The Comedown went down

It wasn’t the worst road trip in history, but it might have been close to it. Maybe fifteen years ago, four days were spent in the car watching the scenery slide past outside. Sometimes it’s hard to recall that there is so much activity going on elsewhere, and yet that is exactly what goes on all around us. And sitting in the car day after day meant watching the changing scenery flash by, just out of reach.

It is hard to stop on a long road trip. Over there looks as if it would be an interesting place to visit! And look at that alien looking subtropical forest over there. All fascinating stuff, but getting the leave from work was problematic because everyone wanted a piece, and few could let go for even a short while. With only two weeks grace, we’d decided to head north up along the coast to the warmer northerly coastal climes in the state which sits to the north of Victoria (the destination state being New South Wales).

Four days of driving there and back again was probably a touch overly ambitious for a short break, however occasionally we are guilty of reaching for the stars, and then just end up over reaching. Eventually though, we arrived in the coastal town of Byron Bay. It is a beautiful location, a real tourist trap, and we didn’t stay there for long. Instead we headed out into the regional area. In those days, the area was reasonably quiet and stunning accommodation could be found in out of the way locations at reasonable rates. You could even get a decent coffee and feed at most small towns – a true litmus test for travel if ever there was one.

It was reasonably pleasant, and very green. Everywhere was green due to the subtropical and very humid environment. Plants just grew and grew, as they clung onto every surface. These days whenever an occasional summer rainstorm dumps a decent quantity of rain over this mountain range, the inevitable rising clouds of humidity wafting through the trees, calls to mind the distant northerly coastal locale.

Darkness however crept into the road trip, and I’d brought it along for the ride. It wasn’t the guy in Nimbin who received a ‘yeah, nah, mate’ reply to his unsolicited offer to sell us smokes that day. Nor was it the feeling of sadness as to something just missed and now out of sight which accompanied the trip to the local hippy museum. The folks at the hemp embassy seemed pretty upbeat about stuff. Nope wasn’t them either. It was the sight of the ferals spilling out from the local pub that really shook me to my core. They looked genuinely happy, and the awful question suddenly popped into my head unbidden: ‘Are they winning’?

The personal contrast was hard to ignore, and so lead to a brief existential crisis, and a less than pleasant road trip (spare a thought for the poor editor who had to put up with my brief and rare spell of angst). Why was I working a hard core job, studying part time and fixing up houses at night and on the weekends? Some questions have no answer, all they require is change.

The question as to whether they are winning or not has long haunted me. Time has a way of changing the rules for the field of play, and upon long and careful consideration, it is possible that nowadays that they’re not winning.

Fifteen years ago, living in that part of the country would have been fairly cheap. Nowadays there are reports in the news that even long term residents are struggling to make ends meet, renters don’t stand a chance, celebrities with oodles of mad cash have moved in and there are more than a few less mad cashed up people living rough. So yeah, on that basis alone, I don’t believe the ferals are winning these days – they’re probably doing it really tough.

At the core of the story really, is economics. Supply of housing is restricted, the money supply is continuously expanded, resources and energy are finite and may in fact be diminishing, and demand for housing far exceeds the supply of housing. So prices have risen accordingly. It is not a complicated story, and yet it is the outcome of the policies which are being pursued by most levels of government. It’s a popular policy I guess, and as the long deceased economist John Kenneth Galbraith remarked about the American people (and it applies just as readily here): “Along with the sterling qualities which he praised, they were also displaying an inordinate desire to get rich quickly with a minimum of physical effort.”

Mr Galbraith wrote a most excellent and easy to read book about The Great Depression. My understanding is that the economic disaster was caused because equity prices (i.e. shares and other financial instruments) fell in price. Not all, but enough equities were purchased via loans, so as the share price fell, the banks called in the loans via margin calls (the banks only requested a percentage of the loan be repaid on the instant). People with debt unfortunately had to sell more equities to fund the margin calls of the banks and so on. This feedback loop caused the market to crash badly with a huge amount of economic carnage. The money supply came to a standstill. And the situation only became better due to the heavy government spending resulting from the Second World War.

It is quite likely that this nightmare scenario won’t play out this time around merely because of the belief systems of the Modern Monetary Theorists. Those folks appear to be in control of the economic policy levers and they are happy to print as much money as possible. As a result, financial asset prices (equities, bonds and property) seem impervious to corrections. I believe that the theorists stated position is that it all doesn’t matter.

Yet there is a built in flaw to their arrangements. Property is not just a financial asset, it is also something that keeps the rain off peoples heads and warm during the winter months. As prices go up, many folks are going to have debt on their purchases of properties, and with interest rates about as low as they can go, the amount of mad cash required to service the debt becomes more and more over time across the population. So if the government takes a cut of a persons income via taxes, and the banks seek to continuously extract ever more of the same persons income due to the unfortunate need to service ever greater levels of debt, and incomes remain fairly stagnant, then over time people will have less money to spend on other goods and services. Eventually the flow of money in the economy will most likely seize up because people won’t have much spare mad cash. What will happen then, well history gives us a guide but really. It is worth noting though that some predicaments have no answer, all they require is change.

It’s been a frosty old week at the farm. Clear and sunny days, but oh my how the nights have been frozen.

0’C / 32’F outside and 20’C / 68’F inside – a cold night outside

Ice formed on the vegetable beds, and the greens survive the freezing process by converting starches and proteins to sugars (which have a lower freezing point). With lower levels of protein and starches in the plants, the local wildlife does it tough. One cheeky scamp of a wallaby decided to enjoy a feed of some of the leafy greens in one of the steel raised round vegetable beds. But did the wallaby actually have to jump onto the garden bed?

Frozen leafy greens are good enough for us and the local wallabies

The small red Suzuki dirt mouse was frozen one morning and required a couple of buckets of fresh water to defrost it.

A frosty cold winters morning

One good thing about living on a mountain saddle, is that the land far down below the farm gets even colder than here. Cold air falls and settles in the valley below the farm, and the roads there are frozen some winter mornings.

Frosty cold air falls and pools at lower elevations

At least the day time weather has been mostly sunny and very pleasant. Some days you can feel that, despite being just under three weeks out from the winter solstice, the suns rays have more energy. There is no reason to start work early on the cold and frosty winter mornings, and so late morning winter start times for work, suit me just fine.

We continued working on the project which is widening the path between the cantina shed and the machinery shed. Two weeks ago the project looked like this:

The path between the cantina shed and the machinery shed is being widened

The vegetation was cut back, the two plumbing pipes were re-laid in longer conduit, a post for a garden watering tap was relocated, and the rock wall was realigned. It sure took a lot of work, and we intend in the next week or two to install a lamp post there which will be powered by the solar power system.

The now widened path. Ruby approves!

Another day of work was spent turning dozen year old logs into firewood. The logs were left over from the house site excavation all those years ago and we’d never gotten around to processing them into firewood. The logs had to be cut and then split, and the sun shone beautifully whilst we worked. The recent rabbit and snake incursion has spurred us on to sort that job out.

Not much more to go before this horrendous job is completed

There is no shortage of trees for firewood either. The recent epic Antarctic storm a few weeks ago, who’s winds toppled great chunks of the forest elsewhere has damaged a very tall tree. The tree has since split down the middle and is in danger of falling at any moment. Even the slightest of winds produces a moaning and groaning sound from the stricken timbers.

Trouble is brewing in this now split and very noisy tree

Onto the flowers:

Alkanet is a very reliable plant who’s leaves the chickens appreciate
This shy and retiring Nasturtium has survived a number of frosts
Rosemary is a reliable herb and I regularly add the leaves to salad green mixes
The Succulents have gone from strength to strength this year
Tree Lucerne is in flower and the leaves contain high quantities of protein
These Echium flowers are very early this year

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 672.0mm (26.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 671.4mm (26.4 inches).

52 thoughts on “The Comedown went down”

  1. Yo, Chris – The solution for distractions on a trip, is blinders. They used to put them on horses. H needs blinders.

    Another hair brained money making idea. You travel around Australia, and suss out all the best places for good coffee and baked goods. You say the internet is filling that ecological niche? Not so, I say. Remember my trip to Bend, when I was so excited that the Net said there’d be 12 tat shops, to loot. How many were still on tap? One (1). The internet is like space junk. Plenty of stuff shot on it, and not much comes down. Space junk will come down sooner, than stuff on the Net. And, of course, you’ll have to do a yearly, new edition. Just to keep the mad cash, rolling in.

    Ferals? Similar to our “deplorables?” Is your privilege showing? 🙂

    You probably know to keep the water to defrost the Dirt Mouse, on the cool side. You don’t want to crack the windscreen.

    You need to get out early on a cold and frosty winter morning! Get that blood circulating! Otherwise, according to my Dad, western civilization may unravel. Although it seems to be doing a good job of that, all on it’s own. Winter mornings, aside.

    It’s nice you widened that path, so the wallabies have easy access to your winter greens. 🙂 . It looks very smart. Up to Fern Glade Farm standards.

    A maybe not so hair brained idea. Given what you’ve said about the price of firewood, you could sell a load for a bit of mad cash. Sure, there’s a lot laying about on the ground, due to your epic storm. But yours, is seasoned.

    That is one dangerous looking tree. Think the Tree Dudes, can handle it?

    You grow them hardy, down there. Our nasturtiums don’t make it, through the winter. But, they freely seed, and always make a comeback. Elinor had some in her old bed, that were transplanted. They looked pretty sad for, awhile. Now, they’re coming on like gang busters. Some heat damage, but they came right back.

    Your rosemary is looking quit fine. I’ve mentioned we have a venerable old rosemary, in a tub, here at the Institution. It’s looking good, and came through the heat wave, just fine. I water it, every day. And twice a day, during the heat. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    You’ve hit the major fear of any artist there – is the follow up going to be as good as the original splash into the limelight? It is possible that you and I will discover the truth of the matter in this particular instance, but we’ll have to wait until late next month plus postage. Until then, no spoilers please. 🙂

    It just so turns out that I’ve heard of NWA. And dare I say it but I’ve contributed to Dr Dre’s coffers as my preferred headphones are the very bassy headphones attached to this here computer. The editor is even more of a bass notes tragic than I am, and we only discovered this little known fact when the replacement Suzuki dirt mouse was optioned up with the enhanced speaker pack. Me being the not so trusting person that I am, ordered the enhanced speaker pack and could only rest assured that it was physically installed by the vehicle dealer, because they also had to install the sub woofer (a speaker and amplifier combination which can produce epic bass notes in the very low hertz frequencies). The editor was at the time, very dubious of this particular choice and was only humouring me, but has since changed her tune and she absolutely loves being able to rock the block! So we’ve got this basic car and a stupid sound system – it’s like being in a massive rock concert in that car. Crazy stuff, and it all occurred on a whim. Who knew?

    But back to NWA, well turns out that the national youth broadcaster down here was the only radio station to play the band. So yeah, I’ve heard of them alright. Some local politicians cracked the sads that the song had been playing on the airwaves for six months, and then it got banned. Being banned is often good for sales, but it wasn’t so good for the national youth broadcaster, and they went on a 24 hour strike in defence of their freedom of speech. The outcome for them was not so good and even today they can’t play the song, but here is the story: How N.W.A.’s most notorious hit almost ended up in the bin. I’m not much of a fan of cancel culture, but plenty of others seem to be caught up in that mess. Everyone is good with it, until they themselves get cancelled!

    I like how you think. Yeah, the economics of the Roman exotic animal show has to make sense, so if an accident occurs then the exotic animals are free game. 🙂

    Really? Well thanks for the insights into the world of the book business. Throwing books out! Fancy that, except that I did once dump Stephen Donaldson’s fantasy trilogy. So much introspection caused my brain to explode. Fortunately I recovered.

    The film Nobody looks like fun. Yes, give him back the kids bracelet, he seems like a lot of trouble! 🙂

    Dare I say it, but the foamy excretions of surf actually do look like Neptune, who’s statue I’ve often seen in the Exhibition gardens. Another one who is not to be trifled with.

    Hehe! Yeah, you go first with the blinders, I’ll follow later and check up to see how you went with them. H is an intelligent canine of good stock, so she may see things which would possibly alarm you, except that you don’t or can’t see them. The fluffies are a bit autonomous and so have to keep their eyes open and alert for the mischief going on around them.

    The thing with interweb delivered content is that mostly people expect it to be free. Sometimes the content is free, other times not so much. I expect that this here interweb thingee will have to pay for itself well before its eventual demise.

    The word Ferals has a different meaning down here. It’s kind of a mashup of the sort of person you’d find camped out in a remote forest blockade and then crossed with a touch of the hippy. Hope that makes sense, it’s not necessarily a pejorative, more an indicator that the personages so referenced don’t look as though they’ll fit within the norms of society. I’ve been to a few hippy festivals over the years, and I wasn’t much impressed – my mates had dragged me along to the festivals. When the rains hit, the hippies started looking more like me with serviceable boots, jeans and the more expected clothes. You know, it kind of annoyed me because I knew their choices didn’t extend much beyond the clothes they wore. Having said that, there are some full on hippies to be found about the place, but they’re rare nowadays.

    Oh yeah, of course I only use cold water to defrost frozen vehicles. A favourite science experiment when I was in early high school was to observe how glass broke when subjected to sudden temperature extremes. It’s brittle stuff.

    🙂 Possibly your dad got it wrong with that appalling concept. Hehe!

    Thank you and we do neat here – and the wallabies take advantage of such tidy behaviour.

    Firewood is a funny fuel source as I have rights to harvest it for my own consumption, but commercial production is prohibited. It is kind of crazy because I’m sure that there’d be plenty of oldsters around here that need a load of firewood – but the law is the law and it is firm in that regard.

    Yeah, the nasturtium surprised me too. They might be adapting to the conditions, as most winters they die back. Maybe some snow will fall next month and then they’ll recover by seed (which they set plenty of – and people use as a substitute for capers).

    I’ve never seen the rosemary stressed by either heat or cold weather, and it is meant to be good for your brain! Glad to hear that your rosemary shrub is chugging along happily.

    Finished off the computer software upgrade today and have ironed out most of the oddities of the new operating system. And here’s the joke: it all looks pretty much the same to me now.



  3. Hi Kyle,

    By copy, do you refer to the gentle art of writing copy? Working at home can be quiet, but like you say it provides the opportunity to stop and take a look at the world around you. You never know what you might be missing out on. 🙂

    For your info, I prefer to work on site with people, but have done a lot of work from home over the past dozen years so it is now second nature to me. It would be quite the shock to some folks who are serious extroverts (and I’ve known a few of those over the years). I’m an introvert by nature, but for me that means that I really enjoy social time, I just need time out afterwards. Everyone is different. How does that compare to your worldview?



  4. Hello Chris
    So true and so depressing. Just the same here and mood is made even worse by the dreadful weather. Rain teemed down last night and a ditch is running which usually only becomes active in winter storms.
    New neighbours have made a drain outside their property look neat and pretty. Sorry, but we are all laughing. Saw that it was already disintegrating after less than a week.
    They have obviously never heard that one should live in a new home for a year before making external changes.
    Goodness, beware that tree.


    @ Lew
    The Neptune is incredible.


  5. Yo, Chris – Cosmic coincidences are thick on the ground. I posted two responses, to commenters at Mr. Greer’s. When I checked back later, I discovered my two comments had neatly bracketed, yours. 🙂 . In continuing coincidental weirdness, I read yesterday about a new series. “Wellington Paranormal.” From the same people that did “What We Do In The Shadows.” Same format. Sorta reality TV. I didn’t really care for WWDITS, but if the library gets WP, I’ll give it a whirl. But here’s the weird part. When I stopped by Elinor’s for our nightly chin wag, she was banging on about this very odd show that had popped up. I finally figured out that she had stumbled on “Wellington Paranormal.” Not that we’ll be watching it at her place. Usually what she has running is “Magnum P.I.” or “Morse.” Sound off, subtitles on.

    But to your epistle … No worries. I probably won’t see “Alien Creatures,” for quit awhile. I have not idea where I am in the queue. It fell in that mysterious part of my hold list, labeled “Order Pending.” If someone had heard about it, before me, and did a catalogue search, they would have been able to place a hold on it. Before it showed up on the “New Titles List.” Which is generally how I get such low ranking.

    So, the Editor and you are the low riders with the bass jacked up to 11, that rattles the crockery off the shelf, when you drive by. 🙂 .
    Don’t come crying to me, when your hearing goes.

    Some people stole the stripped books, for resale. Which was illegal. There was often a notice on the obverse of the title page, pointing out that fact. Every once in awhile, I see a table of them, at a flea market. I never commented on them. Not my circus, not my monkey.

    I’m looking forward to seeing “Nobody.” Seems to be in the tradition of “Falling Down.” Another favorite of mine.

    Well, H may have tender sensibilities, which is all fine and good, but not on my time. Yesterday morning, I took her out, and we were under the apple tree, next to the street. So, she did her piddle, and then “assumed the position”, with her little rear leg twitch thing, that indicates she’s about to offload. At that precise moment, an apple fell off the tree, hit the street pavement, and bounced down the hill. Apparently, that totally freaked her out. The mission was not accomplished. Even though I spent over a half hour, trying this parking strip and that, even around back. I finally threw in the towel. That afternoon, she didn’t seem in any great hurry, but finally unloaded a double dose.

    “Real” hippies used to call the quick change artists “weekend hippies.” 🙂 . When I first moved to Seattle in 1968, I lived in the University District. I had to check out the storied University Avenue. Called “The Ave,” by those in the know. It was a fabulous, as described. Seattle’s version of San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury. There were many people caked with mud. I discovered that the previous weekend, there had been a distant mini Woodstock, called “The Sky River Rock Festival.” Mostly, local bands. It rained. Apparently, the mud was a badge of honor. A week later, I’d still see the occasional person, with chunks of mud, flaking off.

    Ah, naughty song lyrics. The Powers That Be, get worked up over some perceived lyrics. We’re treated to the spectacle of Congressional hearings, with senators attempting to play records backwards, to suss out subversive messages. Great fun! “Louie, Louie” was banned in a lot of places. Just because the lyrics were so unintelligible, that there must be SOMETHING nasty in there. Which reminds me. Didn’t know you had a Hellenic Museum, in your old mint building. They had an exhibit of Minoan lady’s fashion. Back in 2018. The Minoan ladies, tended to go bare breasted. That must have raised some eyebrows. 🙂 .

    I don’t think our firewood harvesting laws, are particularly stringent. I often see pick up trucks around, with firewood for sale, on them. But I’ve noticed they have a little tag, stapled to the back end. Some kind of permitting process.

    Well, my recent silliness, wasn’t so far off.

    There was a flurry of articles, over the weekend, about supply line shortages. This one was interesting…

    So maybe those “just in time” inventory systems weren’t such a good idea, in the first place? Lew

  6. Chris,

    Yes, the 1.94 inches includes the rainfall equivalent of any snow that fell. I dunno how much rain Al got during that time frame, but we got roughly 2/3 of his *normal* rainfall for those 5 months. Or 27% of our *normal*.

    Most years DO have a noticeable temperature decrease circa August 10. Not always. Time will tell. I’ve seen it as high as 35C in mid September.

    Seasons? I’ve thought for many years that we have a typical 8 seasons. Winter, transition, spring, 2nd transition, etc. These appear to be shifting due to climate change, and the duration of each is shifting, some shorter, some longer.

    The comments to the public that we were instructed to make about gravel roads: try to grade in the spring while the road was still damp but not falling apart, and try to grade once in the autumn after rains had softened the road enough. Absolutely NO attempts at grading during fire season. Something about metal blades, rocks, sparks, instant fire.

    You spoke too soon, mate. Yes, Saturday started with iffy looking skies, limited visibility and a distinct smoke aroma. However, the official air quality monitors, one of which is 2.5 km from me, all said that the air quality was wonderfully good. By 1:00 p.m., visibility was diminished, the smell was hideous, and the air quality was officially unhealthy. As it was windy, all the goo was cleared out by early evening. At least it wasn’t an epic, multiple week event.

    Glad you got the pile of logs sorted out. Too bad for the bunnies, but maybe that will clear those dread ultra-poisonous snakes out of your home area. “Chomp chomp” is good when I’m chomping on dinner, but not so good when my finger is attached to poisonous fangs that are doing the chomping.

    That is a wonderful picture of the tree with the split trunk. Last I heard, one is not supposed to see the sky through the tree trunk. A neighbor’s maple tree is getting splits in its trunk, and it’s leaning toward the electric line from the main line to my house.

    One of those things the MMT people refuse to understand is that all of this printed money chases assets, resulting in unaffordable housing. People have to live somewhere, and it’s not always an economic possibility to pick up and move to a less expensive area.

    The Princess noticed two things about the picture of you and the Dirt Rat. First, you look cold even with your jacket on. Second, she wondered how you fit into that tiny car.

    The widened path looks very good. But the amount of hard work you’re continuing to do raises a question: will you ever have an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labors?


  7. Hi Chris,

    That’s why in the Great Reset you’ll “have nothing and you’ll be happy”. Cos the bankers who come up with these mad schemes will have inflated all your wealth away and made it so you can’t afford anything. The one recourse the average person has to prevent this outcome is the ballot box which is why I expect we’ll be seeing lots more demagogues in the years ahead. The sooner the financial system gets reset the better for everybody but that’s a natural process that will have to happen by itself. No politician could ever make it happen.

    The area around Byron is one of my favourite places in Australia but, you’re right, the property prices there have gone nuts in the last year and a bit even though they have the highest unemployment rate in the country. Where could you go now in Australia to “drop out”? The desert is the probably last option. Land is cheap in Ouyen and if a permaculturist was looking for a challenge they’ll certainly find one there.

  8. @Lew

    I felt obligated to watch Wellington Paranormal when I was living in NZ. From memory we watched the first season and found it amusing. As you didn’t like Shadows, not sure how you will go, if nothing else you will absorb NZ mannerisms and culture 🙂


  9. Chris – I had to put down Donaldsons book as well. I believe it was recommended by a lot of hippies back in the day. *Something something* it “deconstructed” the fantasy genre. Personally, I prefer things more constructed!


  10. Hi Damo,

    Some books are un-put-downable, unfortunately for Mr Donaldson that was not the case. And respect for your good taste for acting likewise. Tell ya what, maybe a month or so back I needed some more space in the book shelves and that was when I spied those particular books. It was no hardship to volunteer them for space duties!

    I hear you about the constructed. Yup, but like your experience I’d also been recommended to read them…

    A bit of a late start tonight due to haircut and stuff. A muffin was destroyed in the process. Yum!



  11. Hi Simon,

    Far out! I’ve heard that story from that particular crowd. Given the sheer ineptitude of our authority figures over the past year and a half, I’d be seriously concerned that the underwear delivering drones failed to turn up on time (or at all), and when they did eventually turn up the underwear would be far from fresh. I’m not suggesting that the reset story was the stupidest thing that I’ve ever heard, but it was pretty close to it. The fools don’t understand that it would be far cheaper and easier for us to keep and maintain our own underwear.

    What kind of scares me a bit is that I’ll be seriously contemplating the ballot paper at the next state and federal elections. It is possible though that most people are rusted on supporters, but I don’t really know nowadays whether people are saying one thing in public and another thing altogether in private – and what kind of world is that?

    You’ve got good taste as it is I reckon one of the nicest corners of this continent, but oh my, has property become a serious problem there or what? I don’t know the answer to that question, and I’ve long since wondered about it – the reach of law is very long indeed. There is one place in Victoria where I’m aware that there are no council rates or much in the way of oversight, and that is French Island. It would be a complicated place to live though.

    Ouyen would have some costs and benefits – and probably a super long growing season would be a benefit and probably reasonably mineral rich soils (due to lack of leaching from the rain), but when it is hot and dry there, it would be a pretty tough place to live I’d imagine. Dunno.



  12. Hi Inge,

    A person can but only pen down what they observe and then take some shrewd guesses as to where things might be headed – mind you, I don’t really know and today’s societal landscape is a very odd place which I couldn’t have imagined.

    I hear you about the year without a summer, and commiserate with you.

    On the other hand, one of the benefits of living in a country locale is that if you try things like that ditch, and it fails, you’ll hear about it! 🙂 Hopefully they ask for advice next time?

    Watched a Grand Designs episode yesterday of a couple restoring an old mill in the south west of your country, and I never quite wrapped my head around why they removed the mill stones – which required an enormous effort. I would have lived with them where they were and just worked around the giant granite stones – it is all part of the history of the building after all.

    Thanks for the warning reminder about the tree – and it is a very dangerous tree.



  13. Hi DJ,

    Whatever the precipitation statistics are meant to be, or relative to elsewhere, what you are experiencing is horrendous. It is not far off what arid land down here would receive, in a bad year.

    Everyday you are getting closer to the mildly cooler weather of August, although the same is equally true here. There is an old farming adage which suggests that: it depends. Those two words say so much and so little, all at the same time.

    The four seasons nonsense is an overlay of an idea which we try to force upon reality – and yeah, reality is very different and it varies from place to place. Autumn is a joke here as in a traditional sense of that sort of weather, it can run out as quickly as two weeks. On the other hand we can have a very long spring, but it depends. And word on the street is that a La Nina may be forming, which is dry weather for you I believe, but might be wrong in that regard.

    Oh yeah, that makes sense about grading in the summer months. Clear as mud – from hindsight! Thanks for the explanation. People using slashers often encounter that steel / rock problem in the summer months.

    Sorry about that, we’ll have to start using coded mis-words to describe the potential for conflagration. Nothing comes to mind at the moment, what do you suggest? Glad to hear that the air finally cleared for you both.

    There’s probably two more days of work on that log pile. It’s actually a big job as I have to disk the logs, haul the disks and then split them. The firebox is looking pretty good despite having serious use over the past couple of years, but the pins holding the baffle plate (which sits at the top of the combustion chamber) are showing a bit of wear and tear. Might have to get some sort of fabrication to hold the baffle plate up if an when the pins fail, but I’m not really sure. Have to put some brain cells towards that, but there are steels, and then there are the sort of steels which can survive a combustion chamber… The baffle plate is a 10mm consumable item which looks pretty good, if mildly delaminated.

    Hehe! Yup, that tree is a serious problem as it is one dangerous tree which is likely to fall at any time.

    Hey, the weird thing about your neighbours maple is that if they get someone in to trim the tree, then they have to pay for the work – and given the proximity to the lines, it’ll be expensive. But here is the perverse thing, if the tree falls on the powerline by an act of nature, someone else gets to pay for the clean up. My gut feeling suggests that they might not trim the tree.

    Thought you might be interested in this article: How locals are being priced out by the regional housing boom. Sounds sort of familiar.

    Your lady has excellent powers of observation and is to be commended! I reckon it is a camera angle thing with the car, cameras don’t necessarily reproduce the world as our eye sees it. On the other hand, it is a small car, but rest assured it is comfy enough.

    Rest? What is this thing? I’ve heard of it…



  14. Hi Lewis,

    I spotted that too, and must say that I liked your orphan style. 🙂 Respect for giving them an answer that they didn’t expect – that will teach them for prying their noses into other peoples business. Down here with the car loans, if you pay them out early, you still have to pay the full period of interest. My gut feeling suggests that these loans have been bundled up and sold to investors as bonds with fixed yields and face values. Speaking of supply lines, new cars are very hard to come by down here, and as to tractors, well I heard that the dealers aren’t even taking orders any more.

    Speaking of tractors, I recall when this industrial site was demolished and replaced by a shopping mall: Sunshine Harvester Works. There was a lot of idealism in relation to the environment around the factory and the suburb today bears the name.

    Ah, yes who could forget Magnum P.I.? A red convertible Ferrari may have been involved, just the vehicle for a private investigator who wants to remain inconspicuous. 🙂 But it was a lot of fun. I reckon the best investigators would be innocuous looking ones and I picked up a now favourite phrase from the Dexter books for such a person: Clipboard guy. Nobody remembers clipboard guy.

    We’ve mentioned What we do in the shadows before and yeah. Those NZ comedians are pretty funny though. Maybe Elinor is sending you a message that you need to reconsider your opinion as to the film? Thanks for mentioning the series.

    Ah, the system is stacked against you, however you make excellent use of the library loan system so I reckon you are doing very well out of it. I’m trying hard not to add to the ‘to-read’ list as it is groaning under the weight of recommendations. Passed page 900 of Mr King’s weighty tome.

    Doof, Doof, Doof! With a slight doppler effect. No we enjoy moderation when it comes to such things, however it is the clarity of the recorded music which is astounding for such a poor listening environment. You may have noticed by now that I’m a bit of a music geek! 🙂 The editor does not share my enthusiasm in this regard, and I generally take that as a warning not to share my enthusiasm to often with others! 🙂 The electronics stuff for the amplifier still hasn’t turned up, but I finally received an email yesterday saying that the order has been processed and is on its way. A truly crazy ordering process.

    I look after my hearing and always use ear muffs and ear plugs when working around the farm. After all, some of the machines are very loud and will send a person deaf in short order.

    Really? Well dumpster diving is a bit of a thing, and I don’t necessarily see the problem with that as the stuff was thrown out, it was never intended to be kept. Out of curiosity, do you feel that the people who purchased the cover-less books would have actually purchased the books retail? I wonder about that sort of issue. But yeah I hear you about not getting involved.

    How good a story was falling down? A nice reminder not to back people into a corner. One of the themes of that film was the sort of futility that the guy had allowed his life to become, and then he was discarded.

    Lewis, you sounded like Dirty Harry then when you wrote about H! 🙂 Maybe the next time H dithers, you need to get her attention (and hold her attention) and ask her the hard question: Are you feeling lucky punk? Given that she is a fluffy through and through, she may ignore you despite the thinly veiled threat.

    Exactly! That was my point too and it really annoyed me about the hippy festival. They made such a big fuss because I stuck to boots and jeans and t-shirt, and yet when it rained, the tie-dye was quickly discarded. Pah. That was what got my about the hippy museum, there were hints that at one point things might not have ended up the way they did end up. It came close, but then most folks backed away. And that realisation hit me pretty hard. That was a rough day, that was and I kind of appreciated seeing that story, but at the same time, I dunno it seemed like something was lost. And here we all are today! It’s exciting! 🙂

    One of the good things about the radio station is that they can play naughty lyrics, but the presenters don’t have that freedom. I reckon that is a nice balance. Thanks for that I now have The Kingsmen looping through my head, still it could be worse. I kind of think that the song benefits from having the words sounding as if they are mildly garbled – it adds to the mystery of the art. Don’t need to be clear all the time.

    Those ancient Minoan’s sure knew how to have fun. 🙂

    There isn’t really any permit process down here, although there are some areas set aside for community harvesting of firewood, but they’re not particularly large areas which seems a bit odd to me. The areas might have been stripped already, but I don’t have personal experience with them. Bizarrely enough, thinning the forest is probably good for the health of the remaining trees, but try telling people that? They have fixed ideas about stuff they know little about, and have even less to do with, but they are happy to impose their remote idealistic vision much to my annoyance.

    The bowling ball story was bizarre, but they might make good fill at the back of one of the steel rock gabion cages? I mean they survived almost 70 years underground… And the side story of lumber prices! Ook!

    Triple Ook! Well, gut feelings of trouble ahead. Months supplies stacked away is a different story to only a few weeks of stuff.



  15. Hi Chris,

    It was good to hear how well you weathered that storm. Really reassuring.

    Red sky in the morning, a shepherd’s warning. We woke-up to a smokey red sunrise. The warning and the smoke are are not weather related but for civil unrest with a heavy criminal element and an alarming unemployment rate. Looters have stripped the shop shelves bare. Food, alcohol, clothing, appliances, everything even stationery. Some shopping centres were set on fire. For at least a 200 km radius you can’t go into a shop and buy something off the shelf.

    Today is eerie quiet. If we hadn’t become accustomed to it during the strict lockdown during the 1st wave it would be very very unsettling.

    On a lighter note vegetables are growing well this winter. It is tempting to think that my gardening skills are improving but it must be the weather conditions. The longer I garden the more convinced I become that there is an intangible element to the seasonal weather that has a key influence, but then what do I know.

    Things seldom turn out as one imagines they will. At the begining of the health business I set aside a reassuring wodge of cash money and people rolled their eyes at me. Yesterday during the unrest ATMs were badly vandalised. Today I get a text from the bank saying I should use their online system as all banches are remaining closed. Mmm laziness and the intervening months have wittled away at that wodge. I thought of you insisting to be served inside the banch. It raised a wry smile.

    Your gravel paths look great. I mulch my paths to try and slow down the weeds. I have to ask, why do you make your paths so wide!? On the terraces it looks like more path than garden bed.

    Kind regards

  16. Hi Chris,

    That split tree looks like a tree to stay far away from!

    The oak tree next door to us, which is so close to the property line that almost half of its canopy is over us, dropped a huge limb Sunday evening as we read in the living room. The limb dropped onto the neighboring house’s electric service line. That house has been vacant for 30 years, but we know and are on good terms with the owner, so Mike called him to let him know about the dropped limb and then called the electric utility so they can do what they need to do. Unless and until the limb is removed from the line and the line restored to its normal position, we are staying clear of that wood. Maybe the electric utility will leave some of the wood for us after it completes its work. If so, we’ll have more firewood.

    More rain than we need has been falling again. I’d send some of it west where they do need it if I could.

    The yard and me are on UBoot as part of the 2021 virtual Sustainable Backyard Tour: I watched most of the other videos of yards on the Tour on Sunday. Modern chicken theory and modern garden theory were on display, and are so much more useful (and beautiful) than MMT. 😉

    You look really cold in that pic of you and the dirt mouse. Here we use a scraper and the car’s defroster rather than a bucket of water to clear off the windshield. Don’t drive anywhere in the winter in a place that has a real winter without a scraper! Credit cards have been employed as scrapers in a pinch, but they just don’t work as well. Ask us how we know …


  17. Yo, Chris – Well, so much for the “Matrix” boxed set. I was looking at my hold list, last night, and noticed that it’s Blu-Ray. My funky little DVD player, doesn’t “do” Blu-Ray. I figured I’d upgrade, when it finally bites the dust. But in the meantime, no “Matrix”, for me! Oh, well. Plenty of other stuff, to watch.

    “You will have nothing, and you will be happy. Sounds more like homeless. 🙂 .

    That was an interesting story, about the Sunshine Harvester Works. It’s the whole trajectory of business, in the 20th century. In a nutshell. Interesting how they worked in the whole Garden Cities Movement. And, even though it is now a shopping mall, it’s nice they worked in a lot of the old infrastructure.

    Music geek, coffee geek, baked goods geek. Your just geeked out! 🙂

    Would the people that buy the very cheap stripped paperbacks buy retail? Tis a mystery. If the opportunity for stripped paperbacks were not there … got me.

    Speaking of backing people into corners … Elinor had her inspection, yesterday. It did not go well. She’s got ten days to correct a list as long as your arm. Theoretically, and in fact, she could get a ten day eviction notice, after that. My inspection is tomorrow. I suppose there will be a major sticking point, or two.

    I probably take too much pleasure in movies like “Falling Down.” Similar to “God Bless America,” (2011). Dark fantasies, all around. I guess it’s The Great Disillusionment. You follow the rules, do all the right things and get … nothing. Or at least, not what you expected.

    The 1960s and 1970s, held great promise and potential. But it didn’t pan out. For many reasons. Mr. Greer has talked about that, a time or three.

    Well, I’d better get cracking. Apartment inspection tomorrow! Lew

  18. Hello Chris,

    It sounds to me that you are winning. In your own game. With an excellent Editor, who even could help you ride out an existential crisis. Not everyone is so lucky!

    I even suspect that some of your previous office mates (maybe from the old days of gobarmint service?) would look at the photo of you and Ollie and wonder who looks more feral…

    Regarding winning and losing and changing the rules, there are many things to ponder.
    I think often about when I lived in Moscow in the 1990’s, where millions of people experienced huge changes of the rules, after the USSR collapsed in the period of 1989-1991.
    All of a sudden all expectations dissolved. Pensions no more. Vacation tickets gone. Lots of military regiments and plenty of factories were just closed down and people were left to their own devices.
    It was extremely interesting to get a glimpse into friends’ families there at the time, to see how people were coping (or not).
    Especially a high ranking officer from the Rocket Army (nukes) who was sacked and lost all status of prestige was a sad case of a man whose whole identity dissolved in front of his wife and kids. Vodka killed him a few years later.
    Overall, the male population had more difficulty to cope, and life expectancy dropped 10 years in a short while.
    The personal (and group bourne) psychological resilience is more important for the outcome than the drop in measurable purchase power.

    Do you remember the faces of the ex-Lehman-Brothers-employees who walked out into a street full of journalists and photographers, with eyes full of incredulity?

    I think that resourceful people who withdraw from the monetary economy and skill up are better prepared for the rough ride, wherever it takes us. (Like you are doing, or the ‘Retrosuburbia’-theme)

    And of course, the rich will capture more and more of the pie. “State Capture” is a term that was coined in the 1990s to describe how small groups of friends took over the governments in East Europe and made their looting of the public goods legal. Instead of circumventing the law, they made their specific stealing legal.
    (A bit like the Australian, American and European real estate owners who push for MMT, as a mechanism to hoover up more and more of the economic output of our societies.)


  19. Chris,

    Life intervened in a big way today. An urgency occurred this morning that took up much of the day. No lasting serious problems. We also were able to snag breakfast at the locally owned diner.

    After returning home, we’ve been keeping up with the fire that burned part of Nespelem, Washington, the Princess’s home area, Monday night. Started by lightning from a thunderstorm that started in Canada and blew in from the direction where we don’t get winds from. 😉 10,000 acres to 15,000 acres and counting, and winds picking up tomorrow region wide.

    To be continued tomorrow.


  20. Hello Chris
    Summer arrived yesterday and it is still with us, wonderful.
    The neighbours may ask for advice but they won’t take it. So far they overwhelm with charm, not sure whether there is anything else.
    Life continues to be completely insane here and I see no sign of it getting any better. I am shocked by the fear that swamps everything.
    Someone is doing outside work for me. An answer to my prayer and I thank the gods that be or whatever.


  21. Hi Elbows, Claire, Goran, DJ, and Inge,

    Tis the mid-week hiatus and unfortunately things are looking like they are getting a bit bonkers again here. Oh well, that’ll make number five.

    Elbows – As a special mention, I read about the troubles in your corner of the world, and you definitely deserve a special mention. It is crazy here, and it is crazy there – where does one go when the world is rapidly losing its marbles? Into the garden of course, that’s where. Keep out of harms way, although I have no doubts you are an individual alert for mischief going on around you, but best not push your luck.



  22. Hi Lewis,

    Good luck with the inspection, and as I read your comment this morning an intriguing idea coalesced into the murky swamp that is my brain. The idea, which I have an odd hunch that we’ve discussed before, but all the same, it deserves repeating, give the inspection dudes something obvious to fixate upon that will be easy for you to rectify. They just need to find something negative to report so that it doesn’t appear that your particular inspection wasn’t overly favourable.

    Oh, Blu-ray, I’ve heard of them… 🙂 Yeah I too would be stumped by that particular foray into technology. Maybe your old computer could connect up on of them $20 external blu-ray drives from the land of stuff? For $20 you wouldn’t imagine that they’d work, but I saw a few of them on ebuy for that sort of mad cash. I’ll bet that inside the Matrix they don’t have connectivity and technology issues.

    Hehe! Very funny about homelessness, but you’re right it did kind of sound like that was the promise. It’s is a tough sell, but hey I do recall reading in Cesar Milan’s book on dogs that the dogs that accompany the homeless are often the most well balanced dogs from a behavioural point of view. I’ve been implementing many of the things I learned from that book with the dogs, and that stuff works.

    It was an interesting story, to which I saw the latter stages as I recall the site before it became a shopping mall complex. It was a vast tract of land, and the gardens were just like the song in that they were paved over for car parks. There is a small park left remaining from the enterprise. It amazes me that we could let such businesses fade away into obscurity, and now people can’t even place an order for a tractor.

    And the land of stuff has apparently sent a ship to take a closer look at joint US-Aussie naval exercises. Aren’t they the curious cheeky scamps!

    Yes, it is self confessed too. Total geekery down here. Speaking of which, the box of electronics stuff finally turned up in the mail today. Had to work late tonight and then just finished before an online catch up with my green wiz mates. A great chat, and given the unfolding drama down here, we’re probably not going to be able to catch up in person for a while… I’m really uncertain what will remain from this craziness, and it has been said before that it doesn’t look too bright to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Still the people with their finger on the button also have their finger on the printing presses. It’s probably a bit too much power.

    It is a mystery isn’t it? The same sort of question arises when you consider say, music or film piracy. Were the people with the long red beards and swashbuckling nature, also be the same people who’d stump the mad cash for vinyl or a ticket to the matinee? Dunno, but I suspect not.

    Which reminds me that I saw a couple of grifters in action the other night. Forgot to mention it to you, but they were a couple of very well groomed and presented ladies in their fifties. So one of the grifters is at the bar exclaiming how disappointed they were with the taste of the wine, and they’d had it elsewhere, and are you sure it came from the right bottle. And somehow through sheer wheedling they’d scored a top up, and whilst the barmaids back was turned I received a look from the grifter daring me to say something. I’d watching the goings on with an air of distaste. The thing with grifters is that they’re usually small time, the big time ones have corporate sponsorship – like how they did in Fight Club. 🙂

    You don’t often see that around here, but then I hadn’t seen either of those two ladies before. It was kind of weird too because they were getting (and enjoying) attention from the older gentlemen at the bar. I thought to myself that they’d got this racket down pat.

    Elinor. Elinor, it is time to get your act together and chick-up and sort your business out. Nobody wants to be on the street at her age. Do some and promise you’ll do the rest later, or whatever, just do something.

    Nope, give them a sticking point, which you can rectify – no point making life too hard for yourself.

    God Bless America, (2011) is dark. Insurance salesman goes postal… Frank’s life is candidly very dark, but beware the person with nothing to lose for they have nothing to lose. What an ending, and the naughty Roxy. A very bad thing to do.

    Yeah, well that hippy story was clear to my eyes and that was a disturbing thing to see.

    Good luck!



  23. Hi Chris,
    For some reason I’ve been unable to read both last weeks and this week’s blog closely. Just wanted to check in and report that the wedding was a success even with unexpected light showers. We have just about dug ourselves out of the mess left behind. When Doug was grousing about all the work left for us I pointed out that no one got hurt, nothing was broken, no one threw up at least not here and no one got stranded without a way to get home. We are quite ready to get on with the rest of our normal summer activities. Anyway more details to follow.

    Just one thing – you do look awfully big for that car.


  24. Yo, Chris – Sigh. Lost my post. Once more into the breach …

    Just to go at things backwards, re: the hippy ethos. Mr. Greer summed it up in a nutshell, at the end of last weeks comments. Though he has expounded at greater length, at other times.

    “Dennis, yeah, there’s personal feeling there. I got to watch way too many members of my generation, including quite a few people whom I’d respected until then, cash in their ideals the moment the grants ran dry and abandon everything they claimed they believed. It was quote Morning in America unquote, greed was good, and the future we’d all been talking about was somebody else’s problem. Me, I was nobody who mattered in the appropriate tech scene at the time; I just wasn’t willing to sell out, and so ended up twenty years later as one of the few people who would admit to remembering any of it.”

    They’re still counting victims of the last heatwave.

    Gee, I check all the boxes, for the demographics. Even to living on an upper floor. But so far, probably have enough of my marbles to take action, and not croak.

    Speaking of the inspection, the condemned man ate a hearty meal … and then, a reprieve from the Governor! My inspection was to be, today. I was passing through the lobby, emptying some garbage, yesterday, and Little Mary Sunshine was passing out flyers. The inspection has been postponed, until the 29th. No reason given. Never is. Rumor has it that she has a meeting, with Little Mary Sunshine, senior. A meeting that’s going to last over two weeks? That’s a marathon! But, my question is, will I get another hearty meal? So, I returned to my apartment, and took a nap. Oh, I was on schedule to get everything done, but now I can do a bit of detail work, that would have been glossed over. And, yes, I’ll leave something for them to be distracted, by.

    Rather than buying another electronic gizmo, I’ll just wait until my little player dies. Then get a Blu-Ray. You probably know that the Blu-Ray’s also play regular discs. In the meantime, plenty of stuff to watch. Last night I watched “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” The library got a new, re-mastered copy. My gosh, that film is almost 40 years old! It’s held up remarkably well. It sure did launch a lot of young actor’s careers.

    I also see there’s a new documentary on Anthony Bourdain, coming out. Called “Roadrunner.” It should be hitting our theatres, this week.

    Re: Tractors, or, any other 20th century industrial business. It’s all about the money. Oh, you might be able to get a tractor, now, but it will be all junked up with electronic carp. But, that’s why tractors became the poster child for the Right to Repair, movement.

    The naval exercises seem like one big game of chicken. It’s all very disquieting. Next up on my films to watch pile is “The Day After.” A miniseries from 1983. About nuclear attack. I’ve seen it, but it’s been awhile.

    I’m glad you got to meet up, with your Green Wizards chums. Even if it was remotely. No tiramisu, kind of takes the gloss off 🙁 .

    That was interesting about the grifters. An odd bit of theatre. You may never see them, again. Grifters tend to stay on the move. I hope the older gentleman, kept his hand on his wallet. And counted his teeth, after they departed.

    I don’t know how the whole Elinor thing is going to shake out. Her caregiver is back, today. Which ought to be interesting. As she tends to place blame, elsewhere. Worst case scenario is, next stop, assisted living. Which is basically, a room (maybe a roommate) and three squares a day. I keep my thoughts, to myself. Though I’ve been a bit more reflective, about my own situation. Lew

  25. Chris,

    La Nina is actually wetter than normal for us, except when it isn’t. And usually a bit cooler, too. Some of the snowiest winters on record were La Nina winters, as well as a few with less than normal snow but tons of rain that fell at 2C. Brrrr. This past winter was a La Nina. We got 130cm of snow, a bit more than the “normal” 110 cm. But we got 23 cm in that freak late October storm, and nearly 100 cm fell by the first week of January. Then the dries started in February after the weak La Nina ended.

    Good luck with the baffle plate and the wood stove. I bet it will be nice getting that woodpile totally done, though!

    I know how to make “Trouble Tree” come down. Take an axe to it and the top will topple in a most dangerous fashion. Or maybe avoid the tree.

    I can trim a lot of Leaning Maple. Anything that is on my side of the fence is legal for me to trim. That neighbor has been amenable to working with me about that tree – it’s a case of neighbor getting the money for removal. Next year, hopefully, which should be okay.

    Thanks for the housing prices article. Our prices have officially gone up 29% in one year. They’re still increasing. Glad I’m not looking to buy a home.

    So in the Dread Reservation Fire, the cousins’ homes, well, the main home we think survived, along with the outbuildings. The livestock and horses were saved. The secondary home, a few hundred meters from the main house, was destroyed. The fire is still spreading, well over 15,000 acres and understaffed – too many fires demanding resources. And windy up there today, like it is pretty much over the entire region.

    Friday will be 89F, so another “break from the heat”, but back near 38C by Sunday.


  26. Hi everyone,

    Far out, don’t know where to start, but maybe starting at the beginning is as good a place as any. This morning the editor and I had a hunch that things were soon to go from crazy, to super crazy eleven. And here we are now in the evening at super crazy eleven. Trust me, you don’t want to be there.

    Victoria to enter five-day snap lockdown as more COVID cases recorded.

    This is the fifth lock down now, and someone far smarter than I once observed that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome has all the hallmarks of madness.

    As someone who tries to squeeze the very essence out of life, this solitary confinement (acknowledging that I’m here with the editor) act is really starting to get to me.

    Rest assured that in the coming days, there’ll be plenty of time to respond, but tonight I intend to do as the Vikings.



  27. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, a lost post, lost freedoms, life’s looking up! 🙂

    Despite it all, I’m fairly upbeat about things. Plans for today got turned onto their head though. We’d arranged to pick up a second hand leather couch in the big smoke on Monday. The couch is replacing the now very soiled green couch (which candidly has been dog barfed on once too many times in its long and illustrious life). The smell is unable to be removed from the foam cushions and cloth and my office is now rather fragrant and redolent with the smell of dog barf. Anyway, this morning we could see where the wind was blowing in terms of the potential for lock down and so dumped everything and arranged to pick up the couch (which the seller was grateful to get rid of). $100 for real leather hide 3 seater couch – there is something deeply wrong with society, but they have no value.

    And here is where things get super weird. So in a really busy part of the inner burbs, I scored a park with space for the trailer right out the front of the apartment building. The likelihood of that happening is not high, but it did all the same. Then on the way back we stopped off for coffee and despite being two hours away from closing we got another park for the car with the now full trailer, and the cafe had two muffins left (again very improbable). Then it didn’t rain either there or back, but once we unloaded the couch, the heavens opened with what looked like a tropical downpour (with lightning and thunder). Talk about fate smiling. 🙂

    Anyway, the upshot is that perhaps it was meant to be. Yeah, not looking forward to our lock down punishment. We’re hell bent on destroying the economy, that’s for sure. I dunno what to make of it all.

    I read that comment (as I usually read most of them), but Mr Greer is correct and that sense of lost opportunity for change really stood out to me. I could see it because the museum was full of images of the past. The Earth itself might be asking the hard question: What have you done for me lately? Not so easy to answer that one. 😉

    Yeah, heat waves kill folks here too, and during the Black Saturday 2009 bushfires which had very similar temperatures I read that apparently 400 folks died from the heat conditions, whereas 173 died from the direct result of the fires. Risk is an odd subject, and it would be weird to work as a actuary having to consider such matters.

    And that’s the thing, keep your marbles intact (as much as possible anyway).

    You are super lucky to have earned a reprieve from the inspection, but then you’ve got the awful awfulness of having to put up with the thought that the can has been kicked down the road (sounds a bit like life really). And a hearty meal can always soothe the savage beast (or de-ruffle the feathers).

    Mate, responsibility can be a hard road sorry to say. I hope Elinor gets her act together and rectifies at least some of the issues.

    I was in the car for about six hours today and I’m done – that’s too much driving for my tastes. Don’t feel too bad for me though, I’m off to the pub for last drinks (kind of like your final meal – hope it was good). 😉



  28. @ DJ – You beat me to it. 🙂 . I was going to link to that article, in my post to Chris, today. Cleverly work in some reference to that Grand Designs program.

    I have always wanted to live in the tower of a Victorian house. Or, a cave. That’s a really nice cave. It’s got possibilities 🙂 . Lew

  29. Yo, Chris – Another lockdown? Well, that’s the pits. All I can say is, that bites the big one.

    I’d say the parking (and baked goods) gods, were smiling on you. Perhaps you also should have bought a lottery ticket? When I used to visit my Uncle Larry, in Portland, every month or so, we always headed down to a very busy section of the Central Business District to have lunch. At Elephant and Castle. A really old restaurant and bar, that was channeling an English pub. Stained glass back bar, Guiness on tap, and THE best fish and chips in the world. Larry was amazed that I always found a parking spot, within half a block of the pub. Then one day, we showed up, and it was all gone. Replaced by a cheesy Italian restaurant, that reminded one of a scene from “The Godfather.” Which is probably a very un-politically correct thing to say. But ask me if I care. Not really. So, instead, I’ll post something entirely unrelated, off my “Things Chris Might Find Interesting,” list. And besides, DJ stole my thunder, over the Anglo Saxon Great Designs, article. Gee, I wonder if the guy who did the renovations in the 18th century, hired a hermit for his garden? 🙂,268904

    Can’t say I ever ran across the dude, but I think the story says a lot about people, and, our society.

    There’s a kind of sad, nostalgia, looking back at the 1960’s and 70’s. The road not taken, and all that.

    Speaking of marbles, or the lack thereof, I thought I’d take a quick survey, of the truck, before calling the mechanic. I could not find the keys. Either set. I thought they were in the kitchen junk drawer, which has a separate little box for “important stuff.” Went through my desk, all the pockets of my winter coats, the pockets of my winter shirts, one of my gardening buckets, etc. etc.. Finally found them. Where? Kicking around the bottom of my back pack / go bag. Both sets. All very logical, in hindsight. By then, I was totally frazzled, and had lost the daylight. Oh, well. Another day. Fresh start, and all that.

    Elinor’s caregiver came back from her holiday, yesterday. So all’s right (mostly) with the world. When I saw her last night, she didn’t even mention the inspection. Maybe she thinks it will all go away?

    I learned a new Australian slang term, yesterday. Near as I can figure, from Wik – hoopla, it’s not un-family friendly. Hoon. Kind of a Max Max car subculture? Some involvement with gangs and organized crime?

    And, finally, interesting ancient Roman tech. The treadwheel crane. Check out the fourth picture down. They look like hamsters in a wheel.

    It’s from a family tomb of the Haterii. They were contractors for big civic building projects, circa 100 C.E.. Lew

  30. Hi Elbows,

    Out of curiosity, has it been a wet year for you? I read the other day that as the climate warms (as it did in the past as well – always unwise to muck around and alter an otherwise stable state) both your part of the world, and likewise here became more humid. I’m sure the increasingly wet years will be interspersed with epic droughts though. As in the past – so is the future.

    Sorry to hear about the troubles in your part of the world. It is weird isn’t it, that you can never know in advance what incident, no matter how minor, will result in the wasps nest being kicked hard. Corruption is becoming more of a problem down here too, and at the higher levels there is a lack of desire to deal with the situation before it escalates – and thus they sow the seeds of their own demise. Dunno, but as a species we seem pretty content to exist with inequalities and corruption, but also as a species we can’t seem to curb the worst excesses, and so there is this weird cycle of escalation – and then a tipping point is reached. Nobody really knows where the tipping point is and so it is an unwise strategy to allow escalation, lest we discover that tipping point. Sorry, I’m mulling over my thoughts in this matter.

    Today is likewise pretty quiet here too. It’s the fifth lock down, and when the wind dies down and the drizzle ceases, the background noise of the life of the forest is no longer drowned out by the droning far distant engines. Your garden is a good insurance policy.

    I don’t know either, but my gut feeling suggests that knowledge accrues in an incremental manner. And your garden connects you to the seasons and the life, and so by the sheer act of just giving things a go – you get better (and improvements here are also incremental – a silver bullet is not to be found, I’m guessing).

    Ook! Well, I too keep a minimum of that plastic stuff, mostly to pay the tree dudes because I never really know in advance when they’ll seek work. That particular wodge is known as a Samoan Islander trust – and we have a good working relationship tested over many years. Sorry to hear about the ATM’s and the decline of your wodge. I really had to put my foot down that day and project a command, which is not my preferred option as it costs me to do so, but one of the staff was super crazy and sometimes you find yourself at a deflection point and have to choose. Enjoy your wry smile and all you can do is your best given the circumstances and either yours or mine limited skills. Always has it been thus. 🙂

    Mulch is an excellent choice for the paths, and we’ve done that too. The mulch on the paths gets consumed by the soil critters and provides a really nice walking path and releases minerals. Ah, your skills of observation do you well. The mineral in the shortest supply here in the volcanic loam is calcium. Every time I walk – or the dogs walk – upon the paths, the small stones rub one against the other and produce…



  31. Hi Claire,

    Thanks for the advice, and I’m actually a bit nervous about that tree – of which the top of has moved further away from the trunk in recent days. It has been said before elsewhere that gravity has that effect.

    Trees are quite giving like that and I’d imagine the power company has no interest in the firewood (or more likely the limbs will be dropped at the curb) 🙂 That’s a wise precaution too as the day I dropped the tree onto the power line (many long years ago) I received a very solid education in how electricity can travel through a tree trunk before earthing out in the soil (the wires around here are a cheap single wire, earth return system). And many folks assume that the electricity connection is lost, but no, the system tries to reconnect using the fault finding processes. And even smoke can transmit electricity. Not to be messed around with, so I applaud your discretion.

    Claire, I hear you about that, and I’ve had way too much rain as well and would happily send them a goodly percentage as well if I could. The short term spring forecast is starting to sound like it is more of the same here. You’ll be happy to know that with the forecast indicators I’ll use wider plant spacing this year (all thanks to you – respect).

    Thanks for the link and I’ll check it out after replying to everyone tonight.

    Yeah, it was cold, and thanks for the tip, I never would have considered using a credit card in a pinch. At least they’ll be good for something in the longer term. I still recall the horror that my mum had when one of those things turned up in the mail, all unsolicited and stuff. It was as if the devil had turned up at the front door. But then, over time, temptation escalated and resolve weakened – and here we all are today! 🙂 It’s exciting!



  32. Hi Goran,

    Thanks for the vote of support! I’ll tell you a funny story. Yesterday the weather was filthy. We had a gut feeling that by the end of the day, we’d be in lock down. The gut feeling turned out to be correct – and we’re now in a five day lock down (if you believe that it will be only five days). Earlier before the lock down, we contacted a lovely lady who was selling us a second hand leather couch for $100. We’d originally arranged to pick up the couch on Monday, but with the impending threat of lock down, plans were thrown into disarray. To put the lovely lady at ease, I said to her that my wife and I will turn up and remove the couch yesterday.

    So the editor and I turned up and scored a car park for the dirt rat Suzuki and bright yellow trailer right outside the front door to an apartment block in an otherwise busy area. That never happens – and we took it to be a good sign. The lovely lady turned out to be a petite young Asian lady with an American-Australian mixed accent, and we chatted for a bit and had a lot of laughs. She offered to help move the couch, but I remarked that: No disrespect intended, but my wife here is probably a lot stronger than you are. By the time we got the couch out of the apartment, into the lift and onto the bright yellow trailer, even I was thinking to myself this couch is super heavy. And the editor kept pace with me for the whole process – must be all the work we do around here. 🙂

    That’s the thing with existential crises, someone has to hold your hand as your journey through the murk. The editor and I have a saying which suggests that: sometimes you are ahead, and sometimes you are behind, and it is up to the person in the relationship who is ahead to captain the ailing ship. 🙂

    Hehe! Fortunately my experience with gobarmint work was limited to about four years, but yeah the corporate folks who once knew me probably would think that I’d lost my marbles. There’s an old Peter Gabriel song: ‘Solsbury Hill’, which paints a nice picture of those who step – even a few feet – away.

    The Russian experience has much to teach, that’s for sure. I’ll tell you a funny story about my own experience. The day way back in the early 1990’s when the state gobarminty made me redundant and I had to scramble to find work in a time of high unemployment, kind of left a scar in me. So I never gave myself wholly over again to jobs after that time, although I tried to do so once – and I have an odd notion that other people know that this is the case and they can see it in me.

    Some of my oldest friends lost themselves in computer games, but whatever the choice, be it vodka, or whatever, I just kind of learned the hard way that it is unwise for me to stake my sense of self worth upon a job.

    I’m sure you’d have some thoughts on this matter? And you’re right too, resilience means much – and it is rarely the sort of resilience that most people believe it to be. I tend to believe that it is the gumption to get back up again when you’ve been knocked down – think Rocky the fictional boxer.

    🙂 It is a truth universally acknowledged that practising to be resourceful, also makes a person become resourceful! Mate, it is like a muscle waiting to be exercised, and it is always wise to put it to the test when you have the opportunity to recover easily if you inadvertently fail.

    And truth to tell, I have no idea where things are going to take us. I wouldn’t have predicted this particular outcome, that’s for sure. All I know is that what is not sustainable, probably won’t be sustained.

    One day, those folks will discover that money is not the same thing as wealth.



  33. Hi Inge,

    Yay, for some summer warmth for you and your island! 🙂 It is very pleasant thing to feel the bite of the sun upon your skin. I’ll bet your plants are growing fast, and hope that the sun hangs around for long enough to warm your soils.

    Advice is a difficult and complicated thing. The neighbours here don’t seek out my advice, and they certainly don’t listen to it either should those words be offered. I’d be curious as to your opinion in this matter, but it is possible that there is still too much in the way of energy and resources sloshing around society – even now – for people to consider how they and their families might take a step back and away from such extravagant usage and begin starting to put the land to some productive use for their benefit.

    Years and years ago I knew a bloke who described superficially charming folks as: show bags. The inference being that they looked good on the outside, but inside they were full of plastic stuff that you never want nor would ever need. It’s a bit cheeky.

    The fear button is being pushed really hard here too, and we’re in the fifth lock down – and despite far fewer cases than your daughters state, we’re in a harder lock down. Yay for us! The problem with the authorities pushing the fear button hard is that some of that fear effort gets reflected back at them, and then they absorb it and also become fearful. There is a time to be fearful, and then there is a time to be bold and daring, and finding the mid-point between those two choices is normally the job of our otherwise ailing elites.

    Good stuff! Glad to hear that your new worker is working out well. Does your son also have work for the guy?



  34. Hi Margaret,

    Yay! The day was done, and from all accounts there were no casualties! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to check in and say hello.

    Unexpected light showers during an otherwise hot and dry summer sounds like a good sign to me for future prospects, although other perspectives from the participants may have suggested a more super stressed out reaction. Drought breaking weddings does kind of sound like an ancient fertility rite! 🙂 I look forward to hearing the details.

    We picked up a new second hand leather couch for the fluffies yesterday. Only Ollie has taken to it because it has the remaining odour from whatever odd cleaner the previous owner used to use. Ollie seems happy enough, though but Plum refuses to settle down. Oh well, the minor smell will dissipate in time.

    Hope the clean up wasn’t too much work for you both.

    One of the downsides of being a gangly fellow is that most vehicles feel small. I enjoy the small bills which accompany the small vehicle.



  35. Hi DJ,

    Oh, for some reason I’d had it in my head that La Nina years were hotter and drier for you, which is the opposite pattern for such years down here on the other side of the Pacific. Of course, it was a weak La Nina which dissipated. Dunno about your part of the world but there are many climate cycles here as you could imagine given the variability and proximity to the roaring forties.

    Southern Annular Mode and the Australian climate

    Indian Ocean influences on Australian climate

    I’d imagine that if you didn’t have all that land to the north of you, your climate would be very different again than what you experience now. At least with your good snowfall last winter, your rivers will keep flowing for a bit, despite the hot and dry weather.

    Thanks, and I’ve got a spare baffle plate for the wood heater, I just have to work out what sort of arrangement would hold the baffle plate at the top of the combustion chamber, whilst not shielding too much of the heat from the stainless steel wet jacket which surrounds three sides of the combustion chamber (the fourth being the front door). Have you got any ideas as to how to accomplish this engineering feat?

    And you’re spot on, I’ll be happy to see the end of that old log pile. Every day we complete and are unscathed is a good day. A bloke in a town to the north of here (Taradale) unfortunately died after being unknowingly bitten by a deadly snake. Snakes can be active in the cooler months if it is warm enough, so I’m doing this particular job in the coldest time of the year – and keeping alert. It is a hard days work that job and leaves me feeling a bit frazzled at the end of the day.

    Hehe! I’m hearing your amusing tree advice, noting the amusement and then as you say, leaving the dangerous tree well alone. I sort of feel now that if I took the chainsaw to the tree and dropped it, the split down the middle of the tree could make it a very dangerous job. Fortunately, gravity will do the job for free.

    Your neighbour has a good point about that maple. Trees are very expensive to remove, and the same rules apply here in relation to property boundaries and I’ve observed all manner of inappropriate sized trees in peoples gardens. It’s a common sense approach.

    Ouch! That sounds like an inflating financial bubble to me. I wonder how the folks will earn money once the ability to work remotely dries up?

    Sorry to hear that your relatives property was damaged, but at least the live stock and horses were OK. They’re going to need some feed and for the next few months as I doubt there’ll be much around for them to eat after the fire. How did your relatives fare? We’re or are they OK? Hopefully once the rains return, the grasses will sprout and then all the animals will do better.



  36. Hello Chris
    Lockdowns, floods and fires. Ain’t life exciting! Actually it is all completely nuts. I assume that the poor planet is trying to get rid of us and who can blame it.

    Your advice to Lew on having something small for the inspectors to find, is absolutely brilliant; never to be forgotten.

    I did mention the worker to Son but he was diffident about it. Actually the wretched fellow has disappeared at the moment. I appreciate the fact that he has a fulltime job but wish that he would communicate a bit more. Fascinating that people who have plenty of work all ready are the only ones prepared to try and take on further work. The work that the fellow did was excellent.

    I try only to offer advice if asked for it (don’t always succeed in that) and even then one is usually wasting ones time,

    Sun still streaming down here.


  37. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the commiserations, but yeah we’ve done something extra super naughty in this here state, and so our lock downs are far harsher and far longer than other states. I note that in your country your states have different levels of restrictions too, and we’re probably closest to the worst of the Dem states. A few cheeky wags have suggested that the land of stuff may have something to do with the matter: By tearing up Victoria’s Belt and Road agreements with China, the Commonwealth is playing a high-stakes game. Who even knew that our state gobarmunt had signed onto the strategy? I would have thought that this was a federal matter, not a state matter, but there you go. And rumour has it that there was another agreement with the land of stuff which has now been shredded. Geo-politiks, can’t live with it, pass the beer nuts.

    A fine idea, and I’d mentioned the lottery ticket idea to someone else yesterday. Sometimes the fates play kindly with you. And there are times that I have the unshakable feeling that I’m only keeping one step ahead of events. One day I fully expect that I’ll be over run by events, but whilst mind and limb is strong, I’ll keep on running.

    The Godfather was a very Italian-American film based on the best selling book, wasn’t it the whole point that it should show the story from that perspective? 🙂 But then I hear you, people can get very strange about such things. I read a bit about the film tonight, and hadn’t realised how critically acclaimed it was, whilst also being an economic success.

    Your Elephant and Castle pub sounded quite lovely, and sure would have beaten the socks off a sports bar with multiple screens on every wall. There is a pub with that name also in Seattle, although for the life of me I couldn’t say for sure it was still operating. It’s a long way for you to to travel though to secure some good fish and chips.

    It’s odd how time has that affect. On the trip into the big smoke to pick up the couch, I went to an area near to where my grandmother used to live. On school holidays, my mum used to bundle us off to my grandmothers place for a few weeks of peace, I guess. We used to regularly walk down to the Prahran Market where the weeks meat and vegetables were purchased from the various sellers. They never had a car, so we walked everywhere. And at the market you used to be able to buy hot round jam donughts smothered in sugar too, which used to be a market thing down here. Yum!

    But yeah, the area had changed so much I barely recognised it. And the apartment block sat upon the site of an old chocolate factory. They made higher end chocolates, the sort you’d give for a special occasion or present. It is weird how the suburbs have become economically, and thus socially segmented due to the sheer cost of housing. There is less turnover of properties around these parts and so there can be quite wealthy folks living on large properties next to folks of more modest means. In the big smoke I’ve noticed that former factory sites have converted into apartment blocks and it is a sort of weird homogenising of an area. I guess long term that will change back, but I do wonder about the long term sustainability of the over sized apartment blocks.

    Yeah, DJ got in first with the cave story, and I really enjoyed it. The story about Barnett Moss does say a lot about our society and dare I add, the pressure to conform to an ideal. Rough living can be hard on a person and it interests me that the bloke was polite and didn’t ask for much. You don’t often come across such humility, and plenty of folks see it as a weakness, but I reckon they’re wrong.

    You hit the nail on the head as that was my exact take away from the experience: A sort of sad nostalgia when looked back upon. I’m not much given to such feelings like that, but yeah that day it kind of hit me hard. But then I channelled that energy into personal change. Maybe up until that moment, I had a sort of mistaken belief that a group – or whatever – would sort the ills of the world out. And I can’t even say for sure where that idea would have originated, it certainly wasn’t an original thought, because others have also expressed similar beliefs.

    Maybe, getting to the core of other peoples motivations is at best an art form, and at worst a wild stab in the dark! 🙂 Those sorts of processes like your inspection have a sort of weird energy arc of their own. It is kind of like applying for a planning permit with the local gobarmunt in that people can believe whatever they want and cry at this or that injustice or stupidity, but the process itself demands to be followed in exactitude.

    Nope, hoon is definitely family friendly slang! Anyone can be a hoon, it just takes the will and opportunity to do so. A hoon is anyone who decides to drive really fast, or light up the cars tyres in a burnout display of driving prowess.

    The Roman crane was impressive, and the rats in the treadmill probably had their work cut out for them. I have to fess up here, I could see that the crane used a variety of block and tackles, but I had no idea how they work. So a deep rabbit hole dive is required here. They don’t teach ya nuffin useful at school these days!

    Incidentally, I hadn’t realised that Deus Ex Machina was not in fact a reverence for all things mechanical. Who knew? They way people bang on about that phrase.



  38. Hi Inge,

    Certainly I’d use the word umbrage, with possibly a side serving of chastisement for our very naughty ways.

    Thank you, and I’ve used that trick with building inspectors on projects I’ve worked on. It just works! 🙂 As a contrast I once had to secure a defects report for a building, and because I couldn’t leave anything, the inspector went over the place with a fine tooth comb. And because I was in a state of nerves about the outcome of the inspection, the editor (who was far more relaxed about the situation) accompanied the building inspector.

    Ah, it is a known personality trait that some folks whom are already busy, tend to over commit to additional work. I’ve made that error once or twice, but a very long time ago when I was a much younger person. I believe the error comes from a good place, but it is not an ideal situation. I’m super careful about taking on additional work or activities – which possibly some folks find to be a difficult attitude. It took me three years to make the decision to begin writing a blog, just for one example, any earlier than that I wouldn’t have been ready.

    I hope the arrangement works as they guy might be looking to do something different with his life and is randomly trying stuff. Dunno, time will tell.

    Inge, I so hear you about the advice. People are often far less flexible than they claim, and the other peoples stories they have running in their heads can hold a strong attraction that’s hard to get around. Oh well.

    Yay for the sun! Unsurprisingly, it rained here today. 🙂



  39. Yo, Chris – I don’t know about being naughty, but maybe the Dreamtime, is striking back?

    Seems like our States are always sending trade delegations, here and there. My state made particular progress with the Land of Stuff, when we happened to have a Chinese speaking governor. Occasionally, the Fed trumps the states, but, depending on party affiliations, this either upsets people … or, it doesn’t. What’s interesting is the infrastructure loans. Different from trade, of course, but still part of the geo-political mix. See: Africa, Chinese debt. Wouldn’t want to be them. I read a sci-fi one time, about a huge earthquake, in California. The US couldn’t borrow money, anywhere, for reconstruction. But the Land of Stuff offered a deal, that wasn’t refused. It pretty much boiled down to California being ceded to The Land of Stuff. I often wonder what kind of loan collateral, could be demanded, if the US defaults on it’s debts. Which will probably happen, sooner or later.

    Never mind events running you over. Keep an eye on that tree! 🙂

    Elephant and Castle, in Seattle, still seems to be up and running. Well after my time, I’m afraid.

    Neighborhoods change. Gentrification, and all that. We have a couple of nice surplus schools, that would make good affordable housing. But, it seems the city is holding out for a “luxury” apartment developer. Good luck with that. Over in Centralia, there’s been several attempts at turning old buildings into luxury digs. “People can commute, by Anthrax, to Seattle!” The buildings turn out to be huge money pits, and the result is serial bankruptcies. I think the City owns a few of them now, and there they sit.

    Boy, a hoon sounds really hard on tires. 🙂 .

    Treadwheel cranes seem to be a bit of Roman tech, that made it into the Medieval period. They may (or may not) have used one in Ruth Goodman’s “Secrets of the Castle,” series.

    Deus ex Machina. I could say more about that, but I’ll bid my time. 🙂

    I watched “The Day After,” (1983), last night.

    There was an interview with the director, that was pretty interesting. He had a lot of problems with controversy and censors, just to get the thing made.

    Did you get a package of mystery seeds, from the Land of Stuff. Hundreds of them? Well, the answers (sort of), are here …

    Tis a mystery. (Sort of.) The article is pretty long, but you can dip in, here and there, and get the gist. You may remember I got some seeds (that I ordered) from something called “Idaho Seed.” And how miffed I was that Idaho, seems to have been moved to The Land of Stuff. The Atlantic has changed their on-line format, and it really bites.

    Poop or go blind? To water, or, not to water, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them? But I digress … 🙂 . The forecast last night said we’d be getting rain. Today, the forecast is for “overcast.” Weather radar shows rain, but it looks like it’s passing to our north. Guess I’ll just keep an eye on the garden, and see if anything looks stressed.

    We’re getting food boxes, this afternoon. The one that usually has fresh veg, and maybe some dairy. Lew

  40. Hi Chris
    Late in the week comments. My wife has recovered quite well in recent weeks. She is quite happy with the progress report from the orthopedic folks. Bones are healing well. And pains have receded. She’s driving herself to physical therapy sessions and even escaped and ran away to a food market with a friend and then returned home with some impulse purchases. Go girl!
    She has been reading a couple of new books. Likes to sit out side in the cooler morning before the temps take off toward three digits. She also has launched into a new needle point project recently.

    Our weather is stuck. Although mid 90s are forecast for next week . You just get acclimated. Glad for the River it’s water and power plants. My water usage for last month was a little over 82,000 gallons. Usually not at that level till August.
    cost :$103.00.
    I hope you can get your tree crew to get the damaged tree down soon.
    Good score on the used leather couch. we have a leather three cushion couch and matching chair and ottoman. Nice brown and heavy as Hell. We bought a kit of lo friction pads to place under the feet to move the couch for cleaning under it.

    Let us have a report on the amp recap project with the arrival
    Of the elusive parts and their installation.

    Cheers Al

  41. Hi Pam,

    Nice to hear from you. Hope things are not too crazy at your place, and that everyone is playing nicely together. 🙂

    It is crazy for sure down here, what with the fifth lock down and all. You’d have thought that we’d have this business all sorted out by now! Oh well, maybe the sixth time will do.



  42. Hi Al,

    Mate, that is awesome news, and yes, you go girl! 🙂 Honestly, a recovery from a serious break doesn’t sound as if it gets better than your report.

    Yes, hobbies, interests and purpose are far more important than most people realise. Through contacts in the trade, a bit over a year ago I scored a sewing machine for the editor who has an interest in clothes. Her old singer sewing machine was about dead – the brushes needed replacing, and then some. The old machine went to a machinist whom I was mostly certain could (and would) fix the machine (he had purchased the old industrial overlocker we had). Anyway, the new machine has upped the editors game, so beware your ladies interest in needle point! 🙂

    Far out Al, your water is way cheap! Our total storage reserves are 33,000 gallons – and that’s it, if that is all used up there ain’t no more. Of course you can truck in water, but there are long wait times in the sort of weather you’re experiencing and from memory it is about $300 for 4,000 gallons which is pretty cheap given what’s involved in the job. So yeah, more water tanks…

    Thanks, but that tree has a story of its own, and I’m just keeping well away from it. Each day the tree is a bit more distressed, but until gravity does the job, it’ll be a massive hazard.

    Hey, the electronics stuff finally arrived in the mail the other day. Yay! Now for a quiet day to replace all of the electrolytic capacitors.

    The vacuum cleaner can reach under the new couch (unlike the old one – a few dust bunnies were harmed in the relocation and replacement process) and I can get the mop under there too if need be, so it’s all cool. We don’t have any carpet in the house, just hardwood floors and the occasional rug (underneath the hardwood floor is very thick glass wool insulation).

    Once the re-cap project is begun I’ll take some photos. At the moment we’re in lock down and so I’m getting ahead and doing paid work instead.



  43. Hi Lewis,

    Sure you don’t know about being naughty! 🙂 We all get into a bit of trouble every now and then, and if we don’t get into trouble, other people sure do bring their trouble to our doorstep. Had a bit of that earlier today, which fortunately turned out to be of no great concern.

    My neighbour is selling their property which has no house on it. Cherokee. It will be good to see a house built on that property.

    Incidentally, from what I understand of the Dreamtime, current events probably can fit into that narrative. I’m no expert on the subject, but I don’t believe that the narrative is fixed, and as such it has the ability to absorb new circumstances. In some respects it is a far more resilient approach to thinking about the world.

    Ook! Yes, beware of money lenders pedalling their wares. I’m sure you are aware that the land of stuff has over $1tn of your countries mad cash? Anyway, I’m wondering exactly where our state goblemunt’s funds are coming from lately. It would certainly make for an interesting story – not that there is the taste for such news down here.

    I’ve wondered about that debt problem for a long time now. As you’re aware, the MMT folks say it doesn’t matter, and so far they’re being proven right, but I’m not so sure myself and nobody can ever really know what strange inflection point will set fire to the nest. We don’t know, and that is an eerie place to be. Whatever would the land of stuff want with your west coast? There’d be a lot of resistance on the ground.

    Thanks for the reminder, and I am keeping an eye on that tree whenever I’m near to it. At this stage I’ll let gravity to the work because the tree trunk is split and that makes it one extraordinarily dangerous tree. Speaking of which, have you heard how Shalen is going?

    You know I hear a lot of talk about social and affordable housing, but I don’t really believe that there is the will to follow through on that talk. Something has to change though down here as it is no fun renting a house and it makes for a very tenuous experience. Being forced to move every couple of years is a painful experience. It kind of reminds me of the concept of ‘hot desking’ in that you are never allowed to become too comfortable.

    Yeah, I hear you about those buildings. Imagine my surprise that in the big smoke huge apartment blocks are still being constructed. That makes no sense to me, and sometimes I wonder if people just can’t imagine what else to do.

    Hoon’s are hard on car tyres. Sometimes they chuck a bit of oil on the road and then light the tyres up whilst performing the gentle act of ‘drifting’. You get a bit of that around these parts (not on the dirt roads mind you) because the incline on the road makes it easier for the vehicles to deliberately lose traction.

    Guédelon Castle is a fascinating build – how have I never heard of this before now? Rabbit hole alert, and yup that does rather look like a treadmill crane.

    I’m curious to learn of your thoughts upon the subject: Deus ex Machina. It seems like it has become something of a belief system to me, but I could as easily be incorrect.

    I watched “The Day After” when it first was aired on television, and a bleaker story you’d be hard pressed to find. I remember the bloke at the end at the Uni site erecting the short wave antenna in the Dinosaur killing smoke and dust storm and discovering nobody else out there. Not a fan of such machines, but as a species we can do some pretty impressive efforts using more conventional weapons, and Dresden comes to mind. I have a hunch those machines might not be in such tip top shape and who would know. Back in the big smoke I used to live next door to a pilot and he told me the story about the collapse of a major airline down under and he darkly hinted that prior to the collapse maintenance was neglected.

    I read about the controversy too, and did the director reflect upon the personal cost of producing such a bleak bit of cinema?

    Thanks for the article on the mystery seeds. Actually the reporters conclusion sounded very plausible to me. Other households may have lesser systems, but I keep track of all such online purchases and only conclude the transaction once the item has been received. I also believe that the article sort of hedges around the impact of the stress caused by recent events upon people. We can’t import seeds down under – it is very hard to do.

    Ah, dunno about you, but well I wouldn’t water your plants if it was just cloudy. The plants tell you when they need watering, and I might be wrong, and please correct me if I am, plants don’t grow during the daylight hours, they harvest the sunlight during those daylight hours. They grow at night. If I was feeling indecisive, I’d say that: it depends. 😉



  44. Yo, Chris – From our End of Civilization As We Know It, department, we have a new flavor of ice cream. Hold onto your hat! The new flavor is … Mac & Cheese! A collaboration between the Kraft company, and some ice cream company I’ve never heard of. I doubt we’ll see it here, but I’ll have fun requesting it from our local grocery. 🙂 . I’d like to try it … once.

    Speaking of food, we got a couple of boxes, yesterday. One was mostly produce, which I kept. Bag of apples, bag of oranges, celery, green pepper, etc.. There were a few things in the canned goods box, but I took it all down to the swap table, as, I had plenty of the good stuff in my pantry. Overkill on canned peas and carrots. There must be 50 cans on the swap table. I did find two one pound bags of brown rice, in my box. Miracle of miracles. Not the usual white “enriched” stuff. I scored another four bags, off the swap table. Watching it with an eagle eye, to see if more shows up. Delivery was it’s usual chaos, and I don’t think it’s going to end, well.

    If you had the mad cash, would you pick up that next door 28 acres? Of course, that would be another 28 acres, to take care of. And, it’s official. Fern Glade Farm can be seen from outer space. Your paths sure do show up. I hope you get good neighbors. At least you won’t be the new kids on the block, anymore.

    I got interested in The Dreamtime, back in the 70’s, after watching “The Last Wave.” Tried to find some good stuff, to read about it. Being the 70’s, it was a bit tough sorting out the New Age woo-woo from the factual.

    “No taste for such news.” (loosely paraphrased.) Well, that and no one understands it, and no one can do anything about it. So, party on Garth!

    I get daily short reports on Shalen’s progress. Moving right along. Should be out of hospital, in about a week. Looks like it’s going to be at-home rehab. So, there’s a lot of scurrying around, building a ramp, widening a bathroom door, putting all the living room furniture, in storage, as that’s where a hospital bed will go. He’ll need 24 hour care, for awhile, any everyone is pitching in. My friends are even getting a bit of medical training.

    Moving will be easy, after the Great Reset. As, no one will have anything (and we will be happy.)

    You have to be a real Ruth Goodman fan, to discover Guedelon castle. 🙂 . I thought it might be one of her early works, but, no. Maybe it isn’t as well known, as it’s shorter than the farm series.

    Well, “The Day After”, didn’t seem to hurt Nicolas Meyer’s career, any. He went on to write the screen play, for one Star Trek film, and directed another. Among other things. Given the huge viewership numbers, nothing sells like success. But, the interview with him indicated it was a pretty tough project, to film. To his satisfaction. At one point he quit, the studio tried another couple of directors, who made a hash of it, and they had to beg him to come back. Which he did, with contractual demands, in place. He got pretty much everything he wanted. But a personal toll? Well, he was in therapy, even before he tackled the project.

    Our promised rain, did not show up, yesterday. I’d like to speak to the management, about that. 🙂 . Looking at the radar, it tracked north of us. But, I kept an eye on the garden, and nothing looked stressed. Usually, the Jerusalem artichokes and a couple of pepper plants, show it, first. So, I watered in the early evening. And think I’ll switch to that, anyway. There are far fewer people around, to bother me. Though Suzanne Who Has A Better Idea, rolled up to me, three times, to blather about something or other.

    H did her soft howling, when an ambulance went by, yesterday. I joined in. A bit of a sing-song. We’ve got some nice two part harmony, going. Think “Beach Boys.” Ought to work up an act, and take it on the road. We’ll kick off the tour, with the local county fair. See how it goes …

    I’m reading a novel, “Version Zero.” (Yoon, 2021). It’s about a fellow who brings down the Net. At least, the social network part of it. So far, a good read.

    Another heat dome is building up, east of the mountains. I do not envy DJ, Al, or my friends in Idaho. Lew

  45. @Claire

    Really enjoyed your video. You’ve sure transformed your place. We still aren’t receiving adequate rain here.


  46. Hi Chris,

    So sorry about yet another lockdown. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have masks mandated for indoors but doubt a lockdown like yours will happen as too many just won’t tolerate it.

    I imagine Ollie will soon smell up the new couch enough that it’ll be acceptable to the other fluffies.

    The wedding was tons of work though starting Thursday afternoon we had quite a bit of help which of course needed direction. The tents, tables and chairs arrived that day. Each of the 180 chairs were in a plastic sleeve which took some time. They had to be put back into the sleeves for pick up on Monday. Carla has many lights to put around trees along with various other details. However things moved along and the rehearsal took place Friday afternoon with the rehearsal dinner that evening. It was held at one of the hotels that Carla had contracted for blocks of rooms at a reduced rate for guests staying over of which there were many. We have no hotels near us so these were 25-30 minutes away. She hired a bus to bring guests in two shifts and return them back at the end of the evening.

    All was going smoothly until about two hours before the first guests were to arrive. While it was cloudy and cool there was only a slight chance of rain and as there was only a slight chance of rain we weren’t worried though we had borrowed a 20 X 30 extra tent from a friend just in case. Well all of a sudden rain was imminent. This was a little after 2 PM. The first bus was to arrive a little before 4. Doug, Cecily and I started to set up the tent which we were told would take at least 4 men. Another guy who was helping stepped in too and we managed to get it up. Then the light rain started. The bartenders were an hour late. Last minute location changes were needed for some of the food as well as the violinist and cello player. I hadn’t changed when the first guests arrived but unlike Doug had at least showered. My aunt and cousin who were on the first bus spent the time before the 5:30 ceremony wiping down all the chairs. I don’t think Doug got in the house to shower and change until 4:45. Then one more emergency, I had arranged for a new local cab to pick up Marty and Gwen who were 30 minutes away in the opposite direction of the other guests. At 4:20 he called in a panic that the cab had never arrived so one of my nephews sped off to get them and they managed to arrive only a couple minutes late. As you can imagine those last couple hours were quite tense but all the guests were in good spirits and noone got soaked. The rain stopped just as the dancing was to begin though a heavier rain started for the last hour. The dancers just kept right on dancing.

    So all ended well. It was pretty crazy as this was the first event for most since all the restrictions were in place.

    One person, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive for you know what but it appears now that she was exposed the night before the wedding and wouldn’t have been contagious that quickly. While everything was held outside we were quite jammed into the tent though the sides were open and the dance floor was always full. All this week was clean up which is finally done. Today I was able to get out to the garden and weed. We did get almost an inch of rain a couple days ago. We are both looking forward to the rest of a normal summer.


  47. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for the update on Carla’s wedding. I’d really enjoy replying tonight, but worked late cleaning up the recent storm damage (and burning the stuff off) and it is 8.10pm here and I haven’t even begun writing yet… Ook! Will speak tomorrow.



  48. Hi Lewis,

    Candidly I’m a bit dubious of that particular flavour combination in the form of an ice cream – although it could be sensational and I’m missing out. Maybe. 🙂 Went to a cafe years ago and ordered a coffee and a lemon slice. For some reason the folks at the cafe had decided to add rosemary to their lemon slice recipe, and I dunno, the herb (which I really enjoy the taste of) was kind of jarring in that particular context. It just made me wonder what sort of jaded palate you’d have to have to come up with that particular addition. I’d imagine you’ve experienced your fair share of unusual food experiments gone awry?

    The brown rice was a good score, but so were the apples and fresh vegetables. Celery is really difficult to grow from my experience and also reading on the matter, so it amazes me that it is in the magic food boxes. There is a weird belief with celery in that it takes more calories to consume than is derived from the vegetable, but my understanding is that this is an urban myth – probably designed to sell celery.

    Mate, I don’t have the mad cash for the purchase anyway and I don’t really need the extra land, and you can see in the photo how little of the property we use now. And yeah, it can be seen from space! We’re going extra-galactic here! 🙂 The title boundaries are a bit skewey but it is indicative. If you look really closely you can see the creek at the bottom of the property as a very dark green line. Hopefully the new neighbours are good and rural fencing is always a cheap option.

    Yeah, there would be a bit of woo-woo, but I recall reading a serious book on the subject and there was a story about the early settlers introducing cattle. The cattle made it across the Great Dividing Range before the settlers did, and there was a side story that the indigenous folks accepted the alien animals as part of their existence with the implication that it was all part of the Dreamtime. It’s a good way of looking at the world, and it contrasts against the more fixed and abstract Western way of viewing the world and new circumstances and situations.

    I liked your loose paraphrasing! Oh well, moving on… I’m kind of certain that people forget that whomever controls the debt, controls the asset.

    The yoghurt just finished cooking, and now it is in the fridge doing the congealing stage.

    Good to hear that Shalen is soon able to go home where I gather the rehab will go on for years? Out of curiosity, does the medical bill get paid in instalments?

    Of course, how could I forget that we’ll all be happy one day, with nothing. It’s kind of a hard sell to be honest.

    Both the editor and I watched The Day After as teenagers. We had a bit of a bleak discussion today as to whether you’d actually want to survive such a scenario, and the results are in and they’re not good. It is a bit like the fast zombie apocalypse, do you really want to hang around to find out what happens next?

    Actually, I noted that the director was rehired, but hadn’t heard about the therapy. Yeah, well it was a bleak topic which he researched thoroughly, and I also noted that many scenes he wanted included, were pulled. I’ll bet there are some very intriguingly complicated versions of the films out there?

    Don’t be too hasty to speak to weather management! I’d miss our ongoing conversations for one. 🙂 Out of sheer curiosity, does Suzanne hold a two conversation with you, or does she talk at you? I regularly encounter a few folks who are big on the talking at thing, and yeah, never quite worked out how to wrap them up. Over the years I’ve taken a more decisive, ‘good to see ya, I better go’ approach and it seems to work, but I’d appreciate your thoughts in this matter?

    Didn’t some once say be careful working with either kids or animals? There was that performance where H let you down, just sayin! 🙂

    An interesting choice of book. Now a mate of mine was reading a book on cyber stuff, and yeah, not much seems to be secure on this here interweb thingee.

    Yikes! I have first hand experience of such weather, and it frightens the daylights out of me. Hope they are all OK and get through to the other side unscathed.

    Better run, there’s writing to be done and it is 8.40pm. Oh my, it’s gonna be a late one tonight.



  49. Yo, Chris – Oh, I’ve pulled off a few weird food experiments, of my own. 🙂 . But, as far as being subjected to them, nothing sticks in memory. Though, maybe the experiences were so horrible, I’ve long buried them in memory. It might take years of intensive psychotherapy, to tease them out.

    The commercial celery growers must have it down to a science. It’s available, here, in all seasons. And quit cheap. Like potatoes, the calories come from what you heap on the stuff. Peanut butter, is quit popular. Had some on celery, myself, just a week ago. And, of course, when I was a kid, it was stuffed with a processed cheese product, brought to you from the same people that are doing the weird ice cream flavor. Cheez Whiz. Always seemed to go along with the pickles and olives, at grandma’s big family do’s. I love the name. It appeals to any eight year old boy, as it manages to slap together two slang terms for flatulence and urination. 🙂 . While I was looking for the correct spelling of the name of the product, I noticed that it comes in many flavors, these days. “Old English?” I wonder … but that way lies madness. I went to a potluck, once, and someone had Cheez Whiz brownies. Ever the gustatory adventurer, I gave them a try. Not bad. Gave a real “zing” to the brownie. The fellow said it was his mother’s recipe. I’d guess, given the food weirdness that came out of the 1950’s, it was probably clipped from a magazine ad. Brought to you by the same folks, with the strange ideas about ice cream flavors.

    Given the crazed property market, it will be interesting to see how fast that sells. Maybe you’ll get another Green Wizard, next door? I suppose that’s too much to hope for.

    The indigenous folks had seen a lot of strange creatures, come and go. Which they could even see in their rock paintings. Probably didn’t phase them, much. Ho, hum. Another eon, another strange creature 🙂 .

    Back in Ye Olden Times, medical folks would work out installment plans. Not any more. Often before treatment, it’s cash on the barrel head. When I moved here, my city friends were amazed my dentist took payments. He was old school.

    Watching “The Day After,” that reminds me. I should pick up some potassium iodide tablets. Well, that’s interesting. They’re the same kind of iodine that’s found in table salt. The director, being a neurotic New Yorker, had already been in therapy for ten years, before the opportunity to tackle “The Day After,” came up. He was hashing it out with his shrink. Said the man never did say much. Everyone involved knew it would create a lot of controversy. His shrink said, “Now we’ll find out exactly what kind of a person, you are.” The director said, in a paraphrased way, that’s how he roped people into the project.

    Suzanne Who Always Had a Better Idea, pretty much talks at you. Usually, with a waving finger. I wait for her to run down. Or, invent somewhere I need to be. Ohhhh! I managed to inadvertently (really!) offend her, last night. I took a trot around the block, and then commenced to watering. She came rolling up, and said she had noticed I had taken a walk. And wondered if I knew where the party music was coming from. Well, it’s 7 in the evening, and, there was a bit of unoffensive party music, in the air. I speculated that it was maybe coming from an apartment complex, down the hill. They have a nice outdoor open area. Maybe, I wondered, someone was having a birthday? She whinged for awhile on how it was noisy enough, around here, and we didn’t need that. I agreed that it was indeed noisy. I meant it generally. She took it personally. 🙂 . So, she said, “Well! I’ll just leave you to your watering.” And flounced (as much as a person can flounce in an electric chair), down the sidewalk. I just gave a mental shrug, and rejoiced in the possibility of two or three days peace and quiet. At least, from that quarter.

    When I wandered in the library, the other day, I noticed that since they’re up and running again, that the Lucky Day DVDs were back. Those are the one’s that are “hot” items, that they have a certain number of copies, that are not on the hold list. You may remember that I was asleep at the switch, and didn’t get “Minari” on my list, until the hold list was impossibly long. Well, there it was. So, I watched it, last night.

    Minari, by the way, is a plant. The story takes place in the 1980s, and is about a Korean family, that moves from LA, to the Arkansas Ozarks. Dad has a wild idea, that he’s going to farm. It was nominated for quit a few Academy Awards. Won a few, I think. I quit liked it. You might, too. Lew

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