Raised by the wolves

My mother was a difficult lady. As a single mum, she probably had her hands full, what with holding down a job, studying for an undergraduate degree part time and putting meals on the table for us three kids. Her hands were probably more full at the time, than I realised way back then. Hindsight is good like that.

My sisters were older than I, and so they probably needed more attention. One of my older sisters was what I would call, challenging. In those days I did my best to stay out of trouble whilst not being noticed, and so was generally pretty low stress whilst still doing my own thing. My mother never really imparted good lessons, and so I’ve just had to make do, learn on the job, and do the best that I could in this thing called life.

There is an old adage that the apple never falls far from the tree, and whilst that is generally true, I’d like to believe that I’ve done OK on that front. It’s been a hard road, and at times I’ve had to learn things the hard way via the school of hard knocks. There’s a strong memory from my early teenage years of my mum parking the car outside a motor mechanic (we’d had to find a new mechanic for some reason now lost to me). She told me I had to go inside and book the car in for a service. Without thinking about it, I exited the vehicle and walked into the mechanic like I owned the place. In those days there was no flashy reception area and a customer walked directly into the workshop to speak with the mechanic. “G’day mate. I jus’ wanna book my mum’s car in for a service”, was how the conversation went. And the job got done. My mother later asked me how I knew what to say, and I wasn’t really sure because it was all part guesswork, luck and copying others. She posed a difficult question.

So good advice and parental guidance was pretty thin on the ground, but then that meant that I was left to assess for myself whether advice worked – or otherwise. One good bit of advice I actually did receive from her was to: “never trust the first person who comes up to you when in a new situation.” Recently I read the autobiography of the author Jack Vance. The book was titled: ‘This is me. Or more correctly, this is I’. The author lead an interesting life, and I was quite surprised to read that he had also learned and tested this advice out for himself when in the US navy during WWII. Apparently the best people on the ship were the gruff and distant blokes who quietly over a period of time assessed your character. A formidable bunch to be sure, but I understand the authors assessment of the situation and concur with him.

Oh, there was one other good bit of advice received from my mother which was that whenever discussing a ladies age, it is always wise to deduct two decades – if appropriate. This bit of advice has stood me in good stead over the years. A month or so ago I even tried it on a good mate of mine, but instead just for fun deducted three decades! My outrageous social lie was politely dismissed and I was upbraided for having moved past the two decade deduction limit. Quick as a flash, I retorted with the line, you know you look like Errol Flynn, to which the reply was a firm: Stop it! But I could hear that my mate was secretly pleased. And he actually does look a bit like Errol Flynn.

Social lies are a bit of a thing, and people say them all the time. Like, yeah I really enjoyed your party, see ya later. Or, your latest blog post was really interesting! Social lies are done to smooth over the otherwise choppy surfaces of the social waves whilst smoothing feathers that would be otherwise ruffled. There is no great harm in them.

However, when I was a kid, a mate of mine used to lie about all sorts of things. And the other kids and I would catch him out on the lies and call him out on it, but it wouldn’t stop him. I’d never met anyone like that before, and for sure, it is an uncommon trait. And I could never discern any pattern to the lies, there seemed to be no benefit for him, and most of the lies were eventually caught out. After I while, I just accepted that this is what he did. But neither did I trust him. I eventually disassociated myself with him when he’d gotten into trouble with the law, and told them that he was me. That was a lot of trouble to unravel.

Liars have been around for a long time. One of the old Aesop’s fables is that of the ‘Boy who cried wolf’. If you don’t know of the fable, well look it up, but the basic gist of the fable identifies the ultimate tragedy of the liar in that even if they tell the truth, no one believes them. And that can be a real problem.

On the other hand, there’s nothing at all wrong with being incorrect. And the person who can put their hand up and say in all sincerity: “Yeah sorry about that. I made a real hash of it”, is a person of integrity. When I ran the graduate program for a big corporate, I used to sit all the delightful and enthusiastic young assistant accountants together down as a group and say to them firmly: “I’ve never shot a person for making a mistake, so feel free to make them and tell me about it. But I’ve sure shot people for lying to me.” Never failed to get an uncomfortable laugh, but also the point across.

There is so much noise these days. And some of the noise today is being made by people who have previously lied. Some of the lies might be mistaken beliefs, like say: ‘We can run an industrial civilisation just as it is now on renewable energy systems’. But there are other and far worse lies now being spread. And integrity, it should be added, is hard won, and very easily lost.

Another crazy storm rolled over the farm Friday afternoon and dumped over two inches of rain. It’s been a wet year, that’s for sure. However, before the rain arrived, the sunshine was glorious with the promise of spring warmth.

We continued splitting and breaking apart the final of the three rock slabs. This process creates smaller, yet still large rocks, which are being used as a protective barrier on the down hill side of the low gradient ramp project.

No more rock!

The decade plus old log pile has now been fully cut and split, and one of the two very large rocks next to it has been split apart and hauled away. Last evening whilst walking the dogs I spotted two rabbits lurking near to that firewood pile – possibly wondering what had happened to their former home. There is no place for rabbits on this here farm.

It is hard work cutting and splitting hard granite. Then you have to haul the smaller, but still larger rocks away, and put them to good use.

A whole lot of rocks

The low gradient ramp project has consumed a lot of rocks and soil, and it is nearing completion. And even in its present form, the ramp has been very useful in providing all weather access to the two lower orchards.

Large rocks form a protective barrier on the downhill side of the low gradient ramp

Observant readers will note that the rock wall works as a buttress and so they have proven to be exceptionally stable in all weather. The clay surface is also being lined with crushed rock with lime which is setting firm in the warmer spring weather. The local quarry has been closed recently, and so the crushed rock with lime is now coming from further afield.

Plum admires the nice surface of the low gradient ramp project

The warmer weather has encouraged a lot of growth in the orchards. In recent years I have been actively removing the grass from around the trunks of the fruit trees, and in very wet years like this one, it is even more important to do so.

Some of the fruit trees are getting quite large!

The farm has no fences, other than around most of the vegetable and all of the berry beds, and so the wildlife has free roam of the orchards. Sometimes the wallabies can be right little vandals and for some reason only known to themselves, they’ll destroy a fruit tree. This week, they destroyed a mandarin, but left the tree next to it unharmed.

A tale of two citrus trees

Visitors to the farm are often alarmed to discover that we don’t have a television. It doesn’t help that there is no reception for television signals here. But it really is no great loss, there’s always something going on. And Ruby for one is never bored with the antics of the chickens.

Chickens, better than television

During the winter months I grow plenty of fresh greens and a favourite is green and red mustards. But in the spring months, there is actual rocket, which is just as fiery as the mustard. With the extra warmth of the past week or so, the rocket is now bouncing back into life. The plants have established their own cycles and reliably turn up year after year now with little intervention on my part (other than feeding the soil).

Spring is the time for rocket and wallaby nuggets

Incidentally in the above photo, it appears that a wallaby has bounced into the raised bed, eaten some early rocket and left a couple of calling cards.

Globe artichokes are a favourite vegetable, and the two dozen plants are already producing delicious chokes. Yum!

Globe artichokes. Yum!

There is plenty of wildlife on the farm, and they all contribute in their own ways – even the wallabies. And the farm also provides enough feed for the many parrots which reside on and around the property. The King Parrots in particular are spectacular and for some reason they eat some varieties of geraniums. Who knew?

A King Parrot mucks around on a bushfire sprinkler

Onto the flowers:

Some of the earlier fruit trees are in full blossom – might have to eventually thin this tree when it does produce fruit
The paddocks are full of cheery Daffodils
A young flowering Quince
Forget me nots grow wild here
The boss of them all however is the flowering Cherry trees

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 4’C (39’F). So far this year there has been 882.6mm (34.7 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 828.4mm (32.6 inches)

50 thoughts on “Raised by the wolves”

  1. Yo, Chris – Apparently, my yesterdays comment is lost in cyberspace. When I went to post it, I got “site cannot be reached.” Twice. But never fear, I copied it, before attempting to post. 🙂 .

    Yo, Chris – Greenland may have problems, with earthquakes, as it sheds it’s heavy mantel of ice. Britain has the occasional earthquake. Which is odd, as they aren’t on any tectonic plate boundary. They finally figured out that the lad is still rebounding … rising … from the weight of the ice, in the last ice age. Yup. You can have drought problems, surrounded by ice and snow. It’s a dry cold 🙂 .

    I saw “12 Monkey’s”, a very long time ago. So, I don’t know about recommendations. I think I tried to watch it a second time, and lost patience with it. Maybe?

    Word on the street also has it that someone recommended you read some Christopher Moore. Have I recommended him to you? If not, I second the recommendation. A good writer. And, funny as …

    Saw an interesting article on “entry-level homes” real estate.


    Have you ever brined lemons? I ran across a reference to it, in one of the food books I’m reading, right now.

    The Currier and Ives strawberry litho comes up, late this afternoon. There may be problems, bidding or paying. My C card expired, but has been updated. So, I went to E Buy to update that information. Won’t let me. Anytime I do searches for problems, updating, it just refers me to the same dreary instructions, that don’t work. It “may” be, that I can’t update, until I buy something. Time will tell. One of the sporting prints sold for $1,600. 30 bids. Most of the sporting prints seem to be going for between $350 and $800. Usually, in 1 – 5 bids.

    I decided to pick some pears, yesterday, to take down to the Club, today. The Master Gardeners kept banging on about a fruit picker, in the garden room. So, I dug it out, last night. It’s a shite picker. Not to be confused with a shite kicker. 🙂 . It cuts the stem, and the fruit falls to the ground. Bruises, anyone? I don’t like the rake pickers, as, I think they do to much damage to the trees. I had a nifty one, that gripped the fruit (so you could lower it to the ground). Unfortunately, I sent it to auction, when I moved. never thought i’d need it, again. So, since the pears were going to end up on the ground, anyway, I gave the tree a good shake. Down they came. Got a few bruises, myself.

    There’s a 22 acre island, for sale, off the coast of Scotland. $70,000. Ideal for a hermit.

    Elinor was on a more even keel, last night. H gets her bath today. I reminded her to bring her shower cap. She always forgets. I told her I wasn’t going to buy one, just to keep at my place, because she can’t get her act, together. Lew

  2. Yo, Chris – Before I forget, how do you tell when the miniature eggplants are ripe? Elinor’s little bush, is loaded. Egg plant parmesan?

    Smart move. Low profile, under the radar. Let’s you do your own thing.

    LOL. Your mum sounded a bit … disappointed. Did she expect you to muck it up?

    “Never trust the first person who comes up to you.” You told me that, right before I moved in here. And, I kept it in mind. It served me, well. But here’s a question. What if no one comes up to you?

    Errol Flynn. One of the films on the Australian film list, at the library, is something like, “Errol Flynn: The Early Years.” A dramatization of his life, before he became a star. I’ll get around to seeing it, sooner or later. It’s in a different branch, so I just can’t pluck it off the shelf. There’s also a dramatized bio / travelogue of Capt. Cook.

    I hate social lies. The one’s that make me craziest are the “We’ll have to have lunch.” Or, “We’ll have to have you over for dinner.” I often break social convention, and say, “Oh, when?” If you want to see someone truly flustered, call them on it.

    I’ll sing it from the housetops. “I was WRONG!!!” No sense trying to put lipstick on a pig. I always used to tell new salesclerks, not to fret about making mistakes. That there wasn’t anything we couldn’t fix. Except LOSING MONEY THROUGH STUPIDITY!!! Such as, leaving a cash drawer open, and wandering (or being lured) off.

    The piles of firewood and rock wall, look like they’d make great snake condos. 🙂 . But, seriously, your rock retaining wall is just lovely.

    I think Ruby is picking out her chicken. As in, picking a live lobster, out of a tank, at a restaurant. 🙂

    A few wallaby nuggets do not make up for a destroyed mandarin orange tree. It’s not anywhere near a fair trade. What’s with them?

    The picture of the fruit tree, in front of the dark forest, makes it look like it’s lit up. Really a nice photo. Nothing says “spring,” like daffodils. I planted some forget-me-nots, and they self seeded, this year. I must have a slightly different variety. Flowers are the same, but the foliage on yours looks a lot more … robust.

    That Scottish island looks like a Grand Design, waiting to happen.

    I won the Currier and Ives lithograph, of the strawberries.


    I hadn’t noticed the morning glories, in the background. I quit like them. Someone was bidding against me, but through some death defying brinksmanship, I managed to get it for $32. 🙂 Lew

  3. Hello Chris
    You could rename your farm ‘Rockwood’ or ‘Woodrock’.

    Noted your use of ‘nothin’ earlier on; here that would be ’nuffin’.

    The sun is shining, oh joy!

    I got one tomato and Son got three.


  4. Hi Lewis,

    Well that’s interesting. The local servers have been running just fine from my perspective, and I took some steps to put an end to the dull as dishwater hackers who recently kept trying to enter the website. We are not amused! 🙂 Always wise to copy content, and in an amusing side story, the editor accidentally wiped some of today’s blog last evening, which was fortunately able to be recovered. At such times I’m able to pull the card: Didn’t you used to work in that area (i.e. IT)? What do they know anywhoo. The editor retorts with: small things amuses small minds, and she may have a point – except that it was not I who wiped the content. I’m really old school with this technology and know that it ain’t all that it is cracked up to be and managed to retrieve the lost words. Most people these days are in awe of the interweb, but to me it doesn’t look much better than an over scaled relational database. Maybe I’ve just reached peak cynicism?

    Earthquakes are quite common down under too, despite being far from plate boundaries. But yeah, uplifting after heavy ice sheets disappear would not be a fun experience. Geology is a fascinating look into deep time, and sometimes I come across layers of rocks on a funny angle relative to the current understanding of horizontal, and you just know that you wouldn’t want to have been there the day that happened. Just had a look at the earthquakes in and around Australia for the past 30 days – and it is an active zone. Apparently the Australian continental plate is the fastest moving on the planet at a bit over 2.5 inches (7cm to be precise) north per year. That adds up.

    Thanks for the film review, and truthfully you hinted at things, but then perhaps felt the weight of the cult classic descending upon you? It is a heavy burden, and I’m still no clearer. I’m now worried that I wouldn’t comprehend the film.

    You are like super bad! What? Another author referral, not just a book, but an entire body of work by an author. This is too much, but with titles like Practical Demonkeeping, how can a susceptible person not fall prey to such tactics?

    I did attempt preserving lemons a few years ago, but it was just easier to grow them. Even the sick lemon tree has more lemons on it than I know what to do with. Actually you may recall that a few months ago I’d had enough and just pressed several buckets full of lemons and then froze the juice. The stuff in the freezer will last me for years (as long as the freezer continues to operate).

    I like e buy and it sure beats the old classifieds (which it killed off), but the amount of personal info they have on me now is more than I’m comfortable with them having. Hope they know what they’re doing with that info. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that I cancelled the river account (which I rarely if ever used) because there was a minor bit of weirdness. That was enough for me. Good luck and paypoor might have something to do with your c card issues.

    I’ve never seen a fruit picker which drops fruit to the ground. The ones here have a pole and remote cutting arrangement with a little bag to catch stuff in. The rakes are only ever used down here on olive trees where the fruit is being pressed (well that is how I understand things). I must get a proper orchard ladder.

    Ook! Ouch! Fruit dropping on ones head is rarely amusing. Imagine what damage a Bunya nut might cause to one’s brain?

    Càrn Deas looks like a lovely island, but with no trees to speak of, you kind of get the impression that it is occasionally very windy there. You go first, and hope you like mutton. 🙂

    How did H enjoy the upset?

    I’m not really sure when to harvest eggplant. So, what I do is leave them on the bush for as long as possible and at the first sign of insect or bird attack, I bring them all in. We roast them in the oven and add them to pasta sauces as a filler.

    Ha! There is an old saying about putting one’s head up in such circumstances, may lead to the head being lopped. A very unpleasant and rather final experience. Best to keep a low profile when encountering such situations and live to fight another day, when the odds are stacked in your favour.

    I hadn’t considered that particular point of view. You might be right too. I always interpreted the incident as a display of idle curiosity, almost like a cat playing with a mouse where the cat was curious as to the antics of the mouse just before going in for the kill. Dissatisfaction on the other hand may indeed be correct, but perhaps this is me displaying personal bias? Dunno.

    > What if no one comes up to you?

    Well, you might as well ask the question: What if they’re all bad apples? 😉

    Truthfully I’ve never watched an Errol Flynn film. The other evening I watched some clips from the 1938 version of Robin Hood, and it was pretty good.

    Yeah, well those social lies are different again. It took me a while to understand that people say such things to make social noises, and for all I know they might be serious – at that point in time. Probably like you, I don’t operate that way, and my days are pretty full. Those ones in particular make me squirm, and of course the appropriate reply is: That sounds great, yeah let’s do that. And then forget about it, but yeah squirm all the same. Sometimes I hope that it doesn’t eventuate! And there is always the awful realisation of: Did you just make a plan for my time, and not give me any choice in the matter? I could genuinely be happy living like a hermit, it would be no hardship at all. Takes one to know one! 😉 I gave up forcing others hands years ago, so that option does work, but it comes at a cost which I’m not into paying.

    Hehe! Mate, I was kind of hoping that some cheeky wag would post a comment along the lines of: Your current blog post was very interesting! 🙂 You nailed it, and everyone loves a redemption tale, which I reckon is part of that story. What do you reckon about that side of the ‘I was wrong’ story? And yeah, mistakes with cash are kind of hard to explain as an employee. It never looks good.

    You’re probably right about the firewood and rocks… The trick is that the reptiles have to get there first, and my bird friends will hopefully do their job and catch and eat them. That’s what they get paid for doing. It’s a plan, at least. Thanks for the kind words. The low gradient ramp is a really useful project.

    Hehe! Ruby would love to go to one of those restaurants and pick her crustacean of choice.

    The poor mandarin tree was minding it’s own business, then the bouncing marsupial version of the Visigoths swept the trees aside. The wallaby sure didn’t like that fruit tree.

    Good stuff with your forget me nots, and they are super hardy plants too. Isn’t it funny how after a few years, plants if so allowed find their own rhythms and cycles. I can’t recall exactly, but I’m almost certain that I picked the forget me nots from a local variety which grows wild in the surrounding forest at slightly higher elevations. The plant is hardly taking over up there, and plant diversity is always useful. It is an interesting plant which really does it’s own thing.

    Noooo! But you’re probably right. The island purchaser will attempt the build in under a year, with a tight budget, and probably they’ll do the project management themselves (whatever that entails) just to save some mad cash. What could possibly go wrong? 🙂

    Thanks for the link to the strawberry print. Do you know, I reckon that is a very old school variety of strawberry (based on the shape of the berries)? Do you have any idea as to where the print was originally based? Congrats on the win.



  5. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for the farm names. I’m pretty easy about such things, and haven’t heard of either of those names being used around these parts. The farm name came about due to there being lots of ferns and also a glade. Seems obvious and rather literal from hindsight. 🙂 Rockwood has a feel of solidity about it. Hmm. An old timer farmer around here once quipped in a certain way, that I’d encounter a lot of rocks on the farm. But then he also told me that his dad would have approved of the work going on here, and did something similar way back in the day. I took that to be high praise indeed.

    Believe it or not, there is actually a ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ around these parts. I should get a photo of it one day, as it is a quaint old Victorian era farm. Very pretty with just the right amount of shambolic atmosphere and well established trees.

    Hehe! Yes, true. I do play with the language if the effect suits my purposes. 🙂 A lot of fun can be had with the language, and just for example, I often say that: ‘I believe’ something, when others would say: ‘I think’ (as I’m sure that they do), and yet others will say: ‘I fink’. All in a days travel, and it is all cool with me. The point of communication is to enter into a dialogue with another person. The words communicated are secondary, but we do also use them as a mark of class and social status, which candidly muddies the waters.

    Yay for the sun for you! Hope your tomatoes ripen as four tomatoes is hardly an impressive score. Incidentally, how is that your son’s production three times better than yours? 🙂

    It was sunny here today but only around 55’F, but it felt warmer than that temperature due to the lack of a breeze.



  6. Hi Chris!

    What a wonderful blog post! (charming voice, full of social varnish)

    We don’t have wallabies here, so I cannot really understand the damage. It looks terrible. What did they do to your tree? Do they eat the leaves and the twigs?

    I planted nut trees at a friend’s place in Sweden, but most of them were browsed to death by deer. They eat the bark and twigs, and sometimes they use young trees to floss their antlers. Next time I need to invest in better fencing before planting.

    Regarding liars, in Dutch they say that “trust comes on foot and departs on horseback.”
    The last decade has seen a lot of moments where the integrity of e.g. Universities has been compromised. And the last year of lockdowns has been accompanied by a variety of statements from our elected leaders, many of which contradict each other…
    Trust is eroding quickly.

    I guess your mom gave you a lot of loveful neglect, in which you would have enough challenges to grow straight. It could be worse. Imagine if you had been pampered all youth….

    Yesterday I met a homesteader who really impressed me with perseverance, forethought and clever low-tech solutions. Super low key, and very humble. I was lucky to find him! I already learned a lot.

    And yes, get a good three-point orchard ladder with spikes that go into the soil. Safety first. Fruit picking and tree pruning on a ladder is dangerous. Especially on a slope, as you have in most of your orchard.

    I have a technical question regarding this blog. The RSS feed for posts work fine, but the feed for comments misses more than half of the posted comments. Maybe a question to the commentariat – how do you keep track of the comments, and how do you do in practice to continue reading next day?

    Rounding off with some freshly picked tomatoes. Harvest season is maybe the best season!

    Enjoy spring!


  7. Hello Chris
    I won’t get any more tomatoes, that will have been my one and only as the plants have all completely rotted. Not sure whether or not Son will get anymore. It really has been terrible. Quite ridiculous too as I am overwhelmed with cucumbers for only the second time ever. Tomatoes would be far more useful.


  8. Yo, Chris – Sometimes, I wonder if due to coincidence and timing, if you’re tinkering under the hood 🙂 . After I write a post, I do the “copy” thing-y. If I get the edit screen, all well and good. If I don’t get the edit screen, I copy my deathless prose, to a document, and save it. Just in case … Most times. Sometimes I forget.

    One of these nights, the Editor may murder you, in your sleep. 🙂 . In Australia, is “justifiable homicide,” a defense? 🙂 .

    When I used to drive out to the coast, to work in library branches out there, part of the road was along the river. There was a road cut, where you could very clearly see the rock strata. Layer on layer, from the bottom of some ancient ocean. But the thing is, it was all tipped up, and plunging into the ground at about a 45 degree angle. I was always a bit gob smacked that when those layers were laid down, it was in a horizontal manner. What geological cataclysm tipped everything up, near on end? The rate of speed that the Australian continental plate is moving, would really blow your hair back! 🙂 .

    I think my favorite Moore book was “Fluke.” But that may be because I was commuting then, and listened to it on talking book. It had whale songs, as part of the soundtrack. But it had memorable characters. Kona, the blond, dreadlocked surfer dude … from New Jersey. 🙂 . I also quit liked “Lamb.” But one needs a very wide irreligious streak, to enjoy it. Check out the subtitle. Scott recently read it, and quit enjoyed it. For the crowd that could really get behind the film, “Dogma.” 🙂

    Somehow or another, I’ve ended up with three books on food. The last is the one I’m enjoying, the most. “My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris.” (Lobrano, 2021). It’s about an American, who becomes a food critic. Part biography, part gastronomic tour. There are interesting bits, I’m bookmarking. “The first thing you have to learn is how to decipher the cook’s intentions.” That bit of wisdom, passed onto him by an elderly French countess. Who knows her way around a kitchen. “Great food is when things taste of what they are.” “A really good cook knows how to feed all the different hungers.” There’s a great scene, where he’s taken to a three star, haute restaurant. After the meal, his host asks him, since he’s been in France, which dishes have impressed him, the most. So, he waxes lyrical about some Normandy country recipes. His host is quit miffed, and says it’s a pity the haute meal, was wasted on him. 🙂 . Our hero quit likes what the French, sometimes disdainfully call, “housewife cooking.”

    What’s interesting about those old adventure / epic films was that anything you saw was “real.” I mean, real in the sense that whatever it was existed, in three dimensions. Not just a pile of ones and zeros. Back then, “How did they do that?” was a legitimate question. Now, the only answer is, “a computer.”

    Your current blog post was very interesting. There. Happy? 🙂 I’ve always liked the phrase, “damning with faint praise.”

    The strawberries were probably grown somewhere in the NE United States. You know how enthusiastic the Victorians were, about plant breeding. I’d guess they were hybridized, out of a native variety. Or, maybe the plants were shipped over from Europe.

    Here’s how the auction, went. A couple of hours before it ended, I did a minimum bid. Just to see if, due to the C card problems, I could bid. No problems there. So, when I went back, toward the end, someone had placed a minimum bid. Boooo! So, there was a bit of back and fourth, with $2 bids. Now, is there a real person, on the other end, or is it sniping software? Sniping software can be set, for a maximum bid. Or, no maximum at all. In the last 20 seconds, I bid $138. That must have exceeded the set maximum. I got it for $32. Now, if the sniping software had no maximum, the person bidding against me, would have had to pay … oh, around $140 🙂 . Which probably would have been quit a shock. And I wouldn’t have minded, so much, losing the auction. When it came time to pay, I used the “add another credit card,” function. That worked. Nice if they had told me that, when I tried to edit my card. 🙁 . Would have saved a bit of fretting.

    Gave H a bath, yesterday. And, picked 2+ quarts of blueberries. I found a couple of bushes, that were fried on top. But, there were plenty of nice berries, deep in the interior, and on the backside, up against some evergreen ground cover. Today, I’ll load the dehydrator up with tomatoes, again.

    I went to the Club, yesterday. Gassed with Julia, and Scott wandered in. Guess I better get at those tomatoes. Lew

  9. Hi Chris,
    I was a single mom for a couple of years with a job, night classes in accounting but only one child. Yeah, it wasn’t easy. My mom was already widowed with six of the eight kids still at home so she couldn’t help much but one of my sisters babysat Cecily when I had to go to class at night.

    My mother wasn’t really the maternal type and rather than having eight children she should have had a career but as she said when I got the birth control lecture “nothing works!” At any rate she had a lot of good qualities and as one reaches adulthood you realize your parents are just people with their faults and strengths. I chose to focus on the positive things.

    In general girls are harder than boys particularly in their teen years. Boys will just get into a fight and be done with it. Girls on the other hand can be just nasty and their fights, grudges go on and on and on. I witnessed this plenty of times as a teacher. Cecily is having a heck of a time right now with one of the twins who is 16.

    I think you asked how the bees are doing – well they are doing fantastically this year. However, Doug did test for mites and all the hives have them so he’s applied the treatment. He pulled all the honey he’s selling before the treatment.

    The rain spigot has been turned off again but with nearly five inches last week things are pretty good though not much in the ten day forecast. Temps have been in high 70’s and low 80’s with much lower humidity.

    No Ollie this week? Well guess all the fluffies have to have their day in the sun.


  10. Hi Inge,

    We are of one mind in relation to the subject of cucumbers. A few are good and useful, too many, well let’s just say that your son’s piggies may enjoy the excess. I’ve been considering that particular problem and have decided to devote the growing space to zucchini instead of cucumbers this year. Zucchini store better and will last in basic storage conditions well into the spring months. I have no doubts that something very strange happened with the seed supply for cucumbers down here prior to last season and have no desire to waste my time again on these plants.

    Tomatoes were a disaster here last summer too. There were no fresh eating tomatoes other than the early yellow cherry varieties, and they rotted very rapidly as the skins split due to excess water (from the sky). And we harvested just enough red tomatoes to produce a years supply of passata and dehydrated tomatoes, but the taste was not what it had been in previous summers as the fruits lacked sugar due to the reduced sunlight and warmth. And well over half of the harvest went to waste. It was a mess.

    This year I’ve fed the growing beds very heavily, but will also be more ruthless with increasing spacing between plants and reducing the amount of water they receive (which will keep the soil warmer). I dunno, and after many years am still learning on the job so to speak. I had the impression that there was little different that you could have done to improve your harvest? How did the greenhouse tomatoes end up?

    I see that there are credible reports that the big city to the south of your daughter are having some troubles with keeping supermarket shelves full. Had a serious offer today for someone I know to work on the farm in exchange for food and board. Hmm.



  11. Hi Goran,

    Thank you, and the stories form and evolve days before the need to put them to the written word. 🙂

    I could loan you some wallabies if you’d like? They won’t get up to too much trouble, maybe, but I should note that they have a penchant for chestnut trees. 🙂

    What a question! It is a far deeper question than you may realise. As you may be aware, wallabies are a solitary and slightly smaller version of the more usual grey forest kangaroo that you may have seen photos of. The famous Skippy the bush kangaroo was a grey forest kangaroo, and the colouring of the fur blends very well into the background of the Australian bush. Wallabies have darker colouring befitting the darker hues of the forest here. These marsupials all get around by hopping and bouncing. I’ve seen a full sized kangaroo easily bounce over a stock fence as if it were no hindrance. But if the forest is choked full of vegetation, the marsupials have a great deal of trouble bouncing through the bush. Way back in the day, mega fauna used to keep the forest understory open and able to be easily traversed. Imagine stumbling upon a three tonne wombat – mate your day would go badly, very quickly. The Indigenous folks used to keep the forests fairly open using fire if the early explorers are to be believed (and I do believe them). The wallabies are actually just trying to do their best keeping their paths open through the forest, and they don’t see any difference between an orchard or the forest, so for whatever reason a wallaby decides to destroy a fruit tree because in their mind it is placed wrongly. So here is the thing, the wallabies live in the forest depths in thickets, but they require pathways to move around, and they need glades (i.e. clearings) in order to feed. What that tells me is that the forest should be a mosaic of different arrangements of vegetation. That point is too complex for the vast majority of the population down under. For whatever reason it offends their sensibilities, but I tell you this – the wallabies know their business and should be listened too. And by the way, the break the limbs whilst consuming the leaves. The tree is left as a mess and might not recover.

    Deer are different again. That is Ollie’s job, and so far he is doing well at it! Your friend needs an Ollie.

    Exactly. The same is true here. Whichever way it is spun, I am now in lock down because the government has proven itself to be utterly incompetent and can’t manage a simple task like quarantine. It really is that simple and there is no way around it. As to trust, the same folks say that a lock down is only for a few days, and then four weeks later people are going out of their freaking minds. So credibility is a serious issue for them which they have neither apologised or corrected.

    Your alternative vision of excess pampering has left me quivering in fright! 🙂

    Yes, you were very lucky to have met such a person. You know, there are times when it is not what you know, it is whom you know.

    I have a ladder which does the job on a slope, but there are better arrangements. A few years ago I was speaking with an old timer orchardist and he told me that as a young kid his dad used to get him to climb the fruit trees and pick the fruit. He then said that the insurers would crucify him if that happened today.

    > how do you do in practice to continue reading next day?

    If you have any better suggestions for a WordPress plug in that works for you, I am receptive. Your mission should you choose to accept it is to… It sounds like homework to me for you, and I’d be happy to trial better arrangements.

    Enjoy. Spring brings such promise. 🙂



  12. Hi Margaret,

    I have true empathy for the plight of the single mum as I experienced the realities of that situation myself, but as a kid. It is no easy path, and you have nothing but respect from me for having been tested by it and come out the other side being pretty cool. I don’t recall my mothers sisters helping out much with her or us kids when I was very young. Even then, families were getting spread geographically far and wide by the ill economic winds of fate.

    Incidentally studying at night is something reserved for the very hardy among us if only because it takes an amount of dedication and hard graft which few folks can muster.

    Hehe! Well back then that was true. 🙂 Things are actually a bit different nowadays, but I do wonder about the far future on that score. Way back in the day, the local pharmacy (I think you call them drug stores) was hardly an easy place to navigate for a young adult, and they certainly didn’t make you feel comfortable. Far from it actually. Basically, it was an awkward experience full of the sort of judgement which you could smell from a mile away. Fortunately around that time, a well known convenience store opened not too far away from home, and much to my delight they sold condoms and were happy to make mad cash selling any stuff.

    My mother was also hardly the maternal type. Working in small business I often have up close and personal interactions with families, and there are times where they pull together as a team and I’m left a bit in awe at how it all works. Anyway, no point crying over spilt milk as they used to say.

    You’re right too. My mother and I had a difficult relationship as adults and equals, and she fled any future familial responsibilities to a far distant part of the country when the editor and I probably could have used her assistance, and thus life goes sometimes. The editor’s mum was the loveliest lady you’d meet and she would have mucked in and helped out, but unfortunately there was a minor medical bungle which put a solid end to that. Tragedy is a funny thing and it stalks alongside our day to day lives whether we acknowledge it or no. And having experienced all of that I do seriously wonder about the sanity of what is going on down here right now – nothing stays the same forever as you too would know.

    I’ll defer to your far greater knowledge in this subject, but yes a solid fight between boys can settle all manner of difficulties. The editor once recounted an horrific story of friends freezing out group members, and it sounded far worse than any organised after school punch up that I’d been dragooned into.

    Ook! Getting the treatment for mites sounds horrific, but what needs doing, needs doing. Fingers crossed some of the hives over winter well.

    Your weather sounds superb to me. 🙂 It is about this time of the year that I formally get over wintry conditions.



  13. and again

    I forgot to say that I had a good laugh at your comment about Son’s harvest being 3 times greater than mine. Incidentally, my one tomato was a small yellow one.


  14. Hi Lewis,

    Tis a poor author who does not leave their mark upon the sensitive reader. Here I may cite as evidence, the 1650 quote from Oliver Cromwell who is clearly in the act of waking up his fellows from their gentle slumber: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.” All of the learned quotes and thoughts from the current times and deep past get absorbed to a smaller or greater extent thus enriching the already fertile intellectual field. I now rest my case and retire from the field in full glory having seized the day. 🙂 And dare I say it, but your comments and the comments of the other lovely people who take the time out of their day to drop by and say hello in this pleasant space, are contributing their ideas and thoughts and so something coalesces.

    Hehe! I have no idea what may besmirch the interweb servers upon occasion, but it is probably not a pleasant experience. And it is rare that we lost blog content Sunday night, and the pathways to this experience are no well known and understood. What you experience from time to time is beyond me. If you have any suggestions as to more reliable WordPress comment pulgins, I’d be more than happy to hear them.

    No, I don’t think so. Certainly it is best not to annoy the editor, after all I have viewed: Intro to Six Feet Under s01e10. You know what I mean! It is risky business. And if I recall correctly, later in the same episode the issue of the guys death (the actor was also a Doctor on Star Trek Enterprise) was discussed and it was suggested that he was ‘boring’. Yes, best to keep others entertained. Hehe!

    Geology is fascinating when the titanic forces of the planet can be seen. I wonder what the old timers used to believe about such evidence when continental plate theory was scoffed at. 3 inches a year heading north might not sound fast you, but it does bring to mind the old fable of the tortoise and the hare.

    The film Dogma was pretty funny, and truly it is really hard to explain the line: “Bethany is attacked by the triplets, who are driven off by the two foretold prophets, drug-dealing stoners Jay and Silent Bob. It’s just not right somehow. 🙂 Hmm, resistance to the book recommendation is slowly fading, but I can only add that it is merely due to my current locked down circumstances. I am reading the book “Emphyrio” by the author Jack Vance. A truly astounding tale, and also one for the times.

    Spoke to many folks in the big smoke today, and the mood is not bright and cheery but rather more sombre and dark, let’s put it that way. I had heard the word incompetence used, and that may be a fair assessment of the situation. It would be hard to argue otherwise, although I’m open to such arguments. Duped might be another word heard today as this lock down was originally for only a few days, and it has now extended far weeks beyond the pull date. Incidentally there were credible reports that supermarket shelves in the capital city to the north of this state had quite remarkable bare patches. I spotted one photo where all that remained were a few good chunks of leek, some Swiss chard, and a chunk of rhubarb. Thus proving people don’t how to cook these days… It would be funny if it were actually funny. Raw materials are grown locally, but many processed food items used in pre-made meals travel upon an extraordinary journey to get to plates down under – even if cooked up locally. People do not yet realise the seriousness of their vulnerabilities.

    There is much truth in the observation that first a person must learn is how to decipher the cook’s intentions. It really is wisdom, because I dunno about you, but over the years I have encountered many a cook who practised their art in order to intimidate others or because it fed the chefs ego rather than the recipient. Perhaps I have peasant tastes, but such food is not for I. Good ingredients well matched and prepared will on the other hand perform wonders, and the more years that I grow my own produce, the more that I can taste the difference. And yes, Housewife cooking, if done well, is right up my alley. I’m of the firm opinion that no pride can be taken in an inability to cook. We eat food several times per day, and so this should be a thing to celebrate and enjoy, not a chore to be gotten through.

    That had occurred to me too when watching the scenes from the 1938 version of Robin Hood. In the filmed fight scenes, it actually looked as though the actors were in a melee and I noticed one scene where old Errol was held by a couple of burly blokes and yet he levered off them and kicked the noble bloke in the guts with two feet. That would have hurt.

    Thanks for the critique! 🙂 Hadn’t heard of the phrase: “damning with faint praise”, before. It makes sense and is of course at the core of the backhanded compliment (or for the streetwise a ‘neg’). There is a classic example of that in the Big Short (which I haven’t mentioned for a while and feel the need to remedy this lack, so here goes): “That’s a nice haircut. Did you do it yourself?” So cutting, but I don’t believe that the person who was quoted as having made that remark meant it to be that way. They were just wired a little differently and may have lacked some mirror nuerons.

    Interesting about the strawberries. There are actually indigenous raspberries and many years ago I grew a small patch of them. I’d probably do better with growing them nowadays. Atherton Raspberry – Rubus probus

    Good to hear that your c card problem was resolved, and thanks also for your thoughts upon the workings of auction sniper software. I’ve never felt the need to use such software. Ooo, it’s a mares nest of a topic on the forums with lots of emotional heat (I experience enough of that on a daily basis nowadays and have no desire for any more), but I don’t see much advantage for auction snipers as they still have to bid higher than the next person. Hey, you scored really well.

    Go H! 🙂 Hope Elinor is feeling more settled? Nice work with the blueberries – they don’t grow that thickly down here and I hadn’t realised that they could grow thickly. Hmm… Dehydrating tomatoes smell really lovely.



  15. Hi Inge,

    🙂 Thanks, and it was pretty funny to write too. Mark Twain was quoted as having popularised the saying: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    The little yellow cherry tomatoes are without doubt the most reliable tomatoes of all in my experience. And each year they grow from fallen seed from the previous season. Makes my life easy. The original variety was called: “Bob’s crazy yellow cherry tomatoes”. An odd name for a plant variety, but they really are good.



  16. @ Goran – To keep track of comments, I just scroll down, until nothing sounds familiar. 🙂

    With a mind boggling blog, like Mr. Greer’s, I keep a piece of scrap paper, next to the computer. I jot down the date and time of the last comment, I read. Old school. Low tech. 🙂 Lew

  17. @ Inge & Chris – What to do with lots of cucumbers. My Finn grandmother used to make this. Back on the farm, they made it up in big tin buckets, and kept it in the spring house, to keep it cold, and then took them out, as part of lunch, for the threshing crew. Hence the name, “Harvester Salad.”

    Take four medium sized cucumbers, peel and slice. Dice up an onion (Mom used a yellow onion, but I prefer the red. I wondered if it would color the final product pink, but it didn’t). Soak cucumbers and onions in salt brine, overnight. Drain and rinse.

    Pour a pint of whipping cream, or 1/2 and 1/2 in a bowl. Grind lots of black pepper, over the top. Beat while slowly adding splashes of apple cider vinegar. Keep beating and adding the vinegar, until the mixture starts to thicken. Fold in cucumbers and onions.

    Keeps in the refrigerator, for up to four days. Beyond that, I don’t know. As it’s gone by then 🙂 . It’s not traditional, but I spoon it over cornbread. Makes a substantial meal. Lew

  18. Yo, Chris – Before I forget … “The Green Knight,” is coming out on DVD, in October. Boy, that was fast!

    That was a nifty quote from the old Crom. Though he was a bit of a stick. Close the theatres? Do away with CHRISTMAS!!! Sure, it needed to be toned down a bit. Ban gingerbread men? Yup. An apt quote. I can’t quit shake the nagging feeling, that I’ve read it somewhere, recently. Now where was it … 🙂 .

    Mysteries of cyberspace! Well, it doesn’t happen too often, and as long as I remember to copy and paste, no big deal.

    I used to love those intros to “Six Feet Under.” You never knew who was going to “bite the big one.” Sometimes, the victim came from way out in left field. Yup. I think the wife in the bit you linked to, could have got off on justifiable homicide. Reminds me of the young lady on the train, who didn’t shut up, from Centralia to Seattle. Her companion had a look on his face, as if to say, “Please kill me.” It may have been the moment when he realized, this is the soundtrack FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. The Ladies here at the Institution are all single. And, in half the cases, I can see (or hear), why.

    Well, in one of those coincidences, that are so thick on the ground, around here … last night I ran across an article about “The Great Unconformity.” Never heard of it, before. But I just love the sound of that phrase.


    Deep time and geology, writ large.

    The film “Dogma” was just madness, from beginning to end. But it all just seemed to hang together. The actors must have had a great time, making it. Speaking of actors, Hayley Mills is 75. And has just written a bio. A bit before your time, but she was quit the thing, when I was a wee small lad. One of my cousins was quit adept at channeling her.

    The book on French food (finished it, last night) makes the statement that men chefs are all ego in the kitchen. And women chefs cook from love. A sweeping generalization, but more true, than not. The way things are going, people who take pride in not being able to do things (like cook), are not going to fair well, the way things are going. The subtext for those types of people is, “I hire people to do that.” There’s a scene from the book “One Minute After, that has stuck in my mind. There’s a small town, that is kind of a haven. People pass through, and want to be taken in. But, due to resource constraints, only those with something to offer, can stay. A woman shows up at the barrier, and a man inquires as to her possible talents. She had been a powerful PR person at a tobacco firm. And that was about it. So, he had to send her down the road, knowing full well that she wouldn’t survive long. Of course, she tried to play the … sex card, but only elicited pity, from him. Plans are in place to ration health care, here, in some places. It hasn’t got that dire, yet, but we’re getting there.

    I’ll take the leek and the rhubarb … and pass on the chard. Unless I’m hungry enough 🙂 .

    The Atherton Raspberries are really interesting. They look a bit more like a strawberry. I see they’re native to your part of the world. We also have a native raspberry. They must be really old, in geological time. Like rhododendrons and roses. Anything that is native to wide distances apart, probably had ancestors from before the super continents broke up.

    Well, finally. I usually don’t pay much attention to automotive stories, but I saw one last night, that decried the constant tinkering with aspects of vehicles. In particular, the instrument panels and shifts. That those problems had been worked out, long ago, with good engineering, and really couldn’t be improved on. He even advanced the radical idea, that “real” people should be put behind the wheel to test these things, and not just the “bright idea” engineers and designers. I’m sure we’ll never hear from this author, again. Lew

  19. Hi Lewis,

    The Green Knight trailer was the whole next level. And a fox for a familiar, why not? Please let me know when it is released. 🙂 It looks great. Sir Gawain of course had much to learn, and as the youngest had to prove his mettle which is how such things work. His shame was also his elevation. The Green Man, well we have spoken of him before. Best not to get involved in his business.

    Whatever else you have to say about Cromwell, he was effective despite his flaws. When I read the history of those days with the unceasing and meaningless slaughter, it kind of puts today in a weird sort of perspective. And I note that the correct response to the quote was: “would you have us to be sceptics in our religion?” They made a strong point, but were still routed. And perhaps the quote has something to say about today?

    Cyberspace, can’t live with it, pass the beer nuts! 🙂 The local servers appear to be remarkably resilient and perform better than what I’d signed up for. Unfortunately there are few local providers nowadays if only because my understanding is that they have been gobbled up by larger players.

    Not many narratives bring a sense of the ridiculous and senseless nature of our final demise. We did speak about Mr King’s lost chapter in The Stand, which I was rather amused by if only because the intent of the author was comedic. If I understand the situation correctly, that chapter was edited out from the original edition of the book, but I thought that it was a keeper.

    You may be correct there, although it is a matter for the courts to decide. 🙂 Rarely do I mention work matters (for good reasons), and yet that poor soul droned on and on about some boring purchasing issue. And then fate dealt him a harsh blow, like literally with a cast iron frying pan. That’ll learn him (as I’ve heard said)! Hehe!

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person would do well to deeply consider the character of the first person that they partner up with. Of course, we all make mistakes from time to time, and this is as true in this area as in other areas of our lives. So a good rule of thumb here might be to be on the alert to the downsides of a persons first major relationship – whilst trying not to get knocked up to them ,which can then lead to reduced options and complications.

    It’s a bit unsettling to consider deep time, but yes the Great Uncomformity does tend to hint that past conditions aren’t necessarily indicative of future conditions. And you wouldn’t want to have been there the day things uplifted. Ook!

    Hayley Mills is a great actor, and when I was a young kid I watched her film ‘The Family Way’. It was a total car crash of disastrous economic cricumstances and difficult familial relationships, but also rather entertaining. Even back then I could grasp the benefits of anonymity.

    Well, it all depends. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The potty mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay, who on such food matters talks a lot of sense, had a Kitchen Nightmares show in both the UK and the US. Basically he barged in (or more probably was invited in) in order to rescue a failing restaurant, which he achieved more often than not. The differences in culture between the two countries was quite stark actually. One major difference stood out in the US show was that he had to spend the first few days out-alpha-ing the chef before changes could be made, whereas in the UK it was presumed that he was the alpha. This difference wasted a lot of time which could otherwise have been put to good use.

    “I hire people to do that.” Well yeah, there was a very naughty song last year which had the lines: ‘I don’t cook or clean’, spoken rather forcefully and proudly, and of course the two singers are probably wealthy enough that they don’t have to bother themselves with such day to day matters so the facts speak for themselves in that instance. Of course I am also well versed on the old faery tales and know about the Princess and the pea, and yeah upon encountering such a person I’d run a mile in any other direction. I have heard some women taking pride in their Princess like self beliefs, but at the end of the day, the world can only accommodate a few such folks and the rest of us mere mortals have to get to work. And I know how to cook and clean so it is hardly some secret knowledge and arcane known only to a select few. 🙂 Far out.

    Did you just make a sneaky book recommendation? I’m impressed and the books sounds great. I hadn’t heard of it before. What surprised me was that the post plop population was so large. Down here only around 1% of the population are involved in agriculture in any meaningful sense, and whilst people garden, could they garden if survival was the goal? I have strong doubts about that. At the beginning of the current bout of craziness I offered some seeds (which were hard to come by at the time to someone I know who gardens to at least some extent). They graciously accepted the seeds but then went on to tell me that they were going to spend energy planting out a native garden. Yeah, just my gut feeling that if it ever came down to it, it would be pretty messy.

    Hehe! I don’t mind chard, but it kind of tastes like dirt to my palate and there are better and just as hardy greens at that time of the year. But those leeks in the image looked in great condition. It is possible that people don’t know what they are?

    Yes, they do look a bit like strawberries don’t they? There is also a local variety of raspberry from just to the north of here. A few years ago I experimented growing the local variety, but it wasn’t that good. That happens here too with South America and we get some really weird Solanum variety of plants. The Kangaroo Apples (which are edible if ripe) grow really well here. Ooo, I see that the plant has some seriously heavy medicinal uses. Who knew?

    Well not hearing from him again is probably how things will roll. Without constant built in obsolescence how would new product possibly get foisted off on an unsuspecting public? 🙂 I’ve often thought that there would be a ready market for a well constructed, and well tested basic reliable small vehicle. How hard could that be? I don’t actually understand how people afford the expensive vehicles they do seem to be driving these days – that story makes no sense to me.



  20. @ Lew
    Interesting cucumber recipe but flawed by only lasting about 4 days. This doesn’t help me much. I have pickled a number but there is a limit to how many jars of that I need. Would your recipe freeze, I wonder?


  21. @ Inge – Well, the cucumber salad only lasts in my refrigerator, four days, because I eat it up! 🙂 . I suppose it would last longer. Especially since I run my fridge, at a very low temperature.

    Freezing dairy can be a bit problematic. Other than ice cream 🙂 . I’ve never tried freezing it, so, I don’t know.

    Of course, you could always half the recipe. Or even cut it to one fourth? Lew

  22. Yo, Chris – I went to the grocery last night. There were no bananas. It always gives me a bit of a turn, when confronted with a situation, like that. There were a few organic bananas, left, so, I bought those. Looked pretty good and the price wasn’t that much more than regular bananas. Then, there was NO almond milk. Lucky I usually keep about 4 half gallons, in the fridge. It lasts a long time. So, what was up? I heard all kinds of wild rumors, at the store. The the basic story is, our local Wally World is closed for two days. “For deep cleaning.” By the way, I’m now up to 38 rolls of what we shall euphemistically call, paper products. I can almost sleep at night. I also saw an article, that they’ve begun “rationed health care,” in northern Idaho. They can’t quit bring themselves to say, “triage.”

    I’m looking forward to seeing “The Green Knight,” but I have to say that a lot of those King Arthur stories feel like “add-ons,” to me. Which they were. The original (oldest?) stories, seem just more … authentic. Of course, those add-on tales reflected the times they were written in. When Knighthood was in Flower, and all that.

    We still have a few of our local providers. As, we’re not worth messing with, to the Big Boys. They just scrap the cream, off the top. There’s some wild talk around, that our local PUD (Public Utility District – electricity) might get in the internet provider business.

    Here’s an interesting article, on all the different iterations of “The Stand.”


    Or, this …


    “The Stand” has it’s roots in (among other things) a short story King wrote called “Night Surf.” It’s in his collection, “Night Shift.”

    I’d heard references to “starter houses.” And then, “starter marriages.” 🙂 . People change so much between 20 and 30. What you signed on for, is not what you might get.

    People (fans), don’t want their child actors to grow up. Which is probably why the Mill’s film you mentioned, bombed. Polyanna having sex? The horror, the horror 🙂 . You saw it, over and over again. They had Mary Pickford in pinafores and ringlets, until she was 30. And who can forget the film, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”

    Now, here’s a coincidence. That book I finished about the food writer? Well, his career was launched, when he did an article about the French Chef, Paul Bocuse. Well, I’m reading along in the book by the farm to table New York restaurant guy, and when he was 15, he saw that article. And was so impressed he set his course and launched his career. Seven degrees of Bacon? 🙂

    There’s also a sequel to “One Minute After,” called, I think, “One Year After.” Not quit as good as the first book. That “large post plop population,” didn’t last long.

    If your gardening for survival, I think I’d plant a lot of potatoes. 🙂 Different varieties. For a start. Some people have no imagination. You think they could figure out that a leek has a lot in common with a green onion. Just cut the darned thing, and smell.

    We need a People’s Car … and truck. An interesting Gargle search is “What’s the lowest tech car you can buy?” Interesting stuff.

    Yesterday, the Master Gardeners came. I happened to be out walking H. She’s going to be a star! I’m such a stage mother. 🙂 They asked me to stand next to the sunflowers, and took a picture. They might put it in their newsletter. Will H be a cover girl? Mary Marsh (MJ), the master gardener sent me a short e-mail, with the attached picture. If your interested, and there’s a way, and your comfortable with e-mail atachments, I could forward it on, to you. Just remember, photos add 15 pounds. Wonder if I can photoshop it, first? Lew

  23. Hi, Chris!

    Some of those hard knocks sure are hard, but I can’t deny that one can learn a great deal that way. Still, one begins to feel banged up after awhile.

    I’m not sure about the not trusting the first person who comes up to you in new situation. What sort of situation? If I help an elderly lady get a box of tissues off of a high shelf in the store, I’d say she can trust me. Do you mean in a crisis?

    I would say that anyone who looks like Errol Flynn is lucky!

    I don’t see the rock – well, because it’s not there – but I see a huge pile of firewood. I am overawed by the dry stone wall – or does it have mortar?

    Why are you removing the grass around the fruit trees?

    It’s wonderful to see the chook palace again!

    What beautiful, bounteously blooming fruit trees, but it seems strange to me to see daffodils at the same time as globe artichokes.


  24. Chris,

    What an interesting read this week’s installment is! You learned some wisdom quite early – “In those days I did my best to stay out of trouble whilst not being noticed, and so was generally pretty low stress whilst still doing my own thing.” There’s a lot of value in conducting oneself that way. You also got a formal education to supplement the education from Hard Knocks University. Consider yourself fortunate. The Princess has a doctorate from Hard Knocks Univ., whereas I am overly educated from the formal education viewpoint. After more than 30 years together, she still gets to say to me, during my more “comical” moments, “Does it hurt to have so much edumacation?” She gets a lot of enjoymnet out of asking that question.

    Ah yes, lying about a lady’s age. Very good idea. A friend of ours, who is about your age, is going through an ugly divorce. She mentioned to me that she looks 20 years older than before this started. I quipped, “Oh, you look 37 now?” Made her day and the Princess gave me extra points for actually saying something useful.

    Things have gotten extra busy again. We go from either being hot and smoky to having a few days of comfortable weather and little smoke. A LOT gets done on such smokeless days. Today is hotter than usual, very windy, and the visibility is poor due to smoke and dust. Since the wind is coming from the southwest, I like to say that we’re breathing Al’s dust. 😉

    I have been able to start the BIG outdoor project of dismantling the failed rock garden/slope experiment. I removed a bunch of thyme that was growing over the public sidewalk and transplanted it into a different bed of thyme which I had enlarged to allow the influx. It seems to be taking okay to its new home, and the sidewalk looks, well, walkable.

    Meanwhile, due to the unmentionable, did I mention that we had to cancel this year’s carving show? Bummer. Someone at our club meeting suggested that that means everyone has double the projects to enter for next year.

    Also, due to the current outbreak, just over the border in Idaho, they are now rationing health care at hospitals. There are absolutely no beds available in north Idaho hospitals for anything. Hospitals in Washington aren’t much better.

    Shopping for groceries and other necessities is interesting now. You never know what might be in short supply. Wednesday at Walmart, there was almost no laundry detergent. Two major brands had nothing on their shelves. We require fragrance free laundry soap, so I had to purchase my 3rd choice brand due to the shortage. Thankfully, along with most cleaning supplies, basic first aid and allergy things, and food staples, we keep ahead of the game. Predicting what will be unavailable the next trip has become an interesting topic of discussion in our house. And yes, we have ample amounts of tea and coffee on hand!


  25. Hi Al,

    The answer to your question is: Yes.

    How simple is that? 🙂 Hoping to get stuck into the recap of the amplifier on Sunday. The weather looks awful that day, and that makes it perfect for such a job.



  26. Hi Pam,

    As to banged up after I while, mate you have not ventured into the big smoke of Melbourne to sample the locked down for months on end ether there. It is not for the faint of heart, and even I find it to be a bit of a struggle.

    Yes of course, I stand corrected in your fine example. You are displaying the random encounters that a person experiences during every day life, and I must add that you have set a fine example. People forget that ‘do no evil’ does not mean the same thing as ‘do nothing’ and your example has much to recommend it. No, not a crisis, but more when confronted by actual community because that word also means that you have to learn how to live with the numpty up the road who annoys the daylights out of us all.

    Stop it! 🙂 My mate may be reading this and he’ll end up not being able to exit standard door widths if only because his head had enlarged so much so as to accommodate this latest ego boost! Hehe! Pah, he knows it anyway…

    You have a keen eye. The retaining wall is indeed a dry stone wall, and each stone was meticulously set in place and then tested for rigidity before we moved onto the next stone. My mates of the big shed fame have a dry stone wall which they had restored and it is amazing and also possibly beyond my skill level to construct although I understand the fundamentals of the job.

    > Why are you removing the grass around the fruit trees?

    So in the long grass surrounding the trunks of the fruit trees, all sorts of critters resided. And unfortunately for them, they couldn’t quite understand that consuming the bark off fruit trees was a short term proposition. Those particular critters have plenty of other yummies to eat elsewhere which won’t kill decade old fruit trees. Humans are as much a part of the land as all the other critters and plants, and down here they’ve been doing their thing for tens of thousands of years and so the land needs that to keep on keeping on. Every time you take one action somewhere, something gains an advantage, whilst another is disadvantaged. The trick is to plot the least worst course knowing that there is no perfect.

    Those globe artichokes must be related to Triffids. Surely they are? They just cruised through winter and have already begun producing chokes in way early spring. An absolute fave, and they taste great too.



  27. Hi Lewis,

    A very old friend of mine used to like imbibing mind altering substances and he was always suggesting to me that bananas are one of the few sources of the brain chemical serotonin. I never really checked out the veracity of his claims, if only because there was no need for me to test out such claims. Went to the supermarket this morning (as I haven’t been allowed to go to the fresh food market for many weeks now) and their collection of bananas for sale included a few who had the dreaded fungi I showed you a month or so back. Incidentally I noticed that the shelf space for white vinegar had been stripped bare, and people do use that stuff as a handy cleaner. The rest of the place seemed well stocked, but than I also recall the need for a locals only guard on the door last year. Kind of gives the sensitive person a bit of a turn!

    Deep cleaning is super expensive. I know of one business who had to fork over $60k for the job and was shut down for many days. Ouch.

    You know that you are still four rolls short? You know your business better than I do, but some folks might suggest that 42 is the necessary number. 🙂 On the other hand, you probably now have enough of the stuff for the next year… It’s candidly not good, but time will tell. Someone was telling me that cases in other countries are now rising despite best efforts. It is very possible that we just have to all face this test as it comes our way. Food is not what it once was, and nobody seems to even notice that story, and it gets a little bit worse every year. It is not lost on me that leading up to the Black Plague, there were hungry years.

    OK, so what is the oldest of Arthurian stories? I’m intrigued. And I’m serious about “The Green Knight” and please do let me know.

    That’s possible, but wasn’t Mars boy also getting into the interweb biz? Some home network connections work over internal electrical cables. Never tried it myself as it may do weird things to the inverter – and that would be very bad for me.

    A large decision was made today as to the fate of the low centre of gravity mower. One too many visits to the local farm machine repair dudes… More on this later.

    Ooo! Lot’s of juicy details on The Stand, but not really much more than teasers. And didn’t the character Frannie have enough of a stand herself having to live through whether her new born would be resilient to Captain Tripps? And also what the new born went through. I’d heard that The Kid had to be removed from the final filming because the actor had allegedly been a bit naughty (which is what you’d expect from The Kid).

    And I note that Mr King enjoyed George Stewart’s Earth Abides, which I too quite enjoyed, but at the same time couldn’t quite understand why the original survivors did as they had done – although I must confess to having dirt under my fingernails and otherwise enjoying food. Canned food would get rather tiresome, but they hardly seemed to make an issue of it. I applaud Mr King’s splurging on hardcover books. 🙂

    Hehe! Well a starter marriage might sound like a good idea, until you get to the divorce bit. Nobody seems to enjoy that bit.

    No, no! The film didn’t bomb, no the narrative was like a car crash due to the eccentric very English characters causing all manner of mayhem. Actually I rather enjoyed the film, although had difficulty relating to the characters and their plight. But then I have told a few annoying people to go and get… over the years. Never wins friends, but does make life easier.

    But your point is valid. People don’t want their childhood stars to grow up. I should add here that that particular thought had not occurred to me, if only because I intuitively understand that such folks grow up.

    Oh yeah, definitely seven degrees of Bacon. Never worked in a commercial kitchen, but I get the impression that there is a level of good camaraderie, but also occasional serious busy stressful times, and then just outright oddness. Plus the late hours would work better than early mornings.

    Speaking of early mornings, the tree dudes were scratching around for work and so I had them up here this morning working hard. It was pretty windy today and they looked like they’d been working hard and so I gave them an easier job to do – this is why they come back and use us as a fill in job. I’m a primary producer and so they can visit here and work, but they’d said that work has been up and down of late. I had a bit of a start when they’d ask me if I was still working, and so I reiterated to them the amount of work I can afford to pay them to do each year. Mate, current events are hitting some classes harder than others, and small business is doing it super tough.

    Hehe! Yup! There ain’t no better plan when you have to deal with the sort of rainfall you and I enjoy (although other tubers aren’t a bad idea and the native yams have higher concentrations of minerals and proteins than potatoes). I won’t mention that the last one of those planted here – the dogs dug up and ate…

    No. Not at all. Histories road kill.

    DJ and Al might be able to grow better grains than you or I.

    Thanks for the link to the car tech article. I was thinking of something even more basic than those. My former Suzuki Sierra comes to mind. So basic it didn’t have carpets. It just worked though – until it didn’t. But it was cheap to repair and own.

    Hehe! Yes, feel free to send me an email at anyadress@ferngladefarm.com.au . Hopefully it is nothing like the infamous bubble photograph which might haunt me until the day I die.



  28. Hi DJ and Pam,

    Thanks for the lovely comments however I have run out of time this evening due to basically bad planning. Yes, tis my fault entirely. Nobody else can be blamed, although Ollie would probably dutifully take the blame should I apportion some (or all) of it in his direction. Is this a good idea, let’s find out! No, just kidding.

    Speak tomorrow.



  29. Hi Chris

    Now that I know that the mail will get there. A geek tale:
    The set up: Al an old friend of Chris and Editor now living three hours away on the phone with Chris: “ Hey Mate that power amp re-cap that you are planning for next Sunday if you get it working !” “ I would be interested in a day trip to loan you a good audio generator, an oscilloscope ,and a 200 watt multi impedance load bank to test your work, it’s all top notch, Hewlett-Packard , Tektronix., and my own home built load bank. The good stuff from the past that always works when needed!. We can probably “get her done” in an hour or so, And still have time to see what you and Editor have done on your place since my last visit.” “ I even have a good story for getting a travel permit with the help of a friend in home security who already owes me BIG TIME!!!.” “Let’s call him “Bob” l will tell him my friend in Victoria needs this electronic stuff to test a new wild life repellent strategy using harmless recorded sounds of predator species which are living on his rural property and are tearing up or gobbling down the fruit and vegetables that he’s trying to grow. I well tell him that my acquaintance way up in Wild life management is interested your work, “I will call that Bloke too”.Chris my friend. Let me know how the capacitor replacement works out and we can plan further as necessary”.

    And so on😁😁 too bad it’s kilo miles not 100s
    Cheers Al

  30. Yo, Chris – I eat the bananas (one a day), for the magnesium and potassium. I’ve told you the story about how I used to have terrible night leg cramps. Read an article about the bananas, tried it, and it worked! Or, as Mr. Greer says, TSWs. And, that’s when I got interested in food, beyond tasting good. A potato has about the same M & P, but somehow, sliced on my breakfast oatmeal, does not appeal. 😉 . Even I have limits.

    Well, we set another record here, last week, as far as number of cases of You Know What. 382. In the county, south of us, they had to bring in a refrigerated truck, because their morgue was overflowing. And yet, life seems so … normal. There are some trips I’d like to make (10 or 12 bags of chicken manure … a 25 pound bag of oatmeal … food grade buckets to put the oatmeal in, etc.) but I think I’d better hold off, until the numbers go down, a bit.

    So, what are you serious about, in relation to “The Green Knight?” A review? Australian release dates? What kind of dates? Theatrical, streaming or DVD? Which by the way, I can find no information about, for Australia. Here, the DVD is to be released the week of 10/12. Then it will have to wend it’s way through library processing.

    So, I think the oldest Arthur story, now this is just to me, is Arthur’s birth, being raised by Merlin, Camelot, Guinevere, Lancelot, his final battle and death. Finis. It’s like the New Testament. They have this perfectly serviceable four Gospels, and then they tack on the Acts of the Apostles, and all that ruminating by Paul, by letter. It’s like having a nice piece of roast chicken, with a few herbs. And then slathering it with a thick sauce. “Good food is when things taste of what they are.” (Curnonsky). I think the same applies to literature. 🙂

    But, just to keep you up on pop culture (as you wouldn’t want to let that side down), I see there’s a new movie, staring Leonardo Dicaprio (and cameos by other Very Famous Stars), about a comet heading to destroy the earth. It’s a comedy.

    Then, I think we’ve hit peak Star Trek saturation. A new series, called “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” which is a spin off of Star Trek: Discovery. What everyone else is doing, after “Star Trek: Discovery,” got shot 1,000 into the future. And another series, animated, called “Star Trek: Prodigy.” Oh, and a movie coming out in 2023.

    Last night I watched “Peter Rabbit 2.” Well worth a look, if you’re up for pure entertainment. There’s a farmer’s market … Had a bowl of popcorn with melted swiss cheese. And, a bit of Bourbon Praline Pecan ice cream. I don’t have that, very often, as it’s very expensive. So, I wait til it goes on sale. I consulted with Scott, and he doesn’t seem to think I need to change my sobriety date. 🙂 . Finished off the evening with a Nova special, “Hindenburg: The New Evidence.” Because an evening isn’t complete, without a good disaster.

    I think people don’t like their child actors getting old, because on some level, they realize that they’re getting old, too.

    Interesting article in our newspaper, about our local PUD (electric). The bit about tree trimming, is interesting. But down toward the bottom, they talk about supply line issues. I think what the PUD is telling the mayors is, “You can have fast, cheap or good. Pick two.” Of course, they don’t like such restraints.


    Oh, yes, I realize I’m short of the Holy Grail of paper products, 42. It’s why I have to be heavily medicated, to sleep. Besides the traditional uses, it’s there for trading stock. Gold, guns or canned goods. Maybe DJ and Al will trade grain for said paper products? 🙂

    I’ll see if I can forward you on, that picture. I usually avoid having my picture taken, but the Master Gardeners caught me kind of flat footed. Might compromise my Witness Protection Program. All that green stuff, growing between the sunflowers are green beans. A sad lot, this year. And, I’ve got a second patch, elsewhere. Just enough to take a handful, ever once in awhile, and toss it in whatever I’m making for dinner. That bush thing, in front and to my right is a parsley, going to seed. No worries, there’s plenty growing here and there, that’s this year’s crop. It also gets tossed into whatever I’m making, for dinner. And will keep me in greens, all winter.

    I’d caption the picture, “Not my dog.” 🙂 . Everyone seems gobsmacked that I don’t rush to print the thing off and paste it in an album, or something. I’m just not a photo kind of a guy. Elinor asked me why not, and the best I could come up with was tapping my forehead and saying, “It’s all in here.” I managed to get the photo to my friends in Idaho, so, we’ll see if the lines are open to Australia 🙂 Lew

  31. Hi Chris,

    It’s been a busy couple of weeks because of an out of town event that I attended. Meaning that I had a lot of work before the event, to make sure that nothing would go drastically wrong while I was away, and now that I’m back home, catch-up work. It was an excellent trip, very much worth the extra effort.

    The last two weeks of August were excessively hot and humid. That didn’t prove to the liking of the cabbage family seedlings. Their bed is spotty-looking, sort of like a teenager with acne. 😉 After I catch up on the lawn mowing (this afternoon’s job as it is sunny and pleasantly cool for a change), I will tackle weeding the bed and consider moving some seedlings around and/or buying some seedlings to fill in the bare spots.


  32. Hi DJ,

    There is middle ground to be found in the whole story, although where exactly that is to be found is anyone’s guess. I’ve been to both schools, and both have their advantages and disadvantages, plus let’s not forget the ‘sheer waste of time’ sides to that discussion. It is a really complicated story, and years ago I was a passenger in a vehicle driven around these parts by an old mate of mine. He earned a PhD in science and worked in the field before then getting into computers. So we’re driving around and dusk is settling and I spot off and away in the distance a couple of kangaroos on the side of the road and I blurt out the instruction: ‘slow down’. And do you know what? Well you can’t know what, if only because you weren’t there, but he said to me: Don’t worry about it, I’m an expert in these things, and then proceeded to blithely ignore my advice. Now a six foot roo will destroy you car if hit at speed, and I just didn’t want to see that happen, especially before dinner. Tell ya what though, I really wondered just how many times he had you pulled that shtick? And lady luck was smiling that evening, but my experience suggests that it was only lady luck who saved the day, knowledge was elsewhere at the controls. And so here we all are today…

    Exactly, those minor and inconsequential social lies just work. My experience with divorce is from that of the child’s perspective, and I don’t know much about stuff, but that is one ugly business. I’ve often wondered whether it need be that way, but then there are some fat fees in the offering, and some folks just like to stir the pot for their own advantage. Best not to be involved might be the way out of the maze of entanglement.

    The climate batten is being handed over to us folks down here from you guys. And mate, truth to tell I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this coming growing season. Possibly the season will be interesting. Over the next week I intend to get the seed starts going for this growing season. Late this afternoon the editor and I had a lovely chat with a really lovely lady who also raises edible plants from seed, and she too was just about to get her seeds started. It truly beats me as to the knowledge, but this week kind of felt right to start them in the greenhouse.

    Sorry you had to cancel your show due to the health subject which dares not be named. Mate, my life has been nothing less than slightly weird since March last year, and all we can but do is our best to navigate this weirdness, and pray that you do not replicate the efforts of the fine authoritas down under. Rural areas were let out of lock down and so today the editor and I headed off to do some basic acts of enjoyment like walk around a beautiful lake, but mate it is a sad tale all the same.

    Yes, Lewis also raised this matter. Nobody guaranteed us surety in life. How did we forget that?

    Supply issues are very real here too right now. And that experience matches mine the other day when there was almost no white vinegar to speak of. Another way to describe fragrance free soap is to make your own olive oil soap (or any other fat for that matter). Are you really so busy in retirement that you don’t have time for this task? We make our own soap and have done so for years. Just chucking down the gauntlet.

    Mate, seriously this happened. I went to put in an order for a standard replacement belt on the mower. Yeah, so the editor and I came to the same conclusion to replace the machine with a Japanese built machine at an extraordinary expense. Hmm. Strange days my friend, strange days…



  33. Hi Al,

    Alas, there are real differences in distance that cannot be easily surmounted. You know, like growing edibles, there are so few folks around now who can repair this kind of technology – and it is not that hard. When I used to live in the big smoke there was a shop not far from where I lived who used to specialise in such repairs, but the old timers are fading away and that was a long time ago now. And the stupid thing is that there is a ready market for those repairs… I dunno.

    Sunday is pencilled in to do this cap replacement work as the weather is forecasting both rain and cold. What better conditions need there be for such work?

    The editor and I both came to the same conclusion on Thursday and we have decided to replace the low centre of gravity mower with a Canycom RazorBack All Terrain 4WD Ride on Mower Australia. It is an absolute beast of a machine which the local farm machine repair dudes can repair. More on this next week. As an old timer tech head yourself – and respect and also it takes one to know one – I’ll be curious to hear your opinion.



  34. Hi Claire,

    Thanks for dropping by and saying hello, and I always respect your opinions and experience. I really do appreciate you introducing me to Steve Solomon’s works as he has a lot to say about growing edibles – and especially so in this climate. I go about my business quietly and don’t make a big fuss about things, but in the past year I’ve added well over a thousand kilograms of agricultural lime to the orchards as well as about three times that of coffee grounds, and the difference in plant growth has been staggering. In previous years the coffee grounds were fed, but the agricultural lime has been a game changer.

    The spell of all you need to do is ‘just add more compost’ does not reflect the realities that us gardeners have to live with.

    Your seasons are turning to the cooler, whilst things are warming up here. I really love the ebb and flow of life. At present I’m disturbed that so many are fixated upon the eventualities. There seems little reason to bring on such things before there time. Oh well.



  35. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, of course both of those minerals found in a banana are important, and kind of seriously necessary to good health. And yup, I too have had leg cramps in the middle of the night and they are no laughing matter. In fact they are as excruciating as they are unexpected. I watch my salt levels too during the summer months for that very reason. TSW is exactly right! 🙂 A good rule of thumb is to never mention the potatoes, but since you mentioned them, I’d read that just prior to the historic blight crash, 90% of many folks calories were derived from the humble spud in that part of the world. Historically in this cold and damp corner of the continent the indigenous folks farmed the humble yam, which Sir Poopy unfortunately dug up and ate… Ook. Grains are another good solid staple but they require warmer and drier weather than I can muster most years. Now that the ever hungry dog has passed on, I may try the yams again. I can’t even begin to imagine the sheer dedication put into plant breeding with those yams over deep time. It really is an astounding feat. And one I should take advantage of whilst there is the opportunity to do so.

    Potato for breakfast kind of lacks a certain something… There is plenty of fruit here most of the year around, but I’ll have to put a bit more effort into citrus for the winter months. Speaking of such matters I had to admit defeat with the chickens and are now working in ways to get extra protein into their diets. I’m getting from between five and ten eggs per day from the fourteen chickens. Not a bad effort, but they need protein. I’m trialling some new feed, but I dunno I kind of baulk at the sort of pellets that most people feed their chickens – mostly because I have no idea what I’m actually feeding them if I used that stuff.

    As a species I’d have to suggest that we can deal with a whole bunch of weirdness so it hardly surprises me that things are normal (I’d expect nothing less). That can happen with the refrigerated truck. Be thankful it isn’t mass graves. One of the more horrid days in my life was visiting the killing fields in Cambodia. It was a long time ago and articles of clothes were sticking out of the ground and there was this huge glass sided monument full of skulls. We live such an extraordinary life to avoid being confronted with such monstrous acts.

    Well I dunno at all about that choice. I understand your point of view, but at the same time we risk dying before we are physically deceased – and there is something in that which I find to be mildly disturbing. Things are otherwise down here, and there are some things that I just cannot do now. The rural areas were let out of lock down at midnight this morning (or was that last night). I expect this to be a brief reprieve, and so the editor and I sallied forth on an enjoyable day. An excellent chicken and salad roll as well as a chunk of passion cake were procured. But we also stocked up on some items which we were running short of. I purchase my honey supplies from a lovely old couple living way out in the sticks and we hadn’t been able to get to them for a while. Their honey is the best to be found anywhere, and I reckon it is slightly unfiltered, but I don’t really know their secrets other than just presuming good bee husbandry. I think you alerted me to the wherever you are, with whatever you have – and don’t be too troubled about being blindsided by any lack.

    Speaking of which the main drive belt on the low centre of gravity mower failed about two weeks back. Hadn’t heard anything about the repairs, then made some inquiries. Went to the supplier to order a spare replacement belt and was told they didn’t have any in stock. What with the supply of things as they are, the editor and I decided to sell this machine and replace it with one that the local farm machine repair guys know back to front and can supply. It was an eye watering dent to the savings at about a little bit less than the cost of a dirt mouse. Ouch. Still, we had to face up with realities, and the times they are strange and the new machine is Japanese built and in stock. As your grasp of geo-politics might suggest, our former friends in the land of stuff are putting the squeeze on both you and us. I don’t blame them for taking advantage of the circumstances if only because we’ve been foolish and head strong. So yeah, not sure parts supply from the land of stuff is all that guaranteed, and the machine is a super useful item on a farm.

    Hehe! Cinema’s aren’t open down here, so that probably explains things. Mate the arts industry has really coped a hiding in the past eighteen months.

    Sometimes you are very subtle, whilst us lower order intellects struggle on valiantly in the face of mere hints and riddles. Did you mean: The motto, “In inceptum finis est”, meaning “In the beginning is the end”? I hope so, otherwise I admit utter defeat! 🙂

    But I take your point. Additions, and of course later additions can muddy the waters, but then I have heard people suggesting in all seriousness that they’d like to leave their mark or a legacy or some such business. My aims are not so lofty as those. You’re right too and I’ll take that message on board, although candidly for my own reasons I try to keep things simple.

    On Sunday morning before the rain hits I may even attempt planting out the many oak seedlings. They will form a sort of barrier around the property. Lovely trees and I collected and raised the seeds.

    Don’t look up looked like a fun trailer. Jonah Hill is an outstanding actor as well.

    That’s too much trekkie for my poor overloaded brain. I now explode and splatter blood and gore all over the computer screen…

    Wait for it….

    And then reappear whole again after having fallen from a spatial anomaly. We may never find out what that was all about, but rest assured it was messy and the universe saved me from such an awful fate, which is kind of good because as you know I detest mess.

    Oh the humanity! Well, they sure didn’t survive the fiery plunge to the earth. Or did they? Did they even have any escape mechanism for the huge hydrogen filled blimp? Anyway the scene of the craft hitting the ground should sound alarm bells for lovers of the hydrogen economy.

    I’m with Scott in this matter. 🙂 It is like the Rum and Raisin dark chocolate. Oh my that stuff is good.

    > they realize that they’re getting old, too.

    I remember my mum craking the sads at us kids because she was watching a beach boys concert and wouldn’t let us watch, except it was a then recent concert. And she was very tearful and in a high emotional state from memory. I don’t know what she expected of them, and at least they could still hold a tune. Not everyone can manage that.

    I noticed that salary cuts, reductions of benefits and head counts weren’t supplied as options?

    If you can tolerate the unrelenting pop up ads, here is an amazing tale, almost out of the Hollow Kingdom book: When Molly met Peggy: Adorable story of an adopted rescue Staffy and an abandoned magpie who became the unlikeliest of friends.

    Ah yes, of course. You are more forward thinking in this matter than I. Makes sense about the toilet paper, and I can see that I’ve got some catching up to do before the magic number of 42 is reached. It’s definitely a problem.

    Thank you again for the picture. It is nice to put a face to a name, and here I am at a distinct disadvantage to all of the lovely people who comment here. I see what you mean about the green beans, and yes I too have parsley growing for most of the year. The editor refers to my salads as ‘Chris’s crazy greens collection’. Never fails to open the sinuses or challenge the taste buds.

    The lines were open! 🙂



  36. Yo, Chris – Well, the banana peels get cut up, and returned to the garden. Along with all those nice minerals. I cut them up because worms have small mouths 🙂 .

    Chickens and protein. I think I mentioned what I did, on that front. On the cheap. Every day I’d cut up some banana peel, and mix it in with a bit of rolled oats and yogurt. And a bit of their food. I also crunched up their egg shells (so they wouldn’t get any ideas), and mixed them in. Seemed to work. They were dirty for the stuff. I never had a problem with thin shells, or production. Or, you can just get a bit of pulverized oyster shell. Doesn’t take much.

    When blindsided by lack, one is permitted a couple of minutes of swearing a blue streak. And then one just gets on with it.

    RIP mower. Time for a scythe?

    Hints and riddles? And, I don’t remember quoting any Latin. I guess what I was trying to say is, you don’t need to tart up a good story. 🙂

    Star Trek overload. Like dilithium crystals, “They’re go’na blow, Captain!” Maybe it’s a last desperate attempt, to convince everyone our future is in the stars?

    What’s really amazing is how many people did survive the crash of the Hindenburg. Wik Hoppia has a pretty good description. The documentary mentioned that the Graf Zeppelin company, wanted to switch to the less explosive helium. Which was, at that time, only mined in the US. And, our government refused to sell any to the Germans, given the political climate, of the times. Interesting. While I was digging out that little nugget, I discovered that it also appears we’re reaching peak helium. Which is useful for a number of things, besides party balloons.

    The PUD, salary cuts and benefits reduction. They always say that if they don’t pay going rates (who sets those?), they won’t be able to get good staff. We hear the same thing in library land. And that the private sector, always pays more.

    Those cross species friendships, are always interesting. H and the little black cat, from across the street, are very curious about one another. But, I don’t let them get to close. You never quit know how that might turn out. Not a cross species story, but I was reading about your trash talking Musk Duck, over in Canberra. His name is Ripper. He’s quit elderly, hence, cranky 🙂

    I’m glad you liked the picture, and can now put a face (such as it is) with a name. I’ve always been painfully aware, that my life would have been very different, if I, say, looked like Errol Flynn (without the compulsive lying). 🙂 . Oh, well. One just accepts what one has been dealt, and gets on with it. Maybe next time …

    No one touches H’s tail. Another of Elinor’s foibles. It’s amazing, though, she has quit a knot of muscle, on her back, to keep that freak flag flying. Now that she’s going to the groomer’s, pretty regularly, about all I’m allowed to do is trim her up a bit, under her tail. To keep things neat and tidy. I’m a little concerned about Elinor. The last couple of nights, she’s really fumbled for words … more than usual. Mini strokes? Always a possibility.

    I picked another batch of tomatoes, yesterday, and they’re about done doing their thing, in the dehydrator.

    Oh! I almost forgot. I watched a documentary, last night, called “Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip.” About solar. Now, I don’t know if you have them down there, but Jonathan Scott and his twin brother have a show (never seen it), called “Property Brothers.” They convince people to tackle fixer-upper houses, through their “visualization.” But, from the clips I’ve seen, they do get right in there and get their hands dirty. He did touch on the drawbacks of solar, briefly. It was mostly about how the Big Bad Power companies, are trying to throttle alternative energy, in the cradle. But, I found it pretty interesting. Lew

  37. Chris,

    I forgot to mention…the new rock wall is looking superb. And the paths are coming along nicely also. It’s good to have something so visible to prove that you’ve been working hard.

    Thanks for the story about your PhD friend and his driving. I’ve known otherwise brilliant people who have had similar traits. As you said, there is a happy medium between the formal and hard knocks educations. Good that you were lucky that day, but you might agree that relying on “I’d rather be lucky than good” has serious drawbacks when the luck is not to one’s benefit, such as a kangaroo or a deer getting hit by your automobile.

    My observation also is that divorce sucks. I think that not even the attorneys win. Heck, temporary bumps in the road of a relationship can be difficult enough.

    Ya know, sometimes when one has lived somewhere long enough, one has a feel for when to start seeds in the greenhouse, when to plant into the soil, etc.

    It’s Friday evening. It began lightly raining about 5:00 p.m. today. The forecasted amount seems to be changing. My best guess is that we’ll get between 4 and 10mm. Everything helps.

    Glad you’re rural areas are off the lockdown. We’ve mentioned before that the message has been lost where it was known, and that it wasn’t known everywhere. This has been a total fuster cluck. Yes, weirdness has been apparent here since March 2020 also. We all want to “get back to normal”. However, the “normal” we had then wasn’t sustainable, nor is the current trajectory.

    I think there are 2 known things in our lives. One is that we don’t leave this life alive. The other is that change is constantly happening, sometimes more rapidly than at other times. But, you’re right, there are no guarantees for happiness, success, an easy go of it, etc.

    Is that homemade soap you make able to be used in a laundry washing machine? Making soap and candles are two items on my list of things to learn how to do.

    It was nearly impossible to find vinegar from March 2020 until August 2020. Iodized salt, pepper, dried legumes, rice and pasta have been on that list at times, also, and tomato products can still be difficult to find. The nearest grocery store was nearly out of beef and pork and eggs early this week. Very strange days.


  38. Hi DJ,

    Many thanks for the words of approval, and I feel here that I must add that the farm gets easier to live with in each passing year, a little bit more productive, and the systems are better tested against the underlying realities.

    Truth to tell, the construction of the house almost beggared us. The building codes suddenly changed during the application for permit process, and mad cash went flying off and away in all directions – other than into the physical form of the dwelling. Most of the things we ended up adding into the house, we were going to do anyway, we just had to pay other folks to do that task in order to obtain the correct certificates so that we could eventually reside here. And those sudden code changes ate mad cash as if it were going out of fashion. So as a consequence, in the following dozen years we’ve corrected things in the house which needed attention, set up the farm infrastructure, and upgraded machines as the funds became available. This is a very prudent course of action, but at the same time it has a halo of unfashionable-ness. And who wants to encounter old Ness in a remote and quiet Loch? 🙂

    Your lady is whip smart and in that you made the same choice I did. The editor is actually brighter than I am, and let’s not discuss the better grasp of mathematics. Actually that came in handy today because we ventured to the nearest timber yard in the closest town to purchase some timber for a project in the bathroom (installing a new cabinet which hangs off the wall). Structural timber couldn’t be found as the supply has largely disappeared, but then I noted the treated dressed pine which had equally good structural ratings and just purchased that stuff instead at a premium – welcome to the future! The editor could calculate the division of the cuts in her head to supply the correct lengths whilst the timber guy and I just almost said in unison: Just give us the answer! 🙂 But then it was I who worked out how to install the cabinet whilst making allowances for all of the other aspects of the job. We’re a team (as are you and your lady) and when one member of the team flags, the other steps up to the plate. And not everyone can be over every aspect of this here thing called life. Plus I recounted the awful fate of the Golgafrinchans to the editor this morning. It seemed somehow appropriate given the times. My mate chose instead to not be challenged by his partner, and it’s an option, I guess.

    At this time of craziness I’ve become fond of suggesting that few people if any are bringing their A-game to the table. Dare I suggest that they’re bringing their Delta-game to the table instead! 🙂

    Yeah, everyone goes through rough patches. How else can there be change when change is needed? And also I tend to believe that people have preconceived ideas in their heads, which don’t always accord with reality. Dare I mention the great dreams which people seem to hanker for? Who’s dream are they chasing, that should be the question there.

    🙂 Are you suggesting that experience counts for something?

    Go the rain! How much did you end up receiving? The rain looks set to return here tomorrow, and hail is forecast. Hail is very bad for the fruit trees. Oh well.

    Exactly, normal was never sustainable, and so here we are all talking about utter weirdness, and completely unable to address the core problems. It does not make me feel comfortable in any way shape or form. And also it highlights what a weak and vulnerable state we are in as a society.

    Not to worry, we’ll be back to locked down shortly.

    Yes, I agree, although you did forget to mention the taxes part which was part of that old adage. 🙂

    You have a curious mind. Respect. White vinegar works better in a washing machine than many an interesting and unknown proprietary formula. Give it a go and find out for yourself. Mostly we wash in cold water, but with some more soiled items like towels and sheets and work gear, we wash at 40’C. Plus we use a bag of soap nuts. It sounds a bit woo-woo until you realise that soap nuts contain Saponins which museums use to wash delicate fabrics. I get contact dermatitis and so just try to reduce the amount of industrial chemicals I get regularly exposed too.

    Mate, it is very possible that things will only get stranger. Sometimes even locally produced items have ingredients which have travelled inordinate distances, and the land of stuff appears to be taking advantage of our current weakness.



  39. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks to your mentioning banana skins, I now feed them to the chickens. Of course the skins are cut up as well into bite sized chunks, but everyone who is anyone knows that chickens mouths are larger than a worms. And also interestingly in a related side story, the worms get to consume any dead chicken, and so the whole thing really becomes what is politely known in business as: a timing issue. But yeah, you were right!

    That would work with the chickens for sure. Twice per week they now enjoy a half pound of minced meat (beef) and that sure has become expensive of late at about $16/kg (2.2 pounds to the kg). The chickens almost have punch ups over the mined meat. It’s kind of wrong, but if I were a better chicken owner I’d let them free roam through the orchard. But then I’d have to shoot the foxes, and they do such sterling work with the rabbits, that I’m kind of fond of the foxes. I dunno, there is no easy path, but you know why everything exotic tastes like chicken? It is because most animals like eating chicken at any and every opportunity.

    I add in crushed sea shell grit into the chickens mix which is sourced from near to Melbourne, and I suspect the chickens appreciate the calcium, they just also want the animal proteins. Commercial breeds of chicken were the worst on that front and if they weren’t fed enough protein in their diet, they’d go full on cannibal. I’m done with that lot and made an example of the last of them which I used to have – whilst sending a strong message to the other chickens. Well, at least I’d like to think that I’d done so.

    Speaking of getting on with things when confronted by lack… Went to the closest hardware store and timber yard this morning. They really had no structural pine timbers, but then I noticed that they had similarly graded and sized treated pine (at a slight premium to the non treated pine). I’ll get me some of those. And so after a short detour to consume a gourmet pie (hadn’t been able to get to the business for the past five weeks), we returned home and installed the bathroom cabinet which now hangs off the wall. The bathroom is looking pretty swisho despite being in an unfinished state. When we managed to pass all of the building code hoops and attain the correct paperwork all those long years ago, the act of construction almost beggared us. Since those days which are now over a decade ago, we’ve been changing things as surplus mad cash has become available. It’s an option which few people now pursue.

    Pah! I already have a scythe if required. And the Indigenous folks got around lack of that toll by becoming masters at handling fire.

    I agree. The fundamentals of the story were good enough just as they were presented. But you dodged my question: What is the oldest Arthurian narrative of them all?

    That’s possible about the stars project, but then I do wonder exactly who might be listening in to such a narrative? Thanks for the Scotty quote. It is rather apt for the current events.

    What? I thought that everyone died in the Hindenburg disaster. Well this is all news to me, and for some reason I imagined that the cause of the disaster was well understood. Crazy stuff.

    Musk ducks are fairly common near to large bodies of water like Ballarat lake (I’ve never seen that lake being dragged for a body). I had no idea the species were capable of that, but I’ve heard rather naughty cockatoos who’s rough speech would make me blush. And yes, sometimes people do get cranky as they age. Although I’d like to imagine that you and I are like a good bottle of wine and will only get better as we age. Others of course may turn to vinegar, and that is their choice.

    Hehe! I knew that about H’s tail, which is why I mentioned it. Although H would probably appreciate being cleaned up in that area beyond your necessary cuts. You could go the pom pom like Sir Poopy used to stoically endure? Always cheers the day up.

    Mate, I’m so sorry to hear of Elinor’s declining health. And few if anyone ever knows the full details as to what goes on. All we can but know is the ultimate conclusion sorry to say.

    Good stuff with the dehydrated tomatoes. You’ll be enjoying them come winter time.

    Thanks for mentioning the documentary. Of course the bloke sounds as if he is correct. As a person reliant on the form of energy he spoke of, I don’t actually believe that it is an issue which is so black and white. By way of explanation, electricity is much like water in that it moves in one direction. In the case of electricity it moves from the highest voltage to the lowest voltage. So with the present grid electricity is generated at higher voltages and then sent outwards. Due to cable sizing issues, it is much cheaper to send out higher voltage than lower voltage which requires much thicker cables. Long before the electricity reaches a home, it has to be reduced in voltage again using transformers. Solar power works in that area: between the transformer and the home. So what has been happening is that with enough households producing solar power from their roof top systems, the voltage in the zone between the transformers and the households, has been rising. With enough solar production things can get pretty messy in that zone in the grid as the voltage rises too high. It’s a real problem that nobody thought about and really there are no simple or easy answers other than cutting off the production at either end (the transformer or the household) and the sheer level of complexity required to do that is beyond what people want to pay for.

    My little off grid system gets around this issue by having four controllers which sense the health of the system 125 times per second and then responding correctly based on a program which I had to code. In theory it should be simple, but in practice it is all far from that state of being.



  40. Yo, Chris – Mr. Fox, rabbits, chickens … it’s a delicate balance. I generally just kept a small bowl of pulverized oyster shell, around the run. The chickens seemed pretty self regulating. They ate it, but rather sparingly.

    I’ve seen a few articles, recently, that the cost of our lumber is finally coming down. The price is not where it was, but is moving in that direction. Demand seems to have slacked, and the mills are catching up. There are only so many DIY projects, one can do 🙂 .

    You too can become a master at handling fire. Breathing it … juggling flaming batons. 🙂 .

    I love this article, that in several places plays off “non-specialist” vs “academic historians.”


    My take is, there was a leader (king? Maybe yes, maybe no), who pulled enough forces together, to stop the Saxon advance. That’s been pretty much proven, archaeologically. Then you have every Celtic princeling wanna-be, naming their kid and dog Arthur. A name not really in use before that time. Then there’s the Celtic war-lord, up near the eastern Scottish border. Very successful against the Saxons, but was referred to as being good … but not as good as Arthur. I think I picked up those little factoids, from the Great Courses lecture I listened to. All the above happened in the late 5th, early 6th centuries.

    Now, all those other dudes mentioned? I’d say, bits and pieces of their stories, were glued onto the Arthur story. I wonder which one had the unfaithful wife? 🙂 . So, you have a warlord dude, who fights a lot of battles, and stops the Saxons. Finis. And weather you believe that, or not, probably depends on how much you value your academic reputation. Right now, there’s a similar tempest in a tea pot, going on about Atlantis. There’s a lot of pop programs, kicking around right now, with some pretty wild theories. Which has academics, in a froth. What’s interesting is, no one is much mentioning Thera. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is where the Atlantis story originates from. Anyway, this article has a time line of when stories were written, and how much detail they had. Like an onion, layer after layer.

    “Who might be listening in.” Which is the whole premise of “Galaxy Quest.” 🙂 . And, they get it terrible wrong. Maybe we haven’t been visited by “strange visitors from another planet,” because they’ve been tuning into all the Star Trek stuff, and think we’re a galactic confederation, not to be messed with. Works for me …

    Here, it’s 9/11. With all that entails. It was odd, though. This morning I glanced at my digital clock, and it was exactly 9:11am. Odd, that.

    H is good at sweeping her tail, out of the way, while doing her business. Last night, Elinor mentioned that she asked the groomer to take a bit off the tail. Which surprised me. But, they didn’t. Maybe the intuited that no mater what they did, it wouldn’t be right 🙂 .

    The dehydrated tomatoes look quit pretty. They’re mostly orange and some red. And a few yellow pear tomatoes. They’re jewel like. Remind me of carnelian agates. Lew

  41. Hello Chris,

    Thanks for the invitation to look into wordpurse comments functionality. I take on the challenge. A first guess is to include comment numbers, like on the fine Greer blog. I’ll come back on this.

    > Had a serious offer today for someone I know to work on the farm in exchange for food and board.

    Wow! I think that this is the future we are moving towards. In many parts of the world, labour is so cheap that even slaves are a disposable commodity. At the same time, boarding is super expensive. I suspect that this was one of the main allures of monastic life during the middle ages – two good meals per day, and a safe place to sleep at night.
    Maybe you can expand on this in a future post? How would you establish such an arrangement? Would you ever be interested in this?
    An old lady I know was “dairy girl” from her 14th to 20th birthday (she is 90+). She told me that she milked six cows twice a day and took care of the vegetable plot, all at an uncle’s farm. Then she got married and her husband had cows as well, so the milking continued… Now the labour has been swapped for a milking robot (technology + electricity).

    Enjoy the end of the week!

  42. Hi Chris
    I am very impressed with the Razorback Machines. I would pick the top hp engine, the ROPS, The towing hitch, the foot wells ,the canopy, the fire extinguisher, . 360 kg weight is heavy enough for safe navigating on your steep property. It’s a long term investment. Very good mechanical design and attention to detail. Also the line has been on the market for long enough to insure that any faults have been taken care of. Ole Al says buy!buy,!buy!

    The Audio amp your re capping is likely new enough that the power stages are designed using MOSFET components. They are the best for quality sound from an engineering standpoint. Usually thought of being a modern successor to the vacuum tube.
    Although I bought a Fender Bassman guitar amp that was a solid state / vacuum tube hybrid. More as nostalgia thing from my 60s teen age rock and roll life than anything else. The little story I related about my daughter ratting me out about sneaking a new guitar into the basement. There were some other nice guitars which joined the collection during that period. Those arrived shall we say umm unannounced in advance. Some said Bad! Bad! Al. Hey, it all worked out. 😉
    Cheers Al.

  43. Hi Goran,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Comment numbers. Makes sense. Might have it all sorted out now. It was a rather complicated and convoluted process.

    I wasn’t sure how serious the offer was, but I’ve known the guy for many years and he didn’t look like he was joking around. Dunno. But from another perspective like what you wrote, I also expect this to be the way of the future. So few people in this country are involved in agriculture that it is an astounding risk.

    Not sure that I want to blog about that particular subject. I’m more interested if people can display enthusiasm, initiative and gumption.



  44. Hello Chris,

    Thanks! The comment numbering looks great.

    And regarding the subject of boarders/”work for food and lodging”/work camps, I guess we will need to (re)invent practices that work out for all parties in each local setting. It will look different in different places. Let’s talk about it when we are there. I think we can learn a lot from each other when we have more experience… But upfront, it is hard to predict. I am not sure I would want to have anyone to work for me in such conditions, it is a lot of hassle to have personnel. Maybe as an apprentice. Let’s see when reality comes knocking on the door.

    Here, the harvest season is in full swing in the orchards, and we enjoy fresh veggies and fruit. We had a rainy summer, but it has changed to a sunny and dry weather the last couple of weeks, which is perfect for the fruit and nuts to ripen off.

    Take care,

  45. Hi Lewis,

    There is no easy way to discern what a balance between competing species should actually look like. Unfortunately a whole bunch of ideology gets chucked into the mix when discussing this with other people, and those other people have somewhat fixed positions about such matters. It makes for an uncomfortable existence! I’ve read a few books discussing what the early explorers encountered, and it sounds like an entirely different country to what I now see. But of course, what I see around me right now off the farm, doesn’t work all that well, and people have their beliefs and cling to them I guess. It is hard to tune out the noise and just focus on what works, but that task gets easier each year with practice and observation.

    The chickens love shell grit, and I’m trialling a new addition to their feed. It’s called ‘no grind crumbles’ which looks like some sort of made chicken feed based on mixed grains which have been pelletised but not too finely ground. The chickens seem to like the stuff, but I believe that if they had their way, they’d prefer to eat mince meat most days. And that is not happening. If push came to shove, I’d let them free roam through the orchard, but at the same time I’d need more free time for such activity.

    Good to hear that lumber prices are reducing. I’d heard the stories, but to come face to face with the shortage was something else altogether. Fortunately, I’m not fussy about such things and the treated structural pine was just as good, and in some ways better. It was used in the bathroom so some resistance to the elements is not a bad idea.

    Very funny! Did you note that one of the survivors of the Hindenburg disaster was a circus acrobat, and he jumped from the flames from quite a height – and survived. The height may have been 20ft with the flames pushing him on, which is no small matter.

    Hehe! So I was reading the link which you provided regarding Arthur and historiography, and old Oliver Cromwell was heard laughing off in the distance at the more learned folks and their brayings: I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken. He may have a good point there. Just because that lot can’t prove that he was an historical figure does not then follow that the person did not exist in one form or another. This is shoddy logic of the worst kind – they don’t own the narrative. And in fact the onus should be on the learned folks to prove that Arthur did not in fact once stride across the land, if only because folks who were alive far closer in time to the events recounted. It’s outrageous logic chopping to claim that this is myth and that which we agree upon is fact.

    I tend to agree with your take in the matter. And I’m pretty certain that Jack Whyte may vote for the Riothamus. Just going with my gut feeling there.

    Well that opens up a whole can of worms, but the unfaithful act probably happened, and let’s face it, the warriors headed off into the sunset for months and months on end. It’s hard to keep the home fires burning under such conditions.

    Academics are probably as susceptible to fads and pressure, just like the rest of us.

    Yeah, Atlantis does stir the pot, although my knowledge is little. So did Plato and his mates lie? Does it matter? For all we know there may have been ancient civilisations of quite advanced technologies which vanished into the abyss of time. One of the reasons that the Dark Emu book garnered such an array of criticism was that the author posited the viewpoint that the indigenous folks were pretty clever to have survived so many millennia when others had failed. I’m pretty sure that our civilisation may look like Atlantis in another millennia’s time.

    Galaxy Quest! 🙂 So true. And yeah, you might be right there. Watch out for us, we’re bad and have tractor beams and photon torpedoes. Don’t mess with our business… And to think that Stephen Hawking may have been right with his warning.

    Super creepy. Mate, truth to tell I turned up to work that morning and it was an incredibly stressful job, and the marketing manager who was quite a lovely lady remarked to me that WWIII had just begun. And we sat in front of screens and watched the carnage. What surprised me that day was that the talking heads reassured the population that they know who did this heinous act, just before naming the organisation. It seemed a bit weird to me that the perps were known on the day – why weren’t they eliminated? Anyway, my over riding thought upon hearing the dire proclamation was why was I at work?

    Some of us are like a good bottle of wine and we get better as we age. Not all are like that, and it is up to us to navigate this reality. I try really hard to not indulge peoples second whinge.

    Ah ha! So you know a thing or two about gems. On Friday I spoke with a lady who’s husband and son enjoy walks in the bush fossicking and managed to find a nugget. She looked very proud of her team.

    Cheers and better get writing


  46. Yo, Chris – I think, maybe, the psychology of previous investment might apply to beliefs, too. ?

    Yes, I read that, about the acrobat, who made if off the Hindenburg. Wrong place, wrong time, right career.

    Some academics remind me of Sgt. Joe Friday, from the old “Dragnet” TV series. “Just the facts, Mam, just the facts.” 🙂 . No speculation or myth, allowed. About a thousand years, separated Plato, and the eruption, on Thera. Plenty of time to layer on myth and legend. The resulting tsunami brought down the Minoan civilization / empire. Which was the most advanced thing, going at the time. More or less. Showers? Flush toilets?

    I was working at the Centralia Library, on 9/11. Funny to think we weren’t quit as “connected”, 20 years ago. Information came in kind of in bits. On a much more pleasant note, September 11th is the birthday of Claudia Severa. She’s the Roman lady, who sent her friend at Vindolanda, a lovely birthday invitation. Sometime around 100 C.E. Which through chance, was preserved.

    I’ve been reading that book, “What’s Good,” by the farm-to-table NY City restaurant guy. It’s kind of a biography, of not only him, but his restaurant … and in some ways, New York. But every once in awhile, he throws in a chapter on a particular food stuff. There was a chapter on making maple syrup. Every year, he goes and helps out a friend during the syrup season. A guy who’s been at it for 30 years. There’s been changes in the technology. From collection buckets, to tubes snaking everywhere through the forest. But the whole thing is quit a delicate dance, between the climate, weather, the life cycle of the trees, etc..

    Right now, I’m deeply into a chapter on … strawberries. Odd that, since my very lovely Currier and Ives strawberry lithograph showed up, yesterday. Way back when, there were Virginia strawberries, and then another variety was discovered in Chile. Neither were much to write home about. Then in 1764, in an “old world garden” the two crossed, and something came out of that union, that gave the plant breeders something to work with. All commercial berries, are descended from them. Then, under a Colorado ski lift (no date given) someone discovered a single strawberry plant, that flowered and produced, pretty steadily through the summer.

    Along with my strawberry print, the seller threw in a little extra. He does, from time to time. Usually stuff he probably can’t sell, due to condition or cloying subject matter 🙂 . So, what did he send? A Currier and Ives of “Steam Catamaran – H. W. Longfellow”. A steam ship catamaran? Who knew. Damo could build one in his backyard 🙂 . It looks like quit a large, odd looking ship.


    This is even odder. The link is to a photo of the lithograph, And, I’m pretty sure it’s the same one, the seller sent me. The damage, and spotting on mine is identical. Another reason it may have been unsalable is that it’s glued to thin paper board.

    I haven’t found much on steam catamarans. It will take a deep dive, down the rabbit hole. But, I did see an newspaper article, from the 1880s, on this particular ship. But I’ll have to wade through the very fine print, of the entire edition of the newspaper. Maybe, this evening.

    Carnelian is found right here in little old Lewis County. I’ve got a few chunks of it. Quit pretty. Some of it is banded. The Romans imported it from, I think, India. And carved cameos out of it. Lew

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