Hate to tell ya so

This past week rates pretty highly as one of the less enjoyable weeks of my existence. I’m an old fella now, and the present times remind me of the sheer panic and uncertainty that were the early 1990’s when the economic world was collapsing all around me. Way back then I worked as a really young bloke in my first adult job with the state government. And then one day they said to me: We don’t need you any more, son. What, so does this mean that I can no longer go to the pub on a Friday afternoon with my work mates?

After the pronouncement of the hand of fate, getting paid for drinking at the pub with my work mates on a Friday afternoon was no longer an option. Not only did I loose my job, but I lost an important chunk of my social life. Fortunately I still had plenty more friends to spare, but I really needed a job in order to pay the rent, utilities and keep food upon the table. Being one pay day away from eviction looks like that. Fortunately I’m nothing if not flexible and a job was secured in the murky world of corporate debt collection, which incidentally kept food on the table and a roof over my head for the next four years during an era of 10% unemployment.

As to the sheer panic and uncertainty that is these days, well, there are actual riots in the otherwise quiet and staid streets of Melbourne now. The fine citizens of that city have a 9pm to 5am strict curfew and are only allowed to leave their homes for five reasons. As of Saturday 11am, we learned that the rural areas were to also be subjected from 1pm that same day (2 hours notice) to the five reasons to leave the home rule. Curfew wasn’t deemed necessary, but nothing is open after 9pm in this part of the world anyway…

Things I guess were already pretty weird before then, and only proceeded to get weirderer (sic) as the day progressed! Early that morning the state government may have earned themselves some serious mad cash via fining the convoy of vehicles (clearly city folks breaking out of their isolation). We encountered the police escorting the convoy of vehicles out of this remote part of the mountain range. I’m assuming that the police have number plate readers in their vehicles, because the editor and I scored a cheesy grin and cheeky wave from them.

However, one of the unfortunate side effects of all of these restrictions upon the usual modes of existence, is that incomes are drying up, government financial support has become much harder to obtain, but those old bills keep on rolling on in. I suspect that plenty of people are probably quietly going broke fast.

The long dead military genius (everyone needs at least one) Sun Tzu, recommended to never back an opponent into a corner, if only because they will fight back with supernatural strength and ferocity. The footage of the riots whispered to my lizard brain that the participants weren’t protesting. No, instead they appeared angry and wanted to lash out at the authorities, which they seemed to have done. One bloke made no pretense at protest, and just appeared to go straight in for a punch up with the police. Here I must add that this is not the usual state of affairs with the population down under.

Back in the early 1990’s, when I was a young lad, nobody thought of riots, probably because we were too broke to pay for the train ride into the city. Instead we saved the minor leftover amounts of mad cash we had scrounged that week, to pay for the Friday night pre-Club dreadful cheap swill, mixed with Coca cola. The mix made it more or less palatable. Revolting stuff, but it worked with authority. And Friday the night clubs left me asking the hard questions in the wee hours of the morning when the effects of the swill had drifted away: Why was I even there? Should I get a girlfriend instead? All important questions.

But yeah, emotions sure are running high these days. Pretty much everyone I spoke to last week was in a high state of emotion of one kind or another. My best guess is that they’re watching their former world slip away and become this new, something else world. It is not a nice place this new something else world. However, most of the people I interact with on a regular basis have the fighter and survivor persona about them, and I know that they’ll do what it takes to survive, because I see them doing just that. Heck, even I’m doing that.

Anyway, the constant emotional barrage has finally worn me down a bit this week. I’ve been actively supporting other people since the craziness began in March last year and I haven’t sought anything in return. My experience suggests that this craziness will continue for a while to come, so I’ll just have to gird my loins and get on with the needful.

As part of building up reserves of energy so that I can continue to fight another week, I’ve now taken to spending a day just pottering around the farm quietly doing jobs that for one reason or another have been put off. On those days, I set no time limits or expectations, and the editor is also off doing her thing those days too. I recommend the approach.

One of the jobs was reviewing a whole bunch of camera images to see what interesting things had occurred recently. There is always something going on, and speaking of high emotional states, one photo revealed a guy who turned up unannounced at the farm one day. I’d forgotten about him.

A bloke turns up at the farm. Author says ‘Get lost’!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that despite your best intentions and good grace, people will bring their shit to you. You can quote me on that. So, the guy turns up unannounced and says he’s the son of a local sheep farmer. Apparently the story goes that two large black dogs have been killing his lambs – and someone in the area just happened to mention that we have two black dogs and then sent him up here. I’m kind of glad the mysterious person did so, so as to allay the blokes misconceptions.

The bloke looked pretty agitated, almost as if he wanted to get into a fight over the subject. Good luck with that, he didn’t look all that fit. Anyway, I knew straight away that it wasn’t Plum and Ruby, if only because I never let them out to free roam at the same time. Dogs in packs can be trouble, especially for lambs.

Knowing that it wasn’t my two rapscallion sheep dogs, I said to the bloke to come and check out the two dogs with his own eyes. Unfortunately, the bloke had to walk behind the house, and thus away from his security blanket vehicle, so as to view the two rapscallions. And on one occasion he looked dubious as if I had nefarious intentions (it is nice to understand how his mind worked and how I would be treated if the situation was reversed). The hesitation was observed and deflected using a strong word of command to: Come on!

When the bloke finally laid eyes upon the two small black sheep dogs, I almost felt like Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Chris: These aren’t the dogs you’re looking for.
Bloke: These aren’t the dogs we’re looking for.
Chris: He can go about his business.
Bloke: You can go about your business.
Chris: Move along.
Bloke: [gesturing] Move along! Move along!

Ruby and Plum, innocent AF – this time. Lamb wouldn’t melt in their mouths.

The bloke may have muttered an apology for the unfair slur directed against the two innocent sheep dogs, but honestly I can’t recall hearing it. He did however leave on better terms than when he had arrived, and I guess that’s something. All the same, it amazes me despite your innocence and best intentions, people can still bring their shit to your doorstep. And from a geopolitical perspective, that seems pretty common practice nowadays.

We had some very sunny and even mildly warm days this week. A day was spent breaking two of the three rock slabs into smaller, yet still large rocks. Regular readers will recall that three rock slabs were created last week. Two of those rock slabs were broken into six individual rocks.

Only one rock slab remains after this weeks rock splitting work. Ollie looks for the other two slabs.

The dozen smaller, yet still large rocks were driven back up the hill in the yellow powered wheelbarrow. There they were placed carefully so as to create a formidable rock wall barrier on the low gradient ramp project. The formidable rock wall barrier is very important so as to ensure that accidentally nothing falls off the steep downhill side of the ramp. We still require a huge number of smaller, yet still large rocks, in order to complete the project. But slowly and surely, the job is getting done.

A formidable rock wall is being placed on the low gradient ramp project

As part of my pottering day around the farm, I tackled a job which I’d been long putting off. Regular readers will recall that two citrus trees became diseased with Phytophthora oomycetes, whatever they are. We created this problem by directing too much water near to those trees, and they have succumbed to disease. But not fully succumbed to disease.

With nothing further to lose, I pruned the two decade old citrus trees hard, and then spread a huge quantity of a lime and coffee ground mix around the trees. It’s an experiment, and maybe the two trees might even recover? Who knows, but it’s at least worth a try.

The two decade old citrus trees were pruned very hard removing all diseased limbs

All of the diseased limbs and fruit were then collected and burnt off.

A huge quantity of diseased citrus prunings were fed into the brazier. It was more than this – believe me!

The many thornless blackberry plants also received a hard prune this week.

The thornless plants in the blackberry enclosure were pruned hard this week

And spring feels as if it is almost here, but I won’t hold my breath for winter is returning in force tomorrow with rain and colder temperatures (but no snow this year). Despite the impending cooler weather, many of the plants are showing signs of spring:

The raised Potato bed looks very productive and the plants show only minimal frost damage
A couple of very early Asparagus spears have appeared
One of my favourite vegetables is Globe Artichoke. Yum!
This Plum is producing very early blossom – and I hope there are no frosts

Onto the flowers:

Daffodils enjoy the damp soil near to the two diseased citrus trees
The second Rhododendron to produce flowers this season
Ever reliable Geraniums continue to delight
This Daisy was only recently transplanted and is enjoying its new spot
How lovely are Roses?

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 814.0mm (32.0 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 803.8mm (31.6 inches)

26 thoughts on “Hate to tell ya so”

  1. Hi Lewis,

    The news reports are that an escaped wallaby was on the run in Pennsylvania. But the marsupial appears to have been now apprehended – and authorities confirm that no banks were harmed in the process.

    It’s a two way street that, and yes I’d like to continue ordering my thoughts, using the old grey matter to um, especially remember to use old school word structures such as an introduction, a middle chunk, and err, an appropriate conclusion. Although, Mr King might be onto something with conclusion of The Cell story? 🙂 The editor thinks not, as do you, but even

    🙂 And we must always remember to keep ourselves amused, although please spare me Scott’s jokes – I take your warnings in this important matter at face value.

    Another beautiful day of lock down. I’d call those demonstrations a riot, if only because the participants didn’t really seem to be very interested in engaging with the authorities. And I like your metaphor. Nice. The crowd had flows which the sensitive person could perceive. But mate, that’s true – things are progressing faster than I’d ever imagined. Word on the street is that one of our major exports: Iron Ore, well the price is apparently heading south.

    Sorry to hear about the case in the sister institution. That’s not good. What do you do, as far as I understand things it is a case of: coming to a cinema near you (meaning all of us one way or another) soon. Went to the local general store this morning to pick up milk and check the mail, and it was like a ghost town. Reviewed the gobarmint assistance offers for the rest of the day – and spoke to a lot of people on the phone. My brain is candidly a bit fried, but one must make do and get on with the job at hand.

    Iceland did some interesting things post GFC. I’m guessing as a result their currency devalued, and I do recall the come holiday in Iceland vibe that was going on before international travel just kind of evaporated – overnight. They’re an interesting look into what countries can do when faced with crazy economics. Iceland would be a bit cold for my tastes.

    Speaking of crazy things. Last evening when I was busily penning this week’s essay, the interweb dropped out. That has never happened before, so I checked out the router / modem and it seemed OK except for one unexpected setting. The interweb still didn’t pop back up. But then after about 20 minutes it just came back on line again. Eerie. Anyway, just in case I ordered a spare router / modem this morning. My ordinary course of action would have been to drop into the local telco store – but they along with a whole bunch of other retail, is closed for the immediate future. I’ve got a plan B and a plan C for the interweb connection, but I don’t really want to go there if it is avoidable. It amazes me how I discover holes in my systems just randomly, and then plug them up to discover another hole over there which was completely unthought of. Definitely a game of whack a mole.

    Oh! Two night ago we watched the ‘Rams’ film. It was a really good film and the animosity between the two brothers was almost palpable. And the ending was excellent as it looked like they’d opted for the Ovis aries outlaw lifestyle. The scenery was stunning, and the summer months looked far hotter and drier than here, as it was filmed over in the west of the continent. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Mate, that’s so true and I’m really trying to keep an eye out for myself and the editor, as is the editor. The madness going around can be caught if a person is not careful. Not exposing oneself to too much news is a good start, but rest, good food, a bit of sun and fresh air as well as exercise is all part of things. Actually I’m hearing from more people that they no longer indulge in the news of the day. That interests me greatly.

    You might not get any lowland snow. Who knows? I’d always pegged the month of August for snow, but not this year.

    Thanks for that. Yes, life’s grace notes. Well spoken.

    Every time I indulge upon a take away coffee, I’m reminded of the deep concerns which people had about those very disposable containers, once upon a time.

    Oh, who are the chattering classes? Not sure that I understand what this term refers to? But yes, I too hear you about the backup stocks. The snap lock downs have made it much harder to plan for supply shortages (e.g. the router / modem debacle), and my suppliers are far from here. Actually previously I was able to purchase bulk 44 pound sacks of rolled oats, but I’m not allowed to go there now so in the meanwhile had to sort out another supplier for the same stuff. It is an organic unstablised variety of oats – which is super tasty.

    I too have taken note of the warning, noting that Mr Greer penned a book on failed apocalypse stories over history and how they were rather tiresome and oft repeated failures, and then he wrote that minor note. The man would not say such things lightly, so I took note and acted accordingly. In this particular instance, I’d really like it if he were wrong (as he probably would too).

    The chicken poop is not a bad idea. You may note that I have been on a massive soil feeding quest for a lot of this year. And the plant growth from that quest has far surpassed my expectations. The results would astound you. The walking is a great form of exercise, and it is now my favourite sport – true. Walking as an activity can be quite meditative.

    Always wise not to approach a newcomer too quickly, especially one that has allegedly committed an offence against another gardener. Remember Ollie’s guide to investigating a crime: Once is a pattern. 🙂 He should know. Thanks for the explanation, it is odd behaviour as keen gardeners often have excellent observational skills – comes with the territory and all that. Still as you say, caution here is the watchword.

    Did you write stone lithograph? Did some artist cut the artwork into stone?

    Those cylinder ceramic rabbit ear things, for sharpening kitchen knives, are they what I call a pig stabber? It is like a pig stabber, but has ever so slight grooves in it and is made of hardened steel which you use to sharpen kitchen knives by running the blade along the length of the stabber? I always keep the knives in the kitchen sharp, as I used to be a bit lax about that, but blunt knives are more likely to slip off damp fruit and end up embedded in your fingers causing much personal distress and woe.

    The master gardeners talk sounded really good, and is super useful information. People seem pretty clueless about such things nowadays, and creating a good edge on steel cutting blades makes life easy. I recall getting a decent introduction to chainsaw maintenance over two days out in the forest with a crusty old ex-forestry worker turned trainer. I learned so much about the machines and how to maintain them. My previous state of knowledge was an embarrassment.

    Pompeii never ceases to amaze. The snack bar last year was fascinating. I too was wondering about why his head appeared to be propped up in the corner. It seems like such a huge space for one whom is departed. Do you have any theories about how or why the body was positioned in that manner? Do you know if the body was originally placed on a bed of some sort?



  2. Hello Chris
    Difficult here to write anything that isn’t one long moan. Even the weather has let me down. We were told that there would be sun today. So now my washing is hanging out under thick cloud and no breeze.

    Shopping today and I needed a post office. One and two having closed down, I went to the 3rd one that I now have to use. Oh they were sorry but they were closed today, so on to number 4. At least I have my son to drive me around. I realise that some unfortunates must have got off the bus only to discover this and then have a long wait for another bus onwards.

    A friend who urgently needed her bank, found it closed due to you know what. So on she went to a branch in the next town only to be told. ‘I can’t do this as I haven’t been here long and don’t know how to do it’! She was ferociously told to fetch someone who could do it.

    Everything seems to be collapsing. There are empty shelves in the supermarkets and I saw a woman with her trolley full of toilet rolls.

    Still, I keep happy and well.


  3. Yo, Chris – Anyone of a certain age 🙂 has probably been through economic hard times. You cope … or not. We’ve talked about how I filled in with odd jobs (some, very odd), when things got tough. Bar tending, slinging hash, janitor. Construction and repair of wooden clogs. Sometimes, two jobs at once. You also learn thrift. And, if you’re of a mind, those habits carry over into the better times.

    That’s interesting about the convoy, making a breakout, from Melbourne. Why? It would be interesting to hear some of the individual stories, about what was so important. Some would provide comic relief, I’m sure. Well, at least they weren’t being strafed by alien gunships. As happened in that recent sci-fi film, I watched. A convoy trying to break out of Sydney. It didn’t go well … For either side.

    Footage of your riot dropped out of the news, pretty quickly. If you weren’t an insomniac, or a night owl, like me, you would have missed it. Maybe the coverage was quashed, as to not give anyone any ideas.

    Interesting interchange, with the bloke. I wonder if he went back to his source of information, and gave them a right “what for.” And in future, discount any information from that quarter, whatever it was. As you know, here at the Institution, it’s a hotbed of gossip and misinformation. LOL. Elinor, as quiet and unassuming as she is, doesn’t put up with that horse apples. She’ll get right to the source, and give them a good dressing down … even if she has to track some bit of nonsense, through three people. She’s tenacious! 🙂 .

    Big rocks to little rocks. Or, at least, smaller rocks. Ollie looks like, “There were rocks here. Where did the rocks go? Aliens! Did aliens beam them up?” Your rock barrier on the path looks quit handsome.

    Good luck with the citrus trees. Boy, if they do come back, you’ll have even more citrus, than you already do. Gardening: Let’s give it a try, and see if it works. A garden mystery. You may remember, I had some, I thought, cucumber volunteers from where I buried some kitchen scraps. Or, so I thought. So, I moved some of them to a more convenient part of the garden. They didn’t seem to do much. But, they were out of the way, and I just kept watering them. Well, last night I noticed something … startling. There amongst the leaves, is something very round … and turning very orange. A pumpkin? If so, it’s from seed that was in the ground, for at least three years.

    Asparagus and glob artichokes. I see some good nosh, in your future. The plum blossoms and daffodils are very lovely. And, a yellow rhododendron. I don’t think we’ve got any yellow ones, here. Late in life, I discovered geraniums come in many forms. My native volunteers are banging along. They don’t take up much space, so, why not?

    That’s a very pretty, old variety of rose. We’ve got some gladiolus, around here, with exactly that color combination. But to your epistle …

  4. Yo, Chris – To your epistle – Wallabies in Pennsylvania? I hope they took it, somewhere, where it can find some good mates. It’s getting so …well, the phrase that comes to mind is, The American Ark. For good or ill. They found the first active Murder Hornet nest, of the season. So far, well north of us.

    Oh! I hadn’t even thought of deploying Scott’s jokes. I’ll add it to my arsenal. 🙂

    I noticed in the riot footage, that your police have a mounted unit. Portland, does, or did, have a mounted patrol. Wandering around the downtown, in the dead of night, they were a comfort. I figured if I could hear them, they could hear me.

    You’re a saint, for helping people negotiate through the government red tape, of possible financial lifelines. Is it grants, or loans … or, a possible mix of both? If your able, some people are worth pulling into the lifeboat.

    I wonder if Lazy Shiftless Jack, will come to replace my garbage disposal (which I never use), as scheduled? I hope, so, as my kitchen is mostly in my hall, right now. To give Jack room to work, and, maybe, not break anything. It’s disrupting my food preservation. Though I got a couple of racks of tomatoes, through the dryer, last night. I wonder if they’ll postpone, as he’s in and out of both buildings. I’ll wear my mask, so will he. I’ve got the window open, the A/C on, and the stove fan venting. Flush those Covid Cooties, right out of my apartment. And, hope for the best. Bleach around the sink, when he’s done.

    Iceland has some interesting mythology. And what they do with thermal energy, is top notch. But exports? Other than Bjork, I’m not sure 🙂 . But for the last month, there have been ads everywhere I go, on the internet, to Visit Iceland!

    You know, there are all sorts of tools on the web, to check on internet outages. Phones, too. Just a shallow dive down the rabbit hole, and I found aussieservicedown (usual dot ending). According to them, in the last 15 days, there’s been over 2,000 down service reports, in and around Melbourne. Of course, they never tell you why. State secret, or something.

    I’m glad you liked “Rams.” Last night I made a bowl of popcorn, and watched another alien invasion movie. “A Quiet Place II.” I never watched the first one, as, a bunch of people stuck in a cabin (as near as I can tell from the trailer), didn’t interest. But this got out in the wider world. Still, can’t recommend it. I fast forwarded through a lot of creeping around. Supposed to “build suspense,” but it just bored me. And there were way to many children, who couldn’t follow directions, and crying babies. Still, I got a bowl of popcorn, with Swiss Cheese! 🙂 .

    Chattering classes –


    Of course, I use it to refer to idiotic people, in love with their own voices, who just … can’t … shut … up. The soundtrack of my life.

    Mr. Solomon seems very high on chicken poop. Maybe he’s inhaled to much ammonia? Yesterday, I dug in a bag of kitchen scraps, along with some rotting apple falls. And made a post midnight foray into the garden, with a gallon of self produced liquid nitrogen.

    Yup. Real stones.


    More information than you ever wanted, but this is how they printed Currier and Ives lithographs.

    As near as I can figure, they call those knife and scissor sharpeners “ceramic rod knife sharpeners,” or, “ceramic honing rods.”

    Yes, embarrassment is the right word. I was talking with Ted, the Master Gardener presenter, about it. I mean, my Dad was handy, had a workshop and bench, in the basement, and another out in the garage. How did I never learn this stuff? Probably a combination of I wasn’t interested, and Dad was not known for his patience, in explaining or teaching things. When he tried to teach Mum to drive, well, I think that went one session. She learned from her best friend / neighbor, across the road.

    Yup. The Pompeii snack bar, was pretty interesting. And, we mustn’t forget the ceremonial chariot. But, yes, that tomb looked pretty empty. But other things may have been removed, to get at the old duffer in the corner. They mentioned two other burials (cremation urns), in the tomb. But I thought the same thing, after I had posted, to you. He must have been propped up on a couch or bed, that has since rotted away. I think it’s interesting, that he was mentioned, in a trove of lawyers papers, that they found several years ago. I had read about them before. There was a complicated legal case, of a woman trying to prove she wasn’t a slave. Interesting stuff. Lew

  5. Hi Chris,

    It may be sinking in to most people that however they feel about it, there is no going back to the good old days, i.e. 2019. That is not something any of us have to like, but some of us have already done some work to prepare for it, like yourself and the editor and everyone who comments here. Other people, well, not so much, and it is getting harder to keep up the facade of going back to normal as each day passes. I wish you and the editor all the resilience you need to cope with the craziness – and I wish everyone else who reads this the same thing.

    Meanwhile, I harvested all of this year’s potato crop, 62 pounds of fine looking potatoes. Then I planted seeds for autumn crops in that bed, with good germination so far. Cabbage-family seeds come up really fast in soil as warm as mine is at this time of year – many of them in just 2 days! I’m still harvesting tomatoes and peppers as well as green beans and just started harvesting butternut squash. But the squirrels ate almost every apple long before they were ripe and now they have eaten almost every ear of popcorn. Be glad you don’t have them in Oz.

    I’m working on a blog post which details why my garden, as good as it is, doesn’t supply anywhere close to what one vegan adult can eat in a year. Hope to have it up in a week or so.


  6. Chris,

    Got very busy here. There was real rain over the weekend, in different waves. My part of town got maybe 12mm to 15 mm total. All of the fires in the northern third of Washington, as well as one in the SE part of the state, got rain also. The town of Concunully in north central Washington was in dire danger of being overrun by a fire – the 15mm of rain in that region probably saved the town.

    Anyhow, this means the weather is also cool for a few more days – maybe 22C today and NO SMOKE, so I’ve been doing outdoor chores most of the day. Now I’m exhausted. Dinner and a relaxing evening with the Princess beckon. Will catch up later in the week.


  7. Hi Inge,

    We are perhaps in the same boat with that problem. It has become rather difficult to not moan, but yes, keep a stiff upper lip and all that. Where did that particular sentiment originate? Ah, apparently the ideals of the Spartans were an inspiration to the English public school system – well that explains a few things! And it used to be called the public school system down here too, but in recent times has rebranded as the private school system. I can’t honestly say for sure what the impetus for the change was.

    Today was very cold here, and I believe I spotted several flakes of snow falling this morning from the thick clouds, but that was rapidly followed by freezing rain. All very unpleasant.

    Glad to hear that the fourth attempt proved true, and your son was patient with the general level of craziness (although I am merely guessing at his internal state of mind at the unfolding events). Not to put too fine a point on contrasts but I am seriously restricted in my travels these days with no end in sight. This health subject which dare not be named is pretty handy at disguising many supply issues – such as oil supplies in this country to say the least.

    What? That is an outrageous suggestion by the staff member – do they not have the brains to ask for assistance? How do they expect to learn (you may note that I am making an assumption there). Or was there a reason which you did not allude to as to the general level of helplessness?

    Yes, things will get worse too on the store shelf front, although most folks do not have this possibility on their minds. The land of stuff is playing games with us, and we were fools to trust them in the first place. The outcome reflects poorly upon us and is a play straight out of Sun Tzu.

    Hehe! Yes, we can only but do our best in the face of adversity. It doesn’t seem like the end of the world to me, and folks have had it pretty good for many decades. I was never a fan of off shoring our manufacturing base (which I used to work in). It made no sense to me then, and still makes no sense at all today. But people wanted cheap stuff I guess.



  8. Hi Claire,

    Yes, and I agree. No gobarmint in their right minds (and that is an open question at this point right now) would pursue this wrecking ball strategy if things were not going on in the background. I mean, in the past week we just lost a 20 year war – there will be international consequences for this loss of prestige whether people acknowledge it or no. But yeah, I’d like to be proven wrong, but we ain’t going back to how things were not all that long ago. Regress of course is the outcome of progress, and that is how things should be.

    Thank you and I wish you and your partner the same, and may you both sail with aplomb when the waters get choppy. 🙂

    It is interesting that you mention potatoes, but Mr Solomon has alerted me to the fact that in his climate (as well as here) they are the bulk calories du jour. Oh well, the needful needs to be done and I look forward to reading about your harvest.

    Squirrels we may not have, but like in Steve’s part of the country, we have an inordinate quantity of hungry parrots. There is a reason that I have planted and maintained hundreds of fruit trees – the cheeky parrots can be outproduced, but the scale is bonkers.



  9. Hi DJ,

    Half an inch of rain signals the return of the cooler weather. Before too long, you’ll be pining for the days of yore when the sun produced at least a modicum of warmth.

    That’s a bit close for comfort for my liking, but with fires, fate can be like that and it really becomes a flip of a coin for the ill prepared. It is really good news to hear that the worst of the fires received some decent rain.

    If you get the chance, it would be worth visiting some of those fire affected areas before the winter really kicks in as there is always something interesting to learn. Mind you, I’d leave it for a bit as emotions are probably running high in those areas right now and even small dead trees can topple over with an alarming speed and utter contempt for the concept of warnings.

    Enjoy your well earned rest. 🙂 Speak later.



  10. Hello Chris
    I think that changing ‘public’ to ‘private’ school may have been Americanisation. Our use of ‘public’ in this connotation being both weird and inaccurate.

    Son devotes Monday mornings to driving me shopping and any other thing that I need to do out. I bring the Sunday papers with me for him and he sits placidly in his truck reading them as he waits for me. Aren’t I lucky.

    The bank story is exactly as told to me on the phone by a very very chatty friend. She would have immediately leapt to her next subject, so I know no more. She is very good humoured about herself and told me that her work mates were all wearing ear muffs one day one day when she arrived.

    I absolutely agree that manufacturing should be brought back to ones own shores.

    Whoopee! The sun is shining but I didn’t wake until 10 am. This was because I stayed up very late to listen to the television on the subject of current life in Australia and New Zealand. Not that it told me anything that I didn’t already know.


  11. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, exactly – you adapt and cope, or you flounder and fail. The other day the editor was recounting an article which she had come across which suggested that parents might do by their kids if they stopped telling those kids to chase their dreams. Seems like good advice. As an old fella I know that dreams can also present themselves as nightmares. And who wants them?

    Well that is the thing isn’t it? Do you retain the survival traits which protect you in hard times, or do you cast them aside with a flourish and declare that: ‘The old rules no longer apply?’ My grandfather was pretty well off, but even so he maintained an extensive vegetable garden which could provide a very good diet. Economically, he didn’t need to maintain that garden, but all the same, he did. I may have missed out on some of his more important lessons, but I sure understood that one.

    Why did the convoy break out of Melbourne? For some odd reason the film: Escape from New York springs to mind. Mate the fines those people scored would be eye watering. Good to see the Aussies gave the aliens as good as they got on their break out from Sydney. 🙂

    The drone footage was pretty good for the riots. It was no small group either. I heard some vague talk that the public transport system might get shut down thus depriving many of their easy access to the city – where they are otherwise unlikely to be able to legally go. Went into the big smoke today (with an appropriate permit) and by sheer chance had a conversation with an older lady whom I didn’t know. She was banging on about the engagement party folks (whom the media have set up and thrown to the wolves) and I cut her off by saying that economic suicide doesn’t seem all that bright to me either. That was a conversation stopper. It wasn’t my intention to introduce the concept, but I am seriously uncomfortable for how those party idiots are being thrown to the wolves.

    No, the bloke did not bother correcting his source of information who informed him that I had two black dogs (which in this case were entirely innocent of the allegations). No, I know he didn’t because, I followed him back to see whether his story stacked up – which it did. He was a city bloke and had basically no idea what he was doing. So in order to quash the problem forever around these parts, I let the person know who so informed the bloke, that the two dogs had nothing to do with the issue. I was pretty nice about it too. Years ago I wouldn’t have been much good at this stuff, and I still have much to learn, but that one was stomped hard. It’s weird how your day can turn on the toss of a coin.

    Go Elinor! Don’t take any rubbish from the tale tellers. Tenacity can be a source of great strength.

    Thanks! Ollie rarely bothers his mind with the physical changes to the farm as he deals with the world as he finds it. As a philosophy it has much to recommend it, although it might not be a bad idea if he pondered the future – at least a bit. The rock wall on the down hill side of the low gradient ramp is rather substantial – for obvious reasons.

    Had fresh grapefruit this morning in my breakfast. Huge fruits, and fortunately the tree was a bit removed from the area of the orchard with the very damp soil. But I’ll be interested to see how the experiment goes. It might fail, but then again – it might not.

    Hehe! Volunteer pumpkins are a thing of delight. Interesting. What sort of size are the fruits? It’ll be very interesting to observe if the fruits get any larger as the season goes on. Most of the pumpkins we grow have orange flesh, but with a green or a blue/grey skin.

    Eating some Globe Artichokes for dinner this evening (along with cheese, potato salad and stuffed and baked field mushrooms). Yum! Rhododendrons come in a vast array of colours, but whether they can all handle the same climactic conditions is something that is beyond my ken. What colours ordinarily grow in your part of the world with that plant?

    Do you ever notice much insect activity on your native geranium flowers?

    It is an old variety of rose and that was the one rose which we did not move. The plant was where it should be and neither the editor nor I could argue with the logic of that. Gladiolus are amazing plants and always brighten up a garden.

    The wallaby was eventually brought to heel and is now apparently in an animal shelter – whatever that means. The health subject which dares not be named is being used in odd ways: Puppies among 15 dogs shot by NSW council over COVID-19 rules.

    Gawd. Hope the murder hornet’s nests keep well away from your area. As a general observation, the critters seem a bit reactionary.

    No! Did I just encourage you to use Scott’s jokes? I meant elsewhere – not here. Hehe!

    The mounted unit has always been a part of the police force. I used to live not far from their base in South, or was it Port Melbourne. I can’t recall now, but the horses and handlers were based out of stables there.

    Thanks for the kind words, and yes I am navigating the Byzantine application and providing certification services. You do what you need to do in these days. And the system is Byzantine enough that it is not for everyone.

    So was the rubbish chunker upperer device fixed? It’s not good to have to keep your kitchen out in the hallway. The last time I had a kitchen on the outside of a house a super cell hit and four inches of rain fell in an hour. That was an interesting experience and fortunately many decades on I have become much better at taking note of the weather forecasts and warnings.

    Very amusing about the exports, and I believe the lady in question lives and owns an island off the coast of Scotland – as you do. Well, if currency dramas ever venture over in your country, tourism isn’t a bad option.

    Children behaving badly in dangerous situations is perhaps a trope rather than a reality. I’d imagine that there isn’t a bit of that trope going on right now in Kabul. It amazes me that our gobarmint announces that they’ve repatriated a flight – it seems like a drop in the ocean.

    Some of the quotes in relation to the chattering class were very amusing. It would be nice if such folks got off the couch and began speaking with people outside of their social class. The views expressed by those people might give the chattering class a wider world view. I’d imagine that given the echo-chamber effect of this here interweb thingee, there are a lot of them present on this medium? Am I off the mark there with that thought?

    Hehe! Lewis, I can’t vouch for Mr Solomon, but I rarely smell ammonia in my chicken enclosure. In order to reduce the loss to the atmosphere, every day I regularly turn over the entire surface of the hen house and run. It is only after seriously crazy wet weather that ammonia can be smelled. Wise to not be caught doing nitrogen thing – delicate sensibilities may be rattled, and you’d never hear the end of the matter.

    Stone lithography is astounding, and I’m impressed at what an elegant technology it is.

    By way of contrast, my dad cleared out when I was really young but in my brief interactions with him over the years I came away with the distinct impression that he wasn’t all that handy and practically minded. So, it is no guarantee to receive those skills even if the teacher was there. I do wonder about that story, and I recall an old mate of mine once telling me that his Italian parents derided him for wanting to learn some of the older processes (which they knew). The advice was to go an buy the stuff at the shop, which my old mate was not happy hearing. I was the only male in the household and was expected to sort such things out from a very young age, and just had to learn on the go, by hook or by crook. So I suspect that your experience was not unique, and in fact it suggests a lot about our society. But after progress always comes regress – this is the natural order of things.

    Imagine having to prove that you weren’t a slave. I’ve heard that the land of stuff’s legal system is based on the premise that you are guilty, now prove that you are innocent. The health subject which dares not be named is busily pushing that concept down our throats right now. I’m not a fan.



  12. Hi Inge,

    Yes, that’s true about the British and Australian use of the word, but way back in the day, that was how things were so described. There was a by-line I noted whilst reading about the ‘stiff upper lip’ business which suggested that: “that was “public” in the sense of being open to pupils irrespective of locality, denomination or paternal trade or profession” I had not know of that before, but if the parents could stump the mad cash…

    You are very lucky, and to be honest it sounds wonderfully relaxing from your son’s perspective too. There are few acts as relaxing as reading, although I must add here that I am largely avoiding the news of late. The word propaganda keeps coming up whenever I think of such matters, but I’m probably being overly reactive.

    Hehe! That’s funny about your friend and her work mates. Have to laugh because I said to a very lovely lady that I worked with today to just let me know if I’m being overly chatty. Although I must say that I am doing my best to keep people laughing, or at the very least mildly amused these days. It’s not as easy to do as you’d imagine.

    Inge, I agree entirely. I didn’t like what happened back in the day, and I like it no better now. Globalisation was an idiotic policy which has now blown up in our faces. The land of stuff has shut down a major port, and no doubt will throttle the supply of stuff.

    It is a dark subject which is well suited for the wee hours of the night. And I can suggest that as a person who is living the experience in the flesh (so to speak) that I am not a fan. I would have an honest conversation with the population, but then how many mistakes can be admitted before there are repercussions? At least then we might get on and do something about things. I tell you truly that pride is the Devil. The mistakes are many and obvious, except to those in power.



  13. Yo, Chris – Making do with what you have. Seems like a good survival trait, to have. Best just take stock, and get on with it.

    Economic suicide is never a good look. But the powers that be seem set on self-harm. What’s interesting is, I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about … the work force? During this “pause,” a lot of them seemed to have caught a breath, and have taken stock. Of course, the story being put out there is that people don’t want to work. But what’s happening, if you read between the lines, is that those that can, are taking early retirement … or, retiring earlier than they had planned. And those people that have had really awful jobs, are going out and finding other kinds of work. Not everyone, but enough to form a trend. People are leaving, or shifting employment, in droves.

    I saw an article on Australia’s economy. The numbers. They are not good. I think it was in an article about your Prime Muppet.

    “Animals deal with the world as they find it.” A general observation, that I think is true in a lot of cases. Nell, my cat … well, if I was changing something, and she wasn’t around, she didn’t even notice. She was outside, when I put up the Christmas tree. I thought she’d be climbing it. A new tree in the living room? All those bright, shiny, dangly things? She didn’t give it a second look.

    The pumpkin is a pie pumpkin, and heirloom variety. On the small side. Hmmm. What to compare it to? Half the size of a soccer ball? Very thick flesh. Not too many seeds. I see my Mammoth Siberian Sunflowers are showing a bit of yellow, at the top. I’d better put another rope in, closer to the top. Those seed heads will be heavy.

    The Rhododendrons I see, around here, are red, pink, or white. I didn’t see any bee activity, around the native geraniums. But then, I wasn’t looking. Plenty going on, on the plants around them. Scarlet runner beans (still no pods), peas and ornamental sunflowers.

    I saw a few headlines, about shooting shelter dogs, down there. I wondered what that was all about.

    The garbage disposal, did not get switched out. Jack was here, with his Minion, and they power washed the parking lot and all the walkways. Then he disappeared. I mentioned it to Suzanne Who Always Has A Better Idea, last night, and she had some long involved story (that I couldn’t follow) about three disposals, and four orders, and that they were one short, and mine might be on order, again. Or, not. I stuck my head in the office this morning, and, in very measured tones said, a.) Jack didn’t show up and b.) half my kitchen is in my hallway, to “Give Jack room to work.” The subtext there, which they don’t pick up on, is “So Jack won’t break anything.” The local warden said she’d text Jack and get back to me.

    The Chattering Classes speak AT people in other classes. But never listen to, or take in, the responses. If they even shut up long enough for a reply.

    As I remember the Pompeii court case, a young woman’s mother had been freed. What the case revolved around if her daughter was born, before, or after her mother was freed. Before, and she was a slave. After, and she was free. The old master had died, and it was his widow, who was bringing the suit. The case was tried, in Rome. Old family retainers, were trotted out, and the evidence was running for the girl being free. But the final judgement in the case, was not recorded. What a cliff hanger! Never to be resolved. Like not having a season three, of some series. 🙂 .

    I watched two films yesterday, both of which I though were very good, and would recommend. The second, with reservations.

    The Water Man


    A “family film,” but one that explores some “big questions.” Life, death, and all that. As an extra added attraction, it was filmed in western Oregon, which is pretty much like western Washington. There’s also a forest fire, just to keep things lively. 🙂 .

    The second film was “Scenes from an Empty Church.”


    It also explores some of the Big Questions. Two Catholic priests in a New York City church, at the beginning of You Know What, decide to re-open their church …. with restrictions. One priest is very much for it, the other, not so much. I recommend it, with reservations, because some people just might not be up for a film, where You Know What figures in. And then there’s the religious background, which might be off-putting, to some people. I found it to be an engrossing film, and parts of it were pretty funny. Lew

  14. Hi Chris
    The Italian plumb jelly got into the 18 8oz jars without any- problems. Very tasty. It was hard to pull away from the first taste on toasted sourdough bread. Yumm😁.All the canning supplies were found easily most we already had on hand. There are some supply issues in the stores that are normally well stocked though.

    The Daily Mail on line had a disturbing account of two pet cows going on a rampage in the Tasmanian region of your country. They shit throughout the house after they broke in through a closed door while the owner was absent. They overturned soil from numerous potted plants. Totally trashed the place. Must be related to the lock down and the rioting. Or maybe something the homeowner did to their mother some while ago. Only they know. One of the Cows was named SOB. That does shed some light on the reasons behind the adventure.

    I invented a new tool for pulling hot jelly jars out of the boiling water canner. It was based directly on a croca/aligator
    Snare I saw used by a Texas State game warden on a show we watched recently. User Pulls a light gauge stainless cable attached to the end of a piece of 3/8 inch tubing and looped through the tubing bore and up to the upper end of the tubing length where a tee handle is attached firmly to the cable. The loop was sized large enough to be pulled tight around the jelly jar and safely pull the filled and capped jelly jar out of the boiling canner. It worked well in my trial. I used a more conventional pair of ss tongs with silicone lined tips that were likely somewhat safer. Some times I just waste a little time for the enjoyment found in making an idea into a physical tool that works Some don’t have too much of that skill set.
    The full scale reptile wrangler tool is many times larger and stronger. Such adaptive use of existing devices is usually application and not invention. 🤔hmmmm.

    Cheers Al

  15. Hello Chris,
    Good that you didn’t girdle your loins. (That’s what I thought I read first. I had to look up the expression you used, thanks for that enrichment of my vocabulary!)
    I am sad to hear that you are again locked up.

    Here in Holland, the health subject is puttering along. Vaccination is available but many people hesitate. It seems from the preliminary numbers that the vaccine works to keep you out of hospital, but it does not really stop transmission. This is far less useful than e.g. Polio vaccines.
    Anyways, the unvaccinated keep flowing into the hospitals, but only blocking 10-20% of ICU capacity, during a quite ok summer. Let’s see where it turns in the autumn.
    The economic damage is so far hidden by gobarmint handouts to companies and corporations.
    In the media, there is unfortunately no discussion regarding if this is a good idea or not, to use deficit spending to remove the risks for owners and corporations.
    I think the mechanism is just a way to postpone the pain, and to socialize the burden.

    The growing season has been spectacular, at least on the weed side! 🙂
    I have 10-20% losses in the tree nursery due to root rot due to the wet weather. Nothing dramatic. In a dry year, the losses would be due to drought. Wherever there is life, there is death.

    Thanks for the garden photos, and keep us posted regarding the lemon tree!

    Take care,

  16. Hi Goran,

    Ouch! Yes, it sounds like an awful experience to girdle one’s loins, and would also probably be very unpleasant. 🙂 Always a pleasure to enrich your language skills with the odd angry chunk of ye olde grammar.

    Thanks. Honestly, I have no idea what to make of things as they stand. And imagine being only able to travel within 5km of your home and having only two businesses within that sphere (and one of them is closed – the local pub). Things may be different in your country as it is probably more densely populated, but by way of comparison, there is little in the way of amenities up in this quiet and unpopulated part of the world.

    Yes, the same story appears to be playing out down here too. From what I understand only about 30% of the population has been vaccinated. The pressure to join that group is unrelenting, but people down here seem to be applying the precautionary principle and just biding their time. I’m good with that response.

    Well the thing is, and I’m guessing wildly here, but people in your part of the world are getting sun on their skin and Vitamin D boosts an immune response. Also, in summer the protein, mineral and vitamin content of plant matter consumed is naturally higher than at other times of the year. I read somewhere long ago that a treatment for the Spanish Flu during 1919 was to get people out into the sunshine and fresh air. I’m guessing that for some folks there were observable improvements in their condition. And that was a super bad influenza virus which came on the back of five years of war and also the depopulation of rural areas. Food is a far more important factor in peoples health than most realise. And from many factors this variable has declined in quality over many recent decades – not that anyone cares much about that particular story.

    From what I understand of EU economics, the central bank has been supporting bonds for so long that risk (and I’m guessing here) is not factored into the realities of day to day life.

    Since you mentioned this topic, my best guess is that the land of stuff is intending to deplete its reserves of US currency whilst at the same time simultaneously throttling supplies of stuff to that country (and here as well, although you may fare better over in the EU). If I were them, I would probably do the same as it is an obvious course of action given their situation. But the risk for you guys in the EU is that the old adage of: There but for the grace of god, go I. And that is how I believe the future will play out, mostly because it already is playing out that way. Already that land is seeking other options for iron ore so as to drive down the price of our exports and thus reduce our international buying power.

    To hide behind the printing presses is to bring later ruin. But when the ruin arrives, nobody really knows. As far as I understand things it is not dissimilar from a game of poker, and you just hope nobody calls your bluff.

    Hehe! Mate, I don’t really know whether to congratulate your weeds, or admonish them for trying to take over. Maybe they can be congratulated on both fronts! 🙂 And yes, that is very true and I may quote you on that observation in the future. Very wise.

    The lemon tree (and a lemonade tree) is an experiment, so who knows how it will work out. The lime around the trunks of those citrus trees might do some good, but I don’t know and am merely guessing.



  17. Hi Al,

    Plum jam is very tasty, and the fruit would grow really well in your part of the world and produce some fine sugars. Now you are teasing me with this talk of fresh plum jelly on sourdough bread. Yum!

    The supply issues are occurring down here too, but it is very inconsistent and thus hard to pin down. The land of stuff shut down a truly epic container port, which will definitely throttle supply in all sorts of strange ways. If I could but make a suggestion: Buy your Christmas presents for the grandkids early this year – like right now, if you can. If I’m wrong, no great harm will be done, but on the other hand…

    The island state of Tasmania has been largely unaffected by the health subject which dares not be named. Clearly the cows were from this state (Victoria)! Hey, I actually know a really lovely lady who used to own a Shetland pony, and she made me laugh one day when the story was recounted as to how the pony used to try and sneak into the house. 🙂

    And yup, the name was a dead give away as to the nature of the beast.

    Like your style and kudos for the innovation. Removing the jars from the boiling water is not as easy to do as you’d imagine. I’ve got some old school tongs which are purpose made and get a good grip under the glass without disturbing the lid and/or rubber seal. Here’s the interesting thing though. I went to provide you a picture link and that style of tongs isn’t sold any more. That’s progress for ya!

    Ha! If ever you encounter a full sized reptile with a bad attitude, you can go all A-Team on it, and deal to it. Actually I do hope that you never encounter a full sized reptile with a bad attitude as it would be an unpleasant encounter.



  18. Hi Lewis,

    The future does belong to the adaptable – and the lucky. Oh well, we’ve had things pretty good for a long time, so mustn’t grumble. The thing that gets me though, is that I don’t really know what will go wrong, until it has gone wrong and I’ve had to scramble to sort out the mess. It makes for an exciting life, although candidly I have had far too much stimulation of late due to being exposed to unrelenting waves of emotion from other people. I have a great deal of trouble shutting it all out, but on the other hand, not all that long ago there were minor whinges all over the place, but nowadays things are a touch more serious and the things are far from minor. I help where I can, I just have to not draw down too deeply on my personal reserves of energy. Oh well, what do you?

    I agree, they do seem hell bent on self harm don’t they. It is all very odd, because I really don’t understand why folks would kick away the supports that sort of keep them supported? Makes no sense to me.

    That story about people not wanting to work is pure baloney. People want to work. The local pub is shut now, and who knows when it will be reopened, or if it will. I do wonder how the young folks who worked there are coping right now – they genuinely wanted to work and I could see that in them. They weren’t shirking work that’s for sure.

    I read an article today suggesting that the really huge accounting firms have boosted their profitability recently. The article discussed how employees working from home are reducing the cost base for the big firms and the intimation was that the employees absorb lots of those costs of running a business which the firm only recently used to pay for. There are a lot of odd things going on at the moment. What do they say, oh yeah: Interesting times. Indeed.

    There’s plenty of work in the agricultural sector that’s for sure.

    The numbers in relation to this economy aren’t really all that good. I believe that the official numbers far understate the scale of the problem. But then, you’d kind of expect that.

    Hehe! Thanks for the laughs. Ah Nell, you’ve done it again!

    I’d never before heard of pie pumpkin varieties. The gargle search thingee kept throwing up recipes and images for pumpkin pies. Interesting, the pumpkins look not dissimilar from the green ‘canonball’ variety (I made that name up, the variety probably has a more official name) I grow most years. Those fruits keep well during the winter months. But yeah I’ve never seen the really bright orange varieties you guys get. Amazing. Down here they’re usually a green, grey / blue, or a washed out yellow-ish colour (think butternut). Thick flesh is I reckon a good sign for a long keeping variety.

    The mammoth Siberian sunflowers sound fascinating. Do you know when to harvest the seeds? I have no idea about such plants. I’d imagine that the tall seed head eventually flops over and that’s how the plant walks around the landscape.

    Hey, hopefully this weekend I’ll remove some of the older Globe Artichoke plants. The spot the plants are growing in is too valuable and could be better used with less hardy plants. Still have to mix up the final batch of soil additives, and I should get onto that job. So much to do.

    I can’t imagine that the shelter dogs enjoyed the experience. And I can’t imagine the motivations of the people who performed that act.

    Have you heard back from them? Hope nobody nicks your kitchen stuff sitting out there all lonesome like in the hallway. Not criticising the organisational skills, but it is probably unwise to have the bloke doing too many different jobs. Some folks are easily distracted if given the opportunity.

    Ah, yes I have encountered some of those conversation techniques. There are times where I have to talk over the top of other people (who are rabbiting on and on) and it does chafe against my earlier social programming, but I’m not really sure how else to get a word in. Winding up conversations is always a bit of an art form too.

    Oh, thanks very much for explaining the Pompeii court case as I hadn’t come across the details. You’d imagine that given the case was in the Roman court system that there was some probability of success? You’d hope that the Roman court system produced faster and cheaper results than what we do in these enlightened times? Actually does anyone actually know how that process worked back then?

    Hey, who can forget the forgotten and never made next series of Deadwood? How did it all end up? The editor tells me that a movie was made at a much later time. But yes, messy endings make for, mess… It was kind of like the final episode of Star Trek Next Generation where it was just a normal every day episode (no spatial anomalies were hurt in the making of the episode!)

    Thanks for the film recommendations. 🙂 It is good that the films take the time to explore the big questions.

    Today I began reading the book Dark Emu by the author Bruce Pascoe. I’m enjoying the read as it delves into the topics of Indigenous agricultural and building practices prior to the Europeans. It is good to see that the book has ruffled some feathers (excuse the unintentional Emu pun). But those feather could probably use some ruffling. Kangaroo is a tasty meat.

    I read in the newspaper today that a church and congregation were fined for continuing to observe their beliefs when they were not supposed to. The fines were in the order of $50,000 I believe. Not cheap. Used zoom for a funeral and I must say that it wasn’t quite the same experience. A mate was telling me how his church was doing zoom congregations and it didn’t sound that appealing. Oh well, maybe they need to get back to their roots and get into direct experience? Crazy days.



  19. Hi Chris,

    Again I feel for you, the editor and Australians in general. Here things are pretty much back to normal, whatever that is with mostly some mask mandates thrown in. There are more and more vaccine mandates as well. It will be interesting to see how things develop so say the least. My SIL is mostly recovered from the unmentionable and in fact never was very sick. I think I mentioned to DJ last week that even though my daughter and granddaughters were in a closed car with him for hours they all are free from the virus. All four are vaccinated.

    I’m rereading David Graeber’s book, “Bullshit Jobs”. He delves into people’s motivation to work in detail. I’m giving it to Cecily with hopes that my granddaughters might read it as it could help them make decisions as to what they would like to do or not do. My SIL should definitely read it but he won’t because all he does is work. I’ve never been able to get an idea of what he actually does but I think it probably is one of those jobs Graeber describes.

    We had no rain for two weeks along with hot and humid weather so I took out the water tank yesterday morning to water the remote plants that can’t be reached by hose. Well late in the afternoon and early evening we unexpectedly received 2.5 inches of rain. Still hot and oppressively humid for the rest of the week. The Japanese beetle numbers finally seem to be lessening.


  20. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder … Ah, the Italian plum/prune debate. Similar to the hazel nut / filbert, debate. 🙂 . You will find Italian prune trees, all over the western Pacific Northwest. We even had a venerable old tree, in our backyard of the house we had in Portland.


    They must really like our climate and soil. They dry, really well. Prune dryers, as buildings, used to be around. The place I lived before here, was constructed out of well seasoned lumber, salvaged from an old prune dryer. I once made a Japanese or Chinese sauce, out of them. Lots of vinegar, garlic and ginger. It was quit tasty.

    Oh, why not have a good grumble? A well planned whinge, clears the head. Probably the sinuses, too. 🙂 . As long as one doesn’t overdo it.

    I read an article, about working out of the office. I think if will really vary, from company to company. Some won’t want to give up the power and control, never mind the money saved. And a lot of those middle managers won’t want to give up their despotic office fiefdoms. Some companies are also talking about paying remote employees, less. That won’t go over well, with their current employees, but, given turnover, sooner or later it will just seem to be Standard Operating Procedure. That’s what the Regime here at the Institution is counting on. New tenants don’t know how nice it used to be.

    Here you go …


    Ah! Jake our postie (who’s also a gardener) just showed up with my enormous Currier and Ives fruit lithograph. And, next years Old Farmer’s Almanac Gardening calendar. Haven’t unpacked them, yet.
    But back to pumpkins. The book I read on pumpkins, a couple of years ago, mentioned that the variety grown commercially for canned pumpkin, is actually a beige color. Similar to the color of a butternut squash.

    After the petals fade on the Mammoth Sunflower, and the bees have done their thing, I’ll cut it and hang it inside, to dry. Before the birds and squirrels get at them. I thought it was the squirrels, that have been at the ornamental sunflowers, but I noticed several small birds, working them over. Both are very sloppy eaters, so, that’s how they propagate. At least, unintentionally. I think there was some talk here, a few years back, about a small home machine that would extract sunflower oil, if one was so inclined.

    Oh, my kitchen stuff is piled up in my internal hallway. Not out on the public thoroughfare. 🙂 . Almost 11am, and still no sign of Lazy Shiftless Jack. Of course, if there was a more pressing emergency, at one of the other buildings, I won’t see him today, either. Not that I’ll be informed.

    The Roman legal system was … complicated. Spread over more than 400 years, evolving all the time. There was custom, there was law. I got into it a bit, when I was looking into Roman freemen. There are big gaps in our knowledge, and a lot of it can only be pieced together by inference. Someone in a letter mentions a court case, and how it played out. But the feeling I got was that it was pretty similar to what we have now. Depends on who you know, family connections and money.

    Our library has “Dark Emu.” But only as an electronic resource. Might as well not have it, as far as I’m concerned. Looks like an interesting book.

    Yes, internet meetings leave a lot to be desired. Some of the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings have gone on-line. Useful, I’ve been told, but not as good as up close and personal. I’ve also heard some are meeting outside. And, some are meeting, as before, but very under the radar.

    Frank the Mechanic, came and towed my truck, yesterday. He’ll take it down to his shop, lay on hands, and HEAL! 🙂 Wonder if I’ll still remember how to drive? I’ll get it back, sometime between now and the 17th. Which is when I’m on the schedule. But there’s always a possibility that time may free up, in the meantime. But no hurry, on my part. It was good to see Frank, again. His shop was next to our old club, so, he was in and out to use the facilities, and get coffee. I asked him if he was having supply line problems … getting parts. He said it’s kind of hit and miss. Some things are backordered, some come right through. But Frank is well connected, and knows which trees to shake. When the hood of my truck needed replacing, after the deer hit me, it came from Arizona. And was a perfect match.

    I watched “The Station Agent,” again, last night. It’s held up well. I’d forgotten how irritating the other characters are. The Peter Dinklage character just wants to be left alone, and they won’t leave him alone. A situation I fully understand. 🙂 Lew

  21. Hi Chris,

    It is interesting that you mention 1990: I recently read an article in some rag that air travel is back to 1990 levels, which was 15 years prior to peak oil, where we are 15 years post peak oil. So have we just taken a step back down to 1990 (or further?)? Did some blogger somewhere suggest it was a ramp up but a staircase down? Will future historians marvel at the elegant symmetry of socialism ending 15 years prior to and liberalism dissolving 15 years after peak oil?

    Not unrelated: I saw a poster today advertising the world tour of a sustainability conference.

    The numbers are in: by my reckoning, if Australia has (more or less) six states and over the last couple of years there have been (more or less) three lockdowns lasting longer than a month, the probability that a state or region pursuing a zero cases strategy being lockdowned for a significant period of time is one in four.

    Passata news: your summer weather from last year has travelled north and only 2 L of passata have been made so far this year. Will keep trying.

  22. Hi crowandsheep,

    The memories from the 1990’s are haunting us both, and I tend to believe that you are correct with your observation. Yes, after progress comes regress, thus it has always been. My take on the world also suggests that peak conventional oil took place around 2005 as you rightly note. We’ve been playing odd games since those heady days. Interestingly, I have decided to say more about this subject, err tonight (well that’s the plan anyway).

    Hehe! That’s pretty funny. Oh the irony… 🙂 The subtlety is probably lost on them though, which is a shame because it is actually amusing.

    Thanks for your analysis on the Australian situation, however it bears mentioning that states which have had a recent chequered economic history before the health subject which dare not be named occurred, have barely been impacted by the craziness. It genuinely surprises me that other folks have not noticed this matter.

    Oh my! You have my sympathies in this matter, and although we eventually produced just enough supply for the year, frankly the passata has been better tasting in previous years. We ate virtually no fresh tomatoes last year. As a suggestion, you may take note of the recent efforts at soil fertilisation – this is an attempt to coax the plants into growing much faster in below average conditions. As a strategy it is worth attempting because so far the results are looking good with the winter crops.



  23. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for the sympathy, and I really appreciate your words. The plot has been utterly lost down here. I’ve never seen anything like it. In the big smoke there is an actual curfew in place between 9pm and 5am. We can’t travel (with a few minor exceptions) more than 3.1 miles from home, and up in the bush that is a real problem as there are not many things within that distance from home. Fortunately the local general store is located within that area, and we headed out today to pick up fresh milk, check the post office and mail some stuff, and also enjoyed a delightful take away lunch. It was a cold and gloomy day today, but you know we’re just doing our thing and keeping on keeping on (whatever that means!) Perhaps stoicism? I intend to write tonight about my prediction for the immediate future months as we truly live in interesting times.

    Great news to hear that your brother-in-law has now recovered and didn’t get that sick. And also that the rest of the family were fine despite the close contact. We’re hearing down here based on other countries experiences that the people who are vaxxxed still get sick. Last I checked about 30% of the population were covered and candidly there are higher risk folks than I who probably seriously need protecting. I’m in no hurry, despite the dire warnings.

    My friend Simon who has just finished writing another book on the health subject which dare not be named has recommended that particular book to me. It sounds great, and yes the grand-kids could probably benefit from reading it. Tell you a funny story, whenever I have to do video calls with people from my office in the house they inevitably get amazed by the number of paper trophies on the walls behind me (and they are not all displayed). As someone who has been through that education system and then some, I recommend nowadays for people to avoid that trap and go and get a meaningful job which produces easily explained outputs. Honestly, if I had my time again I’d go and get an apprenticeship doing something useful. I’m not saying that what I do isn’t useful (it is because I chose to work in the unglamorous end of the profession and champion the businesses I represent), it is just that the return on the time and funds invested just isn’t there any more. People really don’t like hearing that.

    Hot and humid makes for some unpleasant weather. How’s Doug’s bees enjoying the conditions?



  24. Hi Lewis,

    Exactly, what makes a prune a prune and a plum a plum? Had to laugh too as if I used the word: Filbert, down here, nobody would know what I’m talking about. Hazelnuts, well most people know what they are, although they’re probably a bit hazy on where the nuts come from.

    This mountain range was kind of indoctrinated with culture from the Scotts as well as the Germans. Both folks for some reason made their way into this remote locale, although the German folks dropped the Von from their surnames as apparently back in the day prior to WWI the name sounded a bit foreign to the locals sensibilities. Anyway, for some unknown reason the mountains and forests call to my highland blood too. Dunno why.

    Thanks for the link to the story of plums in your part of the world, and the bloke who introduced them had a super cool name. Plus here I must add that some folks are put on this here planet so as to make the rest of us look bad. He was onesuch. Some of the early varieties of plums in the orchard are in the early stages of producing blossoms and Saturday morning has a mild frost risk. Ook!

    An appropriate warning, which I have taken on board. Pah! To quote Alfred E Nueman: What me whinge? 🙂 I have decided to take a minor detour this evening and put my thoughts to pen and let the cards fall where they will. Occasionally even the most sober and serious of folks must roll the dice and let the chips fall where they will. Mate, I have had almost a year and a half of unrelenting pressure applied to me and I’m about ready to pop and must vent my splein. You can quote me there! 😉 Maybe the spiced rum had something to do with it, but I’m done.

    That’s my take on things too. As a species we are very adaptable and as circumstances change – and they are changing right now and all around us – well, the future belongs to the nimble and those who are fleet of foot. There is no shame in running, well that’s what I’ve heard anyway. Trust me, I’m not about to over indulge in my second and third whinge. I write for those who are interested in the shape and arc of the future – the others I can’t help them, they have to follow their own paths.

    Lewis, the pie pumkins would be dark green here and probably taste much the same as yours – they’re sort of sweet tasting (although we usually bake them in the oven). The orange colour seems unnatural to me, but then I recall the Peanuts cartoons with all of the various stories of Halloween carved pumpkins (with spooky candles), and then it occurs to me that perhaps it is us down here whom are out of line.

    Curiously I haven’t ever come across a beige coloured commercially sized pumpkin before other than the butternuts which we spoke of. Dunno mate, I’m guessing that the genetic diversity of plants in your part of the world is that much greater than what arrived down here back in the day.

    Oh yeah, that is my take on the Sunflowers too. The birds would have a field day with the oil infused chock full of protein seeds. By growing those plants you’ve inadvertently created a supermarket for the small birds. They probably need the help and would be performing other activities in your garden such as consuming the many and varied slugs. Although that is but a guess. You haven’t mentioned the slugs for a while, how is the war going brother?

    Ah, my misunderstanding in relation to your kitchen. I had a weird internal vision that your kitchen stuff had been sitting out in a shared internal hallway. Not sure why I thought that, but the vision suggested the awful possibility that some of the more useful items would have been pilfered, leaving you with the dross.

    Has Suzanne suggested any possible reasons as to why the business was not sorted out? She does seem to have theories (as do we all!)

    Really? Well I was kind of hoping that Roman citizens could have sought justice through their legal system and thus avoided the privilege trap. Oh well, I guess what is old is new, and what is old will be again. And around and around it goes and where it stops, nobody knows.

    So far the book Dark Emu does appear to be an interesting book. The author employs the narrative method and produces his evidence via way of story telling. To say that the author ruffled academic feathers is an understatement, but so far I have not read anything which does not have the aura of truth to it. The academics probably don’t enjoy seeing that particular technique employed within their sphere and took umbrage to it. The personal attacks upon the author seem a bit over the top.

    Mate, I miss catching up with my friends in the flesh. There is a difference to the quality of the catch ups. I dunno if I had to give any advice for clandestine under the radar meetings it would be to not go if sick and also confiscate all phones – people have no sense of consequences in these days where they think nothing matters. I don’t indulge in such acts because of the precautionary principle.

    Oh far out man! One of the light globes in my office failed. The light began to flicker, and my first thought was that the power system was about to pack it in, but no. The light bulb blew. The things are meant to run for thousands of hours, but experience suggests that this is not the case. I had to switch on the other lights and the editor now suggests that my office has the aura of the suitcase in the Repo man film. A classic film and also a fave of mine.

    Now all you good people! Listen up. There’s a healing that need doing on Lewis’s here truck. Let’s praise the might of the techno gawd and send blessings out for a speedy healing on them dry bearings and dull coil packs. 🙂 Let the energy of creation pour forth and send that truck a speedy recovery. Now let’s pray.

    Well, you know, my gut feeling suggests that you and your truck will be just fine there. 🙂 Good luck!

    Thanks for the second recommendation for the film and it is now on the ‘too-see’ list. Just in case someone’s mum hasn’t told you yet, you’re a bad influence, but in a good way! 🙂

    I intend to randomly write tonight. Sometimes the patterns aren’t right! 😉



  25. Yo, Chris – And, we have the history of the Hazelnut (when in Rome …), in the Pacific Northwest.


    They grow here as prolifically, as the prunes, do. The article mentions the Luelling nursery. Those are the folks who dragged nursery stock, thousands of miles over the Oregon Trail. In specially fitted out wagons. A tale told in a kid’s book, “The Tree Wagon.” Which I read, as a kid.

    Pumpkins are native to North and South America. And, have been around for at least 8,000 years. That leaves a lot of time for genetic diversity. Besides, pumpkins are rather … indiscriminate. A well turned vine … a flashy flower. And off they go! If you get my drift. 🙂
    Fall wouldn’t be fall, without pumpkins. Just as the landscape is turning brown and gray, they really jazz things up. You see huge bins of them, in front of every grocery. Fields of them, here and there. Dried corn stocks and pumpkins. The decor de rigueur, of the season. Even without all the jack-o-lantern carving. Which is an Irish custom, by the way. Though they used turnips. 🙂 . In some strange way, I think pumpkins evoke bounty.

    Well, the slugs are in so little evidence, that a well organized hunt isn’t very much fun. 🙁 . But, I see a few on the sidewalk, from time to time. They get a good, sharp, light thump, with my foot. Got three, this morning.

    My garbage disposal got replaced, yesterday. But Jack was not in evidence. He has a minion, who is usually silent. Well, I told him I couldn’t keep calling him Minion, and wondered what his name is. It’s Josh. Without Jack looming over him, he’s very pleasant and chatty. And, appears to know what he’s doing. We both agreed that garbage disposals are rather silly.

    The idea of the noble Roman is all PR. And, optics. 🙂

    I looked up the author of “Dark Emu.” I think the push back he’s getting is for a few reasons. As far as academia goes, he’s degreed … but not degreed enough. And not from the “right” university. And then there’s his bit of indigenous background. Plain old racism has a lot to do with it. And class. My gawd, his father worked in a mine! The horror, the horror. You know, I’ve watched a good deal of the English mystery series, “Morse.” And, the series about the young Morse, called “Endeavor.” It takes place around Oxford University. So, those academic types are thick on the ground. And a lot of them are pretty nasty. There’s always a scene, where they talk down to Morris, as a policeman. And he fires off a well placed classical allusion (as he’s an Oxford graduate), to put them in their place, and let them know they don’t know who they’re dealing with. More to Morris, than meets the eye. Reminds me of the time I was slinging hash, and some customer mentioned visiting Naples, Italy. I asked if they had managed to make it to Pompeii. They were gobsmacked, that the hash slinger had ever heard of Pompeii. And I bore down 🙂 I got a lot more respect, from that customer, in future. We had some interesting conversations.

    Yes, I always am skeptical of these claims of light bulb longevity. They don’t last as long, as claimed. And, I don’t really care for the light they put out. But, I did notice a decline in my electric bill, when I switched over. Six of one …

    My truck thanks you for your thoughts and prayers. Being an old truck, it does have electronics … but not near the extent of the new jobs. And, I bought as stripped down a model, as I could find. My gosh, I actually have to use my hand, to crank down the windows! The horror, the horror. 🙂 .

    The Currier and Ives lithograph, arrived in good shape. It’s quit wonderful. The colors are very vivid. The surface area of the lithograph, without the margins is 27 1/2 x 20 inches. I’ll be beating the brush at the op-shops, looking for a frame big enough.

    By the way, today (the 26th) is International Dog Day. Of course, the archaeological web sites are awash in ancient dogs. Here’s my favorite, this year.


    About 10 minutes long. First three minutes, and last minute are the most interesting. He’s been a rather naughty dog, knocking over a golden jug. He reminds me of Nipper, the RCA Victor, trademark. Lew

Comments are closed.