Captain Fun

What did you say there Plum girl? What have you been reading on the interweb anyways? Are you seriously suggesting that in the future, dog food will be delivered by drone, and we’ll own nothing and be happy? You’re my sister Plum, and we’ve known each other since way back when, but that’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. I tell ya girl, I’m not going hungry just because some Wedge Tail Eagle decides to take out my breakfast drone. No way at all! And anyway, I own stuff, like leather boots.

Ruby’s leather boot next to her sleeping mat

The editor thought that she could trick me by removing the leather boots from my bedroom. She didn’t know who she was dealing with. Ruby, boss dog, that’s who. Yo, listen up, I’m the boss, not the editor. The leather boots proves it. Editor decides to take away the boot from me, and in my crafty bossness, I woke up the editor every night until she relented, and returned the boot to me. I own the boot, and the boot is mine! As everyone who is anyone knows, a leather boot is important for playing soccer practice in the wee hours of the morning.

That’s me, Ruby boss dog extraordinaire

Am I not beautiful? Of course I am beautiful, it goes without saying. I’m also the boss dog. Plum my sister, and the much larger Ollie dog are my minions. And if Plum needs stalking around the couch, well a stalking she shall get. Then she’ll get pounced upon. I keep the fun factor on high at this here farm, and whenever I step into the room, the party vibe goes way up, and the other two dogs look kind of nervous. As they should be, for I am the boss dog, and they aren’t.

Some may call me by the name Miss Fun, but I ain’t gonna miss no fun, so you better call me: Captain Fun. Or else…

The job of the Fluffy collective on the farm is to stay alert for intruders. And we are like, so onto that business. Rabbits have been a problem lately, and so I’ve been drilling Plum and Ollie on how to catch a rabbit. And despite Plum’s notable anxiety issues, a few days ago she took down her first rabbit. She’s fast, that girl.

Then, in an unexpected twist of fate, she promptly lost the rabbit to the much larger Ollie. I don’t mind what goes on with those two, as long as they’re following my instructions. And the standing instructions right now are: Kill rabbits. Kill them all.

Ollie chows down upon a dead rabbit

Sometimes though, those two dogs push me, they sure do. Hunting rabbits does not involve digging holes in some of the garden beds. Well, at least I tell them not to get caught doing that. Unfortunately, they sometimes do get caught doing just that, but I don’t get into trouble, that’s their business with Chris and the Editor.

A Kelpie dog sized hole in one of the vegetable beds

And Chris and the Editor need training too. Whenever I need extra food, I nudge them, and one of those two hands over the extra food. My servants… It sure does takes a proper amount of food to keep this here Kelpie body, hot as.

Speaking of food, as boss dog, I ensure that the other two fluffies get fed first before I get stuck into my food. This of course is the natural order of things. And whenever Plum hesitates to suck back her food, I give her death stare number three. It’s always effective, and Plum just has to suck it up, or else.

The other primary job those two dogs have is to keep me warm on cold winters nights. Ollie is particularly soft and warm. Even though he is my minion, I like Ollie, and Plum too.

Ollie is there to keep me (middle of photo) warm on cold winters nights

Yep, expect the unexpected is my motto. Sometimes just for fun I’ll run around and around the chicken run and at the last second bounce off the steel mesh. The steel mesh makes a great crashing sound, and the chickens will know in no uncertain terms, that Ruby is in the room! Unfortunately the steel mesh is super strong, as I’d really like to eat the chickens.

They say everything tastes like chicken, and I’d want to put the theory to the test. But then maybe not everything tastes like chicken, cake probably doesn’t taste like chicken, and I love cake. Chris also bakes special Anzac biscuits for us dogs, and each day we get to enjoy those treats, whilst he and the editor enjoy the same Anzac biscuits but with the addition of sultanas. I keep asking for one of theirs, just to test whether it tastes like chicken, but they refuse.

Well, that’s about it folks for the fluffies update. Rabbits, killed and eaten – tick. Ollie lounged upon – tick. Chickens not eaten – tick. Plum stalked around the couch – tick. Leather boots chewed – tick. That sure is a lot of ticks, and I plan to eat more chickens, sorry, I meant tick more things off the boss dog list real soon.

Thanks for the update Ruby, and no you can’t eat the chickens.

It’s been an interesting week, whilst the weather has been mostly pleasant. We continued cleaning up the surrounding forest and burned off an inordinate amount of fallen timber. The timber was too wet and decayed to be converted into firewood for the house, yet, if a bushfire comes through, the stuff will burn very hot indeed. Given the bonkers scale of bushfires over the past century and a half, it is simpler and easier to clean up the forest in the first place.

A massive collection of damp and decaying fallen timber was burnt off this week

The local general store was visited on Thursday a week and a half ago by a person infected with the health subject which dares not be named. Fortunately the editor and I were not there at that time. The business premises were subjected to a deep clean, shut down for a few days, and some of the staff are now in isolation at home. The business has reopened a few days ago as take away only, until I’m guessing they get their staff back out of their fourteen days of isolation.

A very sad sign

The nearby city of Melbourne with its five million or so residents is still in lock down with a nightly curfew, and has now become the most locked down city of all – anywhere. It is a notable, if somewhat dubious achievement.

Other rural areas surrounding the farm have been also chucked into lock down, but fingers crossed, we’ve managed to escape that fate in recent times (but have also been locked down in the past for months on end). The editor and I headed north into the next local government area to take a better look at the ruins mentioned in last weeks blog.

Signs aren’t always so dire!

We did the Dirty Dicks, and also the Garfield Mine walking tracks, and they were fascinating glimpses into the industrial past of the nineteenth century gold rush era.

The forest surrounding the Garfield water wheel ruins were littered with ruins which date back to the gold rush era. Way back in those days the area would have looked vastly different than the slow growing regrowth forest that it is today.

The ruins of a stone blacksmiths cottage

What interested me was that the buildings were usually rather small. Most of them had an alcove for a fireplace so I’d assume the inside was warm on cold winter nights. Some of the buildings showed signs that the stones were originally mortared with clay and straw, so I’m guessing they were reasonably watertight. It interests me that the larger and more usual seen Victorian era houses were not located in the forest, but were located in the nearby township.

The remains of miners and other workers cottages were littered throughout the forest

Mine shafts were dotted throughout the forest, and only the intrepid adventurer would dare walk that forest on a dark night.

Mine shafts were dotted throughout the forest

Some of the mine shafts were quite large, but I did wonder if folks back in those days were shorter than I, because I got the impression that working in the shafts would have been a bit of a squishy proposition.

This horizontal mine shaft appeared to have been partially backfilled (as many appeared to be)

There was even one mine shaft where a tree had taken root above it and was sending down its root systems. Given it a couple of centuries of uninterrupted growth, and it may begin to look like the ruins at Ta Prohm in Cambodia.

A very hardy tree has anchored itself on the edge of this mine shaft

That part of the gold fields has some very dry and extraordinarily hardy looking, but also very slow growing, forest. The forested environment is very different from that of the farm. Most of the trees date back to the 1940’s from what I was reading about the history of the area. I spotted one tree which had enormous burls, like giant warty growths right up the trunk. The burls are highly prized by wood turners and wood carvers. It was a very interesting walk on a pleasant early spring day.

Who has more lumps? A very warty looking tree

The spring weather is slowly warming up at the farm. Some of winter crops are now producing strongly with the warmer weather, and two new crops I trialled this year have impressed me. Purple sprouting broccoli and Kale.

Tasty florets form on Purple Sprouting Broccoli

The summer crops are all being raised from seed this year. All of the seeds are now in the greenhouse doing their thing.

Summer crops are now germinating from seed in the greenhouse

The first tiny tomato seedlings have emerged over the past few days.

The first tiny tomato seedlings have emerged over the past few days

The greenhouse has been an absolute game changer for seed raising purposes. And this year we have been far more neat with the arrangement of the seeds, and so have planted even the tiniest seeds in a neat grid pattern within their growing trays. It has been very pleasant to have the time to do this particular job carefully and properly this year.

We’ve begun the job of mowing the three orchards. The fruit trees are looking great, and growing very fast this year (due to prodigious quantities of soil feed). Fruit set on the early varieties of fruit trees might not be that great this year due to a recent heavy hailstorm which knocked some of the blossoms and tiny fruit from the trees. Time will tell how that all works out. Some of the later fruit trees are just beginning now to break their dormancy. Those trees might be the smart trees in this particular environment.

Plum and the author admire the growth in the shady orchard

The orchards and gardens are a haven for birds. Each year there are more species of birds. This year, the King Parrots have been hanging around more than ever.

A King Parrot consumes Rosemary leaves and flowers

Onto the flowers:

The forest has many species of wild flowers and this one is particularly pretty
Bluebells are looking their best this week
Geraniums as usual put on a great show of colour
The hedges of Lavender are stunning and smell beautifully

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 2’C (36’F). So far this year there has been 972.2mm (38.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 956.4mm (37.7 inches)

62 thoughts on “Captain Fun”

  1. Yo, Chris – Ruby may be the boss dog, but (Psst! Plum catches the rabbits!) 🙂 . My Dad used to say (quit often), “If the dog wouldn’t have stopped to poop, he would have caught the rabbit.” Words of wisdom, you might want to pass along to the Fluffy Collective.

    Burn now and avoid the rush? You forest looks so neat and tidy. Fernglade Estate?

    That’s tragic about your general store. And, from what you’ve said, some day tripper wandering into every other business, within sight. I hope they bounce back. Isn’t that where you get your mail?

    Someone must have it in for Melbourne. Some ancient intercity competition? As with, Seattle and Portland. Centralia and Chehalis. The Capulets and the Montagues.

    I wish they’d put an apostrophe between the “k” and the “s” on that trails sign. Is it one guy with poor personal hygiene, or a lot of blokes with REALLY poor personal hygiene? There must be a story there.

    How did you know it was a blacksmith’s cottage? Was there a spreading chestnut tree? 🙂 . I bet they crammed 3 to 6 miners, into those little cottages. Cozy. So much for peak rocks. All those rocks, just lying there for the taking. I bet the fines are eye-watering. I suppose a midnight raid is out of the question. Given all those gapping mine shafts. Don’t they know stone robbing is a fine old profession? Medieval Britain (and a lot of other places) would be a pale shadow of themselves, were it not for all those nice dressed Roman stones, lying about. The thought of all that nice rock is going to keep you up nights. You may even dream of them.

    People were shorter, back then. But they may have used children in those squishy shafts. Or, enslaved little people, from the forest. Which is probably why they’re still miffed at us.

    What’s that dripping sound? Oh, yeah. DJ salivating over the burls on that tree. I don’t ever think I’ve seen a crop of burls, like that. There’s gold in that there tree.

    What’s the purple sprouting broccoli, taste like? Chicken? Did you or someone say, that it’s so early it avoids the cabbage moths?

    It’s handy the King Parrots chow down on the Rosemary. When you roast one, you don’t even have to season it. Saves a step.

    Final count. 14 very plump gallon bags of blueberries. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    There is a bit of advantage in the big country thing, because if I’m having a wet and miserable growing season, those conditions are a boon to other growers in the more arid parts of the country, so food production risk is spread right around the country. When conditions are perfect here, those more arid areas of the country are probably doing it tough. And so it goes. And the arid areas aren’t that much further north of here. All the mills along water courses around these parts suggests to me that back in the day, a lot more grains were actually grown around here, or transported down from those areas via the train line.

    The long list thing was what I was alerted to recently, and if there are any problems in international trade, like right now for instance, well the minor ingredients have to be sourced locally. It seems odd to me that pre packaged meals could have such long supply lines, but that is I guess what happens when transport is cheap. I suspect that the average persons diet over the next few decades will become more local than the sort of exotic fare that people seem to enjoy nowadays. And food preservation techniques I’m guessing will be taken more seriously than they are today.

    Mate, that expectational story of getting someone else to manage your business and you just provide the capital and sit back and relax and rake in the mad cash, is somehow hard wired into peoples psyches. Like I wrote, it may have been possible a few decades ago and that was how the story came to pass I guess, but nowadays, I dunno. It seems overly optimistic from my perspective. Running a cafe is hard work and long hours, there is no getting around that, and I have only respect for people who can run such businesses for years and years. The thing with some cafe businesses, is that some crafty folks have worked out that they can make money by starting such a business, working their tails off, and then selling the business whilst the numbers look super good. They’re the ones making the mad cash, and not the folks who purchase such businesses, although that is merely my opinion. Folks who start such businesses from a low cost base can make a good go of it too.

    Hehe! Yes, WWII was at the back of my mind when I posed the question about the concept of Wa when the elites in a society warped the underlying value structures and beliefs of the same society.

    Mate, you are on fire. Last week I was speaking with a bloke who worked as an aircraft engineer and he is a most excellent fabricator (and did some work for me). He’s like the A-team! 🙂 Anyway, he was waxing lyrical about the dirt rat Suzuki of which he’d owned an example, but apparently fessed up to having never engaged the four wheel drive mechanism. Go figure. The manufacturers removed the four wheel drive gearbox from most of the recent models.

    I like how you think, and yes, three should be Plum’s goal before she is knighted to Dame Plum, rabbit bane. Ruby has already been credited with one score, not that I’m keeping count, maybe…

    The image of Ruby was from January earlier this year.

    Nobody knows what went on with the under specified temperature tolerances, but it might have been possible that costs were reduced to get the project across the line?

    Quirky with a touch of the macabre sums up the situation quite nicely.

    Mate, we seem to be headed towards harder times, and so it does no harm to be better prepared. There is an element of that story which is the emotional and intellectual response and those aspects are important too. It is possible that such shocks will be very unevenly distributed, and the prudent may do OK.

    Speaking of which, I went to the bank this morning to discuss deposit interest rates, and their best offer was 0.35%, which is pretty much a thanks for hanging out with us rate. It amused me that at lunch time I completed reading John Kenneth Galbraith’s book: The Great Crash 1929. And whilst completing that read I spotted a comment in relation to the South Seas Bubble which suggested that a combination of excess wealth and low to nil yields can lead to speculative bubbles.

    Of course, all is now clear with the benefit of hindsight. p/s = pumpkin spice. My brain suggested peanut sauce as the answer, or maybe pickled snags? I’m sure I could think up some others. 🙂

    I was unaware of Mr Katz’s new book Fermentation Journey’s. I almost had an opportunity to meet the bloke, but alas the world got suddenly very strange. The Art of Fermentation book is my go to reference guide for fermentation processes. And gave me a better understanding of yoghurt production than the editor brought to the table. The yoghurt coup was not pleasant, but sometimes one must take a stand, and the process has been almost faultless since then (with one minor exception where I had a bad batch of milk, but now I pastuerise the milk a second time before adding the culture and back slops).

    Kudos to you for sorting out a work around for your computer. I assume the work around didn’t involve a change in operating systems on your hardware to Puppy Linux?

    Your dad kind of hints at the greater realities of dealing with rabbits. They’re fast… But the two girls are pretty fast too, and anyway, the balance of power has swung away from the rabbits, for now.

    I’d like to talk all day long about my goals, but people are super weird about that particular topic. When books can be penned pointing to countless references as to how things used to be – when there were less troubles – and those books get widely read, but are lambasted by learned folks and those with their hands on the levers of power (even when they’re proven wrong), well if that isn’t cognitive dissonance, then I’m a sheepdog. 🙂 Woof! Woof! Hehe!

    But yeah, we do neat and tidy, on principle.

    It was really strange that it appears that each cafe in the surrounding area was visited over a number of consecutive days. I was unaware that people got out that much, or it is also possible that it was an intentional act. The lizard part of my brain has long been suggesting that this is a possibility which some folks might avail themselves of. It appears to have happened with the protests as both protesters and police were chucked into fourteen days isolation. The whole response is bonkers.

    Yeah, my mail goes to that general store, as the postal service does not deliver to my street address. Who knew you could end up in a black hole for services, but I kind of enjoy the challenge, although it is not for everyone. I heard a rumour that the property next to here changed hands today. I’m yet to meet the folks who bought it, but at that price I’d expect they’ll probably want to build upon it. I hope they have both gumption and tenacity. That paperwork permit process nightmare is not for everyone, but I can assure you that neither is it impossible.

    Well the city of Sydney was apparently released from lock down today for people who have been double vaccinated, although I’m candidly uncertain as to how this will be enforced. And historically there was always some rivalry between the two cities. Of course Federal Parliament first sat down in Melbourne, and some ills can’t be worked around I guess. Although as a suggestion, they might be hanging on a bit tight to the hurt.

    There’s a lot going on with the name for that walking trail. Oh, apparently Dirty Dick was a real person. One does wonder how the name stuck. There’s a brief history on the area with some fascinating drawings as to how it looked back in the day (and a passing reference to Dirty Dick himself): Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings

    Ah ha! My powers of deduction were at play when confronted by the remains of the blacksmiths cottage, and that was when I chanced to noticed the sign declaring what the remains actually were. Did you notice that the rocks were also square edged. Lewis, you must not lead me into temptation! 🙂 And you’re probably right about the dreams.

    Actually in the link, there as a sketch drawn as to how the mine shafts may have looked relative to the human scale. The little folk of the forest would have been most miffed by the activities of the miners.

    We must await to learn what DJ has to say about the burls. And I was already onto that thought!

    Yup, that is how the plant works. It germinates in autumn, over winters in the ground, and by early spring is already producing florets without the attentions of the cabbage moths. It may even survive your cold winters? Apparently, the variety is much closer to wild brassicas than more overly bred examples, and so saving seeds is also more reliable. It is an interesting plant, as is kale which only tastes good to me cooked.

    Oh you’re good. I like that the King Parrots are eating the garden plants that no other bird or animal seems to be interested in. And there is a heap of rosemary growing. The eat some varieties of geranium too. How’s that for hardy?

    I’m impressed with your blueberry harvest (and purchases) this year and um when is the first crisps being cooked up?



  3. Hello Chris
    The history of the gold field is utterly fascinating and thanks for your today photos.

    The chicken in my garden returned home but Son’s total left was 3 out of 11 which is not good.

    My electrics went out twice last week. The first time with a bang which meant that it was solely my problem. By a process of elimination, Son and I discovered that the problem was one of the rings on my electric cooker. not serious as I am fine with 3 rings instead of 4.
    The second time, on Sunday, it was a local area problem and lasted for 2 – 3 hours. We get a great deal of this on the island and things will no doubt get much worse!


  4. Yo, Chris – We used to grow a lot of commercial crops, here in the county. Grain, hops, prunes, strawberries, dairy … It’s mostly moved east of the mountains. But all that needs to be irrigated. Maybe some of it will move back? The fine university folks doing the heritage wheat research, north of Seattle, probably have a line of wheat, that grows in our wetter conditions.

    I saw several articles headlined, “World Food Prices at 10 Year High.” I also saw a report about supply line problems, and, they seemed to lay the reason on lack of trucks and truckers.

    Chain restaurant managers (or, any retail chain managers … say, bookstores …) have a better grasp of what it’s all about. Your on salary, so, your hours are open ended. And, you’d better know all the tasks and be willing to pitch in when there’s gaps. Those people have a better chance of success, I think, than people who just watch too many Hallmark movies. A lot of those seem to revolve around “cute” cafes. Where the owners seem more embroiled in their love lives, than the nuts and bolts of running a business.

    I think it’s advertising that makes people think they’re just going to strike off, off road, at the drop of a hat. The old problem of the person you are vs the person you fantasize about being.

    Ah, I’d forgotten that Ruby got her rabbit, and Plum is playing catch up. Let’s see who gets the next one. They’d probably work better as a team, but I think you mentioned that together, they tend to go walkabout.

    Speaking of quirky and macabre, I started watching a new series, last night. “Resident Alien.” About a space creature who crash lands on earth. And, assumes the identity of a doctor. And then is sucked into becoming the doctor of a local small town. I see there’s going to be a second season.

    Deposit rates are grim. Have been for quit awhile. They don’t even keep up with inflation. And then people start looking around for better yields, and often loose everything. Bubble is right. But, no worries. Someone gets that money.

    My computer work around is pretty low tech. More trips to the library 🙂 . You know, we have a computer in our library here at the Institution. But it’s been shut up tight, due to You Know What, for more than a year.

    Might not have been intentional. My friends in Idaho sure do hit a lot of cafe’s and restaurants, in very short order. I wondered about the property next door, to you. Maybe the new owners decided to check out the lay of the land … and brought the Crude along with them, from who knows where.

    Back in our history, the competition for county seat or state capitol was pretty fierce. Given travel, back in the day, it usually ended up being somewhere centrally located. But, not always. There was a lot of behind the scenes graft, corruption and general palm greasing.

    That was an interesting article about the Forest Creek goldmines. A nugget the size of a leg of lamb? That must have been something. The mention of the water cannons rang a few bells. During the Klondike gold rush in 1896, Seattle was the jumping off point, to get to Alaska. Where people got themselves outfitted out. According to stories, the mayor of Seattle “borrowed” some of those water cannons, bound for Alaska. Terraforming doesn’t apply just to planets. He set about to terraform Seattle. Seattle was build on hills, but the grades were pretty steep. So, there was a lot of “flattening out.” One hill was entirely washed into Puget Sound. So, a lot of the downtown was raised a whole story, and a lot of fill (not good in earthquakes) created, to expand the downtown. Check out the images at Gargle. Search: Seattle Regrade.

    So is the purple broccoli a hybrid or a heritage?

    Baking crisps will happen, when the weather gets a bit cooler. I’m looking forward to biscuits, too.

    Yesterday I headed down to get the good eggs, and stop by The Club. Got all the way there, and realized I’d left my wallet, at home. So, back I went. LOL. She had forgotten to bring the eggs. Something about a major laundry dryer malfunction. No worries. I’ll get them on Tuesday. Had a cuppa, and then hit two thrift shops (op shops), on the way home. Even though it was Sunday, they were open. In search of flannel shirts. Visiting Nurses thrift, didn’t have any. But they wanted an eye watering $8 per shirt. Heck, on sale, I can get them new for that price. I then stopped at a Senior Thrift (supports the county’s Senior Centers). No flannel there either, and their shirts were only a dollar or two less than the first store. I’ll hit a few more thrifts, next week. I’ve stayed away from their tat sections. 🙂 Lew

  5. Hi Inge,

    The history of the area is fascinating. I believe that back in those days the city of Melbourne was only second in wealth to that of the city of London (and candidly a lot of wealth moved in that direction).

    The gold rush incidentally ended the transportation of convicts down under, as it became a meaningless threat to send people where they wanted to go on the government coin.

    Ouch. Naughty Ren. I forget whether your son breeds chickens? I’ve noted in the past few years that inflationary pressures have expressed themselves in the prices of chickens. In fact, livestock prices down under have gone feral from what I’ve read.

    It is a sad and unfortunate fact that electric appliances eventually give up the ghost (as do most of our machines really). It makes you wonder if folks can even do fault finding detective work these days? I’m guessing peoples basic understanding of the infrastructure they have access too and rely upon, is not very good. Incidentally, I base that point of view upon the sort of unusual and often surprising things which people tell me about their beliefs in infrastructure.

    I suspect that they will indeed get worse. I read somewhere recently that the generation of electricity from wind sources has not been up to expectations this year? Nature provides when she is good and ready. Well, that’s been my experience anyway.

    It looks as though there is a strong possibility of another La Nina soon. Yikes! Another wet and cloudy summer perhaps? At least I’m better prepared this year.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    There are probably plenty of grain varieties which would do well west of the ranges in your part of the world. It is possible though that bread wheat will not be one of those grains. I’m guessing from what I’ve read about your climate on the west side, is that the grains won’t develop the proteins they would develop if grown over the eastern (and hotter and drier) side of the mountains. I’ve got the exact same problem here, and that is where tubers fill the gap.

    On the other hand, it is possible that less intensively bred varieties might do well, as well as some alternative grains such as spelt. I think that plant has the advantage over bread wheat in that it hasn’t been as heavily developed. Still, I’d be happy to be surprised in this regard, as I quite like flour from bread wheat. I have mentioned that I regularly use spelt flour too, and coat the outside of bread loaves with spelt flour much like they used to with semolina. It produces a great crust (with a bit of olive oil).

    It is possible, but my gut feeling suggests that the truth is otherwise, and blame could probably be laid along every step along the journey with food production, right up to the wasteful consumer. It interests me that on the youth news radio this afternoon they had a lady spruiking veganism as a solution to all of the problems of the world. I know some vegans and they are lovely people and generally don’t proselytise. Anyway, the food is but part of the problem, but the whole entire system is unsustainable in its present format. The lady did not even mention soil mineral depletion, as you know if you grow intensively, you can almost watch the soil levels drop. It is an astounding thing to see, and I worry that one day I won’t be able to bring in stuff with which to build the soil minerals… Nabbed a good around 100 pounds of used coffee grounds today! Yay!

    It was a bit sad too, the lady I’ve known for almost a decade and a half at the cafe has decided to move on.

    Oh yeah, truckers. We’ll they’re probably an easy target given how broken up that industry is and the pressure on owner drivers – who candidly are facing increased fuel bills too.

    It’s a bit of a trope isn’t it? Yeah, the cafe boss more interested in his/her love life than actually making ends meet. It takes the margins from a lot of coffee sales to pay the bills. And coffee prices are also rising due to shortages…

    Oh yeah, I reckon you’re right. I love car ads where there are no other cars on the road, or some numpty is driving their very expensive and overly large vehicle across some serious remoteness. Few standard vehicles can take on such remoteness without modification, but I admit that a few can actually do that straight from the showroom floor – but there aren’t that many of those.

    The new owners of next door have been visiting their property today. Looks like a young family, and they’ve met the dogs, but not us.

    to be continued…

  7. Hi Lewis (the double secret continued edition),

    Actually I’d forgotten about Ruby’s score last year – she was very young and it was a small rabbit. But it still counts and the tally board is showing the two champs to be now neck and neck. Who will win? Spotted two rabbits tonight, but they are now a touch wary. As a team, they might egg each other to new heights of stupidity, and who knows where they’ll then go. Best not to put temptation in their way.

    Resident Alien looks like fun. 🙂 The policeman had a certain air of barely repressed aggression about his character like Sergeant Doakes in the Dexter series.

    Yes, the deposit rate issue is certainly a temptation for folks seeking yield to speculate. I am not one such person and the temptation is just not there. The editor lost a great deal in unlisted managed funds in the recession in the early 90’s. No more need be said. It interests me greatly that it looks as though the general trends are pushing people in those directions again. And around and around we go, and where it stops, nobody knows. Sad emoji. Those things played a role in 1929 too.

    Trips to the library don’t exactly sound like too much of a hardship, but mind you your weather sounds rather sweet and pleasant right now, and winter will be a different story.

    Oh, really? Well heading out that much is an option. How does one earn a living if they’re heading out that often? Speaking of which though we ventured into town this evening to the local Vietnamese restaurant, and it was pretty good indeed. Getting out for dinner is a rare event these days. We went later as people generally eat earlier in that town, and with only ten patrons allowed at any one time, the later cover would be of benefit to the business. They’re all doing it super tough.

    There seems to be a bit of graft going on down here too. A minister in the state gobarmint had to resign, something to do with branch stacking, maybe. I’m not entirely sure what went on but I believe that is one method of avoiding the unpleasantness of having to deal with members of a political party, but I’d advise you to check the fine details as to what it exactly means.

    I missed that detail about the large nugget. Such a find couldn’t help but bring a smile to a miners face. They still find nuggets from time to time all over the gold areas. Did you see the water canons? Far out! Denny Hill copped it bad. Wow! I had absolutely no idea that such things went on. Some of the before regrade photographs looked like sea side Victorian era towns down here. Even a lot of the set out looked very similar.

    Purple sprouting broccoli is as heritage a Brassica species of plant as you’d ever find. Next to Kale, they’re one step off wild plants.

    The weather will cool down before you know it. Speaking of which a La Nina looks likely to be on the cards. And a sizeable rain event will hang around here for quite a number of days from tomorrow evening.

    Your egg contact may have been subtly testing your dedication to the arrangement? Of course it is more likely that the arrangement has not been in place long enough to be a fixture.

    Did you just say the words: op-shop-flation? Holy carp…



  8. Hi, Chris!

    Wow! The height of luxury: A sheepskin rug – on a mattress, yet – and a boot. Do you have to share those, Ruby? And Ruby, the photo of you is so beautiful, as you are yourself. You have proved that not everything tastes like chicken, except can you really be sure until you try a really fresh chicken? I am not suggesting that that is a very good idea . . .

    Okay, now – is Ruby really the boss?

    We do not have much leaf change yet. I wonder if it was the very dry summer that we had?

    Look at all that great stone at the blacksmith’s cottage and the others. And how grueling to work in those mines. My husband is part of a mining concern and the conditions are tip top, even down to the cushy showers for cleaning up afterwards.

    Oh – I wish I had some of that broccoli! And another parrot – thanks. And for the flowers.


  9. Hey Ruby
    This is your Kountry kelpie kousin . “Let me lay sumpin out for ya. Our birth owner put you up for sale cause you did meet his high standard for your breed. So drop the damn narcissistic airs. Got it.”

    Hi Kris
    Thanks for the fluffy narrative. I love those dog stories.
    Your spring pics are beautiful . Thanks, I have a love hate thing with Autumn. The color leaf change and crisp air are nice. Not so much the daily increase in night darkness and the freezing temperatures in the mornings.

    That bon fire took some time to stack and ignite I imagine. Yes it is possible to burn wet and decaying wood when mixed with enough seasoned firewood stock. Really nice fire Mate!

    What an interesting trip to the old mining digs! Those times were tough for those pioneers in both our lands! The broken edge rocks used in the early building efforts look to have been made by explosive blasting of solid rocks to get at the mineral riches.

    Kris there is so much of civilization beginning to fail now that it can’t be grasp, the rate of increase is accelerating exponentially. What to do!

    Cheers anyway Al

  10. Chris,

    I couldn’t write earlier. Had to do some electrical repairs and rewiring. Why? Burls. Lots and lots of burls. Drool, drool, drool. The puddle of drool, well, I needed to replace circuit breakers. Note to self: never look at burls, or even pictures of burls, when on the computer. 😉

    We’ve had consecutive nights less than -2C, so late summer is definitely over. The forecast has mixed rain and s%*w in the forecast for Wednesday morning. I heard that and immediately thought “S#*t too early for s%*w ! ”

    The timing with the concrete was pure chance. I’d intended to get the work done in late June, but it got too hot. Then the smoke. So, it got done when conditions allowed. One area will need some crack filler added later this week, AFTER the Wednesday s%*w and/or rain.

    I’m so glad that Ruby penned a lot of this week’s entry! I met our probable new family member on Monday. That went well. The puppy people will bring the puppy, Avalanche, to our home on Friday and will do a walk through of house and yards. I’m sure I’ll have to change a few things. Then we’ll get a “trial weekend” with Avalanche here, and if that works, we keep her. We seemed to get along well Monday, although she will need to learn that my beard is NOT a chew toy. The Editor and I are getting excited. I’m sure that Avalanche will want to sneak onto the computer and ask Ruby for hints on how to train her humans.

    Precisely. You know what general behavior you need from the dog, but how you train to get there is dependent on the dog’s personality. Flexibility in the path is required, as you are working with another living being with a personality, not with a robot. Homogenized training methods might ignore the personality, which you were hinting at. And the end goals need to be fluid, not firmly fixed, but more a range of what’s acceptable.

    Congrats on Plum bagging a rabbit! Maybe the balance of power has shifted. The photo of the Fluffy Collective on the sofa is funny: Captain Fun gets maximized body heat and comfort by being in the middle. She ain’t dumb.

    Lew beat me to it regarding the sign. Is it meant to be Dirty Dick’s, as in the trail that someone nicknamed Dirty Dick used? Or is it, as spelled, meant to be that there were multiple Dirty Dicks (more than one person with that nickname? or somethings else?) using the track? We need to know these things.

    Those rock cabin ruins were fun to look at. Have 2 or 3 occupants and a nice fire and I bet they were very snugly warm in the winter. Too bad you can’t harvest those rocks for your projects. Were you drooling over those the way I was drooling over the burl photos? (Note to self: look at the previous note to self before self has to replace more wiring and circuit breakers.)

    I know people who used to do a lot of spelunking. They would’ve drooled over some of those mine shafts. Too narrow for my tastes! (Skipping quickly past the burl tree photo.)

    We’re at the other end of plant growth from you. You’ve got everything growing and blooming. We’ve had enough frost that even the sage has finished for the year. I need to trim it back for the winter later this week. I DID get the lavender trimmed over the weekend. Finally.

    Time to get busy. We’ve got a brick walkway that goes from the brick patio in the back out to the alley. There’s a slight slope down to the alley. It has settled some over the years. I need to dig out some of the loose bricks and rearrange things, at least for the winter. A more permanent fix will have to take place next year. Not sure yet how I’ll do it, but there will be issues after it snows, as the bricks tend to shift underfoot. The alley is where the City picks up the garbage, recycling and community compost bins that I fill with the stuff I can’t compost well. Don’t want to have some bricks slip out from under my feet and sprain an ankle!


  11. Yo, Chris – Back! And stuffed full of biscuits and gravy. Scott, Julia and I had a sit down. Also picked up my eggs. Still warm from the chickens (almost.) First frost, last night. Kinda. It was 30F (-1.11C) for a few hours. I’m not sure we got a frost, here at the Institution. The tomatoes still look fine. There are a few things that are yellowing and browning up, but I think that’s more a change in number of hours of daylight, than temperature. The blueberry bushes are turning scarlet. The trees just beginning to turn. The wind today is very cold.

    They used to grow some kind of wheat, out in our east county. I saw a historic headline, once … “East County Wheat, Record Bumper Crop.” From the 1880s. Of course, a lot of that is bottom land, up there. Or, was. Not so much anymore. They built a couple of hydro dams, and a lot of it was flooded. A town or two, also. There was a train line, out that way. To bring the produce in.

    Have you grown spelt? One of the Master Gardeners mentioned that someone was experimenting with quinoa, in the east end. As it’s a native of the Andes, it’s probably pretty hardy. The book on small grain raising, is on the way, to me. Ought to be interesting.

    Vegans have been claiming their choices would solve all the problems of the world, for a long time. As do people with a lot of other hobby-horses, to ride. A general cutting back of meat, probably wouldn’t be a bad thing. For a lot of reasons. Health, ecology, etc. etc.. But I don’t see it happening. Too much money wrapped up in how things are now.

    Sad about your coffee shop friend. But, people come, people go.

    So how does a young family afford to buy a place like next to you? Inheritance? Lottery? The bush telegraph will probably tell you, sooner or later.

    The sheriff in “Resident Alien” sure does have a lot of repressed aggression. And, swaggering macho. But if you watch a bit of it, it’s so over the top that he soon becomes a figure of fun. One thing I can’t quit figure out. So, it’s supposedly a town of 1,000 people. They sure do have a lot of amenities for such a small place. Oh, yeah. It’s television. Fiction.

    I saw a headline from some economist. Said he didn’t envy anyone who bought a house in the last year. 2008 all over again? Julia is quit hip and with it when it comes to real estate. She also thinks things are going to end badly, on the property front.

    My friends in Idaho are of the rentier class 🙂 . They both collect Social Security, she also has a small state retirement, and, they live in a duplex and collect rent off the other half. And, there still may be payments coming in from houses they’ve sold in the past. They have always carried their own real estate contracts.

    So, did the Vietnamese restaurant live up to your expectations? LOL. My idea of a meal out is $4 biscuits and gravy, at The Club. 🙂 .

    Yes, I saw a headline that some Australian minister had got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Or, something. And had to resign. I’m sure private industry will welcome him with open arms.

    I’ll have to look into the purple broccoli. Sounds like a good bet. Lew

  12. Hello Chris
    Yes, Son produces his own chickens, though he also accepts any that are given away. A friend of his wants to hatch chicken eggs for him. He has asked her to do goose eggs instead. He then mentioned peacocks and I said ‘Oh no’. They do make horrendous sounds! Son said that they taste wonderful. I have never eaten peacock and didn’t know that people did.
    That burl tree is incredible. I first heard of this a few years ago when a tree man pointed at one of my oaks and said that it was a burl oak and that they were much sought after.


  13. Hi Pam,

    Yes, spare a moments thought for the fluffies as they do it super tough. Just in case you’d forgotten there was the white soft leather hide couch which we scored at the very last second just before a lock down which extended for months. Well, they can sleep on that item of furniture too.

    The job of the two Kelpie girls are to seek and destroy all rabbits, whilst Ollie is kept in check for the deer. And this evening he saw off a young stag accompanied by his two does. Ollie actually has the tougher job, but the kelpie girls have the more dangerous work.

    Ruby sends thanks for your kind words of appreciation. 🙂 Ruby has advised me to relay her words: Sharing is for other dogs. I’m not sure exactly what she meant by that sentiment.

    Pam, please! Lead not the young rapscallion into temptation.

    Yes, it is true, Ruby is the boss dog.

    That leaf change issue has vexed me as well down here. Sometimes it can be brief, and in other years the show just goes on and on.

    Good stuff that your bloke is looked after in his work. It was not always thus in that line of work. Damo who comments here also has experience with mines.

    The purple sprouting broccoli is a highly recommended plant. It is close to wild stock and so will reproduce easily from saved seed, unlike some other more domesticated members of that family of plants. Those sorts of plants make us all look good!

    There are more flowers to come, and most of the Rhododendrons are yet to produce any flowers. Slackers… 🙂

    Hope things are not too crazy at your place.



  14. Hi Al,

    I’ve conveyed your words onto Ruby, and she may have yawned, thought about it for a bit, and then said: whatever dude! 😉 She’s is a very naughty minx.


    Thank you for the kind words of appreciation. I actually enjoy penning those stories too.

    Well yeah, truer words regarding autumn could not be said. I’m glad you survived the hot and dry summer months. And the past two mornings have dipped down to 2’C, which is not good for the fruit trees, but what do you do? I can’t dig them and myself up and replant them in better areas, because there are none at the price point I could afford.

    Truth to tell Al, I can get a fire going on an otherwise wet and cold day, with damp kindling without resorting to accelerants. All it takes is patience and care and knowing which forest fuels are which. That super damp timber was dripping water and it was very unpleasant to handle, but recovery from a serious bushfire would be much worse.

    Yeah, thanks for confirming my suspicions in regard to the use of explosives way back in the day. The gold harvested from those areas kept plenty of people busy for many decades.

    What to do? Well, I dunno either. Do ones best seems a bit trite, but it is also true. Hey, I tried another supplier for capacitors for the amplifier re-cap project and scored two of the three items on order. Mate, when basic items of electronics aren’t readily available, I dunno what to say. However, I will keep trying, and put in an order for the capacitors for the high end FM tuner this week (the weather is co-operating in this regard with lots of rain).



  15. Hi DJ,

    You’ve raised an interesting question and something which I’d also wondered about in relation to circuit breakers. But first I feel I must digress and mention burls. Mate, did you see those burls? That tree would produce some fine wood work, not that anyone without eyes to see would appreciate the majesty of nature! I chucked the photo on with you in mind. 🙂 But back to circuit breakers. So as our resident physics expert, if the devices aren’t tripping regularly, how do they break down? I can see how the physical act of tripping would strain the device, but if that doesn’t happen, surely the lifespan would be quite long? There is a bit of self interest in that question…

    No! Look at the burls. Appreciate the burls! Hehe!

    Oh far out that is some cold weather. Brr! My autumn (as others would describe the season) is becoming shorter and shorter with each passing year. It’s down to only a few weeks now. I don’t even know what that means, but all the same I get to live it. And this year we have burned through more firewood than in any previous year.

    Wise to do the minor concrete fill job after the err, rain and bleating snow. Yikes! It ain’t just you, we’ve got a cut-off low chunk of Antarctic air moving on in. A few minutes ago it rained very heavily.

    Ruby sends her thanks. Avalanche is a good name for a dog. Did you name the dog or did the adoption folks name the dog? We’ve got a bit of a tradition of simply spending some time with a dog and then the name floats to the surface. The place that supplied Ollie had named him Charlie, and he did not respond to that name. We took him on a walk and just kind of knew his name was Ollie, and that was that. Hope the home visit works out OK, although I can’t see why it wouldn’t.

    DJ, of course your beard is a chew toy! Every dog knows this to be true. 🙂 Are you really sure that you want to introduce Ruby to Avalanche? Sir Sancho in the UK might come and get Avalanche, just sayin. Ruby would be dirty for the fight-off too.

    Yes, my thoughts exactly. Let’s avoid perfection with dog training, as long as it is within the acceptable norms. Anything more would be painful for us and the dogs.

    Plum sends thanks. Ollie has been rather unwell the past few days due to gorging upon rabbit. He’s getting better now though.

    Lewis did indeed beat you to the sign. It was pretty funny wasn’t it? And from what I understand is that Dirty Dick was an actual person. It is at possible that at the dare I say, root of the story, is a rather unsavoury fellow. However, we are discussing him over a century afterwards, and not vice versa so there is something in that.

    Yes, absolutely, the rocks were a constant temptation and were notable for their square edges. One does not encounter square edged rocks here in this mountain range as they’re all weathered and rounded. A bit like encountering a tall tree with a surfeit of burls. Did you see those burls? Far out! 🙂

    The mine shafts were a bit narrow for my tastes too. A bit of extra airflow underground wouldn’t have hurt, but probably took a whole bunch more effort to achieve.

    Well done with the lavender. Actually there appeared to be a frost in the valley way below the farm the other day. Took a photo.

    Hey, bricks can be super slippery, especially if they get a bit of algae growing on them. I’ve fallen over a few brick paths like that. To be honest there is not much else other than lifting the bricks and packing out the undersides. Rock crusher dust might be better than sand, but who knows what lies underneath those bricks?



  16. Hi Lewis,

    The bank proposal is fascinating, and is part of the processes down here. There is a government authority known as Austrac which tracks every single transaction over $10k, I believe, because the banks report these to the authority. It fascinates me that recently there was an attempt to I believe make cash payment greater than $10k to be an illegal act. Ah the law did not pass. It seems rather draconian. Incidentally, the authorities down here began harvesting unpaid tax bills directly from peoples bank accounts without their prior knowledge. Commonwealth dumps 42 charges against ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle but threat of prison looms. Mate, it sure looks like a job was done on that bloke.

    🙂 Replete with biscuits and gravy is a wonderful thing to be. Far out that is cold as. Brr! Mind you, the other morning was 36’F, so we’re not far off such numbers. I agree, the shortened light has similar effects on plants. If there isn’t enough energy around, the plants die. I’ll bet the first plants regrowing after the big dinosaur killing meteor were from very hardy seeds and the plants were probably heavily browsed. Blueberry bushes look beautiful just before the winter season. A nearby neighbour has a paddock full of blueberry plants, and it looks great every year.

    I hear you about the cold and raise you: Cut-off low to bring four days of severe weather in Australia. The dreaded cut off low chunk of Antarctic air. The fruit season will again be a shocker…

    The wheat issue is true here as well. We used to have locally adapted varieties of wheat, but at some point it began cheaper to purchase in the wheat. You may have noticed that I take a big interest in raising most of my annual crops from seed, most of which is harvested with outside additions brought in to boost the genetics? There are books on how to recreate landrace varieties of plants, even from hybrid varieties, which can be turned back into open pollinated varieties with a bit of luck and persistence. So far I’m getting pretty good germination rates with the seeds. Some of the seeds are feral.

    River flats are as you and I know, the most fertile of areas, but then they unfortunately occasionally compete with dams. In some drought years, the flooded buildings rise up out of the dams. I’ll bet that happens in your part of the world too? Here is an article from a town under the Snowy Mountains Hydro scheme: Drought uncovers drowned town. I read a bit of bad will resulting from the resettlement.

    Ah, quinoa is a wise idea, and I’m getting to grains slowly. Between the orchards, berries and vegetables there has been a lot to take in. Nope, I haven’t grown spelt, but I do have the seeds for the plant. It was a devil of a problem tracking them down. There are a whole bunch of native grains too which I’ll take a look at in the future.

    Exactly a bit of cutting back on consumption would actually be of assistance. But like you, I don’t see that happening, and I do wonder if people instinctively know that it is an easy source of proteins. Anyway, protein levels in plants have been declining over the past many decades from what I’ve been reading, but eventually it will be a problem for livestock too. But also, I don’t believe that we have much of a cultural tradition of cooking meals entirely with plant foods – we’ve got that gear sorted, but it took work and a change of mindset. Actually having grown up in a household where money was tight, I never really expected to eat much meat anyway, and my mum was not known for her cooking prowess. I was unceremoniously ushered into the kitchen at the young age of twelve and expected to learn how to cook meals, as were my sisters. In hindsight it wasn’t a bad thing, and I learned a lot.

    But it is possible that not eating much meat is something that is considered a ‘poor persons’ option. And it is possibly why some of those rare sorts of vegans spend so much effort making their meals look like meat meals. There is something really ooky about that. If people are hungry enough, they’ll eat what is put in front of them.

    Dunno, but yeah, time will tell how that story plays out. For all I know, they might try to obtain a planning permit for permission to build, and then sell the property with that right for a substantial profit. Dunno, their acts will define who they are as people.

    Hehe! Small towns like that, do indeed have small facilities. Mind you, I’m not sure what it says about us, but I actually enjoy that lack of reach. Ollie chased off a young buck and two does today, despite him feeling a bit rabbit ill (although he is rapidly getting better). The dog is a greedy rabbit guts, with now impaired digestion.

    Dunno about the house price crash thing. I have no skin in that game by deliberate choice, to me it is an academic issue. But the authorities seem to be trying every trick in the book to keep prices propped up. Unfortunately every single speculative bubble in history has popped sooner or later. This run has just been super long. My gut feeling though is that the winds are changing and the land of stuff may have something to do with that story.

    Aren’t they lucky? Well I can’t lay claim to such prestigious income streams and have to sadly work. Woe is you and I in this regard! Mind you, like the three dogs here, I enjoy working and possibly would feel distinctly uncomfortable as a member of that class of people. Incidentally, that carrying of the financing doesn’t happen down here, or if it did, it would be only very rarely.

    Yes, the Vietnamese restaurant was very good, and hey a coffee and serving of fruit toast is a meal out for me in these restrictive days. 🙂

    The rain is pounding on the roof of the house. Holy carp!

    I couldn’t do that work, and it sucks to be them (politicians that is).

    Yes, I thoroughly recommend the purple sprouting broccoli.



  17. Hi Inge,

    I didn’t know that peacocks were eaten either. I suspect that our diets were once richer and more interesting than they are today! And how could anyone misunderstand the lyrics: Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie. 🙂

    I know of a neighbourly dispute involving peacocks. Something about lots of noise and poop on the verandas! Fortunately it all has nothing to do with me, the dogs would try and eat peacock if the birds were foolish enough to venture onto the farm. Geese can be pretty aggressive, although I’m not bothered by the birds and just shoo them away if encountering a flock of them.

    We’re experiencing a chunk of Antarctic weather over the next couple of days. Fruit set in the orchard has not been good. Oh well, there’s always next year. Outside right now it is raining very heavily.

    Thanks, and I’m really pleased that so many know of the burls. They make such beautiful wood carving projects. I’ve seen some really beautiful wooden bowls carved from burls. Stunning grains and super hard timber. It is nice to encounter really knowledgeable folks who can point out things in your own part of the world.



  18. @ Inge & Chris – Peacock was served from the Roman times, up through the Medieval, and even into Victorian splash out dinners. Usually carefully skinned, roasted, and then re-dressed and presented with full plumage. Having two guys carry in a peacock, with full tail spread, kind of made a statement. Swans were often served up, the same way.


  19. Yo, Chris – Seizer of property, government overreach. Happens on the local level, too. I hope they let the whistleblower off, and give him a medal. The details of the changes, might come in handy. To better serve your clients.

    I think our tomatoes were more frost nipped, then I thought at first. Oh, well. The rain had pretty much split a lot of them. The pisser is, we had that one sorta cold night, and now, for the foreseeable future, the overnight lows are well above freezing. I think that happened last year, or the year before.

    Fingers crossed your produce comes through, ok. You know, our weather people probably wouldn’t mind if your weather people called your “cut off low” an “antarctic breakout.” As they call our “arctic breakouts.” Sounds more dramatic. Sexier. 🙂

    I picked up the grain book, from the library, yesterday. I don’t think we have hot weather, long enough, to grow amaranth. But quinoa sounds possible. I see some of the local seed companies, down in Oregon, carry the seed.

    I see your Adaminaby and raise you Mayfield.,71955

    When it gets very dry, the town emerges from the lake. It’s up in the east end of our county. By the way, what is that enormous fish, in your lake? Inland whales?

    Back during our Great Depression, there was the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority.) There was a big push for “rural electrification.” Many dams were built and many towns flooded. But, people didn’t kick up to much of a stink, because of the number of jobs it provided. We also have a thing here called “eminent domain.” See government overreach, paragraph one.

    Don’t you know? Cheap meat (and a lot of it) is a national institution. I think freedom of meat is in our Constitution 🙂 . It’s the American way! How we got here is a pretty interesting story. Cowboys and cattle drives. Railroads. Huge stock yards in Chicago. And, in the 20th century, advertising and more advertising.

    A well known talk show hostess was sued by the beef industry in the 1990s. For 10 million dollars. For making a disparaging remark about beef.

    I hope Ollie doesn’t get worms (or anything else) from those rabbits. Mad rabbit disease?

    Oh, my Idaho friends worked hard all their lives, just to maneuver into this situation. It’s their retirement. They did a bit of house flipping, but got right in there and did all the upgrades, themselves. They still do. And, they always had side jobs, besides. They’re hiring more of it done, now, though. Ron had a small incident with a ladder, last month. So, no more ladders for Ron! My friend Scott is aging into the same situation. Lew

  20. Chris:

    My bloke is not a mine worker himself. He is one of the bosses – from afar. The mine is in Utah. He deals mostly with sales.


  21. Hi Pam,

    Very good. Sales or managing a sales team is a very difficult job from what I’ve seen over the years. I can’t do such work, and can only look on in wonder. One thing I’ve noted about sales is that for some reason organisations I’ve worked for have generally tried to promote successful sales folks, rather than just paying them more for what they do. I’ve never understood that, but then many things in this world are a mystery to me.

    And how good is the word: ‘bloke’? I thought that it was an Australianism and was not heard in other parts of the world, although my quirky word use might be rubbing off – not sure really. It’s not a bad word if only because nobody has tried to co-opt it, and it pretty much says what it means, without all that unnecessary mucking around when some other folks heap emotional content upon otherwise innocent words. Yes, we do live in complicated times, but alas. At heart, I’m a reasonably straight forward bloke.

    All around here the weather is filthy because of the Antarctic air mass, but in this corner of the continent, the weather has been nothing short of exceptionally pleasant. Not warm, not windy, and mostly sunny. How much more does a fluffy want?

    Wishing you and yours a very pleasant autumn.



  22. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, that bloke is doing it super tough, and from my perspective all he did was suggest that things had possibly gone a bit too far. And what really fascinates me about that situation, which is in my purview, is that it looks as if the gone too far processes are now actually reigned in. If that is the case, then why continue to pursue the bloke using the public coin? On a balance of probabilities, I’d have to suggest that the point has now been made, and possibly the authoritas need to let it go. But can they do such a thing remains to be seen? Prosecuting something beyond the point of diminishing returns can only but reflect poorly upon us all.

    Ah well, every year is different and only the plants know their frosty business. I’ve had that too though, but one hot year I recall consuming fresh tomatoes well into late May (your late November). Such a nice growing year, except for the bushfire risk. It’s different, every single year. Crazy stuff. Once the frost hits the fruit, I’ve noticed a slightly mouldy taste, and that signals the end of the season.

    So much of our technology is actually all about accessing preserved supplies, whether it be energy or food or whatever.

    Went back up north today to a slightly different part of the goldfields. The gourmet pie shop is located in the adjacent local gobarmint area and they were let out of lock down at midnight. So we went exploring up north and finished the day with a gourmet pie (it was pretty quiet up there today). You mentioned the Seattle water canon, and coincidentally we visited an area which had been subjected to the loving ministrations of a water canon by miners in search of the yellow stuff for about two decades. Mate, it was like being on another planet. The landscape was that alien. From what I understand, after two decades of that machine working the landscape, the locals cracked the sads and put an end to it. Even in the nineteenth century, the folks had had a gut full. Took the camera too.

    Mate, that’s what living in an uncertain environment looks like. The heavy hail storm a few weeks back knocked quite a lot of the early fruit (apricots and almonds) from the fruit trees.

    Today the weather was a bit super crazy all around us, but here the day was very pleasant and even sunny, if slightly on the cold side at 57’F. The rain arrived overnight last night and provided three fifths of an inch, but unlike other areas has stayed away during the daylight hours. Although, it is candidly rather wet outside, and today marks the day of reaching one metre of rain (or three foot and three inches) for the year to date. How much can a Koala bear?

    Arctic breakouts do sound much sexier. In fact I’m getting visions of jail breaks… One of the most successful bands from down under ever, is surprisingly AC/DC, and their song jail break is a classic rock anthem. The 70’s have a lot to answer for… I went looking for their video: ‘It’s a long way to the top’, which was just them on the back of a flat bed truck in the 1970’s just driving down one of the main streets of the Melbourne CBD – as you do. And of course there were bagpipes. How could there not be bagpipes? When I was a young bloke a busker used to play bagpipes on the steps of Flinders Street Station (the same road the band travelled down in the film clip). He was very talented and something of an institution.

    I’ll be interested to hear what you have to say about the grain book as it is pitched directly at gardeners.

    Thanks for the story on the now submerged Mayfield, and the author has a great ear for recounting tales.

    I dunno what the fish was, and perhaps you enjoyed different images? It is possible that the fish was either Bass or Murray Cod – enormous things.

    Ah, eminent domain, we call that compulsory acquisition down here, but same, same. Yes, it gets the blood roiling, and was used recently on a major tunnel work. When I was a kid, I recall a great furore in relation to compulsory acquisition in the suburb of Port Melbourne and it had something to do with: Multifunction Polis. It seemed like an odd notion to me, and I can recall seeing people painting their roofs with huge protest signs which more or less went along the lines of ‘not for sale’.

    Well there you go. Some industries have some serious weight chucked behind them, but historically I’m unsure that consumption was as great as it is today of that food product.

    Ouch! And I thought that the gobarmint was tetchy when it came to criticism… Let’s not annoy these fine folks, if only because they might be bad news. 🙂

    It’s funny you mention that, but I was intending to worm the dogs sooner or later and have the stuff ready to hand. His guts just need to dry up a bit. He’s getting there, and the experience might just be instructional for him. It is for the editor who stopped me taking the rabbit carcass off Ollie. We are now of one mind in this regard.

    Good on ’em. Hope Ron has recovered from his ladder incident, and learned a valuable lesson? Mate, life is like that. And after the almost rock – face planting encounter I have now dialled things down a touch and am more careful of my footing before committing to a difficult and challenging task around the farm.

    The weather forecast for tomorrow looks filthy. Ook!

    And thanks very much for the thought of stuffed peacock. I trust they used the best silver service for such an esteemed beastie?



  23. Hi Inge,

    It’s a surprisingly useful word in this day and age of overt political correctness. For some reason unknown to me, people have heaped up emotional content onto other similar meaning words such as ‘man’, just for one example. It now means more than it probably used to mean, although I could well be wrong in that regard.

    Incidentally, I’m not sure about your part of the world, but the female version of ‘bloke’ down here would be ‘chick’, I believe. Although that word is not heard as much these days and often refers to younger females. Incidentally, the word bloke doesn’t really convey a sense of the age of the person being referred too, but I reckon from middle age onwards you’d be more likely to hear: ‘old fella’, which I use to describe myself on occasion.

    Language is fascinating and all rather fluid. I’m sure things are as complicated in this regard in your part of the world?



  24. Chris:

    “Bloke” is a useful word. Surely I have heard the English use it? Perhaps Inge knows.

    That is really bad news about your weather. Fingers crossed.


  25. @ Lew
    Thanks for the peacock info.; absolutely fascinating.


    @ Pam
    Indeed. I beat you to it @ no.23


    Hello Chris
    Yes, ‘bloke’ is ageless I think. ‘Chick’ is young though I haven’t heard it used in many many years.


  26. Hello again
    Just realised that ‘bloke’ is always accompanied by the word ‘good’. I have never heard ‘bad bloke’. Clearly it is a friendly, approving word.


  27. Hello Chris,

    Regarding bloke: I thought all men were called “Bruce” in your neck of the woods, with corresponding feminine “Sheila”? And that that could also be used as colloquialisms for anyone of respective sex?
    Or was that only in the previous century?

    Regarding the money-story, there are many different outcomes possible, none of which seems like a lot of fun. Either accept a deflationary crash, or let inflation loose (most likely scenario) or a state-control-inflation that I only read about this week, called “financial repression” ( I think someone at Greer’s blog talked about this. However, most “economics” writers seem unaware of the physicality of our predicaments. We are not in a postwar-energy-exuberance any longer.
    I think Mr. Catton and his analysis stands on a better foundation. And the analysis of Charles A Hall, with the tome “Energy and the Wealth of Nations”.
    Here in North West Europe, the gas reserves as almost depleted, and the wealth level is heading down. Not that any politician dares to talk about it…

    Here in the Netherlands, the chestnut harvest season is at its peak, and next month the real tree-planting season starts. That is the best organic growth that I know of…

    Have a great week,

  28. Hi Chris
    I did some looking and hit upon my old favorite EBay to find your caps and other components.

    Here was the search: electrolytic capacitors, aluminum, any mount, any length and width, 4700 ufd, 50 volt dc, 105 degrees C.
    Repeat changing the individual component variables.
    Seemed to work for the two filter caps. Try for other categories.

    I am using a Mac Fruit tablet
    You should be able to do similar an on MS platform.
    If not collaborate with Mr Damo,
    I’m not an expert on either platform but I manage thru button pushing and free help calls with in house human tech folk. When available. Give it a try
    Cheers Al

  29. Hi again Chris,
    When you get ready to do the T-85 Yamaha tuner the manual. Is available from the same source that you got the amp manual has the full manual on line. I have a copy on my Mac fruit tablet. That could be attached to email if necessary. Also I doubt that that tuner will need to much although I saw there were 4 revisions in the down file. You will likely get them too.

  30. Good evening

    No contribution from Sir Sancho, as he is more or less paralysed with joy at the Ruby Issue of the Fernglade blog. ‘Ginger’, on the train, is long-forgotten…..

    Ruby’s stellar performance is a bit like Prince Charles’s guest editing the magazine ‘Country Life’, which he does once a year, with similar full portraits in a sleek suit.

    That boot incident showed you the mettle of Captain Fun, didn’t it?! Oddly, Sancho is not into toys or possessions of any kind.

    I was called a ‘bloke’ the other day, never before in my life. Two (male) students were careering along on the same (one-person) bicycle and heading straight for me; ‘Hey, mind the bloke!’ said the one in front when he saw me.

    Maybe it’s coming back into use? Much better than ‘guy’, and especially ‘you guys’. Cant call a lady a bloke, can we?

    The trenches of WW1 were full of blokes and above all ‘chaps’: the latter is hardly ever used now, and I would say has more of a country feel than bloke. It does survive as ‘He’s a lovely chap’, and that’s it.

    I was once both impressed and slightly appalled when a polite Sikh student held a door open for me at the University bookshop here with ‘After you, sir!’

    ‘Am I as old-looking as that ?!’ I wondered, being only about 40 then! Nonetheless, he had perfect manners. Ah well, what can one do about an innate air of distinction……

    A very pretty and stylish girlfriend was appalled when, aged 35, a gang of youths addressed her as ‘Sod off, you old bag!’

    All the best


  31. Yo, Chris – Bloke is a fellow you don’t know well enough to call mate? 🙂 Not heard much, here, but it is heard. Distaff side: chick or sheila? Bird?

    Our whistleblowers here, often get in a bit of hot water. There are court cases. But usually, “interested parties” kick in a lot of money, so the truth will out. And, how about NDA’s (Non Disclosure Agreements.) They’re getting pretty paper thin. Recent court cases have not gone well for person’s trying to enforce them. Even Presidential Executive Privilege doesn’t seem to be able to squelch a tell-all book. Inquiring Minds Want to Know. 🙂 .

    Go gourmet pies. Looking forward to next weeks pictures. In Seattle, the water cannons had a set job. And, besides, the city could only “borrow” that mining equipment, for so long. But what to do with all that re-grade dirt? A lot of it was washed down onto the tidal flats, at the north end of town. That’s where the World’s Fair and Space Needle were built. And at the south end of town, well, they always had problems. High tides often flooded the first floor of businesses. So, the city built one story walls, on the curbs, filled in what had been the street, and the first floor of buildings became the basements. I worked in a building that was like that. I could go into the basement, stop out on what had been the original sidewalk, and see the front of the old building. Hence, “underground Seattle.” There are tours …

    Well, our weather here has been pretty typical. Rain on and off, with few breaks. Temperatures aren’t bad. No wind to speak of. In the last 72 hours, we’ve had 0.37 inches of rain. 3+ inches? Your weather sounds filthy. I hope some of your apricots and almonds pull through.

    Years ago, you posted that bit of vid with the band on the flat bed truck. I remember it well. How good are bag pipes? According to some reports, the Roman Army added bags to pipes. Did they give it to the Celts, or did the Roman’s get the idea from the Celts? I’m sure DJ has an opinion 🙂 . Somewhere, I’ve seen a relief sculpture of a Roman military guy, playing the bagpipe. Couldn’t find it. Another story is that Celtic auxiliary Roman troops, took it to other areas of the empire. From Britain. Years ago, I had to make regular Sunday trips, to Olympia. On my way home, I passed a parking lot, and there were always 8-10 pipers, practicing. Don’t know who they were. For some reason, pipes are played a lot, at funerals of police and fire fighters. After 9/11, the pipes wailed for months, through the boroughs of New York.

    The picture of the boat on the lake. And just below the boat, under the water … an enormous fish. Second picture down, on the article you linked to. Caption: “Stunningly Rare Sight on Aussie Lake.”

    Well, if they’d just called it a planned community, instead of a “Multifunction Polis,” they probably would have gotten further. 🙂 .

    For peacock, you break out the gold service and gem studded gold goblets. 🙂 .

    I picked up a book from the library, yesterday. “The Art of Plant-Based Cheesemaking. (McArthy). Revised and expanded second edition. “How to Craft Real, Cultured, Non-Dairy Cheese.” I guess the author has a shop, up in Vancouver, Canada. She wasn’t very happy with what passes for non-diary cheese, and spent years experimenting to get a better product. I just took a brief look at it, but she really took a deep dive, into the subject. I mention it, because, some Canadian cheese organization sued because she was calling her product “cheese.” She was cutting into their sales, a bit. Didn’t read far enough to find out how that all turned out.

    But the point is (there is a point), a lot of industries are pretty defensive about their products. And, they have armies of lawyers and lobbyists, that infest our national capitol. Three for every elected official? Something like that. They write whole bills, slip them to their pet representatives, along with hefty contributions, and hope the bills get passed.

    I see Mr. Katz has a bit on seed and nut cheeses, in one of his books. Lew

  32. Hi Chris,

    Have you and the editor explored the goldfields before? I think it’s too bad people have to fly off to exotic locations when there’s so much to explore in their own backyard.

    I spoke to Salve and Leo about your crew and how they earn their keep. There’s not much of that going on around here at least not successfully. They looked at me as if to say, What? Get out of our beds? They don’t have a boot but get covered up with old towels when it’s cold.

    Hope the new neighbors work out. The family that moved in next door has been a bit of a disappointment. They spend much of their time mowing with their too small mower and trying to turn their acreage into a suburban plot. We’ve had very little interaction with them and even the kids aren’t outside all that much. Their dogs still bark at us with regularity. You would think that they would have decided we are OK. Even Ruth (the granddog) who only visits from time to time doesn’t bark at them. One of our dogs in the past got very sick several times after eating something he caught or maybe it was something already dead – we were not always sure. He ended up overnight at the vet one time. Fortunately he was the only one of our dogs that had a weak stomach.

    We’ve actually had over 3 inches of rain this month. Long way to make up for the deficit though. Also been above average in temperature and humidity.

    Stayed overnight at my daughter, Cecily’s last Saturday (she lives in one of the older close in suburbs near the city) as she was in a play for the first time. Got to have a good visit with my granddaughters too which doesn’t happen so much anymore now that they’re 16. On Sunday morning I took the train to the city to stay over at my aunt’s. Sunday was the Chicago Marathon. I arrived purposely after the runners were through at least that section of the city though many had completed the entire course. Roads were closed off and it was quite crowded. Once again not a cab to be found so it was a two mile walk to her place. A lot of good people watching though. On Monday when I returned I planned to stop at the local Walgreen’s (very large pharmacy chain) to get my flu shot. I had just walked in and gotten it there last year but things were not to be that simple this time. Even though the pharmacy had no other customers I was informed I needed an appointment so I said I’d like to make one and was also informed that I had to do it online. Well I was having none of that so just called my doctor’s office and made an appointment with them. What are those who aren’t computer literate or those who don’t even have access to do? That’s my rant for today.

    The seedlings look great.


  33. @DJ

    There’s a pair of Great Danes down the street named Avalanche and Everest. They are the size of small ponies. Leo and Salve were pretty intimidated by them the first time they met but they’re all good buddies now. We all walk the dog off leash as there’s very little traffic on our road especially first thing in the morning. It’s like a dog block party sometimes.


  34. @ Marg,

    I hope Avalanche the puppy doesn’t get as big as Avalanche the Great Dane. Those are BIG dogs.


  35. Chris,

    As far as I know, the lifespan of a circuit breaker is decades, if not longer. I’ve even seen some fuses that were still functional after a century.

    One of the demonstrations my dad performed in introductory physics was to add a small piece of solder into a circuit that fed a low wattage incandescent bulb. He would slightly flatten the solder so that it’s surface area was very large compared with the copper wiring. This required more current and the thin solder would burn out with a big flash, breaking the circuit in much the same fashion as a standard fuse would blow.

    One day, he tasked me and the other lab assistant with setting up that demonstration. He also had a lot of audio stuff to demonstrate. We told him to do the audio stuff first. Why? We had flattened that solder about as big around as a US 50 cent piece, as opposed to dad’s normal which was smaller than a US dime. Well, he didn’t listen and started off the lecture with the fuse/solder demonstration. That sucked so much electricity that it tripped 1/3 of the circuit breakers that fed the science building. Several classes got cancelled that afternoon.

    No snow on Wednesday! It stayed too warm. There was enough rain to let us know it was raining, but it was never a torrent. There was another brief shower overnight, then the clouds cleared. There was ice and fog everywhere Thursday morning. Made me even happier to be retired, as I didn’t have to venture out in the ice.

    The adoption folks named the dog. They named her sister Blizzard. Dunno if Avalanche will remain the dog’s name or not. Time will tell, sorta like with Ollie. Year’s ago, I adopted the large dog that the shelter had named this Burly. We called him Thor, which suited him better and to which he answered.

    If Avalanche is half as smart as I suspect her to be, there might be no keeping her away from the interweb and meeting Ruby. Some of theses dogs are smarter than us mere humans are. Rakhi the Samoyed probably understood quantum physics but chose to let me figure it out for myself.

    Who knows about Dirty Dick? Maybe he was a nasty bloke. Maybe he refused to bathe. The name reminds me of the Robert Service poem “Athabaska Dick”. It’s the 2nd poem on the page. I may have linked to this before, as Athabaska Dick had his priorities clearly established.

    Ya know, repeatedly mentioning burls to a wood carver is akin to repeatedly saying “squirrel” to a dog. 🙂

    The brick project went well. better than I thought. Took a lot of work and lifting, so I took Wednesday off from doing anything at the request of the Princess.


  36. Hi Pam,

    Inge has indeed replied.

    So far the weather from this Antarctic cut off low has been far worse, elsewhere. It is raining outside right now, but the rain seems quite normal and not in the frightening tropical torrential downpour category. Candidly, I’ve experienced a few of those in the past decade.

    Met the new neighbours this morning.



  37. Hi Inge,

    Yes, bloke is ageless. You hear old bloke used as much as you’d hear old fella or young bloke.

    I agree too, chick is definitely for the younger ladies, although one good bit of advice my mother gave me was always to deduct a few decades from any estimate of a ladies age. This advice perhaps suggests that possibly there is no such thing as an older lady, there are only ladies! 🙂

    Another label I used to hear a lot when I was a kid was ‘Sheila’. The word carried negative connotations, although what they were is beyond my knowledge as I was very young, and the word is almost never heard nowadays.

    Oh yes, good bloke is a very positive description of a person. From some perspectives it is almost an endorsement of the person.



  38. Hi Goran,

    Hehe! That’s a blast from the past: The Philosopher’s Song – Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl. They were even chucking cans of beer out into the audience. All very Australian. Sadly, the name is rarely used these days.

    Sheila is another moniker which is rarely heard these days. Alas for our sadly urban ways. The culture was far more naughty in the recent past. Yes.

    I agree and Mr Catton speaks from a more realistic perspective, in that he explores the human possibilities and turned over every unpleasant nook and cranny in order to take a peak and then discuss the awfulness to be found there. My current belief is that there will be too many dollars (or whatever currency) chasing too few goods, and that story has played out before elsewhere. Although I read the other day of a very serious professor of the subject suggesting that this theory has been discredited. Time will tell the truth of the matter.

    Hmm, I haven’t read Charles M Hall, and might need to correct this. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Oh yeah, an energy crunch is hitting home hard. Can you heat using firewood? Not many folks have the technology for this fuel source, but it is not a bad idea to sort out.

    We’ve taken a large drop in the standard of living too down here, and the same is true here as well – few people seem to have noticed.

    I look forward to hearing about your chestnut harvest. I have two such trees and they’re now pushing about 3m. They’re still a bit too small to remove from their wallaby proof cages…



  39. Hi Al,

    Get this, the back order of the 3.3uF capacitors turned up in the mail today. I do not understand that ordering process… I’ll chuck them into the amplifier tomorrow and that project will then be done. Next on the list is the Yamaha T-80 FM tuner. I just nabbed a copy of the service manual. It doesn’t look too complicated.

    I believe the unit I own is the General model, as it travelled to here via the US but was originally sourced from Japan. How crazy is that? I hope I don’t stuff it up and I’ll be super careful. If there is enough time tomorrow, an inventory of the capacitors to be replaced will be made and then an order for them placed. Some of the capacitors require the use of a magnifying glass in order to read the correct capacitance and voltage!

    I appreciate your thoughts about e-bay, and put in an order for the capacitors which did not arrive, except they arrived today…

    Most things in life sometimes come down to: give it a try! 🙂

    The worst I can do is stuff it up, and if that happens I’ll track down a replacement which is sadly cheaper than sending the unit off to a specialist (of which there are now very few).



  40. Hi Xabier,

    Ruby sends greetings to Sir Sancho and cordial tail wags, and well understands that he should be at least slightly more demure in his outlook given the recent ginger incident. Everything was good, before the incident!

    That was really funny about our King in waiting! 🙂 Thanks for the laughs.

    Sir Sancho has no need of toys or possessions as he is perhaps clearly surfeit with his ogling of gingers. As someone who now is long attuned to the Australian country for many generations, I can only but say that the distant Scottish heritage does indeed lend a favourable view of gingers (is that politically correct? perhaps not, but, err, oh well) and despite the close proximity to Lady Ruby, I have to also acknowledge Sir Sancho’s good taste.

    Another point of view is at least the young rapscallions didn’t collide with you at speed? The outcome may have been rather unpleasant. I believe that the usage of the word is coming back, and note that at present the word is not loaded down with the weight of emotional content. It means pretty much what it says…

    Hehe! I have heard it remarked upon, that it is just not cricket, ol’ chap. Not really sure what that means though. 🙂 Mostly down here you’d hear: ‘he’s a good bloke’, and I use that description too as a sort of personal endorsement of another person, when such things need being said.

    Sir, is not a bad moniker, and in some ways it is quite deferential. In fact, here I must out myself to using those very words when I hold a door open for another bloke at the local general store. I’d take the words as a compliment from someone seeking to smooth the otherwise choppy social waters.

    Mate, I had a really weird encounter with an intense bloke of Indian – Australian extraction long ago. So I’m in the lift with him, and he says to me that I am very lucky, and he’d like to read my fortune. Without knowing how to reply, I graciously said thank you, and left it at that. And then just to freak me out, he said just to allay my suspicions that there would be no charge for the reading. Again, I graciously declined the kind and generous offer not really wanting to know what the future holds in store. Do you see what I have to deal with here?

    The gang of youths (also the name of a most outstanding and excellent local band) clearly had not had the salient advice from my mother.



  41. Hi Margaret,

    An interesting question. You know, I’d read about Australian European history (and pre that history as well) and am alert for the impacts upon the land, but to see the impacts for my own eyes really is something else. So the area we visited the other day, the miners had wielded a water canon for almost two decades before the locals cracked it, and honestly the remanants are a mess. It truly looks like an alien landscape. Hope the photos turn out OK, and I’ll chuck them up on the next blog.

    Well, international (and even inter state) travel is now a thing of the past, and so we are exploring the surrounding area, and like you posit, it’s fascinating.

    Leo and Salve should be informed that despite Ollie’s seriously upset guts (truly awful flatulence) he still managed to chase a herd of deer out of the orchard last evening. The new neighbours are discussing fencing of their property. Ollie met their Australian terrier today and whilst Ollie is used to other dogs, the little tyke tried to take a chunk out of Ollie’s face. Let’s just say that I had to grab Ollie’s collar and put an end to the unevenly matched fight.

    I’m sure that Leo and Salve appreciate their blankets on a cold winters evening. It has been my experience that only puppies destroy their bedding – once they experience winter weather, their minds are changed in that regard.

    I hear you about dogs garbage guts expensive overnight stays at the vet and likewise had a dog in that situation many long years ago. She howled so much that the overnight vet that they rang us up and demanded to come and pick her up. Sticks do not easily pass through a dogs intestinal track and may have to be extracted. Ook!

    The new neighbours seem OK, and we’ve already amicably discussed fencing on their property boundary so as to stop the fluffies from running onto their property.

    Go the rain! But by all accounts you did have a rather dry summer. It looks as though we’re gearing up towards another La Nina summer, which is cool, cloudy and wet here. I’m adapting, but it is hard to know in advance what to expect.

    Good stuff with the Chicago trip, and unfortunately teenagers are what they are, but I’m certain that you’d fare much better than perhaps mum does. After all, you have the more fun role in that relationship.

    Nothing is walk in down here in that regard. There are even consent forms which sign away future liabilities. What do you do? And I hear you about that, the federal gobarmint is providing paper certificates for folks who can’t or don’t want a smart phone – not everyone does, and unfortunately I had to purchase one just before all of this current craziness, or lose my income. The local general store is now take away only for the foreseeable future. Life turns.



  42. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, thanks for that article, but I really don’t understand how a roast chicken can be supplied for $4. That story never made much sense to me, and I recall discussing this with you many years ago, that on one hot summers evening on a whim I stopped past the local towns take away to grab a roast chicken and salad, and I was rather disturbed by the emaciated condition of the roast chicken. The entire experience was very unsatisfying. But we’ve also spoken about chook-flation, and it is real I can assure you. The prices for heritage breed egg layers which I purchase increase with each passing year. A few years ago, I put my foot down with the editor and said: no more Silkies. Empty mouths, few eggs, long lifespans, and anyway I look after the chickens, and not the editor. We’re down to one Silky now, and she’s well over a decade old and enjoying retirement in comfort.

    Cool! They’ve had funnel clouds here recently too with the Antarctic cut off low.

    Yes, exactly. You nailed it. A bloke is a guy you don’t know well enough to call a mate. 🙂 I sometimes say to other people that such and such is a good bloke, as it is a form of initial endorsement. Interestingly I made a recommendation for the tree dudes today to the new neighbours, but also added in not to mess them around as this would reflect poorly upon me. The new neighbours seem alright, although Ollie and their Australian terrier had a minor two second altercation. The young terrier took a rather strong line with the much larger Ollie, and he began to suggest that this was not OK. Some dogs are like that with Ollie as his physical size is a personal challenge to them. But that dog seemed rather foolhardy as do some terriers – which have obsessive personalities from the factory.

    Anyway, they seem OK, but we’ve agreed to a fence on their boundary line. The wildlife does not move here from that direction anyway, so I suspect it will have little impact upon the wildlife. I’m not much of a fan of fencing, but I can also understand other peoples perspectives in that matter.

    Chick is heard, but Sheila is never heard these days. Although when I was a kid it was commonly heard. Isn’t it funny how words come in and out of the lexicon? Sheila had negative connotations attached to it, and thus probably why it was dropped from usage.

    Mate, you’d have to be out of your freaking mind to be a whistleblower in this country. There is like appears to be zero protection for such folks and who can really take on city hall with its deep pockets? Legal action is for the wealthy. Although, you’re right in that I have heard rumours that some groups fund legal action with the promise of a cut from the wins. I guess they see such processes as another form of investment or speculation? Down here the dirt is often buried, and I read some weird report that senior discussions in relation to the health subject which dares not be named is trying to be exempt from freedom of information releases. It’s not good optics, as they say.

    I hope the pictures turn out too – the landscape was positively alien. What a mess. Hope the foundations for the space needle go all the way down past the fill to the underlying bedrock? Ook!

    Hehe! Underground tours sounds fun for such an innocuous and practical response to local conditions. To be candid, I thought that the tours were looking at the seedier side of things. Are they still having riots there? We don’t hear anything about such news.

    It’s only early days for you leading into winter. Freezing cold weather is just around the corner. But the apricots and almonds have had some awful weather chucked at them. It’s still raining right now outside, but things have been worse elsewhere – and let’s not forget the Pomeranian sucked into the tornado. As a bit of advice, don’t tell Elinor about that story…

    Bag pipes are pretty good aren’t they, and we went through some rock songs which used them to good effect. The music would frighten a hardened devil lurking in some out of the way corner of the Roman empire… Yikes!

    I’ve gotta go, promise to reply tomorrow.



  43. Hi DJ and Lewis,

    Thanks for the lovely comments however I’ve completely run out of time to reply this evening and promise to reply (or complete my reply) tomorrow evening.

    Until then!



  44. Hi Chris,

    That story about the Pomeranian surviving the tornado is fascinating and heartwarming. I hope the rebuilding process goes well for everyone who suffered damage from the tornado!

    I’ll add my thanks to Lew for the description of eating pheasant. People these days don’t know what it means to really feast. 😉 And yes, such a glorious sight demands the gold flatware and gem-encrusted goblets.

    First cold weather of autumn on its way here, after welcomed rain yesterday and today.


  45. Yo, Chris – Yes, the mystery of the $4 chicken. If you look into the industrial chicken business, it can be done. Look at your own peril. 🙂 I think one of the problems with your take away chicken is, you mentioned you got it in the evening. I bet it was tasty and moist, say, around noon. I think sometimes, those $4 chickens are “loss leaders.”

    I read the article about the Pom taking it’s wild ride. Sounds like it’s owner had quit a go-around, too. Both are very lucky to be alive. We get the occasional tornado, here, but it’s pretty rare. There’s a lot of things I don’t tell Elinor 🙂 . I keep expecting her to purchase a crash helmet, for H.

    You just don’t know how dogs are going to react to one another, when they meet. H doesn’t seem to like other dogs much, at all. And raises a fuss, even when they’re a block and a half, away. One of our neighbors has some kind of a miniature spaniel, named Olive. Now her and H are best mates. Who knows the ins and outs of doggie politics?

    So, are you going to get a formal survey done, of the property line, or just do a “by guess and by golly?” “Good fences make good neighbors.” I wondered where that came from. The poet, Robert Frost. From his poem, “Mending Wall.” 1914.

    Yes, I’ve heard of people footing legal bills, and forming betting pools for cuts of potential settlements. Some people will bet on anything. But, some lawyers pretty much do that, anyway. They offer free consultations, and if they think they can win a case, they sign on the client, for a pre-arranged cut of the supposed settlement. Some of the advertising is … well, it boils down to, “Are you butt-hurt? Come in for a free consultation.” Some people play the lottery. Others sue at the drop of a hat.

    I’ve seen two or three movies where “the big one” hits Seattle. There’s always scenes of the Space Needle, coming down. But they did sink the foundations deep, for that civic project. When cities build on fill, well, at that time, they really didn’t understand earthquake liquefaction. When San Francisco is hit with big quakes, their Marina District is always hit hard. That’s where they dumped all the rubble from the 1906 quake … and built on it.

    Depends on the Seattle underground tour. The for-profit ones, tell pretty lurid tales of opium dens and brothels. The one’s run by the historic society are more sedate.

    Things seem to have calmed down a bit, in Seattle and Portland. More demonstrations, than riots. The occasional statue toppling. Seems to be more articles about sorting out their police departments and what to do about their homeless populations.

    We get food boxes, this afternoon, and, once again, Suzanne Who Always Has a Better Idea, tried to dragoon me into doing more than I’m willing to do. Which is get Elinor’s and my boxes, and that’s it. My feeling is, people who want food boxes, should take a bit of responsibility, for dealing with their own. They have relatives, they have caregivers. Sort it out. Try harder. So, I suppose when I go down for our boxes, I’ll get glared at. Tough. This round is the two boxes, where one is produce, of some kind.

    I hit two more op-shops, yesterday, in search of flannel shirts. I should really be looking for those, in spring and summer. But, I’m rather pragmatic. I figured with all the recent deaths in our county, there would be more estate stuff, flowing into the op-shops. I did see a couple of flannel plaids, but in color combinations I wouldn’t put on a dog (no offense to dogs.) I hold out for blue, black, white and gray plaids. I accept no substitutes. 🙂 . But I did find one shirt, for $3. I think it was originally black, but now it’s a nice dark charcoal. Not a plaid, but it’s got a nice herring bone weave. Medium weight.

    Waiting for me at the library: 2 books. “Elvira: Queen of the Dark.” I don’t know if you had her down there, but Elvira was a Saturday night horror movie presenter, on TV. She was pretty over the top, and a lot of fun. It’s an autobiography. Also waiting for me is the book on “Galaxy Quest.” That ought to be a lot of fun, too. Lew

  46. Hi DJ,

    Much appreciated. I was of the opinion that circuit breakers are mechanical devices, and if the environmental conditions are optimal, and they don’t trip much, then they’d have a very long lifespan. Got any ideas why your circuit breaker died?

    Finished replacing the electrolytic capacitors in the amplifier this afternoon, and it’s now sounding pretty swisho. 🙂 That’s a technical term for quite crisp and clear sounding, not smelling of ozone. Smelling of ozone is possibly a bad thing. It was an interesting job, and not terribly complicated. Of course, I have only the vaguest of notions as to how the machine actually works, but that doesn’t stop the machine getting a refresh. Hopefully it provides a few more decades of Stirling service. I’ve owned it since new, which is well nigh over three decades ago. Sometimes it astounds me how many items our society has thrown away over the long years, when they could have been repaired or refreshed. I’m sure you saw that in your job, with people wanting the latest and greatest, even if it wasn’t really all that great?

    Speaking of which: Teenage ‘pianola man’ Lloyd Baker ‘brings joy’ with hobby restoring vintage self-playing pianos. There’s a lot of older more resilient tech out there waiting to be appreciated and looked after.

    Oooo! Your dad’s experiment sounds fascinating, and yes, resistance does the work! But I never would have guessed that the solder would have burn out with a flash. That’s pretty funny, and I’d imagine that there was some explaining to be done by your dad over the incident?

    Oh yeah, ice and fog make for horrendous conditions. Hey, the other day I was reading some article which suggested that road accidents would be greatly increased as parts of the population came out of lock down and began driving again. Skills of course atrophy.

    Respect. And the dog will respond to the appropriate name. Fingers crossed for you that it all works out smoothly.

    Rahki the Samoyed was no doubts a genius and probably knew that you simply required the intellectual challenge. It is possible that a unifying theory was also known, but then Rahki probably wanted to save you the heartache of comprehension of such breadth of knowledge. That’s doing you a favour you know?

    Athabaska Dick is a ripper of a poem, and the bloke sure knew where his priorities lay. I wasn’t entirely sure that Jim was saved from the fall, but one can’t worry overly much about such matters, because the whiskey sure was saved. Jim probably deserved his fate.

    Hehe! I stand dressed down by one in the trade, and will talk no more of burls with such sensitive folk. But mate, there were an epic amount of burls… Oops, broke my own rule there. Sorry. 🙂

    Wise. In fact, very wise. An alert bloke knows when to deliver on a word from their lady, but also when to blithely ignore such words. Such knowledge is wisdom my friend.



  47. Hi Inge,

    Yes, of course and I agree in relation to the word usage.

    I’ve known such folks, and what always amuses me is that the nouveau riche give themselves away in all manner of ways – and yet they know it not. I dunno, maybe there is something wrong with me in this regard, because I observed that game, and decided not to play was the best response. Most folks don’t realise that the rules are ultimately stacked against them. Some folks do break through, but such things happen far less than most people would even believe to accord with their belief systems.

    I’ve often wondered whether the promise of social mobility was all that was ever needed?



  48. Hi Pam,

    A person can only but hope so. And your good luck in that regard is a very fine thing.

    In relation to neighbours, I have had the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Sounds like a title to a Clint Eastwood western! But all the same it’s true, and nowadays I just observe other peoples actions and try to make sense of who they are.

    The new neighbours actually seem pretty nice. And it is nice to see some new enthusiasm in the area.



  49. Hi Claire,

    I have rather a fond spot for Pomeranian’s, but have not owned one as small as that dog. They’re cheeky little personalities. Years ago, I encountered one about that size in the big smoke, and it was being walked, but came up to me to say hello. For some reason dogs find me magnetic. Unfortunately though, the little blighter then bit me! Then immediately afterwards the dog put on pathetic don’t scold me face number five. I couldn’t believe the cheek of the tiny dog, so you can’t hate that. So yeah, surviving a tornado probably goes without saying for such a breed.

    Hehe! Claire, I’m still trying to imagine a giant roast peacock served on gold and gem encrusted tableware. There’s something not quite right about that vision!

    Summer is slowly on its way here too. I’ll probably plant the summer seedlings out in another week or so. Like your glassed in veranda, the greenhouse has been a game changer for raising crops from seed.



  50. Hi Lewis,

    I don’t doubt that a $4 roast chicken is economically possible. What I wonder about are issues surrounding intangible aspects such as err, quality (on many fronts)? On principle I just wouldn’t purchase such a meal, but if people want to do that, I have no objection to their choices. And I’m not really up for looking into the nitty gritty of such operations, and can only extrapolate my opinions based on my own experiences with keeping chickens.

    You’re right though, the roast chicken was purchased late in the day, and it kind of had the same dehydrated effect as a pie which has sat too long in the pie warmer. As to loss leaders, from the consumers perspective the process of genuine price discovery is far more obscured than I reckon most people would comprehend. And depending on how dependant a supplier is upon the distributor / retailer, the margins for food can vary wildly between products.

    Respect for the Pomeranian’s for they are super tough, and the article proves this to be true. Hehe! You’re a wise man. Don’t feed the anxious with further grist for the mill… There are times where I’ve worried about some things, but anxiety is perhaps taking worries to the whole next level. I encounter people who are anxious and whom project that emotion at other people as a way of getting other people to do their bidding. It has been my experience that such people are usually good at asking, but not so good at managing. In small doses it is probably quite a useful state of mind, but as a lifestyle choice I’m not such a great believer as to the wisdom of such continual thoughts. Everyone is different though.

    For gawds sakes! Your survey suggestion sounds like a whole lot of mad cash for very little benefit. Fortunately I have a document to hand in relation to this matter. I’m not entirely sure how it will all work out, and it may be that we have to construct the fence together, which is probably the best outcome really. And yup, Robert Frost nailed it. A thousand times over. Other than the vegetable and berry beds, there are no fences or walls here and the animals come and go as they please, or as they dare. The place is alive. What they want is a city, but then most do.

    Best not to be involved in that system, is possibly the wiser course of action. Even deep pockets might be rapidly emptied. Speculation is really intensified when there are too many dollars chasing yields, and I read recently in The Great Crash 1929, that the excess wealth prior to the South Sea Bubble may have been one of the major ingredients behind that bubble drama.

    Dunno why, but that leaning skyscraper in San Francisco sprang to mind… What a fascinating story, and yeah earthquakes in that area. Just went down a interweb rabbit hole on the subject. Yikes!

    Hehe! A sensitive person would then perhaps need to go on both Seattle tours and make up their own minds as to the more juicy details of old Seattle?

    Thanks for the local word on the street, we hear less and less international news every day. It wasn’t always thus. Did you see the article I linked to in the reply to DJ about the young bloke who repairs pianola’s? I finally finished replacing the electrolytic capacitors in the amplifier late this afternoon and the beast now rocks the house! And um, whilst I was at it, I cranked out the Yamaha FM radio (it must be from the early 1990’s or late 1980’s I’m guessing) to give it a spin and that machine is amazing quality. Apparently back then, there was a bit of demand for seriously high end audio equipment, and I reckon they equal or better the best of the best today. It astounds me that this stuff is being sold for a hundred bucks here or there now. It just makes no sense whatsoever. The repairs took a bit of care and time for the amplifier, but even still the parts were only about $40 all up. There I times that I do wonder about our civilisation. I’ll get started on the radio’s for the next project, but I doubt the cost will be much higher than what it was for the amplifier. Crazy stuff.

    Did you survive the super stare down from the other outraged residents? For some reason the memory of the overly helpful (was it Mike?) who is now in need of assistance himself? There is middle ground there somewhere between being a sucker and being on the take. Dunno where it is, and would appreciate your thoughts? Perhaps inconsistency might be of use in this situation?

    Ah yes, estates get unloaded onto op-shops. I do wonder what is going on with them down here with all of the crazy lock down stuff. I have an odd notion that there’d be huge piles of stuff, which can’t get processed and resold. Yes, blue, makes sense. Most flannel shirts down here are of a red-brown colour, not sure why that would be. You do see blue / black, but it is not nearly as common.

    Nice score with the shirt.

    Yah, unpleasant dreams, my friend! 🙂 Who could forget Elvira?



  51. Hi Chris if you can get the tree dudes to string up a long wire uninsulated antenna between two tall forest trees with a insulated lead down in to the house through an open window to the audio room then hook it to the AM or Short wave terminal on the tuner.
    Then connect the already excellent FM Yagi antenna to the new to you tuner. By doing both those things You should get the best real time test you will find. With out tweaking any little variable inductors or screw adjust variable capacitors. Don’t a Be Damn tweaker Peaker Mate!
    Cheers and Happy channel surfing
    cheery Al

  52. Yo, Chris – Late today. Hit the Club to drop of some food for the pantry (more on that later), and, just as I was leaving, Julia showed up, so, we gassed for awhile. Then hit the library. I don’t think anyone ordered anything for the “new” list, this week. Hmmmm. Picked up the Elvira autobiography, and “Galaxy Quest” book. Also, something onWPA posters, that I didn’t even know the library had.

    It’s also the way the chickens are treated. Thousands packed into huge sheds. Psychotic chickens. You are what you eat? Maybe that’s why there’s so much crazy, in the world, right now. Naaaw. That would be conspiracy theory land. 🙂 .

    Anger is a hard emotion to maintain. Anxiety seems to have more staying power. Neither are good ways to live. Elinor had a bad evening. Sitting there watching her pulse jump around from 40 to 135. But I wonder about the accuracy of those little gizmos she has. If I was more on the ball, I would have requested a trial on my finger. She even called her doctor, about 10:30 pm. Wonder if he ever regrets giving her his home phone number? 🙂 .

    Yes, I remember you like to let you’re wildlife, roam free. Pretty much. LOL. Suddenly thought of an old Elizabeth Taylor film. “Elephant Walk.” Never build your mansion on an elephant migratory route. It does not end well. So, what kind of a fence. Solar powered electric? They’re in widespread use, here. Will also keep any ankle biters, corralled. Did the new neighbors mention kids? I can see it now. Uncle Chris and Aunt Editor.

    I remember the 1989 Loma Prieta / San Francisco earthquake. I had just gotten off work in Olympia, and, noticed the cars were driving kind of crazy. I didn’t have a working radio in my truck, at that time. But I thought something was up. I got home and kicked on the TV, and I don’t think I sat down or took off my coat for the next three hours. See: transfixed. The worst part was where the section of double decker freeway, had collapsed. That’s where the idea of life is a crap-shoot, really came home to me. But what was really impressive was the way people pulled together. “Civilians” running around, manning hoses and saving their neighbors, from the wreckage.

    Pianolas aka player pianos. Well, there’s a young man who’s developing a marketable skill. There must be some demand, as even modern music is transferred to the rolls. He’s right. The rolls often show up at estate and auction sales. They’re not too expensive. A lot of them around. We have a baby grand piano, in our community room. Not that anyone has accessed it, in over a year. But it has some kind of self playing function. But I think it’s done electronically. What I’ve heard of the selection, I don’t think much of. Nothing identifiable. Couldn’t they have found a bit of Scott Joplin?

    High end audio equipment. Well, back in the day, a well appointed swinging bachelor pad, wasn’t complete without high end audio equipment. Playboy magazine had a monthly column, on such gear. For those not interested in the photos. 🙂 .

    Sure enough, they rounded up one of the spryer tenants, and her grandson, to distribute the boxes. I waited until the lobby had cleared out, before I ventured down. I’ve heard the food banks are pretty hard pressed, right now. But this go-around was the grimmest I’ve seen. We usually get a box of produce, from these folks. This month? a small bag with a handful of apples and a handful of potatoes. No dairy, at all. No canned meat, of any kind. But lots of tinned peas. Lots and lots. There must be 30 cans, down on the swap table. I had an idea, and checked the internet. You can make soup, out of the canned peas. Kind of like split pea soup. I’ll have to look into that. I still managed to put together a not very exciting box, for the club. And, a couple of sacks. Julia donated $20, today. So, I’ll hit the cheap grocery store this week, and see what I can come up with. Kind of her. It’s how she rolls.

    The next time this agency delivers, is a week before Thanksgiving. I wonder if they’re holding a bit back, so they can really splash out for the holiday? Time will tell.

    Most of the op-shops here, were closed for two or three months. But now they’re back to normal operation. Other than the “you must wear a mask and socially distance” notices, on their doors. While they were closed, they had signs up, “Dump stuff in our parking lot, and it goes to the landfill.” I figure people either sat on their stuff, or, land filled it. Our free table, here, has been inaccessible for a year and a half. But … if you put stuff in the lobby, on Friday night, no one’s going to mess with it (administration) until Monday morning. Now, when we get a new night manager, I don’t know if they’ll turn a blind eye, or not. As the last one did.

    Archaeology news from Herculaneum. For the first time in 20 or 25 years, they’re doing more excavations on the beach. In front of the boat sheds, where they found hundreds of the citizens. They’ve found another citizen, just feet from where the water line used to be. Lew

  53. Hi Lewis,

    Being late seems to be the way things roll on a Saturday (in your case) or Sunday (in my case). It’s great to hear that your Club has become more or less normal. Did the change in owners of the premises make any difference to the Club? And perhaps nothing new was released this week in the world of books or DVD’s, but that does seem like a rather far fetched proposition.

    The commercial breeds of chickens in the US are hyline (I believe), and candidly they look pretty similar to what is known down here as the Isa Brown variety. Hmm, I’ve had four of those Isa Brown birds, and their protein needs are so great that three of them eventually went psychotic and they began consuming the other chickens – which were of a less demanding (but accordingly less productive) birds. The last one pecked a huge hole in the back of one of my favourite chickens and I was rather annoyed upon discovering that disaster and made a definite example of her in front of all the other chickens. Then there was not much to be done for my favourite chicken, who had to be also be dealt to, and the chickens kind of steered clear of me for a few days after that. A very understandable reaction given the circumstances. So the upshot is that I wouldn’t take one of those breed of chickens again, unless things were super desperate and there was no other option.

    There might be something in what you say there.

    That’s true about anger. Interestingly my old Sensei forced me to look inside myself in relation to that emotion, and see it for the ugly mess that it was and how it can take the reigns, and what a bad idea that is. I wrote a story about that a month or so back. It was a turning point in my life that minor incident, and my mate shamed me in front of the entire Dojo. A harsh way to learn a lesson, but that Sensei bloke could see right inside people. He knew. Things annoy me, for sure, but I don’t indulge anger. Some people are angry all of the time, and they make me uncomfortable.

    Well, anxiety can be indulged. What would old Alfred E Neumann say? He’s right too, the cheeky scamp. Do you believe that Elinor would appreciate those words of wisdom?

    Mate, the readings on those blood pressure monitors jump around a lot. A gambler would perhaps use the machine and say to themselves: Yeah, best two of three. 🙂

    Far out! Rabbits are one thing (and Plum nabbed another rabbit this evening!!!! You go girl!!!) but elephants are not to be trifled with, and they may recall past injustices and seek redress. Electric? I don’t think so. It’ll be a basic fence on one side of our adjoining property but not all the way down, and we’ll probably construct it together to make sure it is done properly. I’m not fussed about the movement of wildlife as they’ve shown little inclination to cross from that property to this farm anyway. And I intend to leave the wildlife having full access (except at that point), even when the wallabies break big chunks off my apricot trees.

    Oh man, that 1989 Loma Prieta / San Francisco earthquake was not good, and reading about it, with the recent experience of a 5.9 under my experience belt gives me the ooks. The bridges and deck collapses were brutal. And I agree, life can be a crap shoot. Mate, every summer the incidence of serious bushfire is there, and I’ve learned to live with that risk whilst working towards managing it, but there is sometimes no safe path (especially when nobody in the area wants to engage with the risk – most likely due to economic and ideological concerns). The funny thing is that immediately after massive incidents, there are adjustments and corrections, but as time wears on they slacken.

    Thank you for the introduction to Scott Joplin, the mere concept of an itinerant musician kind of tickles my fancy, although the genius bloke suffered many financial difficulties. I see that his music was incorporated into the film: The Sting. One never really knows upon whom their shadow is cast.

    Of course, and no doubts you are correct and these amazing quality machines were once employed to dubious effect in Batchelor pads all over the landscape. And having worked in the newspaper distribution business, I can recall the general sentiment from the local newspaper ‘The Truth’ which had a remarkably scantily clad page three girl, but people always claimed that they read the newspaper for the most excellent racing form guide. I was way too young to clarify such philosophical schools of thought, and just took the punters at face value. Hey, the stories were good…

    The same is true down here, and food banks are doing it pretty tough right now. As a bit of a red flag warning for the future, with natural gas prices rising to astronomical heights – the sort of dizzy heights that bored super rich folks get to nowadays – fertiliser costs might also be reaching those giddy heights.

    I’ll be interested to learn how your Thanksgiving theorem plays out. We have no such remembrance down here.

    Possibly anyone working night shift most likely doesn’t want hassles, otherwise they’d work the more exciting lot’s of people awake morning or afternoon shift. Time will tell how the story plays out.

    The Herculaneum bloke met a bad end, and no doubt suffered indignities on the way there. You’d imagine that the beach would be super safe, but no. The racing cloud had no oxygen and the people dropped where they fell. Didn’t a very notable philosopher die well out to sea that day?

    Better get writing.



  54. Yo, Chris – I see the official wizard of New Zealand, has been made redundant. Things must really be getting bad. Next it will be the hermits in the gardens.

    Mr. Bill our Club manager tells me things will remain, as they are, for at least the course of the lease. So far, the dealings with the new owners have been cordial.

    Well, at least at the library, “Halifax Retribution” is in transit to me. That’s the police series that slipped by me, that is filmed in Melbourne.

    Elinor was doing well, last night. Back on an even keel.

    Go Plum! Plum 2, Ruby 1. But whose counting? 🙂 . Maybe erect a score board?

    I have been remiss, not to have mentioned Scott Joplin, before now. There were a few bio-pics done about him, years back. Interesting life. Your pop cultural literacy education continues apace. 🙂 . I get in return, more than I give.

    Food banks here get their food from two main sources. Of course, there’s the stuff that’s donated by stores and producers. But, they also get money donations, that they can use to buy whatever they’re short of. Yes, I’ve been reading about all those natural gas shortages, worldwide. It’s going to be a tough winter, in places.

    Pliny the Elder died in the eruption. He wasn’t exactly a philosopher. More a historian, or natural historian. He was the commander of the Roman fleet, in the Bay of Naples, and led a rescue attempt. According to reports, he died on the beach, south of Pompeii, probably from fumes and “underlying conditions.” As people around him survived. His nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote one of the first eye witness accounts of a major eruption.

    Write on, Garth! 🙂 Lew

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