Out of the blue

Tuesday morning was really sunny and just nice, for a winter’s morning that is. The air in Melbourne had the right amount of winter bite that morning. I’m sure the good vibes weren’t from the cappuccino caffeine buzz, or possibly the heady sugar and fat high from the tasty muffin I’d just devoured, but it might have been. The coffee and muffin combo were doubly delicious as I’d managed to enjoy them, whilst reading another chapter of Stephen King’s epic tome: The Stand. It sure is a book for the times, that one.

Alas there was work to be done. The bins at the back of the cafe were quickly emptied. With the back of the car full of used coffee grounds I headed off to see a client. It wasn’t far to go from there. The roads were quiet. Along one of the main roads, the local council had blocked off a lane and had given it over completely to cyclists, of which there were none to be seen.

As a civilisation we seem to be pretty heavy on signage, sometimes so much so that you hardly know where to cast your eyes without being instructed. By chance on that drive I happened to look high up at the roof of an old Victorian era hotel. There was an advertisement billboard high up there which proclaimed: Be Proud. It was an advertisement for a private school. Yet at the same time the radio was belting out the thoughtful tune from American rap artist J Cole, and his song: Pride is the Devil. Hmm, as a church run private school, you’d imagine that they knew their history, but apparently not.

I have mixed feelings about private schools. It’s a complicated story. My mother was a single mother after my father cleared out when I was very young. I was so young in fact, that I barely recall his presence in my life. Upon reaching the age where I was to attend High School, my mother enrolled me into a very hippy dippy school for disadvantaged kids – of which I guess I was one, having no father to speak of.

After two years of that hippy dippy school, my grandfather (I’m guessing but am not entirely certain) stumped the mad cash for me to attend a private school. Nobody really asked my opinion in this matter and I was merely swept along by the winds of fate. From hindsight attending the private school probably was a good thing for my education.

I’ve been fortunate over the many years that a few very strong male role models have taken time out of their own lives to assist guiding me through this thing called life. My grandfather was one of those, and whilst he had his faults, he gave me his time and expended his resources and energy upon me, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

So I transitioned from the very hippy dippy High school for disadvantaged kids, and was unceremoniously dumped into a more English than the English grammar school. It was quite the culture shock, and despite being friendless and clueless, I bravely entered the fray.

The school bully immediately marked me out as fresh meat and gave me a hard time during math class in my first year at that school. Fortunately for me, he must have been scholastically challenged because he didn’t return the following year and that ended that annoying problem. But all the same, the culture was surprisingly aggressive and competitive. As a new kid I was expected to attend the organised fights after school, and so I did my first encounter against another kid and fortunately won the bout. I had no bad feelings towards the other kid, but there was no choice other than to participate in the fight.

The simple message taken away by the early experiences, was that if you want to learn to live in the jungle, you have to know how to fight. Fortunately I worked jobs both before and after school, and so I had plenty of mad cash to spend. One day out of the blue I took myself to the local Dojo, and ended up training there regularly for many years.

Perhaps word got around at the school that I was training in martial arts and was no longer easy prey, but I don’t really know what happened as suddenly the other kids stopped giving me a hard time. It quite amuses me to think that I learned martial arts so as not to get into fights. It sounds counter intuitive, but that was how it was.

The guy that ran the Dojo was a really nice bloke. You wouldn’t know that he is one of the most accomplished martial artists this country has ever produced. At the time I had no idea, he was just the Sensei, and we were the students, and that was how things rolled.

A few weeks ago, out of curiosity I did an internet search on him, and was rather surprised to discover just how accomplished the Sensei was. An author had written a book (which I purchased) about the Sensei, and I had no idea that he had such a problematic upbringing, with what sounded to me like a violent father. It is ittle wonder to me that he turned to martial arts. But the interesting thing for me about the Sensei was that he never made a big deal about his accomplishments, he simply exuded competence and leadership, and by doing so he set a great example. It’s a shame that others get swept up and away in pride – history suggests that it rarely ends well.

A surprise find in the book was this photo of the author as a young bloke about to be thrown by the Sensei the noted martial artist, Raoul Kent

Regular readers will recall that a fortnight ago, an epic storm swept up from the frozen continent of Antarctica and brushed aside tall trees as if they were match sticks. The editor and I travelled to a nearby town which had been hit pretty hard. The authorities are working on the clean up, and I’m guessing it will take many months of activity to complete.

The sign warns, but the fallen tree behind the sign tells the real story
The damage to the forests was quite astounding to see
The extreme winds pulled massive tree roots out of the ground with ease

A lesser storm from that frozen continent arrived this week bringing more rain, but fortunately less wind this time around. In between the rain storms I mixed up another half cubic metre (0.65 cubic yards) of compost with the various mineral additives for the vegetable beds on the garden terraces. To give my shoulder a break from the mixing process, I pressed the electric cement mixer into action. The machine worked really well. All up the job produced 25 wheelbarrow loads of the mix.

25 wheelbarrow loads of compost with mineral additive were mixed up

Towards the end of the compost mixing job I watched the storm clouds roll in, and as I packed everything away I ended up very wet from the rain.

Storm clouds roll in delivering serious quantities of rain

There is probably only one more batch of mixing to do before the garden terrace vegetable beds have been fully fed. After that is done, there are then the strawberry, raspberry and blackberry beds to feed, but they should be an easier job.

Ollie assists the author by consuming the compost mix in the vegetable beds. Blood and bone in dog language = yum, my precious
The three highest garden terraces are now looking super neat

We’ve begun another project which involves widening the path near to the machinery shed. For some reason now lost to time, we’d made the path narrower than it needed to be. At a wild guess this was done because the rocks used in that rock wall were crazy huge and we are unable to move them any further.

The path near to the machinery shed is being widened

It took most of a days work to remove the vegetation and then extract and relocate the huge rocks.

Plum helps out as we extract the huge rocks from this rock wall

Some of the rocks were so large that we had to split them into smaller rocks before we were able to move them.

Some of the rocks which were too large to move were split

All of the large rocks were relocated and used in the retaining wall for the utility area (which I haven’t mentioned or worked upon since I hurt my shoulder a few months ago).

The large rocks were relocated to the utility area

The path near to the machinery shed is now much wider, as Ollie can attest.

Ollie enjoys respite from the hard work in the now widened path

Over the next week or so, depending upon the weather, we’ll add in a rock wall, a light and a water tap (spigot). But until that time, Ollie and the sheep dogs can enjoy the soft soil surface, or more likely in the case of Plum and Ruby, the now very easy to dig soil surface.

The path below the overflow shed was also widened. The path widening work just makes it easier for us and the machines to get around the property without crashing into buildings or rock walls.

The path below the overflow shed was also widened

Onto the flowers:

Lavender flowers in the depths of winter
The two tea camellia plants were dug up and relocated to the greenhouse, and have recently begun producing flowers
This Daisy is going from strength to strength
Nothing quite says poisonous like red fungi and white puff balls

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 4’C (39’F). So far this year there has been 650.4mm (24.0 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 610.2mm (24.0 inches).

54 thoughts on “Out of the blue”

  1. Yo, Chris – Pride goeth before the fall. Or, to get the quote correct, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Tip of the hat to King Jim the First. Or, his minions, anyway. They did have a way with words.

    That’s some storm destruction. Were the trees, prideful? Thanks for the “Chris For Scale.” Looks like quit a few Lords of the Forest, took a tumble.

    Well, that’s what you get for picking on a little guy. Flat on your back, starring at the ceiling. 🙂 . Have you contacted the author about residuals? Or, a good lawyer about using your picture without permission? Be willing to accept baked goods, in lieu of cash.

    “Out of the blue …” (cement mixer?). Reminds me a bit of the little mechanical fellow, from the film, “Wall-e.” Which if you haven’t seen, you’d probably enjoy.

    Your three highest garden terraces look so neat, they probably squeak. All ready for the rough and tumble of next year’s foliage.

    You know, it’s a well known scientific fact, that when you widen a highway, to a super highway, there isn’t less traffic congestion. There’s more. I’m sure the wombats and wallabies will appreciate the easy access.

    Those tea flowers, may turn into little brown marbles. The tea plant’s seeds. Even the tea plant I tried growing in the kitchen window, produced a few. Never tried to plant them. Might be interesting to give it a whirl.

    Current temperature is 102F (38.88C). As it’s coming on 6PM, I don’t think it will get to the forecast 108F. There’s a good stiff breeze blowing, but my, it’s a hot breeze. Her Royal Highness is now being carried up and down the stairs. Due to the owner’s request, so she doesn’t have a heart attack. And, I must also beware of hot sidewalks. So her tootsies don’t burst into flame. 🙂 . Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Much depends upon the type of lentils which you scored. French lentils for some reason are the best tasting of the lot and require no overnight soaking. The other dried lentils, well they need an overnight soaking before cooking (hope that info hasn’t arrived too late?) The editor informs me that she adds both salt and pepper to the cooked lentils as well as a stock of some sort. They can be quite bland (French lentils aside) so they need that little bit extra assistance to end up tasting superb.

    As to serving, lentils end up a bit like split peas after being cooked if you’d first soaked them overnight, in that they become a bit mushy. French lentils on the other hand are the best of the best and they retain a small pea shape and did I mention that they have the best taste of the lot? You’d imagine that centuries of plant breeding went into that result. I grew some here last season, but it was very cold and damp and the more usual peas and beans grew just so much better – unfortunately.

    I applaud your support of the sciences and can only hope that the testing went well and no chocolate was harmed in the devouring process. 🙂

    OK, so it became something of an intellectual challenge to sift through the various images that the temperance league have produced. I acknowledge that we have travelled different paths in life in this regard and respect that. The bad husband – the fruits of intemperance and idleness, was an absolute ripper though. The poor folks looked absolutely wind blown and cast out and positively down on their luck (as they used to say, but I suspect other reasons were to blame behind the spate of ill luck). Out of curiosity, and I was unable to read the caption beneath the image, but was wondering if it told the story of downfall? The fruits of temperance kind of baffled me as I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted the situation – it looked expensive and stressful! 😉

    My gut feeling suggests that they won’t find anyone alive in the rubble. It was an astounding building failure, and I see that the Daily Impact has written about the structural failure. We’ve spoken before about some structural issues in apartment blocks down under. That one in SF to the south of you would be an absolute nightmare.

    It is interesting that you mention that about the mavericks and Mr Lewis’s book. I’d heard rumours that a similar thing happened here with the train operators, and when the new mob arrived, there were many sackings. And despite the resulting chaos, the system looks better to me now.

    It’s gone bonkers crazy eleven on the dial down here: How the Delta variant snapped most of Australia back into COVID restrictions in a weekend. I can’t make this stuff up.

    Err, yeah I’d appreciate the spoiler – although I kind of respect you holding back on the information. My guess is that Kong won, but suffered a fatal blow in the final confrontation, but you don’t discover at the end of the film whether the giant made the final curtain call. Godzilla is no light weight! Be grateful they didn’t join forces. 😉 Hey, what’s bigger than Kong or Godzilla?

    Rhubarb is a heavy feeder and they tend to suffer in seriously hot conditions. I read the good professors latest essay, and you are in for some wild weather – that’s for sure. Keep an eye out for temperature shock, although I’ve always enjoyed the sudden cool change.

    King James was a giant, albeit with flaws, and one quote struck me in particular: “As he lived in peace,” remarked the Earl of Kellie, “so did he die in peace”. But I must say that the accounts suggest that he was a man with his eyes upon other matters (and he was a noted author and intellectual in his own right) other than governance. Given the relative peace during his life, that’s probably not a bad achievement. I do often wonder how much work our politicians on the public purse are actually doing, and just how much mischief they are creating to cover up their lack of industry.

    Yes, whilst we can’t really know the minds of the trees which took a tumble, some things are universal so who knows – you might be right?

    Haha! The Sensei was not to be trifled with! 🙂 And if he was of a mind (which he wasn’t) he could have destroyed me.

    Wall-e was an interesting film, and if I may point out the obvious: There are a lot of city folks moving into rural areas. The conclusion to the film hinted at the vast and yawning chasm of knowledge – and they had a super nifty robot which wanted to help out. Some other robots might have chosen differently. Plant this seedling – you have thirty seconds to comply. You have twenty seconds to comply… leading to the inevitable malfunction. Robots aren’t to be trusted.

    Hey, we do neat! 🙂

    Oh shoot! I hadn’t considered that aspect of the path widening project, but yeah you’re right. Ook! A wombat and wallaby super highway. They can already use the staircases.

    I’ve seen camellia seeds before but have had no luck raising them into seedlings. Might have to try harder next time – and search out some instructions. That would help matters. I assume camellia’s grow in your part of the world? The tea camellia is a sub tropical plant and they’ve both been on the edge of their climate tolerance for many years. They might do better in the greenhouse.

    Mate, that is hot. I see Portland hit a temperature record. Not the sort of record you want to see. And Elinor is wise to not stress out H, she is definitely not bred for those sorts of weather conditions. Sir Poopy used to score a regular close clip, and even then the summers were a trial for him.

    Did the cool change sweep through?



  3. Hi Inge,

    Unfortunately the same is true down this way as well. I wish it were otherwise, but I guess people aren’t hungry enough – yet. There is one notable exception close by in the valley below and that house has an enormous fruit cage – which is not far off what the commercial fruit growers use, but smaller in scale. A fruit cage is a giant netted structure protecting their orchard. I took the cheaper option and have just planted a whole lot more fruit trees with redundancies and differing varieties. We don’t have that many fruit tree diseases or pests, but there a lot of birds whom are all too happy to share the produce.

    A little bit further away again, some farms raise cattle, but I can’t really say with any certainty as to what they are doing with the meat they produce. There are very few if any small holders in the traditional sense of that meaning. For some reason I had believed that things were different in your country – dunno why.

    Far out! That’s a big gas tank based on your earlier description. A mate of mine was talking the other day about the UK and how there is a push to get people off the gas network and onto the electric network for household machines such as hot water services. Gas is expensive here. A one hundred pound bottle of LPG delivered will cost me $150 here plus $20 a quarter rental per bottle.

    I’ve heard that your country is having a cement shortage. Food shortages is news that you never really want to hear. I have an odd notion that in the wider energy situation, something has gone awry – thus all the goings on. Certainly I believe that energy use per capita here is declining, and will continue to decline and there is a one to one correlation between energy use per capita and the economy.

    That’s what I call building a relationship, and it might work out really well. As a gentle reminder, make sure that you are covered for injury insurance – down here, if he is being employed by you and isn’t an independent contractor, you’re suddenly running a business and if he’s injured things could get weird really quickly. That is an issue I’ve had to consider here, sorry to say.



  4. Chris,

    Got an email from micros^*k about Windows 11. It seems that they will support Windows 10 until April 2025 IIRC. Bleeping bleep of a bleep! That’s a favorite saying when under extreme duress, commonly found throughout Patrick McManus short stories.

    Ah, so you’ve now met the Trashcan Man. King had great nicknames for some of the characters in that book.

    Thank you for the valiant attempt at Yoda speak. I learned eons ago that either A) Do not get the women in Princess’s family mad at you, or B) If you screwed up A, then run like crazy and hope they don’t catch you. Adhering to A) is much more pleasant and much easier.

    Saturday was fine. 38 here. Sunday was 41 at my house, 40C officially. Monday. Ugh, supposed to be 42C. I think we’ll get there. It’s 9:30 a.m. and the temperature was already 32C 45 minutes ago. Normal high for this time of year is about 25C. Watering the thyme and fruits and veggies regularly. Trees get watered when I water the crunchy areas of the lawns. Adaptations: Wake up at 5:00 a.m., get water going where required. Any light work follows. Indoors by 8:30 a.m. or so. Thermostat turned a few degrees higher. so the AC doesn’t have to overwork. This is keeping us mostly comfortable.

    To be continued


  5. Chris,

    Ouch! The unmentionable outbreak your country is currently experiencing reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”. https://www.poemuseum.org/the-masque-of-the-red-death for the story or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Masque_of_the_Red_Death
    for the wiki article complete with spoilers.

    I notice that Lew mentioned that building bigger highways does not reduce traffic congestion. We had a saying about roads, whether they were paving gravel roads, widening existing roads, or building totally new roads: “You build it, people will come.” And it was (and is) true.

    The Princess noted that those were some BIG trees downed by the storm. Then I showed her the photo with you in it, and she amended “big” to “huge”.

    Thanks for the photo of you and Sensei, as well as the background info about why you joined the dojo. It’s true isn’t it? You learn a martial art so that you DON’T have to fight. Counterintuitive, but true. The calmest, most adaptive guy in my high school had started karate at a very young age, so by the time he was a teenager, he knew that the petty nonsense and posturing didn’t matter, so he didn’t participate.

    And high school. For me that was a religious private school. I’m still trying to unlearn a lot of what it taught, although the maths teacher was excellent, me a great algebra and geometry background. The bullies were untouchable by teachers, as the worst bullies were preachers’ kids whose fathers were on the school board. One kid tormented me for the first 3 years of high school. He outweighed scrawny me by a lot, and he was VERY strong. One day I had enough in Bible class. (Yes, ironic) The teacher was at the office, and bully started in. Eventually, even though his friends and all the girls were begging him to leave me alone and stop kicking me sore knee (and I moved several times only to have him follow me and continue), I snapped. I picked up his desk, with him sitting in the attached chair, and threw him head first into the cinder block wall, amazing everyone that 105 pound me could do that to 175 pound bully. Then teacher came back. Later, after school, bully, purple with rage, picked me up by my neck and slammed me into a wall, daring me to hit him. I told him, calmly, to look down. He went from purple to snowy white instantly when he saw that the toe of my hard soled shoe was aimed at his privates, and one twitch of my knee would be, well that. He gently put me down and walked away. No more problems with him. Private religious educational institution…

    Those are wonderful pictures of a stoic looking Ollie. I bet he is so grateful that you provide him with special snacks right there in the dirt! Also good to see you using an electric cement mixer and taking care of your shoulder.


  6. Yo, Chris – Not a clue on the packages as to if the Lentils are French, or not. But, I suspect so. Looking at the cooking instructions (two different companies), there’s no soaking required. When I get around to making some up (not boiling anything, in this weather), I’ll probably treat them as I do rice. Cook it up, keep it in the fridge, and mix in various veg. And, my Super Secret Blend of Herbs and Spices. 🙂 .

    Well, even frozen, the salted carmel chocolate biscuits were a bit of a mess. Interesting. They came in a rather large box, with only six biscuits, per box. Which I think is supposed to scream “special” and “premium.” Wouldn’t want to give one to a small child. You’d be scrapping chocolate off the walls, and kid, for days.

    Searching “Currier Ives Temperance” and then images, and you pretty much have the lot. The version I have is slightly different. The family looks worse for wear, and there are a few empty bottles strewn about. There was some discussion, in some corners, that it’s not very politically correct, as, the family is made to look a bit Irish. Well, maybe if you squint real hard, and let your imagination run wild.

    I don’t see any one living, coming out of that collapse. It’s pretty much a 9/11 situation. The families are rabid for resolution. But, the workers are having problems. There’s a lot of lithium ion batteries mixed in with the rubble, and they keep bursting into flames. Thanks for the tip about The Daily Impact, having a new post up.

    Delta variant. Easier to catch, more hospitalizations and more deaths. For the unvaccinated. And, waiting in the wings, the Gamma variant.

    OK. Spoilers you may have. Godzilla and Kong pretty much fight to a draw. And, yes, they must unit against a common foe. Mecagodzilla! Soon to be an action figure, at a toy store, near you.

    I watched an interesting documentary, last night. Just happened to see it, on the library shelf. “The Bullish Farmer.”


    He was a Wall Street Banker, who, after 9/11, reassessed his life, went back to near where he grew up, and started a farm. He’s kind of a Joel Salatin kind of a guy. I found it interesting, and well worth a look.

    King Jim the First, did have a thing about witches 🙂 .

    We have a lot of camellia’s, in the Pacific Northwest. But of a much hardier variety, than the tea camellia’s. C. Japonica and C. Sasanqua. They were popular, from settlement, on. We had an enormous bush, next to our front porch, in our Portland house. They even ride out Portland’s notorious ice storms. I still have memories of peeling the leaf off the ice, and having a perfectly formed ice leaf.

    Yup. We’re going to have weather whiplash. We just have to make it through, today. Local forecast is for 112F. Though the forecasts have been running a couple of degrees hotter, than actuality. Then, overnight, it’s going to plunge to 60. The rest of the week, the days are in the 80’s, and the nights, in the 50’s. Lew

  7. Hi Lewis,

    French lentils are a kind of brown colour and they’re quite small. What colour are the lentils you scored? A fine score too. You’d be surprised at how high in protein lentils are, but I reckon the hippies caused them to earn a bad reputation. The sixties clearly have a lot to answer for! 🙂 That’s a good idea about not cooking too much in the kitchen during such weather. Hope the power stayed on? I’m a gentleman and will not press you for your kitchen secrets. I’ll be someone figured out Colonel Sanders secret herbs and spices? It is amazing what some people have reverse engineered and published the results of on the interweb. The old three bean salad is a ripper of a recipe and it’s mildly fermented too and that adds to the zing.

    Really? Those pretzels should come with a warning label: Warning – extreme mess ahead, not safe for children under 25 years of age! 🙂 Hey, I see that packaging debacle too, and the editor and I have noted that the tubes of toothpaste often contain a bubble of air which deflates rapidly once you empty the tube to that point.

    Well back in the day, things were not so cordial between the English and the Irish, and there were tensions in that regard even down here. The notorious bushranger “Ned Kelly” came of that stock and the story goes that the local constabulary was just pecking away at the family – until they’d had enough and fought back. A lot of it comes down to religious and cultural differences too.

    Yeah, I think the odds are against anyone being pulled alive from the rubble now too. There was some news report that they’d heard tapping sounds, but cooler heads apparently suggested that the sounds were due to metal movement and fatigue. I’d imagine that the collapse will have serious implications for buildings along that shoreline, and already the alleged chain of emails has been published. The contents of the alleged emails perhaps doesn’t make for good optics. I hadn’t realised that about the Lithium Ion batteries, but yeah, the initial reports suggested that there was fire deep within the rubble – and who knows what surprises those things as well as ordinary items in a household can deliver. Compressed cans could be a drama I’d imagine.

    Almost reached page 600 of 1350 in The Stand. Am thoroughly enjoying the book. It’s a great tale and told brilliantly – so hard to put down, once picked up.

    My gut feel suggests that this one is here to stay, and forget about Gamma, have you heard the one about the Omega variant?

    Honestly, I thought you were teasing me with the talk of Mechagodzilla, but no that is really what took place in the film. I told you Godzilla was the lesser of the two, but Mechagodzilla was a right nuisance. The destruction would have been pretty awesome to see. And why would Kong slay the Mechagodzilla and then meekly submit to the puny humans? So many questions, so much destruction.

    Thanks for the link to The Bullish Farmer – it looks great and I appreciate the recommendation. There is not enough stuff like this going on as the system is stacked against it and land prices are just bonkers. I’ve heard that cattle and livestock prices are going through the roof too.

    I hadn’t known that about King James, that’s a problem and as a strategy it gets wheeled out far too often in history. Brutality and appalling consequences aside, it is not much different to a stage magician going to their audience – look over there, don’t look where you shouldn’t for you might see.

    A mate put on a film night (which I was unable to attend due to a prior commitment) of the film ‘Bright Green Lies’. The premise behind it is interesting and I hope the night went well. The discussion I had all those years ago with the Greenpiece chugger where he said he felt sorry for me was quite a pivotal moment for me. It’s funny how life can turn on little incidents like that one – I guess that group have a need to provide the answers and guide the process, but life doesn’t necessarily work that way.

    Camellia’s do pretty well in the cold here too – I keep them out of the full summer sun though as they don’t like the sort of temperatures some parts of your state are enjoying today. I see from the good professors blog that it is as hot in some parts today (115’F) as I’ve ever seen it here (I saw that temperature three years ago in 2018). Truly revolting and death will be riding today for sure – heatwaves kill a whole bunch of folks, sorry to say.

    Did it cool down?



  8. Hi DJ,

    It’s the mid week hiatus today. Thank you very much for the lovely comment, however I am unable to reply today (it’s nearing 11pm as I type this). Had an anniversary dinner earlier in the big smoke with my lady, and it was really nice, and despite the cool weather there were plenty of people out and about. The rest of the country is going bonkers, so people down here who are unfortunately used to lock downs might be just getting out one ‘last supper’ style, but we might be OK this time around – we’ve certainly done our time already at 160 days locked down with possibly more to come. The other parts of the country have to do their share of the heavy lifting too. How else do we cut consumption?



  9. @Lew

    From last week – Doug is partial to chicken skin so I don’t think that method will fly. I have a good friend who lives half the year in Florida. She’s pretty freaked out by the collapse as her building is 12 stories high, built around the same time and on a peninsula surrounded by water which is rising year by year. She and her SO live on the sixth floor.


  10. Hi Chris,
    Enjoyed your story about school and the men who took you under their wing. Got me thinking about my grandfathers, neither of whom I knew well. My maternal grandfather died when I was quite young and my paternal grandfather was somewhat aloof and at any rate he and my grandmother moved to Florida (she wasn’t happy about going) when I was pretty young as well. He died when I was 20.

    The damage from your storm is really something. Your place looks so neat and organized. Maybe accountants tend to have that trait.

    This week it’s the lull before the storm. We needed a break as it was like a revolving door around here last week with both girls, future SIL and the friend who’s going to do flowers staying over different nights. No houseguests till next week. We’ve gotten rain! So far over the last week we’ve received 2.7 inches which isn’t quite enough but very helpful. Things don’t look crispy anymore and the garden is quite lush. Just south of us there was flooding downpours of 4+ inches.

    I’m sorry to hear you weren’t able to see the film as I was interested in your opinion. I have the book and would like to see the film but so far no screenings around here.


  11. Yo, Chris – My lentils are small and brown. So, I guess I’ve got the French one’s. I had to laugh at the packaging. Two of the bags are “Top Tier Premium Lentils. Very restrained graphics. Clearly catering to the discriminating shopper. 🙂 . The other? “Pappy’s Pantry.” With a cartoon of a grizzled old cowboy chuck wagon dude, on the front. “21st Century Family Farms.” Clearly going to a different demographic niche.

    “Secret herbs and spices,” is just easier to type than garlic, turmeric, and parsley. Nutritional yeast, on top. Sometimes, Mexican hot sauce. If not parsley, sweet basil.

    The Power’s That Be, were feeling pretty secure, when it came to our power supply. The dams are pretty well topped up. Snow pack looks good. But, at least once a season, we seem to have a fried squirrel, that knocks out the power to the county. Then there was that strange lapse, last year. Never really explained. “Something” happened to the feeder line, between here and the dams. But our power held, through the heat wave.

    The Irish came flooding in, due to the potato famine. Hundreds of thousands. And, it kept up for years. During our Civil War, they were signing them up, right on the docks, to go fight for the Union. They made a lot of people nervous. They somehow wrested the political power, in New York City, and soon the police and fire department were solidly Irish. As was City Hall. There was back lash. Even a political party. The Know Nothings. Wick Poopia has an entry. Sorry. Can’t link to it. Computer is not co-operating. (Computer got through thinking about it.)


    Omega Variant? As in, “Omega Man?” The film? I finished “The Premonition”, last night. Due to government ineptitude, next time around won’t be any better.

    Well, actually, Kong was down for the count. They had to jump start, his heart. Where do you find paddles, that big? Clear!

    “The Bullish Farmer”, concentrates more on his animals. But, there’s some plant stuff, too. Which reminds me, have you heard from your friends in The Big Shed? Since “The Storm of the Century.” (Also a King book … and miniseries.) They may find it interesting, since it has a lot to do with animals.

    Have you seen “Bright Green Lie?” It’s on U Tub, by the way. It sure kicked the stuffing out of some of my conceptions. Green washing. Who knew?

    Well, it hit 106F (41.11C), yesterday. My apartment got pretty hot, even with the A/C running, all day. I took H out for her evening walk, just as a wave of cool air rolled through. Temperature plunged 20 degrees, in two hours. I turned off the A/C, put a small fan in my bedroom window, and sucked in the cool air. Was down to 60F, by this morning. But, will bounce back up to 90F, today.

    Short interesting article, about some of the effects, around the region.


    Hope this link works. There are pictures of buckled roads and melted transit train cables. Lew

  12. Hi Chris,

    It’s been a long week. Went from hot and dry last Tuesday and Wednesday as I planted a succession of cucumbers and zucchini as well as zinnias, sunflowers, and soybeans (for edamame) to hot and wet on Thursday, where it has remained. Hot: around 90F/32C highs since Thursday , which actually is average for St. Louis at this time of year, but it is even more humid than usual . Wet: 5.4 inches/138mm of rain from early Thursday morning through this morning, primarily in large downbursts overnight. That ended our drought!

    As if that wasn’t enough, we woke up Friday morning to no internet service. I called the ISP. The call center person diagnosed a failed modem and dispatched a new one, which arrived Saturday. The new modem didn’t restore service. All along Mike and I suspected it wasn’t the modem, but rather something external, due to the wet weather. The call center tech person I talked with on Saturday ran some tests and pronounced the problem was external to the house. This being Saturday, the first appointment we could get was early Monday afternoon. But later communications told us the problem was “area-wide”. It was 7pm Monday before we had internet service again.

    If our car worked, I could have taken the computer to the library and logged onto the net there. But on Thursday evening the car failed to start! Sometime over the weekend Mike finally got a start out of it and drove it straight to our mechanics. Diagnosis: failed starter. It’s being replaced.

    I hope that Lew, DJ, and Al get through the record PNW heat wave OK! The hottest it’s ever been in St. Louis is 115F/46C, but we start from an average high at this point in June of 89F/32C, so our record high was nowhere near as remarkable as the heat records in the PNW. The hottest temperature I’ve experienced in my lifetime is 108F/42C, in 2012.

    Your terrace gardens look great! And your winter looks nothing like the monotonous gray and brown of my winter. A belated happy winter solstice to you!


  13. Hi, Chris!

    Auger bits, eh . . . ?

    Mr. Musty and Mr. Dumpy thank you for the advice and sympathy.

    There is much light and laughter, though not much neatness . . . One has ambitions . . .

    I went to plain old ordinary, what we call public schools in the 60s and 70s, and am so grateful for that. Just normal stuff, nothing strange or overly stressful. Of course, girls often have an easier time of it, I think. Though I was not prepared for any jungles . . . That was really neat about your Sensei. You were very lucky.

    How clever you are to use your mixer for compost. Do I need one of those, too . . . ?

    Your pathways are exquisite, as always.

    I think all of my lavender has died this summer, though I do have some fungi. As the fungi is probably poisonous, I think I’d rather have the lavender.


  14. Hi Chris
    Out of the blue comes our hellish weather. In my 72 years living here. This is the longest, earliest ,triple digit heat spell I’ve been through. Thanks to our stable power system and water supply were getting bye.

    The mechanical air conditioning has been working well. And is watched closely. I replaced all the the house filters ahead of the temperature onslaught. Also optimized the the operational parameters of the air handler variable speed fan to adjust for the high temps.

    When going outside for any task some planing is prudent for your heat safety. Wet wide brim cotton hats ,sun screen , what ever your going to do. Get er done quick. Shade doesn’t do much good at 115 degrees F in the shade. We got ahead on the lawn watering a bit the hoses with sprinklers and high volume soaker hoses are setup as needed. My 13 yo grand son is being paid for daily setting and turning on the water as required I determine the turn off and some hose moving. My daughter brings him over as he is needed. He likes the money and is doing well at the tasks.
    All of our kids and families are going to be in town this week end for the forth of July. The heat will set the rules I’m sure.

    The heat caused consequences can get very bad very quickly.
    My car air conditioner failed this morning and well require the compressor replacement. The second car well be the replacement for my needs. As my wife while recovering from her fall injuries isn’t able to drive yet. She is in twice a week physical therapy sessions and doing as well as can be expected. We’re managing ok and are having good help.

    The possibilities of infrastructure failures and natural catastrophe is a bit spooky so far no big wild fires yet?.
    I hope the firework fans are mindful of the situation we are all in together here.

    I’m so sorry your land still having a time with the disease related issues. Also the recovery from the wind and storms damage looks like it will be with you folk long term.
    I’m glad the mixer proved valuable for your soil improvement efforts. Machines are great! ?Also unfortunately Expensive ?.
    Oh got the emails that DJ got on the wonderful new Windows 11 hahahahahaha. Watch your money around crowd from the PNW. BILLY OUT BID ON A BID AT A HUGE LOCAL FARM AUCTION BY SOME RELIGIOUS GROUP FROM UTAH. more laughter.

    cheers Al

  15. Hi DJ,

    Here we pause for a moment of confession – I went straight for the spoilers. Mr Poe is an outstanding author and a true wordsmith. And true to form a new word ‘illimitable’ was learned. I see shades of Mr Poe in Jack Vance (a fave author), yes it is definitely there.

    The same holds true with highway widening down here, except that there is a minor problem at the moment as the supply of new vehicles has become constricted and wait times of up to six months is now the norm. I’ve remarked to many people early on in this current bout of craziness that ‘cash is King’ in these times, and it is true and I’ve heard anecdotes proving it to be so.

    Believe it or not, those trees are mere striplings, and they get bigger if allowed – way, way bigger. Some of the trees here near to the orchard exceed 165ft and they’re only half way there. I hope we can stay friends with the tall trees? Thinking of the whale and the ground…

    It is counter intuitive, but at the same time the principle holds true, and perhaps a person carries themselves differently, but I don’t know. I’ll tell you an odd story, someone local on Monday who I know was being a nuisance, and yet today they asked for my assistance. I declined to assist them – quite firmly, because of the nuisance incident on Monday. They caught me off guard on Monday, but once they showed their hand, you kind of know the person that they are deep down and can respond appropriately. Having some serious martial arts responses up your sleeve as a last resort option means that you can kick back and cogitate upon a response, and then deal with the situation as it unfolds. It is after all a truth universally acknowledged that occasionally other people can bring their troubles to your door.

    Rage is an ineffective state and the person so caught in that trap rapidly exhausts their mind and energy and quickly sinks into lethargy. Hey, you know, size means little and it is like the old saying: It is not the size of the dog, but the size of the fight in the dog. Years ago the fluffies were so named after the original boss fluffy, and she was a true Pomeranian (which I wrote about a few years ago) of middling stature. But she had a very commanding presence and just dealt to whatever canine challenges presented themselves to her. I saw her once force a much larger hunting dog to submit to her will and it did as she went first for the throat and next for the eyes. Her single nemesis was the Crunchy Beagle, and whenever he spotted old boss hog fluffy, he went into full on crunchy ramming speed. All other dogs submitted to her will. A truly great dog and I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a few such dogs over the long years.

    Al mentioned the electric cement mixer and despite having access to minimal surplus electricity due to it being the depths of winter and stuff, exceptions had to be made. The machine works a treat, although I still had to manually haul the hand wheelbarrow loads up the hill (the power wheelbarrow was ripping up the soil due to it being 4×4 traction and stuff and it being winter).

    I wouldn’t worry about spinal tap win softbits thing, but then I’m already five years out of date so that’s what you’d call a lifestyle choice. Beware the trail blazers as they can quickly become mired on the moors and the hounds of Baskerville end up with a goodly feeding. You were warned! 🙂

    Just passed page 600, with 750 pages to go…

    Ah, your response is wise, and nobody needs a cohort of angry family members coming for your blood. I mean if they succeeded in their revenge taking, I’d never find out how your next carving project worked out. That would be on your karma too, true, there are already enough mysteries abounding, so I ask you: Do you want to contribute to more mystery by annoying your ladies family and you getting dealt too thoroughly and properly?

    Good luck, and your summer reminds me of the one we had two years ago which ended up being labelled ‘Black Summer’. Yes, it is a problem. Just to put your current experience into some perspective, I’ve learned the hard way to adapt to such hot conditions without air conditioning. Just sayin… And the garden and orchards have also adapted – the level of thought and experience going into this reality is not to be lightly disregarded.



  16. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks and truth to tell I’m uncertain why it all turned out the way it did. That sounds a bit odd, but over the many decades now a number of good role models have stepped up the plate and provided their assistance, and I’m eternally grateful to have had the experience. I tell you this truthfully, when I first really understood the predicament we faced as a species I was rather grumpy, but Mr Greer introduced to me the concept of good grace, bit by painstaking bit – I’m occasionally a slow learner! 🙂

    Well sometimes relatives move away to distant locales and that really kind of highlights what little control or influence we have over the circumstances which we find ourselves in. The editors mum died not long after our wedding and my mum upped sticks not long afterwards and moved to the state of far northern Queensland (think Florida) and so you have to kind of learn to deal with things as they are. I hear you about that, my gut feeling suggests that such distant moves will become less frequent as time marches on.

    Hehe! Not so! Hey, I’ve met some very messy accountants over the years. And I had the unfortunate, but yet interesting experience to work in the wake of a very duplicitous accountant who had stolen a lot of money. That was interesting, but a little bit of a crazy experience, that’s for sure. Neat is not always guaranteed – the bushfire risk is what drives that outcome and the indigenous folks used to call it – most appropriately – cleaning up.

    Hehe! You know I suspect that you secretly love it, but it tires you out all at the same time. 🙂 Good luck, and when the day comes, everyone will have a grand old time of it all. I just hope that the bride recalls that there are plenty more days following on from that one.

    I’ll try and get my mate to do a second screening as he now has contacts. And yes, I’ll get a copy of the book and we can discuss it. It is a subject which is part of my day to day lived experience and so it is of some importance to me and I’d be really curious to learn your thoughts in the matter.



  17. Hi Claire,

    90’F and humid is kind of similar to some areas of down under that are quite tropical – except your winters would be a real struggle for most folks down here. Out of curiosity, what sort of night time temperatures would be normal for this time of year for you? And do you measure the soil temperature?

    Hey, it would be quite late for plantings of cucumbers if the seasons were upside down and it was 30th December. I doubt we’d have enough growing days left to produce much fruit. But then, cucumbers grow really fast when they get established so I don’t really know. The seed varieties I get access too are a bit marginal for this area.

    Yay for the end of your drought. 5.4 inches is a great kick off for your garden and I’ll bet the plants are just visibly growing in response. 🙂

    Ouch in relation to your interweb service. Intermittency is the wave of the future, sorry to say. As a contrast, I’m connected to the interweb via the mobile phone towers in the area (and I can see a few of the towers) and they have only something like a 24 hour backup generator, but surprisingly they kept going during the most recent five day long disruption to the grid in the area. Dunno what happened there.

    The old timers used to quip that it never rains, but it pours – and unfortunately your car troubles get wrapped up in that old adage. A faulty starter motor can just happen and fortunately it is an easy fix. One good thing about a very commonly owned vehicle variety is that there are plenty of parts about the landscape. The future is looking odd on that spare parts and consumables supplies front. I hear odd tales here and there.

    Yup, back in January 2018 it got that hot here – and you can check out the weather station readings in the archives from that month. And not to blow my own trumpet, but we have adapted the house, ourselves and the garden to those sorts of summer temperatures without air conditioning and also with minimal water. Oh yeah, I see them temperatures regular like.

    Thank you, and especially thanks for persisting with mentioning Steve’s work, because it has already made a huge difference. Yeah, the winters get dark due to lack of sunlight, and this morning was no exception as the sky became blacker and blacker and a brief storm rolled in and dumped its winter rain.

    Happy summer solstice to you too. 🙂



  18. Hello Chris
    Yes they are planning to stop the use of mains gas but I don’t think that this applies to bottled gas or the tank stuff.

    Here is something that I found interesting though it is way off usual topics. Had just discovered that the German word for the bird wren is Zaunkonig ( I can’t do umlauts). this means fence king. I mentioned it to my sister and she said that they are called kinglets in the US. my further research showed that this actually meant goldcrests which are a member of the wren family. Ok a golden crest could be a crown though I am still defeated by ‘fence’. However something really weird turned up. It appears that the Irish used to go out and kill a wren on St. Stephen’s Day! So further research is indicated. The human race is really strange.

    Poor damp weather still and the slugs are taking over.


  19. Hi Pam,

    Yeah, you read that correct like: Auger bits. Here you go this is what they look like: Sutton Tools 75 x 450mm Garden Auger.

    Mr Musty and Mr Dumpy both are deserving in their I dunno, natural states? That doesn’t sound right, but I was hoping that the pesky rats haven’t discovered Mr Dumpy? Hydraulic hoses would be unfortunate chew toys for the more dimwitted of rats – noting that most rats are quite intelligent.

    Hehe! It warms my cold accounting heart to hear that neatness is at least being considered. 🙂 I don’t much about anything, but I do know that it will take a long while for the patterns to settle out in your household. Good luck!

    Your education experience sounds quite idyllic and the editor had a similar experience. Dunno, but perhaps the circumstances I found myself in meant that there was no other option other than to be flung from one extremity to the other? Dunno.

    Have you ever encountered any role models which helped you along your chosen path in life?

    Well, the mixers are good, but truth to tell I can do the same job with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, so the machine is not a necessity. I have to cut some corners so as to give my shoulder a break.

    The paths are good, and they are getting better. Just trying to make the place easier to maintain. It is an unfortunate truth that none of us are getting any younger. Although I did once hear someone comment upon the Benjamin Button film and they said something along the lines of: “I just don’t get it”. Had to laugh about that.

    Oh, that’s not good, they do like full sun, and you have a lot of shade. What do you reckon killed off your lavender?



  20. Hi Al,

    Mate I’m sorry to hear about the weather you are enduring – and look after yourself and keep hydrated, although as an old hand you understand all that anyway.

    Al, you do know that I too experience such weather extremes and over a long period of time have begun the slow process of adapting to them without mechanical cooling (other than the ceiling fans). I’m glad to hear that the electricity system in your corner of the planet was holding up well – it’s some pretty extreme conditions you’re facing.

    Your grandson is replicating the job of a water robot. I hope that he is earning some mad cash for his efforts? My granddad used to put me to work in his large backyard vegetable garden in the 1970’s.

    Yup, can in the infrastructure take such heat is a more important question than it first seems. As someone with a background in engineering you’d realise that components have specific bands of operating temperatures, and if they go outside those ranges… And it is often cheaper to ignore the occasional weather extreme when constructing infrastructure.

    Fireworks down here during summer months are a total and utter no-no, so I hope people in your corner of the world use their brains.

    Hehe! Thanks for mentioning using the cement mixer for that purpose. It worked really well and was far faster than I could mix the compost myself.

    Hehe! That’s genuinely funny about boss dork number one!

    Hey, the components for the amplifier re-capacitor job haven’t turned up yet… I hope they’re not having supply issues as I went for all of the low leakage capacitors – which were more expensive than the usual electrolytic ones.



  21. Hi Lewis,

    What a score. My first introduction to lentils was the orange lentils which for some reason people call ‘red lentils’. I guess orange lentils sounds a bit odd. But you may have begun on the best of the best, so I hope they work out well for you. I’d recommend a different supplier if your batch doesn’t work out so well, just on the grounds that they’re worth persisting with. Of course the other varieties of lentils I haven’t found to be as good. Do shoppers discriminate? Something should be done about that, and quick smart too! Where do the SJW’s stand on this matter? They might cancel packets which have restrained graphics?

    Surely there is more to your secret herbs and spices than that collection? I reckon your holding out here and not showing your full cooking hand. 🙂 Sorry, I’ve descended into the land of silly and will promise to restrain myself from here onwards. Now, getting serious again.

    Glad to hear that the power stayed on during the extreme weather. Reports of your weather made it into our papers. People die from bushfires down here, but what you never find out until much later is that far more people die from heat related issues: Hundreds dead as record-breaking heat wave hits Canada and United States . It’s not good, and if it has happened once, then it will happen again is my thinking on the matter.

    Oh my gawd, you’ve mentioned the potatoes. Oh well, we must endure, but I noted that at one point that particular population on average had 90% of their diet as being derived from the humble spud and both were susceptible to blight. Mono cultures inevitably fail and that was known even back then. But the human suffering and also the suffering of the land too, would have been immense. Truly awful and many ended up being transported down here too. I can see that about New York City – makes sense. Well, I had no idea that the Know Nothings had links to the Temperance League (history unfolds one concept at a time!) It amuses me to learn that the Dems were quite pro-slavery back in the day, the cheeky scamps. I wonder if they speak of such things these days?

    The Omega man was quite a good film, critics be dammed! I enjoyed it, but there were other dare I say it – variants! Oh no, we’ve descended into the land of silly again. I guess it is a lifestyle choice. 😉

    Ineptitude is the word for sure. Just the sheer mention of the scale of ineptitude has brought me back to seriousness with a thud. Well, you know my opinions in this matter. And my blood pressure has climbed a few points to boot.

    Really? I imagine Kong would have taken the output of a good sized fossil fuel generator. I’ll see if the scene is on utoob, it sounds intriguing.

    You know, I haven’t heard from my mates of the big shed fame. They don’t have many large trees near their building so they were probably OK on that front. Some of their infrastructure wasn’t as easy to bolt down like the pig houses, so I’m wondering about how they fared. I don’t really know how they went with the electricity outage, I’ve mentioned to them a few times about the need for a large backup generator – they run a few freezers, as you can imagine. But large generators are not cheap items. Things are comparatively low tech here.

    The animal story hasn’t really sung to my blood. The chickens, dogs and bees are about enough for us, and we can make do out of the garden for a long while if needs be. I’m considering the humble potato lately as there isn’t much else that will give as much bang for buck as they say. I’ll recommend the documentary to them the next time I hear from them. I do hope they’re OK, but there is no point pestering folks and I’ve already extended a helping hand.

    Hope people are sensible about fireworks in your part of the world?

    Yeah, I’m going to somehow work out some time to watch the film. It is a subject of great interest to me, and it is also a subject where I hear such lies being spoken aloud with the confidence that only hubris can bring. I might even get a copy of the book through my friend.

    Sorry to say that yours and our built environment is not really up for dealing with such climate extremes as you’re experiencing. It’s not good and is an issue for sure. Down here the trains slow their speed during such weather because the tracks can buckle under the heat. Areas which only very occasionally see such weather extremes will be caught out.

    The link worked well too.



  22. @ Margaret – Yup. Anything better than crispy chicken skins? Paging Col. Sanders! 🙂 Well, you could always do six of one, half a dozen the other. My friends froze some of their birds, and canned a lot of the rest.

    If I were your friend, I’d price it for quick sale, and get the heck out. Of course, I would have done that, a long time ago. Or, never bought in Florida, in the first place. She can always take a walk around, and see if there’s anything obviously askew. There were certainly a lot of signs, in the condo that collapsed. Lew

  23. Hi Chris,

    The average low right now is 70F/21C. That’s because it rains during the growing season. For the next six weeks the average high will be 89F and the average low 70F before a slow cool-down begins (and then rapidly speeds up in September, on the way to our cold winter conditions).

    Our first frost won’t occur until October at the earliest, and we can still get highs of 90F+ in October. Our growing season is something like 180-200 days long. Plenty of time for a succession of 50 to 60 day cucumbers and zucchini – if the seeds germinated. I’ll re-seed them this afternoon if there aren’t any seedlings yet. The hot weather before it rained may have killed them.


  24. Chris,

    If I hadn’t read the Poe story multiple times, I too, would’ve gone straight to the spoilers. The message I get from it is “You can run, but you can’t hide.” Meanwhile, scientists have done studies on a body discovered in the 1800s. They’ve found that the body was from 5,000 years ago and is the earliest known victim of the plague. Naturally, the article says that the plague victim was a 5,000 year old hunter/gatherer. I didn’t know humans ever lived t be 5,000 years old??? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210629161338.htm

    Hahaha! “striplings” is a relative term when it comes to trees, isn’t it? But I’ve been through the California redwoods, as well as seen larger eucalyptus trees in California, so I know what you’re saying. 🙂

    I hear you on the nuisance people. As you said, having a handful of adequate MA responses works wonders. Sometimes all that is necessary is a quick block/redirection of a reaching hand: it lets most know in no uncertain terms to “back off and I know how to hurt you.”

    Yup, small dog syndrome. In the Iron Druid Chronicles series of books, a main character is Oberon, the Irish Wolfhound who can talk to his Druid owner Atticus via a mind link. While discussing human possession by evil entities, Oberon exclaimed, “Yes, those entities make the possessed seem much larger than they actually are. All chihuahuas are clearly possessed by something evil.” Or something to that effect.

    I’m thinking with the spinal tap version that Microflop may have to make some changes. It turns out that a 3 month old premium Microflop version of a supercharged Chromebook, costing about $4,500, will NOT be able to upgrade. I’m foreseeing a lot of backlash. I’ve got 4 years to sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

    One thing I’ve been amazed by is the way you’ve used the natural slope and flow of groundwater, augmented by judicious placement of the fern gully, to have subsurface irrigation for the orchard. That was wonderful design work you did on that. It’s how to work WITH what is there rather than trying to force Nature into your wishes.

    Updates. Overnight temperatures have been higher than the normal high temperatures for a few nights. Record hot “low” temperatures. Monday we hit 42C at my house, but a bit lower officially. However, the local electric utility, Avista, implemented rolling blackouts Monday afternoon. Equipment was overheating. We didn’t have a rolling blackout. Instead, the local substation’s transformer melted down at 5:47 p.m. Indoors was 23C, basement was 18C. Estimate for restoration 6:00 a.m. Tuesday. Power came back on at 10:27 Monday night, with the interior at 24C. Not bad.

    So, via Avista press releases and emails, I knew that on Tuesday we could have up to 2 rolling blackouts of about an hour each with at least an hour in between. We had one for 6 minutes. In the meantime, I turn off the computer by noon, we’re using less lights, have the AC turned during the day to 24C (higher than usual), and either plan on cold meals or cook (the Ninja releases little heat into the house) so that our main meal is before noon. The AC is getting the house and its entire thermal mass to 21C overnight, so we’re coping extremely well.

    Tuesday hit 45C at my house, 44C downtown, 43C officially, a new all time hottest recorded temperature here. Wednesday will be similar, then a “cooling” trend: 38C for several days and cooling below 20C at night. I will be able to catch up on reviving the lawns starting Thursday morning.

    Nearing noon, and the potential start of rolling blackouts – hours are 11 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., but the reality has been noon until 7.


  25. Yo, Chris – Some cooks leave out ingredients, when passing on a recipe. Just so the results aren’t as good as there’s. I’m not that kind of a cook. 🙂 . Even following a recipe, there are enough chances for mishap. No fiddling required.

    Heat kills a lot of people. Quit a few years back, thousands died in France, due to a heat wave. Mostly, old folks. We don’t regulate body temperature, as well. I’m surprised no one was hauled out of here. As far as I know. I’m surprised, as we had people throwing open windows, and letting the heat in. Worst offender lives right down the hall, from me. Patty “You Can’t Tell Me What To Do.” The building manager stepped on her pretty hard, Friday. So, she was pretty good, over the weekend. They don’t seem to get it. Keep the windows closed, and let the A/C do it’s job. Everybody here at the Institution, seems to have a different theory of thermodynamics. Which they defend with religious fervor.

    What’s with not mentioning potatoes? It’s not as if I mentioned The Scottish Play, or something. 🙂 .

    Political parties have a pretty knee jerk reaction, to be against, whatever the opposite party is for. Believe it or not, back in the 60’s and 70’s, our Republican party was very pro environment.

    Well, Kong gets a jump start from a magic flying ship, that was developed to cross the gravitational barrier, so the hollow earth could be accessed, so Kong could get a magic weapon / power source so … well, as I said, the plot was a mess. There’s also the mandatory cute kid. Female (check), ethnic (check) … and the frosting on the cake? She’s a deaf mute! Or, what ever they’re calling people who can’t speak or hear, these days. She teaches Kong sign language. 🙂 .

    Farms seem to fall in three groups. Mostly plants, mostly animals, or, a mixture of both. We have a young man, who is a beginning farmer. He’s part of a family that rotates, to take care of granny. I happened to see him this morning, and tipped him off to “The Bullish Farmer.” And, Joel Salatin. He seems receptive.

    Well, I think they’re banning fireworks in the State. Not that the “You Can’t Tell Me What To Do” crowd, will pay any attention. My gosh! First they come for your fireworks, and then your guns! It’s a slippery slope! I’ve already heard quit a few blasts, in the neighborhood. And, given the political tenor of this county, the police don’t seem very interested in enforcing the ban. By the way, Prof. Mass mentioned his next post will be on wild / brush fires. Might be up, already.

    “Bright Green Lies,” is a pretty interesting film. Idols are smashed. Statues of heros are found to have clay feet. By the way, I watched “Lapsis,” last night. Very interesting. As far as the gig economy goes, it pretty much portrayed everything the book “Nomadland” had to say. I haven’t seen that film, yet. I thought it also interesting that everyone had to sign onto some new quantum computing. To be hip and with it … and, function in society. At the end of the film, I must say I was wondering, “What happens next?” To all the characters.

    Interesting new theory about the condo collapse. Just a couple of years ago, a luxury tower was built across the street from the collapsed condo.


    I’m sure the conspiracy people will be working overtime. It just so happens, that a migrant boat (maybe from Cuba), washed up right in front of the collapsed condo. The Coast Guard had taken off the migrants, and, for whatever reason, let the boat drift. By chance, it ended up in front of the collapsed tower.

    Reminds me of when I moved to Seattle, back in 1968, and started working at the main branch library, downtown. SeaFirst bank (now B of A) was building a 50 story tower, across the street. Chunks of it frequently fell into the middle of 5th Avenue, in high winds, The entire front wall of the library (two stories) began to pull away from the floor. You could actually look from the second floor, down to the first, through a four inch gap. I don’t know how that all resolved itself.

    Someone at Prof. Mass’s, made a comment, yesterday, that got me thinking. That no matter how much they watered, during our heat wave, the sun still scorched their plants. So, I started looking around our gardens. Yup. Some sun damage. Elinor’s nasturtiums. My green beans were nipped a bit. The ends of the peas were fried. My elderberry start, happily growing in it’s pot is dead. Strawberries and rhubarb, took a hit.

    Elinor is going to the dentist, today, so, I’ll have H for awhile. We’ll go on walkabout, so she knows Elinor isn’t hiding somewhere about the place. Lew

  26. Hi Claire,

    Thanks for the excellent description of your climate. It sounds almost perfect for growing vegetables. 🙂 Good stuff and you’ve ended up in a good area.

    As you’ve noticed and pointed out to me on a number of occasions, the day time temperatures here are warmer during the growing season, but the nights can be perversely cooler during the summer months, and this impacts upon average soil temperatures. It is an interesting problem and over the next few years I’ll concentrate more upon breeding and selecting for plant varieties which are well adapted to this locale, soils and climate. What else do you do?

    Yeah, reseeding is a great idea which I’ve never before understood the logic of – it just makes sense, but is one of those things which are not obvious unless someone points it out. 🙂 That’s what I call learning!



  27. Hi Inge,

    Whatever the case may be with the mains gas, there will be a core reason behind the decision and we may never really know what it is, but it will be there. I read some articles which suggested that with gas in this state demand would outstrip supply next year, and only recently on shore drilling for gas was given the OK. I suspect that as a civilisation we’ll chuck anything and everything into the burner – until it is no longer possible to do so.

    A friends local council was trying to encourage households to switch off the gas supply and use electricity instead – like that is somehow a better choice.

    The blue fairy wrens here are rather fast and would never sit upon a fence! Language is a funny thing and here we are using some alphabet the Romans dreamt up with a couple of millennia ago. When we rented in a nearby town and housing estate whilst we constructed this house, the local birds used to sit on the fence waiting for the dogs to do their business and then for them to go inside. And the weird thing was that as the birds chowed down on that dogs stuff, the soil improved and came to life again, the grass grew and in the end we received an order to keep the grass down. You do know that us humans have got things utterly lopsided, don’t you?

    Sorry to hear about the slugs, and last summer the Portuguese millipedes ate most of the strawberries. In a fit of pique I applied diatomaceous earth and earned a brief respite.



  28. Hi DJ,

    🙂 Some of my favourite books, well I too often return to them so as to enjoy the journey and also the comfort of the familiar. And they’re no less enjoyable on subsequent readings!

    I saw the article about the long dead dude or dudette having gone toes up from the plague. Nasty stuff, and it might also indicate that the long dead person had suffered from a local health matter arising from the over use of the soils in the area, so I dunno about the hunter/gatherer story – that lot seem pretty robust in normal circumstance.

    Hey, I heard a scientist suggesting that the theoretical upper limit for a human life was 5,000 years. I’m not sure that I’d want to live that long as I might get bored – and that would be a bad thing. What do you reckon, are you up for the multi-millennia challenge?

    It is a relative term, and the trees here have a bizarre notion that they should get as tall as the laws of physics allow. It isn’t much good for my solar power production.

    Yeah, you’re right about the MA responses, but they have to be wheeled out if, and only if, the circumstances allow it. People can get a bit tetchy if they’re used without provocation – and then I end up in trouble, which I have no desire to be in such a place. There are softer techniques which you allude to.

    Books with animals always upset me, so I kind of dodge them. It’s true and I recall the main wolf character dying in Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy. However Oberon understands the Chihuahuas character well. Did I ever tell you about the time I encountered a small Pomeranian? Well my much larger Pomeranian old fluffy the best of the best and the fightenest dog ever had just recently died. I was walking around the streets on important Chris business when I encountered a bloke walking his small Pomeranian. So I asked the bloke if he minded if I patted his dog, and the little creature swiftly transitioned from innocent face number three to face of death number seven and then the dog bit me. What a bad attitude.

    Like the term Microflop and if you don’t mind I may adopt that? 🙂 I don’t worry about such things and am always five years behind anyway – best to let others do the trailblazing and take the pain hit for team fluffy. I’m only now going from Microflop 7 to Microflop 10.

    Yeah, a whole bunch of thought has gone into rainfall, the land and groundwater. It would be a very rare day that I’d put any water into the orchards from the water tanks. It does happen, but it is rare even when temperatures are pushing what you, Al and Lewis are currently enjoying. Adapt to circumstances, you must! (that sounds more like Yoda). Thanks for noticing – few people understand that story.

    That’s a pretty quick repair on the sub station. Those devices are super simple, but they can get very hot and then fail. Glad to read that the indoor temperatures are tolerable.

    I’d imagine that your lawns are now toast? It happens and they’ll bounce back with the first rains.

    How did you go with the rolling blackouts?



  29. Hi Lewis,

    That’s a total dog-act leaving out an ingredient from a recipe. I’m sure the authors have their own justification, but still it seems a bit dodgy. Speaking of dog acts and this is a rather delicate matter not to be spoken about in public, but the wayward Ruby is on heat and she got out today and disappeared for about twenty minutes. She returned looking rather sheepish. Oh well, these things happen. It will be an experience I guess.

    I agree with you though, a recipe is a starting point and not the end point. It takes a lot of skill to get from one point to the other.

    Oh no!!!! Opening windows during a heat wave is something that you do at night so as to cool the place – not during the day. Far out. Oh well you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your inmates! Good luck. I’ve got a saying which I use in relation to bushfires, but it still applies to your situation: You’re only as good as the weakest link – and there are a few of those for sure.

    Well the editor and I recently resolved a disagreement about fresh air and the wood heater. We agreed to run the experiment, and just saying that on this particular occasion I was right. 🙂 It doesn’t always happen you know, so a person must celebrate their small wins (I’d read a book on the subject so felt like I was on solid ground in this instance).

    The editor accidentally ran the log splitter into one of our main house roof drains late this afternoon. We had plans to go the pub for a pint and feed, but the plans were ditched. I thought, this accident will be an easy fix. Not so, I’d used up the last of my parts for this purpose and the PVC cement had set like jelly. It is a two part cement so the thought that that could happen was an anathema to me. So with rains forecast for tomorrow, we had to head to the nearby large town where there is a late night hardware (closes 9pm) and pickup the supplies. By the time the drain was fixed, it was nearing 8pm and I was done. We’d split firewood for many hours beforehand. The excavator driver who cut the site for the house way back in the day stacked up the timber from about maybe two or three trees in a location. He was going on and on about future firewood so I acquiesced. Except that since Sir Poopy fox and rabbit bane died, rabbits moved into the log pile and dug a burrow and need I mention that the rabbits brought the snake? Anyway, the log pile has to go so we were cutting and splitting it for most of the day – and I guess that is how accidents come to be late in the day. So the temperance league would be pleased as we missed going to the pub for dinner.

    Well I never! The Scottish Play indeed, yes it’s a problem. 🙂 Thanks for the warning, I might have blurted out the name MacBe…. Phew, stopped in a nick of time.

    I can believe that about the changing faces of political parties. Twas the Labour party down here which threw open the economy to wages arbitrage by lowering import tarrifs, and thus put many otherwise functioning industries out of business – I was there and I watched it happen. They’re very big into high finance nowadays.

    Do you know, when it came to the Kong story line I didn’t understand a single word that you wrote. However, I believe that you are telling it like it is because the films synopsis suggested as much – and I didn’t get that either. Like why the Tasman Sea of all places?

    That’s true about the division of farming activities. It is also true that you can’t be across everything (although a rare few would be).

    As to the fireworks – didn’t some nupties allegedly set off a a huge fire in your part of the world because of some strange gender reveal ceremony? I told you that you’re only ever as good as the weakest link.

    OK, I’m intrigued and will try to rustle up a copy of the film (and some time to watch it – it’s almost 11pm here now and it has been a long day). I’ve heard of this thing called spare time – as a concept I’m quite partial to the idea, but as a reality the little beastie is hard to nab.

    Fingers will be pointed everywhere with that tower collapse, and yet the facts are the facts – the thing was pancaked.

    That happens and I worked in a gobarmine building in the early 1990’s and chunks of the cladding for that thing occasionally let go. You’d like to assume that they are well made – and mostly they are – but things can go wrong.

    There is watering and then there is watering. Spraying the leaves with water on a blisteringly hot day will burn the leaves. The drops of water act like a magnifying glass. People don’t realise that. Best to water in the morning and/or at night during such weather. Mostly the plants bounce back well enough. Although as you note, some plants don’t recover from the experience.

    Hope Elinor’s dentist visit goes OK, and that H doesn’t get up to any naughty business like the wayward Ruby.



  30. Hello Chris,

    Schools are a strange phenomenon. Many traditions from the mass-manufacturing world of the early stages of the Industrial revolution.
    I went to a public school, like everyone did in Sweden in the 1980s, but in an underprivileged area of an industrial town. Quite a lot of violence. I usually ran away instead of fighting back, which often worked.
    Unsupervised kids can be brutal. There is something with the hierarchy and humiliation in the classroom that backfires during the breaks.

    It was quite a surprise to read about “Be Proud” from a catholic school. They ought to know better. 😉
    A few months back I started to look into where the seven virtues and the seven sins came from, since they are not mentioned in the “Holy Book”.
    Apparently, the survivors in the decline of the Roman Empire were observing what had gone wrong in the previous centuries, and started to write down the “lessons learned”. According to weakipidia, several early church leaders and founders of monasteries sat down and agreed on the list of greed and vanity and the others.

    Today I see a dominant culture that has taken six of the seven sins as virtues. Like the “Be Proud” exclamation. “All-you-can-eat” gluttony parties, the Vanity of the selfie/instagram, “comfort”/sloth as the maybe highest value of civilization, “Greed is good” etc. etc.
    It seems like only “Wrath”/hate/anger is the only one that is not so hot. (Except when you hate the orange man.)

    I expect people to sit in the rubbles in a century or two, trying to figure out which underlying values that caused the latest collapse. I suspect that they will come to the same list of sins and virtues.
    What do you think?

    As a related aside, Temperance used to be one of the seven virtues, before the teetotalers hijacked the term. I think Temperance is quite close to “living inside (ecological) limits”.

    Good to hear that you could fix the drainage problem, even at the sacrifice of a good feed and beer. Drainage is really a priority. The destructive power of water is impressive in many ways.

    Regarding lentils – we eat lentils every week. Long cooked “red” lentils turn from orange to light-brown when cooked and mashed into “daal” with Indian spices. Here, organic lentils can be purchased in 5kg bags for 20-30 euro (30-45 AUD), which is a good price for high quality protein base food. The most expensive are the green whole “Dupuy” variety, sometimes branded “beluga lentils” to afford a higher price… 😉 Lentil sauce and rice is a smoother chow than classic rice-n-beans.

    Here the berry season is in full go, with raspberries, strawberries and red currants flowing from the bushes onto our breakfast table. We have finished the American haskap berries, and soon the gooseberries will be ripe. The harvest abundance season is starting up, with the first load of broad beans and the first fresh potatoes. Mmmm… Only half a year’s wait for you. It will be quick, I hope! 😉

    Kind regards,

  31. Yo, Chris – Ruby was only gone 20 minutes. Well, unless she had a gentleman caller, lurking in the bush, you’re probably ok. I hope you don’t have a dozen puppies, born under your bed. As happened to me.

    I noticed the window at the end of the hall, was open a few inches, this morning. Just to prove she can 🙂 . I suppose The Regime, could weld them shut. But, the fire department probably wouldn’t go for that. Weakest link, indeed. We’ve got plenty of those, around here. I’m still amazed that You Know What didn’t get in this place. It sure hit a lot of other senior facilities, in our county. I saw an article about a party up in your Sydney. Everyone got You Know What … except the handful of people who were vaccinated.

    So, did The Editor have her accident before or after you won the argument about fresh air / the wood burner? 🙂 . Well, you know what “they” say. Make plans and the gods laugh. You do know the Temperance League is long gone? Though you may see the stray Sally Ann (called Salvos Stores, in your part of the world) band, singing hymns outside a pub. With musical accompaniment. They have a great drum and brass section. Pass that tambourine! 🙂 .

    Our two parties only give the illusion of difference. It’s mostly social issues, that differ one from the other. It’s the magician’s trick of misdirection.

    The stories of hollow earth, going way back, always seem to have the entrance either at the North or South poles. Some out of the way place that you wouldn’t stumble over, on a trip to the store. Best hollow earth film? “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” 1959. Then there’s Edgar Rice Burroughs “Pellucidar” series. Which I devoured as a wee small lad.

    Well, if by “your part of the world”, you mean the entire United States, then yes, at least two wildfires have been started by gender reveal parties. In California and Arizona. Our County Council decided not to ban fireworks. Other than some time restrictions. As if anyone will pay attention to them. Our sheriff said he wouldn’t enforce a ban, as his department had more important things to do, than running down reports of illegal fireworks. All present agreed to ask people to be careful. The fire department was not heard from.

    H was her usual good self. After a walkabout, to settle the question of if Mum was hiding somewhere about the place, she settled down for a nap in my lap. None of that incessant whinging.

    I watched “Voyagers” (aka: Teenagers in Outer Space), last night. It’s about a generational starship. The “kids” discover that the blue stuff they’ve been swilling down, ahh, takes the edge off. Keeps them from getting too frisky. Might want to lay in a supply of that, for Ruby. Well, they start dumping it down the drains, and it’s “Lord of the Flies”, from there on out. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it, but I fast forwarded through quit a few chunks. There are better things, to watch. And, by the way, “I Am Legend” showed up. Saw it, years ago. It’s held up, pretty well. Lew

  32. Hi Chris,

    Well this time you’re wrong. Neither of us is enjoying the preparation but as we offered to have it here and they are (mostly) paying for it we’ll just make the best of it. I’m sure the actual event will be fun though may be extra crazy as it’s the first big event for many attendees since we were all locked down. My sister said she’s happy she doesn’t have daughters.

    Claire had mentioned the high humidity and that’s been the case for us as well until today.


  33. @Lew

    Unfortunately for my friend the condo is owned by her SO. I’m sure she’ll be checking it out as best as she can when they get back there this winter.


  34. Hello Chris
    I don’t know about ‘lopsided’ but we certainly know far less (if anything) than we think we do.
    So Ruby may be going to expect puppies? Son says that he can tell when Tess is coming on heat because she becomes extremely affectionate at which point she is kept apart from the other dogs and doesn’t run free.
    I am trying to re-write my will, that which shall not be named has caused me problems over the executer. I am having to re draw a map due to having sold some land and I am going nuts. I never want to see another map although I normally love them.
    There has been no official survey of the land since before WW2 and it is on the move. Some areas taken by the sea while others build up. An ordnance survey man turned up asking to look around quite a few years ago. He came back and said ‘My god, I would have to put a whole team in’. No-one ever came back.



  35. Chris:

    You make it hard for me to say no to an auger . . .

    I reckon I have a black thumb when it comes to lavender.


  36. Chris,

    The other day I mentioned about roads, “We build it, people will come.” There was a 10 acre fire SE of town this morning. My program paved several roads in that area, which reminded me of the 1996 era. There were 2 wildfires near roads we had recently paved. One of them was under 50 acres. The other burned upward of 400 hundred acres. It was started by an idiot. I kid you not, with it 5C and sustained SW winds of 35 km per hour, some guy decided to burn a brush pile on his 10 acres and ignited it with a propane blow torch. Not a good idea…

    5,000 years seems like way to long to live. Can you imagine if all your friends and loved ones died and you outlived them for 2,000 years?

    The dog Oberon provides the bulk of the comic relief in the Iron Druid series. The spoiler is that none of the animals die in that series, if that’s what bothers you about animals in books. I really don’t like when a major animal character gets offed. Well, that goes for minor animal characters, too.

    You had the only Pomeranian that I’ve heard about that didn’t have a bad attitude. We’ve had a few troublesome ones on this street. One was mean, one likes to run in front of cars, and they all barked too much in that shrill tone that Pomeranians can have. Definitely not my favorite breed of dog.

    Please use Microflop liberally. That term needs to get used universally. They sure act like their slogan is “Go stick your head in a pig.” Not sure if there’s much difference between Sirius Cybernetics and Microflop.

    Well, we had the 4.5 hour unplanned blackout Monday afternoon/evening which we survived at 23C to 24C indoors. Then a single 6 minute rolling blackout on Tuesday. Nothing Wednesday, and Avista announced that, due to Thursday’s cooler temperatures, none scheduled. So we did fine.

    However, it clouded up Wednesday night, so Thursday morning’s “low” temperature was 80F. The normal high is 77F. Peaked at 38.3 C at my house.

    The clouds brought in a thunderstorm at 5:30 a.m. Some lightning and thunder, no rain. Zippo. There were thundercells region wide, no rain, so not a good thing. Friday will tell us if there are any fires.

    The grass is NOT happy. Some spots haven’t been watered in 3 weeks and are green and lush. Other areas are baked to a crackly crunch. Some areas somehow got overgrown by native grasses. 3mm of water and they’ll green up. The bluegrass areas will take a few weeks of adequate water to really start coming back. Conditions should allow me to start trying to water again starting Friday – the wind needs to die down. Watering in 25 km per hour winds and higher at these temperatures mostly evaporates.



  37. Well Chris
    The the triple digit high temps went back to two places today. The GOES cartoon view for western US showed some fast moving clouds which formed in southern Oregon and blew through our area even spewing probably 10 drops of mud rain per sq in on the car windshield sometime overnight wowwhee ! Drought relief so soon!
    Forecast looks mid high 90s next week.

    The 13 yo lawn water technician is well compensated as is his 15 yo brother the lawn height controller. Each receive A base salary of $35 us per week. The younger receives a bill with Mr Lincoln’s on each day he performs his task. The older gets his in assorted bills once a week. Usually Saturday morning. There are additional paid tasks like house and window washing and lawn feeding. Their parents grumble that’s too much money.

    My daughter has some paybacks for past indiscretions such as remarking to me within earshot of her mother. “ Was that another new guitar you just took down to the basement Dad.” Pay backs they may go on for a long long time. ?

    The grandkids dad is a very well regarded Mortgage Banker who is going back into the bank full time next week after working from home for the past year. He grew up doing farm work for neighbors west of Spokane. He oversees the weekend lawn work at our place and takes care of the quality control and training. He and I have good talks on world situation during his visits.

    Cheers Al

  38. Hi Lewis,

    It is a rather delicate matter, but dogs will be dogs and perhaps twenty minutes was all that the two star crossed canine lovers required? Of course, there is an opposing hypothesis which suggests that Ruby failed to encounter a potential suitor and returned frustrated. And yet the other hypothesis which suggests that Ruby’s suitor was err, fixed up. Time will tell, although something is nagging at me to not get Ruby fixed up herself – dunno why, just one of those intuition things.

    Clearly you have greater experience in this regard – the facts speak for themselves in this case. 🙂 Did your parents explode when they discovered the canine situation? And what happened to all of the pups? I sense a story here.

    How are the thermodynamic wars going brother Lewis? Is the continent of windowsusanii winning? Always remember that thermodynamic wars are actually peace, and may peace prevail. Hope you closed the window though?

    Yeah, you lot got pretty lucky with the health subject which dares not be named. Large parts of the continent are in lock down right now (for once, not here). Talk is that without protection from the health subject which dare not be named, the borders won’t reopen. The thing is, vaccinations only provide so much protection for a limited period of time and few are grappling with the ‘what next’ question. It seems kind of important.

    Hehe! The wood burner / window experiment was conclusively proven in my favour days and days ago. You need fresh air with those devices. Nah, the accident yesterday occurred right at the end of the day when things were being put away. A risky time when your mind is not at its finest. Fortunately, we fixed up the drain as it rained last night and it is pouring down outside right now. The house roof collects a lot of water.

    Are you entirely sure that the temperance league has dissolved? Is it possible they reformed and regrouped under a less baggage filled banner? I see a lot of articles regularly which suggest that any amount of alcohol is a bad thing – and I’m really unsure where such messages are originating. Nature makes the stuff whether we like it or not, so I’m assuming that as a species we have a long and complicated relationship with the substance.

    Yeah, the same is true down here of the political parties. As they say: same, same, but different. Kind of sums it all up. I guess that is why there is so much emotional heat being stoked. I was looking at George Orwell quotes, and the bloke had a lot to say that’s for sure – and I believe that his views on war touched upon those areas of concern.

    I’ll check out the film references. One of the Alien versus Predator films involved some weird underground maze in Antarctica of all places. You’d think that if the species could travel between star systems, they wouldn’t need to hide – they could do pretty much what they wanted to do, wherever on the surface of the planet. Have you been following Mr Greer’s essay this week on forgotten and ancient technology? It’s very good.

    Actually, just asking people to be sensible given the hot and dry conditions is about as good as can ever be expected. There is a point at which law transmutes from broad guidance to a more prescriptive based approach – and I can understand how that came to be, but still.

    You’ve out witted H by getting to the core of her motivations. Respect.

    Why a Lord of the Flies scenario? A person could come up with much more interesting scenarios such as the characters bravely struggling to keep the intergenerational ship together in the face of constant entropy and failing systems. That would make for an interesting story, which you’d hope ended in utter failure for the space voyagers. Cool. I thought that the end of that Lord of the Flies book was a particularly stupid ending.



  39. Yo, Chris – Well, don’t that beat all? It’s been overcast, since the heat broke. We’ve hardly seen the sun, at all. Your solar electric system would not be loving it. About noon, yesterday, we got a dump of rain. Which was, a surprise. There was nothing in the forecast. I checked the weather radar, for western Washington. I almost missed it, but there was one tiny green spot, which usually indicates rain. One tiny green spot, in the entire western part of the state, and it managed to dump on us. I can’t say it was unwelcome, but it did make things muggy.

    Oh, the puppies came when I had the little house, before the squat. So, the late 1980s. I knew where puppies came from, by that time. Some friends had decided I was lonely, and dumped a dog on me, without asking first. She was a gentle old dingo dog. Much against my better judgement, I decided to keep her. Being a fairly good pet owner, I took her to the vet, right away, to have her checked over. I was fully prepared to have her fixed, if it hadn’t been done already. The vet said she “had a scar.” Dumb vet. Must have had her appendix out, or something. It did not end well. Half the puppies were stolen. I decided to keep the mum and one pup. Found homes for the rest. The two I kept were escape artists, and they were eventually hauled off to the pound. My life was pretty much a mess, by that point. It was “before.” I did not retrieve them. I never quit forgave my friends, for dumping the dog on me, in the first place. And why I am leery of friendships, to this day.

    I really don’t pay much attention to the Window Wars, except when Elinor bangs on about them. There are other things to occupy my attention, than if I’m a few degrees too hot, or too cold. I just don’t really care.

    As far as That Which Should Not Be Named (and not potatoes or plays), I keep having a creepy feeling that we haven’t seen anything yet. That this is just dress rehearsal, for far worse.

    Funny, I can’t say I’ve seen any articles about doing away with alcohol. Except for women in the same condition as Ruby may be in 🙂 . And, I tend to notice articles, like that. Well, as you know, I don’t support that kind of ban. Booze is fine for most, but not for some. And, not for me.

    Yes, I’ve been following the comments (so many comments!), over at Mr. Greer’s. Interesting stuff. Lew

  40. Hi Chris
    A side story. Boss Dork in person 1976.
    I taught evening electronic classes at the local Jr college in a neighboring city. In the spring of 1976 the electronics dept. put on a symposium on the exploding micro processor based hobbyists home made computer field. The students and faculty gathered great representation from the industry for a two day trade show and technology display. I took a couple of vacation days to just see the equipment and the people . As I remember their were 20 some vendors that showed and they were folks that advertised in the new magazines covering the field. I had been an electronics hobby geek since age 10 in 1954. In 76 I subscribed to three monthly electronics magazines including a new one monthly called Byte. Which was gaining huge page count and advertising of home built small computers.
    I spent the first day at the show venue watching and talking with the vendors as they setup also gathering free sales literature that was available. The second day the show was officially on and I was back in the later afternoon to see the whole thing. At one booth that had a color monitor rigged from a standard color tv receiver I was seeing color digital data displayed in several colors. Quite unusual then. At that booth there were some folks talking about some geeky young guy who was with a company called Southwest Tech Products that recently published a feature article on their Altair computer.
    He and a partner had developed the program for the Altair. The geeky guy was giving talk on the software in next room. So there I go. He was winding up his talk shortly for that session with his view of the future of small computer software he would like would be that software would be furnished in real time over private line after pre payment of fees to the owner . A view he still likes today. I believe that much of the software then used the rented and owned by developer software model.
    At that point in time 8 inch floppy discs were just coming out. Hard read/ write discs were out of reach in cost.8 bit bytes were the norm. Things were still fairly expensive and changes came very often. The geek was of course the Boss Dork. He was articulate and interesting. I didn’t feel that he was particularly relevant. The Altair was eclipsed buy other new companies with new treasure. The home built computer biz of that era continued until the IBM personnel computer arrived in 1983 with micro flop Disc Operating System .
    I never spent mad cash on a system until I bought a Commodore 64 in the 80s.

    My wife’s half brother gave her a 286 pc with 5 1/4” and 3 1/2 floppy’s , 12” color monitor ,and dot matrix printer, installed with full version of word perfect software. for her work from home doing federal transcription work as a individual contractor . Paid per finished page. Didn’t pay much but helped and kept her available for our kids who were getting towards teenage.The feds obtained her a security clearance that made it possible to get a secretary job at Hanford with out waiting for the required clearance latter.
    Her brother was by the way very generous gentleman.
    I bought a windows 95 sys in 1997 and moved through the MS era ever since.
    Chris hope you get the capacitors soon this your time of year-for such jobs.
    Lucked out on the air conditioner failure. I didn’t really fail it was just too f*#*@*n hot to work I guess.He He?.
    Cheers Al

  41. Hi Lewis,

    Such weather conditions as you are experiencing is survivable for solar electricity, but only if a persons expectations as to usage is minimal. There was a very interesting article in the news down here as to how some houses coped in the epic storm where those households had various battery backup systems installed. What the Dandenong Ranges extended power outage teaches us about backup battery power. I was interested in the three different experiences. It was good that the couple who hadn’t noticed offered assistance to their neighbours, and the offer was taken up. That interested me in particular as the experience here was different and nobody took up the offer for help. Mind you, the grid was out for five days here, and over there parts of that mountain range are still apparently without power.

    It all kind of reminds me of multi day walks. If a multi day walk with a group goes for only a few days, people are weirdly ultra competitive and they’ll race from start to finish just to get to the end of the days walk first – like they’ll win some sort of prize for doing so. However, if a multi day walk goes beyond just a few days, then the group starts to form a cohesive pace – it’s really interesting how that takes place, but I’ve encountered it a few times. I remember talking to some local guides in Peru who were commenting upon how much food my compatriots were eating, and I just said to the guides that I didn’t get it, we weren’t walking that far or for that long. It was also interesting to learn how the locals viewed us.

    Your spontaneous rain is good for the garden. I read the good Professors essay on the fires and found it to be interesting. Powerlines were at the centre of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, and I’ve seen for myself just how well the fault detection systems work in powerlines – it can be surprising.

    Thanks for the story on the puppies, and sorry to bring to such memories to your mind. You got burned at a hard time by that experience, sorry to say. Some times are just no good. For some reason I had a mental image of you as a much younger person when the puppy experience occurred.

    I tell ya what – I’m probably going to get Plum and Ruby fixed up. It is hardly decorous behaviour for Ollie and Ruby to be doing the six wheeler whilst I’m having my breakfast – and that happened this morning. There is a time and place for things, and that wasn’t it, so yeah – fixed up is gonna happen. I read somewhere in the past year or so that the Indigineous folks also used to be surprised by the proclivities of their canine dingo friends. I get that.

    Fair enough, best to remain aloof from the window wars. How you goin’ today anyway? I’m unsure you’d want to swap weather (if that were remotely possible). It was 2’C / 35’F when I woke up this morning. I believe that the warmest it got to was 4’C / 39’F, and as the sun went below the horizon the stars came out in between bouts of icy rain and it was 2’C / 35’F again. A most uninspiring day to say the least.

    There were plans to work outside, but it was pretty cold so we quietly ditched that idea. You may recall that just before the first lock down early last year we purchased a really amazing bathroom cabinet (solid timber with a stone top) from a cabinet maker who was flogging off an one off order that a builder could no longer pay for. Anyway, the editor decided that today would be the day that that cabinet was installed. What a crazy bonkers to factor 11 job that was. And we’re only half done too, and I didn’t want to have to work tomorrow. Oh well, mustn’t grumble. It is a nice cabinet and the hardwood was stained Japan Black which looks super cool. It is possible that the cabinet is too cool for us – possibly why it has taken so long to get around to installing the thing.

    It is possible what you say. Another way that might play out is that declining food quality – could also produce a lot of sickness. So folks might not be hungry, but the food they eat isn’t all that crash hot. Soils are not inexhaustible reservoirs of minerals and I read recently that the protein and vitamin content of foods has halved in my lifetime.

    Yeah, the articles are very common and for research purposes I just read one which suggests that a bit above my level of indulgence would result in the big C (another health subject which dare not be named) by the age of 85. Honestly, I’d be pretty happy to get to that age, the way things are going I might end up getting worked to death. It happens.

    Mr Greer’s blog is always fascinating!



  42. Hi everyone,

    Due to unforeseen circumstances I’m going to be unable to reply this evening. Will speak tomorrow, but until then I’ll have to deal with the awful awfulness of zero credibility. 🙂



  43. Hello Chris et al.

    Interesting article about the battery powered people. And I also wonder why your neighbours didn’t accept your offer. Next time you have a power outage, count the days until they show up. What do you think – a week before coming to ask for a shower?
    You seem to be such nice neighbours…

    Thanks for the pointer to the Greer blog post. I think that the focus on artifacts is very typical for our times.

    Skills are sometimes lost, even very useful ones. Writing disappeared from Krete at the late bronze age collapse around 1200BC for 500 years.
    In a museum here in The Netherlands, there was an exhibition a few years back looking at technologies that the Romans had practiced in the town until approx AD200. E.g. making glass bottles, metallic locks with individual keys etc. For each technology, they also mentioned when it re-appeared in the historical/archeological evidence – between 100 and 1000 years later…
    However, many cultural traditions and dances and songs we have not recovered.

    Zooming out, I think that many important values, techniques and traditions are lost when cultures are conquered, or when empires fall.

    Much useful indigenous knowledge and many traditions have been eliminated by our dominant global empire, at our own peril…
    It is great that you still have some living indigenous culture around.

    Good luck with the super-premium lacquer cabinet!


  44. Yo, Chris – That was an interesting article about the solar, and batteries in the storm tossed area. Two lines jumped out at me … “…enough for what we needed.” and “…assess what’s essential.”

    Dogs and decorous behavior. Not on their radar. I used to take H out back, to a strip of grass. Not much overlooking that bit … except the laundry room. She seemed to have a penchant for dumping, right in front of the laundry room windows. I kept telling her no one really wanted to see that. But she wouldn’t listen. So, now we go out on the strip on the side street. The dry, crunchy old grass that’s not near so comfy as the green and cool strip, in the back. Sometimes, she holds back, trying to force my hand, and take her back there. Unless I’m in a hurry, I can out wait her.

    As far as the forecast goes, it’s low 80s in the day. With either scattered clouds or overcast. Tomorrow is the 4th of July holiday / Independence Day. As it falls on a Sunday, it’s a three day weekend, with everything closed down on Monday. Pretty much. No postal delivery.

    Speaking of which … my temperance prints have still not arrived. Tracking used to be pretty detailed. Now it’s “left point of origin”, Tennessee, and is “in transit.” There was some business about it being “delayed.” Now, I won’t hear from it again until it’s “out for delivery.” I puzzled over that, and think I’ve finally figured it out. They now have something called “Premium Tracking.” Of course, you’ve got to pay extra for it. Not too expensive. But still, it sticks in my craw, a bit. Oh, and there’s an ap for that. The shipper (really, me) pays for tracking, and this is what we get.

    Looking forward to seeing the new bathroom cabinet. It sounds really nice. Classy. But, yeah, tasks are like that. I went out to work in the garden, yesterday, and only got half done what I wanted to. Mostly because two inmates talked my leg off.

    Well, according to some reports, one in three men will get some kind of cancer, during the course of their lives. Not very good odds.

    I think Elinor is working herself up to a good ol’ anxiety attack. Her caregiver is taking a 9 day vacation. She can’t get along on her own, for that long. She could get a substitute, but sees all kinds of problems, with that. Are they vaccinated? Will they wear a mask? And then there’s just the general hassle of training. Of course, the unspoken is that she’s a hoarder, and is very sensitive to letting people into her apartment. If she works herself into a state, it may be the hospital, for the duration of the vacation. Problem solved!

    We have a case of flesh eating bacteria, in the building. Comforting.

    Don’t know if you saw it, but the Land of Stuff is building a huge missile complex. Over 100 missiles in a sprawling complex. Lew

  45. Al @Lew
    Hi Lew
    My parents had a book that was a favorite of mine as a child.
    Currier and Ives Print Makers to the American People.
    1942 by Peters. They must have got it as a wedding present in 1942 I remember looking at that book quite often. I literally wore it out ! As I got older I had questions about all manner of the contents. I would imagine you have a copy in your collection. I would imagine that many of the copies have been destroyed for the depictions of blacks. My parents were not prejudice and never used or allowed the n word. We asked questions about those pages and had them explained in context of the era. It looks like new old copies have fairly high cost on line .
    My brother the retired Moscow prof. Has a hobby antique business. He deals in a lot of prints and original paintings and stuff. He has some C&I prints he has mentioned.
    Cheers Al

  46. Hi Goran,

    The battery article was interesting, and believe it or not I’ve had serious conversations with people wanting to purchase that high end brand mentioned, and I can’t quite get the idea into their heads that those are only small batteries. The article suggested that they were using electric heating devices – that’s a definite no go zone with battery technology.

    Most of my neighbours are pretty good, but I suspect that people live in this remote mountain range on large parcels of land because they want to keep to themselves. That strategy kind of works, until it doesn’t.

    The Roman’s had some amazing tech, but without the significant surplus wealth – gained from far and wide and then concentrated, the tech is a burden. Human’s love tech though and it gives our species an edge over other species, but societies can pick and choose what tech they want to burden themselves with and if it doesn’t make sense to do so, well eventually they give the stuff up – no matter how awesome it is considered to be.

    Mate, that is so true. The things we need to survive millennia are known, but our culture prefers not to look in that direction. Fortunately some of the knowledge can be found in books – but whether that knowledge is relevant to your part of the world I can’t really say, but suspect that it may not be.

    The cabinet is solid hardwood from forests sort of near to where Damo lives: Eucalyptus diversicolor. It was a one off special order, that the cabinet maker wanted to off load. I tell you this particular job has tested me.



  47. Hi Margaret,

    Sorry about that. Making the best of it sounds like acting with good grace to me, but I hear you and what else do you do?

    Hope the humidity drops a bit for you?

    Replaced the bathroom cabinet, and so far the job has taken most of two days, as it was super complicated and very finicky. So yeah, good grace and all that. My brain is rather fried though, and so I turned the tap on and because the sink has some stupid push down plug, I accidentally knocked it closed and then as I was checking everything water splashed all over the sides… Serenity now! 🙂



  48. Hi Inge,

    Well that’s the truth – it is really hard to be across a broad spectrum of knowledge. It is so easy to specialise in knowledge, and then extrapolate one’s command of knowledge from that narrowly focused point – and that ain’t safe intellectual ground to be standing on.

    Your son is clearly wiser and more experienced in these canine matters than I. After the disappearing act (and possibly no fruit will be produced by that circumstance as I’m unaware of other dogs in the vicinity) well she hasn’t had a second chance. This is the third time she has come on heat, and candidly this time around has been more intense than the previous occasions. Oh well…

    Good luck with the map, and it is an extraordinary expense for absolute no gain. When I got the building permit, the building surveyor wanted me to get the entire property boundaries re-surveyed. It was an idiotic request which would have cost an arm and a leg, and fortunately they came to their senses and accepted just getting the front boundary points established.

    And there was that time when modern technology was pitted against 1890’s surveying efforts (which were pretty good), but the current efforts showed the side boundaries being slightly off – and they didn’t let me build which left a gap between two terrace houses. There is no common sense with that sort of approach.

    The rain was almost icy here today and the air was barely above freezing.



  49. Hi Pam,

    I don’t use an auger myself, but have used one and it was OK for digging seedling holes at my mates place – although I recall hitting underground rocks occasionally so I’d brace the drill against my leg so that it didn’t twist back if the auger bit came to a sudden halt (rare, but it did happen). I prefer using the mattock or electric jackhammer both of which are great digging tools.

    The lavender here is still in flower. It might be the variety of lavender you’re growing – they’re not all the same by any means and can cope with different climates.



  50. Hi DJ,

    Ah, not good about the fire – and need I remind you that you’re only ever as good as the weakest link. We have fire bans in force for most of the drier months (usually December to March, but it depends on soil moisture and general climate), but even so you can get people using slashers which hit rocks in long dry grass. It happens and often the folks don’t realise that if they do that on hot and windy days, they’re breaking the law and will probably be investigated.

    Dunno about you, but I wouldn’t want that sort of lifespan. We have to create room for others, whether we like it or not. Often sci-fi’s with people with super long lives, the population has to span out across the galaxy for obvious ecological, energy and resource reasons. Without that pressure escape valve in the story, things would get really sticky very quickly.

    Me neither, and thanks for the tip about the book – I was dubious as authors like hitting the tragedy button.

    Bad attitude depends upon old fluffy the Pomeranian’s perspective. She was a bit bigger than the usual sort, and loved people – she just hated all other dogs except for her pack which included Toothy whom she ruled with a fluffy ironpaw. People used to ask to take photos of her, whilst I’d advise her on the quiet to keep her mouth shut for the photo so they didn’t see the missing front tooth (I said she was a street fighter that dog). And yes, they are noisy.

    My brain is mush tonight! What is the difference between an unplanned blackout and a rolling blackout? Glad to hear that you got through OK though, and those temperatures are reasonably bearable.

    Oook! A dry thunderstorm is not a good thing for the summer months.

    Dunno about your part of the world, but if the grass here is in shade and only gets the morning sun, then it usually stays mostly green. How does that work with your part of the world?



  51. Hi Al,

    Do you recall a previous hotter summer than the one you are currently enjoying? I get the summer mud rain too, except that it is red as it originates in the arid centre of this continent. The dust storms blow their red top soil into the atmosphere – and then it falls here as mud.

    You’re water technician and also the lawn height controller have discovered the economics of price discovery and also the concepts of supply and demand. The market of course pays what the market will bear, and always has it been thus!

    A notably dirty trick, which no doubts lead you to have to do some ‘splainin about the new guitar (which I hope you enjoyed and didn’t get into too much trouble over).

    Your son in law would have an interesting perspective on the world of economics that’s for sure. Petrol prices have gone crazy down here and yesterday I noticed $1.76 per litre (3.8 litres to a gallon) and was thankful that we drive small and fuel miserly vehicles when required to do so.

    Thanks for the epic geek story from back in the day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a tech geek from way back as well I recall those heady early days and used to look forward to getting the latest copy of ‘Electronics Australia’ magazine and seeing what projects they were promoting. Things actually were simpler back in those days. Hmm, I chased up the order on the electrolytic caps for the amplifier, and the order has been held up due to a lack of supply of some 33uF 50V caps, and of course thinking longer term I’d ordered the low leakage variety. I’m not sure that I heard it correctly but the back order for the supplier was five months out. I have to put a few more brain cells towards the problem tomorrow, but tonight my brain is unfortunately super fried.

    Ooooooooooooo! I loved my Commodore 64 and even got into programming the 6510 machine language, which honestly wasn’t that different from the Basic language. I didn’t see what all the fuss was about with the Basic language as it was so slooooooow.

    Those old 286 to 486 machines were really quite expensive. People nowadays sometimes forget how powerful their little mobile devices are relative to those old beasties, so it kind of troubles me that people can have a throw away mentality with their newish devices. I don’t get that, but ours is not to wonder.

    Your lady was lucky to score such work, and in those days it was reliable work too – if you could read the various grades of handwriting.



  52. Hi Lewis,

    The article was quite enlightening, and what particularly interested me was that the folks with the high end branded Mars boy batteries discovered firsthand just how small those batteries were versus how large their expectation were of the batteries. I have a lot of trouble trying to speak to people about just how amazing their supply lines actually are – and then go onto to suggest that maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to invest in the future continuity of the supply lines. But alas one lone voice in the wilderness does some good, but the alternative voices are louder and stronger. Epic storms are a good grounding point to reintroduce the concept of realities. The talk of powering electric heating devices from batteries is utterly ludicrous and I’m very pleased that they gave it the good Aussie go and then failed abysmally.

    Had a house mate once that used to leave an electric fan heater on all day long during the winter months – and the electric bills were bonkers in that household. My housemate would walk around in the winter months wearing summer attire and think nothing of it. It kind of annoyed me to be subsidising his wasteful ways.

    Thanks for the reality talk about our canine friends. I have a saying which can be applied as easily to canines as it can be to other humans, and the saying goes like this: Fluffy doesn’t give a sh%t! Kind of sums things up, and well tomorrow is Monday and Ruby and Plum are going to get booked in for some extra special attention from the vet.

    H is a sensitive and intelligent soul who clearly understands the need to fertilise the green grass over the hot and dry summer months. From another more alien and very canine perspective, H is doing everyone a favour by doing her business where she does. It is very possible that H is warning off our rodent friends from venturing into the toasty laundry?

    Low 80’s sounds almost perfect. It was 41’F here for a short while today before dropping back to freezing levels. Brr! The editor had me working for yet another day today on the bathroom cabinet. Things are a touch strained here this evening because I was over ruled and have now been proven correct with no acknowledgement of this fact. One can’t always get what they want… So I said to the editor that this job was epic and shouldn’t be started on a Saturday as there was not enough time to complete the job, but no we started the job anyway – and it was a fiddly and epic job. Oh well, sometimes things don’t work out so well – but at least the cabinet is now in place.

    I was super exhausted earlier this evening and was testing the plumbing in the bathroom cabinet and accidentally pushed the stupid press button drain down (that thing is going to be replaced with a normal plug and drain) and then got distracted – water went everywhere! My best hope now is that I make some semblance of sense when I begin writing, err, soon! 🙂

    Your postal service is amazing, issues of expensive tracking to the side. I ordered something over ebuy which came from your country a few weeks back and it arrived quicker via the postal service than another item which was from a local supplier. Mind you, I suspect that we are in the midst of the intermittent economy and you never really will know whether things will be quick or slow. Take your pick – and your chances!

    The bathroom cabinet is now in place – a super finicky job which is not within my usual skill set. More on this later. The reply to Goran has a link to the tree which the hardwood was derived from. A beautiful timber.

    I’ve heard that the rate for prostate cancer is much higher than one in three when it is beyond a certain age. Not a comforting thought.

    Ook! Only Elinor can know her own business, and on the positive side of the equation, you may have a special guest in the form of H for that period of time. Anyway, that is what I call splitting the Gordian knot.

    Yeah the land of stuff has discovered what ol’ George Orwell (the English author) spoke about. I’d read recently that the powers that be over there have somehow cottoned on to a victim mentality and are busily projecting such nonsense amongst the masses. Magic at that level is generally a display of weakness, but that is merely an opinion.

    Cheers and I seriously better get doin’ some writing.


  53. Yo, Chris – I remember back in the hippie dippy days (which Mr. Greer often alludes to … we could have gone in a different direction) when my poking about into solar electrical systems, led to the startling discovery that you could forget any kind of heating element, in the mix. But, there were work arounds. Passive solar and super insulation. Some ideas were as simple as opening shades during the day, and closing them in the evening. But that only works if there is someone home to open and close those shades. Being single, and of the working classes, in those days, I wondered about the logistics, of all that. Takes a lot of thought and planning, just to stay warm. As you well know. 🙂 .

    Ah, house mates. Luckily, I didn’t have to deal with them, after about 1982. It’s bad enough, having to put up with people’s foibles, in the proximity to which I live, now. But, house mates, in hindsight, make for interesting stories.

    Well, I hope Ruby doesn’t have any passengers on board. That may complicate things, at the vet’s. Which reminds me of a story, probably a tall tale, about Augustus’s daughter Julia. Poor thing was hockey pucked around, among “advantageous marriages” (for Augustus). She finally got so wild and crazy, that she was shipped off to an island, to cool down. But, anyway. She was once asked how she managed to take lovers, and not get caught out. She reportedly said, “I never take a lover, unless I have a passenger, on board.”

    I wondered why the cabinet (sometimes called a vanity, here) was such an ordeal. All is made clear. Plumbing is involved. I once had a friend who was quit handy. Had even been a private contractor and built houses, and such. Once he retired from heavy construction, he was a kind of general all around handy man. He often said he’d rather take a beating, than deal with plumbing. So you have my sympathy.

    The cabinet wood’s scientific name, tells it all. “Diversicolor.” Many colors.

    Our postal service is now run by an appointee, left over from the previous administration. And he’s stuck firmly in place, and will be hard to dislodge. Unlike other appointees, he’s elected by a board. The board is mostly made up of people also loyal to the previous administration. But through attrition, the board is slowly being replaced by people in sympathy with the current administration. Clear? 🙂 . I think his primary goal is to gut the postal service and privatize it.

    Saw an article about our snow pack. Seems we lost a lot of it, due to the heat wave.


    There’s some good advice, toward the end of the article. Don’t stand in the path of a mud and rock flow, and take selfies. Seems like good advice. Darwin at work? 🙂 Lew

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