Fluffy head the chicken died this morning. She’d been ailing for a few days leading up to her final fate. During her final few days, when the other chickens romped around their hen house and attached run, doing their thing, Fluffy head moved with a ponderous lethargy. The signs were all too clear. Yesterday, she made herself comfortable in the hen house, and awaited her fate comfortably in a bed of straw, out of the cold winter winds. And this morning she was dead.

An old timer once remarked to me that if you have live stock, you’ll eventually have dead stock. And it’s true. I don’t feel to badly for old Fluffy head, as she lived a remarkable life – for a chicken.

It’s impolite to point out that she was of uncertain parentage. I’m guessing that an Australorp chicken had had it’s way with a Silkie chicken, and in that odd coupling, Fluffy head was produced.

At the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo over a decade ago, the local poultry group ran it’s annual sale of birds. And in amongst the cages and cages of birds for sale was a cage with a very young Fluffy head and her two sisters, who were also of similarily uncertain parentage. On a whim, the editor decided to purchase the trio of birds, and thus they made their way onto the farm.

And Fluffy head lived in good health for a bit over a decade. She even managed to survive a close encounter with a fox. But time works its charms on all of us, and so here we are today with a dead chicken.

Having chosen to live amongst creatures with shorter life spans than an average human, I sure have buried a few of my animal mates over the years. I suppose it is a relative perspective thing, but the tall trees here which can live for many hundreds of years probably think the same way about all those human critters they see over the long years running around the place.

Time sure has that sort of effect. It was only early last year, February to be precise, that the two Kelpie sheep dog girls joined the fluffy collective.

Ollie keeps a close watch upon his two young puppy charges

Now look at the three of them today:

The two pups are now no longer puppies, but full sized Kelpie’s. And Ollie is still keeping watch over them

Time has a habit of just flying away and off into the distance, or wherever it goes. The trick is to remember to live. Problem is right now (and for the past year and a half) we’re being asked to put off living for an indefinite and undisclosed period of time. Some people chafe at that restriction, some reach acceptance, whilst others simply have no way to make a living.

By sheer chance, the other day I observed a bloke and his eight year old (at a guess) daughter, camped in the local picnic ground. Their lives had been packed into a sedan plus a small trailer, and those possessions were in the process of being aired out in the weak winter sunshine. The guy wore a far from fresh high visibility jacket that a manual labourer would wear, whilst the daughter had her head buried in her arms whilst seated upon one of the picnic tables. Over night the temperature must have been close to freezing, and the two of them looked miserable that morning.

I can’t say with any certainty how the two came to be camped out in the local picnic ground in the depths of winter, but for that outcome to be a choice suggests that they’d travelled a hard road indeed, and things were perhaps worse elsewhere.

Casual employees and small businesses are probably doing things the toughest of all financially right now in this lock down. A lot of people, particularly the younger folks want to work, and now probably can’t. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of them move interstate. It reminds me of the last big economic recession in the early 1990’s, when a lot of people headed off to distant parts of the country. Some of the editor’s mates did just that, some of my immediate family also left.

It was a bleak time back in those days, and here we are again in another bleak time. The past couple of days has produced some protests in various capital cities. The media didn’t seem to ask whether the people protesting had legitimate concerns. Experts made dire predictions, the police did their jobs, the politicians did their best to look sad, angry and fearful all at once.

It’s hard to believe it right now, but time will sort it all out. Looking around me at the goings on now, the signs don’t appear to be that of a resilient society set to tackle any and all challenges head on. Fear is what I note most, and it is producing a ponderous lethargy, but also I see flashes of anger. That way smells of death to me. I’d rather be alive whilst I am.

It sure has been a cold and cloudy week. Overnight I let the wood heater burn itself out, and this morning I awoke to experience 14’C / 57’F in the house, and 1’C / 34’F outside. The forecast predicted snow, but none occurred and despite the cold conditions, all we had was more rain.

A pretty cold morning 1’C / 34’F outside – not a time to be camping in this mountain range

With the extensive thick low cloud cover, the skies have been particularly gloomy this week.

It was a very gloomy and frosty week this week

On the one dry day we had available, we continued to cut and split the pile of logs which were left over from the house excavations which were done almost a dozen years ago. The excavator operator swore that one day I’d use those logs as firewood, and I guess he was right. It is a hard job as some of those logs were buried in the soil and had to be extracted. But, once cut they produce pristine firewood and over the next year or two, they’ll dry to about a 14% moisture content.

The pile of half buried logs is getting smaller

There’s probably another days work to go on that firewood job before it is completed.

Regular readers will recall the recent epic wind storm which did an enormous amount of damage to forests in this part of the country. Some parts of the forest in this mountain range were knocked flat by the winds, and the clean up in this mountain range is still continuing today, as it is elsewhere in the central highlands.

Just near to one of the orchards, a tall tree split in the epic winds. However the tree did not fall to the ground. Instead, whenever the wind blew from any direction the broken top of the tree swayed around with the wind. Eventually the tree bent enough that the head of the tree became stuck in an adjacent tree. To put it mildly, it was a very dangerous tree and you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the tree when it fell.

The tree to my right split and became stuck in an adjacent tree where it could fall at any moment. Fortunately the editor did not waste any time taking this photo.

Overnight Friday night, a random strong gust of wind dislodged the head of the dangerous tree, and it fell to the ground without squashing anything or anybody. That’s what I call a good outcome.

The split tree eventually fell to the ground where it is now waiting to be processed into firewood

There are tentative signs of spring. An almond tree has begun to produce leaves.

An almond tree has broken dormancy and is beginning to produce leaves

Many Rhododendron’s grow in among the orchards, and they are beginning to form the early stages of their amazingly showy flowers.

Rhododendron’s are beginning to produce the very early stages of their flowers

The many citrus trees continue to produce fruit, like this Meyer Lemon.

Meyer Lemons grow in abundance

And I noticed that one of the Douglas Fir trees has produced some seed pods.

This Douglas Fir has produced seed pods

Onto the flowers:

When the bees get back into action, they’ll love these Echium flowers
Hellebores produce a great show of colour in the winter garden
Hellebores come in various shades
And some Hellebores are real stunners

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 759.6mm (29.9 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 720.8mm (28.4 inches)

49 thoughts on “Alive”

  1. Hi Inge,

    The editor is a fan of chicken liver. There’s an old saying about: ‘everything but the squeak’, to describe the use of all edible parts of an animal. I suspect that folks these days just aren’t hungry enough to consider the lesser cuts. I’m guessing that how it works nowadays is that at the abattoir, the lesser cuts are either sent off to be processed into ‘blood and bone’ for plants, or as a protein additive to pet food. I doubt much is wasted.

    In my late twenties, I used to work just down the road from a sheep hide tannery and a blood and bone renderer. Hot summer days were always an interesting aromatic experience, but I reckon it is foolish to raise an animal and then waste any part of it. Even the older chickens here whom have gone off the lay produce a really good high quality fertiliser for the orchard and vegetable beds. And they also ensure that the flock is a calmer place because the older birds train the newcomers.

    Still gloomy and rainy here today. Hopefully we get some sun tomorrow.



  2. Hello Chris
    We had large floods on the Island yesterday, fortunately they don’t affect me.

    I shopped without a mask today, hurrah. No one said anything though most people were still wearing them.

    Daughter in NSW is having to self isolate along with her partner and my grandson. The latter two were working on a huge site where it appears than someone was from Sydney.

    A friend here is also having to self isolate for 10 days even though tests are showing her as negative. Her employers are furious.

    I am currently reading the Raoul Kent book unfortunately my comments would not be suitable for the internet.


    @ Claire
    Chicken livers are sold in packs in our super markets. I have never come across turkey livers.


  3. Hi Lewis,

    On reflection I’m kind of glad that there was no snow. The ceaseless drizzle was bad enough today and I had to spend a bit of time outside in the conditions. With spring just around the corner, we have decided to get all of the various machines serviced and I took the low centre of gravity mower down to the farm machine repair dudes earlier today, and picked up two machines that they’d recently serviced. A year or two back I took a machine in for some work in peak season (i.e. the time of year the grass grows) and the wait was epic. Lesson learned, get in early. Also this morning the other flat tyre on the dirt mouse was repaired. That tyre had a slow leak and so we pumped up the tyre and were able to just drop the car down and head off and do something else.

    But far out, I haven’t stopped today, well except for lunch. Exceptions must be made, and I draw a line in the sand and say that: Lunch is sacrosanct! Anyway, everything on the list got done. Phew…

    You know, and I’d be curious as to your opinion, but I don’t believe that that many people take their bat and ball and go home. The system is set up to continually produce feelings of dissatisfaction and so people keep striving, even when it makes no sense to do so. Dunno.

    The weather is bizarrely warm here tonight. Rather than overheating the house, we just let the fire go out. Barely had to run the wood heater today. The climate is very changeable down here.

    What? No way, I’m going to have to do a gargle search on that subject. Wow, real nice. Aren’t these the same people pushing certain agenda’s right now? It doesn’t make for nice reading, and it stinks of fear.

    My understanding is that this also happens down here too. The word lobbyist comes to mind, and it looks sort of like those folks circumvent actual political processes. I imagine such processes are viewed as a somewhat irksome inconvenience when they are required to be attended too.

    Inflation is a genie that you don’t necessarily want to let out of the bottle. The traditional way of controlling rising inflation is to ratchet up interest rates, as more expensive money tends to dampen spending. But here’s the dilemma, your goblemunt’s expansionary monetary supply experiment (AKA printing) means that its cost to service the existing debt will also increase – they know that. The other option is reducing their expenditure, but I can’t see them doing that any time soon, as that will hit the prestige, reach and status buttons. Of course, it is also equally possible to reduce consumer expenditure by driving a goodly percentage of the population into poverty. There are plenty of options, it is just that as time goes on the social costs increase with each day. Basically I take economists predictions with a grain of salt as they have proven to be wrong in the past – dare I mention the recent GFC? What interests me is the numbers and we look like we are taking the Japanese option of a long and winding stagnation: Current account surplus gives Australian economy breathing room, says Bank of America. Perhaps someone higher up in the food chain woke up and thought to themselves: Maybe them fundamentals do actually matter? Dunno, but the economy here sure has gotten a whole lot smaller recently.

    Well, best to water by hand I reckon – if you have the time to do so. Actually, dunno about you, but I find watering the garden by hand to be a very pleasant activity. I’d imagine that the fruit trees will be fine without the irrigation system, they’ll adapt, but the blueberries don’t have really big root systems. Mind you, I barely give those plants any extra watering down here over summer, so they might adapt just fine too. I guess they’re running the experiment, on the fly?

    Good to hear that the garden water tap has miraculously been reconnected. Water is kind of important.

    Thanks for the articles. It looks like globalisation has unwound a bit. It makes sense that it would unwind in the reverse order that it wound itself up.

    And exactly, second hand furniture is going for a song. Look at the leather hide couch (not a composite leather) I scored for the dogs a week or two back and it was $100. It is weird that people expect everything to be new, because when I was a young bloke, most stuff was seconds. I recall selling a couch which was held up by a brick on one corner, and it still sold. Expectations exceed reality by a considerable margin these days.

    Stay away from the dementia as it can get pretty aggressive.

    That news has been quiet down here for obvious reasons, but they’ll do some good – the next few weeks are pretty dicey in your half of the country.

    What interested me about the riots was the news report I heard was confused because of the wide range of backgrounds that the people came from. The media has some weird obsession that all ills are some sort of right wing conspiracy, but they forget that history has much to say about what happens when the centre is ignored.

    About 100 pages to go of The Stand! It’s exciting!



  4. Hi Chris,

    It’s not easy when pets die — even harder when you have to kill them. I’ve killed a few chooks and did not like it at all (they were very sick or in pain). A friend once shot a horse that escaped during a storm and broke its leg in a cattle grid — they sold their property shortly afterwards and moved to the city.

    I’ve done quite a bit of winter camping — went up to the SA mid-North, with overnight lows around -5C — it was very chilly indeed. We slept wearing everything, including hats and gloves, and when you’re on holiday you can mess around lighting campfires, making cups of tea, etc. I think that camping due to poverty would be really, really, hard.

    I’m really concerned about the economic/social fall-out from the lockdowns, etc. I feel like we’re way out in uncharted territory and our leaders aren’t even aware of it. Maybe that’s the most worrying part.

    Cheers, Gus

  5. Hi Inge,

    Four inches of rain is a very challenging day, and glad to hear that your property was unaffected by the thunderstorm. Every couple of years, one of those storms hits here, and then the challenge becomes directing the water where it won’t cause too much damage (or dispersing the water thus reducing the energy). You get better over time at knowing how to respond to such a weather event, of course you also have to improve your systems so that they use what was learned the last time it happened.

    Masks are still mandatory in this state, but I’m seeing plenty of people who have had enough and just not bothering. In the local general store this morning, someone who was clearly from out of the area asked if they could sit at one of the tables. That wasn’t going to happen. 🙂

    Yikes. Isolating for two weeks is pretty tough mentally, so I hope your daughter, son in law and grandson are OK. Too bad if they had to work, and I hope they access the financial support as it is no minor imposition on a household. Mind you, they might be able to work from home during the two weeks.

    Well, the employers can have all the opinions they want, but at the end of the day, there are fines for not complying. And does anyone really want to be publicly named and shamed in the media?

    Hope you are enjoying the book, and just a little plug – you’ll see me on page 93 about to be thrown across the Dojo! 🙂 I look calmer than I probably felt at the time, but then sometimes when you are young you can be extraordinarily oblivious to consequences.

    If you’d like to discuss the subject, send me a comment with ‘not for posting’ at the top. I’m genuinely curious to hear what you have to say. I haven’t yet read the book, you’ll have to forgive me as I savour every word in books, and Stephen King’s The Stand is 1350 pages. I’m about 100 pages from the ending. It is the next on the ‘to read’ list.



  6. Hi Gus,

    Yeah, you’re not wrong. I have no great interest in taking the heavy knife to a chicken, but if it needs doing, I’ll do it reluctantly and correctly. Mind you, there was the curious incident of the cannibal chickens. That was a bit different. So, we purchased some Isa Brown chickens just to see what they were all about. Turns out they need a really high protein diet, which the heritage varieties don’t really require. Chickens are adaptable when needs be, and so the cannibal chickens began eating the other chickens feathers. Soon enough it escalated and they ate one of my favourite chickens. I was pretty annoyed by that as not only did I had sort the half dead chicken, but I couldn’t have the two Isa Browns doing that to the other chickens. I sent a strong message to the birds, and the remaining chickens learned an important lesson: Don’t eat your mates. And they haven’t done that ever again. Mind you, I don’t keep Isa Browns for that reason. They’re a commercial bird, although plenty of people keep them in their home flocks.

    Gus, I’m a pragmatic kind of guy, and it would be a seriously hands on activity to bury or burn a horse. Or you’d need a very powerful tractor just to move the body. You might note that the editor and I are mostly vegetarians and concentrate our efforts on growing plants. 😉 There’s a reason for that.

    🙂 It sure does get cold up there in the north of your state! And mate, those two looked really miserable, the overnight temperature was close to freezing and would have been colder down there in the valley. They didn’t have a camp fire as I’m guessing most of the timber around there was wet. I can get a fire going in such conditions, but it takes a lot of effort and you have to know which wet forest materials are going to burn better than the others. It’s been a very seriously wet year this year.

    When we travelled around Oz in a hatchback, we camped at an unpowered tent site at Wilpena Pound in maybe it was early winter, and far out that was bone achingly cold. Even Tasmania didn’t feel that cold, although we didn’t usually camp at elevation.

    How did you go with the recent storms? A couple of fruit trees have fallen over due to damp soil and strong winds. Most of the trees were fine though.

    That worries me too, and I was listening to the news on Triple J and the journo’s seemed genuinely surprised that the protests drew people from a broad sector of the community, which is not the usual protest crew. Man, I dunno, something had to give as we do live on a finite planet with finite resources and finite energy, and maybe this current weirdness is just a bad option among many bad options.

    Cheers (although this weeks topic is a bit dark)


  7. Yo, Chris – Nice post, this week. The flowers are very pretty. Our Rhodies have had it. Yours are just taking off. I envy you you’re lemons. The honey bees found the sunflowers, yesterday. They’re volunteers, and more decorative, than edible. Not as many bees, as when they found the garlic blooms. The Bumble Bees are making a valiant attempt to pollinate the scarlet runner beans. The blossoms are very tight.

    Always sad to see an old chicken go. They’re around long enough to become part of the scenery. And, then, gone. Sounds like Fluffy head had a good run.

    The world is nuts. The weather, flooding (in London!), wild fires, pandemics (plague, in Colorado … you should be familiar with Boulder, by now 🙂 . I saw an article on the Middle East, yesterday. Weather problems, and fuel / electric problems that is effecting transportation and the food supply.

    Looks like the end is in sight, for your log pile. Don’t rush it. Take your time. Gosh knows what may have burrowed under those logs. Gnomes?

    It must be a big load off your mind, to have that tree down. Without having it literally, on your mind. I’m glad the Editor didn’t let you linger under that tree, for the photo op. Selfies and Darwin. Not a good mix. But, I’d say by not letting you linger, under the tree, she probably hasn’t taken out a large life insurance policy, on you. 🙂 .

    I didn’t know you had Douglas Fir, on your place. Or had forgot. It’s pretty standard, around here. We’ve got some very large fellows, up in the park, behind The Institution. (Cont.)

  8. Yo, Chris (Cont.), The farm machinery shuffle. Yup. Best in the off season. Even though I’d bet your Farm Machinery Dudes, are the best to be found, in your area, I’d say there’s another benefit to having the work done, in the off season. The Guys aren’t under as near as much pressure, and can take a bit of time, rummaging around under the hood. Some small thing, that might be overlooked, and become a big thing, may be noticed.

    Lunch should be sacrosanct. A time to clear the mind of worries about falling tree limbs, or, poisonous reptiles. 🙂 . Not doing much different for lunch, today, but I may splurge a bit, on dinner. Today is my birthday. Not the important one. 72. My. Mick Jaeger, and I. But he’s older. One of our recent food boxes had something called a “bistro pizza, round & thin crust: European bakery style.” So, it’s an 11″ round, rolled up, right along with the parchment paper. How convenient. I don’t expect much, but, like Mt. Everest, it was there. I’ll throw goodies on the top. Might even try the egg thing. A culinary adventure.

    There are a few that take the ball and go home. Outliers. Some, to a greater extent, than others.

    Way. It’s why I take a rather jaundiced view of the world. Lobbyists often write bills, for the Congress Critters to present. They’re so dense, no one reads them, anyway. It’s all very cozy.

    Well, the government can also cover expenditures, by increasing taxes. Unfortunately, they often fall on the middle and lower classes. According to one report I read recently, Space Boy from the River, has paid no personal taxes, in the last two years. Try and tax the rich, or corporations, and the bait and switch media machine cranks up. A good example is estate taxes. Sometimes called inheritance or death taxes.

    Any time there’s an attempt to increase the amount of estate taxes, a certain segment of the media gears up, and makes it sound like they’re coming after the money in gradma’s sugar bowl. Or, they start banging on how it will destroy small business. You have an insight. Know of many small businesses worth $11.18 million?

    I really can’t wrap my head around international finance and economy. And, as I really can’t do anything about it … But every once in awhile I stumble across a factoid, that makes me wonder. Apparently, right now, anyone in our country who can, is saving. Highest amount of money in savings, in a long time. And this is, a bad thing. It is? Although you (or the article) mentioned Japan and stagflation. I remember when Japan had it’s “lost decade,” there was a lot of talk about their high rate of savings. I read something recently about the very complicated Japanese banking system. Most people, there, put their savings in their post office. Oddly, we also used to have postal savings. It ended in 1966. And in 1965, the government debased silver coin. Is all this connected? Got me.
    Do I want to know? Not really. At my level, it’s all rhetorical.

    I like watering by hand. If no one’s yammering in my ear, it’s very peaceful. And, I get a good look at what’s going on in the garden.

    There was a couch I had in my first digs, 1968. Came with the place. A big, overstuffed couch, maybe from the 1930s. Dark blue corduroy. Amazingly, with no wear, at all. Ideal for naps. 🙂 . They knew how to make corduroy, back then.

    I figured your firefighters were in their off season, down there. Probably a bit at loose ends. Many of the people who fight fires, are a whole different breed of person. We’re glad to see them. Right now, we need all the help we can get.

    Yup. I’m sure that the Powers That Be, are confused that a great deal of the demonstrations were from the center. Watch for some kind of sop to be thrown to them.

    From our “Can’t believe it, but there you go, department.” I may have mentioned that a new tenant moved in, and I couldn’t quit figure out if the two hounds belonged to her, or, the people helping her move. The rules are, one can have one (1) dog, and it must be small. Turns out she’s moved in with two huge hounds. I mean, Ollie sized. So, according to reports, how’s she getting away with it? Wait for it … service dogs. Purported. I wonder how far along in the application process, she was, before she sprang the dogs on the Regime? Or, if she even did. As she moved in over the weekend, they may have just found out about it, this morning. As the Ladies are in an uproar. This will not end well. At least they live on another floor. Lew

  9. Chris,

    I see that Split Tree fell on its own. Or at least with big assists from the wind. You’re actions regarding Split Tree agree with some of my favorite actions: do nothing and let nature do its thing. Glad it worked out and that the widow maker is now on the ground with no effort from you.

    Ya know, the kelpies looked so innocent when they were puppies. Now? It looks like they’re plotting how to overthrow the Current Household Order while still having Ollie’s jowls to hang from.

    Oh, your cold, wet weather sounds delightful! 😉 15% humidity and sustained winds over 15 km/hr all day with temperatures back to 34C and higher indefinitely. As you said once last week, mygarden and yard are in survival mode. The carrots do happen to look happy for now, however.

    Our water is cheap, probably similar in cost to Al’s water. However, TPTB say that the aquifer is low. Not dangerously, but it is down. So, they’ve started a new campaign “Gold Saves Blue” to urge people to let their lawns turn gold/brown to save water. So, to “lead by example” the small city lawns and shrubs near their various office properties are no longer being watered. Dead bushes and dead trees are sure to follow. The public parks are still lush and green, as far as I’ve seen, and any one of these loses more in one watering due to evaporation than I use in an entire summer, I’d bet. I’m watering just enough to keep the lawns “not dead” and still keep the trees alive. Fortunately, most of the shrubs are drought tolerant and are doing well. It seems to me that letting the trees die will be counter productive in the longer run.

    Meanwhile, the birds are totally enjoying the water sources in my yard. And in several neighbors’ yards. They seem to be finding plenty to eat – I watched 2 sparrows catch moths this morning, and there are plenty of moths. I’ve noticed that as I let the grass grow long during the summers for several years, there is more insect biodiversity in the lawns and the birds all enjoy the bugs.

    Your flowers are looking good. Does this mean that your winter is starting to end? Those hellebores are entrancing. I can’t quit looking at them.


  10. Hello Chris
    There was a huge storm last night and my electricity went out. Ringing around this morning, I found that everyone else was okay. It seemed that mine had tripped. Is there a simple explanation for an idiot as to why my supply would trip? I reset it okay.
    I knew that the photo in the book was of you because you had mentioned it before. My comments on the book would only be made when speaking to someone in the same room, I won’t print them. However I would be interested to know whether you find the book disturbing when you read it, no need to say more.


  11. Hi Inge,

    There are a lot of things to go wrong in the mains electricity grid, and only those who installed it and maintain it really know what fault finding equipment is installed. To recount some history from down under. On the day of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, it was alleged that the nearby users of electricity from a certain wire near to the township of Kilmore apparently drew a lot of current through that wire. It was a hot day and I’m guessing that plenty of air conditioners were active in the area, but it is only a guess. So what happens with wires is that as the demand for electricity increases, the wires get hot. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem, except that day was 114’F in the shade and the wires couldn’t lose their excess heat, so what I’m guessing happened is that as the steel wires got hotter and as they struggled to lose their excess heat to the already toasty hot air, the steel expanded and the wire sagged. My understanding is that the wire sagged enough and was hot enough that it set fire to some nearby vegetation and off and away the fire ripped. Apparently the fault sensors should have cut the power at that point (as electricity would have been lost to the dry vegetation which sort of exploded into flames), but rumour has it that they continued to reconnect the electricity and maybe that made the fire worse. Whatever the case may be, and to cut a long story short, it is probably no bad thing that the fault systems tripped your power supply. Not good for you, but hey, that’s what living at the end of the line looks like.

    Hope that explains the precariousness of the mains grid.

    Fair enough, and once I’ve completed reading The Stand I’ll know what you are talking about, but until then it is sheer mystery. From what I understand the blokes father sounded like a piece of work, but I don’t know the background story. It surprises me that there even was a book about the guy as despite his accomplishments and achievements he really did keep his cards close to his chest.



  12. Hi DJ,

    The general consensus on the subject is that if the tree had fallen on any soft living matter – it would have hurt, a lot! 🙂 The tree dudes cut it up into discs this morning. Those guys do an awesome job.

    Hehe! Aren’t the Kelpie’s lovely? You might be right there, and they have Ollie wrapped around their paws. Oh yeah, Ollie may be their mascot, but he is also their minion. Mind you, the smaller Kelpie’s need Ollie to sort out the deer, because of course we’d have the Sambar variety. Sir Poopy had naturally bred in abilities to herd reindeer so he could sort them out, and Ollie has learned to deal with them by trial and error. I sometimes find their scats which kind of annoys me, but they’re now part of the fauna, and that is how it is.

    That may be so, but as someone climbing out of the depths of winter, your weather sort of sounds nice to me too, except for the hot weather and no rain and stuff. You can keep them, but a bit of toasty warmth is looking pretty good right now. On a serious note, keep alert and I do hope that your ladies family also keep alert too. Those are no weather conditions to be complacent. Mind you, already burnt land is hardly likely to burn a second time – and the truth of this has been discovered down here – the burned patches act like fire breaks.

    Carrots have internal resources with which to draw down upon – one of the great advantages of root crops. 😉

    Your water is so cheap that it is beyond my understanding, but all the same, I agree with you – the trees you have are better than the trees that you have to plant out. You can adapt trees to drought and heat stress, but if you do it too fast, it becomes a survival of the fittest outcome. Dunno about your part of the world, but down here in those conditions the council trees get heavily mulched and then recycled water (i.e. treated waste water) is used on them. I’ve never mollycoddled any of the fruit trees here, whilst also assisting the surrounding forest. As a response it’s not difficult, it is just hard work. Are the public garden trees heavily mulched up your way?

    Ah, music to my ears. Mate if I could rule out the fire risk (an arson is a problem) then I’d let patches of the grass grow long too. The long blades of grass provides habitat for critters and also the shade keeps the area cooler than it would otherwise be, but you know – arsonists are a risk that can’t be ignored.

    Yes, winter is coming to a close, and spring here is normally very long, with a couple of different phases. The hellebores are stunners, and they also self seed, and I’m guessing hybridise.



  13. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks, and I was aiming to (as the kids nowadays say) hit the feels. The editor said that the essay was dark, but you know maybe it’s the time we live in? Dunno.

    Ouch, Rhodies can hack the heat, but they do tend to lose their flowers in your sort of conditions. How are you coping anyway with the ongoing heat? And go the bees! Aren’t they a pleasure to watch as they quietly go about their business in the garden doing their necessary business?

    Hey, speaking of bees, the tree dudes turned up this morning and did a bit of work. That fallen dangerous tree is now discs waiting for the editor and I to split and haul them. And! The guys removed a dangerous limb which may have crunched the bee box. The bees would not have liked that outcome at all. In the late sunny winter weather today (the exception to the rule!), they decided to remove the limb whilst the bees were huddled keeping warm up in their hive. A wise choice by the tree dudes, as bees can get pretty narky if someone kicks the hive. Once that job was done, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The tree dudes have been pretty busy the past couple of months due to the epic wind storm and I haven’t seen much of them, but I reckon they enjoy the slower work pace here.

    Fluffy head the chicken had a charmed life and honestly a chicken might do better than that, but then again most chickens don’t. There’s now only one chicken who resided in the original chicken run and hen house before being relocated to the newer digs, and that’s Baby Silky. More correctly these days, she is probably Grandma Silky. She looks pretty sprightly, but you never know with chickens.

    The plague article was behind a paywall, but before the road block was reached the outlines of the story became clear. That’s one of the downsides of living near to ‘wild’ areas in that you can become subjected to the diseases in those areas. And plague never really went away. From all accounts it’s pretty quick. Just read about the subject – that’s messed up. And yeah, I’ve heard of Boulder! 😉

    Yes, that’s my sense of the matter too, take the log pile job slowly and warily.

    Actually when the photograph of the dangerous tree was taken, it was not windy, as that is a significant risk factor with the trees here. Even so, they can topple on calm days too. So many things here to kill a person… Hey it’s blowing a storm here tonight, whilst being bizarrely warm at 50’F at almost 10pm.

    Douglas Fir get pretty big don’t they? And up in the higher parts of the mountain range there is a commercial stand of the trees, and they’ve been slowly harvested over the past two years. Harvesting is also subject to the vagaries of the weather.

    Actually, that’s true and with the farm machine repair dudes I got super lucky as when I took the low centre of gravity mower down for work, I just happened to encounter one of the mechanics who I always have a good chat with and I got to discussing the intricacies of the machine. They’re a really nice bunch of people. If I had my time over again I probably would have liked to have worked as a mechanic, it would have suited my mindset. Did you ever wonder if you’d have been better off working in a different field than what you ended up doing? So true too, the guy picked up one item on the machine that needed attending to. And candidly, I’d rather not hassle them at peak times – customers don’t get that work flow is a problem for businesses.

    Hehe! That’s funny about lunch, and yeah, here’s hoping for the day of work left to go on that log pile project! Usually I’m super chill about such work, but staying constantly vigilant for the many long work hours does not make for an otherwise relaxing work day.

    Happy birthday to you! Now as an important question: How was the pizza; and did you watch any films with the pizza? And was there pineapple on the pizza. That’s actually three questions. 🙂 It’s a bit Monty Python and the Holy Hand Granade of Antioch versus the Killer Rabbit scene – always good for a laugh.

    I fear that I must add in here that I usually enjoy watching Grand Designs UK episodes with a pizza, but neither Damo, Inge or I are yet to convince you of the merits of this fine program. Like birthdays, it’s the journey that is enjoyable. Of course in the program there would be the sad music moment when the project to restore the ancient listed monument (AKA ruin of a castle) into a house (a truly bonkers idea), and I can’t imagine you’d attempt such a thing on your birthday, and so probably can also wisely avoid the accompanying sad music. It’s complicated… Hope you had a lovely day. And I laughed about the Everest side comment. Very amusing.

    I reckon it is a fine option. It is a truth universally acknowledged that just because someone requests that you perform hari-kari, doesn’t mean that you should. But yeah, outliers with all the baggage that that brings.

    That bill thing might also take place down here too. Cue sad music…

    I can’t fault your logic, and raising taxes is a legitimate option. Imagine the screaming as people have become accustomed to something for nothing – which I feel is at the core of the MMT business. Some people call him the space cowboy to quote the Steve Miller band. It’s not right and there have been rumours that staff down here are unable to go to the toilet during working hours. That’s not nice, and I’d probably wet myself, or more likely the produce.

    Not many have that much capital, that’s more of a medium enterprise number.

    I hear you about that with the economics. Predictions are difficult because, I’m guessing, that the school of thought messes around a lot with meanings. Take for example, twenty years ago you have a hundred bucks. That hundred bucks has a certain meaning back then. Does it have the same meaning today? I tend to think the answer is no, but some folks in that dark art may argue otherwise and/or introduce a furphy. Hey, the savings thing is going on down here too. Dunno, but I’m guessing it is a reaction to the recently deceased party days, or otherwise known as ‘guilt’. The thing is though savings can also halt the flow of money in an economy.

    Hopefully on your birthday nobody was yammering in your ear during your quiet and peaceful moments in the garden?

    Hmm, naps are good! Helps reset the brain back to a higher state, although as a society they are frowned upon. Imagine if they were accepted – people might start to think! Oh the horrors. 🙂 Hey, I’d reckon that that old couch was made in your country too? It wasn’t that long ago when we used to have a textile industry, and the left leaning folks who chucked those industries under a bus used to claim that we were a banana republic – things were better in those days.

    Hopefully your fire season doesn’t get too crazy, as you are in peak danger zone now for the next few weeks. Keep your eyes and ears open and stay alert.

    I heard an academic on the radio this afternoon suggesting that the protesters were associated with 5G, anti vaxxers, and maybe also the right wing extremists. I can’t say that’d I agree with that suggestion, and I’d imagine such talk will only fire people up even further.

    Hehe! How does a person have two service dogs? Do they need a spare? Ollie bizarrely enough would be super chill in an apartment because he is a low energy dog and as long as he got plenty of walks and wasn’t alone, he’d be fine. The Kelpie’s would be a problem in such an environment, they’d go crazy, and then they’d make everyone around them crazy. I’d meet the dogs before forming an opinion on the matter. But if they show aggression that might be a problem. I look forward to hearing updates.



  14. Yo, Chris – Essay was dark? Well, you are reading “The Stand.” 🙂 The Dexter revival trailer, dropped. Not much to it. It’s set in our state of Massachusetts. There’s snow.

    How am I coping with the heat? O.K. As long as the A/C keeps running.
    Once the sun is down, I turn it off and open a window, with a small fan in it. Blow in the cool night air. By bedtime, I have no problems sleeping. But the least bit of exertion, and I sweat like a pig. No disrespect, to pigs.

    Go, bees, is right. They go about their business, I go about mine. We’ve bumped along like that, for years.

    Go Tree Dudes! Take that! dangerous tree. The Dudes seem to have a sixth sense, as to when you need them. A day or two after bad tree gave it up? Cue “Twilight Zone,” theme music. There was a similar tree (Doug Firs, by the way), across the road and down from my last place. I’m having a quiet cuppa tea, on the front porch. Sunny, windless day. And, it finally came down. Didn’t do any damage. Quit startled me … and the pair of eagles, nesting in a neighboring tree.

    Is Grandma Silky the boss chicken? Or is she in retirement? 🙂 . Maybe never assumed it. Probably why she’s lived so long. No worries. Go along with the crowd.

    If things really fall apart, I can see plague making a comeback. There’s been talk about “medieval” disease outbreaks, among the Los Angeles homeless population.

    The tallest Douglas Fir in Washington State is 293.67 feet tall (89.51 meters.) It’s up at Lake Quinault. I’ve never seen it, but that’s where our libraries farthest flung branch, is. I was up there, a few times. Beautiful drive, beautiful place.

    A different field? Hmmm. I worked in so many, anyway. Not anything I’ve mulled over. I don’t know. Something that would bring in a lot of money? Rob a bank? But to your question of money / time / meaning. When I was a wee small lad, somehow or another I got it in my head that if I earned $1,000 a month, I’d be happy as a hog in slop (no disrespect to hogs.) I don’t know where I got that idea from. Well, I got my wish. I make slightly more than that, now 🙂 . And, it isn’t as I had imagined. 🙂 . Let’s see. $1,000 in 1960 has the purchasing power of $9,000+, today. So back then, that was real money.

    They broke the news to Shalen, yesterday, how much the bills are running. He thought around $100,000. More like $500,000 … for the first 17 days, with not all charges in hand, yet. What do you do with news like that? Saw this …

    I think some of the savings is due to the media. Starting in 2008, there was a lot of talk about how most of the population couldn’t meet a $300 unexpected expense. There were all kinds of articles about having an emergency / “cushion” fund. I think a lot of people took it to heart. How much you should have, is all over the chart. Some say a flat $5,000. Others, 6 months, or a year, of basic expenses.

    The pizza. Well, I over-baked it, a bit. But it was still edible, even if the edge was a little crunchy. And besides, a bit of charcoal in your diet is supposed to be good for you. 🙂 . The pre-rolled pizza crust and parchment paper was easy to handle, with care. I put on a slathering of canned spaghetti sauce. Not bad. Very simple ingredients, but I with they would have been more forthcoming about “spices.” Fresh parsley, basil and dried tomatoes (plumped up), from the garden. Shiitake mushrooms, and diced green pepper. A sprinkling of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Diced garlic. I also cracked an egg, in one section. Just to give it a whirl. Topped the whole thing with a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast. I was surprised that it all held together, really well. Even without cheese. The egg. Hmmm. I think I would have really liked it, if I had fried, and then diced it, and spread it around. All things considered, it didn’t taste like regular pizza, but, was quit pleasant.

    I didn’t really have anything to watch, except lectures. But I dug out an old copy of “Art School Confidential.” It’s very funny. And, true, oh so true. I’ve got a lot of stuff, in transit from the library, but nothing made an appearance. Oh, I did have a Terry Prachett, “The Watch.” But, I had watched a couple of episodes, and it just didn’t … jell.

    I don’t know. I’ve watched a few episodes of “Grand Designs”, on UTub. Our library doesn’t carry it. But somehow, other people with money, and their fabulous digs, just depresses me. And as far as their being stupid, well, as I mentioned, I’m surrounded by morons and idiots. I get enough of that, in real life.

    One of the greatest gifts, Hispanic people gave to civilization, is, the siesta. 🙂 .

    Protestor ID’s. Anyone but our folks.

    Mixed reviews on the service dogs, so far. One isn’t a spare. It’s retired. One person said they were very well trained. Another, that they weren’t. My Idaho friend mentioned that you can buy bogus coats (which in this state, they are supposed to wear) and certificates, on-line. But, as long as The Regime has a piece of paper to put in the file, their bums are covered.

    An amusing story …

    There’s so much below the surface of this story. John Henry was a steel driving, man. 🙂 Lew

  15. @Lew

    Happy Birthday! Hope the pizza turned out good.

    You mentioned estate taxes. When my mother passed away in 1998 the amount exempt from such taxes was much lower, $625,000, than now. My mother didn’t have much money but had valuable property. The real estate and all other property such as vehicles had to be appraised and anything over the exempt amount was taxed at a quite high rate by both the federal and estate governments. Her house and barns needed some repairs and it wasn’t an easy property to sell. It took over a year but the taxes were due well before the sale. Fortunately she also had two adjouning lots that did sell pretty quickly so there were funds available. Anyway the several hundred thousand in taxes could have been better used by my brothers. If Patrick and Michael hadn’t both died at 53 and lived as long as Marty who is 68 the money would have run out. I think it wasn’t too many years later the exemption was raised to an amount that no taxes would have been due.


  16. Hi Chris,

    Sorry to hear of the passing of Fluffy. It does sound like she had a good long life for a chicken and passed peacefully.

    I see all dogs have accepted the new couch. Looks like they fit better too. Glad to hear the tree has fallen without incident.

    There are more homeless all the time it seems and showing up in some quite affluent suburbs.

    Still no rain though we did get almost two inches earlier in July. It’s been a terribly humid summer for the most part. My niece and family had come in from Portland for the wedding and even though they had temperatures well over 100 they complained of how hot it was here and it was probably 20 degrees cooler but apparently they did not have humid conditions. My cucumbers are doing terribly but most everything else is doing well. I’ve been battling Japanese beetles on my new raspberries, basil and pole beans. I have two traps set far from the plants I want protected and they collect many every day. There are those who say the traps bring more beetles but I’ve used them for years and they seem to keep the damage down to a minimum. This year seems to be a particularly bad year though they haven’t been bothering the apple trees much. They like my green pole beans but don’t touch the bush wax beans nearby. They should lessen in a few weeks but in the meantime I go out 3 times a day to pick them off the raspberries in particular.

    Sounds like masks will be required inside anyway pretty soon as things are picking up again. There is a huge music festival in Chicago starting Thursday. Attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative test. Be interesting to see how this plays out.

    The flowers are beautiful as always.


  17. Hi, Chris!

    Those cute babies, only February of last year. It seems like yesterday . . .

    My husband was telling me about protests and riots – I guess he picked it up with the Footy news – in your country. I don’t pay much attention to the news here, but I don’t think we are having any, at least because of the you-know-what-thingee. Of course, protests and riots are popular sports here, so there may be some going on for some other reason.

    You are SO lucky that hung up tree came down by itself, and so soon. It is a scary thing to have around, especially where one often passes by.

    I thought of you today since it was quite hot – understandably so – and I knew that you – understandably so – must be cold. Before we know it, we will have switched,


  18. Hi Chris was your wood heater and hydronic system From the Wise Living Co ?. I landed down their rabbit hole and the Leanea line of wood heaters they sell looked very similar to pictures of the replacement heater that you put on your Blog at the time that you replaced the heat damaged one. Just wondering.

    Those tree dudes must have powers. Good on getting that hazard gone. 🙂 Those long buried logs look like the they would be hell on chain sharpening constantly lots of loose dirt to dull the cutters.

    Sorry about the head hen. My Dad mentioned that he made pets out of various chickens from time to time while growing up in West Virginia. They lived about 3 miles from the nearest town on a deeded one and a half acre country lot. His father was a master carpenter and wood turner. He died before I was born. I got to see and try to run his foot pumped wood lathe as a kid. My grandmother who he left widowed was poor the rest of her life. She always kept chickens. My siblings and I enjoyed watching them.

    Right now it’s 81 degrees F at 8:30 pm. Just saw a nice rainbow to our east fading as the sunset. Rain forecast is only predicted at 0.1 inch. It’s welcome still.

    The continued increase in the pandemic occurrence is concerning as is the possibility of going back on mandatory masking. Dam stuff just won’t go away.

    Sorry that you are affected with the same in Au.

    Had any time for re caping the audio amp yet
    Cheers Al

  19. Hi Al,

    The original wood heater which we destroyed through basically not understanding the technology was from the wise living group. It was a good heater in need of better operators. During the the replacement process I read deeply upon the subject of firewood, and then changed all of our processes. The alarmingly large bill was paid for the replacement, and we changed everything about how we used the fuel source. The new wood heater is this unit: Nectre Mega with legs, and we have the optional central heating boiler which runs the hot water to the radiators. Al, you sent me on a rabbit hole journey drooling over wood heater oven combinations…

    The tree dudes turn up more or less randomly and use us as a fill in job. And I mostly always oblige them as that keeps costs down, and everyone is happy with the arrangement.

    Regardless of the dirt, them logs gotta go.

    Chickens are one of the easiest forms of livestock, so they suit folks who are a bit strapped for cash. And if a thoughtful person spent their efforts into breeding, the costs would come down lower again. Thanks for the story and I’ll bet you learned heaps. My grandmother was not well off either, but here is the weird thing, the suburb gentrified around her. In her younger years she mentioned that Squizzy Taylor frequented the area where she raised her kids.

    Glad to hear that you are finally getting some rain. 🙂

    The stuff is here to stay, so we better get used to it, is my thinking.

    No need to be sorry, someone was bound to let the genie out of the bottle sooner or later, and anyway the underlying factors never went away – even when they get drowned out in the noise. When I was a really wee young bloke the Limits to Growth was penned, and nothing has changed since those days. Life is what it is, and I’m happy to be bouncing along and cleaning up the dodgy wood pile left over by the bloke who cut the house site into the mountain all those long years ago.

    Nope, me busy right now – cue sad music! 😉



  20. Hi Pam,

    Whatever happened to those two young whipper snappers? They grewed up, that’s what happened, and now they give Ollie ‘what for?’ And he loves those two dogs. Can’t say that I’ve had such a cohesive pack of canines since the days when old Fluffy walked the Earth. Old Fluffy would have brought those two rapscallions into line pretty quick smart!

    Yeah, the protests allowed some members of the population to vent some angry vibes. The problem is that the system is well set up to handle such acts, and the experts were on the radio already tarring the folks – whom have legitimate concerns – with all manner of fringe associations. It happens and I did mention that responses are easily handled. Letting go is a time honoured approach, but it also doesn’t promise a return to normality (whatever that was).

    Thanks, and the tree dudes turned up on cue (unasked for) and turned the fallen timber into discs which we’ll split and move at a later date.

    You knew! It’s 39’F here outside right now and the cold winds are blowing. Did I mention that almost half an inch of rain fell today? At times the rain seemed as if it was a summer torrential downpour. Hmm. Hope things have cooled down a bit for you?



  21. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks, and I’m a bit soft with the chickens really and allow them to live out their retirement. The flock is a pretty chilled out group of birds, so I assume that they teach each other the necessary stuff of life. We’re mostly vegetarians and so I don’t need the protein from the birds – other than the eggs. And the recent group of five young birds are producing one to three eggs a day and have kept up production right through winter. I suspect that longer term I’ll have to do something about breeding chickens and that will involve processing the birds for meat, but for now there are other projects demanding my time. All in due course.

    Hehe! You’re good. 😉 The replacement second hand couch was so chosen because the arms are thinner and the dogs have more space to spread out. The old green couch had not only been barfed up on multiple times (puppies…), the trio had also outgrown it.

    I too am glad that that tree has now been sorted out in a most final way. I might try and grind the tree stump out over the next day or two – weather permitting. The extraordinarily wet winter weather is making it hard to do work outside. Half an inch of rain fell today, and at times it was torrential, just like a tropical downpour. Crazy stuff for this time of year.

    The humidity really does add an unpleasant factor to summer weather. Cucumbers here were a total write off last year, but I’m surprised as I thought that they’d like the heat you’re experiencing?

    Sorry to hear about the Japanese beetle inundation. That’s not much good, and the critters sound horrendous. Hope you get some raspberries.

    I’m curious to see how that story plays out too. My gut feeling is that the whole mess will create persons and non-persons before too much longer, but I’d be more than happy to be wrong about that one.



  22. Hi Lewis,

    Perhaps The Stand has gotten to me a touch. It’s a great story and there’s now only 50 pages to the finishing line. A lot of tragedy, but then – the baddies had it coming. It is a poor leader that carelessly does away with otherwise loyal followers. I spotted the original Dexter revival trailer a while back – but the new teaser trailer is good! 🙂 You’re right, there does seem to be a lot of snow – what is that stuff? It sure looks cold. And did I spot the hapless avenger in a shrinks couch? I’d suspect that he is beyond redemption.

    That sounds like summer, and glad to hear that you’ve acclimated. We open up the house at night too during such weather, in fact even now I keep a window slightly open letting in fresh air – the wood box does odd things to an atmosphere. I read of that trick in a book on the subject as I basically had no idea many years ago. Books are good like that. Are things moving on your hold list?

    Hehe! Yup, the bees are good, just don’t annoy them, or they get super grumpy. When I’m in the garden the bees basically leave me alone too, they have other important Apis business to attend to and it doesn’t generally involve the likes of you or I. 🙂

    Sorted out the replacement spare tyre on the dirt mouse Suzuki this morning. The spare tyre was 17 years old (almost old enough to have a drivers license!) and it was showing its age and barely made it to the repair shop last Saturday. Enjoyed a sit in coffee and fruit toast this morning at the local general store and it was really pleasant. Whilst enjoying the coffee and raisin toast, the heavens opened and the rain thundered down. The rain was so heavy that it kind of looked like a summer downpour to me. Most unexpected, but I guess the rain originated in the tropical Indian Ocean off to the north west of the continent. The waters off the coast are very warm this year and so that brings plenty of rain across the continent in a SE direction via evaporation from that tropical ocean. Still, the rain was bizarrely heavy at times. In between the rain, the sun shone a bit, and the house batteries ended up fully charged. Crazy weather. And now outside it is only a few degrees above freezing and the sky is full of stars.

    Yeah, the tree dudes turn up sort of regularly, and with all the damage from the wind storm, they’d been busy of late. They did some great work here, and that makes my life easier. If the weather is favourable, I’ll grind the tree stump out over the next day or so.

    Hehe! Now if a tree falls in the forest… I always hated that philosophical debate, but I’m glad that you weren’t injured or put out by the falling Douglas Fir. Startled is the word, for sure and the two eagles might have been seriously inconvenienced.

    You called it, Baby Silkie never took up the mantle, and so has just plopped around the chicken enclosure doing her own thing. She’s a rather unfussed bird and the other chickens don’t give her a hard time either. Yeah, low stress is probably why she’s enjoyed such longevity.

    Who knew that tree height was ultimately limited by plumbing problems? In search of Australia’s biggest tree: How you can help identify giant plants. Turns out that the tallest conifer ever recorded was a 126-metre Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) or 413 feet! That’s one big tree.

    Turns out that there is a very tall Douglas Fir almost within walking distance. Douglas Fir 403 points. It has a long way to go before rivalling the trees in your part of the world, but you have to start somewhere.

    I reckon that old diseases will make a comeback too. Things will unravel in the reverse order that they initially progressed. Thus proving that diminishing returns are a real thing.

    Yeah, funny about that with your young observation money, and I may have thought a similar thing too. When I first started working your could easily get an apartment for about $35,000. Now not all that many years on and ten times that amount wouldn’t buy one. But people with serious expressions tell me that inflation is negligible. That may be so, but then how does that explain the jump in prices?

    Ouch, well I hope he took the news well, and if he doesn’t have much in the way of assets then…

    Another way to look at the savings is that it is easier to hold more mad cash if it ain’t worth as much as it once was. 😉 But that savings story played out in the media down here too. Hmm.

    Crunchy crust on a pizza is Ok with me. In fact, I prefer crunchy crusts. Mind you, there is a line between burnt and crunchy and mention of charcoal kind of indicates that the line was unfortunately crossed. Oh well, pizza bases are really easy to make and the old timers used to say something or other about practice makes perfect. Your pizza sounds quite gourmet, and really tasty. We haven’t made a pizza with egg on it, but I’d imagine that there’d be difficulty in working out how to cook the pizza without under-cooking the egg. Not always easily achieved.

    Art School Confidential really fired up the critics. It sounds like a fun film. No doubt the critics probably saw themselves in the protagonists?

    Hehe! Thanks for the honest review, and the laughs. I hear you about that and maybe for me there is a bit of the German concept of schadenfreude to it all, but tinged with a mixture of deep respect for just doing something utterly bonkers and different. The system is so stacked against the average person creating something individual and unique that sometimes I kind of reckon there is a touch of bonkers is anyone who tries to do so. There are times that I’m astounded by the sheer sameness repeated Ad nauseam across the landscape. I realise economic realities drive that outcome, but sometimes there are times I imagine that there is some deep seated desire in people to be astoundingly boring and conventional.

    Well there was some call to dob in a protester, and I’m uncomfortable with that. Do the people doing so win a prize?

    Yeah, it all comes down to having the correct paperwork. True. I was curious as to your opinion of the dogs when you eventually encounter them. Time will sort that one out.



  23. Yo, Chris – The end is in sight … to “The Stand,” I mean. Speaking of my hold list, even though it’s not out until October, I’m checking the catalog, daily, for the new “Stand,” miniseries. Theoretically, “we don’t order stuff, until it’s released.” Lies! An item or two has slipped by my (and, onto impossibly long hold lists), because they pop up in the catalog, well before their release dates. My list is pretty full. I’ve been put in the excruciating position, of taking some things off the hold list, to squeeze something else on. But, it is a certain amount of quality control. How badly do I want to see / read, this or that?

    I also saw another Dexter trailer. And, there’s been a few reviews that reveal a few more details as to the set-up. There’s some mention of some of it taking place in Oregon. I think maybe he travels a bit, to keep one step ahead of discovery.

    Well, my truck adventure, yesterday, was sitting down and paying the 6 month insurance, and yearly vehicle tabs. Tabs are sticky bits that go on the plate, yearly. It’s not onerous. I chuck $70 a month, in a separate saving account, and, when the time comes, the money is already there. I just have to move it around, a bit.

    Sounds like you had a real smorgasbord of weather. All in the same day. “Everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” Often attributed to Twain, but he was quoting Charles Dudley Warner (who?) Our daytime temps are inching up into the low 90sF. But, nothing like The Big Heat, we had earlier. Night time lows in the 50s. Tomatoes are beginning to produce. The other day, I provided a small sampling, of different varieties, for Elinor and I.

    Our redwoods, are our big fellows. Been around since the dinosaurs. There are several different species, Sequoia, being one. Their range is very small. Similar to that prehistoric pine, you have, down there. Ginkgo trees have also been around, a long time. The fossil petrified wood, and leaf impressions, are quit beautiful. They grow a lot of different places.

    I don’t know about buying an apartment, but my first digs (1967) was $49 a month. Given the history of real estate prices, the amount does stick in the mind. 🙂 . We have two surplus schools, here. I think I linked to a picture of one of them. They’re just down the hill from the Institution. They comprise quit a chunk of land, and it’s just sold. They are going to be turned into apartments. Affordable? Probably not.,269690

    Back when I was at university (late 1960s) I took a round of art history courses. We also had to do a certain number of “studio” courses. Yup. All the stereotypes and cliches, were there. The film has a couple of budding art critics. Always at each other’s throats.

    I’ve never been able to read Prachett. But two adaptations, of his books, were quit good. “Going Postal” and “Good Omens.” So, I had high hopes for “The Watch.” I just noticed it’s WAY down the list of ranked adaptations. I should have known better …

    Inspection, tomorrow. I’m on schedule. I have a little visitor, this morning. Elinor had a doctor’s appointment. Usually, H rides along, but it was decided it was too hot out, for her to go. She’s a bit whiney, but has decided to commander, my bed. If she takes to whining and pacing, I’ll take her out for a bit of a walk. Lew

  24. Chris,

    Trees and large limbs falling on humans or fluffies would be painful. At best. So the tree dudes intrinsically know when to show up. Maybe they have drones or hidden cameras at your place? 😉

    Maybe you can find some Scottish Deerhounds to add to the Fluffy Collective? They’d get the deer sorted out quickly.
    And yes, the kelpies look lovely, about the way teenagers look “lovely”. 🙂

    Recently a neighbor’s adult daughter was visiting the neighbor, along with daughter’s daughter. It was one of those HOT days, so daughter started the car and the car’s AC and put daughter’s daughter inside, then had to run back into the house to get something. I quipped, “Cool! A free car!” She didn’t miss a beat: “You can have the car, but you have to keep the teenager.” She still has both. Moral of the story: a teenager attached to a car is a deterrent to car, ummm, borrowing.

    We had sprinkles on Tuesday. 40 drops in 10 minutes. Just enough clouds and whatnot to keep the temperature down and the humidity up. And the smoke rolled in, demonstrating that we mere mortals have absolutely no control over anything. It was rather nasty outside. I stayed in. It looks like the end of the week into the weekend will sport a few more days upwards of 39C, then we might get the “permanent” break to 30 to 32C temperatures. Meaning, we should be moving into the 6th of the 8 seasons that I think better correlates with our reality.

    The City mulching trees? That would require that they think and plan ahead. More seriously, the majority of the trees are Ponderosa pine, and I’m not sure that mulching would do much to help them. Because they have been surface watered via the sprinklers in the parks, their root systems are shallow and cover a large percentage of the parks’ surface areas.

    There are currently 2 wildfires in north Spokane County. Interestingly, both are rather close to some road paving projects that my program oversaw. Or, more cases of “If you pave it, fire will come.” One home destroyed in one of the fires, which appears to have started as a house fire then jumped into the surrounding dry pine forest and torched 155 acres. Both are many miles from here and the prevailing winds are blowing the smoke to Idaho and Canada. Often, we get their smoke, depending on the jet stream.

    The crows have returned to the neighborhood. The ravens were last seen 2 or 3 weeks ago, so may have left. With the murder of crows back in the area, things are rather more entertaining, as they always are up to something. One of them gets atop a tree and starts crowing at top decibel level. Daily. So, a neighbor yelled at it to be quiet. That, of course, didn’t work, as more crows rapidly arrived to add their voices to the chorus. I laughed and neighbor gave up and went indoors.


  25. Hi Chris,

    I think Fluffy head the chicken had not just a good life, but a good death. She only had a few days of illness before the guy with the scythe came for her. I’ll consider myself lucky to die in a similar way.

    Speaking of that which I’m not supposed to name, our county executive has reimposed a mask mandate for indoor spaces, as of the 26th. The county council, the county’s legislative body, met last night (the 27th) and promptly voted against the mandate, 5-2. The county executive says the vote doesn’t count, that he has the power to impose the mask mandate all by himself, thus the mandate remains in place. I looked up the state statute that was passed last month that allows public health orders to remain in place for only 30 days before they must be voted on. The way the law is written, it applies only to orders that close or restrict attendance at businesses or other public or private gatherings. Apparently the county exec believes that imposing a mask mandate does not restrict anyone from operating their business or holding a gathering. Some public officials in the county and the state have already stated that they will refuse to enforce the order or will sue to overturn it. The saga continues.

    While the county council was meeting, we drove across the Missouri River to St. Charles County, where our favorite restaurant is located. This county hasn’t had a mask mandate or any kind of restrictions for months. Within the restaurant, no one wore a mask. Everyone was enjoying their dinner. Our server was a woman who has worked there for years; we had a short and pleasant conversation with her as she took our orders. At the table next to ours, a man arrived late to a birthday gathering, probably directly from work by the way he was dressed, and was greeted by two young girls there with hugs and kisses; he may have been their father or another close male relative whom the girls clearly loved, and he clearly loved them. It was a lovely atmosphere, reminiscent of 2019 before the not nameable came into being.

    Yesterday I picked the first of the season’s green beans. The cucumber vines aren’t doing well for some reason that isn’t apparent to me, while the new cucumber vine is still quite small. We won’t get as many cucumbers this year as last. But our three apple trees are loaded with apples!


  26. Hello Chris
    All these lucky people getting tomatoes! Thanks to our terrible earlier weather, mine are only just starting to flower. I’ll need a good October. However after 2 non years, my cucumbers are doing really well. The endless mysteries of horticulture.


  27. Hi DJ, Claire and Inge,

    Thanks for the lovely comments, but this evening I can’t reply – the pub was reopened, and I guess that has to explain everything. One must support their local businesses otherwise they go away.

    Promise to reply tomorrow.



  28. Hi Lewis,

    So, this morning rolled not as I imagined it was going to go. The wind was blowing hard again, and cold feet developed. You see the plans were that we were going to tackle the remaining logs in the log pile. Turns out that it wasn’t the wind, I was just having a minor freak out about the snake risk. Who knows what’s living under those old logs?

    Anyway, I manned up and we got stuck into the job. The job took far longer than I anticipated, and two brand new chains for the chainsaw were brought into play. The wood was so dirty as most of the last logs had been buried by the years and the might of the original 20 tonne excavator. And dirt blunts chainsaw chains quicker than you can say the sentence: That chain looks blunt.

    By about 5pm we could both see that there was another hours work to do. That reaching for the stars thing happened, and despite being near to the end of what I’d comfortably want to do, the editor and I decided to push on and reach for the stars. And the job got finished.

    Missed my afternoon coffee and Anzac biscuit, and for the record: The patterns are not right! 🙂 No doubt there will be some minor caffeine withdrawal and a disembodied voice of Michael Pollan will probably be heard saying something along the lines of: I told you so!

    By the time we’d put all the tools away and cleaned up it was about 6.45pm. A phone call was made: Is the pub open? Turns out that it was open, and so we headed out for dinner and a pint. You may forget that many businesses (including the pub) have been shut for a few weeks, and mate one of my fears is that some businesses might not reopen.

    Dinner was enjoyed, and I ate a Linguine Amatriciana , which is basically pasta with a tomato and bacon and red pepper sauce. It was very good and the pint of dark ale accompanied the meal nicely. People have to take a Keynesian approach on a vastly smaller and more local scale and support their local businesses – or they’ll simply disappear. It was a very locals night tonight at the pub. The staff looked happy to be earning money again. A sensitive person would note that the bills don’t stop rolling in during the repeated lock downs.

    Mate, we worked so hard today to finish that gawd awful job, and I can now barely keep my eyes open. I have zero plans for tomorrow, and promise to chat then.

    Good luck with the inspection and I hope that it all goes smoothly, and that you left them one small and innocuous thing to whinge about. Such folks need a whinge point. 🙂



  29. @Claire

    My cucumbers are doing very poorly as well but our apple trees are also full of apples. Interesting as you’ve had much more rain than us. Another friend not to far from me also is having a bad cucumber year. The good news is we’ve received 1.5″ of rain the last two nights though from pretty fast moving thunderstorms.


  30. Yo, Chris – There’s probably gnomes living under those logs. Or, trolls. Dwarfs? Hidden entry to hollow earth? But at least no snakes. We can all exhale, now.

    That’s a lot of chain saws. Are you sure that wood wasn’t petrified? I think Al mentioned, that might happen.

    No coffee or biscuit? The horror, the horror 🙂 . We do get used to our routines. At least your pub was open. Lucky that.

    There’s a new movie out, “The Green Knight.” The tale is kind of a medieval spin off, from the King Arthur stories. Mixed reviews, on the movie. Some say it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Others, that it’s an abysmal mess.

    Read an interesting article, on how tasks are off-loaded onto the consumer. Disintermediation. We’ve talked about that.

    Passed my inspection. But there were snafus. I did hold off putting in a work request, for the garbage disposal. So, when she mentioned it, I told her that. I never use the darned thing, and, you’re supposed to run water down them, once a week, to keep them functioning. Not high on my list of “things to remember.” But now, I’ll have to have Lazy Shiftless Jack, in my apartment, to fix or replace it. I bought new drip pans, for the stove top. Turns out, the two smallest burners are a weird size. I can probably find them, on line. But the corker was, I needed a new CO2 detector. So, I went out and bought one, at the hardware store. They’d replace it, but, see: keeping Jack out of my apartment, above. Anyway. I installed it yesterday, and … it didn’t work. Either it’s defective, or, the battery that came with it, is dead. So, I got the receipt to return it and discovered …. it wasn’t on the receipt. They didn’t charge me for it.

    Well, I’m just glad it’s over for another year, and I can re-arrange my apartment back to my convenience, and not some arbitrary check list.

    I’m watching season three of “Star Trek: Discovery.” I didn’t think too much of the first two seasons, but thought I’d try an episode, or two. Well, They finally hit their stride. I’m quit enjoying season three. Lew

  31. Chris:

    I see some folks talking about tomatoes and cucumbers. We have had no ripe tomatoes yet – not even with any beginning of color besides green – except for a few Red Currant tomatoes, which are so sweet, but so small, just like little berries. The large ones are going to be a month late.

    Groundhog kept eating the cucumber vines, I kept replanting, and they are sort of half-heartedly coming along. But no cukes yet.


  32. Hi Pam,

    In a normal season here, if things were suddenly flipped upside down, the tomatoes would probably ripen some time next month and then continue for a month or two, so it is still early days I guess. But if they don’t ripen in the next four weeks, things could be dicey. Last summer here was a total disaster and the best we could manage was to make the dehydrated tomatoes and the sauce thing (passata) and there were none for fresh eating. But I’d imagine things have been warmer in your part of the world this summer? Tomatoes need the heat, but not as much as do cucumbers (well the varieties available down under).

    The cherry tomatoes here are also good tasting, but they’re yellow, not red, but same, same. The variety name might amuse you as it is called: Bob’s crazy yellow cherry tomatoes – and they’re good.

    Got that garden bed ready today where the cherry tomatoes grow – it was a big job and involved the stump grinder.



  33. Hi Inge,

    Sorry to hear that your tomatoes are only now producing flowers. I really don’t know how that will play out, and I recall one warm year when the tomatoes continued producing into late May (your November) – that was a weird season, but then most seasons are peculiar in their own ways.

    You know, tomatoes need a bit of heat from the sun, but cucumbers require even more heat. And I read an odd reference a few months ago which suggested that this heat requirement was due to the inappropriate varieties of cucumber available and grown down under. But honestly, I don’t know any better – other than the plant requires an awful lot of heat and that does my head in some years, and I’ve almost given up on growing it.

    Anyway, the upshot is that your particular variety of cucumber may well be almost perfectly adapted to your location – not always the case. It is a mystery! And who doesn’t love a mystery?

    Hope your daughter and family are doing OK? The lock down in that state has been extended, and they appear to be doing a proper facsimile of how things rolled in this more southerly state about a year ago. I was quietly grateful to go to the pub last evening, the staff seemed happy to be earning money again, and it looked to me like only the locals had turned out. I’m pleased that the locals are supporting their local amenities. Life has now become an endless mystery!



  34. Hi Claire,

    Claire, my thoughts are the same as yours in this regard, and it may well be that when the time comes I won’t seek an intervention. None of us escapes that thin looking mysterious bloke with the wickedly sharp gardening implement and the going out hoodie. And I’ll consider myself lucky to have had that outcome too. Most of the dogs I’ve known over the long years have enjoyed that out, and when I was a teenager my other grandfather whom I rarely mentioned suddenly died in the kitchen at the kitchen table. That used to be more common way back in the day, but the bloke wasn’t young and it was expected.

    Yes, the saga continues, and I expect that it might have a longer life span than myself. Well down here, they rely upon ’emerguncy powers’ to enforce the mask thing, and we have to wear them outdoors too whenever outside the home. I can’t imagine that would go over too well in your part of the world? And I noted that like down here last year, the milutary have been called in to assist in the state to the north.

    Yes, I went to the pub last night, and it was re-opened after the recent lock down and had a similar experience. Here’s the weird thing, we can continue to work (or at least some can), but it is all the fun and joyful things that are getting stomped to death with the stink of fear. And what does that say?

    Last summer, the cucumbers here didn’t even germinate. It is possible that the seed stocks have become a bit dodge, but you and I will never really know. On the other hand, enjoy your apple harvest!

    And thanks for sharing your garden as it was really beautiful. The sustainable house day folks are doing a virtual thing here too this year, and maybe I should get involved? Dunno. Did you enjoy it all?



  35. Hello Chris
    Storm Evert came in last night and it is wild outside. Where does the name ‘Evert’ come from! This is most unusual at this time of year.
    I dug into one of my growing tubs yesterday and came across the most adorable babies that I have ever seen. Why are most babies so adorable except for featherless birds that is.
    Anyhow I put them back and notice a tunnel this morning so Mum did come back in the night. I bet that they are baby rats but they were so sweet, about two and a half inches long, coloured grey and off white.


  36. Hi DJ,

    A classic chunk of understatement there! And yes it would probably hurt – a lot! 🙂 I dunno how the tree dudes know when to turn up, it really is like a sixth sense thing. They use our job as a fill in job when things are quiet for them, and so to keep the arrangement ticking along I always give them work. But I also had to set boundaries on how much work we could afford to give them.

    Oh! In a weird twist of fate, there is a local lady who I see walking her Scottish Deerhound. Mate the thing has a ratty looking wiry coat which reminds me of a long ago member of the fluffy collective: Denver (him who was found on a country road – how appropriate is that name? 🙂 ). And the dog looks super relaxed. The two kelpies are not super relaxed, they’re anything but, but you know I enjoy having their crazy high energy in the household. I’m kind of at that age now where such things are like water off a ducks back, but when I was a younger bloke, the two kelpies would have driven me to distraction. Age is a funny thing, huh? And yes, you looked deeply into their eyes – it was clear to me too.

    Hehe! That’s pretty funny. And in an odd side story, car thieves have compounded their troubles by not checking to see whether there were young occupants in the vehicle before they undertook their nefarious actions. As a general rule the cars are quickly found. Funny that. I tell you though, I’ve encountered a lot of parents who worry about their kids being kidnapped. It’s a real fear that is rarely realised.

    Dunno about you, but 40 drops in 10 minutes is better than 4 inches in an hour. Things can go very badly, very quickly during such weather. Sorry to hear that the smoke has returned. Not good and hope that you are coping OK?

    Did you ever get roads washing away during any serious storms? In a recent storm down here I noticed that a section of concrete footpath in the nearby township had washed away due to the soil underneath it disappearing. It has been repaired now, although I’d hope that the underlying drainage issue was at least addressed a bit?

    Really? Well mulching trees heavily before things get too hot and dry works. It keeps their root systems cooler and gives the trees a good feed, although not much stops transpiration. Not being critical, but Ponderosa pine seems a touch too big for an urban setting – it reminds me of the huge eucalyptus I once saw grown in the front garden of a Victorian era terrace – just not quite right somehow. It was eventually cut out too, probably at huge expense as it loomed over a major electrical line. So much wrong in one huge inappropriately planted tree.

    DJ, you’re a cynic, but then so am I! That line is too true, and I’ll have to remember it. An arsonist lived in a nearby town, and he was watched (and failed) and after he was put away, the constant fires ceased.

    Hehe! Good luck with that, and the neighbour just might have to learn to appreciate the new and interesting music! 🙂



  37. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks, and I was rather grateful not to discover any of the elder folk living under the log pile. Life is hard enough with annoying them, and they seem easily annoyed. Hey, wasn’t Set a snake god? And I’m doubly glad that I didn’t annoy any snakes. On the other hand there sure were a lot termites in the damp timber, and the local birds have been feasting today and are probably full up to their eyeballs with insect protein.

    The local birds are quite intelligent: magpies and parrots… Anyway, they know which of us are trouble as they let Ollie and I walk around them without a care in the world, but those two kelpies, the birds sure don’t trust them at all.

    The Kookaburra’s (those of the sacred Kingfisher laughing variety) have also been going through the work area yesterday hunting out all manner of snacks. The Kookaburra’s are a great bird as they can take on snakes, and eat them. I’ve seen them do that, and so encourage the birds presence. They seem to get along well enough with the magpies, and the Kookaburra’s have even managed to thief off with the young of the English blackbird family. I really enjoy the blackbirds song, it’s nice.

    Anyway, you called it, I’m breathing a sigh of relief.

    Cleaned up the old tomato enclosure (the one with the sapling fence today). It is quite a good sized vegetable bed, and I grubbed out gooseberry stumps, cleaned the entire bed with the lawn mower on a low setting, and ground out the cherry tree which had become established in there. Cherry trees self seed here. I dunno about cherry trees as the birds just take most of the delicious fruit. There are easier summer fruits. It was a big job, and I had to work out how to get the stump grinder back up the concrete stairs. Going down was easy, getting back up was not so easy. Then the idea hit me, when we extend that enclosure, we’ll put a gate at the far end rather than taking everything up and down the stairs. So obvious – from hindsight.

    The editor went into the city today, what with things being now opened. The grain stores are again now replete. Yay! And the peasants rejoiced! 🙂 A kebab may have been harmed in the process. It’s meant to be a very good kebab, which I can’t verify, but we’ll have to take the editor at her word. Do you have kebabs in your part of the world?

    Hehe! The wood was petrified of the chainsaw, much in the same way I was petrified of encountering a servant of Set. 🙂 On a serious note, the timber here is super hard and dense, and it isn’t the most dense that you’ll find on the planet, but it isn’t far off that high point. The tools to work with this stuff have to be super strong, and although my stump grinder is a commonly seen bit of hire equipment in your country, the teeth set up is nothing like what you guys would see – the machine here uses commercial grade ‘green teeth’.

    The patterns actually weren’t right, but to report I did feel better after the coffee this morning. 🙂 Yes, routines are a comforting ritual. I was seriously pleased that the pub was open, and the staff were happy to be earning money again.

    Dev Patel is an awesome actor – how could the film go wrong? Then Bill Nighy’s recent Australian film was slammed by the critics – they were very mean the cheeky scamps. I might watch it anyway. Critcs huh, can’t live with them, pass the beer nuts…

    Mate, I hear you about that problem. I had a difficult conversation tonight, and I put my foot down and said if you don’t do this thing you have to do and are responsible for, another person will get fined. Managing systems has become something of an art form down here, and candidly I do wonder how other people are coping with the administrative burden? Not well is my gut feeling. I set aside time each week to keep on top of such foolishness and I have no idea how other households cope. It is a real burden and things are good when they work, but when the robots get it wrong, trying to convince them that they are wrong is a time consuming drama.

    Good to hear that the inspection was rated as a pass. How is Elinor coping with her list of things to do? Out of sheer curiosity, what is a CO2 detector installed for? Last I checked, we naturally breathe that stuff out. We have smoke alarms installed here, and imagine the horror they’ll be during the next bushfire – I might smash them in such a circumstance as things will be hard enough without that piercing klaxxon siren.

    Hehe! Like your style with the after-rearranging, and I’d do likewise. 🙂

    Good to hear of your thumbs up for Star Trek Discovery season 3. I must ask Damo what his opinion of the season is too and Lower Decks, I’m sure he’ll be watching it.

    Oh, forgot to mention finished The Stand this morning. I must say that I really enjoyed the story, and the additional 400 pages must have been one hardship for the author to chop out – something, something about publishing accountants, and I dunno, something… Yeah, I’m looking forward to watching the series too. Trash was the actor who played the creepy teenager in the film: We need to speak about Kevin. It is a truth universally known that anyone with the name Kevin is bound to be trouble sooner or later. 🙂

    Wise to employ quality control techniques to your hold list. You wouldn’t want the dross creeping in.

    Dexter! Music to my ears. I see that Jeff Lindsay has not reincarnated his character. Oh well. The author has read a Sherlock Holmes book and noted that Dr Watson did most of the footwork, was treated rather poorly by Mr Holmes, and Mr Holmes seemed like a bit of an unpleasant character. Now wonder Dr Watson sorted out most of the details, just to keep Mr Holmes out of the picture! 🙂 Have you ever read any of those stories?

    Ah, we call such tabs, vehicle registration down here, and it costs about $700 a year to keep a vehicle registered. It’s all electronic nowadays and the window registration stickers are a thing of the past. And the cops use number plate readers, although I have noted that some folks seem to somehow get a lot of damage on their plates. Funny that. It surprises me that the plates aren’t stolen more often.

    Hehe! The weather quote is pretty funny, and also very true. Hmm, hadn’t been acquainted with the gentleman before, but I’ve read works of his best mate. Might have to do something about that.

    The Woolemi Pines were threatened two years back due to the seriously epic scaled bushfires. Hey, for some odd reason I thought that the Redwoods would have been more widely spread. Not sure why I thought that. For your info, I did try to grow a Ginko tree, but it turned toes up and I have no idea why.

    Hehe! The rent on my first digs was $70 a week (probably 1989)! That’s inflation for ya. 🙂 You’ve mentioned the surplus schools before, and it is a bit sad as I really don’t know how long those apartment blocks will actually last, and who picks up the final bill for their inevitable demolition at the end of building life? makes you wonder, and when walking through the city streets that thought is often never far from my mind.

    Never been to an art course myself, but I reckon those stereotypes and cliche’s were present in the outstanding series Six Feet Under.

    Terry Prachett’s books never did it for me either, they were undoubtedly brilliant, I just didn’t get the joke. An old mate of mine loved the books, and I had to be super diplomatic.



  38. Yo, Chris – 90F (32C), yesterday. Supposed to hit 96, today. But there’s snow in Brazil. Where there hasn’t been snow, before. Or, not for a long time.

    Yup. Set was an Egyptian snake god. So was Apep, Nehebk, Au, Wadjet, Butouto and Edjo. 🙂 . Depended on the time and place. Egypt has a long history, and covered a lot of territory. Suppose you prayed to the wrong one?

    So, kelpies are not to be trusted? 🙂 .

    ” … obvious in hindsight.” The “Duh!” moments. We’ve all had them. One must decide if to keep them to yourself, or, share them.

    Oh, yes. There are kebabs, here and there. Hibachi were all the rage, for awhile. There are still a lot kicking around. Popular at fairs. Most grocery stores carry bamboo skewers (or, metal ones) in their kitchen ware sections. Always popular “fair” food. But I can’t say they’re part of my gastronomical constellation.

    Administrative burden is all about keeping a lot of drones, employed. And building little office fiefdoms. And justifying jobs by making everything so complex.

    Elinor’s making progress on cleaning out her apartment. Five boxes, went the other day. She has a grand daughter (great?), who’s a professional organizer. She’s paying her to help out. Hope she’s getting the friends and family, rate! 🙂 . So, as long as there’s visible progress, the Regime is laying off, a bit.

    Co2 detectors. Well, it’s more of a problem with wood stoves, and gas ovens. But, they slap them in, everywhere. Along with smoke detectors. And, yes, those klaxxon horns are something else. They have them dialed up to 11, here, due to all the folks with hearing problems. They drive every thought out of your head, and make it hard to make good choices.

    Well, mull it over for a few days, and expound on what you thought of “The Stand.” Now you understand why I perked up, when you mentioned Deus ex machina. 🙂 .

    I didn’t quit follow what you were asking, in your Dexter / Sherlock Holmes, paragraph. Did the author of the Dexter books write some Holmes spin offs? Or …

    I pay $65 a year, for registration. It used to be, it depended on make, model and year. But the peasants revolted, and, by voter intervention, we got a flat rate. Any move by the State, to bump up the price, is met with fierce opposition.

    I remember the effort to save the Woolemi Pines. Which worked. There was an interesting article in yesterdays paper (which they lifted from NPR), about a fellow who has a long view of the recovery of the Mt. St. Helens volcanic area.,269870

    Maybe your Ginko, was lonely?

    Also saw an interesting article about rental real estate.

    When the media starts talking about “affordable housing,” more and more people are asking, “Affordable to who?” Lew

  39. Chris,

    Brilliant, find a dog on a country road and name him Denver!

    We’ve had several cars stolen with children still in them make the news. Not necessarily local. The children are normally found intact. More often, some idiot parent “forgets” about an infant in the car, leaving said infant and car in the sun in the depth of summer. Those situations don’t end well.

    Yes, 40 drops in 10 minutes is better than 4 inches in an hour. Doesn’t do much for the drought, but there’s no floods. We do get floods and washed out roads. March of 2014 or 2015 set a record for a single month’s rainfall, subsequently broken by an intense October a few years later. One road in the north of the county was washed out, the gap being about 10 meters or so wide. One epic thunderstorm a few years back undercut the pavement on some hilly roads, put rocks that would fit into your rock walls onto other roads. 1 mile form here, the low spot of the area, had water nearly a meter deep over a largish area. Some guy made the local news because he was kayaking in that area on the flooded roads.

    When I was relatively new to my job, we had a paving project going north of here. The high points there are the tallest in that part of the County and get inundated with extra snow and rainfall due to their relative height. TPTB decided to keep the 12″ diameter culvert that crosses under the road, adding “rip rap” rocks to the ditch. I told them just to dig up the culvert and replace it with a 48″ diameter pipe and they’d never have a problem. “Too expensive” was the response. The Princess met me at the door one evening during an intense January thaw – that road was the lead story on the local news, as the flooding had thrown the culvert 100 meters into a nearby field. Long story short, after 3 additional culvert and rip rap fails, they put a 48″ diameter culvert under the road. And yes, I did harp on TPTB about the excess costs of having to continually rebuild the road rather than doing it right the first time. Need I mention that one of the current nearby fires started on that road? If you pave it…

    There’s a very lengthy story also related to that project. The short version is that the Biggest Boss made a promise to that neighborhood during a public hearing with the elected officials, then forgot about it and broke the promise. Someone from the neighborhood came in to complain, I had the Biggest Boss called to meet with him. The next day, Biggest Boss accosted me, demanding to know “who is the idiot who made that promise?” I tried to be diplomatic, having to assure him that I sure as heck hadn’t made a promise that far above my paygrade, but he finally demanded “I order you to tell me who was the idiot?” Finally I said, “You were sir, and the official recording of that hearing will prove it.” No harm came to me for telling the truth, which rather surprised me. Maybe because there were 3 witnesses. 😉

    The Ponderosa are native to this entire region. So the parks simply had some of them thinned out, some portions cleared of them. My neighbor west across the alley had 3 of them. Then came the dread windstorm of November 2015, and the wind caused a pine branch to scrape a hole in her brand new roof. The trees were removed. Many Ponderosas and other evergreen species blew down during that storm.

    The crows usually don’t tease me. I talk to them, which seems to amuse them. Also, they know that if I’m outside, they can drop walnuts and philberts near me, and I’ll crack them open for them and put them where the crows can eat them without being too close to me. Having a trained human on staff might mean that they don’t want to harass me with teasing and maybe lose their nutcracker.


  40. Hi Chris
    The Nectre Mega is a well designed heater. Fire brick has good qualities . The designers are good to consider all the pieces to be eventual consumables. Send em some pictures of your areas of concern and get an assessment. The baffles are likely made of hot rolled steel. Not too exotic and widely used in heaters over here. warpage can usually be fixed by cold bending in any hydraulic press.

    With your welding skills you can build a really good outdoor wood oven. There are usually shops that need filler work for their plasma ,water jet. , laser , or just plain plate shears. The hardest part is designing the parts for fit and fabrication. Refractory bricks can be incorporated usually with out much cutting. Give it some thought😁

    Probably good for both our countries that Mr Squizzy and our John Delinger never got together.

    Did your grandmother have a wood /coal fired cook stove in her kitchen? Mine used hers her whole life. That took considerable work day in and out.

    Our temp today is 106 degrees F again. We are back on masks for most public in indoor settings vax or not.

    Belief in Limits on Growth are universally considered heresy aren’t they.


  41. Hi Al,

    The wood heater is a fascinating build isn’t it? And they provide the schematics so I can see how the thing was built. For your interest, I added the central heating boiler addition to the combustion chamber and the unit itself puts out a bit of heat, but far out it sure does cook a lot of water which we use in the house (via a heat exchanger) and in the hydronic radiators in the rooms (it is only a small house with a couple of rooms). And the rooftop solar hot water panels keep the heat exchanger toasty hot over about 70% of the year.

    I’ve got a spare baffle plate ready to go, if needed. The current baffle plate is holding up to the punishment well.

    Hmm, it is a good suggestion and one that has also occurred to me in the past. Years back Lewis introduced me to the concept that the Roman’s cooked their bread in outdoor ovens. A good option in a hot climate. Scotch ovens used to be a thing down here way back in the day, and there is a working Scotch oven not too far from here (think very tasty bread and other bakery yummies).

    John Dillinger, well I noticed that his face was lopsided almost as if he used one half of his brain too much. Tough times made for hard men and women.

    Nope, my grandmother had gas appliances from memory. Near to where I used to live when in the big smoke, there was an old gas works which converted coal to gas (I believe). There was even a train line (and an old steam locomotive which disappeared one day) which used to deliver the coal. The whole lot is now a very large inner city park.

    Yes, I heard about the masks, and it turns out that the vaccs weren’t that effective on the latest strain, sorry to say.

    Heresy can be as simple nowadays as choosing not to upgrade technology. It’s a point of view, I guess.



  42. Hi DJ,

    That dog (a Jack Russell) had almost starved and was consuming carrion off the road and by sheer chance the editor stopped to pick him up. He recovered from the ordeal and his Dorgi (a Corgi / Dachshund cross) friend did her best to keep him out of the central food bowl. Such a lovely dog she was, but there was this streak of callousness which was hard to explain. Anyway, we learned the lesson – feed dogs separately and monitor them, and haven’t had a problem since. Old Denver though, he was happy to have been given a second chance at life, and we became good mates him and I.

    That sort of thing with the kids or pets in hot cars doesn’t happen down here (or only rarely happens) because I believe that other people now may have as-of rights to smash the windows open. My understanding was that it didn’t take too many episodes of smashed in rescue vehicle windows before the whole sorry episode simply stopped. I note that in The Stand, the Kid character found himself in an Austin (of all vehicles) in that glasshouse predicament and yeah, well, it didn’t end well for either him or the wolf.

    It looks as though a small and very intense rain storm is almost about to hit the farm. It’s been crazy wet this year. That’s kind of funny about the kayak dude. Almost a week ago, in the state to the west of here in an elevated town (although at a lower elevation than the farm) some dude was skiing after a very heavy hail storm. Hailstorm turns main street into makeshift ski run, after mini tornadoes hit parts of Adelaide. The German origin food in that town was pretty good from memory. 🙂

    Oh yeah, I so hear you about that. Doing infrastructure on the cheap can be a learning experience, but then somewhere you tip over into madness if the same infrastructure is reinstalled and has to face the same extreme conditions time and time again – and fail.

    You got lucky there, or were well prepared for recriminations. One of the things which dismayed me about the top end of town, was not being there, as much as having to dodge other folks trying to off load their responsibilities onto my (or in the case you mention, your) good self. Ah, blessed are the competent for they are busy! 🙂 Mate, I’m not much good with the politics of such things, mainly because perhaps like you, the idea to act that way is not part of your inherent nature.

    Ponderosa Pines are lovely trees, but are probably a bit inappropriate in an urban setting. But then if the urban setting came to the tree and not the other way around, what does that mean?

    Crows are smart birds, and respect for taking the time to develop a relationship with them. This talk of walnuts and filberts is making me want to go out and have a good and proper stern talking to the fruit and nut trees. Grow up ye mangy mongrels, or else! 😉 Might be a bit harsh and no doubt the message could use some alteration and toning down a bit. Sounds a bit pirate doesn’t it? And we all know how things turned out for them.



  43. Hi Inge,

    Is Evert even a recognised name? I thought maybe the met folks were giving a nod to your actor Rupert Everett. Maybe even Kenny Everett and his very naughty show, but no, that was a different spelling. So down here, cyclones are given names from A to Z depending upon landfall, and in a nod to proper logic and stuff they are in alphabetical order. Evert sounds similar to the sort of storms I occasionally see here as a weather extreme. When the summer sun is shining, there’s more energy in the oceans and atmosphere, so no I reckon that is a par for course kind of storm. Global warming suggests that the storms will get stormier.

    Rats are amazing creatures aren’t they? Over the last decade and a half I’ve gone head to head with the rats, and we’re now in an uneven truce where nobody is really winning, but we’re kind of learning how to all live together. But the rats are always testing for weaknesses at the boundaries of things.

    So your observation about the rats kind of was also talking about the ability of our species to navigate our way in the world. Do we take an active, or a passive, or even an indifferent role when deciding upon how to live? It’s not a simple thing at all, and I have no idea about your part of the world and ancient forest, but I have been blessed to have been able to read some of the thoughts of the indigenous folks who have such a long and inter-twinned living arrangement with this old land I’ve found myself in.

    Inge, I do my best, knowing full well that I might stuff things up, but it is better to be an actor than a member of the audience when things inevitably get rough – as they are.

    I began reading the book on my former Sensei, and yeah he really put us adolescents through our paces. What interested me was that the author of the book also found that he was in a very violent area. I’ve been to some rough parts here and abroad, but that area was off the charts. Not sure why that was. The Dojo was a haven for me, and when others were heading out and having fun on a Friday night, I was training there. Have you ever encountered such a locale?



  44. Hi Lewis,

    The rain is falling pretty heavily right now, but earlier today the sun shone and it was really nice. Had a quiet day today and a gourmet pie may have been harmed, and later I caught up with friends via the intricacies of the interweb. We could have caught up in the flesh in the city so to speak, but earlier in the week we were in lock down and didn’t have a clue as to whether we’d be released so a decision had to be made one way or another. A mate is up in the city of Sydney and they seem to be doing an exact repeat of how things rolled here last year. I’m not saying that it is statistically improbable that this would be the case, but it kind of looks that way. And I’m hearing reports about masks in your part of the world – weren’t you lot all vacced? I’m sure you were, and that would be the end of it all? Wasn’t it?

    Did the weather hit 96’F? Mate the rain here is torrential. Winter rain is usually drizzly and goes on for hours, but not the recent storms. The snow in Brazil was not reported upon down here, but wow. Thanks for the heads up as international news seems to be getting thinner on the ground these days.

    Getting bitten by a poisonous viper and dying could well be explained away by having kept up devotions to the wrong snake god in the first place. I can see that. How to appease all of them is the unspoken issue here, but alas a person or household can only do so much and then await the awful consequences. Fate is a rather unyielding companion, although the old adage about: ‘god helps those that help themselves’, is possibly good advice in hard times.

    Kelpies are lovely, but if you turn your back on them, they are so fast that in the next moment they are a quarter mile away! At least that is what an old timer once mentioned when speaking of the breed, and I can see that in their personalities. Apparently that trait is somehow only a recent trait and they weren’t always that way. I’m relaxed about such matters and they ultimately have to take a greater burden in their personal responsibility if they want to act so recklessly. It’s harsh, but I don’t know how else to deal with them if they want to be that way. I say to them: So you had important Kel-pie (I like pies, it’s a personal failing) business did you?

    To share or not to share, that is the question? And unfortunately by this very medium of communication I’m required to share stories, and sometimes it pushes at my personal boundaries (I’m actually a private sort of person) whilst at other times the sharing makes it easier for me to navigate the world. And yet other times it is a massive therapy session for me. I dunno, it took me three years to make up my mind to begin this form of writing as I knew what was involved and so just tried to incorporate it into my worldview. Sometimes it is quite an act of catharsis to pen out the stories. And then there are the chats. How good are they? 🙂 But yeah, ‘Doh!’ moments seem to just keep on coming around to thwack us in the head. How else do we learn the really hard lessons?

    Ah, I see, the editor’s favourite kebab is not any old meat on a stick meal. No, it is much more than that. State fair food wannabes are a piffle. So what holds all the contents in, is a Turkish bread, which is cut in half. Then the charcoal grilled meat, lettuce, tomatoes, garlic and chilli sauce gets added. Then the Turkish bread gets wrapped and then put under the griller just to brown the bread off, and then the extravaganza is served up – or at least that is what the editor tells me how it goes.

    Oh my gawd! Administrative burden is indeed a burden. I spent about an hour this morning, just making sure that every client met a certain deadline. Years ago I never had to worry about getting such systems – just right. It seems needlessly pointless to me, and it is very hard to charge for such oversight.

    Well done Elinor, and sometimes you have to play the system, even if it means slow and steady progress. Does Elinor keep a bit too much stuff in her digs? Can’t say as I’ve ever encountered a professional organiser, but I have cleaned out an estate and that required a large skip (commercial sized bin). Elinor would probably not enjoy my assistance in that job, and fortunately that is an impossibility. 🙂

    Oh, I guess that makes sense about wood and gas heaters using up oxygen in a well sealed environment. We crack the kitchen window open when running the wood heater no matter how cold it is outside. Before we did that the wood heater used to give me mild headaches, which I’m guessing was the CO2. But yeah, the klaxxon song of mad chirrups would send me bonkers pretty quickly. And yeah, never thought of the noise that way before, but that makes sense – loud distressing noises = bad choices.

    No worries at all, and already you have me mulling over: Deus ex machina. Mr King knew, he knows – that was clear to me. It is funny you mention it that way.

    Oh, sorry Dexter was charming in a way that Sherlock Holmes was not charming. The character made no pretense at being charming. The Hound of Baskerville for example did not need one shot, the beast required, what was it, five shots! Sometimes you have to be certain…

    Hehe! $65 a year for registration! Ten times that is required here… I’m always astounded at how cheap your stuff is.

    Thanks for the article with the ecologist. What a lovely occupation the bloke had, and I was intrigued by the many paths that life took when it came across a fertile feed. The fish getting into the lake was amazing.

    That’s a good point about the Ginko tree. Didn’t one specimen survive the bombing of Hiroshima?

    Wow, the rental story is sad, and I also note that the assistance has (or is about to) disappear for tenants. Yeah, well you know about institutional living and what that looks like on the ground. The thing with the entire disintermediation biz going on right now is that if it succeeds, then it will fail – how could the folks pushing it not understand that? My grandfather used to walk around and call everyone ‘d$%kheads’, and I’m slowly starting to wonder whether he was right. This whole smash and grab thing will not end well, but you know, maybe they need to give it a go just to see what happens, and then maybe we’ll learn from that? Dunno.



  45. Hello Chris
    I have lived close to a very bad locale and used to cycle through it on my way home from work. That was in the days when children still played out in the streets and a little girl ran off the pavement straight into the side of my cycle. Almost immediately I was surrounded by the roughest of rough men and women. All very unnerving! Fortunately the child was unhurt and I talked and charmed myself out of the situation. Have just remembered that I took a Spanish friend there when he said that England had nothing like the poverty to be found in Spain. He was appalled and backed down on his statement.
    Not far from there, police would not walk singly at night. This was in South London not on the Island.
    This was in the 1950s and I believe that things are worse now due to drugs.


  46. Yo, Chris – Commenting on other stuff, people have said … My grandfather’s first name was Evertt. Pronounced “Eee” vert. He was of Finn and Norwegian background.

    Looks like a good year for cucumbers, and tomatoes, here. At least three people planted cucumber starts. Which are all languishing on the ground. I snagged three, last night. I’m going to make that Harvester salad, I mentioned. Heavy cream, vinegar, pepper, cucumbers and onions. I’m also looking into dehydrated cucumber chips. I didn’t plant any, but, had some volunteers out of some kitchen scraps I buried. So, I relocated them, and we’ll see if anything comes of them. Not much vine, but plenty of flowers. The tomatoes are looking good, and, a few have ripened up. If the weather holds … speaking of which…

    it got to 93F (33.88C), yesterday. It will be in the mid-80’s, all week. And then a big change coming, on Friday. Prof. Mass talks about it. His last two blog posts, cover it. Rain, and lower temperatures. If the tomatoes are going to do it, it better be, this week.

    Of masks, lockdowns and You Know What. Provincetown, Massachusetts, had a super-spreader event, due to their 4th of July holiday. It’s been intensely, studied.

    Interesting stuff, coming out. And why they’re recommending masks, again.

    I know what you mean about turning your back on the Kelpies. H did a runner down the hall, the other day, doing her impression of a crazy woman. Luckily, the doors to the stair wells were closed. Once, quit awhile ago, they weren’t, and we had a devil of a time finding her in the building. While being worried that an outside door might be left open, and away she’d go! I generally let her go, unleashed, between Elinor’s apartment, and mine. But if she pulls that stunt again, it’s all leash, all the time, for her.

    Writing on-line is like thinking out loud. But, yeah, there’s always a tension between what to tell, and what not to tell. I probably won’t mention that in the food box we got yesterday (more on that, later), there was an enormous piece of chocolate cake, and, an individual cherry pie. Both of which I ate. Ooops! Didn’t mean to reveal that 🙂 .

    Ah, there’s a difference between a kabob, and a shish (Turkish for on a stick?) kabob. Speaking of Turkey, there was a bag of pasta, in our box, that was made in Turkey. Really? Half the package was in Arabic.

    Elinor’s hoarding is a fairly recent thing. Maybe started ten years, and three moves, ago. It’s all kind of tidy, and clean, but the couch is buried (there’s a couch in there?) and there are paths. She always thinks someone (usually family) can use, or will be interested in this or that. I wonder how much of it is binned, when out the door. But that has slowed down, because of You Know What. We also had a free table, here at the Institution, which is currently shut down. But a lot of it has to do with memory … or memories. She’s losing a lot of her old mates … from way back. Do they disappear, entirely, if memory of them is gone? There’s all kinds of dimensions, to hoarding. Elinor’s stuff, defines her. If the stuff is gone, who is she? And then there’s the dimension of is the stuff who she is, or who she wants to be? That plays into some of my hoarding tendencies.

    But, I nudge, here and there. Last night I observed that H would probably really enjoy sitting on the couch. But once the couch is unearthed, I guess it’s going to an unsuspecting relative. More likely, to the tip. Not that that will be made clear 🙂 . And then she started banging on about the furniture she’ll buy to replace it. I’ll wait a few days and point out that more furniture might preclude getting a mobile chair. Which might make the difference between going to assisted living now, or later.

    I thought King’s ending was a little hokey and contrived. But, it was such a ripping good tale, I didn’t mind much.

    Our car registrations fund roads and bridges. And, the extensive ferry system, which sticks in the craw of people who don’t use it. The frozen registrations, create a shortfall. But, the State manages to make it up, here and there. Mostly.

    Your grandfather was right. But, this being a family friendly blog, I must go with, “I’m surrounded by morons and idiots.” Which probably isn’t very politically correct, and may offend the tender sensibilities of some morons, or idiots, somewhere. 🙂 .

    So. Food box. The really odd thing was 4 pounds of feta cheese! I see pizza (lots and lots of pizza), in my future. Once the temperature cools down. I’m looking into freezing up some of it. Can be done. There was also 3+ ounces, of some kind of gourmet cheese, that would have cost me $8. Dutch Hollow Dulcet Cheese. I looked it up. Mild and soft. Made in upstate New York. There were a dozen eggs, a pound of frozen lean ground beef and a pack of chicken and pork wieners. 3 cans of chicken. A jar of good peanut butter. Nothing in there, but peanuts. There was a lot of tinned stuff. Some I kept, and some I turned back. Either stuff I don’t use, or that I already have in my pantry. I’ve been working the swap table, and picking up odds and ends. More black beans. There was one stray can of garbanzo. There was a bag of Bob’s Red Mill, 5 grain cereal. A bit past the expiration date, but sealed, and I think still useable. There were cans of pretty good chili. Some salsas and other red sauce, that don’t look too lethal. A few tins of pretty good soup. But the most whimsical (?) was a box from The Big Oatmeal Company. “Instant Oatmeal Dinosaur Eggs Brown Sugar.” There are cartoons, all over the box. “The eager Oatasaurus … loves to eat oats because they are yummy whole grains that contain fiber …” There’s also a game, of hunt the other dinosaurs, hidden in the prehistoric (cartoon) landscape. Gee, wonder who the target audience is, for this bit of dross?

    Saw an article about a new discovery up on the wall, a couple of weeks ago. WARNING! Sculpture of a naked dude, ahead!

    Check out the video, in the story. 3 minutes. I love the two old duffers, that found the carving. Couple of characters. Lew

  47. Hi Inge,

    I’ve lived in some down at heels and rough as guts places too, and strangely they had a sort of rough order to them and as long as you don’t step on the wrong toes or big note yourself, you’re usually OK.

    The book on my Sensei is quite enlightening and explains a few things which I never understood – like why we spent an abominably long time repeating the basics over and over and the extraordinarily lengthy warm up exercises and cool downs after training. So much is now clear to me. Anyway, I’ve taken those ‘sort the basics out before expanding the repertoire’ mentality to heart, because it works and he showed me that it did.

    The area the Dojo was located in was populated by the nouveau riche, and I kid you not, it was the most violent area that I have ever lived. Rougher and meaner streets look kind of placid with a certain underlying order to them, but that place was odd. Thus the years of training.

    Kudos to you for surviving the incident, but as you probably know, it is rarely the incident that is the problem, it is the response to the incident that really riles folks up.

    It sounds like a rough as bags area, but the thing is, if people are on the take, they rarely want to invite unwarranted trouble, and only a fool would press their ordinary perquisites in such a place.

    Dunno, but we’ve both clearly survived some troubled waters. 🙂



  48. Hi Lewis,

    It is funny you mention that about the names, but the editors dad hailed from Austria via the Czech republic, and he was a harsh man. As I was reading the book about my old Sensei, the editor chimed in and said that the blokes name had been (as they used to say) Anglicised as his dad had also arrived down under by way of Austria.

    What? Wasted cucumbers are an atrocity and the fruits deserve to be purloined. Respect for your work and hope that nobody noticed. I’ve never heard of dehydrated cucumber chips, so have you processed them that way before? And what do they taste like?

    Ah, sorry to say, but if the weather turns cooler, the cukes are toast. Your volunteers might be the exception, but I dunno those plants need so much heat. I wouldn’t worry too much about the tomatoes as it is only early days for the harvest for you, and cooler weather can just as easily turn warmer. But I’ll have a check and see what the good Professor has to say on the matter.

    Sorry, I can’t read about the health subject which dare not be named this evening as we finished work after dark. We’re in the process of getting the summer vegetable beds ready for the growing season. Mate, there the supply of vaccs down here is limited and that is the way it is and there are more deserving people than I, so I’ll take a rain check, which is also a prudent course of action given the background noise.

    H is a sprightly fluffy, and humans should expect such an outcome from the breed. The fluffies also have their own thoughts on things, and as humans it is up to us to find some middle ground. I had to keep the three of them in their enclosure today because there must have been someone new every twenty minutes or so looking at the bush block next door. I’m gobsmacked by the interest, and wonder what the folks are hoping to find.

    It is thinking out loud isn’t it? But that is better than a stream of consciousness wall of text. The things I delete from the comments would amaze you, and if I see biblewoke again they might just get woked in a visceral way. And chocolate cake and cherry pie if done well could bring a smile to my face too! 🙂 Why waste them?

    The kebab is really a southern european toasted sandwich using Turkish bread with charcoal cooked lamb. So good, nothing at all like a shish kebab. Hey, it astounds me that Turkey with its burgeoning population would export food stuffs to your country.

    Wow, thanks for the insight into Elinor’s mindset, and I can see that you have pondered the meaning behind the outcome for quite a while. Maybe they do disappear, but I feel that the dead, we always carry with us. Mate, everyone follows the inverted bell shaped curve, unless the experience is cut short, and maybe we are who we are at the time that we are that person? Dunno, but I’ve mellowed over the years. I’m reading about my Sensei and you know it is a strange feeling to walk in the past from someone else’s perspective who was also there at the time.

    Nudging from my experience produces far better outcomes than bludgeoning. 🙂 And I like your style bringing H into the seed of an idea. Very subtle.

    Mr King is an interesting author as he enjoys the introduction and the telling of the tale, but don’t expect too much from the conclusion. The editor just finished reading his book: Cell, and that book abruptly finished, which can mean much or nothing, but it probably wasn’t all that great for the protagonist.

    Mate, I’ve gotta bounce as it is now 9.15pm and it was a late start due to working outside in the almost dark. Will speak tomorrow.



  49. Yo, Chris – I’ve never made cucumber chips, before. I was casting about for what to do with cucumbers. I mean, there’s salad, but I’m more a casserole kind of guy. There’s the Harvester Salad, but one or two batches of that, is enough. There are pickles, but I’ve never made pickles. And I understand they can be a bit … difficult. To get them nice and crispy. But with the cooler weather coming on, and the tomato crop moving toward production, I’ll probably give a tray or two a whirl. Some recipes call for salt and vinegar. And I think I’ll pick up a bottle of malt vinegar, for a little extra zip! 🙂 .

    My green beans and scarlet runner beans are concerning. I just noticed this morning, that the green beans are (finally!) showing a few blossoms. The scarlet runner beans had plenty of blossoms, and lots of bee action, but I have yet to see anything that looks like a pod forming. The green beans are the real mystery, as I had such bumper crops, the last two years. I’m really thinking that early heat wave effected some of the plants in unknown ways. Maybe.

    Some people make a hobby of looking at properties. Estate agents develop a sixth sense, for spotting them. We had two more houses go on the market, on our street. Both are older, well kept bungalows / cottages. The four bedroom is listed for $365,000. The two bedroom for $318,000. To me, the lots are small, and neighbors way too close.

    I don’t have much patience with stream of consciousness writing. Seems a bit … egotistical. Give me a ripping yarn, with a beginning, middle and end. Or a good dialogue, such as we have here. I jot notes, so I don’t loose the plot. 🙂 . And chuck in new stuff, from time to time, just to keep the dialogue going. As do you.

    Yes, getting foodstuffs from Turkey, was quit startling. If it had been gourmet something or other, it would have made more sense. But not staples, like pasta. We also get a lot of foodstuffs from The Land of Stuff. Often, raw materials are shipped there, canned (tinned) and shipped back. Which makes no sense. One gets quit good at reading the fine print on labels.

    I’ve always had an interest in hoarding. Given my tendency toward it, myself. It helps keep it in check. I study it, for frequent boosters 🙂 . And, I don’t mean just the reality TV horror shows. “Hoarders”, “Buried Alive,” etc. etc.. Though I’ve watched a few of those. And then there’s the organizers. Those are kind of useless. Get enough of the proper containers, and your junk problems will go away. There’s even a branch of hoarding study I call, “Pray it away.” I’m more interested in the scientific stuff. The people who do on-the-ground studies, and try and figure out solutions.

    Some older people’s memories of their early life, become clearer, as they age. There’s an old joke about not remembering what you had for breakfast, but remembering some small detail from your childhood. But not many people fall into that category. With most, names, dates, places … slip away. It’s distressing, if your invested in what happened before, makes up who you are now.

    Years ago, I read a novel (can’t remember author or title), about a man who lived in the afterlife. As long as people were remembered, by someone on earth, they continued to exist on that plane. But, as earthly memory faded, when the last person to remember them died, they blinked out. So, famous (or infamous) people stuck around for quit awhile. Some came and went pretty quickly. But then, suddenly, people started disappearing, wholesale. Whole suburbs of this plane, were suddenly empty. As near as the hero could figure, a huge plague was sweeping the earth. And finally, it got down to just him, and one other woman, and then … well, the inevitable. The Mexican culture has a similar take on the afterlife.

    When I got to the end of King’s “The Cell”, I wanted to throw it against the wall. And I wish I had never watched the movie. The end, to me, was horrible. And, lingers. Lew

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