Method to the Madness

The dirt mouse Suzuki is a small red car. There is nothing particularly aspirational or exceptional about the car, it is small and red after all, and this runs counter to the prevailing ideology which favours much larger and darker shades of vehicles. But more importantly the car uses little in the way of fuel. The editor and I were making an emergency dash to a nearby township the other evening. The destination was a large and much loved huge hardware store.

It is kind of weird that a hardware store would have produced such an emotional response from the population – but it has done so all the same, and maybe it’s an Australian thing? I dunno. Smarter brains than mine, have probably plumbed the depths as to why that sense of reverence is. I make no such claims and instead deal with the world as it presents itself to me and enjoy feelings of fondness towards the business. It is after all a handy hardware store which is full of stuff and open late. When an emergency dash is required to be done, it’s there and waiting.

After having scored the various items at the store which we required to undertake the complex job which we had set ourselves upon, we headed home again. The editor and I have an ongoing in-joke whenever we encounter something of note on our journeys in the little red dirt mouse Suzuki – we exclaim: “I’m almost crashed the f!@king car I was so astounded by the <insert thing to be astounded by>…” It is a useful phrase because you can insert whatever you want which may be astounding you at that current moment in time. Sometimes I’m astounded by a couple of Emu’s spotted in an unlikely paddock, and other times it is the current price of petrol (gas in US parlance) displayed on the large road side signage in glowing red text.

My first thought upon spying the balefully glowing red text was that I’d misread the price and took it to be the price for the more premium and thus higher octane fuels. The little red dirt mouse Suzuki requires no such expensive feed stocks, and will happily perform well on an energy diet of the crud left over at the bottom of the tank after the all the other best stuff has been accounted for. But no, further up the road another service station (gas station in US parlance) advertised the dirt mouse’s preferred basic fuel at almost $1.759 per litre (with 3.8 litres to the gallon).

Holy crap! I almost crashed the f!@king car I was so astounded by the price of petrol, I’d exclaimed to the editor. As such noises issued from my mouth, internally I was secretly thinking to myself that this was an unexpected turn of events. But was it really that unexpected? Perhaps not, fuel is a use once resource and it is not lost on me that we do live on a planet of finite resources.

Readers in other parts of the world may not realise that in Australia, some very large portions of the continent are currently in lock down due to the health subject which dare not be named. My grasp of economics suggests that if large swaths of the country are locked down tight, then surely demand for energy must also have fallen. This then suggests that prices for fuel would similarly decline (assuming that price and demand are elastic). But no, prices have instead risen, and it looks like oil prices are likewise rising in other parts of the world.

That’s economic theory for you. As the character Norm in the now old television series: ‘Cheers’, may have blithely exclaimed: Economic theory, can’t live with it, pass the beer nuts. It seems like a sensible point of view given the prevailing circumstances.

Just like economists, we don’t always get things right either, and that is why we were making a late dash to the much loved hardware store in the nearby township the other day. Earlier in the week the winter weather was quite mild and even a little bit sunny. One morning I awoke to observe an astoundingly pink sky.

The very sky was pink one morning earlier this week

The old saying suggests that:
Red sky at night,
Shepherds delight.
Red sky at morning,
Shepherds warning.

The pink skies earlier that day were I guess a warning, but the forecast didn’t look all that bad. So we spent a day cutting and splitting firewood. Back in 2009 the local earth moving contractor bloke used his 20 tonne excavator to cut the flat house site into the side of the hill. He also dumped a small pile of logs from the trees which were removed from the house site. He was a good local bloke and new his stuff. He also lectured me long and earnestly about the need for firewood in the future and how I’d live to regret it if I burned the small pile of logs off (as I was inclined to do at the time).

Well, it turns out that I did live to regret the small pile of logs. In the past year, rabbits discovered the protection of the logs and they soon dug extensive burrows. It wasn’t long after the burrows were dug that some very seriously deadly snakes (the second deadliest on the planet) began dining upon baby rabbit and enjoying the winter perquisites of the protected rabbit burrows. Basically the log pile has to go.

A day was spent cutting and splitting a small pile of logs

It is hard work cutting and splitting firewood, but I’m hoping that in future years the firewood will keep us warm, the rabbits will have no easy hiding places, and the seriously deadly snakes will hopefully find conditions more congenial elsewhere. There is probably another two days of work to complete before that log pile has been entirely processed.

Then the next day, the weather sort of turned Antarctic. The air temperature was barely above freezing and the icy rain blew in from that distant frozen continent.

The rain blew in from the south and felt positively Antarctic

However, earlier that day the weather forecast didn’t look all that bad. We’d decided to continue outside work, and so purchased a trailer load of the locally quarried crushed rock with lime to spread over the clay surface of some of the new paths. The materials were purchased and brought back to the farm.

As you can see in the above photo, the weather soon turned filthy. It was hard to spend long periods of time outside because your face and fingers began to freeze. It was really cold and the wind blew the icy rain in swirling gusts so that it worked its way into your very soul. So spare a thought for the editor who had to spread the trailer load of crushed rock with lime in the next photo.

The new utility area received its first layer of the locally quarried crushed rock with lime

With the filthy weather, we made the call to replace the bathroom cabinet. To say that I was not excited to undertake this work would be a serious understatement.

A bit over a year ago, and just before the first of four lock downs here (one of which extended for four months) we’d purchased a one-off custom bathroom cabinet from a cabinet maker. The cabinet maker was selling the solid hardwood cabinet because the builder whom had ordered it, had unfortunately gone out of business. This was the very early days of the health subject which dare not be named, and before it became widely known that the government was to go on a mad cash printing spree.

The cabinet is constructed from the really beautiful timber Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor), which hales from the south western corner of the positively enormous state of Western Australia. That particular species of tree has historically been reputed to grow as tall as the local variety of Eucalyptus Obliqua, which dominate the forests around the farm. And the hardwood cabinet came with a polished black stone benchtop. It is a frivolous bit of bling and perhaps utterly unnecessary, but I dunno, sometimes the wind blows and you hear an instruction in the background wind noise instructing you to purchase this very cool and super cheap bathroom cabinet.

I’ve never really wanted to install the cabinet because I knew it would be a really painstakingly complicated and difficult job. The cabinet sat in the dining room just teasing me to install it, and so far I’d resisted the urge to commence the work. We received instructions from the cold Antarctic winds this week and decided – this thing is getting installed today.

And as I had correctly guessed, the job turned out to be as fiddly and problematic as I’d imagined. Two days of work later, the plastering, tiling and painting hasn’t even been commenced, but the cabinet is in and usable. And it looks very cool.

Light almost falls into the hardwood bathroom cabinet and stone benchtop

The Black Japan glossy finish almost sucks the very light into the hardwood as if it were some sort of spatial vortex. Fortunately the plastering and tiling won’t be anywhere near as difficult as job. As the job was nearing completion the sun began to slowly produce some feeble winter rays. I’ll take that as a positive sign.

The feeble rays of the winter sun began to slowly push through the Antarctic murk

The cold and wet weather has been a boon for the mushrooms, and they all look positively deadly.

Mushrooms work hard converting this organic matter to soil

Onto the flowers:

Succulents don’t care about the cold and damp winter weather
This Manchurian Pear has begun to produce spring blossoms
Leucodendrons are producing hardy flowers
The Acacia’s in the surrounding forest are producing flowers
Lavender flowers here for most of the year

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 3’C (37’F). So far this year there has been 671.4mm (26.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 650.4mm (25.6 inches).

55 thoughts on “Method to the Madness”

  1. Hey Chris,

    I recall last time petrol got that high. It was the boom years just before the GFC if memory serves me correct. Buckle up. We may be about to experience some turbulence.

    I decided to build a small verandah around the extension to solve the water problems once and for all. Had a bit of flooding in the corner of the room with that heavy rain we had a couple of months ago. Anyway, it turns out you can’t buy framing timber at the moment and it may be months before there’s any supply. Australia imports about 25% of its timber and all available supply is going to the US where it’s fetching ridiculous prices. According to the Bunnings website I can get primed framing timber which is about twice the price. Will add a couple of hundred dollars to the cost which is annoying but not too bad, I guess. See if there’s any left by the time I get to the store.

    How do you go with weeds on your pathways? I’ve created some new garden beds in the front yard and am considering ripping up what’s left of the grass there and putting down a pathway but don’t want to get stuck with endless weeding. Also don’t want to use poisons. So, would be keen to know how it works out for you.

  2. @ Al – (From last week.) I know the book you’re talking about. It shows the “cream of the crop”, as far as Currier & Ives prints, go. There were thousands of different subjects. I’ve noticed a certain “softening”, in the market, as interest wanes in 19th century antiques. All the old collectors are dying off. But the high end stuff, seems to be holding steady.

    There are a lot of reproduction C&I prints, out there. But, they’re pretty easy to tell, from the old ones. Some are cut out of the very book you mentioned, and framed. A lot of calendar pages, floating around. But, there’s quit a few authentic one’s out there. There are hundreds, on E-Buy. Due to subject matter, many are very reasonable priced. The high ticket C&I’s are things like sporting prints, clipper ships, Civil War battle scenes, anything on fire, etc. etc.. And, condition plays a big part of price. Finding one with untrimmed boarders, can be a challenge. Most of the one’s I buy are things that appeal to me, and tend to be lower priced. Piles of fruit and vegetables, Civil War home front prints (which tend to be a lot cheaper than battle scenes), ruins. I never know what’s going to catch my fancy. Yeah, the black one’s are “problematic”. But, as they say, “times were different, then.” Interesting about your brother being in “the biz.” I was in the biz, on and off, from 15 on. Never very successful, but, at one point was bringing in 40 foot containers, stuffed with, mostly furniture, from England.

    I wasn’t raised with prejudice, either. My dad was the son of immigrants, and lived in a little town in Nebraska (Gering). Their neighbors were a Mexican family. He left home at 14, and rode the rails. Then he was in the CCC. Then in the infantry in WWII. Was at the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp. So, he really saw a lot of the world, and met all kinds of different people. After WWII, he started working for the new Nabisco plant, in Portland. For the time, they were a very enlightened company. Every ethnic group you can think of, worked at that plant. You learn prejudice, from your parents. Or, the lack thereof. Lew

  3. Hi Simon,

    Ouch! Turbulence is rarely a fun experience. Speaking of which I transitioned another computer from win 7 to win 10 tonight, and overall things aren’t going all that badly – although I might have just put the kiss of death on myself for having just typed those words of hubris. At least the audio drivers works with the Xonar DG card in this machine. On the laptop machine I ended up purchasing a Senheiser USB card and the quality is astounding, but still it would have been nice if the original laptop hardware worked with win 10.

    To be candid, there have been so many occurrences of heavy rain that my mind has lost track of the details, but I hear you and veranda’s are a very elegant technology to keep the rain off windows, doors and at a remove from the building itself. Your experience matches what is going on in the US with framing timber, and despite their demand of our local product, they’re also in short supply. Ook! I’d go the primed timber and that is how costs roll. You have a number of pretty good steel suppliers not far from you, so steel is a possible alternative option given the circumstances? Happy to discuss with you.

    I chip weeds with a garden hoe. The word has been unfortunately hijacked in these enlightened times, but it wasn’t that long ago that the word referred to the following hand tool: Cyclone 75mm Long Handle Double Ended Hoe. The tool works a treat and looks pretty sturdy and takes very little effort to wield.

    And the more you use a hoe, the looser the soil gets and weeds become more easily lifted over time. Few plants no matter how feral and voracious their reputations are, can survive having their heads constantly lopped off at ground level.



  4. Hi Lewis,

    Speaking of madness, I transitioned another computer from win 7 to win 10 this evening. So far I’ve spent about four and a half hours, but so far things seem to be going along swimmingly. Several software applications began pestering me todo the upgrade many months ago, and one of the software applications just outright refused to work. Reality is a pain – as has been remarked upon elsewhere. Oh well, in these situations I just do what I’m told like a good and proper drone and in the meantime look everywhere for an opt out option. There isn’t always an escape, and Sun Tzu had much to say about the consequences of that choice.

    Oh yeah, heating via resistance electrical elements is a bonkers ideal on solar or battery power. It makes no sense whatsoever. The suns energy is diffuse and if that fusion reactor ball in the sky ain’t heating the house, trying to ask more from the sun than margingally more than that, seems like a fools errand – but plenty of serious people talk up this bright green future thingee. I’d put such folks to work hauling firewood and then they won’t feel quite so cold anymore.

    But yes, insulation and passive solar are wonderful technologies – mind you, they conserve what heat you have produced rather than creating heat (maybe a tiny bit with the solar passive). I watched a Grand Designs UK episode the other week and some blok in the UK really did the hard test trying to construct a house which didn’t require heating at that latitude. The results were pretty good, but I woke this morning to 15’C / 59’F temperatures and it felt chilly to me. But being cognisant of the huge effort to acquire firewood, I didn’t start the wood heater until about 5pm and just rugged up (as they say) for most of the day. After a few hours and very little firewood the house is now 21’C / 70’F which feels too hot to me. With a wood heater it is hard to find a balance in temperature and you sort of regulate the heat by opening a window and not running too much firewood through the heater.

    I’ve been considering the natural gas story of late, and it is possible that in the long term we’ll need to install a wood oven. I miss the wood oven we used to have.

    Well that is the thing isn’t it? When solar power is at its highest potential, most people either aren’t around, or don’t think to use it. We’ve had to modify our lives to match the energy output from the sun, and not the other way around. It has taken a huge amount of adaption to get to that point.

    The planning part of the staying warm story takes many years of advanced planning. You’ll see in background photos piles of cut and split firewood, and that stuff is just seasoning away for a few years. Firewood shortage fuels price rise with onset of winter. It astounds me that people don’t take that fuel source more seriously.

    Hehe! 1982 was a good year if you’d managed to ditch your house mates! 🙂 It took until about 1994 before I could ditch the housemates. One of that lot went through my stuff and stole my ID – who knew that was a possibility, until the police came knocking… What a massive drama that was, and I had one friend who supported the thief and said that I was doing wrong legally correcting the situation. A very bizarre situation and it was a bit like dealing with someone who is in the thrall of a cult.

    And that is true too, housemates can introduce a whole bunch of unexpected weirdness to your life. There was that one who used to sleep through their alarm, and then the employer would phone up asking where they were… Strange days.

    I hope Ruby is passenger free too. 🙂 And many thanks for the words – that is a keeper. Anyway, those two girls are gonna go to the vet. They’ll hate every minute of the experience being the little free spirited creatures that they are. Julia was dealt both a good hand and a difficult hand all at once, and was rarely out of wedlock. And yes the quip suggests that all that excellent education was put to good use. 🙂

    Thanks for understanding as the cabinet drove me bonkers as everything had to be exactly just so. There was no room for any error, and two days of being out of my depth and slightly on edge that I’d stuff it up and more, well last night I was out of sorts to sya the least. Woke up feeling marginally better and that was when I went to the physiotherapist appointment.

    That turned out to be super-odd. The appointment was interrupted half way through by an electrician, and if I hadn’t seen the tradie with my own eyes I would have considered that the business had stitched me up. The thing was, I was beginning to come to grips with the knowledge as to how to do stretches and the physio was pinpointing the exact issues. Oh well, a strange appointment and I’ll have to rely on the interweb and my own limited knowledge. It is not like us humans come with an instruction manual – it would be kind of handy sometimes, especially the troubleshooting sections!

    The usual guy I know who does the cabinet work, declined the job – that is a definite red warning flag, as your old friend probably also well understood.

    Years ago I happened to walk past a house where a lady was berating a couple of tradesmen. I couldn’t pick up on all of the words, but the word ’tiles’ was mentioned several times. What astounded me was that the tradesmen could blithely ignore her, although it would have cost them something to do so. I knew someone years ago who is a bit of a grifter and every time they got someone to do a job at their place, they’d always just pick one minor detail near to the end of the job and then demand re-work or a discount. I’m not sure that I’d react so friendly to such grifterisms. Incidentally, as long as you weren’t involved in their biz, they were fun, just don’t get involved in their biz.

    No it’s not clear at all. How could one person make the decision over the privatisation of a public good like the postal service. That seems hardly credible.

    Oh no!!! hoping to film it for your YouTube channel or whatever. Far out, not good. Definitely Darwin at work. Bad things can happen quickly when at the face of a glacier (this was from 2009): Decision not to charge car hire fees for brothers killed in NZ. Crazy stuff, huh? I once worked at a business that had to work out what to do with dead peoples vehicles – it happens. And what is even freakier about it, is that there are processes for just that occurrence.



  5. Yo, Chris – When I was a wee small lad, I often traveled with one of my best mates, and his mother, out to visit their relatives on the coast. We, being boys of that age, were fascinated with road kill. Which she’d helpfully point out to us. Usually, by yelling at the top of her lungs, “Dead raccoon!” or “Dead rabbit!” But just to keep us on our toes, she’d occasionally throw in, “Dead rag!” She was a ripper, that one. 🙂 .

    We’re all in sticker shock, these days, due to one thing and another. I use a certain brand of dish washing soap, on H. It’s also good as a diluted spray for garden insects. I noticed in the local grocery store ad, last week, that the “on sale” price for a bottle, was $5! I have a bit left, so, perhaps they’ll come to their senses, before I have to purchase more.

    The sunrise and rainbow pictures are really pretty. Calendar worthy.

    Here we use sailors, in that saying, not shepherds. But, Australia being such a sheep-centric country, maybe that accounts for the difference?

    In the new utility area, Ollie looks like he’s saying, “You lookin’ at me?” In a very confrontational way.

    Your new kitchen cabinet is interesting. It looks like the white basin reflects in the stone bench top. Nice effect.

    The Leuconendron looks as if each blossom has a precious pearl, place in it. Quit beautiful. But to your epistle …

  6. Yo, Chris – (again.) I’m sure you’d rather be finishing up the Stephen King, rather than dealing with computers, bathroom cabinets and logs. Needs must. 🙂 .

    I remember that very popular magazine, that’s now all yupped out, and has the initials, M E Ns, used to have articles about passive solar houses, say, built up in New England. Where it gets freaky cold in the winter. Of course, they were insulated to the max. It usually involved sunlight on concrete flooring, or, huge black painted water tanks, inside. There was always a bit of wood heat, but the point was, they didn’t use near so much wood. And, I noticed everyone in the photos had quit sensibly wore jumpers. But I always wondered who opened the heavily insulated curtains, in the morning, and closed them at night?

    That was an interesting article about firewood. Mr. Gelletly clearly expects to much from people. Plan ahead and buy your wood in summer? What an idea! 🙂 . He did have a firm grasp of sustainability issues. Unlike the Greeks and Romans who logged a great deal off, and suffered serious erosion. They were aware of it, but didn’t do much about it. Unlike the Japanese (the book “Just Enough.”), or, even the British who had some fairly strict laws for governing forest use. But one thing that’s not touched on, very often, is that present day fire wood harvesting is so dependent on oil. From the chain saws, to the transportation.

    That was poor timing, with the tradie, showing up. Just when the therapist was getting to the good part. But, it sounds like me, you’re cobbling together a good routine. Between books, videos and the Net, I think I’ve put together a pretty good routine.

    Hopefully, this administration will be able to put our postal service, to rights. They were nicely solvent, until, quit awhile back, our Congress, in it’s infinite wisdom, demanded they fund their retirement accounts … for 80+ years. No other department is expected to do that. I really think a bit of mad cash was slipped under the table, to move forward plans for privatization.

    Seems like every summer, there are more and more stories about people backing over cliffs, or standing in front of rampaging bison or bears, just to get that perfect shot. The Darwin Award people must have a hard time choosing.

    That was quit an article about the two young men, smooshed by a glacier. But, I see they were in a restricted area. As, according to the article, are about 1/3 of the visitors. Right up there with, “Let’s visit a smoking volcanic island!” To, you know, get that perfect picture.

    As far as charging the family for this and that, it’s an old, old story.

    Yup. The White Star Line charged the families of the Titanic band, for their uniforms. By the way, there’s a picture of a monument to the band, in New South Wales. I quit like it.

    H got her bath, and ears reamed out, yesterday. She was her usual good self.

    The fireworks in the neighborhood, were just insane, last night. I can’t remember so much noise, in the past. That’s a lot of money, up in smoke. I also think, due to You Know What, people just really tore loose, this year. H usually isn’t bothered, much. But this year, she was. She couldn’t wait to get back in the building, and crawl under a chair. Also, unusually, I didn’t see any of the Inmates out, watching the pyrotechnics. They usually, do. I think it’s due to the general atmosphere of depression and despair, that’s settled over the place. More from a change of administration, than the lockdown.

    I watched an interesting documentary, last night. “The Game Changers.” It was from the angle of world class athletes, from a variety of sports (even several Olympians), who have plant based diets. Arnie (The Terminator), was one of the interviews. I see he was also one of the executive producers. There was also a couple of cameos, by Rip Esselstyn (a fireman and athlete) and his father, who’s a doctor, and has investigated many of the world’s “Blue Zones,” where people live long and healthy lives. I’ve watched several of their DVDs, and even have a few of their books. Interesting stuff. Lew

  7. Hello Chris
    The price of fuel is soaring here also.

    How do you drain that basin if it is resting on a stone top?

    Into town this morning for essential shopping. My watch battery packed up while I was there, so I went into the jewellers who always replaced it for me. I was told to wait while a sterilisation box was fetched! I placed it in the box and was told to return in an hour. To my surprise, cash was accepted in payment and I did not have to place it in a sterilisation box, it was accepted straight from my hand. No logic anywhere at present.

    It is raining and the wind is supposed to get up.


  8. Chris,

    The difference between a planned blackout vs an unplanned one. A planned one is one in which the utility has (allegedly) given its customers warning about approximate times and durations. In our lone planned blackout, some of my neighbors were given approximate times, but not us. However, we were told via email that there could be up to 2 per day of no longer than about an hour each with at least an hour in between them anywhere between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. We had a 6 minute planned blackout. The unplanned blackout is better called a power outage, as it is due to equipment breaking down, in our 4.5 hour case, a fried transformer at the nearest substation.

    Like you, the grass that is well shaded remains green. Until I watered all of the lawn the past 3 days, there were some shaded areas that were still green and healthy without having been watered for more than 2 weeks. These were areas also sheltered form the wind.

    So, we seem to be into “normal” hot weather, although on the upper limit and several weeks earlier than normal hot spells. Highs about 35C. However, it IS windy and the humidity has been as low as 15% in the afternoons. It has been cooling to under 31C at night, which makes the mornings nice.

    High petrol prices when there is lowered demand? My explanation is that the supply has been cut to some fictitious minimal level. Then, as parts of the country are released from the worst of the lockdown, demand creeps up without a corresponding increase in the supply. Prices go up.

    My mother taught me that “Red sky at night” poem, although it had “sailors” rather than “shepherds”. I trust that poem when the sky is a certain type of red regardless of the weather forecasts. It seems to work better than the forecasters.

    Mate, that is one awesome picture of the Antarctic front nearing you. It is bone chilling when it’s wetter than wet and the temperature is barely above freezing. I prefer -20C to that. Seriously.

    Your new utility area is looking good. Especially with Ollie in the picture. Also, good work with the cabinet. Doing that kind of work is very time consuming, but very satisfying when completed.

    Your succulents are looking good. I’ve got some similar succulents that are also flowering right now. They’re pretty.

    Here’s another article about the rapidly increasing housing prices hereabouts. It talks about something you have mentioned: as the prices go up due to moneyed people moving to the area, the lower wage locals are priced out of homes. I DID learn that the entire metro area is quite a bit larger than I thought.

    I have the air purifier running indoors today. There is a nasty fire about 16 miles SW of here. The wind is from the SSW at 15km per hour and higher, so we’re getting some smoke in the neighborhood. The latest reports say 40 acres. I know that area pretty well, and judging by the “Level 3 Evacuations” (required evacuations) that are 5 km downwind of the fire, it is likely larger than the reports and moving rapidly. There are a lot of homes in the area, and the new Amazon warehouse is 2 miles northerly from the Level 3 evacuations. I imagine there are boatloads of firefighters fighting it.


  9. Chris,

    I forgot to mention…Before the heat spell started, I found a large plastic garbage can lid. I cleaned it up and placed it next to Cheyenne’s old water bowl. The lid holds about 5 Litres of water, so the birds have plenty of water. The larger birds – starlings and robins – can bathe in it without knocking all of the water onto the ground. Birds often congregate around both the lid and bowl.

    The wind has shifted for the moment – from the east. Most of the past week has been easterly winds, including the vortex type that Professor Mass said in his smoke/fire forecast that we wouldn’t have this year. He needs to quit forecasting things east of the mountains.


  10. Hi, Chris!

    We still reminisce about a hardware store that we had near the house we were renovating when we lived in Dallas, Texas. It had every thing, of every size and shape, that you could ever need, and a person on every aisle, every single aisle, to help you. Ahh . . .
    Goodness, your gas prices are terrible. Our are going up, but very slowly. When I was growing up, we called them service stations, too.

    You are getting up early to see such skies. But thank you!

    When we had someone clear the spot for our house on the side of this hill, he dug a huge, deep pit to dump the cut-down tree trunks and debris in. I think we did save some for firewood. The thing is, the pit is still there (this was in 1990), the original debris has decayed and some soil has washed into if from upslope, but it is still deep and we have a tendency to throw branches and stuff into it still. Birds love it in there and chipmunks (and probably rabbits), and most unfortunately, the latest groundhog. It’s a neat spot, but sometimes I long for a beagle, or maybe even a ferret.

    The editor has done a bang-up job with the crushed rock and lime.

    That is a beautiful cabinet, and a beautiful basin. I believe you about bathroom renovations being a chore. My son built a handicapped-access shower and tiled the whole thing – including the ceiling – and said it was the hardest project he’d ever done. He had never worked with tile before. It is beautiful, though.


  11. Hi Inge,

    The petrol price is interesting to say the least, and last time we hit such heady heights, as Simon mentioned, there were some rough and difficult economic times, before I’m guessing demand was destroyed – to slowly creep back up again to where we are today. Except this time we’ve been managing demand destruction via lock downs etc. Dunno, I wouldn’t have predicted any of this would be going on. I note that your country has decided to plough forward into the unknown future, and set a date. I respect that spirit.

    Hehe! The stone top was part of the purchase. And it is a man made stone – quite durable and in some ways less porous than real stone, but the cutting and polishing of such stone is a sad story due to lung health issues (I’ve cut a small section of this sort of stone myself many long years ago – but out in the fresh air, but who really knows). Oh, there is a hole drilled in the centre of the stone top which the drain can pop through. 😉

    Oh no, that makes no sense whatsoever. Actually, I paid cash at a bakery last year and was handed back wet plastic bank notes with the explanation that they’d just sanitised the cash draw. Nice. Dunno about you, but all these heavy cleaners are playing havoc with the skin on my hands.

    Hope the wind eases for you. Cloudy here and very calm.



  12. Hi Lewis,

    There is truth about what you’re saying about ‘nose in book’ rather than fingers at the keyboard or on the bathroom cabinet project. And page 800 is soon in sight. I dunno whether the meetings to ratify and work out the social codes for the Boulder group would be something that I’d be doing – if I were in that part of the world I’d be thinking about how to get through the winter months, but I’m a born pragmatist.

    Pah! My mail program now crashes with this new version of Windows. Pesky…

    The M E N magazine had the right of it. Use wood, don’t use much wood, and try and capture the energy from the little wood that you do use. But dreams of creating a house that doesn’t require any heating in this cold environment, seem very unlikely to turn into reality – and I can’t even imagine how it would roll in colder parts of the world. There was an Earthship building in the UK, now where was that. Here it is: UK Earthships . Not a bad idea, just cold without additional heating. And from watching shows on builds in that part of the world – they always add under floor heating. You’d never see such a thing in this part of the world, although I don’t doubt that someone would have implemented such a system. It takes a lot of energy to fight off the cold winter ground, and the hunger of the cold would always be greater.

    Hehe! Yeah, I bring in and stack the firewood during the spring to summer months, but others tend to order when their stores run low, and a whole bunch of people for some reason leave their firewood that they need to use out in the rain. Damp firewood is not much good as it takes energy to dry and the corrosive gases damage the steel in the flue and combustion chamber. A good way to learn how to care for a wood heater is to destroy one through misuse and then have to pay big bucks to correct the error. A hard way to learn, but we didn’t know (at the time).

    But yeah, often firewood is burning oil due to the huge distances travelled and mechanical ways it is processed and distributed. Folks have forgotten about living near to where their supplies originated.

    I know, it was really weird for the session to have ended so abruptly and that was that. Strange, but not my business and if they want customers… Exactly, that is my strategy now, see what needs attention and then give it regular attention through stretching and exercise – plus trying not to overdo it.

    The postal service down here used to be a good biz model too. Interestingly the more profitable parcel side of that biz was split off and for some reason the remaining mail side of the biz was allegedly unprofitable. I thought that government services were what we paid our taxes for? We should ask the politicians to turn a profit, and then hear them yelping in distress.

    Turns out that death by selfie is a bit of a thing. Well they won’t do that again, will they?

    Thank for the article on the ill fated Titanic. A notable line formed part of the conclusion of the article: As director James Cameron would accurately remark one day, “The Titanic disaster was the bursting of a bubble.” Things in society had started to fall apart, as Europe at that point was becoming deeply divided; a big war was coming.” Nicely put.

    H is a lady and would never dare put one paw wrong. I didn’t suggest that she would do the same if two paws were involved – a very different circumstance.

    Yeah I hear you about that and I was in the big smoke this morning, and did my best to cheer up the people I interacted with. They certainly perked up after a while, but there is a feeling in the air, and it is bringing people down man. There is a lot of talk about extending the lock downs in the state to the north of here, but we’ll see. There is a lot going on just below the surface and out of direct sight, that’s for sure. Murky.

    Michael Pollan had the right of it, and I’m yet to hear a better guide to food than that. Plus it is a simple guide.



  13. @ Chris & DJSpo
    I was taught ‘The red sky at night’ poem using both sailors and shepherds. The sailors with the warning and the shepherds with the delight. That makes a lot more sense.


  14. Hi Pam,

    Yes, not all hardware stores are created equally. When I was a young bloke the culture at such places was not very customer friendly.

    And the gas prices are quite astounding and as high as I’ve ever seen. They’ve come back down a bit today to $1.60/litre (3.8 litres to a gallon). If that keeps up the price increase will be reflected in everything.

    Early mornings – awful things. Fortunately it being winter and all, I occasionally have to get up in the dark, and the day is not quite right from that moment forward. 🙂

    I’d imagine that the pit has some good soil, and think of all the wildlife poop in there after all these years – but the groundhog… Good luck! I could loan you one of the snakes from these parts, but I reckon you might not appreciate the company of said reptile.

    Tiling is hard work that is easy to stuff up (nobody appreciates wonky tiling jobs!), but there are some nifty tricks to cut and chip tiles using fairly simple tools. Kudos to your son and I hope your parents appreciate the effort. People often forget that plumbing needs to go through otherwise hard tiles.



  15. Hi DJ,

    Respect for providing water to the birds in your garden during such extreme weather. They’ll love it, but I find the water reservoirs for the birds here need to be kept clean as they muddy it up pretty quickly. But it is a sheer pleasure to see the birds splashing around in the water on a stonking hot day.

    Hehe! I’ll say nothing about weather forecasters – they do things tough when it comes to dealing with the public. They can get a thousand days of forecasting correct, and then there is that one day that nobody can forgive. 🙂

    Ah, in other parts of the world a planned outage is known as a brown out, and an unplanned outage is known as a black out. Same, same but different. I’m hearing a lot of reports that after the power switched back on after the extended multi-day outage after the big storm that I’m guessing the voltage on the household side of the transformers must have risen rapidly and destroyed several refrigerators. Dunno why that device would be so problematic to voltage spikes?

    The editor heard or read a story about a copywriter for real estate businesses. So someone complained about the words with the suggestion that the copywriter do “I need your best, times 65 per cent”. Now mathematics is not forte, but still there is a problem there. Confessions of a real estate writer: Why those ads are so terrible Thought you might enjoy a maths joke.

    Oh yeah, the winds can strip moisture from the soil and the leaves of the plants. Add a goodly dose of strong summer sun and you have a problem.

    The cooler nights are sort of how we cool this house down after hot summer days. There are times that I wish that I’d constructed wider verandas to keep the sun off the external walls of the house. Maybe next time around. Glad to read that your mornings are more pleasant than the midday temperatures.

    I like your take on the fuel prices, but here is the weird thing: we have virtually no strategic reserves of fuel down under. And only two refineries left operating on the entire continent. About 90% of fuels are imported now, maybe more after the last refinery closure. So there is nowhere really to store excess fuel so as to muck around with supply issues.

    Inge has provided a solid explanation for the old rhyme. Who knew? It’s sheep, sheep and more sheep down under. They used to say that Australian’s rode to prosperity on the back of sheep. I tend to believe that the sheep ate the top soil, and we exported the results.

    I hear you about that, the icy moisture combined with swirling winds and high humidity is a rough road. There have been frosts the past couple of mornings. And a lot of kangaroos are out and about.

    Awesome. Out of curiosity, how do your succulents survive over the snowy winter months? They seem to shrug off the snow but with burned patches.

    Sorry to hear about the smoke and the fire, and hope you and your lady can avoid the worst of both. Yes, if it is consistently windy, the wind will push the fire in a direction (and hope that there is no wind change which will open a wide fire front). Well those river folks appear to be able to afford the loss, others being priced out of the local property market – maybe not so much. Mate, it is crazy when a town becomes so expensive that the locals are priced out. That’s money printing for you in action. Oh well.



  16. Hi Lewis,

    Had to run earlier, but you can rest assured that some gourmet burgers and chips were most definitely harmed a little while later. Spare a thought for the poor chips. 🙂

    The editor purchased an electric heater (for use elsewhere – definitely not needed here) for $15. How is that even possible? When I was a kid people could own a house and not have much stuff, and the clothes were worn until they were threadbare and the furniture was all second and third hand. Nowadays people have lots of stuff, but can’t afford to buy a house. And they call this situation progress? It looks like regress to me.



  17. Hello again
    Notayesman had an Australia day today.
    My hands are fine, they have only been sanitised once in the 19 months. But damp sanitised plastic notes, ugh.


  18. Al @Lew
    Thanks Lew,
    Your learned assessment of the C&I category was interesting. The attraction of the cream of the crop book assortment was noticed by both young and old readers.
    Your venture into the container lots importing of old world furniture was likely exciting even though not as rewarding as needed was unfortunate. But gutsy 🤩.

    Your Dad had a memorable life. Some of it likely given to bad dreams. But I bet he had a lot of Character. You we’re lucky to have been young and in the Portland area in a good time.
    Sounds like your dad had a good work run at Nabisco.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Al from the still hot SE WA

  19. Yo, Chris – We have quit a few Earthships, here. Especially, in our SW desert regions. The actor, Dennis Weaver, really plumped for Earthships. Built and lived in one, himself. Did several videos (remember those?) about them.

    I’ve always been a little leery of the idea of underfloor heating. At least the kind where the piping is embedded in a concrete slab. What if the slab cracked, or a pipe sprung a leak? It would be a major demolition job, getting at the the plumbing. It’s bad enough, when you have to open up a wall. As you’ve so recently found out. 🙂

    But, the Romans seemed to have had underfloor heating, down to an art and a science. See: Roman hypocausts. Not only did those systems heat the floors, but also the walls. But even the fanciest villas, might have hypocaust heat, for a small bath suit, and maybe an additional room or two. But not, the whole place. A few years back Nova did a documentary on reconstructing a small Roman bath. They had real problems, getting it to work right. Well, what do you know. It’s on line.

    When I was using firewood, I kept it in a dry spot, under the porch. The split stuff. Then I had my wood pile, carefully stacked and arranged so it was mostly up off the ground. Tarps. Lots and lots of blue plastic tarps.

    We have two private package companies here, which scrape the cream off the top of delivery. But it’s that “last mile” for delivery (not to be confused with “the last mile,” in prison dramas) that really costs.

    I think the Titanic really shook a lot of people up, as it illustrated that progress perhaps has limits.

    H is always pulling new tricks, out of her bag. When I took her out, yesterday afternoon, an ambulance went by on the main street, a block down the hill, with it’s siren blaring. She threw back her head and went, “Whooo! Whooo! But very softly. She had never done that before. Full of surprises, that one.

    Master Gardeners were here, this morning. I spent quit a few hours yesterday, and this morning, in the garden. Just this, that and the other thing. Mostly, weeding. I noticed my scarlet runner beans have there first little red blossoms. Go, runner beans! Lew

  20. @ Inge,

    Your version of the poem makes more sense than the other two. Thanks for sharing it.


  21. Chris,

    It’s so hot and bone-dry that I had to add the lid for water this year. And there are days in which I have to clean and refill both the lid and Cheyenne’s old bowl due to heavy use.

    Yeah yeah, forecasters. I think what I tried to say, but very poorly, is that every forecaster of whatever stripe needs to know his/her limits and stay within them. The forecaster in question botched both his fire forecast and subsequent update last year, and ignored key data points in this year’s. (I know this because I’ve known several career wildfire fighters who’ve educated me.) I predicted this season’s hot and dry weather back in late February, and that there would be some abnormally hot spells. EVERY time we have abnormally hot summer weather , which drifts north from Arizona, when it “normalizes” to “hot”, it is due to a low pressure system that causes easterly and northeasterly winds. Every. Single. Time. As I said, the forecaster needs to stay within limits, in this case Puget Sound. Ok, I’m done beating the dead horse. 😉

    If/when we have outages again, I’ll use the terminology you supplied. Thanks for the reminder of what the standard terminology is.

    Thanks for the link. I’m enjoying reading and rereading that article. Hahaha! Let’s see, last time I checked “your best, times 65 per cent” is…is…65% of best. Hahaha! Which I know you knew.

    The winds yesterday stabilized quickly to a normal SW/WSW. It died overnight. The “Andrus Fire” was 300 acres, 0% contained this morning. No smoky smell, but air quality is in the “moderate” range. Meaning not perfect, but not hideous.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been watering my thyme every other day. Sunday’s watering of the thyme that I intend to move gave the thyme twice as much water as the normal watering. The soil was moist near the surface Monday midafternoon. So some of the thyme died overnight. Not a lot, but still. Wow.

    I prefer cooling the house via the cooled outside air. However, we’d be sweltering, as the evenings start to cool very late, resulting in the below 20C air not lasting long enough to do much. At least the heat pump is insanely efficient, I think it claims to be 95% to 97%. The local utility likes heat pumps for cooling. The electeds want by 2025 all NEW construction to have electric appliances only (no natural gas, which are more efficient) and heat pumps only for heating and cooling, as well as all replacement appliances also. Even the utility has told them that our winters get too cold for a heat pump to effectively heat a home, while also suggesting that if this happens, the electric grid will be unable to keep up. A few other groups have also asked the electeds what the blazes we’re supposed to do for heating and cooking when the power is out in the winter??? And the home builders have explained that housing prices are too high, and the electric appliances are significantly more expensive than the natural gas appliances, so that (say the builders) maybe the electeds better get their heads out of a dark place and amend the idea to try to help their constituents have less unaffordable housing.

    Thanks for the missing data points about your fuel prices and supply situation.

    Back in the day, mom would occasionally prepare lamb from Australia. So, yes, I guess in some way we were eating your topsoil. 😉 I like Inge’s version of the poem. It sounds like it was probably the original.

    Money printing. Anything I have to say about it is unprintable. HA!


  22. Chris ;
    The daily inferno continues here. The peak in shade highs are just breaking the low 100F mark. The humidity is mostly very low running 10 to 20%. I noticed a lot of deciduous residential shade trees that are showing scattered brunt leaves. The owners are not keeping enough water to the roots. Hope they listen to the experts and expand the watering time💧 be it automatic or manual control.
    Chris Do you use a water meter on your storage tank main irrigation line ? I’m considering the addition of one . the high capacity soaker hoses can put down a lot of water and total flow data would be very helpful for keeping on top of the problem.

    We a have dry lightning alert for tonight and tomorrow morning. that was issued earlier. DJ commented on wild fire activity near his place. Our forecast has 25 mph winds which will play along with the dry lightning to start the burning around here. Very early season onset for that stuff.

    As all the heat continues so will the consequences.

  23. Hello Chris,
    the housing market is crazy in many ways.
    However, the expectations are at least here in Europe quite extreme.
    Here in the Netherlands, one of the most densely populated (densest populations?) in the world, the increase in living space has been astonishing:
    In 1900 a modal household was 5 people on 45 m2.
    In 2020 a modal household was 2 people on 130 m2.
    Single people (most common group) average 88m2.

    Add this to a money printing that has added +60% to house prices since 2015 and we have a whole generation who look forward to a life of indenture slavery. How could this have anything to do with young adult depressions and disillusionment?

    The “downshift” movement is still very, very fringe.

    Well, to a slightly different topic – I read a very interesting report by Jason Bradford, from the Post Carbon Institute: “The Future is Rural”. Available for “free” as .pdf if you agree to join their mailing list.
    I think Bradford has combined many useful sources and shares his own experience as biologist and organic farmer in Oregon.
    It is available on the River in print format as well, for the paper hungry readers.

    Have a great day,

  24. Hi Inge,

    In a bizarre turn and twist of events yours was the second reference to Hotel California today. There must be something in the water for sure.

    Thanks for mentioning the blog. I’d already noted the bond markets weirdness. They’re a law unto themselves that lot, and backing away by one fifth is hardly taking any steps away at all, but you know people believe what they want. I find no argument with the analysis. When fools are not punished for their misdeeds, we end up swamped in foolishness.

    Lucky you with the only once in 19 months, the indignities my skin has suffered since March 2020 at the behest of others has mildly annoyed me. I had the eczema beaten too before, that as I’d begun adding coconut oil to the dogs feed and observed a marked improvement in their skin – and so the thinking went, if it’s good enough for the dogs, well how bad can it be. And it turned out to be just the thing. I’m left wondering what mineral or vitamin was missing from my diet before the addition of the coconut oil to my breakfast. Dunno.

    Yes, the damp plastic notes were an abhorrence. The things that we endure. I made a joke over at Mr Greer’s suggesting that the powers that be are attempting to teach us the Greek alphabet, but I’m not sure that it was funny or no. Oh well, some comedians fall flat on their faces…



  25. Hello Chris
    Not so sure about learning the Greek alphabet. We have gone from delta to delta plus, followed by lambda; where are the intervening letters lurking?

    Raining here and very humid. Slugs everywhere.


  26. Hi Lewis,

    Dennis Weaver was a great actor, and yes I grew up watching the series McCloud and quite enjoyed the contrast of the down home Westerner with country smarts stuck and working in the modern big city. I hadn’t known of the guys beliefs before you’d drawn my attention to them. Earthships are a good idea, they just require the right climate. I doubt that they’d work well where the farm is as it is 34’F outside right now. Brr! And double Brr!

    Correct that. Lewis, we have a problem. Temperature is plummeting. Check. Reading 0’C / 32’F – do you copy that? 🙂 Far out man!

    I gotta give it Dennis Weaver, he put his money where his mouth was. Respect.

    That is my take on underfloor heating too, and it may be perhaps maybe why the system is rarely seen down under, although that could be for energy reasons as well. I can’t say for sure though. Honestly, I too really also wonder how such systems are ever intended to be repaired, and even working out where any problem in the system is, would be a nightmare job. Years ago we had a house where the previous owner had poured a crazy deep concrete slab, it must have been three feet deep. Strong stuff too, not a light weight mix. The plumber and I took turns digging up the concrete slab with a jackhammer. It was a crazy experience and since that time I’ve tried to leave ready access to infrastructure on the off chance that it fails – which it inevitably does. And slabs crack down here too, especially if they were laid on reactive clay soils. Concrete stumps are slower and require far greater expertise, and they just work better than a concrete slab. But most houses these days down here rely on concrete slabs.

    You called it! And I got that message about repairability. Makes you wonder about the enormous skyscrapers and apartment blocks being constructed with abandon.

    After reading the Camulod series I was quite interested in the Roman hypocausts, and read up about them. An elegant technology, and I note that the interior floors of buildings were at a remove from the natural ground. It is not lost on me that the underfloor of this house has a similar appearance and arrangement (but could not work as a hypocaust). I was aiming at the benefits of the Aussie invention the Esky, or you might call them a beer cooler.

    Funnily enough, with firewood here I found that the use of tarps between the ground and the seasoning firewood meant that the firewood broke down into soil far quicker than if it was just sitting on the ground. I can’t say for sure why that would be either, but that was how things rolled. Mind you, the bottom layers of firewood have to have the dark rich looking soil scraped away from them before being stacked away in sheds. Not a difficult job.

    Interestingly I hadn’t brought around enough firewood from the shed late this afternoon. I had to work late (with one enjoyable distraction in the form of an amusing phone call!) tonight and well we might run out of firewood. I’m not heading out to the firewood shed… Hey, it is a very dark and clear night tonight and the sky is showing a great field of stars. For reasons I don’t really understand, the winter night time skies are better for star watching than the warmer summer skies. Ah, the unfortunate – and very cold – life of an astronomer!

    At least the Kale and Purple Sprouting Broccoli will produce sweeter leaves after this bout of frosty nights. 😉 Starches are converted to sugars so as to stop the leaves freezing. How clever are plants?

    We don’t have that arrangement down here with the postal service in relation to packages. Interesting, but I can see why that would be. It is cheap to send a container to a distribution centre, but very costly to open up the container and send the stuff to all manner of locations – no matter how local.

    I’d never really considered that aspect of the Titanic before the past day or so, but it makes a weird sort of sense. You know, you can never really know in advance what weird situation breaks apart a belief. I’ve always considered that time of the Titanic sinking as the end of the easy to get at coal – since those days we’ve used oil to extract and use more of that stuff, but I doubt we could go back to the human scale mines – at the scale civilisation is at now.

    Hehe! Go H! Whooo! Whooo! A cheeky scamp might suggest that H met her people. 🙂 Dogs are very different with their barks, and Ollie rarely if ever barks – but when he does I take note of what is going on. Unfortunately he has also learned to knock on the front door when he wants back in – Sir Scruffy the super intelligent dog taught him that trick. Never met a smarter dog than that one.

    You’ll get some beans for sure this season. 🙂 Good stuff. Did the master gardeners make any observations about the season which you are currently enjoying?



  27. Hi DJ,

    Yeah, your summer sounds like an utter shocker. Honestly humidity like what you mentioned at around 15% is super dangerous fire weather down here. I’d imagine that the insects are enjoying access to the water bowls too?

    It is 0’C here right now! And 99% humidity. Brr! Winters are crazily humid here – and I assume that some sort of osmosis effect is going on as perversely the prevailing conditions dry out my skin.

    Hehe! Sorry mate, I’m too fleet of foot to get involved in that dog meteorological fight! But I much enjoyed your parting salvos as you retired from the field with the last word and much honour and glory. 🙂 Yes, may the bridges that we burn, light the way before us! Local knowledge and experience of conditions always trumps distant knowledge, but you know I still feel that the weather forecasting is one of our societies great achievements.

    Nah, now I know you mean by your local terms. The first brown outs I ever encountered where in the city of Kathmandu in Nepal. It was quite eye opening to discover that the electricity was switched off at regular intervals. There is much to be remarked upon by travelling to less affluent parts of the world – as you probably already know.

    Glad you enjoyed the mathematics joke. It was pretty funny.

    Ouch. I grow thyme in the shade here, and it bounces back every year. Hey, it is super easy to transplant – mind you in your conditions I wouldn’t dare transplant any plants. They wouldn’t like it.

    That’s true about heat pumps. Actually we get around that situation by having very heavy duty steel mesh screens over all the doors and windows (keeps out insects and unwanted personages) and just open the whole place up. You kind of get a feel for the rhythm of the hot season and you know that after a certain time the air cools (unless it doesn’t as can also happen). Plus I use the bushfire sprinklers to spray some water on the external surfaces of the house.

    Yeah, you should possibly be alarmed by that move away from gas, as it is being pushed down here too. I read that demand for gas in this state will outpace supply by next year, and during one of the lock downs for the health subject which dare not be named, onshore drilling was quietly allowed. Yah, crazy times. What do you do when the electricity is out becomes an important question. Wood heating is one of the best low tech adaptions as far I can tell and its kept us warm for almost a dozen years. But it is also a very complicated technology, whilst appearing simple. I hope to get a wood oven again one of these days.

    Hehe! I grew up eating lamb chops and three boiled veg, but a lamb roast was a thing of beauty. Such sweet meat and when combined with roast vegies… Yum! The top soil was good indeed. Bizarrely enough you don’t see lamb consumed much these days. Mostly lamb is raised for the fleece.

    It ain’t just you about the ever expanding money supply. One of these days, just like a balloon, it will burst asunder.



  28. Hi Al,

    Still haven’t got my electrolytic caps… Sorry, just chucking in a data point of perhaps interest to only you and I.

    And I was unable to mention it last week due to time constraints, but I do hope that you put that new guitar (the one of the naughty daughter dobbing you in 🙂 ) to good use? I’ll bet you shredded some serious riffs.

    Well yeah, trees do not much like those sorts of conditions. I hope that people use some common sense and water the trees that they do have, rather than letting them die or become diseased and then replacing them.

    Checking the water level in water tanks is super easy on a sunny day. The sun heats up the air above the stored water, whilst the thermal mass of the water keeps the water cool, even with consecutive days of 100’F weather (although it does slowly warm up, but is still cool due to loss of energy at night time). So you can just put your hand on the outside of a water tank and you can feel the exact level of the water. Not so easy to do in winter time though.

    Actually what you say is a very good idea. I learned the experience that you are going to learn via the way of trial and error and backing off the watering if the conditions meant that I’d run out of water. It is a hard way to learn and one summer we got as low as only 25,000L left. Not good.

    It is remarkably early in the season to be having such weather for you. Good luck and stay safe and especially watch for the hot and windy days with a late wind change.

    You’re not wrong about consequences. It may also be that with an early start to summer, you have an early finish to summer. That happened here two summers ago. That made two very difficult growing seasons in a row – I do hope that this is not a shape of things to come.



  29. Hi Inge,

    Yeah I noticed that lapse too! What does the lapse even mean? Maybe epsilon didn’t sound scary enough? I’m not sure if it is relevant but Lambda had something to do with the 1980’s comedy film ‘Revenge of the nerds’. It might be some sort of code? 🙂

    Watch out for the hungry and pesky slugs – they’ll eat your garden. Very humid here too at 99%, but at 32’F. Brr. Cold.



  30. Hi Goran,

    I absolutely 100% agree with you about the size of house people consider to be normal. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. And it is even bigger here: “The average size of a newly built house in Australia in 2019-20 is 235.8 square metres, up 2.9 per cent year-on-year. .

    A thing that interests me about the situation too is that it wasn’t that long ago that the houses were built on larger blocks of land, but nowadays from what I observe of new housing estates, the house sits on the majority of the land, and land sizes are smaller.

    The population of Melbourne grew by almost a million souls since we left it behind – mostly due to immigration. That growth has now slowed, and it may be that we are now in the early stages of population decline. At a wild guess, I believe that we may attempt to replicate the path which the Japanese have taken in a long, slow and ragged decline, but as I say, that is just a wild guess.

    The sort of sized dwellings you mention for the Netherlands are the norm for apartment living in Melbourne.

    You’re right about that. I was listening to the national youth broadcaster news half hour earlier in the week and one of the presenters remarked on the subject that she would never be able to own a house and that her share house (which she proffered was not a great house) was recently sold for four million dollars. What kind of story is that? Crazy, and yes it is leading to a lot of heartache and disillusionment. Still the illusion that the Modern Monetary Theory folks are spinning does need to be popped, and that will happen sooner or later.

    How is renting viewed in your part of the world?

    Down here we don’t really have the laws to protect renters because the option is viewed primarily as an investment vehicle – when it is actually a construction which shelters people from the worst of the weather.

    I don’t know about the downshift movement being a thing here either. Having said that I took a long step back and away, but it is an unfashionable choice to make and there is a consequent loss of social prestige (not that such things are of concern to me or my lady).

    Thanks for mentioning the work and I’ll have a read. 🙂

    Hope you are having some summer weather at long last? And how are the nut trees faring? The pecan tree here is not enjoying the bout of frosty mornings. Oh well.



  31. Hello Chris,

    Housing is crazy and I think the MMT balloons will inflate the currency away. I expect that you will get “New Aussie Dollers” a few years from now. I cannot imagine the euro to be around for twenty more years.

    Rental is interesting. In most of Europe, there were a lot of cooperative housing projects from 1890-1990s. The labour/socialist movement was quite successful in creating public housing and community owned rental housing for the masses. Sometimes owned by the government, sometimes by foundations or cooperatives. The protection of the renters has been very generous, but is less so every year.
    In most countries the “neoliberals”/elites have managed to dismantle the cooperative rental sector to “generate wealth” and “allow everybody to own their property”. (Only in Germany there is still a large sector of rental housing.) The move was pushed mainly by the banks, who saw the opportunity of “selling” mortgages to the millions.

    Here in the Netherlands, the “liberal” market-party has been part of the government for 20+ years and consistently reduced the amount of cooperative housing and rental. There is more and more “free-market”-rental housing, which is twice more expensive. And which is now promoted as a premier investment vehicle. A quite well known journalist wrote a book about the housing scam after he could not borrow money to buy a house to live in, but he was allowed by the bank to borrow money to buy a house that he would let out to someone else.

    I have another interesting book recommendation by a historian: professor Bas van Bavel wrote a book (“The invisible hand”) about market economies throughout history. The dynamics are always the same: egalitarian values spur an opening of markets where everyone is welcome to buy and sell and let and rent goods, land, labour and capital. As times goes by, a small group concentrates financial capital and use it to acquire political power to institute monopolies and tax-breaks. The markets break down and the masses are impoverished.
    The elites are less and less interested in investing in anything “productive”, but focus more and more on financial instruments.
    It happened in Baghdad AD900, in Florence AD1400, in Antwerp AD1700… Does it resemble anything you have came across in a place near you?

    To end on a positive note – the weather is perfect for my trees. We had a dry and hot May month, but since early June, temperature is around 25 degrees and rain every other day. The trees just shoot out of the ground. (and the weeds… 😉

    Take care,

  32. Yo, Chris – Before your time, but Dennis Weaver first made a splash, playing the deputy on Gunsmoke. (Marshall Dillon and Miss Kitty. Did they or didn’t they? 🙂 Deputy Chester, the guy with the limp. Dennis Weaver added that, to the character, to give him a little more interest. And rued the day. Limping through nine seasons, was a bit of a strain. And, occasionally, he either forgot to limp, or, limped with the wrong leg. 🙂 . He did “walk the walk.” As far as Earthships, went. Didn’t know he had died in 2006. How did that get by me? I also liked McCloud, and was a regular viewer.

    Repairability. I idly speculated on how Chris could improve repairability, in his bath. I didn’t get much past louvered doors or pocket doors. Back in Ye Olde Days, service hatches of one type or another, weren’t unusual. When I had my tub problems, there was some loose talk about having to rip out one of my walls.

    To have a well run hypocaust, you need a lot of slaves, and wood. 🙂
    Although, I imagine, once they got going and thermal inertia kicked in, it was probably easier to keep everything toasty warm.

    Oh, I stacked the firewood in such a way, that a tarp was thrown over the wood, not underneath it. On sunny days, I’d throw it back and give it a good air out. But your right. The pieces of wood in contact with the ground, did produce a nice bit of compost.

    Besides illustrating the limits of progress, the Titanic also high lighted glaring class inequalities. When you look at the percentage survival rates for First Class, Second Class and Steerage, well, it paid to be well off.

    Ollie is being polite to knock. Rather than just turning the knob and just waltzing in 🙂 .

    (Psst! Don’t mention it to Al or DJ, but we actually got some rain, this morning. Just enough to trigger that wet concrete smell. Not enough that I don’t have to water. We’re to have two days of 70s, and then back to the 80s, again.)

    Talking to the Master Gardeners, it seems like everyone lost something in the heat wave. But, as you said, plants are clever. Elinor’s scorched Nasturtiums have bounced back. She did notice that all her Violas, had disappeared. I looked around the gardens, and most of them had dissapeared. They freely seed, and, unless in the way, I leave them be. Sometimes, I even transplant them to a less well traveled spot. Unless they had a bit of shade, I think they were done in. The peas that had their ends scorched, are bouncing back. Putting on new vine and flower. Looks like I can harvest some of the garlic. Lew

  33. Chris,

    I seem to have forgotten to answer a question about how my succulents handle the winters. They have no problems that I’ve noticed.

    0C and 99% humidity? That IS cold. Wednesday started with clouds coming in. Since it stayed cooler longer, I got more outdoor work done than usual, being able to stay outside longer. 3 different storm cells flowed by, donating a few sprinkles. Sprinkles meaning about 10 raindrops per storm cell. Now at midafternoon, the humidity is back down again, it is 35C, and the wind has picked up. Thursday will be a key day. Wednesday marks the 14th consecutive day at or above 90F. If we attain that Thursday, it ties the record of 15 consecutive days. The forecast is for 90F, so maybe, maybe not on the record. Heating up again on Friday, so if Thursday ties the record, it will be shattered during the following week.

    Yes, weather forecasting is a great and useful achievement. Caveat left unsaid as I’ve already overly beaten the dead horse. 😉

    Brownouts are probably something we’ll have to get accustomed to moving forward. For many reasons. Adapting is key, as always.

    I know where I want to move the thyme and some of the succulents. As you said, probably not the best time to transplant, so I’m in a waiting period. Plus, the areas that will receive the transplants aren’t yet ready.

    Wood heating works great if you have great access to fuel. Otherwise…

    It looks like the groups upset about the electeds’ idea re: natural gas have enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot this fall. If passed, the initiative will become city law and will prevent the electeds from banning natural gas even for new construction. My gut feeling is that this will pass. AND, if the future agrees with past practice, a future council of electeds will figure out a way to circumvent the law.

    Many years ago, the Princess was going to Walmart and I asked if she could pick up about 15 meters of “soaker hose”. I expected a flat green thing with holes poked into one side every few centimeters, out of which a thin jets of water spray when connected to the spigot. She came back with a round black thing that has very few pinholes but which tends to “sweat” the water out; I refer to this as an “irrigation hose”. The green ones are useless in the wind. The black ones are perfect for smallish areas even in the wind. (I later picked up a green one also.)

    I noticed Tuesday that the 2 slow growing, decorative spruce trees are looking…weathered…So it was water the area around them, then put the sprinkler underneath the branches of one and then the other. Wednesday I ran the irrigation hose around the bases of the 2 trees and under their low growing branches and into the lawn nearby. Another 2 hours of watering them ensued. Early afternoon, their needles felt a lot better.

    Yes, anything that frequents the “watering holes” gets a drink. Birds, bugs, squirrels, etc. If it’s a living creature, it is welcome. Even the dread hornets and wasps.


  34. Hi Lewis,

    I saw that about Gunsmoke, but have never watched it as it was a bit before my time. Certainly if years of production are any indication then the series was pretty good, and yeah a bit of tension doesn’t hurt. That was a bit of a theme in Mash with Houlihan and Hawkeye. Who knows whether they hooked up, and does it matter? But the ongoing tension might be part of the energy of the show? Dunno. Writers play around with that concept don’t they?

    Well that is the thing isn’t it? Dennis Weaver had fame, and probably had oodles of mad cash, and yet he lived in an Earthship – probably made from old car tyres which seems to be a thing with those buildings. There was one of Grand Designs UK a few years ago and it may have been in Brittany, and the owners also built the dwelling and to get light in through the thick walls they’d cut bottles in half and then taped them together and stuck them in the rammed earth walls. My description doesn’t do the overall effect any justice, because it looked super cool and was very well finished. They’d used coloured bottles. Hey, do you remember that yellow bottle glass which used to be such a thing in houses in the 1970’s? Well at least that was a thing down here during those years. I’ll bet the stuff is expensive to replace nowadays.

    The repairability question of that particular tap arrangement has been annoying me, but the arrangement comes with a face plate so I’ll be able to eyeball how it is working (from time to time). I’m not much of a fan of such arrangements, but the editor put her foot down about that particular tap. I don’t like it because I won’t really know if it fails, but she assures me that the tiles are easily removed and the wall cut into if anything serious goes wrong. And we have spare tiles – and use fairly basic, what do they call them? Maybe, subway tiles? White and rectangular and easily purchased. I’ve noticed that some folks like really massive square tiles which are extraordinarily expensive with minimal grout- the thing is if they break or need to be removed, what a drama. It is funny, but we had to stop fixing up houses because whilst we could sort out the structure and make that better than new, the expectations as to fitout ended up being way beyond what we could bring ourselves to do. Many houses have poor structure and very good fitout and this is not a good thing.

    Did you get the tub problems fixed?

    Slaves would be a serious hassle, but then we’re a bit odd because we like to work. I’m not sure what that says about us both. 🙂

    That’s the thing isn’t it? When it is really cold, you can’t let the fire go out otherwise entropy nips away at the energy you’re trying to store inside a house. Even when it is zero outside, we let the fire go out overnight and just add extra blankets. The house is well insulated, but still no matter how well insulated a house is, you move to the average temperature. You can’t enjoy heat where there is none to be had from the surrounding environment.

    Ah, thanks for the explanation about your firewood. We used to put the tarp between the soil and the firewood – and that was not a good idea. Throwing off the tarp and letting in the sunshine is a great idea to dry the stuff. On hot days we throw open the doors to the wood shed to let in the hot summer air. A cheap form of kiln drying!

    I saw that about women and children first, only if they were first class passengers, steerage did not fare so well. Actually in the Titanic film (1997) the steerage passengers looked as if they were locked below decks.

    Hehe! Actually Ollie has shown me that he can open the door, he knows how some door handles work. Dogs are smart as, and they watch everything and occasionally they provide a glimpse into just how smart they are.

    I won’t mention your rain to Al and DJ as long as you don’t mention it. 😉

    I reckon Elinor’s nasturtiums would quite enjoy the heat, although I’ve noticed here that they do their best growth in the autumn months. Viola’s aren’t so heat hardy and they turn up here in unlikely spots usually in spring. How did the garlic bulbs end up looking? Found some forgotten about garlic today and relocated it. The old timers used to say, plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest day.

    Another cold night tonight! Brr!



  35. Hi DJ and Goran,

    Thanks for the lovely comments but tonight was pub night, and this is a good thing, however I am rather short on time to reply. Worked late in the garden today fixing up a rock wall (which we widened two weeks ago) and getting the garden watering system reconnected (not that it is needed at this cold and damp time of the year).

    Take it easy and I promise to reply tomorrow.



  36. Yo, Chris – Yes, seems the writers of TV series try and keep the sexual tension going, for as long as possible. Sometimes to third and fourth seasons. With plenty of ups and downs along the way.

    I’ve seen a lot of pictures of bottle walls. Quit lovely, some of them. I think I’d do mine all in blue and clear 🙂 . I remember that yellow bottle glass. Though I never quit thought of it as bottle glass. Seemed to be mostly in doors, and fan lights and side lights, around doors.

    Well, I hope the Editor enjoys easily removing the tiles and cutting into the wall. 🙂 .

    Yes, my tub problems were finally fixed, months ago. By some real plumbers! Elinor finally got her bathroom sorted. What, only took a year? Rumor has it, that future plumbing problems will be left to the professionals, and not Lazy Shiftless Jack. And, wonder of wonders, a local plumbing company, not one out of the Capitol.

    Yes, steerage on the Titanic was blocked off by locked gates. So the riff raff couldn’t mix with the quality folks. And when the ship started going down, someone forgot to open the gates. Or, lost the key. Or, something. A few made it out. There was a bit of reported gun play.

    Dogs. What are you going to do. I took H out this morning, and another ambulance went screaming by. So, I did the Whooo! Whooo! routine, and she’s looking at me, as if, “What are you going on about?” Have you lost your mind?” A passerby surly thought so.

    I dug out about a weeks worth of Elephant Garlic bulbs, last night. All good sized. Since finding out that Elephant Garlic, isn’t a true garlic, I can’t quit convince myself that they are as nutritious as regular garlic. Rabbit holes to the contrary. Maybe, because they’re milder. So, I use twice as much.

    Eye watering news from Idaho. The bills for the first 17 days, of Shalen’s hospital go around have arrived. $437,000. And that doesn’t count the Life Flight, ambulance and anesthesiologist for four surgeries.

    In a different part of the financial forest, I found out that I can pile up as much savings, in the bank, as I want, and it won’t effect my ability to stay here. But interest on those savings will effect my income amount. So, I got curious about how much my savings were generating in interest. It’s figured monthly. So, on $3,300, I got the grand total of …. 25 cents. So much for the magic of compound interest. 🙂 . And I belong to a credit union, that generally pays better rates, than a regular bank. I’ll try not spend it, all in one place.

    Everyone is in a tizzy, here at the Institution. We’re having apartment inspections, next week. I got my notice, yesterday. With the Regime’s usual clarity of communication, mine said I’d be inspected on Monday, the 14th. All well and good, but the 14th, is Wednesday 🙂 . I asked for clarification. (And, enjoyed every minute of it.) I’m up for Wednesday. More than enough time to get the Man Cave, sorted. And still get out in the garden.

    Elinor is REALLY in a tizzy, because her caregiver is going on vacation. And, now we’ve got this inspection. She’s got some substitutes lined up, but not full coverage. She’s very concerned about if they’re vaccinated, or not. And, the agency says they can’t ask their workers if they are, or not. I keep reassuring her that the inspection is not interested in housekeeping (dust) but only in safety matters. And, if there are some little things, it’s not like they’re going to put her out on the street. She’ll get a list of things to be corrected, and that will probably be the end of it. They’ve done their “due diligence.” Their bums are covered. Lew

  37. Hi Goran,

    The MMT folks, from my perspective, are suggesting that ‘this time it is different’. They might be right too, but I think not. With fiat currencies there are fundamentals, such as not producing more paper than there is wealth. But here is the thing, I never really believed that things would progress as far as they have done so. It astounds me that we are now where we are, and I guess what I’ve taken away from this lived experience is that people by and large are fairly comfortable with vast inequalities.

    So my view of the future is that we’re treading on very thin ice, but smarter brains than what I have access to are losing sleep over this problem. And you’re absolutely correct, currency corrections are a fairly frequent occurrence in other parts of the world. I’ve noticed of late that the US dollar is losing its reserve currency status, one little bite at a time.

    I’d heard that about historical rentals in Europe. It makes an awful lot of sense to do so. Down here we have never had such protections and what you might be seeing is our sort of culture arising in your country? Dunno. It is crazy that something which keeps the rain off your head has become an investment vehicle, but the Roman’s probably struggled with such problems too. And they had the same problems apply equally to farm land with awful consequences. I mean how do you improve the fertility of the soil if the income from such activities does not take that outcome into account? Plenty of civilisations have stuffed that equation up and failed.

    A few decades ago, I worked on the census and for some reason they put me in a housing commission (public funded housing) tower. It was an interesting job where all I had to do was walk around and talk to people whilst trying to get them to fill out the census form. Anyway, the wait list for public housing is a few years long down under, and the tower seemed to me as if the gobarmint architect had attempted to find as many uses for pebblecrete as he possibly could have. It was a miserable feeling place as the vibe always felt just a bit off to me, but on the other hand the folks living in there were lucky to have been there given the waiting list.

    The bank would have added on the rental income to the journalists ability to repay the loan, and so I’m guessing that is how that all worked out. I’ve noted to other people that the banks are not your mates. 🙂

    Thanks for the book recommendation, and clearly Bas van Bavel is an interesting author with much of relevance to say upon the present and distant past. It has been remarked upon elsewhere that those who fail to learn from history are fated to repeat it.

    And yes, the focus on financial instruments will produce signals which spur on the growth of the expansion of the money supply. How could they not? There is an old adage which suggests that: ‘give a man a key performance indicator, and he will soon set about gaming it’. That is built into the cake, sorry to say.

    Your weather sounds almost perfect. Watch out that a Triffid doesn’t get established in your garden and hides as one of those weeds. You never know with those pesky plants. 🙂

    We’re working on getting future years firewood ready, but intersperse that work with improving the infrastructure. Candidly, improving infrastructure is a never ending job.



  38. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for sharing your observations as to how succulents perform during your winter months. Hardy plants, but I’ve observed that snow will produce blackened tips on some of the cacti. They don’t like that at all, but neither does it finish them off either. Actually, what they do is produce new growth from the cold damaged sections of the plant so you end up with these nobby cacti. The chunks can be removed and replanted elsewhere too. But at a wild guess I’d have to suggest that the plants have evolved to adapt to such weather extremes.

    Fifteen days at or above 90’% / 32’C is a very intense weather record. Stay cool as best you can, and watch that wind.

    In some ways your weather is very similar to the weather here but we have the Great Dividing range. The range runs from the west of here and then right up along the east coast of the continent. Except one difference is that in this state the weather differences are on a north / south basis with that mountain range, whilst on the east coast of the continent the differences are on an east / west basis (but in the reverse of your part of the world as the east coast is damper – being a continent on the other side of the Pacific can do that).

    Hehe! Ah, the horse has most definitely sailed and the ship has bolted! What can I say, other than I too have made mistakes professionally. 🙂 To err is to be human, my friend. No stress at all in that.

    Mr Greer once mentioned a prediction that the electricity grid will unravel in a similar way to how it was extended – except in reverse. So rural areas will probably get hit first, and if what I saw recently about getting such rural remote folks onto stand alone solar powered systems became a wider option, that wouldn’t surprise me at all. The systems only last for maybe twenty years depending on how gently the batteries are used. And after twenty years fingers could only be pointed at the individuals. And I note that a stand alone system is better than being left to fend for themselves.

    Garden beds not yet ready for the transplants… There is a story there. Are you planning some upgrades?

    Well, yeah things are different here with wood heating and I do have access to something crazy like five to ten thousand trees (at a guess). I’ve noticed that there are a lot of canny folks heading out and about with their trailers scavenging the fallen timber. And I’ll tell ya that the tree crews are still hard at it, and some parts of this mountain range are closed to all other than locals. I overheard a conversation with a young bloke from one of the tree crews a few days ago and he remarked that parts of the forest in this mountain range were flattened in the recent storm.

    What I want to know is how does one heat a house in your part of the world if the gas and electricity is out? It is a difficult situation. But you’re right, things won’t change on that front. There were credible reports that demand for gas down here will outstrip supply next year. Australia is the biggest exporter of liquid natural gas so why is Victoria facing a future shortage? Got that wrong, it is this year. Although that may have been postponed due to a lifting of the moratorium upon on shore gas drilling. Well that’s OK then, nothing to worry about…

    The sweating soaker hoses are really amazing. I use a different irrigation pipe again which drips 2L per hour from small holes at one foot intervals. If you’re interested, I’ll chuck in a photo. It is good stuff.

    Are your hornets and yellow jackets enjoying the weather? They’d be going feral here if we had your weather. Set the wasp traps! Shields at full Captain!



  39. Hi Lewis,

    I learned of a new profession: A rag and bone man. Not having any great desire to be known as the blog that isn’t afraid to talk about poop or rubbish, whilst still wanting to talk about poop and rubbish, is a complicated matter. Well it’s a fine line, so let’s not seek the murky waters beyond the poop. 🙂 Oh no, broke my own rule there and whilst we are at it, I thought you might enjoy this foray into the history of this once most prosperous city: Even at the height of the gold rush, Melbourne was an absolute dump. As someone who has no garbage pick up service, or no mains connected sewer, the concerns and actions of the people in those early days of the colony, just baffled me. And it would be funny if I didn’t genuinely know of someone who filled in their decommissioned septic tank with rubbish – their house was connected to a mains sewer. The funny thing is though, processing and then dumping the stuff in the ocean (or in landfills) is not such a good outcome either.

    Did you ever watch the X-Files? I haven’t seen many of those episodes, but the ongoing tension was part of the storyline. Plenty of ups and downs, does sound rather naughty given the general context of the conversation! 🙂

    I quite like the rustic charm of the bottle walls, and they’d provide some very interest light effects inside a room. And dare I mention it, but they used blue coloured bottles. I’ll see if I can rustle up an image of the build… … Here you go: Inside the Grand Designs earthship house. There is an photo of the wall with the bottle glass. It’s an ingenious use of scrap bottles. Here I feel I must add that we too re-use bottles, but for their original purpose.

    Oh! What was the yellow bottle glass called in your part of the world? It was ubiquitous down here, along with awning windows which barely opened, and mission brown timber stains. So much mission brown stain. It must have been cheap that stuff because it was everywhere and the stain eventually washed out of the timber. leaving sub bleached grey timber which inevitably split.

    Some of the timber from the recent storms is being salvaged too. Gold in them hills? Rush on to harvest fallen Dandenongs trees. I noticed in the images that they weren’t wearing gloves, no chaps, and the young lady should seriously consider hearing protection. Those small machines make massive quantities of noise. The sounds of tree crews has been a constant in the background for the past few weeks. Some parts of the mountain range are yet to be re-opened to anyone other than locals (who live in those locations).

    That was my thought too about the tiles and plastering. That one was her call, not mine, but that is also in her skill area, so she knows what she is getting into and has the skills to repair any damage. What concerns me is any leak inside the wall which goes undetected, but that can happen at any and every join in a system.

    Good stuff, and it is especially heartening to hear that your admin is supporting a local business. This might be a sign of better days to come?

    Or lost the key, or something… Nicely said. My gut feeling suggests that the ‘or something’ may have been the most likely answer given the dearth of seats on lifeboats. Speaking of lifeboats on the Titanic I just then read an account of how things went for some of those lifeboats. The collapsible lifeboats were no safe path, but less risky than going down with the ship. What a story, but it gets worse: “a lot of disorder during the loading of the port boats, resulting in the shooting of a number of passengers.” Hmm, sends a strong message that action. The third class passengers got a raw deal for their cheap fares. And the second officer apparently chose not to face the waters – possibly wisely.

    What? H pulled a swifty on you and failed to repeat her latest trick. Dogs… I’d hate to think what the passerby thought of your interaction with H, still if you’re lucky you may never encounter them again.

    Hehe! Mate that is one heck of a lot of flavouring with the elephant garlic. Me, I’ve had enough garlic to last a lifetime and so no longer cook with the bulb, but neither do I make a fuss about it, if it is meals I consume off the farm. Keeps the vampires off and has a lot of mineral and vitamin goodies, so you are probably winning there.

    Holy guacamole Lewis. Is that bill serious? Hope he is insured against such daylight robbery. The injury was bad, the bill might kill Shalen off.

    You’re not wrong there, interest ain’t what it once was. Things are stranger these days though. When I was a young bloke it took three years of salary to purchase a very basic and in not very good condition house, but now it takes at least ten years to purchase the same house. Crazy stuff. A bank manager once posited the suggestion that interest rates were higher back in those days, and aren’t we lucky nowadays? I was mildly certain that a marketing team came up with such rubbish. And yeah, try not to spend it all at once! 🙂

    Good pick up on the admin errors. Things often don’t get the attention they deserve these days. Did I mention an order for the electronic components to repair my amplifier? The order was placed a month ago and one item was unavailable and so the order just sat there with no communication. I discovered (upon making inquiries) that the missing item would show up in December when the order would be released. Yes, all true. I cut my losses and asked them to send the order sans the missing item (which they never offered to refund). Bonkers, and I will go elsewhere next time.

    Well you’d kind of hope that the powers that be didn’t put Elinor on the street. It sounds like a box ticking exercise to me. Hope they tick the right boxes.



  40. Yo, Chris – Well, we do talk a lot of rubbish, here. 🙂 . And who doesn’t like to channel their 8 year old boy, for a good poop joke? I see the article mentioned how beloved of archaeologists, are old cess pits. And many interesting things were found in the sewer, under the sidewalks of Pompeii. A giraffe haunch? Really? I wonder how your mate would have felt, if he knew future archaeologist will probably be poking about in his abandoned septic pit? I got a chuckle out of the rubbish bins being mistaken for post boxes.

    I was never an “X Files”, fan. I think, maybe, because it moved so slowly to resolve all these mysteries. I’d dip in, every once in awhile, and, “Nope. Solving mysteries still moving at a glacial pace.” Or, maybe, I never kept up with it because at that point in my story arc, TV viewing took a back seat to, you know, life. 🙂 At his point I suppose I could make an obscure cultural reference, to some odious characters in the film “Auntie Mame,” who had a country estate called, “Upson Downs.” The family name was Upson.

    That “Grand Designs” house, was really nice. I also noticed a sidebar story, about the self heating earth house, in England. I note they also have back up wood heat and a heat pump. I’m pretty sure the glass was called Pebble Glass. At least, that’s what I remember. Amber glass was a hot decor item, at one point. And fell out of favor, with a thud. As far as old tat goes, you couldn’t give the stuff, away.

    Lifeboat drills on the Titanic were kind of slack. Because, you know, unsinkable. And, even though there was quit a long time between the iceberg strike, and the final plunge, people were slow to take action. Because, you know, unsinkable. Some of the first life boats off, weren’t even full. Because for the longest time, people couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that, yes, the ship was going down.

    You might want to work on that garlic phobia. It is good for keeping the blood pressure, down. Keeps those pesky vampires in their place. Just a fringe benefit.

    Their may be some help with that hospital bill, but not much. Too early to tell, yet. Neither of them had health insurance, as they had just set off on an entrepreneurial journey. You may remember that I mentioned that besides the usual risks to entrepreneurs, there was the risk of not having any, or little, insurance. Due to the high costs and little coverage.

    Well, that’s a rubbish story, about the electronic components company. Once they get a bad reputation, they’ll just change their name and start over.

    A little early, but some sources are calling it for a La Nina year. Again. For us that might mean, late frosts.

    Something you said to Goran (and, something I read in our local newspaper) had me looking into the US gold reserves. Mostly, I think, kept in Fort Know. Though quit a bit had to be retrieved from under the rubble of the World Trade Towers. Of course, we’re not on a gold standard, anymore. But, in theory, there’s still a pile of it. Or, is there? Who knows what winds people up to write a letter to the editor, of the local newspaper? But some bloke was wound up about their not being an audit, in quit awhile. So, down the rabbit hole. The last audit was in 1974. And, to judge by reports, it was pretty cosmetic. Mostly all optics. Someone should do the audit, just so the poor fellow can sleep at night.

    For the first time in my life, I picked currents, last night. Red currents. I learned a lot about currents. They are very fiddly. And, seedy. A food mill will have to be, deployed. And, a quirk, at least in the variety I was picking. I’ve been standing around waiting for the pale berries, to turn red. Well. Turns out the red berries go pale, once they’re ripe. Some had even dried on the bush. But, I picked them anyway. I’m going to do jam, rather than jelly. Don’t want to mess about with the bags, and such. But, also, I discovered I can extend the amount, by doing a current / strawberry jam. Make it worthwhile. I’m not done picking, yet, but put the one’s I picked in the freezer. I’ll deal with them later. Their are more pressing things on tap … like inspections, and things. Lew

  41. Chris,

    Thursday “officially’ was shy of 90. However, it DID achieve 90 downtown and 94 at my house. I’m stating that the record was tied. Now back to the heat for at least a week.

    The local fire is pretty much done. There are 2 large fires near Asotin, Washington some 150 km south of here. No smoke from them, but they are close to several towns. Lightning caused.

    Thanks for the info on the Great Dividing Range. Very interesting.

    I bought the pole saw Thursday. Too hot to use it currently, but it’s ready for use. Also got a wasp trap, which I’ll set up later. Had to kill the 2nd nest that has tried to take up residence in the mailbox. It is next to the front door to the house, so it is an horrendous location for a nest.

    I think Mr. Greer’s electric grid prediction will be proven to be correct. Before retirement, we often discussed the upcoming “rural slums” in which I include the more far flung suburbs. The electricity issue was a large part of the discussion. Of nearly equal size was that paved rural roads that are not arterials are not being maintained, so they will eventually return to gravel/dirt.

    Well, with the failed slope/rock garden project in the front, I need to salvage what thyme, succulents and a few other plants that I can. Some of these will be moved to existing flower beds which all need to be weeded first. The rocks and most of the succulents will go to an area in back. This area is not ready. There is a priority of projects.

    First was to increase the hard surfaced area of the patio to the north end of its roof. That meant digging room for the new bricks and concrete blocks. I dug more than was needed. That is complete as of today, other than fine tuning of the sand that fills the gaps between blocks. Next is to refill the areas that were unnecessarily dug. Then move the rocks from the front. Then weed and finally start salvaging plants.

    A lot of the thyme and succulents are mixed with invading grass. My experience has been that a grass/thyme mix needs less water than either one alone, so these mixes will also be moved to lawn areas that are hard to keep green. Watering these will be a tradeoff from the areas from which they’ll be removed, so the net watering will be about the same until the new “hybrid” areas are established. I hope.

    Trees flattened by the storm? Should be able to provide a lot of people with firewood. You are in good shape with all of your trees. If there had been an empty lot next to mine, I would’ve purchased it for use solely as a wood lot for firewood and would still have the wood stove for primary heating. Obtaining my own either via scrounging in the forests or purchasing had gotten more expensive than heating with natural gas. Finding suppliers was also increasingly difficult.

    Indeed. Sans electricity or natural gas, how does one heat one’s home? That is a big dilemma that will hit in the coming decades.

    A photo of your irrigation pipes will be interesting to see, please.


  42. Chris,

    This just in. Spokane officially got 1.94 inches of rain for all of February through June. This is the lowest amount on record. The average is 7.09 inches for those 5 months. For comparison, the average for those 5 months in Al’s neck of the woods is 2.94 inches.


  43. Hello Chris
    Wet and cold here. I have the heating on and am wearing a pullover. This is a dreadful summer for food growing and I am swamped with slugs even in the greenhouses where I have never had them before.


  44. Hi DJ,

    Does the 1.94 inches also include the late winter snow? Whatever the case, those sorts of numbers for rainfall are what is otherwise known as massive freak out option number eight. Keep a close eye on that weather, as it is not good. Out of curiosity do you have any idea why Al might have received slightly more rain than where you are? A superstitious person would blame the recent tech migrants, so I’m glad that you are above such things. 🙂 Mate, such rainfall records does not make for good tidings.

    It’s probably not a bad thing that the most extreme of the extreme heat records was not broken. And good to hear that you aren’t inundated with epicly thick smoke like you were last year. My gut feeling suggests to me that within four weeks things will have cooled down. For me it is always a relief to survive unscathed into March (your September), but until that cold winter weather returns again, you’re not out of the woods.

    It might be that the more usually expected seasons don’t operate so well where you are. I’d be almost certain that your lady and her family have thoughts on this matter? I have an odd hunch that down here the seasons go for about two months each more or less, and that there are six distinct seasons.

    It was 11’C here today and by mid afternoon the sun felt as if it had some semblance of strength to the feeble winter rays. I quite enjoyed the play of sun on my skin this afternoon. And we continued processing the logs left over by the local earthmoving bloke who cut the house site into the side of the hill over a dozen years ago. The critters living in the log pile did not much appreciate our efforts, but the birds sure did! We pick and choose in this harsh old world.

    Good to hear that you finally got a pole saw. 🙂 You know, I don’t have to tell you. It ain’t just you either, I hassled my mates of the big shed fame to get one such device too. There was an incident there which could have been avoided with such a tool. Does this sound familiar? (putting on my best dad voice!!!!) Hehe! 🙂

    Yeah, the wasps are not your friends, and the little blighters are all too happy to take a stab. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

    The gravel road issue is of some interest to me, and I may have mentioned that the local council probably grades the roads maybe once per year. Someone over at Mr Greer’s site mentioned that they expected the job to be done every two months (from memory). I tell ya, you adapt to the circumstances and simply slow down on the poor road surfaces.

    Thanks for the explanation, and respect for observing what works and then taking the time to modify your environment to take reality into account. 😉 This is my approach here too, try something and then modify it to make it work, or try something else. You are definitely onto something with the mixed herbage. Oh yeah, an excellent strategy.

    A lot of laws are put in place which impact upon firewood collection, and I’m grateful that there are as of rights here on this property. A lot of forces push agendas to reduce independence and I once had someone explain to me that it was better to obtain firewood from 3 hours away to the north sourced from red gum forests on the states border – yet those trees grow really slowly due to the harsh conditions and some years they’ll do OK, but others they merely struggle through. I never understood that view, but it was recounted to me all the same.

    I’ll see what I can do about the photo and will include it in a photo in the comments tomorrow.



  45. Hi Inge,

    Some growing seasons are like that, but those words in and of themselves don’t make things any easier.

    The previous growing season here sounds kind of similar to what you are experiencing. It was as bad as I can recall on a food production front. What do you do? We’re fortunate that we can purchase foodstuffs grown in far distant lands where the sun shone during the growing season.

    I’ve been coming to terms this past growing season that it is probably unlikely that I could grow grains here – the season was that bad. Oh well, a person can only do so much.

    News from New South Wales is that conditions due to the health subject which dare not be named are escalating. Hope your daughter is not too badly impacted.



  46. Hi Lewis,

    A person can never go wrong with a good poop or fart joke. 🙂 Who knew? The remains of a consumed giraffe haunch were discovered in Pompeii – and serious people have written upon this find, and it bears upon the Roman class issues as to whom ate what. Fascinating stuff, and I assume this matter continues on into today’s world? I’d never really thought about the food consumed as a class issue before, but yeah it make a weird sort of sense. The serious folks speculated that the giraffe died en-route to Rome and so was off loaded in Pompeii and then barbecued. I’ll bet it tasted like chicken!

    I hear you about the X-Files, and the story line did get bogged down in a story about aliens or something or other like that. As I previously wrote, I’ve seen the films but haven’t watched many episodes. It was a bit like the Matrix film (around the same time) which plenty of people love, it just wasn’t for me. Dunno why, but people love Harry Potter too, and yeah not a fan. The cover art on the books was a massive problem for me which I never quite worked around (and haven’t seen the films either), but people love that stuff too.

    Mate, this here life thing takes a bit of work, time and effort doesn’t it? Something has to give. How’s your library service going nowadays? Are they still a bit mysterious and clandestine, or have they gotten their act together and the hold list is working its way towards you?

    By the way, ‘upson downs’ was pretty funny! 🙂 Sounds as if they’d built the manor house on a swamp!

    I really liked that earthship home as the owner builders had clearly invested a lot of care and attention to the building. If I recall correctly, that part of the world has an interesting take in relation to building codes which places the burden of responsibility upon the owner and builder and thus dispenses with a lot of the administrative burden the process faces in this part of the world. I’m sure that the same thing is true in your part of the world too?

    Well, my thoughts on the self heating house is that there might not be enough energy in that part of the world to achieve what the owner was setting out to do, but respect to him for giving it a go. The water out of the cold tap these days here is very cold. Mind you today was 52’F and sunny and by mid afternoon I could feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. It was really nice, and I’ve noticed that bluebells and daffodils are beginning to poke their tails out of the winter soils.

    We worked on cutting and splitting the logs left over from the house site cut all those years ago (a dozen almost to the month to be precise). There are probably two days of work left to go on that log pile and I was grateful not to encounter any bonkers crazy deadly reptiles – so far.

    It is crazy to think that the early lifeboats from the Titanic were half empty because the notion that the ship was sinking offended peoples belief systems and sensibilities. They sure got the message as freezing cold sea water was swamping the deck though. I read so much about the Titanic sinking last evening that I ended up dreaming about it – and the dreams were actually nightmares.

    Mate, a man has to know his limits, and when it comes to garlic, well let’s just say that limits were reached. It is hard to explain and was many years ago now.

    The cost of your health insurance makes my bowels feel weak and fluttery. It’s all cool until you have to go see the doctor, or you get taken to hospital. It surprises me that some folks haven’t gone off the deep end when confronted by such a bill. Sun Tzu advises not to back an opponent into a corner with no exit, and I agree with his take on the world.

    That’s the really weird thing, the electronics company has been around for a very long time, so this sort of outcome never even crossed my mind – and it wasn’t until I made some inquiries that there was some sort of action. Crazy stuff and I may have identified a better supplier for this stuff.

    They haven’t called La Nina again this year, but it wouldn’t surprise me. We’re also having an Indian Ocean negative dipole, which means that warm waters off the NW of this continent will send rain and warm air across the centre of the continent and down through here. I noticed an odd reference to a recent (in geological terms) warm epoch that Australia and Africa actually became wetter than now.

    Hehe! I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for that audit to occur. 🙂

    How did you go with picking currants? They’re finicky to pick but because there are just so many berries I pull the bunches off the shrub and let them fall into a plastic tub. Works for me. I didn’t know that about the red currants, but I believe that there is also a white currant as well. I’ve never seen the red currants here do what you are describing. Jam is a good call, and they’ll produce a fine flavour which is just the thing on a cold winters day and adding strawberries sounds like a stroke of genius.

    Good luck with the inspection.

    Are you getting many blueberries this year?



  47. @ Chris and Lew
    I know of white, red or black currants and have never heard of any change of colour. Red currants are just too fiddly and I have never grown white ones. Black currants are fine.


    Hello Chris again
    Daughter appears to be fine where she is and is just back from a whale watching trip. That is something that I would have liked to have done.


  48. Yo, Chris – BIG NEWS!!! Our favorite crow, is back! There’s a sequel coming out to “Hollow Kingdom.” Called “Feral Creatures.” I spotted it on the library “new” list, last night.

    The giraffe might have been involved in a wild animals show, in Pompeii’s arena. It had a regional draw. It held 12 – 20,000 people. Oh, yeah. Food is a big class marker. Money and transportation are really class markers, and impact what foods you can buy.

    Oddly enough. I have a boxed set of all four Matrix films, on my hold list. I kind of liked the one’s I saw, and thought I’d like to watch them all, in order. Harry Potter? Meh. I did enjoy some of the films. But wasn’t heavily invested. Only read the first book, just to see what all the fuss was about.

    My hold list is very much a mystery. About half the stuff I have on hold, doesn’t have a number to tell me where I am, on the list. All it says is, “On Order” – Position will show when received.” And those seem to take a long time, to show up. I speculate, that instead of ordering directly from the publishers, all those titles come from one wholesaler. Probably one of the big one’s that’s been around for awhile. Adds another layer of complexity. And, if the wholesaler didn’t do an initial order, with enough copies to meet demand, then the wholesaler has to go back to the publisher, who may, or may not have more stock. Sometimes, they’re between printings. I had weekly interaction with the wholesalers, when I was in the book biz. We’d order any special orders, and, any hot titles that were getting low. Speed was of the essence. 🙂 . We could get books from them in a week, or less, as opposed to 4-6 weeks (or more), from the publisher.

    Oh, yeah. Anything that costs money, time or effort, is off loaded onto the consumer. Maybe your electronics company has been bought out, by a financial investment company. 🙂 . Always bad news, for the consumer. For one reason and another.

    Yes. Do avoid the crazy deadly reptiles. Hip boots? Gauntlets?

    Interesting how the Titanic is often used as a metaphor, for the current state of things. Think of your dream as symbols. We’re skating into Jung territory, here. 🙂 .

    Well, you may not like garlic, but … My elephant garlic is putting out those big, round, purple, seed heads, right now. Day before yesterday, they were swarming with bumble bees. Yesterday, European honey bees. First time this year I’ve seen them in any numbers. Some Citizen of the Hive must have found them, and gone back and done his little GPS dance. I have two patches, about 30 feet apart. They found both.

    I didn’t get out to pick current, yesterday. Might be able to finish them off, today. Other things are pressing … 🙁 .

    We have many blueberry species here (early, mid-season, late), and when I checked about a week ago, one bush was producing.

    Saw an interesting article …


    I think that new film critical of the Green Movement, covers the same topic (among many), but, in a different place. Bottom line is, trees are considered renewable, but then they cut down whole forests to make wood pellets, to fire electrical plants. Lew

  49. The red sky effect sure seems to have come through. I’m currently reading a lovely book you might enjoy, called The Secret World of Weather by Tristan Gooley. He covers a tremendous number of weather signs (including the one you mentioned), explains the mechanisms behind them, and most importantly, explains how to read a bonanza of information from things you can ohserve with your basic senses. Would probably be more useful to one of your trade than me, but it makes every boring cloud a new delight now that I kind of, sort of, have an idea what its telling me.

  50. Hi Inge,

    I too can’t recall any currants ever changing colour, and perhaps what Lewis has is in fact a variety of white currants? Dunno. It is virtually impossible to differentiate the plants if they don’t have any berries on them. And candidly they all taste the same to my palate, so I wouldn’t worry about the difference. They’re so easy to propagate and they send up new plants all over the shop in my garden as the birds spread the seeds. And yes, the black currants seem more prolific than the red currants.

    That does sound nice, and of course like the four month long lock down here last year, things are different in rural areas than in the city areas. New South Wales clearly has a more laissez-faire approach than we did in the state of Victoria, and that is commendable. At some point we have to admit defeat and just learn to live with this strange health thing.

    Incidentally, whale watching is possible at many points around the coast of this continent, and it is impressive to see the mighty sea creatures doing their thing in the winter waters.

    A very nice winters day was had here today. One very large tree here was damaged in the recent storm, and now it groans with a sound of impending doom. Best to be somewhere else when gravity works its biz on that sadly failing tall tree.



  51. Hi Kyle,

    Welcome to the discussion!

    The author Tristan Gooley looks like he is a fascinating individual, who has much to say about the observable world around him. There is always stuff to learn and the signs are always there if we but take the time to notice them – like ants building embankments around the entrances to their tunnels before a storm hits. 🙂 Thanks for the introduction as I’d never heard of the bloke before. And despite my reticence to add any more books to the groaning ‘to-read’ list, I just ordered a copy of the book. 🙂 Thanks again for dropping by and saying hello!

    And what is your trade?



  52. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the heads up on our old corvid mate: S-T. The editor has been so informed and after release next month, we’ll score a copy. The ‘to-read’ backlog is groaning, and I’m only somewhere in the 800-ish pages of Stephen King’s weighty tome (but also un-put-downable): ‘The Stand’.

    I noticed how the reviews now refer to our crow hero as S-T as distinct from (and here I depart from the blog rules in the, look I didn’t name the bird, and who knew that the book would get such a wide audience?) ‘Shit Turd’. There, that’s authentic that is. Sometimes you just have to own quirk. Years ago a crazily talented local band formed and were compared to the US band Ween for their sheer musical diversity and skills, but they gave themselves a name which ensured that they’d never enjoy commercial radio airplay. Despite the name, the talent shone through, and then the name got changed to a more radio friendly acronym. Someone must have made that call, but I’m guessing it wasn’t anyone in the band. M G F. Yep, crazy days. One of the band members even helped write one of the biggest earning songs an independent act has ever produced down under (the single No Aphrodisiac), but I doubt you’d ever heard of the local band ‘The Whitlams’ and their album ‘Eternal Nightcap’ but darkness and tragedy has haunted that lot. Anyway, I’m digressing but S-T need not hide his moniker, it is a title well earned. People get funny about some words, and then put up with all manner of craziness about other words. I dunno.

    Waste not, want not may have been the Roman’s adage when it comes to giraffe haunch. And exactly, it really does come down to the economics of the situation. Food ain’t necessarily what people think that it is, sorry to say.

    Word on the street is that the first Matrix film was genius, and the sequels were complicated, but perhaps also too nuanced for the viewer. I’ll look forward to learning your opinion in this matter.

    Ooo! The library hold list really does sound like a mystery, and for all we know (you probably more than I), things might improve on that score? Maybe. Thanks for some insights into the book industry as I had no idea what was going on in the background. Interestingly enough, you may recall that a few months ago we purchased the back catalogue of Jack Vance books (it was an emotional decision as you can imagine). The weird thing was that the retailer who sourced and supplied the books noted that a few of them were no longer available, and so best strike whilst the iron is hot became the driving force behind that decision. I don’t actually understand how the book business is profitable given the decision made years ago to allow parallel imports of product. Since those days, new book stores have been thin on the ground.

    Spare me the fear of the boogeyman of provate equity! Yikes. Word on the street and general rumour has it that :Load ’em up with debt, extract meaty fees, and then sell ’em off is the way to go. Back in the day there were less appealing names used for such folks, but I guess the times they’re a changin’.

    Anyway, I’ve discovered another company which lists their available inventory for the electronic items, so that might be an easier path for the other projects.

    Crazy deadly reptiles are no fun at all. Gaiters and chaps might help the cause. There is an Aussie outback film with one of my fave actors: Bill Nighy. Buckleys Chance – Official Trailer.

    Beware that Jung fellow, he might know more about what is going on in the subconscious than we do! 🙂

    Great news that the European honey bees have finally discovered your garden. I was beginning to think that they may never arrive. It makes you wonder as to just how long the Western bee has been around?

    Other pressing things – like cleaning and ordering the man cave and the impending inspection? 🙂 Good luck, you’ll be fine and remember not to swear at the inspectors.

    Hehe! Yeah, them crazy. It takes decades to grow a tree, so harvesting on such a vast scale is hardly possible.

    Spent most of the day moving the most complicated computer from win 7 to win 10. Six hours of pushing and poking buttons, but it is now mostly done. Trouble was brewing on a number of fronts with the old operating system, so best jump ship before it sinks is as good a metaphor as anything else.

    Better get writing!



  53. Hi Chris,

    My current trade is a professional copy and paster. I work for in digital production for a website, which means my position was made permanently remote due to the unnamed pestilence. I get to work in my socks from home, but I do spend a lot of company time staring out of windows at cloud formations, windy trees, and birds foraging for worms. It just doesn’t affect my livelihood. Although Gooley’s books have very much enriched my outdoor time. It’s like an illiterate suddenly learned his phonics and can sound out all the signs and newspapers that have been staring him in the face all along.

  54. Yo, Chris – I just hope the sequel is as good as the first book. I don’t know. It was getting pretty woo-woo and New Agey, toward the end.

    I wonder if there’s a punk band name, generator. Probably has a dial you can set for “least offensive” to “most offensive.” 🙂 . I see you’re MGF and raise you NWA. I know there’s a New Age names generator. I think Mr. Greer talked about it.

    Maybe the Giraffe haunch was a door prize? Or, maybe they just auctioned it off. You got to pay for those games, somehow.

    I asked about the Mysteries of the Hold List, yesterday, but, it’s still a mystery. The book biz has many mysteries. Unsold books (in good condition) can be returned for full credit, minus the shipping. Don’t find that in many businesses. The small paperback books weren’t worth shipping back whole copy, so, we’d tear the covers off and send them back. People would occasionally raid our dumpsters, so, we took to pouring water over them. Also, some publishers give higher discounts, if you waive return privileges.

    “Buckley’s Choice” looks like a very good movie. Bill Nighey is a very good actor. Always brings a lot to whatever roll he’s playing. I saw a trailer for a film, yesterday.

    Somehow, I missed it. The library has it and the hold list is long. It will be awhile.

    The god Neptune made an appearance on the SE English coast.

    I guy who took the picture swears he didn’t fiddle with it. Lew

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