Diary of the confined

These days turned out nothing like I had planned. Yesterday I was speaking with a friend about the plight of Australian citizens stuck in India and unable to return home again due to the health subject which dare not be named. It was only a few weeks ago that many voices were raised in the media decrying the awful awfulness and utter failure of human rights that it was to not bring those citizens back home.

Now that the Indian variant of the health subject which dare not be named is loose in the local population, the voices making so much noise only a few weeks ago, have gone suddenly quiet. What does that mean? Have those folks suddenly changed their minds?

The state of Victoria is in its fourth lock down and I’m only able to travel 5km / 3.1 miles from home unless it is for permissible work or some other reasons. I dunno what is going on, but these days I skim the news headlines so as to get a feel for the official narrative, and then use my senses to observe the world around me so as to try and make sense of it all.

But anyway, we’re in lock down again and that began midnight three days ago. Here is my diary of the shall we say: ‘confined’, for your continuing enjoyment and edification:

Day Zero

The day began well, but the news reported forebodings and dark tidings possibly from midnight. The editor had plans in the big smoke which may have involved a most excellent kebab and some other more important stuff, and so she headed off early on day zero on her adventures. The kebab was purchased in the editors old stomping ground near to where she grew up. In those days the suburb was a working class suburb which has long been gentrified, but it has always been a bit edgy, even today. There is a lot of social housing in the area and many of the immigrants are from African nations. The strip shopping centre even used to display the many flags of African nations before the local council changed the flags to signs suggesting to ‘shop locally’. A win for consumerism! And the kebabs are seriously good.

I’d had plans for a quiet day. Of course the word ‘quiet’ does not translate to lazing around on the couch reading a book. Nope! There has been a project which has been calling for my attention for many months. The music amplifier which has been in continual use for the past 30 years is in need of a few minor repairs. The machine nowadays has a delightful aroma of ozone when it is used, and this is indicative that perhaps things are not well in the guts of the machine. We’ve all felt that way from time to time.

About mid morning the news came through that we were going to be locked down from midnight. A few choice words were said out loud which can’t be repeated here due to self imposed language limitations, and I felt a bit moody all of a sudden. Moody soon turned to grumpy, and thoughts of repairing the amplifier disappeared from my mind.

Instead the chainsaw was pressed into use and I cut out a stand of Gooseberries which were threatening to take over a vegetable bed.

Gooseberries on the uphill side of the vegetable bed were slowly taking over

Activity is a good antidote to feelings of moodiness / the grumps. The chainsaw was wielded to good effect and soon the gooseberries were dealt with.

Gooseberries are tough, but a chainsaw is tougher

For those who are unduly concerned at the loss of the gooseberries, they need not worry, as there are plenty more growing in far better locations around the farm. After the many hours of hard work using super tough machinery, my spirits began to lift.

A hard days work deserves a hot bath, and from the bath I watched a huge storm roll up from the south. Thick clouds brought with them a brief burst of heavy rainfall, and the other side of the bathroom window turned a wintery cold. Fortunately the water was stonking hot and this is often conducive to deep thoughts like: We should go to the pub tonight before lock down.

Later that evening found the editor and I sitting at a table in the front bar at the local pub. It kind of warmed my heart to see that other locals had had similar thoughts because the place was packed. It was a good night and we spoke to a few locals about anything other than the health subject which dare not be named. The pint was good, the meal was great and the atmosphere was warm and convivial.

Day One

Restrictions on movement further than 5km / 3.1 miles from a persons home were now in force across the entire state. There are no cases in the area. There are only a few reasons to leave home, one of which is to grab some groceries. The funny thing is, the local general store and pub are the only trading premises within that restrictive area. Someone long ago asked me: What shops are in your area? It was a surprising question to be asked given that I can observe a patchwork of forest and paddocks to the horizon.

Fortunately, in these rural circumstances there is an allowance to be able to travel to the nearest town. I picked up some milk at the local general store and checked the mail, then headed into the nearest town to pick up the groceries. Everyone is wearing masks now, whether indoors or outside. I wore a mask like anyone else, but the process of wearing a mask somehow restricts my peripheral vision and muddles my brain. If coffee somehow disappeared from my life, yet masks were still required, things would not be good and who knows what might happen.

Bizarrely enough, I reckon excluding the staff, I was the youngest person in the grocery store. Honestly it reminded me of the days when I was a young lad and my boss used to send me to bank the cheques received in the mail, and I’d discovered to my utter horror that it was pension day at the bank and I’d somehow forgotten to take a book to read whilst in queue. Ordinarily I’m patient (edit: ????#$&! lol), and to my annoyance there was a lot of dawdling going on in the grocery store that day.

The roads were reasonably quiet and I stopped off at the bank to get some cash. Honestly, I was reluctant to enter the bank, not out of any health related fear, but rather because they were a bit crazy last lock down. It was super weird because back then I recall standing outside the empty bank and the lady on the other side of the glass door kept the door locked and was telling me that I should use the ATM instead of entering the bank premises. I may have remarked pointedly: “Are you suggesting that I can’t withdraw my money?” Fortunately for everyone before this situation escalated any further, another teller ushered the lady away and let me into the premises to conduct my business there. You see what I have to deal with here?

Later that day, with nothing better to do and no where to go, the editor and I went on a massive rock scavenge. We’ve decided to create nice and neat paths in the many terraced garden beds. And for that job, we need rocks – lots of rocks. Peak Rocks is real. Peak Rocks is also sad.

A path on the second highest garden terrace is being created

Day Two

The citrus trees are full of fruit and sometimes it is really hard to know what to do with several hundred lemons. Lemons are one of the few produce items we preserve by freezing, but before the lemon juice gets frozen it has to be pressed.

Plum guards the three buckets full of lemons for pressing

The three buckets of lemons provided six litres (about a gallon and a half) of frozen lemon juice. Lemon juice is very handy item in the kitchen and before the year has turned a full circle it will all have been used.

The day was bright and sunny with clear blue skies and such winter days provide a lot of electricity, so we had a massive cleanup session in the house. We normally keep a pretty clean house, but plenty of electricity generated from the sun means that we can be reasonably care free with the use of household appliances. Even the electric oven got a good work out as bread was baked and vegetables were roasted for use in meals over the next few days.

Not being able to travel pretty much anywhere means that I have been unable to catch up with friends. Fortunately, they are an adaptable bunch and we had a long chat on the video conferencing Zoom software during the afternoon. It was quite fun, but given this is the fourth lock down now, we’ve candidly done a lot of Zoom catch ups.

Later that evening, the editor and I ate home made pizza and watched episode one of season twenty one of Grand Designs UK. It is such a lovely show and the presenter could be described as a cheeky scamp. There is the occasional project which comes on time and within budget, but the reality is that if you are on the show, things will probably go way off the rails on both fronts. A couple of mates of mine put their house build on the Australian version of the show, and candidly I’m a bit soft and not sure that I’d be up for such pressure.

Day Three

Another day of bright blue skies provided plenty of sunshine. We spent the solar energy in the early part of the day doing a lot of cooking. At one stage, we had so much energy that we actually had two electric ovens running simultaneously. As the old timers say: Make hay whilst the sun shines. We weren’t making hay though, we were making a weeks supply of dog biscuits, dog breakfast feed, Anzac biscuits, baking bread and some other stuff.

The afternoon was spent completing the new path in the terraced garden. The late autumn / early winter sunshine shone gloriously and at times it felt quite warm. The path on that terrace is now complete(ish).

The path on the second highest terraced garden is now mostly complete
Looking back at the new path from the far end

Well that’s about it really, except that:

Earlier in the week

In a really weird incident, the flush button to one of the toilet cisterns (tank) broke. I tried to repair the button, but unfortunately some epoxy glue got into the mechanism and only made things worse. I discovered that the design was no longer available and a replacement button would set me back around $90. This seemed like an act of daylight robbery, and so I replaced the button and guts of the device with a generic replacement valve. And it works really well, and my gut feeling tells me that the cistern now works better than it used to.

Toilet cistern – fixed! The old unit is on the green towel

One morning there was the first light frost of the season, and the cold frozen air was thick with moisture.

The first light frost of the year came with very cold and moist air
2’C / 36’F outside and a toasty 17’C / 63’F inside

Oh! And it was an exciting week because there was a super moon and lunar eclipse. We took the camera out and braved the cold night, and here is what we saw:

A super moon rose over the farm
Soon the Earth’s shadow put the moon into eclipse
A super spooky blood moon

Onto the flowers:

Rosemary is a reliable and super hardy herb
Echiums have begun to flower very early this year
The succulent garden has enjoyed the sunshine this week
This Passionflower has zero chance of producing fruit
Salvia flowers provide feed for the bees and Honey eaters
This rose is a stunner

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 456.0mm (18.0 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 429.6mm (16.9 inches).

52 thoughts on “Diary of the confined”

  1. Yo, Chris – I’m so sorry about your lockdown. Have you started scratching tally marks on the walls? Sharpening your toothbrush into a shiv, for the big breakout? Scheduled for 7 (or 14) days. I wouldn’t worry about the Indian variant. Next up, the Vietnamese variant. Coming soon, to a quarantine zone, near you!

    I’m glad the Editor and you got to run wild, for an evening or two. We take our pleasures, where we may.

    There’s gold in them there lemon buckets! I paid a buck, per, last night at the grocery store.

    The innards of the cistern is frightening. Give me the good old float, any day. And faucets with washers.

    Those are beautiful pictures, of the moon. Calendar worthy. The flowers, as always, are lovely. Particularly the rosemary and roses.

    Well, in exciting news (maybe), it turns out there’s an unpublished John Steinbeck manuscript. And, it’s a werewolf story.


    I’ll probably never get to read it, in my life, but you might in yours. Stuffy old publishing company. But I figure there are youngsters, coming up, that may have a different take on it. And, if someone threw around enough filthy lucre, for film rights, their tune might change. I’m surprised. You may remember I recently read that exhaustive biography of Steinbeck. Not a mention, of a werewolf novel. The manuscript is in a university collection, and free to any scholar to read. Hmmm. You know, the copyright is probably about due to run out.

    My daily meditation kicks off with a quotation. Today’s offering was “A frontier is never a place; it’s a time and a way of life. Frontiers pass, but they endure in their people.” Hal Borland, author. I was familiar with the name, and even some of his titles, but as far as I can remember, I’ve never read any of his works. Of course, the meditation book gives it a “life’s milestones,” kind of a slant. But I think in it’s initial meaning, it applied to places. Such as, Hadrian’s Wall. The Romans passed, but the remaining people were effected by what came, before.

    Well, I got the tomatillo, in the ground. Feels like an exercise in futility. There will be husks, maybe many, but they’ll all be infertile, and empty. I also planted the cucumelons. Don’t know if they’ll make it. In their little six pack, they’re very small and very fragile. But, I prepared the ground, as best I know how, and gave them a good drink. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Your weather does sound almost perfect. Good stuff. Aren’t digressions the stuff of vitality and life? We must not get too focused on goals lest the big picture slide away from our view. Depending on the soil temperatures, it might be a touch too early to get tomatoes in the ground anyway – they grow fast when the soil heats up (as I hope it does).

    Oooo! Such talk is like catnip to me. Rhodies grow very well here and if the seasons are just perfect (which they aren’t always), they can set seed and produce new plants. So this talk of cutting volunteers out of rhodies sounds to me as if you are either clearing the excess plants, or creating new ones. Dare I ask, which is it? Or are the other plants (Oak, maple and walnut) enjoying the conditions which the rhodies provide and it is those who have set seedlings? And yes, if not you, then when? 😉

    Training grape vines is a fine art, as is training most vine producing plants. The kiwi fruit vines for example are positively anti-social and they tend to offend the path to the chicken pen and its travelers with their thick vines and chunky fruits. You know, your cucumelon is starting to look a lot like the: Cucumber Crystal Apple.

    Jolly good shot and total score ol’ chap with the slugs, and ordinarily I’d wish that you’d reach the ton (100 slugs and not out), but in this particular instance it would be a problematic objective. Yellow centipedes would be an unusual sighting and I’m heartened to hear that the beastie survived the encounter. I see your yellow centipede and raise you a: Yellow canary worm. The interesting thing is that the link is to a Tasmanian website, and yet I encounter these bright yellow worms quite often here.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head there – Steve Solomon suggests to avoid mulch because it provides an almost endless supply of feed to wood lice, slugs etc. But yeah, those same critters turn organic matter into poop and it is possible that you and I may reach the awful mid point of getting enough produce, putting something back in the soil and not trying to extract every pound of flesh from the garden. There is a middle ground in there somewhere.

    Yes, Kim Stanley Robinson’s trilogy was a touch political, but you know all the same the author has had a come to Damascus moment at some point and that produced the superb work of ‘Aurora’. I tend to feel that if you had fewer than ten words to sum up the core concept of the book it was that: We are bound to this planet forever (that’s seven words to be precise and perhaps you could add the missing three words?)

    Mate, Arizona would be tough as old boots and probably break both you and I! We’re soft, we’re soft, we proclaim! Mind you, if you could somehow magic up the water and it was low in sodium, growing plants would be super easy. That’s a lot of ifs.

    Here I must concur with your thoughts in that with the canines of the species, the patterns must be just so. H is of course of noble and fine lineage and nobody would argue otherwise, but all the same if the usual poopy time is disregarded, mate, it ain’t good. H expects to poop at the usual time, and here you have discovered the dark side of the canine: If the patterns aren’t right, then matters can be taken into their own paws. Honestly, you two only have yourselves to blame and H is clearly innocent.

    Lewis, Land is an intense film, I’ll watch it, but it may cause heavy weather. And yes, I was once a city boy and can understand how such folks think, but these days it is an anathema to me.

    Speaking of which, I finally went to the doctor today to see about my shoulder and arm. The doctor put me through a series of physical tests one of which was that she asked me to squeeze her three fingers to test for strength in the arm. I warned her that I had strong hands, and she said go 50%, so I gave her 20% before backing off as clearly that was too much. Had to then further apologise to the doctor, but she seemed cool with that and I was referred onto the radiologist. Generally I avoid x-rays, but this time I made an exception. Looks like a callus has formed nicely over my forearm, so I’ve probably been working away with a fracture in my forearm and I’m not even sure how it occurred – probably one of the falls where I almost splatted my face when moving stupidly heavy rocks. Oh well, moving on. Surviving these things appears to be the trick, don’t you reckon?

    Speaking of police procedural’s – the editor has become quite smitten with the written works of Agatha Christie and is enjoying them immensely.

    Hehe! Don’t we all have cupboards in the kitchen where items have lain in wait to be used, but we somehow never got around to doing so? We travelled that selling and donating path a few years back with excess stuff we had on the farm, and it was a worthwhile exercise. Actually, things have become a bit weird since faceplant introduced a markatplace, and I have heard of folks attempting to negotiate prices on arrival at the pickup of the stuff – and that is apparently very common now. Not a situation I want to find myself in as I might say something very ungentlemanly.

    The withdrawal of Roman troops from Britain does leave much to speculation – but if families were involved, I doubt they’d up sticks and leave. But I base that on a gut feeling thing. People have said to me that if ever there were serious economic hard times, folks would exit the city, but history suggests otherwise and during the Great Depression people stuck to the city like glue. Of course the ongoing drought may have been a factor during those days, but who really knows? All I can base my opinion on is what happened back then.

    One of the things that I really enjoyed about the Camulod Chronicles was that the narrative took the characters from out of myth and placed them into a world where things like the laws of physics held sway, but at the same time didn’t avoid the mystical elements of the legend either.

    Well yeah, I can’t imagine what they were thinking either with the sinking. It is not as if the water wasn’t ‘nothing’ in the sub soil. The problem is that with aquifers, it is a commons that can be abused. I rely on rainwater alone – even in drought years but some of my neighbours have water bores. The main issue is that everyone thinks that it doesn’t matter. But sooner or later so many people think that it doesn’t matter, that it ends up mattering. Then what happens?

    Yeah, there are some tally marks on the walls, and the editor believes I should keep up the diary of the confined format for the next week or so. Think of the blog as fernglade farm – the short story edition! 🙂

    But yeah I tend to agree too, in that here we have found ourselves in the never ending problem, and the other problems which are still problems by the way, get politely ignored. It’s actually a pretty interesting strategy and I have wondered whether there are any historic parallels?

    Hey, don’t laugh but I was sitting in the hot bath and thinking to myself: Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow… It genuinely warmed my heart to see that many other locals felt the same way that night. The pub is now shut.

    People pay a buck a lemon down here too. They’re a very hardy and prolific fruit tree, and we use a lot of the juice in preserving and jam making – and the tree produces all year around. Last year I planted a replacement Lemon Eureka for the decade old tree which succumbed to my lack of care and attention. The new tree is in a much better spot.

    Spotted an article on a young family who took up the challenge of growing a commercial orchard. Regenerative farmers bring apples back to the town of Stanley, in Victoria’s north-east. The house in the main photo is a beautiful old Victorian era farmhouse.

    Hey, I’m just quietly grateful that the toilet cistern doesn’t leak after the fix! Not always guaranteed.

    The photos of the super moon came out really well, and thanks for the kind words.

    The last time I checked his wikipudding page, the author was long dead. What does he care if a fully formed manuscript gets published now? The dead I’ve noted are hardly embarrassed and in fact, they may just enjoy the notoriety. My gut feeling suggests that if the author didn’t want the work published he would have binned it or burned it – equally effective strategies, burning possibly more so. A good point about the copyright. I’ve heard people suggesting in all seriousness that they’d like to leave a legacy – and I always think to myself (without saying out loud of course): “so you want to leave a trashed planet and a failing civilisation. That’s cool, I get that goal.” But they were serious about leaving a legacy for the future. People say the strangest things, and perhaps the controllers of the Steinbeck legacy are holding on a bit too tightly. It is not like the bloke can produce more new works. Can he?

    An intense meditation, but you know, our civilisation is rather brittle when it comes to the concept of place. I mean we go out of our way to produce a level of sameness everywhere. I’ve visited cities in distant and exotic countries, and they kind of all look the same to me. It is in nature that difference stands out and is worth the visit.

    The Romans left over from the removal of the legions from Britain may have suffered a bit from the psychology of previous investment. After all, hadn’t the Romans been stomping around there for almost four hundred years?

    All you can but do is remain skeptical and run the tomatillo experiment. Good luck! 🙂



  3. Yo, Chris – It was 75F (23.88C), yesterday. Supposed to be 80F (26.66C), today. And, then about three days of 80+. There are ripe strawberries!

    I’ve never noticed our Rhodies, producing any type of sprouts. It’s the squirrels that bring in the oak and walnuts, to bury. And then forget where they put them. The maples may be my fault. I brought in some maple leaves, last year, and dug them into the soil. There’s also ivy, in there. Escaped from the forest, where it’s taking over some of the trees. I can’t get any of it dug out, so, I just keep cutting it off, until it finally gives up.

    The crystal apple cucumber looks interesting. But the cucumelons are supposed to be the size of grapes. We’ll see. If they make it …

    Yellow SPOTTED millipedes. 🙂 . Wow, those canary worms sure do look odd. Hard to miss. I wonder if the color is to warn off predators? Maybe they taste bad?

    Yes, Mr. Solomon warned people off of using mulch, in the Pacific Northwest. Gives our slugs an ideal place to hide.

    That’s interesting news about your arm. But as to source … It’s kind of like when you notice a bruise, and wonder, “How did I do that?” Eons from now, some alien archaeologist (or raccoons) will look at your arm and say, “Well, he obviously survived the injury. Note the healing in the bone.” I’ve been watching too many archaeology programs 🙂 . But, you may end up with a good weather predictor. “Weather’s going to change. I got a twinge in my arm.”

    I went on an Agatha Christie binge, years ago. Sometimes, I could figure out “who-done-it.” But, usually not. Then I’d go back and re-read bits, trying to figure out what I had overlooked. I recently watched two documentaries, about her life. What an interesting person. She spent a lot of time, on digs with her second husband, in the Middle East.

    If you say your price is “firm” in the ad listing, and someone tries to low ball you, I’d just say, “Go away.” People aren’t said “no” to, enough.

    If you pump out your foundation, something’s got to give. Basic physics?

    Hmmm. Historic Parallels. Nothing concrete comes to mind, except anytime you run across a “Look there! Not here!” situation, someone’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Bread and circuses? Augustus, banging on about Antony and Cleopatra, while he quietly dismantles the Republic. Politicians who carry a cross, wrapped in a flag, while the infrastructure and economy are falling apart.

    “Regenerative” seems to be the new 25¢ word. But, take away the hype, and it’s a concept worth looking at. Apples. A few days ago, I ran across an article, and then lost track of it. But, here it is …


    We’ve talked about these people, before. It’s what they’ve been up to, lately. No matter if apples, roses or corn, searching out lost varieties, is always interesting.

    “Leave a legacy” aka, be remembered. Quiet anonymity seems to have gone out of fashion. 🙂 . People want to control the narrative. We sure see enough of that, here at the Institution. And, administration is even willing to lie, to achieve that end.

    Well, they just didn’t have the technology, to put Steinbeck’s brain in a vat, to crank out endless sequels. 🙂 . See: Tolkien. Or, V. C. Andrews.

    Thank globalization for endless sameness. And, people’s tendency toward seeking the familiar and predictable. At least, that’s what “they” tell us. “People asked for it.” Oh? Who? Back in the early 70’s, when I worked for a large bookstore chain, they were opening a store a month, somewhere in the LA basin. They all looked pretty much the same. I had this fantasy, that they wheeled in a giant tooth paste tube, at night. Then all the construction workers would jump up and down on it, and just squirt another store, into the space. 🙂 Lew

  4. Hello Chris
    The photo of your cistern system amazed me, I have never seen anything like it. Mine is the floating ball system. Am now wondering what modern houses have here.

    Glorious weather here still. Everything growing apace apart from that one lot of potatoes poor things. The leaves are actually turning yellow on one plant even though they are barely half an inch above the soil. Appropriate feeding has been going on. It still remains extremely odd.
    If the Editor has not encountered the books of Elizabeth Peters, I cannot recommend too highly the Amelia Peabody series. I think that there are about 20 of them ideally to be read in order though I thought a bit less of the first one.


  5. Hi Lewis,

    Go the strawberries! Such a yummy berry, and so early in the season too. Keep an eye on the slugs, although that is the pot calling the kettle black, as they say. We put mulch down on the strawberry path last year and the critters had a great food supply when the strawberries weren’t producing, and an even better food supply when they were. 🙂 Might have to do something about that. Talk of such delectable berries sourced from the garden sounds like the beginnings of a good growing season for you!

    Most of the folks around here propagate rhodies from cuttings or the aerial method, but word on the street is that they can self seed if the year is just right.

    Hehe! Maple seeds are pretty small and have neat wings so they get around a bit (please don’t infer anything about their reputation from this). Ah, I see about the oaks and walnuts, and thanks for the explanation. The squirrels are perhaps assisting with reproducing a forested environment for their ultimate benefit? You’d have to suggest that they might not have your best interests at heart, but they know good soil when they find it.

    Grape sized cucumbers is a new one to me and I’ll keep an eye out for the plant. Hey, the supposedly grape sized kiwi berries grew a lot of vines here this past growing season, but no fruit whatsoever. Dunno about them. Good luck with the cucumelons.

    That bloke sure is onto something and need we invite in more slugs and other critters than absolutely necessary? I have wondered though if the various critters eating the mulch produce a lot of soil critter poop which you’d imagine wouldn’t be great for vegetables, but it would have to add something to the soil? Dunno.

    Well that is the thing, both the doctor and the radiologist asked me as to the source of the arm injury, and given I’d been moving rocks for months leading up to the incident, I dunno. It was OK before the incident, and if I knew exactly what the incident was… Thanks for the laughs. I’ll see if I can add any further colour to your pithy observation: “It was a brutal time. See over here, this fine specimen, superbly preserved, exhibits both trauma and repair. The act of a violent era of course, possibly involving hand to hand weapons. All very uncivilised. We can only imagine that at the time there was a brutal struggle for dwindling resources and this specimen suffered, not quite a killing blow, but it surely would have been major setback for the individual. Yes, we’ll take this specimen back for further study and possible display” Hehe! Have you ever heard of a sci fi novel where archaeologists from the far distant future try and work out what happened after the zombies got out? The raccoons are a good choice – super clever creatures that they are.

    The editor recently read: ‘And then there were none’, which by sheer coincidence, we discussed only a few weeks back. She was pretty chuffed with the surprise ending, and the sheer lack of nobility of purpose of the perpetrator was all quite human really. It was a really base motivation and the author surely must have known something of the darker side of human nature to have even concocted such a surprise ending. I wouldn’t have picked that ending or that motivation.

    Ah, low ball is the correct term – thanks for that. Yes, I too would tell them firmly to go get lost (maybe not in those exact words). One of the undocumented features of that particular platform markatplace is that there is no continuing relationship, and no reputation to assess or even for someone to maintain. It is an environment which perhaps permits the worst aspects of humanity to flourish and I for one am not stepping even one foot in that ring.

    That’s it with the aquifers. I wonder if that is happening here as some parts of the country do use the ground water. Oh, it’s not good here either. We’re not getting the land sinking, but areas where the groundwater had enough pressure to lift water to the surface are drying. I try to get as much rainfall into the ground as possible, and fortunately for the forest, nobody below the property has a well, however the water in the creek at the bottom of the property is caught in a very large dam in the valley below.

    Ah, both Antony and Augustus proved the maxim that: ‘two Caesars are one too many’. Augustus certainly had designs on the prize, that’s for sure, but yes it was the end of an era, and the beginning of something different. It is possible that Antony was a bit distracted with err, other activities, so perhaps Augustus was the winner of that bout as he had a certain focus? He sure did some unpopular things too.

    Yes, the word ‘regenerative’ is often as misused as the word ‘sustainable’, and given the context they seem to get used in, I don’t really know what the words mean. I understand what they are meant to mean, but the actuality escapes my understanding.

    Isn’t it good how there are enthusiasts out there with a passion for projects like the Lost Apple Project and the Temperate Orchard Conservancy? And also like you say, they’re finding lost things. There used to be about 7,000 varieties of apple trees, and I have no doubts that in the future this achievement might be reached again. There are about 26 varieties of apple tree here, and they are a remarkably productive tree, and I have no doubts that in the surrounding area tiny little apple trees will gain a foothold sooner or later.

    Ain’t nothing wrong with quiet anonymity! 🙂 Control I believe is an allusion, so an attempt at control is even worse than that state. The narrative occasionally goes where it will.

    I’d never read anything written by V. C. Andrews, but I’m familiar with the ‘flowers in the attic’ storyline. A very creepy concept for a story line, and possibly seen in some weird locale in Austria.

    Don’t you reckon the seeking of sameness is some sort of weird reinforcing of earlier choices, or possibly given how widespread it has become, maybe that’s what things look like given the available energy and resources? And I really enjoyed the tube of toothpaste concept! Fun stuff, if it was actually fun.

    Went into the big smoke today for permissible work. The vibe there was very weird, and people are beginning to discuss the economics of this situation – despite the unpalatable nature of that discussion.



  6. Hi Inge,

    The floating ball arrangement is actually quite a good system, although due to this being the driest inhabited continent and stuff, we have a more complicated dual flush arrangement. One button is used for the situation when only a little bit of water is required, and the other button is used for when more water is required. The so called half flush lets a bit under 1 US gallon of water into the bowl and the so called full flush lets 1.25 US gallons of water into the bowl. Water is rather precious here, although a lot has already fallen out of the sky. Matters are different elsewhere on the continent.

    Has anyone else in your area had troubles with growing potatoes? Given you purchase your potatoes for planting, they’re meant to have been produced from virus free cuttings. It’s a mystery. Have you dug up any of the tubers?

    Glad to hear that the weather has become more pleasant. 🙂

    Thank you for the book recommendations and I shall pass them on. The editor has been rather enjoying Agatha Christies: And then there were none.

    I went into the city today for permissible work, and the vibe was very strange. People are fearful perhaps that this lock down could escalate further. Unfortunately, the economic realities are beginning to press down hard upon the situation.





  7. first and last- Another reminder of our weird tilted planet- You just had your first frost, and we just had our last. Statistical predictions of when the last and first frost are just that- average. Unfortunately for us, we lost that roll of the dice this spring. We had just planted out our squash and beans, and they got hammered by a late frost. Others in the area had the same fate. Even our potatoes, which were coming along famously, got smacked. I’m hoping they come back, since supposedly hardy, but the squash are toast. Our garden is looking to have a below average year. Luckily, we had not yet put the tomatoes and peppers out. Beans and potatoes are the real protein and calories, so are of special concern.

    Last fall, I did another planting of winter wheat, and it cared not a whit about the frost, and is looking grand. We are still in the midst of a moderate drought though, so while we can water veggies, the wheat will have to fend for itself. Fingers crossed.

    The health subject yada yada…….. Forget that, I am curious about the mice! If you’ve mentioned it here, I’ve missed it, but wondered if the little buggers have been assaulting your mountain after pillaging the lowlands.

    I have visions of a slowly increasing rustling sound in the bush, an odd shuddering of the plants, and all the dogs perking their ears, and a sudden emergence of a writhing furry mat right out of the forest and coming toward your house.

    I hope my vision is only that.

    Isn’t that the way of things though? A nice wet year being great for the garden and crops, but it brings along other side effects we subjectively think of as bad. It’s all part of the same big cosmic dance.

    lockdown whingeing- Go with it! In fact, it’s beyond whingeing, it’s innervating and action triggering anger- My wife and I have also noted how anger can end up pushing one to heights of activity and breakthroughs. One just has to try to make them positive in nature.

    Clearing brush with loud power tools sounds good to me.

  8. Hi Chris,

    The health subject which dare not be named but may be discussed.

    From what you write it seems that the ‘Australian Variant’ is destroying businesses and not people. Lockdown must be truely surreal.

    We have had many fatalities. In Jan and Feb this year our natural causes death rate was 4x the usual. Often our variant takes out whole families. Understandably laying low has been an instinctive response. Well except for taverns, shebeens and other places selling alcohol which have been the primary targets of our lockdowns.

    Our press is usually all over the place with foreign reporting and fear mongering clickbate. But a local academic writes:

    “It is difficult to understand the human behaviour that led to this. We are still learning what is driving these waves. It’s not clear. The politicians and the public health officials like to blame the public, but these waves are so symmetrical and almost predictable it doesn’t seem like human factors are the only explanation as to why we are in the third wave. This was not to say that public gatherings were not responsible for some of the uptick, he said.”

    “Weekly New Cases in South Africa”
    on any of the dashboards that track this information will show the regular waves. Our situation seems so different to elsewhere. We are just going to have to adapt to a menace that can be fought with the simple tools, washing with soap and water, and not breathing in the air that someone else just breathed out. Yet it is causing so much havoc in the world.

    Sorry to hear about your shoulder and forearm. I am glad that you have had it looked at.

    Kind regards,

    PS All my broadbeans have germinated this year!

  9. Yo, Chris – Did you stroke your parrot, today? 🙂 Yesterday was World Parrot Day. Can World Pirate Day, be far behind?

    I ran across an interesting article, about supply lines.


    There was also an article about how Japan has 8 million empty rural properties. They’re practically giving them, away. With subsidies for renovation. Italy was also mentioned. Houses in some rural villages, are going for one Euro. That that would happen, here … Although I have seen articles about little towns in Nebraska and Kansas, offering all kinds of incentives, to lure in residents. But as my father used to say, “Oh! Those winters…”

    I had a handful of strawberries, out of the garden, last night. Yummers! There are some real honkers, in there, but when I checked underneath, there was still a bit of green or yellow. Another couple of days …

    Maple seeds also have microscopic, sharp little barbs. One doesn’t want to, errrr, water the garden without thoroughly washing one’s hands, first. The cucumelons have really surprised me. They perked right up, and are putting on growth.

    Critters that eat dead plant material (mulch, etc.) and poop out nutrients, are all well and good. It’s the one’s that eat everything in sight, with an eye toward anything green, that are a problem. As with, the slugs. Sow bugs are fine. They’re preferred tucker is dead stuff. And since I cut stuff up, and leave it laying around, they go for it. And while the stuff on the ground is still green, it attracts the slugs and makes them easier to … dispatch. Then I just dig it in.

    The high was 81F (27.22C), yesterday. There was a bit of a breeze, so, it wasn’t too uncomfortable. Today, it’s supposed to hit 87F (30.55C). If the breeze keeps up, it won’t be too bad. I saw an article about drought, in California. I didn’t realize it was so bad. Also, the SW.

    The Master Gardeners’ were here, this morning. And, they brought another tomato plant. Something called, “Chocolate Sprinkles.” Which I guess is my responsibility. I grumped a lot about having to open up another bed. I’ll do a corner. And, if Elinor comes up with the “Hundreds and Thousands”, she’s fixated on, I’ll put it in another corner. I ought to make a list of all the varieties, we have this year.

    Maybe you should have just told the Doc that The Editor beats you 🙂 Once, my mum took a tumble, in the kitchen, and smacked her face on the way down. My Dad was pretty upset, as every one in the ER was giving him sidelong looks.

    That was pretty funny, about the future disposition of your bones. A recent archaeological article, that relates …


    Future archaeologists, digging through our present, in the future. In popular culture. Of course, there’s the book, “Motel of the Mysteries.” Which is a hoot. Disney’s “A.I.” And their was a documentary, I watched, that had an interesting slant. Archaeologist, 200 years in the future, are trying to figure out what made our civilization, fall. The culprit? Oil. And all that goes along with it.

    I’m glad some people have “useful manias.” (Lew, ™) Such as looking for lost apple varieties. Or lost roses. Or corn. The corn I grow, Jimmy Red, was reduced to one coffee can that some old bootlegger had stashed away. Or so the story goes. Beaver Dam Peppers. Preserved, year after year, by one family.

    Back when I was in the book biz, I think I read one V. C. Andrews book, just to see what all the fuss was about. One was enough.

    Yes, I think your right about sameness, in retail, being about supporting earlier choices. But also about predictability. No surprises. And, once a decision has been made, no further thought is necessary. 🙂 .

    Going to the Big Smoke, during a lockdown, must be a bit eerie. Rather like those end of the world films. I saw Will Smith’s “I Am Legend,” when it came out. The library ordered some fresh copies, so I put it on my hold list. Been long enough that I have a hankering to give it another look.

    And, from our “You Learn Something New, Everyday” Department. Or, maybe, “How Did I Miss That?” In the New Zealand crime series, I’m watching, “One Lane Bridge,” I noticed something puzzling. The bridge has all these padlocks, on it. So, down the rabbit hole, I went.


    Mystery solved. I saw a brief mention, that New Zealand is having a lot of flooding. And that the mice of the mouse plague, are eating each other. Good times. Lew

  10. Hi, Chris!

    We are back home in Virginia after 5 grueling days on the road, torrential rain, road work all along the way, and a tractor trailer accident that had us sitting on the highway for several hours, but it was great seeing all the different states, 8 if you count the one we left from and my home state. I thought of Claire as we passed through St. Louis.

    There is so much to do here that I still don’t have time to read your posts, or the comments, and I sure do miss it.


  11. Hi Chris,

    Really sorry about your lockdown. When I tell people about it they are quite taken aback by how extreme it is. We’re going to a movie tomorrow,the first in well over a year,the sequel to “A Quiet Place”. Theaters have only recently reopened.

    Still no rain to speak of so I’m using lots of mulch. No danger of slugs here. Last Friday morning we had a touch of frost in a few spots that wasn’t forecast. Luckily I only last a couple of Mexican sunflower plants, tomatoes and peppers were OK. Visiting my aunt downtown on Friday. She has mostly recovered except her voice which is very raspy and a higher pitch. It seems her vocal cords were partially paralyzed when she was intubated during surgery. She’s seeing a specialist today.

    I wonder if they’ll be more cabs this time. It’s my understanding that Ubers and Lyfts require much longer waits now and are very expensive. Their prior low cost and the pandemic put many cabs out of business. All according to plan.

    Restaurant meals are find considerably pricier now too.


  12. Chris,

    Thanks for the pictures of the moon and eclipse. Those are superb. We missed out as it clouded over for the event.

    I’m glad you had fun on your last pub venture before the current lockdown. These things are important. Our cases are finally showing a noticeable drop. Another week of cases dropping at this rate and we’ll have to venture forth for a batch of good fish and chips and some ale.

    We’ve got flowers blooming. Several shrubs have bloomed and quit. The roses have begun blooming, as has the thyme. The color is appreciated.

    We officially got 2.54 mm of rain in May. Yes, 0.1 inches. May averages about 1.6 inches. So, the combined total for March, April, May, 3 moderately wet months, are right at the average for July, the driest. Today hit 34C, Wednesday and Thursday expected to be hotter.

    Also, the veggies got planted: carrots in all of the containers, “bunch onions” and more carrots in the raised beds, along with a lot of green beans and peas in the beds. And a half dozen or so volunteer potato plants that seem to be enjoying this weather, as they are thriving. The raspberries are also doing well.

    That new path is great. I like doing work that, when it is completed, one can actually see the result. Well done.

    I see that there was an editor’s note about your being patient. I had to run errands today. It was hot. Therefore, I needed to add to my normal level of extreme patience. The Princess reminded me at least 5 or 6 times before I left to “be patient”, so she clearly has a different perspective than do I regarding my level of patience. Have the Editor and the Princess been in secret communication?

    So, your amplifier is having problems. Does that mean that you might have to purchase a new amplifier? If so, make sure the dial goes to 11.


  13. Hi Chris
    Sorry your on lock down again. Hope it ends soon. ? our past three day weekend was pretty much full on for the the pleasure boating and the off to the great outdoors contingent. All the local lodgings seemed to be at capacity as were the parking spots at the boat launches. Far cry from the Memorial Day weekend last year. We had a visit from our Puget Sound Son and Family and their two large Labradoodles who are always fun. The two grandsons and dogs stayed with our daughters family and the parents in a motel due to my wife’s injury. My wife was able to be driven to the daughter’s for visiting and enjoyed the outings immensely ?. First visit in almost a year and a half.

    Good on your medical visit. Hope the arm continues the self healing.

    That is quite a Lemon harvest. A couple batches of homemade Lemon bars would be in order. Yumm!

    The solar system seems to be producing well. Your expert optimization of system settings has paid off.

    Your toilet flush apparatus looks to be an Aussie invention. The generic replacement looks like a good choice. Glad it works better than original.

    Our summer has arrived with temps bumping 3 digits. No rain yet. Love those rivers flowing through.The irrigation supply forecast is still pretty good. Glad for that.

    Cheers Al

  14. Hello Chris
    I don’t think that anyone else has had potato problems. All my planted potatoes are part of the same lot and I have more than one other planting that is doing very well. Just this one poor lot. Honestly the only difference that I can now find is the fact that they have been grown where rhubarb was previously. I did dig one up a while back and it had acquired nice roots so I planted it back but no leaves have since emerged!


  15. Hi Steve,

    Mate, if the season suddenly flipped upside down, that would be a late frost, but given what last growing seasons was like… Are you intending to sow more seed? It’s not a bad option given the circumstances, and yup potato vines don’t play well with frosty conditions. The tubers will put out more vines though I’d imagine – that happens here, although it reduces yield.

    Yes, winter wheat is super hardy to cold and drought, and I’ll be really curious to hear about your harvest when you get around to it. Was it a locally adapted variety?

    Yeah, who cares? But the mice are an interesting matter. Once the rats worked out how to get into the chicken enclosure, the rats ate the field mice. Hmm. I’ve made it hard for the rats, but need to make things even more difficult. Possibly it is not fertile enough here to support a mouse plague, but also there are plentiful predators which are happy to eat mouse, unlike grain fields stretching to the horizon.

    Your vision rather frightens me, and I’m not easily frightened. 🙂 Many years ago a locust plague caused all manner of havoc further north (i.e. a warmer clime) and the local birds had a massive feast when the locusts arrived. The birds destroyed them, it was brutal.

    Exactly, you have to use the energy of the emotion, and not let it use you. 😉



  16. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for taking the time to drop by, and I’ll bet you’ll be up to your eyeballs in work what with getting your folks settled in to their new digs. Your journey sounded epic. Hope the food was good (what can I say, it is a personal interest of mine!)



  17. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks and it is a bit crazy down here. If I’m not mistaken peoples spirits have been sapped, but not everyone. The lock down is going to be extended, ah, but of course. Oh well.

    Hope you enjoy the film, it looks super scary (I watched the trailer). 🙂

    Hey, I use heaps of mulch too – there is a massive small mountain of the stuff at the top of the property waiting to be reallocated. What can you do, the season is the season, and in some respects, dry seasons (if you have plenty of water), are actually easier growing seasons. They just have less pests and diseases, and the heat causes plants to grow.

    But frost, that’s brutal and sorry to hear of it at this time of the season.

    Great news that your aunt is continuing to recover, but how does your aunt feel about the change in pitch? Did her daughter hang around and assist, or did she have to head back west?

    You know, I’ve never organised and used a ride share service, and stick to the cabs if ever I need them. I’m not really into those big tech suppliers as I had a chat with a small food retailer a few years back and she told me that they were taking a cut of about a quarter of the sale, and she was forced to sell food at near to cost and so made less profit as time went on. The delivery riders weren’t much better off. I’m no fan.

    Hey, have you noticed that menus are now simpler? This is no bad thing as working in a commercial kitchen would be seriously hard work.



  18. Hi DJ,

    Thanks mate! The skies were clear and bitingly cold that night. It might have been 4’C, so I’m glad the camera has an anti shake correction. Actually the digital SLR camera makes taking photographs easy, but I still reckon that, the older 35mm camera produced consistently better photographs. I bought the current one second hand too – the price was bonkers cheap.

    Your Viking forebears may have suggested to: Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow… 🙂 It’s a solid philosophy for a problematic age. I’ve been watching the decline in cases too. I can’t really say for sure why things turn out so badly here, but we do appear to be pursuing an eradication strategy. And it does work, but the economic cost is unfortunately quite awful to behold. Dunno, we have to somehow find a path through the murk, and possibly few will be happy with the outcome. Oh well.

    Good to hear that the flowers are beginning to bloom! 🙂 The garden is kicking into gear for the growing season.

    Yikes! Don’t Panic! But yeah, that news about the lack of rain is candidly not good, and it is still early days and there is a fair chunk of summer to get through. How are the local rivers looking to you?

    I’m experimenting with vegetable spacings and for the sort of dry year you are having, I’d give the plants a bit more room than you might otherwise. I have to deal with only limited water, but I can at least see how much is there and adjust watering accordingly. But if you have plenty of town water and the reservoirs are in good order, then you’ll probably have a good growing season.

    That’s really interesting to hear, as the raspberries here really struggled during the last dry year, but then they were fairly new to their garden bed, so maybe that was what happened. Dunno.

    Thanks, and the paths are working really nicely over winter. As our infrastructure projects get better established, we’ll have more time to sort out the plant stories. You know how things are, ya can’t do everything can ya? 🙂

    The ladies of the species intuitively understand these things, and thus us bloke things are perhaps at a disadvantage in relation to that matter. Or to put it more simply: They know stuff, we don’t know! Hehe! Your lady is a wise person to understand you so. 🙂

    Any dial that goes to 11, is clearly superior – we can both agree upon this. The amplifier does not have 11 on the dial, it however makes up for this shortfall by having black writing on a black background – it is an intriguing beast which I purchased 30 years ago. It still works, I’ll just switch out all of the electrolytic capacitors and replace them with new items. The worst I can do is totally stuff it up, but not to make the attempt will also ensure that the machine gets totally stuffed up, so there is little downside to taking up the challenge of repair.



  19. Hi Inge,

    Your potato sitauation mystery is an utter mystery. A number of gardeners down here had a similar mystery last year and it turned out that the compost which they’d purchased had been contaminated with some very serious commercial herbicides. And the stuff was apparently so potent that the quantities in the compost were miniscule, but it was enough to slow and kill off plant life. The interesting outcome of this situation was that fingers were pointed everywhere, but apparently nobody knows where exactly the herbicide entered the waste stream.

    I haven’t noticed that effect with the compost I purchase, but I guess it is only a matter of time. At this stage, I don’t have enough left over material to create my own compost, but it is on the list of things to do in the future.



  20. Hi Lewis,

    Over the years I’ve been asked some amusingly odd questions, but whether I’ve stroked my parrot today, is right up there! Thanks for the laughs. World Parrot Day is a worthy day of celebrating one of cheekiest groups of scamps in the avian world. Given it is world parrot day, in a weird coincidence I’ve begun to notice the occasional: Eastern rosella, in the mountain range. Interesting indeed, our New Zealand friends have discovered that caged escapees can interbreed with the more usual Crimson rosella. The crimson rosella birds are well established on the farm.

    World pirate day sounds quite good too. Is such a thing even real? Unfortunately not, but there is always the International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Me hearties!!!

    Yes, just in time manufacturing is a good way to prove that some business relationships are unbalanced. Someone, somewhere in the supply chain has to hold the stocks ,and whomever in that chain can exercise the greatest force gets to avoid that cost and push it off onto others. As a theory, it sounds good in theory, until it doesn’t work in reality. It is the opposite of a resilient supply arrangement, but is probably cheaper to operate within. Thanks for the article link.

    In my naivete I thought to myself: How bad could winters be there? Holy Toledo, Lewis! -47’F is a bonkers cold weather record. Still, not all parts of the state are that extreme. Chuck in a few tornadoes for good measure, and I am soft and weak in this mild climate… I’m with your dad in his opinion.

    Incidentally, strawberries can ripen pretty quickly but it really depends on the light and temperature. What sort of weather are you having? The plants are real givers too, and I’m regularly consuming the strawberry jam from last summers crop. Are these berries from runners, or older plants?

    I didn’t know that about maple seeds and have been handling them without the slightest care in the world. Hmm. I’ll have to keep an eye on them.

    Your cucumelon plant sounds really intriguing. In an odd twist, we call them cucamelon down here and I’ve sourced a few seeds and will give the plant a go. The instructions suggested to dig up the tuber root at the end of the season and then replant it out again the following spring. Does that sound correct to you?

    Hehe! Yeah, those critters who prefer anything that is green and growing are a right pain. The mulch probably allows them to over winter too. You may note that we still use mulch, but are reducing its use in the vegetable beds – it is very useful in the orchards and berry beds though, but I may do something very different with the strawberry bed just because the fruit is so close to the soil surface.

    We call the sow bugs by the name of slaters down here. I’m not sure why that may be. I’ve seen those critters munching on seedlings, but then it is equally possible that I hadn’t fed the soil in those beds enough and the plants were slow growing as a result. For your interest, a few weeks back I gave the globe artichokes a good feed, and wow, they’re going off! We ate some fresh chokes today, and they are a very tasty vegetable.

    Thanks for the weather, and yeah the thermometer is beginning to climb higher for you – as it dips here. Oh my, the photos of the drought in California were a bit distressing to see. Been there and done that and probably will do again in the near future.

    Hehe! Chocolate sprinkles is a lovely name for a tomato variety. Opening up another bed? I’d be grumpy too – his name was Mike (spoken in my best Fight Club disciple voice). Mate, I’ve lost the details of the names of plants. The editor is being very diligent with the roses, but I’m also moving them to their new homes…

    That’d be funny saying that to the doctor, but I’ve got this odd notion that the doctor might not find it to be funny. Well, your dad was correct to think so as memories are long indeed. If that happened to the editor, she wouldn’t be going anywhere here in this small town area as tongues would wag and I’d be guilty without having done anything. Far out, what a nightmare.

    Thanks! I actually enjoy writing that sort of silliness and parody – it’s kind of fun and am glad you enjoyed it too. Oh my gawd I accidentally clicked on the page button and everything I’d just typed out had disappeared….

    Mate, sorry but I had to work late this evening, and I’m gonna hit the sack now. Promise to continue tomorrow.



  21. Hi Elbows and Al,

    Thanks for the lovely comments, but this evening late work has played havoc with plans to reply to everyone. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow – unless you fall into a spatial anomaly as that would possibly be a bad thing.



  22. Hi Chris,

    I’ve been quiet because the strawberries needed picking, garden beds needed to be prepared, and out of town friends needed to be entertained. We had a busy holiday weekend, with friends from Ohio here last Friday (on a windy and cold day following rain the day before, so we stayed inside and talked), a barbecue with local friends on Saturday, and a barbecue with friends from northern Illinois on Monday. On Sunday I spent three hours picking and freezing strawberries, and this was after sending strawberries home with the two previous sets of friends (and I sent more home with the Monday friends). I still have more to pick (I’ve been picking berries for the past three weeks!), but strawberry season is winding down.

    Next up, planting the popcorn. I should finish preparing the last of the three beds that will hold it this afternoon (Wednesday) and plant the seeds tomorrow, along with replanting black-eyed pea seeds as most of them failed to germinate. The potato onions may be ready to harvest next week; their bed will get replanted later this month. Then no more planting till August. I need the break. I also need to figure out how to make planting happen faster in May in succeeding years.

    That’s a beautiful picture of the moon! The eclipse was during the day here, so we couldn’t have seen it if the skies hadn’t been cloudy, which they were.

    I too am sorry to hear about your latest lockdown, and I hope it ends soon.


  23. Yo, Chris – Before I forget, The Daily Impact has a new post up. And it’s on (wait for it) …. soil. 🙂

    The Eastern Rosella’s sure are pretty. They go for between $300 and $500, here. I wonder what the Rosella and Eastern Rosella crosses look like?

    “Just in time” inventory. Seemed like a good idea. What could possibly go wrong? 🙂 . In related news, more or less, I learned a new word, today. “Shrinkflation.” Soon to be seen in a dictionary, near you.


    Might raise hob, with some recipes. “Take a 16 oz can of …” But what if the can’s 14 ounces? Or, 12?

    I dug out all the old strawberries, I could find, so the bumper crop is mostly runners, I think. I also threw a bit of compost, in any open areas. You asked about the weather, so …

    Yesterday, the high was 86F (30C). But there was a good breeze ripping. Today is supposed to be 84F (28.88C). And, ten degrees cooler, tomorrow. Maybe because … Prof. Mass reports that Alaska and British Columbia are getting hosed, with an atmospheric river. Which is drifting slowly south. The forecast for the weekend, is rain. DJ and Al are doing it hard. Their part of our state is under a “heat advisory.”

    Near as I can tell, cucu and cuca are the same beastie. I looked into propagation, and, yes, they may be able to be raised from a tuber. No messing about with seeds and indoor starts. The article also said they can be invasive. So keep a sharp eye on them. Cucamelons never sleep! 🙂 .

    I’ve also hit the page button, a time or three. Been there, done that, didn’t even get a lousy tee-shirt, swore a lot. I may be wrong, but last time, I think I checked my “history” tab, and there it was.

    And, in World News … space junk hits the International Space Station. Shields up!

    After about a year, Lazy Shiftless Jack, finally got around to “fixing” Elinor’s leaky (and, sometimes shooting) kitchen faucet. Problem is, the cold water is now half the pressure it was, and the hot water, even less. There are also problems in the bathroom. Toilet, and shower doesn’t work. Her caregiver has had to pour buckets of water, over her, for the last year. They may get a real plumber in, for that. If he can get the ok, from the building manager. She’ll not be having a good day. 🙂 . Lew

  24. Hello Chris,
    I wish you strength and fortitude through this episode of lockdown.

    Regarding apple varieties, I am lucky to live nearby (25 km) an open apple orchard museum in Ijsselstijn. 800 varieties of apple, all availble on the online map GIS app: http://deslands.kaartviewer.nl/index.php?@Fruitbomen
    However, most of the “old varieties” are not interesting for my palate. Several are woody in the flesh, many bitter, quite a few are bland and a lot of them are susceptible to the fungal diseases that dominate nowadays.
    Regarding flavour and texture, some are clearly better for cider than use as a “dessert apple” as the sweet ones were called back in the day.
    Nowadays, the supermarkets only stock the sweet/extra sweet varieties that are compatible with the low-oxygen/low-temperature mass-storage infrastructure.

    I very much enjoy reading about the apple adventures of Steven Edholm on http://www.Skillcult.com, who also refers to most old varieties that he has tracked down as sub-par. http://skillcult.com/blog
    He is a great proponent of growing out new varieties from seed (from your own apple trees) to get new flavours and growth habit and growth timing that works in your locale. I have seeded dozens, but none of them has yet borne fruit…

    After a very cold and wet spring, we finally have received an excellent week-end with five days of 25C weather and blue skies. Now everything grows like crazy, and the unnamed health subject is wifting off in the sweet summer breeze.

    @Lew: Good remark regarding “regenerative” practices. It is a buzz word here as well. Completely undefined. During the last year “circular” has reappeared as well. Probably the strangest combinations are “nature-inclusive farming” and “nature-inclusive building”. It is vaguely reminiscent of the 1990’s practice of BS-bingo in corporate meetings. Do you remember the good old “synergy” days?

    Good day,

  25. Chris,

    Finding a path through the unmentionable? A balanced approach of some type is needed now. I’m not holding my breath hoping for balance from either the powers that be or from my fellow commoners. Predicament – no solution – so accept, adapt, move on. That’s how we’re winding through it.

    The river situation. The mountains from whence the Spokane River comes had about normal snowfall and water content. Ditto with the drainages that eventually feed our aquifer for drinking water, etc. The BIG river, the Columbia, is in very good shape, which I think Al alluded to. The Canadian headwaters did fine, and all of the tributaries in central Washington had greater than normal snowpack. So, the agricultural areas in Washington should be in good shape as the rivers that are used for irrigation are in good shape.

    Meanwhile, we set the record high for today (Wednesday) by 2:30
    p.m. Officially, Spokane topped out at 34.4C, although we hit 37.2C at my house. Al’s area hit at least 40C. Tomorrow should be slightly cooler, but the winds will be picking up Thursday/Friday to bring in a cooling trend. Hot and windy is never good.

    Hee hee. I already planted everything with more spacing this year. Not for the reason you suggested, but just to see if I’d have better results.

    I weeded and otherwise improved the raspberry area. The plants are looking healthier and are spreading. It’s also easier to water them, and the soil is holding the water a bit better. As it’s easier to access and water the plants, they have been getting a lot of water.

    My list of things to do is longer than what I can get done. So, as always, it’s pick a project or two and work on them. The other projects will still be there. 😉

    I’m glad the Princess understands me. It took a long time for me to understand me. I’m grateful that she understands and looks out for me.

    Hopefully, your capacitor repairs will work. Better than buying a new amplifier.

    So, black writing on black background? I recently bought a Ninja Foodi. It has a pressure cooker function in addition to air crisper, roaster, slow cooker and others. My Ninja is black. In order to attach the lid for pressure cooking, a black arrow on the lid must align with a black arrow on the main body. Black arrows on black objects, right? I need to put some yellow tape at the required places or something.

    That black on black reminds of the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, when our heroes (?) stole the black spaceship owned by Hotblack Desiato , star of the band Disaster Area. Everything inside the ship was black. Things like that are supposed to be for a joke in a book, not used as a “how to design something for real” feature.


  26. Hi Al,

    Thanks, and things are very changeable here right now. It all seems a bit unreal.

    Enough about me, how is your weather going? Two years back I had a summer like that and saw a few 104’F+ days in what would be your June. The season ended in one epic fire, sorry to say, so watch out particularly on the hot and windy days – a problematic mix of weather conditions.

    Yours and your wife’s big day out sounded good – and would have been something of a healing balm, although probably testing for your lady. Respect, sometimes you have to keep on keeping on, and the family catch up would perk up anyone’s spirits! The after effect of the visit would be worth the pain.

    I’m back to the doctor tomorrow to have a good second look at the x-rays. There’s a fracture there for sure, but at least it is healing. What do you do? Well, in this case I mixed up 0.65 cubic yards of compost and almost 400 pounds of additives today and the vegetable beds are looking good. There’s maybe another load and a half of that soil food to go. I decided not to use the cement mixer so as to give me some physical therapy. Me now very tired. 🙂

    I’ve never heard of a lemon bar before. Sounds lethal, but so good!

    Thanks, and I’m now within the danger zone of three weeks either side of the winter solstice. The solar power system is optimised, but I’m down to the merest increments of improvement – I’m sure you’ve been there too with diminishing returns? Next Tuesday and Wednesday will be very tricky as the heavens will open and issue forth a torrent of rain from the cold south. It’ll be a bit touch and go next week.

    Water is a precious commodity here, and flushing it down the porcelain is not done lightly thus the two button flush with the toilet tank. I expect that water will be something of an issue in the future and this device is a no brainer.

    Glad to hear that your rivers are flowing well and that irrigation supplies are solid. You can’t ask for more than that. 🙂



  27. Hi Elbows,

    Long time, and I’m glad to hear from you and the news in your part of the world. 🙂

    Yeah, the variant appears to have arrived from traveller’s returning from India. To be honest, there is so much noise in the media accompanied by political football between state and federal interests, that I really can’t make much sense about the current goings on at all. The current situation has galvanised me though and my local member of parliament at the state and federal level are about to get an earful and a useful history lesson. Things are very weird here and other parts of the country appear to respond better.

    But exactly, if you are in a high risk group, this health subject which dare not be named is a nasty customer. All other considerations to the side, life is inherently risky and nobody guaranteed us any level of safety or continuity. The vibe I perceive in Melbourne is strangely not dissimilar from the threat of bushfire which I endure most summers. The main difference there is that I have become accustomed to the underlying level of feeling of risk which is part and parcel of those days. It can be a bit of a shock to city folks that all is not as they thought that it was.

    Yes, well the public down here is also being blamed, and frankly the academic could have been writing about the prevailing sentiment in whomever it is that pens the articles down here. Mostly it appears that it is the authorities who have stuffed up their quarantine processes yet again.

    My understanding is that this one is coming in regular waves in other parts of the world as well, so your observation has relevance to other countries. And exactly, we have to adapt and move on. We’ve managed to do so before with far more deadly health matters, and I’m sure we can do so again. And who really knows what their individual response will be until they are faced with the reality, but sooner or later, we’re going to have to find out.

    It’s exciting! And I’d imagine your part of the world is not dissimilar in climate from here, and I reckon the beans will shrug off the worst that winter has to throw at them, and they’ll produce plentiful beans early in the growing season. They’re a true performer those beans and I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    We’ve been bulk feeding the soil in the vegetable beds today. I’m using the mixing of the ‘stuff’ as a form of therapy for the shoulder and arm, and it took many hours. What do they say? Two steps forward, one back, so it goes. And it’s true! 🙂

    A few weeks ago I planted out some kale and purple sprouting broccoli and they look like they are growing really well despite the wintery conditions. I’ve read that the flavour of kale is improved by frost as the plant converts starch to sugar in the leaves, but I’ll test that theory as the season progresses.



  28. Hi Claire,

    You’ve mentioned before that you mow the strawberry bed at the end of the season. I’m very curious about your experience with the plant and was wondering how the plant coped with being mowed and whether the runners also survived the experience? I’m trying to work out how to manage these plants and their garden bed.

    Glad to hear that you’ve been able to enjoy your friends who had travelled from afar, and such times are a healing balm on life’s occasional difficulties and pains. And barbeques are awesome! 🙂

    Talk of your strawberry harvest is like catnip to me. Hours of picking and freezing is time well spent and I enjoy the processing of the harvest by zoning out and listening to music. Do you later defrost the berries and then consume them, or are you building up stores so as to produce jam or wine, or some other berry product?

    Your brief cold spell would I reckon have been a setback for the peas, and if the season was upside down I probably would have had corn in the ground in May – but you might have done that already as possibly popcorn might need more heat than sweet corn? Not sure as I’ve never grown popcorn.

    Refining systems is what it is all about. 🙂 The sore shoulder has been good in that we’ve gone seriously hard on getting the vegetable terrace beds in good order over the past few weeks. Today I mixed up and distributed 0.5 cubic metre of compost with about 180kg of additives. And I’m feeling a bit sore and tired this evening, but also happy in the knowledge of a job well done. I probably have another three runs of that mixing and distributing job and the place will be set for spring. Future years should be a bit easier on that front.

    And thanks to you – and I seriously mean thanks – the soil amendments are already beginning to pay dividends. Believe it or not, the globe artichokes have grown since their feed only a few weeks back and are even producing chokes in winter. It is astounding to me just how under fed the vegetable beds were. Oh well, moving on… And it explains a thing or two about the last growing season.

    The eclipse and super moon were very cool to see, but far out it was cold that night and I was quietly grateful for the anti-shake function on the camera.

    Some restrictions are being lifted for rural areas as of midnight tonight, but the city folks are doing it tough for another week. The vibe was very sad in Melbourne. This latest lock down has galvanised me into action.



  29. Hi Goran,

    It is a super weird time, and I was glad that the police finally acknowledged in the media that the so called ‘ring of steel’ during the previous four month lock down was a waste of resources. City folks were avoiding the checkpoints and heading into rural areas via the back roads. The checkpoints used to give me the creeps too as there is something really disturbing about having to display identification and papers to officials to do something that you were otherwise allowed to do.

    Some restrictions are easing up at midnight tonight for us rural folks, but the city folks are stuck in place for another week. I actually don’t know how some folks are coping financially with this situation, and there aren’t that many cases.

    Sorry, I’m ranting… Ook! 🙂

    Well that is true about the apples. They’re an odd fruit in that every apple has a different purpose, but like what you’ve nicely observed – the supermarkets tend to only stock the super sweet dessert varieties.

    If you want to shock your system, try making some cider from the dessert varieties of apples! Far out, the resulting drink is so sweet that it gives me a headache. Sometimes the revolting gnarly apple varieties are excellent for cider, and yet others again are excellent for cooking. All are useful, you just have to experiment a bit with the variety! 🙂

    I’d imagine an apple orchard museum (we call them research stations down here) keep their soils and trees well fed? They don’t look like a heavily feeding tree, but they are that from what I’ve observed. And the soils and even water and climate can affect the fruit. It’s complicated.

    Thanks for the link and I’ll check it out.

    Goran, I have to fess up here. It’s a bit slack but I feed some of my apple crop to the local parrots and I expect to discover wild apple trees sooner or later. It’s a bit hit or miss, but the parrots do have to earn their keep!

    True, I find that many fruit trees need at least a decade before they begin producing fruit in earnest. A neighbour has a thirty year old apple tree and the tree produces an enormous amount of fruit. It’s truly staggering – but I don’t see such volumes of fruit here from the trees as they are much younger. There are 26 varieties of apples growing in the orchards, and for some dessert varieties there is more than one tree.

    Glad to hear. In fact, very glad to hear! May your summer be bountiful and full of joy for you and your family.



  30. Hi DJ,

    Adaption kind of looks like a painful middle path where nobody may be happy, but what else do you do? It looks as though this thing is here to stay and vaccinations are only good for so many months if they are anything like the influenza vaccination. We’re in cold and flu season now, so it is hardly surprising that cases get a foothold. Things seem to be easing up for us rural folks midnight tonight, which is good given there are no cases in the area…

    That’s all very good news about the water in yours and Al’s part of the world. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, hot years when there is plenty of water for the plants, makes it look like us gardeners know what we are doing!

    37’C is unpleasant, but 40’C is even more unpleasant. I do hope that the weather cools a bit for you both. 30’C would be very nice and it is an ideal temperature, I reckon as a suggestion that you could both aim for. 🙂 Of course control of the weather is probably a bit beyond both of our competencies.

    I’ll be curious to swap notes with you as to how your increased plant spacings worked out. Already here it seems to be producing some dividends, but things grow slowly in winter, and some plants like the green and red mustards seem to keep warmer when planted closely when the really cold weather hits.

    Your raspberries are in a good paddock with an attentive caretaker (and I do the same with them here). Do you eat your lot fresh or do you produce some jams (or you might call them jelly’s)?

    Imagine running out of projects? That would be truly awful. Fortunately there are always more projects, but never enough time for all of them. Oh well, we must only but do our best.

    It’s a funny old thing life, and it takes a while to get good at it. The editor and I have likewise travelled a similar path.

    Dunno how the amplifier repairs will go, but I’ll do the job a little bit at a time. It is a job for an actual rainy day when I’m not doing paid work. There aren’t too many of those, because when the sun is shining, or when it isn’t raining I much prefer to be outside.

    The Ninja looks like a beast of a machine and it promises much. Well aren’t Ninja’s traditionally dressed all in black and there is a certain mysteriousness to the craft? So it only makes sense that your machine would exhibit those tendencies as well. Mate, it would be a true horror show to not properly anchor the lid of a pressure cooker.

    Hehe! Yes, that was exactly where the reference originated. Pretty cool idea huh? Have you heard about this engineering challenge: Qantas Airbus A380 superjumbos: Rattlesnakes cause problems for engineers maintaining planes in desert storage?



  31. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the tip off and I enjoy the blog immensely. And talk of soil is like catnip to my senses. Speaking of which I mixed up 0.65 cubic yards of purchased compost with another 400 pounds of various additives, and then spread it around the vegetable terraces. I should have gotten the cement mixer out to do the mixing job, but I just couldn’t be bothered lugging the machine up the hill. The hand powered wheelbarrow is an elegant technology that just works, and is also very useful for this mixing job. Mind you, I’m feeling rather tired this evening. The editor spent the time rock hunting and rock fossicking so that we can put another path in the very highest garden terrace. Peak Rocks is all very sad.

    You know I tried looking for images from the far south island of New Zealand where the Crimson and Eastern rosellas appear to have been getting on their funky business and producing unusual hybrid varieties of parrots. The websites I looked at displayed images of the birds, but the images were from this country. Maybe our friends across the Tasman sea are uncomfortable with the results? Although it maybe taking the concept of uncertain parentage a bit too far.

    Shrinkflation is a goodie isn’t it? The very word itself brings to light a number of unpleasant and intricate practices that for various reasons might want to remain hidden. I’m pretty sure one of the comments in the article suggested that it all doesn’t matter – except that I reckon it probably does matter.

    That’s true about the recipes and I hadn’t thought about that side of things. It might be a point of difference though as many of the cookbooks I’ve got don’t tend to suggest brands or packaging. Mostly the instructions include the name of the ingredient and the volume required for the recipe. Of course, I might need to get out more – problematic in a lock down.

    Some restrictions are easing for us rural folks as of midnight tonight, but the city folks will continue to be in lock down for another seven days. I’m reading a few articles about people in the gig economy who are suffering economically this time around due to a lack of income. The bills continue to pile up and I can’t imagine that they’d get access to the dole for the two weeks of lock down. The Federal government has offered some money to theses folks, but it isn’t much.

    Thanks for the information as to how you handle the strawberry plants. I might reduce the initial number of plants next season and give them some breathing room. Dunno.

    Mate, I’m always curious about the weather – and Oscar Wilde was wrong in this regard. Hmm, delightful sounding weather with the exception of the atmospheric river. Did the good professor hint as to whether the atmospheric river will drift as far south as where you are?

    I spotted an article with an intriguing title (it is a film review): Lapsis spins sci-fi satire from the gig economy, as a cable guy’s quick-cash dream turns to nightmare. Sounds like an intriguing film.

    The tuber idea for the cucomelons sounds as if it will be an easier start than seed and I’ll be very interested to hear if your plant produces a decent sized tuber at the end of the season. I ordered seeds and thanks for the warning. There are many plants here and in the surrounding forest which are invasive and all of them compete rather forcefully to get an edge over their competitors. The world of plant is not necessarily the place of lovin’ fun and niceness which some plant only eating folks might like to believe.

    Just knocked something into my eye. Ouch. Had to flush it out with water. I’m off to see the doctor tomorrow to check out the x-rays. I suggested that the editor come along so that I don’t have to repeat what the doctor says.

    Hmm, thanks for the suggestion. Hadn’t considered checking the browser history. I managed to press the forward and back pages and the text returned. All very annoying and I don’t know how to disable the stupid button on the mouse. Oh well, moving on.

    The International Space Station however is incapable of moving on, but yeah I saw that direct hit. No small matter when you are in low earth orbit. You brought to mind Commander Sulu in Star Trek VI yelling out “Shields! Shields!” as the ship was hit by Klingon rubble. That was my favourite film of that franchise.

    What? A year? Wow, you guys have way too much water for it to take a year to fix such a drama. Mate, those are sub standard plumbing issues and Elinor has my sympathy. I’d have that stuff sorted. It ain’t right.

    Did you manage to plant out any of the Jimmy Red corn this year? Or is it to be all popcorn? Kind of suits the times don’t you reckon?

    I hear you about that Andrews book, and it was just too creepy a concept for my liking. And being the adventurous sort I am, I probably would have broken out of the attic and caused a right fuss, and then probably ended up with distant relatives or as a ward of the state. But stay in that creepy attic – no way.

    True about presenting the known to consumers. There is an incredible sameness to the built landscape in the big smoke. Sometimes it is mildly disorienting. But then it is probably about the best we could have done given the choices we made.

    It was a bit eerie, and the film “I am legend” has been mentioned on a number of occasions. You know it was based upon the much older film “The Omega Man”? Same, same, but different. I quite enjoyed the earlier film.

    So here is what I learned from reading about love locks: Relja, you philandering b!@#$%d. And Nada, there are plenty of other fish in the sea – he’s not worth it you know. Hehe! I’d wondered about those things.

    Hopefully the mice eat each other – they’re probably hungry enough to do that.



  32. Hi Chris,

    I mow the strawberry bed right after the strawberry harvest ends, when the plants are beginning to send out runners. After the bed is mowed, the parent plants concentrate on growing their leaves back, thus no longer producing runners. The goal is to keep the parent plants from reproducing and thereby overcrowding the beds. It’s worked for the last few years, although I think that after I mow this year’s bed I should feed them with some compost and soil amendments. I’ve already harvested a few pounds more this year than last and the harvest isn’t finished yet, though it is diminishing.

    My understanding is that eventually the parent plants do wear out and need to be replaced. The Nearings wrote that it took 10 years for that to occur in their beds. My plants are about 5 years old and still producing well.

    I’m really glad that amending the soil is working so well for you!


  33. @ Goran – My favorite two words of “office-speak” are “synergy” and Paradigm shift.” Atlantic Magazine had an article back in 2014, that had a lot of information on where it all came from …


    And, a more recent update. And, they asked for input from their readers.


    I figure a lot of it is a pathetic attempt to cover up ignorance. Also, as the words have little meaning, if things go wrong, there’s a lot of wiggle room, for plausible denial.

    I once worked for a big bookstore chain. For twelve years. Then we got a new district manager, who besides having a lot of crazy ideas (that biographies should be arranged by color, rather than who the books were about), began leaping about, squawking things like, “Empower the employee” (I thought we were “sales associates” ?) 🙂 .
    I knew it was time to look for another job. Lew

  34. Yo, Chris – Your adventures in soil nutrient mixing, sounds very chef like. 🙂 . The Daily Impact post, was alarming. Though I knew about all that, before. One just doesn’t think about it much. Or, want to. All I can do is stock up, and grow as much local, as possible.

    Well, you’re doing the right thing. Keeping that arm flexible. Tell the Doc what you’ve been up to. See how he reacts 🙂 .

    Most recipes are not product specific. It’s more like, “Take a 16oz can of pumpkin.” No brand specified. Not to say brands don’t push their product, through recipes. Often, along with advertising. And, there are whole “brand name cookbooks.” Jello began distributing recipes and samples, back in 1904. A lot of estate sales have boxes or drawers full of product cooking pamphlets. Some of the older ones can be quit graphically striking.

    Well, as long as you brought it up … I’m glad they’ve lightened up on your rural restrictions. What a county, I live in. We’ve got the lowest, per capita vaccination rate in the State. And, the highest number of new cases. 160+, last week. Old people are rioting out in Winlock (a small town to our south.) They want their senior center open. It was slated to open, later this month, anyway. But, they want it open, yesterday. The Powers That Be, tend to forget that us oldsters, are the Children of the 60s. Riot, is what we do 🙂 .

    Several schools here have opened, had an outbreak, and gone back to on-line teaching. Only to reopen again and … wash, rinse, repeat. Out in Hoquium (different county … on the coast), 80 high school kids threw their own unofficial prom (a yearly dance and mating ritual), at the local Elks Lodge. It was a super spreader event. So, they closed their schools again, athletics are off the table, and graduation ceremonies postponed or canceled.

    The past holiday weekend saw the annual flea market, out in the east end of our county. It stretches for miles, along the highway, and thousands of people, show up. After some back and forth, between the organizers, and the State Health Department, it was decided to not require masks. Since it’s in the open air. They set up a vaccination station. Out of all those thousands of people, 40 got the jab.

    There’s also some government relief, for gig folks, here. But from what I read, the whole process to get at it, is rather opaque.

    Prof. Mass is rather Seattle-centric. So, really not much info, from him, about how far south the atmospheric river, will go. But our National Weather Service, predicts rain, locally, this weekend. Maybe, heavy.

    Ohhhh! Lapsis looks like a good film. I hope our library gets it. With luck, I’ll pick up the Australian film, “Rams,” today. I finished watching the New Zealand series, “One-Lane Bridge,” last night. The crime at hand was solved, but there are some interesting loose ends, that may lead to a second season. I hope so.

    My corn is going in when the moon starts waxing. I wanted to get some lovage and popcorn seeds. Wouldn’t you know, neither of the seed suppliers I checked carry both. So, I’d have to do two orders. I’ll check the seed rack at the local hardware store. I noticed this morning that one of my test patches of Scarlett Runner Beans is up, and banging along.

    I think “The Omega Man” has been filmed, three times. Vincent Price, Charlton Heston and Will Smith. Each are interesting, in their own way.

    I ran across an article, about the Classis Britannica.


    It mentions tiles, stamped with their insignia. That’s how the archaeologists knew that the villa, was probably an admirals. Or, at least a Classis Britannica facility. I just had a thought. Maybe it was an R & R facility, for officers? Lew

  35. Hi Claire,

    Many thanks for the clear explanation and additional information regarding your management of the strawberry patch. Of course, that makes total sense – but is not immediately obvious unless someone spells it out in plain English. So obvious from hindsight though… 🙂

    Ah yes, Scott and Helen Nearing were a couple of very smart folks – and I can only but respect their love of rocks. Those two knew their rocks, let’s put it that way. I read a book about their lives a few years ago, and they were obviously entertaining, perhaps Helen more so than Scott, as they always had a bunch of folks around. I’m a bit more of a hermit on that front – oh well!

    I read all three parts of the interview and thoroughly enjoyed them. I applaud your perspective, work and worldview:-)

    The soil amendments are working amazingly well, and I’m wondering how things would have gone in the last growing season (the year without a summer), if I’d followed the feeding and spacing recommendations. My gut feeling suggests that things would have gone better. Incidentally the knowledge is playing out well in the orchard, although the fruit trees get a different feeding regime.



  36. Hi Lewis,

    Chef is one of my favourite films. It combines a road trip, buddy film and coming of age story, all in one amusing tale. You can ask for more, but you might not get it! Hey, well blow me down – I had no idea that Vincent Price was in the original adaption of the I Am Legend book. Now why do authors take the mad cash and then chime in with unsatisfactory reviews and comments as to the film adaptions of their work? It is all a bit unseemly really. Strangely enough, I actually enjoyed the Charlton Heston version of the story (The Omega Man) as it was just a fun romp with a bunch of zombie vampire things. The film was not critically acclaimed, but the critics may have got it wrong? The later Will Smith version made a lot more mad cash though…

    Thanks for mentioning the Daily Impact yesterday and I read the alarming essay this morning over breakfast. Yes, it is a problem no doubts about it. Those are all useful responses, because I really doubt that as a society we can afford to (in an economic sense) do anything about the problem. People would baulk at the cost of food, and most folks don’t understand how minerals move from farmland into sewers and then out to the oceans. It is probably a step too far for most folks to think about the consequences of all that.

    Actually, I didn’t mention to the doctor that I’d been mixing large batches of compost by hand for about five or more hours yesterday. I might have to go and see a physiotherapist so as to get some stretching exercises to build up the shoulder joint again and repair the damaged muscles and ligaments. Oh well, I ain’t getting any younger and this here getting older bidness ain’t all it’s cracked up to be you know! Hehe! I’ll be fine, the fracture looks as though it has repaired – the musculature – well that’s got a long road of recovery ahead of it. Life wasn’t meant to be easy. 🙂 By the way, I’m not complaining, the opposite experience to life is err, death, and I quite enjoy the former.

    Speaking of which, with more relaxed restrictions only in rural areas, we went in search of some comforting bakery products to soothe the delicate nerves. They were scored, and we walked around a local botanical garden which we had all to ourselves. It was quite pleasant really. Hit the pub for dinner and a pint and the place was booking only and seating only ,and I happened to notice in the booking book that it said ‘no more bookings or walk ins’. It was 37’F outside and I happened to notice a young couple sitting outside enjoying their dinner in the cold. They were rugged up, and I’ll bet they had a really great night which they’ll long remember.

    Speaking of distributing samples, I remember when back in the late 1970’s some dehydrated orange flavoured product turned up in the mail. It might have been called Tangelo? Me and my dubious mates went and stripped as much of the stuff as we could get our hands on. We were like: Who sends out free product in the mail? 🙂 It just doesn’t happen.

    No worries, the health subject which dare not be named is kind of lurking around in the background making a right nuisance of itself! i.e. hard to ignore. Mate, I dunno, maybe folks are testing their mettle or they just want their senior citizens centre open again? Hope there was some thrown food or maybe a molotov? 🙂 Those oldsters sure know how to party.

    The prom was a bit of a bummer. Oops! I note that there are consequences for the students. Mate to put things in perspective, we have a third of your cases and the entire state of 5 million+ people has been shut down. There must be some sort of middle ground in there somewhere.

    I assume that you dodged the flea market? Probably not a bad idea if you are in a higher risk group. We’re hearing stories of side effects, and people are nervous. One big problem with the authorities pushing the fear button hard all of the time, is that people are genuinely fearful of the authorities. It’s a problem and probably should be addressed.

    Where people are willing but unable to work, they deserve the support payments, although this time around they are far less than the average weekly wage and there are many conditions which must be met. I was speaking with someone today who was grateful to be back at work for the simple reason because they have a mortgage. The banks are not known for being your mate!

    Good luck with the atmospheric river, and it is not a bad time of year to receive a good dump of rain, although given where it has originated, it will cool the soil and slow plant growth. An atmospheric river from Hawaii might be a totally different experience?

    Did you enjoy the film Rams? The trailer looked really good, and all rather farming subversive. A film for the times perhaps? 🙂 I really liked the premise of the Lapsis film and the anti hero sounds like he plays the role well. Ah, I see that a second series of One-Lane Bridge has been given the go-ahead. It’s a beautiful part of the world.

    When is the waxing moon due? It’s waning for us at the moment. I’m assuming that we see the same phases of the moon, although I’ve never really thought about the matter before but don’t see why not? Good to hear that you scored some loveage seeds and you won’t be disappointed, all the taste of celery, without the sheer hardship involved in getting those plants to grow. Somehow years ago one celery plant grew and I had no idea how it ended up there – and that was the last time celery has grown here. Scarlett Runner Beans are a favourite in your part of the world. I’ll spend more effort on peas and beans next growing season (now that I’m growing them at the correct time of the year and ignoring wider advice for folks in warmer areas).

    Yes, yes, the Batavians are revolting! It’s of interest that the fleet controlled iron working sites and mines and I’m assuming shipping – and protection of shipping. Liked the reference to graffiti depicting a galley. Old habits die hard…



  37. Hello Chris
    A food shop here has a notice up saying that it is not easy to assess someone’s age when they are wearing a mask. So if they are buying any age regulated products, they may be asked to remove their mask! I assume that this is referring to the purchase of alcohol.


  38. Hi Chris and Inge,

    Verticillium wilt affects rhubarb and may cause stunted potatoes.

    Just a thought,

  39. @ Lew,

    Your unmentionable numbers per capita are severe. We’re still over 380 per 100,000 as the daily average over the past 2 weeks. (If my calculations are correct, Lewis County is at 389 per 100,000 for the same time period.) TPTB are saying that, starting May 21, “many” of the new cases reported daily are due to “a backlog of data from December through mid May due to a computer communication glitch with labs contracting with the State”, rather than being recent new cases. If so, then the tally of those currently hospitalized due to the unmentionable should be going down. It’s not going down.


  40. Chris,

    Yup, adaptation is a “middle path”, but I’ve found it to be much less painful than holding to a predetermined viewpoint that is being disproven by facts and events. The non-adapting path leads to madness, in my experience.

    Are things still easing up for the rural areas? I hope they are.

    Thursday felt a few degrees cooler than Wednesday due to the broken cloud cover much of the day. Officially, Wednesday eventually hit 35C, Thursday 34.4C. At my house, Wednesday’s 37.2 C dropped to 36.1C. Today (Friday) is supposed to be about 30C, with even cooler temps over the weekend. Of course, now the winds are a problem.

    I’ll keep you informed about the harvest and the plant spacings. First, the seeds need to sprout!

    The murder of crows disappeared for a few days. So, Thursday, 3 ravens were lazily riding the winds over the neighborhood. That’s the most I’ve seen together at one time.

    We eat most of the raspberries fresh. Any excess we freeze and use later. I like to add berries to the cooking process when making home made chili. They add an interesting flavor to the finished product while also taking the bite out of the hot seasonings. Blueberries are best, but raspberries work well also.

    I told a friend something about owning a home many years ago: “The best part about being a homeowner is that there’s always something to do. The worst part is that there’s always something that needs to be done.” I’ve discovered over the years that my mental/emotional outlook on everything is MUCH better if I have things to do other than crafts, reading, tv. I need to DO things. Living in apartments was harsh that way.

    The Ninja has some fail safes designed into the pressure cooker function. If the pressure cooker lid isn’t properly attached, it won’t turn on. Similarly, it is impossible to remove said lid until the internal pressure has decreased to about that of the surrounding room. When using the air fryer/crisper lid, I’ve found that that lid can be lifted, whereupon the unit immediately ceases to produce heat. Replacing the lid will then require me to hit the “start” button again. The timer pauses throughout that delay and starts where it had been interrupted.

    Oh, well, yeah, you’re right. Ninjas must be black to adhere to the traditional color of the human Ninjas’ attire.

    Those Mojave rattlesnakes are NASTY! I have a cousin who taught biology at University of New Mexico in Albuquerque for most of his career. He once took us through their collection of animals and plants. There was a big Mojave rattlesnake in a large aquarium that had two layers of thick glass. We were in the hallway behind a glass window. That snake took one look at us, coiled, and tried to bite us through the glass. We could hear the rattles through the glass and 2 closed doors. Impressive.


  41. Yo, Chris – Yup. “Chef” was a good film. But you forgot to mention … the food! 🙂 Oh, authors. Of course, the films are never EXACTLY what they envisioned, in their books. Sometimes, all the movie ends up taking, is the title. Stephen King always said you sell your movie rights, and just have to let your babies go. Not that he followed his own advise, all the time. But, given his clout, he has more control over adaptations, than most authors.

    The Vincent Price “Last Man on Earth”, certainly was low budget. Even though it was made in 1964, it was in black and white. But, it had a certain charm about it. Mostly due to Mr. Price, I think. But the whole lot are interesting, each in it’s own way.

    Soil. Well, it’s probably off most people’s radar. Depends on which corners of the media, you root around in. If most people think of it at all, it’s probably dismissed with that old chestnut, “They’ll think of something.”

    Muscles and ligaments. Now, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. But my understanding is that tears do not heal. But, the surrounding muscles and ligaments, given a bit of time, will pick up the slack. I tore a meniscus in one knee, and gosh knows what I did to my shoulder. But, the surrounding bits, picked up the slack. Eventually. About three months. My friend Scott went the surgical repair route. Because, you know, he just couldn’t wait 🙂 . By the way, he’s taking the train to the San Diego area, this month, to visit his sister.

    That orange stuff, they sent out in the mail, was probably Tang. “The Drink of Astronauts.” “For Spacemen and Earth Families.” It was invented by William A. Mitchell. Who also invented Pop Rocks, Cool Whip, instant Jello, etc. etc.. He’s the patron saint, of dentists, everywhere. Although he’s falling a bit out of favor, to be replaced by Barney and Ally Hartman. They invented Mountain Dew. 🙂 .

    Maybe the old folks in Winlock will chain their walkers, to the door?

    I must say, I am getting tired of all the back and forth about That Which Cannot Be Named. Even though Mr. Greer has a lot of comments, this week, I can skim through them, pretty fast, as I skip all that nonsense. But, I should have waited to get the jab(s). Our State is now offering “incentives.” Cash prizes up to one million dollars, video game consoles, etc. etc.. Well, I suppose I could get another round of jabs, and enter the lottery … Not going to happen.

    By the way, Mr. Greer is asking for topics, for the 5th Wednesday. I’m up for “Ancient Technologies.” Most votes win the topic.

    Well, the weather here is quit pleasant. Yesterday and today, low 70s, with a breeze. But, the next week is going to be “unsettled.” Rain, possibility of rain, scattered showers, etc. etc.. Don’t know if to poop or go blind. I saw an interesting article on the wildfires, down in Oregon, last year.


    Interesting slant on things.

    The New Moon, here, is on the 10th of June. Don’t know if it’s the same down there. Given the International Date Line, reversed seasons and bog water swirling in counterclockwise, driving on the wrong side of the road and calling cookies, biscuits … well, I figure anything is possible. 🙂 .

    I haven’t nailed down the lovage seeds, yet. Haven’t been to the hardware store, and I baulk at making two small seed orders, from two companies. By the way …. how do you prepare your Scarlett Runner Beans? I went down the rabbit hole, and it was a bit confusing. Other than they should be cooked as they are slightly poisonous. They really aren’t that popular, here.

    I was going to mention the extensive exploration of the military iron works, in the Camulod Chronicles. But then realized, it’s in that new prequel, that you haven’t read. The Roman army and navy had their fingers in a lot of industrial ventures, to supply the military. The archaeological world is all agog, over this …


    These were slave run plantations, that supplied the Roman army with grain and meat.

    I picked up four films, from the library, yesterday. I got “Rams”, but haven’t watched it yet. I got caught up in “Des,” starring David Tennant. A true story about an English serial killer. I also got something called “Average Joe.” Very out-of-shape super heroes, who come out of retirement, to fight something or other. And,”The Beautiful Fantastic.” A rom-com, but my only defense is that it’s about gardening. I may have seen it, and even recommended it, to you. But I saw the trailer, and parts didn’t look very familiar. So, why not? Lew

  42. Hi Inge,

    Do you know that the enforcement of the age related product thing only became a thing in about either 1986 or 1987 down here? Before that few businesses seemed to care, but for some reason there was a great moral panic at the time, and suddenly the enforcement became a real thing. I’m truly unsure what motivated the great moral panic at the time, but I have my suspicions.

    As an interesting side story, for obvious reasons my mother started me in school at the earliest opportunity and I was often the youngest person in the year at school. Now at the time of the moral panic I was just under age and I recall friends who were slightly older having a good laugh about the unfortunate circumstances I’d suddenly found myself in. That friend group quietly distanced themselves, as they were able to go to pubs and clubs whereas I put them at risk of getting kicked out. It happens.

    Once out of school and in my first full time adult job, I was still underage, but my fellow work mates simply ignored all that and I ended up socialising with them – and it was a very social workplace. Friday’s were often very messy.

    It is a strange feeling when you have enough years under your belt to realise that the current circumstances weren’t always how things used to roll.



  43. Hi Elbows,

    Thanks very much for the suggestion and certainly there is something odd going on with the potato plants. I moved my lot about maybe a year and a half ago ,and will no doubt continue to move them every four years or so. The potato plant is incredibly important, and probably needs greater attention in a small holding setting than most people give it.

    Incidentally, mention of the plant disease lead me to discover that up in the northern part of the country there is a native tobacco plant (Nicotiana benthamiana). I was not previously aware of that plant, but it may possibly not grow this far south. On the other hand members of the Solanaceae family of plants are found in this forest and I’m curious about all of them. So far the fruits grown are edible but they are a touch soapy tasting. Given the ability of that plant to hybridise, who knows what the future entails?



  44. Hi DJ,

    Madness, but exactly! The weather is turning, as a chunk of Antarctic air drifts away from that frozen continent, heads north and wreaks havoc here. So we’ve gone from pleasant winter weather, to it being a touch windy today. The trees are wooshing around and for some reason Eucalyptus trees display an ability to flex and bend with the winds. Do you know which trees don’t bend with the winds? I’ll let you in on a little forest secret: It’s the dead trees that don’t bend with the wind. See nature teaches us what we need to know. 🙂

    Things have eased up a little bit in rural areas and I’m now able to travel further than 5km / 3.1 miles without a reason, but things are still a bit weird right now and the city folks, well news ain’t good as there are more cases and they face tougher restrictions. Mind you, I didn’t go anywhere today (more on this later).

    I’m not sure about your part of the world, but the winds really dry things out here, and hot winds are doubly problematic on that front. The last time I enjoyed a season like what you and Al are going through, I failed to provide extra water to the garden on the basis that I didn’t really know when it was going to all end and so couldn’t make any rational decision as to use of the scarce water resources. The extreme heat went on for two months and then abruptly turned. The future is hard to know, but what I learned was that an extreme 60 day growing season is way too short. The rest as they say is history… But as a suggestion: use your town water.

    You can chit seeds if you are careful, plant them out and then remember to keep the soil moist until they are established. Takes the guess work out.

    I hear you about the crows and their mournful calls. Seems like everyone is talking about Corvid these days. Funny you should mention this…

    Ah, I wouldn’t have considered using berries that way. Many Asian cuisines utilise competing flavourings and Thai food immediately springs to mind. There is a long history of such cooking techniques. Alas the Currawong’s consume all of my blueberries despite my best efforts. The birds are probably more intelligent than I, and f I were to deny them their favourite berries, it is possible that they might seek sweet revenge. The local magpies barely tolerate their presence, but the birds are large and travel like Vikings in a pack and aren’t easily dissuaded from their objectives.

    Oooo! Love the change in perspective with your observation as to housing – and totally agree. As an interesting side story, it is often lost on folks that even new houses require maintenance. Even apartment blocks require maintenance and the annual fees for such activities can beggar the kingdom. At least in a house you can do the maintenance tasks yourself.

    Well yes, Ninja’s wear black clothing and dare we be the ones to challenge tradition? When I was a young adult, I had a mate who dove deep into the Ninja thing and he even attended training. I was of a more relaxed and easy going nature, and dated his sister. What can I say, opportunities and all that stuff… My friend was an interesting person, but he had a slippery grasp of things – otherwise known as a compulsive liar. At the time I didn’t really care about such things and just had no business dealings with him, but after four years of debt collection work plumbing the depths of humanity I went to the opposite end of the spectrum and kept a purely strict honesty only policy. But here’s the thing, that extreme policy failed to work, and somehow I had to work my way back to some sort of middle ground. It’s been a hard road that one, but I basically had no guidelines or mentoring, and just sort of reached the space today via trial and error. I sort of suspect that reading between the lines over the years, you’ve travelled a similar path but with different challenges.

    Snakes, can’t live with them. Pass the beer nuts!



  45. Hi Lewis,

    Ah yes, the food. The food!!!! Yum! An essential part of the experience of that particular film. I might watch a film later tonight. Not sure yet. The editor is having a video catch up with a friend of hers over the interweb. I’m such a bad influence, given the circumstances I plied her with alcohol and can only hope they share the highs and lows of lock down and all the current craziness. Speaking of food – dinner has become my responsibility. So tonight we shall dine upon Linguine with an Ortolana (seasonal vegetable) and tomato based sauce. it will be tasty and topped off with a good dose of grated Parmesan cheese and I might go heavy tonight on the pepper tonight! Why not? The editor does not pour with a liberal hand, and perhaps she may enjoy the experience? 🙂 And I note that the Catholics have a saint of the same name – details are sketchy, but patron saint of the market gardener was not listed…

    Stephen King has the right of it, the narrative creation is his baby, although I do wonder how books can easily translate to the big screen in the first place? Something has to be lost, and for some reason I can hear Inge decrying the word: Concision! And I can only but agree, but is it what the long form author wants? We might not ever know.

    That was my take on the ‘Last man on Earth’ film too. Vincent Price would have carried the work and done the hard yards despite the low budget. And in a seriously messed up twist on nature imitating art (and this next bit is actually relevant to the ideas presented in this paragraph): Deer seen running through inner Melbourne euthanased after being assessed by vets. I can’t make this stuff up, it was not far off a scene from I Am Legend.

    The old chestnut that they’ll think of something is a very handy tool for switching off and providing a good nights sleep. Might have to try using that one myself? Had a really delightful day today. After running around this morning like a crazy person trying to squeeze the days normal activities into the morning, I got to spend a couple of hours online with friends and a personal hero of mine: John Michael Greer. So much fun and we all had a really lovely chat. John Michael is a very gracious person and I am delighted to have made his acquaintance.

    In order to process the experience, afterwards Ollie and I walked around the farm and surrounding forest for about an hour. Upon returning to the house I enjoyed a very good coffee, an even better half of a lamington before then fell promptly asleep on the couch for about an hour only to discover that Ruby had snuggled in. It is very cold and windy here today. That was my day…

    Oh shoot, the Linguine just boiled over. Dinner may not be all that gourmet an experience after all! Oh well, just add more pepper…

    Mate, that is my understanding too with the ligaments. The muscles and bones will recover, the ligaments not so much. Yeah, like what you say, a person can be in a hurry and opt for the surgeons knife. I’m not that kind of a guy and will adapt to circumstances and move on. There are benefits to be gained from going under the knife, but there are costs too – and I’d prefer to simply adapt to how things are. From another perspective, I messed up royally and now have to pay the price. I’d prefer to understand that and not think of myself as infallible. Which I note includes the letters which spell out the word ‘fall’. To put it bluntly, I accept things on that front as they are.

    Pepper didn’t quite cut the mustard so I added some chili. The meal is getting there and has some serious kick now. Can’t wait to get the review from the editor! 🙂

    Wasn’t Scott having a major major freak out not that long ago? I can only but assume that he got the jab?

    Tang, yes that was it. The memories now come flooding back. Ah Mountain Dew, so unassuming a name. It is possible that the heavy use of acids promotes degeneration of tooth enamel and other bone mass, but what do I know?

    old folks in Winlock will chain their walkers! Years ago I happened to watch by sheer chance an animated zombie film and the protagonist was an old bloke with a zimmer frame. The old guy sure knew how to wield that frame like a weapon as he took on hordes of zombies single handed. Can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, but for some reason I have the memory of the animation being accompanied by a laconic narrative. And I wasn’t sure that it was even meant to be a comedy.

    Ancient technologies, I’ll put my hand up for that. Hang on a second… Done!

    Low 70’s sounds like perfect weather to me. We have another chunk of Antarctic air almost about ready to hit the mainland. Lots of wind, rain, cold weather and low land snow.

    The coastal regions of Oregon share a lot in common with where I’m located. The article you linked to does not surprise me at all. And in the first photo I noted that the forest was too close to the house which appears to have burned to the ground. And the forest is choked full of dead materials. If the fire was really hot, a lot of that stuff would have been ash, but it wasn’t. The trees are also barely three feet apart. What did they expect? I heard an indigenous bloke once make the observation that if a wallaby can’t bounce through the forest, then it will end up bouncing down the road. What he was also describing (and I didn’t provide the context) was that the forests have to be thin enough to allow animals to travel through them, and people generally don’t want that to occur. They get a bit weird about it actually. But if you don’t do that, any fire will quickly escape any meaningful control. Under insurance is a problem for here too, and people don’t understand their policies – or want to pay for a more appropriate risk coverage. It will happen here sooner or later too. It is interesting to hear that the community has rallied in the face of wider neglect.

    Hey, the editor enjoyed the chili. Pah. Need to add more next time. My tongue is on fire!

    Seed order are usually packaged in envelopes here so they’re pretty cheap to mail. As to preparing beans, and last year was my first successful year of growing them, I may have put them in luke warm water for about four hours before planting the seeds out. If you really wanted to test the seed you chit the seeds and see how they germinate – and then carefully plant out the sprouting seeds (i.e. don’t break off the developing root systems). Overall germination rates were high with the bean variety I trialled last year – they were the lazy housewife variety (the name suggests much output and little work). Lewis, I didn’t know that and ate the Scarlett Runner Beans… Oh well, I’m still here to talk about the experience. There weren’t many.

    Your memory is good! 🙂 Yes, I’m lax it is true. And patience is required for those who are slow readers. And Stephen King’s epic tome The Stand is crying out for attention. And it is the unabridged version. Candidly I’m a bit nervous.

    Placing the head adjacent to the feet sends a strong message, and may also on a pragmatic front make for a smaller grave. The signs of signs of anemia and tooth decay were not encouraging for the well being of the deceased. Incidentally the Romans might have managed something in the order of a 7:1 return on seed in their agricultural practices, maybe a bit better. With an army to feed, there would have been little allowance for poor harvests. It’s not good.

    Average Joe looked like a fun film. What? Has someone remade Dune? Looks epic. I’ve seen the film The Beautiful Fantastic and rather enjoyed it, the ending was lovely.



  46. @ Elbows
    Interesting possibility except for the fact that the rhubarb had always been healthy. The potatoes are starting to pick up now, thank goodness.


  47. @ DJ – I’ve had a sneaking suspicion, over the years, that our county is cursed, due to the Centralia Massacre. Which you’ve probably heard of, but if not …


    Strange stuff has happened, over the years. Weird crimes and general madness. Stephen King level, stuff. Sometimes, I think the residents would be happier, if the whole place was transplanted to somewhere more conservative. Idaho … or Texas. 🙂 Lew

  48. Hi Chris
    Doing the whole household daily workload keeps me busy these days?. My wife’s recovery has a lot of go forward events. Then back again. We just keep on going.

    I like the way your plants are reacting to the expanded feedings. Amazing given the impending winter.?

    I received an order from the nu egg computer folks for a full Windows 10 Pro loaded in a USB thingy. It was for one license.
    I replaced a Windows 7 that was no longer supported or safe on a 2011 hp laptop. It is the second time i made such a move on a PC (the first one was a desktop originally Window 7 also (I think it was in 2015 ). I took the full wipe offered option on both machines. It worked good so far but the laptop only has 6 gig Dram mem but I can get a single socket 16 gig stick for about $ 80 USD. That should speed things up a bit!
    The $200 price for the 10 USB not fun?. The desktop has never given any trouble since the change though. Damo may have some thoughts on such a choice.

    The Lemon Bars are really good and also simple we have only baked a box mix which was ok. We have had home baked given to us which were really good. Lots of recipes . Few ingredients your home grown Lemons should be excellent. Letting the filling cool and set well seems to be the key for success for the bars.

    Our weather is bouncing or blowing all over the spectrum for normal in our dry land this month. That’s our normal.
    Cheers Al

  49. Yo, Chris – I saw an article last night, about Australian real estate. That home prices were rising $766 (AU 1,220), per day. That may have just been Sydney. But overall, average home sales are approaching a million, per. Things aren’t that much better, here. Madness.

    Your dinner sounds very nice. Night before last, I had some rice, chopped spinach (frozen), a can of garbanzo beans, some sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped celery, parsley and garlic. Turmeric. There was so much of it, I cut it in half, and had the rest of it, last night. With some chopped chives, on the top. Oh, and nutritional yeast.

    Really, the way to go with a book, to film, is the miniseries.

    That was an interesting article about the deer. There’s been a few articles, about wildlife, advancing into the cities. Due to the quiet, that’s fallen, since You Know What. I think there’s even a documentary. It’s world-wide. And how about those elephants, in the Land of Stuff, that broke out of their reserve, and have traveled 300 miles, north? What’s with that? Over the past few years, many of our deer and elk have been effected by one weird disease, or another. So, the fellow that took the photo? Apparently, “going out for coffee” is one of the five reasons to leave home, during lockdown? 🙂 .

    Over all, it sounds like you had a pretty nice day. As a shut-in 🙂 . My day wasn’t as nice. I worked in the garden, late afternoon. There was lots of cursing. I was going to pull some weeds, so I could plant that Chocolate Sprinkle tomato. And, I wanted to cut out some of my elephant garlic scapes. I leave a few for “decor.” They’re quit striking, when dry, a a tall vase. Last year, someone stole some of mine. So, I left more than usual.

    So, I go to the dumpster room, to get a bucket to put the trimmings in. Usually, there’s a stack of yellow plastic buckets. Used originally, I think, for kitty litter. They were gone. Weren’t in the locked garden room, either. So I had to scrounge around for something to put them in. Once I got that sorted, it was onto The Garden Goddesses plot, to see if I could sort that. Ended up moving four of them, to give them more room. And, got them out of their tiny pots, which had just been sunk in the ground. Also got the three cucumbers, out of their pack, and planted them.

    I noticed on her last foray out, she had placed a five pound bag of some kind of chemical fertilizer, next to her bed. And that’s as far as she got. Me, I just dug the holes, tossed in some egg shell, bone meal and lime, and called it good. I noticed when I was digging around in the bed, there’s still a lot of fertilizer pellets, from last year. Clumps of them. Then I hunted up tomato cages, for them all. Got all that done, as, it started to rain, last night. Poured buckets, just awhile ago.

    Scott’s major freak-outs, come and go. As do mine. 🙂 .

    Around these parts, someone with really bad teeth, is suspected of fooling around with Meth. Or, drinking too much Mountain Dew.

    I had to look up Zimmer frame. Here, we just call them “walkers.”

    I was looking at the new PBS DVD releases. On is called “Exhumed: A History of Zombies.” Hope our library gets it.

    Thanks for the vote for Ancient Technologies. When Mr. Greer announced the current tabulation, Yeats was ahead. I noticed as soon as he did, votes poured in for Ancient Technologies. I hope the Yeats people, don’t rally! 🙂 .

    Speaking of authors, I had an interesting experience, walking back from the library. I saw a lilac bush, and thought of Whitman’s poem, “When lilacs last, in the dooryard bloomed.” Which he wrote on the death of Lincoln. But I could not remember Whitman’s first name! It was an odd feeling. I could almost detect a hole in my old memory banks. Like feeling around the edges, of the place where a tooth has been extracted. Maybe a bit of space junk holed, my memory bank? 🙂 . It’s Walt, by the way.

    OK. “Chit the seed.” Define, please. You used it in your reply to DJ, and now, me. Explain yourself, young man 🙂 .

    Enjoy “The Stand.” It’s good your tackling it, in your winter, when you have slightly less things pressing. One gets swept up.

    I watched the “extras” on the DVD of “Rams,” last night. By then, I was tuckered, and toddled off to bed. I’ll watch the film, tonight. Lew

  50. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, things on that front are now in crazy land and it may be that we are facing a world class bubble of epic proportions. You have your extraordinarily expensive medical costs and we have our extraordinarily expensive housing costs. Same, same but different – as they say! This is the road that the Modern Monetary Theorists have led us down, and it ain’t pretty. I genuinely have no sense as to where it is going but I do recall the words of the economist Irving Fisher who may have said something about the equities market being at “a permanently high plateau”. It was a big call and didn’t end so well. His daughter had an awful fate. But yeah, it is like the old saying about banshee’s in that if it looks like a banshee, it probably is a banshee. Awful and dread creatures.

    Thanks, the dinner ended up quite nice, and the editor shrugged off the heat. Note to self: add more pepper next time! 🙂 I thought the meal had some kick, but the editor was having a chat with a friend who was in the city lock down, and so such niceties may have been disregarded.

    Your dinner sounds delightful too. The addition of the yeast is not a bad idea and many cultures add such items to their food. As far as I can understand things it is no different than adding mushrooms to your meal. Hey, the turmeric is still growing well in the green house. I might give the plants in there a bit of a seafood tonic to get through the colder months of the year intact.

    The deer in the big smoke was sort of in the area where we used to be able to go for dinner. I’m astounded that the deer made it so far into the gritty urban streets. Civilisation is sometimes a thin veneer. I was unsurprised that the deer was euthenased as I was wondering where the deer could possibly be released given that they are considered an invasive species. I tend to believe that the species is now part of the environment and that is how things are now, although this is an unpopular perspective.

    Yeah, and the guy who took the photo may end up in trouble. It is possible.

    The name of that particular tomato variety just kind of makes you want to plant it just to see what all the hype is about. On the other hand, I feel that it would be a very long bow to draw to pretend that a tomato tasted like chocolate. Aren’t they a variety of leek or onion? I intend to move all of the leeks over the next week or so up to the garden terraces. It took a bit of experimentation to produce a variety of the plant which I like the taste of. And they grow much more easily than onions (fickle beasts that they are).

    That’s not good about the tiny pots with the plants sunk into the ground. It won’t end well you know. And five pound bag not distributed! The bags of pellitised chicken manure that I add into the compost mixture is in 77 pound bags – it’s heavy. I’ll be curious to hear how your cucumbers go this year – it was a disaster for that plant here last year as the soil was nowhere near warm enough. Not all of the chemical fertilisers are bad but like you I’d prefer to build the humus and life in the top soil and sub soil on the basis that the process will be slower and the plants will be more resilient.

    We all have freak outs from time to time. 🙂 Construction of the house produced one or two freak outs, which isn’t too bad given the sheer complexity of the job. One freak out occurred when I just couldn’t work out some of the aspects of the fire rated roof, it was too much of a difficult problem – fortunately the editor has a better brain for math than I, and she was able to order the various steel profiles. A notable day!

    Everyone has their bad habits, but some habits are worse than others I guess. Teeth are a very good indicator at to a persons general health.

    Speaking of health, we went on an epic rock scrounge today. I must have walked for about three and half hours today just extracting rocks and then walking them back to a central point. We used the power wheelbarrow to then take all of the rocks up the hill. We finished the rock walls for the new path in very highest garden terrace. We’re taking neat and orderly to 11!

    Sorry to be so self absorbed, but “Exhumed: A History of Zombies” certainly counts as another zombie film in my books. As an observation, why did the Army of the Dead seek to recover millions in mad cash when the stuff could have been printed again? I was kind of hoping that they were after gold bullion or other valued items.

    No worries at all and I can see that the subject has picked up and is now racing ahead. Fans of Yeats may be incensed by this sudden and unexpected turn of events. They may yet rally their forces!

    Mate, I wouldn’t worry about that loss unless you have been specifically intending to recall the name. Memory is like a sieve and you can only hold so much in there before you pop. The thing with improving your memory through practice, is that the practice interferes with other activities and so you get better memory and worse at other things. We can only ever but do so much.

    To chit seeds is to treat them like sprouts and get them started like sprouts which you intend to consume before planting them out. I think the derivation of the word has something to do with potato chitting, but it is the same thing. You can check germination rates for your seeds that way, and I’ll try that later this year.

    🙂 I look forward to wading in Stephen Kings world.

    Did you enjoy the film Rams?

    Better get writing!



  51. Yo, Chris – Well, we’ve got both. Extraordinary house AND medical costs. Given the financial and political situation, I’ve been a bit twitchy, of late. Though I try and ignore as much of it, as possible. You may have noticed I haven’t been buying much tat, of late. Just piling up mad cash, in the bank, instead. Though even worse than folding money, it’s just a pile of ones and zeros, so even that isn’t much of a comfort. Best put my faith in something, someone over at Mr. Greer’s said: “Plant lots of potatoes.” 🙂 .

    The nutritional yeast has all 9 essential amino acids, and lot of other stuff in it. I get it from Bob’s Red Mill, and it isn’t too expensive. Goes a long way. I sprinkle it on most casserole like meals, I make. Had some on popcorn, last night. No, it doesn’t “taste like cheese.” But it does add an interesting, and not unpleasant flavor to things.

    I haven’t seen any deer yet, this year. They live in the woods, up behind the Institution. One was hit on the road, last year. Given that there’s supposed to be a large number of homeless people, up there, I wonder if perhaps they’ve moved on to other digs? But I’ll still sprinkle around a bit of blood meal. Might keep them off. Maybe.

    People do like making up stories, about the names of things. Mostly harmless, I think. I’m talking about plants, here, but it also applies to so many other things. Usually to enhance sales. A bit of no cost “value added.” It dates back to at least the whole medieval religious relics trade. There were a lot of “heads of John the Baptist”, floating around. Multiple apostles. In America, every country inn claimed that “George Washington Slept Here.” George must have really got around. If all the colonial furniture, that “came over on the Mayflower,” was put together, you’d need the ship Queen Mary, to move it. 🙂 .

    We have many plants here, that when I ask the Master Gardener’s what they are, they say “Alliums.” Which covers a lot of territory. I keep track of my Elephant Garlic, and it’s pretty distinctive. Although I put a few in Elinor’s plot, and the Gardener’s pronounced them “leeks.” They are very similar, especially in their green form. I’ve been using a lot of them, in cooking, lately. The immature form. They are very leek like. Also, the developing bulbs are very hard to cut up. A bit fibrous, and VERY slick. I suspect that some of the clumps of “chives” we have around here, are just very crowded onions.

    Due to our climate, cucumbers are pretty hit and miss. I planted the Garden Goddess’s, and have let a bit of the volunteers go, that I think are cucumbers in my patch, but I have no great hopes for them. And, being a vine, they take up a lot of space vs yield.

    I’m glad you found enough rocks to complete your highest terrace path. When you were out scrounging rocks, did you find anything else of interest?

    I haven’t seen “Army of the Dead,” yet. But, yeah, paper money doesn’t make much sense. For all that trouble. But, I suppose the makers of the film just don’t have the sophistication, to see the problem in that. Or, thought their audiences wouldn’t.

    Oh, I wasn’t really worried about the memory hole, I detected. But I’d never really paid attention to the … structure of such things. It was odd and interesting to poke around it’s edges.

    I wasn’t in the mood, for “Rams,” last night. So, I watched “Average Joe,” instead. Don’t bother. I’ve seen better acting in a high school play production. The production values were very poor. Sets, and things. As of this morning, Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t even have a review. Not worth the bowl of popcorn.

    Our weather continues to be “iffy.” A highly technical and scientific term. 🙂 . Rather than the cloudburst, of yesterday, this morning has been a steady drizzle. Last night, I checked on the tomatoes, and they looked a bit water stressed. So, I gave them all a drink. They look pretty perky, this morning. Lew

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