Orange Crush

On the other side of the partly frosted glass window, just behind where I was seated, silhouetted by the flashing lights, there was a presence looking inwards. Nobody inside knew exactly why this was so, but by all accounts it had been the fourth time that day.

Tuesday was such a strange day. Most days now are a little bit strange, but then there are times when the merely strange, gets elevated to new heights of utter weirdness. The nearby city of five million people has had a 9pm to 5am curfew in place for so long now, that I can’t recall when it actually began. And when it began, it was only meant to be for a few days. The city folk aren’t allowed out into the rural areas. Conversely, the editor and I aren’t allowed into the city. Obtaining supplies found only in the city has become something of an art form, and fortunately I have a work permit to assist a national wholesaler processing their internet orders a day or so per week (as needed). Otherwise I too couldn’t venture into the big smoke.

2008 was an awful year. Years beforehand of continuous economic stratification had spread my group of friends to the four corners of the big smoke. Three years of online games (which I did not join) leading up to that awful year, was the proverbial straw which broke the camels back. With nothing to lose, the editor and I quit the city and headed into the bush seeking adventure.

From that year onwards, I’ve since developed a large group of acquaintances, and a few friends. Many of the acquaintances I could rely upon to watch my back if ever I was unlucky enough to become embroiled in a knife fight! Some of the acquaintances developed through long term commercial arrangements, and such folks keep me supplied with things which I am unable to purchase easily, or in bulk, in a rural area. They need the business, I need the stuff, we’ve been on friendly terms for years, and so they look out for me.

It’s been months since I’ve been able to visit the grain dudes, and stocks in the kitchen were running very low. They don’t normally open the same day where I can actually get into the city. After a phone call, we made arrangements, and now the stores in the kitchen are again full. Really lovely people, and they’re stressed out.

In fact, everyone I encounter now in the big smoke appears to be stressed out or fearful (or both all at once). It’s wearing me out, but I just try to make them all laugh and forget things, at least for a short while. And people appreciate that, and treat me very kindly. There are times where I’m quite touched by the support which people whom I’ve known for a long time provide me.

Perhaps it was my imagination which detected an underlying echo of anger, or uncertainty, or even hysteria, last Tuesday in the big smoke. Whatever it may have been, there were violent protests that day. Some people vent their rage in such a fashion, and the authorities respond in kind. The weight of the ongoing restrictions has economically and socially crushed many people, and there appears to be no end in sight. Ultimately, however the outcome of the protests was that the construction industry is now under mandatory orders to vaccinate, and they were additionally shut down for two weeks. All of them.

That Tuesday I worked in a warehouse. It is unglamorous work, and at the unfashionable end of my profession, but that is what it takes to get internet orders into the mail.

Later that evening, I turned homeward bound, but also had an appointment to stop off at a local business in the nearest town to the farm. The editor joined me there. I waited in a chair with a frosted pane glass window facing onto the street behind me. Blue and red lights flashed. A vehicle from out of the area had been pulled over by the police, and the driver was possibly in the process of being heftily fined. Vehicle number plates link vehicles to addresses, and city folk really aren’t allowed into the rural areas.

For some reason during the incident, one of the officers peered through the sections of the window which were clear, and hence into the business. I assumed that they were checking to ensure that people inside the business were wearing masks, but who really knows? And all the while the pulse of the red and blue lights could be seen through the windows.

I sat in the waiting chair with my back to the window, the editor spoke with two lovely local ladies, whom she has known for many years. And whilst they conversed about this matter, and some other matters, I peered into their faces and saw not reassurance from the attentions of the authorities, but fear and uncertainty. This is the world I now inhabit.

Still, the future is an unknown country, and whilst reading a fictional work (The Languages of Pao) from my favourite author, Jack Vance, I happened upon an appropriate paragraph surrounding the possibilities of the future, the text of which I will now reproduce here (purely for research purposes):

” – was that so incredible, really? Did not many of the great turning points in the history of civilisations, the great changes that shook established customs to their foundations, have their origin in some trivial incident – a shrewd man’s accidental, momentary carelessness, a breakdown or lapse of authority at some point? No, it was not too incredible. “

Having a few clients in the construction industry with it’s new mandatory vaccination orders, the editor and I decided to get vaccinated this week with the locally produced brew. It’s based on an old school technology. Other than feeling mildly thirsty, I had no side effects. The editor on the other hand has been feeling rather ill, and is very slowly recovering. Some people I know suggest that there may be serious long term health consequences from this, and for all I know, they may be correct. But for us, the land here with all that that entails, and all the people we know both far and wide, is our world. After more than eighteen months of all this current situation, and with almost two thirds of a year of that time stuck in a serious lock down, we chose not to break further social bonds. There’s a storm brewing on that front.

There’s not only a metaphorical storm brewing, but on Wednesday morning, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck about 200km / 120 miles east of here. Wow! The house shook and the floors, walls and ceiling all deflected by about half a foot (I have that figure on good authority). Fortunately the house is a reasonably flexible and well tied together design, which the editor and I constructed ourselves to ensure that it was done correctly, so there was no damage. However, that was the strongest earthquake which I have ever experienced, and I can see how buildings would collapse under such conditions.

The earthquake felt map. The red dot is the epicentre

Many of the paths are being corrected so that they more easily accommodate the machines which we now use. And some of the paths are being corrected because of aesthetic considerations. A rock wall in the courtyard behind the house has been in the process of being corrected so as to reduce the curvature, thus making the courtyard wider.

The curvature on this rock wall was reduced so that the courtyard is now wider

Regular readers will recall that last week we installed two lamp posts near to the courtyard. The timber posts for two much smaller LED light bollards (near to the new lamp posts) have been set into cement this week.

Plum inspects the two timber posts which will soon support small LED light bollards

All these lights don’t power themselves, and so this week we installed a new large LiFePO4 battery for this purpose. We’ve had the battery since before Christmas last year, and just haven’t had the time to install it. The battery is replacing a fifteen year old large lead acid battery which has provided sterling service and will continue to be trickle charged in case it is needed in the future.

A new large LiFePO4 battery was installed to power the garden lights and water pumps

The seeds for the summer crops were placed into growing trays this week. The growing trays sit in the greenhouse and the seedlings will be planted out when the time is right. Long term readers will recall that at this time last year, the construction of the greenhouse had not yet been completed, and the seed raising job was done in something of a rush. Now with more time and a sturdy potting table near to hand, the job was not only easy, it was also enjoyable.

Growing trays enjoy the warmth of the greenhouse

Early Spring Update:

The severely pruned Meyer Lemon appears to have survived its ordeal
Asparagus spears are pushing through the soil – and are very tasty!
The very first purple Broccoli floret

Onto the flowers:

A thicket of Forget me nots
The white ornamental Cherry trees are now in blossom
They however don’t compare to the pink flowering form of ornamental Cherries
This Daisy has spectacular rich colour
The paddocks are full of Daffodils

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 6’C (43’F). So far this year there has been 909.0mm (35.8 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 903.2mm (35.6 inches)

46 thoughts on “Orange Crush”

  1. Strange times indeed. Glad you are weathering it all. I had the Astra Zeneca at the end of May, and I had 24 hours of flu-like symptoms, plus that dry mouth for about a week. Very odd, I mean, I understand the flu symptoms, but a dry mouth? That seems a bit left field. However, I have been fine ever since.

  2. Yo, Chris – So, you have some freedom of movement. If this were WWII, you’d be smuggling guns to the resistance and bogus documents to those in hiding, trying to leave the country. “Your papers, please!”

    Your trip to the grain dudes: I imagine you creeping down a dark alley, knocking on a door with a sliding peep hole, and announcing that “Joe sent you.” More seriously, any hints on how their supply lines are holding up?

    Well, Tuesday. A full moon and a seasonal equinox. Scoff if you want, but those things tend to … amplify feelings. If you’d ever worked for purveyors of liquor, you’d know it wasn’t superstition, but a very real thing. The wise bar owner pays attention to full moons, paydays and weekends. When those things align, best to put on extra staff. Or, in one case, close.

    I’d say the tenseness, at having the police around, well, who hasn’t skated a bit, as far as deportment and law is concerned? The ladies may have been reflecting on a sweet they stole, when five years old. 🙂 . After I quit boozing, when pulled over, there was always a moments disquiet. Until reminding myself that a.) I wasn’t loaded and b.) my tabs, registration, license and proof of insurance were all in order. Be respectful and (given the stories one hears) move slowly. But, I can understand when you haven’t been subjected to that kind of tension, it is unnerving.

    That was an interesting quote about history. I think Mr. Greer has made the point, that history happens rather slowly, then all at once. Like going broke / bankruptcy. And the minute, little things that lead to the cataclysm are lost.

    Well, now that you’ve been through a major quake, you know more what to expect. Recognition will dawn, a lot faster, next time.

    It’s nice of you to set up more comfort stations, for Ollie, for when he is inspired to lift the leg. 🙂 .

    “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Often attributed to Dale Carnegie (bright-side self-improvement guru … no relation to Andrew Carnegie, billionaire philanthropist). Actually coined by Elbert Hubbard (described in some places at a Christian anarchist, but I prefer “…exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement.” Went down with the Lusitania, in 1915. Probably no relation to Ron Hubbard, inventor of Scientology and really bad sci-fi writer.) Elbert Hubbard came up with the phrase, while writing the obituary of famous (in his day) dwarf actor Marshall Pinckney Wilder (probably no relation to Laura Ingalls Wilder, of “Little House on the Prairie” fame. But one never knows …) But I digress ….

    The Forget-Me-Nots are quite lovely. Everyone thinks I’m nuts, because I have little clumps of them, growing here and there among my vegetables. Well, why not? I find them cheery, and they’re to the stage now where they freely self seed. Minds of their own. The asparagus and broccoli look quit tasty. The rest of the flowers, are lovely, as always.

    We’re going to have five days of rain. Maybe some wind. Then, a sunny spell in time for next weekend. Lew

  3. Hi Goran,

    Thanks, and I discovered one set of hinges on a door appears to have been damaged. Not a bad effort really for the size of the earthquake. Do you get them in your part of the world? They’re rare here, and this mountain range is apparently very old.

    No worries about the mower idea. It’s probably not suited to your part of the world really because it was designed to navigate 25 degree plus slopes. It doesn’t sound like much of an incline until you have to go up or down it! 🙂

    Yeah, they did the same here and continue to make the same claims even today. And yes I agree, history suggests that in the past prisoners and orphans were often experimented on, so claims as to similar testing regimes have a certain sort of truth to them. The health subject which dares not be named is something that dominates a lot of peoples minds and energy, I’m just not one such person, and I just try and get on and live life as best as I can. Given all the craziness down here, that is not as easy to do as you’d imagine. How are things on that front in your part of the world? I spoke with a friend in Europe on the weekend, and it sounded reasonably normal.

    Nobody wants fomo! 🙂 Hehe!



  4. Hi Al,

    Mate, I had virtually no impact other than hearing my body cry out for a bit of extra fluids. I drink a lot of water most days, but after the vaccination chose to intersperse rehydration solutions with the water. Honestly, I felt fine, and have had similar feelings after donating blood. The editor on the other hand, had the awful experience of the mother of all hangovers, despite keeping her intake of fluids up. She’s doing better today, but is keeping away from screen time which seems to exacerbate the side effects.

    Yeah, well, one of the editors friends is a scientist who worked on the local production, and now tells us that she also had similar side effects for a couple of days afterwards. Nice.

    The structural engineer is a really nice bloke, and he included provision for the highest likely wind loads on the roof, floor and wall design. The structure is tied together with a whole bunch of steel and lots and lots of built in redundancy. One Christmas day (which is summer here) many years ago, we were a direct hit from minor tornado, with high winds and four inches of rain in an hour, and the house was fine. It is an unusual design, but it seems to work. I don’t doubt that the house will be tested by a bushfire sooner or later. Seismic calculations aren’t a consideration here, but I reckon the wind loading sort of accommodates that story.

    90’F is pretty nice weather, really. If ever you ended up in a super cold environment, you certainly wouldn’t be acclimated. 🙂 Mind you, the other day I was wearing a t-shirt whilst I noted other people were rugged up with plastic puffer jackets and I thought to myself: Softies!



  5. Hi Jo,

    Yup, the times sure are strange. I hope that your kids are doing OK in the big smoke? I’m taking things on a day by day basis on that front, but never did I imagine that things would end up like this. It is possible that enduring is a better way to describe the situation? There are days where I imagine moving to your island state.

    Exactly! It is odd, but before reading your comment, I’d remarked to the editor today that she also had an almost flu like response to that vaccination as well. I’ve wondered about the dry mouth too, but I’m guessing that it is your body telling you to drink more fluids in order to process whatever is going on inside. I’ve felt similar things after donating blood, so I treated it accordingly with water and rehydration solutions. You can only drink so much water before it doesn’t correct your thirst and the dry mouth continues. That’s my best guess, anyway. Dunno, and that wasn’t one of the advised of side effects. Oh well.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    Elinor appears to be super tough! And the difference in outcome between the editor and I was notable. On the other hand, it was fortunate because I was able to nurse the editor slowly back into good health. She’s avoiding screen time today as it seems to be setting off a headache, but is rapidly recovering.

    You’ve got a good handle on languages, so do you have any idea why it is now known as a jab? That word has an innocuous sound to it, but as to the history of that word – beats me. I’d never heard it used in such a context before, mostly the word would indicate to do something like elbow your mate in the ribs so as to get their attention (i.e. a jab in the ribs).

    Well yes, knowing when to stop a good wallow is a difficult thing for folks to ascertain. I had a bit of a wallow recently, but I can’t afford to indulge such things, and just had to pick myself up by my bootstraps, and get on with life. I can see that in you, yeah it makes sense, and is quite an effective strategy. Mate, it is better than experiencing someone losing it completely during the middle of a crisis – such folks end up as dinosaur food!

    People are a touch more honest these days about such emotional reactions, and that is a good thing. When I was a kid, nobody spoke about such matters at all, even though you’d heard that such and such a person had taken to bed.

    Second hand DVD players (or Blu-Ray players) might not be a bad option? Ook! It does look as if they’re going the way of the Dodo, or tape cassette, in favour of streaming services. When will such behemoths know when they have enough? Interestingly I do know of some folks who pressed some vinyl records recently, and it isn’t a cheap process, but there does appear to be a market for such items – which warms my heart. What do you reckon about the chances or likelihood of your library system purging their collection of DVD’s at some point in the future?

    Fair enough and I defer to your greater knowledge and experience in this area, but I still did wonder where the men had gotten too. And why that photo? At its most basic interpretation to an outsider such as myself, the photo suggests to the casual observer that the outcome was one dead, and four survived. Perhaps I’m being too literal in the interpretation? I wouldn’t provide such a photo to the media anyway, as it seems far too personal to share, for my tastes. Possibly I’ve been inculcated in English culture in this respect and treat grief as a private thing.

    Ah, thank you for the possible explanation for the flag. I had not understood the tradition and had wondered about that particular aspect.

    It is hardly a feeble attempt! We’ve discussed Dutch masters, and kudos to the guy who was skilled enough to reproduce the results, whilst fooling the experts. Now we’re onto the Etruscans! What could possibly go wrong here? 🙂 I note that the Etruscans had the most excellently named God: Fufluns who as you probably already know was the god of plant life, happiness, wine, health, and growth in all things. Who appears to have been subsumed by the Romans and integrated into their God Dionysus / Bacchus (the name of a very fertile marsh with lots of market gardens not too far from here). I’m surprised that less of the Etruscans stuff survived, and the language is something of a mystery, but then Rome would have required a lot of feeding.

    Hehe! Yes, you might be right there. What can I say? It’s good to know people in low places who can get stuff done. 😉 It’s a bit Fight Club isn’t it?

    Man, it is just super weird down here. Last year was odd with the military and police checkpoints (which only covered a few outbound roads by the way), whereas this year the ante has been upped, the checkpoints dismantled, and the effectiveness has been increased. Makes for a nervous constitution. 🙂

    The grain dudes are really cool, and we usually talk sci-fi and zombie stuff. I forgot to ask about how their supply lines are going, but will try and remember next time. I’ve been buying from them for a number of years now, and they said that it is quieter, but people are buying in bulk and turning up less often. Which kind of makes sense. They were able to supply the order, so I’d imagine they’d say something if there were difficulties. I mean it is really basic items, raw materials in fact, that I picked up. I’m not entirely convinced that most peoples cooking skills are up to handling such items, and then making something tasty out of them. As you’d imagine, I keep stocks of the basics, and the garden supplies a lot.

    Oh far out! You’re right… It was really close to a full moon. Well that explains a thing or three. So obvious from hindsight. No I’m not scoffing, things are already weird down here, so a bit of extra weirdness is kind of like adding an extra layer of cream on the cake of strangeness.

    Good advice, and thanks for that. Moving slowly and explaining oneself is not a bad approach. Spare a thought for them for a moment, because maybe fifteen years ago there was a gun amnesty for illegal weapons, and a public announcement had to be made to the public to phone ahead before taking your gun to the police station. Yeah, not a bad idea.

    Have you ever been subjected to such sustained tension as the eighteen months of ongoing weirdness down here? I kind of liken it to the feeling I get during very hot and dry summers in relation to the bushfire risk. Most city folks have never experienced such ongoing and prolonged tensions.

    Thanks, it is a wise observation, and I also note that Ernest Hemingway penned: “How did we go bankrupt? Two ways. Slowly, and then all of a sudden.” An unpleasant experience to be sure.

    Mr Greer is stressing me out, but he might be right about the vaccine-enhanced illness too. I dunno, time will tell. Mate, all men die, this is part of the natural course of life. However, the current obsession with death seems like a massive distraction to me, I’m doing my best and just going about life as normally as possible in very odd circumstances. But plenty of other folks seem to be enjoying their time out from their former lives. And I do wonder whether there will be repercussions from all of this? Have you got any theories to posit in relation to this matter?

    Ollie is a gentleman of the finest breeding, and refuses to answer questions about his toiletry concerns. 🙂

    I remember that Dale Carnegie guy. Had a mate who was deep into that sort of knowledge. My mate used the knowledge as if he were putting on a change of persona, but underneath it all there were still the many rough edges.

    Go on, what even is a Christian Anarchist? At first reading I thought that you’d written Anti-christ and thought that this paragraph has suddenly taken a dark turn. I quite enjoy the Arts and Crafts architectural style.

    Laura Ingalls Wilder lived a very up and down experience. You’d imagine that such a life is in store for most in the future.

    No, I don’t think you’re nuts, and I also let those cheery plants happily self seed and they live out their lives in the orchards.

    Added a touch of salt to the asparagus beds tonight. It seems as if the addition is an old school thing which apparently just works.



  7. Yo, Chris – I think it’s interesting that even though we’re all the same species, we react differently to different medicines, medicinal plants, and even foods. Some things are pretty general, but others, rather arcane. Genetics, individual biochemistry, etc. etc.. If things hold together long enough, someday we may have some answers. But research … if you can’t make money off of it, or use it to your own ends … Unless you maybe have a flush patron, who’s as interested as you are in whatever.

    I thought of “jab in the eye with a sharp stick.” But, it turns out the phrase is “poke in the eye with a sharp stick.” “Poke” is Middle English, probably by way of the French. But “jab” is old Scottish, a form of “job,” which referred to the pecking of birds. But here’s the interesting thing. A 1914 dictionary of criminal slang, describes “jab” as an addicts term for hypodermic injections. “Jab,” as in “right jab” is also a boxing term. Fight Club! 🙂

    According to that book “The Revenge of Analog,” that I read, at one low point, there was only one record pressing plant left in the US. And, it didn’t even run full time. Then, vinyl records came roaring back, and now they run 24/7. And, they aren’t the only vinyl pressing plant. Machinery is a problem. A lot of it had been scraped, but, as with old printing presses, an old vinyl pressing machine shows up, from time to time. Buried in someone’s barn. But here’s the thing. For how long? Vinyl is made of about half petroleum product. The rest is chlorine, which can be obtained from sea water.

    The Emperor Augustus had two good life-long buddies. Agrippa, who we know a lot about (married Augustus’s daughter), and Maecenas.

    Maecenas came from an old Etruscan family. So, some of those Etruscans managed to hold onto a bit of power. The Romans and the Greeks were a bit horrified by the Etruscans as they had a rather egalitarian attitude toward their women. By the gods! they even let them sit in on their banquets! The horror, the horror … 🙂 . The Etruscan tombs are very interesting. Looks like they were always up for a good party. Apparently, that was a trait that was passed down. I like to think of Maecenas as Augustus’s Master of the Revels. I’ve always liked that pot top, of the warrior being carried off by Sleep and Death.

    I think everyone has a certain amount of sustained tension. Anyone who has more sustained tension, than me, is over the top 🙂 . I suppose it depends on what you choose to focus on, and how deeply. Elinor had another bout of sitting there, and checking her pulse, every three minutes. To me, that seems over the top. To her, it’s a vital concern.

    Hmmm. I guess I’m lucky (and, I know how lucky I am) to be at a point in life where things are, generally, pretty low stress. But I do think (but not very deeply) about what my life might have been like, had this all happened ten years ago. Or, twenty.

    Mr. Greer may be right about vaccine enhanced illnesses. But, Mr. Greer may also be wrong. Time will tell.

    And the repercussions from all this? Oh, I’m sure there will be some. And, maybe some quit profound. But we just don’t know. Black swans, and all that. Maybe I’m a bit laid back about all this, due to sitting at the knee of that great Western sage and philosopher, Alfred E. Neuman. “What, Me Worry?” We could get a memo this afternoon, that the Institution is closing down, and we’ve got 30 days to clear off. The Cascadia Subduction Zone could give a twitch, and the whole place become uninhabitable. That piece of space junk I saw, could have landed in our parking lot. Elinor went through a whole song and dance about H getting flu, pneumonia or Covid, the other night.

    Yes, that bit about Hubbard being a “christian anarchist” kind of threw me, too. Then I reminded myself that those entries are written by people, who may have some bone to pick with Hubbard. Gosh knows what hobby horse. I prefer to think of Hubbard in this way …

    When I came here, there were a lot of self seeding plants around. Lemon Balm, pansies, snapdragons, fennel. I seem to have added forget-me-not, bachelor buttons and love-in-the-mist to the mix. So far, the minor sunflowers and wild geranium have also made an appearance, every year. Sweet peas, seem to come and go. Here some years, others, not. Lew

  8. Hello Chris
    This is my second attempt to comment. I have been incessantly interrupted.
    I hope that the editor recovers completely soon. My younger daughter said that she was wiped out for a day and then recovered after her vax. Oh I do hate the word ‘jab’ for it, it doesn’t sound a bit innocuous to me. Hear it constantly on radio and television and think that it sounds most aggressive.

    Well we are not locked down but things are collapsing around is. The shortage of HGV drivers is becoming noticeable particularly where the delivery of petrol and diesel is concerned. Gas and electricity is in trouble and now my water pressure has gone down. Neighbours have been phoning me to check that they are not the only ones in trouble.

    It sounds nuts but I would almost like things to collapse and then start from scratch again. Curiously enough, another friend just said the same thing.


  9. Hi Chris,
    I went to a small local printer to fax the documents. I hadn’t been in for some time so the owner and I chatted for a time. His business has dropped off and he voiced concern about other small businesses. I told him about the situation in Australia and he had no idea and was pretty horrified.

    I’m glad the editor is on the mend. Reactions to the vaccine are all over the place. Some people just don’t do well with vaccines in general. One of my sisters got the Rubella vaccine years ago. About a week later she had symptoms someone like Rheumatoid arthritis and brought it up to her doctor. He asked if she had had a recent vaccine and as it had been a week or more she almost forgot to tell him. Well he said it was a reaction to the vaccine. The symptoms got better but not totally so she’s still bothered by it to this day. She got the first dose of the shingles vaccine and got a strange tingly sensation so was advised to skip the second one.

    Been busy the last week. I helped my sister (same one) with her move from the city. She has moved to Woodstock, IL, the town where “Groundhog Day” was filmed. Also worked a couple of days sorting books for a huge used book sale. On Friday we took the dogs to our daughter, Carla and SIL, Ritchie’s place for an overnight for the first time. They were taking us out for a big thank you dinner for having the wedding at our place. We were a bit concerned with leaving our dogs with their dog, Ruth and the two cats but as they love all things techy they have a camera that keeps an eye on what the animals were doing. Leo and Salve mostly just paced back and forth but seemed OK. However when we got back we discovered that Salve had chewed the corner of a coffee table. She chews wood when she’s anxious for some reason which is why we usually crate here when we go out. We’ll think she’s over it and then out of the blue something is chewed again. Fortunately she’s fine with the crate.

    Garden is just about done except for greens. It’s been a very dry month again and in fact we have fire warnings now due to all the dry corn and soybeans waiting to be harvested. Temps are once again above normal and no rain to speak of for the foreseeable future. We have corn fields on two sides of our property and it looks very brown. It’s dried much faster than usual this year.

    Hey with all the talk of the book, “The Languages of Pao” I ordered in from Thriftbooks. Also as I had volunteered with set up for the book sale set up I got to purchase books before the sale started. Bought seven books for $13.


  10. Hi Chris,

    I too wish the Editor a speedy and full recovery from the vaccine!

    Last week I moved some of the boy choy, kale, and turnip seedlings to fill in the empty places in their portions of the bed. I’m pleased to say that all the moved plants appear to be recovering well. Meanwhile we’ve begun eating from that bed just as most of the rest of the garden has died or is slowing down. The peppers are still happily making and ripening peppers; it’s been an excellent year for them.

    We have similar weather to Margaret: above normal temperatures and dry, with elevated fire danger this afternoon. We may receive some rain later in the week but the probabilities being given are low. We have yet to experience a low temperature below 50F/10C this September, which is unusual for this late in the month. Still, some leaves are changing color and falling and birds are migrating, so autumn is upon is. It’s just getting a slower than usual start.


  11. Hi Inge,

    With all those interruptions, guess it just proves that it is nice thing to be popular! 🙂

    Thanks for your concern, and the editor is recovering rapidly. It interests me that after penning this blog, people I know are now recounting many interesting side effects from their treatment. Hmm, it is rather odd that they were quiet about them beforehand. I suspect though that this is the sort of world we live in nowadays where some topics are not able to be freely discussed. Fortunately, I have some small freedoms in this regard.

    Glad also to hear that your daughter speedily recovered. Other than being mildly thirsty, I had no side effects (so far that I’m aware of), but I’m beginning to understand that this is an uncommon state. Maybe a month or so ago I inadvertently phoned a mate who had received such treatments earlier in the day, and he sounded very ill indeed, and believe it or not, that was the first I’d heard of such a reaction.

    Yes, our poor language is under siege, and perhaps I was being mildly sarcastic in my usage of that particular word. The word has dark overtones to it. All along I get the impression that decline has been advanced as: it’s just a small temporary impost. Hmm.

    It has hardly escaped me either that the price of oil is escalating at the same time. I used to speak with a guy who drove trucks on interstate deliveries, and it is hard and long work, but he was paid OK down here, and had moved down under with his family from Poland. It is possible that your country doesn’t have enough trucks or even enough diesel in the first place. Incidentally I’ve got a truck license through the volunteer fire brigade (I used to enjoy driving the fire trucks). Training for such a task could be done quickly if required. I would not deem such a shortage as an insurmountable problem.

    But gas and electricity, yes, we also seem to have lost the plot on that subject. If I may be so bold as to suggest a solution: Anyone, anywhere, talking up renewable energy sources, should be forced to live with them (with no alternative) for a month over the winter months. After that, all you would hear is silence. My best guess is that the ideologues might attempt this on a grand scale.

    I hear you about that, and yes the fog surrounding everything just eats away at getting on with the job of facing the future.



  12. Hi Claire,

    Thank you for your concern, and I will pass on your lovely words to the editor.

    Peppers are so tasty, and I’m curious as to whether you grow varieties with a mouth blazing zingy kick to them? We set out seeds in the greenhouse a few days ago for these plants, and I’m looking forward to enjoying a better harvest this year – but time will tell. Most of the varieties available down under are not suitable for this corner of the continent, and so I’m attempting to develop a landrace variety out of what actually did grow in former seasons.

    It is funny the difference half a world away makes, and we’re consuming some of the kale leaves tonight in dinner. We’ve been slowly coming around to the realities as to how to cook with them, and our opinion is that the leaves are better tasting cooked than raw. Although I may trial them in a coleslaw sooner or later.

    Stay safe, and keep alert for nearby mischief if the wind picks up on a seriously hot day.

    How was your corn harvest this year?

    Hey, I may have mentioned this to you before, but my experience is suggesting that autumn weather is becoming shorter on average with each passing year. On the other hand, the spring weather is lengthening, so who knows how things will roll. Spotted the very first tiny apricot earlier today. Yay!



  13. Hi Margaret,

    It can be quite enlightening to speak with people ‘on the streets’, such as small business owners, and they tell a very different story to what is being presented in the media. I dunno though, there is an old saying along the lines of: ‘you can’t fight city hall’, and this may be true at this time. Economically speaking, for many small businesses, the last eighteen months have been something of a bloodbath down here. Things may be different where you are.

    When I was a very young kid in primary school (years 1 to 6), there was a kid who’s mum had (from memory) contracted German measles during pregnancy, and the kid wore glasses and hearing aids, but despite the differences, from memory we all got along just fine. I recall the advertisements on television at the time for the vaccination too. Nowadays that one I believe is mixed up as MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), but I dunno, memories are short, and maybe we forget that with benefits, also come costs. With this current round, I’m not sure that the cost side of the story has been entirely discovered yet, but we’ll get there. I do my utmost best to stay away from that industry in the first place, if I can help it. 🙂 I read a book a few years ago by William Catton Jr. titled “Overshoot” and the clear sightedness of the author in relation to this and other current and future matters, was quite breathtaking. And yup, that’s a book recommendation for sure. 🙂

    Strange tingly sensations can often indicate nerve damage, which is incidentally, the final aftermath of my shoulder injury which is the only reason I add in an opinion. Every day I now have a stretch routine which targets the areas and those surrounding it, where the nerves are getting slightly pinched. The stretching routine helps and has reduced the tingly incidence to only a minor and occasional nuisance. It is possible that your sister has a lifetime of accumulated physical wear and tear, which may be assisted by something as simple as physical therapy, but I’m no expert in this regard and can only recount my own experiences.

    Wow! Are all your family moving outwards from the big cities? I note that Woodstock is on the train line, albeit I’m guessing a differing route from yourself. It looks like a really delightful town, and I hope your sister settles well there. And who can forget Groundhog Day?

    Haha! Naughty Salve, she just couldn’t help herself. 🙂 With her canine friend Ruth, and some cats, you’d hardly imagine that she’d be bored or distressed? But I guess our canine friends really do like their patterns and can get anxious when things aren’t quite as they were meant to be. We took the three of them for a long walk this evening, and upon returning home encountered a huge wombat in the driveway. The dogs were on leads, and the wombat just glared at the dogs as something of a personal challenge. We turned around and walked for a couple of minutes more so that the wombat had time to go about its business elsewhere – which it did.

    The lead into the winter months are the same here too. And the winter months here by way of comparison continue to provide plenty of fresh greens and citrus, and not much else. I reckon autumn is getting shorter, but then my memories may be false. What do you reckon about that?

    Stay safe there, and keep alert if any days become both hot and windy.

    Hope you enjoy the book. Jack Vance is a favourite author, but that was not his finest work, not by a long margin, although it covers many interesting issues. I’d go for Emphyrio if you want to dip into story telling greatness, but there are many diverging opinions to be had in this regard. Total score too with the books! 🙂



  14. Hi Lewis,

    We’re all individuals on that score, and I do sometimes wonder whether the health industry has cottoned onto that particular complexity? I’ve known people over the years who have allergic reactions to all manner of innocuous things, and a person can count their lucky stars if they avoid such outcomes. I’m with you in that regard, and doubt there is much money to be made in investigating such matters. A person really has to take the concern for their personal health matters seriously and into their own hands as it is something that I believe cannot be easily outsourced to other people, unless they have a long history with you. Dunno about you, but the longer I’ve lived, the more frayed are the social connections, and I believe this is a deliberate policy being pursued.

    Ah, many thanks for investigating this matter, and I appreciate your fine work as the resident linguist and historian. On another related matter, have we not discussed before that it all comes back to Fight Club? 🙂

    Sometimes the universe provides. I was getting a bit tired of having to travel to the local plant nursery to purchase the bags of agricultural lime I’d been mixing into the coffee grounds this year. It is no exaggeration to suggest that possibly about 2,000 pounds of the stuff has been strewn around the orchards this year. The results are good too. I even spotted the first tiny apricot today. Anyway, the other day I was wondering whether I should keep up this program of soil additives, when I discovered that the much closer sand and soil business (whom I’ve frequented for a decade and a half) began stocking the minerals. That’s definitely a sign don’t you reckon?

    The weather is turning here towards a very sodden few days. A bit f a shame that. Some early reports are suggesting over three and maybe less than four inches of rain will fall here.

    Ouch, about the raw materials used in producing vinyl. It’s weird where unusual machines turn up. It’s like those stories about some old bloke storing a very desirable historic car in an old barn. Have you been watching the ever increasing oil price? Whilst everyone is talking about health subjects which dare not be named, local demand for oil products has been stomped hard, the UK is on rations, and yet that old oil price magic is still escalating. A knowledgeable mate explained to me that the exploration for the stuff has dropped off a few years ago due to the lack of return on investment for the exploration, and so supply is dwindling.

    Ooo, he is an interesting cat. There is much to be said for simplicity, cordiality and sincerity. A very sharp mind was in play there.

    Mate, there are times where I read about the machinations of ancient Rome, and I swear you could be reading about the crazy goings on these days.

    And yes, I noticed that Gaius Maecenas was looked down upon by perhaps his more martially oriented fellows. And notably he cultivated a garden, of more than one sort. Hehe! Yes, Captain Fun indeed. I can see that.

    It is nice to hear that you place yourself at the mid point in relation to tension, and I applaud your good example, and can only but try to do as well. 🙂 I hear you though, and sometimes the things people worry about just outright baffle me too. I don’t know whether such people focus on some matter or issue, or whatever it may be, as a coping mechanism for seriously complicated times and/or situations. I really don’t know, but I do encounter it and have to deal with things as they are. It is possible that the people involved can more past that sticking point, but it all depends.

    Seriously, it is like right now, there are so many people losing their minds over a health matter. Take for example the vast numbers of people killed in WWI, like, just take for one example, the Battle of Broodseinde where the allies lost almost 20,000 men (6,500 Australians) to the Germans loss of 35,000, in just over 10 days. Things could be worse than they are today.

    I mentioned to you that I’ve stood in the killing fields of Cambodia when it was very unfashionable to venture there (and we saw very few other western tourists). Just to one side of the killing fields was an enormous glass sided pagoda filled with human skulls, and oozing out of the ground were articles of clothing. The day kind of convinced me that if the gobarmint wants us dead, or a goodly proportion of us in that quiet condition – there ain’t much we can do about it. So, I dunno, I hope Mr Greer is incorrect in this matter, but in the meantime will continue to get on with the jobs that need doing. There are things that I do worry about, this is not one of them, and I could be wrong to believe that.

    Exactly, we are of one mind in this matter, and Alfred E Neuman has only good advice to offer in this regard.

    Hope H has recovered from her possible mystery illness? 🙂 Hehe!

    It is possible that detractors were jealous of Elbert Hubbard’s success. He met an untimely end, sorry to say. The architecture produced by the group is truly beautiful and I’ve always felt that the Arts and Crafts movement’s works were pleasing upon the eye. That’s not something which you encounter a lot these days in modern buildings.

    The self sown plants in the garden are part of what you inherited, for the bones and body of a garden are what you encounter when you first arrive. Sweet peas are rather feral here, which is a good thing as they improve the soil, but are notably toxic to consume.



  15. Hi Chris,

    I didn’t grow any hot peppers this year. They are so productive that we still have frozen hot peppers from the last time that I grew them which was at least 6 years ago! I am growing only one variety of sweet pepper, and it is a frying pepper shaped pepper. So far I have not found an heirloom bell-shaped sweet pepper that is close to as productive as the particular frying-pepper shape that I have grown from saved seeds for many years.

    No corn this year. Squirrels ate every single kernel off every single ear long before they were ready to harvest. Mike is trapping the squirrels and we will be eating them in the form of squirrel stew before too long.


  16. Yo, Chris – Yes, I agree that the breakdown in social connections is a real thing. And, has been ongoing, for quit awhile. Divide and conquer. A lot of the “new rules” that were instituted, here at The Institution when the new regime came in, were to break down social bonds and sense of community. One of the first things they did, was take down the picture board, of all the Inmates. It was really handy when I first moved in. Especially since I have such a problem with names. There are many other examples …

    That’s very good that you have another source of lime. Maybe you should plant some lime trees? 🙂

    Well, this should warm the cockles of your recyclers heart …,273450

    WHINGE ALERT!!! I have never had a plastic bag that was “single use.” They get pressed into all kinds of other service, at least in my home. I use them to line the kitchen garbage can. I pop my oatmeal and rice into them, to store in the fridge. I just use them for so many things. And multiple times. So now I’ve got to hunt up (and spend money for) liners for my kitchen waste, and fridge storage.

    They can wave the ecological flag all they want, but I wonder if, at base, it isn’t more about oil shortage? Besides vinyl, I also wonder about DVD discs. Is it really about streaming, or at base, is it about oil running out? Several series that I follow have merrily come out, year after year, on DVD. Now I’ve detected a … slowness. And I wonder if they’re having problems accessing discs … or the little boxes they come in. All petroleum based products.

    You asked (I think) if I could see the end of DVDs, in the library. Well, I suppose sooner or later. The library also links to a free streaming service. Doesn’t work on my computer, of course. Computer’s too old. When the library began switching over from VHS to disc, the tapes hung around for quit awhile. But things move so much faster, now.

    You hear about barn auto finds, all the time. I think I mentioned at the last place I lived, there were the parts for an entire Model T Ford, scattered here and there about the place. When my father was on a hunting trip, he found an old potato cellar, and inside was a 1938 Packard touring car. Just stored and set up on blocks. When I came to manage the bookstore here, for B. Dalton, we were the last store to use an archaic cash register, that did it’s stock keeping by punching dots on a large paper roll. I had to ship it to the home office, every week. We needed a second one, for the holidays. My district manager found one, over in easter Washington, in a chicken coop. It arrived in my store, covered in chicken poop and straw 🙂 . A bit of elbow grease, and it worked fine. Old tech is out there. As in the tat trade, you never know what you’ll find, where.

    We’ve talked about misdirection. We sure see it in the politics, here. Get people all fired up about social issues, and maybe they’ll ignore that the economy, the environment and infrastructure are falling apart. Of course, there’s been an idea around, for a long time, that “take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves.” Or, “Watch the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves.” And, that is true, in some instances. Just enough that people, or the Powers That Be, apply it to everything. When it meets their needs.

    But onto the more mundane … H doesn’t have a mystery illness. She’s right as rain. But she MIGHT get ill. We could also be struck by lightening, when I take her out for a walk. 🙂 .

    Besides architecture and furniture, the Arts and Crafts movement, was so much more. Pottery, glass, textiles, graphics. It was a lifestyle 🙂 .

    You know, I had a thought about this whole night manager thing, and activating the Citizen’s Militia. Maybe it’s a generational thing, or maybe it’s just me. If I were the building manager, of a place like this with 40 old ladies in my care, and there was a gap in night security, I’d just get my sleeping bag, and curl up on a couch, for the duration. I guess that’s pretty old school. I’m sure the thought hasn’t even crossed the minds of The Regime. I’m sure we’ll get a memo, what we can do (not much) and can’t do (a lot), and “numbers to call.” It will cover their nether parts, and absolve them of liability. Of course, as we do when they’re not around, we’ll make our own arrangements, and go on our merry way.

    And, in news of the world, or at least the media end of things …

    They’re re-making Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot,” for the big screen. It was done as a two part mini-series, way back when. Which was pretty good.

    Also, I saw a review of “The Green Knight,” and it was not good. “…dull, incomprehensible and award-winningly boring.” Ouch! Now tell us how you REALLY feel. But they said the scenery was nice. 🙂

    We’ve had rain, on and off. The Master Gardeners, troopers that they are, still showed up, this morning. We’re supposed to have about five days of this, and then a nice week-end. There was a nip in the breeze, last night, but it didn’t get below 50F. Overnight lows for the rest of the week are in the mid 40sF.

    On this day in 2019, we had our first frost. And that was a La Nina year, also. Last year, we didn’t get a frost until October 29th. Also, a La Nina year. So, I guess I can’t link early and late frosts to ocean osculations. 🙁 . Step up and place your bets, ladies and gentlemen! Early or late frost? Lew

  17. Good evening

    Very best wishes to the Editor! And an encouraging tail-wag from Sir Sancho. Maybe even a lick…..

    I can’t think how angry I would be at feeling ill, or seeing someone I loved be sick, after being forced into something unnecessary as you both have been – just for the ‘privilege’ of continuing to work.

    I’ve been watching some videos from Australia, and frankly I had no idea just how badly you are being treated.

    Your own particular state dictator/ gauleiter gives the impression of being a not very bright headmaster of a failing school suddenly endowed with the powers of Mao, Mussolini or Stalin.

    It’s like the old Eastern stories when a cobbler is transported to a palace and treated like the Sultan – and then screws everything up with crazy orders. But it’s only for a day, not 18 months…… and without any malice.

    Things are OK in this part of England: full shelves, traffic jams, one wouldn’t know there is a crisis at all.

    In fact, most people seem to think all the abnormality is over for good: I don’t disabuse them of this happy delusion, it would be unkind.

    Meanwhile, stocks of candles, butane gas cartridges and best-quality chunky beef in cans are disappearing. I wonder who is buying them…….?

    All the best


  18. Chris,

    Ah, quantum theory has an answer to the trees falling in the forest question. Of course it makes a sound! There are other things there to notice the sound in the absence of humans: dirt, rocks, other trees, etc. It is observed.

    I’m glad the Editor is on the mend. We were told that our reactions to the vaccine meant that it was working. Hopefully that is the same with your version.

    Rain. We got another 12mm Monday night/Tuesday morning. Much needed and Tuesday was definitely an autumn day. Late summer to return later this week.

    The supply line thing is interesting. We keep more of the food and cleaning basics on hand than we used to, as I got tired of running out of basics, especially cleaning products, early in this “adventure”.

    Congrats on the solid construction of your house. Standing up to the 5.9 shaker is a good thing. It looks like most of your property held up well, also. Were Ollie’s new “pee poles” put in the ground before the quake? If so, I’m sure he’s happy that they survived.

    We had some forget me nots volunteer in one of our flower beds. I’ve left them alone and let them spread. I’ll move some of them near the vegetable garden, in addition to more Russian sage. More flowers means more bees, which hopefully will help the veggies produce.

    The daisies look gorgeous. As always, the ornamental cherries are spectacular.

    The birds have me figured out this year. Their water bowls needed emptying and refilling a few days ago. There were some birds nearby. I told them what I was going to do; they flew to another part of the yard, watched me fill up their supply. As soon as I moved away, the entire horde of sparrows flew to the water. A lone chickadee had done something similar the day before, except that he serenaded me the entire time I was refreshing the water.


  19. Hi Claire,

    Thanks for the description of your sweet peppers. Interestingly, those are the variety grown here (when the summer is hot enough for such things). Like what you are hinting at, it surprised me a few years ago that the much larger bell shaped peppers require a far hotter summer than I usually ordinarily experience. It’s actually quite difficult to obtain seeds for the thinner variety of sweeter capsicums as there is so little demand for them in this corner of the continent, and most people want to grow the super hot chili’s instead.

    Sorry to hear about your corn woes. Yikes! At least your squirrels will be corn fed and thus less gamey tasting than they’d otherwise be. 🙂 Spare a thought for the epic mouse plague in the grain growing parts of this country earlier this year.

    Grow it, and they will come. I was watching the parrots consume tasty blossoms off the fruit trees late this afternoon. I don’t have to worry about thinning the fruit…



  20. Hi Xabier,

    What was that? What? Speak up. Ah, of course. Ruby sends Sir Sancho warm greetings, and possibly also a play bite on Sir Sancho’s ear/s. She tells me that the bite wouldn’t be so hard as to draw blood, but you know, she just wants to let Sir Sancho know who the boss is, whilst trying to be coy all at the same time. Dogs…

    I watched Ruby playfully put her tooth into Ollie’s eyeball today, so Sir Sancho the love struck pooch, might have his paws full with that little live wire of a minx! He has been warned. Ollie seems OK. Dogs…

    Mate, for the past eighteen months, things have been pretty extraordinary here. Earlier last week, the union boss appears to have turned on the members and that was what I’m guessing all the riots were about. The authorities clamped down pretty hard on the protesters, and additionally the industry was shut down for two weeks, just because. Look, we got crushed between the hammer and the anvil, and just had to eat a poop sandwich. How the heck did it get to this? And to add insult to injury, I’ve got some friends telling me that we’re gonna get sick and die. Thanks everyone. 🙂

    I just try to face the future with good grace.

    If you’d told me two years ago that I would live in the state with the most locked down and restrictive experience on the planet, I would have doubted your sanity, and yet here we are today – with no end in sight to the madness.

    Some people have suggested the word buffoon, and they may well be correct, except that things are very weird down here. People tell me that they know the future, but I dunno, it is possible that things could get double weirder secret plus? Nobody wants that outcome.

    Mind you, I have discovered by the sheerest of accidents a much closer source of agricultural lime to mix in with the coffee grounds, and for this I’m grateful. It’s the small things in life nowadays.

    No, you are most wise to do so, and history suggests that Cassandra was not treated all too kindly after the curse. Before the curse, things were more or less OK and yeah, total party time. After curse, not so much.

    Our postal service has apparently put a five day halt on parcels. Nothing to see here, move along…

    Good luck, and may your shelves be replete with necessary items.



  21. Hi DJ,

    So, are you suggesting that Quantum Theory encompasses the solid ground of what is that unfashionable thing called again? … … Oh, that’s right, common sense? So what are the philosophers banging on about with the no observer, it didn’t happen, business? I’d like to posit the theory that even if the dirt, rocks, other trees etc. were too busy to notice, then the old ones of the forest would take note. And best not mess with their business, that’s for sure. Things could go badly from that point onwards…

    That perspective was not shared with the editor and I. We were told that most people have side effects, and here is what you could expect. Then the more extreme side effects were explained along with the early indications of those horrendous outcomes, which after ten million doses apparently extend for forty two days – which seems rather arbitrary to me. I said to the pharmacist at one point during the discussion, if you don’t know, just say you don’t know, and then she said that nobody knows. I can live with that explanation, for at least it is honest in a time when dishonesty prevails.

    Half an inch of rain is a boon to your part of the world. May you get further rains. Late this afternoon an epic storm began to brew. So far the farm has enjoyed a further half an inch of quite pleasant rain today. There are times where I have to remind myself that the farm is located in a mostly quite protected part of this continent. Today, things were worse elsewhere in what looks like a very early massive tropical storm.

    Very wise to keep the basics stocked up. In some respects it is nice that we are getting the good fortune to test our systems before the poop really hits the fan. The time is meant to be enjoyed, although the local pub has not reopened. Sad face emoji…

    DJ, Ollie will rip my throat out for recounting this story on the interweb, but he pees like a girly dog. A very good friend who moved back to New Zealand early on in this bout of weirdness, used to tell me that Ollie would, how do I politely say this, err, eventually cock a leg. But no, Ollie has his ways, but then he is a very popular pooch with the three ladies here, so maybe he’s onto something?

    The house has held up very well under the testing shaky, shaky, conditions. Mate I can only but hold up the house as an exemplar to recall to live well in these testing times, knowing that I am but a mere human.

    Exactly! Yes, our vegetables cannot do well if we do not accommodate our pollinating friends at other times of the year when they are not in flower. Mind you, I used to think that the orchard was enough for the bees, until a crusty old local bloke came up to the farm and disabused me of my incorrect thoughts – and he wasn’t polite about it either! Everyone needs a crusty old Mr Miyagi from time to time.

    Thanks, and each year there are more flowers. I was a bit nervous walking near to the bee box today as they were feral with activity, but also left me well alone.

    Ah yes, your bird friends are indeed training you! 🙂 Need I remind you of the dolphins in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and their efforts at communication?



  22. Hi Lewis,

    The English have long employed the divide and conquer tactic, although now that I consider the matter, I don’t really know whether this is a tactic which is part of our heritage, or something which we adopted from other cultures. The Roman’s by way of contrast seemed to adopt different local belief systems into their culture and beliefs. It makes a cynical person wonder whether the central tenet of the prophetic religions which predominated in the final days of the Roman empire drove that shift to a less workable outcome and it has remained fixed in place since then? Dunno. But that is my high note for today. 🙂

    Had an awful glass experience this morning. So we were at the local general store, which felt a little bit like a ghost town this morning. Anyway, I grabbed a glass of water, and drank it completely only to discover that the dishwashing machine hadn’t quite removed the heavy lipstick of the previous user. The stuff was like toxic residue with a half life of several million years. Revolting stuff. After such an industrial cleaning process I’m sure the glass was sterile, but the waxy residue remained and had adhered to my own lips. I was feeling mildly ill after discovering that. It’s a bit like discovering half a millipede in your greens and knowing exactly where the other half ended up! I now feel much closer to my fellow humans.

    Sorry you guys got such a raw deal. It’s not good, although as a general strategy many people right now seem to be in favour of it, although I have many strong reservations about the use of such things. I know people who are holed up in their houses and have been that way for over eighteen months now. It is not a course of action I’d recommend, but as I said, many people in the community hang onto their perquisites this way, and it’s an option, for now.

    Very funny! 🙂 A mate of the editor’s who also just happens to be a scientist, had a strong belief that limes actually had a higher pH because of the name. Not so, and litmus paper proved the error of thought.

    You guessed right there, and the ban has been in place here for a while. People now pay for thicker plastic bags – it’s ingenious. I take my own cloth bags to the supermarket, and even now that is a rare sight. The bags have been in continuous use for almost a quarter of a century, and on a per usage basis, they would be super cheap. The small amount of plastic waste each week here is one of the few items which I know not what to do with and just use it as fuel for the fire. The alternative is landfill, although there is some talk that the energy inherent in the stuff will be used for electricity cogeneration, but until it happens, it’s all talk. A good mate works in the plastic recycling trade and shares the war stories.

    I salute your whinge and acknowledge its sheerest excellence!

    You hit the nail on the head too. When the editor and I used to live in the big smoke, we’d use as little as we could of the connected services. The bills were still not encouraging such thrift either, because connection charges made up a goodly portion, even when usage was insignificant. I’d posit the theory that we were supporting heavier users of the system. Anyway, once up here we had to supply all of our own infrastructure and services, and that was when it hit us how cheap those big smoke service bills were. Far out, it costs a lot to look this cheap!

    Speaking of CD’s did you notice my nod to REM in the title this week? 🙂 I rather enjoyed their album Green.

    Yeah, down here VHS tapes were slow to phase out too, and there was a time when both VHS and DVD were supplied for hire. I tend to agree with you about the physical resources underlying these technologies, and the graph I like to point to also recounts that particular story.

    Hehe! Yes, your tat store finds are kind of like the op shop finds down here. You never know what will turn up, and if you wait long enough, a large variety of stuff does flow through. I do wonder how such places are coping with the shut downs. Far out, they’d be doing it tough.

    That saying is sometimes true, and sometimes not. It’s like the saying you often hear about a rising tide sinks many boats. Economists can talk a lot of rubbish if it serves their ends. Hey, I’m currently re-reading John Kenneth Galbraith’s, The Great Crash 1929 for a revisit of the economic disaster preceding the Great Depression. To be honest, for such an awful topic, the author made the subject highly amusing. In some respects it reminds me of the same tone of The Big Short (another favourite book).

    Well, with such fuzzy logic, we all might get ill. That would be a very unpleasant experience, and no doubt H would be as right as rain and be left to care for us in our hour of need. I’m not sure that I’d trust her in that capacity…

    Yeah, exactly, the Arts and Crafts movement produced some beautiful items. How did they fare during the Great Depression era?

    Mate, sorry to say, but your situation of: I’m sure we’ll get a memo, what we can do (not much) and can’t do (a lot), sounds like my life for the past eighteen months. I’m not entirely sure what to say, other than maybe there are better ways to go.

    I loved the original Salem’s Lot, and it scared the daylights out of me. There isn’t that much from my misspent youth that I can recall, but the end of the first instalment where his mate is floating out of the window, just kind of left me knowing that it would be a bad idea to get wrapped up in such toothy mischief. It was pretty good wasn’t it.

    Oooo, that’s a rough review.

    Damo has tempted me here unfortunately. Season 22 of Grand Designs UK has been recently released. Oh the drama: we’ve run out of money. Oh the hardship: this thing is bonkers and has taken five times longer than we blithely imagined. And oh the tragedy: the house construction was too big and almost killed our spirits. 🙂 It’s like catnip.

    Good to hear that the master gardeners showed up despite the rain. Autumn is here for you! Well over half an inch of rain fell today, but it has fallen over so many hours that any concerns have been pushed to the side. It’s a slow moving massive storm though. A huge thing.

    The weather folks down here are suggesting that there may be a possibility where we have another La Nina summer. It’s a bit early yet though.



  23. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder … Just to balance things out, your not going to get sick and die. And least, not from this 🙂 .

    Yes, the Romans were pretty good about incorporating other people’s beliefs and customs. While at the same time, building their “brand” and making it very enticing. On the other hand, they could be a bit “on again, off again.” The worship of Isis was pretty popular, among the Romans. But at different periods, for different reasons, they were banned and suppressed. If I remember correctly, the Emperor Augustus banned them, at one point. He thought there weren’t enough Roman toffs around, and the Isis people were pretty good at birth control. Just an added service, at your local temple. 🙂 One hopes they had moved beyond stuffing the play pen with crocodile dung. Pompeii has a really nice Isis temple.

    Oh, argh. Terrible story about your lipstick run-in. Wasn’t your color? 🙂 For some reason, Lucy being kissed by Snoopy from “Peanuts,” came to mind. But then, the Romans often had a lot of doggies hanging around their healing temples.

    Which brings me to your later comment about H, carrying for us all. Might work out better than expected.

    Your story also made me think of today’s ear worm …

    Canvas bags are thick on the ground, here. Usually, op-shops have a rack of them, for not much money. I’ve got two I use a lot, hanging in my hall closet. But they’re not very … inspiring. So, I got to thinking, I wonder what the Edward Gorey house, which sells a lot of tat, has in that department. They run $20-$30, which seems like a lot to make a “statement.” But then I saw this …

    Seems to speak directly to the present situation.

    The op-shops did it rough, for awhile. They were closed, along with everything else. Now they’re open again, but you got to be masked. While closed, they didn’t take donations, and things piled up, a bit. The library wasn’t taking donations, either. Here at the Institution, the library, where the free table is, wasn’t (and still isn’t) accessible. The current Regime, didn’t like it in the first place. But I’ve noticed, things appear in the lobby, over the week-ends. When there’s no “staff” around. Now, our night manager choose to look the other way. Will the next one?

    A quick Gargle of “Producing electricity from garbage?” yields some interesting articles.

    “It costs a lot to look this cheap.” Tip of the hat to Miss Dolly Parton.

    Arts and Crafts style, fell out of favor, eventually. Grandma’s stuff. People wanted more glitz. But there were always pockets of appreciation.

    The article about the new “Salem’s Lot”, had a link to just the clip you mentioned. The kid floating outside the window. Made an impression on young minds. 🙂 .

    “Grand Designs” really doesn’t interest me. But I caught a bit of “Building Off the Grid.” Same idea. Ran for 10 seasons. Same dramas and arcs. Our library doesn’t have it, but I see there are episodes on U Tub. Lew

  24. Hi, Chris!

    I hardly know what to say – it just gets worse there. Well, you are keeping the stiff upper lip. I hope we are here, too, with so much less trouble than you have.

    I love forget-me-nots. I planted some last fall, but never got to see if they came up as we were gone in the spring.


  25. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for the kind words, and the times sure be weird. There’s not much else that a person can do in these conditions, and of course there is always the Fluffy collective, what with their amusing antics.

    The seasons keeping on rolling along, so it won’t be long at all until you discover how the forget me nots fared. My gut feeling suggests that they’ll be OK, and earlier today I noticed in a house in the valley immediately below the farm, they had a very large patch of the flowers growing. It is very cheery seeing a carpet of blue flowers.

    Hope everyone in your house is getting along well together and that your autumn weather is pleasant and enjoyable. We’ve been socked in by a massive tropical storm for about two days now. It is very green and damp outside… 🙂



  26. Hi Lewis,

    I’d like to believe that this was so, but for the life of me I have no clear idea as to why other people have raised this rather dire possibility as a potential outcome. Although as you note, it is every persons eventual fate. But I don’t doubt the sincerity of their belief systems either. On the other hand, my understanding of soils and agriculture leads me to the belief that all other considerations to the side, as the years go on, the average health outcomes for the population will be declining and so things will get weird. That one is baked into the cake (please excuse the dodgy an unintentional food pun). Reading about the subject of soil over the many years has been an interesting exercise, and even just recently when reading Steve Solomon’s book on gardening, he made the casual mention that protein levels in edible plants are now half of what they were only thirty years ago, and those levels had declined by half from the thirty years before that. So yeah, that can’t be good. Anyway, people get obsessed about Hollywood style wipe outs, when it is more likely that we’ll get to experience a slow and unhappy descent into poverty.

    Thanks for the reassurance. 🙂 I’d like to think that I’d be around in a few years to tell them that they were wrong, and I will do that if possible.

    The Romans sure didn’t muck around, but I have heard that other cultures set hard limits on their population. In these more delicate days such acts are considered barbaric, but then starvation is a hard way to go off into the night. I still recall the Year without a summer in Conrad Richter’s most excellent trilogy. And Little House on the Prairie had a book on the Long Winter. Nobody wants to experience a long winter.

    Speaking of which, the broccoli seeds in the greenhouse germinated today. They’re the first summer seeds to do so. I’m working on the editor to get used to the purple variety of broccoli which grows through the winter if only because the plant has less hassles with cabbage moths (because there are none at that cold time of the year). The editor is now on board with kale, if only because we learned to cook with it and not consume the leaves fresh.

    Yeah, the pink lipstick clashed with my black skivvy. 🙂 Actually the incident made me feel rather queasy for the rest of the day, and no I now check the rims of glasses just in case. Mate, truth to tell, I’d prefer a kiss from the dogs any day! Hehe! A revolting experience. Oh well, moving on. Although there was that one time I was teasing old Scritchy and she got me right in the mouth. She was super fast, and the next day found me in the nearby day hospital on a drip. Lesson learned, don’t tease the dogs. What doesn’t kill you and all that…

    Speaking of the Romans, what was that late period custom called when the son was forced to work in the fathers trade even if it made no mad cash?

    Turns out that dog licks are a thing, but also carries some small risk. Who knew? One of the things which always intrigues me about the ancients was that they had great observational and deduction skills. H might be our saviour! Very true.

    Connie Francis could realistically do better than the cad whom inspired the song, and with friends like that… 🙂 Fortunately the editor was there at the time to see the incident, and confirm the awful truth of it all. She thought that it was funny, I just kind of felt a bit hard done by and mildly queasy. Not that I’m going on and on about it, but it had a certain sort of yuk factor as the stuff was manufactured to get through a nuclear winter.

    The local pub has not reopened, and Melbourne is still in curfew. Headed out into the nearby town to see what could be had for dinner. The lady in the local Vietnamese restaurant looked pained at having to send us away. There is a hard limit of 10 customers inside for any such business in the state. It seems a bit arbitrary to me, but lots of things seem weird to me right now. So we had a walk around and got some food at the nearby Chinese restaurant. It was a pretty good meal. All the usual suspects such as home made steamed dim sim (sometimes known as dim sum) and jasmine tea (yum!) And then we had a chicken and Chinese mushroom dish and some fried rice.

    It’s been very wet here today, but at least we didn’t score a: Tornado tears through regional NSW, injuring three people, damaging properties near Bathurst . Yikes!

    The Gorey bag is very amusing, and yes it does speak to the events of today.

    It makes you wonder where all the stuff which usually ended up in the op-shops actually ended up? Your informal system sounds very workable, although you’d hope people remember to clean up before the usual suspects arrive back on the scene again on a Monday morning.

    The Japanese take that approach with rubbish, and some of their buildings for doing that trick are so outlandish as to become tourist destinations.

    Hehe! It’s a good quote.

    Yeah, former mates floating outside windows looking suspiciously a bit anaemic like vampires, are probably bad news and shouldn’t be listened too, or followed, despite the super nifty anti-gravity trick.

    Thanks for mentioning the series Building Off the Grid. Hadn’t heard of it before and am intrigued. There was a photo gallery of the many projects, and I must say they sung to my heart. The building regulations down here might stomp the daylights out of most of them, but it is nice that there are out of the way places where such foolishness does not reign and creativity springs from the land.

    Yes, the supply chain delivery issues are fascinating, and ongoing at most levels. The postal mob down here appears to have paid substantial bonuses. I can’t recall ever receiving a bonus, it probably does not reflect well upon me, although I’ve never actively sought one either. With work, I state my price, do the job, get paid for it, and then retreat back home again. It is a simple and workable strategy.



  27. Yo, Chris – People raise these dire predictions to reinforce their own belief systems. You just wish they’d not say it out loud, and keep it to themselves. 🙂 .

    Besides the plunge in protean, there’s been a general decline in nutrition in plants, across the board. There are many articles on this web thing-y. Of course, some claim it’s all due to climate change. Increased CO2 levels, and all that. That might contribute, a bit, but I’m more inclined to think it’s soil and varieties.

    Other cultures and hard limits of growth. You may recall a kind of informal population control, in the book “Just Enough.” As I remember, it wasn’t law, just cultural expectations. The Land of Stuff’s one child policy seems to have had some unexpected side effects. Just saw an article the other day, that old couples, who had one child who died, now have no one to take care of them.

    I really couldn’t find a word, in English, that described the forced following a father’s trade. “Follow in their father’s footsteps,” was about as close as I could come. Or, “Follow my father’s trade.” Other languages may have a nice tidy word for it.

    I hope your local’s closing, is just temporary. Someone will probably reopen it. Can’t leave a good pub just lying around …

    I see your tornado, and raise you ours …

    Battle Ground is just a county and a half, south of us. There’s mention of a town called Yacolt. That’s where Chuck lives(ed). Our tornado doesn’t sound as bad as yours.

    I think most people just sat on their op-shop donations. Or, sent it to the landfill.

    I went to the grocery, last night. Now, it was the first day of the weekly sales, and I went late at night, before a lot of re-stocking got done. But things seemed really thin. I got just about everything I was after, but several items were “the last of.” I got the last box of popcorn, the last carton of mushrooms and the last bag of baking walnuts. I had also begun to think about turkey, for our Thanksgiving holiday, the end of November. But there was no turkey to be found, in any form, other than franks.

    Oddness from our postal service, this week. I was expecting the Currier and Ives lithograph. I got an e-mail, that there had been a change of forecast delivery date. Earlier than I expected. Then the tracking said that there was an “attempt to deliver,” and that it was at our post office. Which was odd. When that happens, you get a pink slip on your door, or in your mail box. No slip. So, I decided to wait til Tuesday, and see if I could talk to the postie. Missed him, but, the litho showed up.

    It’s quit nice. But, I was curious about something. Right in the middle is something that looks like an apple … but, it’s blue. Then I noticed that some of the grape tendrils, were also blue. I’m pretty sure that both were originally green, but we’re seeing an example of “fugitive colors or pigments.” I think it’s really interesting. And, I like blue, anyway. 🙂

    From our “Ohhh Noooo!” department. I finished up watching season four, of “The Frankie Drake Mysteries.” It ended on several cliff hangers. Guess what? They canceled the series. There will be no season five. Heads should roll. I also watched “The Boys From County Hell.” An Irish vampire movie. And not a count or castle, in sight. It’s about a road crew of Irish good ol’ boys, who excavate something that shouldn’t be excavated. It was actually, pretty good. The language was a bit rough, and I’m glad there were subtitles, as the accent was a bit thick. Well worth a look.

    I picked up a book from the library, that looks interesting. “In Search of Mycotopia: Citizen Science, Fungi Fanatics and the Untapped Potential of Mushrooms.” (Bierend, 2021). I see from the index that Paul Stamets, will get several mentions. Lew

  28. Hi Chris,

    I have “Overshoot” and read it every few years. Yes – an important book.

    There’s still a few in the city but not many. Yes, Woodstock is on the train line and Marty lives there as well. My sister and BIL are especially enjoying the quiet compared to the city.

    Ruth is now with us for 4 days as Carla and Ritchie have gone to Colorado for a wedding. I can’t imagine our dogs reaction if they came upon a wombat.

    Most stores still won’t pack your bags if you bring your own due to you know what. I continue to bring my own and pack them myself. Like Lew the bags we do end up with on occasion are used many times – no single use here.

    There is rain in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday and with luck it may happen. Harvesting is going full force around here and with the dry conditions the air is full of dust.


  29. Chris,

    My guess is that the philosophers think too much, don’t feel enough, and totally do NOT believe that earth, rocks trees, animals, etc., are capable of observing things. And they most definitely would scoff at the very idea that there are Old Ones in the forest. I wouldn’t want to be them if they entered the forest at the wrong time.

    Good on the pharmacist. Anybody who displays honesty in these times is worthy of notice.

    Glad you’re in a protected part of Australia. And it’s good to remind oneself of that fact. Spokane can get hot, but normally not like Phoenix. Spokane can get cold, but not as cold as Fairbanks, Alaska. We can get a lot of snow, but not like in the mountains, etc.

    We were running an errand today and found we needed to pick up something for a relative at walmart. So we stocked up on a few items for both us and the rellie. We’re mostly ahead for now, I think.

    Ok, here’s a story to help Ollie calm down. Thordog, yes, the Mighty Wolfhound, he, too often peed like a girly dog. Our veterinarian said that the Mighty Thordog was the best muscled dog he’d ever seen, yet Thordog usually squatted to pee, just like a girly dog. But NEVER when we were out for a walk. His walk was a strut that challenged all male dogs who saw him. And he would cock that leg extremely high, to the unbalanced point, when peeing during a walk. Had to intimidate the other dogs.

    Same page with you – we are mere humans and are far from the most powerful on this planet or anywhere. Nature has a way of reminding us who is in charge, and it ain’t us. And sometimes the reminders are far from gentle.

    There are never enough flowers for the bees. That’s my take on things. The crusty Miyagi’s of this world are necessary and probably learned their vast amounts of knowledge via the Hard Knocks Method.

    Oh, the dolphins tried very hard to communicate. “So long and thanks for all the fish!” and all that. When one of my coworkers retired about 8 years ago, he sent one last email to the entire campus: “So long and thanks for all the fish”. He hit the “send” button, shut off the computer and walked out. There were maybe a dozen people out of 2,000 employees who understood it. That was a classic.

    Put in an application to adopt a puppy today with a nearby rescue shelter. The hoped for puppy is Alaskan Eskimo/Samoyed mix. The process might take several weeks.


  30. Hi Margaret,

    A good friend of mine – who now lives interstate – loaned me that particular book. The book created quite the impression on me, and immediately upon completion of the book, I re-read it all over again just to make sure that I had not misunderstood the author. I returned the book to my mate, who also loaned me a first edition copy of the Limits to Growth (my friend is something of a book worm), only to learn that he himself had not read the book. Upon learning that, I counselled him to be in a good place mentally when or if he decided to read it. Truthfully, before reading those words I was a touch angry about the ways of the world, and the authors words taught me good grace, which I try to carry even in today’s odd world. I’d be curious as to your reactions from the reading the book? Did you travel a similar journey? And here I have to fess up, because I don’t actually own a copy of the book and after reading your comment, I put a copy on order this morning and it is now apparently on its way. A very important book, on so many levels. Will it be widely read, probably not.

    Good to hear that your sister and BIL are enjoying life in the little smoke. I tell ya what, there is something to be said about living in a rural area in these days. We were going to visit the gardening club today which is not too far from here, and that shire area has now been thrown into lock down as of midnight. Things are moving with considerable speed.

    I do hope that Ruth is behaving herself, and not attempting a power coup? What is this interstate travel thing? 🙂

    Respect. Nobody down here has thought through that particular shopping bag problem, so here’s hoping they don’t. Actually I used to do the shopping, but now take along the editor to do the packing whilst I do the passing of the stuff to the checkout person.

    Oh yeah, the farmers will be trying to harvest anything before the rain hits. Water + Grains = fermentation. Which from some perspectives might be kind of fun. It is still raining off and on here and looks set to continue every day for the next week.



  31. Hi DJ,

    When I lived in the big smoke, sometimes you forget that there are other environments than the city. People, including philosophers, get caught up in the trap that their world is the only world that is. That point of view isn’t necessarily so, and I’ve long suspected that is at the core of some city folks calls to remove folks from remote areas on the basis that they’re somehow not safe to reside in. The thought that I might have chosen to not live in a safe urban environment never even occurs to them in their wildest dreams. A few years ago by sheer chance, I learned that the Indigenous folks believe that the old ones of the land are still there. So, are they? becomes the next question. It’s an uncomfortable thing to consider for folks raised in a purely materialistic world view. I’m sure things are probably similar in your part of the world? I usually keep my beliefs and experiences to myself in this regard, and have no great desire to, I dunno. If the old ones deign to notice us, well that’s nice, but there is little upside, and it is not lost on me that the human endeavour takes energy away from all of the other things on this planet. That’s life, so it is complicated. The philosophers would probably be fine, maybe… 🙂

    That was my view on that health matter, and seriously, the local doctors would not prescribe it, for their own reasons I guess. I went in to that experience knowing that there are risks as well as benefits, and like living where we do, I accept that. Anyway, the whole thing is a moot point, I have been given my marching orders. 😉 So the agricultural sector was swept up in a mandatory order today + my day per week big smoke status swept me up in another order today. That’s three strikes, and I’m out. Mate, I could read the room, which is why we got in early last week.

    Yeah, exactly! So true about both here and Spokane, a little bit extreme, but not too extreme. Just like the original The Story of the Three Bears, it is best not provide extremes, lest ye be eaten! 🙂 Hehe!

    Good to hear that you are ahead on supplies. Mate, I dunno what strange shortages I’ll discover next. It makes for an exciting existence.

    Mighty Thordog sets an example which Ollie the less mighty, but perhaps equally proud, struggles to follow. Whenever we take Ollie and his two lady friends out for a walk, Plum sticks to the left, whilst Ruby sticks to the right, and Ollie pulls himself up to his full height with a girl on either side. It’s delightful to see, yet he still wees like a girly dog. Nothing to see here…

    The toughest dog I’ve ever known was Old Fluffy the Pomeranian (she was a large Pomeranian, not one of those tiny dogs). She was 100% utterly loyal, but could bring to heel dogs that were three times her size. It was brutal as she would go for the throat or the eyeballs, or maybe even both. Toothy (whom you may recall) was her devoted follower, whilst Sir Poopy (another whom you may recall) just acknowledged utter defeat and submitted to her iron fluffy will. When out walking one day many years ago, Old Fluffy encountered a hunting dog, and the owner suggested that she resembled a rabbit, but Old Fluff took that hunting dog down – hard. The owner couldn’t believe it and kept telling me to watch out for his hunting dog. That was his mistake.

    The European honey bees are super early in the season here too, so they need all the nectar and pollen flower help they can get. Walking around the forest nowadays, I can occasionally smell honey which sort of indicates that there may be a wild hive in a tree hollow somewhere nearby. They’re out there now, and I’m good with that. Spotted a bumble bee yesterday.

    Hehe! That’s funny. Sometimes it is very nice to be in a position where you don’t have to care and can act mysteriously.

    Go DJ, and your lady, of course! 🙂 Fingers crossed that the application goes through perfectly!



  32. Hi Lewis,

    Well there is a lot of doom and gloom out there right now, and there are times it feels as if there may be a coalescence of forces pushing upon the great dream (which never seemed that great a dream to me). However, I suspect that we are all wrong and the future is just looking all rather poor, with sporadic death, flies and stuff. 🙂

    But yes, I agree the darker dreams out there wear me out.

    Had a day off any work today and headed into the old gold fields not that far north of here, to check out some old ruins. The scale of some of the nineteenth century constructions were quite impressive, and I took photos of the ruins for the next blog. Can’t say much more than that as it forms part of the storyline. What I can add is that we enjoyed a very nice wholemeal roll with ham and salad as well as a shared coffee scroll for lunch and got rained upon. It was very tasty and the guy at the nearby bakery groaned understandingly at the current economic and social conditions. Oh well.

    Fortunately we got onto the vaccination thing last week because I’ve been caught up in another two sectors now requiring mandatory orders. It makes for an exciting life, and we were originally going to head to the gardens of the nearby gardening club and enjoy a walk around, but that shire council area has been shut down. Ook! I kind of feel for them as the club has three gardens (two of which had been closed due to orders) and had recently moved all of their excess stock to the nearby garden and in the past day or so just began offering them at discounts to rural members (city folks can’t go), but no that ain’t gonna be now. That’s what I call a very painful fizzer. Man, it is crazy down here.

    Of course, and I agree with your other point which I had not alluded to. Yes, the varieties of plants grown right now is a real problem which few people even consider. The concentration of ownership and plant breeding programs has I’m guessing, set us all up for a massive failure. Historically, there has been no one-size fits all when it comes to edible plants, and yet here we are today…

    Ah yes, I have read of such controls being implemented in many other cultures. For some reason it is not a thing in western cultures and that outcome is both an advantage as well as being a massive risk. I guess way back in time there was always somewhere to move to or someone else to displace, and that is perhaps not so easy these days to achieve.

    Yes, that risk with the land of stuff is not lost on me either and they also face an ageing population with fewer workers to support them. This is an issue that I am considering and have the earliest glimmers of a plan.

    Thanks for considering the Roman problem and I now can’t recall where I heard of the practice.

    I’m inclined to believe that the local pub may be shut for a long while to come. The internal capacity of the business could probably seat maybe a hundred people, and is now limited to 10 inside customers. The teetotaller’s are winning right now. The business can’t economically open under those restrictions. The local pub had been empty for a number of years before the current mob decided to take up the challenge of running that business.

    Thanks for the link, but premium paywall was a problem. Glad that the tornado was worse, in the land of elsewhere. It is still wet and sort of warmish here today. UV energy is just about to tip over into the High UV category.

    What is a turkey at franks? Earlier this week, the supermarket here looked fairly well stocked, except for my favourite cheese (produced with vegetable rennet) has not been there for about three weeks now. The shut down and employee isolation rules are beginning to bite for supermarkets: Victorian COVID protocols questioned as case spike strains GP clinics and supermarkets.

    Oh! And there is a local dude who is now a NYT bestseller. Who knew? Douglas Holgate’s journey from a garage in Kyneton to the New York Times bestseller list. I passed through Kyneton earlier today on my trip north into the gold fields. It is the next large town north of the mountain range, so isn’t all that far away. The guys work ethic has much to commend it.

    Glad to hear that the lithograph turned up. Unfortunate, and yes, everyone knows that apples are indeed not blue. Yellow, Red or Green hues are OK, blue is perhaps a dare I say it – red flag? 🙂 I too feel that you have a very interesting lithograph there. Have you come across colour inconsistencies before? I’d imagine that it would have been rather common thing given the colour process we spoke about a few weeks back.

    Oh that’s rough. And you’re left hanging there with no further details as to how the cliff hangers were to be resolved. That’s cold, that is. OK, The Boys From County Hell looks like a lot of fun. I noted in the trailer an undead had been impaled and was not dying and the heroes were standing around wondering what to do with it. Pesky critters, the undead!

    The book sounds good, but given the sheer lack of understanding of the local mushrooms down here, I leave them well alone, whilst also providing pleasant conditions for the little critters to thrive in. They do their work, I do mine, and we try not to annoy each other.

    Ordered a copy of William Catton Jrs book Overshoot this morning. The last time I read it, my copy was a loan copy from a friend. This lack must be rectified.

    PS: Had a chunk of lemon drizzle cake with my coffee late this afternoon. I hear that there are serious problems in coffee land with supply this year due to frosts.



  33. Yo, Chris – It’s Internet Armageddon!!! Day before yesterday, I started getting error messages, when attempting to access some of my usual sites. The message was: “Your Clock is Ahead.” I’d say it’s a problem with about 1/4 of my usual haunts. After spending about 3 hours trying to figure out what was wrong with my clock and date, I discovered this …

    If that doesn’t work, this might …

    Basically, a major security certificate has expired. With no fixes or work-arounds, on the horizon. So, I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet, and get a new computer. I looked into the Fruit variety that I have, but the prices are eye watering. Someone suggested I go to a local computer store (been around for years … good reputation) and have a chat with them about a refurbished laptop. But that will mean I might have to become a Micro Serf 🙁 . With the learning curve involved in that. But on the other hand, a new Fruit product would probably have as steep a learning curve. My god, they don’t even have mice, anymore! 🙂 . I also think it might be good, to have a real person, in town, that I could talk to. On the other hand, I’ve been reading a lot of articles about “living without a computer.” Now the thing is, two of the websites I can no longer access are the local newspaper … and, the library. Anyway, early days, and I haven’t decided what to do, yet.

    Old ruins are always fun. As long as you don’t fall through them, or have them fall on you. Were you tempted to try a little gold panning? We did that, when I was a kid.

    Well, now that you’ve had the vaccine, don’t you feel … at first I thought “smug and superior,” but that was wrong. A certain satisfaction that if called into question, you can tell the Powers That Be to go stuff themselves.

    According to Mr. Greer, the population growth is declining, a bit, worldwide. As predicted in “The Limits of Growth.” The only one’s cracking the sads about that are the rah-rah every thing should always expand, people. As in the economy.

    It may have been the Camulod Chronicles. There was one emperor, who instituted price controls, and I think there was something in his edicts about occupations. But there’s a problem with that. As I thought about the decline of logging, in this country, you have a logger, who has six kids, and wants them all to work in the woods. And they have six kids … well, you see where this is going. At the same time the industry is getting automated, and … well, it doesn’t end well.

    Thanks for the backstory, on the pub. Every think of becoming a publican? 🙂

    Turkey franks are turkey weenies. Or, sausages.

    The grocery stores here, seem to be doing ok, staff wise. No shutdowns. But I see a lot of “now hiring” signs.

    That was an interesting article about Mr. Holgate, the artist. I wondered if he did the Comic-cons. And, he does. Art, writing, is a tough row to hoe. And it does take a work ethic and discipline.

    Lithographs and print colors have a tendency to fade, usually due to sun exposure. But a change of color, is more rare. The Editor may have something to say about dyes and colors in fabric. “Color fast” was kind of a holy grail, during the 19th century.

    Only about 3% of mushrooms are poisonous. Of course, many won’t kill you, but just taste like ca-ca. 🙂 .

    Last night I decided to run up to a grocery, in Centralia. They’re a small independent chain (three stores) and carry a good selection of Bob’s Red Mill items. I picked up a 25 pound bag of oatmeal. In Ye Olde Days, it was about $1 a pound. I paid $1.23 per pound. There were some other mills that were cheaper, but, I know nothing about them. With Bob’s I know it’s a quality product. I also managed to find a frozen turkey loaf, that I was looking for. Not the brand I wanted, but … That was nearly $8! On the way to the store I passed our local multiplex. The parking lot was jammed.

    This morning I headed out to get gas. First time in almost a year. It was $3.939 per gallon. For the cheapest grade. Then I stopped by the cheap food store, to see if I could get some stuff for our pantry, at the Club. Ended up with two boxes (probably around 30 cans) for just less than $20. They also give a 15% “I’m old” discount. Stopped off at home to walk the dog, went to the bank (forgot it was the 1st of the month!) to turn in the coin I’ve been piling up. Swung by the Club to drop off the canned goods. Then, the library. Then home. I think it’s about nap time. Lew

  34. Dear Chris,

    Another eventful week under the belt.
    Regarding lime trees: the name as probably a different origin, but it is really one of the best Calcium collectors of all trees. There has been quite some research on this, e.g.

    In the 1960s, there was quite some research on “fodder trees” in Germany, to give livestock varied food. (which was better for their health, but less convenient for the feed supplier) Out of those studies, lime trees came out as top-quality-mineral sources. It also so happens that all lime trees have leaves that are edible for humans. I love the Tilia cordata leaves. I grow hedges of those trees just for the leaves, which yields salad greens from April to November.
    Do you have any Tilia cordata growing in your region?
    In the bronze age time, North West Europe forests were dominated by lime trees and hazel bushes. It was a food forest full of mammoths, tended by the first inhabitants after the last ice age.

    In the Swedish tradition, every farm has a set of ghosts/gnomes who take care of the animals. It was also part of a place based legacy that every generation left something persisting in the place for generations to come. Grandfather built the barn, his father and mother built the stone walls along the fields. Their parents cleared that meadow. Their parents moved to this place. All their spirits are around, as long as people remember who built the cairn, the root cellar or the first road…

    I had a surreal experience this week. I listened to a speech by John Kerry talking to climate-activistic youth. “We need to work together. We have a powerful opponent.” Hmm…. He is the powerful opponent, methinks… Or not??

    Regarding Overshoot – it is also available as an audiobook on Soundcloud, for those who have a “free registration” there. Hobby-recording by the excellent Michael Dowd.

    I get quite annoyed and disappointed by everyone who says “we have X years left….” implying that we are not yet at the edge. The Green Party proudly showed a LED-display-clock with a countdown timer. They have not understood Overshoot. We are already 45 years into Overshoot. We are 45 years too late. As William Rees has explained so eloquently, when we overburden Earth, she gets poorer. Less species, less freshwater, less clean air, less fertile soil. We don’t have any years “left”… And if we look at climate as a separate issue, we passed the “safe” limit of 350ppm already in 1990. 31 years late. Sorry for the rant.

    Have a great weekend!


  35. Hello Chris,
    An additional factoid regarding the ghost/gnome who protects the farm: The name is “tòmten”, and the yard/garden area is called “tómten”. Coincidence?
    Nevertheless, the culture was almost eradicated in the 1800s when Scientific Agronomists from the Capital came and redistributed all lands, and broke the villages into pieces, since every farm had to move to their new lands…
    And in the globalized age of neverwhere, we are only supposed to feel at home when we are watching netflix from a nondescript concrete flat.
    Have a good day,

  36. Hi Goran,

    Thank you for introducing me to the: The Tomten. 🙂

    Divide and conquer has long been a strategy, sorry to say. As far as destroying cultures, it’s also effective because the land is part of the culture and the two are indivisible. History is rarely taught as it should be.

    Ah, Linden trees. We have spoken of the genius of these trees before. A little bit higher in the mountain range is possibly the biggest Linden tree I have ever seen:

    Some of the sizes of trees here astound me, such as this one which is nearby to the Linden tree:

    Thank you for the reminder, and I will aim to establish some Linden trees on the farm. It surprises me sometimes as to what plants are edible. People once ate a far wider variety of foodstuffs in their diets than they do nowadays. Although it is a bit warmer here and I have fresh greens available right through the winter months – although they grow very slowly.

    John Kerry, he’s just some dude – nothing to see there. I suspect however, that you are correct! 🙂 The irony of the situation would be lost on most people attending such a talk fest.

    Thanks for that, and I haven’t quite gotten around to enjoying audiobooks, but love podcasts. I’ve read that particular book a few times now, and it should turn up down here over the next month. How were you left feeling after reading that particular book?

    Yes, exactly. They’re all wrong. I don’t know whether they understand that they’re wrong, but they are wrong. When I was a kid my single mother could earn an undergraduate degree at University for free, work full time, and purchase a house. Nowadays that is just not possible and nobody is talking about that. I hear you too, we could have stepped back from it all 40 to 45 years ago, and we collectively chose not too, and so we just have to all deal with that decision and muddle through as best as we can.

    I heard today that the land of stuff has now blocked exports of mono ammonium phosphate which both the organic and industrial agriculture folks use (I have never applied the stuff but have it on good authority that it is a very good additive): China expected to stop phosphate exports, food production prices set to rise. Hmm.



  37. Hi Lewis,

    I began reading the article on certificates, and got about half way through before I no longer understood the details. The big picture on the other hand, oh, I understood that bit alright. It’s not good. And you’re in a bit of a pickle there. I’ve never used the fruit stuff, so have no idea why people feel so attached to it. The things all work the same as far as I can understand the situation, and I believe the underlying hardware is not all that different now.

    As a left of centre idea, does your existing hardware support a different operating system? Or a more up to date interweb browser?

    But I hear your pain and have been put in that situation myself like with the forced upon me smart phone. When I first got the thing it baffled me, but nowadays it doesn’t seem all that smart to me and I’ve locked it down hard so that it doesn’t do its own thing that it wants to do.

    What? No mice? Well I’ve sure got a mouse device here right next to me. I respect your decision to, you know it’s not that different from me going to the farm machine repair dudes for help and then getting assistance. Same, same, but different! 🙂 Good luck, and we can probably have hours of fun talking about how to get things done on a PC (an acronym for Proper Computer!), and no doubts Damo over the other side of the country will chime in too on the discussion. Mate, it is rubbish to be chucked into a situation where you have to make a decision, when things previously used to be just fine.

    Speaking of such matters, I finally got around to replacing the capacitors in the old amplifier. And before I go any further, the machine still works and no longer smells like ozone, and it even sounds better. I wasn’t sure what to expect. You know the machine is over three decades old and it still clunks along happily, probably more happily though after today’s surgery. As I had my head under the bonnet of the amplifier this afternoon, I was quite impressed with the simple elegance of the machine. I doubt similar machines manufactured nowadays will still be working in three decades time. Actually, I was a bit worried about the work because if I stuffed it up, there aren’t that many businesses around nowadays who could fix it.

    The old ruin was fascinating, and believe me, it was sturdy enough to have survived 110 years of utter neglect and it didn’t look in any danger of falling over any time soon. Well, that’s the weird thing the editor informed me that such fossicking activities in that particular area were prohibited, although I’m unsure why. A few weeks ago I spoke with some lovely old hippies who keep me supplied with honey, and they told me that their son who prospects as a hobby found a good sized nugget a month or two back.

    Near to the ruins was a creek known as Forest Creek (probably named for reasons known only to the early folks who so named the creek). Noodling around the area we spotted a farm which might once have been a commune, but we weren’t sure and wasn’t able to dig up anything further about it. There was a weird sign suggesting that a monster meeting had once been held near to the creek. Alas, no mysterious monsters, but there actually was a: Monster Meeting.

    Funny, I don’t feel smug and superior at all, I kind of feel like a cornered animal. But yes, that was indeed the main motivation: “Here it is. Now, go and f!@# yourselves!” Maybe I have a touch of unresolved anger about the situation. I should probably work on that. 🙂

    Well, yes I have read Mr Greer’s thoughts on this matter and largely agree with him. Whatever else can be said about the future, it’s going to be a rough ride. If people in authority tell a story that doesn’t quite fit reality, people will start to wonder what the heck is going on with those folks? The ‘story’ itself as far as I can understand things is a way of interpreting what is observed on the ground. This is not necessarily one and the same thing, but it should be sort of close-ish. Anyway, if that lot tell an odd story, well nobody ever gets around to addressing things that actually need addressing, and that is when things get weird. Put in an order to stock up on ammo today, and supplies are getting a bit thin. The land of stuff has stopped exports of mono ammonium sulphate too just recently – that’ll hurt grain growers and the people who like to eat grain products.

    You’re exactly right too we can’t keep on expanding for ever and ever. The numbers just don’t stack up, and so here we are in decline. The thing is though, I would have thought that rationing by price might have been the way things rolled, but not this stuff that is going on down here right now. I do wonder at what point the economics of all of this makes no sense whatsoever – it just doesn’t seem even remotely functional to me. Did I mention that I’ve begun re-reading John Kenneth Galbraith’s book: “The Great Crash 1929”? Apparently, the author wasn’t pleased that he could not find a copy of his book at an airport bookshop – the title put the book out of contention for the airport book seller! 🙂

    Publican sounds fun, and we could probably do the supply, but the regulations would be a true problem. Yep, no getting around those things.

    Ah, sausages, yes of course. For some reason you reminded me that they were called Franks when I was a kid, but it has been many years since I’ve heard them described by that name. I’m almost scared to ask how they came by such a name?

    Yeah, there is a lot of work out there if you want it. One of the side effects in relation to closed borders is that many menial jobs remain unfilled. I’m not sure that this speaks well about our culture.

    Work ethic and discipline are unfashionable ideas right now! Fancy them working out though?

    Thanks, and I’ll ask the editor about such matters.

    Out of curiosity was the 3% poisonous factor consistent across continents? One wonders. Some of the exotic mushrooms sold down here have textures that I find to be unpleasant. Like the slippery jacks, I’ve tried them, but am not a fan.

    Mate, even so, relative to prices over here, your oatmeal is pretty cheap. The last (admittedly) organic rolled oats, I think I paid about $3.70 pound, but they’re really good and I’ve not tasted better anywhere. Is $4 a gallon expensive for your part of the world? The inflation story goes on apace.

    Out of curiosity, what is the special meaning of the 1st of the month in relation to banks?

    Hope H enjoyed her walk! I dare not say that “Walk” word around the fluffies or they go feral with excitement.



  38. @ Lew – is there a separate (not Fruit company) store somewhere in the area that sells used Fruit computers along with new? We have such a store here. The laptop I’m typing this on and the tablet Mike uses are both used, refurbished Fruits purchased at that store. We’re very happy with both of them and with the store, and they were significantly cheaper than the new versions – though still not cheap, nothing Fruit is. Go the Fruits! Way superior to the others as we Fruit fans know. 😉


  39. Yo, Chris – Different operating system? Maybe. More up to date browser, no. I’ll see what the computer guys, say on Tuesday. I understand they have a Mac guy, there. Different operating systems are beyond my skills. Or, interest.

    I can think of far more interesting things to talk about for hours, then PC’s. 🙂 . I’ll leave that to Damo, DJ, and Al.

    Go, old amplifier! Probably a good thing it no longer smells like ozone.

    Simple elegance of the machine. I love old pick-up trucks. If the owner looks approachable, I ask for a look under the hood. You can see the ground! You know, if an EMP wipes out all the electronics, those old dears will still run quit nicely. That was a plot point in “One Minute After.” Old cars that still ran were at a premium.

    I clicked on the link to “Monster Meeting,” and got the now dreaded “Your Clock is Ahead” error message. Which has nothing to do with my clock. Except in a very roundabout way. Would it have killed them to have said, instead, “A Major Security Certificate Has Expired?” The Tomten link (delightful story) worked just fine. As did the link to phosphates and the Land of Stuff. Discovered another victim of the error messages. Wik-hoopia.

    Speaking of the Land of Stuff, I saw an article that there electrical system is on the fritz. Rolling blackouts. Seems to be related to coal, supply lines, people out sick, etc. etc.. But power to factories are intermittent, which causes more supply line problems.

    Franks are called franks, because some guy from Frankfurt, Germany invented them. Or, something like that.

    Some mushrooms that are edible, that I see in stores, just don’t look that appealing. Some look like small versions of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu.

    Banks here are busy, around the first of the month, because a lot of people get paid then. Also retirement checks. As an example, one of my retirement checks comes on the last day of the month, the other on the 3d. If either fall on a weekend, payday is on Friday.

    H’s command of the English language, is pretty good. Walk, treat, squirrels … 🙂

    I stopped by the Club, this morning, and was asking the manager about people I hadn’t seen around, since my triumphant, return. I asked about Nick, and, Nick walked through the door! Cosmic. Nick is a tall thin fellow, probably 30-35. Back when he was GHST (Getting His S— Together), he used to stop by my bookstore, from time to time for a chat and a cuppa. One thing I’ve got to say about Nick is, even when he was having “problems,” he was always a hustler. One of those people who was always working somewhere.

    Well, it turns out he’s now working at a large food distribution warehouse. They supply food to small groceries, as far away as Alaska. They had a major outbreak of You Know What, a couple of months ago. Nick had had the double vaccine (same as me) and, even though he went down like a sack of spuds, he was sicker than a dog, but didn’t have to go to hospital. The warehouse was closed for 10 days. They lost $275,000 in produce. I asked him about supply line problems, and from what I could gather, it’s diffuse and sporadic. It happens, but it’s nothing predictable. They’re having problems getting and keeping staff. Even with all kinds of cash inducements. Nick is moving up the ladder, very fast.

    When I got home I picked tomatoes. A lot are rain split, but I managed to get enough together for a couple of trays in the dryer. I almost tossed the split ones, aside, but then realized if I cut them in half, the unsplit side could be dried. Duh! Lew

  40. Hi Chris
    Looking over the report on the successful completion of the long standing capacitor change out task . (Comment to Lew #39). A Job well done Mate?!! The burning parts smell that left after the caps were replaced may have been due to a component affected by a defective cap. Or little people ?. That unit is a nice design.

    We discovered a slooow water drip leak in an open basement area that has been there out of sight for sometime. It is in an Al installed copper line that was installed in a bathroom 14 years ago. 1 drop every 5 miniutes or so. I set an audible leak detector In a container At about a 2 liter level. Over night collection was negligible so no plumber needed till latter. Those kind of problems are annoying. ? I was already talking about with a plumber about a complete house hold inside piping change to flexible plastic commonly known as “PEX” over here.

    The US has an acute small single dwelling shortage nationwide. The prices have gone up quite high recently. Our 1200 sq. ft 1943 WW2 house is above $400 K average in this locale. If we had to replace interior plumbing , electrical, and partial sewer system the price would likely raise the price by an additional $50K. It’s crazy! Of course the replacement house would be priced accordingly. Something has got to give. ! Throw in general inflation , supply line problems , pandemics, and what ever. Wow . At least the weather has been nicer lately. And health is ok. There that’s a good whine isn’t it??
    Cheers Al

  41. Hello Chris,

    “Overshoot” is a beautiful book. Explaining clearly where we are in the story. “Drawdown” means something else to Catton, compared to the book that came out in 2017 with the same title. I am puzzled about the fact that very many people I talk to know about “overshoot day” (this year on 29 July) but that they have never considered the consequences.

    Thanks for the notification about ammoniumphosphate (MAP) exports from China. They state a 6 month stop. As you have experienced, stops can be extended as needed by those who know better and are in power…
    Especially soy and grain producing/exporting countries need to import a lot of phosphate to compensate the lack of night-soil-returns. Brazil is #1. Oz is #4. on the FAO list of phosphate importers. 1 million tons/year is quite a lot of phosphates. Even if you collect all the nightsoil of your mighty nation, I doubt you would come even close.

    This is all in line with the “Limits to Growth”/limits to human load on the planet.
    As Catton writes, we “draw down the reserves” of finite resources like rock phosphate, and one day it is gone.
    (We could of course whine, like in “Who moved my cheese?”)

    Wish you a good end of the week, looking forward to next post!


  42. Hi Goran and Al,

    Thanks for the great comments. I’ve gotta write tonight and so have no time to reply, but promise to reply tomorrow.

    Hi Claire,

    Oh, you are like, super cheeky! 🙂



  43. Hi Lewis,

    Actually there seem to be a number of options for your old Mac hardware to get it running again. I’m not sure how old your machine is, but I read a website which suggested that many of the alternatives run using old hardware. Even if you got a newer machine you could load up something on the older machine and keep it running as a spare. Here you go: 8 Alternative Operating Systems For Your Mac (That Actually Work). Puppy Linux sounds as if it will run on even the oldest of old Mac hardware – and it will do the job. Mind you, I don’t burn a candle to see you learn a new operating system, and hey, it took me five years and lots of threats to go from Windows 7 to Windows 10. 🙂 No fun…

    Yeah, I was a bit worried about running the old amplifier if I wasn’t around, ozone smell is probably a bad thing. I found the offending item in the machine by using my nose. I was pretty happy it worked out, but the supplier left a few items out of my order. I am not going to use them again. I put in an order for the replacement parts with another supplier yesterday. The parts were only a couple of bucks, but not having them meant the job couldn’t be entirely finished. I should have checked the order when I received it months ago. Oh well.

    I’m with you. You’re right there too, those old machines were easier to work on as the engine bays weren’t squished together with so much stuff in there. I still believe that in the future there will be a market for a bare bones super basic lightweight vehicle. And yeah, an EMP blast can ruin your whole day.

    Hopefully the monsters at the meeting are OK, although your computer suggests that things may be otherwise? The error message makes no sense whatsoever. Do you know how common that is? Part of my job is explaining problems to people in simple English, but when it comes to error messages I tend to believe that they are deliberately obscure, just because it keeps tech people in jobs. One bit of software I use for work has error messages that are so obscure that I have to constantly phone the support folks up and ask for help. And often the fix is that a field requires an entry, and it doesn’t matter what the entry is, you just have to do something. That bit of software scares me a bit…

    The Totem video and story was pretty cool wasn’t it? Beautifully illustrated too.

    Mate, the land of stuff only has itself to blame. They cracked the sads with us, and no longer wanted our coal exports. Turns out our coal exports are cheaper than their internal coal supplies and so the generators are caught between regulated electricity prices and rising coal prices. Hmm. It is theoretically also possible for the nuclear sub to block oil supplies to the land of stuff arriving via the sea channels. The existing diesel electric subs did not have that theoretical capability. There is a lot going on right now.

    Except the whole thing is a mutually assured pain in the rear, because they’re throttling the supply of stuff to us. Nobody wins…

    I’ve been wondering recently whether I see a lot of the strange sort of supply issues because we do things on a farm that most domestic households probably would never even consider – and so I’m seeing the weirder side of the supply story. I reckon ordinary households are oblivious to the problems, or they blame the health subject which dares not be named. Dunno.

    Who wants to eat Cthulu? Sounds all very unpleasant.

    What? No way. Do you guys still get checks in the mail? Other than bank checks (which we call cheques) personal checks are not usually ever seen down here. The banks are big on the electronic transfer thing and most bills are paid that way nowadays.

    Respect to H and her superlative linguistic skills! 🙂 Don’t accidentally say ‘walkies’ or there’ll be canine trouble.

    It is possible that the future belongs to the Nick’s of the world. Full time employment is a relatively recent phenomena from an historical perspective and so probably this arrangement will unwind in the future, and a good case could be made that it already is unwinding (I accidentally typed wunwinding – not sure what is meant by that word, but it sounds like an awful thing to experience, say Cthulu removing a humans head counter clockwise, or something like that, yes not nice at all). When I was a kid they used to seriously talk up the prospects of ‘job for life’. Now I’m just happy if I get paid… Mate, I’ve been super poor in my life, and learning how to get through that time suggests that a ‘do what it takes’ mentality is sometimes a prerequisite for survival!

    Yeah, the health subject which dares not be named hit everyone differently, that’s for sure. Sooner or later, my best guess is that everyone’s lucky numbers will come up – that’s life. There are an awful lot of things out there that can kill, and that story is just one in a long list of nasties. Mate, you saw the scourge back in the day. We hold back the microbes, but eventually they’ll win the day and our species will reach an equilibrium with them.

    I hear you about the rain split tomatoes, and you know what? We harvested them anyway and used them for dehydrating and passata. What else can you do? Mate, it’s been a wet week here, but today we cleared up the work that the tree dudes did the last time they were here. Those blokes do a lot of work in only an hour or two, and it takes us a day or more to clean up. Oh well, they’re part of the farm.

    Cheers (and I better get writing),


  44. Yo, Chris – Thanks for the link, but “My Clock is Ahead.” 🙂 . I’ve read those articles, before. I’m usually lost after the first sentence, or two. I think Claire’s idea about a refurbished Fruit product, is something I need to look into. I think I’ll have a clearer direction, after talking to the local computer dudes, next week. This ought to be interesting. I notice they close for lunch, daily. How many businesses do that, any more?

    I should have done a Gargle search, first off. Usually, you can find clear explanations of those messages, early on. Not only do arcane messages keep people employed, it’s the Revenge of the Nerds. I think a lot of childhood and young adult trauma gets worked out in those messages. And the general attitude of superiority they display, to the rest of us who aren’t so computer hip and with it.

    When I stopped by the library, yesterday, it turns out two of the employees have more current Fruit products. They say the learning curve isn’t too bad. Also, the first thing I do when confronted with a new operating system, is get a “For Dummie,” or “Complete Idiot’s Guide to…” book. They’re a great help.

    I think different life styles have different supply problems. I think that’s why we’re hearing so much about it, right now. It’s hitting everyone, in different ways. You’re right. Life on the farm … you have different needs that are, or are not, getting met.

    I was unclear. Checks are for the most part, direct deposited. But, people seem to need their banks, around the first of the month. To get cash, or whatever. I stopped by mine, the other day, to use their coin counter, and get mad folding cash for all the coin I’d piled up, during the duration. I do a bit of mine online, but I think a lot of people either don’t have the skills, or the computer capability.

    Yup. I can remember the “jobs for life,” good old days. I think some of what’s gong on now is a lot of employers had a “You have a job, you get paid. You will be happy” attitude. “But we’ll treat you like ca-ca, and your working conditions will be abysmal.”

    It was interesting talking to Nick. He’s very aware of peak oil, etc.. But one of his ideas for coping with future shortages and decline, is to stockpile tablets. 🙂 .

    Dreams. Pass the beer nuts. 🙂 . I had lunch yesterday (so, I wasn’t hungry). Took care of the tomatoes and took a nap. Had a very short dream. I was eating a really nice vegetable soup, with big hunks of sausage floating in it. That’s it. Beginning, middle and end. Maybe it was all our talk about franks? 🙂 Write on, Garth. Lew

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