The power and the passion

Thursday morning, a tree from the neighbours property fell onto the road. The wind was up that morning, but the tree, tall as it was, proved no match for the wind, and so it eventually fell to the ground. Gravity has been known to have that effect. However, before the tree reached the soil, it rested for a short while upon the power line which runs along the road and provides electricity to the many houses in the area. The resting tree soon broke the electricity wire, and then continued upon its downward trajectory. The local power grid was consequently taken out for a couple of hours whilst a crew from the power company repaired the damage.

A tall tree fell across the road above the house

The felled tree lead to an incident that somehow began me considering the matter of power and control in our society.

Earlier that fateful morning, the editor and I had taken ourselves to a local pharmacy to receive our second vaccination for the health subject which dares not be named. A lot of passionate words have been exchanged elsewhere in relation to that subject, and they need not be repeated here. Things are however, rather odd down here in this part of the world for some reason entirely unknown to us, and basically we had little choice in the matter. It really is that simple.

Maybe now being an old fella, I’m somewhat cynical in my outlook upon the greater affairs of our civilisation. And maybe perhaps it is just that the times in which I have lived, and for most of my life, the authorities have been pushing the fear button.

I don’t really know what to think, but when I was a young kid, I was always being told to fear strangers, whatever they were. However, the known adults in my life seemed pretty crazy to me. Then there was fear of the bomb. Who could forget that one? The Russians were apparently going to blow us all up for some inexplicable reason known only to themselves. The television displayed, in full glorious colour, the horrific consequences of that little nuclear escapade with: “The Day After”. It sure seemed to me to suck surviving a nuclear attack, what with all the death and flies and stuff.

As a late teenager there was the HIV/AIDS epidemic which caused untold suffering, but probably also made condoms more easily accessible to young folks. Seriously, prior to that, purchasing those items from the local pharmacy was a nightmare of embarrassing and awkward judgement. I don’t recall ever being asked: What do you want them for? But you could see that the staff at the pharmacy just wanted to ask.

Things quieted down a bit during the awful recession that we somehow had to have during the early 1990’s. My mates and I were too broke to worry overly much about pretty much anything, other than perhaps how much coca cola did we have to add to the $2 bottle of truly revolting port, before we hit the clubs on a Friday night. This is now known in the trade as ‘pre-loading’, but back then it used to be called ‘cheap’. Unfortunately, I’d often had a head start in that regard on a Friday, because my co-workers use to drown their economic sorrows using seriously cheap beer on a Friday afternoon after work (or sometimes during Friday afternoon work). I once spotted a slab of cans (24 cans to the slab) of that sub par beer product stuff in a mates kitchen, and said firmly that: ‘you and I, we need to talk’. Revolting stuff, but it did the job I guess.

Economic fortunes rose towards the end of the 1990’s. No doubt you all recall partying like it’s 1999? The tech geeks had us all in a lather over the Y2K bug. Apparently, it was quite common for programmers to code the year as only two digits when it is in fact four digits. So the story went if society didn’t spend huge wads of mad cash with the tech geeks, we’d have the zombie apocalypse and traffic lights wouldn’t work, or something or other like that. I now forget the details.

Then there was the fear of terrorism, and now it is the fear of the health subject which dares not be mentioned. Honestly, there are times when I think to myself: aren’t we paying the politicians to sort this stuff out on our behalf? And yet for most of my life I’ve been told to fear one thing, or another thing. And I’m sure all of the many things are probably worthy of fear, but it just seems a bit bonkers to me that the continuing pressure to fear seems unrelenting.

It’s probably all about power and control, but what do I know? The newspapers don’t seem to be vaguely concerned about the rising fuel prices. The other day at a nearby petrol station I paid the highest price per litre (3.8 litres to the gallon) that I have yet seen in or around Melbourne.

Yup, that’s expensive-as for fuel

Power and control is a funny thing isn’t it? The tree that fell across the road was scorched by its brief contact with power.

You can see where the tree trunk rested upon the power line

Regular readers will know by now that the editor and I keep a neat and orderly farm. The power company dudes cut the tree into saw log lengths and left those on the side of the road (which we mow and maintain). The head of the tree with the small branches and leaves was left all over the place with most of it falling onto the farm.

We decided to clean up the mess, so I spent about forty five minutes cutting all of the saw logs into firewood rounds. I collected all of the head of the tree into a pile with the intention of relocating it to our brazier so that it could be burnt off. Chainsaws it should be noted, make a lot of noise and this can attract attention. Whilst I refuelled the chainsaw back at my shed, the neighbour who’s property the tree had fallen from, arrived with the intention of possibly taking away all of the neat firewood rounds I’d laboriously cut up.

After a very ungentlemanly exchange, the neighbour took off with half of the firewood rounds (the smaller and conveniently located rounds) which fortuitously for him I had neatly sawn up. At a wild guess, the neighbour perhaps intended not to avail himself of the firewood, but rather I’m kind of guessing that he intended instead to deprive me of the firewood. However, I note that it is notoriously difficult to gain insights into another person’s motivations, so I don’t really know one way or another. My motivations were to clean up the mess. What I do know however, is that it is an unwise act to reveal a moral compass over such a trivial matter.

The editor and I split the larger remaining firewood rounds and then hauled them away, along with all of the heads. There was a lot of leaves and sticks in that mess. A couple of days later, we burned off all that organic material. Burning green tree material, the fire created an enormous amount of thick smoke for hours, all of which due to the unfortunate winds of the day, drifted by sheer chance in the direction of my neighbours house.

Green forest materials unfortunately creates a lot of smoke

The weather this week has been warm and then cold. That sort of weather variability is not promising for the harvest from the orchards. Earlier this week there was an epicly thick fog layer hanging over the valley below the farm,

A wall of fog hangs over the valley below the farm

The editor and I are celebrating the great re-localisation, by visiting many of the local landmarks, and we continued the trend this week. One of the major creeks leading off the plateau of this mountain range has a waterfall at one point. Who knew?

The waterfall on Turritable creek was in full swing

The watercourse had apparently cut through rocks that date back something like six million years. It was a very peaceful and quiet place which was set aside for the enjoyment of the year around working families who used to service the needs of the wealthy ‘summer only’ folks back in the Victorian era.

Higher up in the mountain range is a small man made reservoir. The reservoir was constructed as a water supply for the nearby tuberculosis sanatorium which operated way back in the Victorian era. Back in those days, governments seemed able to effectively manage something as simple as a quarantine. The locals of the day were none too happy about having a sanatorium located in the area, and things are quiet now, but they were even quieter back then so there was no real opposition. Aand fortunately the institution was located nowhere near the wealthy summer only folks and their hill stations. I applaud such fore planning.

Sanatorium Lake

The forest surrounding the lake was a very wet forest, replete with the occasional very large and old tree, and of course many ferns.

There are a lot of ferns in the higher reaches of the mountain range

And there was the most massive tree burl that I have yet encountered! The thing was a huge canker of a thing and would be the envy of any person who works with beautiful timbers.

Truly, this tree is huge, but so to is the burl. Hi DJ (from the editor)!

The editor and I meandered around the higher parts of the mountain range, and discovered that a road which had been long closed due to the damage from the epic wind storm a few months ago, was now open.

A lot of hard work went into reopening this forest road as there was a lot of wind damage

The road lead into a loggers coup which had been harvested in the past year and a bit. Most of the trees removed were Pine (Pinus Radiata) and Oregon (Douglas Fir). We’d been watching the tree harvesting works for the past year or so from a distance, but we’d not imagined that we could get into the area. The view was astounding. The next photo is high resolution so you should be able to click on it, zoom in, and even see the skyscraper towers in the city of Melbourne.

This is a clickable high resolution image. The city of Melbourne is on the right hand side.

We took things a bit easier this week, but still did plenty of work around the farm. I opened up my trusty high end three decade old Kenwood FM tuner in order to make a list of the contents that require replacing. I noted that one electrolytic capacitor on the power supply board is very near to failing.

The large brown electrolytic capacitor is near to failure

A trailer load of crushed rock and lime was placed upon the low gradient ramp project.

A trailer load of crushed rock and lime was added to the low gradient ramp project

The steel rock gabion cage which was constructed last week, was placed on the excavation site up above the house. Then a huge quantity of collected rocks were placed into the cage.

A new steel rock gabion cage was placed on the excavation site up above the house

We intend to construct another concrete stairway leading onto the garden terraces. Unfortunately a very large rock was in the way and we needed to split it apart into smaller more easily moved rocks.

The large rock is now missing a chunk
The large rock is now split into four still large, yet more easily moved pieces

Fans of the trap door spider which was shown on an image from last week’s blog, may be interested to see another of the species happily freaking us out. The toxins from the bite are not exactly poisonous, they’ll just really hurt.

A close up of a trap door spider. Delightful patterning. A witchetty grub is in the top left hand corner

Onto the flowers:

It’s Rhododendron time and the gardens are a riot of colour
A stunning Crab Apple tree in full bloom
So many flowers and an apple tree in blossom

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 7’C (45’F). So far this year there has been 1,028.6mm (40.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 1,011.6mm (39.8 inches)

62 thoughts on “The power and the passion”

  1. Yo, Chris – I don’t think we’ve ever seen a picture of the road, above your farm. Or, at least from that angle. Quit the stately Avenue of Trees.

    Australia’s gift to the world, the book “On The Beach” (a cheery little tale) trumps our “The Day After,” all to heck. 🙂 .

    I have a good condom tale, and let’s see if I can get across the gist of the thing, without violating Family Friendly Rules. Imagine a young bloke, on his way to a dance, stopping into a chemist to obtain said articles. Of course, they only come in packs of 6 (or was it 12?). The girlfriend is parked on the sidewalk, to avoid embarrassment. Said item is lifted, from his coat pocket, during the dance. This being those dark days before 24 hour everything, the only venue to replace said items is the same chemist, visited four hours, before. The topping on the cake is … the chemist is the husband of one of the blokes high school teachers.

    Y2K was a great disappointment. No planes fell out of the sky, as predicted. We’re getting petrol news, here. But it’s usually included in articles on general inflation, with not much explanation.

    A friend happened to be coming for a visit, the last place I lived. He happened to notice a large tree limb, smoldering away on an electrical line. The fire brigade was called. Tragedy averted. Narrowly.

    Convenient, that wind blowing smoke, just in the right direction. Karma at work. And, I’m sure it’s just the beginning. I hope he has asthma.

    How cool! A semi-secret waterfall. Nice of the rich folks to set aside something nice for The Help. Might make a nice hydro site.

    Sanatorium Lake. Looks like a good place to stash a body. Just be sure to stuff the pockets with rocks. Floaters just give the game, away. For life in a 1920s/30s TB sanatorium, see Betty McDonald’s books, “The Plague and I.” Not near so popular (I wonder why?) as her better known book, “The Egg and I.” 🙂 .

    Those ferns look like our forests. So, that logging road with all the downed timber? Can one get a permit to cut it up for firewood? We can, here. And the permits are cheap enough that quit a few people make their living selling firewood. The burl would make a great coffee table. Hack it off with a chain saw, polish it up, and stick four legs on it.

    The clickable picture isn’t clickable on my device. Probably due to old software, on my part. But, getting out my trusty magnifying glass, is Melbourne the bumpy little things, on the right side of the horizon?

    Yup. That capacitor looks fried. Even to my untrained eye. Compare and contrast …

    The low gradient ramp looks super. I see the downslope side has really been beefed up, since last we saw it. Ollie looks a lot more relaxed, now that he realizes that it’s rocks that go into the gabion cage, and not him.

    You need to put your hand next to the trap door spider … so we can get a sense of scale 🙂 . Your crab apple tree is really pretty. As are our trees, right now. Only in our case, it’s the leaves, not the flowers that are colorful.

    And, in weather news … ours, not yours. I got up from a nap, at around 4:30, to take H out for a walk. The sun was coming through the blinds. In the time it took me to get my pants on, the light was snuffed out. Here it comes! We managed to complete our business, before the rain came. Probably the last time H will be without a coat, for several days. We’re getting wind gusts of 25mph. Prof. Mass had an update. And, check this out (if you can.)

    If you click just below Centralia (slightly lower than the middle of the second map down), you can see our local forecast. Click on “Three Day History” in the upper right, and you can get readings, every 15 minutes. Scroll a bit further down the map page, and you can see the weather radar, in real time. Langley Hill is the one that most applies, to us. Might be a wild night. Lew

  2. Hi Lewis,

    Man, the road up above the house is a wall of trees. Just below the western edge of the mountain range is a small forest known as ‘The Black Forest’ and it was so named because originally the tree canopy was so tall and all encompassing that little sunlight made it to the soil surface. Of course, the name remains although things are somewhat different now. A tree company has a huge planting of Pinus Radiata which was only just harvested and the regrowth is about one or maybe two years now. But before harvesting the pine forest was quite free of sunlight at ground level, and plenty of folks used to go edible mushroom hunting there.

    You learn something new everyday and it turns out that being ‘on the beach’ is an old royal navy term for the state of retirement. I note that the most excellent Australian actor Bryan Brown was involved in the remake in 2000. Do you recommend this version of the film?

    Lewis, you skated deftly upon the state of common decency, recounted a distressing turn of events, and confirmed that I was not alone in my earlier experiences. Yes, all very difficult, but not insurmountable, just really, really, difficult. And I have no idea as to why that should be the case, but it was.

    Speaking of distressing turn of events, Ruby nabbed a baby rabbit this morning. This now makes the tally two for two. This time the rabbit ended up in the worm farm, however, prior to taking this eminently sensible response on my part, the dirty dog rolled in the guts of the dead rabbit. Despite having taken her outside and washing her with strong scented soap, I can still smell the faint aroma of dead rabbit guts as I type this reply. It’s not nice you know.

    Exactly, the turn of Y2K was the equivalent of nothing much happened day. However, the tech geeks performed an astounding raid upon businesses bank accounts, and here they should be applauded for their focus on positive outcomes.

    We’re getting very little news on the petrol price front. Oh my! Each day I check, the price per barrel seems to be climbing.

    I had a lovely conversation with the power line repair dudes, and they were super happy to be working in such a pleasant environment. Anyway, we also discussed the fire issue with trees and power lines and um, we all politely shuddered at the thought. You can’t use water on a fire if the power line is live, and sometimes even smoke will conduct electricity to earth. I’m grateful that the tree fell now rather than at say, February. Almost forgot to mention, mulch dude was in a lather because apparently he’d caught one of the tree crews that created all the most excellent mulch taking a dump on his property. Except, here is the kicker, why was he watching for this event seems hard for him to explain, but also the guys had to clamber over a fence, when they could have simply walked into my unfenced forest to relieve themselves. There is a story there for sure, but as to what it is, we may never know and can only but guess.

    Hehe! You’re fairly up to date with shows from this part of the world. Surely someone, somewhere would have come up with the bright idea of dragging Sanatorium Lake for bodies? 🙂 And it should be noted that clothes may eventually rot in such wet conditions leaving the stones behind. Hey, a notorious criminal turned author who has now passed away, once suggested that ‘shovels are cheap and Australia is a big place’.

    I’d never heard of ‘The Egg and I’. However, I had heard of Ma and Pa Kettle, although in only the briefest of contexts. And yes, I can see how that latter book may have been a touch harder for the public to swallow.

    Apparently not. Nope. There are some forested areas which have been set aside for firewood collection (domestic use only), but I dunno, few people whom I’ve spoken with have stared into the face of the implications of the present energy crunch and drawn appropriate conclusions. I dunno, it beats me why they’d act so.

    I hope DJ understands that it was the editor who cheekily insisted upon adding in the burl photo. It’s pretty impressive though.

    Try this direct link for the clickable picture: Awesome view. But yeah, those tiny little stick things were the skyscrapers. Nature sure does big, all proper like! 🙂

    Oozing white looking salts of unknown chemical derivations is probably not a good sign for the faulty electrolytic capacitor. And um, your nose can also be an equally faithful guide. Very few businesses now do this type of work, so I really hope that I don’t stuff it up royally. Fingers crossed.

    Ollie is mostly super-chill, and you do know his kryptonite. He’s blowing his winter coat now and so is shedding fur all over the place. At least he smells better than Ruby, who it should be noted has performed a commendable act.

    Thanks for the thoughtful suggestion regarding the trap door spider. Yeah, you go first! It was quite large actually.

    How’s leaf change going this year? Have the tourists descended upon your fine area in order to make an assessment of the conditions?

    Hehe! Oh my, your weather forecast mostly began with one word: ‘rain’. Nuff said really. The good professors update included far more useful information, and that air pressure would be off the charts here as well. It’s kind of like, grab a snorkel time. Hey, good luck with the continuing power during the storm. Fingers crossed. Incidentally, it should be noted that the unusual direction of strong winds was a major contributor to the forest damage in the recent epic wind storm around these parts. Stay safe and remember to pack a coat for H.

    It’s awful isn’t it? We stuff up occasionally, and we sometimes can’t forgive. Woe is us.

    Perhaps it was something of a mistake to educate peasants such as myself. We have oft mentioned that the road to perdition is paved with good intentions. It won’t end well you know! 🙂 It might not even end…

    Lizzie Borden, possibly one to not annoy. On the other hand, the sheer weight of speculation possibly far outweighs the sad realities of the situation. And few would trial well, or even make the vaguest of sense under such chemical concoctions.

    There is a middle ground somewhere between your areas response to the health subject which dare not be named, and what is going on down here. But who knows where it lays?

    Has the rain let up yet? He types, knowing full well that it probably hasn’t let up.



  3. Hello Chris
    Loved the photos, especially the waterfall and the lake. I agree with Lew that your hand needed to be in the view of the spider!

    Your neighbour seems to be very bad at making friends.

    I don’t think that I have ever gone in for being frightened by what others say. Have had moments of fear when in genuine dicey situations. Mostly because I am a female; but usually managed to talk myself out of such situations.

    Keep forgetting to say that the Spanish bluebell does produce occasional white flowers.


  4. @Chris and Lew

    Thanks for your kind thoughts regarding Gwen. It’ll be tricky finding out details due to privacy laws. My sister, Nora, had developed a good relationship with Gwen’s state appointed guardian and she would have probably passed on at least some info but unfortunately Gwen has a new guardian and we have no idea how forthcoming she’ll be. She really doesn’t know Gwen and Marty’s history and the involvement of our family. We do know she’s going to have a double mastectomy sometime in November but don’t know if it’s because the cancer is in both breasts or it’s a preventative measure.

    I will pass on your good wishes and prayers to them.


  5. Hi Chris,

    Great pics as usual and that sure is some tree!! I hope you and the editor tolerated the 2nd vaccine well. I’m already up for the booster.

    One of my nephews who was holding out getting the vaccine finally did as he was going to start losing jobs (he’s an independent videographer. Well he had quite the reaction – vomiting and almost passed out. The paramedics at the vaccination site almost took him to the hospital.

    I’ve gotten roped into not one but two stints at the used bookstore this week so must be off. At least it’s a rainy chilly day so would have been inside anyway. We did get more much needed rain yesterday.


  6. Heh, old fella, I can just see Mr. Tainter nodding, sighing, and ticking off another box on his checklist.

    Just a layperson’s guess, but all the fear mongering, tightening of control and poorly thought out policies is just the elites desperate effort to keep this clattering, wheezing global empire going, as well as keeping the wealth moving uphill.

    One truly wonders, however, if crazy has actually been turned up to eleven in our times, or is it just that 24/7 media with its profit seeking algorithms just makes us more aware of all the world wide nuttiness? Not saying we aren’t nearing the steeper part of the decline, but the frenzied “if it bleeds, it leads” style of infotainment journalism is not helping.

    BTW, Midnight Oil is my favorite Aussie band. Diesel and Dust is more my speed, but this song does capture their snarky, angry take on the prevailing norms of our crazy culture.

  7. Hail Ruby!

    Conqueror of All!

    Terror of contemptible rabbits!

    Your admiring

    Sir Sancho Dogge

    PS I think we can call that a ‘victory roll’, don’t you agree?

  8. Yo, Chris – Let’s see. “On the Beach” original or remake. Well, the original had a star studded cast, and really sticks in memory. The remake? Was there a remake? 🙂 . Yes, I saw it. But, it didn’t stick in memory.

    In further media news … Bad news about “Prodigal Son.” Maybe. As of the end of September, the show is cancelled with no season three. BUT, they canceled it due to low ratings, before season two had even aired. 55,000 people have petitioned to bring it back. The directors / producers have the entire season three, written and ready to go. So, we’ll see. They’re shopping it around to other venues.

    I watched “The Green Knight,” last night. Hmmm. What to say about it? I didn’t fast forward through any parts, but, it’s not something I want to watch, again. And, there are many unexplained bits, that will drive you nuts. Pretty scenery.

    Well, 50 years on, the (multiple) trips to the chemist shop are almost funny. “Almost” is the operative word, here.

    Dogs need to roll. 🙂 . Tomato juice cuts about any odors. Even, skunk.

    It’s nice that the Power Line Dudes, are pleasant. Now why can’t everyone be like that?

    Ma and Pa Kettle were minor characters, in the film version of “The Egg and I.” But they were so popular that a whole series was spun off, just for them. Besides the original film, there were nine in the series. Marjorie Main, who played Ma Kettle was a genius actress. A series like that probably couldn’t be made, in our more enlightened and politically correct times. Pity.

    Oh, yes. The “Awesome View” came through very clear and large. Thanks! Melbourne looks like Oz, way off in the distance.

    You probably want to keep those oozing white salts, off your hands. And, maybe wear a face mask. You do have a few of those kicking around, don’t you? 🙂

    By the way, I saw an article that the Land of Stuff has stopped shipping magnesium. This will cause problems in the making of aluminum products.

    We don’t have much of a problem with leaf peepers. As, the color change is everywhere. But, after this storm most of them will be on the ground. Not so much to look at.

    Which brings me to the weather. I got up from a nap, about 4:30, yesterday afternoon. To take H for a walk. The sun was shining through the blinds. Before I could even get my pants on, it was like turning off a light. We watched the storm, come in. Here, until this morning, it was mostly wind and not much rain. Strongest wind gust so far, was 36 mph. And that was just awhile ago. And this is supposed to keep up until tomorrow afternoon. So far, our electric has been fine.

    It’s hard getting regional news. Plenty about landslides in California. But, it looks like the worst of it is to the north of us. Tacoma and Seattle. Two killed when a tree fell on their car, to the east of Seattle. Thousands without power. Downed trees blocking roads, everywhere.

    British Columbia seems to be a media black hole. About the only thing I found was a report of winds of 110-120 kph. I’d hate to be on a ship, out to sea, right now.

    H is coming for a visit, this morning. Elinor has a scheduled trip to the doctor. The wind is howling in our elevator shaft. Sounds very spooky. Like the demented souls in hell. I tried to get her to sing along, but she wasn’t having it. Lew

    PS: I was driving home from the Club, yesterday, when an idle thought crossed my mind. You asked about people expecting the legions, to return.The sack of Rome in 410 was a real body blow to the system. And the news seemed to travel, fast. What I wondered about was if Christianity spread so fast, as, traveling missionaries carried accurate news. Good or bad, people were hungry for news. And were probably appreciative of accurate news. Might have put them in a more receptive mind for “The Pitch.”

  9. To The Editor,

    Thanks for the greetings with the photo of that wonderful burl. I don’t know if you noticed, but the burl has faces growing in it. The burl has so much character that I forgot to drool over it. 😉


  10. Chris,

    I hope my car suggestion works for you.

    Yes, I know Ollie can read. I’ll try to resist the temptation to give him further suggestions. Avalanche is taking your suggestion to heart – she is not bowling us over at the door. She said to tell you that she is enjoying exploring the yard and running around in it. She nearly caught an unsuspecting squirrel this morning.

    Great article about that hero dog. That’s a real life event that I would’ve expected t see on the old “Lassie” tv show 55 years ago. That hero dog better be getting a lot of spoiling from the heroics.

    That is quite the burl the Editor added to this week’s photos. Look closely behind the moss and there are several faces growing in the burl. For a moment I thought that your blog was becoming somewhat needlessly “burl-esque”, but then I saw those faces in the burl and enjoyed the treat of viewing such a remarkable thing.

    I laughed too loudly when I read about the direction your smoke went: to the neighbor’s. Reminds me of an old Capital One credit card commercial.

    That is a great photo with Melbourne in the background. You have some awesome views in your area.

    I’m slowly moving our rocks from the failed rock garden/ slope project to the back yard. Most of the rocks are appropriately sized for your gabions. I’d forgotten how many rocks we had there…

    Rain. The initial forecast was that we’d receive up to 35mm from last Wednesday until this morning. We got almost exactly half of that. Very appreciated and much needed. October is well ahead of normal for rainfall! It rained hard for 2 or 3 hours continuously Sunday night.

    So, a question. The trap door spider looks very large. Yet, the witchetty grub appears to be in “Is that large spider edible for my lunch?” mode. Or is the grub looking to see what’s there before making a hasty departure?

    Your flowers look nice. The deciduous trees in the neighborhood have been turning color, providing a spectacular visual display. The hard rain and heavy winds knocked a lot of the leaves off the trees. There’s still plenty of color left.


  11. Hello Chris,

    Thanks for the power line story. I didn’t know that water is not the right medium to put out those fires. That may explain why car fires in Musky Cars are much more difficult to put out, at least according to our fire brigade.

    I suspect that Sanatoria will reappear in the coming decades, as antibiotics lose efficacy and health subjects like the one we cannot name will come again. Sanatoria are pretty good places. Fresh air, chicken soup, sunlight, no home-duties with kids etc. Good to revive and recover.
    It doesn’t have to be very labor expensive, with the right infrastructure setup.
    What do you think?

    The image is viewable in my browser if I right-click and choose “Open image in new tab”.
    I come to this excellent URL:×1020.jpg

    However, I like the view of the crab apple better…

    Kind regards,

  12. Hi Inge,

    The reflections on the lake were superb, it was almost as if it were a mirror. Incidentally the grey trees surrounding me are all alive, but the canopy was very high. In the past I’ve spotted koala bears lurking in those trees. The bears are probably still there (and I hear them in this forest too), but they are extraordinarily hard to spot.

    Hmm. Well, I suggested to Lewis that he go first with the hand / spider temptation, and it seems like good advice for adventuresome spirits such as yourself and Lewis. 🙂

    Reflecting upon past conversations with the guy, and I could be incorrect, but I’m not entirely sure that he has any friends, because I can’t recall him ever saying anything about them.

    Fear can be an odd reaction, and your example sums up nicely the quote from the learned Mark Twain: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

    Thanks, that makes sense about the Spanish bluebells. Has your growing season come to an end yet, or are obtaining any produce from the garden?



  13. Hi Margaret,

    Unfortunately, you’re in the dark and the laws have been taken too far in the privacy direction. Best wishes to Gwen in her trials.

    Talk down here has already passed onto the booster. The bar keeps getting raised here, and the sort of return to normal now requires 90% of the population 12 years and older to be double vaccinated. I have some doubts that we’ll achieve that goal. I don’t know what to make of things as events are now more weird than I would previously have imagined.

    Yup, the side effects can range from nothing to horrendous, but then the side effects of the illness can travel a similar random journey. What do you do? I went into Melbourne this morning (which is still in lock down) and for the first time I was requested to prove my vaccination status. I asked the young bloke who made the request if he’d had any troubles making the request, and he said that troubles were few and far between.

    Glad to hear that the rains have returned for you. And um, honestly, have you been tempted by any of the wares? Is the book club still meeting regularly?



  14. G’day from one old fella to another! (Steve),

    Simplicity works under such conditions, however I have noted that people err towards piling on greater complexity. What’s with that? Of course Joseph Tainter wrote a book upon the subject… My gut feel is that people are seeking a competitive edge. It is very possible that there is no edge to be gained, but that is merely my perspective. In such conditions perhaps the best outcome is to avoid atrophy?

    That’s my thinking too. Are you watching the price of oil per barrel? The times remind me of 2008 when you’d hear news of sub prime, but nothing much had yet occurred.

    The algorithms are a problem, that’s for sure, but it all depends upon where you obtain your news as not all outlets employ such sneaky devices. And escalation as an outcome, is always a predicament with such code.

    Respect! I’ve seen them perform live, and Diesel and Dust was a great album. Double respect! 🙂



  15. Woof! Woof! To Sir Sancho,

    Greetings and cordial tail wags. I nabbed a rabbit yesterday. My mouth fitted perfectly around the central core of the dead bunny and it was like a juicy chew toy. I have heard of killer rabbits, with pointy teeth that will do you up a treat mate, but rabbits fall before my prowess.

    However, spare a thought for me, my fine ginger entranced friend, for we may have hit Peak Rabbit. Yes, woe is my sister Plum and I, for we have no rabbits with which to prove our might and test our mettle. Tough we are, so don’t go messing around with some wanton ginger strumpet, or me and my sister will come and get you and bite you properly. Of course it is known that you would not act so foolishly… maybe…

    And may you enjoy a proper roll is something particularly nasty smelling and perhaps also slightly damp, for then the true fragrance of Sir Sancho will shine forth with greatness.


    Ruby bossy dog

  16. Hi DJ,

    The editor sends her thanks for the kind words of appreciation. It’s an awesome burl on a very large and old tree. The editor has promised to keep an eye out for new and interesting burls to photograph in the future.

    Mate, I hope your car suggestion works too. Those Kelpies seem almost one step off wild dogs, but at the same time they enjoy a sense of routine and boundaries. For your interest I usually start with older dogs, so maybe this is just how things go with puppies? Your Avalanche I hope does teach you a thing or four. 🙂

    Yes, it would be unwise for Avalanche to be lured to the dark side by one such as Ollie. 🙂 Glad to hear that the door instructions are progressing nicely. Dogs love that gear, especially if they get to barrel through the door after the command has been given. And Avalanche can clearly understand the English language. Hope you don’t swear too much around her?

    Nice shot with the almost caught squirrel. No doubts, they’ll provide hours of fun.

    The hero dog deserves plenty of beef jerky strips and some seriously choice quality bones, although maybe not pig bones as these have caused the fluffy collective to barf their guts up from time to time. Possibly a bit too rich for their tastes?

    I can only but trust that the old ones of the forests around these parts don’t take umbrage at me sharing their depictions upon this blog? The burl is really awesome, and the forest in that part of the mountain range is particularly damp and mysterious.

    Hehe! The barbarians pulled the grand piano out the window – on it’s side. The thing will surely need a proper tuning after that little adventure. Thanks for the laughs.

    Just to put the photo of the view into perspective, I was probably about just below a kilometre above sea level and Melbourne off in the distance (about 50km to 55km away) is more or less at sea level. Compared to the mountain range, the city is just peanuts.

    Repeat after me, rocks are good! Although moving them might take a little bit longer. I may have already mentioned this garden (which I’ve visited many years ago), but just in case I have not mentioned it: Sisters still growing popular garden their parents carved from thick Tasmanian bush

    Are you expecting any of the rain that is pummelling the west coast?

    Yes, I too wondered about the hapless (and probably quite safe, maybe) witchetty grub. I can’t say for sure how it played out for the grub, although the spider moves alarmingly fast. I’ve much appreciated the suggestions of placing my hand alongside it just for the amusement of the readers and note with respect that you were not one such person.

    Good to hear that leaf change has put on a good show. I heard that in other parts of your country, the show was rather disappointing.



  17. Hi Goran,

    Oh yeah, the water conducts electricity pretty well, but it is worth mentioning that the smoke from fires also can conduct electricity. So hanging around the huge high voltage transmission wires would possibly be a fatal error if smoke from fires was thick enough.

    Musky! That’s funny. For some reason you’ve now introduced the idea of the little Muskrat creatures into my consciousness. Most vehicles with large batteries other than the usual lead acid variety are required to be labelled on the registration plates. Too bad if the plates were damaged or already burned. Mind you, I have not heard of many incidents involving electric vehicles, but down here they represent a tiny fraction of the vehicle market with only 6,900 examples (including hybrids I believe) sold down here last year: New electric car sales figures show Australia stalled with hazards flashing.

    I think they’ll play part of the future mix of vehicles but just how many electric vehicles can hang off the electricity grid down here as the system currently stands remains to be seen. I’ve heard of ‘hot spots’ forming in sections of the grid where there are more than a few electric vehicles recharging.

    I like how you think, and you’re probably right there in relation to the sanatoriums. From some perspectives convalescence and recovery is an effective strategy. This is often outsourced to the home environment these days.

    Hehe! Crab apples are great, and people used to produce crab apple jelly (I believe it was called, but have never tasted the fruit). The fruit trees are growing like crazy this year. The hail storm and frosty weather a month or so back will most certainly reduce the eventual harvest, but time will tell.



  18. Hello Chris
    My growing season has finished apart from leeks. It has been horrendous. Son has just brought me a bunch of beetroot that he has grown but they are way smaller than usual.

    I enjoyed Betty Macdonald’s books. ‘The plague and I’ the least, probably because it was hard to be humorous. My favourite was ‘Anybody can do anything’,

    Oh, we have a shortage of aluminium here and people are being told how to deal with pies when they can’t place them in an aluminium base. Petrol and diesel going way up in price too.


  19. Hi Lewis,

    The oil futures market is perhaps beyond my understanding, although I could follow what the text in the article you linked to was discussing. To sum up the core of the article, I’m guessing that wagers on oil futures and deliveries are being made now which assumes that light sweet crude oil supply will remain constrained.

    Yes, why didn’t they make that statement? And also why would supplies be allowed to dwindle to such allegedly low levels? There is a touch of mystery there.

    Of course down under we are much smarter, because we have very little in the way of oil reserves stored on this countries soil.

    Hehe! Your weather forecast really did read exactly like the cheeky scamp at the bureau suggested. 🙂 Dare I say: wash and repeat? Have you heard of any damage from the storms path far to the north of you?

    Well that settles that, doesn’t it? Some movies do fail to leave an indelible impression, but then there are those that do hit hard and burn the narrative (or parts thereof) into your consciousness. I do hope that season three gets made because I have heard nothing but good reports about the show. Of course merely being good, does not equate to financial viability in the entertainment industry.

    You did say that the reviews for The Green Knight indicated a certain sort of under-whelmed level of reaction. Narratives don’t always have to be explicitly stated for the benefit of the audience, but then the story should hang together, I guess. I tend to view your lack of finger on the remote button as a sort of indicator that you sort of enjoyed the film.

    The pain is unfortunately real.

    Thanks for the tomato juice applied to dog coat suggestion, and I’ll see if we have any? Ruby smells better today, but she is still far from fresh. More kind of musty smelling haven’t washed the blue jeans for several months, kind of musty.

    I had a good chat with the power line dudes and they appeared to be enjoying working here. And the day was superb, if a little bit on the chilly side of the equation. When we made it up to the awesome lookout, whoa! That sure was windy up there, and I can see why large twirly generator things get constructed in such places. Incidentally, there is a legislated blanket ban on those machines in this area.

    Character actors have to work harder, but then they also perhaps have longer careers, especially if they are any good. But oh yeah, political correctness can be and is taken too far.

    The mountain range suggested to me: “Take that, puny skyscrapers!” Other less sensitive folks may have missed that observation. It is a very awesome view. There are times when I realise that we’re not in Melbourne any more, I just kind of wish other people got that memo.

    To be honest, the editor made our face masks, and they get washed from time to time. I’m yet to be forced into using a disposable mask, but the editor was dragooned into doing so once. There is a lot of waste with all of this and most people seem super-chill about that outcome. Interestingly, I was able to sit down at a cafe this morning in the big smoke and enjoy a coffee in a ceramic cup and a muffin served on a ceramic plate. Very civilised, although I was asked to provide proof of vaccination status, which they were legally obliged to request. Being a bit cheeky, I did make the observation that I hope you guys remember this for next time? My gut feeling suggests that they might not remember. That part of town was quiet, but the industrial area where I worked was rocking and full of life.

    Far out. I had not heard about the magnesium supply issues. Not good, and there are cascading failures based upon what looks like the equal connectivity of one of those old domino knocking over games. Damo and I separately may mourn the lack of new Suzuki Jimny’s, but perhaps worse things are coming than that?

    Storms are pretty good that way, and um if threatened by leaf change tourists, well winds and heavy rain will sort that out.

    Good to hear that the electric is still connected, and hang onto H during strong wind gusts. Remember the Pomeranian and the tornado, the dog survived, I but the journey would have been very unpleasant.

    Is it usual for British Columbia local news to have fallen into a black hole?

    I love that howling sound of the wind, and it is a little bit eerie. 🙂 Early in our relationship, the editor and I lived in the old port and shipyard suburb of Williamstown in Melbourne. It is (or was then) a lovely place to live, and I recall the sound of the wind whistling and tinkling through the wires in the many sail boats anchored in various harbours around the area. It was windy there more often than I’m used to nowadays. Fingers crossed that the demented souls don’t come and get you and H. I’d miss our chats, but no doubts about it, you’d find the experience to be far more uncomfortable! 🙂

    Interesting and thank you very much for the insight. My how things change, yet things remain the same. You’ve given me much to cogitate upon.



  20. Hi Chris,

    Between the bomb cyclone first on the west coast and now on the east coast, Missouri experienced an outbreak of severe weather on Sunday night. Tornadoes occurred south of us, one near Chester, IL (home of Superman!) and another near Fredericktown, MO (not known for anything in particular). As for ourselves, we experienced a brief heavy downpour of about 0.1 inch and some wind from the line of storms. I would have liked more rain, but there is a good chance that my wish will be fulfilled later this week. Still no frost, although it did get down to 41F this morning. Leaf change is way behind schedule and may not be much to look at this year due to the warm, dry weather in September through mid October.

    Remember that we’ll be getting your hour of daylight back in a couple of weeks. Please take good care of it for us! No excuses about losing it behind the couch will be entertained. 😉

    Congratulations to Ruby, rabbit bane! She probably doesn’t have to fear peak rabbit. New rabbits can be made a lot faster and easier than new petroleum.

    Interesting how the wind just happened to be blowing in the direction of your neighbor while you were burning off tree remains … fancy that. I’m sure it was merely a coincidence.

    I’m still picking good eggplants! Of all the summer crops they look by far the best; big healthy plants with a lovely purple tint. I’ll miss them when frost takes them out.


  21. Yo, Chris – Well, I figure two things may be going on with that lack of explanation about low oil stocks. 1.) The Powers That Be, don’t want to spook the horses. or, 2.) Peak Oil? That’s just crazy talk. Further down the line, some of these people may be asked, “What did you know, and when did you know it?” Although from some leaked internal documents, apparently the oil industry knew the easy oil was running out … quit awhile back.

    Well, news from up north was that there were a lot of trees down, power out, and the occasional picture of collapsed structures, mostly barns and sheds. And, the two people killed when a tree fell on their car. Saw a picture. Direct hit. Small car. Not much left of it. I saw Julia, at the Club this morning (biscuits and gravy! Yum!), and she lives a ways out. She lost her power for about 5 hours. She’s in a kind of sheltered bowl, so, no damage at her place.

    According to our National Weather Service, there’s a garden variety atmospheric river, coming in tomorrow and the next day. (Wed. / Thur.). Prof. Mass hasn’t posted in a couple of days. I figure he’ll have something to say about it, later today. All of western Washington is colored green, on the weather maps. Hydrological Outlook, flooding. But, it’s too early to figure out where and how much. All that green will shrink and get spotty, as more information becomes available.

    One could be happy with the ending of season two of “Prodigal Son.” A lot of loose ends where tied up. I started watching “Halifax: Retribution,” yesterday. It’s filmed in Melbourne. But it’s pretty much just high rises and high end of town. It could be any large city, say, Singapore. We see the odd trolly bus, and occasional alley. A river party boat. Now, “My Life is Murder,” in the extras, made a point of saying Melbourne was as another character in the series. You got more of a feel for the place. And what’s with the big outdoor video screen, broadcasting news? Very Big Brother. Also, all the High End of Town characters, seem to live in big, cubist “modern” houses. The only character that seems to live in a more traditional house with a bit of charm is the leader of the Neo-Nazis. But still, “Halifax” has twists and turns and is an engrossing tale. It’s about a city in terror, as a sniper is taking out a citizen, every few days, at random. Though they all seem to be middle aged white males.

    Well, “The Green Knight.” I sort of enjoyed it. But as I said, not anything I want to watch, again. There is an overarching theme. Which is pretty easy to figure out, if you pay attention.

    When I was at the Club, this morning, I mentioned your dog odor problem. And my suggestion about tomato juice. Mr. Bill, our manager (who is in his 80s), said that when he was a wee small lad, and had a run in with a skunk, his grandma scrubbed him down with tomato juice … and, buried his clothes. Given she was probably a lady of the Thrift Generation, she probably knew there was no salvaging them.

    The ban on wind generators, in your part of the world? I’d guess the folks at the rich end of the mountain probably have some political clout.

    As I’ve always said, I think actors, character or otherwise, the one’s who keep working steady are those who are pleasant to work with, show up on time, and know their lines.

    Is there a yellow brick road, to Melbourne? 🙂 . Beware the poppy fields! When it got windy, and I took H for a walk, I thought less of the Pom, and more about Toto in “The Wizard of Oz.” Just to continue the theme.

    Ceramic cups and saucers. Your continuing that fine old tradition of dragging full dinner services (with linen and candelabra), into the bush. 🙂

    Yes, it seems odd we don’t see much Canadian news, down here. Considering there are two, huge metro areas, just north. Vancouver and Victoria. The news sites I look at, seem to have a lot of articles on Idaho … and Australia. Perhaps someone has noticed, I visit those places, daily? But even the Beeb news site lumps together the US and Canada. Ah! Takes a bit of looking, but there is a separate Beeb Canada page.

    Maybe The Powers That Be, don’t want us to be too well informed about the Socialist paradise, to our north? 🙂 . Lew

  22. Chris,

    I’m looking forward to more burl pictures. I’ve enjoyed the ones you’ve posted so far.

    Puppies can be wild. Some breeds of dog really don’t become adult dogs until age 4, at which time they tend to settle down somewhat. I’m guessing the Kelpies fall into that category. And, yes, Avalanche is teaching me a lot. There’s as much dog training the human as there is the human training the dog.

    I don’t swear much, so Avalanche is moderately safe from that. Maybe. But…my sister got a parakeet when I was 13. It learned to talk, gaining a large vocabulary. One evening when eating dinner, we heard the parakeet say very clearly several phrases that cannot be repeated here. Dad, sis and I all loudly wondered what mom was really saying throughout the day. Mom never used a cuss word in her life, so dunno where the parakeet learned them. One of life’s enduring mysteries.

    There’s power lines running along the alley at the back yards on the streets in this neighborhood. The squirrels use the largest (it’s also the lowest) line as a superhighway. Avalanche has already begun looking up at them and following them, quite excitedly, across the yard. The squirrels used to drive Thordog totally crazy doing that. Sometimes it seemed as if they ran back and forth on the wire just to tease him.

    I’ve had “experiences” in damp and mysterious forests. My take on it then, and now, is that treading softly and respectfully is a good thing.

    Capital One had a series of commercials featuring the barbarians for several years. “To the neighbors” was among the first of them. They were all pretty funny. The Princess used to tell me upon my arrival home from the job that “There’s a new commercial featuring your cousins!”

    Ain’t it the truth? We build these large cities with tall buildings that are completely dwarfed by nature. Man builds molehills. Nature builds mountains.

    Thanks for the article about the garden. That was fascinating, and the pictures were a treat. They have been very imaginative in how they’re using the rocks.

    We got sprinkles Tuesday afternoon and early evening. And a lot of wind. We’re supposed to get 2 or 3 mm per storm that blows through during the remainder of the week. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s nearly every day and will add up.

    Oh, good grief! No way would I suggest putting your hand anywhere near a large spider. No sirree! Anything that big probably has a mouth large enough to bite a human. That would hurt, poisonous or not. Depending on when it had last been feeding, there could be all sorts of nasty bacteria on those biting parts that could cause a wickedly nasty infection. I give large crawly things a lot of space.

    This has actually been one of the best leaf displays here for several years. The correct mix of wet and dry starting in late August helped, but the earlier frosts added to it also. It has been dazzling.


  23. Hi Inge,

    The summer, or rather poor excuse for a summer, strikes fear into my heart. Like you, I too had an horrendous summer last season, however they are all different. Someone once said something to me, but I forget where, that historically we have only ever been a couple of poor growing seasons away from starvation.

    I’m getting into leeks, and in one section of garden they have self seeded where they are almost as thick as grass (yes, I probably need to thin these out). They seem easier to grow than the sort of bulbing onions which people ordinarily expect. But yeah, some of the beetroot I grew last season was distinctly woody in character.

    Oooo! You’re good. Do you know how difficult it is to be surrounded by such erudite and amusing people such as yourself? 🙂 And! The sneaky book recommendations do so keep battering away at my defences. Inge, I’m like a helpless baby harp seal. How to resist the book recommendations? What do I do here, go with the greatness you have raised before me, or slink off like a dirty skunk into the shadows? I’m at your mercy!

    What? Aluminium disposable pie trays are a convenience which may soon disappear. It wasn’t always thus you know. I’m shamed for their lack of imagination. Gourmet pies demand to be baked, and they need not have such flimsy containers. Oh well, this has become our common lack.



  24. Hi Claire,

    Fun fact. Did you know that down under bomb cyclones are described as: ‘East Coast Lows’. Take it from me, they’re not much fun to experience, and was one of the causes of the minor landslide a couple of years back. You’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have avoided the worst extremes of those two weather events.

    OK, so of all the places on the planet, why would Superman end up in Chester, IL. I’m not suggesting that it is an odd choice, but it kind of looks that way to me! 😉

    Be careful what you wish for…

    Thank you for the admonition and I will try to keep the hour clean and in workable condition. Of course, neat and tidy is a way of life here. And did I mention that we had a massive brain fart master plan for this farm thing? No, oh well.

    The competition between the dogs for rabbits has been nothing short of extraordinary. Plum lead the way too. What you say has much truth about it. Yes.

    It was a mere coincidence. Maybe.

    Claire, I have nothing but respect for your gardening prowess. And the only eggplants I seem to successfully grow are the slimmer variety. The cool summer nights put an upper limit on the possibilities for larger fruits.

    However, the soil improvements which was a journey which you lead me upon, have proven their worth several times over. Thank you.



  25. Hi DJ,

    That was pretty funny. In fact, the visuals were so amusing that I actually tuned out to what the advertisement was offering. Who rubs up against a cactus? There’s something inherently wrong with that concept. Yes, I saw that and it is hard to explain for sure! So much rubbish gets advertised, but will someone be discussing the rubbish in almost two decades time?

    No worries at all. We’re now burl spotting whenever we head into forested areas, which is all of the time. 🙂

    Very true, and the decision has come down from on high. The two Kelpie girls are to be fixed up. The new neighbours have an unfixed up Australian terrier, and the puppies would not be a good mix. And Ollie might take umbrage at the little nipper.

    Good to hear, I don’t swear much either, although one neighbour might disagree there. Oh yeah, parrots are super smart birds, and your mother was so busted there. Some things like bearded Viking children, are hard to explain. 😉

    Poor Avalanche, the squirrels are simply teasing her. They know her capabilities, but if ever they should but forget – that is when troubles will ensue, for them.

    Interestingly, on Monday the magpies came to get me to assist with clearing off a fox which had been stalking around the tree near to their nest. I had Plum out with me outside at the time, and Plum took up the challenge and chased the fox a short way into the forest whilst the magpies swooped the fox. Most of the time, the Kelpies chase the magpies, and the magpies in turn swoop the Kelpies, but it was really odd to see them working together against a common foe.

    Damp and mysterious forests are where the old ones lurk, along with the tallest and oldest of trees. Best not to mess with them and act respectfully – but you already know this.

    Hey, your cousins were a feisty lot with all of the pillaging and flies and stuff. I can well understand how they were ecologically forced southwards at times.

    🙂 Dunno why, but I feel more at ease in the mountains. It’s that Scottish ancestry probably.

    The garden in the island state of Tasmania was a really special place, and you could feel the energy that the family had put into the land. Alas, I can’t recall why, but we did not have the opportunity to taste their famous scones. Some failures can never be recovered from.

    Oh yeah, that sort of rain total will add up, and the soil will become more alive with the increase in moisture whilst there is still some remaining summer heat. It depends on how quickly you slip towards winter.

    Thank you, and Lewis and Inge are simply teasing me with that spider dare. I’m not falling for it. And exactly, people forget that point with spiders (and other bitey critters too for that matter). I tell ya, basic first aid is not something that people consider these days, but I generally wash all wounds in spirits or soap and water. A quick wash can save a mountain of pain later.

    Nice one! Plus you don’t suffer the leaf change tourists. I’m envious. 🙂



  26. Hi Lewis,

    It is a truth universally acknowledge that where a boogeyman is lacking, someone will attempt to fill the need, usually with someone else. Yes, I saw that bit about the blame game with the usual suspects. Maybe there just isn’t all that much around that the tap (spigot in US parlance) can be opened wider? You would think that prospectors have a serious incentive to discover new supplies of the black gooey stuff, and that has been going on as an activity for many decades now. Maybe they’ve looked into most of the easy and marginal places.

    Hehe! Maybe it’s just me, but I do wonder if there is all that great a distance between the terms ‘energy crunch’ and ‘peak oil’? Possibly one set of terminology hints at a return to normal? Did you note that the article mentioned putting a possible dampener on air travel?

    I agree and that is an important question. I have heard rumours down here that the high level political discussions surrounding the health subject which dare not be named, are trying to be disappeared forever, and I do wonder what impacts the resource and energy matters had upon those discussions. That act alone is quite suggestive. And the state gobarmint here appears to have gone rogue and is seeking an extraordinary expansion of powers. Given how squooshed we are down here, it seems a touch unnecessary and over the top. But then, there are some over the course of history whom have suggested that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Government slammed over pandemic bill. You don’t need to be a Queen’s Counsellor to have grave concerns. It alarms me greatly that unvaccinated people are being singled out as an outlier group in society. Whatever else people may say, this path runs contrary to our common culture.

    Oh yeah, barns and sheds are sometimes poorly constructed, and neglected maintenance can be something of an issue too. Trees are a very serious matter here, and I tread warily around them. People consider vehicles to be somehow safe. Me thinks not, and that happens every year down here too. With the epic wind storm here a few months ago, some of the houses up in the higher reaches of the more fashionable western end of the mountain range, got squooshed. Although nobody was injured that I have heard about.

    Glad to hear that Julia survived the more extreme weather. And it is nice to live in a somewhat protected bowl.

    A delightful touch of understatement there: garden variety atmospheric river! 🙂 Funny, I do hope that you are OK through the worst parts of the storm. Flooding is a real problem, and that worries me as much as drought years.

    Did I mention that we had a massive brain fart, and a farm vision emerged from the primordial murk of the small gooey bits between our ears?

    The editor mentioned something about wanting to re-watch Prodigal Son, she enjoyed it that much. High praise. Yeah, seen one high rise apartment, seen them all. Except for maybe that one which is on an alarmingly odd angle in San Francisco – I’m kind of certain that would look somewhat different in an uncomfortable sort of a way.

    And yeah, I’ve travelled a bit in my earlier carefree years, and one city looks much like another. It’s outside the cities where things can get a bit more local, and likewise culturally interesting. Oh yeah, that big screen, well let’s just say that I know where it is and I avoid it. Makes you wonder who is paying for it? Mate, it is kind of weird that the Neo-Nazi character lives in the only dwelling in the show with a touch of character. Ye gawds! I hope they don’t come for me, as there is plenty of character in the house here. I knew that it was a mistake to be slightly different!!! Hehe!

    Thanks for the movie review, and for some reason the film plot has intrigued and engaged my curiosity. I note that Inge has also tempted me with a sneaky book recommendation. How much can a Koala bear?

    Ooo! Not good, and fortunately the stink from Ruby has become much reduced today. And please keep your skunks to yourselves. Frightening creatures, possibly overly sensitive to sleights but mostly with bad attitudes and the stink glands to do something about it.

    Yup! That’s what an old timer once said to me about some of the residents over in the more fashionable western end of the mountain range.

    A good work ethic and a touch of responsibility never did anyone any harm.

    Hehe! Where is Jeeves. Jeeves old chap, where is the silver service man? 🙂 Coffee in takeaway plastic lined cardboard containers just isn’t the same.

    What? What do you mean the US and Canada aren’t the same country? Surely you jest? Mind you, I wouldn’t be caught dead saying that near to a Canadian these days. I can hear the difference in accents, and I have been guilty of occasionally stirring up gentle Canadian folks in my travels in my earlier years by constantly suggesting that: So you’re from the US? Hehe! So much fun.

    Actually culturally, Canada is probably about the closest to Australian culture. Socialist paradise indeed. They, like you and us have more than our fair share of troubles, but your comment was also very amusing.



  27. Yo, Chris – Well, you’ve got to carefully pick your boogeyman, to fit your agenda. 🙂

    The pandemic bill looks like the old struggle between state’s rights and federal rights. We certainly have a lot of that, here. For a long time. Of course, there are those who feel there should be no government oversight, at all. And at the other end, those who are willing to give up some freedoms, to feel “safe.” Politicians need to read their constituency, to see where the majority come down. Because it is the majority that will return them to office. Not a small vocal minority, but the majority. And a politician works hard to sway the voters, to fall in line with what the money boys (and girls), want.

    One wonders (well, I do) what was so important to the people in the squished car, that they had to be out in that weather? Darwin at work? Another week, another atmospheric river 🙂 . Hardly worth notice. I see by the radar from Langley Hill, that’s it’s sweeping over us, now. Prof. Mass is banging on about California. Atmospheric rivers aren’t near as interesting as big ol’ storms, with swirling eyes and historic pressure drops. Just a big ol’ fire hose, aimed at the coast. Some are worse than others. I guess this one isn’t noteworthy. But I do see we’ve got flood watches and warnings, up for most of the western part of the state. But, we’re supposed to have a pretty nice weekend. Though what that means is temps in the 30sF. But nothing close to freezing.

    Oh, I’d say you’re house has a recognizable Australian style. Bush Station Vernacular. :-). It has a more than nodding acquaintance with what we see in the movies.

    Shame on you poking the Canadians! 🙂 They seem to be a peaceful and gentle people. A lot of our comedians and actors seem to come from there. Well, the grass always looks greener … But I’d say they have their health service beating ours, hands down.

    Saw an article about our food supply ….

    One can work around some of the problems, but it takes planning, opportunity (number of food outlets) and a certain amount of mobility. My egg lady failed me, last weekend. Molt. Something I fully understand. 🙂 .

    We’re voting this week. Nothing too exciting. Mostly local stuff. Port districts, school boards, city councils. But they’re all supposed to be “Non-partisan.” In a pig’s eye. No offense meant to pigs. You really have to read between the lines, of the stuff they put out. Look at background. And no one seems to ask the hard questions. Like: “Are you a nutter?” A county counselor slipped under the radar, last time. And what’s really disturbing (to me) is that so many positions are “running unopposed.”

    Tomorrow we’re having a fire alarm inspection. So, they’ll be in and out of my apartment, AGAIN. Those things were checked when they did my apartment inspection in April. Or, they could have done them when they checked the sprinklers. Oh, well. As my friend Scott says, consider the benefits. Lew

  28. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, there seems to picking of boogers right now to fit all sorts of agenda’s. Spent quite a lot of today considering the master-plan and discussing the various options with the editor. Then I discovered late this afternoon that the local timber yard just can’t supply many of the necessary materials. That was a surprise, still they can provide some, and so I shall avail myself of those. The future belongs to the nimble and flexible. Far out.

    Well yeah, there is that issue. Up until a few years ago I’d doubted that the states down here even had much in the way of power, but far out they’re coming out swinging at their federal compatriots. In fact back then most political news was based on federal politics, but now the worm has turned! And the outcomes for each of the states has proven to be quite astoundingly disparate. I really don’t know what to make of this at all. Being in the state with the most extreme reaction on the planet, I can’t really say that I’m viewing the goings on with any level of dispassionate distance, but you know, a person can only but do their best and few are bringing their A-game to the table down here right now. I’m doing mostly OK, which is good enough.

    Wow! It’s raining cats and dogs outside right now. Seriously heavy, and the lightning and thunder storm is quite impressive. Such storms make me glad that I have a spare modem… We had a close lightning strike many years ago and the modem just died (the antennas are up on the roof).

    Oh no! The water tank drains failed and water was going everywhere. Had to climb up in the rain and remove some muck from one of the house roof gutter drains as that had blocked up with gunk as well. Might be time to clean the drains? Somebody is trying to tell me something! The worst of the storm has now passed – and I’m slightly damp from the experience.

    I agree with your assessment of the competing forces a politician has to navigate. It has also been remarked upon elsewhere that we get the politicians which we deserve.

    The good professor is taking no prisoners! 🙂 Any extreme weather event seems to get blamed on global warming. It happens all over the shop, and the atmosphere is warming. A heady mixture of bad news. I’m at the stage now, where I really have little idea what sort of weather the next season will produce.

    Thanks, and yeah I was aiming for well to do bush cottage circa Victorian era, except they might not have had the solar panels for electric and hot water on the roof, but same, same, with different materials. The lesser well to do folks generally had miners cottages which were similar constructions, but somewhat less imposing.

    I like the Canadians that I’ve met, they seem like lovely people. Sometimes however a sense of mischief prevails and the little devil sits on my shoulder and suggests to ‘just go on and say it’. 🙂

    The food price inflation is a serious problem. I read recently a line by a very senior and esteemed economist who may have suggested that the inflationary theory suggesting that too much money chasing too few goods has apparently been discredited. Except I paid almost $17/kg (2.2 pounds) for mince meat today. I give the dogs and chickens some each week, and the chickens are feral for the stuff.

    Incidentally, with all of the rabbiting activity going on right now with the dogs, I gave them all an anti worm thing. Seems like an easy precaution and they loved the stuff and seem to have had no side effects. If I recall correctly, the ancient Europeans used to consume wormwood leaves as a tonic in early spring.

    Exactly with working around things and keeping a flexible mindset. Mate, I’m doing that all of the time with materials nowadays. I feel like I’m now one of those guys who just knows someone or knows somewhere to get necessary stuff…

    Hehe! That question never gets asked, but all the same, it’s probably not a bad question to ask! Politics at that level would be a pretty thankless task.

    Ah the dreaded smoke alarms. I hope that none have been installed in your kitchen – the false alarms would be a minor nuisance. Scott’s onto something there, although he did not quite elaborate upon whom the benefits were flowing to? A mystery.

    Tried a different local pub in a town on the southern side of the mountain range tonight. Overall I’d rate the experience as one that I’d do again. They checked mine and the editors vax paperwork too, although it was not personal, there was a sign on the wall suggesting that they’d do so – and they did so.



  29. Hi Simon,

    Thanks for the laughs! That was really funny. You know, he’s right too, it’ll all work out, none of us know how though. Crazy freakin’ days.

    Went to the local timber yard this afternoon and discovered that they could only supply certain types of timber, and others which were in short supply (i.e. structural) were reserved for the local tradies who’d had long histories with the business. They were pretty nice about it too, and the guy told me that things weren’t like they were a year and a half ago. Far out.

    My gut feeling suggests that it is a distraction from the sort of thing I recounted in the previous paragraph. Fear is the mind-killer.



  30. Hi, Chris:

    That is exactly what we suffered from for decades – frequent power outages due to trees falling on lines. Thankfully, since they finished putting the lines underground this year, that have been much, much fewer, though the rare occurrence still happens. Whenever the tree actually fell on our property there was no problem about us keeping the wood. Sometimes, as you just showed us, they fall on the road and it was generally first come, first gets it, among the neighbors. Luckily, all of our neighbors are pretty nice people and I don’t remember any trouble over that. How interesting that your nasty neighbor got smoked out.

    Not so long ago I came across some Y2K napkins for a party that we never had. I remember stocking up on food, just in case. Totally unnecessary.

    What a wonderful waterfall and a peaceful lake. Thanks for the photos, and the flower ones.

    I have never seen a tree burl that large. Our oaks develop them frequently, but nothing like that.

    What a neat long-range view. I can just see the Big Smoke, since you pointed it out. Who knew it was so close?


  31. Chris:

    In #33 you mentioned chickens and mincemeat. That sounds like a good idea. When we had chickens they were for eating anything that moved – not vegetarians, they! I once watched one run up and swallow a young snake whole. It was not such a small snake, either. No mistaking it for a worm.


  32. Yo, Chris – Speaking of foxes, there’s one who does a star turn, in “The Green Knight.” But is he friend or foe? 🙂 .

    Sorry about your trip to the lumber yard. Here, we’re hearing that supply and prices ought to loosen up. Probably after the first of the year. Anything available on the recycled front? Here, I know a guy who looks for old clapped out sheds and barns. He offers to take them down, haul away all the stuff. He makes a pretty good living out of it. Reselling the good timber. And, after our recent storm, there’s probably a lot on the ground.

    If I understand it right, your Australian states are headed by premiers. Who fill a roll similar to our state governors. And our state governors have had different responses to You Know What. So. When’s your next election? 🙂 . Or, is there also a recall mechanism. Even though there’s a lot of resistance to our governor’s handling of the situation, he was elected for a 3d term, last fall. Apparently, more people think he’s handling the situation correctly, than not. If you had a vote, tomorrow, how do you think it would go?

    Besides the Neo-Nazis, in “Halifax: Retribution,” there was also a bit about your gun nuts. Living in their compounds and firing off lots of rounds of ammo. Separate groups, but provide some support to each other. Sorry about that. Some of the dialogue indicates those ideas were imports from us. Though both groups seem to be international, these days. We can thank the internet, for that.

    I read an article, last night, claiming that Canada has the highest “lifestyle carbon footprint.” I don’t know about that, but one thing jumped out of the article, at me. “Talking about lifestyle changes is a hot-potato to policy makers who are afraid to threaten the lifestyle of voters.” We had a president who tried that (Jimmy Carter). He wasn’t elected for a second term. He put solar panels, on the White House. One of the first orders of business, of the next administration, was to rip them down.

    Sorry you got all damp, and stuff. Had your pneumonia shot? 🙂 . H and I are pretty damp after some of our walks. She has a coat, and I try to towel her down, before taking her home. But her fur just holds water. My little sponge.

    I’m thoroughly disgusted with my primary grocery store. Though their web site changes have leveled out, a bit, I still can’t see my “deals”, that are specific to me, based on past purchases. Saves me a lot of money. I tried sending them an e-mail, from their site, but it told me my card number wasn’t good! Funny that. I got the standard discounts, later that evening. Now I can either go in, during the day, and raise hell at their service desk … or, I can send them an actual letter. You remember those? You put a stamp on them. I’m old. I don’t have time for this.

    I’m surprised you could find wormer, for your dogs. Apparently, it’s a treatment for You Know What. Oh, wait. It’s horse wormer that’s the sovereign cure for You Know What. Where do people come up with this stuff? Well, right here on this inter web thingy.

    I’m happy for you, that you may have found a new “home away from home.” Though it would be better if the local, local, reopened. Speaking of vacce paperwork, I’m getting my booster on the 9th. They’re trotting the same pharmacist in. Note to self: stop taking aspirin a few days before; start taking it again, immediately after.

    Not a bad thing to be a “guy who knows a guy.” Does it involve burner phones? From what I see, they seem to play a big part in any underhanded scheme.

    So far, I haven’t set off the smoke alarms. There’s one very close to, but not in, the kitchen. I like my popcorn slightly burnt, so, I crack open a window, turn on my stove fan, and when I pull the smoking bag out of the nuker, I toss it on the stove top so the smoke gets sucked out. So far, it’s worked. And I make a lot of popcorn 🙂 . Lew

  33. Chris,

    Glad you enjoyed the commercial. You did the same thing I always did watching those. I didn’t pay attention to what they were advertising because the visuals were so funny. Not wanting to beat a dead horse, but I found my 3 favorites.

    Getting the Kelpies fixed up should help curb a lot of their wildness. All 4 of the female dogs I’ve been around were fixed. They were all mostly tame. Sorta like Earth being “mostly harmless”.

    Next to us, the neighbors have a dog that is 18 months old. She and I have always gotten along well through the fence. However, her attention span never lasted long. Until now. You guessed it. The neighbor’s dog is highly jealous of Avalanche and wants lengthy visits with me. Rakhi the Samoyed and the neighbor’s dog were also both highly jealous. We would be talking to the human neighbors while at the chain link fence only to have both dogs forcing their way between the fence and the humans, then trying to herd the humans away from the fence.

    Nice story about Plum and the magpies. Almost makes it look as if the chasing and swooping are more of a game than true animosity. Well, until a magpie gets caught by a Kelpie.

    I never would’ve guessed you had Scottish ancestry from your surname. 😉 I’ve got an extremely common Welsh surname, yet the male DNA (Y-DNA) shows that an ancestor journeyed either as a trader or a raider from Scandinavia. Even Llewellyn the Great was descended from the Viking Kings of Dublin. Dad’s mother’s family also had male Viking Y-DNA. Exhaustive studies on that surname show that they hailed from Loch Lomond in Scotland. There was an extensive Viking trading area at Loch Lomond back in the day. Of course, your surname is said to have had a Viking founder also. The descendants of Vikings who settled in Scotland, especially, became more Scottish than the Scots and Picts.


  34. Hi Pam,

    Yes, chicken is not a vegetable, and chickens are – as you note – are definitely not vegetarians. 🙂 Yes, snakes are wary of the birds for good reason. The local Kookaburra’s (a distinctive bird call if ever there was one) have been know to grab snakes and bash their heads upon rocks before then devouring them. I kind of like the Kookaburra’s.

    This morning I was rudely awoken by nature (before 7am too for that matter) when an extraordinary wind gust smashed into the side of the house. I lay under the warmth of the blankets at such an ungodly hour hoping that the windows on that side of the house had been manufactured without faults and that no solar panels blew away. Fortunately, it was all good. However, the power was out everywhere (not that I noticed being unattached to the grid) around here. The local general store had recently wisely installed a very large backup generator and so continued to operate until power was restored in the early afternoon. Everywhere else, not so much. I’d wondered why things were so quiet elsewhere…

    Isn’t it the boy who called wolf dilemma? We won’t know if there is actually something to worry about, because so much rubbish has been spoken of at other times. A bit of a shame that. At least you won’t run out of napkins, and they might work as toilet paper too in a pinch! 🙂

    Thank you for saying so, and we do trees big here for some reason. The old ones of the forest are astounding to encounter, and it makes you wonder what the place looked like before the Europeans arrived?

    Oh yeah, the big smoke is about under 40 miles away. Of course the farm is located on the less fashionable side of the city. For some reason people headed out east and south east, but out here in the north west, it’s quiet.



  35. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for the laughs. And there was even an objecting goat, and let us not discuss the family unfriendly joke about – just one goat! 😉 The censors clearly had missed that rather naughty joke.

    It is a rather delicate matter to be discussing the Kelpie’s err, accommodating natures at certain points in the year (not so much at other parts of the year). 🙂 Well, I can only hope so, but with the new neighbours not having their male dog fixed up, it might be a problem. That’s change for ya – expect the unexpected.

    Dogs are super social creatures. Ollie for example just wants to follow me around the farm, unless the two Kelpie girls are distracting him, and Ruby can be something of a distraction with her mischievous nature. And yes, his ears are a chew toy for them. The thing is, your neighbours dog is just hanging out with you and Avalanche and doing what dogs do and that is being social. But you know that, it’s clear from your words.

    Look, the Kelpie’s might get a young magpie, or a very old magpie, but they don’t stand a chance at any other time. Those birds know all of us here at the farm, and judge us based on our actions. When I’m walking around with Ollie, they don’t even bother flying away, but the two girls is a whole ‘nother story. But it was fun watching the magpies tease those two dogs.

    Hehe! It’s a dead give away, and the highland lot was on my fathers side and the lowland lot was on my mothers side. It’s super weird though, but way back in the early days of the colony a lot of Germans and Scottish settled around these elevated parts for some weird reason known only to them.

    Did you get your DNA tested for genealogy purposes? Were you surprised by the outcome? And how much Neanderthal is the next question? I sort of suspect that our ancestors probably often got kind of lonely way back in the day!



  36. Hi Lewis,

    Didn’t Merlin have a familiar? A fox would be a good choice for such a companion. But you raise a good point as to whose concerns and objectives would the familiar be pursuing? It’s kind of like the old story about AI – How do we know that AI wouldn’t consider us humans to be expendable? The ED-209 robot from the Robocop film franchise proved conclusively that AI might not have our best interests at heart. But then, there is something in the bond of a familiar and when I consider the dogs here, Ollie will let me down occasionally (as I’m sure I do with his world view), but isn’t that in the nature of a relationship? More of a muddling through and finding some sort of middle path. I have noted that plenty of folks these days see the world in terms of absolutes and control, when that ain’t necessarily so. What do you reckon about that line of thinking?

    Interestingly, the timber yard came through, but not as you’d expect. To cut a long story short, the guy who used to own the property next door is mates with the bloke who owns the timber yard, although I have no idea as to what went on behind the scenes. I was on good terms with that neighbour. And the timber yard used to harvest timber way, way back in the day from around here and possibly on the land here. So they came through with the supplies, although I had to take the next size timber up (obviously less popular due to cost) which was the last of their supply. This cost me. The plan at this stage is to use that stuff, recycle everything we can from the existing sheds here, and scrounge around for second hand stuff (which is around if you know where to look – and yes, your idea is a goodie). The thing is, I may have incurred an obligation with the supply, but this is part and parcel of the way things used to be and probably will be again in the future.

    Sort of. The state legislatures look and work similarly to the federal system, even up to a Governor General (Queens representative) in each state. The premier is unelected by the public, but is elected, as are the cabinet ministers, by the party politics. Do you guys vote for the state Governors? Yeah, the next election is next year, and I’m eagerly awaiting that day. I doubt the election will be called early.

    Melbourne is out of lock down (albeit with some restrictions still in place) as of 6pm earlier this evening.

    Yeah, it is possible that the gun nut culture was exaggerated in the series as were the neo nazi’s. The vast majority of people have their devices registered, and there are limits on the types of devices that a person can own. It is rare to see such devices used in crimes, given the overall traceability to the owners. After the Port Arthur massacre, the community basically got behind the nationwide restrictions due to the sheer outrage at that situation. A temporary tax hike was put in place to pay for an amnesty for unregistered devices, and the owners were given cash for turning them in. I’d heard stories that people got the cash and then went out and replaced them with newer registered devices, and that may be so. The other restriction was on licensing and basic checks were put in place, and you get vetted before being able to purchase, and that process took 28 days for the first device.

    As far as compounds go, it might be the case, but I hadn’t heard of it being so around these parts. I’ve heard rumours that there was some sort of cult living on a tract of land well out of a town (Kyneton) far to the north of the mountain range, but whether it is true or no, is beyond my actual knowledge. I’d certainly notice something odd like that going on, and in the bush, word would eventually get around.

    What? I thought that we had that title down pat? Far out. I dunno whether I want to share the glory of that particular claim with the nice Canadians.

    It’s funny that you mention Jimmy Carter, but for some reason I chanced to read some of his speeches to the country a few weeks ago, and he is an outstanding orator. His sentiment sounded genuine, and the goals seemed commendable, but the words would not inspire confidence in a country seeking such an emotional outcome. Sad.

    Is there a pneumonia shot? Well I never, the things they come up with these days. If H were down here today, she would have gotten rather damp too. It’s been a wet and cool spring. It’s 39’F outside the last time I checked. Your little sponge! That’s funny. It is really hard to towel dry a dogs coat. I’ve heard of people blow drying them – don’t tell Elinor though in case you end up having to do just that.

    What is a service desk at a grocery store? I’ve never heard of such a thing, although I might need to get out more. When I worked in debt collection I became aware that a physical letter in the mail carried more weight than electronic correspondence (phone call in those days, email these days). It has been my observation that people can easily delete or ignore electronic messages, physical correspondence, not so much. Although there are people who can do just that and collect their mail in garbage bags or unread in piles. I do wonder how such people manage the administrative activities involved in day to day living, but then there is the default path, and that can be some pretty cold gear.

    I don’t get into such discussions and just plead ignorance. There are a lot of experts around these days.

    It’s a bit sad, but every time I pass the closed local pub (as we did today), my nose is pressed to the glass window and there may be some drool, or was that tears? I dunno, it’s hard to be certain which it was.

    On that particular trip I learned that the general store is reverting to take away only due to the re-opening earlier this evening of the Melbourne / rural divide which had been in lock down for so long that I now forget when it all began. And it’s a long weekend for the Melbourne Cup.

    There are talks of boosters down here too, and it may be pre-emptive as the first goals don’t appear have yet been met. Rumour has it that the re-opening was more to do with the withdrawal of federal funding, rather than the local state mobs perspective. I mean after all, re-opening is now occurring and ten people in the state may have died yesterday from the health subject which dares not be named.

    Man, I don’t even know what a burner phone is, let alone how to obtain one! It sounds like a cheap spy film kind of narrative plot device! 🙂 Are you being serious or what?

    Cracking the window in the kitchen is a wise move when cooking with those devices lurking around. Popcorn = yum! You rarely see it for sale down here, but for some unknown reason it has become attached to cinemas, as have choc top icecreams.

    How is the pumpkin spiced odyssey going?



  37. Yo, Chris – It’s been a long time since I read the source material, but I don’t think Merlin had a familiar, in the original. A familiar first appears (as far as I know) in T. H. White’s books. Later commodified by Disney, in the animated version. The owl Archimedes (not to be confused with Archimedes of Syracuse, and interesting fellow, in his own right,) is Merlin’s familiar. You may find this interesting …

    Also of interest (maybe) is that the Royal Doulton china figure of Merlin has an owl, and a cat. Which I don’t have. But I do have the Royal Doulton Merlin toby mug. They also have a Roman centurion, standing on Hadrian’s Wall, gazing off into the distance. Wouldn’t mind having that, either. Though were not buying tat, these days, are we? 🙂

    Not sure what question your asking about absolutes and control. As far as dogs go, their often like little kids. Mom or Dad has a conversation, and the kid has some concern that needs to be sorted, RIGHT NOW!!! H plays that game, from time to time. Either she wants a rousing game of keep away, with her chew toy, or, she feigns that she can’t jump up into Elinor’s lap, or, she starts barking because she can’t find her chew toy, even when it’s under her nose. She’s developed a bad habit (to me) recently, as when we go on our walks, she plants her little feet and refuses to move. So, I just pick her up and trundle her wherever I want her to be. Sure. Stand like a statue, but your going to do it on the grass, in case she gets moved to do what we came out here for.

    Good score on the timber. Unexpected, that. Larger size? Just build bigger 🙂 . I’m sure you’ll cobble something together, that suits.

    Most of our states have a governor, and a legislature that has a house and senate, which pretty much mirrors the national government. And all those positions are voted on by the people. Those people who vote. It gets dicey, when the head and the legislature are of different parties. Not much gets done. There used to be a lot of horse trading (bi-partisanship), but not much, anymore. So, we have a lot of gridlock.

    There may be more people chaffing at gun restrictions than you realize. Especially when they have such a shining example as the US. You’ll have to pry my rocket launcher, from my cold dead hands. Etc.

    I think Jimmy Carter was one of the best presidents we had, in modern times. His doom was sealed when he went on TV, and during a gas crunch, asked us citizens to put on a sweater (jumper), turn down the thermostat, and drive 55 miles an hour, to conserve gas. Crazy talk. The Iran hostage situation, didn’t help. He even gave a Playboy magazine interview. Probably horrified the bible belt. Never mind that that magazine sells there, better than anywhere else in the U.S.. 🙂 .

    Yup. There’s a pneumonia shot. Usually combined with whooping cough vaccine. Particularly for old duffers, like me. As pneumonia is “the old man’s friend.” As it’s likely to carry you off, when other things get really bad. So, I’m always a bit in two minds about getting it. But I get it, anyway. I figure if things get bad, there are other gentle ways to check out. Hypothermia, comes to mind. 🙂 .

    Yup. Most large grocery stores have a service desk. It’s where the manager hangs out, if he or she isn’t off putting out fires. They handle complaints, sell money orders and stamps, and gosh knows what else. But, they’re usually only occupied, days.

    Burner phones are a real thing. I don’t understand the ins and outs of them, but they’re quit popular among the criminal class. Something to do with not being traceable.

    Well, the fire alarm inspection, did not go well. No one showed up at my door. Or, as near as we can figure, anyone else’s. No call, no memo. Blew my day all to heck. According to Suzanne Who Always Has a Better Idea, two guys did show up, but really didn’t seem to know what to do. And, neither did the building manager. So, everyone milled around for awhile, and then they left. I’d guess, another item checked off some list.

    We got a food box, this morning. A pound of frozen ground beef, a pack of frozen chicken legs. Shelf stable chocolate milk. Various canned veg and fruit. A box of dry cereal. Packet of powdered milk. One can of beef stew. A can of spaghetti. A big bottle of mayo and a bottle of ketchup. Little boxes of raisins. A can each of cream of chicken and chicken noodle soup. Many packets of dry milk. A box of dry spaghetti. Oh, and a jar of peanut butter. So much for this month.

    As far as the search for pumpkin spice goes, It’s mostly the pumpkin pie ice cream, and that’s about it. They ran out of the pumpkin spice yogurt dipped pretzels, a couple of weeks ago. Big gap in the rack, but hasn’t been refilled. There’s probably some things at the baked goods outlet store, but, they’re either really tame, or, bad for me. We never see the more interesting candies. There are huge displays of pumpkin spice coffee. If you can imagine. 🙂 . Sounds ghastly.

    Prof. Mass got around to talking about our atmospheric river. Now that it’s a thing of the past. Sun will shine from today, through the weekend. Which, at this time of year, means low overnight temperatures. We may get some frost. We’ll see. Lew

  38. @Lew

    In honor of you I splurged on a pumpkin spiced latte the other day at the fancy coffee shop.

    Doug got his booster a couple weeks ago and I get mine next Wednesday. From what I’ve heard the effects aren’t as bad. Crossing fingers for you.


  39. Hi Chris,

    Our power outages are just about always due to a downed tree and as we’re out in the hinterlands and it’s usually only a few houses out so it can take quite awhile. Half of our street (which is only a mile long) has underground lines while our half is still overhead. Ours is the half with trees too.

    Now for some good news. Apparently Gwen’s cancer isn’t nearly as serious as she and Marty reported. We should have figured they’d get it wrong. Minor surgery for cancer (no double mastectomy) and no chemo either. The other good news is she has her old guardian back who was very forthcoming regarding the details of her situation. October is breast cancer awareness month and apparently Marty has been watching a lot about it on TV and has become an “expert”. It was his suggestion to Gwen that as a preventative measure she should have both breasts removed and the added bonus would be that she would match. Leave it them to bring some humor to almost any situation. Had another .6 inch of rain yesterday and the streams are starting to fill a bit. Turning cold next week – only in the mid 40’s, about 10 degrees below normal. Started using the woodburner this week.



  40. @ Lew – yesterday my husband and I went to our favorite Italian restaurant for lunch. For dessert we shared a pumpkin cannoli. Delicious!


  41. Chris,

    That goat was hilarious. The censors completely missed the connotation which adds to the amusement. The goat, as did the bearded child, had a recurring role.

    Yes, dogs are extremely social. However, today marked the first day in which Avalanche wasn’t my shadow every second of the day. She did well outdoors by herself for several minutes at a time. We spent nearly the entire day outdoors. It rained hard this morning – over 15mm in 90 minutes, and Avalanche was running in the rain and the wet for 60 minutes of that.

    The sunset tonight was spectacular. Many of the trees have shed their leaves. Those that remain on trees in my yard are mostly orange, with some yellows and reds. The leaves on the ground are mostly orange and yellow. The sun shone through a cloudbank with a spectacular orange glow that really highlighted the leaves.

    She almost caught an unsuspecting flicker this afternoon. The flickers will not be unsuspecting any longer. And a new visitor, a Rufous-Sided Towhee, was very nonchalant about keeping out of Avalanche’s reach. Naturally, this was viewed as being teased by the dog, who began whining. Right on cue, a squirrel chose that moment to clamber from the alley to the front via the trees and shrubs, adding to the her being teased but increasing my amusement.

    Ain’t that the way of it nowadays? One branch of the family is Highland, the other Lowland. I’ve got a fair bit of ancestry from the English/Scottish Borders. Those were tough dudes back in the day. Very tough. Johnnie Armstrong was one of the roughest in the early 1500s. There’s a long poem about him. Here’s a version of the poem, some verses left out, sung by a lass from the Borders.

    That’s interesting, the Germans and Scots in your area. The lower areas of what’s now North Carolina had a large group of Highlanders settle after the Bonne Prince Charlie fiasco. Meanwhile, the Borders descendants, via the Ulster Plantation, settled the highland areas all over Appalachia. A lot of Germans settled nearby. There was a fair amount of intermarriage.

    Yes, I did the DNA testing for genealogy purposes. With a very very common Welsh surname, and the male line (Y-DNA) results coming up Viking, yeah that was a surprise. But a lot of delving into history and some archaeology stuff has shown that the Vikings had a larger presence in parts of Wales than I had been taught, so I’m not as surprised now.

    I didn’t get a breakdown of ancient DNA that would’ve maybe spotted some Neanderthal. However, from what I’ve gleaned from various sites, most of us of European ancestry have some Neanderthal in us. I do know that both my dad’s paternal Y-DNA and his mother’s dad’s Y-DNA go back to Scandinavia and are both known as Haplogroup I-1. And that has been found to be Cro-Magnon DNA.


  42. Hi Margaret,

    🙂 I salute your adventurous coffee taste buds with the pumpkin spiced concotion. Last week I was at a cafe in the big smoke and was requested to prove my vaxx status. That was weird, but I know the barista, and have done so for many years, and in a really weird turn of events, he just happens to be dating a local girl from around these parts. I’ve invited them both up for lunch one day over the next few months. He’s cool, and I believe I know the family of the girl. Who knows, he may end up being local! How funny would that be?

    The expense of installing power lines under ground is quite significant, so it impresses me that even half of your road was done that way. Around here, the lines to houses usually travel underground from the poles and transformers, but the poles and wires on the road are most certainly above ground.

    I hear you about the trees, and with the strong wind gusts on Friday morning, there is now a tree leaning towards the road and looming over the power line, but has been caught up in a different species of tree. Will it fall, won’t it fall onto the power line, is a question to which I don’t really know the answer.

    The local general store installed an epic sized generator a few months ago, and that machine has proven its worth during this most recent storm. Being off grid, I had no idea that the neighbours had lost their power again.

    That’s great news, and fortune has smiled upon both yourselves and Gwen with the return of the former guardian – in a nick of time too. Go Marty, and I have no doubts at all that he has done a deep dive into the topic. Gallows humour has a place.

    Margaret, it was 34’F overnight last night, so the wood heater is burning firewood here too. I dunno, this here is a tough environment to grow vegetables. Glad to hear that your rain has returned.



  43. Hi DJ,

    The goat was funny as, and it also proves that the censors don’t know quite as much about popular culture as they’d like think that they do. I was laughing when I saw the goat bleat in the church at that particular question. You can imagine the people coming up with that stuff in the first place. Dare they do this? Why not?

    Avalanche, whenever will you learn? Probably sooner rather than later. I’ll tell you a funny story. Most young dogs I’ve known destroy their bedding. I’m sure they have lots of fun doing so. Then winter kicks in and with destroyed bedding the winter is less than a comfortable experience. Then they learn the hard way and probably in future seasons they take notes: Note to puppy self: Don’t destroy the bedding.

    Glad to hear that the rains have returned. Are things greening up?

    Lovely, and thanks for the description. Hey, it is possible that someone, somewhere has analysed the procession of colours in leaf fall, and possibly looked into the chemical and biological reasons as to why the colours fall in that order.

    Oh yeah, the birds learn whom to avoid pretty quickly and very possibly they might dob on young Avalanche to the other birds. Avalanche can whine all she likes, but if the birds decide to tease her, they’ll tease her big time.

    Thanks for the song, the young ladies voice was superb, and the melody was haunting. I just didn’t understand a single word. Not one word, so I’m left wondering who was this bloke Johnnie Armstrong anyway? He must have been quite the character given we’re discussing him five centuries later.

    Yes, similar things took place down here too with that lot. Clearly there was a great deal of upheaval going on in their home countries and they sought lands elsewhere. Bonne Prince Charlie gave it a go, and failed. He was lucky to have escaped with his life, and another perspective is that the resulting cultural crack down caused much undue suffering, which was eventually relented.

    Ah, Welsh. Of course, that makes sense, and didn’t those Vikings get around or what? My reading of history suggests that the Viking bands roamed far and wide, so it hardly surprises me that they made it all the way into Wales. And given the ecological conditions the bands left behind, you can’t blame them if they went native.

    Hehe! Well, that was kind of what I was getting at. Such tests can reveal all manner of surprising revelations. But I reckon that we are all like that, and our ancestors were an indiscriminate lot.



  44. Hi Lewis,

    Ah, again you prove that my education is most certainly sub-par. I have neither read nor heard about T.H. White. I must do something about this lack. So the familiar is a recent addition to the Arthurian story? I feel that this may be an excellent addition and noted that the author was an excellent correspondent as well as having a great love of dogs. Woe is me for Disney is not for I. Just going with my gut feeling there, whilst noting that plenty of other folks have other opinions.

    That was a fascinating article on Merlin, and I had no idea that the character had such complex heritage. And nimbly walked the middle line between the two worlds.

    What? So there was a cat as a familiar too? I kind of like the idea of a fox, as the animal is a bit more wild than a domestic cat. You did promise not to indulge in any further tat purchases, but then I failed recently and have several books in transit. We can’t be good all the time.

    H is a sensitive creature, this is known. The fluffies are a bit sensitive and yet wild too. The editor and I were in the paddock today digging, as you do, and whilst the neighbours were not there the Kelpie’s were bounding around (individually) and leaping across plants doing their best gazelle impersonation. It is possible that like the fluffies, H has a touch of wilfulness – which is a breed trait.

    A suggestion has come through from a regular commenter that I simply run the lengths of timber down a table saw so as to double the stash. A very wise idea, which the editor also claims that she had (but had not communicated). There are a few places to obtain second hand building materials and so I’ll check them out too over the next few weeks. But first the digging must take place. Today’s work was done by hand, but for tomorrow I’ve hired a machine to assist with that job.

    There’s always more digging. At least the soil is looking damp but also well drained. This is a good thing. Down below the mountain range in the elevated plains, things are looking very damp.

    Yeah, that would be a problem with a different Governor and legislature. We avoid that issue by not voting directly for the premier. The problem with the referendum to make us a republic (now over a decade and a half ago), was that the job of Prez was decided upon by the politicians – and I’m guessing the electorate did not approve of this because the referendum failed.

    Hey, over a decade ago, the federal opposition political party came up with the super dumb idea to oppose everything. That’s what you get when a person who interprets the meanings of words literally, came up with. Can’t say that that was a good era for local politics.

    Maybe. My understanding is that the gun controls have the support of about 90% of the population down here, and this has been fairly consistent for a long time – even against the occasional challenge. If a person wants such a device, they can get them, so I don’t see what the big problem would be with those people you mentioned. There are just some items that they can’t have, and it is a compromise arrangement. The stupid thing is, down here, people mostly trust the gobarmint. Your culture is different in that regard. Now of course, trust can be lost and the future is uncertain.

    Crazy talk indeed. Mate, it is a hard sell and people don’t want to hear such talk – and so here we are today, with the population talking about other things they are allowed to talk about. I second your opinion, as the speeches I read were excellent – they just don’t hit the fear or the confidence button for that matter, and others can do so without a second thought. Hehe! Yeah, I’m always super suspicious of people with outspoken views on how puritanical they are. Yeah, sure you are, is what I think to myself upon hearing such words.

    We’ve spoken about that description regarding pneumonia before, and I too have heard that opinion expressed, but not lately, that’s for sure. Thanks for the tip. Given it was 34’F last night, that outcome shouldn’t be hard to arrange. I’m wondering about heating fuels in your part of the world this winter.

    What? No way. There are times that I’m astounded by difference which you just don’t see down here – like the service desks. Do people really complain about their supermarkets?

    Recently I’d heard some story that a lot of crims got duped into using an encrypted messaging application, except that it wasn’t encrypted all that well, and in fact may have been written by the authorities… Ouch.

    Makes you wonder when the smoke alarm dudes will return? Some folks are easy spending other peoples time, that’s for sure. Hope it all gets sorted out. Suzanne might be wrong there – those guys could have been anyone.

    Your food box sounds as if it is packed full of goodies. And meat too. I paid $17/kg (2.2 pounds) the other day at the supermarket. I feed the beef to the chickens and dogs and usually split up 1.1 pounds per week for them all over two days. It’s not much, but they’re also not complaining.

    I note that Margaret has road tested this beverage, and the results are now in. The editor once ordered a turmeric coffee out of interest. I’m not saying that she said: Here have a taste of this, it’s awful – but the words had that kind of vibe to them, although it is also equally possible that I misheard.

    Fingers crossed the frost holds off for a while longer for you. I was surprised not to see frost this morning given that it was 34’F. More digging tomorrow. Oh well.



  45. Hello Chris
    Oh dear, another recommendation! I agree that T. H. White’s books are worth reading.
    Went to neighbours’ Halloween party yesterday; it was great. The creepy decorations were superb, so was the food and drink. I gather that Halloween came from Ireland and went from there to the US. then to the UK. I certainly didn’t know of it when younger.
    The trees are only just starting to change colour and drop leaves. It is still very green around me.


  46. @ Margaret – So … how was the pumpkin spice latte? I’ll take my coffee straight, thanks! 🙂

    I think I saw a bit of the program Marty probably saw, when I was at the neighbors, the other night. Some women carry a gene that makes them prone to breast cancer. So, it runs in families. The young woman that was in the documentary, opted for double and reconstruction. Lew

  47. @ Claire – That sounds delicious! We don’t get such exotic fare, around these here parts. Heck, we don’t even get the pumpkin spice Hersey kisses or M & Ms. Lew

  48. @ DJ – Saw something on our libraries “new” list, yesterday. “Yearn to Burn: A Pyrography Master Class.” (Easton, 2019). The listing said it was a sequel to “Learn to Burn.” Maybe your library …. Lew

  49. @ Inge – I saw that. Wow. Those are some statues. Larger than life size. I hope they find an inscription, to indicate who these people were. Speculation is, it was a family mausoleum of some sort. Lew

  50. Yo, Chris – You missed T. H. White? How did that happen? I think “The Sword in the Stone” is part of White’s “The Once and Future King.” Actually, as I remember, the Disney “Sword in the Stone,” was pretty good.

    Merlin as demon spawn. Who knew? Well, that’s a different take.

    It’s that time of the year where I start thinking about what I want to get for me. I was thinking, three pairs of jeans. But maybe I’ll just keep wearing the rags, and spring for Royal Doulton Merlin and Centurion?

    Oh, the majority of our population is for some kind of gun control. But, there’s always a very small, but vocal (and sometimes dangerous) minority. This applies to many things, other than gun control.

    I doubt we’ll see the Smoke Alarm Dudes, until next year. I hope by then, they know what they’re doing. If the place burns to the ground, all the paperwork is in place, to cover hind ends. We had a HUD inspection, last year. They showed up, checked an apartment or two, and all went out for lunch. I often wondered if money exchanged hands … 🙂 .

    It felt really cold, last night, but according to the local weather station, it only got down into the low 40s F. And what wasn’t nipped a few weeks ago, still looks pretty good.

    Crisis, next door. Elinor’s care giver, quit. She worked her last shift, yesterday, and in the afternoon, the agency called to announce they were sending a new person on Monday. Will they be vaccinated? Can’t ask, or tell. Privacy, and all. You’d think that since You Know What runs rampant through these old folk’s warehouses, that there’d be a bit more transparency.

    Elinor’s family thinks she was too demanding. From my point of view, there was a bit of blame on both sides. But there’s family dynamics, in play. I’m well out of it, and just keep my mouth shut.

  51. Chris,

    Very quickly re: Johnnie Armstrong…

    The singing lass was singing in Lowland Scots (Lallans), as that is what the poem was written in. It is can be found here. It is the THIRD one, labelled 169C. I can help with translating from Lallans to modern English.

    Mark Nichol does a lot of Borders region youtubes. He has one on Johnnie Armstrong. Warning: his Scots accent is very thick. I can understand him, but the Princess can’t make heads or tails of what he’s saying. At least you might get a flavor of the area he raided and lived in.


  52. Hi Inge,

    Yes indeedy, another book recommendation. Candidly there does seem to be rather a lot of books in circulation. Time is so short, and there are so many books to read. Reading is one of life’s little pleasures.

    The same is true here too. Halloween has only been a very recent cultural observation down under. When I was a kid, nobody observed the day, and I recall as a child reading Peanuts cartoons where the characters were carving pumpkins and wondering what it was all about. I still don’t understand the origins of the day. What does you reading lead you to believe about the day? I hadn’t heard of the Irish connection, but it kind of makes sense culturally.

    We’d be tracking about the same season wise as yourself if somehow the world flipped upside down. Some of the seedlings (peas and beans) are ready to be hardened off before being planted in the garden terraces.



  53. Hi Lewis,

    I know, it’s true, my education is sadly lacking, and I have not even viewed the Disney version of the tale. You can’t always trust critics and folks who review books (apologies!), but I noted one of the criticisms of T.H. White was that the books became increasingly darker as the story progressed. On the other hand I do wonder what the critics expected of the tale? My point of view is possibly along your line of thinking in that the historical Arthur and Merlin were successful enough that they provided some breathing room for a few generations in an otherwise very turbulent time.

    If dodgy beginnings – such as Merlin’s – were the defining moment of a persons life, then mate, I’d be up poop creek without a paddle. There is an old saying about the apple never falling far from the tree, and there is a lot of truth in that, but you know, it needn’t be a hard and fast rule either. I’m not sure what your thoughts are in the matter, but I’d suggest indicative is a good guide, noting that the origin is not prescriptive.

    Your addition of a question mark at the end of the paragraph, without explicitly stating a question leaves me in something of a quandary. Are you soliciting an opinion, or is it merely an interesting use of grammar? The truth is out there! Mate, drawing deep down into my childhood years, I recall being given handkerchiefs for Christmas presents from some older folks, and yeah maybe I can’t forgive them. Like, was I particularly snotty as a kid? Me thinks not. So, to answer your non-question, my thinking is to get the jeans some other time and splash the mad cash. In other words, don’t get something you need, get something you want.

    In relation to the gun discussion, the noisy minority are blithely ignored down here. Like I said before, if you want such a device, all you have to do is jump through the hoops. And the hoops are hardly onerous.

    What is HUD? It sounds like a very mysterious acronym. In the military it might describe a Head Up Display. In the world of fluffy, it may describe Huge Under Dog (I’m not entirely sure what that means, but you have to admit the acronym works). What is the most out there acronym for HUD you can imagine, and what even does it mean? I remarked to someone recently who remarked to me that they were paid to go-away, that this perhaps is an enviable estate. If people don’t want me around, they tell me not to come Monday. It’s awful, as I’d take the mad cash.

    Yeah, winter is close, but not altogether knocking on your door. 🙂 Same, same here with summer.

    Mate, some folks would provide soothing words, and a sympathetic ear. That person might not be me. I used to work for a very wealthy dude, and the incessant demands, despite being already ladened with responsibility, drove me bonkers, and so after a few years I left. I might have said that it’s not you, it’s me, but then do you really want to indulge in such frank discussions? There is no upside to doing so.

    So anyway, I’ve known people who employ nannies and other such folks. I have no problems with that, except I knew someone who did so overseas, and they made the astounding claim: At least we didn’t beat her. And then I’ve known other people down under who push mission creep and somehow expect such working folks to do all manner of other domestic tasks that they’re not employed to do. Yeah, look as an employment option it might make a comeback, but there are boundaries which were probably respected back in the day.

    Man, and then there is that family story. Spare a thought for teachers these days as parents get super-involved in their kids education. If there is nothing odd going on with the things being taught – and that is not entirely guaranteed in your country – then I don’t get why parents need to break teachers err, tender bits, just because the kids are lazy, academically challenged or disinterested. That’s my rant for the day, and I’ve seen both sides of that story. When I was a kid, my mother barely gave my education the briefest of thoughts. As you correctly pointed out, it was my grandfather who stumped the mad cash, but he never once asked how it was all going. The outcome was left for me to decide. Maybe that outcome is a bit too loose for most parents, but it suited me just fine.



  54. Yo, Chris – Well, happy halloween! I’ve kind of drifted into a costume. I was road testing my new (used) black shirt. Have my black jeans. Happened to have a black cowboy hat, in the closet. I even have a black face mask. I’m not sure if I’m Black Bart, looking for a train to rob, or Johnny Cash. 🙂

    The Romans had a few holidays where ghosts returned to the earth. There was a bit of that Catholic slight of hand, where they co-opted a pagan holiday and Christianized it. See: All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day. The Mexican folk really splash out, with their Day of the Dead. (Dios los Muertos), which I think if very cool. The recent animated film, “Coco”, pretty much explains what that’s all about. A delightful film, and well worth a look, by the way. 🙂 . The Day of the Dead was co-opted a bit, from Aztec traditions. On reflection, how much is co-option and how much is protective coloration? Flying under the radar. Anyway, tonight I’ll be sitting out in the pumpkin patch, waiting for The Great Pumpkin. Which was entirely invented by the “Peanuts” creator.

    I was looking at the Royal Doulton, last night. The toby mug is titled Merlin, with an owl handle. But the figure is just titled “Wizard.” So I guess since he’s not specifically Merlin, he can have a cat, too.

    Apples and trees. I agree with you. Maybe indicative, but not prescriptive. The old “nature or nurture”, conundrum.

    Opps! Sorry about the acronym. I hate it when people throw around acronyms at Mr. Greer’s. HUD is (The Department of) Housing and Urban Development. The bunch that theoretically manage this place, which is owned by the Sisters of Providence nuns.

    Much to my surprise, Elinor seemed on an even keel, last night. Part of the problem is not so much mission creep, as different generational values. The care givers are making $20 an hour (plus health insurance). Even though it doesn’t come out of Elinor’s pocket, she expects a bit for that. Her helper, though a very pleasant person, seemed to be unable to grasp some pretty basic concepts. Such as, if your going to stack stuff, the big stuff goes on the bottom. Unexpected landslides were often a problem. And, how about putting things back where you found them?

    But, more on mission creep. They still haven’t hired a night manager (as far as we know.) A lot of the one’s in the past, have had day jobs. The last one did. And, she had to draw a firm line between job description and expectations. Rumor has it that they’re looking for someone without a day job.

    School board meeting, are getting pretty wild, over here. Mostly, around mask mandates, and such. But they’re getting a bit over the top. Anonymous physical threats and picketing people’s homes. Stuff like that.

    I was at the library, yesterday, and ran across a documentary, of someone I was unaware of. Before there was Banksy, there was Richard Hambleton. Banksy has tipped his hat, to Hambleton, as an influence. Hambleton’s shadow men, are really something. And seeing footage of him creating them … well, it’s just magic. Anyway. It was an interesting documentary, called “Shadowman.” Lew

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