visit. Good times. Lew

  32. Hello Chris
    Bitterly cold here this morning and I remembered an old saying ‘Cast ne’er a clout ere May be out’. I tried to think of something for the Southern hemisphere and could only come up with ‘Canst thou remember the chill of November?’. Does it ever get cold in November down your way?
    Oh dear, Ren has just disposed of 2 of Son’s turkeys. This leaves Son with just one turkey. He is not going to get any more and is returning to guinea fowl which he says are a much nicer bird to eat.


  33. Hi DJ,

    It was almost summer like, here today. The sun had some bite and the house was open and letting in the warmer air. By late afternoon, the external thermometer was recording 30’C, although I feel that the device over states reality by a couple of degrees. But whatever the case, we had to do paid work for the entire day as a new job required some serious attention – which it received.

    And once my side of that paid work was done at about 6pm I was able to complete the assembly of the new power wheelbarrow. I’d begun the assembly job yesterday, but by the time it was dark yesterday I could confirm that the machine worked as expected, but there were still assembly details to complete. And the machine did not have an assembly manual, so common sense had to be applied to the task.

    Mate, usually an hours drive and I’m looking for any excuse to get out of the car! We rarely travel further than that distance nowadays. A mate of mine used to love those sorts of epic road trips, and I recall one notable road trip as a late teenager where my old snot-bright-green Holden Torana LX hatchback was in the backyard because I’d replaced the standard head with a high flow head onto the engine block. Unfortunately I broke the cover over the thermostat, and by that time the dark had settled in and my mate was badgering me to weld up the crack in the cover so we could get off to an early start the next morning. No amount of pizza could get that thermostat cover crack repaired and the run the next day would have to wait. Which it did, after obtaining the replacement part. Back in those days of the late 1980’s I could actually understand how the motors worked and how they were configured, maintained and repaired. Nowadays, without a laptop, software and a connector (none of which I have access to) what goes on is something of a mystery… On the other hand, cars nowadays are more inclined to start and go when needed.

    As a young bloke I was always tired due to full time work, part time study, girlfriend maintenance, hobbies, and hanging out with mates. Looking back I know not how it was done, except that I do know. You used your ability to focus to drive those 16 to 18 hours.

    The power wheelbarrow purchase was a gamble, and frankly we don’t really know what the next twelve months hold in store for us all. But on the other hand, I do know what regret feels like, and it raised the awful question as to what if we missed the boat? Dunno, but time will unravel that mystery.

    Your soils are probably in better shape than the soils here – due to lower rainfall, but all the same if you are considering growing vegetables in the future, it wouldn’t hurt to use a small portion of your mad cash to stock up on a small supply of lime and dolomite, and also some complete organic fertiliser. Better to be wrong, with a good stash of soil minerals, than to try and nab them in any possible shortage of supply. All of that stuff hinges on the availability and price of diesel.

    I’ve enjoyed Mr Greer’s writing since a mate mentioned his regular essays to me way back in 2008. I was rather astonished at the time that Mr Greer could write a weekly essay and then respond to the 80 or so comments he fielded. What surprised me at the time was that our news reports were replete with warnings of the financial shenanigans going on in your country (and plenty of CDO’s were hoovered up down under) at the time before the inevitable poop hitting the fan moment. Well, it does no harm for folks to think that about fuel story.

    Exactly! I’d heard that concept before a couple of decades ago when a music artist made the candid observation that his last album and all of the accompanying interviews was one giant therapy session, which the public duly paid for. Anxiety is not an attractive state of mind for others, and that is why Mr Kafka burned through his relationships. I almost felt sorry for the bloke after reading about his background story.

    DJ, I hear you. And you’ve seen the photos as to where the editor and I live. A few days in NYC and my mental health would be suffering. Nuff said. And it hardly surprises me that after seven years of blogging I’ve not had a single reader from that city. 🙂

    Have you ever been caught swimming when a rip whisks you away? I haven’t, but the editor has and she was rapidly whisked away, but did not fight the rip which can tire you out quickly with a dire outcome. Instead she swum at right angles to the rip and lived to tell the tale. The awful thing about rips, is that you don’t know where they are. Nowadays we don’t go swimming either!



  34. Hi Lewis,

    It is true, and there are times that I disappoint even myself. Oh well, by mid this month the book shall arrive at the local post office and my awful, awfulness of awfuldom can at least be repaired. Chuck would kill me if he knew, or at least rough me up a bit, so let’s not tell him! 😉 Mate, it’s been an epic bookish couple of weeks here. The editor took a good long and hard look at the possibilities for the publishing trade and purchased me the remnants of the entire back catalogue of Jack Vance – all printed on low acid paper, and with the original text rescued from the dark hands of evil publishing editors who were apparently overly concerned with page length for the original pulp texts.

    My up to fifty and sixty year old pulp collection is looking very sad now and the pages are yellowing and the paper and bindings are brittle.

    It turns out that many years ago, a whole bunch of book nerds (and I count myself in that collective), scholars and general fans recreated the original texts for all of the works of Jack Vance, and then re-printed them in something known as the Vance Integral Edition comprising 44 books. I’ve mentioned this sad tale to you before. Anyway, I learned about this effort about a year after the last batch were published and available for sale – and you know how hard collectors will hang onto their collections. And I’ve long lusted after the texts, and the editor has known this. Eventually a small publisher (Spatterlight Publishers) decided to reprint the books. And the editor has drip fed me a string of the books for my birthdays. A few of them were recently out of print and so we made the hard call to pony up the mad cash and get all of the remainder. Like your blue glass scores, it’s a prized possession, and delving into the words and mind of Jack Vance for me, is akin to enjoying a holiday for other folks.

    Now, now, but a fair call. I own a very lovely copy of The Art of War, and have read it several times. You make a good point though, and my bona fides are now rightly under question. One can only do their best to survive this rightful indignation delivered upon my soul. Hey, I’ll tell ya a true teaser – I bought the copy of The Art of War at the paperback bookshop in the big smoke, except that this copy was a hardback edition.

    You might not believe it but the power wheelbarrow has a Japanese motor, a US made transmission, but the manual is frankly written in Chinese-lish. A true international citizen of the world, which I only managed to complete the assembly of late this afternoon as the sun set. Of course, there were no assembly instructions and so I put the machine together based on the parts list and diagram. My guess is that the manufacturer thought to themselves that if you require such a machine, then you’ll probably be competent enough to assemble the thing.

    The drive was not at all to my liking, and lunch was missed and toilets were few and far between. Fortunately the editor had a good idea and suggested a place known to us where there would be both a toilet and hot cross buns. The lady at the counter seemed less than impressed that we only wanted two hot cross buns – which were pretty good by the way. And there was fortunately only one crazy guy loitering around the public toilet. I shooed him off because he was a nuisance and just wanted trouble and I was loathe to use the facility and leave the editor to be subjected to the guys craziness whilst I used the facilities. But by the time I got home I was done. After a little break I got stuck into assembling the machine which I hope to test out tomorrow.

    The editor was unable to use the original machine because it is a super finicky machine which I’ve only learned to use by trial and error and even then it surprises me out of the blue. On the other hand, the original machine had the advantage of being cheap and testing out the idea as to whether it was any good or not – turns out that it was actually a good idea. But it is not one for the editor, and I wouldn’t let anyone else use the dangerous thing either. Oh well. The new machine looks like it will be easier to use.

    We’re on the Bendigo train line, and the inland city is about an hours drive north of here. It is actually a really lovely small city of about 123,000 people (which is super large for an inland city down under).

    I can only describe the sadness I feel at the lost bakery opportunities in your corner of the world. Thought this article might pick you up: So what makes a good hot cross bun?

    In this matter I’ll side with you because I’ve only known that citron was the candied skin of citrus fruits. My mates of the big shed fame made some from their citrus trees, and the results were very good. Apologies Eleanor! 🙂 Back in the day, dehydrated citrus rinds made awesome fire starters.

    Still, Mr Greer clearly hasn’t maintained his rage at you, and so that’s a good thing! 🙂 I try not to tone-police authors as they can get a bit touchy, so you’re a brave person to do so. Still (!), on the other hand if I’m forming bad writing habits and you notice them, don’t hesitate as we’re cool and I’ll take your observations on board (or not as the case may be). Feedback is a good way to learn. Still (!) as a side issue, I’ve noticed that as you lot get deeper into the growing season, there are more reads and less comments! 🙂

    What a score with your super-cheap Pyrex find. Given how hard those things are to make in the first place, and how long they last, I find it utterly bizarre to see them being sold on the cheap. It makes no sense to me, but if people insist on purchasing them and dumping them… Thanks for the tips too as to country of origin as I wouldn’t have noticed that. 🙂

    Asbestos has a long and sad history down here. I recall the stuff being sold to the public even up until maybe about 1985. The stuff is everywhere and I have no doubts that I’ve encountered it over the years. I even recall that it was once sold as garden edging. Far out, what the heck. Silica dust is becoming a problem too, especially in manufactured stone where it needs to be cut – e.g. Kitchen Bench tops. The silica apparently scars the lung tissue, and I heard recently that an experimental technique is employed to wash it from the lungs before it causes more internal damage.

    Hmm. Truth to tell I have been weeding my bookshelves over the past year. There is a possible project in the wings to replace the bookshelves with more durable materials with doors. The dust in the bookshelves is pretty epic.

    It is super-weird that people would seriously want to go to Mars. There are plenty of more hospitable places on the planet (than Mars) where people seem to be having a lot of trouble staying in.

    Really? The Q folks are probably a bit rudderless nowadays, but it interests me that they came to the fore. The main problem with relying upon spin and marketing is that people can’t tell what is real and what isn’t. And if an entity is using spin as a control lever, they can hardly point out that fact in others. But the real debbie-downer for the spin merchants is when they believe their own spin. It’s a self-defeating and self-limiting trap built into the tool.

    Exactly, the stone circles stand a chance of being repaired and reinstated if I don’t call those folks! Oh my imagine them all traipsing around the farm and identifying canoe trees and upsetting the spirits of the forest? Nope, better to leave them curious ones none the wiser. The Indigenous folks made houses that’s for sure, especially this far south where the winters are cold.

    Go Nick Cage. I await a review, and I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts about ‘Lower Decks’ and no doubt Damo will pop by for a word about that series as well. Cosmic Sin looks dark, really dark. Sorry to bring in a chunk of fluffy at such a moment, but I’m suddenly reminded of The Firm’s ‘Star Trekkin’ and a line from the song was ‘we come in peace, shoot to kill’. It is possible that the film captured that spirit?

    Hope Eleanor is OK with the second shot. Mate, the editor and I won’t see that stuff until at least the end of this year, and maybe not even then. Things are slow down here… Hope H had a nice time.

    Digging tomorrow. It’s exciting!



  35. Hi Inge,

    Ooo, thanks for the saying about November down under. 🙂 On that note, the old timers used to swear by getting ones tomato seedlings in the ground by Melbourne Cup Day (the first Tuesday in November).

    On the other hand, exactly like what you wrote, I’ve experienced late frosts and hail storms to savage the toughest of fruit trees during late spring, and all I’ve learned over the years is that agriculture is a chancy activity.

    Thanks for asking as it can get cold any month of the year, but then sometimes it can get seriously hot too. When confronted with such climate uncertainty, a person can but only do their best, and hope for the best, but expect the worst. And be pleased when at least something works out!

    Naughty Ren, and I hope that your son did not remonstrate with Ren overly much? Some dogs can ignore such lessons. How is Flynn going? Has he improved? I no longer allow the two Kelpie dogs outside together and their behaviour has improved remarkably.

    People get a bit odd about Guinea Fowl, but the ones I’ve encountered seem like lively and intelligent birds. Does your son already run Guinea Fowl?



  36. Yo, Chris – Yes, the old pulp mass market paperback books just don’t hold up. There are methods to deacidify them, but it involves special equipment and esoteric techniques. Beyond me. Another problem is when the pages start falling out, as the glue binding dries out. I’ve attempted to re-glue the pages back in, but the leading edge never quite lines up. Again, special equipment … or, they can be trimmed. Or even sanded.

    I just finished a slight little book, last night. “Seven Kind of People You Find in Bookshops” (2020). It’s by a chap named Shaun Bythell, who has owned a used bookshop, for years, up in Scotland. He’s got two other books of memoirs, one of which I have read. I find him very amusing, as he’s a traditional “cranky old bookseller.”

    Speaking of books and bindings, I’m reading “A People’s History of the Classics.” Which I got on an Interlibrary Loan. I’m having a bit of a time with it. The binding is so tight, it’s a bit hard to read. Coupled with the fact that it’s a very heavy book. Weight, not content. 🙂 Reading through a few pages, and I feel exhausted by wrestling with it.

    It sounds like your new power wheelbarrow has a well stamped passport book. 🙂 . So it’s kind of a hybrid?

    So a Bakery Safari to Bendigo is not out of the question. The article mentioned other tasty baked goods. But do they have meat pies?

    I found the article on hot cross buns, interesting. And I’m so relieved they run an ethical bakery. 🙂 . Whatever that means. I don’t know if you saw this, over at Mr. Greer’s, but it’s a bit of Australian humor. Just over one minute.

    This sketch is right up there with the better sketches from the series “Portlandia.” They were always sending up the oh so precious, overly socially conscious.

    LOL. Elinor backed down on the Citron Question. I’d bet she checked with her daughter, who does a lot of baking. Can’t blame her, though. I think sometimes in the last couple of decades, a mix of different candied fruits were marketed as “citron.” But now I wonder if a recipe calls for citron, is it referring to an all citron ingredient, or, the mix?

    Once I found my blue baking dish, I started seeing them “everywhere.” In Op Shops, they were usually $2-4. In “antique” stores, $8-10. Good ol’ Gargle. When I asked “Is Pyrex still making blue bake ware?” (a simple yes or no question), there was no clear answer. Sigh.

    A year or two ago, I read an article about the dangers of working in kitchen bench top factories. One big company had moved to remedy the situation, as much as possible. Better ventilation, respirators for staff and more water (to keep the dust down) during manufacture.

    Quit a few of the Q folks took a hit when their fantasies did not play out as advertised. But the True Believers, struggle on. Some have just switched to other conspiracy theories. I’ve been reading that HBO has come out with a documentary series, exploring the whole phenomenon.

    Elinor’s second shot came off ok. At least, as of last night. I got a notice that my second shot will be administered, next Friday. H and I had a pretty good time, together. Settled into my chair and watched a few episodes of a horror series (Legacies.) I told Elinor if H had nightmares, it was my fault 🙂 . Other than getting up and going to the door and back, quit a few times, she was pretty quiet. She has real seperaton anxiety, when Mom is gone. When Elinor was in hospital, it took her a few days to mellow out. Lew

  37. Hello Chris and the lot,

    Thanks for all posts and comments and dialogue that you graciously share. For one thing, I have never eaten hot cross buns, so I read up and according to the legend it is supposed to be an Easter special. Tomorrow, I will make hot cross buns for the whole family. No citron, though, but dried raisins and cranberries. Which fruit filling do you prefer?

    Inspired by Chris, I spread 100kg dolomite lime on one of my growing areas, looking to enrich the sandy soil we have here. The soil is great for chestnut trees, but not much good for anything else… 😉

    Last week recorded an all-time-high of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange Index, despite a depressing lack of activity in the economy. (Economics does not really describe the economy. It mainly talks about currency and the market.) Methinks it all points to (hyper)inflation this time. I remember in the 1990’s in Russia, where the inflation hit 10% per month. Everyone changed their salary into USD at payday, and exchanged back to rubles whenever they needed to do a purchase. Exchange offices on every street corner in downtown Moscow. Extraordinarily inefficient. I expect that we too will stumble that way out of the MMT adventure. What do you think?

    Uncertainage is also the reality of ever more temporary employees and migrant workers. Here in the Netherlands >1% of the population is East European Migrant Worker, coming in to staff the Distribution Centers (aka Amazon warehouses) and to pick tomatoes in the hectare-scale greenhouses for the legal minimum salary. The precariat is partially outsourced to lower wage nationalities. From a democratic perspective it is challenging, since they are not allowed to vote here. Nobody in the power circles seems to have anything to win by aligning with their interests…

    In the past, famines were part and parcel of every local tradition, sometimes connected to disease, often to war. Whenever we run out of diesel, I expect that this venerable tradition will come back with a vengeance. I’ll check out what Greer has to say about this…

    Best Easter Egg wishes to all of you!


  38. Hi Chris
    It’s was you and the editors good fortune to find the desired type of powered wheel barrow for the farm. The Braumn ag one appeared to me as a true skid steer type which has some unusual side shuffling foot movements required when steering. Unless the operator is riding the vehicle.

    The first 1/4 yard (950 pound load weight)concrete buggy I saw in about 1992 had a petrol IC engine driven pump driving a hydraulic motor in turn turning a true differential with left and right side attached rubber tired drive wheels on the ground. At the front and rear of the machine frame along the length center line were two swivel mounted rubber tired caster wheels of smaller diameters than the driven wheels. The Drive wheels are mounted at the center of gravity of the loaded hopper and combined weighted machine. The machine rests on the drivers and either front or rear swivel or balanced on the drivers by the operator balancing on the drivers by using the control handle. The control effort was all built in the design parameters so that the machine could be used by a qualified person . The design of machine was purposely designed so that there was no place to put an operators feet to ride on the machine . Not that the determined ones would be stopped from trying😱

    I looked at the available makes and models of powered carts and was amazed at the variety available here and in your land. Best of luck on your choice of machine.

    Good news ! Multiple honey bees were spotted during yesterday’s 75 degree F sunshine on the blossoms of the very old Italian plum tree!

    Getting started with the renewal of the soil in the half wine oak barrels. I planning to mix half existing with half black compost made from aged cow manure and woody mulch.
    Probably refastening barrel hoops and renewing caster mounts. It’s been several years since I had home grown tomatoes. No hard work though. And usually rewarding.
    I’ll be buying heritage started seedlings an possibly seeds and try both. We some times have frosts to mid April.

  39. Hello Chris
    Flynn can never be let off the leash now as he will immediately seek out sheep even if they are miles away.
    I believe that Son has had guinea fowl before. The only drawback (so he says) is the noise that they make.


  40. Hi Inge,

    Some dogs can be obsessive sorry to say. I can’t let the two Kelpie sheep dog girls roam around the farm together because when they get the opportunity, they head off on distant adventures. So their inability to compromise in this matter (much like Flynn) means that they are subject to firm limits. It is their choice to act that way, they know.

    I’ve heard people say that about the noise guinea fowl make and have wondered about it. However, whilst I’ve encountered a lot of guinea fowl over the years, I’m yet to understand what all the fuss is about. Birds make lots of noise. 🙂 You should hear the local birds singing up a storm in the early hours when it looks like it will be a warm day.

    Did another day of excavations today.



  41. Hi Al,

    You’re spot on as the yellow Baumr Ag power wheelbarrow is a true skid steer machine, and candidly is the superior machine when it comes to bringing very large rocks back up the hill (although I’m yet to test the new machine in that role).

    The new machine is the same as this one: Paddock Power Wheel Barrow. Although on the machine I’ve got, the brake works a bit differently, but same, same.

    For your interest, this new machine is not a skid steer which quite surprised me. The machine is weighted so that the centre of gravity is over the front larger driven wheels, and you use the handles to manoeuvre the machine which isn’t as hard as it sounds. All four wheels are chain driven, and it looks like there is a diff for the front wheels so that the machine turns easily. All up, it looks like a hardy unit, which more importantly can be repaired by the local folks.

    The concrete buggy you mentioned is a biggie! And I can see the temptation to want to ride the machine, but that would throw out the centre of gravity and no doubt an operator would be in trouble if something unexpected occurred?

    Go the bees! And spring has sprung for you. 🙂 Good luck for the fruit set and later harvest.

    Well done with refastening the straps to the sides of the oak barrels. I’ve known people to dispose of the barrels when the straps fail, but as you say it is not a difficult job to repair. Talk of quality soil is like cat nip for me.

    Exactly about the heritage versus saved seeds, and I’m no purist. I read recently that for some vegetables, chucking in a few hybrid plants can reinvigorate the genetics. The claim sounded reasonable to me. It won’t be long at all before you have fresh tomatoes.



  42. Hi Goran,

    Thank you. 🙂 How did your hot cross buns turn out? They’re best consumed warm from the oven with a touch of butter, or later toasted, with a touch of butter. I wouldn’t worry about the citron, as the raisins and sultanas will be just as tasty, and probably more so than citron.

    Well done you! And dolomite lime is well worth the expense. The difference with the trees on either side of the limed paths could no longer be ignored and so far I’m already observing results. Out of curiosity what are you hoping to grow this season?

    Chestnuts grow very well around these parts too, and there are actually some old chestnut orchards which don’t appear to be harvested. Sand has some advantages and like everywhere, some disadvantages. Is the water table close to the surface near to where you are?

    Goran, it is crazy down here too. In fact it has become so crazy of late that I made the decision to re-read Michael Lewis’s outstanding book: ‘The Big Short’, although you could just watch the film, but many details are not included in the film. I’m just trying to get a sense of what it all means, and some hints for signs as to when the bubble will burst.

    The folks at the river (!) have allegedly had such strictly monitored working conditions down here, that their employees don’t get the opportunity to go the toilet. I’m not impressed and shun that business. How much money do the owners want?

    Wage arbitrage is a thing. Interestingly much farm work down under is done by foreign nationals, and with the closing of the borders, there has unsurprisingly been a shortage of workers. I can see both sides of that story, but if people want to work, the work is there.

    Lest it be forgotten (and so true): Great Famine of 1315–1317. Anyway, check out the discussion in the article about seed to harvest production. Back in the day it was 7:1 (7 seeds returned for 1 planted). It fell to 2:1 (I’d be freaking out at that stage). Currently it is 30:1. This is hardly a sustainable proposition, yet here we are.



  43. Hi Lewis,

    I’m planning to write about this subject tonight, although unfortunately the awfulness of economics needs to be woven into the tale – sorry to say. Yeah, it is exactly as you describe and the paper is yellowing and becoming brittle, and the pages are not holding well to the bindings. Re-reading the old pulp books is like catching up with an old mate where everything is comfortable and you just end up talking rubbish. I have a great respect for the work of the scribes over the many long years following the fall of the Roman Empire to the so called Enlightenment, who would have been only able to preserve so much and no more, whilst they watched their cherished collections disintegrate slowly through the actions of time. Hard choices would have been made, and I sort of applaud their use of Killer Rabbits in the margins of the re-written books to while away the lonely hours.

    Out of curiosity, did you discover that you were one of the characters in the seven kinds of people found in bookshops? 🙂 The oddest question which has been posed to me by a cranky bookshop dealer was: “Why do you want to read that book?” It’s not in my nature to be mysterious, but did I want to have a discussion with a crabby bookshop owner as to the suitability of my motivations and intentions? I never asked for help a second time… I’ll bet Shaun had some funny tales to recount in his memoirs? We’ve spoken about Black Books before! 😉

    You are having an unfortunate experience with that particular book. Good luck, and I’d probably give up as there are a world of books out there demanding your time. I’ve loaned books to people who have so bent the spine for their convenience that the book itself when returned was candidly not in good health. I rarely loan books nowadays.

    Took the new power wheelbarrow out for a spin today (excavated a further three to four feet of soil on the new shed site) and it is a worthy replacement for the ailing yellow power wheelbarrow. My gut feeling suggests to me that the machine will be in for the long haul as it is basically very well made. Not flash, just sturdy – a bit like me. 🙂

    The city of Bendigo is not all that far away (a bit over an hours drive to the north), and so the chances of venturing to that particular destination is quite high. Never thought about setting foot in that particular bakery, but clearly this was an oversight which must be addressed. It is possible that the bakery up there makes good pies, but nothing I’ve yet encountered has topped the sheer excellence of: Others may try for the crown, and I salute their efforts, but few have matched the heady heights of excellence. I mean, rabbit pie! Yummo!

    I’m glad you understood what an ethical bakery was. The concept confused me as I was imagining that no grains were hurt or offended during the production of the most excellent hot cross buns. And the peasants rejoiced! 😉

    Oh the video was very funny. And so very naughty! 🙂 Thanks for sharing it, I might have accidentally dropped their phone and ridden over it, but making it look like an accident is harder to do than you’d imagine. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely.

    We all get ideas wrong from time to time and Eleanor’s citron idea was like that. When I was young I’d heard the word ‘atypical’ used and then used it in the entirely opposite meaning. Education these days has a lot to answer. That’s my excuse anyway.

    The editor keeps a good eye out for items like the blue Pyrex dish, and down here at least it looks very much like the fish that got away. We just don’t see them, and most Pyrex down here is clear glass. Not sure why there would be a difference, but there is.

    The silica dust problem has raised its head down here, and at least manufacturers and distributors seem to be making some attempts to reduce the exposure. The rock destruction bloke who I occasionally mention uses a face mask when using his industrial pneumatic drill, and I can see why as the thing blows rock dust around at face level due to the speed of the drilling process. My drill is far slower and the rock dust blows away due to the action of the fan inside the drill. But you never know what is going to take you out, however something will, and of that I can be sure.

    The Q believers were not all that different from the ghost dancers from your history.

    Good to hear that Eleanor was OK with the second shot, and also that H enjoyed the brief holiday. H would only have nightmares of missed opportunities with oversized mice. The oversized mice of her dreams were unrelenting in their destruction and enslavement of the fluffy world in which H inhabits. Just as a wild guess! 🙂

    Better get writing!



  44. Yo, Chris – Hmmm. Maybe the killer rabbits were a symbolic warning. “If you don’t return the parchment, we’ll release the killer rabbits!” 🙂

    I’m the exemplar book customer, who spends way more than he should.

    “Why do you want to read that book?” “Really hadn’t given it much thought. That would be navel gazing.”

    The Tooboka bakery looks hard to beat. You may have found an outlet for your excess rabbits. Ethical bakery: No employees were beaten in the production of these hot cross buns. And they were granted access to a bathroom.

    There’s a lot of clear Pyrex around. Some of it has been doing service, since the 1920s and 30s. Oh, I’d say the only difference between the clear and the blue is aesthetics. Or any of the other hundreds of patterns they tarted the stuff up with.

    That’s a good analogy about Q believers and Ghost Dancers. Tut, tut, tut. It’s also cultural appropriation 🙂 .

    There was an interesting bit in “The People’s History of the Classics.” Up until the 1830s, anyone from down the social scale had a hard time accessing books. Although the occasional tattered school book, could be found. But then technology boomed, and inexpensive editions of the classics could be bought new, by the poorer classes. And that was due to pulp paper technology.

    H. gets her bath, this afternoon. I reminded her to bring her shower cap. Hope she remembers.

    Happy Bunny Day! May your basket be full of colorful boiled eggs. And chocolate bunnies! Lew

  45. Hi Chris
    Happy Easter🐰!
    When you first got the original power wheelbarrow. I was browsing the category and spied the Paddock model and picked it as my favorite😁. The design and materials, the whole package. Au made ! I really like the accessories. I can see you hitching up ole yeller and pushing a load of steel or lumber around the paths backwards on the trailer hitch. He He. Good Choice Mate.!

    The Tooborac link ! What a wonderful place! Should be a criminal offense to run the slide show of the pie pics like that. How many miles is that from the farm? Yumm.

    Gotta run the daughter has homemade Carmel ,cinnamon swirl rolls hot out of the oven. Big Yuum.

    Cheers Al

  46. Hello Chris,
    Thanks for the pointer to the Great Famine. Chilling reading. 1:2 seed return *on average* means that many peasants achieved the lethal 1:0.
    Where I grew up, there were still legends told about famines from the past and how people cooked the bark of certain trees to survive. Cultural taboos regarding certain foodstuffs had helped to preserve a stock of available emergency provisions. It is maybe good that we don’t eat every plant that we can digest?!

    It was also quite interesting to read that the famine destroyed both chivalry and trust in state governments… A bit like Mad Max? What is new under the sun?

    Regarding the next financial crisis, I think you are insightful to revisit “The Big Short”, which is a beautifully told adventure story. Another suggestion would be to look into Ray Dalio’s “Big Debt Crises”
    Maybe you have read this one? He shares some very detailed historic accounts of both deflationary and inflationary crises in the past. Part 2 is about Germany from 1918-1924, and how the currency stopped working in their inflationary crisis. Maybe I am biased by earlier experiences, but I see lots of parallels with our current predicament.

    Easter hot-cross buns were a slam dunk hit! The whole family rejoiced with this addition to our culinary repertoire. I will save the recipe for next year’s celebration. The best combination, in my humble beginner’s opinion, was a generous spread of mascarpone on one half of a still steaming bun. (Mascarpone is of course the key ingredient in Tiramisu…)

    I got the dolomite lime for free, since it was “water damaged” and had turned into a stiff clay. No problem for me, since I did not need to use a machine to spread it. A wheelbarrow and a couple of friends was all that was needed to get it unevenly spread on the new growing area. (One-season nursery area for seedling trees and bushes and some grafted trees to grow out, before planting season starts in November.)
    Best regards,

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