After the storm

‘Are you heading to Daylesford’, she asked? ‘Nope, we’re heading to Blackwood’, came the reply. ‘Where’s that?’ Ah, a city slicker enjoying a day of work in the countryside. The blonde haired young lady on traffic management duties standing in the centre of the road was holding a large stop sign and certainly looked very cheery to me. Well she should be – I’ve heard that they earn more than the editor and I do combined. Clearly we are in the wrong occupation.

However, on the day, we were on the right road, and hoping to get to the small town of Blackwood. The young ladies pink suede work boots offset her yellow high visibility jacket quite nicely, and I’ve noticed of late that road crews tend to hire personable young ladies to do the traffic management job. As a strategy it probably isn’t a bad one.

Years ago I volunteered as a fireman in the local volunteer fire brigade. A large tree had fallen across a nearby road, and I recall assisting clearing away the detritus from the road so that the traffic could then pass. It was a notable experience because some numpty from within their vehicle was suggesting that we should hurry up because they were in a hurry. It is a weird feeling to be heckled whilst helping out the very people who are heckling you (and as a volunteer!) But of course, I’m a scrappy old fella and not a personable young lady, so perhaps this explains the heckling? Who knows?

Anyway, once the editor explained to the personable young lady doing traffic management where the town of Blackwood actually was, she directed us down a small country lane. The main road of course, was closed due to the many fallen trees. There’d been an epic storm in the days leading up to the road block, with high winds and unnecessarily huge amounts of heavy rainfall, and so trees have been toppling all over the region.

We never made it to the town of Blackwood that day, although we got close. About 12km (7.5 miles) from the town we had no choice other than to turn around and head home again. No matter, the trail of destruction which the storm left was amazing to see. The storm was bad here, but it was worse over there.

A couple of epic sized trees ended up blocking the local road
This tree brought down a power line in the area

The mains electricity grid has been out for several days in this area. This meant that there was no power to the local pub on Thursday night. However by Friday night, the local pub managed to have had its electricity supply reconnected despite other parts of the mountain range being without power for many more days. It was a thoughtful act on behalf of the electricity distribution company, and so the editor and I ate there on Friday night. At a nearby table, a young couple were also enjoying their meals whilst their phones were plugged in to the wall socket and charging. Their actions piqued my curiosity, because who takes a phone charger with them to the local pub?

The house here is not connected to the electricity grid, and never has been, so the lack of electricity all around us occurred without us even being aware of it. However, we had no easy ride either because the two worst days of the storm produced only about 15 minutes of peak sunlight for each day. And the components in the off grid power system greedily consumed all of that energy for its own mysterious inner workings, leaving us with not much power at all. Whilst other households were without power, we watched as the batteries sunk to below 50% charge. The decision was made to haul out the petrol generator. That was when we discovered that the battery charger was not quite useless, but was close enough to useless.

After nine hours with the generator noisily chugging away, the machine put an insignificant bit of electricity into the batteries. With all of the noise, the editor had a headache, and after the days work was done I began investigating replacement battery chargers. A decision was soon made and the replacement device was ordered which set us back a bit over a thousand bucks.

Renewable energy is a good technology given that we had electricity during and after the storm when nobody else in the area appeared to, so comparatively it’s pretty resilient. But it is also hideously expensive. Which is why it is an oft spoken about, but rarely seen beast. The only reason you’d go this off grid route is because you want to make a difference to the environment; the resilience aspect appeals; or you’re just a rugged individualist wanting to go your own way – or a delightful combination of the three (like us!) But if finances were a primary concern, you would never consider going off grid in the first place.

It always intrigues me that I’ve never encountered another person who suggests that their primary motivation for actually installing renewable energy technology for their home was that it would be a good thing for the environment. It is possible that I need to get out more, but even so, people talking about this technology usually speak in terms of how much mad cash they’ll save if they install it. And mostly they install the cheapest iteration of the technology (i.e. remaining connected to the life saving umbilical cord of the electricity grid). Such folks act like gamblers when they report upon the wins, whilst ignoring the losses. It’s a crazy worldview, but it is commonly enough seen. The Green New Deal folks I’ve heard about are probably just like that too, and if I’d encountered one of them, I’d ask the hard question: So what are you going to do for electricity at night when the wind isn’t blowing and you’re in the middle of a drought?

Fortunately for us after the storm passed the sun eventually shone and the batteries soon made their way back to 100% full. However, the storm really was extreme in this corner of the continent. We had about six large trees and many more smaller trees fall over.

A very large tree fell in the paddock below the house
This large tree had split and fallen during the recent storm. Ollie is comparatively small.

The high winds and heavy rainfall even knocked a few fruit trees over. Some of those fruit trees I’ll prune and then relocate. Others like the Australian round lime in the next photo, I’ll probably remove.

An Australian round lime citrus tree has fallen over during the storm

Observant readers will note that the citrus tree in the above photo has succumbed to a disease known as collar rot, and having been underwater for two days during the storm, the health of the tree would not have improved. It is actually impressive to be on the side of a mountain saddle, and have the soil completely and utterly saturated. There was so much water falling from the sky, that there were even standing puddles of water for a couple of days – and that never happens.

The soil was so saturated that there were standing puddles of water for days

One of my favourite tree species (Acacia Melanoxylon or Blackwood) is very well adapted to swampy ground, but even one of those species of trees now appears to be almost about to topple over.

An Acacia Melanoxylon (Blackwood) is in danger of toppling over

The water from here moves downhill where it flows into a creek at the bottom of the property, and from there it flows into the local Macedon River also known as Riddells Creek. From this height I could see that the water course had swollen and burst its banks, and fortunately the well run farm down there had already moved their cattle to the higher ground well beforehand.

The local water course swells and bursts its banks

Eventually the storm passed and some sun began to shine again.

The sun produces a rainbow against very dark and stormy clouds

Work this week involved cleaning up the fallen branches and leaves, and there were a lot of them. It is impractical to chip up so much material, and so it was collected and burnt off.

Plum assists with burning off heaps of forest litter left by the storm
Ruby admires the now much reduced pile of forest litter

The burn off of the materials took an entire days work. And the large fallen trees weren’t even touched. Those trees will eventually be cut up and split for firewood, but there is no hurry to do that job as such materials have to season (reduce in moisture and sugars), and so the firewood won’t be ready for use for a couple of years regardless.

Other people in the area were also burning off and I remarked to the editor that this is perhaps what Mordor may have looked like:

The land of Mordor contains much smoke from the ceaseless fires

One final word in relation to trees. An old timer once imparted a few words of wisdom in relation to trees. Firstly – have no large trees within dropping distance of your house; and Secondly – they never get smaller. Wise words, and despite the best efforts of the storm, the house and its infrastructure lives to fight another day.

The house remains standing after the destructive and prolonged storm

It is only a week and a bit to the winter solstice, but the recent heavy feeding of the Globe Artichokes means that they are continuing to produce tasty chokes. Such a tasty vegetable.

Globe Artichokes continue to produce chokes after the heavy feeding

Onto the flowers:

Theses Gazanias battled through the storm and are still showy
Salvia’s are coming to the end of their flowering season
Succulents continue to surprise and delight
I couldn’t resist including a photo of these Canary Island Foxgloves

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 8’C (47’F). So far this year there has been 576.2mm (22.7 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 465.4mm (18.3 inches).

65 thoughts on “After the storm”

  1. In the U.S. midwest, we have several weather phenomenon that might cause damage. Tornadoes, of course, but there are microbursts, downbursts, straight line winds, and derechos. Even gust fronts of thunderstorms can cause damage. They occur most frequently south and west of here in the great plains, bus sometimes form here.

    Pink suede! I’m shopping in the wrong places!

    We are in the midst of a drought here, and I’d like a rollicking thunderstorm and take my chances with whether the wind got out of hand. We are watering the garden continuously, and will still take a big hit on some veggies. The 25 sugar maples I planted this spring are too far to haul water, so they are on their own. I wish them well and will check on them this week. Not looking good.

    Weather- as we descend the energy blip we’ve enjoyed, weather will mean a great deal more to all of us as we try to keep warm or cool, and grow our own food. As farmers have continued all along, we’ll talk about the weather with a great deal of focus.

    “Renewable energy” – well, the jury is out on that, but it is at least training wheels for the time when even PV panels are no more. Still, I work at it, and will shortly be heating our water with a standalone array that is direct DC to the heating element in the water tank. No inverter losses, but other design considerations to deal with.

    We are a ways off from going off grid, but make progress every year.

  2. Hi Margaret,

    Hopefully the photos clarify your mental image of the storm, but yeah you’ve mentioned tornado alley and what living with that is like. Out of curiosity, when Doug’s shed was damaged in the storm, was it just part of the structure or were the contents also damaged? Thanks for the well wishes and yeah cleaning up after such a storm is a big job. Just for your interest, the house was designed to withstand high winds and every aspect of the external house frame is tied together with steel – there was a lot of strapping in that design. It was a chance decision on the part of the engineer to specify that outcome – and so far it has proved its worth. The sheds are likewise held together with steel strapping.

    Yeah, the SW of your country is really in the grip of an epic drought. It’s staggering really. I read an article the other day which suggested that for the first time in many years that big state has had a net outflow of people.

    Oh my, your teacher friend has been doing it tough and that makes it doubly impressive that he was able to attend. Hope he enjoyed himself?

    What else can you do? Monitoring water usage, the soil and the weather forecast becomes a daily routine during such climactic conditions. I was checking the water tank levels today as many of the systems are full, but some need a top up once the sunlight becomes good enough to provide the power maybe in August.

    If the growers have access to plentiful supplies of cheap water then they’re probably doing OK, but water being a very precious resource I assume that it costs more as the years go on and so liberal usage in small market gardens has economic disincentives. It is funny how you have to adapt to the seasons – yes, summer is a time to start early in the day, and winter is a time to kick back and enjoy a late start.

    Moved half a dozen roses today, and all of the leeks. I’m curious to see how the leeks taste and we put some aside to trial them. Also I admitted defeat and dug up the tea camellias and planted them out in pots in the greenhouse – they’ll do better there. Long ago I trialled a coffee shrub and it grew really well, until it snowed and then it died at a rather rapid rate. 🙂 It was worth doing the trial.

    That’s an interesting question isn’t it? Between you and I, I get exposed to a lot of such things because I visit so many different clients. I’ve had the flu, like as in influenza as distinct from a cold, twice now and that is one nasty customer, although I recovered fine. There were two really bad days and I slept them off and just did the bare minimum to get through, and then my body began fighting back. I can see how people could die from that one, but if you’re not in a high risk group it is probably fine, just very unpleasant.



  3. Hi Al,

    You’re onto things! They offer a one-off programming service for the battery charger, but I don’t expect to have to use the device much at all and will simply use it manually. I was advised that the device has a pentiometer which I can adjust to up the voltage, but how that works out in practice – who knows. I might end up having to shell out for the extra device anyway. Actually I don’t even know how that programming device even works.

    🙂 Truth to tell, I gave them one email address and then paid using a different email address and so they put the order on hold to clarify the difference, and today was a public holiday so hopefully they get it into the post tomorrow. That’ll teach me for not understanding their systems… Oh well.



  4. We’ve got 8 kW of solar, and export 85% of what we produce. We got it for environmental reasons but I often talk about the money benefits to people because I think that’s more likely to motivate them.
    I think grid tied solar is preferable (where possible) because excess production can be shared.

    Cheers Angus

  5. Hello Chris
    Too hot out in the sun today. 25C indoors.
    For some odd reason, don’t know why, I particularly liked the photos of the road with wood and fallen trees. Perhaps I have a need to escape somewhere!
    Strange to think that once upon a time people didn’t have electricity at all and now so many don’t know how to live without it.
    During the 6 years that I lived without it, I did cook with bottled gas and had wood to heat a living room. Paraffin for lighting. The only drawback is the hard work. I still regard a washing machine as a gift from the Gods.

    Cattle escaped from a nearby field yesterday and Son came down to see whether I had the bull. Half the animals were in a neighbours garden but no-one could find the bull. Not good for people taking their daily exercise walking, running or cycling along our narrow country road. They might have had to fling themselves over a hedge.


  6. Hi Lewis,

    Looking at the photos of the aftermath of the Columbus Day storm, I’d have to say that your particular storm was much more severe than what we just went through. And I get the impression, but aren’t quite sure, but the storm here went for several days and so there was far less intensity than what you went through – the energy was perhaps similar, but more dispersed in our case. It was such a weird and unusual storm and the only thing I can compare it too was when the baby tornado hit one Christmas Day many years ago (I seriously wish that I’d taken a photograph of the approaching cloud, but in the moment back then I had other thoughts on my mind). And what was really interesting about the baby tornado was that the weather was alarmingly calm beforehand – then it struck hard.

    Up north of the continent, they get storms of the equivalent and greater in the tropical areas – and I’ve mentioned to you before how Cyclone Tracey flattened the city of Darwin on Christmas Day in 1974. There wasn’t much left of the city after that went through: 1974: Cyclone Tracy hits Darwin. The lead photo shows the sheer devastation of the city.

    No, this far south nobody names storms. Such storms which roll up from the frozen continent of Antarctica are usually called ‘cut off lows’. You’d think that after the destruction the storm would receive a proper name. And it was the Queen’s Birthday public holiday today, although I’m unsure that our head of government would be amused by the suggestion. 🙂

    Definitely you have done some good and then some in a past life and your good self and H are reaping the benefits of your earlier hard work. Hope the humidity drops a bit before the heat arrives later in the week. And it would be very good if some solid rain made it over to Al and DJ’s part of the state.

    That’s a good idea re-sowing seed where the germination rate is non existent. I’ll be really interested to hear how your sunflowers go as that plant is a bit problematic here due to the never ending supply of parrots. Incidentally the Jerusalem Artichokes produced no sunflowers this year – probably too cold. Sweet basil germinated really well in the greenhouse. I’d previously sown them directly, and germination rates that way were not even close to what happened in the greenhouse. Can you chuck a temporary cloche like a cut up family sized plastic drink bottle over the basil seeds? That would work wonders. But yeah that’s been my experience too in that once they’re growing off they go. The protection of the seeds might do nothing more than ensure a larger germination percentage? Dunno.

    You have my condolences and sympathy for the loss of Grandma Gen and planting a garden is a great memorial.

    Speaking of tea (chamomile in your case) I dug up the two tea camellias today and potted them up and placed the plants in the greenhouse. They were looking a bit sad after the cold and damp summer and I was worried that they might not survive the winter conditions. Oooo, grass is tough to remove once established. One of the benefits that greater plant spacings have is that the beds are easier to weed, but it is easy for me to say that with the sheer space here. I hear ya.

    With the plant spacings too, I relocated half a dozen rose plants to new locations at wider spacings. Underneath the heavily fed garden beds is a truck load of clay, and occasionally digging into that is like hitting concrete. Fortunately all the soil life is making that clay more loamy, but it still has many years to go. On the other hand there were a lot of worms both earth worms and compost worms.

    Those stats you dug up on the health subject which dare not be named, more or less match what we were getting before the lock downs, although maybe with less hospitalisations. I’m not really cool about extending emergency powers out indefinitely – it is just too much temptation and it is a truism that power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is just not enough checks and balances in place and honestly it never occurred to me that gobarments would keep us safe – whatever that means. And what recourse is there if they stuff things up royally?

    No I haven’t seen The Stand mini-series, but can report that I am 10% of the way through the book. Seriously, page 135 of about 1350 pages. I’m enjoying the book immensely and Mr King recounts delightful short stories of each of the characters as each chapter is an update of where the characters are at. Every time I read the word ‘sniffle’ or ‘cough’, it’s like code word for that character is going to end up badly – and possibly very soon. The author really captures the innocuous way that such a disease spreads through the population. Thanks for the recommendation for the series.

    It’s a bit of a joke how European populations absorbed the newcomers, or were swept away by them. I have an odd notion that the land itself in those countries dictates the sort of cultures that are found there give or take a bit of divergence from that. I’m of the opinion that in the long run because of this difference, the Euro experiment is possibly toast. It’s a noble experiment, I’ll give them that, but longevity, history suggests that things will be otherwise.

    OK, Froggyland is amazing and hope it heads somewhere near to you. I read an odd article a few months back about people in the I think it was the 19th century were exhibiting human skeletons in playful ways. That was apparently a thing back then. You pointed it out a month or so back that often we’re just like earlier folks, but occasionally we can be quite different in some respects. The editor is noting that from her reading of Agatha Christie’s ‘Then there were none’ that the people back then had more or less the same flaws and dodgy motivations as people today – she was quite surprised to discover how well the book stood up to the short passage of time.



  7. Hi Steve,

    It’s funny how weather patterns are called different things in different parts of the world, but a shocking storm is still a shock storm no matter what you call it! 🙂 I’d heard most of those terms, and for your interest the one that hit here from the south was a ‘cut off low’, when they come from the east (not the usual wind direction) they’re an ‘east coast low’. Derecho sounds much more interesting!

    You need to get some of these for your lady: teel Blue Women’s Southern Cross® Zip Steel Toe Safety Boots 512761. They’re a real thing and I see them being worn. 🙂

    Sorry to hear about the drought in your country. It’s not good. I realise you’ve probably though about it, but can you leave some slow leaky buckets next to your sugar maples? Trees need very little extra water to survive a drought, they won’t grow, but they won’t die either. Fingers crossed – maples are pretty tough customers.

    Mate, the weather is an important topic and living in this remote locale, my mind is very focused on the short term and long term forecast. The preparation for wildfires never ceases either and we did some work on that today. But yeah, an important topic of larger concern than it is normally thought to be.

    A local business who makes my solar power battery controllers actually produce a controller device that does exactly what you are intending to do with the hot water: Plasmatronics. The device is called a PLW PV solar hot water and there is a link to a PDF brochure. I heat hot water using solar hot water panels and the wet back in the wood heater and that covers most of the year.



  8. Hi Angus,

    Good to hear from you, and yes if you can share the excess electricity, that is a great thing and from memory you and your family are careful with electricity usage. And respect for saying that. 🙂 It’s rare.

    I see on the powercor outages map that there are still something like 15,000 homes without power – a big storm.



  9. Hi Inge,

    Oh no, you’ve gone from a cold spring to a hot summer. Hope the garden is responding well to the heat, but yes that would be hot indoors here too over the more usual summer weather. From memory it gets hotter at your place inside the house some years? Most years here the internal temperature of the house will peak at about 30’C, but it soon goes back to more tolerable temperatures. At least timber houses don’t hold onto their heat in hot weather…

    Thanks, and that road is just around the corner from here. I like the forest too, so I’m really pleased that you also enjoyed the photo. I sort of thought of the wild storm as natures way of thinning the forest – eucalyptus trees are well adapted to losing branches and heads in high winds, then they bounce back. And the trees lying on their sides become very hotly contested housing and feed for many of the forest critters.

    That thought is not lost on me either about the supply of electricity in rural areas being a relatively recent thing. I think one of the issues here is that peoples houses and properties aren’t well set up to accommodate the possibility that energy could be scarce or non existent at some point in the future. Do you see that in your part of the world?

    I can use both of those technologies and energy sources too. But oh yeah washing machines are good.



  10. Yo, Chris – To your blog post … Well, your other choice would have been to hike the 12km, into Blackwood. Guess you didn’t want a scone, that badly. 🙂 . Although, without electricity, they may not have been on offer, anyway. That would be the topper!

    Oh, here, people drag their chargers, everywhere. Wouldn’t want to get caught short! Might miss something, of great importance! Of course, in horror films, someone is always caught short, because of a dying battery.

    Better to find out about the battery charger, now. Rather than later, when it might really count. Though I can’t imagine a scenario, worse than your storm.

    Well, I’m sure the Green New Deal folks, would answer with, excess power will be stored, in batteries. Pointing out that such massive storage, is currently does not exist, they’d probably bang on about how the technology is “just around the corner.” Progress, you know. There is no believer, like a true believer.

    Could you hear the tree(s) come down? That is truly sad, about the lime and the Blackwood. It takes a truly epic storm, but we often get standing water, around here. Yesterday, I had to lift H over a puddle. No sense soaking those sponges, she calls her feet, even more.

    Ruby and Plum were probably expecting s mores. Or at least a toasted marshmallow. 🙂 . Your Mordor valley, reminds me a bit of Alaska’s “Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.” Not to be confused with Minnesota’s “Land of a Thousand Lakes.” We do like our nice round numbers. Has anyone actually counted? 🙂

    Wise words, from the old timer. To be heeded.

    Did you notice, in your artichoke picture, that one of the Forest Folk is peering out of the foliage? Lower right hand quadrant. Not frequently photographed, but there they are.

    You must really like foxgloves. Last week, you closed your blog with another picture of them. 🙂 . But, onto your ‘missile …

  11. Yo, Chris – As to your recent correspondence …

    Your comment to Steve reminded me of a painting, by one of my favorite artists, John Steuart Curry. I know I linked to his painting of a family running for their tornado cellar, as one bears down on their farm. This one is called “The Line Storm.”

    He also did this as a black and white lithograph. I have a high end, color print of this, that I got pretty cheap. Due to a bit of damage to the border. Slapped a mat on it and you’d never know.

    Yes, our Columbus Day Storm, was intense, but of short duration. Hit about 4 in the afternoon, and was done in less than 12 hours. If it had lasted as long as your storm, we would have been scoured down to the bedrock!

    They call our “cut off lows,” “arctic outbreaks.” Some of them are named, but that comes from the media. Not the meteorologists.

    We have some smaller sunflowers, in the garden, that have volunteered, quit freely. In fact, a pulled a few of them out. But left enough for the squirrels, and birds. The seeds are too small for humans to bother with. But the Mammoth is supposed to produce large seeds. About half have come up, where I wanted them to. Close to sturdy steel posts. We’ll see if the re-seeding, takes.

    That’s a good idea about the basil and a cloche. I’ll see if I can round up a plastic bottle, and give it a whirl. Come to think of it, there will probably be a half gallon plastic bottle, in Friday’s food box. Usually, I just pass it on … but this time around, I may empty it and use it in the garden. Needs must.

    Grandma Gen couldn’t garden anymore, but insisted her daughter put some veg in a 4 x 6′ plot. I’ve been watering it, all along, as it’s right across the sidewalk from one of my beds. With permission, I also slipped a couple of the cucumellons, in there. I have a sneaking suspicion, that it’s fallen to me to bring it to harvest. Sigh.

    I’m sure your tea plants will be a lot happier, in your greenhouse. So much so, that now may be the time to start planning your garden tea house! You know, in your spare time. 🙂 Speaking of worms, there was this …

    Not near as colorful as your canary worms. Another invasive species. Maybe we should ask for reparations, from the Land of Stuff?

    Power. Checks and balances. Read an article recently about government power. That their are laws … but then there is custom. Generally perceived ways of doing things. People in power can fiddle about, quit a bit, with the custom end of things. As a recent example, our presidents, and people running for president, make their tax records public. Transparency. Recently, that didn’t happen.

    The old mini-series of “The Stand”, might look a bit dated. No wide spread computers, or devices. I’m watching a series, right now, called “The Watchmen.” It takes place in an alternative universe, that is kind of like ours, but differs in a number of points. They have electric cars, but no computers or devices. They also have frequent squid falls. Baby squid come raining down out of the sky. Some writer must have watched “Magnolia.” 🙂 . They also ruminate a lot on power.

    Interesting article in the local news, about a couple who are getting a mushroom growing operation, off the ground.,267173?

    Seems like they’ve got a good start. I wish them well.

    I’ve banged on, long enough. Incoming European farmers and resident hunter gatherers, will have to wait. As well as exhibiting human skeletons and another article on the lost apple project. Lew

  12. Hi Chris,

    I had a very busy past couple of weeks, getting the popcorn seeds planted and then doing the weeding and lawn mowing that had been neglected. We drove to suburban Cleveland on the 11th to attend my nephew Cole’s high school graduation open house on the 12th. Cole is my youngest brother’s older child. Our other brother and our sister were also able to attend, as well as another nephew and his girlfriend, making it a family reunion, the first one since 2018. An excellent time was had by all.

    We returned home this morning and I went straight into the garden to weed and to water. With only about a tenth of an inch of rain so far in June, we are now officially abnormally dry, with only scattered showers in the forecast for this weekend. It’s hot too, hitting the mid 90sF today, though it is to cool down some starting tomorrow.

    I have a last-minute prettying of the yard to do tomorrow, as it’s being videotaped on the 16th for this year’s virtual Sustainable Backyard Tour. I’ll post a link to the showing of the video later on; it’ll be in July.

    Glad your infrastructure suffered no damage from the massive storm!


  13. Hi Lew,

    I enjoyed the old stand mini series,
    it was a lot of fun, although I thought the first half much better than the second. King himself admits that he can’t always stick the ending and who am I to argue!

    I loved the watchman series, but have a passing knowledge of the source material. Did you read the original comic, I mean, graphic novel? One of the later episodes does what I think is the best representation of living outside time ever put on screen.


  14. Chris,

    I once triggered a paid up member of the greens party, 55 year old woman, comfortable upper middle class, lives in shire of Byron Bay, have I painted a picture? 🙂

    I suggested her vagrant waste of resources to obtain solar panels , duplicating a perfectly functioning mains grid system for her house, was in fact, NOT, helpful for the environment. And worse, I pointed out, that by relying on the grid for a few weeks a year and at night was giving her an unrealistic assumption on the true cost to achieve 100% off grid. For some reason, she didn’t seem to appreciate my comments. No idea why, clearly I am not appreciated in my time!


  15. Hi Damo,

    Yeah, I’m not sure that town would is my kind of place. Hey, some serious heavy hitters have moved there in recent years. But I must say, that as a fellow gentleman, it is always polite to provide a ‘trigger warning’. For future reference, you could say beforehand: “This next discussion has some challenging concepts”. That should satisfy the legal side of the problem, but whether the person in question deals well with the information – is it really our problem to worry about? I still have a great deal of trouble trying to convince people that the sun doesn’t shine at night.

    That is the thing isn’t it? The sun doesn’t shine at night and around the winter solstice the sun is lower in the sky than optimal for PV generation. Recently the sheer mass of installed grid connected solar power systems are beginning to raise voltages too high on the household side of the transformers. The main problem there is the sheer complexity of the entire system, and it just requires every single device controlling the flow of electricity into the system to work correctly. That’s a very big if.

    I’ve noticed that the Yallourn power station is having very some serious dramas right now, and also the other biggies Loy Yang A and B are also in the firing line. I’m all for experimenting with this sort of stuff, and certainly as a species we probably have to do better than we are currently doing, but I have an odd notion that the people calling for the really big generators to close and not be replaced aren’t the engineers that have to keep the system ticking along – and that is a bit of a worry. I’m not sure many households would be happy to exist with an electricity budget of 5kWh per day or less (sometimes none at all) during winter. 🙂

    My neighbours were without power for about 5 or 6 days.



  16. Hi Lewis,

    The scones are good, but the problem I faced was that they serve scones between 10am and 11.30am and a 12km hike would have taken about 3 hours there and another 3 hours return, so from a purely pragmatic perspective – the scones weren’t worth that sort of effort. 🙂 Interestingly, and you’re right that would have been the kicker, but that place is off grid too, so they were open, we just couldn’t get to them. And like here they have solar panels over every roof surface.

    Really? I’ve seen people with phone chargers in work places, but never realised people might carry them with them wherever they go. That would be a bit of a burden for me, but other people feel differently I guess. The very thin smart phones by necessity have very small and thin batteries so they probably don’t have a full days charge in them anyway. My phone is very unfashionable, sturdy and with a chunky battery which I believe can go for 5 days, and probably longer if switched off when not needed. They’re handy, but there is a part of me that doesn’t enjoy being that tethered.

    Some folks might believe that it is a horror story to have flat phone battery? 🙂 We could write a story with that as the core narrative – our fortunes are assured and in the bag, nobody would have thought of that concept!

    Bushfires would probably be worse and leave us cut off for far longer. Yeah, that scenario is probably not much good. Speaking of testing, if ever the mountain needed to be cut off deliberately, the concept has been put to the test… Had an acknowledgement that they’ll send the battery charger.

    The sort of battery storage necessary is so massively large that it makes so little economic sense at all. I’ll be curious to see whether out of all this storm business some parts of the grid are foisted off onto small micro grids. The problem with those types of small micro grids is a classic problem of the commons – what if someone decides to use up all of the available battery power? You would be connected to other households with no way to effectively put limits on the demands from the other users of the micro grid system.

    Nah! The wind was howling so loudly that it drowned out the sound of the whump when the trees hit the earth. H is of course a lady of the finest pedigree and breeding and would only expect such treatment when confronted by a puddle – of course she might want to wallow around in the water splashing your good self, but that is a dogs perogative.

    How is it that we have not discussed Mount Katmai and that eruption before? Big! Hehe! Yeah, you go first with counting the volcanic gasses! Oh my, someone actually counted the number of lakes exceeding 10 acres in size. Is this a case of pedantry?

    It’s a bit eerie to have caught that on photo – thanks for pointing it out. They’re usually very camera shy.

    Yeah, I do like those foxgloves and may have to start some new ones from seed.

    The line storm is great! Really enjoyed it. You’d think that the people would get down off the higher reaches of the dray given that lightning appeared to be part of that storm.

    That’s the thing with intense storms in that they hit hard and are soon over, this one lingered for a few days. I believe the neighbours power went back on yesterday (Monday), it went out on the Wednesday beforehand.

    Same, same, but different! 🙂 The outcome of these storms which originate in the colder parts of the planet are more or less the same.

    Please do keep me posted on the re-sowing of the sunflower seeds. They’re a very productive plant and produce a very useful crop.

    Sweet basil really needs hot weather to germinate at decent rates. I’ve never done well starting them outdoors, and last year with the greenhouse was something of a revelation. Such a tasty leaf too.

    Whatever happened to Mike at your place? You know what I’m saying. 🙂 Good luck!

    Who knew that there were no worms up in the northern parts of your country? Well that one was new to me. And yeah, if it looks like a problem and sounds like a problem, it probably is a problem.

    I’ll have to have a think about customs versus law as I never really thought of it that way before. Hmm.

    Gotta run, speak later!



  17. Hello Chris,
    On the photos it seems that none of your paths or terraces was washed away. Great to see that your hard work of moving stones, lining&liming paths and building gabions borne fruit.
    Does it make your shoulder ache less?

    Here, we are onto the fourth week without rain and I am eternally grateful to the availability of polyethylene piping and immersible electric pumps for watering. I live on a sandy ridge in the center of the Netherlands. Water is never far away, but the groundwater table quickly drops a meter or two when we have dry spells, which is tough for young trees (and veggies). The older trees all thrive in the sun.
    It is my second year with irrigation and I am learning a lot about pipe diameter vs. distance vs. pressure vs. flow rate vs. pump power. Basic Bernoulli physics, so from a theoretical point of view it is quite straightforward. However, the practical practice of drip pipes and height differences makes a lot of difference. One of the pumps is complete solar powered, and partial shade from a nearby tree is moving over the panel during the day, which has a huge impact.
    As long as we keep our eyes open, we learn.
    Kind regards,

  18. Hello Chris
    28C indoors yesterday evening accompanied by serious humidity, not nice. A storm is supposed to be coming in Wednesday evening.
    Houses are definitely not set up for electricity loss here. In addition houses are very badly built these days, is that the case in Australia also?
    People are moving to the country these days and we meet people who say that they adore the countryside and then we watch them try to turn there immediate surroundings into suburbia.


  19. Hi Lewis (cont…)

    I’m really enjoying The Stand, and as far as I can see from the words of the book, the narrative is far less about technology, and far more about people and their interactions, and frankly not much at all has changed since those days. People be the same now as they were then. But I tell you what is really creeping me out, some of the signage and wording that I’ve seen about this particular health subject which dare not be named has been lifted almost word for word. I did an absolute double take when I read from the text a sign which a nurse unfortunately ignored. It was uncanny. It is funny how fictional narratives can work their way into the realms of being. Creatives should be aware of this risk – although they probably are in some cases.

    Of all the comments that I imagined I’d receive over the past week or so “Baby squid come raining down out of the sky” is kind of hard to explain and entirely unexpected. 🙂

    The mushroom couple sound great, and you’ve mentioned some of those outlets. It is lovely to see such local producers doing their thing, and well. I’ve long coveted a spring house so as to store stuff during the fire season and grow mushrooms…

    I look forward to hearing about incoming European farmers and resident hunter gatherers and skeletons. Had a gourmet burger and chips tonight in the big smoke. For obvious reasons business was slow, and it was so lovely, they brought an extra little cup of chips on the house so the editor and I each had our own chips. And they didn’t put too much salt on this time around. Yum!

    Didn’t see the big issue dude, but we’ll track him down sooner or later, or more likely he’ll track us down.



  20. Hi Claire,

    That’s really great news, and yes it is nice to catch up with people face to face again and celebrate life’s milestones. Virtual meetups are good, but face to face is better. We went to a virtual funeral a month or so back and that was a bit weird, but it is better than not attending at all.

    Haha! Yes, clean up before the visitors arrive!!! Good luck, and I look forward to being able to tour around your gardens. 🙂



  21. Hi Inge,

    Oh, that is not nice conditions in your house at all. Do you use fans to keep the place cool? We have ceiling fans in all of the rooms and at night open the house up to the cooler night air (whilst having seriously heavy duty screens to keep insects and potentially unwanted people out). I’m running the wood heater most days now, although mostly at night and rarely during the day (I generally rug up against the cold as firewood takes a lot of hard work to produce).

    I’d like to suggest that things are different down here, but people hold preconceived ideas as to how a house should look and be like, and really they don’t understand that they are regurgitating other peoples ideas which have been carefully nurtured over long periods of time. Basically the average house is not good if faced with low or restricted energy. We designed and constructed this house with that possibility in mind, and after a dozen years if I had to do things over I’d incorporate many aspects of this design, but make some other changes which would make it even better. Still, the house requires little energy to run and will mostly work without power.

    Yes, unfortunately people are doing the same thing here. And I have absolutely no idea how they’ll go over the long term. An old timer once said to me that people need to be tested by two winters, and Lewis repeated that wisdom from his corner of the world the other week. It is probably a universal test of mettle don’t you reckon? 🙂

    Hope things cool down for you soon.



  22. Hi Goran,

    A few years ago we had a minor landslip due to a very heavy storm, and so we changed many aspects of drainage so that this incident was not repeated. Down in the nearby town I noticed some concrete paths were washed away in the storm – the land had disappeared underneath the concrete walking path and the concrete had broken. There are some things we learned about water during this storm and will make some changes and add in another much smaller fern gully. Ferns are remarkably useful plants. Anyway, more on this later. Everything survived pretty well all things considered – the infrastructure here has been so arranged that it works passively. The only thing I have to actively monitor during really heavy storms are the inlet filters on the water tanks and there is little I can do there to stop the recurring problems as far as I’m aware.

    🙂 Thanks for asking, and my shoulder is better every day. I’ve been an absolute zealot on stretching the joint and it is paying dividends. Of course I believe that from here on, I’ll probably have to modify how I work around the farm, but no matter.

    Hehe! Welcome to my world – polyethylene is amazing stuff and I hope that your lot is UV stablised, although the sun may shine more fiercely here – I’ve heard that said although I fail to understand the science behind it. And electric pumps are an awesome technology and use very little electricity to run. You can add in pressurised water tanks so as to reduce the demands upon the pump as they don’t like being switched on and off rapidly.

    🙂 Shading of solar panels!!! I hear you about that.

    Mate, I mucked around for years with that irrigation technology and once it is set up just right it is a system of beauty. Just for your curiosity (and your experience will be different) I set a minimum standard now for 12V pumps of 60psi and 20L/min. The pressure from such a small pump is awesome and it does everything needed from it. Hope you are learning heaps about the technology?

    I’d be curious to hear of your experiences with it?



  23. @ Damo – I wonder if the new “Stand”, will make it to DVD? The series “Man in the High Castle”, hasn’t made it. I figure it’s a test case …

    I’ve read a few comics (err, graphic novels 🙂 . A particular favorite of mine, is the “Locke and Key” series. By Joe Hill, Stephen King’s spawn. Oh, dear. I see that’s going to be filmed, too.

    But no, I never got into the whole “Watchmen” thing. And, hesitated quit awhile before plunging into the filmed series. I have about 2 1/2 episodes, to go. Of season one. “Who watches the Watchmen?” 🙂 Lew

  24. Hello Chris
    I have never seen a ceiling fan in a private house in this country. Extremes of heat or cold are very short lived here and often don’t occur at all so such things are really not worth it.

    I like the idea of surviving 2 winters. Here I would say ‘surviving 2 years’. Having a holiday in the country/sea side is completely different from living there. The locals tend to be very insular and while happily taking your money for a short stay won’t necessarily welcome you permanently.


  25. Yo, Chris – So there are limits to The Quest for Scones (and other baked goods.) Good to know. So you wouldn’t drive through flood waters, to get at them? 🙂 .

    Flat phone batteries, as horror story / film. Probably been done. At least as a sketch on Saturday Night Live. Sometimes, the horror is not in the battery being dead, but in a ring tone at an inopportune time. Like when you’re hiding out from zombies.

    I hadn’t thought of the “commons” aspect of micro grids. I suppose it could also apply to telephone party lines. As far as the electric goes, I suppose if you used more than your fare share, you could be cut off. Or, charged an outrageous amount, over a set limit. Maybe it was at Mr. Greer’s, or maybe it was something Ruth Goodman wrote, but there were punishments for people overusing the commons. Graze too many cows, and there could be repercussions. Must have been at Mr. Greer’s. Someone suggested having a community barbecue, and the owner of the excess cow is not invited. 🙂 .

    Speaking of volcanic fields, it’s onto the hunter gatherers vs farmers. Way back when everyone was a hunter gatherer, right across Europe into Asia, there were times when that great swath of territory was cut off, from east to west. Ice ages came and went. And then there was an eruption of the Phlegrean Fields, that is near Naples. It caused a swath of destruction, from there, all the way into the NW into Russia. When things settled down, after about 500 years, farming had been developed in the Near East, and farmers began to move into Western Europe. Slowly displacing the hunter gatherers.

    Was it violent? Not much evidence, of that. The farmer’s stuck to the flat lands, and the hunter gatherers, to the wilder, unfarmable areas. There seems to be even trade, between the communities. And, in one spot, both used the same cave, for burials. Looking at the genetics, it also appears that H/G women, married farm men. But very few farm women, married H/G men. Hunter Gatherers, also had a lower birth rate. So, they were slowly subsumed, by the farmers.

    Onto the next act. There’s a 500 year gap, in the Western Europe record. Not much happening. It appears the land became depopulated. Why? Probably, plague. When the pastoral, nomadic, horse riding Steep People (darned Huns!) started moving into Western Europe, they found it mostly empty.

    LOL. The Forest Folk was a lot easier to spot, than the Kookaburra bird, from a couple of weeks ago. 🙂 .

    It might be my imagination, but it seems like more big intense rainstorms are stalling over one geographical location, and dumping incredible amounts of water. Worldwide. Instead of moving through, they tend to stall out. Maybe. I really can’t remember how long we were without power, after the Columbus Day Storm. But 4 or 5 days, comes to mind. And we were in town.

    Mike is not doing well. He’s still in and out of hospital. He needs a stint, and no one seems to know why the medical industrial complex, is dragging it’s feet. Ability to pay? Might be.

    Rains of animals, of one sort or another, have happened throughout history. Not that unusual … unless it happens, to you.

    Think of the flying cows, in the film “Tornado.” Then there’s always “Sharknado.” 🙂 .

    You were wondering about interesting things people do with skeletons. You might have been thinking of the French Victorian “Diableries.” There’s even a book … Though those had to do with Satan, there’s always a host of skeletons, hanging about. Ossuaries can be pretty interesting, and rather artistic. Danse Macabre was an art form, that came out of medieval plague times. There’s the print I have of a multi-age group of skeletons, flying kites.

    And then we have the Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos.) They have these small, dressed up skeletons, doing their occupations, or going about their daily business. Usually made out of wire and paper mache. Sometimes called “calacas”, but that term can be loosely applied to a number of art forms. I have 5 or 6 of them that I trot out at Halloween.

    And, finally, more on lost apples. Not much new here, but there are some botanical prints, that are just spectacular.

    It’s why I like my Currier and Ives prints of piles of fruits and vegetables. Although, unfortunately, varieties aren’t named. Lew

  26. Hi Chris,

    I’ve seen more women doing traffic management for construction which is always going on. I think it’s pretty lucrative but standing there all day in the heat plus it’s gotta be really boring. Around these parts it’s often said that there’s two seasons – winter and construction.

    Wise you were to site your house away from trees but then I’d expect nothing less from you and the editor. We do have a couple of trees that could fall on the house – one which is quite large. About a year or so ago we had some tree guys come out and take down branches from that tree and a couple of others over buildings. Hopefully with some of the branches off that would tend to have the tree fall towards the house will work. It’s a beautiful oak but we’re also thinking it may have some problems – ants that could also make it unstable so I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up taking it down in a few years.

    Did your neighbors who were without power for multiple days have a generator?

    Still no rain but cooler temps. I do see some possibilities later in the week but not counting on anything.

    Today we found out that the place that processes our chickens is booked through November. We get our chicks in a couple weeks and always called to get the butcher date 3 or 4 weeks out. Apparently some other processors went out of business last year (and there aren’t many) thus the backlog at our place. They had a place we could call 1 1/2 away. Normally we bring them in at around 8 weeks but our only options there were six weeks or ten weeks as they too had few dates open. Six weeks and they’re awfully small but ten they’ll be huge and we run the risk of heart attacks from the heat but we ended up taking the ten week date.

    Good luck with the clean up.


  27. Chris,

    Your sensei story from the other day is funny! Sounds like you got set up by your friend whilst sensei was giving you a test. Although you failed the test, you learned something. Kudos for learning.

    Sounds and looks like your storm was epic. Wind and heavy rains following on the heels of the rains you’d already been getting? Yeah, that spells a lot of downed trees and a lot of power outages.

    Pink suede work boots? Seriously? Those don’t seem to fit the old lyrics to “These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what I’ll do. One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”

    We had an epic ice storm in November 1996, the first year we were in this house. Power was out in some areas for over a week. Ours got restored the 6th day, but phone service took a few more days. We had no heat source with the power out back then, so Princess moved in with some friends who had power. The masonry fireplace allowed me to not freeze and I could cook on it – it was like winter camping indoors! Although the house did somehow stay above freezing.

    I’ll limit the links this time. Don’t want to get the ether gnomes upset again. 😉

    I am so glad that you heeded the advice to keep the house away from trees that could fall on it. Very important concept.

    As Lew did, I also noticed the face in the artichoke photo. But, truth to tell, it doesn’t look like an Old One to me. Nope, no sirree. The Princess saw it and loudly exclaimed, “Aggghhhhh! It’s Chuckie!!!” I agree. Be careful. Be very careful. 😉

    Good to hear that you’re enjoying “The Stand”. I read it summer of 1983. One of the jobs I had that summer was being a roving janitor for several different office buildings. I was probably around page 200 of the book when I started to clean the largest of the buildings on a Friday night. I went into the Men’s loo to clean it and noticed a giant, huge – the largest ever seen by mortals – loogie in one of the urinals. All I could think was “OMG! Superflu, superflu, SUPERFLU! RUN!!!” Since it was Friday night, and the place didn’t need to be cleaned until they returned to work Monday, yes I ran and came back the next day. During daylight.

    Ahhh, rain. Monday night/Tuesday morning, we had 3 separate thunderstorms come through. The first was a bit east of us, say 3km at the nearest. Clear overhead, but enough turbulence up high that we got a dribble of rain. The thunder was loud, too, louder than usual for a storm 3 to 5 km away. The next one came right near us, the light show repeatedly setting off the neighbor’s car alarm, which he has set much too sensitively. Good rain with that one, the rain waking me up. The third cell? Zounds! The thunder woke me up. And it was raining even harder – streets flooding. Several thunderclaps were simultaneous with the lightning, shaking the house. No damage, but an enjoyable light show. Officially, 9mm downtown, 7.5 at the weather station. I think we got a bit more than 10mm here. And we’ve gotten a bit more Tuesday afternoon. Nice break from the heat, which should return with a vengeance by Thursday.


  28. Hi Inge,

    Ceiling fans are a useful technology in hot climates and they use very little energy, but the cost of installing one is probably not worth the hassle if it is only rarely used. Ceiling heights are a consideration too, and you really have to have the blades out of harms way and that sort of requires 10ft ceilings.

    I actually feel the same way about air conditioning in the house, and we just accept the discomfiture. And it can get very hot and/or very humid here some years. I’ve seen 113’F, and 99% humidity is not out of the question either during summer months, and outside hovers around the 90% humidity for most of the winter months. The power system will run such a device – especially during the daytime during summer, but we drew a line in the sand on that matter. I accept that other people feel differently.

    Incidentally I watched a very recent Grand Designs UK episode where the bloke was aiming for a self heating home in your part of the world. He was attempting to use the summer sun to heat up the soil around his house and then I didn’t understand the rest of the system. I guess the answer to the blokes experiment really depends upon the sort of conditions you want to live in and what you’ll happily accept as normal.

    I was in a bit of a hurry yesterday and couldn’t fully reply to your observation about poorly built houses. So I noticed in the episode that the guy in the episode managed to produce an internal house temperature during your UK winters of about 58’F which is a commendable outcome. Would most people accept such an internal house temperature nowadays? I don’t really know, but my gut feeling suggests that the answer is no.

    Winters are relatively quite cold where we are and so we made the decision early on in the house design to use firewood sourced from the property to heat the house and hot water during the colder months. It takes a couple of milk cartons of firewood most days to get the house temperature to a very pleasant 68’F, and most evenings we let the fire run out and don’t stack it up before bedtime (I sleep better in cooler air than 68’F). It’s not much firewood, but here’s the thing, during the very coldest months – and that will be part of next month and into the following one, if there was no heat source at all, then the house would settle at around 54’F which is survivable but far below the expected norm. Outside the house would be so much colder though.

    Just wanted to give you a clearer picture as to the realities. People misrepresent things so much these days and I have no need to do so.

    Hehe! Yes exactly, it is nice to visit the countryside, but all that mud… 🙂 And that is the thing, the rusted on locals and old timers, well they know the difference – and sometimes aren’t afraid to share their opinions. The best I believe that I’ve earned over the past fifteen years is a sort of grudging respect, but that’s actually not a bad outcome.



  29. Hi Margaret,

    Things are different down here as to that line of work, and construction looks like a very protected industry, but I have read credible reports that such folks earned more than what I was earning when I worked at an extraordinarily stressful job as a CFO with umpteen people directly reporting to me. Oh, here you go: Traffic controllers earning as much as $180,000 a year.

    Honestly, I have no idea what to make of such reporting. I dunno perhaps I’m jaded having had to pay for and do the work for an undergraduate degree and post graduate degree plus gain years of experience, and all I note is that the money ain’t there no more, so I ended up doing something different with my time. I don’t worry about it though and have sort of long come to terms with the reality of the situation.

    Ah, thank you! Yes, the old timer from around here really got into my ear about the risk of one very large tree looming over the house. And here is the weird thing about the story. The local earthmoving guy said he could take it down easy peasey when he was here, and I was unsure so had an arborist look at the tree. The arborist declared that the tree was healthy and so I decided not to get the tree removed.

    Months later the tree began dropping very large chunks onto the house frame which was then under construction. It was at that point I discovered that nobody actually had the skills to fell the tree safely. I called around a lot and started to really get stressed about the tree, but finally located a bloke who proclaimed that he was a champion axeman. The guy was like the ultimate alpha male and he dropped the tree for an hourly rate of $2,400 an hour (although didn’t take that long to do the job), but after taking the cash he admitted that the tree had kept him up half the night.

    His helper, spare a thought for the Indian bloke who was working as his off-sider, had the influenza virus at the time – which he gave to both the editor and I because he dumped his used tissues, which we thoughtlessly picked up without a care in the world. So the day was saved, but we got really sick with the flu.

    And here is the kicker. Once we recovered from the flu (it took about four weeks, maybe five out of the household) and eventually began cutting up the tree for firewood, we discovered a termite nest about half way up the tree, and so the top half of the tree was barely hanging on by only the slimmest of margins. The lesson learned: You just don’t know what is going on inside a tree, but if it is a risk…

    On the other hand, if the tree is weighted away from the house, you’ll probably be fine. I don’t believe I’ve ever told that tree story in full before.

    About the generator, that is the weird thing. I heard a neighbour start up their generator, and then they switched it off again. Not sure what was going on there, but most generators down here put out a ‘square or modified sine wave curve’ which isn’t really that good for high tech devices which require really clean and smooth electricity. And can you imagine the amount of fuel you’d need to run a small generator for five days? My experience suggests that they use about 1 Litre per hour and over five days that works out to about 120 Litres or 32 gallons. You could probably halve that by switching the thing off at night, but still, it’s a lot of fuel.

    Fingers crossed for some rain for you! 🙂

    Ouch. Timing is pretty hard with that variety of bird. Hope it all works out. I still haven’t heard from my mates of the big shed fame, I hope they’re OK as they preserve their meats via freezing and with the electricity dramas I’m not really sure what went on.

    I’ve noticed that down here the smaller processing plants are getting shut down too. Not sure why, but I can hazard a wild guess.



  30. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, it was a hard lesson learned, and it amused me that years later I was watching a martial arts film where someone pulled a similar trick – and was not trusted from that point onwards. But all the same I was in the wrong and should have expected mischief in the first place probably because it was a friend. The Sensei was a smart bloke and he probably knew how the wind was going to blow, for a fact he didn’t stop the stupidity happening in the first place – and what does that say about it all? 🙂

    Hey, I just looked the bloke up and it turns out I had no idea about the Sensei and someone has written a book about him. Who knew? Here is a brief synopsis (and I ordered a copy of the book): Tales and teachings from the extraordinary life of martial artist and healer Raoul Kent. He was a really nice guy too and all I knew was that he ran the local Dojo, but there you go. It’s funny the people you come across in life all unsuspecting and stuff.

    I was amazed at the sheer scale of the disaster from the recent storm. It was very eerie being the only household left with electricity, like a scene out of a zombie film. Last I read 100 houses had been written off and a further 100 were in barely habitable condition, but near on a couple of thousand had scored impacts.

    Believe it or not, I woke in the wee hours of the morning this mornning to hear a tropical downpour thundering upon the roof of the house. A further inch of rain fell and I had to get up and make sure that the water tank inlet filters hadn’t clogged up. Such things make for a poor night’s sleep. 🙂

    Well she might just do the stomping bit all the same, but with pink suede boots. Probably hurts about the same I’d guess. Yes, I see those boots are rather popular with the ladies in construction, and that lot earn a good wage too.

    Far out, the ice weighing down the trees – of course. Wow, you’d hope to never see such conditions again, but it is a truism that what has happened once might just happen again. I’d imagine the ice could only get that bad at a specific band of temperatures, but I have no experience with such things. What is your take on that? The water does similar things with weighing down the canopies of the trees here – not to mention the occasional snowfall.

    Those ether gnomes bite hard, but between you and I, I lifted the link quotient so they maybe more easy going in future. Sometimes you just have to remonstrate harshly with the pesky gnomes.

    You and Lewis are good. The photo is uncanny and I really hope I haven’t annoyed them. You know the editor and I both looked at that photo and didn’t see it, but it is clearly there. For your interest, the terraces where the Globe Artichokes are growing survived the storm in remarkably good condition. Not sure why, but I’m guessing the water doesn’t pool, combine and then run there.

    You barely escaped with your life that time! The editor long ago used to work for a prestigious technology company from your country, and she tells me that in the ladies toilets was a sign suggesting for employees not to pick their noses and leave it on the walls. And one of the very high stress University educated peers of hers had decided to emblazon the sign with a booger. The editor was horrified, but dark currents can run through the most gentile and educated of working places. I think of such things as signs of cultural stress. And I am thoroughly enjoying The Stand – it is hard to put down once picked up. Lead me not into temptation Mr King! 🙂

    Oh, jolly good shot ol’ chap with the rain! Your garden is going to grow! Mate, you can’t provide as much water as 10mm storm during summer. 🙂 Good luck and keep a sharp eye out for Triffids.



  31. Hi Lewis,

    Yeah, maybe I would drive through floodwaters to get a proper freshly baked scone with homemade jam and double thickened cream. The risk might be worth it? It was the downed trees and downed power lines which alas made us turn back from the most awesome of scones. And I heard that they were open too being off grid and all. I wonder if many customers turned up given the circumstances? I might just ask that question next time I’m there.

    Haven’t heard from my mates of the big shed fame – and am unsure what that means, but I guess the mood down here is a bit dark at the moment due to the restrictions due to the health subject which dare not be named. Some of the restrictions look set to be lifted midnight tomorrow night. I for one am unsure why I have to wear a mask in the big smoke outside in the fresh air when there is nobody else around. It seems a bit extreme. Anyway, enough grumbling, I’m doing my best to keep people laughing, although someone I’ve known for a few years pulled a prank on me this morning and thought that it was very amusing – which it was. It was quite funny really, and the problem with being known, is that you’re known.

    A ring tone at an inopportune time happened to a mate of mine recently. It was very funny, but he looked rather embarrassed. It’s a bit like being in a cinema and someone forgets to switch off their phone which starts ringing loudly. Of course it would never ring quietly, the logic in relation to that is sound and cannot be disputed. Actually that was a bit like the big sing and chant session in World War Z – nobody wants to encounter a fast zombie. And lest we forget Hollow Kingdom with those zombies actively seeking out mobile phones and devices with screens.

    That is the thing with micro grids, the more oversight and control functions you put into the the thing, the more expensive it becomes. I mean think about it – the very large battery has to communicate to each of the houses it is connected too and somehow there has to be a commonly agreed upon basis for using the limited supply of electricity. And that is amongst disparate houses where people haven’t been raised to co-operate with others and often I reckon they think to themselves: yeah, this won’t matter. Until it does… And then do you cut the recalcitrant houses off, or do you throttle their supply? It’s a complicated system and I reckon it would be fraught with drama. At this time of year for three weeks either side of the winter solstice, the editor and I have to take a seriously hard look at the weather forecast and the other tasks we have going on, and then work out when it would be OK to use the very energy demanding devices and processes – if it is even possible. Mostly we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong, and other times nature stomps the daylights out of our plans. And that has taken us almost a dozen years to learn., let alone bringing in others who never gave such matters the briefest of thoughts.

    By the way, I really liked the idea of the community barbeque – it sends a strong message that is hard to ignore.

    Holy guacamole!!!! I’d never heard of the Phlegrean Fields before. Not good, and you wouldn’t want to have been anywhere near there. I think I mentioned to DJ something or other about what has occurred before might be apt to occur again? Yes, I can see how such an epic scaled event could change the course of things. Hungry people get on the move.

    Interesting about the lower birth rate of hunter gatherers, but I guess there is risk in both approaches too, and the inevitable famine years followed by the plague years would be a balancing act – if things hadn’t gone too far against the hunter gatherers which it kind of appears to have done so.

    Thanks for this, it is fascinating.

    The Kookaburra was blurry relatively speaking. Looking at the photo today it is uncanny. Hope I’m not annoying them. The Kookaburra’s are on my side and they can catch and eat snakes, so they’re alright those birds.

    That is happening, and the storms are getting stormier. I’ve got the rainfall records running back about 1874, and plot a linear regression trend line analysis through the data and it is heading upwards. I awoke at about 4.30am this morning and a tropical downpour dumped almost an inch of rain in a short period of time. The sound generally wakes me up as I have to get up and check on the water tank inlet filters, but such really heavy rain ordinarily falls during summer and the warmer months. Winter heavy rain, like the recent storm is different to what happened this morning.

    Sorry to hear about Mike, and I hope he gets some assistance there sooner or later. I remarked to someone recently that my old mate Mike possibly died because so much attention was focused on the health subject which dares not be named, that his appointments were cancelled. That virus ain’t the only drama in town – not by a long shot.

    Fish or amphibians falling from the sky seems as common as muck. Oh, that’s right I recall the trailer for the film now. Smoosh go the frogs (sung to the tune of ‘Click go the shears’ – an old sheep shearers song). And yes, who could forget the premise behind Sharknado?

    Ah, those cheeky devils coming up with the Diableries! 🙂 It is of interest to me that the general eternal damnation scenes didn’t appear to be part of the world of Diableries – the characters actually looked like they were having fun. As I’m sure this was the intention. Oh how the notables would have been professionally offended by the scenes, but probably wanted to check them out too. 😉

    Those heritage apple detective dudes are very cool. Good stuff.

    Ah alas, your Currier and Ives prints are a bit like some of the more obscure fruit trees in the orchard – except I have to fess up that some of the variety naming tags blew away and have not been found again. And I suspect that some of the fruit trees were mislabelled varieties.



  32. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder … Ceiling fan / light fixtures are pretty common, here. Had one at my old place, that didn’t work, as the weight of the fan blades had caused them to droop, and … not work. As they use the wiring of a ceiling light, they’re pretty easy to install, or take out. When I moved in here, there was one, that I was told, wasn’t “standard,” but that a previous tenant had installed. And did I want it out? I think it’s ugly as sin, but decided to leave it in … at least temporarily. It does come in handy, in hot weather, to move the cool air around. I have 8′ ceilings, but it hangs a bit less than 2′ down. So, a normal sized person wouldn’t be bashing his head into it. And, they’re usually positioned to be over a table.

    The last place I lived, inside winter temperatures were usually upper 50’s, low 60’s. After a bit of acclimatization, usually in the fall, as long as I had a handy jumper, I was comfortable.

    Might want to be careful driving through those flood waters. Even for baked goods. Might be one of these, still lurking about …

    …in the river at the bottom of your paddock. 🙂 . Bad enough, his smaller cousins, in your north.

    I also saw an article on your blankets of spider webs, due to the flooding. Quit beautiful, if a bit eerie.

    I’m sure your friends in The Big Shed, would get a message to you, some way or another, if they thought you could help, in any way. I’m sure they’re scrambling. Might be some infrastructure damage, Animals on the loose. Frozen meat to deal with. But do keep us posted.

    I don’t do pranks, well. Such people who do same, should be shunned and socially ostracized. Cast into the outer darkness …

    Your mention of the zombies, being fixated on their devices, in “Hollow Kingdom,” put me in mind of one of the best quotes from “Dawn of the Dead.” As to why the zombies seemed to cluster around malls, and go through shopping motions. “Some kind of instinct. Memory of what they used to do. This was an important place, in their lives.”

    Go Kookaburras! Just out of idle curiosity, I went down a rabbit hole and discovered your Australian National Men’s Hockey Team is nicknamed “The Kookaburras.” There’s also a footy team in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. And, believe it or not, another footy team in our state of Georgia! There’s probably more. It was a very shallow dive.

    Looks like it rained overnight, so I won’t have to water, this morning. But looking at the forecast, that’s the last of it, for quit awhile. They did revise the forecast temps, down a bit, for the rest of the week. We must be going to get an onshore flow.

    Well, more rumors about why everyone is running around with their hair on fire. Apparently, a replacement for the Regional Building Director (that’s three steps up the bureaucratic ladder. Works out of Seattle), is making a “progress”, to check out holdings. Her name is Jennifer, and, given the Fed hiring process, probably transferred in from somewhere else. In my wildest dreams, she’ll clean out this nest of vipers. Probably, not. Probably just more of the same, same. Lew

  33. Chris,

    That was a nice article about Sensei Kent. Naturally, since he chose not to play politics, he didn’t get the public recognition he likely observed!

    Between ice storm and some disaster in summer about 8 years ago, we’re normally the first to go without electricity. So, when there was a fairly large outage during the 2015 windstorm, we still had our power. It WAS eerie seeing neighbors without when we had electricity.

    To get stomped by pink suede boots just sounds so wrong. Like maybe something out of a Stephen King novel. Stephen King’s “The Stand” featured the Walking Dude. Next up: The Stomping Babe. Coming soon to a theater near you.

    Oh yes, ice storms. We don’t often get nasty ones here, but I’m sure Lou and Marg can tell you stories. The way I understand it, the surface temperature is below freezing, but there’s an air inversion, so the cloud level is well above freezing. So it rains, rather than snows. As the rain reaches the colder level, and the frozen ground and trees and everything, it turns to ice. One winter, maybe 12 or 14 years ago, a huge swath of Eastern Washington was hit with the dread freezing fog for many days. It eventually downed a lot of power lines. The entire town of Wilbur, Washington had no power. It was eerie driving through Wilbur during that.

    A sign that said not to pick your nose and leave it one the wall? That’s an open invitation in my book to leave something on the wall, maybe silly string or spray glue. Seriously. One day at the job, somebody (I knew who) had placed signs in both stalls in the men’s room asking us “to do a courtesy flush because some of your poop smells really bad”. He was not amused with the graffiti that suggested that the only place where we wouldn’t get in trouble for creating a stink was in the men’s room, so shut up already! I disappeared the signs after a couple days, and the Big Boss told his group’s Big Boss to spread the word not to replace the signs.

    Well, all told, the official weather station had just about 12mm of rain. I think we had somewhat more here. To put it in perspective, the past 8 days saw us get about 15mm officially, which is almost exactly the total that we got for March, April and May combined. June averages roughly 32mm, so we’re about on pace for that…but now it’s supposed to get hot and dry again.

    I see that the article and discussion at Mr. Greer’s includes hair growing at abnormal places and, from at least one responder, an enjoyment of history. So I give you, Wilfrid the Hairy, a Spanish hero from the late 9th century who was an ancestor of all Counts of Barcelona until the line became extinct in 1410. He was “known to be a Visigoth”. He grew hair on some part of his body where hair was abnormal, hence “the Hairy”. People were people in the late 9th and 10th centuries, forcing a priest some decades after Wilfred’s death to append to his record “Hair grew on the soles of his feet.”


  34. Hi Lewis,

    I would have left the ceiling fan in place too, especially if the airflow was a bit compromised within the room. But you’re right, they usually were located above tables for obvious reasons. It interests me that 8 foot ceiling heights are a fairly recent thing with home construction. Pretty much all of the Victorian era housing stock has 10 foot ceilings as standard and that continued on to post WWII housing, but began to be reduced in about the 1960’s to 1970’s – I guess something had to give.

    Interestingly, I’ve heard that the ostensible reason for the reduction in ceiling height was because the houses would be cheaper to heat, but I’m dubious about that claim and the houses become oppressively hot during hot summer days. Hot climates really need higher ceiling heights, but that’s my take on the world – and we get both hot and cold weather down here.

    The other interesting change over that time was the move from corrugated steel roof cladding to tiles. Tiled roofs might as well be open to the outside world from what I’ve noticed about them, and they are cheaper. When we rented in the nearby housing estate, I could see the ceiling drop lights shining through the gaps in the tiled roofs. Tiles are actually the cheaper option.

    Well that is the thing, such weather can be pretty comfortable if you dress properly and keep active. I see a lot of people up this way who must surely be living in very heated houses as they have bare ankles. The people must be cold? And there is me with my woollen jumpers, skivvy and sometimes sheep skin lined boots. And they complain to me about how cold it is. Sometimes I’m tempted to reply, well if you just dressed for the conditions, you wouldn’t be so cold – but then everyone would get all upset, and I don’t need the hassles. Easier to let them be cold.

    Far out, you’d be walking along the flooded waterway, and the beast would just take you down, roll you until you drowned or at least stopped flailing around like a nuisance, and then you’d be consumed at leisure. I was wary of the salt water crocs when we were up north, but mate I saw people in the rivers where there were signs telling people not to go into the water… And the signs weren’t talking the situation up or down playing the risk. It’s a bit Darwin Awards really.

    The blankets of spider webs are a common sight at some times of the year, and I hadn’t heard of them with the floods… …. Hmm! We get the golden orb spiders doing that trick with their webs and they can travel a long way indeed – if I recall correctly the web causes the spider to get carried by the wind.

    Yeah, that was my thinking too with my mates. I put the call around to see if anyone needed assistance, but no they all seem to want to go it alone even if they don’t have the equipment to sort things out. I dunno.

    The prank was funny, but it was let’s say unsought. 🙂 And it provided an interesting mirror as to how I’m viewed. Oh well, moving on.

    Oh my, the zombie insight is so correct. Yes, a ceremonial place of the provision of stuff. Wow, hadn’t thought of such places like that before. I avoid them like the plague unless I have no option but to enter the zone. There is a very odd vibe to those places.

    🙂 Kookaburra’s clearly get around! They’re pretty tough birds although I’m unsure that they’d appreciate very cold and snowy winters. A little bit of snow and frost, but not too much. They’re pest birds over in Damo’s corner of the country, but here the magpies give them what for, and the Kookaburra’s fight back and there is a sort of stalemate where everyone puts up with the other species. I don’t mind the Kookaburra’s at all and like the magpies they’ll also seek me out if there is a fox lurking around.

    It is great to see that DJ also scored some rain, and I hope some even got to Al’s place.

    Good luck with that, most bosses deal with the conditions they find themselves having to deal with – unfortunately. It is the rare one that will sweep the decks. I’ve gotten rid of some pesky sorts, but mostly kept things as they were – getting rid of the occasional pesky sort sends a strong enough message. And anyway, for all you know, things could get worse? Don’t they call that ‘better the devil you know’ situation?



  35. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for the lovely comment, but tis the dreaded mid-week hiatus where slackness prevails and much goes undone. A sad state of the world, but necessary all the same! Promise to speak tomorrow.

    Hey, with the shoulder, I now put the keyboard on my lap to type away and unfortunately Plum and Ruby then get to nudge my hand with their wet noses when they want some attention. It would be OK except for the wet noses…



  36. @Lew

    Yeah, it doesn’t look good 🙁 Bezos seems to want all content produced by Amazon to remain only accessible via its streaming service. Depending on how keen you are, one option is to buy something, anything, from Amazon, accept the free offer of Amazon Prime for a month, and binge the series in a month on your computer (or your TV if it has “smarts”).

    The other option, I can rustle up a memory stick that is lying around and send you a couple of seasons. Again, you would need to watch it on your computer, or TV if it has a USB port. /shrug, no stress if you want to try it 🙂

    I see Locke and Key has already been released by Netflix, season 2 is coming in October. No idea if it is any good, but Netflix can be pretty hit and miss :-/

    Hope you enjoyed the watchmen, I had never read the comic, but did see the Zack Snyder movie when it came out.


  37. Hello Chris
    The threatened storm didn’t arrive but it did rain which was great.
    58F would be far too cold for people here these days. I notice on television news that even in mid winter the female speakers tend to have bare arms. It makes me wonder what ferocious heating they must have. I wear woolly jumpers for the greater part of the year.

    I don’t understand how heating a house from the ground works either but someone attempted it here. He dug down and created a below ground room which I understand was also tanked out. Anyhow the property is empty, has not been used and I was unofficially told that regardless of the tanking it flooded.

    I am surrounded by people building or re-building here. Usually this is a disaster.


  38. @ Damo – Bezos can keep his content … all to himself. 🙂 . Plenty of other stuff, to watch.

    TV? What’s a TV? Oh, yeah, I vaguely remember that thing I had, 20 or 30 years ago. Glowing box? Thanks for the offer, but USB stick? Do you beat something with it?

    I get DVDs from the library (picked up 6, yesterday), and occasionally watch stuff on U-Tub. Although I haven’t figured out how to jump through their hoops, to prove I’m an adult. So, even some of the free movies, I can’t watch.

    The “Locke and Key” comics (errr, graphic novels) were very good. At least I liked them.

    I never read the “Watchmen” series. But I sure liked the TV series. Although it finished on a bit of a cliff hanger. I may have to peek at Wik-poopia, to get a little closure. Did Angela assume Dr. Manhattan’s powers? Will she be able to walk on water?

    I can’t be bothered with the whole DC universe (multi? Really? Endless nerd fodder?), but I dip in here and there, where I can get a story, as a whole narrative. Lew

  39. Yo, Chris – Our apartments can get pretty stuffy. Especially since the regime, even before You Know What, forbad us to prop our doors open, and get a bit of air circulation. Fire doors. Health and Safety, you know. Or, naked power play?

    Gotta watch those alligators and crocs. Who can forget this scene?

    Or last year’s clip of Fluffy Dog, getting snatched off the river bank, from your part of the world?

    Malls are dying. And You Know What is speeding up the process. Saw a headline the other day, of another chain of them, declaring bankruptcy. You may remember I worked in 7 or 8 of them, over my checkered career. They’re carefully controlled, artificial environments, to “maximize the shopping experience.” As we’ve talked about before, it was all about predictability. No surprises.

    It’s supposed to hit 80F (26.66C) today. And be up to 90F, by Sunday or Monday. The heat wave has finally worked it’s way, up here to the NW. I went out and gave everything a good water, this morning.

    I see the currents are beginning to blush. I don’t know why. Checked my fly. Everything secure in that department. I’ll have to throw bird netting, over them.

    H went absolutely nuts, yesterday afternoon. Does not bode well, as I think it was when the new head honcho was doing a walk through. Without entourage. But, I don’t think any of the inmates, spoke to her.

    Speaking of H, Elinor went to get a “do”, yesterday. First time since You Know What started. So, I had H. She was doing her usual whining, thing. She hits a note that clears my sinus. So, I tried an experiment. First I took her over to Elinor’s and let her run around the apartment. Even lifted her up, so she could see Mum wasn’t hiding in bed. Then we went for a walk, and I just let her go where she wanted. She checked out the patio, where Elinor usually sits. No Mum. Usually, we take the stairs, but she wanted to ride the elevator. Just in case Mum was hiding in there. Nope. So, when we got back to my apartment, she was a lot calmer.

    Taking advantage of a trip into the outside world, Elinor went crazy, and came back with a bunch of plants 🙁 .

    My Safeway card stopped working. Who knows why? I thought it might be my computer, but I had to pick up some stuff at the library, so, I hopped on theirs, and still no dice.

    Speaking of the library, I picked up Lewis’s, “The Premonition: A Pandemic Story.” I read the preface, and introduction, but will set it aside til I finish the other two books I have on the go. There was a blub on the back, from the New York Times Book Review. “I would read an 800-page history of the stapler, if he wrote it.” 🙂 .

    I also picked up 6 DVDs. Two of them are Great Courses, lectures. “Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome”, and “The Life and Works of Jane Austen.” Last night I watched a Nova documentary, “Saving Notre Dame.” Really interesting. The lead roof vaporized, so, there’s the problem of removing the lead dust, that floated everywhere. The wooden oak truss work, underneath, was entirely burned. That has to be replaced. Luckily, just a few years ago, they did an entire scan of that component. It will take 1,800 trees, to replace it. Most of the limestone vaulting, remained intact, but 15% of it, is going to have to be replaced. But there’s a problem. The columns and walls are made from a dense limestone. The ceiling vaults from a lighter limestone. Where did it come from?

    Under Paris is a maze of tunnels, where they mined building material. Now it’s called the Paris Catacombs because … in the 17th and 18th century, Paris cleaned out all it’s old cemeteries. What to do with the bones? They fill the mining tunnels, arranged in an artistic manner.

    So, the hunt is on to find other quarries, with that type of limestone. They can tell they’ve got the right stuff, due to a certain type of fossil, imbedded in the rock. Lew

  40. Hi Lew,

    Glad you liked Watchmen, I really enjoyed it and hope they make a second season. There is a probably a comic somewhere, or forum post deep on the internet, that explains what happens next, but I am happy to wait.

    In general, I am over DC as well. The Extended Zynder universe never caught on as much as marvel, nor was as profitable. It was all a bit too dark and took itself way too seriously for my liking. The first Wonder Woman movie was pretty good I thought, as was Shazam!, everything else I sorta ignored.

    If youtube gives you grief, try dailymotion (owned by the French government, and seems to take pride in allowing various copyrighted stuff that youtube blocks lol).


  41. Hello Chris and anyone else interested.
    Go to ‘notayesman’ 17th June and down to comments. Then view the recommendation @ ‘Academy of ideas’. Sorry that I don’t know how to put up immediate easy access.


  42. Hi DJ,

    The article on Sensei Kent was of enough interest to me that I purchased the book. It is funny how you can know a person face to face for years, and not know anything about where they fit into the world or their struggles with the politics. He was a formidable and imposing character that’s for sure, but also warm and friendly. The variety of karate taught was heavy on the deflection and resistance rather than being on the offense all the time – and that suited me.

    Hehe! An unfortunate place to be, but I’ll bet your electricity was restored quicker than some of the stories I heard about in the news from a nearby mountain range with a very similar formation origin to this mountain range. Now where was that… … Melbourne residents hit by devastating storms told they will not have power for three more weeks. Yeah, the grid poles and wires there is getting a much needed make over.

    I see the Spokane wind storm (and thanks for the link – yikes!) but raise you this: ‘Ferocious’ storm destroys large patches of central Victorian forest. A picture (and thanks for the insight into your disaster) tells a thousand words.

    Would Nancy Sinatra have had pink work boots in mind when she belted out that song? One wonders… The Stand is awfully hard to put down, and I tear through the pages as it is an eminently readable tale. Mr King sets a high standard!

    Ice storms are outside of my experience and your words lend a certain sort of dread to the whole story. Hope never to see one and please keep them to yourselves. For winter weather, this year so far has been quite warm relatively speaking due to the excessive cloud cover keeping the heat in. And just for something different almost 10mm of rain fell today. Captain, she can’t take much or she’s gerwing to blow! (said in best Scotty at engineering station voice). 🙂

    We went and stayed in the city last night and the place was a bit like a ghost town. Some restrictions were lifted at midnight. You may laugh, but we’d booked a reservation for dinner and needn’t have bothered as it was very quiet. Every business were patrons of were happy for our custom and many said so. It’s bleak out there. Oh well, we do what we can, and had a rollicking good time of it! The big smoke can still provide a proper meal, good ale and some decent coffee – what else could a person want in life?

    DJ, mate, I’ve bitten the proverbial bullet and begun upgrading to Win 10. The other software applications pester power had become too much. It’s happening right now on a test computer so as to see how it works out.

    Wise to disappear the signs – people will rebel, and Mr Sun Tzu may have said something along the lines of giving the enemy an out. He was a smart bloke, and I’d never encountered such a sign, although plenty of businesses have signs urging people to clean up after themselves (a reasonable suggestion if I must say).

    I hope you get some more rain. You know we’re hearing of the drought in your country, and in particular that of the west coast drought down here. The word wildfire comes to mind when I hear of such hot and dry conditions, so stay alert and I hope your ladies family keep out of harms way. I’m not mucking around when I say that even in wet years like this one, I still keep working on mitigating such risks. The Indigenous folks remarked that their very souls were in peril if they didn’t keep up the efforts – and I can well understand how that perspective was reached over the millennia.

    I’m a bit dubious of hereditary passage if only because of the reality that what cannot be held, can’t be held – all other considerations to the side. It is of note that most families, societies or human structures from the west or the east tend to wax and then wane. Other cultures handle such matters differently, but not the west and the east for some reason. And interestingly, hairy ol’ Wilfred ascended as the power of the Visigoths descended.



  43. Hi Damo and Al,

    Thought you two might appreciate a geeky update on several projects currently underway…

    Memory upgrade for the dozen year old HP4510s laptop (4Gb to 8Gb) done. Win 7 didn’t recognise the additional memory, whilst the BIOS did. Back to the drawing board…

    Said laptop currently at 22% upgrade from Win 7 to Win 10 and far out, how slow can this stuff be? Concerns that this process might take all night long.

    MeanWell battery charger arrived in the mail today. Will test over the next few days, but the rated output is 57.6V DC at 27.5A (and the voltage can be raised via a screw adjustment) whilst the input is 240V AC at 10.4A, but how that works out in the real world, I know not.

    And oh yeah, ep4 was viewed (those who know what I’m talking about, let’s just say that they know). 🙂


    PS: Still at 22% but it makes me want to switch it off just in case the software has crashed!!! Better not in this particular case. 🙂

  44. Hi Inge,

    Nice to hear that your property and forest received some rain. Speaking of rain, about a third of an inch of rain fell here today. It is a bit wet and cold outside of the house… I see that a lot of rain fell over the state of South Australia today as well.

    I’m with you with the woollen jumpers and clothing appropriate for the climate. Last night we stayed in the city, and it was very quiet in there due to the health subject which dares not be named, but we’re intrepid souls so bravely ventured forth on an adventure. The thing is, the hotel for some reason was blasting the heat, and the editor phoned reception at about midnight to ask them to turn off the heating (the heating was in addition to the thermostat control in the suite) as it was hot. Within about 15 minutes of the blasting heat getting switched off, the air had cooled and we were able to get back to sleep. I dunno about you, but I sleep far better in cooler conditions than the sort of heat that most people believe to be normal. It quite astounds me too, because when I was a kid it would have been very unusual to heat more than a single room in a house (usually the living room). Elsewhere in the house had to just deal with the winter.

    Hehe! Yes, water ingress into basements would be a problem here too – thus they are rarely seen. It would be extraordinarily hard to seal such a building and any weakness in the sealing would eventually become a problem. I’ve noted in Grand Designs UK that many houses seem to have a turf roof, and I really can’t understand how such roof designs are sealed, or imagine the weight load that the turf and soil would place upon the building if that lot became extremely saturated. It just makes no sense to me and you rarely see such designs down here.

    It is pretty quiet on a building front in this mountain range, but the expansion of the money supply can produce some weird outcomes. Do you know I observed three ‘Bentley’ vehicles at various times whilst in the big smoke. Hmm.

    Thanks for the note about the excellent analysis at notayesmaneconomics blog.



  45. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, I’m a broken man – it’s true. Various software applications have been breaking my cojones for quite a while to upgrade from Win 7 to Win 10, and so this evening I decided to do a test run on the very good and still very much used 12 year old laptop. That machine is a bit like granddad’s old axe in that the head has been replaced a few times as has the handle, but it still works. When I go out on site, I take that machine with me and it works just fine. Whether it will work well after the upgrade remains to be seen. I dislike mucking around with that kind of stuff, but if pressed will just do what needs being done.

    The installation key is really hard to read because the character B looks not dissimilar from the character 8, so I have a magnifying glass just to make sure. The pesky robots at the other end of this process are worse than pedants, and will probably be first up against the wall come the revolution! 🙂

    We went into the big smoke last night and stayed overnight. It was nice to get away, but far out due to the health subject which dare not be named, it was very quiet. We booked the restaurant for dinner. It is in a very touristy area, but we need not have bothered booking as there were a lot of empty tables. The food was great, and we had a good time and the restaurant brought us out some free cocktails at the end of the meal to say thanks for being patrons of their business at such a time.

    The city is an odd place nowadays. There are a lot of empty shops, and I noticed that some of the shopfronts appear to have been covered up with printed upon vinyl wrap of artists work – as an allusion it masks the emptiness and possible decay. There were still people walking around at night, and the odd venue or two appeared to be doing good business. We do what we can.

    I’ll try and chuck in some photos on the next blog, and there was a mystery which I’ll chuck out to the readers to dissect. Inge did request that I include some of the more unusual things which I spy along my journeys about the place.

    Oh, and a slice of very yummy lemon meringue pie was scored.

    This software upgrade thing is so slow….

    Mate, there are times I wonder whether stupid and unnecessary rules are heaped upon us (the unsuspecting public) because it consumes time where we’d otherwise be plotting stuff? 🙂 You can’t open your windows to let in the fresh air, can you?

    Thanks for the Lake Placid clip – that sure is one mega-croc to pull that trick! 🙂 The poor bear didn’t stand a chance. Pippa the terrier on the other hand teased the giant reptile, and crocodiles live for a long time, but not so terriers and age does dent otherwise excellent reflexes. I’d say long live Pippa the terrier, but in the end, the croc won the day.

    Whilst in the big smoke I observed three different Bentley’s driving around. Can’t think that I’ve seen that many before in such a short space of time, but you know maybe I’m not looking hard enough. The thing is, consumer economies need consumers, and if wages stagnate whilst costs escalate, you don’t need to be Einstein to know that consumption is gonna decline. It is not a hard analysis to come to grips with, but what can I say: economists argue endlessly about what it all means. I’m unsure how well the malls are doing down here either, and the easiest way to find out is to stick my nose in one and have a look around and see what there is to see. Even a glance at the car park would provide indicators as the utilisation of parking spaces which can by proxy show how far off capacity the place is.

    Oh no! The upgrade crashed… Crazy stuff, and now I’m back to Win 7. Damo was right, clean install is the way to go. Once again, sail full ahead me mateys! I made that up and have probably mixed up a whole bunch of different sailing phrases. Oh well. 🙂

    Mate, I reckon it was that hot in the hotel room last night. About midnight the editor phoned reception and asked them to switch off room to the air from the furnace which was keeping the suite that hot. I seriously reckon it was 80’F in there. Fortunately, they switched it off and we were able to get back to sleep – I was sweating, in winter. I guess some people have expectations that such temperatures inside a building are normal, but in my books it a ain’t pleasant experience.

    The news of drought and heat wave in your country is making the news here. I see that Furnace Creek enjoyed another notable record. The place name is a dead giveaway.

    No, currants are fairly early and my lot (black and also red) are usually ready to consume by Christmas which if things were upside down would be in a week or two. I hadn’t noticed that the birds take the currants, but different areas can produce different outcomes. The parrots here are unrelenting with the blueberries and I rarely get to enjoy the berries even when there is a good harvest to be had.

    Fluffies know trouble when they sniff it out, but then sometimes the fluffies here make a lot of noise about the parrots consuming the dog poop, so it may mean much, and the incident may mean little. Why would anyone stalk around your building and at least not say hello to someone?

    Hmm, dogs are curious about the world around them, and H is an intelligent dog to hold such concerns and then seek to allay them. But yeah good luck with the extra plants obtained on the recent foray by Elinor on the hunting and gathering expedition! Hope they don’t require too much planting?

    Computers, can’t live with them, pass the beer nuts… Did you sort out the Safeway card problem? As a side story I’m getting rather concerned at how much id I’ve been forced to provide to all sorts of services. ebuy wanted my drivers license the other day, and gawd I hope they don’t get hucked.

    Michael Lewis is an excellent author, and I’ll be curious to hear what you have to say about the book and story. Hey, speaking of which, some of the restrictions were lifted this morning at midnight. At least we don’t have to wear masks when outside now. Our winters are very humid and masks when walking strenuously are no small ask.

    I rather enjoyed Jane Austen with zombies, but I’m really uncertain that I’d enjoy the story in it’s original guise. On the other hand, I’m really having a hard time removing my nose from The Stand. It’s a gripping read with an epic body count. Did you discover much about Jane Austen as an author?

    Notre Dame suffered during the fire, but it looks as though there is the will to restore the building. I see that the Nova folks mentioned 5 years, but I tell you this: If I have learned one thing from watching Grand Designs UK over the years is that the vast majority of builds take far longer and cost far more than anyone dares consider at the beginning of the build. Gobarmints seem to be the worst of the lot in that regard too. I’ve sometimes suspected that they set unrealistic expectations merely to get the project started and then someone else can worry about how to finish the thing and also how to pay for it. It seems to happen quite a lot!

    1,800 trees isn’t as many as you’d imagine. The property here would certainly have far more trees than that. But I’d imagine that the trees required would have to be rather large and old trees and Europe being the densely settled land that it is, might not have such forests held in reserve – or be unwilling to part with them?

    And matching stone work would be a nightmare of a problem. I’ve heard that with piles down this way requiring restoration that often the stone came from quarries in the UK – now long since closed – and the quarries have been re-opened for this one off purpose, but still.

    I dunno, maybe it is me, but sometimes I do wonder if upgrades and restoration work don’t have to adhere to the original materials exactly. I mean buildings can be living things and they can change with time, and if the replacement materials are as sturdy and long lasting, and the original has perished, well isn’t that also part of the story of the building?



  46. @ Damo – Speaking of content that’s hard to get at …

    A few years ago, I tried to link a Saturday Night Live sketch, for Chris. It’s called “Java Junkie.”

    Turns out, even though it’s one short sketch from 1979, broadcasting company (not the creator of the sketch), has entangled it in copyright issues. So this genius sketch has gone down the memory hole. Never mind that vast swatches of SNL are available, for viewing. Go figure … Lew

  47. Yo, Chris – (Whinge alert! General Whinging, ahead!). I realize that you have to put up with a lot of this computer nonsense, to sail the wide accountant seas. But do you ever look forward to a day, when you can leave large chunks of it, behind? It’s probably why I draw the line at certain aspects of technology. At my age, I’ve got to watch the blood pressure, if I don’t want to stroke out 🙂 .

    Early on, when the computer racket was just getting a start, I was always amazed that young folks would just shrug off the problems with some systems. Maybe, if more of them had called these people, to account, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are, today. As far as wonky technology goes. I see another chunk of the Net, went down, yesterday, affecting mostly airlines, banks and stock exchanges.

    Well. I gave my grocery card another whirl, late yesterday, and everything is tickety boo. So, what happened for 24 hours? Channeling Nimoy. “Mysteries of Cyberspace!!!” Not renewed for a second season. 🙂 . Ran across another site, last night, which has suddenly lost it’s graphics, and is just text. That happened with E Buy, last month. Then it was on and off for a few days. And finally settled into the old normal. What? They asked for your driver’s license? I do hope you were really at the E Buy site. They keep asking for my phone number (just in case you forget your password … not likely), and I keep clicking on “remind me later.” For the past 3 or 4 years. (End whinge.)

    I’m glad The Editor and You got a bit of a night on the town. Well deserved. At least you were staying in a high enough end hotel, that they responded to your request of a temperature adjustment. Of course, like the restaurant you went to, they’re probably angling to re-establish custom. But probably had a tradition of service, even before. Something often lost, these days.

    They sometimes do the same with empty shop fronts, here. Dress them up, a bit. Sometimes, it’s the building owner, putting lipstick on a pig. Sometimes, the city leans on them, a bit. Interesting about the Bentley’s. That was either a lot of credit, rolling on wheels, or our future Lord and Masters, making themselves known. Which might not be a good idea. Listen! Do you hear the tumbrils, rolling? 🙂 .

    Oh, I can open my windows, but, facing south … Not advised til late at night. Early on, I run the stove fan, to get a bit of ventilation. Late at night, I can occasionally prop a can in the door. When administration is tucked up tight in their beds.

    Well, I suppose the new boss lady, wandering around on her own, was all part of the State Secret aspect, of her visit. Though I’d guess that came more from local administration. Susanne, Who Always Has a Better Idea, saw her. And, I was surprised that she showed a bit of restraint, and didn’t button hole her with a list of crimes. But she said she wants to give her time to settle in. I wonder if this new person took in any of the general grim atmosphere, of the place, or if she was just scooping out infrastructure. Or, both. Of course, she doesn’t know how lively and colorful the place was, back in the Good Old Days.

    I haven’t got into the Jane Austen lectures, yet. I still have 28 lectures in the Classical Archaeology, series. I did slip in a new documentary, last night. National Geographic. “Virus Hunters.” Interesting and timely. One point they made, I found rather interesting. A different way of looking at things. Of course, we hear about “bush meat,” in strange and foreign places. But that could also be applied to deer hunters, in our country. Up in the state of Wisconsin, people hunt a lot of deer. Some of which are infected with a wasting disease. So, hunters hack off the heads, and leave them in drop boxes. With a tag on the ear. They are tested, and if “clean”, the hunter is notified that it’s safe to eat the meat.

    From our “Recycling Gone Terribly Wrong” Department (or maybe, Seemed Like a Good Idea, at the Time), there’s this local news story. Onalaska is a small town, in our county, to the SE.,267756

    We get our first round of Magic Food Boxes, today. The one with the extra box of fresh fruit and veg. I wonder if it will be the usual chaos in the lobby, or, will they be delivered to the door?

    There were some wild ideas, advanced about restoring Notre Dame. Let’s make the whole replacement roof, stain glass! But, cooler heads prevailed, and the push is to make it look like it was, before. I think France has some pretty stringent forestry laws, and it still has a lot of intact forests. Well kept intact forests. So there’s lots of 100 year old oak trees, to pick from. And the owner’s seem to think it’s a point of national pride, to donate the trees. As far as general financing goes, there’s a lot of money pouring in, world wide, from corporations and individuals.

    You were talking about ice storms. Portland often gets blasted with ice storms, from out of the Columbia River Gorge. I think I mentioned, I once got a “light” case of frost bite. Couldn’t feel part of my ear, or side of my head, for a year. Our ice storms can occasionally cause far more damage, than a good windstorm. Lew

  48. Hi, Chris!

    We have had people working on our 2-lane road into town for a couple of weeks. That turns it into a 1-lane road in parts, a pretty slow go. So far, I have not seen any females in pink suede boots or, in fact, female road workers at all.

    Oh, those power outages . . . . We had one last week for a day. However, crews have already been working around our neighborhood for about a month burying the lines at long last. They promised to do so 7years ago. At least trees falling on them will no longer be a problem.

    All that rain was a lot of water falling on you poor folks.

    What a perfect globe artichoke. Yum!


  49. Lew,

    Thanks for the Viking link. The article had a picture of the 2. It looks like they might be my long lost Uncle Sven and many times great grandfather Bjorn. 😉


  50. Chris,

    Defense and resistance…Yes I’ve also found that to be more to my liking than all offense, all the time. It also gives the other person an “out”. Very important.

    3 weeks without electricity? Harsh. That happens occasionally to our outlying areas, also. There are some advantages to living in the city.

    Ouch. Those photos of the Victorian forest. Wind can be rather nasty sometimes. Another reminder that we mere mortals are not in control.

    Nobody needs an ice storm. They are nasty. Everything’s slick. Trying to walk after an ice storm reminds me of a Paul Simon song: “Slip Sliding Away”. Of course that is rather accurate for cars on ice, too.

    Good on you, getting to town for an enjoyable evening. Good food, good coffee, good ale? Sounds like heaven. Our unmentionable numbers are finally getting to what I consider to be okay. I’ve been watching the hospitalization numbers. They are finally plummeting locally. The Princess asked when we can go out to dinner. I told her what my comfort level is. We achieved that today. So, next week, we’ll actually get to do stuff. A good friend also wants to meet for lunch, which we can do next month when things are really opened up per TPTB.

    Condolences, congratulations and whatever other descriptors you want for moving to Windows 10. I could start whinging about Windows 10, again, but it serves no purpose. It’s functional.

    We’re likely done with our June storms and settling into the normal summer dries made worse due to the drought. The heat is abnormal for June, too. Not that I’m complaining…it has been over 43C in Phoenix for several consecutive days, and has been as high as 53C in Death Valley, in the California desert.

    About 100 years after Wilfrid’s demise, another Visigoth descendent became king of Galicia and Leon in Spain. He’s known to history as Bermudo the Gouty. The church records from centuries earlier, and to later than Bermudo, knew what dynasty he was part of and who the Visigothic founders had been. Oh, a later King of Leon was Alphonso the Slobberer. Seriously. They knew how to give nicknames in medieval Spain.

    So, this week has been busy. I had to do a lot of weeding. Then I needed to reseed most of the carrots. Other gardeners nearby have had a rough year, also. The first raspberries got ripe Friday. I had some 4″ square concrete blocks hidden in the garage, so I moved stuff around, got the blocks out. Digging ensued, and I used the blocks to extend the patio to the edge of the patio roof. Then it was time to move everything out of the garage, sweep up the floor. Then I realized that some things need to be trashed, others given away. What’s left is better organized and takes up less space. That was a full 3 days.


  51. Hi Chris
    I had some bad luck losing a comment using the fully improved laptop last night for the first time. Seemed to be mostly as if word press had some problems with my comment content . I got to the end of a rather short effort and after I filled in my name they wouldn’t take my email address. Then made a comment that “ you’ve made that comment before”
    I tried the “post comment “ button and the comment disappeared?? Was a little strange. I entered a new comment informing you what had happened. Couldn’t send that either. Almost like some kind of hacking mischief?? Weird
    This is being sent from the usual IPad .

    Sorry your having problems with the win 7 to 10 change over. I made my software change as a clean wipe with the usb plug firmware Prior to any hardware changes to memory . Had that not worked I would have abandoned the laptop and applied the windows 10 pro to my other desk top which was using windows 10 home free load and that that I wasn’t too happy with.
    I got the 16 gig memory boards a few day ago they went right in and took off flawlessly and very quick. Quite pleased with performance. I’ve got some learning to do.

    MS continually pushes their features at you whether you want them or not. I’ve been loading as much non MS programming as I can and ignoring their offers. 🙂especially the ones with yearly subscriptions. I’ll settle in on their apps as I need them . I generally use the tutorials provided .
    You will have some lengthy updates to Win 10. Their are two very large updates that were released in May and June so Being stuck At 25% or whatever is the norm. Hang in there!

    The MeanWell charger should work out. The adjustable voltage pot was pretty stable and easy to set in my experience .with the brand.
    The current will drop of as the state of charge of the LiFeP04 battery voltage approaches the end point. 27 Amp is well below the max for your 300 Ah battery. 13.90 x4 volts is a safe end of charge value.
    Cheers al


  52. Hi Lewis,

    Feel free to whinge away with abandon. I’ve remarked in the past to other persons and else-where’s that whilst we may whinge freely, nothing ever gets done, but the act itself is rather cathartic and certainly makes everybody feel better. Is this a good thing? Dunno, but at times like these it may be a necessary thing. And yes, I have to wear the IT hat for our business, and all I can see is that there are already really wealthy folks who can’t understand when enough is enough and they come for us and want their share and then some. Like boss dork number one’s version of Office software from a decade ago works perfectly fine, but no, cash flows are what they’re really after. And if there are too many of those types, you end up working for them. Unfortunately such strategies only work well when both incomes and outgoings are expanding – if one or both of those variables contract, it becomes a disaster. And if I’ve learned anything in my life it is that it is up to the lenders to exercise restraint for the borrowers have no end to their desires. This is the basic economic conundrum writ large, but if people at the top don’t get that, it ain’t my problem.

    I hear you about the stroke situation. Here’s the thing, if the lights were out, people would go to bed earlier and get more sleep than they seem to be doing these days. The facts speak for themselves in this instance. The nearby mountain range without power is expected to be without power for another month whilst the network is reconsidered and restored. Oook! Dandenong Ranges families hit by storm disaster prepare for a month without power. Need I remind you that it has taken me a decade to learn how to adapt.

    Your net went down in a ball of flames yesterday that’s for sure. Some of the sites I use for html assistance kind of disappeared. Who knew that this stuff isn’t all that hardy? I keep coming back to the word ephemeral, but I could also be very surprised at a weird sort of patchy resilience to this interweb thing. I use local servers and those guys are like the last of the Mohicans…

    Hehe! We might one day get to the program: In Search of Cyberspace. Some cheeky wag could CGI Mr Nimoy and his voice as the program discusses whatever happened to that behemoth of the interweb? A bit like the old Loch Ness monster. 🙂 I was kind of thrilled to live in a world where such beasts lurked in mysterious Scottish lakes – the world was suddenly a whole lot more interesting with those monsters (or your Saskatchewan) lurking around.

    The thing is, my server providers offer a 99% uptime, but when you think about that, it kind of suggests that for 3 days each year the website will be down on the mat and out for the count. It actually amazes me that they deliver a far better outcome than that. People who argue against investing funds into infrastructure would do well to consider such returns upon their investments.

    Actually the hotel is very nice and has very old world charm, although I sensed an underlying air of anxiety which the staff did their utmost best to hide, but perhaps I’m more sensitive to such things. Everyone was extraordinarily polite, but I’ve got a nose for how much things cost to run, and if there are few customers because they’ve all become fearful, well then things would be super tough for the business due to fixed base costs. And thanks too, we worked before we left and ended up getting their after dark, what do you do? Blessed are the competent, for they are busy indeed… 🙂 Far out.

    Speaking of which I’m now reinstalling Win 10 for the third time. This time around is a test to see whether the 64 bit version works. For some reason known only to itself, the software installed only the 32 bit version and it’s a long and rather dull story.

    It is funny you mention that about service and a tradition of that, but I’ve tended to gravitate to areas to live which are sort of ‘old school’ in their outlook. I recall your story of gentrification and how some of the edginess wore off where your shop used to be, and the changes that it then wrought, and I’ve sort of also experienced such changes first hand – it isn’t for the better.

    I dunno about the Bentley’s, but observing three in under a 24 hour period seems a bit out of the ordinary. It is possible as to what you say, but at some distant point in the future unnecessary burdens will get shrugged off and history suggests that can happen through some brutal and rather effective mechanisms.

    In a really weird decision: COVID-19 test requirement ‘sensible’ for snow visitors, says infection control expert. Dunno what to make of that, but it may be a specific thing or a view into the future.

    Oh my gawd the software I’m installing just suggested to ‘leave everything to us’. I can’t make this stuff up! At least it seems to be working so far and my old license was accepted – sans sound – there is always something going to be wrong.

    I’d do the same with the propping open of the doors and windows. Sometimes you just need some fresh air. I believe that the editor is now convinced of the merits of fresh air when running the wood heater. Someone from some asthma foundation was suggesting that wood heaters should be banned – like coal fired or gas power stations are somehow better? Bonkers, and rural areas would be in an uproar if that bizarre notion came into effect.

    Suzanne with the always better idea might have acted wisely there. No point bringing attention to herself if the new boss is relatively unknown. Who knows what their nefarious plans are? Better to learn the lay of the land, and then hit them in the soft side – if that is what is actually required. Dragons always as you’d know always have a soft bit under the wind near to the belly.

    I’d heard about the problems with deer in your part of the world, and would be disconcerted by that particular wasting disease.

    The toxic waste story is not good at all. They used to use tar to protect raw timber from rotting when in the ground, so it is possibly quite a potent poison to be able to achieve such an outcome. You wouldn’t want it in your waterways.

    Was there chaos or control with the food boxes? An old Get Smart reference!

    Good stuff with the French forests and I hope they repair the ancient building. And yes, I can well understand how a land owner would want to contribute some old and venerable timber to such a good use. Makes sense to me.

    I recall you mentioning the ice storm effect on your ear. I would have been a touch nervous that feelings would not return to the skin, and it amazes me as to how resilient the human body is.

    Having sound card dramas with the upgraded PC – so much for an upgrade that isn’t better than before.



  53. Hi Pam,

    You lot are missing out for sure! 🙂 A lot of traffic management jobs down here are done by the ladies, and I have no great desire to test out the theory, but I’m kind of guessing that being stomped by pink work boots would feel pretty the same as being stomped by tan leather work boots. It’d hurt! 🙂

    Hope you are settled in at home now?

    Burying power lines is super expensive, and did you know that the lines strung up between poles and dangling in the air have an advantage over the ones in the ground? They can lose their excess heat to the air around the wires. Sometimes underground power lines can carry less power during high demand as the cables might not be able to shed excess heat. But yeah, they’re probably far more resilient than above ground wires.

    I moved a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of crushed rock with lime today and the new orchard is a bit slushy from all that rain.

    Do you grow Globe Artichokes in your garden? Or even Jerusalem artichokes (which don’t seem to grow as well here).



  54. Hi DJ,

    We’re on the same page there, and I don’t seek to provoke people, but it is worth understanding that some people need little provocation and they can be a problem that’s for sure. I tell you this software mucking around stuff I’m doing whilst replying is doing my head in. Yes, boss dork number one seems intent on provoking me! 🙂

    Mate, they’re getting the better of me!!! Argh… Crunch – that was my virtual battleaxe, but the computer is a dozen years old, so I must be grateful and not whinge.

    3 weeks without electricity. Me thinks it will be longer than that. Here is the situation: Dandenong Ranges families hit by storm disaster prepare for a month without power. They’re probably doing better than most folks, and it has taken us over a dozen years to get to this stage of self reliance. I’d really hate to see the general population forced to adapt in a hurry.

    Yeah, the forest was flattened in those areas. It is a reminder that we are not nearly as tough as the natural forces which roam around in this world. Fortunately there was only about 6 large trees down here, and I’ll get to them over the next few months.

    I quite like that song, and yes black ice is a massive problem which is rarely seen here nowadays. Hey, that probably makes it more of a problem – you guys are more familiar with such conditions.

    Yes, numbers are dropping off, and maybe this thing has run its course. We’ll probably never know, and reading The Stand has not increased my belief that we’re being told the full picture. Certainly the statistics down here which are probably mostly honest reveal the risk profiles. And I’m cognisant that it has touched your families.

    The city was nice, although it was a bit of a ghost town. I’m concerned that it will not bounce back to where it was, but then it will probably end up looking like something else. What that will be, who knows? It reminds me of the early 1990’s actually.

    Well it seems to be working except for the sound. Crazy stuff. I’ll get an external USB sound card and that will be the end of the problem.

    Those weather records are getting reported upon down here – such things are also known here and viewed with a level of dread. I couldn’t live in either place – shocking weather. It rained here again today, and so that proves that too much rain can be a drama. It is a bit slushy in the newest orchard.

    Those medieval Spaniards didn’t spare anybodies feelings, but if ever you are granted such a name, I reckon it would be best to simply own it. Of course many a good dog has been known to slobber and after all, dogs can be the best people.

    How did the first raspberries taste? I’d imagine the heat is giving them some sugars and thus taste? “better organized and takes up less space” 🙂 Your words are like music. How are you enjoying retirement? Sounds like you are knocking off various projects you had on the go?



  55. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for the tree removal story. Tree removal is not cheap if professionally done. Doug has removed a few trees by himself but only if they aren’t near any buildings. Once at the old house he took one down but miscalculated and it hit the power line taking out electricity to all the homes in our street. The electric company gives you one mistake before charging the customer for the line repair. Luckily everyone was back online in a couple of hours.

    Poultry processors are really hard to find and apparently it’s going to be even harder in the future.

    We did get rain – 1/2 inch. Sunday is looking hopeful for some more.

    Carla and her fiance, Ritchie are here this weekend doing wedding stuff. I think that’s going to take over our lives for the next few weeks. We can’t wait till it’s over though I’m sure there will be fun parts.


  56. Yo, Chris – The homicide rate would probably be a lot higher, given the lack of a good whinge, from time to time. 🙂

    Well, just to be pedantic, a Saskatchewan (or, more properly a Saskatchewaner, or Saskatchewanian) is a resident of a province in Canada. A shy, big hairy fellow living in the woods, is called a Sasquatch. (Not to be confused with a Bush Vet.) But I suppose they can all be one in the same?

    The folks up in the Dandenons, are doing it tough. After things calm down, the more contemplative of them might ask, “What if there’s no outside help?”
    Well, back in Ye Olde Days, there was a sense of service. Of professionalism. I remember my first drink and food waiter job. There was a guy there, named Bobby. He was probably in his 50s. The other staff were rather in awe of him, as he was a life-long, “professional” waiter. Not someone just filling in between acting classes 🙂 . Learned a lot from him. Perfected my eye roll, if nothing else. There are still odd corners, where you find a … dedication to an occupation. Nannies, butlers, etc..

    In the film “Songbird,” the immune wore bright yellow wrist bands. That could only be put on, or taken off, by the authorities. I see in our libraries, starting next week, people can go maskless … if they are vaccinated. People won’t lie?

    The many islands up in Puget Sound are called the San Juans. Deer problems, up there.

    The food boxes were dumped in the lobby, so, it was the usual chaos. “Someone” must have dropped the ball, when it comes to to the door delivery. Ah, well. Maybe next month. I kept the produce (carrots, apples, potatoes, celery, two long green things, one green pepper), but put just about everything else, on the swap table. Some things I would have kept, except I’m well stocked up. I have plenty canned chicken and black beans. Except for something new. A couple of cans of tomatoes, okra and corn. Thought I’d give it a try. I jazzed it up a bit, and had some last night. Pretty tasty. I checked the swap table, last night, a picked up some cans of wild Alaskan salmon, and diced tomatoes. The boxes have a little different mix of stuff, from box to box. By the way, I’m beginning to see green tomatoes, in the gardens.

    It was about 70F (21C), yesterday. With a good breeze ripping. But last night … when I walked H around 10pm, I wished I had worn a heavier coat. It was around 50F (10C).

    I don’t know if I’ve ever linked to this …

    If you click in the upper left hand corner, you get our region. Click on “Centralia,” and you get our local forecast. On the map of the US, you can see the extent of the hot temperatures … and, the drought. The colors … the colors … Ooops! Having a flash back, to the 60s. 🙂 Lew

  57. Chris:

    We haven’t tried growing artichokes of any kind yet.

    No, not exactly settled in all the way. There is still a bit of renovation work going on, and to enlarge the bedroom for my folks and build a grand, bigger bathroom which is handicapped accessible, my son had to use the space that my walk-in pantry took up. I have yet to find proper places for a lot of the food that was in there. It rather throws me off when I am trying to cook. Also, my dad is somewhat accident prone . . .


  58. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for understanding about the whinge. It’s been a weird old day because I decided this morning that it was time to test out the new replacement battery charger, and it didn’t work. For the life of me I have no idea, but it may have had something to do with the fact that the solar panels were also producing electricity, but I don’t really know. Anyway, I waited until the sun had set, and the machine now works perfectly. Beats me… Some mysteries ya just have to carry around with you.

    We have a number of projects on the go at the moment, and the battery charger was just one of many, and I felt the need to kondo-style the many projects and begin tackling them and finishing them. I’m usually pretty chilled out about such things, but tomorrow is the winter solstice and for three weeks either side of that day because of the reliance upon solar power, the Kenny Logins song Highway to the Danger Zone is always just out of hearing, but somehow also there at the same time. That Top Gun soundtrack album has a lot to answer for! 🙂

    Anyway, the battery charger appears to be working correctly. Yay!

    Hehe! Spell checkers have a lot to answer for. Mine robot spell checker clearly wouldn’t know a Sasquatch if it was being pummeled into submission by one giant hairy hand. Actually do Sasquatch technically even have hands? The word ‘paw’ comes to mind, but somehow it seems disrespectful. Oh, you’re good! Hey, I really enjoyed the story from your part of the world of the father and daughter, and the father went all bush vet at the end of the film. I guess even down here people have gone bush, but it is super hard to put some distance between yourself and society, and always it claws you back into its insatiably hungry maw.

    I’d really hope that the folks up there in that mountain range ask that hard question, and then think about the implications of the question. Word on the street is that the dafence foreces are delivering generators, but it is a heck of a lot of fuel that the things will need and a whole bunch of noise in what is usually a quiet locale. I heard an indigenous bloke complaining about how much noise in the bush us white fellas like to make, and he made a very good point which I’ve been pondering. One thing I noticed about the frequent and lengthy lock downs due to the health subject which dare not be named is that I enjoyed the quiet and sounds of the bush. It was a soothing balm in a crazy time.

    Just passed page 300 (of about 1350) of The Stand. Mr King has a good sense of history, and he recalled the Uni shootings of the 1970’s.

    You may be horrified by the dark and lost years of debt collection activities in my youth, but you get an insight into the darker sides of the human condition. One of my mates of the big shed fame comes from a family who earned their keep in the hospo line of work from building biz and then selling it, and he was once long ago a maître d’hôtel for a very fashionable establishment. I’m pretty sure that back in the day, he would have kicked me out, or not allowed us in to eat! 🙂 But you learn a certain sort of graciousness combined with instantaneous insight that never really goes away. It’s a real skill that’s for sure.

    Ah, yellow wrist bands. Of course, certificates are being trialled. I noticed that advice for one of the jabs has changed in the past week or so. It is truly wonderful to be road tested upon, and is contrary to previous experience, but yeah.

    The deer problems sound quite horrendous. Not sure that the disease is down here, and I come across concentrated pelletised scats from time to time.

    Who is this someone character? They must be brought to account and upbraided for utter slackness. Who would giveaway cans of wild Alaskan salmon? Chuck a bit of salmon, some fresh garden greens, a bit of topping and some grated quality cheese and you have a superb meal. Yum!

    You might be in the beginnings of a super awesome tomato harvest from the garden. Fingers crossed, but those fruits love the heat and sunshine and get better with more of that stuff.

    Mate, thanks for the link but the SW of your continent looks set for an awful summer. Have you noticed how many of your big name actors have headed down under recently?

    50’F is shorts and t-shirt weather, just sayin. 😉

    Beware the flashbacks, and yes the chickens eventually come home to roost, but I’m guessing you had a pretty fun time of it!



  59. Hi Al,

    I hear you about the fully improved laptop and am in a similar boat with the now upgraded from Win 7 to Win 10 laptop. Alas the sound hardware is having serious troubles with Win 10, but at least the machine recognises the full 8GB of RAM installed. You win on one hand, and lose on the other hand. I’ll obtain a USB sound card and that will be the end of the problems.

    No, the website hasn’t been hacked as far as I’m aware. But I’m not sure what is actually going on there, and truth to tell software updates have been far less in recent times, and I’ve wondered about that. Sorry the software let you down.

    Yes, I did a clean swipe too given yours and Damo’s experiences. And 16Gb makes a world of difference in terms of performance. With the laptop I’ve maxed them out at 8Gb, but the desktops have 32Gb on the basis that some is good, but more is better. And need I mention the sheer difference that is swapping out a physical hard drive with and SSD device? Oh my, nothing will improve an old PC like that change over.

    I’m not much of a fan of annual subscriptions if only because you are subject to the bait and switch arrangement in that what begins as super cheap ends up costing you an arm and a leg. I’m sure the Roman’s knew that trick too way back in the day.

    The MeanWell battery charger is working superbly – now. For some reason, earlier today the charger balked at putting any charge into the batteries and displayed the red ‘Abnormal’ conditions LED. Once the sun set I switched on the charger and it has worked flawlessly at the rated output. I might have to purchase the programming device…

    The 300Ah batteries will take in up to 0.5C which roughly translates to about 150A of charging! That is cable melting ratings and I’m impressed with LifePO4 chemistry, but at the end of the day they are still batteries with all that that entails – just better.



  60. Hi Margaret and Pam,

    I’m so sorry, thank you very much for the lovely comments but I seriously have to get writing… Oook! And I haven’t even decided what I’m going to write about. This is not a good starting point, but oh well one can only do their best. Will speak tomorrow.



  61. Yo, Chris – I’m glad your battery charger finally got up off of it’s lazy …. and barked. Can’t have a laggard battery charger, taking up room and stinking up the place. 🙂 .

    I’d say Sasquatch have hands. A primate, and, those handy opposable thumbs.

    That was an interesting film about the bush vet, who just wanted to be left alone. Modern society tries to convince people that are so incline, that they are crazy. We had a recent interesting case, here in the States. A woman, down in Utah, went missing. Over the winter. Well, some hikers noticed a tent, in a remote area. Out she popped, right as rain. I suppose she’s in a locked ward, by now, heavily sedated. No real information on how she survived her “alone time.” Might give other people, ideas. Of course, such a stunt can go terribly wrong. Like the guy up in Alaska.

    Well, canned salmon. I’ll probably do some salmon loaf, or, patties. By chance, Elinor gave me a chunk of fresh salmon, yesterday. Now that, I fry up, put on a bed of rice, with a squeeze of lemon, and a bit of veg on the side.

    I was pulling out the Love in the Mist, last night, as it’s had it’s day. Out of the ground popped a dozen small potatoes. From small egg size, down to marble size. So, I put down a small bed of rice, put mushrooms and chopped broccoli on that, then the potatoes, topped with fresh parsley. Nuked the whole thing, and put a bit of butter and pepper on the top. Called it dinner. I also wrapped the currents in bird netting.

    Speaking of Elinor, she finally tottered down to her plot, yesterday, plants in tow. I planted four petunias, two green peppers and one cucumber. Only took me an hour. 🙂 . Had to be placed … just … so. Oh, well. I got two green pepper plants, out of the deal. Now where to put them?

    It’s supposed to be 84F (28.88C), today. And ten degrees warmer, tomorrow. And then, hot, to a greater or lesser degree, for as far as the forecast goes. Lew

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