If you tolerate this

Restrictions on movement in the state of Victoria, where the editor and I reside, have been reduced to 5km (or 3.1 miles) from home, all due to the health subject which dare not be named. This presents something of a minor challenge when a person lives in a rural area, although there is some minor leeway in relation to this. Even still, there is only one business within that distance from my house.

The other morning I was at that particular local business picking up my mail, purchasing some milk and procuring a take away coffee. Take away coffee is a blight upon the backside of humankind. But in these enlightened times I have to simply grin and bear the indignity. And the takeaway coffee cups it should be noted, make great kindling. Anyway, as chance would have it, that morning a police car parked in the handicapped spot right out the front of the business. The police did not decamp from their vehicle but instead sat in there for many minutes.

At the time, the editor and I were peering through the glass panes in the front door, where you could see the vehicle. As that official vehicle began to park, I noted that the few people milling around the front of the business moved inside the premises. I’m guessing the police took the number plates of all of the vehicles parked in and around the business as they were parked there for a while. Inside the business, looking out at the police, you could feel the tension levels rise.

I doubt that anyone present that morning were flouting the law, but even so fines in this state are not easily contested. Firstly, the fine has to be paid, all other considerations to the side. Then at the same time should you feel so inclined, you then have to lodge an appeal process which can take many long months of waiting time before the matter can be adjudicated upon when the appeal is finally heard. If the fine is not paid, the costs then slowly escalate, until the fine is paid. The upshot is that you don’t want be fined down here, even if you are in the right.

That morning sure felt crazy. But then things are kind of crazy down here right now. Speaking of crazy, in the big smoke of Melbourne there is an actual 9pm to 5am curfew in place. Not a bad effort for a city of something around 5 million people. It reminds me of the 1984 American musical drama film, Footloose, in that there’ll be no dancing in this here city.

In a strange twist of fate I do have an official permit to occasionally get into the city. On those days when I travel into the big smoke, all of the necessary errands have to be done then, or not at all. Everywhere I go is electronically monitored as there is a necessity to electronically sign in, all for my safety of course. One of the errands I perform is picking up the waste from a cafe for feeding the soil of my registered primary production orchard. I’ve known the folks who own and work at that business for well over a decade, and their waste is well received by the orchards.

Sometimes it amazes me to consider just how much coffee waste has gone into the soils here over the years. You’d imagine that the soil would smell of coffee by now, but no. Or that the apples would have a mild coffee undertone, but that doesn’t happen. Also you’d imagine that the occasional pat of dry tamped coffee would sometimes turn up on the grass in the orchards, but I’m yet to see that. The soil critters eat the stuff within days of it arriving on the farm, and then it is gone. They’re dirty for the stuff which for good measure I now mix with an equal quantity of agricultural lime.

Whilst I was at the cafe picking up the waste, I also ordered a take away coffee. Seems only fair, and I had a brief socially distanced and masked chat with the people working there. The business now has a limit of three customers inside the premises at any one time (and no access to the toilets). So when another customer arrived, who was an elderly but also sprightly lady, I decided to make some room for other customers who also wished to place their take away coffee order. Masks still have to be worn outdoors.

Just as I was preparing to exit the premises and wait outside in the cold winter morning, the elderly lady engaged me in conversation. She was a lovely lady, and we were having a nice conversation up until the point where she may have said: “things would be OK if it wasn’t for those awful party goers.” I wasn’t entirely sure what to reply to that particular observation, and may have enigmatically blurted out: “Lady, we’re committing economic suicide right now”, before then stepping outside into the cold winter morning for some fresh air – albeit behind a mask.

It is hard to say exactly what party goers the lady was referring too, but my gut feeling suggested that she was referencing the recent and now infamous engagement party which, was was unusually revealed as being between Orthodox Jews. That incident apparently made international news. Generally only the super wealthy have juicy details of their engagement parties splashed around the international news. This was a different case, and the fines handed out to the party goers for allegedly breaching the restrictions was maybe in the order of about $350,000. That’s a lot of fines and candidly would make for a very expensive engagement party. From hindsight, it may have been cheaper had the couple simply announced their engagement the old school way, by placing a classified advertisement in the newspaper.

Things down here are a little bit weird right now, but things look as if they are getting weirder. At the same time the infamous engagement party was being reported upon in the news of the day, that article also shared space with an expose on Neo-Nazi groups. It is very possible that this was all merely a coincidence and simply unfortunate timing, but I’m not entirely convinced that it was a good look.

Things have been really strange down here for the past year and half. The pressure is building towards … something. I know not what that may be. This week I’ve spent time cogitating upon what it is exactly that our leaders fear, and my gut feeling suggests that they fear failure. Facing failure head on with good grace can be a point from which growth and better decision making can take place. But given what is going on down here, I don’t reckon they’re up for that, and I’m told that my views in this matter are not as popular as I’d believe.

Spring is almost here! The weather this week was slightly warmer. The sheer humidity this year produces some amazing fog clouds which collect in the valley below the mountain range.

The fog in the valley below at the beginning of a lovely late winters day

With spring fast approaching, we still had one more half cubic metre (0.65 cubic yard) batch of compost to mix up. Nowadays I’m purchasing the commercial compost and adding all manner of mineral additives to it. The improvement in plant growth over simply using commercial compost alone has to be seen to be believed.

The compost mix was used to fertilise the berry beds and old tomato enclosure. I’d been putting off the job of cleaning up the strawberry enclosure because the strawberry runners had basically taken over.

Ruby! Watch out for Triffid’s in the strawberry enclosure!

The strawberry runners in the path which runs down the centre of the enclosure were dug up. There were hundreds of strawberry plants removed. What a job.

The path in the strawberry enclosure was cleared of runners

The plants in the rows on each side of the strawberry enclosure were then cut back hard using the brush cutter. Then the soil in which those plants grow was fed with the heady compost mix. I have no idea how the strawberry plants will respond to such rough treatment, but I guess I’ll find out.

The two strawberry rows were cut back hard and fed

And then just because the editor and I are super neat, we added crushed rock with lime to the surface of the path which runs down the middle of the enclosure.

How good does the strawberry enclosure now look. Plum approves

The lavender hedge which is on the downhill side of the strawberry enclosure received a haircut. If those lavender plants aren’t cut back regularly they become leggy before eventually splitting and falling over. And that wouldn’t look super neat!

Ollie is impressed at the pruning job performed on the lavender plants

The crushed rock paths are so good that we also added them to the raspberry and blackberry enclosures. In addition to that, the soil in those two enclosures was also given another good feed.

A crushed rock path in the raspberry enclosure looks great
A crushed rock path in the blackberry enclosure looks great too

The signs of spring are everywhere about the farm. The little miniature self pollinating kiwi-berry vines have begun to break dormancy. I’m curious to see what these berries taste like and if they are much different to the larger variety which we also grow.

The miniature kiwi-berry vines are breaking dormancy

With the warmer weather, insects other than the European honey bees have begun turning up around the farm. Check out this stick insect:

A stick insects hangs off the side of the house

Some of the early fruit trees are beginning to produce blossoms. My fingers are crossed and I can only hope that a late frost, or heavy hail storm doesn’t damage these delicate early blossoms.

A plum tree producing heaps of blossoms
An early variety of apricot has produced some blossoms

Onto the flowers:

The surrounding forest is a wall of colour as the Acacia understory trees produce flowers
Echium flowers produce plenty of early feed for the bees
An amazing dark colour for a Hellebore flower
A Plum blossom hides amongst the Daffodils

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 9’C (48’F). So far this year there has been 828.4mm (32.6 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 814.0mm (32.0 inches)

57 thoughts on “If you tolerate this”

  1. Hello Chris,

    I don’t envy your lockdown situation. What a mess.
    It is impressive, though, that we have built up such a surveillance infrastructure to make this possible. I think it would have been impossible to do this a few years back. What do you think?

    “Leaders” who paint themselves into a prestige-corner are dangerous. Like Sun Tzu talks about pushing an enemy into a corner, I think the same effect is manifest when people do it to themselves. Instead of backing down and admitting to having made some mistakes, or to have changed opinion, it is more common to see a jump of panic. I have seen this also in the business domain, where a senior manager made a mistake, but refused to admit it… Not pretty.

    Keep posting, since we are all going down the bumpy road. The details and the sequence vary from place to place, and I am grateful to hear more observations from other places. It helps me to put everything that happens here into perspective.

    I have a small piece of un-asked-for advice regarding the mini-kiwis. (I assume it is Actinidia arguta.): Don’t use chicken mesh to guide them. Just a few pieces of wire will do. The reason is that they grow like crazy and you have to prune a lot. When the plant is enmeshed with a mesh, it is a lot more work to disentangle. In our garden, the kiwiberries are not reliable yearly bearers, but when they produce, we are all happy and look forward to the October harvest. We prefer the naked mini-kiwis to the larger, hairy species.

    Take care,
    Goran

  2. Yo, Chris – You’re encounter with the police was rather … chilling. One never knows how it might go, and one hears stories … The way the fines work in your country, sound like the same routine as our health care bills. If you question a bill, you’d better pay it, as it slips toward collection and accrues penalties. And even if the bill is decided in your favor (fat chance), then, try and get your money back. Phone tree hell was invented for such situations.

    Health and safety. The sound track of our lives, here at the Institution. They trot out that old saw, to justify … well, just about anything.

    Coffee flavored apples would be … interesting. πŸ™‚

    There’s a large Orthodox Jewish community, in New York City. Of course, they’re anti-mask, anti-vax … and there was a lot of media coverage, about their non-compliance, early on. Not so much, anymore. The news cycle has moved on. I saw a small article, a few days ago, that a clutch of Neo-Nazis had been scooped up, in Idaho. They were planning to take down the electrical grid, at least here in the Northwest. Which would bring on their Glorious Revolution. Or, some such. I guess their plans were quit advanced. Haven’t heard anymore about them.

    The fog in the valley photo, looks a bit like an abstract painting. Bands of color. Quit nice, actually. Hmmmm. Maybe the abstract in nature looks a lot better than abstract on canvas?

    The strawberry enclosure (and all the others), do, indeed, look neat and tidy. That’s an awful lot of crushed rock, to haul. I need to read up a bit, on strawberries. Find out what I need to do, with ours. Next spring, I might pick up a couple of everbearing plants, just to see what they’d do. I’m curious.

    It will be interesting to see how the miniature kiwi, develop. And, how they taste. The Master Gardeners gifted Elinor with a miniature eggplant, plant. It’s loaded with small fruit. I don’t know if she’s going to do anything with them, but we were speculating on flavor.

    You need something for scale, next to that stick insect. Is it as big as Ollie? πŸ™‚ Benign though they may be, that would be frightening. “Attack of the Stick Insects!” Sounds like one of those 1950s, science fiction films.

    The plum and the apricot look promising. Fingers crossed. Lew

  3. Hi Goran,

    I’m not much of a fan of the lock down either, but bizarrely there are many people in the community who support it, and I am unfortunately in the minority in this matter. Of course those whose incomes have been hit hard are less likely to support the lock down, than those whose incomes are fairly secure for now.

    My understanding of economic history suggests that for The Great Depression to bite hard, it only took margin calls on about maybe 10% of the population to really take effect. And those peoples reduced expenditure combined with their inability to support their previous economic obligations (i.e. debt) was really enough to wipe out many other people. What I take away from that lesson is that whilst some folks may believe that they’re doing OK with the lock downs, the system only works as a whole. An attack on any one section of the system, can bring the house of cards down. I would have thought that other folks understood this, but no. The stupidity with the ever increasing house, equity and bond prices (a way to absorb inflationary effects if ever there was one) just for one example is that the higher it goes, the more people get dropped off the side of the sinking ship. I dunno, I would not organise things this way.

    Yes, that is my view as well. It is not lost on me that not all that long ago I was forced to accept a smart phone, or else lose my business which I’d worked at building for over a decade. It is a problem.

    Doubling down on previous decisions is also a problem. I can’t remember where I read it, but the effect was also described as the psychology of previous investment. I tend to feel that the syndrome can also be described as an inability to recognise a loss. I’ve seen some strange things in my life on that score. I learned that lesson the hard way and long ago through selling off items which were no longer required. The lesson learned was that things are only worth what the market will pay for, and not one cent more.

    No fear on that score. The website is hosted on a local server and because I do all of the back end geekery admin, the ongoing expense is quite reasonable.

    Using comparisons is a very useful tool, and yeah I applaud your reasoning. Just for your information too, we are getting less and less international news, and so news from afar is becoming harder to discover. Weekly notes genuinely means exactly that, and the essay is an unexpected version of ‘news from afar’. Please try not to follow in our footsteps. But on the other hand, who knows, we might be ahead of the curve and when the manure hits the fan, we may cope better than other parts of the world. I really don’t know.

    Thanks for the belated advice, and yeah, a bit late for that! πŸ™‚ Not to worry. The plant is indeed: Actinidia arguta ‘Issai’. If needs be I’ll just hit the vines with a blow torch and that will remove the dead dry vines from the strong steel. πŸ˜‰ A very Sun Tzu approach! Yes, expect the unexpected.

    Cheers

    Chris

  4. Hi Lewis,

    It will be interesting to discover who exactly has put their mad cash towards that particular property. All the same, we might have to put up a fence in between the properties if only because the fluffies lack the understanding that the property is not theirs. Incidentally I believe the price had to be reduced by one third, anyway that is what one website suggested the case may be. Selling anything is a wonderful way to pull upon the levers of price discovery and see what falls out. When I’m uncertain as to the value of something – and this happens more than I previously appreciated – I list the auction as a one cent no reserve auction for a fixed number of days. Rarely does the auction end at that particular starting price.

    Mr Greer’s blog and comments has been interesting this week (not that it normally isn’t), and I even managed to work in an Arthurian angle, only to discover that the learned author is penning a book upon the subject. Well, that is one buyer for the book ready and rearing to go. πŸ™‚ It is a fascinating subject, and I believe that the fall of the US empire may rival that of ancient Rome for epic scaled flops.

    For some reason the Mr Miyagi fictional character has a certain sort of appeal to my brain. If the adults don’t want to be adults, well maybe the kids will be. I dunno. At this stage of the game nobody is hungry enough, but as a wild guess they might get there sometime in the future. Our supply lines are so long and vulnerable, that they are vulnerable. I would not have organised things this way, but you know…

    True, the land does have bones and spirits and you have to engage with all of that, which so far our western inclinations avoid like the plague. Interestingly one of the criticisms levelled at the author is that he has somehow offended people by choosing to suggest that a person could be both a hunter gatherer as well as a farmer (or shaper) of the land. That surprised me that people would hang their hats on either hook, but not both. I don’t see why that outcome is not possible.

    Hmm. The strawberries here aren’t quite like that variety and I have not come across such a variety before – it is possible that it isn’t available down here. Down here the plants are usually marketed based on taste. Basically my lot produce the first of the forest berries and then the last of them. I don’t really need them over the summer months because there is the raspberries followed by the blackberries plus all of the currants and gooseberries etc.

    It isn’t a bad suggestion to friends in uncertain times. Whether they listen is another thing, but that is none of my concern really. The powers that be have been working on that filthy lucre problem in the most literal sense of the words. πŸ™‚ People are a bit freaked out down here right now due to the health subject which dare not be named and so they often prefer contactless payments

    Not seeing the tomatoes doesn’t surprise me as there may have been a supply shortage of them recently i.e. people had lots of trouble growing them. Thanks for mentioning that practice of propping up prices as I had not heard of that concept before. It makes a certain sort of sense.

    Who knew Trigger had acted alongside Errol Flynn? You learn something new everyday, and it also goes to raise the important point not to be too famous – or they’ll stuff ya!

    What interested me about the hack article was that the underlying suggestion was to ditch running your own server, and instead rely upon the larger service. I’m not a fan of such things, but it seems to be the way of the world. And I keep things very old school on that front – with backups.

    Mate, I’m in awe of your mammoth Siberian sunflowers having had little previous skill at growing those particular plants. Yum! Late summer is a time of plenty. Had to look up exactly what a cherry pitter was. Hmm, they use such things for small scale removal of olive stones too and they work really well. You’ve got one of them now.

    It was chilling and I really tried to project the sense of impending dread and utter uncertainty associated with the experience. And yes, it is an awful system to get caught up in where nothing is ever settled promptly. Who even knows whether that delay outcome is an undocumented feature of the system? It gives me the creeps, and I’m uncomfortable at being thought of as a walking ATM. From what I’m observing, people are having to get on with their lives as best they can, and all the while a person can become unstuck for a minor oversight. These here are crazy times. As an alternative perspective, the authorities are actively training people to disregard them, and there is serious risk in that outcome for them. Phone tree hell is another form of professional distancing.

    Mate, stay safe! πŸ™‚ Or those folks will ensure that you stay safe. Ooo, it sounds a bit dark doesn’t it? Hehe!

    Speaking of apples, do you guys have apple and cinnamon slices? They’re very good and I recommend them highly. Although it is important that the baker doesn’t get too mingy with the spices. You can’t have that happening, it’s an outrage.

    Interesting, and it is odd you mention that but there was that inference made in some of the articles. I’m pretty cool with freedom from religion, but neither do I want to be bludgeoned, and plenty of true believers in the secular religion of progress are hounding me. They all have to let it go. Anyway, as you wisely note, the news cycle moves on pretty fast nowadays so that even major gaffes from only a few days beforehand are no longer thought of again. πŸ™‚

    Ooo, that’s creepy about that Boise group, and I note that the former and possibly far scarier still unknown successful group was mentioned. I don’t get them at all. If that lot were smart they’d try to build something that was self evidently better, but I doubt they could manage that feat.

    The fog is great isn’t it? And the light first thing in the morning really is like that. There are times where I’m grateful to be in this little out of the way corner of the world. It was a gamble moving here, but then I guess a lot of life is like that. I do wonder if the world will ever get to a time when it is: wherever you are, with whatever you have.

    Believe it or not, the crushed rock was an easier job than mixing up the batches of compost. Steve Solomon’s book penned for this part of the world finally convinced me to change tack and try something different with the soils.

    As to the strawberries, I truly don’t know. I’m trialling a shandy (an Oz reference to a mixed drink consisting of beer and lemonade, but is largely used to refer to mashing up a couple of ideas and then trying it out) technique based on Claire’s methods. I had to do something different as there were so many plants. But as of today, I know nothing! However, time will resolve this lack.

    So far the four miniature kiwi fruit vines have produced Nada. Actually the miniature eggplant are the variety we grow, and they’re really good tasting. The summer seasons just aren’t hot enough here to grow full sized varieties, although it is also equally possible that you have better adapted varieties in your part of the world.

    Huge Stick Insect. Nuff said! About three years ago I went to a comedy festival show performed by a young lady who was very talented with animal training, and was paid for that job. It was a really good show, and she had a pet stick insect. A comedian, a dog and a stick insect walk into a bar. Every time I see stick insects around here I think of her, she has a gift.

    Big rains are on the horizon this Friday, but isn’t that life on the land? I came up with a funny line I want to use on the next business that asks for my ID. I’ll produce my gun licence and ask them: Is that country enough for ya? πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see the reactions.

    Cheers

    Chris

  5. Hi Chris
    Had a busy day yesterday. I cooked up a large batch of Chili con carny. Then Filled and froze assorted reusable plastic containers for future use. About eight quarts total. Also baked a dozen frozen cinnamon rolls with packets of frosting to spread on after things cooled. The two are commonly eaten together here. Something only popular with some of us that were served them in our 1950s timeframe eating school prepared lunches occasionally.yum!😁

    We are watching the news reports of the hurricane Ida damage still compounding in our Gulf and South Eastern States the day after the landfall of the storm. It seems strange that Mr Kunstlers blog has no mention of the immediate or future costs and level of fiat money that will be required to renew the area so far at 11.00 am at PDT my time.

    Chris your thought of you showing the next lawman asking for your gun permit prompt the following tale. I spent a large block of my career in the local nuclear facility installing new and upgraded security threat detection equipment. In one such task the lead manager. Had the security force lead armorer(The guy responsible for all weapons used by the force prepare a small hand gun for my use as test object. A real one rendered un shootable) He also equipped me with a plant wide permit to carry said gun when performing tests on weapons detection systems. The gun was to be checked out and returned after use each day. There were no limits on the geographical area of such usage. If I was going to a specific area with the gun the manager would notify the personal of my planned trip. Civilian guns on site were a big deal!

    So time passed and one day when leaving through a security check point with government owned tools and material in a government owned truck The security guard flagged me down asked me for my property pass which was a wallet card. While I was getting the card out I ask her if she wanted the card for the tools or my gun permit which was identical except for the gun permit language included on it. She immediately got extremely excited and exclaimed β€œWhat gun permit!! lemme see that.” β€œWhy sure mam here it is”handing it over. She took the card and said β€œI’m calling my boss I’ll see about this”. About 10 minutes passed she came back. β€œOk Ok you set me up.” β€œNo I gave you a choice I gave you a choice which one you wanted”. She was normally on traffic duty and noted for her rigid enforcement of a few miles over speed and numerous tickets given. The boss guy told me Al β€œI liked that but don’t ever do that again”and laughed.

    Cheers Al

  6. Yo, Chris – Before I forget, do you put anything in your passata, besides just tomatoes? We’ve had few red tomatoes, so far, but when I run across them, I’ve been chucking them in the freezer. I really don’t pay much attention to varieties, either. As my taste buds aren’t as sharp anymore, as long as it tastes like tomato, I’m ok with that.

    Sounds like the real estate might have been a quick sale situation. The price reduction. Might be an estate, or divorce. Maybe just someone strapped for cash. Real estate transactions move so slow. At least, to me.

    The government started propping up prices, during the Great Depression. Temporary things become permanent. But, these days, family farms and small holders see little of that money. It all goes to Big Ag. Farm subsidies is what they call them. And, of course, Big Ag has a lot of political clout. So, they keep the gravy train rolling.

    I’ve kind of lost the plot, when it comes to Mr. Greer’s blog, this week. I’m about three days behind, in the comments. I’ll also look forward to Mr. Greer’s book on King Arthur.

    I think the fall of the US empire, will be far, far worse than the fall of Rome. Back then, some places were relatively unaffected. When we go down, I think every thing will be affected, everywhere. Or maybe I just feel that way as I’m living through it πŸ™‚ .

    OK. I had to check and see who Mr. Miyagi is. Was never a particular “Karate Kid”, fan. A gap, I know.

    Oh, I think our ancestors hunted, gathered and farmed. They were adaptable. Flexible. But, I suppose putting things in little boxes keeps everything neat and tidy. πŸ™‚ . They just completed some studies of the diet of those folks, stacked up in the boat sheds at Herculaneum. Men ate more fish and seafood, women ate more grains and dairy. Interesting, I suppose.

    Well, I’ve never grown the Siberian Mammoth sunflowers, before, either. Or, much of anything else. πŸ™‚ . But, again, it’s one of those things that worked out, and people think I know what I’m doing. Not that I claim to. I noticed something interesting about them, yesterday. I thought they’d do just one giant flower at the top. I see there are flower buds, further down the stalk. This is going to get interesting.

    The cherry pitter Elinor gave me, is just a funky little thin metal one. I don’t think it will last long. But the Victorians had cast iron ones, similar to the old apple peelers. Some quit ornate. You don’t see as many of those, as the old apple peelers. Which are still made.

    Parts of our court system, in some places, preys on the already indigent. Minor infractions can snowball into eye-watering fines. And jail time.

    Do we have apple and cinnamon slice? I had to look that one up. Appears to me no more than a square apple pie. πŸ™‚ So, yes, we do.

    I often observe, that our guaranteed constitutional freedom of religion, also means freedom FROM religion. Which does not endure me, in some quarters, here at the Institution. (The religious nutters.) Which is as I like it. I often refer to that bunch as “wearing their religion, on their sleeve.” What amuses me is that I’m probably one of the most deeply religious persons, around these parts. I just keep it to myself.

    I think I mentioned I had read a bit about that mysterious grid attack, a few years ago. In the book “Lights Out.” Wik Hoopia even has an entry. After mentioning them, I did a bit of poking about. This lot were military or ex-military. But instead of just shooting out the transformers, they were getting into all kinds of bombing stuff. They added complexity, and that was their undoing.

    Thanks for the miniature eggplant information. I’ll pass it on to Elinor. Thanks for the link to the comedian. I love the title for her act. “If You Can’t Train It, Eat It.” Speaking of comedic dogs and their mates, when I took H out this morning, a fire truck went by. We worked some more on our two part harmony. πŸ™‚ .

    I took a little trip this morning. Call it a fact finding expedition. I wanted to see if I could pick up another couple of flats of blueberries. The stand was still open, but had a big sign out front. “Last Days.” I told them it sounded kind of apocalyptic. πŸ™‚ . Well, two flats of berries, will keep me off the streets for a couple of days.

    I decided to check out the antique mall. Yup. Still in business. I know the owner to chat with. After a quick run through, I commented that it looked like he had retained most of his dealers. Talk about a Potemkin moment. He said that about a third (or more) of the spaces … the contents, he and his wife had bought. So it looks pretty much the same, but, it isn’t. They’re also going month to month on their rent, as, their lease was up in April. The landlord has constantly jacked up the rent, with little or no maintenance.

    Keeping in mind that appearances can be deceiving, I took a spin up Tower Avenue. The main downtown business area. It seemed like about 1/3 of the shopfronts, were empty. Not that that’s unusual. Once, years ago, when I was negotiating my yearly rent, I did a survey. At that time, 42% of the fronts were empty. Some businesses are gone, but there are some new businesses.

    Seems like I spent most of the afternoon and evening, in the kitchen. Making stuff near and long term. A big bowl of rice. I made the cucumber Harvester salad, and cornbread to go with it. Emptied the dehydrator and got the tomatoes and cucumber chips, packed away. Seems like there was something else …

    I’m reading an interesting book, right now. “The Heirloom Gardener: Traditional Plants & Skills for the ModernWorld.” Forti, 2021. The author has led a pretty interesting life.

    http://jforti.com/biography.html

    Interesting format, to the book. Alphabetical, but plants and skills are mixed in, together. Quirky, in a nice way. So, it goes from Quince to Raised Beds. Maple Syrup to May Day. As we say in the biz, “A good read.” Lew

  7. Hi, Chris!

    I am astonished at what is going on where you live. If I could only go 5 km I would be sunk, as would everyone else in my part of the county. The closest, and tiny, country store is further than that, and if all of us rural folks headed to it it would be cleared of supplies very quickly.

    Last week my parents had appointments most days so we were in town alot. This week, only 1, and I sure am glad to be out here in the country. Not that town is really a problem. Things are quite casual, though most people have put their masks back on where before about half were not wearing one.

    My mother complains about the “party goers” being a big problem. She thinks that large gatherings, especially university students (about 20,000 of them have just come back here . . . ) are what keeps the current unpleasantness fired up. If she only knew about the music festivals . . .

    Thank goodness you are almost into spring. I just realized that we have an equinox coming up.

    I think I’ll move into your strawberry enclosure, it is so lovely. I will be bringing the whole family, including an extremely large, fat cat.

    The Acacia flowers are breathtaking. And the echium. And the hellebore. And the – ha ha! – Plum blossom.

    Pam

  8. Chris,

    Wild week last week. Nothing bad, just busy and unexpected stuff kept demanding attention. Glad it’s over, but sorry to have missed out on last week’s discussions. AND the bonus post!

    We’re in the transition season. Much more comfortable temperatures and cooling at night. We’ve had several smoke-free days. However, have been unable to open up the windows at night because some, ummm, neighbor has decided to burn a fire in their fireplace at night, the smoke coming into our home. There is a burning moratorium until the smoke season is over, and it isn’t cold – between 22C and 29C during the day. mumble grumble. Although Monday’s winds blew in smoke and a lot of dust. Meanwhile, our transition has seen the summer sparrows move on so that the sparrows that overwinter will have room.

    Our coffee grounds get added to the compost pile. They seem to get processed rapidly. So, too, the watermelon and cantaloupe rinds. Such things turn to dirt rapidly.

    Good work on the strawberry area. It really looks good. Glad to see that the fluffy collection is impressed with all the recent work.

    You had to mention trimming the lavender, didn’t you? I’ve got a lot of lavender to trim back before winter, as it is nearing that dread stage you mentioned.

    Oh, and your farm is in that wonderful early spring season! Flowers and buds everywhere. And the stick insects returning. Those are so fascinating.

    Fluffies…The Princess and I decided it is time to get a fluffy. We’re starting to look around and have mentioned to several people we’re looking, so hopefully we’ll find a suitable younger dog or puppy soon.

    DJSpo

  9. Hello Chris
    I am finding it hard to keep up, even more so with Mr Greer.

    Here it is yet another grey day and I have the heating on.

    I keep strawberry plants for 2 years and then I take them up and replace with some of the runners. I get so many runners that I just have to chuck lots of them. Also have everlasting strawberries and they don’t produce runners, however they keep producing strawberries until the weather gets too cold. The everlasting ones do not taste as sweet as the others. Have long forgotten the names of my varieties.

    Love the stick insect; we don’t have them.

    The world continues to be absolutely nuts but I am not much affected as it is 3 weeks since I have worn a mask and that was the only thing that really bothered me. If I were much younger and still wanted to travel, it would be horrendous. As Son works as a builder, he has no shortage of work, quite the reverse.

    May everyone keep their spirits and health up.

    Inge

  10. Hi Al,

    Yummo! Chili con carne is a delectable meal, and honestly I’m left wondering just how hot did you make the dish? I’d imagine that chili grows well in your part of the world due to the hot summers which that plant needs.

    It is funny you mention that particular cooking practice, but we’re getting better at producing meal base stuff, and then creating all manner of things from that meal base. The Italians cook that way too.

    Talk of Cinnamon rolls are like music to my aural taste buds! πŸ™‚ Not to suggest any alterations to a time honoured recipe, but raisins or sultanas maybe a valid addition to such a recipe and would not be that far from what we describe as a coffee scroll.

    We heard of the category four hurricane in the news down here. Not good. Hurricane Ida leave millions in Louisiana without power, destroys store where jazz legend Louis Armstrong worked.

    Thank you for the warning, and for the record I’m reasonably careful with whom I act the smarty pants. As you discovered, not everyone has a sense of humour, sorry to say. Sorry to say, but the person you encountered is an archetype, and they do need to be handled with kid gloves. Some folks see the world in black and white terms and there is no room for grey in their world view. Fortunately they have their weaknesses, and it is to there that you have to respond and nowhere else. But having written that it is best to leave such folk well alone, unless they bring their troubles to your door (as has happened to me in the past).

    We can only but do the best that we can, and no better. Such is life.

    Cheers

    Chris

  11. Hi Pam,

    πŸ™‚ I can assure you that it is not easy for me at this stage of the game, but a resourceful person can make do. With my work permit today ready to hand as well as other paperwork, I stopped off and picked up all manner of supplies. Other than the general store and the local pub around here, there is no other businesses within that circumference. And yes, it is a problem and I can only but suggest to you to increase the sunlight as well as the scale of the garden. One fact rang clear out of my reading of the histories of the Great Depression and it was was that farming families could generally be kept fed.

    By way of contrast, most people you encounter down here are masked nowadays, but I reckon this one has gotten away from the authorities and so we’ll unfortunately just have to live with the consequences. As will your people. It happens, and you just really don’t know how the chips will fall when the house of cards flops.

    Pam, I hear your mothers concerns, but then weigh them up against the mental health damage done to the younger folks who seem pretty hardy against the effects. Mr Greer might suggest that we are in a predicament as distinct from being lumped with a problem – and there is no easy way out without much loss one way or another. I dunno, but high risk individuals might want to take some evasive action knowing that there are no certainties or guarantees. And oh yeah, like the potatoes, just don’t mention the music festivals! πŸ™‚ Far out, I’m trying to be light, but it ain’t funny at all.

    The official start to spring here is tomorrow (this is a down under thing), but unofficially spring arrived maybe a week or so back. The official seasons are useless when describing the local weather. But the equinox is the equinox wherever you are. πŸ™‚

    Thank you for the lovely words, and I’ll bet that fat cat enjoys strawberries too! Hehe! It is nice in there, and I should mention that the greenhouse is particularly enjoyable on sunny days. Anyway, when I discovered the fluffies enjoying the strawberry harvest, that was when the need for the cage became apparent. Everything likes strawberries – the predation was unrelenting.

    Plum sends greetings and cordial tail wags! πŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Chris

  12. Hi DJ,

    Glad to hear that you and your lady survived the wild week, and the bonus post was merely me venting my spleen, and penning a warning for those who may be interested.

    Mate, what some folks put through their fireplaces is a real mystery to me. I burn only seasoned and super dry hardwood which burns clean when the flue is hot, but not everyone is so careful. Some non profit down here recently was suggesting that wood heaters are a bad idea for asthma sufferers and sought a ban on the sale of such devices, and whilst that may be true, in rural areas far from any services, there is no other heat source. It is one of those things that sounds nice in theory. You may have noticed the wall of yellow flowers which is the forest understory here? Well those trees dump an inordinate amount of pollen in the air, and well that is how things roll sometimes. When the overstory trees are in flower, the very air itself smells of honey. I like that, but an asthma sufferer might be struck down really hard. But then when hot days hit hard and the air is suffuse with eucalyptus oils sufferers of asthma might do really well. It’s complicated.

    Exactly, whatever was once alive tends to break down rather quickly in a properly aerated compost pile. Mind you, if ever you need to hide a body, well, there might be better places… πŸ™‚

    Thank you, and the crushed rock paths will make harvesting and maintaining those garden beds easier. My gut feeling is that it will be a wet summer. Already two inches of rain is forecast for later this week…

    Just checking in with your lady. Ah. OK. Ooo. Not good. So your lady asks me why haven’t you trimmed the lavender yet? And dare I mention it, but it does kind of sound like a fair question. However, if you’re feeling lucky, and are ya? But you could sneakily turn the question around (only if you are feeling very brave) and ask: why have you not done this job yet? And then run… Hehe!

    Well done. Yes, I too have wondered that question, and there are no easy answers. But I applaud your line of thinking. It is time, and if you lot end up being anything at all like us down here – you won’t be going anywhere, any time soon. It would be funny, if it were indeed funny.

    Cheers

    Chris

  13. Hi Inge,

    No problem here with keeping up with comments, if only because for now the pub is shut, and that’s not on. I hope the folks who used to work there are doing OK in lock down. It’s actually crazy down here, so please do not think of replicating our existence. There is a part of me which suggests that we are crashing early, for I smell change in the very air. Mind you, I could be wrong.

    Inge, you were short changed with your summer weather this year. I’m guessing that we will have another wet and cool summer here this year, but it is only a wild hunch.

    Ah, thank you for sharing your experience with the strawberries. I had wondered that about the taste of the everlasting strawberries, and I prefer to grow fruit and vegetables which have taste. Most of the strawberry and raspberry harvest gets turned into jam, and we make more each year than we can eat, and in the dark winter months raspberry jam on fresh bread is a thing of greatness. If acidic enough and sealed well enough, jam keeps for years.

    Respect for your sons trade, and I have nothing but admiration for those whom can produce something useful out of raw materials.

    Truth to tell, I enjoyed travel less as the years went on. It wasn’t that the exotic locales weren’t interesting, far from it, but as time went on the sheer volume of people travelling became an unappealing prospect that was sometimes outright confronting. When I first travelled and for a while after that, things were different. It is not a complaint, but more of an observation and I miss that activity not at all.

    And the same to you too. We must marshall our energy for the times to come.

    Cheers

    Chris

  14. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for the supply story, and a mate works in logistics and mentioned similar troubles. I’m genuinely amazed that such stories aren’t front page news – they should be, and as usual the Limits to Growth standard chart depicts this very situation. The curve depicting industrial production per capita is an alarmingly steep downward curve. Which candidly we appearing to be surfing right now. Your previous advice in this matter was excellent and mirrors exactly what I’m doing, and have been doing. The unexpected hiccups will be a problem, no doubts about it.

    Glad to read that you scored the two blueberry flats, and the sign would be something that I’d photograph!!! Funny stuff.

    Yeah, the editor is on a zoom thing with a friend so I can’t interrupt and ask about the passata, but I believe that capsicum and onions get added into the mixture. The trick is getting the acidity right as well as making sure the seal err, seals. What has everyone got against seals, lovely playful creatures. πŸ™‚ Tomatoes tend to hybridise and so I wouldn’t worry too much about variety either. What grows well is good enough for me, but most varieties if given enough sunlight (and they’re not too large) will generally have good taste. This is not to suggest that the tomatoes are discerning… No! Far from it, which is why they readily hybridise. I now depart from the comedic field with full honours and glory!

    Nah, I dunno what happened with the price reduction, and nobody has sought to inform me as to this matter. Interestingly I had a casual conversation with a bloke this morning in the big smoke whom I’ve known for years and his girlfriend has some distant links to those folks. Gawd it’s a small world sometimes… I tread warily in the social spaces these days!

    Family farms and small holders aren’t really thought of as a viable option and certainly I’d be hard pressed to make an economic return from the land here. The numbers don’t stack up in my mind. The whole get big or get out mentality just leaves me feeling cold. My gut feeling is that it works when you can run down natural capital or energy is so cheap that it doesn’t matter and then transport and machine running costs can be blithely ignored. I do wonder what the future holds on that score, and we can run this place at a much reduced energy base than even what occurs today.

    Hehe! Well, mate I’m in lock down and so have plenty of free time. Some nights I’ve actually run out of reading and just sat back and listened to some music whilst patting the dog. It is quite pleasant actually. And The Station Master has been added to the to-see list. Did your mother ever suggest that you were a bad influence? Hehe!

    I’ll be super curious to hear what Mr Greer has to say about the Arthurian saga. I’d be certain that his knowledge in this area is both deep and wide. Did Mr Geer indirectly sneak in a naughty book recommendation? Far out, how shall I cope? πŸ™‚ I thought that I was impervious to advertising, but guess I’m not.

    Mate, I tell ya truthfully, if my day to day experience is anything to go by, we have already collapsed down to the next lower stair tread. It is an alarming experience, but that is what it looks like to me. When you guys fall is anyone’s guess and the pressures looks like they’re building.

    Respect for acknowledging that it is not just my education which is sorely lacking. Pah, may you get yourself to a makeshift Dojo and correct thyself. The film was OK and actually quite enjoyable.

    Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Why would the ancients be one or the other, when they could more wisely be a little bit of them all? Sometimes the myth of progress obscures the reality that our forebears were every bit as smart as we are. The Herculaneum diet makes a bit of sense, and my understanding is that historically gender activities were rather more distinct than they are today. I’ve remarked to many folks over the past year and half that I really like the editor, but it is not normal to spend 24/7-365 around her. There are times that I need bloke time, and there are other times I need alone time. I dunno, my grandfather was a great believer in clubs and groups, and he was forever organising people into such things – and I reckon he was onto something with that.

    Hehe! No worries at all, and mate, every year I experiment with new and interesting varieties just to see how they go. After reading the Steve Solomon books I now have a large row of purple sprouting broccoli and also kale growing really well. How they’ll taste is anyones guess, but it may be that the winter frosts have produced some sweeter tasting leaves. Dunno. But I intend to harvest seed from them for next winter. Plus I should add that I am more ruthless with the plants each year, and this is a positive thing. The tomato beds at the end of last season (earlier this year) were a disaster.

    I’m very curious to hear how your sunflowers go.

    Oooo, all is now explained. I have one of the very old school and extraordinarily sturdy devices which I use to remove the pips from olives. I’m sure that you’ll find one in your travels? They’re worth it if only because they just work.

    A square apple pie indeed. Although I freely acknowledge that you may be right there. Maybe…

    Respect. Living surrounded by nature over the many years has affected me deeply, but I too rarely make much of such things. In the Camulod series of books wasn’t there a great schism whereby one splinter sect dared suggest that people directly experience, whilst the others whose livelihoods possibly depended upon this not taking place were opposed to the idea?

    Ah yes, simple works best and I can see that. The facts speak for themselves in this case, and it is also very possible the group formed for one purpose, and one purpose only.

    Hehe! Go H and your good self singing along in two part harmony. Fun stuff. Nowadays the emergency services don’t continually blare the sirens. This has the unusual effect of sometimes scaring the daylights out of me when they turn the sirens on at the last minute so as to press on through a red light. It makes me wonder if a few years ago some busy bodies or group of busy bodies moved next to a fire station or police station and began making noise complaints. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    Oh shoot… The antique mall story is not good at all. Bricks and mortar down here look like they’re going through a retailpocalypse. It’s brutal and I do wonder what will happen at the end of many leases. I had to do two click and collects today, and they’re weird experiences but you know I just deal.

    Hey, it may be that the vacancy rate is pretty normal for your town. I don’t know what to make of it in the big smoke, and some areas are doing OK, but others, not so much. But overall I believe that it is an economic bloodbath. The thing is restrictions were slapped on, but the underlying economic relationships were not altered, and that is a path to poverty.

    Your kitchen experience does rather sound like mine. There is always something which needs doing.

    Thank you for the introduction to John Forti, and the photos looked stunning. I see that there are virtual tours so as to reach a younger audience. Interesting.

    The article on the land of stuff hacking doesn’t surprise me, and some nefarious individual is attempting that here tonight. All very topical. What can I say, we are loyal to a fault and have incurred their ire. Mind you, they have been threatening us (very politely too, lovely people) for many years now, but recently have acted. Oh well I believe the decision has been made, and not in their favour. It happens.

    Cheers

    Chris

  15. Yo, Chris – Didn’t even make 70F (21.11C), yesterday. So, I’m out watering, and it begins to rain. Well, that wasn’t in the forecast. By the time I finished watering, I was the one that was quit wet. πŸ™‚

    I really do try and think a bit, abut the links I pitch at you. To be … judicious. But I hope you don’t mind I don’t save them for a post. The really interesting ones, disappear so fast. And, are hard to find again. Interesting, no?

    I poked around, on-line, to see what was said about Passata. I find dredging through on-line recipes, to be confusing. And, time wasting. Well, I have 14 Italian cookbooks, and need to take a run through those. And, I bet Passata is covered in some of the general cookbooks, I have. Look at you, throwing around big words like “capsicum.” :-). I have some nice green peppers, that are coming along in the garden. I wonder if I should wait til they turn red?

    I see your lame seal joke and raise you “Save the Wales.” πŸ™‚

    I’ll keep my eye out for a tomato Walk of Shame.

    I wonder if you got any hints as to the makeup of your new neighbors? But yes, one must be careful. Seven degrees of Kevin Bacon, and all that.

    Other parents saw me as The Good Boy. The good influence. Had them fooled. If they only knew… I was like Eddie Haskell (Leave it to Beaver). Only not as smarmy.

    I caught up on the comments, at Mr. Greers. Not that hard, as I just skip anything that’s about You Know What, or esoteric astrological questions. As far as You Know What, I’ve made my decisions, set my course, the die is cast, All personal decisions that I’d never flog anyone else with. They’ve got their own destinies. But I find further discussion, just … boring. LOL. Too late now … I’m 72, for gawds sake. Old enough to die. Big deal. It happens.

    I think it will be interesting, to read Mr. Greer’s take on King Arthur. One take among many. Unless someone comes up with a manuscript, or startling archaeological evidence, it’s all just speculation. Hmmm. Time travel? Temporal rift? πŸ™‚

    Scott has a bit of a problem with the 24/7/365, up close and personal with the wife. And, I’m sure, she with him. He had some escapes, before You Know What. The Club, meetings, his yearly getaway to the week long music seminar. But, he’s coping. They have a bit of land, and he gets out and works it. Manicures it, actually. He keeps making noises, about doing some food gardening, but never quit gets around to it. And, they have a second house, where he has his man cave.

    I did a bit of poking around various rabbit holes, about the sunflower mystery. Theories ran from pest, to pollen drift, where ever the seed came from. Pollen from other varieties of sunflowers. But the Master Gardeners had an interesting idea, this morning. The terminal bud might have been damaged, at some point, and as “Life
    Finds a Way,” started throwing off buds, further down. Might have been that heat wave, we had. That plant got a lot more direct sun, than the single bloom plant. And plenty of other plants had their top buds nipped. I’ll have to decide which plant to save seed, from. Production will play a roll in that decision.

    I hit the cheap grocery, this morning. Where I always expect to see rats scampering across the shelves, but never do πŸ™‚ . So, after not seeing it for nine months, I found their inventory was a bit thinner, and the prices a bit higher. But there were still bargains and treasures to be found. A 5 pound bag of Bob’s Red Mill, whole wheat pastry flour. $3.59. 500ml bottles of California (where they have standards) olive oil for $2.99. 67g bottles of cinnamon for $1.59. A four pound bag of good cane sugar, for 1.99. A one quart (946mL) bottle of the good brand of hot sauce for $3.99. And just for a weird flyer, a bag of “Nestle Toll House Filled Pumpkin Spice Flavored Baking Truffles.” Says you can use them in biscuits, pancakes or muffins. There’s a biscuit recipe on the package. They also had canned re-fried beans and diced tomatoes. Things we haven’t seen in our food boxes in 3+ months. Less than $1 a can. And, a few other things. A gallon of a good brand of white vinegar, for $2.59. That surprised me. It’s picking season, and, usually vinegar just disappears, for awhile. Tomorrow, the other cheap food store and the dollar store. πŸ™‚

    Besides the book I mentioned yesterday, I’m reading another one. I switch back and forth. “What’s Good? A Memoir in Fourteen Ingredients” (Hoffman, 2021). He ran a restaurant, in New York City, for over 20 years. Until he was finally forced out by gentrification and changing demographics. Usually, I find the restaurant bios kind of boring. But he ran a farm to table place (before it even had a name, or was cool), and so far, it’s more about the food, than the business. His upbringing. So far, a good read. Lew

  16. Chris:

    You always have good advice, and I heed it. Oh, well- one has to do what one has to do. I like what Damo used to say: ” Just get ‘er done.” (if I have that right . . . ).

    I am happy to announce that today our garbage was collected, only 8 days late. I know that you go to the dump, but ours is pretty far away. I mentioned before that we now generate the amount of trash of a small village, so it can’t be an occasional thing.

    On a not as happy note, our internet has been out for 10 days.

    Pam

  17. Hi Pam,

    It’s a handy saying, and without revealing too many details, last I heard Damo and his lady were on holidays in the far west of this huge continent. It appears that it is only us folks over in the east of the continent who are subject to restrictions. The news today was that things look set to continue as they are for the next month and a bit. Oh well, nothing to see here, moving on.

    Yay! For your garbage pick up arriving only a week and a bit late. Talk about a sign of the times. No, I only go to the nearest tip (which is about half an hour away) to offload any scraps of metal (of any kind) or e-waste / batteries for recycling. I know they’ll probably get recycled, the rest is all talk.

    So how the rest of it works is that anything which was once alive gets added back into the soil, which leaves a small quantity of plastic, some cardboard and a tiny amount of paper which gets burned. That ash is then returned to the soil. Plastic has a crazy amount of energy stored therein and from what I understand of the current circumstances, the vast majority of plastic is now entering landfill – and that is a serious waste of embodied energy. Not that anyone really cares about such things (despite the rhetoric).

    We haven’t had access to garbage pickup services for well over a decade, and you know, you adapt. But you adapt knowing that there is no such thing as a perfect system, and so you just do the best you can. We’re considered very quirky taking our own containers (or bags) to fresh food markets so as to avoid unnecessary waste, but I tell ya what: The vendors want to sell stuff, and they hate the waste too. With the lock down, we haven’t been able to get to the fresh food markets, but with each successive lock down we purchase and store far greater quantities and so are doing OK.

    The whole thing is bonkers.

    Sorry to hear about your dead in the water interweb connection. Hope that your household coped OK in the downtime?

    I had to laugh, someone recently was extolling the virtues of their el-cheapo connection (and this is no slur on your supplier as I have no idea why you had an outage) and they were telling me how much they get for so little cost and I must have been crazy for signing up with a premium service. Then they confided that their service dropped out from time to time for no reason… πŸ™‚ My business relies on a stable connection, so it is worth the extra mad cash. I dunno. Someone smarter than I may have mentioned that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Actually, why did you have an outage that long?

    Cheers

    Chris

  18. Hi Lewis,

    Ah ha! The baton is soon to be handed back – along with the stolen, err sorry, borrowed hour. Our weather today was exactly that temperature, and may get hotter tomorrow before an epic storm looks set to dump two inches of rain on Friday. I trust that you will return the borrowed hour all clean and unsoiled? Mark my words here: Memories are long! πŸ™‚ Of course if we do return the lost hour to you in the distant future next year, well I may just make the ultimate claim: He started it! Hehe!

    Sorry to hear that you ended up rather damp from the unforecast storm. On a more positive note, you are saved the indignity of a shower. You do know that back in the Victorian era showers were considered a health risk and so were reserved for the use of men. A cheeky scamp might suggest that that was back in the day when men were real men, women were real women, and dogs were real dogs (not sure what that last bit was all about, but you get my drift).

    Ruby has been busy digging holes in the garden. In some of the ornamental garden beds it looks like the WWI Dardanelles Campaign. I’d really like to harness that canine energy, but alas it is a total mystery as to what they are up to which I’ll have to carry around with me all unsolved and stuff. It is possible that they are breaking open rat dens.

    No worries at all with the links. One minor limit that the system has in place is that there is an upper limit of three links per comment. Now you may ask me why such a thing is in place, but for many months I was getting daily spam from someone with an alias ‘biblewoke’. Need I say any more on the matter. πŸ˜‰ Such comments end up in the trash automatically now and I do review what is in there every day anyway, so it is no great hassle – except that at your end it looks like your comment has disappeared (which it hasn’t).

    Mate, some days I have plenty of time to follow up on any and all links, and other days there are half a dozen comments. The blog is a bit like my life really in that I really don’t know what I’m going to encounter each day. I’m cool with that and probably might not be able to go back to a very rigid existence. Anyway, looks like we’re in lock down for the next month and a bit. Yes, we have done something very bad in a past life and are now burdened with the largest port on the continent where most items from overseas land. It is our burden to bear. I just hope that the air force has enough spare parts for their fighter jets. Last I heard…

    I hear you about that, and the link cycle really does move pretty fast. Mate, if I didn’t write down notes as to what I intend to write about for the next essay, I’d get to Sunday night and my mind would all blank out on me. Fortunately I can take notes if so required. πŸ˜‰

    Hehe! Cookbooks are like an old school interweb of information! πŸ™‚ But probably better when in the kitchen. Scoff you may, and scoff you did, but that is what they are called down here. Pepper here is a condiment, whereas nobody calls capsicums, peppers. Weird isn’t it, and I’m sure that there is a good reason for the difference, but right now my mind is lacking any good reason for the difference.

    In the fresh food markets green peppers are about as commonly seen as red peppers, and then there are the mixtures which usually look like green with a bit of red rather than the other way around. And just to confuse everyone there is the yellow variety. They all taste the same to me…

    The joke is a goodie – yes, those poor Wales! We must start a collection for their care. Dare I suggest that our fortunes might be made? It could hardly be yours or my fault that the administrative costs for the non profit are so high? How do they expect us to do our jobs? Phooey to the detractors.

    Too true, and of course it was I who originally brought Kevin Bacon into the conversation. Far out, by sheer chance I happen to work for someone who knows someone up here whom I encounter all of the time. Thank gawd I’ve always been on my best behaviour – which now that I consider the matter is how I ordinarily conduct myself anyway. But yeah, thank gawd I didn’t seriously fluff something up as I’d be certain questions were asked… Mate it is a very small world sometimes.

    Hehe! Well done you. You would have flown under the radar with that guise and gotten away with all manner of naughtiness. It’s not a bad strategy at all.

    Mate, please believe me I have no great insights one way or another with this whole health subject which dare not be named. In fact, my mind draws a blank for some reason on that subject. Nobody really knows how their fate will play out, and because I’m uncertain I just dunno. Friends and others have strong opinions, but that ain’t me this time around. There are plenty of other things going on which bear airing and nobody wants to discuss those. Doing nothing is always an option too, and as far as I can understand the future, there is no safe path. As a society we chose to close off those options long ago, probably around the late 1970’s at my best guess. I guess people thought that it was all too hard.

    I’m looking forward to reading what Mr Greer has to say on King Arthur. Tell ya a funny story. I purchased a copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s book Vita Merlini. It turned up in the mail this morning and I had an ‘oh poop’ moment when I initially discovered that it was penned in Latin. Fortunately the front half of the book has an English translation. I have no free time to learn another language.

    Thanks for the notes from Scott-land. Fortunately for me, the editor also requires her own space and time as much as I do. If I lived with an extrovert, that would have ended very badly. Fortunately I don’t, and this is a good thing.

    Thanks for your thoughts on the sunflower, and it is a very interesting plant. Hope you get to harvest some of the seeds. I add sunflower kernels to the dogs food, and they really like them as do I. Interestingly the damage explanation does happen with the cacti we have growing here. The cacti plants respond really strangely to frost damage whereby they can then resprout at multiple points. Fascinating.

    I always love hearing how cheap your groceries are, it really surprises me. That amount of bread flour (5 pounds) down here would set me back $10, but it does get cheaper as you buy in bulk and doing some quick maths suggests a price of around $6 (for a 44 pound sack). I’ve heard good things about the Californian olive oil, and I probably wouldn’t touch the imported stuff myself because the local stuff is pretty good too. Down here it works out to be about $6 for the same volume. Bizarrely, sugar cane is about the same price for the same volume and it may be a little bit cheaper here. The thing though is that in different parts of this country, the costs can go pretty high for food due to the transport issues.

    Hey, you got the diced tomatoes back. Wonders will never cease. Far out, your white vinegar is super cheap. That is a good buy. How is that stuff actually made? Interesting, it is quite an industrial process. But not impossible.

    The book sounds pretty good. I’m about halfway through Dark Emu. Alas the incessant lock downs are slowing my reading progress. And it looks like we are stuck in place until sometime in October. Crazy freakin’ days my friend, crazy days. I do feel some sort of impending change in the wind, but can’t really say what it means.

    Cheers

    Chris

  19. Hello Chris and Lew

    Goodness, gracious me! I am still struggling through the Greer comments and I don’t read the astrology, therapy and psychology ones.

    Inge

  20. Yo, Chris – In news of the world (well, at least your patch), I saw an article last night that touched on the cashless society, The Powers That Be, would love to have. “Australia May Mandate Low-Cost Debt Card System for Payments.” Just had a thought. I bet if this kind of things transpires, there will be barter. Even more than there is now.

    I also saw an article that seemed to be a slight shift, in how they’re handling You Know What, down there. It was hinting at, after this lockdown, they’ll just let the chips fall, where they may. Might be a trial ballon. A testing of the waters.

    Sorry about the hour, but it’s on back order. Supply line problems … closed ports … lack of shipping containers. I don’t see being able to ship your hour, until about November, 11th. Sorry for any inconvenience, we value you as a customer, etc. etc..

    Show Ruby this …

    https://allthatsinteresting.com/dog-powered-inventions

    Maybe she’ll straighten out, and fly right. πŸ™‚ . That’s interesting. Spit dogs were a special breed. Now extinct.

    Capsicums / Peppers. Just say, “Those Americans! …” and roll your eyes. πŸ™‚ .

    No time to learn a language? I think The Great Courses have a Latin language course. Just strap on your walk-man … Start with “Caesar’s Gallic Wars (very straightforward), and graduate to Cicero. We still have a lot of Cicero’s works, as the medieval folk thought he wrote the purest Latin. They copied his stuff, over and over. And, still made a hash of it. It wasn’t so long ago I discovered that the Romans had different forms, of writing. We always thing of those nice stone cut clear letters. They also had a more … pedestrian way of writing. Kind of like the difference between spelling something out in capital letters, or, cursive writing.

    This morning I hit one of our dollar stores, and a chain grocery discount store. Restocking stuff like toothpaste and freezer bags, on the cheap. There were a few things I couldn’t find, but, those places are pretty hit and miss, anyway. I overheard an interesting conversation, at the grocery discount store. They’re kind of known for treating their employees, well. A young woman was talking to an employee, that she clearly knew. Maybe an old high school buddy? He was telling her that the supervisors aren’t cloying, like some places. Constant oversight, and all that. And that they always said thank you. They were both just gob-smacked, at that.

    Cliff Mass has another post on his take on global warming. A voice crying in the wilderness.

    I noticed another popular Currier and Ives subject. Whaling ships and hunts. It was the era of whale oil lighting. I wonder how happy the seller is, with what he’s been pulling down. Talk about price discovery. It seems like some prints get just a single bid. Others get 1-3. Some, 6-10. Some get none. I wonder how much of this stuff, is going to decorators? Say you’re decorating a restaurant, in a very horsey area. What better to slap on the walls, then lithographs of race horses. Or, a seafood restaurant. Steamships and whaling would be nice.

    Let me know when you watch “The Station Agent.” And, what you think. I have a few observations, but, it would be spoilers to bring it up, now.

    Another gallon of blueberries in the freezer. And another on the go. Lew

  21. Chris,

    Asthma sufferers and wood heat…reminds me of many phone calls I used to get from people with asthma or heart/lung conditions or severe allergies complaining about the dust from the gravel road they live on. While listening to the rant, I would look up the property and discover when they purchased the place. Usually, they had recently moved to the property with the offending road that had been spewing dust for well over 100 years before the complainants moved there. I had little sympathy.

    I added a lot of material to the compost pile today. There were a lot of crabapples to rake up, and that got the added bonus of a lot of dried grass clippings, too. That will mix well with what was already in the pile.

    Congrats on the additional rain. Sorry it’s too much…wet summers can be a beast. Back in our dry mode indefinitely, but the winter forecast is for near normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. Snow? Rain? Time will tell.

    Okay, so you cheekily suggest I ask the Princess some sarcastic question and then RUN??? Couple big problems with that…I don’t run. And even if I did, I would have to return home some time. And she would be there waiting and not forgetting…Nothing good could come from that. She threatens that she has a size E crochet hook to use on me, but, as this is “polite society” here, I cannot describe her exact threat. But it sounds extremely painful. So, I will trim the lavender. Soon.

    Mr. Greer’s new Arthur book could be interesting. As Lew said, barring a trip back in time or some new archaeological find, could be some interesting speculation. Remember, I’ve been alive for millennia and I was in Britain at the time, saw much of what happened and KNOW the truth about Arthur. But, due to some interesting interactions with Merlin, I am quite unable to talk about what I know.

    We were able to open the house for a couple nights. Getting it nicely cool, much cooler than we can get it with AC, we slept very well.

    Our current unmentionable situation is nasty. As a result, there were several email conversation amongst the club officers this past week. It was decided to cancel the annual show. Some very large and popular events have also been cancelled. Dunno where this will all lead.

    Meanwhile, I teach the beginner’s class at the club this month. I think I’ll have them carve keys. Any variety – modern, skeleton, whatever. I supple the wood, tell them the project, then go about my club president duties. If this holds true to form, the “beginners” will carve better keys than I do.

    DJSpo

  22. Hi Inge,

    Mr Greer has an enviable ability to synthesise large masses of data and then make sense of the data. We need people with such abilities.

    I usually read all of the comments as there is always something interesting going on. My ability to reply though is occasionally limited.

    I must add here that I rather enjoyed Mr Greer’s essay this morning. A mate loaned me a first edition copy of that particular book which I read maybe two years ago, although it could have been three or four years ago now – I forget the details, but I read that book and came to the same conclusions. My only thought was that the outcomes are hardly surprising. Why we ever thought that we’d do better than the Roman’s did is a topic which could bear some investigation.

    We’re still in lock down here. Oh well, nothing to see here, moving on.

    Cheers

    Chris

  23. Hi DJ,

    Far out, what did they expect? The pollen levels today are astounding, and whenever I set foot outside the door, I can smell the pungent complexity which is the surrounding forest. Some of the forest flowers are nearing their nadir and have begun decomposing with all that that brings. But today’s early spike in spring warmth has produced all manner of interesting effects. I spotted a native bee this morning as well as plenty of early season butterflies. I used to worry about the almond flowers due to them being super early in the season, but having seen today, my gut feeling is that nature will sort it all out.

    Exactly. The person had moved to an inland town which relies upon firewood to heat homes during the winter months – and that caused the person problems. There are other places to live. The off grid electrical system would not cope with having an electrical heater hanging off it at night. And what made me really laugh was that the person suggested that the air quality would be improved if everyone switched to electric heating – have you ever had to live near a coal fired power station? The entire story was bonkers or clueless, I’m unsure which.

    Meanwhile for the past two nights we haven’t had to use any firewood. Spring has sprung, and tomorrow afternoon looks positively apocalyptic with heavy rain. Ook!

    Respect for maintaining a compost pile. πŸ™‚ There is no surplus of organic matter here, we’re just trying to make the entire land productive. How often do you remove material from the compost pile?

    Hopefully the snow does not get to crazy quantities at your place later on this year. I note that NY city appears to have had, what was it, 85mm of rain in an hour. I’ve experienced worse than that, but city areas are not set up for such deluges.

    > waiting and not forgetting…Nothing good could come from that.

    One can only but suggest cheeky courses of action, and then run! And I am safely at a comfortable distance. The Klingon’s were fond of observing that: “Revenge is a dish best served cold”. Ouch! Although the writers may have ripped that aphorism from Shakespeare. Anyway, have you trimmed that lavender yet? What were you doing in all those hours? πŸ˜‰ How’s the wood carving projects going, you’ve been mysteriously quiet about those of late?

    Stop it! You’re teasing me now. Maybe… πŸ˜‰ Yesterday in the mail Geoffrey of Monmouth’s book, Vita Merlini arrived. Half of the book is in Latin! Pah, I have no time for such things and am soothed that there is an English language translation. If ever I attempted Latin I’d be worried that some Roman legionnaire rather resembling John Cleese would be demanding that I: conjugate the verb. And it would end very badly.

    Glad to hear that you and your ladies family made it through the troublesome season.

    Where will it all lead is anyone’s guess. If I may but offer a friendly suggestion. Stock up with some bulk purchases of basic food supplies. Things are becoming stranger down here, and in this particular instance, we are ahead of the curve.

    πŸ™‚ The beginner’s class sounds like fun. Out of curiosity, were keys ever made from wood?

    Cheers

    Chris

  24. Hi Lewis,

    The plan for a cashless society is well progressed brother Lewis. I might have mentioned it a few months ago, but the sanitised change received from a local business left my hand feeling rather wet. That was an incentive, but cash really is king in these times. That observation is also alluding to some people being in over their heads in debt. I dunno though, the way money printing and expansion of the money supply is being used as an economic policy tool, I kind of figure that we’ll have lots of mad cash sooner or later, and nothing to purchase with it. It appears that e-commerce has been paused down here for a few days: Australia Post, with 500 staff in COVID isolation, will pause parcel pick-up from e-commerce retailers in locked down states for three days . Whenever you think that things can’t get stranger, well, they just do. The supply of stuff is really in a bit of trouble lately.

    And exactly, barter is an old form of commerce. There are plenty of downward steps which can be taken, and people forget those options.

    That’s my take on the health matter which dares not be named. The change in policy occurred about maybe two weeks ago and has been slowly playing out. What other option was there? The folks at the World Health WTF have recently begun making noises about variant Mu. I don’t much, but I’m guessing that based on our past responses to all of this, we were as a society set to broke, and so now we have to live with the consequences and I have strong doubts that there is much that we can do about it. That’s life, I accept that. People are very fixated down here on reaching certain goals, but the goal posts have shifted and few realise that.

    What? Oh, you’re good! Do you know I have heard serious people discussing the container problem, like people running those businesses don’t have hundreds of years of experiences with which to draw upon. That story may be true, but it is also preposterous. Mate, I really tried contacting the suppliers for the lost hour, but it was phone tree hell. And here I have to add that confession is good for the soul, because after five hours I’d inadvertently swore at someone in some far flung Asian country – and they hung up on me. What to do?

    I showed the many devices and contraptions to Ruby, and she was not impressed. Had to laugh about the description of turnspit dogs: “long-bodied, crooked-legged and ugly dogs, with a suspicious, unhappy look about them” Must add that I too would be unhappy with the conditions.

    Still that unhappy condition might be easier than what the editor and I did today. We continued breaking up rocks and then lugging them back up the hill for use as a physical barrier on the downhill side of the low gradient ramp project. Me tired tonight. The project is coming along really well, and it looks substantial.

    Hehe! You say tomato, and I say tomato, although candidly the accents would be rather different. In the broad Ozzie accent, tomato sounds like ta-ma-toe.

    You and DJ encouraging me to learn Latin. Well I’m not standing for it you know. πŸ™‚ Of course as a young kid I was taught the hard way that language lessons could be painful experiences. That’s what happens when you let young kids watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian (which I really loved). The threatening line: Conjugate the verb, still brings a smile to my face.

    That makes a lot of sense about differing writing styles, and mate with what I hear kids are taught these days in relation to grammar, it’s candidly not good. However, I have long been of the belief that the written word and the spoken word are of the same language, but few people converse in the spoken form the same way that the written word is penned. People speaking from lecterns who are reading from a script sound as if they are rather stilted and a little bit off key.

    Were any rats involved this time around? It is funny how different employers can have such vastly differing management techniques. And I’ve experienced the good, the bad and the indifferent. The good are notable. To treat staff the way you’d like to be treated is the mark of a good employer. And Hagbard’s law “Accurate communication is possible only in a non-punishing situation” or otherwise “communication occurs only between equals” is all very true. Did you just sneak in a book recommendation? Hehe! Seriously, I must read that book. There are only so many hours in the day, and the authoritas are stifling my reading opportunities with all this dratted lock down business. Dare I suggest that the patterns are not right? πŸ˜‰

    Yes, I read the Good Professor’s blog yesterday. He makes a point.

    Out of sheer curiosity, have you run out of wall space to hang these prints? Or do you manage your collection like a gallery and change the prints around? That’s probably what I’d do, as we have actually run out of wall space on that front. It’s only a small house.

    I will let you know when I watch that film. A film night is calling…

    Your freezer sounds well stocked. Probably not a bad idea given the current and impending future shortages.

    Cheers

    Chris

  25. Chris:

    It turns out that our whole neighborhood has had the internet out now for 11 days, so I don’t know what to think about it being a quality issue. Ha ha.

    Pam

  26. @ DJ – Funny we didn’t bump into each other, back in Ye Olde Days. Given the small population numbers. But then, travel was a problem πŸ™‚ .

    Well, I hope the folks here enjoyed their county fair and logger’s jubilee. We had our worst week ever, for new cases. 361. They’re shipping those that need to be hospitalized, out, to any ICU bed that’s available. Ours are all full.

    Keys, keys. A new find from Britain.

    http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/61960

    Might be a bit to complicated, for your beginner’s class. But, something to aspire to πŸ™‚ Lew

  27. Yo, Chris – I see Mr. Greer, hit “LImits to Growth,” hard, this week. Ya happy now, bunky? πŸ™‚ . Our library doesn’t have it. And, as the update is kind of old, I doubt they’d add it to the collection. So, if I want to read it, I guess I’ll have to go the Interlibrary Loan route.

    Money printing and expansion: As they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler. (Let the good times roll.)

    Hope you don’t get too much rain. A punch line, came to mind. “How long can you tread water?” I was going to link to the sketch, which is about Noah, but, discovered it’s by a disgraced comedian. So, I hesitate. But, basically, every time Noah gets fitful, about all the things that are asked of him, The big guy just says, “Noah. How long can you tread water?” Tends to wind up a discussion.

    That was an interesting article about your postal system. Oh, dear. Wasn’t it me who said I wouldn’t get too worried, as long as the garbage was collected and the postie showed up?

    And here I though Mu was another lost continent. It’s the Pacific version of Atlantis. Every sea needs it’s lost continent. Otherwise, they get jealous, and squabble.

    The best way to cope with phone tree hell is to settle in with a good book and a cuppa.

    One hopes the spit dogs got a bit of whatever they were turning. What were we saying about good and bad employers?

    Fine. You’ll never know how accurate that translation of Monmouth is. Prudish translators leave out the good bits. Or slant things to their own agenda. And, everyone has an agenda.

    I think with written things, people try harder. Sweeping generalization, I know, but I think that’s true in more cases, than not.

    No rats at the two places I visited, yesterday. They’re more slick strip mall operations. The Grocery Outlet always makes me laugh. Now, they treat their employees well, and I often find useful bargains. But if you look at their ads, you’d think they were catering to serious, health conscious foodies … or, Brooklyn hipsters.

    You’re getting into your busy season. Spring is bearing down on you. Less time for books or movies. Last night I made a big bowl of popcorn, and watched Peter Dinklage in “I Think We’re Alone Now.” I saw it three or four years ago, when it was new. But decided I wanted to watch it again. It’s very good, if you’re up for that sort of thing.

    Oh, some of my prints and lithographs are practically nailed to the wall. But some I rotate, from time to time. Instead of seeing every nail as needing a hammer, I see it as an opportunity to hang something. πŸ™‚

    I stopped by the Club, this morning. Elinor had cleaned out her pantry, and there was a box of food to take down. And, some pears. Scott just happened to wander in. We were talking about “The Station Agent” and “I Think We’re Alone Now.” Both are about people who really don’t need other people. And then there are “people persons.” Scott and his dad, are people persons. Me, his wife, his mother … are all quit happy on our own. I talked about the studies that have been done, that indicate one of the factors in having a longer, healthier life, is connection. So, as dreary as it is, that’s why I make the effort to cultivate some contact, with other people.

    Today’s ear worm. Cue up Streisand’s “People.” Can’t get more dreary, than that. πŸ™‚ Lew

  28. @ Lew,

    Thanks for the link. That was a cool article. Yes, that key handle is something to aspire to. Beyond my current capabilities.

    Oh, we probably did run into each other in the Bronze Age and Iron Age. I was the weird looking guy wearing aviator glasses supervising the original construction of Stonehenge. πŸ˜‰

    DJSpo

  29. Chris,

    Our air quality has been “good” officially for over 48 hours now. Which means that, rather than smoke or dust, the September pollens are ravaging through. Several people I know have been suffering severe sinus attacks as a result. The thing that cleared mine up today? I had to run some errands. There is a statewide mask mandate. Wearing the mask in the stores actually cleared my sinuses. Go figure.

    If a person moves into a rural area, they must expect rural level of services, not urban. They must also expect agricultural smells and dusts and pollens and that cute little Bambi will eat their vegetable garden. My stock answer when people called to complain to me about farmers plowing their fields or moving grain on the gravel roads was “I like to eat. I don’t mess with the farmers. There’s been farming in that area since before your grandfather was born.” Even the elected officials couldn’t say anything about my response.

    I’ve typically removed the material in the spring and dug it into the containers and vegetable beds. This year, I also removed some compost from the compost pile and placed it around the green beans and volunteer potatoes. It really helped them. I’ll continue adding compost throughout the season next year.

    The U. S. Open tennis is happening right now near New York City. One of the matches, with a roof over the venue, had to be temporarily suspended during that rainstorm you mentioned. The wind was blowing, and there was space between the walls and the roof – not a total enclosure, just a cover – and the wind blew massive amounts of water onto the court. I read a comment that said “Only in New York can they build a roof that let’s the water in.” 85mm in an hour is a LOT, though, and probably never considered during the design process.

    Carving? I repaired an old walking stick my sister once used during the Visigoth invasion of Spain. Then I did a lot of woodburning on it, then put on a few coats of spar varnish. Got that done a couple weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been experimenting with projects for classes. I’m not sure what my next project will be. Perhaps another walking stick? Not sure yet. I’ve never used a wooden key is all that I know about that topic.

    Nice video link! Thanks. Reminds me of my college days…A friend and I were eating lunch in the dining area of the student union building. Someone asked what we were doing. My friend replied, “We’re masticating in public.” Right up that with visible conjugation.

    Your preaching to the choir, here. We began stocking up on edibles and household products in early January 2020. We rotate the stock, so we’re staying ahead of the game, I hope. We’d normally kept some extra everything handy anyway. I never trusted that “just in time” inventory nonsense. It’s absurd and asking for trouble.

    DJSpo

  30. Hi Pam,

    Of course, things are perhaps different down here. Houses in this area connect up via many different methods and so everyone is subject to different levels of reliability. I even know some folks who connect up via satellite. Who knew? πŸ™‚

    My connection is not exciting, it’s not particular fast, it’s expensive, but it has proven to be very robust. Some neighbours encourage me to connect up to the interweb via more exciting methods, and I’m not a fan and just go back to doing what works.

    Cheers

    Chris

  31. Hi DJ,

    I hear you about the pollen, as autumn is often a mini-spring. The same is true down here right now if it makes you feel better, but we’ve had a really wet season and so the sheer mass of pollen in the air has to be experienced to be believed! It’s epic. You may have noticed the photo of the wall of yellow flowers which is the forest understory trees? I’d imagine that satellite photos would show an extraordinarily green continent right now.

    Mate, I’m no fan, but I do what I’m told if only because it is easier than wasting energy trying to fight every step of the way. Benign indifference is a policy here! Works for me, anyway. πŸ™‚

    Yeah, exactly, it’s like people who move next to a live music venue because the area is so ubercool, and then they start cracking the sads about the noise late at night. I don’t know what they expect? Dust is an issue here over the drier summer months, but I just kind of deal as that is part of the whole deal. Then there are the horse flies which breed in cattle dung, that is part of the deal too. It happens and that is part of a rural existence. Noise from the machinery I use probably annoys people, but hey I don’t complain when they use machines, that’s life. I do like your retort to the stupid requests you had to field. What do they expect? And I’d say much the same thing.

    Thanks for the information on your compost pile practices. I can see that too because most vegetables enjoy a good dose of soil food. Earlier this year I read a more or less accurate summary of the situation which suggested that annual vegetables are a good way to consume finite soil minerals, and I totally agree with that summation of the situation. And yeah, adding minerals as the season progresses is not something that I previously considered, but like you mentioned it is a good idea and brings results.

    That is the thing with urban areas. And I’ve experienced a super cell thunderstorm in Melbourne and ended up with a backyard which was underwater and a mate loaned me a pump to get rid of the excess water into the nearest drainage channel. During that water removing exercise I accidentally fell into a deep excavation hole – of course I had only just warned the editor against doing such a thing. She was most amused at my discomfiture! πŸ™‚ Up here I’ve experienced a minor tornado and survived and one epic tropical storm dumped 250mm of rain over 5 days. To put the experience into context: I have never before seen so much water fall out of the sky. It was utterly bonkers.

    If I recall correctly, some homeless folks live in disused train tunnels under NYc. Their experiences would not have been good.

    Did the Visigoths make it all the way to Spain? If memory serves me correctly, didn’t one set up a local protectorate there?

    DJ, you are a bloke after my own heart. I see your use of Spar Varnish and give you a cordial acknowledgement for a job well done. πŸ˜‰ No doubts you took note of the use of Tung Oil on the internal hardwood flooring here? It’s been over a decade since it was applied and I really should add a few new layers of the stuff. I’ve long hesitated because I’m not really sure how to re-apply the stuff in small sections in each room. Dunno. The oil will maybe create a well pronounced lip where each section overlaps. Dunno. Have you got any advice in this matter?

    That’s funny, and people always mishear that word, or are utterly unfamiliar with it! Very Monty Python.

    No worries at all and respect. Things are strange, and bound to be getting stranger. Mate, what do you do?

    Cheers

    Chris

  32. Hi Robin,

    Greetings to you! And many thanks. And no, I unfortunately can’t post your comment, but on the other hand I much appreciate the heads up. Do you know, this particular issue has not even been discussed down here? I didn’t have a clue, which perhaps makes me clueless, but then things are rather weird down here right now and mate, I’m just doing the best that I can do. Far freaking out.

    Rest assured that I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but it seems unwise to reveal them in advance on a public forum.

    The narrative form of allegory has a long history for just these sorts of reasons. And spare a moments thought for those who wrought such mischief, they must be scared out of their minds to act so. Our pity is what they deserve.

    And to conclude, that long dead bloke Sun Tzu has much to say and it is as relevant today, as it was back then. πŸ™‚ A person can but only do their best.

    And please do let me know if anything seems a bit off on that front?

    Cheers

    Chris

  33. Hi Lewis,

    For the record, yes I am happy on that score. A mate loaned me a first edition paperback copy of the book, which I read maybe four or was it five years ago now. To be frank the conclusions drawn from the models made sense to me. That is how life works, it impresses me greatly that people believe that it might be otherwise, or pretend that things are otherwise. I dunno, I just live here. πŸ˜‰ Are you suggesting that you have not read that book? And more importantly is it now I whom have just made a sneaky book recommendation?

    Had an epic administration day. Every now and then I have to spend the day just administering things which are required of me to do. And today was the day. However, earlier in the day with rain threatening, we added another half cubic meter of crushed rock with lime to the low gradient path project, and got mildly damp in the rain. By late afternoon the rain just fell in tropical amounts and two inches has now been recorded in the rain gauge. Anyway, lots of things ended up done and I was mildly pleased to note that the house insurunce had only gone up 18% this year. It’s an impressive achievement. In a few more years I doubt I’ll be able to stump the mad cash for that beast. But way before then I’d imagine that plenty of other folks will drop off the radar. That is how life rolls.

    And in conclusion, yes you may have to go the interlibrary loan. Actually I believe that William Catton Jr’s book Overshoot was the superior read by a country mile. As I explained to an old friend it is not a book to be read by those who are in a bad place – the advice was proffered to them as a warning. Fortunately I’m fairly upbeat, even in these unusual times. Dunno why that is, but maybe I’m just happy to be doing whatever it is that I’m up to. Things can always be worse as they say. Speaking of which my food options are very limited right now, but I had a super lovely pulled pork and coleslaw roll today. It was mind bendingly good. There might have been a chunk of lemon drizzle cake too. Ah, my enjoyments are simple. πŸ™‚

    The French language is beautiful, and many thanks for the useful phrase.

    Two inches of rain is possibly more than is required at this particular point in time, but I note that the alternative experience is equally as bad. I’m still waiting for a Goldilocks season when everything is just right. Candidly I might be waiting for a while… Hehe! Actually the bonkers variability is really honing my skills and also improving the seed genetics and systems. Like the newt in Monty Python, I got better.

    Well yeah I’m cool with disgraced comedians if only because the persons actions does not negate the persons works. People conflate the two matters and that isn’t necessarily correct, but we live in strange times and so best to roll and all that stuff. It’s a pretty funny observation, and so very true. And um, you may note that I go out of my way to speak in riddles and allegories… There ain’t no such thing as free speech down here, and there are times when I’m utterly astounded at the things written by your fellow countrymen.

    Hehe! Yeah, you said that for sure. Not saying that you put the kiss of death on us, but it kind of looks that way!!! Hehe! Far out man, it would be funny, if it were indeed funny. There are days I’m just quietly grateful that the to get list is filled. Speaking of which I received an order of organic oats and the story accompanied with the oats was really lovely. Apparently the folks made their own stone grinder – as you do. I’ve long since bought their product, but never directly, I just can’t get to the supplier now due to restrictions. Consuming the first asparagus of the season tonight – that is super early. Yummo! It tastes superb too. I recently altered the fertilisation methods with the soil in those beds and it has yielded results. The old timers I have it on good authority suggest adding a bit of salt to the soil which is used to grow asparagus and that suggests to me that the plants originated near to bogs near to the ocean.

    Didn’t Conan the Barbarian come from the lost continent of Mu? I tend to feel that such stories make the world a far more richer place than it actually is. πŸ™‚ And yes, we must not let the various oceans squabble and whinge about who ate what. It is all very unseemly.

    Thanks for the phone tree hell tip – hands free assists greatly with that ‘we appreciate your call but are currently experiencing increased demand’, but nowadays I head to the store, which I noticed was open today. Although customers seem unable to enter the premises and some young bloke was standing out the front of it. That’s a relief because the other week I did need to drop in and visit that store to sort some things out. Had to do the changes on line and was in tenterhooks whilst the process took place – which I was amazed that it actually worked out. My expectations are low.

    Hehe! Oh, that’s good – and yes, little wonder the poor tykes had unhappy countenances.

    Oh man, now you’re making me feel guilty, for at least a few minutes. I should send you the book and demand a translation!!! How Sun Tzu is that response? But I do take your point. Mate, I’m learning the language of the land here, and it is complicated and candidly being an old fella now I’m kind of a bit behind the eight ball and it would have been preferable had I begun learning as a kid. Still, compared to others, I’m light years ahead. But yeah, I guess nature makes and provides the tools it has to hand.

    It is also possible that peoples reliance on the visual mediums these days does mean that there are less folks producing and consuming written words? Dunno. I enjoy reading, but I have heard other folks relay the idea that reading can be a burden.

    Does the hype live up to reality – there is the question! Do you even have any foodies and hipsters in your part of the world? The local council sent me a brochure for themselves in the mail and the covering page sported a photo of bearded hipster and family. I’m not sure I’ve seen them around these parts, but perhaps also I need to get out more (if they let me).

    Hey, I really enjoyed that film with Peter Dinklage. So good, and the ending was so unexpected. And yes, I am up for such things if I have the free couple of hours.

    So you have your favourite prints. That makes sense. Oh, that’s really good and I’m a real fan of that particular analogy. Oh my gawd I’ve come across some folks just like that… They wear me out.

    Like you, I could be quite happy just banging along up here doing my own thing. It doesn’t bother me, and my understanding of historical accounts of this area was that was how most folks used to be up here. Must be something to do with the soil and rainfall, but it could just as easily be the old ones. Hey, it’s a good theory and has the benefit that time will indeed prove the veracity of it. It took me about three years of cogitation time to begin writing the blog and um, actually it was looking forward to our daily chats which was one of the motivators. All good fun.

    Oh my wasn’t that on The Main Event soundtrack? I forget…

    Cheers

    Chris

  34. Chris:

    The thought has occurred that during the months the power company has been burying their lines around us that something may have been cut, but after almost 2 weeks one would think that it might have been fixed. Rumor is a fix-it date of Sept. 30 is in the offing.

    Pam

  35. @ DJ – I didn’t attend the building of Stonehenge. Didn’t want to get in the workmen’s way. Then there were all the tourists … So, I went later, in the off-season.

    Your aviator glasses turned up in a recently unearthed tomb. So, you now know who nicked them. Due to the disarticulation and damage to the bones, they met a bad end. Serves them right! But they’re still trying to explain those glasses…. Lew

  36. Yo, Chris – I’m number one! I’m number one! My lying in wait around the library catalog, paid off. The DVD of “The Stand,” showed up. Safely on my library hold list, in the number one slot. πŸ™‚ . But, it’s not due for release until October.

    I’m sure I probably read “Limits to Growth,” when it first came out. But at that time, the timelines seemed so far in the future. But now, we’re here. I may just skip “Limits to Growth,” and read “Overshoot”, instead. Which my library also doesn’t have. πŸ™ .

    That bit of French may be in the Cajan dialect. Which anyone speaking haute French would look down their nose at. The Cajan culture is soooo interesting. And their music, is great! Zydeco. I even have a couple of Zydeco CDs.

    Well, at least your water tanks will be full. Might come in handy, later. πŸ™‚ . I finally got around to checking into why my Scarlet Runner beans, are not producing pods. I thought it was maybe the heat. A suggestion is, I’m watering them too much. They’re still blooming, so, I’m cutting back on the water, and will see what happens.

    There’s been a few deep, philosophical discussions, on-line, about separating a naughty artist, from their art. I don’t know. I haven’t developed and hard and fast thoughts on the matter. Which would probably bother some people, but those are people I’d rather not have anything to do with, anyway.

    Riddles and allegories. I’m cool with those. One must look to covering one’s nether regions, from the Powers That Be.

    Ohhhh! Another possible money maker, for Fern Glade Farm. You can make and sell grinders. You do have the rocks … πŸ™‚

    I was never a big Conan fan. Saw the movie, though …

    Oh, there’s still plenty of written words, around. It’s just that a lot of them live in The Cloud, these days. πŸ™‚ .

    The Council probably used a stock photo. Which may be sending a message. “These are the kind of people, we’d rather cater to, and deal with.” Maybe. They know not what they wish for.

    I always laugh when I see a prison film, and the guard goes, “We’re going to throw you in the hole!” (Solitary confinement.) And the prisoner wails, “Oh, NOOOOO, not the hole!” I don’t know. Seems pretty good, to me. As punishment, probably only works with those people persons, we were talking about. Which brings me to “prairie madness.” Which was a real thing, back in the settlement days. The isolation got to some people. There was a movie, that came out in 2014. “The Homesman,” with Tommy Lee Jones. It revolved around taking three ladies, who had just gone bonkers, back East for a little R&R. And, yes, I recommend it. πŸ™‚ .

    There’s a trailer out for a new disaster film, called “Moonfall.” Reviews say it’s pretty silly. Looks silly. But, it IS a disaster film. I’ll be first in line (maybe) if our library eventually gets it.

    Using my best “Poltergeist” voice …. “It’s heee-r-eeee.” Got a memo yesterday that we have a case of You Know What, in the building. Don’t know who, but someone was hauled out, from the other end of my hall, day before yesterday. Memo said, we can’t tell you who, privacy … blah, blah, blah, …. wash your hands … blah, blah,blah … wear your mask … blah, blah, blah… Reminds me of whenever an adult spoke, in the “Peanuts” cartoons. I’ve floated the idea that we form a betting pool. Day and time the person is revealed. I figure, three days. Maybe, less.

    Saw an article, last night, that was pretty interesting. Decline, writ large.

    https://news.yahoo.com/climate-change-bankrupting-americas-small-180747547.html?fr=sycsrp_catchall

    Elinor’s getting one or two teeth pulled. So, I’ll have H for awhile, this afternoon. We’ll take a walk, take a nap. Elinor is winding up for an anxiety attack. Things have been rather quiet, on that front, for awhile. Now she’s back to compulsively checking her heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels … every five minutes. What’s really got her wound up is, she’s not going to have her caregiver, for two days, next week. Deal. Lew

  37. Hi Chris,

    As with a few others here things have been too busy to keep up here and on Ecosophia. Canned salsa yesterday and have to decide what to do with the rest of the tomatoes.

    Haven’t seen any major shortages in the stores just spotty missing items – sometimes just a brand. Doesn’t mean that can’t change at any time. The ice cream place we frequent has quite a few missing flavors though.

    Weather has turned and now with much lower humidity and lower temps. Got an additional 2″ of rain unexpectedly on Saturday as well.

    I took Latin in high school and enjoyed it. Had a great and fun teacher.

    Indoor mask mandate here in Illinois now.

    Hoping next week isn’t quite as busy but to start my sister and BIL who by the way are moving out of the city to the town just southeast of us, are staying over on Wednesday as their final walk through of new house is on Wednesday and closing is Thursday. They have not sold their condo in the city yet.

    Margaret

  38. Chris:

    Shame on you, Pam. You know better than to believe rumors. I am using the internet this very minute. ‘nough said.

    Pam

  39. Chris,

    Yes, I noted that wall of yellow flowers. Pollen generators is what they looked like, but very pretty.

    This was the first year I added some compost to something during the growing season. It made a difference during the hot, arid conditions. I’ll be doing this more in the future.

    Oh, that’s too funny, you falling into the excavation hole after warning the Editor about those. Sounds like the type of thing I would do. And have done on many occasions.

    250mm of rain in 5 days? OUCH! On a hunting trip in late November, we got about 175mm in a day. At least, the nearest town that was 300m lower in elevation had 175mm during the same storm. That made hunting impossible, so we finally got a fire going (2 liters of motor oil on the wood helped) and we all woke up with hangovers the next day. I have no idea how THAT happened. πŸ˜‰

    Oh, yeah, the Visigoths got into Spain. They pretty much conquered Spain, then got overrun by the Moors, eventually. When the counterattacks started a few generations later, the leaders were known to be of Visigoth descent. My favorite was Wilfred the Hairy. Bermudo the Gouty was another, also descended from Visigoths. Gotta love those nicknames.

    I’ve recoated small areas with urethane. I’ve not noted any pronounced lips from this. YMMV with Tung Oil. I’ve got no experience with it.

    DJSpo

  40. Hi Pam,

    That’s a possibility. Actually up in the areas in a nearby (relatively speaking) mountain range, there has been some moves to put power lines underground. It’s a big and expensive job and one benefit of keeping power lines above ground is that they can lose excess heat to the air. Not so easy for underground lines, so I have heard discussions that such systems get de-rated.

    As to your interweb connection, well yes, the facts speak for themselves. I have many faults, one of which is a polite demeanour. Some folks misinterpret such basic responses, I’m guessing it is not the preferred mode of communication these days. πŸ™‚ A bit of a shame that. πŸ˜‰

    Cheers

    Chris

  41. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for taking the time to drop by and say hello. πŸ™‚

    Ah, I see, your salsa is my passata. I’ve had some pretty hot salsa (on corn chips – yum!) over the years and am curious as to how much chili you chuck into your recipe? Chili’s are wonderful plants and some years here they do really well, whereas other years, not so much.

    The shortages here aren’t really food items as the country produces a lot of food (although we are flogging the soils, rivers and aquifers to achieve that outcome). Nah, it is more really weird industrial parts and odds and ends that you’d normally expect to just be able to go and pick up or order. A lot of larger retail items such as cars and other things appear to be in short supply too. Oh well.

    Good stuff with the rain. Speaking of rain, it’s only just finished raining here, and it has rained continuously the past 24 hours, although late yesterday was the heaviest falls. No hail, thankfully – i.e. no fruit tree damage.

    I might be tempted to send you the Latin book for a translation! πŸ™‚ When I was younger I heard that it used to be taught just like any other language. The editor was expected to learn Botany at Uni with all of the scientific names, but they never taught her the language – it was just rote learning.

    Great news, although I hope your BIL’s restaurants are doing OK?

    Cheers

    Chris

  42. Hi DJ,

    The forest here continually surprises me. The yellow flowers of the wattle display this year has surpassed any previous year that I was aware of. And the pollen is pretty full on, not one for the asthma sufferers. Between you and I, I’m surprised nobody has thought to make the spurious claim that exposure to all that pollen is unsafe. It’s an odd thing because living here is an adventure, and as every hobbit knows, adventures are uncomfortable and often dangerous. Comes with the territory.

    Thanks for the feedback on the compost. And I haven’t trialled that process either, but was recommended it in the Steve Solomon books I read earlier in the year. If it sounds like a good idea, whilst also working, what more incentive does a person need?

    A bout of 24 hours of drizzly rain has just wound up and now there is even a bit of sun. Two inches of rain has fallen in that time. It’s pretty wet outside right now. Thus why I’m responding to comments in the middle of the day.

    I can assure you that the editor was also vastly amused at my discomfiture. πŸ™‚ That’s the thing with floods, you can’t know what is under the water. Hey, at least in our sort of climate you don’t have to deal with crocodiles hiding in the murky water… Ook!

    Thanks for the hunting story, and yeah I applaud your use of the ready materials and energy to hand. Getting wet timber burning is not as easy to do as people would imagine. Glad to hear you all had a good time sitting around the camp fire.

    During the 10 inches of rain, this was back in the summer of 2010 or maybe 2011, even the Kangaroos who are usually oblivious to rain ended up looking like drowned rats. The local river spilled it’s banks and mate you couldn’t even see where the road or bridge was. It was epic.

    Thanks for the history lesson, and yeah those names are good. They kind of leave you in no uncertain terms as to the defining features of the gentlemen in question.

    I had to look up what you meant by that term, never came across it before. Interesting. I’ll wait until the weather warms up and then attempt some experiments. Some light sanding between coats might resolve the matter. Maybe…

    Cheers

    Chris

  43. Hi Lewis,

    The Merlin discovery was fascinating, and I note that there were noted differences between the earlier text and the later much better known version. Arthur sure had his share of troubles. An idle thought makes a person wonder what else is hidden in those ancient texts?

    The month will surely speed along on its merry course and before you know it, you will be deep in the new version of The Stand. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your library system is amazing and surely an inter library loan will sort out the local lack?

    Never heard of the name Zydeco music either, but knew the sound. Listened to Clifton Chenier and his band performing. He’s a real performer.

    True, however the water tanks were already full going into this storm. A bit over two inches of rain has fallen in the past twenty four hours. There was a break at lunchtime today with some sunshine, which Ollie and I got outside and walked around in and rather enjoyed. But not to worry, it’s now raining again. The farm is very damp right now, but all the drainage and water systems appear to be holding up.

    Over watering can be a problem and the book I read from the author Steve Solomon suggested that over watering can actually cool the soil down and slow plant growth. Not something you really want at your stage of the year. So what do you reckon anyway, has this summer for you been average (whatever that is) in relation to the growing conditions?

    No, I don’t have any hard and fast rules in relation to badly behaving artists either, but internally I can separate the art from the artist. What surprises me about that situation is that sometimes acting out badly is condoned, whilst other times, not so much. I guess it depends upon circumstances.

    Things are heating up on that front so a careful person must be more careful than previously, and then probably still slip up and be hauled off. It happens.

    Hehe! You’re probably right about the stock photo.

    I never got that about isolation either and right now it is looking pretty good. Trust me here, I’m being put to the test right now, but generally in relation to helping others going through a tough time of it. A few folks are fine, but most people weren’t meant to go through this en masse. Thanks for the recommendation, but I probably wouldn’t find the film to be a relaxing experience.

    Moonfall looks intense. And honestly there wouldn’t be much left after that meeting.

    It was only ever a matter of time sorry to say. Same down here, but on a much bigger scale. What’s the worst that can happen? At least it isn’t the moon plunging into the Earth – don’t think that would a good day to see. Mate, it is what it is.

    Thanks for the link to the article. The insurance story here is pretty telling on that score and sooner or later I doubt I’ll be able to pay that bill, and eventually if the disaster is bad enough, things don’t bounce back the way they only once were. It is one of the underlying themes going right now, the ability to keep things as they are, but regress has always followed progress and that is how things roll. I dunno, it ain’t my expectations.

    Hope Elinor is OK? That’s never a pleasant procedure, and I had my wisdom teeth extracted under local anaesthetic. It wasn’t so bad even though one was impacted (whatever that means). Some folks I knew had a general to knock them out, and it’s an option. But, it is kind of like what we were discussing about racing off to the surgeon for injuries like my shoulder thing. You get benefits on one hand, and costs on the other hand. Hope things went well.

    Cheers

    Chris

  44. Hello Chris
    Re: asparagus and salt. I put seaweed in the soil when growing it, so the addition of salt makes sense.

    Inge

  45. Hi Inge,

    It’s not a bad idea at all. I added a product called Sea-mungus which I’m guessing has plenty of Sodium in it. But I might add in a little bit of sea salt just to make sure.

    How are things going in your part of the world? We’re still in lock down here, and the city I believe has a 9pm to 5am curfew. It is very possible that we have lost the plot. Oh well.

    Cheers

    Chris

  46. Hi Lewis (again),

    Watched The Station Agent tonight. A beautiful film. It’s odd how you can find friends in unexpected places. πŸ™‚

    Speak tomorrow, and am interested to hear your thoughts.

    Cheers

    Chris

  47. Hello Chris
    The world does seem to be collapsing. I went to pay my council tax at the village post office which has been opened now for 3 hours one morning a week. The woman behind the counter said that she was locked out of the computer. On to the next post office. They had a sign up saying ‘closed’. I queried this and was told that they were balancing the books. So on to the 3rd post office where I had success.
    The tap and go debit cards that we have are about to permit one to spend Β£100 at a time. Heaven help anyone who loses there card! I don’t do this at all. How debt will increase and how ‘they’ want us to be in debt. So on and on we go into heaven knows what.

    Inge

  48. Hi Chris
    It appears that spring has sprung in your upside down land. I hope the green house is thriving with healthy seedlings of all your favorites and new future choices. All in the new improved amended soils.

    Tomato Tomauuto . For about eight years I grew miniature and cherry variety tomatoes in four or five half oak wine barrels with casters installed on the bottom for moving on my north south concrete driveway in full sun. It was pretty successful. There were drain holes and steel 5 foot wire mesh tower supports. Purchased soil. And various time released fertilizers. All plants were from the best local nursery. I learned as I went along . Those barrels produced way more than our needs and lots to give away. I flood irrigated by filling the 4 or 5 β€œ head space above the soil with water as needed . Full sun. Plants bore from late June through September.

    Have you ever considered growing your tomatoes in the same area of the property as you grow your electricity. It may be worthwhile to try some raised beds properly protected from pests and critters ?

    I spent half of two summers in our Appalachian state of West Virginia at about your elevation, latitude North, and with 30 average inch per year rainfall. My relatives who grew moderate gardens struggled with growing tomatoes particularly. Cool wet summers mixed with occasional hot drought years when they hauled water from a 1 acre farm pond with a tractor . I got one of each type of summer.πŸ™‚
    They also had soil problems and had cattle poop from 8 beef cows which they composted and spread on pasture and garden. The place was 50 acres total 15 or twenty fruit trees. The garden was about an acre. And they had about 15acres of sugar maples that were about 18 years old and just starting to produce . They use to ship us a quart or two when I was still at home in Washington.yumm. My Uncle commuted 50 miles weekly to a job as a welder in Morgantown. Coming home on weekends to take care of life. my Aunt and my Cousin who was a little older than I took care of chores. Very good and very busy people.

    The summer of 1959 my mother and my two siblings and I traveled round trip in Pullman accommodation on the Great Northern RR in the west.
    The next summer I was allowed to travel the same trip alone on the Northern Pacific RR coach style. At age 15. What a great adventure! I became very self reliant and some what street smart that summer. 😁.I stayed with relatives from both sides of my family during the trips. When my family moved to Washington in 1949 we traveled back east by car once in 1955 then I only the two Trips mentioned above.

    The government only approved two week vacation time yearly from my dads work.
    He had to get permission to take two additional weeks for the 1955 trip without pay. He had to supply itinerary information about the trip. Cold War security concerns?

    Cheers Al

  49. Yo, Chris – There are still old manuscripts, to be found, here and there. Sometimes, a number of things are bound together in a single volume, and when someone gets around to taking a good look, treasure shows up. There are still country houses, with libraries that haven’t been thoroughly explored. One hopes they keep the roof in good repair. πŸ™‚ .

    Yes, our library is good, but their are rumblings of internal working unravelling. I have things in transit. Their was no courier yesterday … or, today. I asked one of the fellows, if there was a schedule. He said, “Pretty hit and miss.” And, it’s a holiday weekend. Noting to watch! πŸ™ . But plenty of books to read πŸ™‚ . Because there was no courier, and the new list showed up, last night, I had to take things off my hold list … in order to add things.

    Zydeco is great music. Pretty bouncy, and upbeat. Great polka music. It’s funny, though. Some of my CDs have translations of the songs. They all seem the same. “I love a little gir, she loves me, her mama don’t like me, we can’t get married, boo-hoo.” Really, it’s a recurring theme. Variations on a theme?

    Go, drainage and water systems! Ever wonder how long they’d hold up, without regular maintenance?

    Hmmm. How average was our summer? Other than the hot spell, pretty average. Not so much rain in the spring, to rot peas in the ground. Hot enough, when necessary, to ripen tomatoes. Not many honey bees to pollinate, but other pollinators seemed to take up the slack. Of course,the big question is, when will we get our first frost? Last year, it was quit late. Being another La Nina year, I’m hoping for a replay.

    Re: “Moonfall.” The most recent version of “The Time Machine”, has a bit where our hero lands at a time when the moon (due to industrial activity), falls apart. It’s just a five minute bit, but quit spectacular. Our hero jumps in his machine, and speeds ahead, several centuries, past the carnage.

    Elinor had another bad evening. I loose patience. Usually, it’s just 10 minutes of carping and whinging. When it runs longer, I tend to tune her out, and watch whatever is on the TV. Unfortunately, it was an episode of “Magnum PI” … that I’ve seen three times. Went home early.

    Some of our areas here, have become “no build” zones, due to the floods. Some houses have been bought out. Some, elevated, using government money. But they keep filling in the flood plane, were the big box / big money stores go. Funny, that.

    What I was going to say, about “The Station Agent,” and, to a certain extent, “I Think We’re Alone Now.” In both, the poor guy kind of likes his solitude, and just wants to be left alone. And then, people worm their way into his life. And, just when he’s let his guard down, they betray him, to a lesser or greater extent. Of course, by the end of the films, it’s all Happy Families. I think one of the most telling lines, in “I Think We’re Alone Now,” is, when the young lady asks our hero if he’s lonely. And our hero says, “I was more lonely, when there were 1,600 people, here.” Hell is other people. (Tip of the hat to Jean Paul Sartre.) πŸ™‚ .

    Had all four of my wisdom teeth out, when I was in my early 20s. The dentist I went to, put everyone out. He had an interesting operation. Did extractions, two days a week. A couple of nurses, traveled ahead of him, prepping patients. He and two nurses, then did the extractions. two nurses following behind, did the recovery. It was quit an assembly line, operation. And the cheapest, in town.

    Went down to the Club, this morning. To gas with JoAnn. I took the last three boxes of extra food stuff, down for the pantry. It was from the bottom of the stack, so, the oldest. As I was putting things out, it occurred to me, that about a third of it, was things we haven’t seen in awhile. I’ll fill in a bit, from stuff I pick up at the cheap food store. And, I’ve noticed, that when I keep it going, other people bring in things. Lew

  50. Hi Inge,

    Interesting, and thanks for the view on the street. We used to get more in the way of international news, but nowadays it is a bit of a mystery what exactly is going on elsewhere.

    Glad to hear that you were able to finally transact your business at the third post office. By way of comparison, and this surprised me, the local council rates have actually been reduced by 1.5% this year. A good argument could be made that they are providing less services given the circumstances… The local post office on the other hand has been nothing short of excellent, and I am truly grateful for their service. Just for your interest, e-commerce collections on the entire east coast of this continent were I believe shut down for three or four days.

    Things sure are getting strange.

    Hope your daughter is doing OK up north? The lock down here just goes on and on. It was initially for only a few days, but there is the old adage about give an inch and they’ll take a mile. A good argument could be made that the MP’s should be taking a hit to their take home incomes, but they haven’t offered this fig leaf to the population.

    Well that’s the thing with those cards, and incidentally I’ve been of the opinion that many of these current circumstances wouldn’t have been possible without the technology in place, and I do wonder which is prompting and which is leading? That tap, pay and go thing was a recent innovation down here and the limit coincidentally for most businesses is around $200 (proving that the best ideas are others – maybe the UK’s in this particular case). I don’t whether to laugh or not any more at all of this stuff.

    And exactly, that’s the other thing. Incomes are declining, but those bills still roll on in. There are strategies for them, but I believe that people feel that the strategies are unpalatable probably because they take folks back to how things were when I was a kid, and nobody had nothin’ (please excuse my poor grammar, I was aiming for dramatic effect! But the point is still valid).

    Cheers

    Chris

  51. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, book collections can be damaged when roofs leak, and that may have happened to another reader here. And even the most arid of areas rain from time to time. I noticed recently that there was rain over the highest point on the Greenland ice sheet. Nobody expected that. When I read Jared Diamond’s book Collapse, he dedicated a chapter to the Viking colony on Greenland, and I was amazed they lasted as long as they did. Even now, I’ve read that the farmers there have to deal with drought. You wouldn’t think it possible to be in a drought with all that frozen water around. And not sure I’d want to be anywhere near there if a large ice sheet slips off the land. That would be a bad thing, but I reckon the land might rebound too causing further issues and for want of a better word, complications. Actually, I read somewhere that the UK was covered in an ice sheet during the most recent ice age, and I’d imagine that rebound there was an issue too?

    Holiday weekend seems a plausible explanation for the courier disturbance. Reading a good book is a thing of greatness, and if I had more time, I’d read more books. Alas. Hey, I finished reading Dark Emu today, and you know what? I reckon the author really annoyed a whole bunch of critics and professions, because in the conclusion he spoke the truth about the rot at the centre of many of our current predicaments. People don’t really like hearing that story, despite it being rather realistic. Maybe it is just me, but the stories told in the book sounded rather plausible to me, and the conclusion was bang on.

    I know what you mean about the polka – they even use piano accordions and wash boards in the Zydeco style of music. Good fun. What was the other meme about beans with no salted pork? In the big smoke, a few years ago there used to be a Cajun / Southern American restaurant, which I mentioned. They moved on a few years ago, but they used to make a really tasty Po’ boy. So good, and I was sad to see them move on. The restaurant biz is hard work. I’ve heard that many businesses (and none can do dine in now) have cut Monday’s and Tuesday’s in order to survive. Earlier last year I spoke to a lady who runs a fish and chip shop and she was telling me that the food delivery things demand around 25% of her revenue but don’t charge on that much to their customers, and that was her margin so she ditched their service. No point chasing sales if there is no margin is what I told her. Good advice too. She wasn’t a client so I can speak about her business.

    Well entropy eats everything given enough time, but on the other hand we have seriously ironed out the worst offending problems with the drainage and then tested them with super cells and a minor tornado. Infrastructure is a funny thing in that you can put in a lot of energy, resources and effort up front, and then enjoy easy maintenance and a slow decline from the project. That’s how we roll. Or, you can do things on the cheap – Not good.

    Thank you for the view on the ground with your growing season. πŸ™‚

    Your mention of The Time Machine (and Guy Pearce is from this state, I believe), lead me on a rabbit hole which ended at Terry Gilliam’s classic 12 Monkey’s – which I’ve never seen. Have you seen that film, and would you recommend it?

    Ouch! All I can say is that Magnum PI was (from memory) quite bright and cheery given its setting, but a third repeat might be more than I could stomach. Good luck.

    Word on the street is that you guys are two decades ahead of us yokels! πŸ™‚ As far as I’m aware, local councils stop construction on flood prone areas and that is good for domestic and commercial buildings. The insurers would have a field day as flood insurance is almost unaffordable down under.

    Ah, of course and that is exactly what took place in The Station Agent. Mate, I can only but recount the facts, but in about 2005 (it may have been a little later) age and economic forces spread my friend group far and wide. Now that lot then kept contact via the massive multiplayer online games. I’m a patient guy, but after three years, I hit a moment where Peter Dinklage totally nailed the bar scene and horrific aftermath. I couldn’t play those games, and we’ve spoken about why, and then by about 2008 the reality of solitude hit home hard. What do you do? Well, I decided to go and do something else with my life. Last I heard and that was maybe under a year ago when my old mate died, they’re still playing. I’m sure I’d be welcomed, but it would be a descent into the abyss and I made a conscious choice not to go there despite the social costs. And exactly, the line is a brilliant observation upon society. It wasn’t always thus, you know.

    Yes, I could not agree more. I too have noticed that people are falling off the radar or putting up walls, and so I too give where I can. Respect.

    Better get writing!

    Cheers

    Chris

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