Turn on the light

Many years ago we resided in the inner northern suburbs of the big smoke of Melbourne. I unfortunately worked at a very serious job at the top end of town. Serious jobs can work strange things upon a personality, and the need to do something creative in my downtime slowly took a hold of me. At the time music called, and that was when I met Dave, Mr Cool Bananas. Dave began instructing me as to how to properly use the guitar . Dave was everything that I wasn’t, he was cool after all, and oh boy could he play the guitar or what. I was far less than that hallowed state.

Mr Cool Bananas made learning how to play a guitar fun. During difficult moments in lessons, he’d break out into an impromptu rendition of Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith’s song: “Dueling Banjos”. How cool is that? And Dave belted out the song with his guitar as if it were an inconsequential piece of music to play. And he loved every minute of the performance.

Dave as a young bloke had been sent by his parents to learn to play the piano. He told me that whenever his fingers depressed the wrong key on the keyboard, the nun instructing him would swiftly strike his fingers with a cane. As you can imagine, he took up learning the guitar. And decades later he was providing guitar lessons to me, albeit without the cane.

He was rather proud of me, if only because I’d elected to learn to also read sheet music. In music circles its considered to be the lesser option to learn guitar music in tabulation form, which sort of guides the reader as to where their fingers should be placed upon the guitar so as to produce the required music.

At first reading sheet music was quite straightforward, but as the complexity of the music increased my brain began to balk at having to learn what is essentially an entirely new language. And it wasn’t long before I’d reached the upper limit of what I could achieve in that area with the spare time available to me. It was such an awful realisation to have. To be able to see a vast field of knowledge open before you, but know deep down that it was never to be yours. It’s one harsh lesson in life. I quit the lessons and have not played since.

It is really hard to be across a wide range of knowledge. There are limits, and you have to pick and choose as you go through this thing called life. And candidly, my brain is rather full at this point in time.

The guitar lessons went away, but the urge to do something more creative with my time never went away. I quit the serious job and the editor and I eventually moved to a rural area with no services whatsoever. There we pitted our wits against the many known and unknown challenges. And we were able to express our creativity upon the very land itself.

With no services to speak of, everything becomes a challenge. Just earlier today I was reviewing the programming of the charge controllers. They’re the devices that act as the brains behind the off grid solar power system. When you are connected to the vast impersonal services enjoyed by most people in industrial countries, all you have to do is flick a switch to enjoy power, water, whatever. Walk away from that amazing and vast system, and you are on your own. And that is when you discover what extraordinarily complicated and amazing systems are provided to most people, and they’re usually provided dirt cheap.

With winter fast approaching, we’ve begun using our stored firewood reserves. Firewood is a very complicated and time consuming technology, and over many years the editor and I have honed our firewood systems and knowledge, and we’re toasty warm through the cold winter months. It’s a bit of a misnomer that a tree can simply be cut down and burnt for heating fuel. All of those species of trees were burnt to extinction by the early settlers, and are now no longer! What a fine joke it is to believe that about firewood, because firewood actually takes years of advanced preparation. And even this year we are refining our systems to make the job easier.

Every system on the farm is like that. There are times that I’m overwhelmed by the level of understanding and knowledge required to do just simple activities. However, unlike the guitar, I can’t simply walk away from the sphere of knowledge and experience required to do whatever is needed on the farm.

Recently I’ve been reading a deeply thoughtful book on the interplay of minerals in soil and how that equates to the quality of the food produced. The book is written by the author Steve Solomon, and the title is: “The Intelligent Gardener”. The book is excellent, but my brain is so full these days, that it suggests to me in the dark hours of the night that the science of soil is akin to learning another language. And I slink away in fright.

So, I’m slowly and methodically reading the book, and at the same time extracting clues as to how to observe the soil mineral deficiencies playing out around me in the gardens and orchards. Then the rule of thumb knowledge which I’m gleaning is being put to the test and the results observed. That is about the best that I can do. And I know what it’s like, to hit your limits and know that you can travel no further upon a road.

Earlier in the week I had an unexpected quiet afternoon. With nothing better to do I took myself to the edge of the lower paddock and began splitting rocks. The rocks were fortunately easy to split and after about four hours of work there was a good collection of rocks to bring back up the hill.

A good afternoons rock splitting work. Ollie is impressed

Of course all of those rocks had to then be brought back up the hill. The rocks were loaded into the power wheelbarrows and then slowly driven back up the hill and dumped.

The split rocks were brought back up the hill. Ruby is impressed!

And in breaking rock news, I spent three hours tackling the Moby (body) rock on the excavation site up above the house. Not much happened. Turns out that we’ll probably have to get the Moby (body) rock blown up. We’ll complete the excavations first before blowing up the rock, just in case we discover another large rock. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I’m super excited at the prospect of blowing up a rock!

The day I attempted to break the Moby (body) rock was about as perfect a day as you’d imagine. The late autumn sun shone warmly from clear blue skies and there was not a breath of wind. I had all of the rock breaking tools ready to go, and the sun was providing plentiful electricity – and there was that other rock over there. I couldn’t split the Moby (body) rock, but I could split that large rock.

Another large rock becomes accommodating. Ruby is impressed!

Another day was spent moving all of the large rocks into their final positions on the low gradient ramp and utility area. The large rocks provide a substantial barrier on the downhill side of both of those projects. A large rock is a substantial impediment to falling off the now steep edges of these projects.

The large rocks are a good edge on the downhill side. Plum is happy!
Looking from the opposite direction. Plum is still happy!

There were enough large rocks that we’ve now completed the entire first layer of rocks on the 50ft long utility area. Over the next few weeks we’ll add another layer of large rocks and excavated soil, before finishing off with the third layer of large downhill edge rocks.

The first layer of rocks and soil in the 50ft long utility area is now completed. Plum is astounded at the work!

Looking up at the project from underneath, you’d swear that you are looking at a rock strewn breakwater.

That’s a lot of large rocks. All for a good cause, of course

If anyone feels that we’ve been too harsh with all of the rock splitting, and that possibly rocks should get to live out their natural lives all free and stuff, well I’ve got news for you! Nature breaks up the large rocks too.

The pace might be slower, but nature has the same inclinations

Kelpies are now at table. Yes, Plum has taken it upon herself recently to enjoy a quick nap whilst I sup upon my afternoon coffee and homemade Anzac biscuit. Why she has to prop her head upon the table is a true mystery.

Plum takes a quick nap

The days this week have been superb and sunny and warm for late autumn. With the strong sunshine, we managed to use electricity to bottle the remaining years supply of passata. The tomatoes weren’t 100% ripe, but they were close enough and still had plenty of flavour.

Warm days and foggy mornings

As the fog receded, you could see that the northerly edge of the fog hugged the contours of the valley below the farm. Hadn’t previously noticed the fog doing that, but it was just like how water would act.

The northerly edge of the fog hugs the contours of the land

The growing season was very cool and rainy and overall I’d have to rate the growing conditions as ‘not very good, could do better’. We did produce a hand-full of mung beans. Don’t know whether I’d bother with lentil type crops in future as they require a summer that is far hotter than we normally enjoy. Peas and beans grow well enough here that I’d grow them in preference.

The full haul of mung beans: Hardly enough for a meal

One of the big harvests this year was the kiwi fruit. And the vine downhill of the path with locally quarried crushed rock with lime, outperformed the other vine which is further away from the plentiful lime, by a factor of about five times. I harvested two large buckets of fruit. The fruit sits in the house for a few weeks before it softens and become edible. And it keeps that way for months.

Not a bad harvest of kiwi fruit to brighten up winter breakfasts

The European honey bees have been active in the warmer weather this week. Even over winter, they’ll leave their hive if the ambient air temperature exceeds 10’C / 50’F.

A European honey bee enjoying the late autumn warmth

Onto the flowers:

Geraniums form the backbone of some of the flower beds
And Geraniums come in a wide variety of colours
The native Silver Banksia AKA Bottle Brush is in flower
Canary Island foxgloves have produced flowers in the warm sunshine this week
The Roses are likewise enjoying the sunshine and warmth

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 338.2mm (13.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 331.8mm (13.1 inches).

57 thoughts on “Turn on the light”

  1. Yo, Chris – Sigh. I feel as if a great musical talent, has been lost. 🙂 . Hindsight, and all that. But many two year colleges offer a course in “musical theory.” In one quarter (or, semester), one can get a pretty good grasp of reading music.

    But, I think I know what you mean. There are vast unknown areas of knowledge out there, that we will never be privy to. LOL. Usually, through lack of interest. I don’t think I’ll ever grasp quantum physics. Or, basic algebra, for that matter. But also playing into this a bit, is the tension between who we are, and who we want to be.

    I see between the lower paddock, and the utility area, you found your hat! Whew! That’s a relief.

    Your rocks do look like a breakwater. Useful. You wouldn’t want that fog to wash away your utility area. Super pictures of the fog, by the way. The big rock that’s splitting itself in two, is clearly a traitor to his class. I’d keep an eye on that one.

    Plum needs to keep her head up, to keep the blood from rushing to her ears and tongue. Or maybe the contents of her tummy, all over the table top. Often happens to me if I eat to heavy, to late. Extra pillows are required, to keep my head up.

    Good going on the passata. Winter firewood, check. winter store of passata, check. Enough kiwi fruit to see you thru, check. I’d say your all set.

    That is a sad lot (a very small lot) of mung beans. Hardly enough to save for seed, next year. But the honey bees are encouraging. I saw more buzzing around our Venerable Old Rosemary, today. It would be very disquieting, if I saw none, this season.

    It’s good the geraniums are the back bone, of your garden. You wouldn’t want your garden flopping around all over the place! 🙂

    Well, sunset is approaching, but I think I can nip out and pull a couple of buckets of weeds. And maybe dump a few buckets of soil on Elinor’s new plot. Help the Master Gardener’s, along. Lew

  2. Hello Chris,

    Here a cheerful and well meant: “Don’t give up!”
    You prove to yourself and to us all that you and the Editor are in for the long haul. Of course the charge controller programming and the soil composition complexity are daunting and seem like a vast sea of other-peoples-knowledge upon which mere mortals are not worthy of venturing.

    I suspect that you will reflect and digest and later look back at today with wisdom and knowledge that grows over time. It takes time. And indeed mental effort. Not like Mc-bites of pre-chewed knowledge in Instagram format. The hurdles on the way also come by way of disinformation and mistaken messages.

    I remember when I started to learn Russian, almost 30 years ago. It was all Greek to me, mainly because of the similarities between the scripts. After a year of intense study, I looked back and laughed at my earliest attempts… Another few years later, I walked in the streets of Moscow, immersed in a feeling of Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita, conversing with newfound friends. However, now that I have not been there for a long while, the language is slowly seeping out of my brain and I mourn every linguistic loss. Instead I focus on learning more about trees, so over the last few years, my dendrological discussions have deepened.

    I guess you are also letting go of lots of previous “knowledge” to make room for the new?

    Have a great week!

  3. Hi Goran,

    Many thanks for the fine compliment, and it sure has been a fun ride!

    It is not in my nature to seek power and control over others, and I was no different at the top end of town with staff. When I left the big end of town, my assistant actually shed tears, which kind of made me feel super-guilty that I was leaving. I’d discussed with her the possibility of coming and working for me in small business, but it was the middle of the GFC in 2008, and she stuck to the sure thing that was her job. About two years after I left, I bumped into her at Southern Cross Station (the wavy roof is really cool at that train station, but totally impractical) and scored a massive hug and update on things there. She later moved back to Scotland from what I last heard. It is funny how you have these encounters in life. Oh, I’ve digressed – yeah as a boss there was the occasional chunk of potty mouth chucked in for dramatic effect, but otherwise I kept a calm exterior and just hoped that people would do what they were paid to do, control was never an option. As a strategy, it seemed to work.

    Well exactly, that is the exact problem I encountered with gardening advice. Before the blog I used to write for the hippy press (and another unnamed commenter here now does) and followed the advice of a person who also used to also write for the same publication and was on TV. I’ve got many of her books and have put the advice to the test – except it only sort of works here, only just. Conditions are way different here than where she lives (and I’ve visited her property twice), and I’ve done the original advice to extremes. It wasn’t until we observed the interactions of the fruit trees with the limed paths (and the editor has a background in biology and pointed the obvious mineral deficiency out to me) that we both knew that something was not quite right. And I see the advice being repeated like a bad smell permeating across the landscape. The advice might work in some circumstances, but it doesn’t work in all circumstances and so people have to talk about their own backyards, unless conditions are similar.

    Goran, you totally nailed it. There is an old saying that the map is not the territory, and that old saying applies here as well. But mate, there is always the temptation to be the first to see the truth for the first time and then yell it from rooftops, but that is wrong. The world is there all around us, and it is up to us to observe and experience it as we find it. We can’t outsource that option, but most people hope that they can do exactly that. It is a lazy choice to do so.

    I had to look up the definition of phenomenology! 🙂 Philosophy is a deep dive, but it is also a personal obligation.

    No chance of giving up! I picked up next seasons mixture of mineral additives for the vegetable beds earlier today. The dirt rat Suzuki Vitara now has an intriguing smell! Bags of composted and pelletised chicken manure + Blood and Bone + Agricultural Lime + Dolomite will all get dug into the rows on the terraces. I looked for gypsum which is a calcium and sulphur mix and couldn’t see it, but no matter – a task for next month. The local nursery has an entire shelf of mineral additives and I spent so long reading the labels that someone eventually approached me and asked if I needed help.

    I envy you your skills with other languages, and would have thoroughly enjoyed walking along with you in the streets of Moscow. It is funny to me that language is learned through usage, and note that during international travels I just absorbed the local dialects and ended up speaking some sort of weird (in my case anyway) pidgin English / local dialect, and the local people understood, although you have to elicit a jocular and fumbling approach – but I’ve always discovered that the locals enjoy the fumbling efforts and you can have a laugh – usually at your own expense. But then you get better through usage. Most knowledge is like that, don’t you reckon?

    Mate, the brain can only handle so much, and as you rightly guessed something has to be ejected! Hopefully the ejected knowledge is not important… 🙂



  4. Hi Al,

    In your comment to Damo, I assume you meant the song: King Stingray – Hey Wanhaka. I’m no linguistic expert, but I believe that in that local northern language, it roughly translates as to: Hey, what’s up? And the word is used as a casual greeting between known people. How cool is that?

    Plant nurseries are such temptations, almost as if the very sirens of ancient fame and they are calling to us all, “Al, come buy the seedlings!”. Ours is not to resist such temptations. Picked up next seasons fertiliser stash for some of the vegetable beds today. So many required minerals, so little time! 🙂 And the back of the dirt rat Suzuki Vitara now smells rather intriguing.

    Ouch, sorry to hear that such a fertile area has burned, but then that might have always been the way of such a place? It’s hard to tell, but a cool burn (and I’d imagine that is the case at your time of year) might remove invasive species and provide a fertile ash bed for new seedlings to grow. Fire isn’t all bad, that’s a western cultural conceit. But on the other hand, I hope the critters could escape and also have somewhere to go whilst the land regenerates after the fire? Therein lays one of the problems with using fire in the landscape.

    Oh yeah, and you are so right with D Dave. It’s true, and I’m totally guilty, I do want to blow it up – just because. But alas, cooler heads will eventually prevail and the hydraulic rock breakers will probably do the job with a lot less flying chunks of granite. And that was my guess too, but I have no intentions of telling the guy how to do his job. I’ll just see what he recommends. There are a few other rocks in that area, and it may well be that the tools can be brought to bear upon them as well. I just have to sneak the extra budget request past the editor. 😉



  5. Hi Lewis,

    Oh, that’s messed up about the English fatberg, but then there is something so hideous about those fatberg things, that they have an awful allure of their own character. I’ve noticed that inevitably there is often mention of wipes involved with such occurrences and those things look like super tough geofabric textiles to me, and I just don’t use them on principle – ever. The local water authority lost a legal case involving the manufacturers of those items, although I’m none too sure as to the why of that outcome. I tend to think of that story like the disposable coffee cup story – before the current health subject which dare not be named, there was outrage at the waste, but then I noticed people using the disposable items more afterwards. And there was one point I couldn’t obtain coffee in washable ceramic, but was caught in a bind where if I didn’t spend money at the business, they’d suffer. Is that a double bind? It kind of looks like it to me.

    If I had to quote for that clean up of the fatberg job, I’d say: Yeah mate, no worries, we can do that job. It’s gonna cost ya though. All the while pulling canny peasant face number four (always works).

    Glad you enjoyed my sick-as humour, and unfortunately this is a public forum and I am unable to forget that not inconsequential fact. You may note the recent increase of the mid-week hiatus, but that wasn’t lost on you anyway. You noticed.

    Exactly, the two old BFF mates Simon and Garfunkel sang a song about Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme – but who would chuck those herbs into a salad nowadays? I do, and there’s more to be consumed out there in the garden. The taste of sage would probably revolt most people, but it is an effect treatment for minor health conditions of the mouth, or at least I believe it to be so.

    Actually the soil science author made the observation that as protein and vitamin content reduces in plants (due to mineral deficient soils), the calorie content increases. And then goes on to suggest that this has been occurring for quite a long while, decades in fact. Most people I speak with of a similar age to me or older, are on some sort of regular medication/s – and what does that say about general health?

    Michael Pollan has an excellent prescription for food, and without having heard of that option, that is sort of the diet I eat, except a lot of the plants are sourced from the garden here. I don’t envy your friends journey, because she appears to be fighting to retain the status quo whilst enjoying poor outcomes and perhaps shopping for opinions. It’s an option, I guess. And as you say, if she is happy with her choices, then so what? It matters not. I see people making themselves utterly miserable with their food choices.

    The filthy weather arrived a few hours ago, and right now we are socked in with a combination of thick fog and drizzle. An unappealing combination. Even the dogs went out into that weather, did their business and high tailed it back in doors.

    Earlier in the day I visited the local plant nursery and picked up sacks of composted chicken manure + blood and bone + agricultural lime + dolomite. Over the next week or so, I’ll clear out the summer vegetable beds and give them all a proper feeding and let them settle down for the winter. Early next spring I’ll probably feed them a good dose of sea stuff things – whatever comes from the sea, I guess. I looked today for gypsum and couldn’t see it, but things were moved around a bit and so maybe I didn’t look hard enough.

    Did a huge amount of life’s little administrative tasks today, some of which may be considered: boring, but important! Had a chat to a bloke at one of the local banks and we discussed interest rates. He was actually a really nice person, so I decided to be amusing and suggest that in relation to the possibility of rising interest rates within the next twelve months that: history suggests that it may be otherwise! At least I thought that it was an amusing comment. I don’t foresee interest rates rising in the next year, but I could be wrong.

    What that poopins lady thiefed off with my brolly! Probably levitated on the getaway as well, the cheeky scamp.

    Oh yeah, I forgot that you guys have non recourse loans and can walk away from them. Down here, the loans stick to the property and the owner like glue.

    That makes a strange sort of sense that mutton could be preserved using sugar and spices. We call that fruit mince tarts down here. Mincemeat down here is actually what it says that it is, meat that has been minced. I feed a pound a week to the chickens, and they’re dirty for it. The dogs have to be fed a small portion of the chickens mince allocation because they get a bit drooly and demanding otherwise.

    No, it’s not clear at all. Is the ground turkey usually breast meat ground up and preserved somehow?

    I’m learning heaps about your food systems tonight. Peaches here would be preserved in a water / cane sugar syrup, not dissimilar from the mix I use for bottling apricots. Usually with the added sweetness, they’re pretty tasty. Dunno why they’d add in pear juice, other than as a flavour enhancer? Pears and peaches are about the same pH so I’m guessing it might not have anything to do with the preservation process, but I could be wrong as I’m only guessing and many fruits are lower acid these days – which is not necessarily what you want.

    Go the chamomile, and that’s a great idea drying them.

    It is true what you say about reading music! Believe it or not, back in those days I was much more active across many different areas than I am today. I’ve wound down since then, but that is relative to my former experience, not to my peers.

    Thanks for understanding. 🙂 You know what the definition of arrogance is? That was me finishing high school and thinking to myself (from sheer naivety) that: what more could there be to learn? How wrong was I!!! 🙂 It’s pretty funny really. There is so much to learn that in order to achieve anything, you have to set hard limits. How could it be any other way?

    Yes, the missing hat was an unfortunate exclusion in prior weeks missives and thanks for noticing that the serious error had been addressed. It’s like missing out on a photo of Ollie somewhere each week – it’s not right, you know.

    🙂 The fog is pretty awesome looking. This morning down below in the valley, a few large individual trees were poking up out of the fog. It looked very cool.

    And um, yes, perhaps I should deal to the rock being broken up by nature, before it mutates and becomes a problem? A zombie virus could be lurking in there, you never know. I do hope they get a wriggle on and release those zombie films. This zombie prediction thing is chafing at my very soul.

    It’s not a good look to barf at (or even on a) table. Plum is a lady, and would not do so, she’d go for a rug instead. Why do dogs have to barf on rugs, when there are far easier to clean hardwood floorboards for them to do so? Mate, you’d hate my dinner time as I eat late and am happy to have dinner at 9pm or 10pm. Eating dinner too early just doesn’t work for me. Of course with other people I compromise and eat early, but 7pm is a minimum. 6pm is still lunchtime, although this is an unpopular perspective! 😉

    We’re doing alright on a food and energy front, and it does get easier over time – it is just a huge journey to get to this stage. And flat and fertile land with running water or a natural spring, would certainly be a massive advantage. Originally we looked at a block like that, but it was a further half hour out of the city centre. Someone eventually built a French style farmhouse – a huge thing, and I noticed recently that they had sold it.

    Thought you might enjoy some photos of one of an early local granite mill and store / house located adjacent to a river. It’s up for sale: Mill house, Kyneton.

    Yeah, the mung beans might be a waste of effort – a lot of garden space for so little return. And glad to hear that your European honey bees haven’t disappeared.

    So true, a floppy garden would be no fun at all – and not much to look at either. The Geraniums on the other hand are really colourful and cheery – even in the hottest and driest conditions.

    How is Eleanor’s garden going? Is the soil filled up to the rim? And are you sneaking in any extra fertilisers?



  6. Yo, Chris – I wonder why they don’t just harpoon the fatberg? 🙂 . Wipes and disposable diapers. And, ah, other stuff that shouldn’t go down the loo. People are so thoughtless. It’s why we can’t have nice things, like sewers and compost heaps. Years before my time, but they still talk, around here, of the debacle of the compost heap. Apparently, some of the old dears just couldn’t grasp the concept that not EVERYTHING goes in the compost heap.

    Which brings me to this week-ends, debacle. Minor irritation, whatever. Saturday morning I went out to do some gardening. The Master Gardener’s keep a small collection of hand tools, in our dumpster room, adjacent to the gardens. So, I open the door, and am confronted by … a refrigerator carton. All 6 feet high and three foot wide of it. Lazy, Shiftless Jack had just shoved it in there. So I got my box knife and hacked it into manageable sized pieces, to go in the dumpster. Cursing a blue streak, the whole time. I decided to leave our Building Manager (oh, excuse me! Assistant Housing Director), a hot little note. Get her week off to a good start.

    I waited to write my note, until Sunday. Just to make sure it was … politic. My initial impulse was to set the thing on fire, in the parking lot. Or, better still, leave it in front of her office door, and then set it on fire. But by Sunday, I just stated what had happened, and ended by saying “If something like that happens again, I’ll just move it … and let someone else deal with it. As is apparently, standard operating procedure.” I don’t know if there will be any fallout, from my note, but if so, I’m up for it. More likely, it was binned upon reading.

    Well, I noticed you were a bit off your feed, but then, you had a lot going on, not all of it good. Entitled is an overused word, these days. So, lets just say, you earned a bit of a miff. No crime in that.

    There’s been a few articles, and mention in books, over the past few years, about the declining quality of nutrients in food. Due to soil health and growing methods.

    A quick Gargle search reveals that 66% of Americans are on some prescribed medication. Frightening. There is an idea that there’s a pill for what ails you, somewhere out there. I blame advertising. And that kind of a mindset, leads to a lot of self medicating, and, hence, addictions. Older people have to be very careful. Some of them see multiple doctors, who prescribe multiple drugs, that may work at cross purposes. Sometimes, to a lethal degree.

    Yup. Your weather does sound filthy. Here it’s overcast with a 30% chance of rain. To water, or not to water, that is the question. Poop or go blind?

    That Poppins woman does have an edge. To make a clean getaway.

    There can be liens, against a property. Say a contractor isn’t paid for work, and can’t get satisfaction from the property owner. Through a very simple and cheap court mechanism, he can put a lien, against the property. Which should be payed, before the property can be sold. Or, it can be sent to collection, which you are familiar with 🙂 .

    Any meat run through something like this …


    … is ground meat. Also done on an industrial scale. I can’t think of a single estate that I was involved with, in the tat trade, where there wasn’t at least one (or more), of these. I’ve got one tucked in with my kitchen gear. Not that I’ve ever used it 🙂 . They still make them. Ground meat is preserved by keeping it very cold, or even, like the turkey we got, frozen. It’s wise to cook the heck out of it, and wipe down any surfaces it came in contact with, in bleach.

    Canned fruit here is often packed in corn syrup. Which is why reading labels is kind of important. To me.

    There were my abortive attempts at the accordion, piano and autoharp. And a good round of choir. Church? So, I have a very basic grasp of reading music. Notes go up the cleft? Voice rises in the scale. All those weird squiggles, which have mostly escaped me, by now, mean to hit a note hard, soft, speed up or slow down. Sight readers. But a lot of people just “play by ear.”

    We need photos of the Fluffies, just to know they’re alive and well. As with kidnap victims, maybe you should photograph them with the front page of the local newspaper. So we know your not trying to fob off an old photo of them 🙂 .

    Fog is so interesting. We probably won’t see anymore, til fall. I still remember that bit of film you linked to, of fog pouring over a cliff like a waterfall. Stunning!

    LOL. I’ve got you beat all to heck. I usually make dinner when I return from Elinor’s. At 11pm. By the time it’s prepared, and cool enough to eat, it’s midnight. I never know what to call that first meal I have, which falls between 1 and 5pm. It kind of looks like breakfast, but the time doesn’t match. If I’m going to be doing something strenuous, I eat that meal, earlier. Blood sugar, and all.

    I don’t know. The Editor and you just seem so right for Fern Glade Farm. Maybe like rocks, it’s where you were meant to be. 🙂 .

    Wow. The Mill House is really something. Looks like a fixer-upper. What would you do with all that space? Condos or rental flats?

    Oh, Elinor will probably throw a bag of some kind of compost, on her new plot. The soil from her old plot still looks pretty good, but I didn’t see any worms. Lew

  7. Chris
    Hey! Late last night I was poking around on Ewe toob. On the same page with both songs by KSR. I saw a video ,just put up dated May 3 , of the band in a Sidney venue on stage playing another wild number. It appeared that the video was ok with the band as they were all friendly and exuberant to the guy shooting the vid. Couldn’t find it this morning. Probably not authorized!

    From my observation Dave has some tricks he has picked along the way. On some videos it appears he pressure washes the rocks before he starts the the layout and break hole location. Possibly to locate fine cracks or fault lines so he can break into best usability of pieces as future building blocks.

    Another technique was in the first introduction of the hydraulic breakers. After he had some level of strain on the rock he held the pressure and listened for audible break sounds ,and observed for pressure drop ,then raised to higher levels of pressures. He watched the pressure at the pump unit outlet pressure gauge reading. It appears that the pump control has a momentary on and hold control like on load lifting equipment.

    One yet another clip there was a work area laid out with several cleaned up granite rocks of various sizes. He drilled break holes then broke into pieces that were somewhat square as if there was a plan involved. Is there a “Dave’s Landscape Rock Store “ out there some where.???🤔

    Sunday afternoon I watched a Nat Geo segment on the horrible Kangaroo Island Bush Fire last year. Hot weather and wind driving those terrifying destructive fire tornadoes. Poor animals and humans . Didn’t call my wife’s attention to the dead and dying Koalas and other creatures. So sad.


  8. Hi Lewis,

    The weather was very interesting. Not quite two inches of rain fell in the past 24 hours. That’s not interesting or unusual at all. What defies imagination is that the solar power system recorded only 8 minutes of peak sunlight for the entire day today! That’s a record as far as I’m concerned, and not a good one to achieve. The electronics in the system itself used all of that solar power generated and then some. I’m impressed, and anyone who thinks this technology will power an industrial civilisation as it currently stands, well they’re kidding themselves.

    🙂 Harpooning a fatberg, what a good idea. I imagine that they couldn’t use hot water jets as that would send the problem elsewhere, and can you imagine how slippery it would be working in such an environment? You’d have to be super careful, and be well anchored. And true, it why we can’t have nice things – a lovely way to put the situation.

    The putting inappropriate waste into compost bins is a real problem, and I suspect people know, they just couldn’t give a stuff and think that it doesn’t matter. I’ve noticed on the food waste bins that households get in the big smoke that they have a large sticker on them imploring people not to put anything inappropriate in the food waste bins otherwise the entire truckload goes to landfill. Some people I’ve met over the years would be good with that outcome.

    I assume by your words that nobody else could have possibly placed the refrigerator carton in the room? But on a balance of probabilities, you probably called it correctly. We didn’t get much joy from the recent ‘please explain yourselves’ email either, regarding the bill I mentioned last week which had increased by almost 150%.

    Exactly, you have to take the emotions out of the letter, otherwise you can be dismissed out of hand – and actually it surprises me the difficulty people can have with telling a story. And your complaint story is a three part story as far as my mind considers the problem:
    – What happened;
    – How is this action against whatever rules and/or affected you; and
    – What do you want done about and/or changed.

    Easy enough, but you’d be amazed at the difficulty people have commiting their thought processes to paper so as to achieve a particular outcome. I’ve wondered about this and can’t quite decide whether the outcome is a result of the educational system, or the stilted forms of communication these days, or perhaps people just aren’t flexing their writing muscles anymore – or maybe a combination of all three points? Dunno. What is your view in this matter?

    Thanks for understanding, it has been an difficult two weeks – but them rocks still need breaking and hauling. 🙂

    The declining vitamin and protein levels in food due to soil issues is probably another of those problems that industrial civilisation can’t afford (from an economic perspective) to address at any scale to make any difference. I’ve been sort of coming to terms with that recently.

    The high prevalence of prescribed medications thing also underlies a belief that no matter what, the medical undonestry has your back. The old timers used to suggest that prevention is better than a cure.

    This is very exciting: A giant piece of space junk is hurtling towards Earth. Hope it stays out of the compost bins.

    We’ve got liens on properties down here too. I knew about the ones for tax, but had not heard of some of the other types. Fascinating, and you’d hope that malicious ones weren’t taken out. There was a rogue lawyer down here allegedly making unsuspecting people bankrupt – and it was apparently a devil of a problem to unwind by all accounts. Best not to be involved in such actions.

    That’s the meat grinders alright, and my grandmother used to use one. The cuts of meat were usually the cheapest cuts, but the result was pretty good from memory, and possibly better than purchased mince meat these days. Economics dictated that the hand cranked meat grinders were used, as they basically disguised the cheap and tough meat cuts. Interestingly, the mince meat I purchase for the chickens and dogs suggests to be used within 24 hours as it does not have preservatives (although it has a huge surface area and is thus more easily contaminated, I’m guessing). The editor is not a fan of minced poultry meat as she recounted an experiment in the industrial food microbiology course where various food items were plated out. On the other hand, the stuff is alive, but as you suggest cooking the meat and cleaning is a wise strategy.

    Very wise regarding the music, and yeah people who can play by ear have either practiced a lot, or they have some talent in that direction. I did find that after a lot of practice with a song, I was playing from memory and the sheet music was more or less a prompter in case I forgot. And I didn’t mention it, but sometimes I just liked to vary the timing a bit for effect – this is not 4 4 timing though. Ook!

    Oh my gawd – proof of life photos for the fluffies. 🙂 You might have to take my word for it. When I first began writing on the interweb, some people accused me in all seriousness of faking or doctoring the photographs. I have not the skill in that area, so it is just easier to do the work around the property.

    Fog is interesting isn’t it? And it acts exactly like water would, and I’ve never seen a fog waterfall either and it looked way cool.

    You win that one! I just finished baking a loaf of bread at almost 10.45pm, but the loaf is for tomorrow so that doesn’t count. It’s cold here tonight. Some people are night owls, and despite having had to rise early, I’m not an early morning person. Lewis, those morning things are just not right. 🙂

    Thanks and you do kind of end up where you are meant to be, but a natural spring would be kind of handy. 🙂 I think the underlying geology here would be good for springs, but there is just not enough land above the farm on the mountain spur for water to collect and infiltrate the soil. The more fashionable western end of the mountain range has a creek which runs most of the year.

    I’m trying to imagine how to go about heating the mill building, and possibly zoning off large parts of it would be the way to go. Did you notice though that there was a detached granite managers cottage?

    Yeah, my garden beds were looking good earlier this year but I did notice a distinct lack of worms. About a year or two back I changed compost mixes, and I really do need to add some minerals and organic matter to those beds. I added a good quantity of lime and seaweed solution to the winter red and green mustard plants the other day and they just took off and doubled in four days. Hmm. You should see the interesting stack of all manner of stuff I’ll begin to get into the terraced vegetable bed soil over the next few weeks. Might add to that batch of stuff. 🙂



  9. Hi Al,

    The KSR folks are relatives (I believe) of the legendary band ‘Yothu Yindi’. Their song ‘Treaty’ received significant airplay down here, but I doubt you’ve ever encountered that particular song. It’s a good genre of music.

    I noticed that about the adjusting the pressure with the hydraulic crackers. And actually I have to fess up that it was watching those videos of the machines in action that I got the idea to use the electric jackhammer in a similar manner – despite have a 2400W motor, and six rock breaking bits (all were employed against the Moby rock) it just isn’t as powerful a tool. Alas, woe is me.

    And thanks for a very good suggestion as to looking for fine cracks, and I’ve only utilised obvious cracks, but you’ve got an excellent point there.

    Mate, I don’t know what he does with all of the rock left on site. I suspect that it becomes the owners problem to deal with. It fascinates me that I see piles of rocks in fields in agricultural areas. I’d supplement the fencing with the rocks, but that is me and perhaps I’m a bit frugal and like to make good use of the resources which are to hand? Dunno, but the piles of rocks in fields are common – as no doubt they are in your part of the world too? It would have taken a massive effort to remove the rocks in the first place.

    The Kangaroo Island fires were pretty bad. We’ve visited there in the late 90’s and really enjoyed the island – it was quiet as you can imagine, and I was astounded by a sheep cheese dairy we visited. Excellent cheese. For your interest, I believe that the Indigenous folks were not present on the island at the time of the Europeans arrival, although there have been some reports that there were some indications of occupation of the island. The waters between the island and the mainland were very rough. The editor passed out, but for some reason I don’t get sea sick, but I was a bit worried about that trip on the car ferry. A truly wild ride that one, but we survived OK.



  10. Hi Chris,
    I never had the opportunity to learn a musical instrument which I regret. Daughter, Cecily, however has mastered many. She started with the Oboe and at the beginning that was really painful for those living with her. She persevered though and became lst chair in many youth orchestras and even received a scholarship from DePaul University though she never pursued a musical career. She can also play the English Horn, Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone and piano. Obviously she has a gift that I lack. My mother tried to guide all of our interests more towards what interested her or what she though was valuable to learn thus the fact that none of us played an instrument. Learning from this I pretty much let my kids follow their interests and learned things in the process that I may never had.

    I’m glad to see how pleased and impressed the fluffy collective is with your work. Maybe they think you do this for their amusement.

    It rained last night – finally. We received an inch of rain the first significant rain in 3 weeks. Temperatures have been up and down with lots of extremely windy days drying things up even more. I tried out my water tank the other day and was pleased with how it worked out.

    My aunt is improving but it’s still not clear where she’ll end up. Her hearing is much better so we can actually talk on the phone. She is busily emailing, texting and going on Zoom meetings so her confusion is lessoning. However her voice is very hoarse and she still can’t walk on her own even with a walker. The rehab facility she’s in has an excellent reputation so she’s getting good physical therapy. Tomorrow I will take the train downtown Chicago for the first time since February 2020 to visit her. It’ll be an all day excursion. Her daughter is going back to California for five days to regroup and take care of some things at work. She has continued to pretty much teach remotely. She’ll return until my aunt’s prognosis becomes clearer.

    Moving along with the planting and it’s going pretty well.


  11. Yo, Chris – Weather … interesting. As in “May you live in interesting times.” Which is claimed to be an old curse, from the Land of Stuff.

    Speaking of solar, there was an article in our local newspaper, yesterday. Lifted from a Seattle newspaper.


    NIMBY. Not in my backyard. Notice that most of the people protesting, are transplants.

    Fatbergs. Just imagine an old lady saying … “Yes, my last husband was taken by a fatberg. Just slipped. Never found his body.” But, things could be worse …


    Well, the grapevine is active and the jungle drums are beating. Smoke signals? Lazy shiftless Jack told someone that our building manager took up the refrigerator box, with him. He said, it was “An anonymous rude note.” Maybe the building manager didn’t show him the note (because I signed it), but just told him about it. As far as the “rude” goes, I’m not sure if that was added on by her, or him. Or, the person who told me.

    Thoughts to paper. Some of it is lack of skill, some of it is, I think, and attempt at a__ covering. There’s been a couple of articles about “office speak.” Not to be confused with “government speak.” 🙂 .

    I think a lot of the “faith” in medicine is the Myth of Progress, run rampant. Sure, we’ve had some pretty miraculous medical breakthroughs, in the last century. And people seem to think they’ll just keep rolling along. Well, no. Lifespans have limits. Of course, in this country, we have miraculous this or that. But can you afford it? And they will investigate your finances and see if your insurance will cover … whatever, before a scalpel is picked up.

    Space junk. Wonder if I’ll be lucky (?) enough to see the next lot come down. LOL. They might as well of said, projected entry will be somewhere between the north and south pole.

    I hear of malicious liens, here. Liens are a pretty simple legal procedure, and a person with average intelligence can figure out how to pull one off. I hear malicious liens are quit popular among people getting back at political opponents. Say, a local sheriff you don’t like. Prisoners have a lot of time on their hands. They often strike out at anyone who had a role in sending them up the river. We also have Small Claims Courts. But, there’s a lot of legal things you can do, without a lawyer, as long as you hit the marks and file the appropriate paperwork. I myself have done a.) a divorce and b.) a legal name change. I could have done my own will, but, it was cheap, and I decided I wanted to make sure it hit all the marks. Doing your own legal work is called, “per se.”

    OK. Another one of those geographic differences in food terms. We call it ground meat, you call it minced. Got it. As long as meat is thoroughly cooked, and surfaces are well cleaned, it’s not really a problem. Several decades ago, a well known burger chain had an outbreak of e. coli. Which comes from cow poop. Some wag took their posters and replaced their usual motto with, “We Cook The S___ Out of Our Burgers!” 🙂 . Back in the day, if a waitress asked me how I wanted my steak cooked, I’d say, “Mooing.” No more. If you knew the state of our slaughter houses, and inspection system, well, no wonder so many people are becoming vegetarians.

    I don’t know. In some of the pictures of Ollie, he looks a little … taxidermied. 🙂 . Checked his pulse, lately?

    Yes, I think there’s something a bit off, in early risers. And they take such pleasure in making everyone else, who’s not up with the chickens, feel guilty. There’s a reek of superiority. Although, in a perfect world, I think it would be nice to go to bed with the sun, and get up with the sun.

    I hadn’t noticed the manager’s house, in the photo of Mill House. LOL, it kind of overwhelms everything else. But the manager’s house looks very nice. More … manageable. Stone buildings are so appealing. Brick, too. Maybe I listened to the story of “The Three Little Pigs,” too many times?

    The Master Gardeners were here, this morning. Elinor’s bed is complete. Needs a bit more soil, to top it up, and, I suppose we’ll be moving some plants around. She had an anxiety attack, last night. I think her daughter was there, after I left. And people on and off, today. Sigh. Lew

  12. Chris,

    The carving club? Due to the unmentionable, we are unable to have indoor meetings. However, May 1 was our first outdoor gathering at a local park. We had a decent turnout, which included 2 new people! These unofficial meetings will continue on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month indefinitely. It was good to see other carvers and what we’re all working on.

    Woodturning is interesting and something that is outside my limitations. I prefer woodburning to carving, as I have this great ability to slice myself up even when wearing a thick leather glove. Woodturning would most likely have an “armturning” result, which would not be pretty to see. There’s a fantastic carver about an hour from here who also turns. Many of his projects are combinations of turning and carving.

    Waning and lax standards have been truly apparent hereabouts for most of my adulthood, and probably longer. I’ve seen the test my dad’s father took in order to graduate from 8th grade. He had to know more things then than I did getting out of 4 additional years of school. And significantly less is required now, even before the unmentionable. And the maths department at university had only one professor with rigorous standards, leaving a plethora of us with inferior backgrounds but exceedingly high grades. And the degrading standards I witnessed at the place I retired from were appalling. So, what the Romans went through and what Mr. Greer alluded to is normal. And most definitely NOT fun to be a part of.

    According to the minimal research I’ve done, it appears that where I am, clay needs lime, sand likely doesn’t. That may change as the soil improves from sand to, well, good soil.

    As to your lack of excess organic material… Well, there’s “storing it up” via the compost pile, and then there’s “the using it as it appears” approach which you seem to do. Both work.

    The photo with Ollie sitting with the stones you recently split, errr, it really looks like Ollie was the overseer and you were the laborer. All that was missing was some sort of “authoritarian device” for Ollie to hold, such as a megaphone or a clipboard.

    Glad you found a hat!!!

    Your slope and rock projects are looking very good. I’m slightly jealous about the probable rock explosion to come. I’ve always wanted to do something like that.

    Water versus rocks. Water always wins. Every time.

    I was informed by the Princess that we have hit the end of an era. In 2004 I removed grass from the sloping part of our front yard, put in a bunch of rocks and appropriate plants. But that most noxious of weeds, grass, keeps invading. It is time to throw in the towel, remove the rocks and salvage what plants I can, then return the area to grass. Princess says to terrace that area with a decorative wall at the bottom. There are locations elsewhere that will readily absorb the salvaged plants and rocks. Lots of work up front, but it will minimize the work over time.


  13. Hi Margaret,

    Life is short and full of complications, but what do you do? I stared into that music abyss and recoiled with utter horror when the full extent of the difficulties and travails were laid bare before me. You might have dodged a bullet there? 🙂 Far out.

    Someone explained to me years ago that the first musical instrument presents an inordinate challenge, but then others become easier to build a good working knowledge of. Clearly your daughter has a gift in that area and can clearly enjoy her gift. Unfortunately the inference from your words, is that those around her suffered through the first instrument journey, but hopefully they can now appreciate the now refined gift of providing musical pleasure for others (and also for Cecily’s own enjoyment).

    Hey, there are times when you’d wish that there was more time available, but then reality comes rushing in to stymie that wish. That must have been a thing in the past, because my mum likewise sent me off to tennis lessons, and I had so little interest in that game, but it was a thing at the time. Respect for just allowing your children to find their own paths, and learning from the lessons of the past. That’s one of the great challenges that face us all in this here thing called life. It’s hard not to repeat the failures of the previous generation.

    Hehe! Oh you are super cheeky, and I respect that! 🙂 The fluffies sometimes look at me and ask the hard question: Dude, why are you doing working so hard?

    Rain at your time of the growing season is crucial, and I’m so glad to hear that you received an inch of rain. Seedlings don’t really enjoy being dried out too much. And talk of water tanks is like music to my ears. I’ve got almost 33,000 gallons storage and slowly add to that over time. Wells require energy to lift the water from the murky depths, whereas a water tank is already at ground level. Most people lose sight of that not inconsequential difference.

    The old farm I visited a few weeks ago has a very deep stone lined old school well (probably hand dug), and I peered into the murky depths and saw only a remote pool of water at what looked like the bottom of the well. Water tables can fall. And despite the wet and cool summer, the water table was a long way down in the earth.

    Glad to hear that your aunt is improving. Not being able to move around on her own steam is a bit hard, but like you say, that is what rehab is about. Hope the train ride to the big smoke is good, and if your trains are anything like here, they’ve sort of become more roomy due to lower patronage. You might end up with your aunt?

    A late spring garden is an environment of promise. 🙂 At the bottom end of the world, I’m getting set to dismantle the summer garden and bed it down for winter.

    Given the chooky collective was only added to recently after the visit to the agricultural expo with the poultry group, we’d been buying eggs – good ones too, not cheapies. One of them was a bit black and green on the inside tonight – what a stink too. The mess is now in the worm farm. Not what you want to smell just prior to dinner. I’ve never had that happen with one of the chickens here.



  14. Hi DJ,

    I sometimes forget that things are different in other countries – we’ve been sort of firewalled off from the general level of recent craziness. Although the downsides of this policy is that the local population has been very restricted in its international movement. Many thousands of Aussies did venture overseas recently (with permission), and are now stuck and unable to return. Local sympathy for the stuck folks is candidly not good, and hard questions have been asked – like if it’s so bad that we all get locked down for months on end with only a few cases in the community, why did these people head overseas where things are different? So many questions, so many complexities with their associated sob stories, and so few answers – on any of the fronts. 🙂 Ah, fun times!

    It’s great you can catch up with your wood carving group, albeit in the spring sunshine. 2 new members is an excellent score for a group, and I do hope that they are nice people and can produce good work. The standard of the work in your group looked amazing to me. And maybe the use of the term woodturning was something of a misnomer with that group. They seemed to produce all manner of wooden items, some of which even looked like furniture to me. It was a pleasure to look over their groups work and just admire the craftsmanship.

    Best to know one’s limitations and then stick within them. 🙂 Reports of injuries are never an enjoyable experience for other people.

    Speaking of which, the agricultural expo had a few brands of working portable timber mills on display, and how good are those machines? Most of them are locally made too. Maybe one day…

    It’s a bit of a problem really, and does not bode well for future literacy rates, and I dare not even mention numeracy skills. Earlier today I received an email, and to be candid, the sentences were barely cohesive and I could only just guess at the author’s intention. Some words were outright made up. It is possible that the author of the email was taking the mickey, although the author had mentioned that they had been sick recently. As a suggestion, they might want to improve their health outcomes somewhat before replying in written form to what should have been a serious subject.

    The author of the soil science book suggests that as average rainfall (or flooding) diminishes in your country, the soils require less additions of lime – due to the rainfall leached the lime into the sub soil and then away. But I have no experience with sandy soil, so I don’t really know. Such a soil would leave me feeling stumped as to what to do. I know I’d run out of water in such a sandy environment.

    Exactly, I’ve never had enough excess organic matter to even begin a compost pile, so mostly I practice chopping and dropping plant matter all over the farm and let nature sort it all out. But then that means I have to bring in a lot of stuff. The author is suggesting to leave areas fallow for many years (which is something he was not doing at the time of writing the book).

    Ollie’s thoughts are known only to himself, and that photo is no exception. For the record I will now declare that he is alive, albeit asleep as of this moment. I will say no more. 😉

    Hopefully when the job gets done, the guy will bring his video camera and post the video to ewetoob. It’ll probably be cracking rather than blowing up – the editor is the cooler head in this regard.

    Grass will always have its way. Sorry to hear that your experiment has concluded, but grass is tough as. I’d suggest that 17 years is enough to produce a conclusive result to your experiment. And feel not bad, for you have tested your mettle against the wily grass foe, and duked it out for 17 years. Top effort. A lesser soul would have given up after a year. 🙂 Your lady is right in this regard. Yup.



  15. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, that ancient curse leaves a person feeling a little bit insecure. But 8 minutes of peak sunlight for the day was an unpleasant experience and genuinely a record. When that big Mount Everest sized meteor smooshed into the planet 65 million years ago, conditions were probably worse – for quite a while afterwards.

    Speaking of solar, I had to refine the programming of the battery charge controllers a bit further today. I’m learning how these new fangled technological thing Lithium batteries actually work – in the real world. There are brochures, and hype, then there is reality. I got in contact with the local folks who make the devices today to clarify some of the finer points of the machines. This technology is definitely not a set and forget arrangement.

    Your local newspaper writes surprisingly informative articles. I noticed that one of the comments appears to have been doing the whole ‘concerned troll’ trick. Yeah, a personal fave that trick – at sending them tricksters elsewhere! 🙂

    The area sounded like it was doing it pretty hard after the closure of the aluminium smelter, so I can see why the local gobarmint were thrashing around trying to get some employment in town. One of the things people forget is that transplants might have to connect with their local community one day – and the people there just might not think the same as they do. It’s a problem, but between you and I, I can’t spend five hours a day on an issue that won’t bring bucks in the door. That level of time sounds obsessive to me, but that is just an opinion.

    Oh, that’s funny about the lost husband / fatberg incident! The language is a very English comedic sensibility!

    Mate, Jack might have it in for you after this incident? Years later, we’ll be talking and you’ll say that everything was cool before the refrigerator box incident! I wouldn’t worry too much, lazy people are not usually competent enemies. The ones you have to watch out for have five hours a day to fixate on plotting their revenge. Oh yeah.

    I mentioned to DJ that I had a fine example of the species today – and you know, it may have been written in a bafflingly odd way in order to hide the bodies? It’s possible.

    Oh you’ve made a solid point there, and it is one side of the same coin with the myth of progress. Of course, I missed that story, but yes it makes a certain sort of sense. Hey, people tell me the same thing about solar power systems – they’re just going to get cheaper and cheaper. Sometimes I feel like retorting with the question: Well have you put your money where your mouth is?

    Exactly, I read that about the possible latitudes where the space junk might strike, and garnered the idea that nobody really knows – that’s what out of control means. 🙂

    I’ve heard of such things too, which is why I mentioned the rogue lawyer incident. And best not to give people with nothing much to do, and whole bunch of resources at their disposal, reason to hate your guts. Did I mention that the ones with five hours free each day with nothing better to do are a bit of a problem?

    Well done you too representing yourself in those legal situations. I heard a radio program a year or two back on the subject of divorce, and it is a crazyily expensive legal process and at cheapest it is apparently in the tens of thousands of dollars – even if amicable. Yikes! If not amicable, it blows out to hundreds of thousands of dollars. At some point, expending shared resources on clubbing each over the head is not a bright idea, but it would be a very emotional journey. Hmm. I saw my mum go through two of them as a kid, and yeah, best to avoid if possible (and sometimes it isn’t possible).

    Yes, that is the nub of the problem. I had no idea what you meant when you described ground meat (sounds like an electrical terminology to me) and you thought that I was describing fruit mince pies. Language sure is complex! Hehe! Hey, I still get a laugh out of the scene where the actor Bruce Willis was suggesting to a person working at a fast food behemoth that all they had to do: “was cook the f!@#$%^ meat!” A very quotable line, although very family unfriendly.

    Ollie is a gentleman, and he is most certainly alive, although soundly asleep at this moment.

    Early risers, tes not natural.

    Gotta bounce and head off to bed, I had to work super late tonight. I’ve done something very bad in a past life to have to work so hard.



  16. Hi Chris,

    OK, I have to fess up. Not only do I know how to read sheet music, but my elementary school taught us how to read sheet music when we were allowed to take up a musical instrument in 5th grade. And the music they taught us to play, once we learned the basics, was classical music. I chose to learn clarinet, because I like the sound, my voice is low for a woman and it matches the lower range of the clarinet nicely, and because of its resonance with my name. I get what Margaret said about learning the oboe; learning the clarinet produces the same awful squeaks, since they both produce sound via reeds (double reeds for the oboe, a single reed for the clarinet, and it’s the reeds from which the squawks originate). I played it well enough to play in my home town’s All City Orchestra for 6th graders, for which I had to audition. That was one of the highlights of my childhood. I also took piano lessons but dropped it in favor of the clarinet when I was named to the orchestra. But I only played two more years; moving to two different states disrupted my motivation to continue.

    34 years ago, I started playing mountain dulcimer. It’s a string instrument that sits on your lap and you play it from above. JMG has mentioned it; he learned to play it too. My first teacher taught using tab (short for tablature, where the frets are numbered and you play by number). I found it quite frustrating because I wanted to know what notes I was playing! Eventually I learned where they are on the dulcimer and now I can play from either tab or sheet music.

    Then there is playing by ear. Mike has been playing musical instruments since he was a child, and he taught himself to play by ear. Later in school and private lessons he learned how to play from sheet music, but to this day he’s less comfortable with playing from sheet music than I am. OTOH, I can sort of stumble around and kind of play by ear a little, but I would need to concentrate to learn it better. Dulcimer teachers teach by all three methods, depending on what they know how to do and who they are teaching.

    As far as not enough space in one’s brain, that’s exactly how I feel about the mysteries of computers and electronics. My brain has put up a Keep Out sign and razor wire against them. 😉 I’m astonished with what you can do with them!

    Mike and I set the alarm and get up at 6:30am almost every morning (very occasionally earlier). I go to bed sometime in the 9:30-10:30pm range. He sometimes stays up later and falls asleep in the recliner, then wakes up and goes to bed. 😉 I need to be this disciplined to get everything I want to do accomplished.

    Had the second P injection against what I can’t name yesterday. Stronger side effects than the first one; besides the same sore arm I felt generally stiff and sore and lacked some of my usual energy this morning when I woke up. Now that it’s almost 24 hours after the shot, I’m perking up.


  17. Chris,

    I can understand the lack of sympathy for the stuck folks. Travel in these times is a risk. They took the risk, things changed, and now there are consequences that are out of their control. But…that risk and consequences has been well advertised during this whole unmentionable, at least here.

    I really enjoy the carving group in the sun. The downside is, there’s no electricity, so the woodburners can’t participate fully. Oh, the woodturning DOES include furniture. Often the chair legs are turned, as well as other parts. Turning can be quite ornate with furniture.

    On musical instruments. My mother was a very good pianist. Dad played flute. As soon as I could read, I was learning to play the piano, reading the sheet music. (Mom was good teacher and I had a definite aptitude for it.) As Marg mentioned, once one instrument is learned, others are easier to learn. I’ve toyed with several varieties of flute (still learning and not good with them yet). I absconded with my sister’s banjo decades ago and taught myself how to play. Alas, a wrist ligament injury forced me to quit playing banjo 30 years ago.

    Reading music is different. Music is very mathematical. But learning the symbolism on the written page is something not everyone has a knack for. One of my classmates in high school choir was a very talented singer. (Real bleep of a personality, but a good singer.) He began at a private religious university as a music major. He failed. Why? He really learned songs by ear and had a difficult time reading music. Music degrees all require proficiency at one or more instruments, even for vocalists, and he didn’t have the ability to translate the written music to music on an instrument. If he hadn’t been such I jerk to me in high school I would’ve felt sorry for him.

    For several years, I was often part of the interview committee for jobs. That meant that I would also help screen the written applications. The misspellings of common words could be atrocious. The worst was when one person spelled their name 3 different ways in the application. Some applications were handwritten. (Which was fine by me, as mine was also.) Too many of these were illegible, however. Sorta sad, really.

    The sandy soil is what has prompted my changes on lawn care the past several years. Once it starts to really get warm, I let the grass grow longer. Shades the roots better, or something. I really don’t cut the grass in June, July, August and much of September. I also don’t try to keep it perfectly green, but make sure it doesn’t turn brown and crunchy. The result? The lawn seems healthier and water use is down about 35% for the hot/dry months. Last year the water use was up a bit from prior years, though, as it was windier than in the past, drying things out faster.

    Occasional fallow years for certain areas is a time honored way of helping build/maintain soil fertility. I have so much compost that I’ve never tried it, although I am considering it if the veggie patch doesn’t do well this year. The containers always do well.

    Thanks for the vote confirming the Princess’s idea. There is a time to acknowledge defeat and cut your losses.


  18. Yo, Chris – 8 minutes of sunlight is truly abysmal. So, where did you lavishly spend, your 8 minutes of power? 🙂 .

    Since your going all high tech on me, I noticed an article, yesterday.


    Interesting from a number of angles. What’s your take?

    “….writes surprisingly informative articles.” Well, not really. They lifted that from the major Seattle newspaper. Who apparently, still have a copy editor. The locally produced articles on local things, often leave me scratching my head. Or, grabbing my ears and moaning. 🙂 .

    I only saw one comment, on the article. But, your right. Concern Trolls. They show up at Mr. Greer’s, from time to time. He usually gives them short shrift. What’s interesting about the “Letters to the Editor,” in our local newspaper is that, unlike internet comments, they are not anonymous. And usually include point of origin. It amazes me that people from as far afield as Hawaii and Montana, comment on our local going’s on. Must be some more of those people with 5 extra hours a day, of time on their hands. 🙂 .

    Thanks! I just channel on of the Python’s drag sketches. Or maybe an Agatha Christie murder mystery.

    A lot of prisons have “prison lawyers.” Self taught guys who, for a carton of cigs, will crank out an appeal. Prison libraries often have extensive legal libraries. King’s “Shawshank Redemption” revolves around a prison library. But the hero is more involved with financial dealings, than with legal matters. You get the flavor, of the whole enterprise.

    Well, my marriage wasn’t quit … on the up and up. And that’s all I’ll say about that. I’m not sure about the statute of limitations. But it cost me $9 bucks for a book with all the legal papers, and instructions. Specific to this State. We used to sell them in the bookstore. I think the filing fee was around $35 dollars.

    Customers often asked if “this thing works?” Being careful to not give legal advice, I said they worked just fine … as long as things were amicable, and everything was agreed on, as far as kids and property division, went. Not an issue, in my case. I think some people bought the book, just to leave it kicking around the house. It sent a message. “You’re on notice.” 🙂 .

    My name change. Well, I know a lawyer, who I’ve known for years. We’re not social, or anything, but I know him outside the legal profession. Great guy. When I told him I wanted him to do a legal name change, he said, “Oh, do it yourself. It’s easy. Save yourself some money. Go to a stationer’s, get the forms, file, get a court date and go before the judge.” So, for the second time in my life, I was in a courtroom. Perry Mason, it’s not. 🙂 . I think the filing fee was $85.

    Are you sure Ollie’s asleep? Have you checked his pulse? Blood pressure? Oxygen levels in his blood? Temperature? Elinor, would.

    Speaking of which, I didn’t spend too much time with the Master Gardener’s yesterday. Wanted to stick kind of close to home, in case … well, I don’t know what. But, by last night, Elinor was copacetic and sympatico. She even went out yesterday, to take the air and talk to the Master Gardener’s. They finished her bed, and topped it off with well composted cow poop. The plants looked a little sad, when I watered this morning. But, I’m sure they’ll take off and spread. I keep telling her that in a month and a half, it will be gorgeous. Lew

  19. Hello Chris and Lewis,

    Regarding health, food and medication:
    Here in Holland, there is an interesting cohort study of people living in the small and unremarkable town of Doetinchem, continuously monitoring people since the 1980s, including new young people as well.
    A couple of years ago the researcher Gerben Hulsegge did a PhD on analyzing various health outcomes vs. food intake and some other things, and the results were shocking, especially when looking at young adults. In 1985, all 20-year-olds were essentially fine, with very rare daily use of medication (0.3%).
    However, in 2015, more than 5% of the 20-year-olds were using daily medication, often for blood pressure control, and more than 15% were obese (up from 2% in 1985). Infographic (in Dutch) here: https://www.trouw.nl/nieuws/iedere-generatie-wordt-weer-een-beetje-dikker-en-ongezonder~bd1c3910/

    When I asked him how I could support my own kids, so that they would not end up in that situation, he said “No worries. Only poor people get sick. We well-educated upper middle class actually are more healthy than in the 1980s, since smoking declined.”
    This has been corroborated by the research of a cardiologist, Remco Kuipers. The analysis seems to be that the public health was at its peak around 1985, just before fastfood, microwave-meals and fizzy softdrinks were introduced.

    When I see what most people buy in the local supermarket, I am not surprised by this health outcome. We allow unnamed corporations to make large profits through selling rubbish in brightly coloured packaging.

    I see the same pattern all over Europe. The poor people are sacrificed, so allow the “market” to win. Both the companies that sell rubbish and the companies that sell medication seem quite content with the arrangement. (One visit to a Target store outside Detroit ten years ago gave a similar feeling…) However, this can of course only go on for so long we have excess resources in the system. I suspect many people will actually be better off in the next crisis…

    Do you see the same pattern in Oz?


  20. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, I didn’t get a chance to be profligate with the 8 minutes of electricity generated that day, because the complex electrical components in the system consumed that lot – and more. Incidentally, and here you must forgive my slip into the dark technosphere of tomgeekery, but the almost 8kW of installed panels generated about 0.8kWh of electricity for the day. Dark foreshadowings (a good blog title don’t you reckon?) for the true believers in the technology will save us mindset.

    On the other hand the incident gave me a good kick up the backside to spend some quality time reading up on the battery technology and comparing those words to the battery specifications and what I’m observing here after a good six months of experience. Basically, I had to further refine the very complex battery charge programming and then observe what happens. I reckon the programming is now pretty good, and sometimes one must blow their own trumpet! 🙂 Hope I don’t blow up the batteries though!!!

    Ha! Droughts, I know droughts. Well decisions had been made at the highest levels between the competing options of semiconductor production and irrigation. A now dead native American may have quipped that those things will be hard to eat. 😉 By way of comparison, they have almost as many people living on that island as lives on this entire continent. And the talk of pumping water from east to west would be ludicrously expensive due to the terrain in between. Also what stood out was the lack of vegetative cover on the more densely populated western side of the island and with that many people in close proximity – the heat island effect would definitely be an issue. Also another thing which stood out to me is that the eastern and mountainous half of the island appears to have quite good forest cover with many rivers draining the north-south running mountain range – the topography just doesn’t have anywhere obvious on that eastern side to store the water. And good luck with desalination as it is always technically possible, it’s just crazy expensive. If I had to provide some solid advice to the denizens of that island it would sound something like: Good luck (they’re gonna need it).

    I couldn’t possibly have known that, but kudos to the Seattle folks as it was a well written article – I’ve seen far worse. Hehe! It looks like Mr Greer has written an essay on Concern Trolls – the cheeky scamps. It’s not in my nature to seek control, but the interweb is one place where such a response is mandatory. I don’t travel far upon this here thing called the interweb, but it is rare to spot a code of conduct like the one I employ. Although I’m sure that goes on a lot in the background with some websites. Actually the code of conduct is something that I can point at if ever there is any trouble. The laws down here in that regard are horrendous, but they’re getting bad in your country too. For example look at how Mars Boy managed to extricate himself from what appeared to be surprising comments about one of the folks who rescued kids from the Thai cave disaster. Imagine the legull (sic) (kind of rhymes with seagull don’t you reckon?) bill from that nightmare!!!

    Beware the 5 hour a day folks, and hope that you are never involved in their plans! 🙂

    It was pretty funny that comment about the body – I could almost hear it in my mind being used in an Agatha Christie story. All very English, ol’ chap!

    Yes, well that can be a problem. In fact one notable example down here looks as if he’s completed the formal legal education at the communities expense. And I can’t recall whether it happened or not, he might have been declared a legal nuisance – and impressive feat. But it did get him out of the day to day routine with those never ending series of actions. I used to live in the suburb which he made infamous and admittedly the property was cheap. Hoddle Street. When parole was a possibility, the re-enactment was aired in public and it was chilling to see.

    Fair enough, say no more. 🙂 Hehe! $40, mate down here it would be more like $40,000 to $60,000 for a cheap one! Things are pricey down here. 🙂 But that would be peanuts compared to what Number One Geek boss would have to pay, whom I read about this week was going through a similar process. Almost as good as Mars Boy, huh? 😉

    I hear you about being careful not to give legal advice. And I have even worse restrictions on supplying financial advice – it’s brutal and my hands are tied on that matter. Far out, that sends a very strong message leaving such a book lying around – but then some people don’t get subtle messages…

    Nice work with doing your own legal footwork, and that’s an option. I hear sometimes of people representing themselves, and have noted that it is not always frowned upon. In fact sometimes if a person is respectful of the majesty of the institution from what I’ve heard, then it might work to their advantage. That name changing process used to be called deed poll down here, but then I read somewhere recently that it has become a simpler process. I noted a few years ago that some antisocial media head honcho’s advised people with a poor reputation, or caught in unfortunate circumstances, to change their names.

    Fortunately in this case, Eleanor can’t test Ollie. I do have a standardised testing procedure. It works like this, I poke the dog hard in the guts with a forefinger whilst asking the hard question: Oi! Are you alive, or what? Always elicits an active response, unless they’re dead of course.

    I had to look up the definition of copacetic, and the spell checker even knew it. Wonders will never cease. It is good to read that Eleanor is in fine spirits! 🙂 Yes, time will address the plants, but I try not to plant into new soil as the plants do as you describe and go into a bit of shock. They’ll get over it just fine.

    Maybe over the next few days I’ll get the garden terraces ready for next spring. The editor is a touch grumpy with me because I took the low centre of gravity mower down to the farm machine repair shop to be serviced and it might not be available to use this glorious weather weekend. I take responsibility for looking after the machines, if only because the alternative would produce poor and expensive outcomes. Prevention in this case is better than a cure.

    The tree dudes did some work this morning.



  21. Hi Claire, DJ and Goran,

    Thanks for the lovely comments, but it is the dreaded mid-week hiatus tonight. Apologies, but there is a beer matrix which requires some serious investigation. Promise to speak tomorrow, when there will be no beer around to speak of. 🙂



  22. Hello Chris
    This is just to say that I am here and reading the blog plus comments with great enjoyment. Time seems to be short at the moment and I tend to feel very irritable with the current world and am inwardly ranting continuously. Better if it remains inward.

    Still unbelievably cold weather. Have just returned from voting in the local elections.


  23. Hi, Chris!

    Bok! Bok! Still there, not back home yet, but things are going well. Thanks for the flowers. They are just coming out where we are. Their spring is 4 or 5 weeks behind Virginia’s.


  24. Hi Chris,

    Took the train to Chicago yesterday. They still aren’t taking fares and even with a greatly reduced schedule the train was very empty. The train station downtown is in the business district and it was almost like a ghost town with very few people out and about. There were none of the usual taxis either. I had heard on the news just the day before that many of the taxi drivers had gone bankrupt. To be a taxi driver in Chicago one has to purchase a medallion. At present they cost $25,000 but this price has dropped significantly. In 2014 they cost closer to $200,000. Ride shares significantly cut into taxi drivers income even before you know what. This last year put a large number out of business due to lost fares and debt from purchasing medallions and the vehicle itself.

    I walked to my aunt’s Rehab center which is in the ritzy gold coast area (where she also lives). As I got closer foot traffic was much closer to normal and there were some taxis around. The walk was about 45 minutes. There were many police sitting in their cars. People have been mugged more often especially in these low traffic areas a fact not lost to me as a small old lady. There was virtually nothing open in the train station either.

    The rehab center is part of the huge Northwestern Hospital system and Lurie Children’s Hospital is also located there so it was quite busy in that area.

    My aunt is doing pretty well and she’s very motivated to get better. Her biggest issue right now is walking as she often gets dizzy and of course that affects her balance. Cognitively she seems just fine and the severe pain she had (the reason for the surgery) is gone. Found a place near the hospital to have lunch and read as I had 2 1/2 hours between leaving my aunt (she had hours of rehab scheduled) and the train home. Walked back to get on a very empty train home. Ended up as an 11 hour day.

    Got another .3inch rain this morning though quite chilly.

    That egg must have been awfully old. Yuck!!

    Funny thing about my mom was her parents were extremely controlling of her time and interests and I would have thought she would have learned from that. On the other hand we could have quite frank discussions with her especially as we were older that she could have never had with my grandmother. She knew I smoked in high school and in fact that I snuck cigarettes in the washroom. When I got caught and subsequently suspended for three days her she just asked, “Why did you get caught?”. As Patrick and Michael were toddlers and she was quite tied down my punishment was the watch them for the three days so she could go out herself. Btw I’ve been a non-smoker for about 30 years now.


  25. @ Goran – As with soil in the garden, food is where general health starts. I read a lot about food and the food industry. Good information is out there, for those that are interested.

    There were a couple of books done about “Blue Zones.” Partly funded by the National Geographic Society. Blue Zones are where people live long, healthy lives. Pockets, around the world.

    Michael Pollan has written a lot on food and health. He breaks it down to an easy saying. “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” By “eat food,” he means, food your grandmother would recognize.

    Right now, I have a big bowl of rice, cooking up. Long grain brown rice. Two cups I soak it overnight, rinse a few times, and nuke (microwave) it for 20 minutes. I had a boil over problem, but Chris’s wife passed on the tip to cook it, uncovered. No more problem. I also add a splash of olive oil. Perfect rice, every time. I put it in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. I use it as a base, for a lot of my evening meals. Lasts me 5 or 6 days.

    Of course, on cannot live without treats! 🙂 . Muffins and cookies. I discovered that at least as far as the muffins go, I can substitute unsweetened apple sauce, for the oil. I use the best flour. We are lucky to have an employee owned, grain mill, the next state over. All organic, stone ground flours. It’s a little more expensive, but not outrageously so. And sometimes I can find bags at the discount grocery store. I have also found that by making my own treats, I tend to eat less of them. They fill me up, faster. And, having put in the time and the effort, I’m more … thrifty in eating them.

    Food is kind of a hobby with me. I have around 350 “cook books”. But a lot of them are books ABOUT food. History, certain national cuisines. It keeps my mind (and my appetite) stimulated.

    I’m 71, and pretty healthy, other than some joint problems. I take no medications, other than a daily aspirin and some vitamins. Everyone in my mother’s family had diabetes. So far, I’ve dodged that bullet. Lew

  26. Yo, Chris – Ah! I had forgotten to consider the power needed, just to keep the system, ticking over. LOL. “Tomgeekery” is a fine word. When it hits the OED, the origin section will say, “First used in an obscure Australian blog.” 🙂 . “Dark Foreshadowings” would make a fine name for a blog. But I see it more on what’s coming. The Descent. No, one doesn’t want blown batteries. Just rocks.

    There are no easy answers, for Taiwan. They really are stuck between the rock and the hard spot.

    I saw Mr. Greer’s offering this week, as more a riff on Freedom of Speech. Which, as you know, is a big deal here. Often to our detriment. Although, that depends on “where you’re coming from.” For some, it’s a fine thing. For other’s not so much. Your mileage may vary. Something keeps kicking around in my mind, but I can’t quit get my thoughts, in order.


    I almost mentioned another well run and well modulated blog. But thought better of it. Don’t want you to be overrun. 🙂 . I figure people who belong here, will find there way here. Like rocks. 🙂 . I can’t think of a single person here, who I don’t value and respect. And enjoy hearing from.

    The Hoddle Street shootings, were horrendous. But pretty old hat, here. What I want to know is, why did Mum have such a large arsenal, under her bed? But no wonder your friends and family didn’t want to visit, when you lived in the area! Anybody sue the perp for causing declining property values?

    Well, we had a bit of excitement, Tuesday night. Around 11, I heard a lot of sirens. Not so unusual, as we’re a block off the main drag. I got the rest of the story, the next day. Miles out that main drag, some sheriffs had seen a suspicious car. They gave chase. Speeds approached 100 mph. Shots were fired, by the perp. The chase ended when he crashed into the corner of an auto supply store. A block down and two blocks over, from where I live. The store was open for business again, yesterday. So, the structural damage, must have been minor.


    What I want to know is, with a rap sheet like this guy has, why is he still out of prison, and walking around?

    I see the guy who owns the River, is also heading for the marital rocks. Lots of high profile divorces, these days. Hmm. All in the tech world. I wonder if that says anything about the state of tech?

    I had left my canvas gardening gloves, outside overnight. Not only were they wet, but a large number of pill bugs, had taken up residence. They were evicted from their new digs. Don’t tell anyone. We have an eviction moratorium going on, due to You Know What.

    Rain is forecast to start back up, today. Looking at the weather radar, there’s an enormous green band (which denotes heavy rain) moving across the coast, right now. Cue up the theme from “Jaws.” Oh, well. Won’t have to water the garden, today.

    I finished “The Bookseller of Florence”, and moved onto “The School of Essential Ingredients.” By the same author as “House Lessons.” Erica Bauermeister. I finished it, last night. It’s not a big book. A novel, which I don’t read much, anymore. But I found it delightful, and intend to get the sequel. It’a about a woman who runs a restaurant, in Seattle. On Monday nights, when the restaurant is closed, she runs a cooking school, once a month. There are eight students. Each with their own stories. It really doesn’t have recipes, but food preparation moves the narrative along. One bit of food you might find interesting. A fellow, trying to make an impression on a fellow student, makes a tiramisu! His tackling the recipe (and his missteps) were engrossing. I think I could make one, just by following the narration. The Editor might like the book.

    Go Tree Dudes! Lew

  27. Tuesday just before 11 am my wife when walking towards the kitchen tripped her self and had a bad fall on to the well padded carpeted floor she twisted one leg axially past it’s limit and on impact caused two small closed cracks in the pelvic bone. Muscles and tendons were pulled and. sprained. I saw the whole fall and rushed to help. she couldn’t roll on to her back without excruciating pain. So I immediately called the 911 response folk who arrived quickly. They quickly assessed her condition and gave her pain shots and off to the Hospital about a quarter mile away. I gathered her insurance cards and phone ,closed the house and followed to the emergency room. When I got there she was already in a room and in hospital garb and had been assigned a physician who ordered preliminary X-rays. Then the pace sloooowed way down to medical speed. More pain meds and wait. Doctor back with news of the pelvic bone cracks. More wait time for orthopedic evaluation of X-rays and mulling need for CT scan . Finally evaluation of her ability to move on her own to use the restroom. Failed test . More wait. Decidedto admit her and maybe do the Cat scan. Keep her over night. Reevaluate condition. My next door neighbor who manages the hospital IT dept heard of the ambulance run to our street address so came by the ER to see what happened. And offer any help we needed. Also a lovely family friend who performs CT scans there got a call from our daughter about Moms injury and stopped by my wife’s room to offer support. Kind of special We thought.

    The hospital visitor policy ,due to that which must not be spoken of , is quite different . The patient may choose Two persons who may visit them one or the other on a given day. The person of the day may visit during the hours of 8am and 8pm. What ever time the visitor leaves the hospital is the conclusion of that days visit.
    Either designated visitor may be chosen for any exclusive day. Or for all days by the patient. The policy Looks to me to be conducive to hate and discontent for several reasons. My wife chose our Daughter and myself to be her designated visit peoples. During her stay. She moved to the rehabilitation area and started three hour daily Physical Therapy today. Her progress well be evaluated for fitness to to go home on next Tuesday. She will do well I’m confident of her tenacity to get back home😀

  28. Hi Claire,

    🙂 Respect. You’ve mentioned your playing of the mountain dulcimer before, but the length of experience does you credit. The instrument is basically not heard of down under, but I enjoyed a number of ewetoob clips of players doing their thing. To my ear, it sounds like a fun instrument which can bring joy and sorrow in equal measures. The editors mum also taught piano, and the editor learned under her tutelage, but has no gift in that area. Her uncle on the other hand was a mason and played the organ and could just play by ear. In the eulogy I heard a funny story where he was requested to accompany a lady of society who sang slightly off key, and so he just accompanied her along with the piano slightly off key, and the feedback was that it was her finest performance ever! Funny stuff.

    Yeah, exactly! There is only so much capacity in the rather limited organ which resides between our ears and um, err, yeah, we can’t be across everything! Alas, time is short and the fields of knowledge are wide. Oh well, maybe next time. 🙂

    Claire, I must inform you that being woke in any hour that begins with the number 6 (in the AM’s of course) can lead to the entire day feeling completely out of whack. You and Mike are clearly made of tougher stuff. Years ago I went to a lovely act at the comedy festival titled: The Aspie Hour. You can probably guess at the content. Anyway, the young lady mentioned that she was not a morning person and would never be one, and I thought to myself: Good onya, you go girl! Early mornings are somehow just not right. 🙂 I hear your inclusion of the word discipline in relation to early morning awakenings, but ah, politely disagree. Hehe!

    I’m hearing your side effects from all manner of sources and can only wish you a speedy recovery. I’m yet too young to be considered for a jab. Oh well, 9 million people to go and counting.



  29. Hi DJ,

    Exactly, travel in these times brings with it risks that you will get stuck wherever you find yourself. A mate in New Zealand suggested to pop over for the weekend, but already travel restrictions have been put in force for people in the state to the north (New South Wales) of this one (Victoria) between that islands country, and so it would be bonkers for us to be stuck in a NZ quarantine for two weeks. But more honestly, I just don’t enjoy travel in aircraft and probably wouldn’t go on that basis alone. Now to cut a long story short, my grandmother took me to see the film: Airport ’77. It was a good film, but I was only a really little kid and the film scared the daylights out of me, and as such I can’t be comfortable 10,000m in the air or underwater. Other folks may do things easier, but that is their problem. 🙂

    No electricity. Haven’t you guys ever heard of a generator? And before electrical resistant elements, there was these things called a brazier and hot irons could be chucked into them to produce wood burning effects. On an unrelated, yet slightly related note, has your group ever considered how to go about producing their crafts with minimal energy inputs? It could be a fun theoretical challenge to discuss.

    DJ, I’m in the presence of musical talent. 🙂 In the reply to Claire I mentioned the editors journey (which was not initially dissimilar from your own). Respect, I have no gift in that area and can only but sit back and enjoy the work of others.

    Exactly! Do you know, that is what I noticed about music too (mathematics). What interested me was that the western musical scale didn’t quite line up with the increment in frequencies (Hertz – or cycles per second), and I often wondered at that. But then, once having learned the scales I could sort of hear when music was deliberately off. Many bands take advantage of that and the effect is quite good. A great Australian contemporary band make excellent use of that effect: RÜFÜS DU SOL – Innerbloom. They probably grew up listening to Jean-Michel André Jarre?

    Thanks for the laughs: Interview Committee indeed! As someone who works in small business (spoken as an exile from the big end of town) two main questions are generally assessed in an interview: 1) Is there a pulse (more important than you’d imagine); and 2) Is there any enthusiasm?

    The absolute worst mistake I’d observed in a mailed in application and CV for a job application is that some numpty had re-used paper that they’d previously printed pornography on the other side of. An utterly fatal error. Another amusing moment was when another numpty used the word ‘incompetent’ instead of the more appropriate ‘competent’. The written language is a skill which requires practice in using.

    Your observations as to lawn care are spot on. And incidentally it is what the indigenous folks used to do from my reading of historical accounts. In Autumn, the stuff would be burnt off creating a very fertile ash bed (you can use a mower and let the stuff drop where it falls). I can’t follow that practice because there are a few numpties who want to set fire to the forest just for the lights and sirens effect, so I manage the place with the lowest common denominator in mind. What else can you do? It is definitely not the best ecological outcome, but oh well.

    As a suggestion, chuck some of your oldest and best established soil into your compost heaps. You might be surprised by the outcome.

    Exactly. I have to give up on some activities here too, and the female of the species is often better placed to provide a second opinion in this regard.



  30. Hi Goran,

    Without understanding the language, the info graphics sort of said it all. The researcher is correct from one perspective, but my understanding is that the situation is far more complicated than that. You grow edible plants and so you know when you take a plant from the soil that it was raised in, and then your excrement goes somewhere else rather than being returned to the soil where the plant grew, something is lost in that transaction. How could it be otherwise? And when you as a gardener / grower return new minerals back to that soil in order to grow the next seasons crops, how do you know that you’ve returned the full spectrum of minerals which were taken?

    My understanding, and I’m no expert by any means and make no claims to that hallowed state, but minerally impoverished soils produce plants which have more calories and less vitamins and diverse minerals (it is an inverse relationship) – so you get fat eating plants grown from such soils. The info graphic was suggesting that possibility. And if a person is not physically active, that’s a double whammy against them. Animals fed on such soils likewise suffer and the meat produced has similar issues for the people eating them – how could it not?

    And if the full range of minerals aren’t on offer, then how can a person’s health not suffer? Mineral deficiencies were commonplace throughout history, and surprisingly trade over any reasonable distance is a way to reduce those sorts of difficulties. Although ultimately the outcome will not be good as the average is reduced everywhere.

    Hehe! Yes, I too wonder at the contents of supermarket trolley’s, but people enjoy the choices they make, otherwise they’d make different choices. I’ve known people with scurvy who were reluctant to admit they were suffering from that dread mineral deficiency. You can only influence your immediate surroundings, so best not to worry and do what you can do.

    Actually, the more processed foods aren’t actually cheaper than the basic raw materials. You can actually eat quite well on the cheap, but it requires a level of skill in the kitchen and markets (or garden) which most people don’t possess. It’s unfortunate, but it is also how it is.

    In some ways it is sort of akin to the predicament of driving around in really large and heavy vehicles. Now if a person is super wealthy, then it doesn’t matter. But if the family is doing it hard, large vehicles cost more to run and maintain than smaller vehicles, however the issue really gets down to what people want to do. I’m sure you see that in your part of the world?

    The great challenge in life is to break free from that, and think your own thoughts and find your own path out of the murk.



  31. Hi Inge,

    Hello! It ain’t just you, I too feel that time is short. Oh well. Fair enough regarding the rant, but um, I must say that being able to write the essays each week provides a nice sort of catharsis. So, if you feel the need to rant, well feel free and go ahead! 🙂

    I’m particularly curious as to the state of affairs in your part of the world? Things are sort of normal down here, but people are a bit edgy lest they go into hard lock down again. And interestingly, rural tourism seems to be on the up – possibly being driven by the poor dears who can’t seem to go on their endless overseas cruises.

    How is that for a fine and unasked for rant? 🙂

    It was 68’F here today which is bonkers warm for the month of May. It looks as though this was the final warm day for the next few months. Hope things warm up for you.



  32. Hi Pam,

    Hehe! Bok! Bok! Bark! 🙂

    I’ve heard that things are colder in Colorado! You get that when you are a bit higher up in the atmosphere. 🙂

    Hope things are going smoothly for you and your parents, and may you get back to your garden soon.


    Chris (and the fluffies)

  33. Hi Margaret,

    Nice score with the free ride into the big smoke. The authorities down here are not nearly so nice, and the smart cards which the conductor scans have to be fed mad cash in advance of the journey, and you have previously to tap on (the smart card) at the stations readers (and then tap off again at the other end, or else risk being charged for the full journey).

    But yeah, the trains here are likewise quieter, although by no means empty. It used to be a standing room only for the trip into the big smoke – a seat is quite an improvement. Oh that’s an interesting difference too, because the train schedules have been pretty much the same since before the health subject which dares not be named. In fact, they’re currently digging a second metro rail tunnel – you should see the mound of allegedly toxic excavated soil which has produced an astounding new small mountain in this part of the world. Oh my! There’s another tunnel also being dug under the Yarra River at the same time – so who knows which soil is which. We’ve been busy, I guess. One day, I’ll nip past and get a photo of the new small mountain… Think close encounters of the third kind sort of mountain, but with a loop road!

    That was the case down here too with taxi’s. I used to know a bloke whose hard working dad gifted him a taxi license (medallion) and a house. Not sure about your part of the world, but taxi drivers weren’t necessarily the ones who owned the license, but the drivers had to pay royalties for the use of the license. I know a bit about that industry through work in a different but related industry. The ride share thing has I’m guessing devalued those taxi licenses (which used to also be traded for their passive income). Taxi drivers themselves usually had to work pretty hard to make ends meet. And spare a thought for the poor taxi driver who drove me back home (into the forest) one night after the previous dirt mouse Suzuki let us down (a fatal error for that vehicle). I tipped him a huge amount for having braved the forest, and he said it was the best trip and tip ever. He let me out on the forest road, in the dark and in the thick fog where all he could see were trees and a dirt road, and he was asking: are you going to be alright? It was pretty funny except for the dead dirt mouse Suzuki – that wasn’t funny at all.

    Ouch, that is a bit of a risk, but then there are many subtle ways to not look like a target for such incidents, but trouble can also randomly find us all. Did you notice whether there was an increase in commercial properties looking vacant, or had signs out advertising for tenants? The vacancy rate in the city here is at a guess 25% and walk past traffic on a weekend is not good from what I’ve observed.

    Great news that your aunt is doing better and more importantly has the desire to get better. And even better news that her chronic pain has diminished following the surgery. That’s great news. But yes, your day was very long indeed.

    Yay for more rain!

    The egg was a bad egg, let’s put it that way. What a stink, but we knew that one purchased egg was bad as there was a faint odour emanating from the cupboard and so we isolated all of those eggs. It was a most unpleasant surprise when we finally discovered which egg it was!

    I’ve wondered about those sorts of things too, and you know, some folks can learn from the lessons of the past and incorporate the lessons into their worldview, whilst yet other people embrace those lessons as their own. I dunno, but that story baffles me too. I tell you a funny story. I’ve only ever owned older dogs and cats, and they’ve all arrived with their personalities fully formed. Yet, Ollie, Plum and Ruby arrived as puppies (Ollie at six months, and Plum and Ruby three months). Their personalities were all hard wired by the time I got them. We sort of round off the worst edges of their personalities, but they just are what they are – and it is possible people are like that too.

    Why did you get caught is an outstanding question, and I appreciate your honesty as it did not reflect well upon your earlier self. That however is the problem with being young, well, you’re young and you make stupid mistakes – I certainly did! 🙂 Your mothers solution was utter genius – you have to admit that you gave her the opportunity, and she took it.



  34. Hi Al,

    Mate, that’s awful, but glad to hear that you were around and could assist with getting help for your lady. It is really nice when people you know gather around and offer support or concern in the aftermath of an accident. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your lady, and may she come home again quick as. It is great news that your lady is already in rehab.

    Wasn’t it the Roman’s who invented the concept of: Hurry up and wait? When I was in the volunteer fire brigade, I heard a cheeky wag (whom I quite enjoyed speaking with) mutter something along those lines. 🙂

    Tenacity is all in this matter. Speaking of tenacity, it took four reads of your final two paragraphs, and I note that you have an excellent command of the English language, but those rules are confusing to say the least. The more cynical side of my brain suggests that it is possible that the rules are meant to be deliberately confusing so as to reduce visitor numbers. But fortunately you have been gifted with a decent brain and no doubts your daughter also inherited this gift, so you’ll both probably be fine – maybe! 🙂

    To take your mind off matters a little bit, I’ve been mucking around over the past week with the battery charge programming to get the voltage up to, but not exceeding 3.65V per cell. The four batteries were ever so slightly out of balance and this may impact upon their longevity.



  35. Hi Lewis,

    So many comments, and for some reason one of the comments lead me on an interweb journey as to the various tall mountains in your country. You’ve got some pretty huge mountains there, and that one in Alaska is truly epic, plus it just looks cool.

    Had a quiet day today as the weather was just really pleasant. Enjoyed some proper tasty scones with homemade raspberry jam and proper cream. I’m still reeling in shock from the imitation scone served up to me a few weeks back. It was a food travesty of the worst kind. Walked around a few gardens, had a random walk through the more elevated forested parts of this mountain range, and discovered the hugest old tree up there that I’ve yet encountered. Fortunately I had my phone with me and took a photo. Hopefully I remember to download the photos off the phone as I don’t usually use that device for that purpose. All up, I’d call it a very pleasant day.

    One of the mud flaps had fallen off the new dirt mouse Suzuki and so I have on hand a collection of the little plastic tabs which they use to hold everything together in vehicles these days, and was able to plug up the two holes left after the mud flap disappeared. A short story, possibly irrelevant to most people, but the thing really did need fixing as mud and water will get into the panels. Have manufacturers not heard of steel bolts and screws? Oh well.

    What else happened? Well I planted a few Tasmanian mountain peppers which are endemic to this mountain range – despite the name. The leaves are fiery hot, and the berries are off the charts bonkers hot. Oh, the plants were planted out in the fern gully as they appreciate a decent drink of water.

    As to the solar, yeah, the battery charge controllers don’t use much power, but the inverter sure does. Not to go into too much detail, but each hour it uses 33Wh. Doesn’t sound like much until you multiply it out by 24 hours to get 792Wh / day, which is about the same amount of electricity required for baking one loaf of bread. Or the full output of four large solar panels for one hour of peak sunlight.

    Of course, dark foreshadowings sounds kind of spooky too! Incidentally I’m still chuckling to myself about Number One Boss Geek! 🙂

    Talk of chipmageddon has made the news, so it must be something of a problem. For all I know the country has further problems that I’m unaware of and aren’t entirely obvious from a casual glance. But would you move there seems like an important question?

    Free speech is a thing, but I really can’t say for sure what it even is. Some of the things I see written on the interweb from your country would be like waving a red flag at a well financed bull with an extraordinarily proactive and sensitive to the merest of slights legal team down here. You guys will work it all out, I’m sure.

    I’d heard of that phrase before (fire / theatres), and it is most certainly a malicious act from my perspective. My gut feel suggests to me that the sort of person who would revel in the act of arson, would also do such a thing so as to cause mayhem and possibly they’d be the sort to sit back and watch and enjoy the lights and sirens. But then, crowd crushes can also happen due to the mania of crowds. Here is an on the ground first hand look at such an incident (the band DMA’s is hardly the sort to inspire such an event): ‘People were covered in blood’: what went down in the Falls stampede. The account may assist your thoughts?

    No! This evening is about the upper limit as to the number and quality of comments that I can physically respond to, so no need to link to other blogs, no matter how well run. 🙂 I note that you understand this though. And truth to tell, it is a highlight of my day to see what fascinating comments and dialogue await. The 2,000 words each week and lack of political discourse tends to put off the worst offenders! Although we may sometimes slip into politics if only to mention Peter Garret (former Federal minister and lead singer of the band Midnight Oil) and his unique dancing prowess. It seems important.

    Yeah, the incident was a turning point, but the much later Port Arthur massacre cemented public opinion due to the sheer senselessness of the atrocity. Nah, we got the house cheap as the area had a dodgy reputation in the aftermath and for years afterwards. In these now gentrified times, the area is well out of my price range. But that all only goes to prove that mad cash doesn’t buy what it once used to.

    Well, if the alleged perp needs that much for bail, he’s gonna have to give up on the Rogaine treatment, that’s for sure. Yes, a rookie mistake to have ditched the weapon but not the casings. The word recidivist comes to mind, but I don’t really know why.

    What does it say about tech: Maybe, it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be? 🙂 I was thinking about the river guy too – imagine having to work together in the ugly aftermath, and then maybe one was the front-man and the other was the brains? You never know.

    Your garden might be providing more than you know, for I’ve read suggestions that pill bugs are edible? At least we won’t starve!

    Rent assistance programs finished a bit over a month ago down here. It is quiet on that front, but deferred rents can be repaid over the next 2 years following that completion from what I understand. That and mortgage deferrals are a bit like Fight Club in that nobody is talking about them!

    The theme from Jaws was unforgettable. Did you get much rain?

    Hmm, no Agatha Christie mentions anywhere today other than in a Stephen King book of short stories (If it Bleeds) that the editor was reading this morning. One mention is probably enough to confirm the existence of a pattern. 🙂

    Lewis, lead me not into temptation, and a book referral, and you managed to somehow work tiramisu into it all. I can only but acknowledge your superior command of the English language and refer the referral to the editor. The ‘to-read’ list for me is groaning under the weight of accumulated pages yet to be explored.

    I now retire from the field in the full glory of defeat.



  36. Hello Al
    Sorry to hear about your wife’s fall but glad to hear that things are progressing okay.


    Hello Chris
    I consider that things are absolutely ghastly here. Messages are mixed to the point of nonsense. Post offices are closing. Banks are providing an ever lesser service; one is so bad that I need to get out of it and haven’t a clue as to where to go instead. We are very short of building societies on the Island, there are only 2. I have an account in one of them and the other is not conveniently situated.

    Honorary son has flown over from the US and is currently quaranteening (can’t spell it) in a London hotel. I think that he was utterly nuts to come! He will have further hoops to jump through.

    The grand designs house nearby is still not occupied though it is sold and I have met the wife who I liked. They are doing massive extra works both inside and outside where trees are being massacred. That last word looks incorrectly spelt to me but there is no complaint!

    The weather has finally warmed up today and my planted potatoes are deigning to show a few tiny leaves.

    Son is virtually unable to use his right hand and it looks like more than the usual gout. As he is liable to anaphylactic shock he has been asking me to check out what strong pain killers he can use. My views on the subject do not please him.


  37. @ Al – I’ll keep your wife in my nightly thoughts. May she have a speedy recovery! Lew

  38. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder … About two years ago, a cab driver set himself on fire, in front of the New York City, city hall. Due to his license loosing most of it’s value, and customers snapped up by “amateurs.” I wonder how many others, followed the same path, but in a less dramatic manner?

    Yup. We’ve got big mountains. They’re just not very evenly distributed 🙂 . When I traveled out on the Great Plains, as a kid, there was not a mountain in sight. Made me apprehensive. As if I might be blown off the face of the earth.

    That imitation scone is probably hiding out, somewhere in your system, quietly festering away. Maybe a good purge ….

    You keep finding bigger and bigger trees. Hope our picture has someone standing next to it, for scale?

    You know, toothpaste is pretty handy for plugging holes. Of course, that’s nail holes in walls. Might not work so good on a car.

    I did a bit of poking around, about the Tasmanian mountain pepper. Quit edible, I see. In this country, competitive chili cook offs, are quit the thing. Besides bragging rights, there are often cash prizes. I think there was even a reality show, or two. I wonder if anyone’s used the Tasmanian peppers? Might lend an extra bit of something, to put one over the top. My Dad used to make a good chili. Nothing really outlandish, but very tasty. One restaurant I worked in, kept a crock pot of chili, going all week. We only cleaned it out, once a week. In the meantime, we would toss in the occasional onion. And, the butt ends of meat, that we had sliced for sandwiches. Turkey, roast beef and ham. It was kind of a European idea. Keep a pot just bubbling on the back of the stove, hot enough to keep anything untoward from growing in it, and toss in … whatever.

    The solar equivalencies are fun. You could do a whole chart. You know, in your spare time 🙂 .

    I still think “tomgeekery” is wizard. But one would have to be familiar with “tomfoolery,” which isn’t heard much, anymore. Which lead to a dive down the rabbit hole. “Tomfoolery” was inspired by an actual person. Thomas Skelton, who was a court jester, in 16th century England. Shakespeare knew him, and it’s speculated that he was the model for the fool, in King Lear. Sad it’s not heard much, anymore. But, tomfoolery had a good run!

    The stampede at the Falls, was terrible. But, at least no one died. Israel had a stampede, at a religious festival, last week. 40+ people died. It’s why crowds make me nervous. And, anytime I’m in a public place, I want to know where the exits are, and that they’re not chained.

    You know, something clicked into place, reading about your Hoddel Street shooter. He washed out of the military. Seems like a noticeable amount of our mass shooters, are also military washouts. You wouldn’t notice, but we have such a large sampling to study.

    Oy! Watch it with the Rogaine comments. Might be someone, somewhere who’s follicly challenged, who might be hurt and / or offended. 🙂 .

    (Host proffers a plate of sow bugs.) “Sow bugs?” “No thanks. I’m on a diet.” (Which doesn’t include sow bugs.) Makes sense. I think they’re distantly related to crabs, and such. But I’ll keep them in mind, and add it to the list of, “only if I’m starving.”

    A reversal of fortune. The clouds rolled in, yesterday. It was funny. The change in the weather made me really restless. I even took a walk around, outside, just to … settle. And then, not a drop of rain fell here, yesterday! Even though it looked like it was going to. I guess it poured, in Centralia. So, I’d built my whole day around, “It’s going to rain.” And, it didn’t. I even went out and picked some more chamomile, just to see if I could get the skies to open. I finally caved in, and watered some of the plants, that were looking sad, around five. I want a refund! I want to talk to management! 🙂 .

    Now today, I nipped down to the library. Got slightly damp on the way down, but nar a drop, on the way back. I see so many interesting plants, along the way. Some are familiar, some not. Here at the Institution, the rhodies are putting on quit a show. We also have two lilacs, that are in bloom. The scent is quit heady, when I walk past them.

    Saw an interesting article about peak this and that, and supply line problems …


    Hmmm. Maybe the Master Gardener’s should cancel that order for more stock tanks, and take it up next year? I’ll mention it to them. They were warned that when the tanks come in, in the fall (if they do) they will be more expensive.

    I did chuckle when it was revealed that the desert one of our heroes had chosen, to impress his Lady Love, was tiramisu. And then the narrative of the making was so … lush. I was thinking more about the book, today. The author has a real economy of words. Even though she’s juggling 8+ characters, you really get a sense of the people. And, there’s also an over riding narrative of our seasons, here in the Northwest. And yet, it’s a small book. Lew

    PS: The skies just opened up.

  39. @ Al – I too am glad your wife is recovering well from her fall and I wish a quick and completely successful rehab for her!


  40. Chris,

    I see that Lew said it’s raining there. Not here. Nary a drop. April sported 16% of normal (yes 84% LESS than normal) rainfall. March and April, 2 rainy months, combined had LESS than our driest month, July. Drought? Yes.

    I dislike flying. Used to like it 40 years ago, but no longer. A few bad experiences will do that to you.

    A generator for 90 minutes? Not a good thing in the parks. And a good wind break wood need to be erected. Now I wouldn’t mind these things, but I’m one of the younger attendees. I DO like your idea of figuring out how to wood burn without electric burners. A worthy challenge, that.

    I got so well trained when starting as a music major, that there are some popular singers from the 1970s (cough cough Barry Manilow cough cough) that I still can’t listen to. They couldn’t quite ever find the note they were trying to sing, and it set my hair on edge. I had long hair back then, so there was a lot of edge to it when listening to off-key “music”. It gave me headaches and drove me to distraction back then, and it still irritates me to this day when I hear those and similar songs.

    Oh, jeepers, the gummint jobs always had dozens to hundreds of applicants. Decent work, great benefits. So, yes, interview committees.

    The first time I was on one, it was for a promotional job in a specialized field position. One guy had the job in the bag before the final question: “Where would you like to be in 5 years?” (There were a lot of dumb questions.) In his reply, he called the interviewers several unrepeatable names, and was worse when discussing managers and coworkers. He didn’t get the job.

    But someone had previously used paper for the application/CV with porno on the back? Seriously? A one time Giant Boss (GB) had his computer break down. The tech told us that the computer had gobs of porn on it. That would’ve been instant job loss for us peasants, but not for GB, who was a total jerk and kneebiter to boot. However, GB started writing a monthly column in which he was going on about how much of a good religious person he was. We all laughed. We knew him. Then, he talked about how he had “just brought my son to the Lord at Promise Keepers”, only to have the local newspaper headline say on the front page 2 days later: “GB Fired for Affair with Subordinate”.

    Thanks for the idea. “Used” but good soil added to the bad soil spots sounds hopeful. Better than “used” paper for a CV.

    Second vaccination for us on Saturday, the M version. Hopefully the reaction isn’t as bad as the first round.


  41. Hello Chris,

    Yes, you are absolutely right on the nutrient deficiencies.
    The broken-loop of nutrient flow where we eat stuff from one place and let our “wastes” flush “away” somewhere else, is a losing game. The soil is fed with something that the grower (currently) thinks is good enough, but we really don’t know (and “compost” can mean almost anything.)
    The health researchers here (Hulsegge et al.) are unfortunately as yet blind to this perspective.

    I shudder when I think of the modern Dutch hydroponic systems. Here, more and more vegetables are grown in “soil-less” media with liquid synthetic fertilizer. Whatever the producer of the fertilizer has put in, will be in the plants, and nothing else (except carbon from the air).
    It seems to me an act of hubris to pretend that we know what “complete feed” is for a tomato plant. Even without considering the ridiculous energy bill, how could this possibly work in the long run? Especially since there are conflicting economic incentives, from a producer & consumer perspective. Some trace elements (that we know are useful) are actually quite pricey.

    I remember back in China in the 1990s, where the ubiquitous blue barrels with black lids were brought out from the cities to the fields. Cargo tricycles made a morning round to collect the barrels from public and private privies. The smell was revealing..
    Unfortunately, I have never seen any of the composting facilities that were described by King in the “Forty Centuries” book. In China, wherever I went, the night soil was applied directly to the fields, which explains why all vegetables (including lettuce) was stir-fried, and why nobody drank cold water out of wells. Tea is both civilized and safe…

    However, change is hard, and luxury is addictive.
    For me, it was more than ten years ago that I read about humanure and the excellent book by F.H. King, but only last year that I built my own composting toilet in my orchard workplace. Still not at home (even though the urine gets used also in the garden). Even though I intellectually understood that it would be better to do the composting thing, it was quite a challenge to actually get around to do it. It is so easy to just keep flushing and complaining why other people don’t save the planet…
    (And here in the Netherlands, it is technically illegal to use the humanure in any agricultural context, even when composted.)
    What would be needed to make a loo-shift on a country-wide level?

    Chris and the Editor – what made you shift? Was it the necessity? Would you have considered a composting bucket outhouse in town?
    Anyone else – do you have ideas on how to get the seemingly safe Jenkins model rolled out in a global campaign?

    Time to give the leeks a leak,


  42. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for the link to the Notayesman economics blog and I found myself agreeing with the analysis. The relaxing of lending restrictions has put a rocket up house prices, but then as that occurs more and more people are excluded from the system. And of note is that many of the new loans being issued as fixed at super low interest rates, are also I believe only for a fixed term. At the end of this fixed term, the loans have to be reapplied for (usually three years). A fixed term interest only loan looks a lot to me like a rental with debt.

    Interesting, and many thanks for the news from your part of the world. As a comparison, the post offices aren’t closing, they’re reducing their services, such as no longer accepting perishable items and reducing the number of mail runs per week. So, same, same but different.

    Your island is big enough and the population small enough that services are scattered across the island (I face similar problems here). For your interest I looked up just how many folks lived in the council shire area here and turns out that it is a bit over a third of your population (50k versus 141k) but the land area is 4.6 times greater. As an amusing side story a person once asked me what shops were in my immediate area…

    Respect to your honourary son, and may he come out of the hotel quarantine in good physical and mental shape and you get to enjoy his visit. Two weeks in isolation can work strange effects upon a person, but he may be made of tougher stuff than I. Damo (who comments here and I count as a friend) went through four weeks of quarantine in order to return home from New Zealand.

    Out of curiosity, is this the wife of the purchaser or the wife of the seller? From memory, the house was already enormous. I don’t touch the old trees of the forest, lest the elder folk of the forest take umbrage at my actions, but mileage can vary in that regard. Hopefully in the next blog I’ll post a photo of the biggest tree that I’ve yet encountered in the mountain range and it is quite hidden in an out of the way spot. The canopy was superb and made many suggestions as to how things are meant to look, although I could hardly photograph that.

    Go the potatoes! 🙂 You’ve reminded me that I have to feed my lot.

    Ouch, and I’m very sorry to hear that your son is having such troubles. And I too tend to be a bit leery of such medications if only because ‘soldiering on’ is not necessarily a wise move and may lead to a slower recovery. I don’t really share my troubles, but candidly I’ve had to take it easier this week.



  43. Hi Goran,

    Well exactly, and yes the word compost can mean almost anything. The main reason I’ve been delving into this soil subject is that the trees in the orchard, and the annuals this season grew so slowly. Yes, it was a very cold and damp summer, but I know of people who were unaffected and I have quizzed them as to the why of the matter. It might surprise you, but they themselves did not appreciate their systems and were somewhat surprised to hear that things had been otherwise. Sometimes you need a good case of failure (like this cold and damp growing season) to really reinforce a particular message. Feed the soil!

    The health researchers here are likewise blind to this story, but that is hardly surprising because each year fewer people are relied upon to produce food for the rest of the population. As far as I’m concerned, that policy is a total disaster waiting to happen.

    Hydroponics is only ever as good as the knowledge of the person maintaining the system – and the easiest way to make a profit is to skimp and provide the bare minimum of minerals for the plants to survive. I’m not a fan of such systems. It may be that such systems are all that can be done given the physical space available to the growers? Dunno. As you note, it is hubris to believe that the grower can know every mineral and compound required to grow plants – and it is really difficult to know what plant produce is heavy on the calories, and what plant produce favours minerals and vitamins. The things I’ve been fed over the years – as no doubts you have as well…

    I read a story about a plant collector working for the US gobarmint way back in the day, and the adventurous bloke was in China and he suggested a similar thing that the humanure was applied directly to the soil. The book was: The food explorer by Daniel Stone (Lewis recommended it). If the health impacts were really serious, the practice would have stopped, but I note that things are different these days, and it might not be a bad idea to get that ammonia into the soil rather than the atmosphere. The chicken system here smells very neutral, but if I get the faintest whiff of ammonia, I work the entire chicken system so that nitrates are not lost to the atmosphere as that is a waste.

    If you want a laugh, almost a decade ago I put together a very cheesy video on how the humanure here gets processed and into the soil via normal plumbing, but through a worm farm. I warn you that that the video was cheesy: Fernglade Farm – Worm Farm Humanure System. Ah, fun times and the farm looks very different nowadays. You can also see the marsupials in action in the very young orchard.

    Hunger would certainly provide the impetus for a shift in that mindset, but what is waste, is well… Tolkien said it far better than I ever could: “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” It’s a bit like that really. 🙂

    I assume by shift, you mean shift to composting our own wastes? That is easy – there are no sewers up here, and a household is responsible for their own systems – and the systems have to have the proper certification. There was no need for a composting bucket, as the system here is pretty good: ECO-FRIENDLY SEPTIC TANK SYSTEMS. The fright that people have about their own wastes is a situation that is not sustainable for very long.

    Go the leeks!



  44. Hi DJ,

    Those sorts of rainfall numbers sure do look like a drought to me too. Sorry mate, it’s an awful state to be in, and hopefully your local rivers keep on giving. And keep the garden watered – not the lawns, but the plants in the garden. Grass bounces back at the first hint of decent rain.

    Go on! DJ, you can’t say that something was OK before the incident, without then mentioning what the incident actually was? And given you are still here to talk about the incident…

    Hehe! It was only a suggestion, but yes other folks in the park would probably become outraged at the noise of the generator. But exactly, how did the old timers used to practice their wood burning arts? I’ll bet it involved a brazier and some irons? Had a burn off today, but the rain late this afternoon (which was rather wet) might have put and end to the burn off.

    Hehe! True, and you make a solid case. But, and here I’d be curious as to your thoughts in the matter, but I’ve always assumed that the accepted musical scale is a more or less an agreed upon thing which we’ve all just become accustomed to. Mr Manilow’s music was rather dull.

    Of course, I forget about the perquisites of such an august position, and this of course is due to having spent well nigh over a decade in small business.

    On the other hand, the answers to the revealing interview question, which I too have incidentally been asked, may have saved your group much heartache. There is so much turnover in employment nowadays that at five years a person might now be considered a veteran of the business? But back in the day a CV which indicated a history of job hopping used to be viewed rather dimly.

    Yes, that is a true story. My actual thought at the time was that whomever sent this CV in was an idiot, and I didn’t want anything to do with them. Of course, the person may have been testing the business? I mean it would be hard to argue much later as an employer that the employee was a problem, if the problems began before even the interview process and yet they were still employed.

    Of course, the GB doth protest too much me thinks! I tend to look at a person’s actions and then compare those to the talk. It always provides insightful observations as to a person’s inner workings. There was a politician down here who made similar claims and ended up in similar straits. A very amusing joke at the time was that he liked families so much, he decided to get a second one.

    Good luck with the second jab, and I hear things, but also note that everyone is very different in their outcomes.



  45. Hi Lewis,

    To act so is sometimes the act of a person who has been backed into a corner. Another option out of that corner is for the person to fight insanely and with an utter lack of care – a dangerous person (or group). I didn’t find an article on the subject you mentioned, but there was a guy who shot himself for allegedly similar reasons whilst having worked in the industry for many decades. The much lauded gig economy benefits some at the expense of others – and it is a known thing that some folks undervalue themselves and so become desperate enough for income to take work on at any price. There was a bit of talk recently in the news down here of food delivery riders and how they’re responding to some sort of algorithm which pushes the riders and a few riders have apparently been hit and killed by cars. Online food delivery deaths prompt calls for better worker’s compensation for gig economy workers. The river employees apparently can’t go to the toilet, and I know how I would respond to that circumstance – think Fight Club.

    Ooo! Your huge mountain off in the distance whilst on the Great Plains, reminds me of what the worlds largest pebble looks like from a distance (it’s pretty awesome): Waterfalls cascade down Uluru as severe weather brings heavy rain to NT. Did you ever discover what the mountain was called which you spotted off in the distance?

    Yikes! I’d hope that unpleasant food travesty was well and truly gone by now. The worm farm is too good for that sort of thing.

    Toothpaste might not stand up to the weather. Speaking of weather, we had a bit of rain here late this afternoon and into the evening. Had a burn off down below, so it might have been put out by the rain. Oh well.

    I’m taking it a bit easy this week as I’ve got a bit of inflammation of the shoulder and see no reason to push things. A week off won’t matter.

    The Tasmanian mountain pepper is very fiery and it is the leaves which provide the zing. The berries are seriously the whole next level. Ooo! I love the idea of the slow cooked crock pot of chili, and it would have been superb. Even the toughest cuts of meat end up being really tasty. From time to time I’ll come across a place that slow cooks (24 hour+) meat and it is pretty good. Pulled pork is sometimes cooked that way down here. Yum! Out of curiosity, did you notice whether any regular diners began regularly ordering the slow cooked crock pot dish?

    Spare time? What is this thing? I haven’t even managed to drop by at Ecosophia and say hello, although I’ve read the essay and comments. It’s an excellent topic too. Oh well, hours, days, only so many of something or other.

    Wise to know the exit points in advance, as often crowds can push towards wherever the crowd is heading. Not a wise strategy, as there may be other exits.

    Exactly. Yes, somewhere in the past I used to speak with someone who someone who knew of him from those military days. Hmm. Leaving the military can sometimes leave a person vulnerable and devoid of their long accustomed support networks. It’s a bit like moving from one school to another school where the previous kids no longer want to know you because they’re in and you’re out.

    Of course, yes, please do accept my apologies for the gaff. 😉

    I thought that wood lice were a form of crustacean? Dunno, but it’s useful knowledge, but err, you go first.

    A very localised rain storm, and yes some years I can actually watch the rain zipping past along the valley without dropping some of that handy wet stuff which falls out of the sky. And um, in an embarrassing confession I’ve likewise tempted the weather gawds, not with picking chamomile, but by throwing down the gauntlet and decrying into the ether (there is a bit of that here with the view and all): I urinate more than this supposed rain storm! But be careful because there can be blow back with such a challenge and the storms can be horrendous and destructive. Using your words, you could suggest that management was not much pleased by the criticism.

    Lilac is beautiful and rhodies are very showy. It is funny you mention rhodies.

    Peak this and that: Wow! So they’ll throw your local steel producers to the wolves, I’m guessing?

    I mentioned to you a long while ago that steel was in short supply down here, yet why is demand for iron ore booming with orders rolling in from the land of stuff? Where is the final product stuff going is a question that possibly should be asked.

    The tiramisu reference is pretty funny, and I passed the book recommendation along to the editor who appears intrigued and may delve into the novel.

    Yay for rain for you – and at this time of year too. Awesome!



  46. Yo, Chris – The cab driver shot himself. My mistake.


    If it’s behind a pay wall, there were several other articles, from other sources. That is a sad and tragic tale, about the gig worker. Things seem to be improving for gig workers, here. But very slowly. The invisible hand, squeezes out as much as it can, until restrained by law.

    Oh, out on the Great Plaines, I couldn’t see a single mountain. Just a horizon line, where the sky met the ground. Made me twitchy.

    Uluru looks so cool, with the water pouring off it. Not something you see, every day. We do have a lot of waterfalls, here. There’s even a couple of hiking books, that just concentrate on hiking in to see this falls, or that. Here in our county, we have Rainbow Falls State Park.


    A lot of the infrastructure was build by the CCC, back in the 1930s. Back in my childhood, I went on a lot of picnics to Lucia Falls, down in Clark County. Or, maybe it was Yacolt Falls? Family picnic or church picnics? Can’t remember. Once, I got in a bit of trouble, and almost went over the falls. Several people have drowned, there. There’s a hole under the falls, and the force of the water holds you under.

    Sorry to hear about the shoulder. I’ve been having trouble with, I think, a hip. I always throw a bit of Turmeric into whatever I have for dinner. But, I’ve added Cinnamon to my daily oatmeal, and next time I’m at the store, will pick up some form of Ginger. All anti-inflammatories. LOL. Talking about our aches and pains. That’s what old people do, you know 🙂 .

    Oh, yes. Some regular customer’s just came in for the chili. You could buy it by the cup, or by the bowl. And usually we’d toss on some extra diced onion and grated cheddar cheese. Served with crackers or bread. That was the little bar I worked in in Portland. They poured only beer and wine. Had European pretensions. 🙂 . Limited menu. Hot sandwiches (named after characters from Oscar Wilde plays), the chili, home made French onion soup, and, for desert, Black Forest chocolate cake … with made that day, whip cream. It was a nice place to work, and I have pleasant memories. Mostly.

    In some ways, where I live the land is similar to yours. I look down into a valley, with low hills off in the distance.

    The government may well bail out the steel industry. Heck, they’ve already bailed out banks, auto makers, Wall Street and airlines. I suppose it depends on how well your political contributions are paid up. How long can this go on?

    Where does the final product go? Well, they shot it into space. 🙂 . From whence, it eventually comes down. Lots in the news here, about tracking the falling stuff. Or, the inability to track the falling stuff.

    I saw an interesting article, that touches on recycling. Goodwill is our leading op shop chain. Been around, forever.


    Kind of a poor example, for the title. Older toasters are probably the most repairable thing, around.

    Went to the library yesterday, and only got slightly wet. 🙂 . I picked up the Nick Cage, “Willy’s Wonderland.” Don’t know if I’ll watch it tonight, or tomorrow night. See how the mood hits me. I also picked up an interesting looking book. “Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History.” (Ford, 2021). It’s about how clothes and custom is about status, sex, power or personality. Ruth Goodman gave it a good plug, on the cover 🙂 . It’s quit a romp through the sartorial corners of history. The things that set people off … The Straw Hat Riots, in the 1920s. The Zoot Suit Riots in the 1940s. The first man to wear a top hat, on the streets of London, caused a riot.


    Which may be a tail, as tall as the hat. 🙂 Lew

  47. Hello Chris
    It seems to be 10 days quarantine here; 4 weeks is dreadful.

    Wife of the purchaser. I noticed that a gigantic pit had been dug in the front when I walked past this afternoon!

    A 3 year fixed term mortgage at a low interest which is what also happens here, is an invitation to future disaster when you reach the end and have to renew at who knows what interest.


  48. Hi CHRIS
    Inge ,Lew, Claire,Dj, Margaret and Chris
    Thank you for all your kind thoughts. My wife is doing well with most of the intensive rehab. She can stand still for fairly long times .Moving the involved leg can be extremely painful. The orthopedic doctor told her that the pelvic fractures even though closed cracks are slow and painful in healing. The doctor prescribed small dosage of a very strong pain med. She felt better this afternoon. Gravity only had a short distance for her fall from standing. Falls from horse back may cause open cracks (fractures )and much more damage and pain.
    They put her on a recumbent bicycle exercise machine which she rode for 11 minutes straight. She said it actually was painless to ride but the actions of getting on and off the seat were painful.
    I’m doing ok. Lots to do!
    A lot of chores ,unrelated ,have fallen due. That’s life!
    Cheers Al

  49. Hi Al,

    Thanks for the update, and glad to hear that your lady is recovering and in rehab. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    And yes, the chores can be never ending, but still need doing!



  50. Hi Inge,

    Yeah four weeks quarantine would have been very tough psychologically, but both Damo and Mrs Damo are made of tough stuff. It interests me that there are differences in the quarantine time between our countries. Word on the street is that our international borders will be closed for the foreseeable future (makes you wonder what the decision makers foresee?): Prime Minister Scott Morrison warns Australia will only open borders ‘when it is safe to do so’.

    Gigantic pit AKA eyesore? Most dams (I believe you describe them as ponds) here leak, and that is a possibility in many areas of the world, so I do hope the new owners line the soil with the correct type of clay to prevent leaks. You might be very fortunate in your part of the world though in this matter. Although the pit might be something other than a dam?

    Exactly! This circumstance did not end so well for the Americans, but down here we’ve had one round of fixed interest rate mortgages converting to principal and interest a few years back and the entire episode looks to me as though it was negotiated by lowering interest rates. It may be that the trick worked once, why not try it again may be the thinking? Beats me.



  51. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, that was the article, and it was an extreme action to say the least. But of course you are correct, and the invisible hand is an unpleasant and unforgiving master. Bizarrely the article wasn’t behind a paywall for me, or though the website was soliciting mad cash for access.

    It is possible that mountainous areas call to your blood? Had a look at Finland and it was hard to see if the land was mountainous or otherwise, but yeah it might in yer blud!

    Uluru is an astounding thing to see, and the area isn’t quite a desert, it’s more of an arid land and so things can change there pretty quickly. Of interest is that the Darling River (the third longest in the continent) is now flowing due to the recent flooding rains up north. Goods used to be sent by paddle steamer via the river and there are some historical photos as well as how the river looks today in the areas it runs through. It’s dry country up there: the Darling, is full to the brim once more. The photos are pretty good.

    The Civilian Conservation Corps was a great idea, and would have provided solid work when there was little to be had otherwise. You dodged a bullet there as the force of falling water can most certainly keep you stuck underwater. And panic would quickly set in exhausting your internal resources. It would be hard not to panic in such a circumstance, and glad that you made it out more or less intact. There are some falls down here like the one you mentioned and one person gets in trouble, and then one rescuer after another drowns. It would be an awful situation to face, and the pressure to do something and act – even if not equipped to do so – would be hard to resist. And there’d always be that lingering question as to what if you’d acted – despite the rapidly mounting death toll.

    Ginger is a good idea – and I’ll chuck in a photo of how the ginger is growing in the greenhouse. Yeah, this ageing thing isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be you know! 🙂 I get it, and it is not in my nature to have such conversations, that however does not mean that I don’t hear more and more of those stories as time goes on and my friends age. The mention was purely for background purposes more than anything else. Hope your hip doesn’t give you too much trouble.

    The chili in the cup with the extra cheddar and diced onion would be the sort of food that I’d love. And so easy to make too. You know, the old wood oven was really good at cooking that sort of food (I miss it), and you could just chuck things on the slow cook, or in the oven for hours. It was very forgiving too, and there were times I’d left bread baking for three hours at low heat, and the bread came out of the oven better than gas or electricity could ever do. I miss that wood oven, a lot. One day, but that day isn’t today.

    European pretensions indeed! 🙂 Beer and wine, as if those are the only choices.


  52. Hi Lewis (the double secret continued edition…),

    I’d heard that the Montagu fellow was responsible for the invention of sandwiches? Hey, limited menu’s make common sense, sometimes commercial kitchens set themselves up for disasters which they could otherwise avoid. Much ego feeds into that particular disaster. Some jobs are like that aren’t they? And it can be really surprising as to which jobs end up being mostly pleasant. What I’ve noticed is that there is a correlation between higher status and decreased enjoyment.

    Views into the valley often bring with them the side benefit of forewarning as to storms (if they originate from that direction).

    That’s possible about the steel industry, but as an industry I reckon they’re worth protecting and nurturing – the thing is there is a fine line before such protection gets exploited – and also sometimes gobarmints don’t ask enough in return for bestowing favours. Probably not long is my gut feeling, but that may continue for a while to come. Decline is not evenly distributed from what I’m observing.

    Hehe! Yeah, where will all this stuff finally land? For surely it will do so. Low Earth Orbit is a classic commons.

    Thanks for the article on the goodwill folks, and the folks down here have similar dramas and have put in place some measures to prevent such exploitation. It ain’t free to chuck stuff out – and hence my coffee ground arrangement.

    A mate of mine used to volunteer in one of those repair cafes and he loved the work.

    🙂 Rain is treated as a nuisance or inconvenience until it has not been felt for a long while, then things are suddenly different. The first I read your comment for some reason I read Nick Cave, and I was thinking that the film might be a bit of a downer, but Nick Cage, he’s cool. So did you end up watching the film? Sounds like fun.

    Ruth Goodman had a very interesting and thoughtful perspective on clothes and general presentation. Looking about in society, a lot of people never got that memo. Are zoot suits a real thing? Well I never.

    Better get writing and will check out the link tomorrow.



  53. Yo, Chris – I had a good chuckle over Mr. Greer’s response to your post. Want free speech? Throw a successful revolution. 🙂

    I think because I was born in Portland, well, there were always mountains in sight. Ditto, the rain. I have to have both, to feel comfortable.

    That was an interesting article, about the Darling River. Great pictures. Water management. We’ll be hearing more about that, given the wonked weather and 8 billion + world population.

    My Dad was in the CCC. Not that he ever talked much about it (or, anything else). But he did mention one time that he mostly was on crews, building wildlife refuges in South Dakota.

    Here (at least in this state) we have taverns (that only, by law, can serve beers and wines) and cocktail bars, which serve beer, wine and hard liquor. I looked around for a clear definition of the difference, but couldn’t find one. I do know that cocktail bars (or, lounges) have to have a certain percentage of their sales, in food. I don’t think taverns, do. But taverns also often have food on offer. More as a lure for customers. Liquor laws are very complex, and vary from state to state. And even from county to county.

    Whinge on Garth! 🙂 . A saying attributed to the actress Helen Hayes (who lived to a ripe old age), was, “Growing old is not for sissies.” As long as that isn’t the ONLY thing you talk about, carry on.

    Yup. The Earl of Sandwich. Slapped something between two slabs of bread, so he’d have a free hand to gamble. Not that he was the first person in history, to slap something between two pieces of bread. But, he lent his name to it, and, probably, made it socially acceptable to do so. Being a toff, and all.

    I see the space junk came down in the Indian Ocean. Given the speed it was traveling, I’d say Australia had a near miss.

    Well, the weather here has not delivered. It just looks like rain, all the time, but not a drop to be seen. I’m going out to water. We’re supposed to have a run of nice days. We’ll see.

    Today is Mum’s Day, here. Something invented by card companies, to sell more cards. 🙂 . “Give Grandma a great big kiss! Make sure she gets a good dose!” I suppose we’ll see another surge of You Know What.

    I watched “Willie’s Wonderland,” last night. Demon possessed anamatronics, in a kids theme park. The extras made no bones about it being a “B” picture. I’d say, horror / comedy. Nick Cage did a good job, in a very quirky role. I did like that, unlike most horror films, some of the characters refused to be such … victims. Worth a bowl of popcorn, but your mileage may vary. 🙂 .

    Zoot suit with a reet pleat! Yup. They were a real thing. I don’t think I still have it, but once I had a picture of my Dad, in a zoot suite. The author of “Dress Codes” speculates the the inspiration was … The Duke of Windsor. Looking a pictures of him in his “play clothes,” yeah, I can see it.


    Interesting article …


    And hardly getting any play in the media. I guess they don’t want to spook the sheep. Lew

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