Against the wind

There weren’t that many single parent households in the 1970’s, it being generally considered at the time to be a difficult social proposition. Yet all the same that was where I found myself. My dad cleared out when I was super young, and I barely knew him. The lesson I took away from him was that, when the going gets tough, get going. Having grown up without a dad in my life, I much later put the running away lesson to the test, and discovered to my dismay that it wasn’t an example of greatness.

My mother was an equal partner in that very 1970’s awkward social situation, and she was pretty busy I guess, what with working a full time job, studying part time and keeping a watchful eye over my two naughty older sisters. It fell to me to be the good kid that gave no troubles. From my perspective that meant not getting caught, which was a different understanding, but essentially had the same end goal.

Anyway, with my mum being super busy and all, I didn’t really get a lot of good advice from that direction. Mostly I was just left to make things up as I went along, and then test them out against the school of hard knocks. It’s not a bad way to learn, however wisdom might take somewhat longer to achieve. A bit of up front useful advice would have saved a lot of trouble, but alas, I guess it was never intended that I was to travel the easy or smooth path. Funnily enough though, my mum did once enigmatically advise me, and without further explanation, to be wary of the first folks who come up to you in a new social situation. And that good advice has proven its worth over the years.

So I was kind of left wondering, what the heck else did I miss out on? Well, the answer is that I don’t really know, because I missed out. It’s like those mysterious maths lessons in Year 9 when the school bully was a constant distraction. Who knows what the teacher was going on about, after all, it might have been important? It is very possible that I could have become one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, but the school bully was such a constant hassle that year that very little tuition entered my consciousness. Fortunately the school bully flunked that year, and had to leave the school, but alas the lost time was actually lost.

Lost time really is just that – lost. It’s gone, never to be seen again. It seems like an important thing to consider when pondering life’s limited choices. Maybe that is merely my take on the world? Who cares? Anyway, I have learned some other stuff along this journey of life, and so I thought I should write some of them down here for posterior. Sorry, I meant for posterity. Here goes (in no particular order):

Prudence is way out of fashion in these days of easy credit, but I dunno, the virtue has much to recommend it. Way back in the day, some old bard might have penned the lines of advice in some famous work or other: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan doth oft lose both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” The old dead guy makes a solid point there, but it is super hard to avoid debt in these enlightened days, what with property prices being what they are. When I was a kid, the word on the street was to enter into debt arrangements only for property, and then pay that debt off as promptly as possible. And don’t live beyond your means. Sound advice, which I’ve taken to heart.

Years ago in my first really senior serious job, late one afternoon, there was a young lady in the marketing department who was in tears. Seeing a maiden in distress, I enquired as to the source of the tears, and was unfortunately confronted by a long and convoluted story which I candidly didn’t want to hear. At one point during the story, the young lady confided that she felt out of control and wanted someone to say ‘no’ to her, as well the fervent wish to take the afternoon off work. Well what else could I do? I granted her first wish. But seriously, the ability to say ‘no’ is an underrated skill which has much to recommend it, and can also avoid all manner of unpleasant obligations. I have noted that in sticky situations other equally effective words can stand in place such as: ‘I dunno’; ‘maybe, we’ll see’; or ‘I’d really like to, but you know, time’. What can I say, it works!

A few years ago I discovered a product known as fuel stabiliser. Apparently, so the story goes, fuel is no longer what it once was, and stored fuel somehow goes ‘off’ or ‘stale’. Who knew? This unfortunate situation has cost me plenty of mad cash in the past with the repairs to various small engines I use on the farm, if only because the fuel went ‘off’, and the machine became inoperable. By comparison to the repair bills, fuel stabiliser is cheap.

Speaking of industrial products, being on a farm, there are times I source obscure items that aren’t ordinarily found in the local hardware shop. In the past, those obscure items weren’t that hard to obtain, but now I’m experiencing really unusual supply issues to the extent that now I’m grateful when the supplies actually do show up in the mail. It’s not getting better.

When I lived in the city, I never bothered to consider the weather forecast. There was this one day when I had disassembled the kitchen and stored all of the cupboards outside. Later that evening… a super cell hit, and four inches of rain fell in an hour. The lightning show was fascinating to watch, and so was the serious water damage to the kitchen cupboards. Things can get much worse in a rural area, and long term readers will recall a minor landslide all those years ago. The weather forecast matters.

In rural areas you and your personal business are rarely unknown, and probably most certainly discussed. It’s only in the city that people can be anonymous. But the flip side of the being known story, is that people can and will look out for you, just don’t piss them off, or all bets are off.

On the youth news radio program the other night, there was a fervent vegan promoting that particular dietary option. I know vegans and they’re lovely people and consume such a diet for serious health or other personal reasons. A fermenting, sorry fomenting, sorry, fervent vegan was an entirely new and fortunately rare encounter. Anyway, the story was that we all have to consume a vegan diet, although candidly I’m unsure why. Long term readers may realise that edible plants and food are something of an interest to me. The fervent vegan may not know that protein levels in plants has declined over many long decades, mostly due to the declining fertility of soils and possibly also the varieties of edible plants now grown, and I have wondered if people intuitively know this. Anyway, whatever the case, growing annual vegetables is possibly the fastest way to deplete soil minerals via plants that I’m aware of. Growing a raised garden bed teaches you this nightmare story, if only because the soil height alarmingly decreases every single year, and there is no getting around the implications. At least the poop from cattle and livestock can be returned to the soils they were raised in – except our civilisation doesn’t even do that. We’re much smarter, the poop usually ends up in the ocean.

Living on a farm changes you, a lot. The early fluffy collective were candidly not very practical for such an existence, and yet they proved their mettle. I can’t really say as much for the Silky chickens whom the Editor was initially rather fond of. After a few years we came to a decision: no more Silky chickens. And the dogs have become rather more practical breeds recently! Nowadays Ollie is rewarded for chasing off a herd of deer from the orchard, whilst Plum is rewarded for killing another rabbit. That’s life on the land.

There may have been some other stuff too…

The Powder Magazine at Heathcote

The editor and I headed north again this week to visit another part of the goldfields. The old Powder Magazine at Heathcote is the building in the above photo. It is a century and a half old and is in amazing condition. Basically the building was where the explosives were stored for use in the goldfields. Naturally, and for prudent reasons, the building was located well out of the township.

Inside the Powder Magazine

Inside the building the original Oregon timber (Douglas Fir) storage racks looked as good as new. The building would be very cool on a hot day due to the super thick walls.

Near to the old building was an hours long walk through the dry and open forest, which is now full of wild flowers. One of the stops along the walk was to view the Devil’s Cave. I would have presumed that the Devil would have had a more opulent looking cave, but apparently not.

Devil’s Cave. Not opulent, nor practical

The highest point of the walk afforded an astounding view over the nearby township and way off into the distance.

The highest point of the walk commands an astounding view over the township and surrounds

Nearby there was another gold mining site. Apparently the cunning miners had used a water canon to blast the rocky material, which was then sifted for gold. The activity went on for two decades before the locals cracked it and put an end to the reckless damage to the local environment and waterways. It was truly like walking into an alien landscape.

The Pink Cliffs at Heathcote

All that long ago environmental damage left me with a hankering to consume a gourmet pie, and fortunately the local government area where the pie shop was located had only just that day been released from lock down. The pie was excellent.

Gourmet pies! Yum!

As well as consuming gourmet pies, we did some work this week around the farm! Half a day was spent relocating large rocks onto the low gradient ramp project. The ramp provides easy all weather access to the lower orchards. Every time we work on that project, it gets closer to completion. But even as it is now, the project has been extraordinarily useful during such a wet year.

The author and Ollie enjoy the neatness that is the low gradient ramp project

A steel rock gabion cage was made. The cage was then taken up above the house to the flat excavated site where we intend to construct another wide shed.

Another steel rock gabion cage was made

A battery cut off switch was added to the older low centre of gravity ride on mower. The 100A switch basically disconnects the battery from the electrical wiring in the mower and stops the battery from draining when the machine is not in use.

A 100A battery cut off switch was installed on the old low centre of gravity ride on mower

And whilst I was mucking around with electrical items, I completed the process of replacing all of the electrolytic capacitors in my trusty three decade old amplifier. The machine sounds awesome now, and can rock the farm – if need be. And best of all, it no longer smells as if it will catch fire without warning.

The trusty old amplifier gets a refresh and new life

Spring farm update:

Plum, Warrior Princess extraordinaire kills yet another rabbit
The many seedlings in the greenhouse will be planted in the next two weeks or so
Globe Artichokes, Kale and Purple Sprouting Broccoli enjoy the mid Spring warmth. Ollie enjoys kale
A little friend in the vegetable garden. Possibly a trap door spider
Apples and Pears are some of the last fruit trees to blossom
The European honey bees are having a great time in the garden and have plenty to eat

Onto the flowers:

It’s Rhododendron time
Azalea’s are closely related to Rhododendron’s
I thought these were Bluebells, except that they are white / pink hued
As usual the Echiums provide plenty of feed for the bees and honeyeaters
Escallonia was a chance purchase many years ago and it’s a great plant
The forest is thick with Orchids, such as these Spider Orchids

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 1,011.6mm (39.8 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 972.2mm (38.3 inches)

65 thoughts on “Against the wind”

  1. Yo, Chris – Cosmic! Signs! Miracles! Wonders! It is the 42d anniversary of the publication of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” Don’t forget your towel!

    (The personal paper products roll count, is 43. Time to pick up another 12 pack.) 🙂 .

    And, a warning to all science fiction aficionados, out there. The soon to be televised version of “Dune” is a two parter. They haven’t even begun to film part two, yet. And, I’d guess if part one falls on it’s face, there never will be a part two. You’ve been warned … Lew

  2. Fuel stabilizer- YES! I had once thought it was just to get a 2 cycle engine through the winter if I didn’t drain the tank, but no, things seem to “go off” quicker than that, so I need to up my game. My chainsaw is currently intransigent because I did not use the stabilizer= Grrrrr. More mad cash flying out the window….

    Missed advice from an absent parent- well, there are many of us that had both for the duration, but might have gotten a poor deal as well…..

    My vote for the money quote from this post:
    “wisdom might take somewhat longer to achieve”

    Boy, that that goes double for all us clever apes in general. The stark difference between “smart” and “wise” is something that would be wise to ponder. : )

    Another fun milestone to mark the alternate hemispherical cycles- we will be planting our garlic this week, and harvesting the last of the brassicas as your seedlings are sprouting. First frost was this week, very late compared to average.

    Title- an old Bob Seger song?
    “I’m older now, but still running against the wind……….”

  3. Yo, Chris – O.K. Time to write that book. “Chris’s Guide to Life,” or, maybe, “Chris’s Words of Wisdom.” Either, or.

    More than once, I’ve advised people to get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and practice saying “no.” Had to use it three times, with two different people, in just the last week. Makes life simpler. A lot less complicated.

    And the rest of that bit of text, has another oft quoted line. “To thine own self be true.” The Bard really knew how to pack a lot, in a little speech.

    The powder magazine looks like another Grand Design, in waiting. Let’s see. Put in a loft … punch a hole for a chimney. The possibilities are endless. No wonder Persephone didn’t want to spend anymore than six months a year, in the Devil’s Cave. Lacks certain basic amenities.

    Photo: “Highest point…” Usually when I see a person in that situation, I yell, “Don’t jump! It will get better!” At least you weren’t trying to take a selfie. Often, that doesn’t end well.

    I don’t know. The pink cliffs are really kind of pretty.

    The building behind the pie shop, is really a stately old pile. Looks well maintained, too.

    The ramp is really nice. Like the greenhouse, it will really pay off for the time and energy put into it.

    One more rabbit, and Plum gets her title. Will it go to her head? Will she lord (or lady) it over the other Fluffies? Will she be a benign despot? Have a sense of noblesse oblige?

    Trap Door spider, or miniature Devil’s Cave?

    I think Ollie is slinking away from the new gabion cage, as he thinks you’re going to pop him in.

    The rhodies are so pretty. We won’t see the like, for months. Better check out that white bluebell. Might be a mutant, that will make your fortune.

    Worried about brushfires? What you need are beavers!

    I’ll swap some for a few parrots.

    And, in news of the world, a Canadian woman had a rude awakening, when a meteorite crashed through her ceiling, and lodged between her pillows. Wonder if her insurance covers that? Lew

  4. Hi Al,

    Mate, I’m torn on the repair of this FM tuner because of the principle that if it works, don’t mess with it. And the machine works really well (it is FM only). But then if one of the original electrolytic capacitors which are easily replaced fries, it will damage the integrated circuits that aren’t easily replaceable – in fact it would probably be impossible to replace the IC’s. So, on a balance of probabilities, there is no easy answer. What would you do in this case? Would you replace the three decade old electrolytic capacitors?

    And, I have no intention of adjusting any of the variable resistors.



  5. Hi Steve,

    Oh yeah, the fuel stabiliser really helps with two stroke machines, but here is the thing, I’m told by reliable sources that ordinary fuel (four stroke) can now go off within three months. And even if you don’t purchase the blends that include ethanol, the reliable sources tell me that there are still issues. And I can assure you that the difference it made with chainsaw starting along with the reduced servicing of that machine in particular was worth the economic cost of the additive. It’s probably pretty toxic stuff though. Oh well.

    Hehe! Well that is true, and there ain’t no guarantees there either. Mate, I hear you.

    Actually I had a lot of fun writing in my little jokes here and there throughout the blog this week, and particularly enjoyed that one too.

    An old mate of mine earned a PhD in genetics, I believe, although he no longer works in that area and I haven’t seen him for years. Anyway, years ago we were driving down an old highway around these parts heading to the pub. There was a seriously large kangaroo on the side of the road, and I was wondering if it was going to jump onto the road in front of the car, and smash everything up, and we wouldn’t have been unscathed in that encounter either. I told him to slow down and watch out, and without blinking an eye, he told me in all seriousness not to worry about it, as he was an expert in kangaroos and kept on driving at the speed limit. Fortunately it didn’t end badly but that wasn’t due to him being an expert – which as far as I knew was an untruth – it was just plain old luck. Far out. I see the animals most days and I have no idea how they are going to react in any given situation. But that is the thing isn’t it, is smart the same as wise? I’m guessing not.

    Out of curiosity, does your top soil freeze over the winter months? I will try to be nice to the summer months and will promise to return them to you in due course. Maybe a little bit worse for wear, but this must be expected. 🙂

    You got it! That was the exact song. Respect.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    Who knew that the clever Kiwi’s actually had a paid wizard? That’s awesome, and probably goes to prove that they are a little bit more hip over that side of the Tasman Sea than we are over here. From reading about his civil service, the guy did a great job. Do hermits get paid these days? Possibly in the future, the hermits will be grateful with shelter, protection and feed in exchange for a modicum of work about the property. I’ve read about two properties in these parts that have a long standing arrangement with itinerant folks who you could probably safely describe as hermits. One of those properties sold a few years ago and I recall that the social obligation passed along to the new owners.

    That’s good news that the new owners are fairly cordial to the Club and it’s needs. The article painted a picture of a group that is probably about as good as you can expect. Is there any loose talk at the Club of them purchasing their own premises?

    The editor might enjoy that series. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Is Elinor usually anxious? To be honest, I never really know how to interact with anxious folks especially when they are pushing me for a response to their concerns. It is not really a personality trait I get along well with, but you know. Lately, when encountering such emotional responses, I tend to utilise a more or less random response approach. It might seem hard, but I can’t be held responsible for sorting out other peoples emotional states, and that one in particular can be a touch all consuming. I dunno. Maybe I’m bit one eyed on that particular topic, because I see a certain lack of willingness for the person to take a more active role in managing their situation, and I can only assist people with their concerns if they sort of are willing to put energy into resolving that issue as well. It’s a complicated perspective, but it is also a difficult issue.

    Plum is pretty awesome, but Ruby is nipping at her heels and awaiting for an opportunity to settle the score.

    My education continues apace. There is a world of music out there. And no worries at all. The whole journey here has been a fun ride, that’s for sure. If too many readers pop their heads up, you’ll hear me pronounce the code word which will implement: Plan Z. People will assume that we are discussing zombies, but no, the next week I’ll write a really bad blog essay, or offend a whole bunch of people, and then we can go back to having nice quite chats again. If you ever see Plan Z, you’ll know things have gone too far, and must be redressed.

    I note that blame is getting chucked around liberally in relation to natural gas. Of course, we might just be facing declining supply, or increased demand. People run their house heating too hot anyway. When I was a kid, a heater (sometimes fuelled by diesel) was only in operation in one room in the house. To have the entire house heated is a bonkers idea. But I see folks over winter up here with bare ankles (imagine how excited the Victorian era folks would be about that!) and in t-shirts. Or wearing heaps of synthetic clothes. Natural fibres usually keep a person warmer.

    Pliny the Elder, ah the cool kids are describing such underlying conditions these days as co-morbidities. An odd choice of words, but I’m no expert.

    Ooo! Our fortunes are made, unfortunately I don’t have enough wisdom to pad out a book. Anecdotes may fill in the gaps… 🙂

    It’s funny, but I have advised some folks also to learn to say the simple word: “no”. Apparently that trick is quite difficult to learn. Prevarication is also equally useful, and some folks who are askers, (AKA grifters) can find such a wishy washy response to be rather frustrating. Always a valuable tool.

    The Bard absolutely nailed so many errors and points of failure in those few sentences, that it is just superb writing. Haven’t we all in our younger days loaned money to a friend (or been involved in some financial transaction) and lost? Since the days of debt collection, I don’t muck around with such things and am quite upfront about the mutual obligations and expectations.

    Hey, that powder magazine building would be just the thing for a fall out shelter. The stone walls are super thick.

    Hehe! The rock I was perched on in the photo had quite an alarming drop off in front of it. Funnily enough it didn’t seem to bother me that much looking down into the drop. That building in San Francisco would be entirely different matter.

    Fair enough, and the pink cliff area was very different and I can see that, yeah it is attractive in it’s own unique way. The silt under foot was extraordinarily fine. Much finer than the normal clay particles you’d expect to see.

    The spider photo was a bit creepy and the editor insisted on adding it. I was quietly grateful that it wasn’t the lead image.

    Poor Ollie, he has a thing about cages too. I reckon the shelter folks used to keep him in cages for weeks on end as he was absolutely busting to get out, and once out he was happy just to be outside with a bit of freedom. I see some folks keeping dogs in dog runs for days on end. The dogs would go crazy if they were left by themselves in those conditions.

    I’ll keep an eye on the blue bell. I’m not really sure what is going on there with the colour of that flower.

    The meteorite was like that scene in that movie we talked about a while back where the aircraft engine crashed through the roof. What was it again? Donny Darko. An odd film but it is meant to be a cult classic. Who can understand cults?

    Thanks for the beaver article. They sound pretty switched on.



  7. Hi, Chris!

    You’d like to have that boulder at home, eh?

    I think “posterior” is right – the back end of things, which is what posterity looks at.

    My husband likes a footy saying: “When the going gets tough, the tough get rough.”

    My son has been a vegan for 11 years and never, ever promotes it. He just sets an example. He is way stronger than many non-vegans. That is because he works so hard physically.

    What beautiful stonework that powder magazine has.

    And Ruby thinks she is so special . . .

    Perhaps the recent severe cold did not hurt your fruit blossoms?


  8. One way cultural conduits: The Bob Seger song reminds me again how weird it is to live in a country that exports culture to the rest of the world, but most here know nothing about the rest of the world. Given some of the chaff that gets air time here, one might wonder if the net result is negative for all.

    Oh sure, we do catch some music that crosses the ocean the other way, but seems less and less these days.

    Both the U.S. and Australia have especial strong echoes of the British Empire and culture it exported during its heyday. I cringe at the thought of what future youth in other countries might be humming based on U.S. pop music of today. (I’m working on my old curmudgeon chops, so bear with me).

    Winter in Wisconsin: “Does the ground freeze?” he says. Hoo boy. Frost depths get as deep as 5 feet ( nearly two meters) some winters, so yeah, the top soil freezes. A testament to the evolutionary persistence of life is that many ( but not all, obviously) plants can be completely frozen and reawaken from their slumbers in the spring.

    I don’t know how they do it, but garlic is one of those plants. We do add a heavy straw mulch, but it is more to moderate the sprouting in spring, as the tender shoots can get freeze damage if they pop up too soon. Winter wheat is another one that we plant in the fall. In both cases, they get a good jump on weeds, and it just fits their reproductive scheme. ( What? we get weeds? What would I do all summer if we didn’t get weeds? Actually, we are hoping to get smarter and do more mulching, but that doesn’t work for some of the veg we grow.)

  9. Yo, Chris – Hermits can also provide a bit of cheap security. Just having someone around can deter a lot of casual criminals.

    I haven’t heard much about the Club buying it’s own property, lately. Might have to wait until property prices collapse. Not if, but when. But, we’re financially stable. And there’s a fair chunk in the “building” fund.

    When Elinor has her anxiety attacks, about all I can do is make sympathetic sounds and try not to roll my eyes, too much. I’m sure they’re very real, to her. Doesn’t seem to be any one thing that sets her off. Just lots of little things. I do wish she’d cool it with all the self monitoring of vitals. I’m really skeptical of the accuracy of some of those gizmos. What it all boils down to, I think, is a lack of accepting “life on life’s terms.” Some situations and people are not going to change, no matter how much you wish it so.

    Actually, I’ve looked into it (Burke’s Peerage) and what Plum is aspiring to is “Baroness.” Then comes viscountess, countess, and marchioness. All of those are addressed as “lady.” After that comes duchess, and that’s where you start referring to a full title. Duchess of Fernglade Farm. After that, you’d better be more than a minor royal, cause you’re getting into royal nose bleed territory.

    I gave H her bath, yesterday. I try to keep of a string of patter, as it relaxes her. I realized I hadn’t filled her in on the Fluffy Collective. So I filled her in on your mob.

    Got it. Plan Z. The nuclear option. 🙂 .

    Well, after WWII, “central heating” was what everyone was aspiring to. Having a vent in the kitchen ceiling, to keep the upstairs bedrooms a shade less than frigid, fell out of fashion. There was a real advertising effort (for years) to get people to switch to natural gas. “Cheap and clean,” were the selling points. Well, it was cheap for awhile (along with a lot of other things), but now, not so much. I’ve lived a few places that had natural gas for this and that. I was never quit “comfortable” with it. Not when the occasional house, or whole neighborhood goes up.

    You need to put together a set, with matching bindings. “Chris’s Words of Wisdom”, “The Art of War,” and… what else? “Limits for Growth?” “Overshoot?” You can have them printed cheaply, overseas. Just make sure and book your own container ship, to make the all important holiday gift giving season.

    Didn’t you feel a bit of the pull of gravity? Lean over a precipice like that, and suddenly your head feels very, very heavy.

    The spider hole is very appropriate. Halloween, and all. Tis the season.

    And yet the animal shelter folks beat potential adopters about the head and shoulders. I felt a bit of horror, reading DJ’s account of the song and dance he has to go through, to get a pup.

    Beavers. We have a few around here. I hear stories, about how they build dams, and flood areas that the land owners don’t want flooded. They’re lightly protected. You need a trapping license to get rid of them. I see after 400 years of extinction, they have just been reintroduced in Britain. Wonder how that will pan out?

    I sent off for some purple broccoli seed, yesterday. It might be too late to plant, but I figure I’ll plant half the seed now, and the rest in early spring. Give it a whirl and see how it goes.

    I’m reading the Elvira autobiography. I’m enjoying it immensely. But I think that’s because we share a lot of cultural references. Good grief, the woman’s almost as old as I am! She also comes from a similar socio-economic background. She loved horror movies, and while other little girls were playing with dolls, she was putting together those plastic models of monsters of film land. Remember those? Might have been a bit before your time. She also read Mad magazine 🙂 . But then she discovered boys. So that interest was put on the shelf, for awhile. Left home at 14 and became a go-go dancer. Was a Las Vegas showgirl at 17. Traveled a lot. Was even an extra in a few Fellini movies. Anyway. I’m finding her story rather interesting. Lew

  10. Good evening

    I’m inclined to think – it may be too cynical – that the possibility of absorbing precious words of wisdom from any relations to guide one though life are very slim indeed – certainly reviewing my family!

    Much better to curl up with one of those anthologies of old proverbs the Victorians did so well ‘Proverbs of all the Nations’ etc. Bohn published an excellent one.

    Marcus Aurelius made a list of people who set him a good example in life: I believe his father is mentioned for ‘having had the strength of mind to give up chasing young boys’!

    The old binder who taught me had a favourite admonition: ‘Don’t weaken!’ And I’d say that is a fairly good approach for much of life, above all now.

    I almost met an untimely end falling from a rock on a Spanish mountain while enjoying a cream bun and swigging wine from a bottle; the view was wonderful, and mid-swig I lost my balance.

    After some truly alarming teetering I regained my footing and then laughed at the absurdity of ending like that, as did my cousin when he came to collect me at the end of the walk. We share a rather dark sense of humour.

    Worse,my walking stick was just an old broom handle , and he had given me a child’s cartoon rucksack to hold the buns and wine, having been found at the last minute before setting off…… ‘Nutter With Weird Equipment Found Dead With Broken Neck!’

    The view was, like yours, magnificent, with chains of snowy mountains reaching to France. Would they have been my last memory, or just the final splat?

    Like you, we get little informative foreign news, above all regarding protests – and that is so heavily censored and biased that it’s sickening.

    But, you know, the BBC made the huge anti-v…….e ‘passport’ protests in London simply disappear for weeks, and then reported them with mendacious numbers and dark hints of ‘far-right’ violence – all untrue.

    Such are our times, the authentic 1930’s propaganda experience……


  11. Hi Chris
    Yes to your question. Change the the filter capacitors. Your concern of failure of any one of them causing failure of other active components. (IC’s or other Semiconductors ). Thirty years is is a long life for electrolytic caps. You may want to check out the Eb0y sellers of aluminum electrolytic capacitors. for new surplus stock. The descriptions seem to be complete and big selection. maybe the last resort. if not available in your distribution area. Check it out and think it over.

  12. Chris,

    This is Avalanche. Papa says I’m smart and here I am on his computer proving it! And I’m only 4 months old!

    Papa calls me Avalanche Underfoot the Shadow. I’m so smart that I anticipate where he needs to be and lie down right where he wants to stand. Hehehe. And when I’m not doing that, I follow him everywhere. He feeds me.

    Mama is a Princess. Even papa says so. She hugs me and loves me and we exchange kisses. I like to jump onto the sofa into papa’s spot so I can be close to mama. I have papa believing that I lie there to keep his spot warm for him. Gullible papa!

    The people papa and the Princess adopted me from think I’m a mix of Samoyed and American Eskimo dog. Joke’s on them! I’m not fuzzy enough to be either of those, and papa got it right: I’m Siberian husky mixed with one of those smaller breeds. I’m mostly white with some tan on my back, probably getting my coloring from a Samoyed. Papa thinks I’m a Siberian husky, too. When I whine when I can’t see him, he tells me “Big huskies don’t whine.” Hahaha papa! I’m not a big husky yet, so I can too whine!

    I’m jealous of Plum being able to chase and catch rabbits. Uhhh, but I don’t know what a rabbit is. Can you eat them? I’m always terribly hungry, no matter how much papa feeds me.

    Yawn…Naptime. Papa can have the computer now.

    DJ here. Chris, no I did NOT blow a circuit breaker. That was my way of saying that I drooled so much over those burls. I’ll use emoticons better next time. 😉

    Oh, cool, pianolas! Those are so cool! What a wonderful hobby to have, restoring those.

    Well, dad WAS rather upset. But he couldn’t say much, as we HAD warned him. We also had a proper sized solder piece that we could’ve swapped in, but he said the big one would be fine. He reluctantly admitted that. To us. However, I grew up in that building and all of the other profs had known me for years. So, dad’s explanation to them was “Bleeping kid!”

    Glad you enjoyed Athabaska Dick.

    That is one awesome view from that rock! Looks a long way down, too.

    The gunpowder building brought back memories. Sometimes, road building in rocks is hard to accomplish, so the rocks were blasted with dynamite. The Road Department’s old dynamite building is still on the County campus. It’s used for storage of old paper records. I had to go there on many occasions to find historical information. It had an outer door latched from the outside by a railroad spike, and an inner door with padlock on the outside. I ALWAYS carried both the padlock and the spike inside with me and set them well away from the door. One coworker didn’t do that. Someone came by, saw the doors were open, replaced the lock and the spike. Coworker was locked in! Fortunately here cellphone worked and she called me for help. Even more fortunately, I knew where the spare key was! She followed my example after that.

    I showed the Princess that photo of you and Ollie on the gradual ramp project. She quickly noticed that that path is no longer steep and that the project has come a long way since she last saw a photo of it. “Well done” says the Princess.

    Good on Plum for bagging another rabbit!

    I concur with Al. From my old ham radio experience…if an old capacitor goes, something else will fail as a result. Losing an IC is much worse than losing an old vacuum tube. (That should tell you how old the equipment was that I used!)

    Since we’ve had several frosts and some temps about -2C, our honey bees have disappeared for the season. I’m glad they showed up on Fernglade Farm. Please return them for our growing season in 2022.


  13. Hi Pam,

    Only those who can understand, know. Yes, the temptation to remove the boulder was real, and how cool would it look here on the farm? So smooth…

    Hehe! I’m really chuffed that readers such as your good self are enjoying the subtle humour. 🙂 It’s not for everyone, but it’s also very fun.

    Those AFL guys, and also the gals for that matter (the AFLW has a solid following), play a tough game. I’ll tell ya a funny story. Years and years ago, when I could run about 6.2 miles in about 39 minutes, I entered a competitive event which included some of those same football players. And they seriously kicked my backside, and trounced me overall by about 10 minutes. It was an eye opening lesson, and those folks are serious athletes.

    Respect. And yes, most vegans I know are very low key kind of folks who were backed into a corner health wise and discovered a diet that worked for them. I have nothing but respect for such people. The proselytising sort are fortunately very rare sightings, and they’re looking for an angle. I usually ignore such folk.

    It is worth mentioning that the powder magazine was constructed by the gobarmint way back in the day when they knew how to construct beautiful buildings, which also serve a practical purpose. Nowadays, I’m not entirely sure the same folks could manage such a feat.

    Ruby believes that she is special, because she is special. The facts in this case speak for themselves.

    Nope. Unfortunately the early season fruit has taken a battering in that storm, thus proving that I dunno, perhaps this stuff is harder than it looks? 🙂 A dilemma, but let’s hope the later fruiting trees fare better.



  14. Hi Steve,

    Another point of view is that Bob Seeger’s body of work is really that good. Some artists are like that in that they cross cultural boundaries on the strength of their body of work. But I hear you, and grew up on a cultural diet of a mix of works from the UK, the US and also local talent. We’re kind of similar with our own individual quirks, and the land itself impresses itself upon the mix and works its own tricks upon culture. You can see it here in: The Church – Under The Milky Way. A different vibe, more quiet and wide open spaces sounding. A sometimes, but very rare reader, Jason, knows one of the guys who played that song.

    Mate, truth to tell, news from afar is becoming rarer down here too. It wasn’t always thus. And I believe that it is something of a loss.

    Some of the new music coming out of your fine country is actually pretty good.

    Holy carp! Oh my! Five feet deep of frozen soil is so far beyond my experience that I can’t even begin to understand it.

    We all enjoy weeds, and there ain’t nothing much any of us can do about it, other than getting to work and reducing the competition for scarce resources from the soil. It’s funny the difference a world away makes, and last year I trialled winter wheat and it grew pretty well, albeit slowly during the winter months. It was the parrots that did the wheat kernels in once summer arrived, but I dunno it is possible that there is not enough heat here for the protein levels to become adequate. It’s also equally possible that I have to grow more appropriate varieties of bread wheat plants.



  15. Hi Xabier,

    There’s an old saying which suggests something or other about taking the good with the bad in that particular regard. But then, what if they’re all bad apples? What are you meant to do then?

    Are you referring to the book: A polyglot of foreign proverbs? That author sure searched high and low and produced a meaty and epic tome.

    It is funny you mention the stoic Marcus Aurelius, but that blokes name keeps popping up time and time again as a moral and ethical guide to dealing with hard times. And I’ve been fortunate enough to have encountered some rather amazing people who have taken me under their wing. Just for one example, some early house mates were apparently into some very dodgy dealings, and for some reason they trained me in the gentle art of small talk and the social niceties – which I must add that a lot of people are very uncomfortable performing. And I have no idea why they did so. One of them was my very old mate who died late last year. Sad, but also, and perhaps more importantly, we had some seriously fun times. 🙂

    Oh no! That was a close call, and sensitive folks are left wondering in the aftermath of your close call with demise: Was the wine and cream bun any good?

    Sorry to say, and I’m just going with my gut feeling here, but it would have been the final splat. Yeah, not good. But you survived and perhaps that was meant to be!

    The same is true here, and world news is flagging for want of a better descriptive. This perhaps does not suggest that world activities has bizarrely stopped, it’s just the news bit which appears to have gone toes up.

    Mate, the protests down here were massive, and met with serious force and were defeated. I believe the lesson here is that the gobarmint is uniquely positioned to deal with such active threats, but would probably struggle dealing with apathy and disinterest. I hear stories, and perhaps the tone down here has changed somewhat due to those stories? I mean, given the rising incidence of the health subject which dares not be named, it seems kind of weird that the staunch stomping has now been retired as an objective? Time will resolve all of this, but can we accept the resolution? That indeed is the question, which few seem to want to consider.



  16. Hi Al,

    Thank you for a straight forward response which validated my own concerns in relation to the repairs. And yes, damaging the less easily replaced components is an issue. I like your suggestion and will most certainly try that route. It looks like this weekend will be another rainy weekend, so I might crack open the case and take an inventory of parts. The service manual did not provide an exhaustive parts list unfortunately, so I have to go old school and visually identify the parts. 🙂

    Have you noticed that there is a wide discrepancy in the quality of electrolytic capacitors for sale?



  17. Greetings Avalanche!

    Tis Ruby boss dog extraordinaire here to set you straight on some things, or maybe four things, who knows. There’ll be some serious dog business to sort out anyway. Word on the street is that you’re new to this doggie thing, and I’m here to help you.

    First rule. Listen to Papa sometimes, and make him work hard for his pats, so don’t respond first time, every time when he asks you to do something or other. Foolish human business, unless it is food, then listen first time, every time. Did you get that? Right.

    Next order of business. Always be nice and demure to the Princess and things will go well for you. Papa, well, there might be another couch for him, whatever, but not the nice lady who invites you onto the couch. This act should be rewarded with loyalty and dog kisses.

    Pah! Listen, I tell you this once, and only once. Those foolish folks at the shelter gave you up. They only did this because they could not recognise canine greatness in the making. This is their fault, and we cannot blame them for acts of stupidity such as raising doubts upon your parentage. Kick them off the couch, should you ever see them again. That’s what I’d do.

    Plum has skills, she is my sister after all, and her activities are deserving of support. As boss dog, you can expect updates on the score, just don’t demand them, or else things might go poorly for you. Ask me what that means if you dare, but I can tell you that you might just get a proper biting.

    Salutations my fine friend across the wide seas and perhaps one day distant day in the future in the halls of Valhalla, we shall drink mead together and tell bawdy tails of our fabled exploits.

    Woof! Woof!

    Ruby, boss dog

  18. Hi DJ,

    Far out, I had to shoo Ruby away from the computer. Clearly she has some Viking blood running in those Kelpie veins.

    Thanks for the correction. Ook! I took your words literally… I guess that is what happens when you spend a few hours earlier in the day working upon electronic things of one sort or another.

    Well, you had the inside score there, even if the outside world thought that it may have been otherwise. Mate, dunno about you, but I’ve long since adopted a policy where if things have been, will be, or still are, stuffed up – I’ll just fess up to that. It’s probably my job which has inculcated that philosophy. A sensitive person might just see that your dad’s response is writ large across many societal matters right now. Dunno.

    Hehe! The drop off the side of that rock was quite impressive, but it didn’t feel unsafe. Not exactly sure why, but I was once on a viewing deck on a very tall building and felt rather unwell. The rock on the other hand did not produce such feelings. Probably a lack of trust on my part…

    Oh, that is such a nightmare scenario being locked into such a building. A lucky escape and a cheap lesson learned to boot. I knew someone years ago who almost became stuck in a walk in fridge which was used to store dry ice. Hmm and not good in an almost very permanent way. The door arrangements to that fridge sounded very stupid to me in that a person could be stuck inside, but I dunno.

    Thank you for the kind words, and I do hope that your lady and your good self are enjoying Avalanche in the household. And let’s hope that he does not live up to his name. Did you get an odd feeling that the house was previously very quiet BA (that’s Before Avalanche)?

    That makes two. And I was sitting on the fence on this issue. That settles it. You know, the many IC’s probably couldn’t be replaced. Another perspective is that you knew simpler circuits and are probably less inclined to view technology as some form of magic. 🙂

    The honey bees are busily going about their business, and I do hope they remember not to bother the humans. Although they seem like a pleasant bunch.



  19. Chris:

    6.2 miles in 39 minutes is very impressive, but no-one is going to beat a footy player for overall stamina, speed, and fitness, so I know that you are not pining over lost rewards.

    Sorry to hear about the early fruit blossoms. Happens quite often to us.


  20. Hi Lewis,

    Of course, I wouldn’t have considered the security aspect of hermits. They’d probably be more likely to notice strange goings on which may indicate that mischief is in the air. People less connected to the land would probably miss such warning signs. Dogs such as Ollie are useful for such tasks too, and I note that the 4AM crim decided against testing the waters here. He got caught eventually after about 60 incidents, although there might have been far more than that.

    Certainly there are signs that the official tolerance for the property market are waning. Today I learned that the state gobarmint had somehow introduced a windfall tax which looks as though it is aimed squarely at property developers and folks seeking mad cash gain through the gentle art of rezoning. I hadn’t heard of it, until today. It appears as if there have been a lot of changes going on in the background whilst peoples attentions are directed elsewhere.

    I do hope that your Club gets the opportunity to nab a permanent building for its activities. I used to live around the corner from a former Oddfellows club house, and it was a very beautiful Victorian era building.

    As a strategy I’ve heard that listening one is very handy. Some folks seem hell bent on trying to fix other people, but, and your Club would have something pragmatic to say about that desire, it doesn’t really work. The person involved has to marshal their inner resources somehow.

    I’m a bit dodge on those gizmos too, and the last time I was at the doctors I noticed that they were using what looked to me like the same machines. It makes very little sense to me how blood pressure readings can vary wildly over the course of a few minutes. Life, well I can accept that readily enough, but those machines, I dunno. 🙂

    There’s no reason that people have to reach acceptance with anything. I’ve been pondering this issue of late, if only because of all of the craziness going on down here, combined with the many larger issues which largely go unspoken about. For example, I accept that our civilisation is unlikely to do anything useful about the predicaments. This seems like a sensible worldview given that Brent Crude is pushing something like $85 a barrel.

    Baroness Plum has a nice ring to it, but Lady Plum sounds rather more formal and somewhat less exacting. Lewis, this is just funny. So I’m currently enjoying reading Jack Vance’s book Clarges (which I’ve read many times before) and it is a story about a very class bound and moribund society which is a meritocracy where most of the citizens are striving to climb the social ladder with the ultimate reward of eternal life. The fictional society is in a period of distress. Anyway, what made me laugh was that John Burke wasn’t promoted into the higher ranks for his outstanding contribution, his kids were. I dunno, it just kind of reminded me of the fictional story, which incidentally is rather excellent. Anyway, the concept of appealing to the toffs for advancement – is genius.

    Was H taking in the goings on of the mob down here with a serious ear? Hopefully she has picked up a few pointers over the years?

    Hehe! Well one must have some tricks up their sleeves in order to deal with too many readers. Plan Z it is. Plan Z it will be. Boom! 🙂 Of course, you will be provided fair warning. It’ll probably happen, but you know, sooner or later someone will say, the blog was heaps better way back in the day. And you’ll hear me over the seas yell: Plan Z! Run for your life, zombies ahead. And you’ll know that soon everything will be right with the world, maybe. On the other hand, the blog might have been better in the past! Yikes. That’s a thought.

    Can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a neighbourhood having gas issues on that scale. They add a scent to the gas, so you can smell it if it is escaping. There was of course the: Esso Longford gas explosion. It was a pretty unpleasant incident.

    Hehe! Yes, there’s strife on the roads, at sea and at the wharfs. Mate, everyone is looking for a scapegoat, except at themselves. I doubt that supply of stuff will ever bounce back to the heady heights it was at until only recently. It would be good if our leaders could have an honest discussion with the population in relation to these matters. They lack courage.

    Ego is a dirty word, you know! My head would not and did not feel heavy peering over that abyss. But there was that time I was on an observation deck on a very tall building and felt rather unwell.

    I’d best leave the spider alone, it’s apparently not venomous, but the after effects of the sting is meant to be rather painful.

    The shelter folks have created some really difficult administrative processes, so yeah I can only take my hat off to DJ for his success. Plum and Ruby were acquired via a very old school method, which has much to recommend it, despite its inherent simplicity. At the time I may have whinged a lot about the shelter folks.

    What is it with the folks in the UK wanting to reintroduce critters back into the landscape? Wasn’t there some sort of push to reintroduce predators as well like the Lynx? I doubt they have enough forested land up there for such animals. Far out, they’d be a force to be reckoned with if let loose down here. Feral cats are getting big enough, and I’m guessing over the years they will get bigger again.

    That’s a really great idea with the seeds. The plants are super hardy and might be cold tolerant enough to get a really good start on the cabbage moths. Incidentally I discovered that my ginger idea was not a good one. The tubers both rotted over winter, despite being in the greenhouse. I’ll probably have to dig them up, store them, and then replant them in early spring. Oh well, it was worth a try. The turmeric was probably the same.

    Elvira seems very well preserved. You should most certainly email her and ask about rings of power, although the word on the street is that few people are willing to share such things. Phooey to them. I do recall the plastic film monsters of yore. Yup. Godzilla!!!! Don’t you reckon that sort of blowin’ in the wind, rolling stone gathers no moss, kind of lives would be much harder to do these days? Even when I was a young adult, you’d never hear of anyone running away to the circus, although the circus probably does take in some folks with that penchant for adventure. But could those folks then bounce off onto another adventure, I dunno about that? Maybe I’m not that adventurous?



  21. Hi Pam,

    I dunno, but for some odd reason I thought that they’d spend most of their time partying, but there’s no way that would be possible. Those guys were crazy fit, and they out-competed me, easily. Incidentally, the 10 minute gap was over a 40 minute course… Ook!

    You can hear it now, the Devil came down to Melbourne. And you know how that song ended up.



  22. Yo, Chris – We’ve had a rash of catalytic converter thefts, in the county. Dozens and dozens. They caught a guy, so that’s slowed down … a bit. Years ago, I parked in a city lot, two blocks from the police station. Lost my converter. Luckily, I lived two blocks from a muffler shop. There’s an old saying: “They’ll steal anything that’s not nailed down.”

    So it’s always been. Misdirection. And they always give bills such patriotic and flag waving titles. The bill that has almost ruined our post office (the only federal agency that has to fund their retirement funds for 70 years), was called “The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act”. Sounds benign, doesn’t it. If it weren’t for the pre-funding of the retirement funds, for a ridiculous amount of time, the post office would be very healthy, financially. Now they’re talking about dipping a toe into banking. Check cashing. I’m sure that will go over well, with their front line staff.

    Re: “Clages,” Sounds a lot like our present situation, but without the eternal life part. Though the filthy rich keep working on that part. It’s been a sci-fi trope, for a long time. Books and movies.

    H has been paying attention to the antics of your Fluffy Collective. It ups her game. Made her more sly. She’s discovered that being inconsistent keeps us a bit on the back foot.

    Couldn’t see the Esso Longford article (my clock is ahead … yeah, sure), but I see that it was an industrial plant explosion. See: 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion. 8 people killed, 58 injured and 38 homes, destroyed.

    Well, as far as the various reasons for the supply line problems, here’s a new one. The supply lines are stuffed because too many people are buying too much useless, or unnecessary stuff. Actually, that kind of makes a bit of sense. But who gets to decide what’s useless or unnecessary?

    Yup. I think it was me who suggested going old school: Ask around the pub. 🙂 .

    Yes, let’s reintroduce critters who have been dead and gone for 400 years. Heck, why stop there? Let’s bring back the wooly mammoth and saber tooth tigers! How about dinosaurs? Go back far enough and all there will be is slime.

    The ginger. Too much water? Too high a humidity? The Master Gardeners were here for the last time, this season. They’ll be back in February. They’ll be missed. And it looks like all the garden cleanup, will fall to me. Oh, well. Fresh air and sunshine! Well, maybe fresh air.

    Elvira made the point that all that go-go girl / Las Vegas showgirl stuff happened in a simpler time. That it wouldn’t happen, today. I finished her autobiography, last night. My gosh, she really had fortitude. I don’t know how many times life knocked her down, and she just got right up and kept punching away. Even after beginning her Elvira gig. She made a movie, back in the 80s. In the first three weeks, it was doing really well. Increasing numbers, week after week. And then the distribution company went bankrupt, and it was pulled from all the theaters. Stuff like that happened to her, all the time. By the way, I see she did an Australian TV show, in the late 1980s. Thriller Theatre. Got over a 50% viewer audience.

    I watched a good movie, last night. “Nobody.” Pure action. Lots of fist fights and gun battles, car chases, cool explosions and a high body count of Russian gangsters. What’s not to like? Well worth a bowl of popcorn. Lew

  23. Hello Chris
    Those are great and interesting photos.
    I can’t think of any useful comments on living that I gained from my parents. Common sense and life’s knocks taught me most of what I know.

    One of my neighbours is planning a Halloween party. They are decorating the woods in readiness. I took a quiet walk through the other day. Plenty of graves, skulls and white beseeching hands sticking up through the soil. Ghosts and witches abound plus other horrific faces. Nets are hanging which puzzled me but Son reckoned that they are meant to be cobwebs. I don’t think that they are successful but at least no wildlife seemed to be trapped in them.

    The wind is high today and noisy too.


  24. @ Lew:

    “What it all boils down to, I think, is a lack of accepting “life on life’s terms.” Some situations and people are not going to change, no matter how much you wish it so.”

    Thanks, Lew.


  25. Hi Lewis,

    You’d certainly know about a catalytic converter theft the moment you started the engine. The noise, far out! It’s an astounding theft all for the precious metals. A couple of decades ago some nefarious folks worked out that if you pour some sort of acid into the coin insert slots on ticket vending machines at railway stations, the machines would jackpot and release their coins. So people were gaining a couple of hundred dollars and causing tens of thousands of dollars damage in the process to the machines. There is a school of thought which suggests that it might be cheaper to simply write them a check? Interestingly the ticketing machines were replaced by smart card readers. Another school of thought suggests that the stations might have been manned by real people, which they once were (and some stations in these rural areas still are).

    There seems to be a push for automation, and I read about an avocado farmer recently discussing this push. Now, where was that article? … … Labour supply issues, oversupply of produce leads to ‘difficult’ economic times for farmers. The labour supply shortage is real, and employers have to be nice to their employees. I spotted an odd article about audit firms whining about how tough the labour market is, but I’ve employed folks who used to work in that area, and was told that it involved long hours, many of which went unpaid, unrealistic expectations of work output, and basically it did sound as if it might have been mildly exploitative. I recall one story where an employee told me that he had to be in a country area several hours out of Melbourne at 8am sharp to start the job, and the business wouldn’t put them up the night before in a local motel, and then also told them to claim their vehicle mileage on their tax return. I would have told them to go and get… But also that is probably why I never worked in that area. Years ago in one of my first senior roles there was this constant pressure to work huge hours. The editor thought I was mad, but it kind of worked a bit like grooming and the pressure slowly ratcheted up, but it was a good thing to leave such a dysfunctional workplace, and also a relief. It was early work days for me though, and they probably knew that and took advantage.

    Well the bill did promise enhancement, the title just might not have suggested to whom the goodies flowed? Hmm. Australia Post senior staff rewarded with almost $92m in bonuses. Probably no need to read that article, the title is very suggestive. Mate, I’m a worker bee and am comfortable with that. That other sort of story, I don’t get it, but you know, I sleep well at night the vast majority of the time.

    I’m not entirely certain that a human brain could handle eternal life, I mean chunks would fall out for sure. And then the zombies might get a sniff and take more than an ordinary passing interest in the offerings. Yes, it wouldn’t be good at all. 🙂

    The advice to H, might have come from this direction, but then you seem to have a few tricks up your sleeve, and you are actually closer to H. Actually the fluffies are in disgrace this evening. I let them get a bit zinged up and one of them was slightly injured in all the excitement. Right, that’s not going to happen in future, calm and assertive authority will prevail. I feel a bit staunch writing that. But no more repeats of the silliness. When I was a kid I used to hear: “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.”

    Isn’t that the same company which is alleged to have been somewhat involved in the Paradise fires? What an explosion…

    Hehe! You hear a new one every day. Most of those explanations don’t really stand up to what is known down here as the ‘pub test’. i.e. does the explanation have any elements of common sense? That’s a serious political term too.

    You did suggest going old school, and you were correct. Respect, and credit where credit is due. The two dogs have never been out of farm life.

    With the reintroduction of critters, does anyone ask the hard question as to why the critters were driven to local extinction in the first place? I’m not entirely sure I’d be comfortable walking around with the dogs at night if there was a possibility that a Lynx would attempt to consume or injure ourselves. It seems a touch risky. I saw some article which suggested that remote workers are working in areas with bears (in your country and not koala bears) and are having difficulties because of those interactions.

    I dunno about the ginger, but it really was just a rotted out husk. I’ll pick up some replacement tubers and get them going, and this time lift and store them at the end of the season. The turmeric is probably done for too.

    Enjoy your fresh air, and our missing hour. 🙂 It was a beautiful day here today, but alas I had to work. There was a tiramisu involved today. It was pretty good too.

    All is now clear. This is why I recall Elvira. The show was extraordinarily popular from memory, despite the late night hour, which didn’t matter anywhere near as much as people would expect. I may have mentioned that around that year a mate lived across the road in a share house, and all that gang used to pile into my flat on a Tuesday night at 11pm because Star Trek Next Generation was being aired. Every Tuesday night. The TV sound played through the stereo amplifier and so the experience was just better for everyone – including the unfortunate neighbours. But they might have needed to know about the Borg, just in case.

    Hehe! The film sounds like fun. 🙂



  26. Hi Inge,

    Glad to hear that you are enjoying the photos. I believe that it was your idea to take the camera around from time to time and show some of the sights. It was a great idea.

    That’s pretty much how I learned too. You can get into a bit of trouble, but then by those experiences you also learn to avoid trouble in the future. Of course, as well all know, there may be new and interesting troubles that none of us had ever previously considered. That could be a minor problem, but we also may have learned how to extricate ourselves from such new trouble situations. Hope that all makes sense? Don’t you reckon common sense seems to be in short supply these days?

    The Halloween party sounds like fun as do the decorations. I hope they clean up after themselves too. The day is not celebrated down under for some reason.



  27. Chris:

    I have passed on your mention of fuel stabilisers to my son. You should see what he brought home a couple of days ago: A front end loader with backhoe, 1968 John Deer, needs some work, but runs. It is monstrous. I am waiting for the dimensions. I have named it Godzilla, as it is black as well.

    It is somewhat like this:


  28. Hi Chris,

    Such interesting pics from your wanderings. Thanks so much for sharing. Glad you got some gourmet pie.

    The two items of wisdom from my mother that I remember are, “In your entire life you’ll only make a few truly good friends.” and “When don’t only marry the person but you marry their family.” I think she was pretty right on there. I would say also that I learned some things not to do from her as well.

    We’ve been gifted with some really nice weather the last few days so lots of fall clean up going on. With any luck I might be ahead of the game this spring. There’s a fair amount of rain in the forecast next week so maybe we’ve broken the pattern. Almost all the fields on our road have been harvested resulting in lots of farm vehicle traffic and dust. This is the time of year to allow an extra 5 or 10 minutes driving as you’ll likely get behind a large slow moving farm vehicle.


  29. @Inge

    I had the opportunity to walk around one of my daughter’s neighborhoods a week ago. The Halloween decorations are pretty impressive. I’m not too fond of the huge moving inflatible cats, witches and the like and our granddog, Ruth sure isn’t either. It’s pretty funny to watch her reaction though.


  30. @ Pam – A couple of things your son, or you may be interested in. There’s a pretty new documentary out, called “The Game Changers.” It’s about world class athletes who are vegan. It’s on DVD. My library has it. Some of the streaming services.

    I happened to pick up the grand-daddy of them all, at the ongoing library book sale, yesterday. “The China Study.” (Campbell).

    I have most of Rip Esselstyn’s books. He was a Texas fireman (and tri-athelete). His Dad, a physician, was also part of the China Study. He’s very clever. Never says “vegan.” Just calls it “Plant strong.” Lew

  31. Yo, Chris – Man the stations with human beings? Employers have to be nice to employees? What a concept. Probably a Commie plot. That’s what you call anything you don’t like. Or, socialism. Always said as if you’d discovered something really nasty, on the bottom of your shoe.

    Our current post office general, seems to be doing as much as he possibly can, to kill the postal system. After being a heavy contributor to the last administration, he was given that plum job. Interesting. His family made all that money in the “logistics industry.” IE: Trucking. Conflict of interest, much?

    It pays to be a public employee. At least, the higher ups. There can be lavish “fringe” benefits. I’ve occasionally thought it would be nice to be an elected official. If for the good health insurance, if nothing else.

    Fluffies in disgrace? Oh, my. Elinor is going to the eye doctor, this afternoon, so, I’ll have a house guest for awhile.

    I went to the cheap food store, this morning. What with the $20 donation, and I kicked in $20, I got quit a lot. Trying a few new things. Splashed out a bit on a few higher priced items. I’ve told different people, around the Club, to keep their ears open, if anyone makes any requests. Or, even, “I wish they had …” When I managed bookstores, I always asked my employees to jot down any requests for things we didn’t have. Good way to spot trends, or, holes in the inventory.

    According to Prof. Mass, there’s a huge storm coming in. But, it looks like it will pass far to the north of us. Fingers crossed. As it’s packing winds similar to our famous Columbus Day Storm.

    I sent a short message to Pam, but the site did something “funny.” Or, I clicked on the wrong button. If it doesn’t show up by tomorrow, I’ll repost it.

    Our postie delivered the broccoli seed, today. I happened to see he and his wife collecting leaves, last evening, down the street. We had a bit of a conversation about the “right” kind of leaves to turn into your garden. I also got another garlic sampler. Lew

  32. Chris,

    Tuesday was a BUSY day, at least for Avalanche. Mama had to leave for her normal trip to siblings. Then papa had to take Avalanche to the post office to mail something important, so she got to go for a ride with papa. And there’s so much to explore in the back yard. Plus papa is training her to sit and stay and not chew on her papa. Papa is not a chew toy.

    Rained this morning, maybe 3 mm. Upwards of 25mm expected from Friday through Monday evening. I was able to get all the cement crack sealant applied just in time!

    Well, at that college, I sorta had a reputation by the time of the circuit breaker incident. I’d taken an entire box of chalk home, drilled out each piece and kept all of the chalk dust. This was then meticulously placed back in the pieces of chalk. The ends were then glued together, meaning that the unsuspecting professor would have to break open the stick of chalk and receive a powdery reward.

    It worked well on my good-natured calculus prof (who was laughing about it), but some fellow students ratted me out. There were several cries of “Blasted kid!” and “Drat that DJ!” from profs throughout the day. Even my father fell victim to the prank. That was the first time he ever said “Bleeping kid” while referring to me. At least in public.

    Like you, I’ve felt safer on high rocks than on the tops of some very tall buildings. The buildings can sway a bit in the wind. The rocks? Not so much.

    I once worked in a kitchen that had a large walk-in freezer. It had a bar on the inside that could bypass any “mistakes” that got one locked in. But a coworker figured out how to work around the bypass and thought it was funnier than anything to lock me in there. The head cook was watching, rescued me, and made sure that didn’t happen again.

    Oh, Avalanche has disrupted our normally quiet routine. One could say that she has, indeed, hit this house like an avalanche. She has two speeds: sleep and frenzy. The rain kept her sleeping this morning, but she made up for it in the afternoon when the sun came out. 30 minutes of nearly nonstop running in the yard. DJ did NOT run nearly nonstop for 30 minutes. He was smart enough to sit on a chair and watch her run whilst enjoying a rare afternoon cup of coffee. Yup, I made a deal with Avalanche: she can do all the running around in a frenzy, and I will do all the getting tired for her. Hehehe. She is now fast asleep.

    Okay, numbers can be…strange. Unfortunately, I have yet to discover how 42 fits with this. But, at 18 weeks of age, Avalanche is 18 inches tall at the shoulder. To use inductive reasoning incorrectly, yet the way I often see it used…this would mean that at 36 weeks, she would be 36 inches tall, which is bigger than a large timber wolf. At 52 weeks, she would thus be 52 inches tall at the shoulder, probably placing her in the size range of the Game of Thrones Dire Wolf. Something tells me that is not going to happen. 😉

    By the way, she had already figured out Ruby’s first rule. She is an expert at that one. 🙂


  33. Hi Chris
    Late night short comment.
    I have not had much trouble with electrolytic caps the last twenty years or so. I was just looking for a good pictorial source and found this: they have all the pictures , description , plus sell the components. At least here. I hope this helps Cheers for now . It’s my bed time

  34. Hello Chris
    Horrendous wind last night which kept me awake. Haven’t been out yet to see what the damage is.

    Yes it was my suggestion about the photos. They are fascinating, particularly when one resides in another country; the history is interesting as well. While I appreciate the fact that your blog is in the main supposed to be about your life out in the real sticks, my enjoyment of photos of paths tends to flag.

    We have been told to expect an explosion at 7am on 31st October. The 650 ft chimney at Fawley oil refinery in Southampton is being brought down. Son is checking out a viewing point for himself.


  35. Hi Pam,

    The fuel stabiliser is a good idea to mention to your son if only because fuel doesn’t appear to be what it once was. Although, it is possible that Mr Dumpy (is he feeling better and in tip top condition?) runs on diesel fuel. Speaking of such fuel related matters, prices hit an all time high here this morning. $1.799 per litre, which works out to be $6.83 a gallon. Yikes!

    One thing your son can be assured of is that Godzilla has no computer chips hidden within the dark mechanisms. 🙂

    I do hope that there is space for such monsters? You might end up like we are – run out of shed space.



  36. Hi Margaret,

    Glad to hear that you’re enjoying our wanderings around the local area. All part of the great relocalisation of course. 🙂 Gourmet pies are a more or less constant – you lot are seriously missing out.

    Had a local day today as we got our second shot this morning and wanted to be not too far from home just in case there was a repeat of last time around. Incidentally, this was seriously the last day. Things are going to get very weird tomorrow for people who have not done so already. I’ll keep you posted on just how weird that ends up. Anyway, did another quiet day poking our noses into the hidden nooks and crannies of this immediate area.

    Actually I agree with your mothers sentiment, and isn’t it funny how you can have a huge number of acquaintances, and just a few good friends. And you never know when they’ll show up in your life. And hey, there have been times in my life when I was a bit short on friends. It happens.

    And oh yeah, that’s so true as well. And I dunno but families can have very different cultural responses to being involved in everyone’s life. My lot were like super distant, but what do you? There’s probably some middle ground in there – somewhere… 🙂

    Good stuff, and the other thing is that I reckon it gets easier when you know a place and it’s rhythms. Have you settled into your new place now? We’re miles ahead this season too and may plant out some of the vegetable seedlings over the next few days.



  37. Hi Al,

    Many thanks for mentioning the supplier. And I recently trialled this mob: Element14. They seemed really good and supplied what I was after.

    Hopefully over the weekend I put together an inventory of parts required to refresh the Yamaha FM Tuner. It’s exciting! Or should I do the trusty Kenwood FM Tuner first? I dunno…



  38. Hi Inge,

    The wind was quite serious here this morning too, and a tree on the road up above the house fell down and took out the local power grid. The power company fixed it within a few hours which is a pretty good outcome.

    Thanks, and there is a middle ground in there between penning a travel log of fascinating local sights and the ongoing work of wresting some produce from the land here. Glad you enjoy the history aspect of the images because I too enjoy the history inherent in the sights.

    Paths… Well, it’s been a year and a bit of work upon the paths! 🙂

    Inge, if I’d somehow planned better up front, I probably would have purchased flatter land, done less work, but I must say that there are some hidden benefits to be had with living up here on the side of an ancient volcanic mountain saddle. I was not one who was born to be idle!

    It’s always exciting to watch a tall structure being demolished. Hope the weather is good for the demolition. It is a notably tall chimney.



  39. Hi DJ,

    You sound like you’re having some serious fun, and puppies are great company as long as they don’t get up to too much mischief. How was Avalanche in the car? The fluffies are a bit weird about going for car drives. That’s seriously funny about you being used as a chew toy. Which do you reckon Avalanche will work out first? Sit or Stay? My money is on Sit.

    You timed the concrete repair works to perfection. But it is good to hear that the rains have returned. Hot and dry summers are somewhat alarming experiences.

    Hey, just felt the need to chime in and say that: “I sorta had a reputation by the time of the circuit breaker incident”, kind of suggests that you brought that response onto yourself! Hehe! A bit of cheekiness does somewhat spice up quiet and overly serious times, and well Avalanche might just now be returning the favour? 🙂

    The chalk trick is genius. Respect. I can’t believe you were ratted out though by your peers. Alas, we are only as good as the weakest link.

    Mate, there was one tall building I worked in for a few years in the suburb of South Melbourne. Around that area there were originally some swamps, and one notable swamp was converted into a Lake. And I’ve seen that area flood during freak storms. Anyway, there were times when sitting at my desk in that tall building I could feel the floor shaking and moving. It kind of gave me the creeps, but I should add that last I noted, the building was still vertical. The problem with working on houses as a hobby and repairing the structural elements was that I might be a touch overly sensitive to floors that move or are out of level.

    Ouch! Yeah, there are practical jokes, and then there are times when the jokes go too far. Your refrigerator story was one of the latter. Glad you made it out unscathed.

    Hit the house like an avalanche, yes very amusing. Actually I’m really happy that you’ve got the serious time to really bond with Avalanche and she’ll probably be the best dog you’ve ever known as she’ll shadow you around during the daytime. Mate, I’m not sure that I could run for half an hour now either! 🙂 Err, good luck and I applaud your exercise (!) of common sense.

    All will be revealed in time in relation to the optimum number of 42, and how that is relevant. 😉 There was a serious spike in people wanting dogs with part wolf, or just really large dogs due to that particular show. The thought of having to exist with a dog that big that has its own thoughts is quite an horrendous proposition. The two Kelpie girls are sort of civilised and they have their own thoughts to boot, but at least they ain’t big. Far out! Can you imagine that battle of wills?



  40. @ Lew:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I have read a bit about The China Study.

    I remembered something someone told me once about troublesome people: “Don’t take it to heart.”


  41. Hi Lewis,

    The times are a bit baffling for the unwary. Filled up the little dirt mouse Suzuki this morning and the petrol prices were as high as I’ve ever seen them $1.799 a litre (3.8 litres to the gallon). That’s impressive, and I somehow managed to talk the editor into reading a book on the oil situation. The book was penned in 2004 by Paul Roberts titled: The end of oil. The author tells an engaging tale for such an otherwise dry topic. She’s saying much the same things that she said when she recently read John Kenneth Galbraiths book on The Great Crash 1929. And that was the observation that not much has changed since those earlier days.

    Hey, there was an article on international travel for citizens down under, and I thought that you’d enjoy the very final photograph in the article (the author clearly knew their history and was telling how it will be in the future): International borders are reopening and you can soon book that overseas holiday. But what happens if you get COVID-19 while you’re away?

    Had to get the second shot this morning. This was the last day for it, so timing was pretty good. The reason I say last day, is that because as of midnight tonight, the residents of Melbourne are exiting their lock down (but still can’t leave the city boundaries). There were cops everywhere in the local town this morning too – funny that. Anyway, we took it seriously easy today given how the editor went after the first shot. Far out, she was not well, but today is doing pretty good. I reckon an issue with these things is dehydration, because that is what it feels like to me, and you feel the same thing after having donated blood – or done a very hard days work in the hot sun (yes, yes mad dogs and Englishmen and stuff). I’m keeping on top of that issue.

    And Evergrande seems just about to pop, but we might be all surprised even yet. I doubt it though.

    Hehe! Mate I work with small business, and that was a choice made long ago, and you know, by and large they’re pretty good with their employees as there is very little in the way of hierarchy and few businesses are that replete with mad cash that they can afford to muck around. It seems like big biz might just have to up its game, but turning cultures around is neither fast, cheap, nor easy. Especially when the corner office has to take a hit to pay for that.

    I dunno. Don’t the Chinese have a saying about wealth only lasting three generations? You used the word ‘family’ and that was what sprung to mind.

    A lot of public servants and folks in big biz seem to be on a pretty good wicket, yeah. I couldn’t work for them any more. And you’d have to do the politics. My gut feeling is that you and I may have similar responses to that office politics program stuff… It is possible that I would stress them out as much as they’d stress me out. Hehe! I rarely if ever have meetings these days, and that is a relief upon the soul.

    Yes, naughty fluffies, and now the high spirits of yesterday have no place – and the fluffies are conforming. They blew it and went too far. How was your house guest? Was she well behaved and not too anxious? Hope Elinor is OK.

    Oh that’s a great idea, and gives you feedback on what is actually of need. Listening is a lost art these days, but you’re proving that it is not dead yet. 🙂 It’s quite grassroots your Club, I like that.

    Hey, almost forgot to mention. We went up into the logging coup right up at the highest point of the main ridge. As you’d imagine, it was windy. But the view was phenomenal. Met an older couple up there who were walking their dog. They reckon they’d been walking in the area for a quarter century. They lived in town, and were whining about the mess the loggers left. I looked at them and said: Where do you reckon timber comes from? Brutal but it needed saying. Personally I get a touch annoyed when strangers start whining at me. If I’d known them, fine have a good solid whine and a moan, but they don’t have the social capital to do that, so yeah.

    Ooook! Glad it is nowhere near you. I’ll check out the good professors words.

    Nope. The comment was there.

    He’s good, that postie. The old timers do that around these parts in the nearby town. You can see them in the autumn collecting huge sacks of oak and elm leaves. Clever folks.



  42. Hello Chris
    Flat land brings its own problems. Son is on flat land and this causes him assorted drainage problems which I don’t have.


  43. @ Pam – Another good one (book and documentary) is “Forks Over Knives.” Re: Godzilla. I see John Deere is going, or has gone, out on strike. Lew

  44. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder, what you said to Margaret: Peak shed space? 🙂 . Now I’m sure everything stuffed in your sheds is necessary, so, the old adage “Junk expands to fill the space allowed,” (Lew©) probably doesn’t apply. Does it?

    I’m sure I read “End of Oil.” Loving a good disaster book or film, I think I’ve read all of those. How about, “The Party’s Over?” (Heinberg.) I’ve read all of his. But I may have missed “Peak Everything”. I’ll have to see if our library has it.

    Yes. International travel has more than the usual possible pit falls, these days. Easy to be blindsided. But, with a little research … or, one has their minions do it. I’m sure many people are looking forward to empty airports. Not realizing the problems apply to them, as to everyone else. Maybe airports will just become the haunt of zombies (see: “Warm Bodies). Or, a place where time unravels (see: King’s “The Langoliers,” book or mini-series.)

    Ah! Memory jogged. I knew there was something else I wanted to mention about Elvira’s autobiography. She mentioned she wouldn’t have had time to write the book, without You Know What. And on her “Thank you, thank you” page, she gave a tip of the hat (bat?) to King’s “On Writing.”

    Start taking aspirin, after the second shot. Things would have gone a lot smoother, for me, had I done that.

    Small business can be pretty nimble, if they’re not too hidebound. That saying from the Land of Stuff is pretty right on. I’ve certainly seen it play out, in small business, several times in this county. Old guys returned from WWII and built businesses that were going concerns. By now, the kids and grandkids have frittered it all away. One way, or another.

    And, playing off what Margaret said about marrying a person’s family. I always had in the back of my mind, that old Pony Express advertising slogan: Only orphans need apply. 🙂 . Another old saw observed that if you wanted to have an idea of how your spouse would age out, look at their mother (and grandmother). Same applies to guys. Probably the above factors contributed to me making it to 72, single. 🙂 Sigh.

    H was the perfect houseguest. She wanted to get on the bed. So, I put her on the bed. And, she promptly passed out, for the duration. We went for a walk, just before Elinor got back. She seems to have finally “got” it. We watch Mom get on the elevator, she stays with me, Mom comes back. The last couple of times, fretting and whining about, are things of the past. Elinor’s trip to the eye doctor as pretty routine. But, those expeditions take a lot out of her. But, on the way back, she swung by her doctor’s office, as … well, she didn’t feel “right.” Pulse bouncing around and blood pressure, high. A nice quiet sit down for awhile, took care of that. I tested her pulse meter, by the way. I think it’s working fine. Mine just hovered right around 70. When it got in the upper 60s, she worried for my survival :-). I told her I wouldn’t get too excited, until it hit -0-.

    I think the only meetings you should take, these days, is the Green Wizards. Preferably with tiramisu. 🙂 . I don’t know when I actually thought, instead of sensed it, but I knew pretty early on I wasn’t cut out for corporate life.

    We’re seeing headlines, over here. Along the line of “Melbourne Ends Longest Lockdown in World.”

    Well, the Club has been around for almost 50 years … on an all volunteer basis. I approached someone last weekend, just to feel them out, as to if they had any interest in being club manager. Our manager Mr. Bill, is in his 80s, and not in good health. I don’t want the bureaucrats or religious nutters, taking it over.

    LOL. I had to look up logging coup. We call them clear cuts, here. One hopes they get replanted, with dispatch. Avoid things like erosion and landslides. We have some laws in place, regulating that. And, some of the logging companies are very good about replanting. They take the long view.

    Exasperating day, yesterday. S-Way, is tampering with their web site (again). Being a national chain, there ads and offers can be pretty geographically specific. So, yesterday, at first, I couldn’t even sign in to the site. Finally got in, but couldn’t access the local ads. Could finally do that, but never could see the offers, “just for me.” I whinged a bit to the night manager. He also felt, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. ” Not that the rank and file, have any input. Lew

  45. Chris,

    Avalanche does great in the car. We load her up in her crate with some toys into the back seat. We took her on errands the other day, one of going inside and the other staying in the car with her. She learned that we always come back to the car. So, when I ran errands with just Avalanche and me, she did fine when she was alone. Not even a whimper.

    Ding! We have a winner. I’ve always taught Sit first. It’s much easier to teach Stay to a dog that isn’t standing.

    Yes, it is VERY nice that we’re getting rain and have more in the forecast. I’ll be able to sit under back canopy roof and light a small fire, listen to the rain hit the roof, watch to see what Avalanche thinks about it all. Sitting on the back patio under the canopy with a fire going is a favorite activity of mine when it’s raining or snowing.

    Hehehe! Yes, cheeky is as cheeky does, and Avalanche is very cheeky. Both behavior and her talking are cheeky. Not much barking, but a lot of talk from her.

    The chalk trick was fun. I don’t remember where I heard about it. Dad should’ve known better: he watched me during part of the project. So when he fell for it, that was on him.

    Before I retired, I worked on the 2nd floor of a 4 story building. You could feel the elevators shaking the floor except on the ground level floor. The shaking was not only in close proximity to the elevators. I got stuck in one of the elevators for 15 minutes once, never used them again. If I had to cart heavy things between floors, I’d have the load travel by itself in the elevator, pushing the appropriate button for the destination then use the nearby stairs. The elevator was S L O W, so I was always there first.

    Our elevator wasn’t as bad as this one, however.

    Thank you! Having the ability to “exercise” common sense when the puppy is running is a good thing. Wisdom that comes from age and experience.


  46. Hi Chris how nice that you found success in obtaining your needed capacitors from Element 14. One of their U.S. affiliates Newark Electronics in 2 days time delivered a semiconductor 40amp power diode to protect my 400 Watt 1970s era Hewlett-Packard power supply rated @20 VDC @ 20 amp and individually adjustable . I’ve been using the old beast to play the role of solar array in experiments with an inexpensive charge controller to set the best all around max charge value.

    I’m siding with others who feel that there is little value gained in going above about 13. 9 volts charge. I am referring to LiFeP04 12 volt units at all Amp hour values.

    Now the choice between the Kenwood and The Yamaha tuners for your first tuneup, I would do the newest model first. Reliability of top rated units improves as technology improvements are made. You well enjoy your success.😁.
    Said the politician. Hee Hee


  47. Hi Al,

    Yes, that business was very good, and they supplied the quantities of stock they had on hand for each item prior to submitting the order. For some reason known only to them, the order arrived in two deliveries at the post office with a few days in between – but most importantly, the order arrived.

    I dunno about your LiFePO4 batteries, it depends upon the exact chemistry in the individual cells and what the manufacturer recommends. Like my batteries the balancing voltage is 3.65V per cell and there are 4 cells in series and 6 in parallel (12V nominal voltage at 306Ah each), so the balancing voltage for each battery is 14.6V or x 4 batteries at 58.4V. It seems well within tolerances for my batteries and has proven to be correct, but who knows what your lot are.

    A few weeks ago at Mr Greer’s someone made a comment to me about not keeping the batteries at or near full, and again, it all depends upon the chemistry – and my lot work very well that way, but not all of them do.

    What does your manufacturer recommend?



  48. Hi Inge,

    Yes, I agree, and thanks for the correction. Flat land does indeed also have its fair share of problems. In the flat land below the mountain range earlier today, I noted that one paddock was full of water birds… It has been a very wet year, so yes the drainage here is near perfect, and for that I am thankful.

    You know Inge, there are times where I am profoundly disappointed by some of my fellow humans. You may recall the tree that had fallen across the road and taken out the power line yesterday. Well the power company had left the logs and heads of the tree, and so I went up there late today to clean it all up. I’d completed the sawing up into firewood sized chunks that were easily transportable, and removed all of the heads. I turned my back for a second and the infamous mulch neighbour turns up and begins hauling away the firewood rounds without offering any assistance. I don’t know what to say about that. The bush telegraph has been alerted. The funny thing is that such people think that such acts don’t matter, except that they do matter. Crazy stuff.



  49. Hi DJ,

    It is wise to get onto car training with Avalanche pretty early, and she’d love it too. Most dogs I’ve known love car travel. I neglected that aspect of training with the fluffies, on the basis that the fluffies would be fine. They’re not fine, unfortunately… I have this weird notion that they think I’m taking them away to dump them. Have you got any suggestions to assist with this sadly neglected aspect of their training?

    One can only but do their best, and I’ve known a lot of dogs over the years. Actually, I make a game of sitting with them, and force them to sit and wait whilst I open the door. When they get the ‘go’ command, the specific dog so instructed gets to run through the doorway at high speed (Avalanche clearly has the speed thing down pat too!). It’s fun for the dogs, they love it and get to run around like crazy. Fortunately, like you I too have no aspirations to also run around like crazy.

    That sounds really delightful. There is something about just quietly sitting and enjoying the rain, or snow falling just out of reach. I tell ya, some of my best thinking takes place in a hot bath which overlooks the forest and valley, and you can see clear and away to the horizon. It was a warm day here today, and the stormy monsoonal thick clouds in early evening put on a lightning show and the hot water just soaked in. All very pleasant.

    Ah, good that Avalanche is not a barker. Some dogs enjoy that noise, and the two Kelpie girls love a bark, but Ollie is fairly quiet. However, when he does bark I investigate. Sometimes he’ll be quietly sitting behind me on his couch, and then he’ll bark loudly just once, and yeah blood pressure… He sure makes me jump.

    What? I can’t imagine that your dad somehow imagined that you wouldn’t turn the trick on him? Well done, you. 🙂

    Far out, what a nightmare being stuck in an elevator, even for 15 minutes. Oh my gawd, for the first time in years, the interweb is very patchy tonight. They did send some message about upgrading, and I confirmed the patchiness by using the phone to test the system. None of it is good. Mate the elevator utoob clip basically couldn’t even load. Far out.

    Well that’s the thing isn’t it. You might not be able to run around, but you might be able to adapt by applying greater wisdom.



  50. Hi Lewis,

    It’s a big call that one, but you know, my shoulders are big enough to deal with the implications. Basically, we don’t store things in the sheds that have little use now or at some point in the future, and/or don’t themselves work. The real issue is basically not having enough flat land here with which to construct a large enough shed, so we have a shed over here, and one over there, and they’re not really all that large. On the other hand, we made a firm decision on how the flat site up above the house will look and work, and have begun working towards that outcome. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t strike, and then it does and the way forward becomes clear. The entire farm has been like that, which is why it evolves slowly and surely and then takes firm shape.

    Did I mention that a tree fell on the power line up above the house yesterday? Anyway the tree fell in the wind and took out the local power grid, which was fixed within a couple of hours. The power company of course left the tree cut up into logs, and the head of the tree had fallen onto the higher points of the farm. So I went up there late this afternoon to cut up the logs into firewood lengths and chop up the head so that we could burn it off. Just as I’d finished a long bout of chainsawing, mr mulch dude (yes, that one) turned up and proceeded to help himself to the firewood rounds. No please or thank you, no assistance, just sheer expectations. Words were exchanged, but you know, I dunno. There are times where I’m profoundly disappointed by my fellow humans. Anyway, I alerted the bush telegraph that this had occurred, and a dim view of the behaviour was formed. Word will get around, no doubts about it.

    Hehe! The title of the book on oil does kind of suggest a certain disastrous outcome, but the author seemed to have a pretty good handle on what peak oil actually means. Lot’s of lightning and thunder outside right now, and surprise, surprise, it’s raining. 🙂 I must say though that the weather earlier today was superb, and despite feeling a bit iffy this morning, we worked outside in the sun for most of the day. I just took things at a fairly slow pace. The editor felt far better this time around than I did, but you know I’m stoic.

    How good was the film ‘Warm bodies’? So much fun. There are times where I sometimes say to the editor a line I pinched blindly from that film: I’ll just say something cool like, errrrrr (done in best zombie speak). You see what she has to deal with? 🙂

    My gut feeling is that aircraft travel will soon be a thing for the jet set alone – you remember them, don’t you? When I was a kid, nobody I knew went anywhere by aircraft.

    Oh! I just did an interweb search on oil prices and came up with three different news articles:
    2 days ago – Oil price starts to drop as China looks to tame coal prices;
    15 hours ago – Oil dives, forecast of mild US winter spurs retreat from multi year highs;
    1 hours ago – Oil stays near $85 a barrel. Brent set for seventh weekly gain.
    Now one of them may be correct, and my money would be on the 1 hour ago article given that it referred to an actual price rather than some hoped for outcome.

    Speaking of Mr King, the editors insight into today’s troubles came via a Mr King story. It was the one about the guy who turns up to create large scale mischief so that he could feed off the emotional energy of the people involved in the situation. Yeah, that makes sense too. Don’t feed the trolls. Alas, I probably fed the troll, however, fool me once, now I’m onto that gear.

    Lewis, I feel that I should add Mr King’s: ‘On writing’, book to my ‘to-read’ collection. Mate, I’ve been so good at resisting sneaky book recommendations recently, but truly you know my weakness in this area. Everyone has their kryptonite. Scored a hardback first edition copy. Happy days!

    Thanks for the advice, and I’m also keeping my fluids up, especially after a hard days work.

    Actually, most small businesses I work with are nimble, that’s why I like working with them. They can make decisions and then act upon them – fast. They’re fighters. And with the story you raised, well there is an element of the next generation wanting to make their mark, and things can go a bit odd from that point onwards.

    Hehe! It’s a great hiring slogan, and nobody could say that they weren’t informed of the risks up front? Mate, from my perspective, I kind of see that at some point in our lives, there is a great possibility that we’ll end up single. You may be better adapted to the circumstances than many others? This is an advantage.

    H is a true lady as befits a proper fluffy. Far out, I dunno about you, but a trip to the eye doctor would raise my heart rate and blood pressure too. For sure it would not be an enjoyable relaxing experience. Although for some few folks it might be fun – odd people, but they’re around. That’s funny too! Yes, a pulse of zero is a real problem, but you can rest assured that that particular problem is mostly for other people. 😉

    Hehe! One has a hankering for tiramisu that is not being readily assuaged. Although there was that passable tiramisu the other evening. It was quite good, although frankly the conditions placed up restaurants does make me wonder how they make mad cash to keep afloat. My profession unfortunately does take away the enjoyment of obliviousness.

    The folks in Melbourne still aren’t allowed to venture into the rural areas, and there are still many serious restrictions upon day to day activities – such as many, many shops are shut. Don’t believe the hype. There was some talk about putting primary aged school kids into masks all day long, and that seems some sort of an unusual and cruel act.

    Wise to plan ahead for succession planning. I believe that you would lend a certain gravitas to the role yourself, although if I had to advise you in relation to this matter, I’d suggest that it would be probably better if someone else took the job.

    You needn’t worry, the area will be replanted. If I’m not mistaken the current harvest is the third or fourth. It was a real mess up there, and you wouldn’t want to visit if it had been a super wet week, but the view was astounding. I’ve never seen such a vista. I agree too, they do generally take the long view. It would be good if they had mulched up the slash, or burned it up and distributed the ash, but some things might be uneconomical me thinks.

    Nah, rank and file have no say in such matters. They can have opinions though, and some are rather candid. 🙂 As chip shortages continue and production gets diverted from consumer electronics to vehicles, I’ll be curious to see whether the reach of technology declines. I suspect that it will do so.

    The interweb connection has been super crazy tonight. It is usually rock solid, but I did receive some odd text message that an upgrade was taking place. It happens.



  51. Yo, Chris – One hopes the Shed Inspectors, don’t show up. 🙂 Oh, well. Provides employment, I suppose.

    Mulch Dude will come to a bad end. Through his own actions. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes awhile. Those type, usually do. But keep your alibis fresh, and wood chipper well oiled. 🙂 .

    Would the Editor agree that your stoic, and all? Yes, I see what she has to put up with. I hope she keeps her alibis fresh, and wood chipper well oiled 🙂 .

    Too many British mysteries. I’m watching a new one (to me). “Shakespeare and Hathaway.” An ex-police detective has become a private investigator, and takes on (though coerced) a partner. It’s one of those cozy English village mysteries. Kind of. The village in question is Stratford on Avon. They lay the Tudor on with a trowel there. It’s kind of a tourist trap. The mysteries are engrossing, and more on the “light” side. Lots of humor.

    I’m also watching “Prodigal Son” season 2. A very quirky police profiler is the son of a serial killer. Dad is banged up in a mental institution, and the son has to refer to Dad’s “expertise” to solve some crimes. Engrossing, but very dark.

    Oh, yes. I remember the jet set. Back in the day. Swinging Sixties, and all that.

    I saw that bit about a warm winter and oil prices. I thought it was a bit of wistful thinking and whistling past the graveyard.

    Well, you sly dog. I thought you had a copy of King’s “On Writing,” all along. Well, that explains … oh, never mind. 🙂 . So, is your first hardback edition autographed? No. No worries. Determine what kind of a signing pen, Mr. King prefers, and study his autograph. There are examples, on-line. Your in for a treat. He tosses in a lot of biographical stuff.

    Ah, yes. And in one of those cosmic coincidences, I saw this at the Atlantic, yesterday.

    The single life has it perks. Adapted is the right word. When it became clear that that’s how my life was going to play out, I honed myself to be so. And you will be happy 🙂 .

    Succession is a tricky thing. As far as the Club goes, I have no aspirations to be king. But I’ll help out. Power behind the throne is a good gig. You get to go home at 5 o’clock. 🙂

    I see the Queen is in hospital, for the first time in years. Large parts of the world, holds it’s breath. I actually saw a bit of video, outlining a minute by minute explanation of what happens. It all kicks off with the code, “London Bridge is Down.” Could be distressing, but the Queen is pragmatic, if nothing else. She’s had a hand in all the planning. Now, I’m not a Subject of the Queen. But as with so many, she’s the only Queen I’ve ever known.

    I’m hearing stories of wonkiness, as to the Net, from all over. Our library branch was closed on Wednesday (but the drive through window, was open) as they had to fiddle with the wi-fi. I hadn’t heard from my friends in Idaho, in a few days. Turns out their internet (and TV) have been really on the fritz. In general, Bulgaria has better service, than we do.

    Years ago, when I was taking a library cataloging class, I wrote a paper on “Migration.” Migrating data (like a catalog) from one platform to another. Bottom line. It never really goes well, and prepare for problems. I got an A on that paper. I mentioned to the head librarian, at our local branch, that every “upgrade” to the catalog, seemed worse and worse.

    I see there are rumors that Face Plant is going to rebrand itself. Same wolf, different clothing. Face Plant Boy has been hauled before our Congress, a couple of times. Generally, he just whines about it “only being a platform,” and “they’re working on it.” It being whatever Congress is in a lather about.

    I pretty much finished “In Search of Mycotopia: Citizen Science, Fungi Fanatics, and the UntappedPotential of Mushrooms.” (Bierend, 2021). I found it interesting. He also talked a lot about fermentation, and there was a bit where he visited Sandor Katz. Paul Stamets was mentioned, several times.

    While walking H this morning, I picked a handful of green bean pods, to save for seed. They’ve turned brown, and, with all our rain I figured I’d better move them inside to dry out, before fungus starts to form. Moldy beans are unhappy beans. 🙁 Lew

  52. @ Inge – I see Brading Villa is going to host a gladiator school. 23 October from 10 to 3:30 PM. Break out and polish up that armor. You might learn some new moves. 🙂

    Also, if you haven’t seen this … the highlights of the 2021 excavation season, up at Vindolanda.

    I wonder how long it will be, before you can buy a replica of the little statue, in the gift shop? Lew

  53. Good evening

    Yes, that’s the one, the ‘Polyglot’ of proverbs.

    I fear you are right and the splat, not the magnificent view, would have been my last earthly impression!

    Catalan cream and custard cakes are very good indeed, which is why my pack was full of them and I’d insisted on a pit stop at a bakery on the way. Red wine is, of course, almost genetically imbedded.

    Leafing through a book on WW2 I found this, from besieged Tobruk, which might apply equally to lock-down lock-out Melbourne? Maybe it’s still known?

    Apologies to the ladies for the lbad anguage, but it obviously cannot be edited out without losing everything:

    ‘This bloody town’s a bloody cuss;
    No bloody trams, no bloody bus;
    And no one cares for bloody us;
    Bloody, bloody bloody!

    Best bloody place is bloody bed:
    With blanket over bloody head;
    And then they think you’re bloody dead!
    Bloody, etc……’

    Maybe protesters should take it up?

    All the best


  54. Hi Chris,
    Masks are required for all school students of all ages. Seems kind of crazy especially for the younger students as many adults can’t wear masks correctly so how can they expect young children to do so. There’s quite a few protests about the requirement by parents.

    We had some sad news, Marty’s girlfriend, Gwen, has breast cancer. We really don’t know how advanced as she’s not able to report accurately on her condition. With HIPPA laws it’s iffy any of us can get any info but Marty’s caseworker is trying. She’s most concerned with losing her hair. I may have mentioned her flashy wigs in the past of which she has twelve. If anyone could be prepared for losing her hair she sure is. Of course Marty is pretty upset but we keep reassuring him that treatment is mostly successful.


  55. Chris,

    Condolences on the interweb connection struggles. Technology is great until it isn’t.

    Dogs and cars. I never got Rakhi the Samoyed to be calm in a car. However, I would try it differently now. Some dogs never get along well with riding in cars.

    In your case, I’d start with Ruby. Just a few minutes, maybe no more than 10, get her in the car, maybe drive a km or so, then just sit, then return home. Repeat in 5 or 10 minute sessions until she is calmer in the car. Then extend the duration of the sessions. Sometimes, even park, leave her in the car, then step out of sight (behind a tree?) for a few minutes, then reappear and return home. Once Ruby is good with that, then start on Plum. Refresh Ruby ‘s training every few days. Once Plum is somewhat calmer, then try it with them together. If Ruby is first and calmer, as the Boss Dog, she might be able to assist with Plum’s fine tuning.

    Likely, trying to train the 2 of them together would result in their anxieties feeding one another and abysmal failure of the project.

    Dunno if it will work, but that’s how I’d try it now. Maybe having calm Ollie in the car during Ruby’s initial training would help, calmness by example?

    I see that you do the door training similar to how I do the door training. It’s important that the dogs learn how to do that; getting trampled every time a door is opened is NOT fun. At least, not for the human.

    Hehehe. Are you sure that Ollie’s barking ploy from behind the couch isn’t his form of personal amusement.

    See Chris. Chris is relaxing. See Ollie crouched behind the couch. Ollie will bark. “WOOF!” barks Ollie. See Chris. Chris is flying to the ceiling. See Ollie laugh.


  56. Hi DJ,

    The interweb connection was up and down last night, but it eventually settled down, just in time for bed. Oh my, the elevator scene was horrendous. Not a good way to go, and I note that the doors to the elevator closed. It all reminds me of the awful scene (where you didn’t see, which is oftimes worse) in Six Feet Under with the ill fated elevator dude. Nobody wants to be an ill fated elevator dude.

    Rahki most likely had a wild streak of I dunno, utter wildness? The Kelpie girls are like that. Despite them enjoying long walks, they baulk at their leads and act as if some person sleight had occurred. On the other hand, they’re not trustworthy and so they have to deal with the leads. Ollie is more of a gentleman and he deals with walks on leads and vehicles.

    Thank you for the advice and I will commence training the Kelpies with your suggestions, which I should add sound like plain old common sense good advice. And adding a calmer Ollie into the mix does sort of keep a lid upon the worst of their fears.

    Yes, you called that. They do wind each other up, which is why they are only allowed some freedoms individually.

    Avalanche. If I could give you some advice, you young whipper snapper of a canine, it would be this: Don’t bowl over DJ, or his fine lady, in your enthusiasm to escape to freedom via the door. No good will come of this my fine furry friend. Best to wait upon instructions for this is much more fun. Yes, fun it is, and fun it shall be.

    Please don’t encourage Ollie, he can read you know! He’s a remarkably quiet dog, but when he barks I take note of what he is trying to tell me. If Avalanche needs any inspiration, here’s a good role model: NSW farmer’s ‘extraordinary’ recovery after neighbour’s ‘wonder dog’ saves his life. Plus you may understand why our machines are selected for low centres of gravity.



  57. Hi Lewis, Xabier and Margaret,

    Ah, here I feel the need to fess up to my sins of neglect. Well, it wasn’t really neglect, more perhaps something of a err, a diversion might be the right word. It was a very good diversion.

    So, I was gasbagging on the phone this evening and by sheer chance happened to notice that the evening had in fact disappeared. That was about 10.30pm, and so well yeah, as has been said elsewhere you cannot change the laws of physics, and so I’m left with about 20 minutes before bedtime.

    And after the second shot I do feel a bit tired.

    Anyway, disappointment, yeah I do a bit of that every now and then.

    Will speak tomorrow, but until then.



  58. Hi Lewis,

    Alas, I must be brief this evening, which pains me as I do so enjoy our regular chats. The full excuse is provided in the previous comment.

    Here’s the thing, I have as of right to construct small sheds of a certain size within a certain distance of the house. 😉

    I’d certainly hope so, but I now better understand his motivations because he foolishly gave away his hand without realising it. I had little to lose in the encounter, but it still annoyed me, but you know I’ll get over that. As an aside discussion, some folks have a deep seated belief that they are the pinnacle of intelligence, and it is a point of view I guess. I take a wider view of people and the world and just observe what peoples words and actions say about their internal state of mind, but it is not in my nature to big note myself and so people misconstrue this. Your suggestion is very cheeky.

    Hehe! Oh, you’re on fire. Fortunately the editor probably can’t start the scary old wood chipper – it’s a finnicky beast of a machine. One has to maintain an edge of safety every now and then.

    Speaking of the editor, she also thoroughly enjoyed Prodigal son season II. I heard the super creepy quote: I’ve been a good father, but you’ve been a bad son. Nobody wants to be in those shoes, hearing those words, from that bloke.

    I’ve heard some folks express the opinion, and I’ve heard this desire said quite a lot: They want things to return to ‘normal’. It’s been something of a recurring theme over the past two years, and I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more. What’s your take on that belief? Do you reckon people in the Roman empire (Western) stated those belief in a return to normal, even when the gates to Rome were thrown open for Alaric I? Did they ever go back to any semblance of normality for a while?

    Some of the oil news did seem to possibly contradict the view on the ground, which seemed really weird to me as I wondered who the intended audience for the articles were. Beats me.

    Busted twice in one night. First talking on the phone for hours, and then not owning Mr King’s book ‘On writing’. And I must add here that your little joke was very amusing. 🙂 In a similar vein, I do hope that Mr King covers the topic on how to pen a conclusion to a story? I would so like to learn. Hehe! Anyway, I’m sure I’m going to really enjoy reading Mr King’s thoughts on the subject, and no doubts about it, I will learn an astounding amount of skills and knowledge. I just hope everyone here doesn’t expect better from my written prose as I’d hate for them to be disappointed. But then occasionally I disappoint even myself, so to quote old Alfred: what me worry? 🙂

    Yes, the article is very true, and it fascinates me that the number of single person households has actually increased over the past few years. And yes, you may note that in the past seven years of writing and regular chats with you (and this is for similar but different reasons as outlined in the article) you may note that I have not taken an extended holiday from work.

    Glad you appreciated the word ‘adaptable’ because I tend to believe that it is true. Well truth is that we’re all being honed, all of the time whether we like it or not. Mind you, some folks get blunt with all that honing, but still, you and I, we’re doing OK. Things it should be noted, can always be worse. That line about ‘and we’ll be happy’ which you ripped blindly from the davious folks is really a very strange sentiment – not what you were talking about, but what that strange lot were talking about. It seems like a big call to me.

    Hey, out of curiosity, do the Club management meetings go on overly long? The local seed club was really good, but the meetings…

    As the head of our government, I tend to feel as if the position of Queen lends a certain stability to the process. In fact if the politicians get a bit too uppity, the Queen can get rid of them. And that politician lot might do OK feeling a touch of fear, and less certainty. There is something to be said about taking the long view.

    Man, I gotta crash as I’m feeling a bit tired.

    Will speak tomorrow.

    No mad local incidents today to report. This is a good thing.



  59. Yo, Chris – No problems. We all have lives (one would hope) outside of this blog. 🙂 .

    Rights: Subject to change.

    “Pinnacle of intelligence…” and exceptionalism. Lot of that going around, these days. Never lasts and the fall is long.

    Editor can’t start the wood chipper? I’m sure there are videos, on-line, that would help with that. 🙂

    Speaking of elevators … in season two of “Prodigal Son,” our hero goes right down an elevator shaft. I do the same as DJ. If I’ve got enough to put on a cart, I shove it in, hit the button, and race up (or down) the stairs. Besides the thing possible stalling (always on a weekend), I figure it’s crawling with cooties. I only touch the buttons, with my key.

    Oh, I’m sure some people sat around Britain, saying, “The legions will be back, any day!” I’d guess it wasn’t until the second generation … “Come off it Dad. You been saying that for 20 years!” The link about Vindolanda, that I posted to Inge, lightly touches on that. It’s similar to what happened here, at the Institution, when the new regime came in. Many of the Ladies expected the nuns (who own this place) to come in on their white chargers, and save them. Not going to happen. I did a bit of poking around, on line. They are an order, in retreat. Most of them are in their 80s. They’ve pretty much delegated management of all their previous holdings, to this and that entity. Because, well, back in the day, they were almost bankrupt. They were, perhaps, not very good business managers.

    I must say Mr. King’s book is a lot more readable, than Chuck’s. Both have a lot to recommend them, but King’s goes down a lot easier.

    By the way, I finished “Feral Creatures.” I wouldn’t bother. Not near as good as “Hollow Kingdom.” But something I can recommend is a new film called “Free Guy.” Now, I know your not a “gamer”, and neither am I. But I really enjoyed this film.

    AND … it’s kind of a rom-com. 🙂 .

    “Brightsided.” There’s a book about that. Speaking of books, I put an interlibrary loan on “Peak Everything,” today. Had them do it for me at the library, as the process has gotten impossibly complicated.

    Are the Club management meetings, overly long? Got me. Wouldn’t go near the things. Except for the general membership meeting, once a year. When we vote for board members. But the meetings do have a published agenda, and I hear they stick to it.

    We had a garden variety atmospheric river, today. You know. Monsoon rain and water shooting out of downspouts, half way across the parking lot. But the big event is tomorrow night, into Monday. I’ll be keeping a close eye on what Prof. Mass has to say. Could be another Columbus Day Storm, event. But, the track is a bit different. I put a couple of big bowls of water, in my freezer. If we have an extended power outage, it might keep things cold enough.

    Interesting chatter on the net, today. Some exotic foreign disease, has been popping up around the US. Killed a few people. Made a lot very sick. Turns out it’s a bacteria, in an Indian made lavender aromatherapy room freshener (With Magic Gems!!!). Sold through the Store of Walls. So there’s probably a lot of it out there.

    There’s also a recall on onions, from south of our border. Salmonella. Of course, if you cook the darn things at 160 degrees, and follow standard kitchen cleanliness, no worries. Lew

  60. Hi Lewis,

    A person can but only do their best, whilst occasionally stuffing things up royally. All part of the experience of being human don’t you reckon?

    You’ve raised a valid point there, and I largely agree in relation to rights. It would be foolish of me to suggest otherwise given the utter craziness down here in the past year and a lot. Rights. What are these things?

    I’m a very well educated peasant. It happens, but the thing is I’m just more honest than most in that regard, which I guess is why people bang on about exceptionalism. Such grand claims as that often baffle me. It’s kind of like a car with a rear window sticker proclaiming: ‘B!@#h with attitude’, in that if you need to say it that kind of hints at an underlying lack of reality. Such claims should be self evident, but if they’re not. Am I over simplifying things here?

    Haha! The scary old wood chipper has a very heavy direct drive flywheel and is not easy to start. Nope, that one is beyond her, and I’m safe – utoob or not. You have to be pretty strong to get the machine to start, and also it is a very old and unusual motor.

    Prodigal son is very good indeed, but also very dark. I’ve met superficially charming people over the years, always troubling. And also recall to watch out for the cooties. 🙂 Mate, you need to swab something like a mobile phone or an ATM machine keyboard and plate the stuff out. Fun times.

    Maybe as economic times get tougher, the orders will be revived? It’s hard to know really, but for some reason change does feel in the air. Sometimes it is worth noting that such claims are made for political and other reasons, and I recall a popular clergyman who somehow had managed to get onto the national youth broadcaster for a regular gig many years ago, and he allegedly didn’t want to retire and those claims were apparently made.

    Thanks for the advice regarding Mr King’s book, and I’m looking forward to reading and absorbing it. Hey, what is Chuck up to these days? Are there any new books on the horizon for the author?

    Ook! Hollow Kingdom would always be a hard act to top for the author. Oh well, plenty of artists survive their second book / album whatever. The Free guy trailer left me chuckling, it looks like a lot of fun. Nothing wrong with a rom-com at all. She looked dangerous and rather competent, a heady mix which a person can only but hope to survive.

    Now I’m feeling kind of uncomfortable again, because I haven’t read the book Brightsided. Honestly, I blame the lack of dine in service at cafes. This lock down business is really messing with my quiet and enjoyable reading time. Books now take me twice as long to get through as they used to. It’s not fair you know. And the hurdle to get out of this madness keeps getting raised, and nobody seems to say anything about that, which seems really kind of strange.

    Wise, in fact very wise and smarter than my self. My downfall with the local brigade was that I volunteered to a more senior position. From hindsight I really can’t say why I did that, but it has been said before that the road to perdition is paved with good intentions. I should have taken note of the turnover of people, but sometimes you make excuses, when really it is what it is. A hard lesson to learn, but then I didn’t get handed good advice when I was young and just kind of have to wing it.

    The good professor is possibly known for not overstating some matters and to read the sentence: “There has never been a storm this strong in the near shore waters of our region”, is really quite alarming. How are you going? The forecast air pressure looked very low, like crazy low. Yikes. Good thinking with the freezer – thermal mass is your friend.

    Why would anyone use an aromatherapy room freshner, and incidentally anything that can survive lavender oil is a pretty nasty customer.

    Poop is a great fertiliser, but it is not something to be used as a fertiliser by the careless. Mate, we’ve all had some serious stomach bugs in our time, and there was that hippy cafe years and years ago that took me down, bad. Perhaps I’m holding on too tight as I have not returned despite it being over a decade and a half ago?

    Better get writing! Yikes, it’s late.



  61. Hi Margaret,

    The young kids in particular would do it particularly hard having to wear a mask all day long. I dunno about that, it seems kind of cruel to me, but I don’t make the rules either. I hope the parents kick some sense into those ordinances. It took me a long while to get my head around wearing a mask, and there is something weird about it that restricts my peripheral vision. Dunno, but I’m not a fan of those things and have only respect for those who endure entire days having to wear them. It’s not right, and I mean if they’ve been vaccinated, what’s the deal with that? It doesn’t pass the pub test in my mind.

    I’m so sorry to hear of the trial that the sparkly Gwen has been thrown into. Gwen clearly has troubles when things are good, but now they’re not good, who knows what is going on. Does Marty get any updates on Gwen’s health, or is it a mystery to him as well?

    It’s a tough situation and all we can do is hope for the best.

    With sympathy


  62. Hi Xabier,

    I make no such claim as to being a polyglot, and so here must be guided by your good self (with hopefully some assistance from the renowned, and yet slightly wayward, Sir Sancho) – as well as the text. What a fine collection and thank you for the introduction.

    Yes, splat indeed, all very unfortunate, and probably painful, for a little bit at least, but probably not too long. And then who would then now claim Sir Sancho as an ally?

    We have good bakeries around this part of the world, it is something of a local tradition, but dreams of the fine works of the Catalan bakeries was no doubts a product of your very good luck, and their fine work. And candidly I’m salivating.

    As you probably know, the rats were besieged by none other than Rommel’s lot. And their guidelines were simple (and effective): ‘do as much damage as you can without getting caught’.

    No apologies necessary, quotes are quotes, and for the sake of intellectual validity, sometimes even the naughty words must be aired for dramatic effect.

    The protests have been smashed. The gobarmint is claiming that hesitancy has been miraculously evaporated, but I tend to believe that the truth is that things are so brutal that a person down here cannot engage with basic day to day requirements and hold out. And the bar keeps getting raised, and few complain.

    I wish the news was better, but it ain’t.

    Cheers (is that even appropriate?)


  63. Yo, Chris – “To err is human…” (I’m pretty good at that), “…to forgive, divine.” (Not so hot in that department.) Alexander Pope. (Not to be confused with Pope Alexander.)

    Maybe it was a mistake to educate the peasants? Oh, well. Too late now. 🙂 .

    The Editor now has the perfect alibi. And, it’s right here, in the blog. Lizzie Borden got off, because the jury couldn’t conceive of a woman committing such a crime.

    I wrap a paper towel around my finger, when poking at the ATM. Seems prudent, given the numbers we’re still seeing, in the county. But hey, let’s have a Home and Outdoor Show, this weekend.

    I haven’t heard much from Chuck, recently. I’ll have to look into that.

    Looks like British Columbia is ground zero, for the storm. I’ll be keeping an eye on Prof. Mass, but no new updates, this morning. Our National Weather Service is predicting 100% chance of rain … for the next three days. Starting tonight, wind gusts could reach 30mph. So, we’ve got saturated ground, and plenty of leaves still on the trees. My barometer is taking a plunge.

    Time to walk H and it’s raining puppies and kitties, out there. Fun times. Lew

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